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About Roadsters.com Last updated on September 28, 2013

Dave Mann How Roadsters.com got started

Awards Roadsters.com has won

Tips for your web site

Links to helpful web sites


Another page on Roadsters.com:

How to get linked on Roadsters.com

How Roadsters.com got started

This web site was born in the spring of 1996, and moved to its own domain name on December 15th, 1996. It was put together so that those of us who are interested in classic and high-performance cars and motorcycles would have one place on the web that had links to most of the web sites that we'd want to be able to visit without having to spend a lot of time searching for them.

In addition to this site having about 8,000 links to other motorsports-related web sites, you'll also find articles on topics that include classic racing wheels, hot rods, and Land Speed Record Racing.

What you see on this site is the work of Dave Mann, an incurable motorhead. I've been nuts about hot rods, race cars, motorcycles and sports cars ever since I discovered them. I was raised on sports cars and jazz, but I grew up on hot rods and rock and roll.

My first car was a 1930 Model A Ford, bought the day I turned 16, in 1968. That same year I bought my first motorcycle, a 1942 Harley-Davidson WLC 45 Army bike. A wild, fiberglass T-bucket hot rod with a GMC 6:71-blown Chevy followed the rusty A-bone, and a 1939 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead and a 1958 Panhead followed the Army bike.

Movie book In the 1990s I had two of my books published.

The first book is filled with information about over 500 movies, going all the way back to 1913, that feature hot rods, race cars, muscle cars, sports cars, motorcycles, and outstanding chase scenes. The first printing of 7,000 copies has sold out.

I titled the book "Motorhead Movies", but in the process of "enhancing the book's appeal", the publisher changed it to "Races, Chases & Crashes — A Complete Guide to Car Movies and Biker Flicks". (Gee — why didn't I think of that?)

Harley-Davidson Performance Parts Directory The second book came about as a result of research I did in the late Eighties while building a Harley-Davidson XR-750 race bike. It contains information about products and services available from 353 manufacturers and fabricators in thirteen different countries that can be used to improve the performance of a Harley. The first printing of 7,000 copies has completely sold out. I titled it "Harley Muscle Parts", but the publisher changed the title to "Harley-Davidson Performance Parts Directory". There is now a popular page on this site called Harley-Davidson Speed Equipment.

Awards Roadsters.com has won

USA Today Hot Site Award winner

On March 7th, 1997, when it was less than three months old, Roadsters.com received its first award, a USA Today Hot Site award that's given for "excellence in graphics, content or both". Their review was brief, but the response was great. And it happened on my birthday.

A few days later, on March 11th, this site and its award were mentioned in the Life section of USA Today. This also helped the site become known by thousands of people who otherwise wouldn't have heard about it.

Lycos award

On September 11th, 1997, Lycos named Roadsters.com as being in the Top 5% of all web sites. Being recognized by Lycos brought another increase in visits to the site from people who hadn't yet discovered it. In their review of the site, Lycos praised its content by saying, "This place is huge." They were right. Back then it took about 300 sheets of paper to print out the whole site. And although I haven't printed it all out for years, it would currently take over 600 sheets.


On March 18th, 1998, Forlags AB Albinsson & Sjoberg (FABAS), based in Karlskrona, Sweden, let us know that they had chosen this site as being in the top fifty of all automotive web sites. FABAS is Scandinavia's largest publisher of motoring magazines. "Quite an achievement, as this web site includes some 5,000 motoring-related links!"

Rod and Custom magazine

In addition to the awards, the site has been mentioned on radio, television, and in at least a dozen newspapers and magazines, including a very positive article about it in the December, 2000 issue of Rod & Custom.

This recognition was much appreciated. Although I've had a lot of fun putting the site together, the time involved has called for some sacrifices and it's always nice to hear from people who recognize its value. This site is been around for eight years now, and it's going to get a lot better. If you think it deserves more recognition, feel free to nominate this site for more mentions in the press, and for any web awards that you consider worthwhile.

If you have a web site, please add a link to Roadsters.com, and encourage other people to add them too. The more popular this site becomes, the better for all of us.

Some things need to be said about web site awards. There are two basic categories of them.

Web awards are supposedly given to reward excellence, and to provide a means for more people to become aware of a site that is worth spending some time at, whether it's entertaining or a useful resource.

Some awards are passed out like business cards, and are just a means of generating traffic back to the site that awards them. This site has won obout a dozen of these, and they're meaningless. You know you've been "awarded" something bogus when the site that the award is from is mediocre and blatantly commercial.

Several people have suggested that I start giving my own awards to sites that deserve recognition, and although it's a very low priority to me right now, that day may eventually arrive. It's far more likely that someday I'll create a page on this site that features the "Best of the Web".

