Motor Mouth Blog

Come explore the musings of your fellow car enthusiasts. Get excited about the movement we are all a part of!


The Art of Washing Your Vehicle

By Walt Tomsic, Editor of OpenRoad Magazine

It’s been a long wet winter but fortunately skies are beginning to clear and temps are rising”¦time to start thinking about getting that car out of the garage and on the road. First step, get it looking its best with a good washing. Like everything else, there’s a right way, and a really right way. The car care experts at Griot’s Garage know how to do it right. Follow this step-by-step approach and you’re sure to have your prized ride looking its best.

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McQueen’s Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood


A foreword by Walt Tomsic, Managing Editor – OpenRoad Magazine.

Contributing Editor of OpenRoad and former Executive Editor of Motor Trend Matt Stone provides this fascinating look at consummate car guy Steve McQueen. Hollywood has produced a number of stars who were also quite adept on the race track”¦ James Dean, James Garner and Paul Newman to name a few. But of all the movie celebrities known for their love of automobiles, motorcycles and racing, McQueen was in a world all his own.   Continue reading “McQueen’s Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood”

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First by Far with a Post-War Car: 1952 Studebaker Champion Custom Starlight Coupe

By Walt Tomsic – Managing Editor of OpenRoad magazine. 

OpenRoad saw its first issue mailed to members back in 2005. We’re now entering our thirteenth year of publication. That’s a lot of OpenRoads with a lot of cars featured, road tours recounted and guest editorials written by some of car culture’s most recognizable figures. From time to time, we’ll be selecting items from past issues to share here on Motor Mouth. For our first post, we’ve gone back to an AutoBiography article that appeared in the fall issue, 2012. The car is a 1951 Studebaker Champion Custom Starlight Coupe designed by Raymond Loewy.

Click here to read the full article as it was printed in the 2012 issue of OpenRoad magazine.


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A Blast From the Repast

By David Chesanow

Over the broad and changeable landscape of American popular culture, the automobile crosses all terrains, all social divides: From art and music to sport and lifestyle, among rich and poor, regardless of gender, race, creed or political persuasion, cars continue to elicit the same fanfare and excitement that greeted the first “horseless carriages” in city streets and cow towns across a U.S. on the threshold of the twentieth century. They have always been, and will always be, cool.

Cars, and the people who ride in them, have needs, the most basic of which is fuel. And so car culture met food culture along the nation’s roadways, giving rise to a distinctly American icon: the diner.

Even those with no firsthand experience of real diners still recog- nize them on sight from their depictions in the media and through the paintings of John Baeder, a former advertising art director who began creating stunningly realistic portraits of diners for postcards in the early 1970s; today his work is in major museums and private collections around the world.

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Come One, Come All!

ACM is all about inclusion.

“INCLUSION” rather than “exclusion” is at the heart of ACM’s mission and vision. AMERICA’S CAR MUSEUM is about cars””all manner and type: large and small, new and old, foreign and domestic, the exotic and the plebian. Granted, to gain entry into
the ranks of the Museum’s collection, a car must represent””in some fashion””historical and cultural significance, recognized aesthetic quality or “˜break-out’ technical achievement. No such qualifications will be applied to our members, visitors or their cars!

We’ve all been there when a 60 something hot rodder sneers at the 20 something in the winged and blown “˜rice burner or when Harley riders snub anything Japanese. Silly isn’t it? In truth, we all can “˜just get along.’ All it takes is a common bond with sufficient adhesive strength to overpower our compulsion to form ever more tightly focused and exclusionary sub- cultures.

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The Days of Chrome and Hyperbole

Walt Tomsic

It may not be wine and roses, but I miss the days when cigar chomping, seer-sucker suit wearing ad men were in charge of naming stuff… particularly car stuff! Take this for example, the 1958 Buick featured 160 “˜floating’ chrome squares on its grill. Did they call it a “Buick grill?” How plebian! No, it’s the “Fashion-aire Dynastar Grill.”

In the realm of the overstatement, copy flacks were not about to be outdone. The sales brochure for the 1958 Pontiac proclaimed it to be “the boldest advance in 50 years!” I guess the writer never heard of George Patton or Albert Einstein.

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Whats With the Flames?

When and where were they born and what do they mean?

In answer to the first question, I can say without the slightest hesitation or equivocation, I have absolutely no idea and neither does anyone else.

As for their meaning, the answer is both obvious””they look cool””and a bit more complex, involving how we, as human beings, are visually and emotionally hard-wired. After due research, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to approxi- mate the first “˜pyrographic’ occurrence is to look at old photographs. Cars have always been a fit subject for the photo-op and rods are no exception. The earliest pictorial evidence of a “flame job” I’ve been able to find is a shot dated 1938. It shows a rather rough and ready little dry lakes racer named “Skip it.” Cobbled together in 1934, the car was redone in 1938 and painted cream with some-what crude and amorphous red flames licking back from the cowl. Are these the first flames… subject zero? I seriously doubt it. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover one from the 1920s. For all I know, old Karl Benz had a flame or two tucked away on that three wheeler.

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