The NASCAR Story
Strictly stock car racing is the hottest sport around right now. And here’s the lowdown on it.
By Tom McCahill
FROM a spark that a couple of years ago was not much bigger than the glimmer in a bridegroom’s eye, the sport of racing unmodified or strictly factory-condition stock cars has blazed forth into a roaring prairie fire of popularity. Hot rods, midgets, jalopies, modified stocks, sports cars and even the big Indianapolis racers are getting a real run for their money from this newest racing craze. During a comparatively short season from April to November, the un-souped-up stock cars attract no fewer than 5,000,000 cash customers to tracks all over the country, making them the Number One crowd-grabbers in automobile racing today.
MI Tests the New Crosley
Tom McCahill, Mi’s auto expert, puts the new Crosley through its automotive paces.
EVER since I started on Mi’s automobile test series in 1946 hundreds of letters have come in asking about the Crosley and other miniature pieces of transportation. So here is the dope on the Crosley. To get it I came to Florida, where they seem to be the most popular—and here I am writing this in Palm Beach.
Studillac is the best car name ever.
MI Tests The Studillac
RAYMOND Loewy, Studebaker designer and chief stylist, proved once again in 1953 that he’s the guy the rest of the country’s designers wish they were. Back 1n 1946 he inspired the industry to steal his notchback Studie designs and in 1953 he came out with a car that made the typical monsters of Detroit look as modern as Ben Hur’s chariot in a stock car race. The engine of these showroom Studebakers is the same V-8 they had in 1952, a competent power plant which has proven responsive to hopping-up treatment. And now, the sporty lines of the 1953 models have inspired Bill Frick to create the “Studillac,” a real hydrogen bomb in spades and about which I propose to tell you more forthwith.
McCAHILL REPORTS ON The 1960 Cars
New models, new styles and new engines are featured in this most exciting automotive year!
THE wildest alleycat fight since Finnegan needled the beer is about to take place in the American automobile world for 1960. Not since the first post-war models of ’46 has the guessing board been so active in “The world’s biggest poker game,” as Pontiacs Bunkie Knudsen recently described the car industry to me.
Naturally, the Big Gamble is centered around the so-called compact cars of the Big Three. Just how big a market this will amount to is what General Motors, Chrysler and Ford would gladly pay several million dollars to know right now. Top brass at GM have told me they figure the market to be between 18-20 per cent of the total new car sales. Some Ford men think it may reach almost 25 per cent. Bill Newberg of Chrysler just says he doesn’t know, but adds, “We’ll all know a year from now.”
McCahill Drives the ’53 Volkswagen
It’s no raving beauty and it will only do 66 mph wide open—but this little German bucket really puts out when the going gets rough, says Tom.
NOT since Ben Hur whipped his chariot into a broad slide with a hopped-up horse has a more surprising vehicle been developed in Europe than the 1953 Volkswagen. Now, before you start accusing your Uncle Tom of blowing his bald stack, let me qualify the statement.
The Volkswagen, which hits a top speed of around 66 only after you’ve held it wide open for several complete turns of a stop watch, is no sports car by the weirdest definition. But gamboling around in two snow storms during my long test, I had more sport with this paperweight than you could have with a Cunningham.
MY TEN YEARS OF CAR-TESTING
Here are the fabulous hits and the colossal flops of Uncle Tom’s first decade as America’s “Mr. Car Test.”
By Tom McCahill
LAST MONTH we completed ten years of car-testing. More than 250 tests ago, in the February 1946 issue, Mechanix Illustrated published the first automobile test articles ever seen in America. Selling this series was tougher than trying to juggle pyramids as no other publication had ever had the guts to write both the good and the bad about Detroit. Since we started this controversial hassel, imitators have risen up like, mosquitoes in a tropical swamp and more guys have stolen our car-testing idea than you could find in all the Federal pens.