About the Site


While I use the editorial “we,” all written content on the site (unless otherwise noted) is written by (and copyright) Aaron Severson dba Ate Up With Motor. You can find out more about me on my freelance writing site, 6200 Productions.

Ate Up With Motor is based in Los Angeles, California. For contact information, click here.


Ate Up With Motor provides in-depth histories of interesting cars and the people behind them. It primarily focus on older cars, but we may occasionally talk about newer models if they’re interesting enough. (Click here for more on what we consider interesting.)

Each article will tell you:

  • How that car came to be.
  • Who designed it.
  • Why it was designed the way it was and the context in which it was developed.
  • How well it worked (or didn’t!).
  • Whether it succeeded or failed commercially and why.
  • What lessons we can take from it and why it’s significant today.


Ate Up With Motor is NOT:

  • A news site. There are lots of news blogs that talk about the latest models and developments in the automotive world. This is not one of those blogs and we’re not going to try to compete with them.
  • 100% neutral or 100% objective. This is not an encyclopedia or a newspaper. While we don’t approach these articles with any particular agenda in mind (as we are sometimes accused), we reserve the right to present our own conclusions and opinions. You can feel free to disagree.
  • A technical resource for restoring or repairing old cars. The author of these articles is not a mechanic or an engineer and is NOT qualified to provide technical advice, tell you what’s wrong with your car, or advise you on how to fix it.
  • A site for buying or selling old cars. We do not sell cars. We can’t tell you how much an old car should cost or where you can buy one. We can’t appraise or authentic cars either.
  • A source for parts or accessories. We do NOT sell parts, service manuals, or accessories. We can’t tell you where to find such things either. For the most part, we really don’t know!


Easy! Try one of the following options:

  • Browse the Manufacturers Index to see all the articles we have on a given make.
  • Browse our list of Model Histories by Type. We’ve divided our model history articles into four categories: Compact and Economy Cars, Family Cars, Luxury and Personal Luxury Cars, and Sports and Muscle Cars.
  • Use the Search box in the right sidebar or click on one of the tags to see more related articles.
  • Take a look at the Site Map to see all the articles by category and title.

Looking for more to read? Try browsing our articles on Terms and Technologies or our Editorials, with our take on subjects like Corporate Average Fuel Economy.


Ate Up With Motor is NOT affiliated with any automaker or automotive business, although the author has written for other auto-related publications and businesses on a freelance or temporary basis and we may accept paid advertising from such businesses. All opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author unless otherwise specified.

In the rare event that we receive any payments or in-kind gifts for the creation of any content (for instance, if we receive a free copy of a book to review), or if an automaker or other business has supplied images, historical information, or other media content for use in an article, we will so indicate in that specific article, usually in the acknowledgements and/or sources on the final page of that article (and, in the case of images, in the credit information in the applicable image captions).


Back in 1977, stock car driver Darrell Waltrip said that his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, “Bertha,” was “all ate up with motor.” “Ate up with…” is a common Southern expression meaning “is very…” or, in this case, “has a lot of…” After writing about cars and automotive history for several years, we’re certainly “ate up” with automotive knowledge, so it seemed apropos.


Unless otherwise specified, all photos and illustrations on the site are copyright © Aaron Severson, just like the written content. Other images are either (a) in the public domain, (b) used under Creative Commons licenses, or (c) used with the specific permission of the photographer or copyright holder. If the image is NOT copyright Aaron Severson, the copyright and license information will be listed in the image caption. These are not the author’s cars and in most cases, we can’t tell you how to contact the cars’ owners.

The site logo is also designed by Aaron Severson. The logo fonts are Bebas Neue, by Dharma Type (copyright © 2010 Ryoichi Tsunekawa), and eurofurence (copyright © 2000 Tobias B. Koehler). The site now runs in WordPress using the theme Frontier by Ron Angelo. Certain non-logo text within images on the site (such as labels or captions) uses the Liberation Fonts, which are copyright © 2012 Red Hat, Inc., and used under the SIL Open Font License, Version 1.1. LIBERATION is a trademark of Red Hat, Inc.

