Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Presidents’ Day & Car Sales
by The Greenway Girl
History.com tells us that Presidents’ Day is “…celebrated each year on the third Monday in February, [and] is a day when Americans honor the legacies of the U.S. presidents.”
Established in 1800, when Congress declared February 22–George Washington’s birthday–a federal holiday. Although still legally known as Washington’s Birthday, Presidents’ Day has become a day to honor not only Washington, but Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president who was born on February 12, and the lives and accomplishments of all U.S. presidents.
Now maybe I’m alone on this one but I have to admit that I’ve always been more than a little fuzzy on how the seemingly random mash-up of this federal holiday and car sales became forever coupled together. Boston Globe correspondent, Peter DeMarco tells us how young entrepreneur, Alvan T. Fuller may have launched the time-honored tradition of the Presidents’ Day Car Sale.
“The idea, according to many, was the brainchild of Alvan T. Fuller, who was born in Charlestown [MA] and grew up in Malden. Fuller is perhaps best remembered for his tenure as Massachusetts’ 52d governor, when he refused to pardon anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti before they were put to death for murder in 1927. But long before his career in politics, Fuller was just an enterprising teenager selling bicycles out of a backyard barn on Cross Street in Malden.”
Get the story… http://bo.st/x2Ai6Q
Peter DeMarco can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ whotaughtU2driv
The FIAT 500 Abarth: Women Need Not Apply?
I am SO OVER the collective North American automotive industry telling me repeatedly that the FIAT 500 Abarth is not for us girls…it’s for the guys.
The Abarth, a new high-performance version of the Fiat 500 that made its U.S. debut late last year in Los Angeles is set to be available at the end of March. And for the past three months I have become increasingly obsessed with every image, news story and blog post released on FIAT USA’s newest addition to its lineup.
In January, at the Chicago Auto Show, Olivier Francois, head of the Fiat brand and chief marketing officer for Fiat for Chrysler Group, spoke about the company’s decision to feature Jennifer Lopez in their ad campaign for the FIAT 500 Gucci Special Edition, telling the media “Jennifer was for feminine buyers. Abarth is the attraction for masculine buyers”. Are you KIDDING me???
This probably isn’t going to go over well at the office but I will argue that Mr. Francois, as well as all of the major automotive blogs (penned by men) sparked this debate. So, as a woman in this industry, I’m just making one female opinion known.
I’ve said it before; I am an unabashed girly-girl. I live for fashion and would practically put my life on the line if anyone ever threatened my shoe collection. But industry executives seem to have it in their heads that a woman that appreciates style can’t also appreciate performance. Once the owner of a 1994 Jaguar XJS V12 Convertible, not only can I appreciate performance, I demand it. And with the base MSRP of the Abarth nearly $1,500 lower than the Gucci Special Edition, it’s a no brainer.
If I may offer a bit of insight to my male counterparts in this industry about the female psyche - I don’t know a single woman that was influenced to purchase the FIAT 500 Gucci Edition because of the J-Lo commercials.
As long as we are on the subject of commercials, one can hardly bring up the Abarth in conversation without addressing the head-turning and somewhat controversial ad that was actually released at the same time as the J-Lo commercials but until the Super Bowl, was not aired on TV. Again, industry media outlets including Autoweek and Ward’s Automotive stated that “Women were shocked and offended”. Thank you for letting me know how I am supposed to feel…NOT!
Truth be told, I thought the commercial was brilliant. Yes, it was extremely sexy but I didn’t see it as sexist. The difference? A beautiful woman that has the confidence and moxie to call a guy on his stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand wanting to appeal to a wider audience. However, given the fact that statistics show that over 80% of car buying decisions are affected by women, maybe the “industry experts” should throw out the marketing brief on this one and take a bit of advice? First, recognize that in today’s age of social media, brands are no longer created by a company alone, but rather, co-created with consumer opinion. Second, embrace the fact the fact that the Abarth has appeal for both sexes and that women are savvy enough to recognize and choose substance over insignia. And finally, stop trying to push female car culture back a couple of decades.
This blog is the sole responsibility of its author. All content posted is purely of personal opinion of the author, based on current news stories in the public domain.
Remembering The Lady of Firsts for My First
So, idea for The Greenway Girl was pretty much a no brainer. But what to blog about as my FIRST post? I have to admit, I was more than a little nervous. But a few days ago, I gave myself a little break from getting situated in my new position at Greenway and just spent some “me” time checking in on my own favorite follows…and there it was.
The 1954 Dodge Firearrow III Sport Concept is a Dodge Concept Car by Chrysler Corporation. The Firearrow III was the Chrysler Corporation’s answer to the sports cars that were known to be on the drawing board for Ford Thunderbird and the already released design of the 1953 Corvette. The third in a series of four unique Firearrow concept cars made, it has been said that this concept car had the skillful blending of the best ideas from Europe and the American design studios and brought an entirely new kind of beauty with a look of poised power. The sleek, sexy European inspired curves and the exquisite details of the car were equaled only by the it’s power under the hood.
Unlike most concept cars, the Dodge Firearrow III, introduced at the 1954Detroit Automobile Show, was Chrysler’s main attraction at all the major auto shows that year, was not just another pretty face; she was a jaw dropper. This beauty was built to ‘show and go’ thanks to its superb engineering, detailed design and of course the legendary Hemi engine. Built as a fully operational show car, details of the car are picture perfect – the car sat on 15″ chrome-plated wire wheels, and the quadruple exhaust pipes on the rear fenders were in working condition as opposed to being merely decoration.
The Firearrow III is the only 1950s concept car to break a major speed record. With its Italian styling and original factory installed and modified 245hp Dodge Red Ram Hemi engine under the hood, the car was as fast as it looked and entered history books in hit a Closed-Course USAC record of 143.44 mph at the dedication of Chrysler’s new Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan.
But, what makes this story even more incredible is that this astonishing feat was accomplished not by one of the day’s renowned male drivers, but instead, by a young stunt pilot and woman (yep, you heard me - WOMAN!!!) and model Betty Skelton. And she did it in a skirt and her signature high heels.
Known as “The Lady of Firsts” the high-flying, fast-driving Skelton was born in Pensacola, Fla., in 1926. At age 12, she soloed in an airplane. By 1950, Skelton and her open-cockpit biplane, Little Stinker, were famous worldwide.
From 1948 to 1950 she won three international aerobatics competitions for women. One of her specialties was a maneuver known as “the inverted ribbon cut,” in which she flew her plane upside down, 10 feet above the ground, and sliced through a ribbon stretched between two poles. In 1949 and 1951 she set the world light-plane altitude record.
On the ground, she broke her own women’s land-speed record three times at Daytona Beach, Fla., the last time in 1956. She went on to become the first woman to undergo the physical and psychological testing NASA used to select the original 7 Mercury astronauts in 1959.
Betty Skelton Erde, passed away in August of 2011. She holds more combined aviation and automotive records than anyone else – man or woman - in history.
Here’s to “Firsts”!