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Updated: July 6, 2014 — 7:44 pm

14 Comments

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  1. In your article about the 1969 Grand Prix, you have a couple of errors – one is my title at that time, but not that important (I founded Pontiac’s Product Planning Department in 1966) and another is the wheelbase of the 1969 Grand Prix I proposed – the proposal called for 118″ wheelbase(2″ longer than the “A” body sedan)and that is what the 1969 Grand Prix had.

    Ben Harrison

    1. Mr. Harrison,

      Thanks so much for the corrections — it’s great to hear from the folks actually involved with these cars. I’ve amended the article accordingly.

  2. I am relatively new to automotive history (I’m only 19). Your site has dozens of articles that provide very good and historical looks at how automakers and the people behind them built the industry.
    It’s amazing to me how some of the most prominent people change companies- sometimes multiple times.
    Also, from reading your articles I have learned where several features found standard on modern cars started. Some are much older than I thought!

    I have one thing to suggest/request: trucks.
    I love trucks, from light trucks to medium duty to big rigs. Would it be possible for you to write articles on the history of trucks in general, their development, and articles on specific industry changing trucks?

    1. I’m afraid there will probably not be any articles on trucks. I really don’t know enough about commercial trucks (big rigs, buses, coaches, etc.) to say anything interesting about them. I don’t like trucks or SUVs — I did do the Chevrolet El Camino/Ford Ranchero, but that’s as close as I’ve come. At some point, I may make an exception for either the original Range Rover (which was designed by the same people who developed the Rover P6) or the first Jeep Grand Cherokee, but that’s not a high priority. Sorry!

  3. Mr. Severson,

    Great website, great articles. Every one Ive read has been so very well researched and written! Im an instructor at an automotive trade school, and I recommend your site to as many students as I can. In this day and age of ever accelerating change in the automotive world, I tell them its vital to appreciate where the automobile has come from in order to understand where its going. Your site is one of the best at doing that.

    As a suggestion, I would love to see an article on some of the early 60s attempts at OHC engines by Detroit. Specifically, the Pontiac Tempest OHC 6 and the lesser known Jeep Tornado 6 cylinder. There may be others, but those two are the two that come to mind for now.

    Thanks again for your well researched and written articles.

    Joe Dunlap

    1. Joe,

      Thanks for the kind words! We tackled the Pontiac OHC 6 earlier this year:
      http://ateupwithmotor.com/sports-cars-and-muscle-cars/240-pontiac-ohc-six-history.html. (It’s listed on the Model Histories and Manufacturer Index pages under “1966-1969 Pontiac Tempest Sprint and 1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird Sprint.”)

      That article mentions the Tornado, but doesn’t discuss it in any great detail. If we ever get browbeaten into doing the original Kaiser Jeep Grand Wagoneer, we would definitely talk about it there.

  4. I am only 17, but I love classic cars, especially 60s and 70s European sports cars. American muscle cars are not really my cup of tea. Your website helps feed my hunger for cars. Thanks a lot.

  5. The design of the 1979-1985 year models of the Oldsmobile Toronado were not created in a General Motors design studio but by yours truly in a prison cell in 1972.
    I see you changed the text about the Toronado and you now say "Stylistically, the 1979 Toronado — developed under Olds chief stylist Len Casillo, who had succeeded Stan Parker in 1973 — was not a great departure from its predecessor, save for its dimensions." Why is that?
    Although I delibertly used familiar design cues the third generation Toronado’s styling [i]is[/i] a significant departure from it’s former styling. There is certainly no mistaking the design of one for the other however it is the design cues that gives it the distinction of being a toronado.
    General Motors incorporated every minute detail from my original design: wire wheel covers, wheel openings, bumpers and bumper strips, roof lines including vertical angles, opera-side marker-turn lights, front grilles, headlight bezels the whole nine yards and including the lines of the door openings.
    I drew hundreds, if not over a thousand copies by hand during my time.
    I sent copies to and corresponded with a professor Harry at General Motors Institute and had person contact with a professor Bush who was a friend and associate of professor Harry from Northwoods College and he set up and conducted extention classes at Marquette Correctional Facilities in Marquette Michigan which I attended. The classes were set up after I got there and ended before I left. The State of Michigan should still have records.
    You could take any two of my drawings and place one on top of the other and they would be like photo copies. I did not have access to a copy machine and it is likely there are still copies of my original drawing floating around the Michigan Penal System.
    Before I was released I received a letter from a Mr. Jordan who invited me to come by and tour the Warren Design Center which I did. I did not however meet Mr. Jordan.
    This is Black History Month and I believe my contributions have redeeming value. I have made it my mission to make it known that I am the artist that created many of the designs General Motors used on their down sized full sized cars introduced in the 1977 and 1979 model years. And also the 1980-1985 Cadillac Seville albeit my original design was that of a larger vehicle which I invisioned as a Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy Five.
    There are papers from General Motors that I signed and were notarized by the Prison staff.