The Ate Up With Motor favicons were generated using RealFaviconGenerator.net.


The information for each essay is drawn from a variety of books, periodicals, and online sources, most of which are specified in the “Notes on Sources” section of each article.

Historical exchange rate data originally came from Harold Marcuse, “Historical Dollar-to-Marks Currency Conversion Page” (19 August 2005, UC Santa Barbara, www.history.ucsb.edu/ faculty/marcuse/ projects/ currency.htm) and Werner Antweiler, “PACIFIC Exchange Rate service, Foreign Currency Units per 1 British Pound, 1948-2007” (2007, University of British Columbia, fx.sauder.ubc.ca). We subsequently discovered Lawrence H. Officer’s “Exchange Rates Between the United States Dollar and Forty-one Currencies” (2009-2012, Measuring Worth, www.measuringworth.org/exchangeglobal/); MeasuringWorth’s figures are used with their permission. The estimates of the present equivalency of historical amounts are based on the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator, data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl.

Please note that historical exchange rates and inflation estimates are a hugely complicated subject that is well beyond the author’s expertise or the scope of these articles. Since the demise in the early seventies of the Bretton-Woods system of fixed exchange rates, the relative values of different currencies vary daily, so trying to estimate the equivalence of historical figures is at best a matter of ballpark approximation. Please note that all inflation-adjusted figures and exchange rate equivalencies cited in the text are APPROXIMATE (sometimes broadly so) and are provided solely for the purposes of illustration and general information. NOTHING in these articles should be construed as financial advice of any kind — these are automotive histories, not treatises on currency trading, historical exchange rates, or the value of money!

We make an effort to be as accurate as we can in these articles, but we do make mistakes. If you note an error, let us know and we’ll look into it. If you make a correction, we may ask for your sources — and we may or may not incorporate suggestions we can’t verify or that are solely matters of personal opinion. Remember: A fair amount of conventional wisdom on automotive history is based on assumption, rumor, prejudice, or wishful thinking. Just because something is written down doesn’t make it true.


(Setting aside, momentarily, the editorial “we.”) People sometimes ask I’m so interested in cars. This is not necessarily a neutral question — I’ve a fair number of friends who disapprove of cars on political or environmental grounds or who just consider automotive stuff a little déclassé.

A lot of gearheads have an intense, emotional relationship with a particular type or genre of cars, the same kind sports fans have with their favorite teams. I do not. Some enthusiasts are collectors, restorers, or amateur hot rodders. I am not. Many are driven by nostalgia and the desire to capture (or recapture) the things they loved when they were 16. I’m not. While there are cars I might like to own one day, the list is smaller than you might think and it’s not high on my list of priorities.

To me, cars are primarily a fascinating sociological phenomenon. The auto business is an industry that spans industries — intersecting everything from manufacturing and design to finance and high technology — and it serves as a bellwether of the larger social, economic, and political trends of the time. Cars themselves occupy a unique social position. They’re driven by fashion and novelty like consumer products, but manufactured and purchased like durable goods, and they carry heavy connotations of class and status. You can tell a great deal about someone by the car they drive and even more by the cars to which they aspire. For the same reasons, you can tell a great deal about an era by its cars: its fads and obsessions, its anxieties, and its dreams. In short, automotive history is a useful lens through which to examine and understand the forces that have shaped the modern world.

I’m not here to justify or rationalize the existence of the automobile. The rise of the auto industry has had profound social and environmental consequences, some of which I find difficult to defend. As I’ve written here before, interest does not necessarily connote approval. I do believe, however, that it’s important to remember that nothing happens in a vacuum, and blindly disapproving of something without considering its context — or why and how it came to exist — is a perilous endeavor. Whether or not you approve of them, cars are an enormously significant social, historical, and economic phenomenon, worthy of study.

I have no sacred cows, nor any prejudices based on make or nationality. (I do have a strong prejudice against trucks and SUVs, so you’re unlikely to see articles about such vehicles here.)


