How the dilapidated Detroit becomes the Berlin of the USA

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The shattered Detroit can become the Berlin of the USA

How the dilapidated Detroit becomes the Berlin of the USA-dilapidated

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Hard to imagine in view of the starving streets of today: Detroit once prospered, was lively and one of the richest cities in the USA. This shot shows downtown Detroit around 1917 when the city still had a tram. But it was …

Source: UIG / Getty Images

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… soon to be abolished in order to subdue the city completely to the car. There were probably no commuter traffic jams as early in any city as in Detroit.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

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Later came the decline that bleeded whole parts of the city, actually the whole city that went bankrupt a few years ago. Many of the former Acar factories …

Source: REUTERS

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… the production lines stopped. And many a showcase car, like your own home, was left to its own devices after it had become obsolete. But now there are many Signs …

Source: REUTERS

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… the resurgence of the city. The monument on Hart Plaza may serve as a symbol: Joe Louis ’metal fist was recently renovated. And houses are no longer just falling into disrepair, like thischange …

Source: Bilgin S. Sasmaz / aa / picture alliance

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… there is also an unmistakable atmosphere of optimism. Creatives and artists are drawn to the city. Private wealth comes on a large scale: This is how investment banker Dan Gil hasBert reportedly bought skyscrapers in his hometown for more than a billion dollars and started developing them.

Source: REUTERS

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The bicycle manufacturer Shinola has been in operation in Detroit since 2011, one of more than half a dozen manufacturers that sell expensive bikes and thus the Bringing the city’s long bicycle tradition to life: the Dodge brothers once earned the money for their car factory with bicycles, much like the Opel brothers in Germany or the Peugeot family in France.

Source: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

The fair has never been dropped, and Detroit‘s Auto Show will reopen on Monday. Motor City is now following suit. The ruined city, once the richest in America, is about to make a splendid comeback.

E.Detroit has few attractions to offer, and Hart Plaza is certainly not one of them. Although it is in the heart of the city, where the legendary Woodward Avenue meets the Detroit River, you hardly want to stroll here even if it’s not winter, if there is no icy wind blowing through the deep canyons and you are not standing in ankle-deep slush.

It used to be a beam that made the whole of America shine – at least that was what “Life” magazine wrote in 1963. It was not for nothing that Woodward Avenue, the city’s lifeline, was more sophisticated, brighter and livelier than Fifth Avenue in New York. Today in downtown Detroit, the most common things you see are dark windows, empty parking lots, abandoned houses, and closed shops.

Anyone who comes to Detroit for the motor show that starts next week and wants to know something about the myth that originates from the home of the American motor industry would still do well to make a detour to Hart Plaza.

An iron fist as a defiant symbol

Because more than from the many new cars and the reawakened self-confidence of the three Detroit-based US manufacturers can be learned from the pyramid-shaped statue that is erected here: the steel arm and iron fist of boxing champion Joe Lewis hangs on a meter-high frame.

The monument, which weighs more than five meters and weighs two tons, is not only reminiscent of one of the most famous sons of this city. The athletes’ memorial is a defiant symbol that Motor City can fight, will not give in and will want to come back. And it looks like it could work too.

First self-driving car crosses the USA

So far, the self-driving car of the future will only drive short distances. A test drive across the USA should prove that the future may not be that far away. Source: N24

After all, Detroit is not just any location that, like so many other regions with outmoded industries, has massive problems with structural change. No, Detroit is the American industrial city par excellence. Motown’s auto industry was the engine of the country for decades.

Detroit is the birthplace of mass production, automobiles, cement roads, refrigerators, frozen peas, high-paying industrial jobs, home ownership, large-scale bank loans. The American way of life was invented here, ”enthuses local reporter Charlie LeDuff in a book with his reports from the“ Detroit News ”about his hometown.

