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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Detroit Public Library’s Digital Collection of Historic Car Photos

Got a press release the other day announcing that the digital photo archive of the National Automotive History Collection at the Detroit Public Library is now available to the public online. They currently have more than 32,000 automotive photos, including a sub-collection of nearly 3,000 Packard photos. The National Automotive History Collection to which the photos belong “is the world's largest collection of literature, photographs and historic documentation about cars and trucks and the people and companies that produced them.”

According to Mark Bowden, coordinator of the library's Special Collections, “many of the library's digital automotive photos come from the Nathan Lazarnick Collection which is devoted to individual automobiles, motorsports events and drivers, auto shows and manufacturing facilities from the first quarter of the 20th century.”

I’ve definitely bookmarked this for future use, it looks like a fabulous resource, with pictures not just of the vehicles themselves, but also inside the assembly plants.



[SOURCE National Automotive History Collection]

Friday, December 12, 2014

Digital Car Painter Update

The most popular post I ever did was back in April of 2012, on an iPhone app called Digital Car Painter that let you try out paint jobs on your car. It still gets more hits (and more spam—fortunately, Blogger is very good at blocking that) than all of my other posts. One of the most frequent non-spam comments has been whether versions of the app for other platforms are available. So when I got an email from the company saying they now had a version for Microsoft Windows, I figured I’d better check it out.

You can download it HERE. There’s a lifetime subscription cost of $15, but there is a 7 day/10 use demo so you can try before you buy. I suggest watching the Demo Video on Background Mask Function (Process) to get some idea of how the tools work. I’m not really familiar with this sort of software but was able to use it based on that. I’m not much good at drawing with a mouse, however; it would probably work better with a stylus. Even so, it was good at interpolating which areas I wanted masked.

One of the cool features is that you can upload your own photos, rather than having to rely on the templates the app comes with. Doesn’t even have to be cars, you can paint other objects as well.


My computer wasn’t happy about the download—seems the extraction program isn’t that common, and when I tried to install, it informed me there was a problem with the certificate. However, knowing where it came from, I installed it anyway and haven’t had any problems with viruses or malware.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

London Classic Car Show Website Now Up, Top Gear’s James May on Board

James May
Photo courtesy and copyright MPA Creative
You can find details about the upcoming show HERE.

Among the other features at the show, to be held January 8-11, is an exhibit curated by James May of Top Gear, called The Car That Changed the World. That’s a topic that could ignite a lot of debate, since everyone has their favourites. Apparently there will be at least 13 cars in the exhibit, divided into two sections, dubbed by May as “The Hall of Obviousness” and “The Corridors of Bloody Mindedness.”

Says May, “The Hall of Obviousness is exactly that, significant cars that most people would expect to be on a list of cars that changed the world. The cars in the Corridors of Bloody Mindedness, on the other hand, are designed to make people think again.

“It’s amazing to think that the car has always been future proof – even the earliest cars, whether powered by petrol, steam or electricity, are still running today.

“Of course, all the cars on show are my choices and are just as likely to start an argument as end one. I’ve already had a complaint from someone that the Austin Seven hasn’t been included. It’s a point of view not without merit, but… tough.”

Among the obvious cars are the Model T, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Ford Mustang and the Toyota Prius. The cars in the other section are all pioneers in some way.

Sounds like each section has half-a-dozen cars, none of which is the world-changer. What is it? May’s not saying anything until the reveal on January 8. What’s your contender?


[SOURCE: MPA Creative]

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Deck the Balls with Shelby Cobras

Don’t know how I didn’t hear about this last year, but the Carroll Shelby Foundation has a series of collectible holiday ornaments (available for shipment in the US only). This year’s ornament is in honour of the 1965 Ford Shelby GT350, with some of the proceeds going to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.

“When Carroll Shelby founded this organization, he challenged fellow car enthusiasts to rally around kids in need,” said Jenni Shreeves, executive director of the Carroll Shelby Foundation. “Over the years, we’ve been supporting that mission. The response to our first ornament was amazing, so we designed one for 2014. What could be more ‘Shelby’ than offering an exclusive collectible that commemorates an important milestone while also benefitting children in need.”

You can find the ornament, a 3 1/4 inch shatterproof white ball bearing the Shelby Cobra logo, online at the Carroll Shelby Legacy Collection site, where it will run you $20. You can also see what last year’s ornament (the first in the series) looked like, but it’s no longer for sale. 

If you’re more interested in putting a Shelby diecast under your tree, check out this website, where they have a nice selection.



[SOURCES: BusinessWire, http://carrollshelbylegacycollection.bigcartel.com/]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Land Rover Tries an Advertising Adventure with The Vanishing Game

I don’t know about you, but I have no objection to advertising as long as it’s either entertaining, or about something I actually want to buy. So when I saw a press release about The Vanishing Game, a Land Rover commissioned book by best-selling British author and screenwriter William Boyd, I was intrigued. Okay, it’s product placement, but it looks like a good fit.

You can either check out the interactive story on Tumblr (no membership or accounts required) or get it through Amazon which is currently offering it as a free ebook for Kindle. So far I’ve just had time to take a look at the first chapter on Tumblr, which has an audio/text version illustrated with occasional photographs. It’s an adventure thriller driving adventure set in the UK, which is the sort of thing I like to read anyway. Not so crazy about the interactive part (I just find it distracting) and I wish it was available for other platforms than Kindle (yes, I know I can download an app), but I’ll definitely be going back to find out what happens next.

Among the interactive stuff will be embedded adventures of real Land Rover owners. Haven’t run into any of that yet but I guess I’ll find out whether it qualifies as interesting or distracting. If the latter, I may have to download the Kindle app after all.




[SOURCE Land Rover North America]

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Citroën DS to Celebrate Its 60th Anniversary at the London Classic Car Show

With its space age design, the Citroën DS has won many 
admirers over the past 60 years.
Photo courtesy London Classic Car Show
Further to my post of yesterday, one of the cars to be at the upcoming London Classic Car Show is the Citroën DS (which sounds like the French word for goddess). Seems at the time it was revealed, at the 1955 Paris Motor Show, it was state-of-the-art, with front-wheel drive, hydraulics, and a fibreglass roof. It must have made a sensation, because the press release says “some 743 orders were taken in the first 15 minutes of the show opening and by the end of the first day that total had risen to an incredible 12,000.”


The DS which will be at the London Show is the one that was at that 1955 Paris show, and will be accompanied by various other DS and ID Citroëns. Not coincidentally, it will also be accompanied by a new DS (not Citroën, which is now a separate brand), making its UK debut. I somehow doubt it will look anything like the old one. Pity. I love the European cars from the ‘50s.

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Classic Car Show Coming to London this January

London, England, not London, Ontario, unfortunately, for those of us here in North America. Though it might be worth a trip across the pond even though London can be cold, wet and miserable in winter.

It’s called the London Classic Car Show, and it will be running from January 8 through 11, 2015. It will be held at the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands, so should be easily accessible by the Tube. Not only are they promising “examples of the most evocative classic and collectors’ cars ever made,” one of the features will be the Grand Avenue, which the top 100 cars will be driven on.

There will also be exhibitors and cars and automotive memorabilia for sale. I’ll be providing more details in future posts. They don’t seem to have a live website yet, but I’ll post that, too, when I get it.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Custom Made Slot Car Tracks

Slot Mods founder David Beattie stands in front of one of his 
handcrafted slot-car raceways. (PRNewsFoto/Slot Mods USA)
Every year Neiman Marcus puts out a Christmas catalogue full of stuff most of us could never afford. Doesn’t stop me from looking, though. There’s usually at least one car in there, or a pair of his and hers automobiles, but this year offers something different, a handcrafted slot car track by Slot Mods USA. Okay, it’ll cost you $300,000 and a six-month wait but check out the video of their version of the Watkins Glen track, at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma, Washington.



Actually, the catalogue price starts at a more affordable $75,000 (plus shipping and installation) for a 12 by 20 or 30 foot version of a legendary track, built to 1:32 scale, complete with guardrails, signs, grandstands, and even integrated cameras. The $300,000 Ultimate Slot Car Raceway not only includes the purchaser’s choice of track, but an inaugural race night party co-hosted by a racing legend.

