Monday, December 13, 2010

I've Moved

It has taken me about two months, but I've almost finished moving the contents of this site over to Wordpress.

I like the functionality of Wordpress a bit more than Blogger...not to say I'm done here completely, but feel free to join me off yonder:

Click here to visit Retro Pop Planet on Wordpress

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rusty Hulks

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills; 10

For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head;

It is some dream that on the deck,

You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;

From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

But I, with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

Poem by Walt Whitman.

Photos by Hearts of Darkness. Photographed at the Staten Island Boat Graveyard.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Retro Obsession: DMC DeLorean

"We will do anything to keep this company alive."
-John DeLorean

It's inevitable I guess. 25 years gone and we're celebrating a movie that exploded the membrane of American pop culture. Back to the Future was certainly not the first motion picture to drive automotive sales, nor will it be the last, but what is notable is how much acclaim the DMC DeLorean has received despite the epic career flameout that befell its namesake.

This is a beloved piece of machinery. The stainless steel and winged throttle rocket became a cultural icon even before the movie hit Betamax.

Flux capacitor, nose candy, and Huey Lewis aside.

(Pictured below is Pontiac's former golden-boy John DeLorean in marketing stills for the DMC-12. His master stroke at Pontiac was the legendary GTO.)

"After giving Pontiac its new style, DeLorean gradually transformed himself from a button-down conformist to a vain, middle-aged clotheshorse. He lost 60 lbs., began lifting weights and started draping his 6-ft. 4-in. frame in brightly colored shirts, turtlenecks and nipped-at-the-waist suits. He got a facelift (for a while he denied it) and affected longish hair, which he dyed black. He divorced his wife of 15 years, Elizabeth...He dated starlets, and, by now, every move had flair." Via.

"Detroit did not approve of DeLorean's lifestyle, so in 1973 he "fired GM" and set off on his own. The DeLorean myth grew. He was a maverick, a risk taker, and he had bold dreams...but what he really wanted to do was start his own car company and break the hold that Ford, Chrysler and GM had on the American auto industry. The sporty DMC-12, he thought, would do the trick. The sleek stainless-steel sports car with the distinctive gull-wing doors boasted a 130hp Renault engine and could go from zero to 60mph in eight seconds." Via.

"DeLorean needed $175 million to finance his dream. Over one hundred investors, including Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis, Jr., put over $12 million into a partnership for research and development while the British government produced $156 million in grants and loans in return for DeLorean locating the DMC factory in Northern Ireland. DeLorean risked relatively little of his own money -- $700,000 is the best estimate -- but he seemed to have made his dream come true. The Auto Prince lived like royalty in a $7.2 million, 20-room Fifth Avenue duplex, a $3.5 million estate in New Jersey and a $4 million California ranch. He made sure DMC's $25,000-a-month New York offices were located in a skyscraper that towered as high as the nearby GM building. He paid himself nearly half a million dollars a year and his estimated value in 1982 was $28 million. John Z. DeLorean was a real American success story, the poor boy who made good. Or so it appeared." Via.

"Unfortunately, the DMC-12 racked up mediocre sales figures. Entering the market in 1981, it faced stiff competition from Datsun, Mazda and Porsche sports cars. At $26,000, it cost $8,000 more than the Chevrolet Corvette. And of course a recession during 1981-82 didn't help, either. DeLorean expected to sell 12,000 cars a year; in the first six months only 3,000 DMC-12s were purchased. (A pair of 24-karat solid gold cars bearing $85,000 price tags were made for an American Express Christmas catalog; one resides in a glass showcase in the lobby of a Snyder, Texas bank and the other is in a Reno,Nevada car museum.) By February 1982 the DMC factory was in receivership, and in October of that year the British government ordered it shut down. DeLorean needed $17 million in a hurry to save his business. In desperation he entered into a drug-smuggling scheme, and in so doing walked right into a FBI sting operation designed to nab a smuggler named William Hetrick." Via.

"Hetrick was suspected of flying cocaine in from Colombia and moving it through the offices of a company called Morgan Aviation at Mojave Airport, ninety miles out of Los Angeles. He was looking for a bank that would launder his ill-gotten gains. The FBI confidential informant hooked Hetrick up with one agent posing as a bank officer and another who posed as a drug distributor. DeLorean then approached the CI, and was filmed and recorded at meetings in Washington D.C.'s L'Enfant Plaza Hotel as well as L.A.'s Bel Air Sands and the Sheraton Plaza. Hetrick was arrested after exchanging the cocaine for money; DeLorean was was taken into custody the following day when he flew into L.A. from New York. Ironically, he just missed a call from a banker who wanted to offer a legitimate $200 million loan that would have saved DMC, which shut its doors for good owing creditors $180 million. DeLorean's dream had turned to dust -- and left a lot of investors burned." Via.

"Interviewed by Rolling Stone's Aaron Latham in 1983, DeLorean claimed that he was trying to get a loan using stock in a shell company as collateral, and that he tried to back out of the deal after discovering that drugs were involved. At that point, according to DeLorean, the lives of his kids were threatened. Furthermore, the money paid for the drugs brought in by Hetrick was provided by the government. DeLorean suggested that the government was out to destroy him because the Big Three automakers wanted to see his enterprise fail; at other times he surmised that either the British government or the Irish Republican Army had set him up." Via.

"In 1984, DeLorean was acquitted of all charges after a federal judge ruled that the FBI operation had been a clear case of entrapment. He became a born-again Christian and wrote his autobiography. But in April, 1985 Christina divorced him, and that September a federal grand jury indicted him for income tax evasion and mail and wire fraud on evidence that he had bilked DMC investors, siphoning the funds into his private bank account. Though never convicted, DeLorean was ordered to reimburse creditors to the tune of $9 million. In 1995 a jury ordered him to pay the law firm of Morganroth and Morganroth $10.3 million in unpaid legal fees. In 1998 a New York jury ruled that DeLorean's accounting firm owed DMC investors $46 million, plus $65 million in interest." Via.

"It is believed that a total of 8,563 DMC-12s were built. Approximately 6,000 of them still exist today." Via.

Specs for the DMC-12:

Exterior: made of brushed stainless steel intended to be rust-free for 20 years. The undercarriage is glass-reinforced plastic. The vehicle sported counter-balanced gull wing doors.

Interior: leather/vinyl seats and dash, electric windows and mirrors, a 4-speaker stereo system, locking storage compartment behind driver's seat.

Engine: a rear-mounted, light alloy V6, 2.85 liter, single overhead cam, with maximum torque of 208Nm at 2,750 rpm, and a compression ratio of 8:8:1. The DMC-12 was produced from 1981 to 1983.

A stunningly rare marketing film for sales employees - Part 1:

Part 2:

DMC John DeLorean Documentary:

In The Moment

I dig this band the Smith Westerns. You should too.

Girl In Love:

Boys Are Fine: