Category: Enthusiasm

By on March 2, 2016

Thomas' Honda Mobilio sits beside his Chrysler Town & Country in Japan, Image: © 2016 Thomas Kreutzer/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

The Town & Country I worked so hard to import into Japan was supposed to be my wife’s. I had planned to buy whatever I wanted and, although I hadn’t quite decided on what that was going to be, classic Japanese iron was on my mind. The second-generation Toyota Soarer and the ’90s-era Toyota Celica GT-Four were leading candidates. I was having fun considering other options, too.

A second minivan, however, was not among them.

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By on February 19, 2016

Toyota Soarer Celica

I had another opportunity to visit United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka last week and, naturally, I brought along my camera for another visit to the “Lemon Lot.”

While my last visit noted the many people haulers for sale and focused on a pair of cheerful Toyota Fun Cargoes, this time, my attention was drawn to sportier fare. Read More >

By on January 27, 2016

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Guess what, enthusiasts? The automakers are lying to you. See that red tire? It may as well be a giant red X written across your hopes and dreams of a small, nimble, rear-wheel drive coupe.

The Opel GT Concept is just that — a concept. And it isn’t the first time GM has pulled this trick this year. Actually, if you look back over the past few years of General Motors rear-wheel drive, two-door concepts, only the Camaro and Cadillacs have come to fruition.

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By on January 26, 2016

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Before U.S. importer Max Hoffman convinced Mercedes-Benz there was a market for the now famous gull-winged grand tourer, the 300SL badge was earlier applied to the company’s first postwar factory racecar, the W194 that was victorious at LeMans in 1952.

Sixty years later, at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mercedes-Benz introduced their latest iteration of the SL concept: the SL 550. To commemorate the occasion, and the original SL’s 60th birthday, Daimler restored the oldest existing 1952 300SL — chassis #002 — and brought it to Detroit with its newest descendant. Unfortunately for the hundreds of photographers who tried to seize what was likely their only opportunity to capture such a rare and historic car, stagehands quickly surrounded the car with stanchions and rope almost as soon as the 300SL #002 came to a halt on the stage. Read More >

By on January 18, 2016

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The small crew of folks who make up Elio Motors brought the latest, fifth generation, developmental prototype of their reverse trike to the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Paul Elio gave a press conference going over what progress the company has made moving towards actual production, including some details about their recent stock offerings that will fund the building of 25 pre-production prototypes.

I’ll get to the press release stuff in a bit. First I want to talk about the car, errr, autocycle, and the third-class of motor vehicles for which the company is lobbying regulatory acceptance. Read More >

By on December 30, 2015

Classic Bronco Year Unknown Two

Ford is bringing back the Bronco. This is not a fantasy. It is not a request. And although our friends in Dearborn are not ready to talk about it, we do not need their official confirmation to see why a genuine Bronco will be back in showrooms in as few as 24 months.

The return of the Bronco starts with the incredible emphasis Ford places on its leadership in trucks, which secured the company’s survival through the great recessions and have enabled Ford’s return to profitability. The Bronco may not be a truck, but its return is inextricably linked with the parallel stories of the returning Ranger and the evolution in SUV buying patterns.

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By on November 26, 2015

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Editor’s note: Some of you loved it. Some of you loved to hate it. Yoav’s story about his brief affair with a Porsche 996 was read far and wide by our own B&B and many in the Porsche community. It originally ran July 30th, 2015. I really should get Yoav back on TTAC.

About two months ago, I purchased my fourth new-to-me car in as many years — and I still had two of the previous three. Of those three, one was purchased for adventure (a 1977 Porsche 911S that I drove cross-country and back nine days after purchasing it), one because of nostalgia (a Honda S2000, I bought one new and missed it), and the third due to reputation (an Acura NSX, I had never even driven one before buying this one online). Those reasons must be the foundation for some sort of automotive cardinal sins list.

However, I bought the fourth one because it represented such a good value. It was a 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera with about 146,000 miles. It hadn’t had the IMS bearing replaced, but I figured that with such high mileage it probably wouldn’t have an issue. Is this foreshadowing? The seller was a friend who had owned it for about two years but had purchased a mid-eighties 911 Targa recently and didn’t want the ’99 as a daily driver any longer.

Painted a pretty medium blue, the 996 was equipped with a beige interior and GT3 wheels. It drove well and — except for mediocre clearcoat and worn leather, a ‘check engine’ light that appeared intermittently, and a blown speaker — it was a solid performer. I certainly didn’t need the Porsche (nor did I have the space), but at $8,500, how could I go wrong?

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By on November 20, 2015


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Adios Amigo…

Farewell to our Ford Sierra’s reasonably adequate, high compression and emissions free 2-liter Pinto motor because it’s time to visit Lima, Ohio — not Peru — with a bonus question for the truly tech-savvy among the B&B.

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By on November 13, 2015

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It’s been another exhausting day and, after wasting precious time trying to write some sort of clever introduction, I’ve realized that there just isn’t any point in beating around the bush.

The windmill I set out to topple is thoroughly defeated and the Town and Country looks smart sitting in front of the house tonight wearing its new set of permanent Japanese plates.

I wish I could say it was a cake walk, that the Town and Country sailed through its Shaken without any difficulty, but, as usual, there were last minute problems.

Want to know more? Hit the jump for another episode of your favorite reality program: “Man Meets Bureaucracy.” Read More >

By on November 6, 2015

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Note: Yesterday, Mark Stevenson, using “news” about the revised Mercedes-Benz GLS as an object lesson, points out how wasteful car manufacturers’ and suppliers’ press releases can be. They waste pixels, paper, our time and ultimately get in the way of providing worthwhile content for you, our readers.

Not all press releases are a waste of time, though. I coincidentally happened to be buttoning up this post when Mark’s editorial went live and realized that my particular piece was 100 percent the result of getting a much shorter press release, albeit from a much smaller car maker (in both senses of the word) than Daimler. 

It’s always nice to get paid, but one of the better parts about this gig can be the interaction we have with readers. We’ve written about TTAC reader John Kit and the enthusiasm John and his teenaged daughter Emma have for making realistic slot cars based on historic sporting automobiles. I was particularly touched by the custom Jim Clark Lotus Cortina they made that was inspired by a post of mine. They don’t just make one-off slot cars; John set up Studio 65 to market 1:32 Jaguar X120s that Emma makes, scratch building the chassis and casting the resin bodies herself. The Jaguar was followed by a Ferrari 340 America. Recently, Emma wanted to build something “fun and cute”, so now they’ve introduced their latest slot car: the Austin Healey “Frogeye” Sprite. Read More >

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