Twenty-four years after the World’s first ever blog broke cover—reportedly Links.net, penned by a Swarthmore College student in 1994—you’re perusing my first ever blog for Automobile. Welcome. Ahoy.
That’s first ever, by the way, only if you exclude the iPad “extra” edition Automobile offered for a bit as a special bonus for our tablet-owning readers.
All these years later, new ownership is on board and I feel it’s finally safe to come out… into the cosmic artificial glow of the eternal digital display. Hence, a mere 24 years on, here’s Gears This Week, a sporadic on-line only offering, featuring cars, people, and ideas, big and small, which won’t make it into the print edition. Timelier and more picayune, because that is the luxury a lack of printed paper affords, sometimes with pictures of cars on my mind, or those in my garage. Expect cars new, old and in between, matters of historical interest, and links to articles, press releases, and other automotive detritus that clutter my desk and held my interest long enough to share. Maybe you’ll like them, too. Let me know what you think, if you want. I’m on Twitter @commodorehornblow
P.S. Gears This Week was the title of a column I wrote for my college newspaper, the one and only car column ever attempted in the pages of New York City’s Columbia Daily Spectator. I’ll try to dig up a copy of the first one (c. 1978?) and post it some day.
A quick peek now at the 1969 Rover 2000TC that my No. 1 son, Ike Clemente Kitman, recently bought out of Tom’s River, New Jersey. We rode down in a Volvo XC60 hybrid along with my daughter, Ellie to pick it up. As the Volvo was delivered uncharged, we didn’t get to fully experience its new powers of hybrid economy, but the XC60 was fast, man. And easy to see how it won the 2018 North American Car of the Year award last month in Detroit.
However, it must be said that the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Jaguar F-Pace diesel I drove in the two succeeding weeks were pretty sweet, too—for crossovers, anyway. The fact that I saw three crossovers in a row and that they didn’t much suck, plus the fact that I’ve no energy left to complain, tells us much about the time in which we live.
A 2000TC, finished in primrose (a light, pastel yellow) with a black interior, blew my mind when I was 8 at the 1966 New York International Automobile Show at the Coliseum near Manhattan’s Columbus Circle. It was the year of the light yellow car—a similarly finished Buick Skylark GS captured my older cousin Bill Blank’s heart and we all loved a 1966 E-type coupe, displayed in primrose with black leather interior.
For reasons not inadjacent to having grown up in a house where automotive dysfunction was not frowned upon, Ike naturally has always wanted that apogee of dysfunction, the P6 Rover, of which the 2000TC (TC for “twin carburetor”) is a preferred version.
His new car is red with a white roof, not unlike the Rover Car Company’s Monte Carlo Rallye cars of the middle ’60s. The paint is tired, but this car also has no rust—a rarity in these parts for a Rover. Come to think of it, a rarity for a Rover in most parts. Plus it runs well, which is more than you can say for any Rover I’ve ever bought. It even made it home the 100 miles to downstate New York without incident. Except for the mouse that Ellie briefly saw scurrying around the back.
Based on my own experience, there’ve been times when I suspected every Rover ever was born under a bad sign. But I recently drove my friend Steve Dibdin’s zircon blue 2000TC and it is amazing—a pinnacle in quality automotive engineering. I know, crazy talk, right?
This is even crazier: The next day, while examining the bodywork of Ike’s car more closely, we realized that there had been a color change along the way. Underneath the chalky red paint, flaking in small spots—the elusive primrose. I’m hoping that’s a good sign.