Weird Universe


Irish Car:  The Shamrock



Why there is no Irish car industry today. From Wikipedia.

Shortly after production began, however, design flaws became apparent. Although the car was big and heavy, it used a relatively small Austin A55 1.5 litre engine, which limited performance. The A55 also provided the transmission and suspension. Another problem was that the rear wheels were shrouded by body panels and a rear wheel could not be removed (for puncture repair for example) without dropping its axle..... Production of up to 10,000 cars a year was talked about but as few as ten complete cars were produced during the six months before production ceased. After the factory closed, the unused parts were dumped into the local lake, Lough Muckno.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu May 16, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Regionalism, Success & Failure, 1950's, 1960's, Europe, Cars

Wild at the Wheel

The filmmakers seem to have hired an Iron Butterfly cover band to do the soundtrack, which makes all the dangerous risk-taking seem alluring..
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Apr 20, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Accidents, Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers, Death, PSA's, 1970's, Cars

Fritz von Opel

Fritz von Opel was one of those early-20th-century rocket-besotted guys who pioneered this exotic means of propulsion. Just look at his rocket car go in the film clip above! (Narration in German, but not necessary to comprehension.)

But von Opel's innocent excitement had its darker side. I give you the 1929 newspaper article below. Specifically, the enlarged sentence.


Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Mar 29, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, War, Space Travel, 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, Europe, Cars

Early Solar-Powered Car

A 1912 Baker Electric car that was retrofitted with a solar panel by Charles Escoffery for the International Rectifier Corp. back in 1960. The panel cost $20,000. (I don't know what that would be in present-day money, but it wouldn't be cheap.) With the panel, the Baker could run at 20 mph for three hours. International Rectifier hoped to soon be churning out "noiseless, smogless" solar cars for $5000 each. It's 53 years later now, and we're still waiting. Source: Newsweek (Mar 7, 1960) & M3GA.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Feb 16, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, 1960's, Cars

Mercedes Benz Commercials

Maybe it's just me, but I find these commercials remarkably creepy, inauthentic, unappealing, ineffective and misguided, given my perceptions anyhow of who buys a Mercedes.

What do you all think?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Dec 08, 2012 | Comments (8)
Category: Business, Advertising, Humor, Stereotypes and Cliches, Europe, Cars

SUV Lightning Strike in Russia

In the good old days, a lightning strike would be bad news, but your vehicle might still run.

I'm guessing the computer gets fried and the poor schlep behind the wheel gets to sit and think what to do next.

The strike is bright from the outside, so I'm just wondering what the immediate thoughts of the driver were.
Posted By: gdanea | Date: Sat Sep 29, 2012 | Comments (12)
Category: Cars

World’s Smallest Car

This car won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records -- less than 18 inches tall!!

If this car was in the US, a roll-bar would be mandatory, kind of defeating the shortest car attempt!!
Posted By: gdanea | Date: Fri Sep 28, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Cars

Do Giants Live Amongst Us?

As I pondered this ad, which ran in Time magazine (May 1983), I realized that here on WU we've slowly been accumulating evidence that a race of giants lives amongst us, whose existence is occasionally revealed to the world in advertisements. Consider, for the sake of comparison, these two other ads that Paul and I have previously posted:

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Sep 28, 2012 | Comments (11)
Category: Advertising, Cars

1960 Plymouth XNR Concept

Why aren't the streets of 2012 filled with such vehicles?

This one-of-a-kind car sold recently for nearly one million dollars. More info here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Sep 01, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: 1960's, Cars, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Save the Manuals?

Experts are predicting that within 15 to 20 years manual-transmission cars might be "virtually extinct." This has inspired Eddie Alterman of Car and Driver magazine to launch a 'Save the Manuals' campaign.

I drive a stick shift, but for one reason only — because it was the cheapest car on the lot (among the cars I was willing to consider). I concede there are occasional times when driving a stick shift is more fun than an automatic, but when I get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic jams, which happens frequently in the San Diego area, I hate having a stick shift. So when the time comes that I need to buy a new car, if an automatic is the cheapest option, I'm more than happy to say goodbye to manuals forever.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Aug 03, 2012 | Comments (17)
Category: Transportation, Cars
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.