Automotive Evolution: Series Introduction

Porsche 911s old and new

There is a lot of bickering that goes on between car enthusiasts about cars of different regions, saying European cars are this, American cars can’t do that, Japanese cars are this, etc. With the advent of the Internet this bickering has only expanded and now people are arguing their views with folks all over the globe. While it is interesting to witness, there is a huge amount of ignorance and a lack of appreciation (on everyone’s part) for how different cars came to be the way they are. I am starting this mini series here to take a look at how the automobile developed in different parts of the world, and hopefully enlighten some of the very opinionated people out there so that they may at least respect cars from all regions and their purposes.       Continue reading Automotive Evolution: Series Introduction

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Test Driven: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5

The Beetle’s shape is probably one of the best-known (and in some circles, most reviled) shapes on the road.  However, the previous “New Beetle” was getting old by 2011, and Volkswagen took the time to completely redesign it for 2012.  Because of its cultural impact over the years (and the fact that I know some people who read this site are interested), I took one for a drive recently.  Continue reading Test Driven: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5

We, the people of car enthusiasts of America, declare…

The Delta Integrale, or, one of the last rally cars Lancia ever produced. It can’t be imported legally now, but this petition would make that happen.

As many a car enthusiast is well-aware, the statute of limitations on any car imported  to the United States expires after 25 years, which includes safety and emissions regulations, structural requirements such as bumper heights, and many other limitations.  They are known as the “gray market” limitations and have created a black market for a good many cars that are not sold on the US domestic market.  Currently, Homeland Security funds, which could be better spent elsewhere to perhaps secure our borders or possibly fight terror threats, get spent to keep a few cars out of the ports. Continue reading We, the people of car enthusiasts of America, declare…

Test Driven: Jaguar XKR-S, Al’s Take

It wants to kill you. This is no ordinary Jag.

Jaguar has been known for building luxurious cars with plenty of grunt and scads of English class for decades, but the XKR-S represents somewhat uncharted territory for them at this point.  The XKR is already a very good luxury sports car, but the boys at Coventry spared no expense in making this hardcore version a delightful, yet still very scary, piece of machinery.  If the XJ I drove before I left for Pebble Beach was similar to Dr. Jekyll, this new XKR-S was Mr. Hyde–wide, scary, and aching to cause me personal injury.  So, I gladly grabbed the keys and hopped in. Continue reading Test Driven: Jaguar XKR-S, Al’s Take

Obscure Auto: 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane Skyliner

1957 Skyliner. Photo Source: http://customsforcooper.com

Retractable hardtops are a commonplace design in this day and age, but their history stretches back further than the Mercedes SLK.  While that car was the first mass-produced retractable roadster that sold in large numbers in the United States, it wasn’t the first convertible with a folding metal top.  Ford was the first to bring the retractable hardtop to the United States nearly fifty years earlier. Continue reading Obscure Auto: 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane Skyliner

Test Driven: 2011 BMW 328i xDrive Sportwagon

The 3-Series has been BMW’s best-known and most well-respected model since it caught on in the United States back in the 1980s.  The formula has changed somewhat and the models available are far more extensive than its launch decades back, but the basic idea hasn’t changed–a compact sports sedan with enough appeal and value to draw in the masses and show them how a car is supposed to perform.  The E90 design, first introduced back in 2006, is nearing the end of its life on this planet, and as of now, I am unsure that this model, the station wagon, will continue in the United States.  With that in mind, I took the wheel of the white estate car seen here. Continue reading Test Driven: 2011 BMW 328i xDrive Sportwagon

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