Once the richest city in the nation

And US President Lyndon B. Johnson even described Detroit in 1964 as a “messenger of hope”. "The prosperity in America comes from Detroit," he shouted to the citizens. “You in Detroit are mobilizing Americans and you are keeping the economy going. Unemployment low, wages high and no problem too difficult not to be solved. "

Half a century later it is exactly the other way round: At the beginning of the decade, unemployment was higher than anywhere else in the US Rust Belt, but wages fell with every new bankruptcy: “Once the richest city in this nation, it is now the poorest. There are firemen without shoes, police officers without cars, teachers without pens and too many grandmothers who have run out of tears, ”complains LeDuff.

A really big thing from Cadillac

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The new Cadillac Escalade also has modern technology under its modern-looking outer skin, from the autonomous braking system to the full LED headlights.

Source: General Motors

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For those who love the American Way of Drive, the 5.18 meter long battleship is just right for them.

Source: General Motors

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Cadillac delivers a full range of equipment at a lavish price of 96,500 euros.

Source: General Motors

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Among other things, there are always on board: GPS, Bose sound system, autonomous braking, dampers with adaptive control, entertainment system with monitor in the rear, head-up display, LED headlightsfer, steering wheel heating, ventilated and heated memory seats, level control, reversing camera with 360-degree view, keyless locking system, electrically foldable third bench seat, active cruise control.

Source: General Motors

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The rear compartment of the long version is truly impressive, with a volume of more than 1000 liters even with full seating.

Source: General Motors

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The Escalage will probably only convince a few fans in Germany. This is not least due to the manageable dealer network of just eleven points of contact – and this applies in this country Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Porsche simply more.

Source: General Motors

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Because of its size, the Escalade is sensitive to cross winds.

Source: General Motors

Anyone walking through the deserted streets of the city is sometimes reminded of TV reports from distant civil war countries. The mood remains tense in many neighborhoods. Until recently, the city was in the top five highest crime rates in the country. You can see creeping decay on every street corner. Not only is the huge train station a ruin full of holes, through which no train has passed for ages, the old Packard factory on Concord Street is also a heap of rubble where the junkies live. The ravages of time have gnawed entire streets. According to various estimates, well over 60,000 buildings are empty. A landscape of ruins against which Magdeburg, for example, was a flourishing city in the early years of change.

City’s credit rating raised again

There are many reasons for the decline, they are intertwined: The city’s population has more than halved in the last 50 years and only had 713,777 inhabitants at the beginning of the decade, and the trend is falling. As the number of residents increased, so too did tax revenues.

In addition, the crisis in the automotive industry as the most important branch of the economy and a less competent, at times even criminal administration in the city hall – so Detroit slid into a deadly downward spiral that only reached its low point in 2013. With $ 18 billion in the chalk, the city officially declared bankruptcy. Johnson’s “messengers of hope” became a symbol of disintegration and depression.

Chrysler Norseman – the sunken prototype

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When the "Andrea Doria" sank in 1956 after a tragic collision with the "Stockholm" near Nantucket and killed many people, a special car went too with under: the Chrysler Norseman.

Source: Minichamps

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The prototype, which was designed by Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil M. Exner and built by hand by the Italian coachbuilder Ghia in Turin, was in the bow of the cars luxury liners.

Source: Minichamps

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It was to be tested extensively after its arrival and then shown at American auto shows. He would certainly have become a crowd puller, especially because of seIn an almost free-floating roof structure that was only attached to the C-pillar of the body.

Source: Minichamps

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The prototype also had some innovations inside. The dashboard was padded in the event of an accident, and the individual seats were fitted with belts.

Source: Minichamps

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The backrests of the front seats could be rotated to make it easier for the rear passengers to get in. They also had it in the rear on their single seats with their own center console quite convenient.

Source: Minichamps

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The car was never lifted from the ocean floor, and Chrysler has not made a second attempt after the prototype went down. Maybe the roof structure was too expensive and too unsafe in the event of a rollover. But now the miniature construction specialist Minichamps …

Source: Minichamps

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… rebuilt the car in the scales 1:18 and 1:43.

