Category: Bark’s Bites

By on April 13, 2014

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It’s just another day in the grand city of Lexington, Kentucky, a rose of a town in the middle of a commonwealth full of honest, hardworking, middle-class Americans. Lexington has a higher-than-average household income combined with a lower-than-average cost of living, making it a great place to be able to afford a nice car. It’s also home to over three hundred horse farms, which means one is just as likely to see an S Class rolling down Broadway as a King Ranch F-150 with a horse trailer attached to it. You won’t see many true exotics, but they love their Kentucky-built Corvettes, and some of the cleanest examples anywhere can be found here.

But on this day, there’s one car that draws more attention than any of them.
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By on December 10, 2013

rx8

Short of the YouTube commenter base, there is no greater pit of stupidity and vulgarity than in the ESPN.com comment sections. The overall tone of the comments is so vile that, several months ago, ESPN made the decision to force people to use their Facebook login to make comments. So, naturally, people created fake Facebook profiles with names like “Ohessu Thucks” and went right back to insulting each other in the most juvenile and repugnant ways possible.

Sports tend to make otherwise normal and rational people behave in bizarre fashion. After all, “fan” is nothing but a contraction of the word “fanatic.” That guy who paints his face and screams profanities in the stadium on Sunday might be a respected lawyer on Monday. I logged into Facebook on Saturday night after the Big Ten Championship Game to see friends of mine writhing in virtual pain, their lives immeasurably damaged by the failure of 21-year-old men they don’t know to score more points on a football field than other 21-year-old men they don’t know. The amount of personal self-worth that some people put into their favorite sports teams, whether professional or collegiate, is incredibly powerful, and in many cases, difficult to understand.
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By on December 5, 2013

mattsmustang

(The Mustang in that photo isn’t just here for irony — it’s for sale! Down to $799 OBO… it’s a GT and the seller is a well-known decent guy in Ohio. Contact us for details — JB)

Embargoes be damned. There’s not a soul on the planet who cared about the 2015 Mustang who couldn’t have told you everything you wanted to know about it before today. Independent Rear Suspension. Fastback. EcoBoost 2.3 liter four-cylinder option. No room for the beloved (or maligned, by ZL1 fans) 5.8 supercharged Shelby motor. The first Mustang to become global under Mulally’s pet project, One Ford. Either god-awful ugly or beautiful, depending on the eye of the beholder. It’s hard to remember a pony car that generated this much buzz.
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By on December 2, 2013

barkflex

Everybody on the internet knows that buying new cars is just plain stupid. New cars, after all, are just “depreciating hunks of metal.” New cars depreciate an average of 20% immediately, and then go down another 15% each year after that, according to sources such as KBB and Edmunds. According to every message board I’ve ever read, buying a new car will probably cause you to lose your house, get divorced, and be sent to the Chateau d’If for thirteen years.

But how true is that? And if it is true, does it matter? Let’s find out.
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By on November 25, 2013

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The Chevrolet SS arrived at Chevrolet dealerships all over America last week. Did you notice?
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By on November 13, 2013

mark944

There is much discussion on this site about Porsche ownership and the joys and perils therein. David Walton has opined about his very positive 993 purchase and experience. The EIC, owner ofa few Porsches himself, has lamented the recent decline of Porsche, both from a product and merchandising perspective. However, there is one TTAC contributor whose Porsche ownership experience predates even theirs. That’s right, it’s your dear friend, Bark M.

The year was 1999. The scene? The lush campus of The Ohio State University in the serene Midwestern metropolis of Columbus, Ohio. I had just turned in my 1996 Infiniti G20 at the end of a thirty-six month lease, and, much to the chagrin of my father (who had been paying for it), it had been a very painful experience. Three years in the streets, parking lots, and loading zones of the world’s largest college campus had not been kind to my rebadged Primera. There were several dings in each panel, and my band’s touring schedule throughout the Midwest meant that I was about fifteen thousand miles over my 36,000 mile limit. Yikes.
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By on November 4, 2013

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This is a continuation of Attack Of The Killer Mustangs, Part One.

So when we last saw our hero, er, me, I was finishing up my lead/follow session and heading back to the garage. I was incredibly eager to get back out on track, but next up was another classroom session. Turned out that this was really more Q&A than anything else-we had already covered most of the basics of track driving and the instructors wisely decided not to fill our novice heads with anything else at that point.
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By on October 28, 2013

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Meet Chris. Chris is a good friend of mine and a disgustingly handsome and successful young man. He’s 28 years old, has a mid six-figure job, lives in a swanky suburb of Boston, and dates a model who also happens to race motorcycles. Oh, and he also owns a 2013 Shelby GT500. Feel free to start hating him… now. Unfortunately, Chris is impossible to hate. He’s a genuinely good dude who comes from a long line of car guys. His family owned a Ford dealership for decades, and as a result, he’s a self-proclaimed Ford fan.

So when he received a promotion at work that caused him to start driving a lot more than he had previously, Chris did something sensible. He parked the GT500 in his garage and bought a Fusion on D-plan.

