(first posted 3/27/2014) A couple of weeks ago, we covered the Dodge Colt lineup of Chrysler’s captive Mitsubishi products with a nine part series on the many variations available (describing both the Galant and Lancer based models). However, we did not include the Plymouth side, for one simple reason: we didn’t have any pictures. Last weekend, during yet another trip to 29 Palms (Located 60 miles northeast of beautiful Palm Springs), I spotted this very lovely example soaking in the desert sun.
As is our annual tradition, Mr. X and I, along with a friend of ours, went to the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Opening remarks? Yikes is show attendance down, both by manufacturers and the public! Now, to be fair, winter apparently saved up to hit Detroit all at once, so we got about 8 inches of snow yesterday and had highs in the single digits Fahrenheit today.
But this photo of the main floor tells the sad tale of NAIAS this year.
It’s no secret that Portland, OR has been one of the fastest growing cities in the country in recent years. It’s “where young people come to retire”, as well as others. And the streetscape has been changing rapidly too, like these condominiums that have replaced so many smaller street front low-rise buildings.
But this venerable Rambler Classic has survived, yet.
This week, let’s spin the clock back 60 years and check out the January 1959 issue of Motor Trend, which they dubbed their “World Show Issue!” Coverage took a look at all the core automotive segments (no trucks, sorry, those were just workhorses back then) and the broad range of models from an array of countries all trying to woo the American car buyer. The split that would impact Detroit for decades to come is also plain to see, as big, dramatically styled showboats were the primary domestic offerings, while imports served up an array of more practical and sporty machines.
Recently, there have been a few things from my early childhood that have come back into my present consciousness, eliciting genuine affection. Having been born in the mid-1970s, in the tail-end of the age demographic known as “Generation X”, I can attest that many of my peers and I have collectively displayed a penchant for irony. In my college years, I used to play along when all of us in the TV room of our dormitory floor would make fun of things we had come to associate with our parents’ generation. Sometimes, though, I’d be thinking, “Wait a minute… I actually like that.” For some of us, it can take a little while to develop the courage to applaud and defend the unpopular things we like.
Four years ago, my then 13 year-old nephew Aidan waxed eloquently in his first post at CC about a Chevelle SS454 we had found on a walk near his house in San Mateo, CA. Now that he’s 17 and is a newly-licensed driver, it should not come as a big surprise that his first car is another vintage Chevy, a ’79 Camaro Z-28. On my recent visit there, I was eager to see it and check it out. That included a short drive to this park to shoot it, which was a trip in the way-back machine. Which is why Aidan bought it in the first place.
Besides automakers, truck manufacturers also offer special editions. Image boosters, aimed at small hauling companies and owner operators, equipped with the biggest cab and a powerful engine. Trucks and tractors with neat cab colors, special features inside and outside and loaded with goodies for more comfort and convenience.
As we pulled in front of our friends’ house on Christmas evening, arriving for a multi-family, multi-generational feast, I was surprised to see a new Tesla Model 3 in the driveway. Neither our hosts, nor any of the other guests I could think of, are “car people”. Then it clicked. Our friends’ son had a Model 3 on order, but it had been so long I had forgotten all about it.
Sure enough, it was his, just 5 days old, and within minutes I had been offered a test drive. It was dark, I was eager to socialize, and it was someone else’s $45,000 car, so my drive was brief. But there’s been enough Tesla discussion here that Paul suggested that I share my experience and impressions.
The day we sold our 1999 Prizm, we went to pick up our Equinox. Our boys were getting bigger and we wanted a more substantial family hauler. The Equinox first came on the scene in 2006, and a completely new and larger model emerged for the 2010 model year. It is built at a plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, roughly 130 miles east of Detroit , along with the GMC Terrain.
(first posted 8/9/2011) Lots of people rightfully think of Cadillac as the All American car. Founded in the U.S.A., long called the standard of the world, no other country could be the home to a true Cadillac. So when GM announced a new kind of Caddy to the world in mid 1996, car watchers everywhere wondered if a car whose DNA came from another continent could ever be the real thing. Their worry was not misplaced. For only the third time in its long history, Cadillac imported a car from Europe and the results were disastrous. The Cadillac Catera was little noted or long remembered, but its failure forced GM to do what had been unthinkable just a few years earlier – start over with a clean sheet of paper and finally save its luxury division.
The Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum (Transport Section of the German Museum) is the transport history and technology section of the national Deutsches Museum of Science and Technology, itself in central Munich. The Verkehrszentrum is housed the suburb of Theresienhohe, a 15 minutes subway ride from the city centre, so a recent visit to the city for the Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt) seemed like a good time to explore a little further. Read the rest of this entry »
Think Alfa Romeo and your mind’s eye will most likely conjure up a beautiful red roadster or lithesome coupe, both powered by a high-revving DOHC engine that is both powerful and visually a work of art. But buses (and trucks) were once a major part of the company’s product line. As we’ve recently reviewed the Mercedes O6600H and the Krauss Maffei KML 110 coaches; both produced in the decade of the 1950’s, let’s look at several buses that Alfa built during that same period.
This poor tractor had a hard, hard life before we got it. I was living away at the time, and came home for a visit and it was there. It should have been sent for scrap. Read the rest of this entry »
(first posted 10/10/2011) Every once in a while, a visionary, iconoclastic automotive pioneer bursts on the scene and, bucking the long odds and naysaying “conventional wisdom”, delivers a disruptive new line of cars. Frequently, that new model sets the status quo on its ear and forever changes the way we think about (and react to) our transportation needs. Those brave revolutionaries almost single handedly redefine their market segment and leave an indelible mark on the industry itself. Today’s story, though, has nothing to do with anybody like that. Our narrative today is of a modern P.T. Barnum and the circus freak show that he brought to America in the twilight of the Reagan years. The man is Malcom Bricklin. The car is the Yugo.