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Four-Links – Tbilisi Auto Museum, designing the 1958 Oldsmobile, Crosley opera, Blink of an Eye

Published in blog.hemmings.com

One of the largest collections of Soviet cars in the world lies in the former Soviet state of Georgia, according to Atlas Obscura:

The auto museum is actually a private collection of cars and some motorcycles owned by a Georgian businessman named Giorgi Mamulashvili, who has been collecting cars for nearly two decades and has over 25 vintage vehicles in his current warehouse.

Touring the collection, you will see the first Soviet pickup truck, many Zaporozhets, and a few Moskivitch models. Some are luxury vehicles used by important Soviet leaders, while others were simply found abandoned in the villages. Every single car is in pristine condition having been lovingly restored and maintained.

* Perhaps the most overwrought design of the Fifties – certainly the most overdecorated – belonged to the 1958 Oldsmobile, so for the upcoming Dean’s Garage book, Bernie Smith, the design’s originator, spoke about its genesis.

We were struggling to get a design theme for the ‘58 Olds and Earl was really giving the Olds design chief, Art Ross, a hard time. I knew that Earl liked almost anything with a “bullet” shape so I did a very large rendering of a design with a reverse bullet shape that came off the headlamps and flowed back onto the front door. I used just enough chrome to attract his attention and rendered the car in black with the bullet shape accented in red, one of his favorite color combinations. You could say that I sold part of my soul to the devil, but we desperately needed a theme before he fired the entire bunch of us.

* The behind-the-scenes tales of the automotive industry in the Twentieth Century can be quite operatic, but the Cincinnati Opera earlier this month took the unusual step of taking on an opera that hasn’t been staged in decades, “Ariadne auf Naxos,” but reframing it around the life and times of Powel Crosley.

Evans Mirageas, artistic director of Cincinnati Opera, stumbled upon the idea to set the opera in Crosley’s home when he was in CVG Airport and saw models of Crosley-designed cars and was inspired by the history of the native inventor.

The opera will be set at Pinecroft, the mansion built by Crosley and while no room from the actual residence has been mimicked, there will be noticeable Crosley memorabilia.

* The story of Michael Waltrip’s first NASCAR win, which coincided with the death of Dale Earnhardt, is the focus of the upcoming “Blink of an Eye,” a film based on Paul Taublieb’s book of the same name.

The story begins when Michael leaves his small Kentucky town to follow in the footsteps of his brother Darrell, to make it as race car driver. Michael gets help from the legendary Richard Petty, butt hen proceeds to race 462 times without a win. The longest losing streak in NASCAR. Despite this, Earnhardt puts him in one of his cars in the 2001 Daytona 500. On the last lap, the running order is Michael in first, Earnhardt’s son “Jr” in second, and Earnhardt himself in third. Earnhardt blocks the field of 40 cars behind him to protect Michael and Jr. As Michael takes the checkered flag, Earnhardt is swept up in what looks to be minor crash. Michael is ecstatic and waits for a hug from his friend.

* Down in Columbia, the Willys Jeep helped develop the Armenia region, so the local farmers pay homage to the Jeep with the annual Yipao parade of extensively decorated and laden Jeeps.