Category: Automotive

Don Vorderman 1930-2018: The Best Editor I Ever Had

Don Vorderman 1930-2018: The Best Editor I Ever Had

A remem­brance first pub­lished in The Auto­mo­bile, Decem­ber 2019. This ver­sion con­tains two addi­tion­al illus­tra­tions and a glos­sary of Vor­der­man bon mots on auto­mo­biles.

“His­to­ry with its flick­er­ing lamp stum­bles along the trail of the past, try­ing to recon­struct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kin­dle with pale gleams the pas­sion of for­mer days.” —Win­ston S. Churchill, 12 Novem­ber 1940

“Writ­ers rarely talk about writ­ing among each oth­er. It’s a very per­son­al thing, and it’s almost always hard to do well, none of which is too con­ducive to cheery cock­tail chitchat. Most of us would rather vis­it a den­tist than face up to the task of begin­ning the next piece, though it’s not quite so awful once the com­mit­ment is made and the thing is under way.”

My dear friend Don Vor­der­man wrote that about the Eng­lish motor­ing writer Den­nis May, but he was also describ­ing him­self.…

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Kaiser-Frazer and the Making of Automotive History, Part 2

Kaiser-Frazer and the Making of Automotive History, Part 2

Transcript of a speech to the Kaiser-Frazer Owners Club, 30 July 2015. Continued from Part 1. Delving in

While I received no extra pay for writ­ing the Kaiser-Fraz­er book, I did have the use of an expense account for trav­el. That was where Bill Tilden came through again. He helped me track down and inter­view many of peo­ple respon­si­ble for the cars Kaiser-Fraz­er built. Oth­ers were locat­ed through the deep ten­ta­cles of Auto­mo­bile Quar­ter­ly, its many con­tacts in the indus­try. We also searched for archives, large and small.

Our great­est archival find was at Kaiser Indus­tries in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia: the Kaiser-Fraz­er pho­to files, placed on loan for AQ’s use.…

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Kaiser-Frazer and the Making of Automotive History, Part 1

Kaiser-Frazer and the Making of Automotive History, Part 1

Two Kids Hooked by the ’54 Kaiser

Joe Ligo of Auto­Mo­ments, who pro­duces high­ly pro­fes­sion­al YouTube videos on vin­tage cars, has pub­lished an excel­lent video on the 1954 Kaiser Spe­cial he’d admired since high school. No soon­er did I start watch­ing than I heard Joe say his lik­ing for the ’54 Kaiser was bol­stered by my book—as well as the car: “My ninth grade self thought it was beau­ti­ful…. In per­son, I still think the design is drop-dead gor­geous.”

Well, I too was in the ninth grade when a ’54 Kaiser (on the street, in 1957!) swept me off my feet.…

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