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.

Automotive Engineering has Improved Since the 1950s: a Tesla Swap into a Jaguar Mk V is the Definition of Juxtaposition

Posted September 27, 2021 7:34 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: jaguar tesla

Matt Brown is not your typical modern automotive engineer. Though adept at working in a corporate and even a tech environment, judging from the business jargon and CAD elements he throws into his videos, he's also happy to blow apart old cars and use his training to figure out how to adapt modern automotive technology, parts, and processes to them.

For his latest project, he seemingly intentionally chose to merge two vehicles with the widest possible technological gulf between them: a Tesla Model 3 and a 1950 Jaguar Mark V 3-1/2 liter. They're both rear-wheel drive and have four wheels, but that's about where the similarities between them end. Over more than two dozen videos in (five months into a three-month project, as he put it), he's guided us through the differences between the two cars' systems and what it takes to adapt or bypass those systems to make the components of the two cars live in harmony.

Even if you think it's sacrilege to electromod a Jaguar Mark V, even if you have zero interest in electric vehicles, this is still a worthwhile series to watch if for nothing else than to see a professional engineer approach and solve intricate problems without the benefit of a multimillion-dollar research and development budget.

Watch more highlights from this video series.

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The Accommodator Put a Space-Age Spin on Piggyback Campers, But Where is it Now?

Posted September 23, 2021 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: chevrolet Kingswood

The Accommodator was not a ground-breaking idea. At least a few piggyback campers built for station wagons (in a vein similar to the pickup bed insert campers) had come before it, in their own attempts to revolutionize the outdoor recreation industry. Nor was it completely without its merits, and likely could have succeeded in getting siblings to ceaselessly fight over who got to sleep where on camping trips. However, the reason it didn't succeed - and who originated it - remain mysteries 50 years after it was conceived.

Reader Bryce Frey recently sent us an Accommodator brochure - really just a two-sided glossy handout - extolling the virtues of the camper, dated 1970. Offered by Mann-Made Enterprises out of Addison, Illinois, the Accommodator was 270-pound fiberglass unit that rested on a station wagon's open tailgate and clamped to the rain gutters. The brochure shows it painted and trimmed to match a 1970 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate, but Mann-Made claimed it could be made to fit most station wagons and painted any color.

The claims in the brochure were numerous: "Very slight or no additional gas consumption is noticed" thanks to the Accommodator's "very low wind resistance which enables (it) to be driven at high speeds;" it "will outlast any station wagon;" and its mounting system "seals weather tight." Mann-Made pointed out that, unlike a camper, the Accommodator could be easily detached for car-only roaming, but at the same time the Accommodator didn't require the hassle and added costs of a separate trailer. It could even come with a portable toilet, propane-fired hot plate, wash basin for all the necessities, and a trailer hitch should one need to bring along a canned ham.

Given that it looks like a giant fin from the side view, and what little weight there is to it almost entirely hangs aft of the rear axle, I don't know about driving it at high speeds in any sort of crosswind. The offset rear door probably helps in packaging - no interior photos were included, so we can't be sure on that - but it also would restrict rearward visibility. That said, it has those late Sixties sci-fi looks and would certainly be more comfortable than sleeping in a tent.

6 comments; last comment on 09/25/2021
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I Went to Retrace the Ronin Chase Scene in France's Cote d'Azur but Found Old Car Bliss Instead

Posted September 22, 2021 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic cars Performance cars

“Come back to the States,” Junkyard Digs said. “It’ll be a blast.” I couldn’t wait. It turned out I would have to. The U.S. border remained closed to travelers from Britain. I couldn’t go west, so I turned south. Two hours of flying later, I landed in Nice on the French Riviera. This bottom corner of France, tucked between the mountains and the Mediterranean, is known as the Cote d’Azur, and it's bursting with automotive gold. I had a long weekend, a tight budget, and a crazy plan to seek out vintage metal, exotic moderns, a legendary racetrack, and an epic car chase.

Working my way across town, the August heat soon exposed me as an interloper from more northern climes. I sought refuge on the shaded side of the street and lingered at junctions where a cross draft brought respite. Cafe tables cluttered the sidewalk, interspersed by cars and scooters parked with breathtaking insouciance to city ordnance. Many of them were bona fide beaters that would make a seasoned New Yorker blush. Among them I found humble French classics, Citroëns, and Renault 4s and 5s living out their last days in the sun. A Peugeot 304 cabriolet, elegant in its simplicity, looked so right sitting patiently outside a bakery store, just as a Grand Wagoneer does outside a Vermont cabin.

Keep reading...

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Video: The 1971 Indy 500 was So Much More than the Pace Car Disaster

Posted September 21, 2021 1:00 PM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Performance cars

Pretty much all anybody recalls the 1971 Indianapolis 500 for these days was the pace car crash into the photographer's stand at the start of the race. Or maybe the fact that pre-late show fame David Letterman interviewed Mario Andretti while covering the race for a local TV station. But it also had its merits as a good race, featuring the likes of the Unsers, Mark Donohue, A.J. Foyt, Peter Revson, and other racing greats in what was billed as a battle between Indy 500 veterans and a new crop of road racers driving McLarens who thought they could take on the Indy establishment. Definitely worth watching beyond the pace lap.

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Future Bans on Gas-Powered Cars Will Not Lead to the Death of the Automobile

Posted September 21, 2021 7:17 AM by dstrohl

Every time another municipality, state or entire country announces a circa-2035 ban on the sale of new vehicles powered by gasoline engines, we hear the same outrage from people who've listened to Rush's "Red Barchetta" too many times. (For the record, once is roughly enough.) 'It's the death of the automobile!' they scream. 'We're gonna be stuck with boring penalty box cars that don't make vroom-vroom sounds! Regulation bad!' And every time I shrug it off, because I only ever buy 20-year-old cars and by 2055 I expect to be drooling in a cup in the corner while Saint Elon's automated neural interface extracts random words from my brain to turn into freelance stories 24 hours a day.

But for some reason I paid particular attention to New York's Assembly Bill 4302, which was signed into law earlier this month and which mandates all passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero emissions vehicles by 2035. Maybe it's because I've been digging deeper into my Chenowth electric vehicle project lately. Maybe it's because New York is the closest any of these bans have come to our little corner of Vermont. Or maybe it's because reader Bill Bennett directly asked me my opinion about the law.

I know you’re playing with electric. It doesn’t fit my picture of fun on the road. I haven’t seen any discussion of this development.

Discussion on this topic isn't really hard to find, but discussion that brings historical context to bear on the topic is indeed scarce. Specifically, there are a couple relevant precedents, starting with the Clean Air Act and the introduction of emissions standards during the Seventies. Keep reading...

15 comments; last comment on 09/24/2021
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