Source: Minichamps

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The reconstruction of the Norseman was anything but easy for the model builder. Because they usually fall back on 300 to 400 photographs in their work. From the prototyp, however, only a few maps existed.

Source: Minichamps

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The Minichamps experts could only speculate on some details.

Source: Minichamps

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However, they attached great importance to reproducing the unusual roof structure as precisely as possible.

Source: Minichamps

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The die-cast miniature version is not a toy, but rather a collector’s item. For the 1:18 scale model, you currently have to spend at least 339 euros, for a 1:43 scale minat least 105 euros.

Source: Minichamps

But just like the American automotive industry, Detroit has recovered: One year after the bankruptcy proceedings were concluded, the analysts at Motown are again giving positive marks. The rating agency Moody’s had already raised the city’s creditworthiness by one notch in the summer. Moody’s manager Matthew Butler finds words of praise: The employment rate is increasing faster than expected, and the unemployment rate fell from 16.3 percent to 11.5 percent in September.

Ford is doing almost never in the last few years, Chrysler is getting going thanks to Fiat, and General Motors is still almost on par with VW and Toyota in the world rankings of the largest automakers. But there are other reasons that Motown is picking up again.

With the help of old shoe polish

The car manufacturers continue to rationalize. The heart of the US auto industry has long been beating in the less unionized southern states. The current car boom is largely bypassing Detroit.

Instead, it is new investors from other industries, private initiatives, artists and creative people who are bringing new life and making the lights in the city center come on again. The analysts expect that this year there will again be 100,000 jobs in downtown Detroit. A quarter more than five years ago.

The beauty of old American cars

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New cars are too boring for Torsten Zarth. The Berlin DJ prefers to drive striking vintage cars, preferably American models.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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No matter where he parks his cars – in this case a Plymouth Fury Suburban and a Chrysler Threehundred – people stop and admire the vehicles. Not infrequently finds he messages from passers-by under the windshield wiper.

Source: Haiko Prengel

How the dilapidated Detroit becomes the Berlin of the USA-China becomes second home Mercedes

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His classic cars should not only be admired, but also driven. When Torsten Zarth is out and about as a DJ, he uses the 5.72 meter long Fury as a tour bus.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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When the rear seat is folded down, a two-meter-long mattress easily fits into the giant station wagon.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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The love of classic cars is one thing, the ability to be able to fix something on them is another. For such cases, Torsten Zarth always has the right literature in the car.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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And the matching stickers on the rear of the car.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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Another gem in Torsten Zarth’s fleet is the Chrysler Threehundred, built in 1971.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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The car is in fantastic condition. Even the paint is still original.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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Due to the lack of a B-pillar, the entire window sides of the 5.71-meter-long Chrysler can be lowered, creating something like a convertible feeling.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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Everything about this car seems huge: the dashboard, the steering wheel and the fuel consumption. In city traffic, the 335 hp V8 swallows up to 30 liters.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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The leather interior is also extremely luxurious. Both front and …

Source: Haiko Prengel

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… three people can sit in the back.

Source: Haiko Prengel

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The two classic cars can also be rented. Torsten Zarth has recognized how well old cars are received for special occasions, and with the classic car rental “Just Carried” he has twotest pillar built.

Source: Haiko Prengel

The fruits of this labor can be seen in some of the now rather spruced-up blocks of Canfield Street. The Shinola manufactory has set up its flagship store there, where all hell breaks loose even on a Tuesday morning. At the weekend there are even queues in front of the neat shop in the flat brick building. Hardly any other company illustrates the 1001st rebirth of the “City of 1000 Comebacks” and their will to survive as clearly as the designer label with the name of an old shoe polish. Founded in 2011, the business model is based primarily on classy watches, elaborately constructed bicycles in a retro style and trendy accessories from writing pads to dog leashes. An Art Manufactum on Lake Erie.

