Historiography: The Celebration of The Roadster

1990 Mazda Miata 1
All Photos by Randy Stern

Thirty years ago, McCormick Place was the place to be.

The lights inside the exhibition hall south of Chicago’s Loop would shine upon a return of a motoring revolution from another generation. The new vehicle reminded us of a time when cars were easier to work on but required a bit elbow grease to handle. It took bravery when the weather would change to make sure the driver and its other occupant were secure from the weather.

It was not because of varying design flaws. Quite the contrary. Since the first automobile, the idea of a roof was not completely thought out. You drove with the elements above you without a filter.

The open roof automobile came in various ways. One such variant on the theme was the roadster. A smaller two-seat machine that was designed to minimal offering nothing but maximum fun.

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Chicago 2019: One Look Back Towards Looking Forward

2019 Chicago Auto Show
All Photos by Randy Stern – except noted otherwise

“Another year, another Chicago Auto Show…”

That was the mantra among those of us who arrived in McCormick Place for the 111th Chicago Auto Show. We may be either new to the game or are hardened veterans of the business, but we came, saw, and not exactly conquered what could be the only Tier 1 auto show left in the wintertime.

Before we get to 2020, we have to get through 2019. Chicago never disappointed us. At least, it never disappointed me.

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Quickies: It Is Now Time for “Rental Car Roulette!”

2019 Chevrolet Cruze LT
2019 Chevrolet Cruze LT sedan – All Photos by Randy Stern

Let’s play a game of “rental car roulette!”

Let me explain a bit of history before we dive into this game. In the time prior to receiving vehicles from the OEMs for the reviews you have read on this site, I had to rent the vehicles I eventually wrote about. It was not a conscious reason, but I figured I take the car I drove for the weekend and perhaps try my hand at writing vehicle reviews. The result has been the last eight years of content on this site.

However, there is an interesting byproduct of the practice of rental cars. In recent years, I noticed that travelers like yourself like posting the cars you had to rent on your business or pleasure trips you have taken. You also coin a phrase you use to tag your rental car adventures: #rentalcarroulette.

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Chicago 2019: Our First Look

All Photos by Mike Gatch for Mike Gatch Photography

So it begins. Victory & Reseda’s coverage of the 111th Chicago Auto Show.

As we mentioned last weekend, there is a team that covered what will become the only wintertime Tier 1 auto show next year. Not just your publisher – your’s truly – but of Northwest Indiana-based photographer Mike Gatch and Twin Cities videographer Josh Dvorak of FlecsMedia.

To kick off V&R’s coverage of our nearest Tier 1 auto show, we turn to Gatch and his images of the show. His images have an elegant feel, capturing shadows and light…and emotion. Enjoy his best images from the Chicago Auto Show.

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Commentary: Life at $5.25 Million Per 30 Seconds

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Premium
Made in Oshawa… – Photo by Randy Stern

Every year on this date, I try to make sense of life. Life, in context to this work.

To do so, I have to look back a couple of days. For example, this past Sunday.

During Super Bowl LIII, a few things happened. Julian Edelman shows us again that heroes do not come from a single construct of a dominant culture. Kia tugged at our emotions the same way Chrysler did in 2011, but focusing on a small town called West Point, Georgia. And, Unifor added more salt to a gaping wound at General Motors.

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The Winner of This Year’s “Polar Vortex” Is…

2019 Ford Edge ST
2019 Ford Edge ST – Photo by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda Review of the 2019 Ford Edge ST

The television weather personalities were hyping this up. The “polar vortex.” Yeah, we dealt with that before, haven’t we?

But, they claim this was different. They scared us to death to forecast lows down to -29 degrees Fahrenheit (-33.8 degrees Celsius) in the Twin Cities. They said that we would experience wind chills down to -50 degrees Fahrenheit (-45.5 degrees Celsius) and below. Some parts of Minnesota experienced wind chills down to -60 degrees Fahrenheit (-51.1 degrees Celsius) or colder.

Granted, I am a native of the San Fernando Valley back in California. I grew up with temperatures rarely dropping below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (+7.2 degrees Celsius). I lived through days of 100-plus degree Fahrenheit with first stage smog alerts hovering around the mountains that surrounded my birthplace.

And, yet, I survived this so-called “polar vortex.” You know what else survived this weather event?

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Commentary: Next Stop, Chicago

Photo by Marcus Genzlinger for Victory & Reseda

Working this year’s North American International Auto Show from the comfort of my home proved to be easier than I thought.

It came down to predictability. If you did some detective work, then you’d figure out that the 2020 Toyota Supra would take center stage at Cobo Center. You also knew that Ford would finally show the Mustang Shelby GT 500, along with the 2020 Explorer introduced the week before. Eventually, the Kia Telluride would have to debut in production form after a year and change of teasing as concepts and prototypes.

And, yet, it felt very truncated. Did we really miss any groundbreaking news? Will GAC become the first Chinese automaker to sell automobiles in this market, as “promised” by 2020? How will the tie-up between Ford and Volkswagen benefit each other? And, those headlines blasting through new media to get the quickest clicks and the biggest engagement.

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Commentary: Are The Chinese Coming?

GAC Trumpchi crossover
Photo by Randy Stern

Normally I would not pay attention to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual confab. There are a few people I know that attend this every year on various sides of the business.

I will bet you that they had some inkling of a bit of news that has seeped out of the Moscone Center in San Francisco this past weekend. Or, not.

To explain the headline, a Chinese automaker announced the first group of dealerships that will sell their vehicles in the USA. That company is called Zotye. And, yes, you have not heard about this company before.

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On The Dial: Like a Version

Boomer by the Cannon River
“I don’t wanna work…” – Photo by Randy Stern

The best way to describe our commute from our workplaces was best summed up Gordon Sumner – the guy we know as Sting. In his last studio album with The Police, the bassist penned these following words:

“Another working day has ended
Only the rush hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race.”

Pretty bleak and disturbing, isn’t it. Sometimes, it is true. We are crammed in buses, trains, and trams after a shift that may or may not be rewarding to the soul. Our highways are packed with cars – some of which may be listening to this song, called “Synchronicity II.” This song may also be wafting into the headphones and earbuds of those packed in buses, trains, and trams around the same time and duration.

While this single from The Police’s final original work, aptly called Synchronicity, paints a bleak image of work, let me offer up a brighter one. One that might not go well with your bank account or your chain of command at your job.

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Auto Racing is Back…Thank You, Alex Zanardi!

Photo courtesy of BMW of North America

Race car drivers can be inspirational. They become legends because of the way they inspired others in various ways.

Mario Andretti influenced a generation of enthusiasts through the combination of his personality and his work on the track. You loved him, enjoyed the way he embraces everyone around him, and go on to win the 1969 Indianapolis 500 and the 1978 Formula One Driver’s Championship. And, yet, he has become a lexicon in our society as a race car hero – even still at age 78.

Ayrton Senna holds the same kind of cache and influence for the 1980s generation worldwide. He yielded three Formula One Driver’s Championships as one of the riskiest, most aggressive, and masterful drivers of his era. Twenty-five years after his death at Monza, Senna’s name and legend has become the motivation for everyone who has competed in open-wheel racing since.

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