Posts By: BobAsh

By on March 21, 2015

Thanks to endless regulations surrounding crash safety and emissions, the modern car is increasingly homogenous. Pedestrian safety regulations mean that a high hood and a flat front end are a must, while environmental requirements dictate a “reverse-teardrop” shape and a big, turbocharged engine to deal with the weight of the other passive safety features, not […]

By on March 10, 2015

meriva2

As we know, the once-glorious Buick has two objectives today: To sell GM products to Chinese people, and to sell Opels to North American people. Of the five Buick models in the US, three (Verano, Regal and Encore) are badge-engineered Opels or at least have their Opel twins. And fourth, the Cascade convertible, is coming soon.

It thus makes sense to look at Opels as potential Buicks. It even works the other way, as many Opels feel a bit like Buicks. With their visual bulk, hard-to-see extremities and hefty weight, they seem much bigger than they really are. In fact, they feel more American than Euro Fords.

So when I got my hands on an Opel Mariva for a week, I tried to see it as a Buick. When you look at it, with its minivan-like profile and weird shoulder line, it doesn’t look like one. But it turns out it would make for a terrific Buick.

Why? Because Buicks are cars for old people. And while the Meriva is supposed to be exact opposite, it actually does the job even better than any of the current Buicks.

(Read More…)

By on March 5, 2015

I have talked about diesel, manual wagons in this space a few times already, so you probably know that I don’t like them. I don’t like their clatter and I don’t like their limited rev range and turbo surge. I don’t like the massive servicing costs of the common-rail ones, which is the price you […]

By on August 22, 2014

The late model Panther cars offer a unique combination of fairly modern driving characteristics and the classic feel of RWD, body-on-frame vehicle. With their longevity and durability, cheap parts and surprisingly frugal 4.6 Modular engine, they are even quite cheap to run. Of course, that’s all true if you believe the hagiography of the Panther so […]

By on August 12, 2014

Most of my writing on this site is centered around the “clash of civilizations” – the eternal debate over whether American or European cars are superior in qualitative, if not quantitative matters. But among all those reviews of new European and American cars, or my sordid tales of living with old American iron in Europe, it’s easy […]

By on August 7, 2014

When you want to spend around $100,000 on a car in Europe, few ideas are dumber than buying a pickup truck. Except for this one.

By on July 30, 2014

  The Peugeot 205 GTI is one of the legends of hot hatch history. It took off where the original VW Golf GTI started, with sufficient space and practicality, lots of speed and a reasonable price. And it was even more fun to drive. With about 120 horsepower and weighing under a ton, it was […]

By on July 21, 2014

My Czech employer sent me to cover the 70th D-Day Anniversary celebrations in Normandy. And since I had to take three more guys with me, as well as massive pile of camera equipment, we decided I need a big vehicle. And the biggest thing we could find was my boss’ 2010 Suburban Z71. Which is […]

By on July 14, 2014

With the new Ecodiesel engine, the 2014 Ram 1500 adds a bit of a European flavor to the most American vehicle of them all – the fullsize pick-up truck. So, how does one look from the view of an European?

By on April 20, 2014

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While JFK was busy capturing the hearts of the German people with his Ich bin ein Berliner speech, the GM engineers at Rüsselsheim were busy at work finishing their next big project – the series of full-size (on European scale) luxury models, called Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat. Introduced in February of 1964, the new models were meant to take on Mercedes-Benz, though they shared something in common with contemporary America cars, in that they were really just one car, offered in different equipment levels, and with different engine options. Kapitän was the cheapest, with an inline six under the hood, standard manual transmission and relatively sparse equipment. Its size, equipment and power put it somewhere between American compacts and midsize cars of the time, like a smaller 1964 Chevelle, with a dash of Buick styling.

(Read More…)

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