Red Hot Tires (1935), a review:

Turner Classic Movies likes to release a number of movies from their collection in batches to form a theme. War movies, Clint Eastwood movies, Dracula movies, etc. I just so happened to find out that they were gonna give car movies, so I recorded those whose reviews garnered my attention. Warning: spoilers ahead!


Red Hot Tires is a 1935 movie taking place in the racing world of the mid-‘30s. We see dirt track action in the beginning, where Johnny (Frankie Darro) wins first place but finishes last in grace. You’d be convinced that everything in the racing circuits was resolved using fists. The chief mechanic of the dirt-tracker is the main protagonist Wallace “Wally” Storm (Lyle Talbot), who knows how to defend himself behind the wheel.

While having clearly won the heart of the female protagonist Patricia “Pat” Sanford (Mary Astor), he ends up being fired from the racecar-building company he worked for –run by Martin Sanford (Henry Kolker), father of Patricia – mostly for suspected drinking at work and fighting the head driver and main villain, Bob Griffin (Gavin Gordon). Continue reading


The Thing.

“Beautiful Ugliness in a Wheeled Breadbox” is how a 1974 issue of Popular Mechanics described The Thing. “I saw the Thing and it was so ugly it was cute,” one owner said, describing his first encounter with his Thing.

Perhaps no other car has so perfectly typified its nameplate than the Volkswagen Type 181, known in the US as The Thing. Though I was just a wee lad when it was first introduced to the North American market in 1973 I recall that it was billed as the quirky, fun successor to the original Type 1 Beetle. It certainly was quirky.thingorange

Recreational off-road vehicles were becoming more common in the late ’60s and early ’70s thanks to the budding environmental movement and the continued rise in discretionary spending among younger buyers that had made the Mustang so popular years earlier. Jeep CJs were abundant and Ford’s Bronco, introduced in 1966, contributed to the rising popularity of what would eventually become the SUV. Into this growing market segment stepped … Volkswagen?

Note: This is not a post about the song or The Thing.

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Dekotora: Japanese word usually defined as ‘Decorated Trucks’. Alternate spelling Decotora also accepted. ‘Art Trucks’ is another suitable name.

You gotta love dekotora. I mean, how could you not? Just look at ‘em! In this side of the world, we’ve probably been exposed to them, albeit briefly, through movies like Black Rain. Trucks transformed into rolling artwork and/or light shows are nothing new. Every country has their take. This is Japan’s. I’ve been fascinated by dekotora for some time now, but writing about it would’ve proven difficult because of how little information there is about ‘em. Usually, all I’d find would be image collections and a Wikipedia copy-paste. Thankfully, thanks to both a Jalopnik video post and a Speedhunters article, I feel that I’m better prepared to discuss dekotora a little better than a year ago. The following video documentary has been re-posted on a couple of websites already, but I feel it’s worth sharing not just for the glimpse inside the world of dekotora, but because what the truck driver says resonates with the automotive enthusiast as a whole.

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