One of the greatest auto writers of all time, Brock Yates, has died at age 82 after a bout with Alzheimer’s disease. Along with the ramblings of David E. Davis, Yate’s column was a must read for me back when they were featured in Car & Driver. He was managing editor of the magazine in the mid 60’s and stayed on its pages until 2006. One of his best stories was taking a Corvette, of all things, up the muddy Alaska Highway normally the realm of 4X4’s. Safety experts aside, he created the Cannonball Run coast to coast rally over public roads that also gave birth to a very successful movie of the same name that Yates wrote. His pedal to the metal writing style often infuriated automakers, and in 1983 he authored the book, “The Decline And Fall of the American Automobile Industry” in which he attacked the isolationism of Detroit and the car company’s reluctance to produce small economical cars as the imported car boom took hold. He said its leaders grow up together, go to school together, play golf together, retire to the same communities and “simply have no concept of the real world.” Brock, the auto writing universe will never be the same without you and DED.
If you had a first generation MyFord Touch and SYNC infotainment system and continually cursed it out, you were not alone. So did the family of Henry Ford. Check out:
Honda observed National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, (yes, there is such a thing), by announcing that the five passenger Clarity Fuel Cell sedan will appear in California before the end of the year. It will have a refueling time of three to five minutes and a driving range “anticipated to exceed 300 miles.”
A study by the University of Michigan shows average fuel economy dropped one tenth to 25.2 mpg last month, most likely due to the increasing popularity of full size SUV’s and pickups. But that figure is well above the average of 20.8 mpg when the study began back in October of 2007.
The production of Fords in Australia has come to a halt after 91 years. High production costs were among the reasons that Ford made the move. GM and Toyota are also shuttering production down under.