Posts By: Matthew Guy

By on February 15, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

There’s been no shortage of digital ink spilled over the impending return of Alfa Romeo to North American shores, with declarations of a grand return being touted all the way back in 2000 when the company entered into a partnership with General Motors. Yes, General Motors.

Now, of course, we know Alfa’s part in Sergio’s grand plan for the House of FCA. Since the introduction of the sinewy Giulia, the hot and unpronounceable Quadrifoglio has gotten all the press. How does a base Giulia stack up at $37,995?

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By on February 13, 2017

A touching moment of solidarity crowned the inaugural series event. During the second race’s podium, the winner and Nissan GT Academy driver decided to offer his two Nissan Canada cheques of 1,500 worth of parts to new driver Mario Berthiaume, who was unable to start the race after seriously damaging his car in a practice session accident. Image: Nissan Canada

There’s an old saying, coined by NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, that suggests the quickest way to make a small fortune in racing is to start with a big one. While my yard is notably devoid of multi-million dollar race haulers, I can certainly understand the seeds of truth in this cautionary tale: when the powers-that-be decide to change the rules in a particular series, it causes all hands to reach for their checkbooks.

There have been plenty of rule changes in motorsport over the years. Formula 1 changes its downforce packages more often than my wife’s teenage sister changes her Snapchat filters, for example. F1 is also known for decreeing the use of new engines, ranging over the years from turbo V6s to honkin’ V10s to small-displacement V12s, not to mention the bizarre powertrain configurations that appeared in the ’60s and ’70s. The amount of adaptation beggars belief.

Stock car racing isn’t immune to this trend, either.

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By on February 9, 2017

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been on a bit of a mental streak lately. Rip the seats out of a Hellcat to create the Demon? Sure! Drop a V8 engine the size of a grand piano into a Durango and perform all-wheel drive burnouts? Why not? The level of brash, automotive lunacy on offer from Auburn Hills […]

By on February 8, 2017

Chevrolet Spark LS Manual

Base model. What does that image conjure? Vinyl seats? Tinny AM radio? A low rent penalty box on wheels? A few years ago, you’d be right on the money. Driving misery was available for voluntary purchase at the showrooms of just about every major car maker.

Now, though … it’s tougher to find. This series has focused on vehicles out there that, in their cheapest guise, won’t make you cringe with each pull of the driver’s door handle. Here’s an example.

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By on February 8, 2017

2017 Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty Night

Ram plans to introduce a brace of special edition trucks at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show this week.

A new Copper Sport trim will augment the existing 1500 rim choices and color palette, and Ram will port a popular package from the 1500 to create the new Heavy Duty Night model.

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By on February 6, 2017

1972 Dodge D200 Pickup in Colorado Junkyard, CUSTOM emblem - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

What type of extra-curricular activity do you enjoy taking on with your car or truck? No, not that type of extra-curricular activity, gutter brain. I’m talking about what we can do with our vehicles other than the mundane commute to work five days a week. Towing. Drag racing. Off-roading. Y’know, more than the basics. The fun stuff.

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By on February 1, 2017

Chevy SS Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — might just be the best choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.

The selection for this week’s Ace of Base will likely surprise approximately zero percent of our reading population, given my known affinity for larger-than-necessary engines and interiors which comfortably house Large Persons.

The General introduced the SS arguably as a mea culpa to American gearheads who pined for the dearly departed Pontiac G8 GT. We’ll simply gloss over the missed opportunity which was the G8 ST, an apple pie and bald eagle variant of the excellent Holden Ute in Australia, lest I start weeping onto my keyboard.

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By on January 30, 2017

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

A good many questions that start with the phrase, “Given an unlimited budget … ” tend to focus on what a person would buy with a bottomless pit of money — and why not? It’s fun to fill our imaginary garages with machines made of moonbeams and unobtanium.

Not this time. Right now, I’m here to ask you: what car makes you froth at the mouth? What car offends you worse than a gunnysack full or rotting tuna? What car would you never buy?

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By on January 26, 2017

Detroit Three Work Trucks

Earlier this morning, Jack regaled us with a tale of a young man buying himself a loaded regular-cab F-150. Such a beast still exists, often selling at the rate of glacier progression and celebrating birthdays as they loiter on dealer lots. At the other end of the spectrum, rear-drive regular cab base models – with an 8-foot box, natch – ply the roads and work for a living.