Feel free to post links to these articles. We would appreciate it, however, if you could let us know either in a comment or via email — we’re always curious to know who’s reading the site.

You can find our reprint/reuse policy here. If you are interested in reprinting, excerpting, or translating any Ate Up With Motor content (e.g., for your own website or book), please send us a note using the contact form. We’re always happy to discuss it — but please ask first!


Sure. You can feel free to either leave a comment here or use the contact form.


Click here for more information. Please note that you are not REQUIRED to pay any fee or subscription charge to access the site! Also please note that Ate Up With Motor is **NOT** a nonprofit entity, and donations, contributions, or other payments to the site are **NOT** tax deductible.

Updated: November 16, 2015 — 4:15 pm


Add a Comment
  1. Thank you for the history on the Pininfarina badge. Any idea where I might find out what original the Pantone colors where? I’m hoping to restore existing, very faded ones for my car. Thank you for your help.

    1. I’m afraid I don’t know. You might want to contact companies that do restorations of Italian cars, and see if they have any suggestions. Alternatively, you might try contacting Pininfarina directly (their contact information is on their English-language website and asking if they can help with any information for restoring Pininfarina cars.

      It might be [i]easier[/i] to obtain a new set of badges from eBay or elsewhere online, rather than restore the existing ones.

    2. I doubt that the original Pininfarina badge colors had any connection with the Pantone color system, since Pantone only came out with their color matching system in 1963, long before Pininfarina was established.

      1. Pininfarina was established in 1930, so it existed before the Pantone system. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the company had a style guide with such things.

  2. I did (thanks for the links) contact the company, and they do not have Pantone equivalents even now for the badges. Not being purists, we pulled worn badges off cars we were parting out and painted them in as close as possible with Testors model paint. Thanks for the ideas and timeline!

  3. I really love this site a great deal and I always look forward to the next article you come up with. My question is whether or not any thought has been given to some form of suggestion box or dedicated contact adress? In the end it is up to the writer to decide what he wants to write about, as is natural. I still have a topic or two I’d love to see written about on this site in the future. As there is no such thing I here present respectfully the topic on my mind; Station wagons. I don’t know why, they aren’t always the prettiest things, but they were in almost every car line up among the big car manufacturers during the 50s to 70s. There was even the Corvette station wagon show-car. Have you ever found this intriguing? I’d love to know more of their development. In worse cases it looked like engineers just added a box for the sake of making a station wagon.
    If this is something that intrigues you, I’d love to read the outcome. If not, then the readers of this post, and you, know of my fascination with station wagons.

    1. I have actually been musing on the possibility of a station wagon article for some time (in part because I have some nice photos of a couple of sixties Ford wagons that I’d like to do SOMETHING with, as well as a fascinating Rolls-Royce woody station wagon built by the prestigious coachbuilder Hooper, and a friend’s old 1970 Olds Vista Cruiser 455). I don’t have it on the schedule as yet, but you can probably expect to see something of this nature by the end of the year.

      There are several interesting elements to me: the terminology (station wagon, estate, shooting brake), for one, and the change from wood-bodied to steel-bodied wagons that occurred in the late 40s and early 50s, for another.

      1. I will look forward to that article then, and on a side note: After having looked over plenty of car commercials on http://www.archive.org I noticed something that I have never seen as a selling point for station wagons before. Backward facing seats for extra seating capacity. They’ll show everything from small kids to women in elegant evening dresses getting in and out to sell the point. Especially funny to see when regal woman get out gracefully at a party. Why she’d ride in the back like a third wheel to a party is beyond me.
        I highly recommend the site as there are tons of old car commercials and promotional videos available.

  4. Great site! Unusual,too; someone writing about cars without frothing at the mouth about how the ’64 Mustang was the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel or how CAFE and safety regulations ruined driving forever! I really enjoyed the post about Robert McNamara and his battles with Lee Iacocca; in light of the reaction to McNamara’s recent death, I think it gives an added insight to his character that was worth knowing.

