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New Auto Display Opens at Cleveland’s Crawford Auto Aviation Museum

By Autosaurus Published: October 30, 2008

A new display of vintage automobiles has opened at the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum.  However, these are not cars from the museum's collection but, rather, cars owned by collectors throughout Northeast Ohio.  The new display is called "The Best of the Best."   The museum asked area car clubs to display one car to represents their club.  Among the clubs that were asked to participate are major clubs such as the Antique Automobile Club of America and the Classic Car Club of America; marque clubs such as the Mercedes-Benz Club, Alfa Romeo Owners Club, North Coast Pontiac, Mustang Club, North Studebaker Club, Packard Club and Lincoln Owners Club, as well as smaller, specialized clubs such as the Rollers, Custom Crankshaft Cruisers, Cool Cat Cruisers. Cars on display range from a 1915 Winton to a modern (1979) drag racer   In addition to the 32 cars that are part of the "Best of the Best" display, the museum's car collection is on display.  The museum is located on University Circle, 10285 East Boulevard.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.  If you haven't been there lately it's definitely worth a visit!  And-they have a great gift shop.

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What’s hiding in your garage?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 28, 2008

The sad news from yesterday's storage building fire in Sharon Township is all over the print, broadcast and internet media. The good news is that, miraculously, no one was injured. The bad news is that a lot of people lost things that they valued very highly, especially automobiles. It appears that most of these units are used for storage of personal goods. Modern Americans have apparently reverted to a type of hunting and gathering society but, rather than doing this for subsistence, we gather and keep stuff to satisfy things further up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs such as self esteem and a sense of achievement.

Car people are probably the best examples of modern day hunters and gatherers. No garage, basement or barn is ever big enough. Even in challenging economic times, we'll find ways to acquire automotive related stuff (cars, parts, toys, literature, and memorabilia) to satisfy our craving. Trust me on this for I speak from experience. My nice, everyday cars often sit outside so that derelict junk-heaps can take their honored space in the garage. What automotive passion is taking up your valuable space?

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What’s the worst car you ever had?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 27, 2008

As I was researching the Edsel for an upcoming "What were they thinking" post, I noticed that it had been named to the list of the fifty worst cars of all time. I don't necessarily agree with that thought and I'll explain my reasons in that future post. Nonetheless, it got me to thinking of bad cars that I've driven. Ironically, the worst car I've ever had is universally recognized as one of the greatest cars of all time, the Jaguar XKE. Even though I still believe it is one of the top ten aesthetic car designs of all time, my particular '65 coupe was a rolling wreck. It looked great with shiny red paint and a sumptuous black leather interior but the constant stream of parts falling off and electrical gremlins brought me to the point of hating to look at it. I won't even talk about the inadequate brakes and the contortionist-only ergonomics. That Jag truly epitomized the old B-52's song, "The devil is in my car"! It's been gone from my garage for thirty years now but I still wince a bit when I see one at a car show. With Halloween approaching, I'd like to hear your automotive horror story.

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What kind of cars do the candidates drive?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 22, 2008

In my never-ending quest to find a single reason to vote for either one of the two major presidential candidates, I thought I would check out what kind of cars each owned. Not surprisingly, I immediately found an article on this subject that was printed in Newsweek in September. Like everything else in this election, it's pretty interesting but in the end, far from inspiring.

It turns out that the Obama family only has one car, a recently acquired Ford Escape Hybrid. Since the vehicle they traded in was a hemi-powered Chrysler 300C, I'm assuming the acquisition of the more eco-friendly Ford in place of the powerful and stylish Chrysler (a favorite of customizers and rap stars) was purely a political decision.

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Will anyone care about most collector cars in 10 years?

By Autosaurus Published: October 20, 2008

Here's a sobering thought.  The people who were cruising around in the 1950's and hanging out at the drive-in are now at least 70 years old.  Those DA haircuts and bouffant hairdos are grey.  All of this emphasizes the question that is being asked by many collectors?  "Is there going to be anyone out there who is interested in €˜our' cars?"  The biggest argument against this is that no  one will be alive who could identify with these cars when they were new?  How can today's 25 year-old identify with a 1941 Studebaker?  You get the point.  However, that factor hasn't put a damper on the enthusiasm that seems to still exist for automobiles built from the 1910's through the 1940's.  Those original owners-and even most of their children-are now gone.  The real appeal of these cars, in addition to their appearance and engineering, is that they will always be a functioning example of their era, of a time gone by.  A 1935 Packard IS the 1930's.  A 1957 Chevrolet IS the 1950's.  Anyway, that's my opinion. 