But it wasn’t just any Fusion.
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By on September 9, 2013

This picks up where Part One leaves off — JB

So, where were we? Oh, yes — driving in Europe. As previously mentioned, I hadn’t been to Europe in quite some time, and had never driven there. The first thing I learned is that there didn’t appear to be a very good way to get anywhere. Unless you were going from one huge city to another, the route invariably included some one-lane, barely paved roads and some bridges that virtually no car sold in America would fit on (more on this later).There wasn’t any good way to bypass the towns along the route-you simply had to drive through them and get stuck in whatever traffic you encountered.

There also appeared to be no such thing as a “grid” in these small to medium sized European cities. The roads twisted and wound in a way that made absolutely no sense to me. When we arrived in Hamme for soundcheck, we had to stop three times and ask people walking on the street for directions to the gig. We had entered the part of Belgium where Dutch was more prominent than French, which was somewhat of a problem because none of us spoke Dutch. Luckily, after several left turns that would have made one travel in a circle in America, we arrived at the town square.

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By on August 26, 2013

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“New York, New York, a helluva town. The Bronx is up but the Battery’s down.”

New York City. The World’s Capital. It has something for everyone and everything for someone. One can travel the globe and never find better restaurants, theatre, shopping, museums, or music.

It’s also an awful, awful place to drive.

Parking is non-existent or hellaciously expensive. Taxi drivers show no concern for surrounding vehicles, changing lanes at will. Pedestrians leap out in front of vehicles–sometimes sober, but most of the time not. And the traffic! Sitting in the Lincoln Tunnel for ninety minutes “just because” is a daily occurrence. What vehicle can survive such a test?

Enter the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

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By on August 20, 2013

jumpy3

As is surely the case for many of TTAC’s readers, cars aren’t my only passion in life. Early on in my college and young adult life, I spent many nights in the addictive limelight that only belongs to the performing musician. Being a saxophonist gave me a sort of versatility that not many other musicians had-R&B band one night, Ska/Punk the next, Jazz the next, and so on.

But the one music that has stayed consistent with me throughout my life has been the Blues. The Blues is present in all forms of American music-it’s the foundation of Rock and Roll, Country, Jazz…everything. One could make the argument that the Blues is America’s Classical music-much like the classical music of Europe, it’s based on folk tunes that have been passed down from generation to generation aurally, and it’s totally unique from region to region. Mississippi, New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago. They each have their own brand of Blues that a true connoisseur can recognize immediately.

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By on August 5, 2013

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Atlanta can be somewhat of a rental car wasteland. Less than two years ago, the lots were still primarily populated by a sea of dingy Mercury Grand Marquises. (Yeah, yeah, Panther Love, whatever.) Nowadays, the unhappy renter-to-be is usually confronted by seemingly endless rows of 2.5S Altimas and Jeep Compasses. Shudder. So it was with this expectation that I entered the ATL garage again, and I was not disappointed — zero-option Altimas as far as the eye could see, with a Silverado pickup mixed in here and there. A fellow business traveler walked up to the rental car company rep as I was surveying the landscape and moaned, “Is this really all you have?”

While he was complaining, I was hunting. Obscured by the hulking mass of a Silvy was a brand-spanking new, moderately-redesigned-for-2013, black Toyota Avalon — in XLE spec, no less! I damn near RAN over to it, opened the door, and jumped inside before Mr. Complainer knew what hit him.

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By on July 31, 2013

capsalt (Custom)

“Sir, I apologize for your wait,” said the wrinkled, harried, middle-aged man at the rental counter. His face showed the wear of having spent every bit of fifty hours a week inside a 10′ x 10′ box at the airport garage for years. “As you can see, we’re extremely busy this morning. The moment we have a car available for you, we will get you one.”

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By on July 22, 2013

swisspeeps

Please welcome the return of former guest columnist and industry insider Bark M. His piece on buying his Boss 302 turned out to be awfully popular, so I’ve asked him to return with a regular column. His first “Bark’s Bites” is a tale of a fairly bizarre trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats in which your humble Editor-In-Chief pro-tem makes an appearance or two — JB.

Salt Lake City is the most unique major metropolis in America. As somebody who travels for a living, who has visited nearly every state in the union, and who has just spent 72 hours in the capital of Utah this week, I feel qualified to make this statement.

It’s home to the spectacular Miller Motorsports Park, which is easily the most versatile motorsports facility in America. Every single person in the city is friendly-even the homeless man who helped me parallel park my 15-mile-on-the-odometer rental Chevy Captiva downtown. It’s virtually impossible to get drunk here-due to the seemingly 100% Mormon population, it’s illegal to sell a double, and the beer can’t be any more than 4% alcohol by volume. Upon my ascent to the highest lookout in the city, Ensign Trail, I was greeted by dozens of happy young college students who were debating the specific intent of biblical passages.

Clearly, I needed to get the f*** out of there.

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