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AACA unites fans of Raymond Loewy’s designs, automotive and otherwise

AACA unites fans of Raymond Loewy’s designs, automotive and otherwise

A commentary comprising a collection of news and notes

Editor’s note: From time to time, we all need to tidy up our garages. In my case, it’s also time to share some news and notes that have accumulated in my inbox:

AACA establishing special Loewy Region

Raymond Loewy

The Antique Automobile Club of America that organizes its local chapters in geographic regions, but it also has several non-geographical regions such as the General Motors Collectors of America Region, the Midwest Fiero Club Region, the National Antique Electric Vehicle Region, and now it is adding another, the Raymond Loewy Region.

The Raymond Loewy Non-Geographical Region is formed “for the purposes of educating the public of the automotive and industrial designs of Raymond Loewy, and to foster interest in his designs throughout the collector car community.”

Loewy and his designers created such vehicles as the 1934 Hupmobile Aerodynamic, 1953 Studebaker Starlight Coupe and 1963 Studebaker Avanti, as well as the Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, the Coca-Cola bottle, the Lucky Strike cigarette package, the Shell gasoline shell, kitchen appliances, the interior of early NASA space vehicles, and much more. 

Loewy is credited with revolutionizing industrial design and for being a major proponent of streamlining, or what he called “beauty through function and simplification.”

VW electrifying its motorsports program

VW’s ID.R on its way up the mountain road in China | Volkswagen photo

You cannot be surprised to learn that Volkswagen is going all-electric with its motorsports program.  “A clear emphasis on fully electric racing cars will be backed up by the farewell to factory-backed commitments using internal combustion engines,” the company has announced. 

“The role as a technological pioneer will continue to be taken over by the ID.R electric race car, which has set important milestones for electric mobility with records at Pikes Peak Nürburgring, Goodwood and Tianmen (CN),” said Frank Welsch, VW board of management member for the passenger cars brand. “In addition, Volkswagen Motorsport will develop new motorsport concepts for the ID. family on the basis of the Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB), on which numerous electric production vehicles will be based

“Electric mobility offers enormous development potential, and in this regard, motorsport can be a trailblazer,” added Svem Smeets, VW’s motorsports director. “On the one hand, it serves as a dynamic laboratory for the development of future production cars and, on the other, as a convincing marketing platform to inspire people even more towards electric mobility.

“That is why we are going to focus more than ever on factory-backed electric drive commitments and continue to expand our activities with the development of the MEB. Innovative technology relevant to the car of the future is our focus.”

Although VW is working on an electrified customer-racing program, it will continue to produce Polo GTI R5 vehicles and to provide supply parts in the long term for other privateer racers running its current petroleum-fueled vehicles.

Hold my beer!

Brewer Anheuser-Busch and the Nikola Motor Company and BYD Motors have completed the first “zero-emission beer delivery” to transport brew from the St. Louis brewery to the Enterprise Center, home of the St. Louis Blues ice hockey team.

In a two-step process, a Nikola hydrogen-electric truck picked up the load at the brewery and delivered it to the local wholesaler, Lohr Distributors, which then relayed the liquid to the Enterprise Center with a BYD electric truck.

“No single company can build a more sustainable future alone,” said Ingrid De Ryck, Anheuser-Busch vice president, “but this zero-emission delivery has shown what is possible when we bring together the various strengths and assets within our supplier network to work towards a shared objective of a better world.”

Mach or Mock Mustang SUV?

Real Mustang, or merely marketing maneuver?

Count me among the former or current owners of Ford Mustangs who are displeased with the diluting of the pony car brand by forcing an electric SUV into the corral. 

It appears I’m not alone. autolist.com surveyed 1,000 car shoppers and 47 percent disliked the use of the Mustang name for a sport utility vehicle. Only 19 percent were in favor and 34 percent remained undecided.

“Mustang is practically its own subbrand with huge name recognition that should help Ford’s critical foray into EVs,” said autolist.com analyst Chase Disher. “But at the same time, the automaker has to endure howls of protest from the pony car faithful who hate seeing an icon’s legacy get appropriated.”

Selfie-ization nation

I am not a professional photographer, but my editorial duties include taking photos at car shows and other events I cover, and there’s not much more frustrating in that regard than the people standing in front of a vehicle using their cell phones to take selfies of themselves at the venue.

Maybe I’m old fashioned (OK, I’m old-fashioned to the point of prehistoric), but I’m not into selfies. If I have photos I took at an event, I obviously was there and I don’t need a photo of myself on the premises to prove it.

All of that to get to this: For its 2019 racing season, the historic Road America race track in Wisconsin installed a set of “selfie stands.” 

“The stands are designed with smartphones in mind,” the track reported, “complete with platforms ready to hold any size or style of mobile device, allowing visitors to safely snap that coveted selfie or group photo in front of one of Road America’s most popular views or landmark.” 

“The custom-built signs provided by CTech Manufacturing instruct users how to set their smartphones on a shelf positioned at an ideal height, allowing users to create customizable angles to capture the best image.”

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  • Jon Tedesco
    December 2, 2019, 8:28 PM

    I was the designer and my company built the Chevy Custom Clouds and Pierre Cardin Cadillacs in the mid to late 70’s. My company explored various other custom car designs for future projects and decided it would be good to get a true designer to help us. I was a student of industrial design and thought it would be a long shot to get Raymond Loewy involved but to my surprise he gladly accepted. I traveled to Paris and spent a day with him at his estate. It was a day I will never forget. I learned he really wanted to do more with cars and felt he was not given enough chances. We worked together for a few months and he submitted some very radical designs that never made it into production.

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  • Ryan Corman
    December 5, 2019, 7:31 AM

    Selfie stands?! Jeez-us wept.
    If one is so insecure and gobsmackingly vain that one considers life one big photo op, with self at center, well, begs the question: how do these people function?
    Do they know that all that wasted time and data will cease to mean anything within seconds following their death? Selfie junkies, hear me now- ain’t nobody got time or desire to page through yer ego-stroking once yer in the ground. Ya probably didn’t back up the files for access by the future’s devices, either, or leave yer password available, so even if someone was sick and bored enough to want to wallow in yer self-centered non-life, they will be prevented by the tech.
    Seems like "selfies" are not only of the object, but only for the object as well.
    What o’erweening vanity. And deep, deep insecurity.

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