Auto Show!

Would you believe that on this day (December 11) in 1894 the world’s first auto show was held? Four companies displayed a total of nine vehicles at the Internationale de Velocipidie et de Locomotion Automobile in Paris. This show evolved into the very famous Paris Auto Show that is still held today.

Today’s auto shows are, in my opinion, too much about cars that companies want to sell you and not enough about concept cars. I don’t know when the emphasis changed, but I remember attending auto shows with my father in the 1960s and 1970s where many of the cars were concept cars. I really wish I had some of the picture postcards from those events.


Corvette Interruptus! This piece in The Drive reports that the C8 Corvette will not be revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January. (By the way, this is the last Detroit show that will be held in January as the event is moving to July beginning in 2020.)

From Automobile Magazine is a rendering of a “potential” C8 that I have shown before:

I think that looks the best of all of the guesses as to what the car will look like. Spy photos of what are supposedly camouflaged C8 prototypes has led to renderings that look like this:

From comes the photo above.

The first Corvette was revealed at what has become a legendary event in GM history, the Motorama of 1953. That event was held in New York in January. (The GM Motorama was actually held from 1949 to 1961, but the 1953 show introduced the Corvette as well as other famous GM cars like the Buick Wildcat concept car whose name was used for later production models.) The modern New York Auto Show is held in April. Could GM/Chevrolet be waiting until then to reveal the C8 Corvette? Do you think Chevrolet risks turning the car into a joke because of the delay in the introduction?


For some reason Hemmings refuses to publish my comments on how obesity is, in my opinion, the primary culprit in the extinction of the American car. I simply write that 70% of American adults are overweight and cannot get in and out of cars easily so that have moved to SUVs and pickup trucks. I don’t think that’s especially inflammatory, but apparently their editors do. Well, I can write that here and have on many occasions. What do you think?





Saturday Summation

The mid-term elections? The only political axiom to which I subscribe is that no matter where one stands on the political spectrum, much of the truth is usually somewhere else. I think both parties have lost the plot and are only concerned with elections and not with governance.

I think too many Americans have succumbed to what I call the bulls**t binary political paradigm, that you have to be an adherent of one major party or the other. Too many Americans don’t understand that many ways exist to define the role and scope of government and its relationship with the population.

For me, the right to vote means the right not to vote. I don’t think anyone should brag about voting for the lesser of two evils. If I don’t vote it is not a vote for the person you oppose, it is a vote for no one.

My 2¢.


On this day in 1900, the first modern, major automobile show began in New York City. This article from the American Oil and Gas Historical Society provides excellent information on the show. From that article comes this photo:

first auto show

More from the article:

“An innovative assortment of electric, steam, and ‘internal explosion’ engines powered these horseless carriages. New manufactures like Olds Motor Works of Lansing, Michigan, built models of each kind to compete in the developing market.

The manufacturers presented 160 different vehicles at the first national automobile show. Future leaders of the the nation’s greatest transportation industry gave driving and maneuverability demonstrations on a 20-foot-wide track that surrounded the exhibits. A wooden 200-foot ramp tested hill-climbing power.

About 48,000 show visitors paid 50¢ each to see the latest automotive technology. The most popular models proved to be electric, steam and gasoline…in that order. New Yorkers welcomed electric models as a way to reduce the estimated 450,000 tons of horse manure, 21 million gallons of urine, and 15,000 horse carcasses removed from the city’s streets each year.”

Everything old is new again. At the beginning of the 20th century it was not clear how popular the automobile would be nor was it clear which power source would “win” the battle. Electric cars were quite popular as were steam-powered cars. The only constant in the world is change. I have read that none of the automobile manufacturers that participated in the 1900 show are still in business and yet the automobile industry continues to thrive even with occasional bumps in the road.

According to one of my favorite books, History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, for 1899-1900 the most popular car in America was made by Columbia with Locomobile in second. Columbia was the brand name used by the Pope Manufacturing Company that was far more famous for its bicycles, most of which also used the Columbia brand name.

From a photo of an 1899 Columbia automobile:

Except in appreciation for their role in establishing the automobile I don’t have interest in these ancient cars. I would never own one no matter what my net worth. The oldest cars that interest me, and this has changed in the past five years or so, are cars from the 1930s.

Do you have interest in “brass era” cars? What are the oldest cars that interest you?