Tag Archives: Everyday Cars

1976 Cadillac Fleetwood at the 2017 Misselwood Concours

1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Front 1

Sometimes, a car shows up at a Concours that you wouldn’t expect to see. Citroen 2CVs don’t usually belong, unless they’re picture perfect. Most Malaise-Era cars aren’t usually welcome unless they’ve got a prancing horse, raging bull, or a trident adorning the hood. Well, say hello to the Wreath and Crest, packing a Seventies punch at Misselwood. A Fleetwood may lack the pizazz and the outright ostentatiousness of the Eldorado in 1976 but it was still the most expensive Caddy sedan on the showroom floor that year. This example has covered under 50 thousand miles and carries all of its original paint, bodywork, and interior to this day. I’ve been a fan of the ’76 for years, thanks in no small part to the fact that just a year later, GM turned the magnificent Cadillac into a shadow of its former self. Enjoy the photos of this big, mean, red machine. Continue reading 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood at the 2017 Misselwood Concours

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Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina spotted in Greenwich, CT

Alfa 1750 Front

Even as you leave Greenwich, you’re bound to see some nice cars on the way home. This time, I only had to walk a few feet from the car to glimpse one of the finest looking sedans of the 1960s. This little Alfa 1750 was taking up space, and time, in the parking deck, and showing off its best lines while I took a few pictures. It’s a shame that they don’t make cars like this anymore. Enjoy the photos.

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Review: My Next Daily Driver?

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport 1

I’m starting to consider options for replacing my Volkswagen CC as my practical daily driver, and I’ve had numerous people tell me to try out the new turbocharged Honda Civic.

Now before any of you scream “Civic Si” or “Civic Type R” at the screen, just know that I need an automatic here because my girlfriend, Gab, needs to be able to drive the car. I have my Miata and my STI when I want to shift my own gears. Also, the mighty Type R is vastly out of my budget for this move.

I’m not going too deep into financials, but I’m considering a lease that would be the same or less than what I currently pay on my CC. I also want a car that is realistically capable of touching 40 MPG when I’m cruising.

So, automatic, 40 MPG capable, and a relatively cheap monthly payment. Sounds like driving excitement may not really be a factor here, right? The options are certainly limited, but the new Civic Hatchback Sport quickly captured my interest when shopping around. I’d heard some great things about the new 1.5L turbocharged engine, and it seemed like Honda had made the Hatchback Sport model a junior Si, of sorts.

I figured if I was going to try out the new Civic, I might as well try the one most likely to catch my interest. The 1.5L Turbo is available on all the Civic models, but the Sport would have the tighter handling and the sport exhaust, which would make it more my kind of car.

So, after work, I went to go check it out, and see if the Civic Hatchback Sport was the “8/10ths Civic Si” I was hoping it would be.

Continue reading Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Review: My Next Daily Driver?

Checker A11 Marathon Sedan spotted in Greenwich, CT

Checker Marathon Front 1

A few days ago Nick shared that lovely Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI. Those are fantastic cars. But I’m here to bring us straight back to the Stars and Stripes Forever, folks. Just steps away from the Evo was this blast from the past. This is a Checker Marathon ex-taxicab. Very few of these exist today, as most were ridden hard and put away wet. Large, cavernous, and about as complicated as a grilled T-bone steak, these Checkers were used as taxicabs in most cities across America for generations, until they disappeared from the road between 1990 and 2009. None are left in active service, and this particular sedan appears to have been loved and restored to a remarkably good standard.

Continue reading Checker A11 Marathon Sedan spotted in Greenwich, CT

The KIA Stinger GT Looks Phenomenal in Person

KIA Stinger GT AWD KIA Stinger GT AWD

Most people seemed to agree that the KIA Stinger GT looked enticing when it first broke cover. I also heard many people say they’d buy one and de-badge it so no one would know it’s a KIA. With its wonderful proportions, the Stinger GT looks even better in person than it does in photos, and the fact that it’s a KIA doesn’t bug me in the slightest. I’m someone who likes to give credit where credit is due, and this could well be a home run for KIA. Let them have their shine.