  5. Hi Aaron,

    I’ve been reading Ate Up With Motor for several months now, and I just want to say how impressed I am with the level of detail in your articles. I look forward to each new one. I love finding out about the behind-the-scenes intrigue of cars I have loved and hated over the decades!

    Many thanks,


  6. Yes that 394 was a beut. After top-end work and a new set of lifters,my dad got our ’60 Dynamic 88 purring like a kitten. It ran great w/ a 2 barrel,2-pc driveshaft, + AM radio!

  7. Just now came across your articles and am impressed and fascinated.

    I came for Hydra-Matic and I am staying for “I have no sacred cows, nor any prejudices based on make or nationality. (I do have a strong prejudice against trucks and SUVs, so you’re unlikely to see articles about such vehicles here.)”

  8. Hi AAron – just discovered your website via an article on a UK forum about the Buick / Rover 215 cu in engine; a well written read, thankyou !
    The UK site is for lovers of old unwanted cars, so it may be of interest (and amusement !!) to you, and others.
    autoshite. com/forum/3-general-chat/
    keep up the good work, cheers!
    p.s. how about an article on “Sunbeam Tigers” ?

  9. Nice website. I’ve always been a car enthusiast. It’s fun to look up various cars and the history behind them. :)

  10. This seems to be a very well researched site, thank you.
    A few items of interest for the future.
    1 why does America stick to red for turn signals? Everyone else uses orange which is more clearly destinctive. Red is easil congused with braking etc. also how do they work, funny wiring of some sort?
    Vehicles of peronal interest, all in right hand drive format in New Zealand..
    Years quoted are NZ, usually a year later than country of origin.
    1948 Ford V8 bus. We had one as a motor caravan, originally a 19 seat school bus. Apparently they came in three lenghts,mours being the baby. Dad always referred to the motor as the Mercury V8. I had to steer it under tow at age 13 or 14 when the front universal broke! The tow vehicle was number 2..
    2 =1956 Ford Customline V8. Towed the poor bus a short distance home. Another story!
    Yellow with a white roof. Dad got stopped too often by traffic cops.. Blamed the bright colour..!!?
    3= 1965 Chev Impala, the one with 6 circular tail lights. A great car. 283 Powerglide. I even push started it once, and no one believed it possible, being an auto. I believe this was one of a few assembled here in New Zealand, ex GM Canada CKD kit though I can’t be certain. On one occasion we had to tow my sister’s Fiat 500-D home, can you sense a theme here?! I was in the Chev, dad, bless his heart the Fiat. Had to scoot out of an intersection when an idiot didn’t realise there were TWO cars going slowly together. Nearly pulled the front off the Fiat, and broke the rope, leaving dad stranded.. Soon after the Chev boiled!!
    When we finally got home and cooled down got half a bucket of sand out of the cooling system. Dad reckoned from the original casting process, so it had been there 6 or 7 years at least!
    4= Mercedes 190E 2.3 16 the famous Cosworth model. Saved our lives once. A very expensive car for parts and service. Frugal on gas. 136kW. I believe the power output was the SAME as the 283 Chev, for HALF the capacity motor, is that right? Also I heard the 283 was the first US motor to get 1 HP per CI,yet your site mentions a different one, a Chrysler if my memory is right.
    The Merc went like stink and handled too, the five link rear setup could even embarras a reasonably powerful motorcycle.. More stories!
    5= Jowett Javelin. Only all new British Car after WW2, first car in the world with curved glass windscreen. Triplex saw the prototype at Earls Court Motor Show, 1947 I think and approached Jowett who became their launch customer. Ford etc were still using divided screens eell into the 1950s. Then our Customline had that amazing wrap around, which dumped all the rain wate in the front passengers lap on an uphill slope. Mum was NOT impressed!
    Jowett bodies were built by Briggs at their smaller UK site in Doncaster, the main one being next to Ford at Dagenham. When Briggs Died I Understood Ford bought them out, so Jowett lost their supplier. You state Chrysler bough Briggs? sure?
    Jowett were developing their new models and prototypes ranged as far as New Zealand, and one is right here in Auckland under restoration. They never went into production, and we assume Ford got the dies.
    The CD series Jowett bonnet and front look remarkably like the Mk~1 Ford Zephyr, with the bonnet edges curved around the headlight. An uncanny likeness. Henry and his team never wasted anything! The model-T packing case became the floorboards I believe!
    Any clarification or elaboration on these stories will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for a graet site Aaron!

