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,]

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.