In the pantheon of American cars, the Ford Mustang is one of the legends. It has consistently represented a way for the common man to get something powerful for not a lot of cash. For most enthusiasts, though, the Mustang through the years has always been a bit behind. The previous generation, no matter how good of a car it was, was still held back a bit. I think, however, with the new model on its way, that there’s a big change in the winds. Read the rest of this entry »
As most of you have probably already heard, Fast And Furious star, Paul Walker was killed in a horrific crash yesterday. He was attending a charity car event yesterday afternoon, and he went for a ride in his friend, Rodger Rodas’ (who was a former racing driver), Porsche Carrera GT. Somewhere during the ride, the driver lost control of the notoriously twitchy Porsche, and they crashed. No details have been released yet on the exact circumstances of the crash, but the car was ripped in half, and the fuel tank had ruptured, engulfing the car in flames. Both men were killed in the accident.
This tragedy has shaken the car enthusiast world to the core. I know that my whole generation was, in many ways, brought into our love of cars by Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in The Fast And The Furious, so we all owe Paul a lot of gratitude.
Top Gear has, over the years, been very good at explaining why they have their opinions. However, this is one time where they may not be right in my eyes. The Lexus SC430 has a lot of reasons behind it for being underwhelming. But, crucially, it never really ruined a nameplate. Lexus may have made a mess of the SC nameplate, but people are still buying everything else they make. The SC was bad, but it wasn’t a car that actually sent a brand into a tailspin. That, friends, represents far greater levels of failure–a level of failure that, in my opinion, has only been seen once or twice. However, I’m looking for a car that was bad for the same reasons as the sacrilegious Lexus, but did the job of destroying a reputation. Read the rest of this entry »
We all know how bad cars in America became after Nixon won a second term. From that point until the end of Reagan’s second term, cars built here in America were, to most of the country, lacking in performance, quality, and innovation. I understand the sentiment. Looking into the cars built during the era, we see engines strangled by emissions regulations, stylists stymied by big safety bumpers and lighting changes, and salesmen who were stuck with cars that Americans didn’t want. I do not want to go into any of that today, however. The reason? I think the Malaise Era of the USA deserves another look, from a more universal perspective. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever been so stoned that you wondered, “Hey, what if my car… and the ground… were the same thing?”
Evidently, someone asked that very question at some point, and the stance craze was born. Slammed cars have all but replaced ricers as the automotive fad of choice, and now everyone wants to be “Hella Flush” in their mom’s Jetta.
It is a movement based entirely around vanity, compromising practical functionality in the name of style and form. There comes with it a rebellious undertone, projecting a level of pride in deviating from the automotive norm. Most people won’t “get it”, and that is the whole point.
So how does one go about conforming to the non-conformity of the Stance Movement? There is a lot more to it than just lowering your car, although that is an inevitability that you might as well just get out of the way. As said by Stance Works, “Low is a lifestyle”, so you’ve gotta really love it to live it low, bro.
Just yesterday I was telling a friend of mine how I thought the Tesla Model S was currently the only truly viable electric car on the market. Less than 24hrs after that conversation it would seem things have changed. BMW dropped the details on their production ready i3 city car today, and it looks mighty promising in many respects. That said, it also raises a few questions for me.
The basic details of the i3 are as follows:
- Pricing starts around $41k — before any government discounts
- Range is said to be 80-100 miles per charge
- A full charge takes only 3 hours, or just 30 minutes with the optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charger
- A 650cc range extending gas motor is available as an option
- 170hp and 184ft/lbs of torque go to the rear wheels — from zero rpm
- Performance: 0-30 in 3.5sec, 0-60 in 7sec, and a top speed of 93mph
- The chassis is a carbon fiber reinforced plastic monocoque, a mass production first, which helps keep the weight down to around 2700lbs.
Looking at the details I see a few things that stand out…
Going to all of these concours events I’ve had the privilege to see some of the most glorious prewar luxury cars imaginable. Packards, Duesenbergs, Delahayes, Bugattis, the list goes on and on. This got me thinking about how most of these wonderful cars haven’t survived the ages, and it begged the question, why?