I’m very curious to see what pricepoint KIA will place the Stinger at. I think it’s obvious they need to go lower to compete with the likes of the BMW 4 Series, but how much lower before it’s too low to be seen as a genuine competitor?

-Nick

Quick Spin: BMW G11 750i xDrive

BMW G11 750i 3This is not so much a car as it is a rolling spa. Sure, I had some time behind the wheel of this new BMW G11 750i, but what really stuck in my mind was the massage I got while riding around in the back seat. It was pouring rain, we were stuck in a traffic jam, and I wouldn’t have been anywhere else in the world if I could have. It’s an optional extra, but what’s an extra $7 grand for the pleasure of being able to have a heated, or cooled, massage everywhere you go? I could really go for one right now, as a matter of fact.

The new 750i may be a rolling spa, but it’s one that moves pretty good, too. BMW claims 445 hp and 480 ft/lbs of torque from its “Hot Vee” twin turbo V8, and that’s enough to propel your pampered ass from a snooze to a heart attack in just 4.3 seconds.

Really though, the G11 is the expected next step for the BMW 7 Series, nothing less, but nothing more either. It’s really nice, but they’ve all been nice over the years. It’s really fast, and handles well for a big limo, but again, same with every other 7 Series. The G11 is also full of lots of fancy, cutting edge technology, which is awesome today, but it will suck in ten years for the poor sap who buys this once-$120,000 luxo-barge for $13,988. Go try to use the nav on a late 90’s E38 7 Series, and you’ll see what I mean.

In fact, staggering depreciation is probably just as much of what makes a 7 Series a 7 Series as the car’s big comfort or big horsepower. Well-optioned, it’s not a bad value for what you get for $120,000 or so, but you can be damn sure you won’t be seeing much of that money back. Leasing may be a good idea here, people.

The G11 750i is among the nearly flawless lineup of current luxury cars. They’re all just really good, almost to a fault, if only for the fact that such uniform perfection lacks character. Objectively, this BMW 750i is good enough as a luxury cruiser to make me wonder why anyone would shell out triple the money for a Bentley or a Rolls. I mean, how much more comfortable could you possibly be?

But really it’s not about features, or the comfort, or any of that. It comes back to the car being good, really good, too good for its own good. The G11 is a lot like that guy at the party who just keeps talking, on and on, about his own accomplishments. He’s very impressive and all, but people just keep walking away, don’t they? That’s because endless perfection gets boring pretty quick, and it’s usually a lot more fun to hear people talk about their mistakes.

Nick Walker

MoM Score: BMW G11 750i xDrive
Primary Function: Luxury: 2
Secondary Functions: Performance(2) Practicality(2) MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 1
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 8 /10

BMW G11 750i 2BMW G11 750i 5BMW G11 750i 1BMW G11 750i 6BMW G11 750i 7IMG_1190

The KIA Stinger GT may shake things up

Kia Stinger GT 1

I saw the rear 3/4 view first, and I thought it might be an Alfa. To my surprise the headline said “KIA.” KIA, as in stupid dancing hamsters, KIA, as in obnoxious salesmen, surrounded by colorful balloons, trying to hard sell the shit out of you. KIA, as in the econo-box of econo-boxes. WTF, right?

But really, those of us who’ve been paying attention, aren’t too shocked. KIA, and parent company Hyundai, have been drastically redefining themselves in the past few years. My last memory of KIA is actually of driving the mighty K900 at Pebble Beach a few years back. I actually liked the car itself a lot, but KIA hadn’t done enough with its brand to be making a serious BMW 7 Series rival. $70,000 for a car with a KIA badge was, and is still, a bad joke, but it showed their ambition, and I definitely loved that.

Now we have the KIA Stinger, a bonafide sport sedan with some serious credentials. One thing I love about Hyundai/KIA’s approach in recent years, is they like to bring a bazooka to the gunfight. They really do their homework when developing a new model, and they aim to win.

Continue reading The KIA Stinger GT may shake things up

New Perspectives: Looking back at my 2016

2016 has been many things great, and many things horrible for many people, but it sure as hell hasn’t been dull. I am no exception. A lot has happened to me this year, both relating to cars and this blog, as well as in my life in general.