Bicycles are a tradition in Detroit

Meanwhile, a good 300 employees appeal to the national pride of the Americans and convey a simple message to them, just like Chrysler’s famous Superbowl commercials with Eminem or Bob Dylan: Whoever buys a Shinola product acquires a piece of Detroit and thus does his part to save the city . Patriotism through your wallet.

"It’s a difficult task to get back in shape," says company boss Steve Bock. "But we’re on the right track." He doesn’t just mean his brand, which elderly Americans still know as everyday shoe cream. He means the whole city: "We’re bringing a historic American brand to life and thus a historic American city," drips the pathos from the Shinola website.

With a zeppelin through the city traffic

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Loopholes windows, thin wheels: the Cyclone is not a car. To move him from the spot, you have to …

Source: The Future People

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… step on the pedals. In order to get as much strength as possible on the legs, the front passenger can also hold on to the handles. The interior design is greatly reduced. On the iPod he has orientated himself, says designer Cameron van Dyke. On the other hand, there is an abundance of …

Source: The Future People

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… materials used. The seats are upholstered in leather, the wooden elements are made of mahogany. As an alternative with an electric motor, the inventors The Future People, the “alternatResearch ive value systems "in traffic and in housing construction, a …

Source: The Future People

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… built a Zeppelin, also a concept vehicle. Two pedals can ride in it, with the support of a 750 watt motor, and go up to 40 kilometers per hour will. The Zeppelin could …

Source: The Future People

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… at least keep up to some extent in city traffic. No commercial production is currently planned for either of the alternative vehicles. They should, according to the Future People of the AmericansHowever, they show new ways that could one day lead to more sustainability in traffic.

Source: The Future People

Bock is not alone in this. In the past few years, more than half a dozen bicycle factories have opened in Detroit, making old-fashioned trimmed city bikes for many thousands of dollars. One of them even wants to achieve an annual production of 50,000 pieces and thus become the largest bicycle manufacturer in the USA. Wheels from ruins – with the boom for bikes, however, Detroit does not start a whole new chapter in the history of the city, but rather an ancient one is being continued. "Bicycles have a longer tradition in this city than cars," says Todd Scott of the Detroit Greenways Coalition’s cyclist lobby, citing a few prominent examples.

Moving forward with pop music

Henry Ford put his first car on four bicycle wheels and powered it with a bicycle chain. Much like the Opel brothers in Germany or the Peugeot family in France, the Dodge brothers earned the money for their car factory with bicycles.

It is thanks to Horatio Earle’s love for bicycles, Senator for Transport, that the first roads were concreted in Detroit. And even the first motor show in the birthplace of industrial automobile production was organized by a bicycle dealer.

Detroit may owe its rise and fall to the car,” writes the business magazine “Fortune”: “The city’s past does not rest on four, but on two wheels. And maybe their future too. "

In addition to companies, it is mainly individuals who want to bring their hometown back into shape with shirt-sleeves and verve. They catalog and renovate vacant houses and develop innovative business models to preserve the property.

Literary road trip with Neil Young

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Neil Young’s first car, a 1948 Buick Roadmaster Hearse. The hearse called "Mort" brought the musician and his band to their first big gigs.

Source: Neil Young

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"My Dad’s Car": This 1951 Monarch Sedan belonged to Young’s father, Scott, a writer. On long drives, Little Neil slept on the floor and felt the potholes.

Source: Neil Young

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Luxury on wheels: a 1957 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible. At the time, the convertible was one of the most expensive cars you could buy in America. 6.4 liter displacement, not consumableH!

Source: Neil Young

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Something for the working class: Young’s father bought this Beetle in 1956, his mother drove a Ford coupe. "For the first time we were a two-car family!"

Source: Neil Young

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Hippie car: Neil Young bought a Citroën Deux Chevaux in 1971. "It was a lot of fun driving the wagon all over the ranch."

Source: Neil Young

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In 2007, Neil Young decided to convert his biggest fuel eater to hybrid operation with an electric motor. The choice fell on a 1959 Lincoln Continental.