It’s also possible to order a track directly from Slot Mods USA. And, coincidentally enough, there’s one being auctioned off later this week at Auctions America.

Hmm. Think I need a bigger basement.

[SOURCE: PRNews]


Friday, November 14, 2014

Wanna Drive a Stock Car?

Photo by Kate Tompkins
While most of the vehicles I saw at this year’s Montreal Autorama were very shiny indeed, there were a couple that weren’t. They looked like they’d been well driven, and they probably had, since they were at the booth of Ecole de Stock-Car Cabana. If you’ve ever wanted to drive a stock car, they offer courses at their driving school at the Sanair track just north of Saint-Pie (that’s on the south shore, this side of Granby).

Since the founder of the school, Jean-Paul Cabana, is a two-time Canadian NASCAR champion with over 500 victories to his credit, he should know a thing or two about racing. And the cars the school uses have actually seen competition in NASCAR and CASCAR. There are several options, from one that lets you sit in the passenger seat while a professional driver takes you around the track a few times, all the way to their ultimate course which finishes with 100 laps of the track at speed. They also offer a corporate program—all you have to do is convince your boss it’s a great team-building experience. And there are gift cards and certificates if you’re looking for the perfect gift for your significant other.

I haven’t been to check it out in person yet, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Here’s a link to the English version of their website, but there’s more information on prices and courses on the French page.





Friday, November 7, 2014

Spotted: US Navy Jeep


US Navy Jeep
Photo by Thomas Tompkins
Check this out—we saw it parked at a local strip mall a few weeks back while we were picking up Korean take-out. I don’t know if it’s the real deal or not, but it looks a lot like the 1944 Willys MB on this site:

Haven’t seen it around before, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open.



US Navy Jeep
Photo by Thomas Tompkins

Monday, November 3, 2014

Build Your Own Classic Mini with LEGO

Creator Expert LEGO Mini
Photo Courtesy BMW Group
Yep, there’s now a LEGO set that allows you to make a classic Mini Cooper. At $119.99 Canadian, you may not be running out to buy one for your kids this Christmas, however. It’s really more of a collector’s item and it’s only available through the online LEGO store.

Based on the version of the Mini built between August 1997 to July 1998 (the 40th anniversary Mini), the Creator Expert LEGO set contains 1,077 pieces, which combine to make a car 25 centimetres long, 14 centimetres wide and 11 centimetres high. It comes in British Racing Green (of course), and has the appropriate body striping, checked seats, and even 40th anniversary emblems.

Creator Expert LEGO Mini
Photo Courtesy BMW Group
As you can see in the second photo, the doors, hood and tailgate all open and the roof comes off. Under the hood is a detailed, transversely mounted 4-cylinder engine. The steering wheel (on the right hand side as befits a British car) is movable, as are the gear shift, handbrake, backrests and headrests. It comes complete with a picnic basket and a spare wheel. Suggested age is 16 and up.


Also available is a 1962 Volkswagen Camper Van ($129.99) and a DeLorean time machine (not nearly as detailed) for $44.99.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Felino – Quebec’s Latest Race Car?

Felino cB7
Photo courtesy Felino Cars
Quebec must be a province of car enthusiasts because they keep coming up with new and interesting Quebec-made vehicles. There’s the Allard J2X MKII (a remake of a classic British roadster), the HTT Pléthore LC750 supercar, and the Campagna V13R roadster trike.

Felino cB7
Photo courtesy Felino Cars
We might soon be able to add one more to that list, the Felino cB7. A prototype was revealed at the Montreal auto show last January, and word was that they would be doing final testing earlier this year with a view to a limited pre-production run late this year. It’s meant to be a track car, though they may eventually make a street legal version. Current specifications call for a 6.2 litre V8 putting out 525 hp at 6300 rpm, with a curb weight of only 1,135 kilograms. Yes, there’s carbon fibre involved.

Check out the photos. And here’s a video, presumably taken about a year ago, showing the car tooling around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.



But like so many dream cars, things seem to be running behind schedule. The press pack I got off the website was the one issued for the auto show and there seems to be no more current information. The specifications page says it will be updated in summer 2014. I checked the French version as well and it says the same thing. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. On the other hand, if you want to get in on the ground floor of a chance at a limited production car, they’re taking pre-orders now.



Related Posts:

Interview with Roger Allard of Allard Motor Works: Part One

Interview with Roger Allard: Part Two



Friday, October 24, 2014

Taking the Ferry across the St. Lawrence

Boarding the ferry
Photo by Kate Tompkins
When we were planning our road trip to Kegaska at the end of Highway 138, we thought we’d take a boat back from there. Turned out the price for us and the car to spend three days on the boat would have cost more than a Caribbean cruise, so we decided not to. As a compromise, we figured we’d take the ferry from Baie-Comeau on the north shore to Matane on the south shore, a crossing of about two-and-a-half hours. If you’re thinking of doing something similar, here are some things to think about.

It’s possible to make a reservation ahead of time through the Société des traversiers website. We did this and it was probably a good idea as, though we were travelling on a weekday in September, there were still lots of vehicles lined up to get on.

Boarding the ferry
Photo by Kate Tompkins
If you have mobility issues, or are worried about damage to your vehicle (not that we had any), you may want to avoid the ferry. They really pack you in there tightly. If you’re a passenger, be prepared to have to leave the vehicle before it’s parked and go upstairs. You will not be allowed to return to your vehicle until just prior to landing. I wasn’t expecting this and didn’t grab my jacket, which I could have used as it was very windy that day. My husband tried to text me once he was parked so we could find each other, but despite the fact we have the same network provider, I never got the message until the next day.

You will have to re-enter your vehicle shortly before arrival. They had us wedged between a big RV on one side and a pickup on the other. The only way in to the car was through the back doors. No, I’m not kidding. My husband then had to climb into the front seat. Not fun.


Heading out
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Having said that, we did enjoy the ferry ride. The boat is huge. It’s possible to go up on the top deck in the open air. There’s also a lower deck with lots of seats, a snack bar and gift shop, and even a couple of rooms with televisions, if you’re not interested in the view. You don’t realize just how wide the St. Lawrence is until you’re out in the middle of it and can’t see either shore.

This should be the last post about our road trip. If you're interested in reading them in order, here are the links:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spotted: International Harvester K Series Truck


International Harvester K series
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Saw this on our way home from our road trip, at the jardins de métis near Matane, Quebec. Judging by its size, I’m guessing it’s a K-1 or perhaps a K-2. And while it looks to be in beautiful condition, it also looks like it’s been driven recently. That I like to see.



International Harvester K series
Photo by Kate Tompkins


If you’re looking for IH information, check out this site by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Lots of documents and photographs.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Montreal Autorama Review Part Two

I’ll probably be doing more posts on Autorama, though I have a few other things I want to blog about first, but in the meantime, here’s a slideshow of several of the cars. If the video doesn’t play for you, you can also find it HERE.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Montreal Autorama Review Part One

2014 Montreal Autorama
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Did you manage to get to Autorama? I went Friday morning and had a great time looking at all the cars (and a few trucks). Possibly the nicest collection of North American cars I’ve seen under one roof. There were a few foreign makes as well, but the show floor was definitely dominated by American muscle. I’ll be putting up a few posts once I get my photos sorted, but in the meantime, check out this 1966 Dodge Coronet 500.

1966 Dodge Coronet 500
Photo by Kate Tompkins


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More Info on Autorama

I’d mentioned Autorama (running October 3-5 at the Olympic Stadium) in my listing for October car events, but thought some of you might like more information. So here’s a video commercial as a teaser (link HERE in case it doesn’t work).



What can we expect? It’s billed as the largest indoor car show in Canada, so there will be lots to see. There will be 250+ cars to admire, including classics, exotics, and hot rods. I’d have had this post written already if I didn’t keep getting sidetracked by the slideshow of cars on their website. Special attractions include Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR, Andrew Ranger with his NASCAR, a car from the upcoming “The Fast and the Furious 7,” and a car from the “Back to the Future” franchise. In addition to the cars, there will be lots of exhibitors.