    1. My comment about the stylistic direction of the ’79 Toronado was essentially a subjective one: it was hardly identical to its predecessor (dimensions aside), but as you say, it preserved many of the second-generation car’s design cues. I would compare it to, say, the distinction between the E46 and E36 BMW 3-Series. The E46 is significantly different in detail from the E36, and no one would mistake one for the other, but park them next to one another, and they look like variations on the same design themes.

      By contrast, the second-generation Toronado [i]was[/i] quite a departure from the first; other than the flared wheel arches, it didn’t look a lot like the ’66 original.

      I would be very interested to hear more of your account — feel free to contact me via the site contact form.

  6. Wow, thanks for the quick reply! And thanks for the definitions!. Continuing to enjoy the site and open more links.

    Nick

  7. Hi,

    I love this site. I have been trying to read through an article without opening up more links for a month now and I just keep adding more stuff to read. I feel like I will have the whole site read by the time I am done.

    I have one request, and since I cannot find a contact us link, or authors don’t seem to have emails listed, This hopefully is a good enough place to do it.

    Can you please add POE and FOB to your definitions page? I have yet to figure out what they mean, and between google, and context, I can always figure stuff out. But these terms are too generic for google. Thank you!

    Nick

    1. That’s a reasonable question. “POE” means “Port of Entry,” while “FOB” means “Freight on Board.” Both refer to manufacturer’s suggested retail prices for new cars. For many years, new car prices in the U.S. varied considerably depending on region, reflecting the costs of transporting the car from its point of manufacture to its destination. An imported European car, for instance, might have an MSRP of $2,195 POE New York, which meant that was the price if you picked it up at the terminal in New York where it arrived in the U.S. If you were in California or Seattle, the actual retail price would be somewhat higher, because of the need to ship it by truck or rail to the local area. The extra cost would vary based on where you were, so some manufacturers would publish multiple price lists for different regions.

      Today, that’s relatively uncommon, and manufacturers apply a generic transportation charge to all new car sales. It’s not part of the MSRP, but it’s usually the same charge, regardless of locale.

      The reason I occasionally mention it is that some sources list different prices for particular models, which sometimes reflect the different regional costs. (Sometimes prices change during the model year, as well, another reason there are sometimes inconsistencies.)

  8. Dear Mr Severson

    I just want to say hi to you, i felt that it is only appropriate to sent an email to you showing how much i appreciate your writing about cars. I love all kinds of cars and i find that your article is very helpful in opening my eyes to all kinds of cars that i have never seen before in my country (I live in Indonesia, our roads are mainly populated with small Japanese cars, popular American cars came from Ford and Chevrolet, Europeans are represented by BMW,Benz, and recently Audi and VW, Korean Cars like Hyundai and Kia is also well represented here). The history of the cars is also well written, and as an academician i really appreciate on how you managed to stay objective to the cars you choose to write the history on. please keep up the good work, and if someday you got yourself bored with writing about car history in America i will be more than happy to help you in gathering data for writing histories of cars sold in Indonesia/Asia.

    regards
    Yuuki

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