Having looked at many thousands of them since 1996, I can tell you the things I'd be looking for if I was to judge web sites. The comments that follow may be of some help to those of you who are putting together your own web pages.

Tips for your web site

When most of us visit a web site, the first thing we look for is content. I visit a site to learn things. I'm looking for information, and I want to find it quickly. That means that a site should tell me where to find the information I'm looking for right away. I shouldn't have to dig around too much to find it.

I'm amazed at the number of business web sites out there that don't tell you the most basic things, such as what the company does — what they make, what it's for, what it fits — and their street address, phone number, and E-mail address, in their first page or two. There have been many times when I've gone to a company's site just so I could get their phone number or E-mail address, and then hunted around for ten minutes without ever being able to find it. Tell everybody who you are, what you do, where you are and how to contact you in the first page or two.

Now my opinion on things like Java, CGI, and Perl scripts may change someday, but from what I've seen so far, they add very little that's of any real value to a web site's visitors. Java scripts can really slow down the time it takes to download your pages, and also make your visitor's computer much more likely to freeze up.

I'm not going to be any more likely to read your catalog, letter, magazine or newspaper if you put an animated juggling clown on the first page.

Things like blinking text and pages that use more than two colors of text make a web site look like it was designed to get the attention of young children.

Are the graphics you provide on your pages relevant? Are they just for decoration, or can we learn something from them? Are they unique, or uncommon?

Are you using happy face logos, and those lame, yellow-and-black-striped "Under Construction" signs on pages you feel insecure about, or that tired, stupid-looking animated image that shows the hand reaching out of the mailbox to grab a letter? Are you really that desperate to look like an idiot?

Now let's talk about links. When I first started putting this site together, in addition to searching with search engines, I looked at other sites to see what links they had. In fact, since I will admit to having a link fetish, a new site's links are one of the first things I look at.

The links you have to other sites say something about who put the site together — "how many of their friends they're willing to introduce you to" is one way of putting it. It is perfectly acceptable for a business to have no links to any other web sites. If you only have five or ten links to other sites, that's fine too, assuming that they're relevant and they all work, and you check them every month to make sure they still do. (And you certainly don't have to provide thousands of links like this site does. It just so happens that it was put together by one of the relatively few people who actually enjoys doing research and compiling a lot of information in a way that makes it easy for people to quickly find out something in particular.) But if you do have a lot of links, are they arranged in a way that breaks them down into categories, and then put in alphabetical order, so that people don't have to wade through a lot of things they're not interested in?

By the way, you don't ever have to ask permission to add a link on your site to another site. And if you haven't already done so, please add a link to the first page on Roadsters.com.

Don't expect people to load a different browser or change their monitor's resolution so they can view your site with the browser you've optimized it for. Nobody does that, and it makes you look arrogant if you tell them to. Make your site work with Firefox, and let their competition deal with any compatibility issues.

People won't ever adjust their screen size unless they really have to, so don't ever ask them to or expect them to. That's like running a business and telling a customer they can't come into your shop until they go home and change their shoes.

Make your site easy to navigate, with continuity in its layout between all of its pages. You'll notice that this site has an index at the top of every page, and a link to its first page at the bottom of every page.

Never overestimate the patience of your site's visitors. Never underestimate the value your visitors place on their time. If you frustrate them, you'll lose them.

Make the people who visit your site happy to be there. Treat them with respect, without being patronizing. Remember, there are millions of other web sites that they could be looking at, so be grateful that they chose to spend some time at yours. Don't make them wait for what they want. Make their visit to your web site an educational, entertaining, and worthwhile experience. Give them something that will make them want to come back.

As far as frames go, I hate them. Everyone I've talked to about them hates them. I would never use frames on any web page I put together. If I was ever asked to evaluate web sites, I would automatically deduct points from any site that used frames. Truth is, I virtually never spend any time on web sites that are made with frames. Here are some of the reasons why:

We can think of a web page as being a page from a letter, a magazine, a catalog or a book. When we are holding a magazine in our hands and reading it, in effect we are using a two-page color monitor. Of course when we're at our computers, most of us don't have the luxury of a 21-inch monitor. I'm opposed to anything that reduces the effective screen size of a monitor and gives us a smaller window to peek through.

Images displayed on pages that are made with frames must be smaller than the window the frame provides, or visitors will have to scroll around to see all of its parts and then try to visualize what the whole image looks like when it's all put together.

Sites built with frames often "hold us hostage" to a site when we follow one of its links to somewhere else, by keeping us from even knowing the URL of where we are (unless we looked at where the link pointed to and wrote it down, or typed it in ourselves to get out of the frames).

