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?
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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

Test Driven: Mini Cooper Coupe

Since my grandpa got his first Mini Cooper in 2002, I’ve always looked at them with an air of respect.  Mini has been trying to expand the brand out since 2008 when the Clubman came out, and now, the new Coupe is said to be the most hardcore chassis they put on the market.  With all that in mind, I went to a local dealer and tried one out.  This new black car was an interesting mix of things, but I stepped out of it at the end of the drive with a lot to think about. Continue reading Test Driven: Mini Cooper Coupe

Secondhand Saint: Ferrari 456 GT/M

Ferrari 456M, by Philipe Collinet

Ferraris really are their own breed. There are other cars out there that may offer similar, or better, performance, but none can match the allure, the prestige, and the pedigree of a true prancing horse. Obviously most Ferraris are far too expensive for most people to afford, but there are a few that have dropped into the realm of possibility for those who cannot write off six figures for a car. This is the Ferrari 456, a member of the Gran Turismo lineage that stretches back to the legendary 250 GT. When it was introduced for the 1992 model year, the 456 was the first worthy Ferrari GT car since the 365 cars ended production in the 1970s. It was a breath of fresh air after the dreadful 400/412 line finally was put out of its misery after 15 years of production. Now they can be had for a reasonable price.     Continue reading Secondhand Saint: Ferrari 456 GT/M

Some thoughts on the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

Chevrolet TRU-140S Concept

Although I was not in the country for this year’s NAIAS, I followed it closely from my phone when I was in Israel for the past two weeks or so.  Overall, I have to say there’s a lot to look at this year, and the new model debuts give me hope that 2012 is going to be even more exciting than 2011 was.  The market is changing fast, and as I watch everyone attempt to catch up, there are some clear indications that some brands in particular have most of their ducks in a row.  Then again, there’s indications that some are definitely struggling to come up with new ideas.  I’m going to go through each country, by major manufacturer, and discuss what I think are the best and the worst of this year’s show. Continue reading Some thoughts on the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

Test Driven: Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic

I got bored watching the Detroit Lions get beaten to a sad, bloody pulp on Thanksgiving by the Green Bay Packers, so I decided to go take something for a drive.  Thanks to a close friend of my uncle, I obtained the keys to his personal Mercedes E350 4Matic, a car that’s quite successful around my hometown in northern New Jersey.  So, in the interest of asking why people love these cars so much, I took half an hour out of Turkey Day and had myself a drive of this black Benz. Continue reading Test Driven: Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic

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