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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.

They Really Tie the Collection Together: Cars of “The Big Lebowski” Headed to Diecast

Posted May 26, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto film cars model Movies

While it's not considered much of a car movie, the Coen Brothers' 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski is one of only a handful of films to inspire festivals, fervent admirers and an entire religion, so diecast model maker Greenlight recently decided to come up with a line of model cars patterned after the ones in the movie.

The star of the lineup, of course, is The Dude's 1973 Ford Gran Torino, a four-door beater that gets crashed during a ransom money dropoff, stolen, briefly inhabited by a hobo, recovered, taken for a late-night In-N-Out Burger run, and then set on fire. No word on whether the Credence tapes will be included with it. As eagle-eyed movie car enthusiasts on the Internet Movie Car Database pointed out, the same weathered Gran Torino also appeared in the 1999 flick Blue Streak and in an episode of The X-Files.

The dude abides; the series collection of 1:43 and 1:64 models.

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EPA Proposes Further Increases in Ethanol Amounts, Wider E15 Distribution

Posted May 25, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: EPA ethanol gasoline legislation

Preliminary figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week call for adding 300 million more gallons of ethanol to the nation's fuel supply next year, a number that continues to break the blend wall but that agency administrators believe will be possible by mandating increased distribution of E15 and higher blends.

The total proposed amount of ethanol to be added to the fuel supply, according to the EPA's Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017, released on Wednesday, would increase from 2016's 18.11 billion gallons to 18.8 billion gallons, numbers that include advanced biofuels. While the latter number falls short of the figure that Congress set forth in the Renewable Fuels Standard in 2007, it nevertheless represents about 10.44 percent of the nation's fuel supply, beyond the 10.1 percent of the 2016 figures and the estimated 10 percent considered by some to represent the maximum amount of ethanol the market will tolerate.

With E10 already widely distributed, pretty much the only way to continue increasing the percentage of ethanol in the fuel supply is for higher-blend fuels, including E15, to make more headway in the market. To that end, the EPA promised in Wednesday's proposal to increase the supply of those higher-blend fuels.

The EPA pushes for more fuel reform. More of the details are available on Hemmings Daily. Discuss below.

5 comments; last comment on 05/27/2016
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10 Unusual 1950s-1970s GM Accessories

Posted May 24, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: accessory classic auto top 10

In 1958, Pontiac's optional "Sportable" transistor AM radio could be slid out from the dash to be taken anywhere. It operated on its own batteries and had its own antenna. When it was returned to the dash, it would then play through the car's speaker system using the car's electrical system to power it. Oldsmobile had a version in 1958, as well. Art is from Pontiac accessory catalogs and the other photos are by the author.

If you enjoy learning about vintage General Motors factory options and dealer-installed accessories as much as I do, this blog is for you. Perusing the listings from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, it soon becomes apparent option/accessory offerings were extensive.

Here are nine more abnormal classic auto accessories.

2 comments; last comment on 05/24/2016
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And You Thought Bootleggers All Drove Fords…

Posted May 23, 2016 10:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: beer bootlegging classic auto

With prohibition, breweries like Anheuser-Busch had to figure out how to turn their beer-making facilities into factories for non-alcoholic products. Many did not and closed forever.

Anheuser-Busch tried several products in its bid for survival: Like a grape soda called Grape Bouquet, Anheuser-Busch Ginger Ale, Kaffo (a carbonated coffee) and Buschtee, a carbonated tea. Best remembered are the "cereal beverages," like Bevo and Malt Nutrine. Malt Nutrine was sold as a digestive aid that "rests the brain and quiets the nerves" and marketed toward nursing mothers. Bevo, meanwhile, was often injected with pure grain alcohol to make a product called "needle beer."

But what was the biggest factor in survival? "Baking products." Anheuser-Busch created Budweiser Barley Malt Syrup, which it advertised as an essential ingredient in bread and cookies. Then Superintendent of Brewing Operations, and later company president August Anheuser "Gussie" Busch, Jr. called the resulting "malt syrup cookies" too bitter to eat.

How former breweries became the biggest suppliers for illegal bootlegging.

10 comments; last comment on 05/26/2016
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Gallery – 2016 Hemmings Motor News Cruise-Ins Begin

Posted May 19, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto cruise-in display

To some, it's the budding of trees and the blooming of flowers (often accompanied by the popping of allergy pills), while to others it's the return of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California. To those of us at Hemmings world headquarters in Bennington, Vermont, the surest sign of spring is the return of cars to our parking lot, marking the official start of cruise-in season.

Last night, May 12, was the first event of 2016, and our weather (which has been unseasonably cold) was spectacular, prompting a packed parking lot and plenty of visitors on hand to take in the sights and sounds. As usual, there was something for everyone, from a concours-condition Model T Ford to a 19,000-mile Acura NSX, along with plenty of street rods, muscle cars, classics, and even a few vintage trucks to round out the mix.

It's officially time to take the covers off classic cars in Vermont and elsewhere. See pics from last week's first Hemming's cruise-in.

2 comments; last comment on 05/24/2016
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New Bill Aims to Formalize Ethanol Blend Wall, Cap Blending at E10

Posted May 18, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: auto fuel legislation

bill introduced in Congress this week promises to roll back current ethanol blending requirements and may even curtail the spread of E15 through the nation's fuel supply should it get enacted.

House Resolution 5180, titled the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act of 2016, calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to set annual ethanol blending volume requirements at no more than 9.7 percent of the country's anticipated fuel consumption. In addition, if the EPA should fail to meet its annual deadlines for setting the volume requirements - as has happened in the past - the bill would have those numbers revert to the most recent year's totals rather than remain undefined.

The 9.7 percent figure cited in the bill would effectively formalize the ethanol blend wall, the theoretical maximum amount of ethanol the U.S. fuel supply can tolerate. Observers had pegged the blend wall at 10 percent since the Renewable Fuel Standard was enacted as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. However, when the EPA finalized its ethanol requirement numbers for 2016 late last year, calling for 18.11 billion gallons of ethanol to be added to the fuel supply, it broke through the blend wall for the first time in history, raising the percentage to 10.1 percent.

How do you feel about less ethanol in the fuel ratio?

20 comments; last comment on 05/26/2016
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