Posts By: Virgil Hilts

By on May 28, 2013

Fisker Karma Courtesy tumblr.com


During all the turmoil facing hybrid automaker Fisker Automotive recently, from closing its doors to a possible resuscitation led by Bob Lutz, one thing has remained constant: the rapidly collapsing values of the Fisker Karma cars themselves. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2013

Left Lane Priuses courtesy zazzle.comWe are bombarded with messages about the dangers of drunk driving, of the hazard of talking and texting on cell phones while driving, and the need to give a wide berth to folks driving Zipcars. We think there are many other varieties of unsafe motorists that get no attention from the media. As a public service, let’s take a look five subtle, but equally scary, drivers that make the highways a real challenge. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2013

You are looking at the rarest Mercedes-Benz vehicle ever built: a 2011 GLK350 AMG that I spotted last week. How uncommon is this SUV? The exact production number was zero as that model does not exist. It appears the owner of the car added an AMG emblem to its hatch, part of an epidemic of de-badge and re-badge engineering happening here in Southern California.  (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2013

Our Managing Editor is losing sleep over the imminent collapse of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand images due to their upcoming sub-$30,000 models. When you are finished with your 27th viewing of Benz’s sneak peek at their Super Bowl ad above, let’s discuss.  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2013

I will admit that I am a Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction fanboi. I spent last week in Detroit during the NAIAS, and thus had to skip my annual trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for their auction extravaganza, one of the greatest automotive events in this country. However, amidst all the breathless reporting about Barrett-Jackson selling the original Batmobile for $4.6M, you might have missed the story of a rare fail by the auction giant. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2013

Fraud Rule Number One: no matter how cute your girlfriend may be, do not include her in the picture on your fake ID.

Welcome to Part Two of our exclusive series on the rollicking world of Los Angeles luxury car buyers defrauding automakers, banks and dealers. In Part One we looked at Lemon Law scofflaws and odometer clockers. Today we will examine the crooked schemes that can be used to obtain the vehicle of your dreams. We will begin with the case of robber Baron Haghighi, who last month tried to con a few cars out of several Southern California high-line dealerships. (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2012

 

I recently stood on the showroom floor of a Los Angeles-area luxury car dealership as their sales manager pointed out a middle-aged couple browsing the lot. “We will never sell them a car,” he said. “In fact, we are going to politely ask them to leave.” Why? “One of our salespeople recognized them. They are professional Lemon Law scammers. They have hit two other dealers but they are not going to hit us.” (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2012

The Mitsubishi dealership in Easley, South Carolina is aiming for new business by offering a free gun with the purchase of any new or used vehicle, according to Columbia’s Channel 10. (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2012

I have not read Automobile magazine regularly since the late David E. Davis, Jr. departed the Ann Arbor rag a few years ago. I did grab a copy of their November issue while stuck in an airport last week and was treated to a pair of puzzling pieces from Contributing Writer Ezra Dyer. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2012
 

I don’t think Bertel would have gone for my original headline:

It Seemed Like A Gouda Idea. Colby Was A Dip But Knew He Curd Build The Car. He Was Not A Whey Nacho Man Nor A Whiz At Car Building As His Wife Brie Reminded Him On Those Nights She Got Grilled On Kahula And Cream While Sitting On A Brick In Front Of Their Swiss Cottage In Monterey, Jack Baruth Being Her True Love. Colby Was Becoming A Basket Queso In His Quest To Get His Kraft In Front Of Auto Writer Csaba Cheddar: Utah State Students Build Car Powered By Cheese Waste


(Read More…)

By on October 1, 2012

There are two cars parked in my garage that are just begging for a comparison test. A new Mercedes-Benz GLK350 has taken up temporary residence here. My wife Sally Jo is the proud owner of a pristine 1968 Mustang 302 Coupe which was purchased new by her grandfather. How could we resist not doing a comparo to find out which of these vehicles offers the better…owner’s manual?

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2012

Last month, Bertel reported on a Wall Street Journal story that revealed that BMW USA officials inflated sales figures in their zeal to overtake rival Mercedes-Benz in US sales. The automaker was offering dealers cash to basically sell the cars to themselves, under the guise of the units being used as customer demonstrators. The WSJ piece was met with laughter in the halls of car companies, as the practice is common to most automakers. The hilarity has officially ended: a former American Suzuki sales rep was just indicted for wire fraud for conspiring with a dealer to inflate sales figures. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2012

When we last reported on the saga of the 2005 Ford GT that was stolen in June during a home burglary in Rancho Santa Fe, California, all that had been found of the supercar were some chopped up parts, with no chassis or drivetrain in site. That soon changed. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2012

On July 1, all 37 million car owners in France were required to spend 2 Euros for a disposable breathalyzer to be kept in their vehicles at all times. Failure to do so will result in a fine of 11 Euros. Lest you think this is a weak attempt at a parody of the French and their love of wine, go here. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2012

The State of California is concerned that less than 3,800 Chevrolet Volt and Prius Plug-In hybrid owners have applied for Car Pool Lane stickers as of August 3. With these green decals affixed to their cars, owners of these two automobiles may drive with no passengers along the state’s 1,400 miles of HOV lanes. (Read More…)

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