Recently, I was reading the May 2013 issue of European Car that featured a Lamborghini Gallardo on the cover. The horsepower figure said 1200. That is a smorgasbord of power. But this wasn’t the first time I’d seen such powerful cars being exhibited. I’ve come across various YouTube videos of 1,200 horsepower Lambos, 900 Horsepower GTRs, the list just goes on; name any supercar and I’ve probably seen a 1,000 horsepower version of it somewhere.
On paper, these monstrous machines seem awe-inspiring, the type of car that has the sort of performance to make the hair on the back of your neck to give a standing ovation. But in the real world, well it’s a bit of a different story.
Those of you familiar with this site probably know that my family recently purchased Volkswagen’s new Jetta Hybrid. So far we have loved everything about the car, and it has proven capable of delivering on VW’s MPG claims. I have even seen as high as 53mpg average on some trips, and that means VW has managed to out-do the Toyota Prius. I say that because the Jetta is also an extremely competent performing car in all other respects aside from gas mileage. They’ve used a turbocharged engine in it, so it has enough squirt to get out of its own way. The Jetta Hybrid also happens to handle extremely well because it has the same suspension architecture as the Jetta GLI. Where most hybrids tend to be extremely compromised in all aspects besides fuel economy, the Jetta Hybrid manages to be extremely well rounded while also seeing the same sort of MPG as the hybrid pimp-daddy, the Prius. So now I have to wonder, what could VW do if they really decided to focus a car on fuel economy to the same degree Toyota has done?
It just so happens that VW already has all of the tools it would need to create the ultimate economy car. The answer is a painfully obvious one, yet it the bean counters have been avoiding it because it may upset their current marketing scheme. I am talking about VW making a diesel hybrid.
The recession had a serious effect on the American automobile market. We all know what happened to the Big Three. However, there are a few small Japanese companies that are definitely worth mentioning because they seem to hang on either by a thread, or by a sizable rope, in the US domestic market. Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi are the four non-major Japanese players in the US market. Well, they were. One of these four announced late on November 5, 2012 that they were pulling their automotive arm from the US market. So, allow me to say…and then there were three. But soon, I think there will be two. Read the rest of this entry »
After an early wakeup, an unexpected overnight stay, and a bus trip I’d rather not talk about, I found myself amongst the thousands of others who had also flocked to 2013’s edition of the New York International Auto Show. Having endured the exhausting trials of the trip to the Big Apple and being dragged to a late-night Broadway show by mom (although seeing Ferris Bueller in person can’t necessarily be complained about), I was ecstatic to finally be standing with the sorts of cars that I had only previously seen in pictures and read about in magazines.
One car in particular stood out among the rest; that controversial Porsche 991 GT3 has been the topic of an immeasurable amount of cooler talk conversations. Granted, it doesn’t look all that different from the 997 GT3, but the knowledge of all the differences under the body frame was what made seeing the car in person so special. So, after cramming my cell phone’s memory card full with photos of the car, I took a moment to stand back and examine the car – including a gander into the tinted windows to take a peek at those notorious paddle shifters.
If you watched the 2013 Sebring 12 Hour race, you already know that Corvette won. If you didn’t watch the 2013 Sebring 12 Hour race, the vibrant, yellow Corvettes with the brutal and grunty V8 engines won the 61st edition of the 12 hour endurance race held in Florida every year. However, if you watched the race, you also know that in order to win, Corvette Racing had to endure some nerve-wrecking technical difficulties rather early on in the event that forced the #3 Corvette Racing car to retire. Luckily, the #4 team was able to look past the problems of their sister car and provide an exhilarating final few hours on their march to victory while ‘Vette Racing lovers slowly but surely recovered from their mini heart attacks.
It also, however, caused me to think a bit about the growing change in the complexity of racing cars. And unfortunately, not all teams have been able to overcome non-driver-error technical difficulties like Corvette Racing did, resulting in disappointment among the team’s fans and racing lovers alike (let alone the team itself). With that being said, I asked myself: ‘Is there too much technology in today’s racing cars?’