The Last Car Show of the Year


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A bunch of Detroit car clubs decided to get together for one last car show this year before the weather gets too cold to be hanging out in parking lots. Representing were clubs for the Pontiac Grand Prix, Dodge Charger, Corvette, as well as the Motor City Camaro & Firebird Car Club.. Ford’s panther platform was represented by the Crown Vic Boys, the local chapter of a national club. Full story over at TTAC.

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Parking Lot Prize: A Nicer Niva Being Hand Started – 3D Photos

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This Lada Niva, photographed at the 2014 Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti, Michigan, is in a bit better shape than the one that usually shows up at the OCS. That Lada is more of a working four-by-four, with tow hooks, a winch and a trailer hitch in back. This Niva is a bit nicer. It’s more a of show car, with a display of literature and model cars on the hood. Technically, though, it wasn’t really part of the show.


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The owner just drove it to the show as an attendee, but when the show organizers spotted the Lada they asked him if he’d park it right near the entrance. The Lada is one of the last cars sold that can be hand started and the owner had the hand crank inserted, so I asked him if he’d try to start it for our readers.

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A Well Used Lada Niva – 3D Photos

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This Lada Niva has been at the Orphan Car Show every year since I started attending the show in 2011. With a winch, tow hooks and a trailer hitch, I’m sure it gets used a lot. It certainly looks well used.

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The Model T’s Precursors, the Model N and Model S – 3D Photos

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The Ford Model N,introduced in 1906, can be said to be the director precursor to the Model T. It was Henry Ford’s first serious attempt to build a small, lightweight, nimble nad affordable car and it was built with many of the features that would contribute to the T’s success. Also, while  Ford built Model R and Model S cars before the T, both of those models were heavily based on the Model N, which cost $500 when introduced. The N featured a 15 hp inline four cylinder engine, replacing the horizontally opposed twins Ford had previously been using. The engine was no longer under the seats but rather it was placed up front and drove the rear wheels via a driveshaft. It wasn’t luxurious, headlights and a top were options, but it proved that Ford Motor Company could build reliable and inexpensive cars for the mass market. Ford would go on to sell about 7,000 Model Ns and about 3,750 Model Ss. While those numbers made FoMoCo a success and Henry Ford wealthy enough to pursue his dream of the Model T, they’d soon be dwarfed by the T’s success. Within six years Ford would be selling more than 200,000 cars a year.

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Henry Ford’s Experimental Room – 3D Photos

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This is the secret room where Henry Ford and his team developed the Model T. He called it the “Experimental Room” and it was kept locked to keep prying eyes away. Henry would sit in his rocking chair as Eugene Farkas, Eugene Galamb, Ed Huff, Charlie Sorensen and C. Harold Wills would work on the project, stopping to get Henry’s approval for the wooden models he preferred to blueprints.

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Station Assembly at the Piquette Plant – 3D Photos

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Henry Ford is famous for having used an assembly line to put together his Model Ts, even if he wasn’t the first automaker to use a production line. That was likely Ranson Olds, but Ford perfected the process. Before the assembly line, FoMoCo used a process called “sequential assembly” and before that, station assembly, where the chassis was hauled around to various work stations where parts were added. Even with station assembly, Ford and his managers were able to drastically reduce the amount of labor needed to assemble a car.

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Henry Ford’s Piquette Plant Office – 3D Photos

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The Piquette Avenue Model T Complex is a work in progress so it’s always worth a visit to see what’s new. The museum is staffed mostly by volunteers and over the years those volunteers have been restoring Henry Ford’s corner office to how it appeared in a publicity photograph taken of Ford in June 1908 for the Ford Times publication. Even before the Model T’s popularity, Henry knew the value of publicity and already had a house organ in Ford Times. At the time the photo was taken, Henry and his associates were busy getting ready to put the Model T into production.

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A Most Unusual Way to Sell Cars

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Humor can be an effective advertising tool even if you’re selling cars. In 1969 American Motors produced a television commercial for its mid-sized Rebel that is considered by some to be one of the best TV car spots ever created. It may not have helped AMC sell cars but at least the ad got noticed.

This mailer for an auto maker from the 1920s probably got noticed, too. The recipient no doubt puzzled over a flyer that depicted an insane asylum on the cover and might have puzzled still more upon opening it to see that it came from a car company.

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National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum Opens

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In conjunction with the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, the Hudson, Essex and Terraplane Historical Society has opened up the National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum in the YAHM’s building. That building is the location of the former Miller Motors, the last surviving Hudson dealership. While the YAHM will still be devoted to Corvairs, Hydramatic transmissions, Kaiser-Frazers and Tucker, all enterprises with Ypsilanti connections, the part of the museum that housed Miller Motors will be exclusively devoted to Hudsons and that company’s history. I’m not thrilled about the fact that the YAHM’s 1950s era parts counter and service department no longer exist. It was a unique and very cool thing that I think made the museum worth a visit. You can see old cars lots of places but how many chances do you get to see a car dealer the way it was back then. We ran a post about the Ypsilanti car museum back in 2011 if you’d like to see what changes have been made with the installation of the new Hudson museum.

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“Old 999″: The Car that Made Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield Famous: 3D Photos

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Barney Oldfield is known as a pioneering race car driver but before Henry Ford asked him to pilot 999, Ford’s second race car, in a five mile race against automaker Alexander Winton, Oldfield had never even driven an automobile. He was, however, a successful bicycle racer so he understood competition. He also turned out to be a natural behind the wheel – or in the case of the 999, the tiller. Shortly before his death, Henry Ford is said to have remarked to Barney Oldfield: “You made me and I made you.” Oldfield shook his head and replied “Old 999 made both of us.”

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