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Tail Lights: January 12, 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: January 12, 2013

Bill Crittenden

Statistics and Observations
Above:  1998 Lamborghini Diablo Styling Prototype, formerly hanging from the wall of the Lamborghini factory, it was sold at the 2012 Mecum Fall Premier Auction for $40,000.  More pictures at http://carsandracingstuff.com/library/d/diablo.php

Volume 2, Issue 2

Statistics

So, the Library recently had a little server downtime.  Nothing major, just one bad day among many great ones so far.  However, in looking into the site statistics, I saw that there are a LOT of unfinished links that lead to nowhere because of a project I had put off for a while.

I had to switch gears a little and I'm finishing the NASCAR race statistics for the last 25-ish years.  I'll get back to the transcripts later, but when it's all done it'll be fantastic...career race history and press conference transcripts and sometimes even a few pictures to follow a driver's career all in one place!  I had hoped to be done with this by the end of the weekend, which means it'll be done by mid-March.  I always set unrealistic goals for how much I can get done in a day!

Even with the downtime, our rolling 30-day total surpassed 40,000 page views.  That's more than 1,333 page views a day on average, almost 1 per minute!  Hopefully, patching all the "holes" in the site will help boost that total beyond the 50,000 mark soon.

While I'm doing that, I usually have a window in the background uploading crash test videos from NHTSA to The Internet Archive where they can be more easily accessed and indexed for the Library.  It's sad to see some of these cars, brand new at the time and they would have been classics had they survived, get demolished, but human beings are more important than sheet metal.

Observations

For those of you who do not know, I have a day job.  I spent a few days recently working a security assignment at a Toyota dealership.  This was a lot of fun, and I've finally updated my ability to recognize which Toyotas are from which years.  They liked that The Crittenden Automotive Library Pontiac Vibe had a little "Powered by Toyota" decal on the fender.

I also saw my first Scion iQ up close.  It really is a different class of automobile, it just moves one or two people from one location to another.  Just enough room for two people, a briefcase and a few shopping bags.  Just enough to suit most peoples' needs, really.  Not enough to suit anybody's wants, but certainly their needs.  And I never saw anybody drive one except the dealership employees to get around the lot.

We really do wrap up a lot of our personality, desires, and image in what we drive, don't we?  Few of us really buy a car based solely on analysis of statistics and needs.  Even then, what statistics are more important than others are subjective.

Fear of crashes prompt some to buy as big as they can afford, some have to project an image of success, others have to be the fastest on the road despite the 55mph limits that apply to everybody.

My family isn't immune to this, we are just more anecdotal evidence to support the hypothesis.  My wife describes her car, a Mazda CX-7, as "pretty," and I know that factored into our purchase.  I love history, and I would much rather have the Pontiac Vibe that I do now than the nearly identical Toyota Matrix.
Even the little iQ, as basic as transportation gets, came with a dark orange paint job, special wheels, and all sorts of little bodywork lines that tried to make it look like a Fast & Furious car in miniature.  The picture above is a different, but as far as I can tell identical, iQ.  Certainly no Tata Nano here.

It's just one of those things that makes automobiles, even ones intended for "basic transportation," so important culturally and interesting to observe.
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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