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Tail Lights: February 8, 2013

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Tail Lights
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Tail Lights: February 8, 2013

Bill Crittenden

Making Stuff Up

A Ferrari 288 GTO replica with a General Motors engine and what appears to be a Pontiac GTO badge next to the prancing horse.
Making Stuff Up

Volume 2, Issue 4
February 8, 2013

I'm not a purist in any way, shape, or form.  I like mixing things up from different car cultures, but the point is to come up with a unique identity, not to come up with a cheap copy of someone else's.  I love that the Corvette can keep pace with a Ferrari at a third the cost, but in that context, and styling the car this way, especially in that red, it just screams "cheap copy of a Ferrari."  I LOVED the Stingray concept car that came out a  few years ago, and had something with those lines come out and been painted in a white-stripes-on-blue American racing color scheme, it'd be a whole different story.  I'm sure this thing puts up great numbers, but that's all it'll be...numbers.  Numbers that only people at a track day can use, by the way.  No heart.

Back in 2009 I wrote my idea of the ideal Corvette, with more style than unusable performance:  http://carsandracingstuff.com/library/articles/2293.php

There's another new section listed on the homepage!  Automotive Fiction, at http://www.carsandracingstuff.com/library/indices/index_fiction.php, is a list of the handful of fictional stories in the Library.  I took a trip to the Woodstock Public Library with my son and stopped by the McHenry County Environmental Defenders book sale on the way home.  For 50¢ I picked up something I had heard existed but never seen in person: a NASCAR-licensed, racing themed romance novel.  Fiction had been a part of the automotive culture since the beginning, not only in the very obvious filmmaking industry but also in book form (the Library already includes the 1905 title The Black Motor Car online, and has the 1968 novel Road Race in its offline collection).  This book, however, gave me an idea (one also inspired by a few things my wife has read) and I discovered that people write online "fan fiction."  Fan fiction, in a nutshell for the uninitiated, is taking characters from an established story (Star Trek and Twilight are popular sources) and writing your own amateur storylines.  FanFiction.net is an internet site that connects writers and readers and has thousands of such stories.  It was there that I found the first writer willing to make a contribution to The Crittenden Automotive Library, and we opened our Automotive Fiction section with that contribution.  The question I've had asked most often of me when searching for this material was, "why?"  Fan fiction is a part of our modern culture, and cultural works inspired by automobiles or auto racing are always a welcome addition to The Crittenden Automotive Library, which already included a list of "car music," fictional feature films, and automotive artwork.
The Crittenden Automotive Library is Automotive History Beyond the FendersSM: a large collection of information relating to not only cars, trucks, and motorcycles, but also the roads they drive on, the races they compete in, cultural works based on them, government regulation of them, and the people who design, build, and drive them.  We are dedicated to the preservation and free distribution of information relating to all types of cars and road-going vehicles for those seeking the greater understanding of these very important elements of modern society, how automobiles have affected how people live around the world, or for the general study of automotive history and anthropology.  In addition to the historical knowledge, we preserve current events for future generations.

The Crittenden Automotive Library includes over 89,000 pages in books, 342,000 pages in reports, 22,000 pages in periodicals, 12,900 news & commentary stories, 2 weeks of audio, 4 days of video, 15,000 images and dozens of newsletters as well as other documents, statistics, reports, and data.  There are over 770 races' results tables broken down into individual driver histories.
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