Posts By: Tony Sterbenc

By on July 30, 2015

In my youth I was a vital, virile, male Manly Man. So manly that when I got a new ’86 GTI as my first “nice” car, I left off not only the automatic transmission but also the power steering. Mind you, it drove great — when it drove at all. One night my parents tossed me […]

By on July 28, 2009

This website has stood out front in condemning the pro-corporate cowardice of the paper car mags, and rightly so. But when they show some courage and get it right, they deserve a shout-out. In the proud TTAC tradition of recognizing all viewpoints, I salute Jamie Kitman’s latest column in Automobile. Kitman’s point: the United Auto Workers (UAW) make a handy whipping boy, but contrary to the new conventional wisdom, they are not the Great Satan that sank our auto industry. In fact, the money the UAW made for decades was a good thing. “Courage,” you say? If you’re like many here, that’s not the adjective you’d use . . .

By on October 12, 2007

07jetta20t_01_hrgb1.jpgMy name is Tony and I’m an ex-VW owner. Like most exes, it’s taken me a couple of decades to overcome my bitterness to the point where I can render objective judgment on the German automaker’s products. As a test drive reveals nothing about long-term reliability, I will mention it no more and judge the facts at hand. One of which is Volkswagen automobiles are still beset with mechanical and electrical gremlins. Damn! So, the Jetta. Nice looking car, eh?

By on September 5, 2007

14.jpgAs I drove to my neighborhood Kia dealer, the window signage caught my eye. Actually, make that grabbed both eyeballs and ripped them out, Oedipus-style. DRIVE TODAY! NO CREDIT! BAD CREDIT! I wondered how long before the words “What price are you looking to pay?” would effect the same injury to my ears. While dealerships like this make Kia’s 100,000 mile warranty look like a mixed blessing, let’s face it: they know their market. As does the Kia Optima.

By on August 21, 2007

us-flag5420.jpgI grew up in a working-class town where “Buy American” ranked just above “Go to church.” Chrysler cured me of my automotive illusions. One day, the engine fell out of my first new car, a ’79 Plymouth Horizon. At 30k miles. The local dealer, the zone office, and then the factory solemnly informed me that my 12/12 warranty was over, so Up Mine. And yet I have family and friends who’ve kept the faith to this day. As The Big 2.8’s fuselage prepares for its final meeting with terra firma, I know it’s wrong to snigger at Detroit’s woes. But I’m laughing to keep from crying.

By on July 19, 2007

wood2.jpgTrue story: as a kid, every fall I’d ride my single-speed bike three miles to the local Chevy dealer. Inexplicably, the dealer staff let this mouthy, curious kid sit in their expensive, newly launched iron. In the autumn of 1968, I clambered into a brand spankin’ new ’69 Impala. Its lines were angular where the old ones were bulbous. As a “Chevy man” (boy), I was ready to show it some major love. But one detail grabbed my eye and just wouldn’t let go. Unlike previous Impalas, the dash and doors were covered with very large expanses of fake wood. A pet peeve was born.

Recent Comments

  • Re: No Fixed Abode: Dealers Gone Wild!

    Suto - High schools should make sure that every student has a good grasp on 8-9th grade algebra. Unless the kid is a computer nerd or wants to be a carpenter or...
  • Re: No Fixed Abode: Dealers Gone Wild!

    Kendahl - The only thing Destiny and her mother might salvage from this disaster is interest on the loan. Destiny should put every spare dime into paying off the loan...
  • Re: No Fixed Abode: Dealers Gone Wild!

    mankyman - Great story. These types of things do happen to young white dudes too though. It’s not just financial illiteracy that makes dealers happy. They also...
  • Re: No Fixed Abode: Dealers Gone Wild!

    bullnuke - Jeff Wyler…serving the credit challenged of Southwest and South Springfield for many years. Can’t afford our Toyotas? Take a 34-step walk over to...
  • Re: No Fixed Abode: Dealers Gone Wild!

    NoID - Well consider: Even if the dealer makes only one sale per working day, and captures that $700 doc fee: Figure 300 sales days in a year (52 weeks, minus Sundays...
  • Re: QOTD: What Should Replace the Chrysler 200?

    DeadWeight - No jobs will be lost (jobs will probably be added), as the all-new,upcoming 2017 RAM will be built at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (which built...
  • Re: No Fixed Abode: Dealers Gone Wild!

    Compaq Deskpro - Dealer sold me the lifetime warranty with $100 deductible for $2500, which can be bought on the internet for $2185, doc fee was $1000, interest rate was...
  • Re: No Fixed Abode: Dealers Gone Wild!

    NoID - I’ve heard of dealers baking in penalties for independent financing into the base price (so they can magically find money to take out if they finance...
  • Re: QOTD: What Should Replace the Chrysler 200?

    Compaq Deskpro - You think sedans are going to decline as fast as wagons in the 80’s or 2 door SUV’s in the 90’s? If that’s the case,...
  • Re: General Motors CEO Mary Barra Chosen for Trump Advisory Panel

    agent534 - Free trade deals with countries having insanely low gdp per capita have the obvious effect, the people there will never be a market...

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