You often have to "right click" to get a framed page to appear in a new window, or to bookmark a site that's linked to a framed site, but most people don't know that they can do this.

Some of us who don't have state-of-the-art computers on very quick connections will sometimes surf the web with "Load Images" turned off on our browsers, and when we find something we want to see, we click "Images" on the browser to show all the images. But when you're at a site that's made with frames, you have to click on a frame and load the images in that frame, and then click somewhere else and load the images in that part of the screen.

Frames often slow down page loading.

For some reason, sites made with frames tend to cause computers to freeze up or crash far more often than sites with no frames.

The only people that seem to like frames are people who create Web pages for others — and especially the kind of web page designers that like to show off what they know how to do.

I wish frames had never been developed.

The only frames that I would ever use are made of steel, preferably seamless 4130 chrome-moly tubing.

The Roadsters.com Promise of Performance

This web site shall provide:

  • No animated images
  • No background images that obscure text
  • No black page backgrounds
  • No blinking text
  • No boasting about how great it is
  • No cookies
  • No deceptive or misleading information
  • No features that will make browsers crash
  • No Flash
  • No forms to fill out
  • No frames
  • No hype
  • No Java or Javascript
  • No links to jerks
  • No links to pages that aren't "finished"
  • No links to sites that have nothing to offer
  • No mailing lists
  • No memberships
  • No mention of "the information superhighway"
  • No navigation headaches
  • No non-printer-friendly pages
  • No off-topic banner ads
  • No passwords
  • No pop-up ads
  • No pull-down menus
  • No redundant graphics
  • No registration forms or fees
  • No repetitive audio files
  • No sign-up fees
  • No slow-loading images
  • No spam
  • No subscription fees
  • No text typed in UPPER CASE
  • No "Under Construction" banners
  • No untitled web pages
  • No use of the phrase "Click Here!"

  • Just pure, clicking satisfaction.

    Links to helpful web sites

    For those of you who are interested in making your own web pages, here are a few good resources to get you started.

    HTML Goodies
    I like this site. It is run by Joe Burns, Ph.D., who provides access to everything you could ever want in the world of HTML. This site is the closest thing I've found to making something as mundane as HTML code fun.

    HTML Writers Guild
    As you might expect, this site has lots of technical information for people learning and using HTML. It's not the most thrilling site I've seen, but then it's not the most thrilling topic, either.

    The US Copyright Office
    Your web site's content is your property. Protect it.

    W3C Link Checker
    This is the best online link checker that I know of, and I use it to check the links on this site. To use it, just paste in the address of the page you want to check, hit Enter, and it will begin compiling a page with the results.

    Web Developer's Virtual Library
    This site is packed with information and resources of interest to webmasters.

    Web Pages That Suck
    This is an excellent site that was put together by Vincent Flanders, an HTML instructor in Berkeley, California. It shows you what not to do when you're making web pages. Here we can "learn good design by studying bad design."


    "If you can't find it here, you must have left it somewhere else."
    — Dave Mann

    "I'd be more interested in putting a blower and slicks on my car than putting neon lights under it. I treat my web pages the same way."
    — Dave Mann

    "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."
    — Woody Allen

    "Getting married for the second time represents the triumph of hope over experience."
    — Samuel Johnson

    "You know, it's hard to get excited about winning a million when it took two million to do it."
    — Richard Petty

    "I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it."
    — Jonathan Winters

    "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
    — Dan Quayle

    "If we don't vote, we run the risk of having people like Quayle running our government."
    — Dave Mann

    "I see lots of differences between the United States and Canada. For example, here in the States, when there's a fire somewhere, as soon as the firefighters arrive they just start fighting the fire. But back in Canada, first we try to reason with the fire."
    — Dave Mann

    "Driving a fuel Funny Car is like marrying a nuclear weapon. I like it."
    Scotty Cannon

    "The women that will put up with me can't keep up with me.
    The women that can keep up with me won't put up with me."
    — Dave Mann

    "I would say that about 75-percent of the world is mediocrity, whether it's food, or style, or music. A mediocre world. And the other 25-percent have an elitist attitude. That's the part of the world I belong to. You have to know your own worth. I like to say that my band consists of fifteen Ferraris in a world of Pintos."
    "We don't have style. We have class."
    Buddy Rich

    "I have the heart of a child. I keep it in a jar on my shelf."
    — Robert Bloch

    Q: How many rockabilly guys does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Ten. One to change it, and nine more to talk about how much better the original one was.

    "Find your Art Pedal, and mash it to the floor."
    — Mel Klimas

    Roadsters.com - articles and 8,000 links
    All text and images on Roadsters.com
    are Copyright 1996-2013 Dave Mann