Where's Gone Autos? At the International Met Meet!

I’m packing up the car with the most popular Metropolitan novelty t-shirts of the year and heading to Kenosha!

Gone Autos is going to be a vendor at the
2011 International Metropolitan Meet from July 28-30. I expect to be drowning in neopolitan colors this year, but I always have fun at these shows.

The Metropolitan evokes the best kind of smiles: genuine, enthusiastic, and irony free. I’m happy to be part of this event and once again seeing old friends.

Gone Autos also has an amazing offer for Met fans interested in this t-shirt. If you can tell me what orphan car brands you see on my shirt at the show, I’ll knock $2 off the $21.95 asking price.

And since you’re a devoted fan of this blog, I’m going to give you the answers. Here goes:
1) Nash Metropolitan
2) Pontiac GTO
3) Curved Dash Oldsmobile
4) Oldsmobile Toronado
5) Packard
6) Tucker Torpedo
7) Kaiser Manhattan
8) Studebaker Avanti
9) Pontiac Solstice
10) Mercury Cougar
11) DeLorean
12) Crosley
13) Sharknose Graham

Write ‘em down. Recite ‘em to my face. Save two bucks! Motores Prudentiores, indeed! See you in Kenosha!

An Open Letter to the Mechanic

You’ve done your job, sir. You’ve rescued that orphan car. You battled the Rust God and won. You’ve wielded Vulcan’s hammer to forge new parts from shapeless metal. You’ve vanquished the Beast and restored the Beauty. Your blood, sweat, tears, grease, and sacrifice are noble and heroic.

But I’m sorry, pal. You gotta stay home while your friend takes the car out and shows it off.

Here’s the thing. You’re a mechanic. You’re brilliant at what you do. But different jobs require different skills. Now that the car is done, you need to hand it over to your friend, the marketer.

The marketer goes to car shows and shakes hands. He talks to people. He tells stories about the car. He gets people excited and interested. Sometimes, he even thinks up promotional stunts to keep people engaged.

You think he’s a show off. You think he’s full of crap (or worse). You don’t trust him as far as you can throw a Studebaker V-8.

But what do you do when
you go to car shows? You sit in a lawn chair behind your car. You don’t talk to anyone you don’t know. Matter of fact, you’re hardly ever there with your car in the first place. Sorry, genius, but you’re a buzzkill at car shows.

Trust the marketer to do his job. He’s really good at informing, entertaining, and educating. In the words “car show,” you bring the “car”; he brings the “show.”

I know it’s hard to accept, but the marketer is as important as you are. And here’s a thought: if both of you start working together, I’ll bet you go a lot farther with that classic car than either one of you could alone. Teamwork gets better mileage.

So at the next car show, let the marketer take the wheel. You provide the fan belts and fan blades. Let him provide the fans. Together, you’ll be cool.

Turn outward to get the turn out.

Classic car fans are deeply concerned these days about declining club memberships and apathy among young people.

Part of this is natural. It’s difficult to get young folks excited about cars they didn’t grow up with or have a personal connection with.

But I think a humongous part of this decline is staring at us in the mirror.

When you go to a car show, do you look forward to it primarily as an opportunity to connect with old friends? Or do you think about it as a way to recruit new members?

If it’s the former, then you’re really just organizing a cocktail party with cars. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but when you turn inward toward each other, you won’t really recruit many new members.

If it’s the latter, then you’re thinking about growing, expanding, and perpetuating your hobby. Turning outward toward the public now may be the best way to make sure you still have your orphan car show 10 years from now.

Gone Autos Podcast #3: "All Canadian Car" with Stu Chapman

Did you know that Studebaker released a comedy record in Late 1964? It’s strange. It’s rare. It’s true.
All Canadian Car label

In this podcast, you’ll hear the complete recording of a limited-release comedy sketch called All Canadian Car. Then Stu Chapman, Studebaker’s last Director of Advertising and Promotion, joins us to tell us what it was all about and why it was made.

Listen to the audio-only version here.

For a video-enhanced version, click on over to the
Gone Autos Podcast page. (You’ll need QuickTime for Mac or Windows to enjoy both sites and sounds.)