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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

A Boy’s Dream: Experiencing GM’s Motorama in Person

Posted January 11, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl

I couldn’t believe my good luck.

A junior-high friend invited me to join him and his father on a journey into New York City to see the 1956 General Motors “Motorama.”

This was billed as the biggest car show in the world and considered by aficionados to be the “grand pooh-bah” of automobile braggadocio. I was a GM fan even at age five… about the time I started naming every car and model in GM’s post-WWII lineup.

My parents owned Chevrolets, and my first vacation memories started with their 1948 black sedan, affectionately named “Cleopatra.” The car’s rear-window shelf was large enough to stretch out on and sleep during a journey from New Jersey to Ottawa in 1950.

A look at the premier event for little Chevy fanboys...in 1956.

1 comments; last comment on 01/12/2018
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On the Donner Pass, the Lincoln Highway Once Forced Motorists Through an Active Train Tunnel

Posted January 10, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl

While the threat of having your fellow traveler cannibalize you had more or less passed for motorists crossing the Donner Pass in California, they had another, far more ominous challenge to face on the route: a long, unlit, and utterly unpredictable trip through a railroad tunnel.

“Imagine driving through that dark, cold tunnel, all the while hoping your car doesn’t break down on the tracks, with a train coming,” Trey Pitsenberger wrote after recently tracking down abandoned sections of the Lincoln Highway in California.

The infamous wagon train that lent its name to the Donner Pass crossed it in 1846-1847, but established wagon trails didn’t appear there until nearly 20 years later, built to support the Central Pacific Railroad as it crossed the Sierra Nevadas. The first automobile – driven by Alexander Winton – reportedly crossed those wagon trails in 1901, and California designated the wagon trail over the Donner Pass a state highway in 1909, so when Carl Fisher and his group pieced together the Lincoln Highway four years later, they simply used the same route for the northern branch between Fallon, Nevada, and Sacramento.

Apparently it was best practice to turn your car off and listen for trains before proceeding. Read more on Hemmings Daily.

4 comments; last comment on 01/17/2018
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Tucker Club Merges with AACA Museum; “Clubs are not what they used to be”

Posted January 09, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto club museum Tucker

With just a fraction of its peak membership and dwindling engagement, The Tucker Automobile Club of America has reached an existential moment; the official partnership it announced this week with the AACA Museum proposes not only to save the club but also to serve as a prototype for other car clubs nearing their own ends.

“The Tucker club was founded to do a few specific things, which I believe they’ve accomplished, and has since invented things to do to remain relevant,” said Eric Breslow, president of the club. “So the club as a standalone 501(c)3 will end, but as an entity it won’t.”

According to Breslow, club membership is well down from its peak of around 600 shortly after the release of the 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” And with fewer members comes fewer resources.

Perhaps this is the best fate the club could've hoped for.

8 comments; last comment on 01/12/2018
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Henry Ford’s X-8 Among Topics Covered by 2018 Gilmore Museum Lecture Series

Posted January 08, 2018 10:38 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto Concept engine Ford

One of Henry Ford’s odder inventions—and one that certainly challenges the notion he only ever wanted to build Model Ts into perpetuity—will get its moment in the spotlight next year as the subject of a talk in the Gilmore Museum lecture series, which for 2018 will include more automotive topics than in years past.

Ford’s interests in the X-shape engine, which essentially uses two 90-degree V-8s V-4s turned on their side and mated on a common crankshaft, dated to about 1920, when he filed for his first patent on the design, noting its compactness, relatively high power-to-weight ratio, and suitability for air-cooling as its advantages. Indeed, according to The Henry Ford’s page on the X-8 in its collections, pictured above, it measures just 17-inches wide, 17-inches tall, and 14-inches deep.

More on Ford's experimental motor...

2 comments; last comment on 01/09/2018
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FIVA: “Mint” Condition Restorations Equivalent to Customization, Should Be Rejected

Posted December 21, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl

While it makes exceptions for period-modified vehicles in its recently released Charter of Turin Handbook, the Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens casts a wary eye on customized vehicles and vehicles restored to better-than-new condition equally, arguing that neither should be considered historic.

“An exceptional amount of original historic material is lost in so called ‘Concours restorations,’ which exaggerate an imaginary mint condition,” Thomas Kohler, one of the driving forces behind the Charter of Turin, wrote in an article included in the Handbook. “Immense effort is made here to extinguish every ‘annoying’ or ‘unsightly’ trace of age and therefore the historic substance is stripped to the bone. This creates an absurd situation, as age and substantial material integrity are the basic requirements on how a vehicle can be recognized as an original object of cultural history.”

Intended as a guide for historic vehicle enthusiasts, owners, and restorers, the Charter of Turin Handbook offers a number of essays and practical advice on how to implement the principles of the Charter of Turin. The Charter, enacted in early 2013 with the goal of convincing the world’s governments to recognize historic automobiles as cultural artifacts, positions FIVA and the Charter itself as arbiters of what vehicles should be considered historic, based on FIVA- and Charter-supplied definitions.

Is car that is "better" than the original truly a classic?

4 comments; last comment on 12/22/2017
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