    1. Chrysler bought all of Briggs’ U.S. holdings, but Ford ended up with the British plant, so to that question, the answer is “both.” I don’t recall offhand if Ford of Britain bought the plant from Chrysler or from Briggs prior to the Chrysler purchase; at that time, Chrysler didn’t have any use for that factory, so it could have been either. The British plant was almost certainly owned by a local subsidiary company, so disposing of it separately would probably not have been a great legal complication.

      Regarding turn signals, the front turn signals on modern U.S. cars are consistently amber. Some cars (and quite a few modern SUVs and crossovers) have amber signals in the rear as well, but that’s not currently required; Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 allows yellow (amber) or red. As for how it works, where the signal shares a lens with the brake light, the signal flasher is usually just a separate circuit. Naturally, there are naturally various rules on how bright it has to be, how frequently it has to flash, and so forth. Concern about confusing a turn signal light (or four-way hazard flashers) for brake lights led to an additional federal requirement in the mid-80s for what is called the Center High Mounted Stop Light, or CHMSL, which is a separate indicator — typically mounted either in the rear window or sometimes on the trailing edge of the decklid — that operates only when the brakes are applied. As for why the U.S. didn’t simply standardize a requirement for amber rear turn signals, I’m not sure. The NHTSA has contemplated such a rule, but it’s never been implemented.

      Comparing advertised gross outputs of older U.S. engines to later net or DIN ratings is always a difficult matter. The 1 hp/cu. in. Chevrolet 283 was the 1957 fuel injected version, which claimed 283 gross horsepower; “claimed” is an apt word here because (a) its gross rating was allegedly more like 290 hp, but 283 hp from 283 cu. in. made for better ad copy and (b) the gross rating was a fair bit higher than the as-installed net output (which was still not too shabby, but probably more in the realm of 250 hp). Chevrolet was not the first to hit the 1 advertised horsepower/cu. in. mark; the previous year’s Chrysler 300-B had offered an optional version of its 354. cu. in. V-8 with 355 hp. (The standard version claimed 340 hp.) Again, both are gross figures.

      It should be borne in mind that engines like the Chevrolet 283 were offered in a bunch of different states of tune, the aforementioned injected solid-lifter version being one of the more extreme. The standard, mild-mannered “cooking” version found in your dad’s 1965 Impala advertised 195 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque while the Mercedes-Cosworth 2.3-16 had 185 PS DIN (182 hp) and 174 lb-ft of torque. But, the Chevrolet ratings again are gross figures; net ratings were 150 hp and about 245 lb-ft of torque (factory ratings). So, the Mercedes engine was significantly more powerful (by about 20%!). The Chevrolet engine still had the edge in torque, as one would expect from twice the displacement, but the 2.3-16 was at least 500 lb lighter than most of the Chevrolets that carried the former engine and had the benefit of a five-speed gearbox while most 283-equipped Chevrolets had Powerglide.

      Most of the early GM automatics included provision for push-starting, incidentally, some going to rather elaborate lengths to make it possible.

      1. Thanks Aaron, I know US and no doubt other manufacturers loved to quote gross power figures, rather like quoting a stereo output flahing lights and all!
        Yep that Merc went. I can’t imagine another car where it is possible to dob it into 2nd gear, and the old Getrag was like a knife through butter that time, change lane in a vicious manouvre, and accelerate out of trouble. Oh that 5 link rear suspension. We get lots of Aussie grunters here, Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. I reckon that would have put either on their roof!
        When we lived north of Auckland I could show a clean pair of heels to any bog standard Falcon in the hilly windy bits, and their owners thought them powerful!
        Even blew away a Triumph motorcycle with a pretty radical state of tune from a standing start once. My wife could have killed me!
        Cheers and thanks for your research.

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