We finally got the upper case I key on the old Underwood typewriter fixed, so now is the time for a first person missive pertaining to recent developments. You may have noticed a break in the action around here at the mighty Clunkbucket. No, I have not sold out to clandestine publishing interests in Moldova. The bad news is I won’t be hanging out in California as much as I have been over the last 25 or so years. The good news is I have accepted the honorable position of Associate Editor at Hemmings in scenic Bennington, Vermont. Is this the end? Not at all. This is a new beginning. Clunkbucket will continue on, with the probable inclusion of vintage snowmobiles. [now, with bonus gallery - ed] Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Opinion and Editorial’ Category
The best part about having musty old car magazines from the ’60s is reading press releases about how by 1971, we would all be driving electric cars that ran on batteries comprised of then futuristic exotic materials. In the Detroit Spotlight department of a December 1966 issue of Motor Trend magazine is a small photo of a 1931 Detroit Electric Model 99, accompanied by the news of near future Big Three electric fleets. Ford had come up with an ultra-lightweight sodium-sulphide battery pack that held the equivalent of a tank of gas, thus overcoming the problem heavy and expensive electric automobile battery packs.
“Until now, batteries capable of propelling an electric car through a normal working day have either weighed around 900 pounds, or have been composed of esoteric, impossibly expensive materials…Aside from Ford, both GM and Chrysler are known to be working on electric car projects, along with alternate ‘fuel cell’ units. GM is leaning towards a lithium and air battery which is enervated in the morning simply by pouring water into it, but each night the plates have to be removed for cleaning, much like false teeth. Chrysler won’t talk about batteries, but admits that it likes the idea of putting an electric motor at all four wheels” - Motor Trend, December 1966
The mid-sixties were a regular thin-filmed nano-technology fully scalable electric car bonanza out there in Motor City! And to think that until 1966, the problem of heavy and/or expensive batteries for electric automobiles had yet to be solved. Now, if we could only harness the heat contained in a pair of freshly toasted Pop Tarts to power to the Starlet, an affordable and fortified with seven vitamins and minerals power source for sustainable and delicious motoring would be upon us.
While new cars are not what Clunkbucket is about, there is legislation afoot that could well destroy the future of American automotive history before it even gets a chance to happen. There’s not much that gets me teeth grinding tire gnashing mad anymore, except things like this so-called Cash for Clunkers program.
Of this writing, it’s hard to tell exactly what the poorly named Cash for Clunkers bill actually is. The program reads and sounds like a great idea. Trade in that oil-spewing behemoth of a vehicle and get a pile of cash for a brand new car that emits nothing but flowers and sunshine! That old clunker? Crushed for good, with no eligibility for recycling. Read the rest of this entry »