Posts By: Jack Baruth

By on April 6, 2014


DETROIT, MI — A spokesperson for Generic Motors confirmed today that the company will be recalling approximately 2.34 million vehicles built between 2008 and 2013 for a defect in which activating the seat heaters can cause a certain chemical reaction in the driver and passenger seats, leading to sudden changes in the foam seat padding and spring structure that can lead to a loss of control.

0. Engineering Division, Generic Motors — “Tell me how this happens again?”
“It’s complicated. Sort of. When you hit the seat heater button twice in a row within a second or so, the controller shorts out and causes the heating element to leak one of the chemicals into the foam. It makes the foam heat to about 500 degrees Celsius, at which point it escapes the seat through, ah, the circular aperture in the spring plate.”

“Which means…”

“Which, ah, means that there’s what you can think of as a hot jet of, well, a plasma kind of foam, almost, that exits in a columnar fashion from the top of the lower seat bolster near where it joins the hinge.”
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By on April 5, 2014


What runs NFS, X11, and a thirteen-second quarter-mile?
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By on April 4, 2014


Back in 2012, I took a shot at racing B-Spec in the Canadian Touring Car Championship for a weekend at Mont-Tremblant. I wound up taking a whipping from a very talented field on an unfamiliar track, but I was amazed at the quality of the show that CTCC puts on for the spectators. Given the teething issues that the Tudor series is having this year, those of you who really want to see some close competition without the extraneous political factors and post-race decisions that have characterized “united sports car racing” so far this year might want to cross the border.
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By on April 3, 2014


The old Sedona amazed customers with its near-perfect imitation of the unloved Ford “Freestar” catastrophe-van. The new one is, it is to be hoped, considerably better. Industry gossip calls for a 3.3L V6.

By on April 3, 2014


Here’s the new Outback. What do we know about it? Nothing — other than the fact that it’s unlikely to have checkerboard seats for the American dude.

By on March 30, 2014


By the time Nick picked up 40 West in Nashville, with hours left to go and the setting sun still bright in his eyes, he was reasonably sure that he was going to lie to this woman, that he wouldn’t bother to continue on to Texas with her, that he’d make a clean break, that he would end it. He would end it in Memphis, let it go, sacrifice this woman on the altar of his precious emotional distance. She was expecting him to go to her father’s funeral with her; for some reason she was afraid to go alone, demanded that he support her in this. Insisted that he assist her in turning their casual relationship into the sort of thing in which you attend funerals with the other person, hold them while they vibrate tears out of their shuddering bodies, shake a manly hand with the sweating uncles, purchase and wear a Super 150s suit valued at somewhere north of four thousand dollars and purchase it in black because that’s what you wear to a funeral and nowhere else at all.

By the time he was clear of the city limits and past Jackson, by the time the sun was gone, he was certain.
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By on March 29, 2014

Volvo-Inscription-Package _4_

Some news from Volvo. No, it’s not about the Chinese market S60L; you still can’t have that. But what you can have might be enough.
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By on March 29, 2014

concrete block

It’s always wonderful to see life imitate art, particularly when the “art” is an Ayn Rand book. Remember that part in Atlas Shrugged where Hank and Dagny ride the first locomotive over the Rearden Metal bridge? (Um, that was a spoiler, sorry about that.) Now we have the real-life Hank Rearden (or is that Howard Roark?) in the form of Elon Musk, showing the world how his technological ideas are stronger than the media’s ability to destroy them.
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By on March 28, 2014

This video has it all: a bully in a Super Duty, a woman who won’t yield the left lane, anger, retribution, crashing.
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By on March 26, 2014


Few topics stir the blood of the Best&Brightest like the future of the Lincoln brand. Some of you agree with me that the company should build a new Continental. Others think that Ford should, as Michael Dell once famously stated of Apple in the pre-iMac era, sell the assets and distribute the money to the shareholders. Lincoln has platform problems, dealer problems, image problems, and competition problems — but the biggest problem Lincoln faces is its parent company’s current product line.
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By on March 25, 2014


We have very few rules for commenters here at TTAC. Not everyone is comfortable with that; some of our longer-serving friends remember with undisguised fondness the days when Mr. Farago ruled with an iron hand and “moderated” the posts the way a Ma Deuce “moderates” a field of mounted cavalry.

