Ralph Gilles’ Talk at Automotive News World Congress 2011

Excerpts of speech by Ralph Gilles, President /CEO Dodge Brand & Senior VP Product Design Chrysler Group at the Automotive News World Congress, Jan. 12, 2011.


Pontiac Firebird Stre-tched – Ottawa 07 14

Pontiac Firebird Stre-tched -   Ottawa 07 14

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La Tules – Monte Queen of Santa Fe

Born around 1800, Maria Gertrudis Barceló’s childhood years are still being debated among historical scholars but her subsequent marriage to Don Manuel Antonio Sisneros on June 23, 1823, is recorded in the registers at Tomé, a small village about 30 miles south of Albuquerque. Though married to Sisneros, a member of a prominent family, she maintained her maiden name. She preferred the attribution of Doña Barceló. As she gained popularity as a gambler, the locals began calling her “La Tules” a nickname that translates into “the reed,” referring to her diminutive thin frame.

After moving to Santa Fe, she lost two sons in infancy and adopted a daughter in 1826. During this time, La Tules decided to turn her gift for dealing cards and reading men into a career as a courtesan, Monte dealer, madam, and an expert mule trader. She knew exactly how to capitalize on the insatiable gambling habits of the traders who traveled from Missouri on the newly opened Santa Fe Trail. Working in a public gambling hall, she used her charm and beauty to separate the traders from their money. As many as 100 Monte tables operated in Santa Fe during this time, with stakes as high as $50,000. By 1838, town officials realized there was more money gained by granting gambling licenses than collecting fines, and sanctioned the formerly illegal activity.

In a few years, she had enough capital to purchase a “Sala,” or gambling house and saloon, in which she entertained her guests with dances, drinks, lavish dinners, and gambling. Over time, she amassed a fortune as Santa Fe’s most renowned Monte dealer and confidante to some of New Mexico’s most powerful political, military and religious leaders. This menagerie included Manuel Armijo, the Governor of New Mexico, with whom she carried on an illicit affair that eventually led to his downfall.

The sala of La Tules was situated on San Francisco Street at the southeast corner of Palace Avenue and Burro Alley where it extended the width of the entire block. It was a long, low adobe building that eventually sported finely carved furniture from Spain resting on exquisite Turkish carpets. The main bar wound around a gigantic room. Two additional mahogany bars connected to form a quadrangle. Large glistening mirrors adorned the walls behind the bars, but omitted from the gambling casino itself. Elaborate crystal chandeliers with rings of candles provided ample light. As a finishing touch, private card rooms stretched the length of today’s Burro Alley from San Francisco Street to Palace Avenue along the Plaza. The private card rooms were strictly for professional gamblers, important visitors, and the affluent. La Tules staffed the operation with a small army of bartenders, waiters, dealers, and female “hosts.”

There is considerable debate as to her beauty. Some accounts depict her as a stunning beauty with olive skin, radiant dark hair that poured down a slender neck, and sultry black eyes that flashed in the glitter of chandeliers. They described her as charming, …

Automobile Industry: Opportunities, Markets, and Globalization

In this video, you will learn how automobile companies are making the transition to producing a lot more fuel-efficient vehicles. CEO, Jack W. Plunkett, guides you through the trends that are going to take over one of the world’s most influential industries.

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The problem is that within the United States, the industry is forced to make

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more investment than it wants to in small highly fuel-efficient cars because

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as the years go by, the C-A-F-E, or the required average fuel efficiency rate for each

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manufacturer gets higher and higher. Pretty soon, automakers are gonna have

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to post more than 50 miles per gallon average per automobile. Now that’s gonna be

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hard to do. It’s going to take a lot of engineering. It also takes away from their investments in big

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gas-guzzling vehicles. In Europe, automakers are pretty well focused on

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selling more fuel-efficient vehicles because fuel prices in Europe are always

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so high, where fuel is taxed at a much higher rate per gallon or per liter than it is

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in the United States. Finally, in many places in Asia, automakers are working

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under the problem that big luxury cars that might be imported, pay huge import tariffs.

