Posts By: BobAsh

By on March 31, 2016

Ralph Nader and Flaming Pinto Shirt, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The Chevrolet Corvair and Ford Pinto have long been derided as death traps — one for its tendency to crash into stuff backwards, and the other for roasting its occupants alive. They also share something else in common: you can see both at Ralph Nader’s museum (though, in the Pinto’s case, it will be in the form of a t-shirt).

Ralph Nader, who’s famously known as the guy who mercilessly destroyed the reputation of an innocent air-cooled Chevrolet or a hero who made big corporations think about their customers’ lives at least a little bit, is apparently a man with a sense of humor.

(Read More…)

By on March 30, 2016

Vojta Dobes with crash overlay

On September 11, 2012, my career as a print-magazine motoring journalist came to a semi-abrupt end. And unlike my much more famous colleague in the UK, I didn’t have to punch anyone to get fired from Top Gear.

That’s not to say I didn’t go out with a bang.

(Read More…)

By on March 25, 2016

Jaguar XK-SS (recreation)

When fire destroyed Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant on Feb. 12, 1957, nine of the 25 existing XK-SS models were consumed by flames. The spartan roadster — a road going version of the famous D-type race car — went on to become a legend and the remaining 16 examples are among the most valuable collector cars on the market.

Now, the lost nine are going to rise from the ashes, as Jaguar plans to use their serial numbers on a limited run of exact replicas, mirroring last year’s E-type Lightweight.

(Read More…)

By on March 23, 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Front 3/4, Image: Toyota

In the nearly 20 years it’s been on the market, the Toyota Prius has become an icon of eco-friendly motoring. Now, Toyota wants to build on the legend with a new, more upmarket version called Prius Prime. It comes equipped with plug-in charging, but it should be much more than the previous-generation Prius Plug-In. While the Plug-In was basically nothing more than a basic Prius with a larger battery and electric plug, the Prime is supposed to add style and luxury.

(Read More…)

By on February 17, 2016

There’s something unique about Jaguars. For some people it’s the aristocratically British character, sporty pedigree and classic, elegant style of Jaguars that make them special. For others it’s the strange technical solutions, uncomfortable compromises and utter lack of reliability that make Jaguars a non-option. These two groups aren’t likely to agree about much when it comes to Britain’s luxury […]

By on January 22, 2016

As I exit the sleek, svelte coupe and to buy some ice cream, the car is crackling and popping like a campfire doused. I feel there’s something contradictory about this. After what I did for last hour or so — blasting around back roads at speeds far above socially acceptable levels, manhandling the tiller just to keep it straight […]

By on December 18, 2015

RM-NYC-2015-1955-Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Sportabteilung-Gullwing-15

During the last week, much has been written about the “Driven By Disruption” auction Dec. 10 by RM Auction/Sotheby’s.

Most of that reporting was about Janis Joplin’s Porsche, which sold for a mildly outrageous sum of $1.6 million (plus fees), which beat the estimate about 2.5 times. Other top-dollar cars were mentioned as well, especially the first Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato sold in almost a decade, or the Ferrari 290 MM that was driven by the famous Juan Manuel Fangio in the Mille Miglia. Both cars brought even more eye-watering amounts of money – $13 million for the Aston, $25.5 million for the Ferrari. The Aston even set a historical record for the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.

The message is clear: The collector car market is not only alive and well, it’s thriving. Cars sell for ever-higher sums and they are a marvelous investment value. After all, they aren’t making any more classic Ferraris and Astons, are they? So the value can only go up, right? (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2015

Jeep Czech Republic Moose Test Photo

Oops! Have you tried maneuvers like this? #Jeep

One great thing about PR and marketing is that you can often turn a massive fail into a great win — like when a Slovak PR agency for Mercedes-Benz posted a picture of the new CLA Shooting Brake next to a pool.

A random commenter said he’d like them to take the Merc for a swim. Mercedes’ PR agency replied, “If your post gets more than 1,000 likes, you can choose whether we reverse or powerslide the car into the pool.”

Naturally, the post got nearly 2,000 likes within hours. Mercedes responded with a nicely done video of CLA Shooting Brake getting drowned by a Black Stig, promising they would hire their social media manager back if more than 1,000 people shared the video. In the end, Mercedes drew a great deal attention to their new rakish wagon and lost nothing.

Unfortunately for Jeep Czech Republic, sometimes a fail is just a fail — like a few days ago when the official Czech importer of Jeep posted the photo you see above of a Grand Cherokee getting up on two wheels.

(Read More…)

By on June 24, 2015

IMG_7220

Imagine a campground in the heart of Czech Republic – a place normally populated by a few families on a cheap holiday with their diesel Škoda, a tent or a caravan, and a beer. And now imagine it’s chock-full of American cars. Hundreds of them. And of all kinds. From rough traditional hot rods to gleaming ’50s fin-tailed landyachts and shiny ’60s muscle cars. From Mustangs and Camaros of all generations to Jeeps and trucks. Boxy sedans from ’70s and ’80s. Modern Challengers and Voyagers. And even some PT Cruisers or Calibers, which get laughed at. Occasional there’s a $500 Buick Century from ’80s, which doesn’t get laughed at.

It may sound like some weird dream, but it’s the actual reality of an event called Lucky Cruisers Weekend. I’m there to enjoy the atmosphere and spirit, to bring the experience to you, my dear readers. I’m not driving my Chrysler LHS, because I managed to find a fool who gave me some money for it. I’m also not driving my diesel Alfa Romeo 164, because it would get turned into a trash can.

(Read More…)

By on June 19, 2015

One clever man who likes powaaah, steaks and punching people once said that you are not a real petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. Seeing how Alfas are either considered terrible, unreliable crap by sane and rational people or totally revered by devoted fans, I assumed there has to be something about them. Maybe it […]

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