Need more info? Here are the links to the Autorama webpage and Facebook page.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Road Trip Along Quebec’s North Shore: Kegaska and the End of the Road

End of the Road
Photo by Kate Tompkins
After a morning walk on the beach, it was time to take the car and drive out to the end of Highway 138. The first few kilometres out of Natashquan were good paved road, but the pavement ended around kilometre 16 and we were faced with gravel. Pretty decent gravel for the most part, but it did have a tendency to roll in places so we had to keep the speed down. That and we really didn’t want a rock coming through the windshield.

There were very few other vehicles on the road, but we did run into a construction zone—like most of the ones on our trip, they were working on the culverts and bridges. In several places there were signs of a track beside the road, and we occasionally came across snowmobiles parked for the summer or neatly stacked wood.

Roadside Scenery
Photo by Kate Tompkins
While there were some treed areas, the trees were small and scrubby. Much of what we saw was flat and looked like tundra, with small pools everywhere. Despite that, we saw no wildlife with the exception of a few birds.

About an hour out of Natashquan, we reached Kegaska. It’s a small fishing village and apparently English speaking despite being deep in rural Quebec. There’s a small working harbour with a large dock, as a supply boat comes in there regularly. We’d originally thought we might take the boat at least partway back home (three days on board), but the passage for our car and us would have cost more than all the rest of the trip. There’s also a combination restaurant/grocery store in town, but as we had brought our lunch with us, we didn’t check it out.


Harbour at Kegaska
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The highway ends at the river, but it’s not actually the end of the road. There’s another road that runs along the river and apparently goes at least as far as the next village. Maybe someday.

Next: Ferry from Baie-Comeau to Matane

Friday, October 3, 2014

Buddy Holly’s 1958 Ariel Cyclone Motorcycle Goes Under the Hammer This Sunday

Bonus post for you today--I'll get back to the road trip next week.

It’s lot 235 in an auction called Remembering Waylon (Waylon Jennings) being conducted by Guernsey’s in Phoenix this weekend. The bike itself is apparently a bit of a rarity as only 200 were built. Its having been owned by both Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings adds to its value. You can read the whole story of the bike HERE, which I highly recommend, especially if you’re interested in the history of early rock ‘n’ roll.


You can also find details of how to register there if you’re interested in bidding, and of course there are photos. They’re estimating it will go for anywhere between $100,000 and $1,000,000. The starting bid is set at $50,000.

October 2014 Montreal Area Classic Car Shows and Events

Not quite time to put the toys away for the winter. Coming up this month we have:

October 5
Metcalfe Fair Hot Rod, Race & Classic Car Show
8 am registration
Metcalfe FairGrounds, 2821 8th Line Road, Metcalfe, Ontario
Contact Al Graham at 613-913-1070 or 613-821-7449 or algraham1445@gmail.com

October 10-12
Autorama John Scotti and East Coast Carz
10 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm Sunday
General Admission $15, children 6-12 $6
Olympic Stadium, Montreal
Participants contact Michel at 514-965-4200 or michel.malorni@sympatico.ca

Admittedly not a lot, but the return of Autorama is great news. I hope to have more information/photos on that in the near future.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Road Trip Along Quebec’s North Shore: What’s to Do in Natashquan?

Des Galets, Natashquan
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Natashquan may be a small town, but it has a very good tourist office (I think it’s run by the municipality rather than being a provincial government facility). They have lots of brochures and the lady behind the desk is very happy to tell you what’s going on, albeit in French only. They also have wifi access, if you’re looking to get caught up with the outside world.

There are at least three historic sites with guided visits so it’s a good idea to check in with the office to see when they are actually open. One building had a musician/story teller, one was an old schoolhouse, and the one we managed to fit into our schedule (we had to drive to Kegaska and the end of the road, after all!) was the former general store and shrine to locally born Quebec folk singer Gilles Vigneault. While I didn’t personally find the short documentary on his life interesting, I did enjoy looking around the store/post office, which had lots of information on how people used to live. Seems the main sources of income were to be cod fishing and berry picking, the results of which would be sold to the store in exchange for groceries and other supplies. We saw people out berrying along the roadside on the way to Kegaska.

What I didn’t see on offer, and had hoped to find, was 4x4 tours into the bush. There is apparently a hiking trail along the river, if you want to try your own trek into the woods, but at 16 kilometres one way, we weren’t particularly tempted, especially after one of the locals said they’d been on it the other day and the bugs were really bad.

Besides being the (former) end of the road, Natashquan is probably most famous for “des Galets,” a group of old fishing shacks built on a large rocky area jutting out from the beach. They used to be used for processing cod. Now they’re an official historic site which you can wander around (you can’t enter the buildings). Do take your camera, they’re quite picturesque. There are a few plaques at the site explaining their historical significance.

Speaking of the beach, it’s beautiful for walking on. We needed jackets the day we were there (late in August) so I don’t know how it is for sunbathing or swimming. Like most of the North Shore, there were very few shells to be seen, though holes in the sand indicated the presence of clams.

There’s one restaurant on the beach, and another plus a café somewhere in town, but don’t count on them for meals, especially in the off season. I never saw the restaurant in town open. We did eat at the one on the beach (I recommend it) but it was the last week it was going to be open that year. However, as long as you have access to a barbeque or a microwave, the grocery store is well-stocked.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Road Trip Along Quebec’s North Shore: Sept-Iles to Natashquan

Chutes de Manitou
Photo by Thomas Tompkins
It may have been raining most of the day before, but the sun was shining from Sept-Iles to Natashquan. About midmorning we pulled into a highway rest stop at Chutes de Manitou. There was a small fee for admission to the hiking trail to the falls, which we figured was worth it to keep the trail maintained. While we didn’t go all the way to trail’s end, we did go down to the bottom of the falls. It’s quite scenic, and was a good chance to stretch our legs. Not recommended if you can’t handle stairs however.

At lunchtime we reached Havre-Saint-Pierre, which we’d been told was the last place you could get gas on Highway 138 (not true, as it happens). You can catch a boat cruise from there out to the Mingan Archipelago, where you’ll see flowerpot rock formations, and, if you’re lucky, puffins. We decided to save that for another time as we didn’t have three hours to spare. We did have lunch sitting at a picnic shelter at the end of the harbour, watching a seal bobbing around as we ate. There’s a large tourist information centre there, which even has a cafeteria. It also has a large wall map of the north shore.

Baie-Johan-Beetz
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Farther down the road, we came across the town of Baie-Johan-Beetz, and pulled off to take a look. It’s very picturesque. There’s a pedestrian bridge across to a small islet, which gives you good views of the St. Lawrence and of the town. It was shortly after that that we drove through an area where all the larger trees had been burnt. It went on for about 22 kilometres, and was due to a forest fire the previous summer. They’d had to evacuate the town, but fortunately the fire never reached it.

Next stop was the town of Aguanish, which had a lovely, but very deserted beach. It was quite windy, which seemed to be the case everywhere we stopped along our trip. That’s probably why we never had any trouble with black flies or mosquitoes. Finally, it was on to Natashquan.

All roads lead to...Natashquan
Photo by Kate Tompkins
We picked up the keys for the cabin where we were going to stay, took the obligatory picture of the sign, and stared with amazement at the gas pump (admittedly just regular and diesel, but still!) and large grocery store on the main street of town. Not at all the middle of nowhere we’d been led to expect! 


Next: Natashquan

Monday, September 22, 2014

Road Trip Along Quebec’s North Shore: Tadoussac to Sept-Iles

Photo by Kate Tompkins
The day we drove to Sept-Iles was grey, windy, and rainy. Despite that, we did make a couple of stops. The first was at a lookout near Ragueneau, which offered not only a view of the St. Lawrence, but a giant obelisk and two life-size dinosaurs in cement. I’d expected the obelisk to be a war memorial, but the plaque said that it and the dinosaurs were a tribute to the early settlers. If you’re travelling with kids, it’s probably a good spot to pull off and let them run around for a bit. This part of highway 138 is called the Route des Baleines, but we never saw any whales, even with our binoculars.

Our next stop was the Centre National des Naufrages du Saint-Laurent (St. Lawrence shipwreck centre). The weather continued to be appropriately gloomy at this point, adding to the atmosphere of the centre. There’s not a lot to see but there is a 20 minute multimedia show about some of the many wrecks in a very small section of the river (nearly 200 in around 80 kilometres if memory serves), a detailed wall map of all the wrecks, and, at least the day we were there, a very well-informed staff member who was quite happy to tell us about the shipping history of the area and answer all our questions. We thought it was worth the stop.

