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If you've ever wanted to joke about something that would make Henry Ford roll over in his grave, this could be the time. The automaker's founder's great-grandson appears to be staking some of his financial future on train tickets.


David E. Davis, Jr. has died at age 80. The longtime Car and Driver editor, Automobile Magazine founder and man with his fingerprints all over this great business of ours passed away unexpectedly after complications from bladder surgery at 5:15pm Eastern on Sunday. A hugely witty man with a talent for honing a magazine's voice and recognizing and refining talent in those around him, Davis stands among the founding fathers of modern automotive journalism.


Let's sit down for a moment and think back to 1988. Have a clear picture yet? Neither did we, at first, so here's a refresher. Back then, environmentalists were likened to extremists. Their viewpoints were thought to be so far-fetched and disconnected from popular views that they were outsiders, even weirdos. In some ways, Bill Ford fit into that group of crazy environmentalists. Not a major problem, unless you're hired as the director of Ford Motor Company – then it's a huge complication.


Ford executive chairman Bill Ford closed out the 2010 SAE World Congress with a reminder: "All the early cars were electric." Why do so few people remember that electric cars date back more than a hundred years? Ford suggested it's because, electric cars have "been around really for the past century or so, but they really haven't had mass market appeal." There's the answer: without mass market appeal, technologies will be forgotten.


In this week's episode of Autoline After Hours, John McElroy, Peter "The Autoextremist" DeLorenzo, and David Welch of BusinessWeek are joined by the dean of automotive journalism, David E. Davis, Jr., for an unusually candid discussion about the issues and events affecting today's auto industry.


According to a grand jury indictment, a New Mexico prostitution ring mastermind was trying to extort two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. for $750,000 over a videotape. Bobby McMullin, the ringleader, allegedly had an unflattering video of Unser that he promised to release to the public if Little Al didn't pay him. The racer signed a letter agreeing to pay an unspecified amount for the tape, and indeed some payments were made, but authorities don't know how much money changed hands.

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