Diatribe

When 'hoodies' were ornaments

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour     
al@motorwayamerica.com

I’ve written several columns recently about some of the “good old days” in automotive history. I was waiting at a stoplight the other day and looked over at the 1956 Pontiac sitting next to me and the first two things I noticed was it had a hood long enough to launch B-52s; and a hood ornament of Chief Pontiac fashioned of chrome with a lighted plastic insert of the Chief.

Cars don't pull 53-foot trailers

Tags:


DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour   al@motorwayamerica.com

For the majority of drivers with any degree of skill it’s a hoot to wheel around in a compact or sub-compact vehicle (providing one can fit into them). They generally have quick, responsive steering, a sturdier than expected suspension and adequate power to get out of its own way.

Bare bones vehicles — a pox on those who make us suffer…like an ex-wife

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  al@motorwayamerica.com

As professional automotive journalists we get spoiled by vehicles we drive. Oh, sure, we may test a drive-to-work vehicle…but it’s generally equipped with every option known to the auto world. So whenever we are assigned a vehicle that’s less than stellar in the amenities department it becomes more noticeable.

Give me them old time car models

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour    
al@motorwayamerica.com

I have written about car lines that have “gone into real estate” and alluded to the fact that someday I’d write another column about particular models that have bitten the dust. Today’s the day, Peoples. What does this have to do with my usual ranting? Everything! I’m not particularly fond of change and constantly burying the names of vehicles manufacturers have created an entire collection of new names.

Cruise control…living on the edge

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour      
al@motorwayamerica.com

Throughout my life I have had more than my share of loves. These include my wife and children, my twin-grandsons and for some reason, Dora the Explorer.  But another love of mine has even more potential to get me in trouble. As you can guess I’m referring to cruise control.

Congress — The car salesman's savior

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour    al@motorwayamerica.com

Having spent as many years as I did living in Chicago, I became a political junkie and would often find myself glued to the television, taking in all the nuances of the “theater of the absurd,” which is another way of describing our legislative process. I have often wondered just how little conscience one must have in order to be an elected representative.

Whatever happened to…?

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour       al@motorwayamerica.com

The other day I was stuck waiting for a lengthy train (111 cars to be exact) to pass by. Consequently, I had some time to think, which may never be a good idea where my brain is concerned. I was looking around the vehicle I was driving and thinking about all the things that used to be found in cars that are nevermore. Things like:

Don’t try dunking this donut in your coffee

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour    
Al@motorwayamerica.com

Can you remember far enough back when all cars had full-size spares in their trunk? Maybe you were distracted by the hordes of dinosaurs that roamed the earth and didn’t have the time to see things around you, but trust me, they all had big tires (the cars not the dinosaurs).
And one reason they were able to have full-size tires is because practically every vehicle had a full-size trunk. And there was no alternative except not having a spare.

To shift…or not to shift

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour        al@motorwayamerica.com

For the first few decades in automotive history, almost without exception, cars were equipped with manual transmissions. Although an automatic transmission was first developed in about 1900 for marine use it wasn’t until almost 40 years later it became available for everyday use in an automobile.

Maybe you WON’T be having a V8

Tags:

DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour     
al@motorwayamerica.com

For the millions of us who are old enough to have had our Bar Mitzvahs in the 1950s and 1960s there was nothing more closely auto-related than the sweet sound and brute power of a high-performance V8. Forget that Cadillac produced the first mass-market V8 in 1914, they didn’t produce a 425 horsepower behemoth like Ford did in 1965.