Friday, September 28, 2012
However, it's getting increasingly rare to see national chains with original vintage neon signs anymore. They're expensive to make, need more maintenance that a plastic one with fluorescent tubes inside, and the weather tends to really beat them up, especially in places like Chicago, where the winters are harsh and the summers often blazing. Additionally, when the company upgrades or changes their signage or other store design, the neon sign suddenly is outdated, leading to an inconsistent image. So, often times they're taken down, usually if they deteriorate badly enough, or that particular location moves somewhere else.
This Carquest sign is in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Carquest has been in business since the mid-70's, pretty much at the tail end of mass neon sign usage. I've no idea how common these were, but this is the only one I've ever seen-there's some peeling paint down near the bottom, which makes me wonder what it used to look like.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
looked at the Nebraska Zephyr a few times now, so I won't bore you with it's history. Suffice to say that this unique train is one of, if not the the, crown jewels of the Illinois Railway Museum's collection. They run it on the Museum's tracks regularly, but rarely off-campus. So it was a pleasant surprise to catch it in rural Somonauk, Illinois, as it passed through on an excursion trip from Chicago to Quincy, along one of the original Zephyr routes.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
As we all know, eventually Route 66 was superseded by the new interstate system, the paved superslab being better suited to higher traffic levels and higher speeds as well. In most places, old Route 66 reverted to two lanes, usually the newer two, and the old pavement was left to sit, or removed altogether.
In a lot of places you can still see these original stretches of road, parallel to the current alignment, cracked and crumbling, weeds growing through the gaps, markings faded. This one's in Illinois, just outside the town of Dwight.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Other improvements to the Boss were the deletion of the standard Mustang's rear fender scoops, a new functional hood scoop, tightened up suspension, and frequently a lower rear axle ratio. All of this added up to a pretty serious piece of kit, able to entertain on the road and win on the track.
And the name? Ford President Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen was a big proponent of this project, and when designer Larry Shinoda was asked what he was working on, simply answered "The Boss' car". The name stuck.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I have no idea what this place originally was-I've been told it might have been a cigar store or tobacconist, although by 1929 it was the Economy Cleaners and the SS Math Army Goods shop.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
This late example is a former Milwaukee Road unit, and is on display at the Illinois Railway Museum.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Seen on the north side of Chicago several years ago-I've no idea if it's still there.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The big engine/smaller car recipe is a classic one, but one that almost didn't get made. Since the fifties, there had been a "gentlemen's agreement" among the big three to not formally go automobile racing, and to further this, General Motors had a corporate policy limiting engine sizes in their mid-sized cars. Shoehorning the big 389 into the Tempest was against this policy, but Pontiac executives okayed a limited run of cars, fearing it wouldn't find a market.
They were wrong-the GTO went on to sell 10,000 units in it's introductory year, and went on further success on the sales floor as well as on the drag strip.