Occasionally you come across a statistical chart that casts a part of your personal history in a new light, data that places your inner life in a broader historical context. This happened to me this week when I was asked to give a talk to what is now one of the largest car companies in the world, a car-maker that was founded in South Korea in 1967, the year that I was born.
A great read. Would be eager to read on how the built environment has placed an upper limit on vehicle ownership and market growth.
Cities and regions in North America finally realizing the financial burden of auto-infrastructure. Only so many vehicles a single-family home can own. "Mobility" means something very particular in regards to the automobile.
“Whereas my upper-class paternal grandfather regaled us with tales of his outings in Bugattis in the 1930s, and beat his cars to bits, my paternal grandfather treated his 1960s vintage gold metallic Vauxhall Viva like it was a crown jewel and liked to take the family for “a drive””
Small world: I was born in 62 in Solihull. My dad was a toolmaker at Lucas Forman's Road in Birmingham from the 50s through to 79. It wasn't until I went to work for a US publisher in the 90s that I discovered that Lucas Industries was widely known among car enthusiasts as "the Prince of Darkness" on account of the unreliability of its headlights. I resented the implication but admired the wit.
The early motorization of the US was incredible. I recall reading statistics from many years ago that by 1930, there was one car for every four people in the US. The comparable figure was roughly 1 in 32 for the UK, one in 50 for France.
The figure in Germany in 1930 was 1 in 132. Which makes Hitler’s war all the more insane. How could he possibly win an industrial war that was based on motorization? And even more than tanks or artillery, the war was based on logistics, meaning trucks (OK, "lorries" for you stubborn Limeys).
Look up the figures on Wikipedia. The Opel Blitz, the Germans’ main army truck: ~130,000 produced. The CCKW, its American counterpart: ~572,000. The VW Kübelwagen: ~50,000. The Willys Jeep: ~650,000. This does not include production by other Allies, such as Canada (which built trucks mainly according to British Military Pattern). Canada alone built more trucks than the combined production of the Axis(!) The Canadian plants producing them were mainly GM of Canada, Chrysler of Canada, and Ford of Canada.
World War II was won in Detroit – and that includes the Detroit Tank Plant, which cranked out 49,000 M1 Sherman tanks.
Gh try tg
Pretty sure girls of your generation also grew up in the same world of machines. I too learned BASIC on a "Trash-80" and became amongst the best in my field, thankyouverymuch.
Especially boys and men? I rarely meet men who are as captivated by cars, and know the history of American cars like I do. This is not because being captivated by cars is a female thing, but because it’s a niche hobby. Since I have owned some classic cars, and met a number of people with a similar obsession I can’t pass this comment section without stating the obvious--women also love cars.
The growth of the auto industry involved high powered engineering coupled with undervalued currencies to compete a sclerotic Gm,FORD and Chrysler--Japan used its undervalued currency to capture machine tools,optics and then motorcycles and autos---hmmm a 145 yen today will allow Japan to reinvigorate its engineering edge especially as it takes the CHIP industry back to a reliable Asian source