Tag: Chevrolet

Patronism, Part 4

In addition to the piece I published on the Patreon page the other day about Reconsidering the NHTSA Evaluation of the Early Corvair, I published a follow-up, Reconsidering the Optional Corvair Suspension, discussing the RPO 696 heavy-duty suspension. This also is a Patreon exclusive for the time being; the NHTSA piece will run here for free in June, but I haven’t decided yet about the newer item. My goal is not to move Ate Up With Motor to the Patreon platform (which has some limitations I find frustrating when it comes to posting longer articles), but to try to build some interest in the Patreon page. As I’ve mentioned, my current financial situation is very dire, to the point that my friends have started a GoFundMe campaign for me, so trying to monetize Ate Up With Motor more than I have been able to in recent years is am important step. (ETA: As of May 16, 2024, the campaign has reached its goal — thank you all so much!)

Patronism, Part 3

In a fairly shameless bid to drive interest in the new Ate Up With Motor Patreon page, I’ve posted a new 4,000-word piece there about the 1972 NHTSA report that supposedly exonerated the early (1960–1963) Chevrolet Corvair of charges of evil handling. Because I think the subject is ultimately of (some) public interest, my plan is to eventually make that post publicly available here, but it will only be available to paid Patreon members until at least June 1, 2024.

Electrojector and D-Jetronic: Early Electronic Fuel Injection

Once considered exotic technology, electronic fuel injection has been around a surprisingly long time. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we review the origins of EFI and examine the relationship between the pioneering Bendix Electrojector, Bosch D-Jetronic, and the second-generation Bendix system that introduced GM to electronic injection in the 1970s — a complicated web of technology, business, and politics.

Seville and "Fuel Injection" badges on the right front fender of a Naples Yellow 1977 Cadillac Seville sedan (Aaron Severson)

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Turbos for the Turnpike: The Turbocharged Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire

In 1962, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile introduced the world’s first turbocharged production cars, the Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire and Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we’ll discuss the origins of turbocharging, the development of the Oldsmobile Jetfire, and the turbocharged Corvair that nearly stole its thunder.

1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder 'Turbocharged' fender badge by Aaron Severson

Continue Reading Turbos for the Turnpike: The Turbocharged Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire

Magnificent Kludge: The ‘Rope-Drive’ 1961–1963 Pontiac Tempest

What price novelty? If you walked into a Pontiac dealer in November 1960, the answer was $2,167, the list price of one of the most unusual American cars of its era: the all-new 1961 Pontiac Tempest. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we’ll take a look at the short career of the “rope-drive” 1961–1963 Pontiac Tempest and the hows and whys of its peculiar front-engine/rear-transaxle powertrain.

1963 Pontiac Tempest Le Mans convertible (red) grille closeup by AlfvanBeem (CC0 1.0 - AS recrop)
(Photo: “1963 Pontiac 2217 DR-90-46 p3” by AlfvanBeem, which was dedicated to the public domain by the photographer under a CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication; this version was recropped and resized 2022 by Aaron Severson)

Continue Reading Magnificent Kludge: The ‘Rope-Drive’ 1961–1963 Pontiac Tempest

Glamor Truck From Planet 8: The 1955 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier

Hard as it is now to envision, there was a time, still within living memory, when trucks were not readily accepted in American polite society. One of the most significant harbingers of the transition to our modern era of pampered, luxurious utility vehicles was this rare truck: the 1955 to 1958 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier (and its even rarer brother, the GMC Suburban Pickup).
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The MacPherson Strut

Although frequently misunderstood and often misspelled, MacPherson struts are one of the most common suspension systems used on modern cars, found on everything from the Proton Savvy to the most formidable Porsche 911 Turbo. In this newly revised and updated installment of Ate Up With Motor, we’ll take a look at the origins and workings of the MacPherson strut, including modern variations like the Toyota Super Strut, GM HiPer Strut, and Ford RevoKnuckle.
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Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair

There is no American automobile more controversial than this one. It’s the car that launched the career of Ralph Nader and led directly to the passage of the first U.S. federal safety legislation. Automotive historian Michael Lamm called this car a martyr; others said it should never have been built at all. It was flawed, at least in its original iteration, but it was also one of the most daring cars GM has ever built. We’re talking about the Chevrolet Corvair.

Author’s Note: The original version of this article was written in 2007. It has been extensively revised and expanded, adding new information and correcting various factual errors. WARNING: The article contains animated GIF images.

1960 Chevrolet Corvair badge

Continue Reading Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair

Dynaflow, Turboglide, Roto Hydra-Matic, and Other Early GM Automatics

The Hydra-Matic, GM’s first fully automatic transmission, was a great success, inspiring a host of rivals — including some within General Motors itself. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we look at the origins of Dynaflow and Powerglide, the ambitious but ill-fated Turboglide and Flight Pitch Dynaflow (a.k.a. Triple Turbine), the later Controlled Coupling Hydra-Matic and Roto Hydra-Matic, and more.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article, originally written in 2010, has been extensively revised and expanded for 2016.

Dynaflow badge on a 1951 Buick Super Riviera © 2007 Aaron Severson

Continue Reading Dynaflow, Turboglide, Roto Hydra-Matic, and Other Early GM Automatics

Cowboy Cadillacs: The Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero

Ford and Chevrolet prosaically described these curious hybrids of coupe and pickup truck as sedan pickups, while our Australian readers would call them coupe utilities, utilities, or simply “utes.” Never overwhelmingly popular in the U.S. market when they were new, they have become curiously iconic, presaging America’s infatuation with trucks. This week, we examine the history of the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino.

1964 Chevrolet El Camino badge

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Disco-Era Darling: The Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Certain cars become emblematic of a time and a place, perfectly encapsulating the values, priorities, and obsessions of their eras. For America of the fifties, it’s the 1955–57 Chevrolets and the 1959 Cadillac; for the sixties, the Mini, the Beetle, and the Mustang. For the seventies, we’d make a strong case for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Generally reviled by critics, staggeringly popular with the public, and much imitated, the Monte Carlo remains as powerful a symbol of the period as disco balls, platform shoes, and The Brady Bunch. This week, we explore the history of the Monte Carlo and consider the reasons for its immense — and ultimately ephemeral — popularity.
1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo badge
Continue Reading Disco-Era Darling: The Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Falling Star: The Checkered History of the Chevrolet Vega

It sounded so promising at the time. After years of dismissing imported compacts as cars for kooks, GM was finally going to build an attractive, sophisticated subcompact featuring the latest advances in manufacturing technology. To follow that, Chevrolet was going to offer a sporty version with a racy twin-cam engine built by the legendary English firm Cosworth. It was the car that was going to save America for American cars — that is, until it all went wrong. This is the story of the 1971-1977 Chevrolet Vega and 1975-1976 Cosworth Vega.

1971 Chevrolet Vega badge

Continue Reading Falling Star: The Checkered History of the Chevrolet Vega