Source: Neil Young

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“Cars carry their memories with them,” says Neil Young. “They’re alive to me.” His new book tells enchanting stories about old cars, music and life.

Source: Pegi Young

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On the road trip with the great Neil Young. “I bought cars because of their soul,” says the musician. "Special Deluxe" is the continuation of his memoir "A Hippie Dream".

Source: Kiepenheuer & Witsch

You are committed to urban farming and want to convert old industrial wasteland into arable land. Creative agencies or fashion labels should move into disused factory halls. The workwear brand Carhartt is putting its current collection under the "313" motto, the Detroit telephone code.

The long tradition of pop music also helps with the image change, from the black Motown label of the sixties to the show rockers from Kiss with “Detroit Rock City”, the wild punk from MC5 to Underground Resistance, the dark heroes of the techno scene.

Private wealth is coming to the city on a grand scale: for example, the investment banker Dan Gilbert allegedly bought high-rise buildings for more than a billion dollars in his hometown and started developing them. The American car dealer king and racing team owner Roger Penske not only initiated the construction of the M1 metro line along Woodward Avenue, he also regularly donates to the purchase of new patrol cars or ambulances or for the impressive Christmas lights.

Detroit on the way to the Berlin of the USA

His current project: a public museum for his private racing car collection in downtown. He also heads the Detroit Investment Fund, founded by the Detroit Renaissance citizen organization. 28 members of this organization have endowed the fund with $ 52 million in private assets. It is now primarily intended to promote medium-sized companies in Motor City.

All of these efforts are slowly bearing fruit: there is a lively atmosphere of optimism in the city. The start-ups in the northeast compete with Silicon Valley in the west, and artists and creative people come from all over the country.

With gestures and visions – cars at CES

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On the move virtually: At the CES in Las Vegas, digital technology and the car sometimes form a seemingly bizarre symbiosis. But: The electronics fair is also an important stage for …

Source: Thomas Geiger

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… the established automakers like Mercedes or VW have become. General Motors even decided to do its …

Source: Thomas Geiger

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… Bolt electric car not at the Detroit auto show, also on the schedule in January 2016, but to be unveiled in Las Vegas. BMW shows a touchscreen that …

Source: Thomas Geiger

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… actually nobody is anymore. Thanks to integrated infrared sensors behind a black decorative strip, the control panel in the Spyder i8 study recognizes na gestureshen hand. With gesture control is also VWs …

Source: Thomas Geiger

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… Budd-E, which the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer is presenting as a showpiece to show that the smartphone generation has arrived. Aloof vision of the futures belong to Mercedes …

Source: Thomas Geiger

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… on the other hand, for a long time to good form. At the CES, the aerodynamic miracle Concept IAA, which was created in a completely digital process, drove onto the stage again. For more furore, at least in the run-up to the fair, was taken care of by someone else: the newcomer, who was completely unknown until a few weeks ago …

Source: Thomas Geiger

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… Faraday Future. But then only one study that was quickly cobbled together was revealed, which as a 1000-hp super sports car with electric drive has not the slightest reference to series production.

Source: Thomas Geiger

You benefit from the low rents for apartments and studios. This is how a new spirit comes to the city, which many have already compared to the post-reunification mood in the German capital: “Detroit has what it takes to become the Berlin of the USA,” investment banker Tony Goldman praised the city in a local interview. And his colleague Gilbert is bubbling over with optimism: "The challenges are great, but I believe that this city still has its best times ahead of it."

More and more light instead of vacancies in the city center, new jobs and even a vague hope for the old Packard plant that actually should be renovated – there are many signs that Detroit is indeed looking up again. Some bigger, some smaller. Some with tremendous symbolic power, like the last one at Hart Plaza.

Just as the exhibition center is to get a facelift and the automotive industry has regained its strength, Joe Lewis ’Faust in the pyramid frame has not only shone in its old strength since last summer, but also in new splendor.

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