Cadillac’s much-reviled alphanumeric naming scheme will die along with its internal combustion engines. Of course that might be a mixed blessing for some.
I was heading home from the grocery store about a mile from my house, when I thought I might take a slightly longer route home, and check out the ocean. But I’d barely driven a block when I got distracted by this sight. Did I enter a time warp and get transported back to 1969?
Curbside Newsstand: Toyota’s Non-Prius Hybrids Are Selling Extremely Well, And The 2021 RAV4 Prime Will Be The Plug-in Hybrid To Beat
Toyota may be a bit behind the curve when it comes to fully electric vehicles, but with hybrids, they’ve always been at the top of their game. With the recent announcement of the 2021 Toyota Rav4 Prime, the company is taking the plug-in market much more seriously. And they’ve just put everyone else on notice. Even the Prius Prime should be embarrassed. Tesla Cybertruck? Ford Mustang Mach-E? Those are groundbreaking vehicles, but given the current state of the still-developing charging infrastructure, many Americans would probably be better off with something like this plug-in hybrid. Regular hybrids work too. And for Toyota, they’re selling the non-Prius hybrid models as fast as they can.
Bloated, overweight, slow, wallowing. These are the words often used to describe Ford’s full-size cars of the 1970s. They have been described as being the poster child for the malaise era. If one reads about these big Fords, the general commentary is that these dinosaurs have few redeeming qualities. People today must think that no one in their right mind would have willingly bought a full-size Ford from this era. Yet, these cars actually sold pretty well, right up until they were replaced by the new Panther cars in 1979. So what gives? Are these cars really that bad?
Debuting for 1960 initially as a full-size model, the Dodge Dart was subsequently downsized to a midsize model in 1962, and then again in 1963 to a compact model where it would find its greatest success. Sold as a compact from the 1963 through the 1976 model years over two generations, the Dodge Dart built a solid reputation and legacy as an honest-to-goodness affordable and reliable workhorse. While it did offer buyers specialty models over the years like the performance-oriented Demon and the luxury-oriented Special Edition, the Dart was by and large sold as a humble, no frills vehicle… a car of few words.
(first posted 10/30/2013. Author’s Note: Going to car shows in many areas brings the same worn out, ear-splitting songs nearly every time. So I’ve re-written a few songs you likely would not hear at any carshow.)No one looked as I drove by, Just a little nod would have been just fine, I slowed again, just for them, They all scoffed that I ran.
– Sort of Stevie Nicks
This terrific old Ambassador was being so thoroughly ignored at the monthly car show here in June. Surrounded by a plethora of F-bodies and jacked-up 4×4’s, it was as out of place as a ukulele player at a flutists convention.
I was in college when the second-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse made its debut for model year ’95. Having been a fan of the previous, first-generation of Diamond-Star coupes (which also included the Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon), I was slow to warm to these new ones. The first cars were so cleanly styled, so smooth, so pretty. The new Eclipse and Talon (there was no new Laser for ’95) looked more aggressive, muscular, and mean. I didn’t care for them much at first… then something happened.
Curbside Newsstand: American Pickup Trucks, Newly Redesigned Models Stumble In Consumer Reports’ 2019 Reliability Survey
Consumer Reports recently released its annual reliability survey. As always, newly introduced models performed poorly while older vehicles did well. There were some exceptions to that rule though. Some recent debuts continue to vex the automakers that produce them. Other manufacturers managed to launch new vehicles without any hitches. In any event, the publication’s survey definitely had some surprises worth talking about.
Transmission History: The Last Three Speed Manuals With Non-Synchronized First Gear – Grinding Gears Until 1976
American car makers really dragged their feet with the development of fully-synchronized manual transmissions. VW got its first gear synchronized in 1961, and most other Europeans did too by around this time. But Americans were still grinding gears on some new cars through 1972 and light trucks all the way through 1976 if they tried to shift down into first without coming to a complete stop, unless they had mastered the intricacies of double clutching. But even that technique didn’t always guarantee a silent shift into first.
Let’s see who the leaders and laggards of first gear synchromesh were:
We’ve had some superb recent posts on the Toyota Crown, which hit me as strangely coincidental as I sit and watch the current Netflix series “The Crown.” CC effect I assume. That series continues to be extremely popular and is now entering its third season. The program focuses on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, from 1947 until the present – over sixty years. I guess you could say I’ve had a somewhat similar experience with royalty, though mine didn’t involve the Windsors, only covered some thirty-five years, and came with four doors… Read the rest of this entry »
posted by Tim Finn
(first published in 2007, revised 12/09/2019. Since I had some memorable wheel time behind a 1971 Mustang HO351 four speed as a seventeen year-old, I thought this might provide a bit of additional commentary to this morning’s Vintage Review)
Having paid penance for my illicit driving, at seventeen I finally joined the ranks of legally sanctioned drivers. I could have taught the drivers ed class by then, including certain advanced techniques well outside the usual curriculum. Speaking of which, as part of this rite of passage, I finally retired the implements I’d used for hot-wiring the family Dodges. And it occurred to me: now that I was legal, why not get a job where I could indulge my love of driving and actually get paid for the pleasure? Read the rest of this entry »
Curbside Classic Update: 1969 Buick Special DeLuxe Wagon – “My How You’ve Grown, to 455 Cubic Inches!”
Running into this car was like encountering some kids in the neighborhood for the first time in six years, and hearing all about what they’ve been up to, their education and travels, and to inevitably remark: “My how you’ve grown!”
I first shot and wrote up this Buick Special DeLuxe wagon some six years ago. This time, the owner, who has a vintage motorcycle parts business, came out of his shop. When I told him I have a blog about old cars I find on the street, he instantly said “Curbside Classic!” He’d found my post in his car some years back, and has passed it around. And he filled me in on the history of the Buick. It’s a regular driver, and it moved him and his wife and their business to Iowa for a year, where it quickly acquired some surface rust from one salty winter. And it’s experienced some serious growth under the hood, in the form of a warmed-over 455. There’s even a Ford 9″ rear end under its voluptuous hips.
Curbside Newsstand: Hyundai’s Palisade Lives in The Telluride’s Shadow, But That Probably Doesn’t Matter
Kia created a genuine hit with their Telluride. It’s got the ruggedly upscale exterior that resonates with shoppers. The cabin successfully mimics more expensive vehicles. It’s also big enough to swallow the average American family and all their cargo with aplomb. But as Yoda would say, there is another. Basically, Hyundai developed a modern Mercury Mountaineer. Like the rebadged Ford of yesteryear, the Palisade is slightly more premium than its more mainstream counterpart. It’s outsold by the Telluride, but that is hardly cause for concern.