Posts By: Phil Coconis

By on April 19, 2013

 

 

Shifting gears into the warmer seasons affords the motoring aficionado many joyous opportunities.

Up here in the Eastern Sierra, with the threat of big winter storms passed, road crews sweep off the gravel concoction they’d spread during the thick of it—allowing for more spirited driving (and additionally, in my case, riding the superbike). Snow finally melts in the forested areas, opening up the gravel roads, Jeep trails, and whoop-de-doo punctuated singletrack to all manner of Off-Highway Vehicles (I like to rock a two-stroke dirtbike for this application).

The opportunity for really epic road trips can also be realized. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2013

Even though I was just a mere boy growing up during the ‘60’s in SoCal, I have no problem recalling the variety of impressions motor vehicles of all stripes made on me back then. Of course, I was especially into the noisier and flashier examples, be they airplanes, auto, boats, motorcycles, or trucks.

I distinctly recall the “Rambler” nameplate, but not because they were noisy or flashy—nor, did it seem, were their drivers. (There were a few exceptions to this—the most noteworthy being the SC/Rambler, AMX, and first production Javelin.) (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2013

Well, it looks as though winter is about done—at least from my vantage point west of the Rockies; but I still have a few more “revelations” to relate on the subject. As I stated in my last entry, these experiences were all new to me, since I’d never lived where “true winter” driving conditions were a regular occurrence. So, without ado, and as “green” as spring vegetation, here are a few more of my cold-weather “discoveries”.

While I wasn’t unfamiliar with a parking brake (some call it an emergency brake—which may in itself be a subject for further discussion) stuck in the “applied” position, I soon found additional reasons for this to occur in true winter weather. (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2013

 

That I do agree with other’s criticism of the fact that the Toyota Corolla has become too appliance-like over the past decade, has me looking back on earlier iterations of the model with increasing fondness.

While there were indeed some memorably fun-to-drive FWD versions—the FX-16 for one (and some may include the NUMMI Nova Twin-Cam, although it wore a “Bowtie”)—there was, and is just no comparison to the “FTD Factor” intrinsic in the earlier RWD models. That “factor” was very present even in the little 1972 1200 Coupe I owned (and “boy-racered” to the degree that my budget and skill set allowed) back in the late ‘70’s. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2013


 Even though these full-size, front-wheel-drive GM offerings seemed to carry a stigma of being cars that the grandparents preferred, they undeniably had some virtues that just about any passenger car-type motorist would appreciate.

While certainly making no pretensions toward being any kind of “performance” vehicle, they did indeed perform well for their intended purpose: that being—at minimum—an efficient, four-passenger (with seatbelts for six), open-road cruiser. (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2013


 

As long as it’s still the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere—more wintry for some than others, here in the U.S.—it seems appropriate to stay on that topic for a while longer, here on the “Memoirs” page.

Having spent much of my career as an auto tech and shop owner in the Southern California area, I really didn’t get much of an opportunity to solve cold-weather problems on customer vehicles—mainly because there just wasn’t (and still isn’t) much of that stuff going around, down there.

Moving to New York—and then Louisiana—in the ‘80’s quickly changed all of that.
(Read More…)

By on February 24, 2013

To open this entry, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you for your interest and comments! One of the reasons for my less-than-tight-on-the-bottle approach with this column is to encourage participation and expression.

It seems to be working!

While I did notice that some of the comments seemed to suggest a combination of low visitor traffic and lack of good new material (on the writer’s own sites), as well as evidence of some fairly tightly focused OCD, I don’t seem to be personally experiencing those issues while proceeding with the compilation of my “BODACIOUS BEATERS: and road-going derelicts” column. This week’s entry is no exception to that, and certainly is a “special” one, indeed!

Some years ago, I owned a Plymouth Arrow Pickup. (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2013

With all of the attention yours truly “Bodacious Beaters” have been receiving in this column—and rightly so due to the proliferation of such vehicles here in the vast car-biased expanse known as Southern California—the “road-going derelicts” have mostly been relegated to the back burner.

Well, this entry fits the latter half of this column’s title like garbage in the proverbial dumpster! (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2013

So venerably ubiquitous was the VW Beetle, I wondered for a while whether the sighting of this particular example constituted as something special enough to qualify for another “fifteen minutes of fame”, here on the Bodacious Beaters page.

Here in the SoCal area, for many years after the end of the sales line, the Beetle just kept finding a way to stay in the spotlight. (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2013

We rejoin our tale of high adventure—en route to Golden, CO, for the purpose of taking delivery of a slightly used superbike—aboard a newly acquired and undertested first-gen Toyota Van. Having passed it’s first serious test—the midnight-to-dawn segment through southwestern Utah in a driving snowstorm (including a near-miss involving a concrete center divider) on the I-70—we set our sights on Grand Junction, CO and the Vail Pass.

Having made our descent to the high plains east of Moab, The Mint and I now had time to reflect on both my performance behind the wheel, and that of our rapidly appreciating and Bodaciously Beaten Van. We had to conclude that the proof was in the proverbial pudding in both cases: aside from the occasional stop to clear snow and ice accumulation from the wheel wells—checking on the integrity of the cable chains on the rear—our progress was confident and rapid, considering conditions. (Read More…)

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