The video below offers a glimpse of the Volvo assembly line in Kalmar, Sweden in the early 1970s as it produces the 200 series model. It’s an educational video demonstrating new factory production techniques pioneered by Volvo and offers an amazing glimpse at how Volvo was trying to humanize the assembly line and improve worker’s satisfaction with their jobs.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t get chosen as a runner up for the ipd RWD photo contest. I’m sure they got plenty of submissions. I’ll try not to be bitter by saying that there’s some cool photos in there. I think next year I need to go for the pensive, looking off into the sunset style that won last years contest.
As for another contest I didn’t quite get accepted for, above is a partial header graphic I created for Volvolution community. I put together a mock evolution of the fronts of Swedish wagons. Enjoy.
With all the hype about people being distracted while driving we forget that in the beginning, the cell phone was actually the “car phone”. Or so the NY Time’s Matt Richtel writes this weekend in an interesting article about early mobile phone companies and studies warning of accident risks when chatting while driving. There’s a good interactive timeline showing ads from the 80′s of dudes cruising the highways with a phone brick at their ear.
My first car was a 1987 Volvo 745t I bought in 1994. It had the little antenna on the roof and a giant, glowing handset attached to the arm rest. I never got it activated, but it’s funny to think that something like that would be pretty much illegal now, seeing as the only way to use it is when you’re in the car and the car is running. Although I’m sure the PO always pulled to the side of the road to make a call. Right.
In 1974 movie goers were treated to Gone in Sixty Seconds, one long chase scene expanded into a full-length feature film. The movie barely had actors; it was just stunt drivers skidding and careening around, smashing fruit stands and plate glass. In this clip, we see the final jump sequence, repeated twice in slow motion, then once in real-time. By Jerry Bruckheimer’s standards it’s pretty tame, but at least it’s a real car and not a CG cartoon, like the one used for the final jump in the 2000 remake.
BONUS: James Hetfield flies down the hills of San Francisco in Metallica’s “I Disappear”.
In the wet dream of Bob Lutz, the 2010 Cadillacs are a multi-stage rocket blasting across the salt flats under the watchful eye of the NASAesque GM launch team. The new CTS Sportwagon bursts forth as the first stage in a cycle that ends with a new coupe.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had the please to read Chuck Closterman’s “Eating the Dinosaur“. In it he talks of how, as a culture, we’ve come to accept the lies that the advertising media presents us, and the fact that we don’t take things literally. The media business knows this, and presents products to us with the knowledge that we don’t take them seriously. Advertisers moved from presenting their clients products factually to evoking an impression to the subconscious of how a consumer will feel when they buy their product. We’re at a point now where we know it’s all lies, so advertisers can just present any hyperbolic scenario and know that we won’t think they’re presenting truth; it’s just stuff that looks cool blowing up! Therefore, we get a 264hp V6 station wagon being compared to a rocket burning hundreds of gallons of fuel each second to achieve earth orbit.
BONUS: The first few seconds of this Cadillac ad show a woman grinning as she drives a new SRX. I was pleasantly surprised to recognize Paula Merritt, a woman I knew briefly a couple years ago through a friend in Brooklyn. She used to play drums for Grandma’s Boy (now Bad Girlfriend) before moving to LA to further her modeling career. Looks like she’s doing well. Way to go Paula!
This Volvo “is aimed at the most demanding of customers: the independent woman in the premium segment.” So states the narrator for “YCC: Your Concept Car”, a look at creating an automobile specifically for women. Not to be confused with Rush “YYZ”, or F.U.B.U. “For Us By Us”, the YCC has such innovations as paint that is “just like a non-stick frying pan” and no easy access to the engine compartment. I assume this means that an independent woman in the “premium segment” couldn’t be bothered to know what’s going on with the car.
Over the soothing tones of new-age electronic jazz we learn it’s a “tough car” but not “brutal”. According to one of the women on the design team:
“You’re not buying a technical product; you’re buying by emotions.”
At :53 is my favorite part. A zoned out woman with a sweater casually draped around her shoulders wakes to tell us what our first impression of the car will be: “A feeling of, uh, grace… and, uh, space.” But she’s totally grace-less, speaking slowly and staring bug-eyed into the void.
BONUS: Trip out to the ambient music on this YCC promo video. Turn up the speakers for 9 minutes of hot buzz.
We drove down to Northern VA this weekend to visit my parents and had a chance to check out some museums in DC. Pulling onto the mall at 10:15 on a Sunday allowed us to park right in front of the Capitol, the National Gallery and the museum of the American Indian. It also gave me a great backdrop to photograph the brick with it’s new lowering springs.
The 4.5 hour ride down was quite pleasant. I’d been nervous about the stiffness of the springs but overall everything is fine. On long stretches of highway it felt about the same. The only problem is large dips and rises. The car doesn’t absorb them like it used to; you ride the full height and depth. Luckily there’s no bottoming out or shock crash-through, and no scrapping the exhaust on speed bumps.
I’ve been driving my wife crazy taking turns though. It’s so easy and precise to steer that you can lose a sense of your speed. Of course I was pushing the car a little, sending our case of Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck sliding around the trunk, and forcing Desiree to grab onto her seat. Fun!
But, as always, I’ve got a new gremlin in the car. No overdrive. It kicked out last week, so the whole drive was spent at 60mph in the right lane at 3200rpm. I gotta figure out if I want to check the OD solenoid, or just get the ipd bypass kit.