Wednesday, February 26, 2014

34th Annual Southwest Unique Little Car Show

Autoetteers! Shopping Car Owners! Readers of my blog....
Its been a while since we met on the rooftop at the Peterson Museum, now we have an event that is among our fellow Micro and Mini Car friends. Don't miss the 34th Annual Southwest Unique Little Car Show, March 28th and 29th at the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA. As the organizer of the show, I have added our little cars to the event for the first time!

Check it out - Even the event logo and shirt feature a Kelsen Electric Sports Rider!

Here's the skinny:

34th Annual Southwest Unique Little Car Show

March 28-29, 2014

Hosted by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum
1101 W. McKinley Ave., Gate 1 of the L.A. County Fairplex, Pomona, California
(909) 622-2133

WHO: It's for everyone! Forget any preconceived notions you may have had about "car meets." The Unique Little Car Show is a blast for spouses, kids, and people who have never even seen a microcar before.

All Classic Micro and Mini Cars are Welcome. All 3 and 4 wheel Microcars under 700cc or Battery Electric Propulsion; Minicars such as original Mini Coopers, Nash Metropolitans; and other small, arcane vehicles usually under 1200cc.  If you have an exception, let us know!

COST: Pre-registration for 1 car is $20, 2nd & 3rd car  $5 each, 4 or more FREE.
Day of show, $25

Friday, March 28
Registration 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Welcome reception at the NHRA Museum and cruise around beautiful Puddingstone Lake, Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, San Dimas, CA to
Pinnacle Peak Steak House, 269 W. Foothill Blvd., San Dimas, CA
For menu and pricing, log on to:

Saturday, March 29
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Car Show and FREE admission to the NHRA Motorsports Museum
Banquet dinner and awards 5 p.m. Cash Bar Reception / 6:00 p.m. Dinner $40 per person.

Sheraton Suites Fairplex,
601 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA (walking distance to show location)
(877) 535-0684
Mention: micro mini car meet for the event’s special room pricing


Friday, December 28, 2012

Autoettes Coast to Coast

Followers of this blog may know that for some time I've lived in beautiful New England, just steps from the Narraganset Bay. I'd love to say that my passion for these little cars prompted my recent move to California, but many other factors were in play. It is however, wonderful to be here and to be able to work on the book in the region that was home to most of the manufacturers of the cars. Prowling Long Beach, Bellflower, Pomona, Redlands, Pasadena, and other communities puts me within arms reach of many new resources. As new stories are uncovered I will post pieces here for your entertainment.

The other advantage to being here is being closer to so many cars and owners. Keep following, as I am working on setting up a 2nd gathering of Autoetteers this Summer at the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An Autoette Takes a Trip in the Digital World

Probably like many of you, I had no idea who Felecia Day was a few months ago. Then I was contacted by a firm that wanted to rent one of my Autoettes for a film shoot. Having had one very nice experience with a project by David Chase (of Sopranos fame), I decided to rent the car out for this project. It ends up Felecia Day is a web actress, producer, phenomenon who I can't for the life of me figure out why she is so popular. Maybe she has a monopoly on the "Geek" audience or something. I just imagine people in Anime or Star Trek costumes gushing over her. Figures Microsoft would latch onto her...

Well, if you are ever asked to do this call me! What an experience the whole thing turned out to be. If you watch the video carefully you will see that the production company literally took apart my car, removing parts and damaging others. I'd be happy to share the lessons learned with anyone who finds themselves in this situation.

In any event, I guess it is still cool to see the Autoette on screen and so I figured I'd share it with you. If you are impatient and want to skip to the good part, fast forward 2:47.  By the way, if you use Firefox for your browser you may not be able to see the following video. Kind of ironic that a Microsoft video isn't compatible with one of the most popular browsers huh? Be forewarned, the quality of the "acting" and the production are almost as sketchy as the way they treated my car, so I doubt anyone will be winning any awards for this.

OK, I admit it. I am still a bit jaded by the whole experience, but keep an eye out in October 2012 for what I am sure will be a far superior production by David Chase, featuring two Autoettes and a Mobilette!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Autoettes and Movie Cars

A while back I promised more on Autoettes and related vehicles in film and television. Thanks to the Internet Movie Car Database and other sources, I've found some pretty cool examples of these cars under the bright lights of Hollywood, so here's a few for you to check out. Some are fairly easy to identify while others remain a mystery. If you can help provide captions and information on the cars, please write.

Who can forget Marlo Thomas as "That Girl"? Here she is with an Electric Golfer from the 1966-1971 TV series, Season 3, Episode 5.

"Mission Impossible" TV Series, 1966-1973 Season 6, Episode 2

Here's a trio of scenes from "Father Knows Best" TV Series, 1954-1960, Season 3, Episode 29

Here you can clearly see the vehicle is a Cushman Minute Miser. I love the earlier model like these...

...and the chicks aren't too bad either.