What do you think?

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World’s most beautiful Checker on eBay

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 16, 2008

Checker Motors, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, is famous for building the iconic but ungainly Marathon Taxi Cab. The model was in production for over thirty years until the company closed its doors in 1982. The army of Checker cabs still terrorized New York City streets for ten years after that.

In 1968, industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso commissioned legendary designer Tom Tjaarda to create what was to become the one and only Checker Ghia Centurion. It debuted at the Paris Auto Show as a pure design concept. One of the interesting features of this car is the fact that the doors open differently on each side. It's a very pleasing and modern design for its era. You have to wonder why it never went into production.

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New Prius Spotted?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 16, 2008

As a follow up to Autosaurus' post about hybrid cars, the folks at priuschat have posted a few pictures of what may be the new Totota Prius. If it is, the lineage is obvious and, in my opinion, unfortunate. Who made the rule that dedicated hybrids like the Prius and the Honda Insight have to be ugly? In the early days of electric cars at the beginning of the 20th century, they were beautifully appointed with the finest fabrics, beveled glass, gold trim and even patent leather panels.  They were as beautiful as they were efficient. It's too bad we're subjected to mediocrity like the Prius today.

New Prius on Priuschat

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Hybrid Cars are Nothing New

By Autosaurus Published: October 15, 2008

When fuel prices were more than $4 a gallon there was plenty of talk about hybrid cars (a car with a combination internal combustion motor and an electric motor).  Most people, including many journalists, referred to this as a recent phenomenon-something developed during the past 20 years.  Not true.  Want to guess when the first hybrid automobile was developed?  How about 1917-more than 90 years ago.  The company was the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago and their vehicle was the Woods Dual Power.  An original, unrestored example of this car is part of the collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  The car made a rare appearance outside the museum when it was displayed at the Glenmoor Gathering in 2007.  The Woods Dual Power lasted only two years.  The company ceased production in 1918.

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What are your favorite car related websites?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 14, 2008

As you can see just to the right of this post, we have listed links to some of our favorite websites and blogs. They're in no specific order and represent a wide range of automotive interests. I can't go a day without checking my two favorite general car blogs; Jalopnik and Hemmings Blog.  Jalopnik covers the wide world of automotive insanity in an irreverent yet informational way. The great group of commenters on Jalopnik add a unique dimension also. Hemmings Blog has many fewer posts per day but they are always very interesting. The Hemmings Motor News staff is responsible for creating this blog and they have an endless amount of historical information to draw from.

Let us know your favorite automotive websites and blogs and we will post a link on Car Chase.

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What were they thinking? AMC Pacer

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 9, 2008

With this entry, I would like to introduce what will be a semi-regular feature. The "What were they thinking?" series will be about cars that are, let's just say, not universally appreciated but still very unique and interesting. Your suggestions for entries are welcome.

In the mid-€˜70's, AMC was America's last true independent automaker. Even though they were producing over 300,000 cars per year, their size paled in comparison to the big three. As a result, they didn't have the development dollars of the other manufacturers and their product mix consisted of Gremlins, Hornets and Matadors. All solid but basic cars. They needed some new technology to spice up their image.

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The Economy and Old Cars

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 7, 2008

Although this blog is not about the country's economic issues, it's impossible to ignore the financial roller coaster we're currently experiencing. What does this all mean to the collector car market?

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Best of the Best: Car Clubs Showcased at Crawford Museum

By Autosaurus Published: October 6, 2008

Just learned that the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland will open a new exhibition opening on October 15 that should be of interest to area gear heads.  The exhibition is called "The Best of the Best: Cleveland Car Club Showcase"  and will feature approximately 30 cars from area car clubs.  The cars will be on display through April 2009.  The display was coordinated with the support of the Friends of the Crawford, a group of volunteers who devote their time to the restoration and preservation of cars in the museum's collection.  After receiving submissions from area car clubs, the Friends and the director of the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, Al Unrein, reviewed the entries and made their choices.  According to the museum, the display will include antiques, hot rods, classics, sports cars and exotics.  Sounds like a great idea. The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum is one of the best places I know to spend an afternoon-or an entire day!  For more info on the exhibit contact Unrein at (216) 721.5722 ext. 258 or email him at

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Which car should you have kept?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: October 1, 2008

As crazy as I am about cars, my dad was the polar opposite. Cars, to him, were strictly a tool to get him from one place to another. The size of their engines, zero to sixty acceleration times and the latest innovations in suspension technology were all lumped together in the category of useless and irrelevant trivia.

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