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Automotive History from a Different Perspective

Volume 7, Issue 1: Second Shift

Bill Crittenden
17 March 2018

Stephanie Wood’s twin turbo 2017 Ford Mustang GT from supporter AmericanMuscle.com
See more at Hot Lap Video Release – Steph VS Justin Drag Race

Our family’s life has been turned upside down quite a few times since I started this project over a decade ago. This time, however, it feels like it’s been turned right side up.

On January 8th I started training for a new job, and while there I no longer have the downtime my previous job afforded me to read through the Congressional Record and VOA News, this new job has better pay, real benefits, and I’m learning new skills that I’m already applying to improving the way The Crittenden Automotive Library functions behind the scenes. In the short term it's going to delay some plans, but in the long term it will help me reach the eventual goal of working on The Crittenden Automotive Library full time.

This issue’s title has dual meaning: one is the quite literal second shift work schedule I’ll be on starting next week as I move from training to production. The other is that relief experienced when your life feels like it’s grinding against the rev limiter and you figuratively find another gear. After an intense training period that included fighting rush hour traffic, I’ll officially be on the job and driving during off hours. Now I’ll have time and energy to apply the lessons I’ve been learning, and I’m as optimistic as ever about the future of The Crittenden Automotive Library.

One of those lessons the management of my new employer have taught me is about time management and knowing when to call it quits on an unproductive project to focus hours on other more useful work. That was the tipping point for me deciding to start cutting the race car driver records from the site. I started adding those back in 2006 when there wasn’t much in the way of online content I could legally copy to CarsAndRacingStuff.com, I had a book of NASCAR race results, and time to burn working evening shift security.

Since I started building those tables I’ve discovered errors from my sources, I’ve been unable even to keep up with all the new events let alone get into the vast pool of past events, it hasn’t returned as many search results into CarsAndRacingStuff.com as I’d hoped, and I’ve been generally unhappy with the project for years. So I’ll be removing those sections over the next few months as I come across them or have time. Maybe someday, if I have enough sponsorship that I can afford to hire some people I’ll have a designated racing results data entry person, and we can apply the lessons I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made on the version I’m deleting to a bigger and better version in the future.

While I haven’t had as much time or energy as I’d hoped these past few months, I’ve still gotten a lot done. Not a lot will show up at the bottom of the newsletter in terms of content numbers, but offline I’ve inventoried most of my collection of books & magazines, installed shelves for books & binders and moved most of them out of the stacks of file crates they were in.

So as 2018 is almost a third done, I’m cutting out a potentially time-sucking project (that I never really put enough time into in the first place), temperatures are climbing, winter is fading, I’m better inventoried & organized, I can afford better resources to organize what I’ve collected over the years, we have a new sponsor, I have reliable transportation, and I’m no longer working weekends so I’ll be rested and ready for all the Sunday car shows I can find.

Yeah, it suddenly feels like I’ve dumped some weight and shifted up a gear. Now let’s see how high I can get those numbers at the bottom to go before the next time I write a newsletter!


In January YouTube decided to join Electronic Arts, Verizon, and Comcast among the most despised companies on the internet by screwing most of the people who have been working their butts off creating content for their platform for years by de-monetizing videos from anyone with fewer than 1,000 subscribers and a set number of watched hours. Their excuse is that it has something to do with "quality" from smaller publishers, but almost anyone can still create an account and upload a video, so it's not about the content at all. It's just about YoutTube keeping all of the money instead of splitting it to encourage content creators to upload more videos.

We were at 565 subscribers when this change went through, so we got our monetization cut, too. I never expected to make a lot of money off of YouTube, and their copyright platform is an absolute mess that wasn't worth the time spent fighting (bots claiming that videos from the 1930's contain music created in the 1990's, for example) so the loss here is only about $9 per month. Not a make-or-break number, but every little bit helps and adds up over time. Between this and Google chipping away at the value of link marketing since 2012 it's reminded me that cutting out the middleman and finding direct sponsorship is more important than ever.

As always we welcome contributions in any way possible. We're currently connected to the following accounts, but contact us at admin@CarsAndRacingStuff.com if you have another way to send contributions. Just note that we're not a 501 charitable organization. Think of it as a tip given for good service provided.

PayPal: admin@CarsAndRacingStuff.com
GoFundMe link: https://www.gofundme.com/3gll734

Major Additions

Normally this section is about a new collection of information that's been uploaded to CarsAndRacingStuff.com, but there isn't really anything that qualifies this time because of all the offline work, so I'll talk about the offline work. This issue's most important additions and creations aren't the kind that can be shared, but will be really important this summer and in future years. I've invested some of my pay increase in shelves so that I can get my books out of stacks of file crates and onto shelves in an order that will allow me to find what I'm looking for. At the end of cleaning up the basement I found three more small totes of books, so it was done, but now it needs some more work. The standard size magazines & catalogs have been inventoried and sorted, and another set of shelves have been installed to hold those boxes. This makes more of the collection easily accessible, as well as being damned visually impressive.

History Beyond the Bumpers

Still covering automotive culture in all its forms, now with added alliteration!  The Crittenden Automotive Library includes information from all aspects of automotive transportation and competition. This section highlights some new material added to the Library about a topic other than vehicles themselves.