Speaking of Minute Misers - OK I know they're not Autoettes but they ARE cool. Here's one in the 1966 Film "Fantastic Voyage".

Back to a real TV Classic - "My Mother the Car" 1965-1966, Season 1, Episode 21

Another view from the same Episode! I may have to do a whole post on Cushmans someday.

Check out this Marketeer from the "Flipper" TV Series, 1964-1967, Season 1, Episode 28

Here we have a Marketeer Golf Car from "Lancelot Link Secret Chimp" TV Series, 1970-1972, Season 1, Episode 2.

A whole fleet of cars were used for a chase scene in the 1965-1970 TV Series "Get Smart" Season 4, Episode 18

Here Agents Smart and 99 lead the chase trailed by a trio of matching carts...

Would you Believe? The Chief got in on the action too!

Even "The Mod Squad" were in on the action. Here's a shot with another Electric Golfer from Season 1, Episode 7 of the 1968-1973 TV Series.

There's more to come including a 1954 Autoette featured in a film for the web and a reprieve for some Sopranos celebrities and a trio of our favorite little cars.
In the meantime I'll leave you with this last scene from Season 3, Episode 26 of the TV Reality Series "Pawn Stars" featuring a B&Z Electra King.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Origins of the Autoette

While researching my upcoming book on the history of California's micro-electric cars, I've conducted interviews and done extensive research into the origins of the cars and the industry. The beginnings of the business can be traced to the WWI era and the handicapped or infirmed veterans who were coming home. A number of makers of "invalid cars" began to pop up in England and in Europe, as well as here in the United States. One of the more notable and successful was the Custer Specialty Company of Dayton, Ohio.

Levitt Lucern Custer was an inventor and entrepreneur who had come of age as a contemporary of the Wright Brothers. Custer had worked with the Wrights and was an accomplished balloonist and aviator in his own right. World War I brought him the opportunity to create a mobility solution for the wounded soldiers returning from the front and for the elderly, promising independence and mobility. His answer was the three-wheeled Custer Car that promised "Miles of Smiles for a Penny." The Custer Specialty Company offered cars with first with electric power, and later optional gasoline power. Here are two beautiful examples, one gasoline and the other electric.

In my research I have been able to confirm that the creator of the Autoette was inspired to develop his own design in part due to his dissatisfaction with the complex workings and limitations of the Custer Car, which by the 1930s was the primary vehicle of its type in the United States. Here is a photo of the restored control switches on my Custer Car.

In chasing the origins of the Custer Car I ended up acquiring this one for the collection. The car sat in a collection for several decades with damage to the electrical system until its owner passed away. Then a friend of the collector acquired the car and it sat for another dozen years until that fellow passed away. I acquired the car just a few months ago. Just this past Labor Day weekend, I completed the restoration of the electrical controls and the rewiring of the car. In addition, I was able to take care of some mechanical issues and by Sunday evening take the car for a test drive. Here's a video of the Custer on the road again after many years sitting idle.

More to come soon on the origins of California's micro-electric cars! Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 15, 2011

More News of Emblems

Thanks to those who have responded so enthusiastically to the emblem project.

As a result, I am partnering with Vintage Golf Car Parts of Washington to reproduce other emblems for other mid-century electric cars. Those of you with Electric Shoppers, Mobilettes, Marketeers, etc. who are interested in obtaining emblems, please let me know. We will be looking at making the molds in the coming weeks and, while we have a good selection of emblems, will be looking for a few more to borrow for the mold-making process.

I'll keep you all posted as the project moves forward. With all the experience gained on the Autoette emblems this group should go a bit faster.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New! Exact Reproductions of Autoette Badges and CruiseAbout Emblem

Dear Autoetteers:

After a long process of having patterns and molds made for exact, authorized reproductions of the original Autoette emblems, I am pleased to offer for sale the Autoette badges and CruiseAbout script individually and as sets. I am offering the emblems at my cost plus a small additional fee in order to recover a portion of the cost to make the patterns and molds. These are investment cast solid bronze, better than the original pot metal parts and not some cheap plastic copies. They are made to order only. If you would like to order emblems I can accept PayPal or a check in advance. If you wish to send PayPal use my email:

Individual Parts:
Autoette Badge (flat or curved) - Triple-chrome plated solid bronze: $55.00 ea.
CruiseAbout Script - Triple-chrome plated solid bronze with cast in mounting pins: $65.00 ea.
NOTE: When installing the script you will need to gently bend it to fit your valance (not on Wayne cars). These are not sold pre-bent due to variations in the original parts.

Autoette CruiseAbout (excluding Wayne Cars) - 1ea. Autoette Badge (flat), 1ea. Autoette Badge (curved), and 1ea. CruiseAbout Script: $165.00
Autoette CruiseAbout (manufactured by Wayne) - 2ea. Autoette Badges (flat), and 2ea. CruiseAbout Script: $225.00

Shipping (anywhere in the USA): $10.00

These are made to order. Please contact me directly before ordering to be sure you get the correct emblems for your car.