Photo by Thomas Tompkins
Things began clearing off as we got closer to Sept-Iles. It’s very much an industrial town. The number of hydro lines converging on it is impressive, as is the sheer size of the aluminum factories. There were a dozen or so large freighters docked in the river. My husband was more interested in the Argo outside a store next to our motel, however. Judging by the number of dealers, everyone on the North Shore must own a snowmobile, a 4 wheeler, a dirt bike…

Photo by Kate Tompkins
And, while it was actually on our return trip, also saw this at a gas station in Sept-Iles. Pretty cool!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spotted: Citroën 2CV6 Charleston

Citroen 2CV6 Charleston
Photo by Kate Tompkins
On our north shore road trip, we took a cruise up the fjords of the Saguenay and docked at the town of L’Anse-Saint-Jean. While we were eating lunch at the dock, I saw what looked like a car from the 1940s pull into a parking lot up the hill from us. Naturally, I had to check it out, so once we were done, I grabbed my camera and headed up the hill to take a look. Wouldn’t you know it, I was just lining up a shot, when somebody else decided to park right next to it, despite there being plenty of other spaces. That meant I couldn’t get a good shot from the side, but did manage front and back views.

Citroen 2CV6 Charleston
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The car was a Citroën 2CV6 Charleston, and in beautiful shape. Despite its 40s appearance, I discovered when I had time to look into it that this particular model was built between 1980 and 1990, when Citroën discontinued the 2CV. I wasn’t wrong in thinking it looked old, however. The 2CV used pretty much the same body styling right from its initial introduction at the 1948 Paris Auto Show. They did change up the engine over the years, however, but the 2CV is no muscle car. According to ranwhenparked (which has a good post on the Charleston here), the Charleston had a 602 cc flat twin engine that put out 29 horsepower. While it could reach a top speed of around 70 mph, it would take nearly 33 seconds to do 0-60. No, I’m not missing a decimal point.

I can’t pin this one down any closer than 1980-1990, not having access to the VIN, or the owner for that matter. It is sporting the colours of the initial limited edition Charleston, which became so popular Citroën put it into regular production. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the last official 2CV to roll off the line was a Charleston.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Road Trip along Quebec’s North Shore: Tadoussac

Saguenay Fjords
Photo by Kate Tompkins
We spent a couple of nights in Tadoussac so we could take a five hour boat cruise up the Saguenay Fjords. Of course, that's really two hours up, two hours back, and a stopover for lunch. It was scenic but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with kids--the ones that were on the boat were bored silly. The number one industry in Tadoussac seems to be whale watching cruises, but we didn’t have time to do that as well as the fjord cruise, and it was still fairly early in the season for the best whale watching.

Whale watchers must have lots of money because eating in Tadoussac was expensive. At least, I consider $9 for a slice of pizza, or $12 and up for a burger expensive. It was a very good burger, mind you. Possibly there are some fast food chains in the area, but we didn’t see any.

Hiking at Tadoussac
Photo by Kate Tompkins
If you’re not into whale watching, there is the beach, though it’s a small one. There are also some short, not too strenuous (though they do involve stairs) hiking trails with good views. I gather that kayaking and cycling are also available.

We did splurge a bit on accommodation, staying at the Hotel Tadoussac, which is right on the beach. It’s a hotel in the grand old style, with the current building dating back to, if I remember correctly, 1945, back when steamships full of tourists used to pull up to the docks. Now the tourists arrive by bus and car, making the narrow streets a bit of an obstacle course.

Hotel Tadoussac
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The front lawn of the hotel is lovely, built on a grassy slope overlooking the water, with chairs to sit in. It would be even better if they were serving afternoon tea, or had a beverage service. The building is lovely, too, especially the lobby, which is huge, and has lots of comfy chairs and tables that people actually use for conversations and relaxing—one had a large jigsaw puzzle set out on it. The doors were open most of the time so the “sea” breeze could blow through, keeping things nice and cool.

Unfortunately, our room was at the back of the hotel, facing onto a sheltered area, and while we kept our window open, there was no breeze to be had. There was also no air conditioning, although we did have a ceiling fan, which helped. Somewhat. I wouldn’t have cared to be there when it was actually hot out, however. So if you decided to stay, try to get a room on the river side.

The hotel does have various packages, including deals on cruises, meals, etc. We opted to have breakfast there, and at $10 per person for a hot and cold buffet, it was probably the best deal in town. The Coverdale dining room wasn’t a bad deal for dinner, either. For $10 more than a burger cost elsewhere, I could have a really nice steak.



Friday, September 12, 2014

Road Trip along Quebec’s North Shore: La Tuque to Tadoussac

Sainte-Rose-du-Nord
Photo by Kate Tompkins
From La Tuque we headed north east, to the Saguenay region. We soon left the lumber trucks and the heavily wooded area behind, in exchange for large fields around Lac-Saint-Jean. Though we only saw the eastern end of it, we were amazed at how big Lac-Saint-Jean is. I was reminded of the prairies, yet we had the feeling we were quite high up.

We skirted the bottom edge of the lake and headed for Saguenay, arriving there late morning. Once we got through Saguenay, we were back in wooded, hilly country. A sign at the side of the road not far past Saguenay warned that the next gas station was the last one for quite some time. They weren’t kidding. We never saw another station until just outside of Tadoussac. And the stretch from the sign to Tadoussac ate a lot of gas, considerably more than expected from the mileage on the map. So if you’re travelling this route, you might want to fill up either in Saguenay itself or at the “last” station.

Oh, and if you’re on the Rogers network, expect infrequent or non-existent service on your cell phone for most of this trip. You should be okay in major centres, but may not get anything at all in between. Not exactly reassuring if you’re travelling down a not particularly busy road and wondering if you can make it to the next gas station.

We took a detour off the highway into Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, looking for bathrooms and somewhere to have lunch (no, they don’t have a gas station). It’s a scenic little town, one of the very few between Saguenay and Tadoussac, and one of the stops on the Saguenay Fjord cruises. The tourist office was closed when we were there, which meant there was only one (very small) public bathroom. Since the place was packed with tourists, both those who had driven in, like us, and those from the boat, there was a line-up. We’d tried a picnic area quite a ways further back, but it had no bathrooms at all. One more reason to make a pit stop in Saguenay.

Salmon fishing river
Photo by Thomas Tompkins
Then it was back out to the highway and onwards to Tadoussac to finally rejoin the St. Lawrence. Enroute, we occasionally caught glimpses of a river (not the Saguenay), said to have salmon, and did pull over to take a look at one of the fishing areas. After that, woods and hills changed to a somewhat more urban area.


Next: Tadoussac

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Road Trip along Quebec’s North Shore: Montreal to La Tuque

Covered bridge near St-Mathieu, Qc
Photo by Kate Tompkins
We started our trip along the north shore by leaving the St. Lawrence entirely and heading mostly north, to La Tuque. Since we’d done the Montreal to Quebec City stretch before, we figured we’d like to see something different.

The first part of the day wasn’t that exciting, as we were driving on a busy highway through an urban area. I did see one thing I would have liked to have gone back and taken another look at, however. That was an old-fashioned A&W at Joliette—the type you drove to, and got served in your car. No idea if they’re still using car hops. I’ll have to check it out one of these days.

As we got into a more rural area, we started to see signs for covered bridges. We stopped for lunch at one near St-Mathieu, but there were at least two others. The owners of some property nearby have graciously allowed access to a viewing point on the water, with a small picnic shelter, and we took advantage.

Back on the road, we decided on another detour and drove through the Parc National de la Mauricie, in hopes of seeing some wildlife. Did spot chipmunks and a blue jay, but nothing of any size. However, there was a good lookout point (a very short hike in from a parking lot) which almost made it worth the hefty entrance fee to the park. It did look like a great park for camping and canoeing—we could see several canoes from the lookout.

Parc National de la Mauricie
Photo by Kate Tompkins
After that we had to go almost as far back as Shawinigan in order to cross the river and swing north again. From that point on traffic began to pick up, but it was mostly lumber trucks and they were all in a hurry, usually on our tail. Except when we were going uphill, which happened a lot.

