Carleton Spencer in Collectible Automobile

When it comes to writing history, readers of this blog know how much I hate “book reports.” Stories like these are drab recitations of facts and figures. They should stay in senior high school English classes.

But Richard Langworth doesn’t write book reports. In fact, his first book Kaiser-Frazer, The Last Onslaught on Detroit is a fantastic read. Why? Because he went out and interviewed everyone still alive in 1975 and incorporated a ton of quotes into the narrative. (Richard, pleeeeeeeeease do an update of this book! We’ve learned so much about K-F since then!) History is always most interesting when it’s told by the people who created it.

So I was very psyched to read Langworth’s article about Carleton Spencer, the wunderdesigner at Kaiser-Frazer who dressed up an otherwise limited product line. It’s in the October 2009 issue of Collectible Automobile (still no web site. Seriously.)

Besides a ton of great pictures of Spencer’s K-F interiors, there is a sprinkling of Spencer quotes that help to drive the story.

My only small quibble: since the article is a Personality Profile, I wish that CA had chosen some pull quotes and printed them in large blocks throughout the article. They would have evoked Spencer’s personality and helped us understand better the man who created such striking interior designs for Kaiser-Frazer.


1977 -78 AMC AMX in Collectible Automobile

In the Cheap Wheels section of the October 2009 issue of Collectible Automobile (still no web site), there’s a great article about the 1977-78 AMC AMX first built on the Hornet/Concord chassis.

These are rare, rare, rare cars. The 1977’s look like Hornets that kinda suffered through beauty school makeovers. I think the 1978’s are trimmed out a little better. And there’s no mistaking the popularity of flaming hood decals on the ’78. Pontiac had the flaming chicken, and AMC had the flaming Hornet.

Anybody who has visited this blog in the past year knows that Torq-O has a lot of vintage AMC movies. I’m pretty sure that we have the most hours of AMC audio-visual material in the U.S. if not the world. Certainly more than Chrysler.

One of the films that we just had digitized is the 1977 AMC Dealer Announcement Show. It features singin’, dancin’, and product introducin’. And, you probably already guessed it, the 1977 AMX is prominently featured.

Check out this splashy introduction featuring an actor playing a very Fonz-like greaser (with very 70’s-like hair). It’s the perfect complement to the Collectible Automobile article. (Keep in mind that this is a filmed stage show.)


British films DVD update #3

Hey, Sunbeam and Hillman investors!

A quick note: all of the DVDs that you paid for have either been handed over to the U.S. Post Office or have been delivered personally. (Jan Servaites is one lucky dude.)

I hope you enjoy the films! They’re fun, quirky, and extremely British.

For those of you who want one but did not get involved in the original investment, I’ve made a few extra copies for sale. They are US $36.90 for U.S. fans and US $39.90 for international fans. Just email me, and let me know, because once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.