A Prius, a Veyron, and an MP4-12C walk into a bar…

Tom Cruise and his Veyron on the red carpet

That is a silly title, I know, but it does beg the question as to why I would put those three specific cars together at all? The answer lies in how they all have a similar reason for their existence, to be a number. Each was meant to achieve some specific measure of performance that would define the car to the world. While all three have been successful in achieving their tangible goals they have all wound up becoming relics of a more regimented and boring existence. They all cater to an increasingly soulless and superficial world where people judge everything from a bunch of numbers on sheet of paper or a computer screen, and not so much from actual experiences.    Continue reading A Prius, a Veyron, and an MP4-12C walk into a bar…

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Some thoughts on the past year’s sales.

Once again, I give you the bestselling vehicle in America–the Ford F-150.

On January 3rd, all the sales results for each major car brand sold in the United States were made public for the month of December, and consequently, the entire previous year.  For the most part, 2011 was an excellent year for sales in the auto industry, a big step in the right direction since the turmoil of 2009.  There were of course, some nasty issues that clearly affected sales across the board, but this year, only a select few CEOs should really need a drink today.  So, let’s take a look at these numbers and see what falls out of the tree. Continue reading Some thoughts on the past year’s sales.

Test Driven: 1995 SAAB 900 S

On the left is the owner, Adam Schaffer.

As most of our readers remember, I tested out a new Saab 9-3X wagon and found it to be lacking in any features that made it stand out from its competitors.  But, Saab has always marched to the beat of its own drum (which, ironically, led it right to the poorhouse), for better or for worse. My Aunt’s family lives in Albany, NY, and they have owned this red 900 hatchback since it was new, and they won’t get rid of it.  It’s rusty, it’s crusty, and it has 174,000 miles on it.  But, I approached it with a question: How good is a 17 year old Saab that’s spent most of its life in the Rust Belt?  On a cold night in December, my uncle tossed me the keys and I found out. Continue reading Test Driven: 1995 SAAB 900 S

Seconhand Saint: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8/9 (2003-2007)

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

These days the Evo is one of the most respected cars on the road. In stock form it is one of the ultimate rally bred, point-to-point missiles money can buy, and Evos that are modified easily have the potential to give Ferrari owner something to worry about. Yet despite their hardcore performance they are also just normal Japanese sedans on the surface, making an Evo one of the best overall daily drivers out there. Obviously all of this makes these things quite a hot commodity on the secondhand market, so lets look at the details.     Continue reading Seconhand Saint: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8/9 (2003-2007)

Test Driven: 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6

The Camry is probably the one vehicle everyone who loves cars could care less about 100% of the time.  In essence, it’s vanilla-flavored vanilla, with no other description.  But, everyone’s either sat in one, ridden in one, or driven one at some point, including me.  My daily driver up until very recently was a tan 2007 Hybrid.  It still, though, outsells everything in its segment and all of its competitors use it as a benchmark.  The 2007-2011 Camry was a true bestseller and sent everyone back to the drawing board.  But, it’s new again this year, so I took the wheel of this slick SE V6 and asked this question: Will it repeat the trick it made back in 2007?  Continue reading Test Driven: 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6

Dodge Dart SRT-4, part of “Second Half America”

Motor Trend’s rendering of the Dart SRT-4

Chrysler’s Superbowl ad with Clint Eastwood was a nice way to incite faith that the American auto industry will recover. Chrysler has shown much improvement in the last few years, and as soon as I saw the new Dodge Dart I knew they were on the right track. It is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, meaning its European roots should make it much more attractive than the Civic or the Corolla, which are both shamelessly boring at this point. There is however another market segment that exists with cars in that segment, one where engines are turbocharged, suspensions are stiffened, and priority is given to high MPH over high MPG. Dodge has competed here before with their SRT-4 Neon and Caliber, and everyone is eagerly awaiting the Dart SRT-4 in the next few years. Prior SRT-4s were relics of first half America though, the one that had to be bailed out, so the question is now, what should the SRT-4 of the second half be like?
Continue reading Dodge Dart SRT-4, part of “Second Half America”

Test Driven: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan

Back in the fall at the Radnor Hunt Concours, I took an opportunity to drive a couple of new Cadillacs.  Most of you know I drove an Escalade Hybrid, but the real treat was to yet again sample that great-tasting supercharged V8 which lies in the engine compartment of the CTS-V.  In this case, the test car was the deep gray sedan you see above.  It had a few options that the coupe I drove back in June did not, so I took it for a drive (on much different roads than the coupe) around the rolling hills of Pennsylvania’s countryside. Continue reading Test Driven: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan

1936 Auburn 852 Boattail Speedster at Concours

Auburn boat-tail speedsters like this one are among some of the world’s most collectible prewar American convertibles, owing to their extremely low production, high price tag, and (for the era) blistering performance.  This flawless black example showed up to the Pebble Beach Concours this summer, and I was fortunate enough to grab a few pictures of it.  This one in particular is a 1936 Model 852, the final year of production for not only this car, but the Auburn name as a whole.  It is a breathtaking car, and with only 1850 sold during 1936, this 100mph-plus roadster was a treat on the street in its day, and still is today. Continue reading 1936 Auburn 852 Boattail Speedster at Concours

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