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CarsAndRacingStuff.com

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

CarsAndRacingStuff.com
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CarsAndRacingStuff.com was founded 12 December 2005 by Bill Crittenden, who remains owner and operator to this day. The site name, Cars And Racing Stuff, is an acronym for CARS. It was originally intended to be an online store for automotive die cast replicas and model kits but that never got started. Instead, Bill used it to post photos, articles, and information.

On 5 September 2006, the Encyclopedia, articles, and photo collections, became The Crittenden Automotive Library.  In October of 2012, the last section not directly part of The Crittenden Automotive Library, the CarsAndRacingStuff.com Topsites, was shut down. Since then we've transitioned from referring to The Crittenden Automotive Library as part of CarsAndRacingStuff.com to referring to the site in its entirety as The Crittenden Automotive Library, the logo "The Crittenden Automotive Library @ CarsAndRacingStuff.com."

Further information on the operations of CarsAndRacingStuff.com are on The Crittenden Automotive Library's Topic Page, our About Us page, and recent issues of the Tail Lights newsletter.

History

From CarsAndRacingStuff.com to The Crittenden Automotive Library

CarsAndRacingStuff.com was started December 12, 2005, with the intention of being an online store for automotive collectibles:  die cast cars from NASCAR Action cars to classic Hot Wheels, racing cards, and more.  The name itself was chosen because Cars And Racing Stuff is an acronym for CARS.  The website was a blue background with yellow outlines around white text boxes, the colors having been chosen by a person who had been in the model car business for decades and was to be the store owner.  Titles on the tops of the pages were in a chrome-effect lettering made to look like classic American car badges.

The site went online without the store, and in the meantime I began compiling a Vehicle List, a list of all car model names used and who used them.  It was just a fun little resource that became the spark for the entire Crittenden Automotive Library.

From there I moved to creating a guidebook for all the model car kits and die cast, racing cards & other collectibles I could find and compile into a Model Kit & Collectibles Guide.  It seemed like a good way to draw new customers to the site and advertise the store to them.

Then an effort was made to give the Guide searching and sorting functions, and it was converted into the Model Kits and Collectibles Database.  The MKCD was a PHP-accessed MySQL database of all types of collectible cars and cards.  It was actually building quite well, but other changes would need to be made...

While the MKCD was being compiled, I thought I'd write a few articles about collectible cars and models.  An articles section sprang up on the site.  Then I posted some photographs from the Chicago Auto Show in a newly created Photos section.

So I had the MKCD, Vehicle List, Articles and Photos.  I thought it would be convenient if all the information were on one page, so that when someone clicked the link to, say, Chevrolet, that all the Chevrolet model kits, photos of Chevrolets, the list of cars and trucks Chevrolet produced, and a list of articles about Chevrolets would all appear on the same page.

The site was a couple months old, and by that time it was realized that the store wasn't going to ever go online, not with the convenience and audience that selling on eBay brings.  I decided to refocus the site entirely on the information it contained.  I dropped the database function, but kept some of the more convenient PHP features I learned in creating it and created the Cars And Racing Stuff Encyclopedia in February of 2006.  The blue of the website was changed to a dark blue, and the yellow trim on was changed to a dark orange.  I thought an information resource, if it was meant to be taken seriously, shouldn't have such bright colors.  The chrome titles remained, though.

Eventually, however, I realized that "Encyclopedia" was not an appropriate name for the compilation of information I was creating.  For one, it had very detailed information on some very obscure topics without even mentioning some very important ones.  So it didn't have that "background information on every topic of importance" feel of a true encyclopedia.  I also wanted to fully integrate the Articles section and other types of media that just weren't part of a traditional Encyclopedia.

A lot of thought went into the name.  It should be unique and not easily confused with other information resources.  Despite containing information about motorcycles and trucks, the word Automotive was chosen because the majority of the information is about cars and because "road transportation" sounds like a name a government agency or think-tank would use.  My last name, Crittenden, was added to it simply because it was the easiest way to distinguish my resource from others with similar names.  Finally, the name Library was chosen because of the wide range of types of information available.  Libraries are traditionally associated with collections of books, but a modern library also includes photographic collections, databases, newspapers and other media.  A modern library is more a collection of information than a collection of books, and so it seemed the most appropriate name for the collection of information I was putting together.