Somewhere between Shawinigan and La Tuque we saw a sign that the next gas station would be the last one for quite a while. As far as the highway is concerned, that’s true, but there are several stations in La Tuque itself.

La Tuque struck me as a frontier town. Most of the people staying at our hotel were hydro workers who got up very early in the morning. Not much in the way of restaurants unless you enjoy fast food. On the other hand, it has a really excellent municipal park with an observation tower and several small museums. One is on singer-songwriter Felix Leclerc, who was from there, another on the local fur trade. There was a collection of boat engines in a couple of sheds but they were under lock and key when we were there. The park also has a pond, a waterfall, and a small playground where your kids can let off steam. All free.
Falls at La Tuque
Photo by Thomas Tompkins


Monday, September 8, 2014

Road Trip along Quebec’s North Shore

Not quite the end of the road
Photo by Kate Tompkins
For some time now, my husband has wanted to drive along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, as far as the highway goes. This year we finally had our chance, and took off two weeks ago for ten days on the road. Of course we could have done the trip in less time, but we wanted to see things along the way. Also we wanted to stay in comfortable hotels and motels, which meant stopping in larger centres. However, if you like to camp, there were lots of campgrounds along the way, many of them along the water.

Would I recommend it? If you like looking at rocks, water and sand, forest and bog (and I do!), very much so. If your vacations are more travelling from one amusement park to the next, then it’s not the trip for you.

We went the last week of August/first week of September for two reasons. One, because we’d been told by someone who’s travelled that way frequently that the black flies and mosquitoes wouldn’t be as bad that late in the season, and two, because the kids were back in school, there was less traffic. We certainly didn’t see many bugs, even when we went hiking through the woods, but that could also be because it was nearly always windy. On the other hand, because school had already started, many of the smaller tourist offices (and hence public roadside toilets) were closed for the season.

While not everyone we ran across spoke English, they were all friendly and helpful and very keen to point out the beauties of their locality. Also, while we were worried about the availability of gas near the end of the road, that turned out not to be a problem (though it nearly was on the road between Saguenay and Tadoussac). There’s actually a pump right in Natashquan (up until last year the official end of the road), though it only dispenses regular and diesel. No one in the tourist industry seems to know about it, however.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

September 2014 Montreal Area Classic Car Events

I’m ahead of schedule for once. You can find next month’s shows under the link at the top right, or just click HERE. Still time to get in a few shows before the season’s done for another year.


Friday, August 22, 2014

100 Years of Dodge, Part Two

For those of you who’d like more details, I’ve pasted this Dodge brand chronology directly out of a press release from Chrysler. It’s all © Copyright 2014 Chrysler Group LLC, including the photos. I haven’t added, deleted or edited anything.

The press room at the Dodge Main plant circa 1918.
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1864
John Francis Dodge is born on October 25th in Niles, Michigan.

1868
Horace Elgin Dodge is born on May 17th in Niles, Michigan.

1896
Horace Dodge receives Patent #567,851 for a dirt-resistant bicycle bearing. In typical fashion, he shares credit with John.

1897
Production starts for the Evans & Dodge Bicycle Company in Windsor, Canada.

1901
The Dodges sell their interest in the bicycle business and start what would be the largest machine shop in Detroit.

The Dodge Brothers plant featured the first ever on-site
automotive test track of any vehicle manufacturer. All of the
new Dodge Brothers vehicles were driven on the track to
ensure quality. Circa 1920.
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1902
The Dodges become a major supplier of engines, transmissions and axles to the new automobile industry. Oldsmobile and Northern were major customers.

1903
Dodge gave up all other business, borrowed $75,000 for tooling and created the production drawings and all mechanical parts for the new Ford Motor Company. Starts shipping the first of 650 Ford cars. Dodge employs its entire shop - 135 workers; Ford employs only 12. The Dodge brothers accept a 10 percent share of the new Ford Motor Company stock for their risk.

1910
Dodge Main plant was built to supply Ford with engines and transmissions. The property will eventually grow to 78 acres and have more than 5,140,000 feet of manufacturing and office space.

1914
Dodge gave up all Ford business to introduce its own car - the first with an all-steel body. The first Dodge vehicle leaves the plant on Nov. 14, 1914. By the end of the year, 249 Dodge vehicles are built.

1915
Dodge ranks as America's third best-selling automaker. The word "dependability" is first used in Dodge advertising. Dodge offers a "winter car" with a removable hardtop and snap-on side glass.

1916
Dodge supplies 150 cars to the United States Army. General John Pershing uses these Dodge vehicles to catch Mexican bandit Pancho Villa. Lt. George Patton Jr. uses a Dodge vehicle in the first mechanized cavalry charge in U.S. history with three cars and 15 soldiers. Dodge introduces an all-new multi-disc clutch.

1917
Dodge enters the commercial truck field, offering both civilian and military trucks built on a passenger car chassis. The wheelbase on passenger cars is stretched from 110 to 114 inches. Dodge is fourth in U.S. sales.

1918
Calendar year production is just over 60,000 units. Dodge produces a 155 mm gun recoil system for the Allied armies during WWI.

1919 Dodge Four-Door Sedan
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1919
Dodge builds its 400,000th vehicle with a yearly total of 104,000 units. Dodge introduces a four-door enclosed sedan.

1920
Both Dodge Brothers die of influenza - John on January 14th and Horace on December 20th. Dodge is the second best-selling car in America.

1921
Dodge enters into an agreement with the Graham Brothers to build trucks for the Dodge dealer network. Dodge is #2 in U.S. sales with more than 81,000 units sold.

1922
The company expands its production capacity, achieving a rate of 600 cars per day. Vehicles feature a refreshed style with a taller radiator, but an overall lower vehicle. Introduction of Budd all-steel disc wheels.

1923
Dodge introduces the first all-steel Business Coupe. Dodge slips from third to sixth in sales.

1924
The Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company opens its first Canadian plant in Walkersville, Ontario. The wheelbase is lengthened from 114 to 116 inches. A new semi-elliptical spring is introduced. After a major plant expansion, the Dodge Brothers Company now employs 20,000 people and produces 1,000 cars a day. Dodge recaptures third place in U.S. sales.

1925
Calendar year production breaks 200,000 for the first time. A consortium of New York bankers buys the company from the Dodge brothers' widows for $146 million. The one-millionth Dodge is produced.

1926
All Dodge models now have the standardized SAE H-pattern shifting. A two-unit, six-volt electrical system is introduced. Dodge is ranked fourth in U.S. sales.

1927
A new five-main bearing crankshaft is introduced. Dodge is now seventh in U.S. sales.

1928
Chrysler Corporation acquires the Dodge Brothers Company for $170 million on July 30, 1928. For the first time, Dodge offers a six-cylinder engine. Models are offered in three wheelbases - 110-inch, 112-inch and 116-inch.

1929
Dodge introduces the first downdraft carburetor to the automotive industry. Dodge sells 124,557 vehicles, which is good for seventh in U.S. sales.

1930
Dodge begins production of an eight-cylinder engine. Model year production is 90,755. First year that a factory radio is offered.

1931 Dodge Roadster
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1931
Model year production is 53,264. Factory rust-proof bodies, valve seat inserts and automatic spark control are the big mechanical improvements. This was the last year a roadster body would be offered until 1949.




1932
"Floating Power" engine suspension is introduced. Model year production is 27,555.

1933
A new silent helical gear transmission is introduced. Models feature a new raked radiator and a longer hood. Model year production is 106,103.

1934
An all-new redesigned Dodge model line is considered to be the most attractive of any American manufacturer. The industry-first automatic over-drive transmission is introduced in Dodge vehicles. Independent front suspension is a new feature on Dodge vehicles. The eight-cylinder engine is dropped. Dodge won't have another until 1953. Model year production is 95,011.

1935
Dodge builds its 3 millionth vehicle. Model year production is 158,999.

1936
Model year production is 263,647. All-steel roof is introduced.

1937 Dodge D5 7-Passenger Sedan
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1937
Dodge introduces fully insulated rubber body mounts - an industry first. Introduced safety padding on the back of seats. Model year production is 295,047.

1938
Model year production is 114,529. The new Dodge Truck Plant opens in Warren, Michigan. The last convertible sedan is produced. This is the last year that the Dodge Brothers logo was used on Dodge vehicles.