We’re also big believers in anonymity. There are multiple auto-industry people at TTAC who have privately disclosed their status in the business to us or simply signed up with their work e-mail, but we don’t share that with the world at large. Anonymity is, frankly, critical to the free flow of ideas in a world where people lose their jobs for saying the wrong thing in an arena completely unrelated to the rest of their lives.

This past weekend, we had two issues with anonymity. One was our fault — or, more properly speaking, my fault, since I permitted it to happen — and the other was the work of someone with an axe to grind.

Both of these issues have been resolved.
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By on March 21, 2014


Here at TTAC, we’re often accused of being libertarian cop-hating anarchist hippie freaks. Nearly as often as we’re accused of being tools of the corporate power elite and their propaganda machine. It’s true that most of our writers have a bit of an anti-authoritarian bent. After all, car guys want to go fast, and so on, and the Man doesn’t want you to go fast, and so on, and so forth, and also tickets for having a non-CARB-approved intake pipe suck, and so on. Sometimes we take it pretty far. We’ve even had a writer quit because we were being insufficiently respectful of highway cops, or something like that.

Our struggle against the police state is just that — a struggle against an ideology, not a war on the best of the peace officers out there. Today, I was reminded of that fact again, when a sheriff’s deputy went out of his way to fix a major problem for me.
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By on March 20, 2014


Alright, we admit it: the purpose of the above parody headline was to cause shortness of breath among the people who honestly think that TTAC is still intimately involved with Toyota. Let’s set the record straight about that right now: Our previous EIC had an extremely cozy relationship with certain factions at Toyota. The current EIC’s last interaction of any type with Toyota or its employees, which occurred on December 12, 2011, was being disciplined in writing for supposedly using press-event hotel rooms to have two separate threesomes with a total of four women, a claim the current EIC disputes in the most insincere manner humanly possible. TTAC has no special relationship with Toyota. We do not have a special relationship with anyone in this business. If we did, we wouldn’t have to rent Chevrolet Captivas for road tests, would we? The reason this story didn’t run yesterday is simple: we didn’t have time to write it. Nothing more sinister than that. We promise.

Now for the real story: The United States Government has imposed a $1.2 billion penalty on Toyota Motor Company in exchange for deferring its prosecution of one count of wire fraud for the next three years. The allegations brought by the government are related to the company’s behavior during and after a series of motor vehicle accidents that were/are thought to have been caused by unintended acceleration. This is the largest criminal penalty ever levied against an automaker in this country and it is already being cited as a potential model or template for a criminal penalty against another automaker which we won’t mention before the “click to continue” lest we be accused of having a V for Vendetta against that automaker.
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By on March 19, 2014

It’s been thirty days and 2,420 miles since I took delivery of my 2014 Accord EX-L V6 in Modern Steel. The big Honda had big shoes to fill; although it was, strictly speaking, a replacement for my dearly-departed, bent-like-a-pretzel 2009 Town Car, I knew from the moment I sat in it that I’d really be […]

By on March 17, 2014


Here at TheTruthAboutCars, we’ve occasionally been, shall we say, forthright concerning a certain manufacturer of SUVs, full-sized sedans, and sporting vehicles from Zuffenhausen. The thousand injuries of Porsche ownership we have borne as best we could, and so on. But if we are willing to castigate the firm every time they cut corners somewhere or screw over thousands of their customers without a second thought, we should also be willing to give credit where credit is due when they step up for their owners.

Which, to their credit, they are certainly doing in the case of the 991 GT3.
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