On September 5, 2006, The Crittenden Automotive Library was officially launched.  The colors of the site changed as well, to dark green with dark blue trim.  Since then the white-with-green-stripe design was created, and then the green wheel logo and finally the dark blue was changed to dark purple and later to a tan reminiscent of sepia tone photographs.  The dark green has been a favorite color of mine since I was young, and from the standpoint of automotive history it is a favorite of mine as it reminds me of British racing green (and Crittenden is an English name, from the Kent/Medford area east of London).

In October, 2012, the last remnant of CarsAndRacingStuff.com outside of The Crittenden Automotive Library, the CarsAndRacingStuff.com Topsites, was disconnected from the rest of the site.


Titles

CarsAndRacingStuff.com Title 22 August 2009
Image ©2009 Bill Crittenden
View CarsAndRacingStuff.com Title - 18KB
CarsAndRacingStuff.com Title Beginning 23 August 2009
Image ©2009 Bill Crittenden
View CarsAndRacingStuff.com Title - 19KB
CarsAndRacingStuff.com Title 2010-March 2011
Image ©2009 Bill Crittenden
View CarsAndRacingStuff.com Title - 25KB


Photos of the Month

Photos of the Month are the backgrounds behind the navigation links in the left-side column of the main content sections of CarsAndRacingStuff.com.  Towards the end pictures were left online for longer than a month, and these background images are now under "Featured Images" on The Crittenden Automotive Library's Topic Page.