1939
The 25th Anniversary models from Dodge featured an all-new fastback styling with an integrated trunk, headlights built into the fenders and a V-type windshield. These models are called Luxury Liners. Front suspension with coil springs is introduced. Model year production is 179,300.

1940
Sealed beam headlamps are introduced. Two-tone paint is available for the first time. Model-year production is 195,505.

1941
Fluid drive and safety rim wheels are introduced. Model year production is 236,999.

1942 Dodge WC Weapons Carriers awaiting shipment at the
Dodge Truck Plant in Warren, Michigan, during World War II.
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1942
A new six-cylinder engine is introduced with higher compression and more torque. Government orders automakers to stop production of passenger cars in February of 1942 to focus on the war effort.

1943
At the Dodge Main plant, 2,098 radar units and 5,500 Sperry Gyro compasses are built between 1943 and 1944.

1944
The Dodge Chicago plant builds 18,413 B-29 engines during the war.

1945
The first post-war Dodge's are introduced in the fall of 1945 as 1946 models. These vehicles are basically refreshed 1942 models.

1946
The 5 millionth Dodge is produced. Models are called the Custom and Deluxe. Model-year production is 156,148.

1947
Dodge is the nation's 5th best-selling vehicle, and has 6.52 percent of the market.

1948
This is the last year for the pre-war styled Dodges. A new Dodge assembly plant opens in San Leandro, California. Dodge is the sixth best-selling car in the U.S.

1949
The single bench Wayfarer Roadster is introduced. This would be the last roadster in the North American market. This has snap-in Plexiglas windows. The Meadowbrook and Coronet are introduced to replace the Deluxe and Custom. Model-year production hits 260,000.

1951 Dodge Wayfarer 2-Door Coupe
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1950
The first hardtop coupe for Dodge - the Diplomat - is introduced. The Wayfarer gets roll up windows. The first Dodge to drive in a NASCAR race is entered in a race in Canfield, Ohio. Model-year production hits 350,000 units.

1951
Dodge introduces its first all-steel wagon. The final Wayfarer Roadster is produced. Model-year production is 292,000.

1952 Dodge Pickup
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1952
The "Red Ram" HEMI® is introduced late in the year. This is the first V-8 in a Dodge. Models continue to be the Wayfarer, Coronet and Meadowbrook. Model-year production is 206,000.

1953
The Red Ram HEMI engine provides 140 horsepower to the totally redesigned Dodge line. A Dodge V-8 powered car breaks 196 AAA stock-car records at Bonneville Salt Flats. Dodge receives the first Virgil Exner designs. The Wayfarer line is dropped. Lee Petty gives Dodge its first NASCAR victory in a race in Palm Springs, Florida.

1954
A Dodge convertible paces the Indianapolis 500. 701 replicas of this car are produced. Dodge cars finish in five of the top six places in the medium stock class of the Carrera Pan-American. The PowerFlite automatic transmission is introduced. The Dodge Firearrow Roadster concept car is introduced. Model-year production is 150,930. A Dodge wins the Mobile Economy Run. The Royal model is introduced.

1955
The Dodge LaFemme coupe is introduced. This pink and white car is marketed toward women, and includes makeup, an umbrella and a rain hat. A high-end Custom Royal series is added. Model-year production is 273,286. A Super Red Ram HEMI is introduced. This engine produces 18 horsepower more than the standard red Ram.

1956
An under-dash record player is available. The "Hi-Way Hi-Fi" is the first in-car personal entertainment system. Three-tone paint is now available. An industry-first, push-button transmission is offered. The D-500 performance package is now available. This features a HEMI engine, upgraded brakes and a performance suspension. Model-year production is 233,686. Last year for the LaFemme.

1957
Large tail fins are now major features on all Dodge models. Model-year production is 281,359. Torsion-bar front suspension introduced, called "Torsion-Aire." The Dodge Red Ram HEMI is now 310 horsepower.

1958
Last year for the first-generation HEMI in a Dodge. Electronic fuel injection is offered on a limited number of Dodge vehicles. All Dodge vehicles ride on a 122-inch wheelbase. Model-year production is 133,953. Dodge is 10th in sales.

1959
Last year for the L-Head six-cylinder engine. Model line continues with the Royal, Custom Royal and Coronet. Swivel bucket seats are now an option. Model-year production is 151,851.

1960
The slant six replaces the long-lived L-head six-cylinder engine. The Dodge Dart is introduced. The first version of the Dart is a mid-size model. Unibody is introduced on all Dodge vehicles.

1961
Dodge introduces the Lancer compact. The Lancer is broken up into the 170 and 770 series. The lineup also includes the Dart Seneca, Pioneer, Phoenix and the Matador and Polara models. The 413 c.i.d. engine is now available. A performance version is used by drag race teams, including the Ramchargers. The Dodge FliteWing concept car is introduced.

1962
The lineup is now the Dart, Dart 330, Dart 440, Polara 500, Custom 880, Lancer 170 and Lancer 770 models. Four NHRA records are broken by Dodge.

1963 Dodge Polara 2-Door
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1963
The Wedge Head 426 V-8 is introduced. The engine dominates the drag strip. The Dart becomes a compact car. It replaces the Lancer. The Dart is available in the 170, 270 and GT series. Other available models are the 330, 440, Polara, Polara 500, 880 and Custom 880. Dodge begins to offer a 5-year/50,000-mile warranty.

1964
The 426 HEMI track and drag engines become available to race teams, but not for street use. Dodge celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Dart gets a new compact 273 c.i.d. V-8. The Dodge Charger concept car debuts.

1965
The Coronet name returns to the Dodge lineup in a mid-size sedan. The Monaco is introduced as a sport/luxury hardtop coupe. The concept car Charger II is introduced. Model-year production is 550,795.

1966 Dodge Charger
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1966
The "Street HEMI" first appears in the mid-size Dodge cars. The Charger is introduced. This fastback style will only be featured in 1966 and 1967. Dodge begins the "Dodge Rebellion" performance ad campaign. The 440 c.i.d. engine is now available.

1967
The Dodge Dart gets a new larger Unibody with a 383 c.i.d. V-8. The model lineup is now the Dart, Dart 270, Dart GT, Coronet deluxe, Coronet 440, Coronet 500, Coronet R/T, Charger, Polara and Monaco. The Dodge Deora concept, based on an A100 pickup, is introduced.

1968
An all-new Charger is debuted, featuring iconic "Coke-bottle" styling. The Dart gets the GTS package with either a 340 or a 383 V-8. The Super Bee is added to the Coronet lineup. The model lineup is the same with the exception of the new Charger R/T and the Coronet Super Bee. The Scat Pack is introduced. 75 HEMI Darts are built for Dodge by Hurst for NHRA competition. The Daroo I and Daroo II concepts debut, as does the Charger III.

1969
The Charger 500 is introduced with a flush front grille and a more aerodynamic rear window. The Charger Daytona is introduced with a nose cone and a large rear spoiler. This vehicle is intended for NASCAR; only 500 were produced. The Dart Swinger replaces the Dart GTS. 440 c.i.d. engines are now available with three, two barrel carburetors. Called a "Six-Pack," it was initially only available on the Super Bee. Dodge wins 22 NASCAR Grand National races.

1970 Dodge Super Bee
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1970
The Dodge Challenger debuts. A special model, the T/A is built to compete with the Mustang and Camaro in the Trans Am racing circuit. Final year of the 1968-1970 body style Charger. Convertibles are dropped from the Polara and Coronet lines. Model-year production is 503,392. The Dart Swinger 340 is a very popular model.
Buddy Baker drives a Dodge Charger Daytona to 200.447 mph. This is the first car to break 200 mph on a closed course.

1971
A Dodge Challenger convertible paces the Indianapolis 500. Dodge mid-size models are completely redesigned. Last year for the Charger R/T and Super Bee performance models. The Dodge Diamante concept is introduced. Final year of the Challenger Shaker.

1972
The 426 HEMI is no longer available on Dodge models. The Dart Demon is now available. An electronic ignition is offered. Dodge dealers begin selling the Mitsubishi-built Colt.

1973
The Dart Demon is renamed the Dart Sport. New energy-absorbing bumpers are available on all Dodge models. Model-year production is 675,161.

