Posts By: Justin Crenshaw

By on October 21, 2013

Ferrari_World_Logo

The prancing horse is everywhere! If you’re going to be bothered by the corporate arrogance or by the cheapening of the brand then you shouldn’t set foot in this place. This entire building is Ferrari patting itself on the back for being badass. Cheapening of the brand? Let’s not forget this company makes more money selling cufflinks, hats, and sunglasses than they do selling cars. At this point you just have to let go of these concerns and get in touch with your inner 10-year old…look there’s a racecar!
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By on September 23, 2013

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Back in 2009 I wrote a blog about buying a Z4M on a whim. Four years later, I’ve made another impulse buy. Prior to moving to Seattle last summer my wife and I downsized our car stable and I purchased an $8k E39 530 as my daily driver.  Given how expensive Seattle can be I didn’t want a big car payment until we got our new housing budget in check.  Finding a new place took less time than expected, and soon enough, I started the research process to lease a new vehicle for my 50 minute commute.

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By on September 21, 2013

Regular readers of TTAC already saw Justin Wheels Crenshaw and W Christian Mental Ward had a chance to attend the Abu Dhabi Drift School where the RWD Toyota GT-86 is the car of choice. After sliding around like hooligans, we both had some opinions on them and continued the discussion at the Viceroy Hotel’s “Taste […]

By on August 29, 2009

BMW enthusiasts would have you believe that there’s only one “real” M3: the original 1986 model (codenamed E30). That bad boy began life as a homologation special for Group A Touring Car racing. As BMW updated the racer, the road car received power and handling upgrades. When the six-cylinder E36 M3 appeared in 1995 (US), enthusiasts derided it as too heavy and, well, comfortable. By the time the E46 M3 appeared in 2000, the ultimate driving sports sedan was considered a bit of a pig—by True Believer standards. In fact, the third generation M3 is an animal; it wants to be driven hard and put away wet. As you would when purchasing any German hot rod, tuck away a bit of money for repairs and consult a specialist before you plunge into an E46 M3. Consumer Reports put the E46 M3 on its reliability list, but a bunch of smaller stuff can and will go wrong, and your M car will need regular infusions of pricey fluids, pads and other consumables. Autotrader lists a Your Shitty Economy Car of the Week: a “pristine” (albeit white) dealer-sourced 53k-mile 2003 E46 M3 at a shade under $25K. So, about twenty large, then. Plus the turbo?

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By on August 7, 2009

Your Shitty Economy (YSE) Car of the Week: the 2005 Lexus LS430. The LS has to be one of the most boring cars in the biz. To paraphrase Jonny Lieberman, grab the wheel and you’re driving Muzak. Handling, sportiness and excitement are as far from the LS430′s vocabulary as Hungarian is from Creole. But even enthusiasts can respect the LS’s superb NVH engineering, which make it one of the best interstate cruising cars on the market, period. The LS’s exterior styling apes the 1990s Mercedes S-class—in the sense that a used bar of soap apes an identical new one. With Toyota parts bin pieces littering the interior, everything fits and we’re finished. Small prices to pay for understated elegance and supreme reliability in the best Cadillac Cadillac never built. Go ahead, ditch the new Camry and treat yourself to this certified LS for only $24,995. Note: narcoleptics need not apply.

By on August 6, 2009

Is $2.00 gas killing the Middle East economy? Strolling through a Mercedes dealership in Abu Dhabi revealed this SLR Roadster priced at 2.44 million Dirhams. Think the exchange rate will help? Nope, try $667,000. Talk about mark-ups! When the salesman was asked about the tremendous mark-up, he suddenly forgot how to speak English and walked off. (That, or it was my Innova rental in the parking lot.) Still for this kind of money buyers get a red checkered top that looks like it was stolen off a pimp, and black wheels previously seen in a Tire Rack ad. Even if I was ultra rich, I may just have to pick up another vacation home and a Gallardo instead.

By on August 1, 2009

Your Shitty Economy (YSE) Car of the Week is the 2007 Mercedes Benz R-Class. Mercedes attempt at a minivan, er crossover thingy has been a huge failure. The ugly, slow selling R-class—a rif on the equally ill-fated Chrysler Pacifica—is as popular as a pet rock at a dog show. Buyers purchasing fifty thousand dollar family haulers are looking for a little more style than this not quite a wagon (which you can buy from Mercedes anyway). But the cliff face depreciating Mercedes R-class does its job as advertised: it provides three rows of luxurious seating, safety amenities, and decent MPG. The R’s configuration sheet reads like a Silverado’s: V6, V8, AWD, diesel, and for those really late to soccer practice, the 500+ horsepower AMG version is an . . . odd choice. This certified 2007 V6 4Matic model is yours for only $22,888. Or choose from 1100+ others on Autotrader.

By on July 18, 2009

This week’s Your Shitty Economy (YSE)™ Car of the Week: the 2005 Lotus Elise. Somewhere along the line responsibility took over your life, leaving no room in the garage for fifty-thousand dollar track toys. It’s amazing how five years and $5,000 a year in depreciation can help rationalize the need for a weekend toy. Let’s face it, the street legal go kart Elise isn’t good for much else. The ride will make your STI feel like a Town Car. And the noise? Even if the radio (if it has one) isn’t capable of drowning out the engine, who cares? Pop the top and let the wind rush and exhaust notes assault your senses. If you are flexible enough to make it into the driver’s seat the purity of it all will overwhelm you. Don’t even think of using the word luxury in its presence. Want to talk numbers?

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By on July 11, 2009

This week’s YSE (Your Shitty Economy) Car of the Week: the 1997 Dodge Viper GTS. The recently reprieved snake is the epitome of unrefined excess. From the moment you turn the key, you know the folks in the NVH department were banned from the building. Starter button? Ha! Enter “Viper interior” on Google and the word “upgrades” appears automatically. And no wonder. For north of $80,000, Viper buyers are immersed in a sea of plastic fantastic—minus the fantastic. Even so, the cabin’s simplicity reflects the Viper’s sole purpose: to smoke enough rubber to make Corvette drivers limp with envy. With its V10 engine, harsh ride, gas-gulping fuel economy (10 mpg), hot exhaust and luke-warm A/C, the Viper is about as much of a daily driver as a cement mixer (to which the idling engine offers more than a passing aural similarity). Something for the weekend? In this economy, this 450hp, brake-challenged (upgrade that!), V-10 powered monster is yours for only $29,000.

By on July 3, 2009

Needless to say, YSE (Your Shitty Economy) Car of the week suffered cataclysmic depreciation, thanks to General Motors. The General bought into the Swedish brand in 1989. After spending $600 million for a half-share, the General proceeded to nickel and dime the automaker to death, mostly through a non-process we know as badge-engineering. Now, if you head over to Saab’s US website, you’ll see something called the 9-5 SportCombi. To channel Mandarkian mirth, enter your zip code and start configuratoring the Aero version at . . . $42,790. All done? Now check out its predecessor, the 9-5 Aero Wagon. This example includes two out of three TTAC tokens required for automotive Valhalla: wagon, yes; stick, yes; diesel, no. This week’s YSE selection is a middle of the road, 47k mile 2005 Aero Wagon for $12,999. For Nissan Versa money, you can put what is probably the last true Saab in your garage, and enjoy some enthusiast driving while hauling around your favorite cargo. Just make sure you have one of them quirky Saab repair shops nearby.

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  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
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  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
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  • J Emerson, United States