1951 Hudson Hornet April 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
1951 Hudson Hornet
1911 Marmon Wasp May 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Marmon Wasp, 1911 Indianapolis 500 Winner (Ray Harroun driving)
28KB
2003 Pontiac Vibe June 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
2003 Pontiac Vibe
33KB
1957 Jaguar XK140 July 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
1957 Jaguar XK140
13KB
1935 Packard 1201 August 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
1935 Packard 1201 Type 819
30KB
Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray September 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
1965 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray
9KB
2007 Buss Ford Car Show October 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
2007 Buss Ford Car Show
26KB
1973 Buick Centurion November 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
1973 Buick Centurion
30KB
NOS Energy Drink GMC Yukon December 2007
Photo © Bill Crittenden
NOS Energy Drink GMC Yukon
7KB
De Tomaso Pantera January 2008
Photo © Bill Crittenden
1972 De Tomaso Pantera
23KB
Dale Jarrett February 2008
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Dale Jarrett's car during the 2005 Daytona 500
Cropped from a U.S. Air Force photo by Larry McTighe
22KB
Chevrolet Venture March 2008
Photo © Bill Crittenden
The overhead console of a Chevrolet Venture in the foreground, and the traffic outside a strip mall in the background
23KB
Suzuki RV-125K April 2008
Photo © Bill Crittenden
A Suzuki RV-125K from the private collection of Greg & Kathy Mosley
27KB
Chicagoland Speedway Grandstand July 2008
Photo © Bill Crittenden
The main grandstand at Chicagoland Speedway before the 2002 Tropicana 400
28KB
Clint Bowyer Cuataway Model Car Wheel September 2008
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Cutaway wheel and tire from a Clint Bowyer model car from the GTR Summer NNL
28KB
Toyota 4A-GE Engine March 2009
Photo © Bill Crittenden
The Toyota 4A-GE engine under the hood of Tamara Froney's 1986 Toyota Corolla drift car.  The picture was taken at the 2008 McHenry, Illinois Fiesta Days Car Show
42KB
1971 Plymouth GTX April 2009
Photo © Bill Crittenden
A 1971 Plymouth GTX model car in front of an American flag.  The picture was taken at the 2009 Classic Plastic hosted by Rockford Wheels in Scale on January 25, 2009
25KB
1964 Pontiac Grand Prix Hubcap May 2009
Photo © Bill Crittenden
The center of the hubcap from a 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix
33KB
Cars for Kids Car Show, Antioch, Illinois June 2009
Photo © Bill Crittenden
2009 "Cars for Kids" charity car show in Antioch, Illinois
32KB
Blue Max Exhausts July 2009
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Exhaust pipes on Blue Max
37KB
1931 Wisconsin License Plate August 2009
Photo © Bill Crittenden
A 1931 Wisconsin license plate on a 1931 Buick Series 90, with a 1930 Milwaukee Journal Tour Club badge attached
36KB
1931 Wisconsin License Plate August 2009
Photo © Bill Crittenden
A 1931 Wisconsin license plate on a 1931 Buick Series 90, with a 1930 Milwaukee Journal Tour Club badge attached
This image replaced the one above on August 8
39KB
The Law of Automobiles 1919 September 2009
A section of the Cases Sited from The Law of Automobiles, Fifth Edition (1919).  Note the case Crittenden v. Murphy in the list, the California Appellate Court case became legal precedent for the following: "The owner owes the duty to the traveling public to see to it that his car, when driven on the streets, with his permission and for the purposes for which the car was purchased, should be driven carefully and with due consideration to their rights; and the owner should not in good conscience be allowed to disclaim his responsibility on the ground that the use thus contemplated and authorized by him is permissive only."
45KB
Meister Brauser 1962 Chaparral 1 October 2009
The cockpit and left-side door of a 1962 Chaparral 1, serial number 002, raced by the Meister Brauser team at the former Meadowdale International Raceway.  The picture was taken at the 2009 Meadowdale, Motorsports & Memories car show, held on the south end of the main straight September 19, 2009.  The following Monday, work began to remove the old track surface and install a path around the park, now known as Raceway Woods.
36KB
1981 AMC Concord Speedometer November 2009
The speedometer from a 1981 AMC Concord.  The Concord was sold from 1978-1983 and was the basis for the 4-wheel drive AMC Eagle.  After AMC's acquisition by Chrysler, a similar name would appear on the 1993-2004 Chrysler Concorde.
37KB
Saturn Curve December 2009
The Saturn Curve concept car.  The car was built on a modified GM Kappa platform, which is also the basis for the Saturn Sky.
34KB
1968 AMC AMX Model Car Engine January 2010
The engine of a plastic model 1968 AMC AMX.  The car was built by Joe Salzburg and displayed at the December meeting of IPMS/C.A.R.S. in Miniature, a model car club that meets in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
53KB
Bill Elliott 1987 Champion 400 Victory Lane March 2010
Bill Elliott in Victory Lane after the 1987 Champion Spark Plug 400.
58KB
1964 Sunbeam Tiger April 2010
The interior of a scale model of a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger Cannonball Car at the 2010 Cedarville Model Car Contest and Swap Meet.
32KB
Rick Miaskiewicz 1986 Milwaukee May 2010
A Rick Miaskiewicz pit stop at the 1986 Miller American 200 at The Milwaukee Mile.  The "Indy Car" race at Milwuakee was traditionally held the week after the Indianapolis 500, a combination that occurred 52 times since the track opened in 1903.
59KB
MGB Taillight June 2010
Tail light of an MGB GT.
41KB
Green Street Cruise Night July 2010
Just some of the cars that showed up for the first Green Street Cruise Night on June 7, 2010.  It was estimated that 140 cars were there that night.
46KB
1966 Pontiac Tempest Sprint Valve Cover August-December 2010
The PMD (Pontiac Motor Division) on the valve cover of the overhead cam straight-six engine of a 1966 Pontiac Tempest Sprint.  This car was among 400 Pontiacs displayed at the Indian Uprising All Pontiac car show.
37KB
BMW Snowflake December 2010-March 2011
The air conditioning button on a BMW
40KB
1957 BMW 507 March-June 2011
A 1957 BMW 507
20KB
1970 Oldsmobile 442 June 2011-January 2012
A 1970 Oldsmobile 442 clone at the Green Street Cruise Night
39KB
Tommy Houston Stock Car Mid-January 2012 to April 2012
Tommy Houston's Southern Biscuit Flour Buick at the 1986 Nationwise 150, a NASCAR Busch Grand National race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.  Tommy Houston won 24 races and finished in the Top 5 in season standings in the series seven times in the 1980's and early 1990's, including a second place in 1989, but never won the championship.  The racing series began in 1982 as the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series and is today known as the Nationwide Series. Original photo by John Walczak.
30KB


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
5 September 2006The Crittenden Automotive LibraryBill Crittenden




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