1974
All full-size Dodge vehicles are now named Monaco. This is the last year for the Challenger. Richard Petty wins the Daytona 500 in a Charger. Dodge celebrates its 60th anniversary.

1975
The redesigned Charger SE is built in Canada.

1976
The compact Aspen is introduced. The car is advertised "The family car of the future." The last Darts are produced. Economy minded "Dart Lites" are produced for one year.

1977
The Diplomat is introduced. The Coronet is dropped. The Monaco name is now used on mid-size cars; full-size models are badged Royal Monaco. T-Bar roofs are available on the Aspen.

1978
The Dodge Omni is introduced. The vehicle is the first transverse-mounted front-wheel-drive vehicle available in North America. The Charger XE is introduced. It is a sportier model than the Charger SE, which is still offered. This is the last year for the 440 and 400 V-8. The Royal Monaco is dropped after only one year. This is the last of the C Body full-size models.

1979
The hatchback Omni O-24 is introduced. The St. Regis is introduced. This is a new mid-sized model. The Charger is dropped, but the Magnum XE is still produced.

1980
The Mirada replaces the Magnum. The DeTomaso package is available on the O-24. Last year for the Aspen. This is the last year for the 360 V-8. A new 5-year/50,000 warranty is offered.

1981
The Dodge Aries K-car - an all-new vehicle that would prop up Chrysler Corporation's sales for several years - is introduced. This is the last year for the St. Regis. The 318 V-8 is the largest engine in the lineup.

1982
The mid-year introduction of the Dodge 400 convertible marks the first time since 1976 that a ragtop was offered by a domestic manufacturer. The Dodge 400 convertible is based on a stretched K platform. The Charger returns, based on the O-24 hatchback. Based on the O-24, the Rampage mini pickup is introduced.

1983
The Dodge Shelby Charger is introduced. This marks the return of a performance car to the Dodge lineup. The 600 is introduced. It is based on a stretched 600. The last "Slant Six" engines are produced.

1984
The revolutionary Dodge Caravan minivan - dubbed the "Magic Wagon" - is introduced. The Daytona is introduced and features a turbocharged 2.2-liter engine with 142 horsepower on the Turbo Z. A 600 convertible is now available. The 318 V-8 is the only engine available in the Diplomat.

1985
The H-Body Lancer is introduced as a five-door hatchback with an available 2.2-liter Turbo. This replaces the 600. The Aries receives a facelift with more aerodynamic fascias.

1986
This is the last year for a Dodge convertible for several years. Carroll Shelby produces a shockingly fast Shelby GLH-S based upon the Omni with a 175 horsepower 2.2-liter Turbo.

1987
The Dodge Shadow is introduced as a subcompact, available as a three-door and five-door hatchback. The Omni is now only available in the "America" package. This is a super-low-priced package that costs only $5,499. The Daytona is restyled with pop-up headlamps and a power 12-way 'enthusiast' seat with inflatable lumbar and thigh support. The Shelby Z model is introduced, featuring a new Turbo II intercooled 2.2L turbocharged engine delivering 174 horsepower. Carroll Shelby produces a very limited-edition Shelby Charger GLHS and Shelby Lancer, with a 175 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder.

1988
The Dynasty is introduced and becomes the company's best seller, seating up to six with available V-6 power. The last Aries station wagons are available. A long wheelbase Caravan is introduced as the Grand Caravan. A new Lancer Shelby is introduced with a Turbo II engine - producing 174 horsepower and 0-60 in 7.2 seconds.

Dodge Viper concept car
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1989
Dodge celebrates its 75th Anniversary. The Dodge Viper Concept debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The mid-size Spirit is introduced with seating for up to six and offering a choice of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or V-6 power. The Daytona is restyled with new two-tone ground effects and 16-inch aluminum wheels on Shelby and C/S models. The 2.5-liter turbo with counter-rotating balance shafts and 150 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. torque, replaces the 2.2-liter Turbo I. The Shadow receives a styling update with flush-mounted headlights and two-tone ground effects on ES models. The Shadow also serves as the basis for the 175 horsepower Shelby CSX. This is the last year for the Diplomat and the Lancer.

1990
The Daytona receives a minor styling update on the exterior with monochromatic ground effects and an all-new interior. Mid-year, IROC replaces the Shelby, and the Turbo II is replaced with the Turbo IV, offering a new Variable Nozzle Turbo (VNT), dramatically reducing turbo lag. This engine is only offered in limited quantities in the Daytona Shelby and Shadow ES. A 3.0-liter V-6 becomes available in the Daytona, mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Last year for the Aries. Industry-first driver-side airbags are standard on all Dodge vehicles. Dodge begins sponsorship of the International Race of Champions (IROC). All drivers compete in identical Dodge Daytonas.

1991
A pre-production Dodge Viper paces the Indianapolis 500. The Shadow is now offered in a convertible version. The Spirit R/T is introduced with the new 2.2-liter 224-horsepower Turbo III, featuring a 16-valve DOHC intercooled turbo with a Lotus Head, mated to a five-speed Getrag for 0-60 mph times in 5.8 seconds. All-wheel-drive Caravans are now available as part of the second-generation AS models. The Dodge Neon concept debuts. The Mitsubishi-based Stealth is first offered, featuring a 164 horsepower V-6, 222 horsepower 24-valve V-6 or a 300-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 with all-wheel-drive.

1992 Dodge Daytona IROC
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
1992
The Dodge Viper is now for sale to the general public, almost identical in design as the concept vehicle, with an 8.0-liter V-10 with 400 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission. The Daytona is restyled with new exposed flush-mounted headlamps and the introduction of the IROC R/T, featuring the 2.2-liter turbocharged and Intercooled Turbo III 224 horsepower engine from the Spirit R/T. This is the final year that this engine and the Daytona IROC R/T and Spirit R/T are available. The Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan feature an integrated child safety seat - a segment first. The Dodge Shadow introduces a new 3.0-liter V-6 option.

1993
The Dodge Intrepid is introduced along with the Chrysler Concorde and Eagle Vision. The all-new LH platform vehicles with their "cab forward" shape represent a new era in vehicle design.  The Intrepid is available with dual airbags, two V-6 engines, including a 214 horsepower 3.5-liter 24-valve, SOHC and traction control.
The high-performance Spirit R/T is dropped. Last year that the Dynasty is available. The Dodge Viper GTS concept is introduced along with the Venom concept.

1994
Traction control is standard on the Intrepid. The Intrepid offers a flex-fuel V-6 that can run on a mix of gasoline and methanol. Last full year for the Shadow. It will be built until mid-year 1995. The Shadow convertible is dropped. 10th Anniversary of the Caravan.

1995
The Neon is introduced, available as a two-door or four-door with a standard 2.0-liter, 132 horsepower engine. The Dodge Stratus brings the "cab-forward" design to the mid-size class. The Dodge Avenger coupe, built off a Mitsubishi platform, is introduced to replace the Daytona.

1996
The Dodge Viper GTS Coupe is available for sale late in the year with an 8.0-liter V-10, 450 horsepower engine. The new Dodge Viper GTS Coupe paces the Indy 500.
The Dodge Grand Caravan is all-new and features segment-first dual-sliding doors.

1997
A Dodge Stratus wins the SuperTouring Car Championship. The Dodge Copperhead and Sidewinder concepts are introduced.

1998
The Dodge Intrepid is redesigned, with even more dramatic style and a standard 2.7-liter V-6, 200 horsepower engine. The Dodge Durango is introduced, bringing V-8 power and seven-passenger seating to the mid-size utility segment. A new Dodge Neon R/T is introduced for SCCA racing, featuring a 2.0-liter, 150 horsepower engine. The Dodge Viper gets standard dual airbags. Dodge introduces the Durango R/T model with a 5.9-liter V-8 engine.

1999
Dodge introduces the Power Wagon and Charger concepts. 15th Anniversary of the Caravan.

2000
The Maxx Cab and Power Box concepts are introduced. An all-new Neon is introduced, available now only as a four-door with 132 horsepower. A high-performance version with a supercharged four-cylinder is also shown as a concept vehicle.

