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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.

Fast and Furious, Circa 1962: The Further Adventures of a Hot-Rodding Teen

Posted February 15, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl

The baby-blue 1940 Ford convertible with top down, engine straining, was doing 90 miles per hour. Wearing no seat belt and sweating, I suddenly imagined myself flying like a cannonball from the rear seat and landing head first on the pavement.

We were side-by-side, but losing, to a 1961 Pontiac Bonneville on a dark stretch of dangerous three-lane highway called “Seven Bridges Road” near Springfield, New Jersey. Heading straight at us as we rocketed forward in the middle lane were the high beams of an oncoming car.

Heart pumping like crazy, I was eternally grateful when the Ford’s driver, a high school buddy, slowed and pulled behind the Pontiac…just in time. His car, named “Blue Moon” after the hit rock-and-roll song that year, was fast—it had a 1955 Corvette engine—but no match for the big-block Bonneville.

There is no replacement for displacement, or teenage years drag racing at the Jersey Shore.

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The $5,000 Challenge, Valentine’s Day Edition

Posted February 14, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto classified

What is it that prompts automotive attraction? Why do some of us favor small cars over large cars, or station wagons over coupes, or four-doors over two? Is it genetics? Is it our experience early in life? Is it Cupid, shooting us with a metaphorical gasoline-dipped arrow at a specific point in time?

That’s the beauty of the old-car hobby, and to borrow the timeless used-car-salesman’s creed, there truly is a p(ass)enger for every seat. This time around, the $5,000 Challenge presents an interesting mix of choices, conveniently just in time for Valentine’s Day. If you’re on the receiving end of the gift-giving process, feel free to forward this to your significant other, or, perhaps, print a copy and circle the object of your desire in red. In the end, all of these four-wheel gifts will last longer than a box of chocolates, and they’re healthier as well.

So, what kind of car can you surprise your sweetheart with on V-Day - for just $5,000?

3 comments; last comment on 02/15/2018
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The Last AMC: Jeep’s ZJ Grand Cherokee Turns 25

Posted February 13, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: amc classic auto jeep

Most histories depict Chrysler’s purchase of AMC as one done merely to gain the Jeep name and discard everything else, yet the former gained far more than a brand from the latter: It inherited a talented crew of engineers and designers, and it also obtained the in-development ZJ Grand Cherokee, an SUV that would end up buoying the brand past its competitors and cementing the luxury SUV’s place in the modern auto market.

Originally intended to replace the XJ Cherokee, the Grand Cherokee – then known by the XJC codename – grew out of a 1985 design competition that AMC conducted using three freelance designers: Larry Shinoda, Giorgetto Giugiaro, and Adam Clenet. According to an interview Shinoda gave to Ward’s Auto, AMC management declared his designs “terrible” and paid him less than half of a $350,000-plus contract at the same time it dispatched crews to confiscate Shinoda’s drawings and clay model templates.

The AMC spirit lives on in this classic SUV...

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What’s Next for the Hostetler’s Hudson Museum Collection?

Posted February 12, 2018 10:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto display Hudson museum

On January 30, the Hudson Automobile Museum Board voted in favor of permanently closing Hostetler’s Hudson Museum in Shipshewana, Indiana, and liquidating its 55-car collection. To gain a more complete perspective on this, as well as the fate of the museum’s automobiles, Hemmings Motor News spoke with Eldon “JR” Hostetler Jr., son of the museum’s founder, and Bob Shanahan, Shipshewana’s town manager.

JR, a museum board member and himself a collector of automobiles and motorcycles, served as the institution’s mechanic/caretaker, and–following his father’s 2016 death–its acting spokesman. During the January 30 ballot, his was the lone vote cast in favor of keeping the museum open, while the remaining three board members voted for its closure and the sale of the automobiles within.

Without fans or finances, an epic auto museum must move on.

1 comments; last comment on 02/12/2018
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How Ford’s Budget Supercar – the 1969 Cobra – Compared to the Competition

Posted February 08, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto Cobra Ford muscle car

Ford’s new-for-1969 response to the budget-muscle Plymouth Road Runner was the Cobra, and it piqued the interest of road testers.

The Blue Oval crew stuffed into the midsized and unitized structure a standard 335-hp FE-series 428 CJ engine; four-speed; competition suspension with coil springs, shocks, and an anti-roll bar up front and multi-leaf springs and staggered shocks in the rear; and 14 x 6 wheels and F70 x 14 tires; and they added hood pins, blacked-out grille, and Cobra callouts. There was also a choice of a Sportsroof (fastback) or a formal-roof hardtop.

A 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air engine was optional (hp rating remained 335), as was a SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission, power front disc brakes, Traction-Lok differential for the 9-inch rear with various gear ratios, a tach, bucket seats, and more. A 428 Super Cobra Jet engine featuring durability upgrades could be obtained by ordering 3.91 or 4.30 rear gears, and the Drag Pack name was later applied to that parts grouping in February 1969.

The first Ford to be dubbed Cobra has a interesting history as this segment's littlest brother.

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