Why You Should Know Mr. K
If you are familiar with the “Z-cars” like the Datsun 260Z that defined the Japanese sports car evolution, then you are familiar with Mr. K, also known as Yutaka Katayama. This man is responsible for designing Japanese sports cars and delivering them to a hungry American audience. Without Mr. K, the world of automobiles would be very different.
Nissan and the Sad Little Cars
Photo Courtesy of Motor Trend
The Alfa Romeo with Character: The 2000
In the 1970s, there were very few cars with character. In the United States, the oil embargo made it difficult to fill the tank, so manufacturers began creating ugly little compact gas sippers. Convertibles were phased out and muscle cars were on their last legs. The auto industry was in a dire place and to make matters worse, the speed limit was dropped to 55 miles per hour. But Italy had a lovely little car called the Alfa Romeo 2000 GT Veloce.
Good Roots Make a Fine Car
The Datsun 280Z is the Best of the Z-cars
In the late 1960s, Datsun released the 240Z to the public. This moment changed the way that American drivers looked at Japanese imports. Prior to the 240Z, Japanese cars were small, economical, and boring. The 240Z brought sleek design, speed, and excitement. The 260Z was equally as good with a few updates, but the real winner was the Datsun 280Z.
Third Time is a Charm
Porsche intended for the 928 to replace the 911 when they came out with it in 1978. Fans of the iconic 911 simply weren’t ready to let it go and the 928 became a new model, but not a replacement. The German maker of performance sports cars thought that a new car with more refinement and comfort was needed in place of the more finicky 911. The 928 was a two-door coupe sports car, but one that included the same kind of equipment as a luxury sedan, along with superior handling, more space, and plenty of power. It may not have taken the 911 out of the lineup, but the 928, which was produced through 1995, did become a top seller and a legend in its own right.
Why No French Cars in The US?
The United States welcomes foreign cars. On a daily drive, it is common to see cars made in Japan, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, and a few other companies. In the mid-20th century, it was common to see cars made in France, but those carmakers have not sold their wares in the US for several years. The French are known for their sophisticated taste and style, but in the mid-20th century, the cars that were delivered to the US were anything but stylish and sophisticated. These are a few of the stinkers that were once sold in the US, but were not popular choices:
Masters of Mileage: Car Longevity Standouts
Carmakers are in the business of making money by making cars. In order to sell cars, people need to have cars. Cars need to be replaced as the parts of the cars only work for so long. Car longevity has changed over the years. In the mid-century, cars were expected to last for about 100,000 miles. Now, they should last for at least 200,000 miles. Even though most cars will only last for so many miles, there are some people who work hard to be able to drive their cars for an impressive amount of miles.
Transformers and the Iconic Cars
You might think that the Transformers vehicles are limited to the hot yellow Chevy Camaro, the big semi truck cab, the Hummer, and the Pontiac Solstice. Those who are new to the world of Transformers are often surprised to find out that there are several different versions of the characters that change from recognizable vehicles to powerful robots. These are a few of the most iconic vehicles in the Transformer universe:
Sloan-Longway Museum: Worth a Visit
Flint, Michigan: The motherland of General Motors. In the 1960s, Flint could brag that it had the highest per capita income of any in the world, but this is no longer the case. There are a few remnants of the day, like the largest brownfield zone in the United States; this zone was once the flourishing Buick city plant. At one point, over 80,000 people worked for General Motors in Flint alone, now there are fewer than 4,000. People leave the city to find a new home every single day. The Great Recession has taken its toll on Flint, but it has not destroyed the Sloan-Longway Museum.
The Porsche 550 is a legendary car for many reasons. Most notoriously, it was a 550 Spyder that James Dean drove to his death at the young age of 24. The 550 was designed in the early 1950s and sold from 1953 to just 1956. It came in both coupe and spyder body styles and included elements to maximize its speed in racing events. In fact, it was to a racetrack to try out his new sports car that was James Dean’s destination on that fateful day in 1955.
Masterpiece Vintage Cars
Just south of Indianapolis, Indiana is a car lover’s dream: the Masterpiece Vintage Cars showroom. Like a candy store for classic car enthusiasts, this showroom is stocked with a variety of refurbished and restored classics, like 1930s Fords, 1950s Chevys, and 1960s American muscle cars. Even if you aren’t sure you’re ready to buy or sell, this showplace is well worth a visit.
The owners and operators of Masterpiece Vintage Cars brought together decades of experience and a passion for older cars to help serve fellow car enthusiasts with buying, selling, consignment, shipping, financing, and even in searching for that elusive dream car.