2001
The Super 8 concept debuts. An all-new Dodge Stratus Sedan is introduced, with an available 2.7-liter V-6, 200-horsepower engine. An all-new Stratus coupe, replacing the Avenger coupe, is introduced, still based on a Mitsubishi platform. An R/T version of the Neon is launched with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder SOHC, 150-horsepower engine. A new RS Caravan and Grand Caravan are introduced, featuring new styling, a removable center console and power up-and-down liftgate.

2002
The Razor and M80 concepts are introduced. The new 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 is introduced.

2003
A big year for Dodge concepts. The Dodge Magnum, Kahuna and Avenger concept cars are all introduced, as well as the Tomahawk, which is a Viper V-10 engine-powered motorcycle. A new Viper is launched as a convertible, featuring a larger and more powerful 8.3-liter V-10 with 500 horsepower. Neon receives a freshening, with a more prominent cross-hair grille design. The SRT-4 is launched, featuring a 2.4-liter, 215 horsepower Intercooled Turbo. The Stratus coupe receives a minor freshening.

2004
The Slingshot concept is introduced. The SRT-4 receives a horsepower bump to 230 horsepower and the addition of a limited-slip differential. The second-generation Durango is introduced on a unique platform, now offering HEMI V-8 power for the first time. The Stratus Sedan receives a minor freshening. 20th Anniversary of the Caravan.

2005
Gen III Viper SRT-10 coupe is revealed in Detroit. Caliber concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Dodge Magnum is introduced, bringing back rear-wheel-drive and HEMI V-8 power in a four-door wagon. Engine choices include a 2.7-liter V-6 with 190 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with 250 horsepower or 5.7-liter V-8 with 340 horsepower. Magnum SRT8 is revealed. Final year for the Dodge SRT-4 and Stratus coupe. Dodge introduces the industry-exclusive Stow 'n Go seating and storage system on the Grand Caravan, where the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold into the floor.

2006
A new Charger is introduced, marking the return of a historic Dodge nameplate and HEMI power. Viper introduces the return of the GTS. Magnum SRT8 is introduced, featuring a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 with 425 horsepower. Dodge introduces three new concepts: Challenger, Hornet and Rampage. Final year for the Stratus sedan.

2007
The Dodge Demon concept car is introduced. The Charger Super Bee is introduced with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine with 425 horsepower. The Caliber four-door hatchback is introduced to the compact segment in early 2006 as a 2007 model, featuring a 1.8-liter, 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Nitro mid-size SUV is introduced, available in rear-wheel-drive or 4x4 configurations and either a 3.7-liter V-6 with 210 horsepower or 4.0-liter V-6 with 260 horsepower on the R/T.

2008
Challenger is introduced exclusively in SRT8 trim with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 with 425 horsepower, "carbon fiber" stripes and five-speed automatic. New 2008 Grand Caravan is introduced; the short-wheelbase model discontinued. Avenger sedan is introduced, replacing the Stratus sedan. Magnum receives a freshening during its final year. Caliber SRT4 is introduced with a 285-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged with an intercooled four-cylinder. The Zeo concept debuts.

2009
The Circuit electric vehicle concept debuts. 25th Anniversary of the Caravan and Grand Caravan. Dodge Journey crossover is introduced, featuring a choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 173 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with 235 horsepower, front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive and five- or seven-passenger seating. Final year of the Caliber SRT-4.

2010
Caliber receives an interior freshening. Mopar '10 special edition of the Challenger is introduced. A special Viper SRT10 1.33 edition and ACR-X are announced.

2011
As part of one of the largest product renaissances, Dodge introduced six all-new or completely redesigned vehicles over a course of just a few months in late 2010 and early 2011. All-new Durango is introduced, featuring the Pentastar V-6 with up to 295 horsepower or 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and 360 horsepower, four-wheel independent suspension and standard seating for seven. All-new Charger features a standard 292 horsepower Pentastar V-6 and an available eight-speed ZF automatic for a class-leading 31 miles per gallon (mpg). R/T models feature the 5.7-liter V-8 370 horsepower, with the SRT getting a new 470 horsepower 6.4-liter V-8 for 0-60 mph times in the low 4-second range. Charger features a class-leading 8.4-inch touchscreen, available all-wheel-drive with front-axle-disconnect and a new "racetrack tail lamp" signature styling cue consisting of 164 LEDs. Challenger is introduced with a new 305-horsepower Pentastar V-6 as the standard engine, 375-horsepower 5.7-liter or a new 470-horsepower 392 cu.in. HEMI engine. The new '392' is launched as part of a special inaugural edition. Avenger receives new styling, all-new interior and new powertrains, including a best-in-class 283 horsepower Pentastar V-6. Grand Caravan is significantly redesigned for 2011, with new styling, all-new interior, and a new best-in-class 283 horsepower Pentastar V-6, replacing the 3.3-liter, 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V-6 engines. Journey receives a refreshed exterior, an all-new interior with an 8.4-inch largest-in-class touchscreen and an available 283 horsepower Pentastar V-6. Final year of the Nitro SUV.

2012
All-new Dart is revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2012. The Dart is the first vehicle built off the new Compact US Wide (CUSW) Fiat architecture, blending Alfa Romeo driving dynamics with three world-class engines, offering up to 41 mpg and up to 184 horsepower, along with class-leading technology and safety, with dynamic Dodge style, including the signature LED racetrack tail lamps and dual exhaust. Charger offers a new 300 horsepower version of the Pentastar V-6 with cold-air induction and paddle shifters. New AVP package introduced on Journey and Grand Caravan, along with a top-of-the-line R/T on Journey.
New Rallye Appearance Group on the Durango offers R/T looks, mated to a 295 horsepower V-6. New Blacktop package on Charger offers 20-inch Gloss Black wheels, black grille and a 300 horsepower V-6. New Rallye Redline on Challenger pairs 20-inch black chrome wheels with a signature red lip and backbone. Beats by Dr. Dre is exclusively available on the Charger. Final year of the Caliber compact hatchback.

2013
Charger offers a new AWD Sport model, bringing together a 300 horsepower V-6, paddle shifters and sport seats for the first time to all-wheel-drive customers.
The new 2014 Durango is revealed at the 2013 New York Auto International Show, showcasing new styling, including signature racetrack LED tail lamps, new eight-speed automatic transmission with the 295-horsepower V-6 or 360-horsepower V-8, 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) display, 8.4-inch touchscreen and dual Blu-ray DVD players in the second row. Charger Daytona is introduced as a limited-edition model, with unique interior and exterior styling cues. Thirty years of minivan leadership and innovation are celebrated with the launch of the special edition 30th Anniversary models of the Grand Caravan SE and SXT. At the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, two historic names are brought back - Scat Pack and HEMI Shaker. At the 2013 LA Auto Show, the 100th Anniversary of Dodge is celebrated with limited-production 100th Anniversary models of the Charger and Challenger, featuring exclusive High Octane Red paint, Molten Red or Foundry Black Nappa leather interiors, centennial badge and a unique owner's kit. 2014 Challenger Shaker is revealed with production beginning in early 2014, built off the R/T Classic with a genuine Shaker hood back returning to the Dodge lineup for the first time in 43 years. Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Scat Pack, Dodge reintroduces the Scat Pack Club and Scat Pack Performance Stage Kits available in early 2014 on the Challenger and Charger 5.7-liter HEMI and Dart 2.4-liter Tigershark. New Charger Pursuit with all-wheel-drive delivers best pursuit-rated performance and fastest-ever AWD lap time during Police Evaluation Testing. 2014 Dart launches with the 184-horsepower 2.4-liter Tigershark standard on SXT, Rallye and Limited models.

2014

Dodge enters the 2014 model year as America's fastest growing automaker. The new 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger are introduced at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. The new Challenger now offers a 485 best-in-class horsepower, track-ready all-new 6.4-liter Scat Pack model, 392 HEMI® Scat Pack Shaker, all-new interior and segment-first standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. The new 2015 Dodge Charger - the world's only four-door muscle car - gets a new exterior with nearly every exterior body panel re-sculpted, a 300-horsepower Pentastar V-6 with best-in-class 31 mpg highway, standard segment-exclusive TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and world-class handling and refinement. Dodge unleashes most powerful Challenger ever. The all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the 600-plus horsepower HEMI Hellcat engine delivers unrivaled performance, race-inspired interior and new technologies geared toward the driving enthusiast.