Posts By: Jack Baruth

By on August 22, 2014

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You know it’s true: When you have a particular car on your mind, or when you’re driving a car that you don’t normally drive, you’ll see more examples of that car on the road than you would otherwise. The mind’s funny like that. Good thing it is; the ability to ignore things most of the time is all that keeps us sane.

Last week I found myself driving a previous-generation Chevy Tahoe, a 2009 model, quite a bunch. It was an LTZ with all the trimmings, robust and healthy after ninety-four thousand miles under the Albuquerque sun. There was a lot to do. A lot of things to move in, and out, and around. Eight truckloads of trash and cardboard, which would have been six in a Suburban but it would have been fifty in an Accord Coupe so I knew better than to bitch about it. The sheer ponderousness of the thing depresses and annoys me, the space it covers on the road. The last full-sized truck I drove on a consistent basis was a 1996 F-150 XL Supercab five-liter, bright red, loaned to me as a dealer demonstrator for 5,750 miles then returned to dealer stock. It must have been half the size of this pearl white elephant. Driving it in traffic is like swimming in thick mud.

Still, the Tahoe occupied my mind as the failure-prone five-point-three listlessly groaned it through traffic, and I saw all sorts of GMT Nine Hundreds. Escalades finishing out their leases, Suburbans with a hundred-pound mother flailing behind the wheel and a child the size of a roast turkey in the middle of the middle seat, gloss-red regular cab Silverados doing cable installation. By the time I saw the fiftieth black-with-tinted-windows Yukon Denali, my sensitivity to them had almost slipped back beneath the waterline. But there was something different about this one.
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By on August 15, 2014

Driven by better-than-expected reliability in the real world, a desire to respond to consumer concerns about operating costs, or just sheer monstrous ego, Elon Musk has decided to change the Tesla warranty. But wait, there’s more.
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By on August 15, 2014

electricobra

Every once in a while, you come across a story that just perfectly encompasses everything that’s weird and wacky about the wannabe supercar business. The Renovo Coupe is just such a story.
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By on August 15, 2014

tstew

Tony Stewart will not return to racing just yet. Although criminal charges are currently “unlikely” according to the local sheriff, Stewart’s decision to stay out of the public eye is probably the most sensible and cautious one possible. This isn’t really one of the things that TTAC would normally cover, so you can read my thoughts on the situation over on my site.

By on August 15, 2014

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If all the Hellcat news has whetted your appetite for an in-person meeting, here’s your chance.
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By on August 14, 2014

tv6

As 1977 drew to a close, my father finally agreed to let my mother have the new car he’d promised her earlier in the year. Mom’s Volvo was only three years old but it was already rusting and erratic in cold mornings. They went to some Oldsmobile dealership in Baltimore to see the new-for-1978 Cutlass Supreme coupes. It was the era of the personal luxury coupe and the Cutlass was the alpha dog in the pack. To Dad’s annoyance, however, Mom didn’t want the square-edged Malaise superstar. No, she wanted the one seventy-seven they had left in stock. Dark blue Supreme, light blue top and interior. Color-matched rally wheels. Most importantly, it had the 403. Absurdly oversquare engine. Whisper quiet but when the light went green it shoved. We went home from the dealer with what Dad considered to be a used car already. He didn’t really care, he was rocking a ’77 LeSabre sedan and Yves Saint Laurent prêt-à-porter, yo.

Once I was strong enough to pull the release and pop the hood, I’d stand on the front bumper and stare into the engine compartment. By the time Mom chopped in the Cutlass on a black Civic “S” the 403 was obscure and obsolete, simultaneously laughable for its gauche thirst and frightening in its deep-chested power. It was the last of its kind, the last to believe you could make it happen with cubic inches alone, the last Rocket V8, three hundred and twenty pound-feet, a dinosaur roaring alone on the showroom floor among the three point eight liter proto-mammals, staring unconcernedly at the bright flash in the sky.

Thirty-seven years later, it’s time for another extinction.
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By on August 11, 2014

delphi

When Delphi emerged from a long, drawn-out bankruptcy in 2009, the Federal Government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp assumed a six billion dollar liability in underfunded pension plans. As a consequence, many Delphi salaried employees have lost the majority of their pensions. But when Delphi Automotive incorporated after the bankruptcy, that incorporation took place in the United Kingdom.

Now the IRS is actively pursuing claims against Delphi for tax liabilities — but “new Delphi” would rather pay taxes to our former colonial masters.

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By on August 8, 2014

Oh, GM, you so cray-cray. You’ve done it again. If the 2010 Buick LaCrosse was the ’84 Fiero 2M4 of entry luxury sedans — all the right ideas executed indifferently — this 2015 model is the ’89 GT V6 of entry luxury sedans. All the right ideas, executed well enough to get the attention of […]

By on August 6, 2014

rentals

Well, here I am — just a contributor again, and no longer the EIC. It’s freeing. Reminds me of when I was just a fresh-faced twentysomething doing competitive pin-and-plate shooting back in the days of the Clinton Administration. Back then, I had a good friend who worked at the best of the local gun shops and who sold me a lot of the equipment I used to participate in dominate various events. Then as now, gun shops are notorious for being a place where people discuss ridiculous theories or misinformation, and it was a particular and oft-sampled pleasure for this fellow to stand impassively with his hands on the counter for as long as it took for a customer to get it all off their chests before saying, “You’re wrong, and I’ll tell you why.”

When Jalopnik’s Raphael Orlove did us the courtesy of promoting my Malibu rental review, a few people brought up the usual chestnut that “you shouldn’t review rental cars, it’s not fair to the car companies” and so on. Well, those people are wrong, one of them in particular, and I’m going to tell them why.

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By on July 30, 2014

jcb

Tomorrow will be my last day as the Editor-In-Chief pro tem of The Truth About Cars. This was always meant to be a temporary situation, despite what some of the B&B thought. Given some of the differences in opinion I have recently had with TTAC’s owners, this is a good time for us to call it quits. I will not be replaced; the site will be managed by the leadership team at VerticalScope in Toronto and Derek will continue in his capacity as Managing Editor. There will be other changes, detailed below.

I made some promises to you, the readers, and I’d like to discuss whether or not those promises have been kept. But the tl;dr crowd can best understand the situation like this: TTAC is basically Fleetwood Mac.
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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
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