Posts By: Jack Baruth

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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By on July 29, 2014

Exterior photography by Rachel Gibbs What did the American people get for the fifty billion dollars they spent and the eleven billion they lost on the General Motors bailout? Well, they got stability, they got the retention of perhaps a million jobs, they avoided what might have been a last straw in what a posterity […]

By on July 27, 2014

Five seconds: that’s the lap time difference between the V6 Challenger Track Pack and the SRT Hellcat around PIR. How much money do you save by being willing to take it a bit slower?

By on July 25, 2014

This doesn’t feel like something I should admit in public, let alone in the electronic pages of this august publication, but I always had a tiny little problem with the Challenger SRT8, way down in my super soul.

By on July 22, 2014

Getting decent conclusions from very limited data is the sort of thing of which Nobel Prizes are made. What you’re about to read won’t be Nobel-worthy; however, I believe it will help you understand how fast the Hellcat and how it compares to both the other Challengers and the external competition.

By on July 22, 2014

To some degree, it’s about the number, right? Seven hundred and seven. The Dodge people certainly made the point again and again about how the Hellcat stacks up to everything from the Z06 to the Murcielago. Mine’s bigger than yours. And that other number — 10.9 seconds with drag radials and 11.2 without. That actually […]

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  • Jack Baruth, United States
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