You wouldn't expect the immigration debate to find itself across the pages of a collection of automotive information, but since our scope is wide there's plenty of room for it.

One of the most watched videos I've ever uploaded to YouTube is about Somali-American taxi drivers in Minnesota, and the periodic notifications for that video are a depressing reminder of how racism and ignorance easily finds a voice on the anonymous portions of the internet.

Last year VOA News had an interview with a truck driver from Wisconsin regarding his views on immigration, and this winter I added a nice video about two truck drivers from Ivory Coast & Burkina Faso enjoying the freedom of the open roads in America.

On February 4th Indianpolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was killed by a drunk driver who also happened to be an illegal immigrant, and here's the story from Wikipedia: "On February 4, 2018, just before 4:00 a.m., Jackson was a passenger with 54-year-old Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe, when Jackson suddenly felt ill and asked if the two could pull over. Both men exited the vehicle along the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis. While on the shoulder, Jackson and Monroe were struck by a Ford F-150 pickup truck which veered into the emergency lane. Both Jackson and Monroe died at the scene. The driver, Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, of Guatemala, was arrested after trying to flee the scene on foot, according to the Indiana State Police. Orrego-Savala was in the country illegally, having been twice deported in 2007 and 2009." This incident was even worthy of a couple of tweets from the President of the United States. Ignored were the facts that the driver was drunk and the two killed had decided to exit their vehicle on the side of an interstate (and Uber's role in ensuring its drivers don't put their passengers in danger) while the debate focused on the immigration status of the driver and the notoriety of one of the victims.

I'm not going into where I stand on this issue one way or the other, I'm just pointing out yet again that almost any topic imaginable can be connected to automobiles and when it is, we'll include it in The Crittenden Automotive Library.


The Dewey Decimal System's designation for automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and driving fall within the 629.2 range. In addition to the online collection, Library Owner Bill Crittenden's personal collection of books, magazines, and miscellaneous papers is available for reference, and this section highlights new materials available on the online Library's Reference Desk and notices of new books being published.

January 20th was a great day for our collection. I found a hardcover copy, original version, 7th printing of Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of The American Automobile by Ralph Nader. Of course this is one of the most hated books of in automobile history, but how many times have books become a part of the automotive story themselves? As such it was important to have a copy in our collection, and it's one of the few books I've been specifically looking for. Otherwise I tend to just grab the low-hanging $2 fruit of book sales, thrift shops, and used bookstore clearance sections because there are hundreds of thousands of automotive book titles available and we have just over 480 so far with 3 boxes left to inventory.

Also notable was the second foreign-language book in the collection (not counting the Illinois Rules of the Road booklets from my local DMV) and the first in Italian!

1965 BookUnsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of The American Automobile by Ralph Nader; Grossman Publishers
1968 BookThe Automobile Electrical System, 2nd Edition by Randolph R. Barr & Thomas D. Flocco; Chilton Book Company
1995 BookArt of the American Automobile: The Greatest Stylists and their Work by Nick Georgano, photography by Nicky Wright; Smithmark
1998 BookCars of 1957 by Dan Lyons and the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide; Publications International, Ltd.
2004 Book Fiat 500: L'evoluzione del mito by Alessandro Sannia; Gribaudo
2006 BookTruck: A Love Story by Michael Perry; Harper Collins
2011 BookMuscle Car Chronicle by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide; Publications International, Ltd.
2014 BookWine Country Trucks of Napa & Sonoma Counties by Lisa A. Harris; Wine Country Trucks Publishing

Current Library Statistics (+/- since 31 December 2017)

Articles: 39,779 (+438)
Images: 33,003 (+0)
Publications: 719,923 pages in 9610 documents (+968 pages, +104 documents)
Video: 2 weeks, 3 days & 5:47:45 (+8:02:22)
Audio: 3 weeks, 3 days & 29:12 (+1:19)
Event Photography: 193 sets (+1)

MonthTotal Page ViewsPage Views/Day AverageTotal UsersUsers/Day Average
December 20178,442272.34,239136.7
January 20188,856285.64,599148.3
February 20189,715346.95,005178.7
Page views and user information provided by Google Analytics.

Alexa Traffic Ranks (+/- since 31 December 2017)
1,342,559 worldwide (+120,868)
458,429 in the United States (+57,458)

Current Social Media Statistics (+/- since 31 December 2017)

Facebook: 481 Likes (+3)
Google+: 84 Followers (+3)
Instagram: 701 Followers (+29)
Pinterest: 58 Followers (+2)
Tumblr: 309 Followers (+37)
Twitter: 1,937 Followers (+34)
YouTube: 591 Subscribers (+28)

About The Crittenden Automotive Library

The Crittenden Automotive Library @ CarsAndRacingStuff.com, based in Woodstock, Illinois, is an online 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 Library currently consists of over 719,000 pages of books, periodicals, and documents, over 39,700 individual articles, more than 17 days of video & 24 days of audio, more than 33,000 photographs & other images, and offline reference materials including 480 book volumes, 1,300 magazines & catalogs, and thousands of advertising brochures & documents.

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