How do entry-level trucks from the Detroit Three stack up when compared to each other? Ace of Base breaks them down in alphabetical order with the caveat that, based on price and feature content, there is a clear winner.

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By on January 25, 2017

Girfalco Azkarra

The Canadian province of Quebec has a history of churning out offbeat, low-production speed machines. Blame the six months of winter or the intoxicating effects of pure maple syrup; whatever the reason, enterprising gearheads living in New England’s tuque have a habit of building their own cars.

From the Dubuc Tomahawk, an all-electric 2+2 promising 0-60 miles per hour in three seconds, to the sheep’s-head ugly (but fast) HTT Pléthore, there’s no shortage of cars being designed and built in La Belle Province. Now, another Quebec-based company, Girfalco, intends to increase that number with its new three-wheeled EV — the Azkarra.

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By on January 23, 2017

Aftermath of the demo derby Focus, Image: © 2013 Matthew Guy

Gearheads like ourselves are particularly susceptible to the siren song a car, especially if our own Id deems it to be a ZOMG good deal. This is the deep and perilous financial rabbit hole into which most of us fall.

All of this was on prominent display this weekend at the annual Barrett Jackson classic car auction this past weekend in the Arizona desert. I stood across from a guy who, wild-eyed and armed with a bidder’s number, was bound and determined to win the 1964 Austin-Healey in front of us on the block. He was successful, and I wish him well, Lucas electrics and all.

I wager most of us reading TTAC have a story of getting waaaay too wrapped up in the auctioneer’s patter or throwing caution to the wind on a particularly sketchy Craigslist ad … including our esteemed Managing Ed.

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By on January 18, 2017

2016 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — might just be the best choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.

Wait, wait, wait! Yes, this is a minivan … but before you scroll past this post to revel in Steph’s news reports or one of Jack’s adventures, consider this: when was the last time you bought something which truly made your life easier? Because that’s what minivans are all about.

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By on January 16, 2017

At the 2015 Palm Beach Auction, driver Herb – on his birthday – got to drive “Herbie” across the block. Image: Barrett-Jackson

This week, the deep-pocketed guys and girls of the car collecting world will descend upon the state of Arizona for the annual collector car auctions. From the televised glitz of Barrett-Jackson to the white-gloved stratosphere of RM Sotheby’s, there is something on the docket to fit everyone’s taste.

For years, I’d watch the events on television or follow the sale prices online with a certain amount of apoplexy. “They paid how much? For that?!?” I’d routinely fume, reliably waking my spouse and buying myself yet another night in the guest room.

A couple of years ago, though, I had a minor revelation.

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By on January 11, 2017

Ford Bronco

Sometimes, we’ll reach into the past and find a model that pegs our Ace of Base meter. Not all base vehicles from the pages of history were appalling dumpster fires of mediocrity. Most were, but not all. Here’s a good example.

During Ford’s Monday morning press conference at NAIAS in Detroit, it was finally confirmed that the Bronco nameplate will be returning in 2020. This news made our Managing Ed giddy with delight, enamored as he is with all things Bronco, and seemed to be a fitting announcement for what will likely be the last automotive product announcement in Joe Louis Arena (which is scheduled for demolition later this year).

Dispensing with fripperies like information on drivetrains, styling, and actual details, Ford left a lot to the imagination of Bronco fans. My mind immediately wandered to the fifth-generation Bronco, which bucked its way off dealer lots from the 1992 to 1996 model years.

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By on January 9, 2017

naias 2017TTAC has an intrepid team on the ground at this year’s North American International Auto Show who’ll be bringing you reports from the buffet lines OEM press conferences throughout Media Preview Day. We’ve seen a few debuts already: the grille-of-your-dreams Ford F-150, the not-a-four-door-coupe Kia Stinger, and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-its-changes Mercedes GLA.

Even in this day and age of instant communication and information leaks, the manufacturers still sometimes manage to keep a surprise or two in their back pockets. The Ford GT and Buick Avista spring immediately to mind. This year, I’m hoping for a surprise announcement on a decades-old rumour.

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