Relating to Mind Over Motor, I’ve gotten to drive some fabulous cars this year, everything from the Alfa Romeo 4C, to the BMW i8, to some others I haven’t shared yet. The car shows we went to this year were superb as well, and I was able to capture some truly stunning machines on camera. In terms of car events, 2016 has been nothing short of incredible.

Somehow, though, I have found myself struggling with this blog a little this year. It’s not from lack of content, but more from me wanting to take it in a new direction. My life has changed a lot since starting this blog back in college, and it needs to grow as I grow in life. So I’m looking for that next step to take with Mind Over Motor, and I’ll be honest, I haven’t figured it out quite yet. But bear with me because I do still love doing this, and stopping isn’t on the menu.

Life has been changing a lot for me this year. On the positive, I’ve moved in with my girlfriend, Gab, and things are going great. It’s been a big change, and there was some anxiety in the process, but it’s definitely been a positive thing for both of us. We’re building a life together, and its very exciting!

Also of major note, I landed a new job last spring. It’s in the automotive field, for a company that I’ve admired for a long time, and it puts my car knowledge to good use every single day. I finally feel like my days are filled with a purposeful career, rather than just a whatever job.

Both of these major life changes have been great for me in so many ways, but naturally, they’ve also meant I have less time to really focus on Mind Over Motor… at least with the approach I have been using since the beginning. That’s why I feel it’s time to implement some adaptive changes in 2017.

In my own car situation, I bought two Miatas this year. The first was Al’s 1993 Miata, which I sold after a enjoying it for a few months. The second was Ace, my 2014 Miata Club Edition. I also experienced my first accident this year. 4 days after buying Ace, some lady decided to turn left when she shouldn’t have, and we were both very lucky to have been okay. Ace wasn’t totaled, and after about a month of repairs, I had him back in my driveway. This summer and fall, I took many wonderful trips in Ace, enjoying every bit of sunshine I could. The peak was our trip up to Lime Rock during Labor Day weekend, top down the entire way up and back. Much fun has been had, and there’s a lot more to come.

As for my daily driver, I’ve still got my 2012 Volkswagen CC, which continues to swoon me while getting 30 MPG cruising at high speed. It’s one hell of a daily commuter, but it’s also up for an expensive 80,000 mile DSG service, so I’m not looking forward to that.

Now for an update on my beloved 2004 Subaru WRX STI. It’s firmly a third car at this point, and with 130,000 fun miles on it, you can imagine how it may need some work. Right now it needs an alternator, the steering rack needs to be replaced, and there’s a couple of leaks I need to check out. I’m also not sure about at least one of the wheel bearings. It’s a blast to drive, but it’s being driven less and less. I still adore the car, but a lot of me is considering selling it sometime this year. I’ve promised myself I won’t make that decision until I’ve taken it for another fun drive, though. It’s easy to want to get rid of a car you haven’t driven in a few months, but I know for my own closure that I’d have to feel the same way after that drive for selling it to really feel right. I have a plan if I decide to keep it, but I do admit it’d surely make things easier to let it go. So we’ll see…

Lastly, on a personal level, 2016 saw the passing of both of my grandmothers, just a few weeks apart from one another. I’ve been very fortunate not to have lost anyone that close to me in the first 26 years of my life (other than my dog, Peaches, RIP baby girl), but the 27th saw the odds begin to add up. It’s okay, I’m generally someone who’s at peace with the impermanence of life, but it’s mostly hard seeing those around me have such a difficult time. In the end of the day though, it’s natural, and nothing lasts forever. That’s why we all must make it a point to take the time to enjoy life in the here and now, even when we are so focused on the future. In my accident, if I had been hit a little further back, right in my driver side door, I very well could have been killed. I realize, looking back, that I wouldn’t have even known what had happened. I would’ve been at the pearly gates, confused.

I think, more than anything, 2016 has given me a lot of new perspectives on life. Overall, it’s been a pretty positive year for me. It’s been a rough road in many ways, but I feel like I’m going in a great direction. I’m ready for what 2017 has to offer.

And would you look at that! I made it through the whole 2016 recap without even mentioning the circus we called an election…

-Nick Walker