« How Real Is Artificial Intelligence? | Main | The Gate Is Rusting Off Its Hinges »

Car Men; Cash Men; Con Men

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/06/2018 | 2:54 PM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.


The battlefields of commerce are strewn with the maimed - and dead, casualties of the flagship of American business, and (mostly) failed losses to Japanese and Korean conquerors.

What became of American industrial might once sprung from workshops and shade trees.  It formed the bedrock of a prospering middle class, enduring legacies, in addition to ancillary services and activities.

Along the way, we discovered that the automobile universe was comprised of diverse elements.  Some were tinkerers, some were inventors, some were cut/fit/trim improvers of the tried and true technology.  Some were designers, some were all about performance on the street and on the track.

These were the car guys, the steamers, the streamliners, the suspension and carburation gurus.  A few escalated their visions with building great factories among us.These were the Dodge boys, Elwood Haynes, the pride of Kokomo, Pininfarina, Ferrari, Daimler, Ransom Olds, Henry Ford, and the like.

Some depended on educators and managers to bail out a company's finances: Alfred Sloan and  Studebaker come to mind.  Still others combined many elements, Lee Iacoccca being a prime example.

Others were tougher to psychoanalyze, with futuristic, if un-needed, technology, bringing us "tomorrow's car " today, built and delivered in three months or so.  Edsel, the infamous Tucker, Maclaren.  Were they failures, useless cons, or genuine new-century concepts?  Where do/did their promoters fall in the pantheon of wanna-be car guys?

Given that Tucker may or may not have been a fraud and a con, most of those getting rich were those pioneering newer selling approaches: Fred Ricart; Jim Moran, the Courtesy Man; franchise bundlers; zero down, unconventional trade-ins; various products from Earl "Madman" Muntz; and the ill-fated DeLorean (made in Ireland until its demise).



By submitting your comments, you agree to our Terms of Service.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


Popular Tags

Recent Comments

Subscribe to DC Velocity

Subscribe to DC Velocity Start your FREE subscription to DC Velocity!

Subscribe to DC Velocity
Go digital