In July, 2018, History Channel gave Car Week, a celebration of all things petrolhead. They made good specials worth remembering.
Hot Rods and Muscle
Cars begins where WWII ends, with clear indications that hot-rodding is
nothing new, as it’s been going on way before the war. Among those thrill-seeking
GIs that took their military experiences to make their machines go faster, plus
plentiful surplus goodness, there were men like Bill Burke, who set land speed
records through an ingenious form of streamlining, and Stu Hilborn, who brought
mechanical fuel injection tech from airplanes to cars.
In July, 2018, History Channel gave Car Week, a celebration of all
things petrolhead. They made good specials worth remembering.
Out of all the Car Week specials, this is the one that I wanted to watch the most.
Truck Wars starts
with an explanation of how things used to be back then (crap roads, cars were
toys for rich folks, etc.), before talking about Ransom E. Olds, who founded
REO after being booted from his first car company, Oldsmobile. REO creates one
of the most important trucks, the REO Speedwagon (yes, the one that inspired
the rock band name), with tech (rubber tires, electric start) that a number of
conventional cars of the time didn’t have, so while considered expensive, it
was worth it, as its numerous variations across the decades can attest. It was
also powerful, so since the beginning, trucks had muscle to outrank passenger
cars, and the REO Speedwagon was the O.G. muscle truck (just as well, the
documentary doesn’t mention any muscle street truck at all). And it can never
be stated enough to mention that Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line, he merely adapted the moving version
to automobile manufacturing; Olds used the stationary version.
Last year, despite not being home, I was surprised to be able to watch most of Car Week. So I decided to make it the subject of a post. But even after getting back from my trip and writing this review, I didn’t have a break to upload it sooner. As time quickly passed by and other websites beat me to the punch, I shelved it. But given that Car Week has become a yearly thing for History Channel, perhaps we can treat this as a recap. Maybe even whet your appetite for the upcoming Car Week.
History Channel’s love affair with horsepower goes farther
than just their show Counting Cars,
they’ve dabbled into the automotive genre long before the channel reinvented
itself, with one of them involving tuning up vehicles for a dragstrip shootout (among
them were Firebirds, AMC compacts and VW Beetles). Sadly, I don’t remember the
name of the long-hour show (I do remember Bill Goldberg’s show was called AutoManiac). Thankfully, the channel’s
love for motoring hasn’t subsided, with today giving rise to Car Week, a week
filled with automotive-related programming. Among re-runs like The Cars that Made America (where there Top
Gear USA reruns? I’m not sure), new documentaries have been made for
the occasion, with proper commercials to promote them:
While downloading an entire manga series rumored to have
Bimota motorcycles in it (no,
not that one, Ghost Sweeper Mikami,
in case you’re wondering), I checked if the site had a series that has eluded
me for years was readily available for download. Lo and behold, there it was:
Michiharu Kusunoki‘s Wangan Midnight
manga series, all 42 untranslated volumes of it.
Wangan Midnight tells the story of a group of expressway racers that usually focus around the long Wangan route, risking everything from their licenses to their lives in search to be the fastest. People from all walks of life are drawn to this: models, doctors, high-schoolers, businessmen, entertainers, etc., bring their personal cars (amateurishly or professionally tuned) and mix themselves with professional tuners that are directly and indirectly competing with each other with their latest demo cars. If you got a need for speed and can’t go down/afford to go to the racetrack, the expressways’ where it’s at.
One car stands out among them all: the Devil Z. The mix of notoriety and legendary performance despite its old-school tuning foundations and underpinnings will bring challengers out the proverbial woodwork and reunite numerous individuals in their quest to beat it and become the fastest on the expressways.