When I was young, I left the Motor City for a city that I would never have to drive in again. Years later, so did my sister.
Television commercials made the relationship between cars and humans look like a romance, but from a kid’s perspective, it looked like an abusive relationship.
Automobiles had a way of breaking down when you needed them most, taking large amounts of your money without warning, and attracting unwelcome attention from law enforcement officers. Little in the movie 8-Mile feels like a genuine depiction of Detroit life, but one thing feels accurate: the way that no one’s car will start.
I moved to San Francisco. My sister moved to Portland. I love San Francisco, the way that you do, but whenever I visit my sister I cannot help noticing that — as far as gracious, car-free living goes — she made the better choice.
When I visit her, I don’t have to look at every car that I pass and gauge the risk of being doored, because, in a lot of places, the bike lane is wide enough for both me and an open car door.
I rarely have to merge into car traffic and route myself around someone who has double-parked in the middle of a bike lane, because some traffic engineer has thoughtfully placed a barrier between car and bike traffic.
All is not perfect; my sister still got doored last winter. But Portland had zero bike deaths last year (and many years before it), which is more than you can say about San Francisco.
How did this come to pass? While Portland has a reputation for being the most uber-millennial of millennial cities, it’s not that different from your average American college town.
Bicycling in cities has been on the rise for years now; what made Portland so ready for it, when bicyclists in other cities have had to struggle? I did some digging, and came up with a few theories.
Read more via Cities | Grist.
Edsel Citation convertible
The top-of-the-line Edsel, it bore the notorious “horse-collar” grille that critics said resembled “an Oldsmobile sucking on a lemon.”
Actually, the grille looked tasteful compared to the anti-tailfin taillights that stretched all the way across the trunk lid.
Inside, the push-button transmission control was located inside the steering-wheel hub — another rarely imitated design feature because drivers confused it with the horn.
The Citation is the landmark of bad taste.
Ford put the Edsel out of its misery shortly after the start of the 1959 model year.
See more uglies via vintage everyday: Here’s a List of 10 Ugliest Cars from the 1950s
Prototype No. 1 is the only survivor of three test Holden sedans built by hand in 1946 by American and Australian engineers at the General Motors workshop in Detroit.
Earlier that year, General Motors-Holden’s chief Laurence Hartnett had submitted to his American bosses an experimental car design with integrated fenders and straight side panels. Reluctant about the Australian venture from the beginning, General Motors executives unceremoniously rejected Hartnett’s proposal in favour of a more conservative and curvaceous design with a striking chrome grille.
Known as the ‘Australian Car’, prototype no. 1 became the definitive model for millions of Holden vehicles.
After months of durability and performance tests at the General Motors Milford proving ground, prototype no. 1 was shipped to Australia along with two other prototypes. Legend has it that the three cars were then driven under cover of darkness to the Fishermen’s Bend factory in Melbourne.
Registered as JP-480, prototype no.1 underwent further testing on a circuit east of Melbourne, specifically designed to replicate Australian driving conditions.
Technicians continued to make minor technical modifications to the car, while General Motors-Holden’s executives searched for a name for the new car. After much deliberation, they finally decided upon the ‘Holden’, in honour of Sir Edward Holden, the company’s first chairman. Other names considered were GeM, Austral, Melba, Woomerah, Boomerang, and Emu.
The car narrowly avoided the name ‘Canbra’, a phonetic spelling of Canberra.
The first Holden rolled off the assembly line at Fishermen’s Bend on 29 November 1948. Many saw the event as evidence of national maturity, proof that Australia had escaped its pastoral beginnings and embraced the modern industrial age.
The Holden 48-215 (commonly known as the FX) was a robust and economical family sedan, designed for the Australian environment. Combining local production with American styling and technical simplicity, the car captivated many Australians.
Public reaction to the prospect of an Australian-built car had been extraordinary, with around 18,000 people signing up for a Holden without knowing a single detail about the car. Holdens soon dominated the roads.
By 1958 sales accounted for over 40 per cent of total car sales in Australia. A million had been sold by 1960 and, despite market competition from the Ford Falcon, another million were sold over the next six years.
The Last of the Mail Coaches at Newcastle upon Tyne by James Pollard (1792-1867).
In the last quarter of 1849 Thomas De Quincey published two separate essays in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, a leading Tory periodical.
These two essays, entitled “The English Mail-Coach, or the Glory of Motion” and “The Vision of Sudden Death,” were revised and amalgamated five years later to produce one of the author’s most memorable and idiosyncratic pieces.
“The English Mail-Coach” is at once a celebration of that form of transport and an elegy for its demise, since by the time De Quincey published his essay the railways had already spread across the country and shunted the mail-coach into the sidings of history.
As an exercise in technology nostalgia, therefore, the essay might be compared to someone recalling fondly the brick-like mobile phones of the 1980s while necessarily using a modern, lightweight smartphone and perhaps grumbling at the way it increasingly dominates their waking life.
“The English Mail-Coach” is in four parts. In the first, De Quincey explains his fascination with mail-coaches and recalls his delight in using them – insisting always, against the grain of class preference, on an outside seat – to go to and from Oxford in his student days.
He relates his obsession to the pleasures of unprecedented speed, with the thrill of “possible though indefinite danger”; the visual stimulation of “grand effects,” as deserted roads at night are momentarily lit up by coach-lamps; the sheer spectacle of “animal beauty and power”; the sense of participating in a great national system, akin to a living organism; and the additional excitement of bringing news, good or bad, from the battlefront (during the Napoleonic Wars) to local communities far and wide.
Here’s a gallery of beautiful air vehicles of the past
Pax, a colorful airship, constructed by a Brazilian inventor named Augusto Severo. The inventor was killed in Paris in 1902 when the airship rose steeply and exploded. (Photo by Henry Guttmann/Getty Images)
USS Los Angeles, upside down after a turbulent wind from the Atlantic, Lakehurst, New Jersey, 1926 (AP)