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While their local manufacturing is more focused for instance in China on smaller

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lighter cars and vans. Today,

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car-makers are more than ever focused on efficiency, which to them means optimum

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lean production, which means relying more and more on their outsourced makers of

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parts, components, and assemblies, which the automaker’s then bring into their

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own factories and assemble as much as manufacture. They want to rely on

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Mexico is absolutely hot in this regard. What’s the long-term future of the

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automobile industry? At one time, analysts were thinking of as many as

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three billion cars and light trucks on the planet by 2050. Roughly three times

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today’s rate. However, the sharing economy may well put a hold on that thought as consumers

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around the world more and more are using everything from bike sharing to car sharing

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services like Zipcar; eliminating to some extent the need for personally owned

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automobiles. Other things for the future that must be considered, are natural

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gas-powered vehicles with the world awash in natural gas, particularly in

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North America. There will be more reliance on using natural gas for big

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transportation, at least things like buses and long range trucks. What about

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electric cars? All-electric things like Tesla and hybrid cars like the Prius

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still represent a very, very …

Isotta Fraschini 8A Dual-Cowl Sports Tourer 1933

Isotta Fraschini 8A Dual-Cowl Sports Tourer 1933

The following text is taken straight from:


Regarding the car pictured here.

The Birth of the Company
After years of successfully importing French vehicles to Italy, Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini created the Isotta Fraschini Company in 1902. Their elegantly designed automobiles were popular with rich clientele in the rapidly evolving world-wide automobile market. Their creations were reliable, stylish, and quick. An Isotta Fraschini car won the t Targa Florio in 1908.

When Isotta Fraschini introduced the Tipo 8 in 1919, the firm had already established itself as the premier builder of luxury automobiles in Italy. Since the dawn of motoring, Isotta Fraschini had offered some of the most pioneering and prestigious examples of the automobile, and the new Tipo 8 would live up to its proud lineage. The Tipo 8 was, the first “production” inline eight-cylinder engine, a design that would the standard for high-performance luxury automobiles of the Classic Era.

In 1912 the Isotta Fraschini Company introduced a straight eight-cylinder engine but it would not go into production until 1919 after World War I when the company built aero engines. The eight-cylinder engine powered the Tipo 8, making it the first straight-eight cylinder engine to go into production. The 5.9-liter capacity engine could of produce 100 horsepower, an most noteworthy accomplishment at the time.

In the Twenties
The grand scale of the Tipo 8 was less essential by the 1920s, when advancements in engineering ensured that a smaller engines were capable of acceptable performance. Nevertheless, in cultivating its image as an exclusive builder of high-end luxury cars, Isotta Fraschini sought to maintain the massive size of its engines and chassis as well as the extravagant coachbuilt bodies to appeal to its very wealthy clientele. A major contributor to the long, stately lines of Isotta Fraschinis was the Tipo 8 chassis itself, with its impressive straight eight necessitating an exceptionally long hood. The coachwork near the scuttle was often aligned with the sizeable radiator, further contributing to the imposing lines and immense stature of the car. The cars were also highly stylized throughout, with many coachbuilders playing up the grand chassis with delightful touches such as intricately detailed brightwork, the finest auxiliary accessories available and bespoke options.

In 1924, the Tipo 8 chassis underwent a thorough redesign that improved the overall performance, created a more comfortable ride and helped to facilitate the larger, heavier bodies that were becoming increasingly fashionable by the mid 1920s. Engine capacity was increased to 7.3 liters, giving the vehicle between 110 and 120 horsepower depending on the configuration. The updated design was soon dubbed the Tipo 8A. The standard model sat atop a 145 inch wheelbase while a sportier version was fitted with a 134 inch wheelbase.

The North American market was especially important to Isotta Fraschini as many Americans were keen on cars that offered impressive outright performance yet still retained the ability to cruise effortlessly and majestically in the greatest of style. Isotta Fraschini built grand, dignified touring cars that could …