Category: Editorials

By on October 12, 2014

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“Well, I’m glad we got off-track without anything terrible happening,” I sighed, with no small amount of relief. “You did a good job of controlling the situation. A lot of people really panic when their brakes go away at ninety-five miles per hour or so. If the pedal comes back up you can probably nurse it home, as long as you’re careful. How far do you have to go?”

“Well, I live in New York,” he replied, “but if you’re okay with trying another session, I sure am.”

Oh.

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By on October 10, 2014

15 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI’ve just driven a couple of modern electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, and they’re real cars. Actually, the i-MiEV is a perfectly serviceable short-distance commuter and the Model S is the best street car I’ve ever driven, but I was ready to hate both of them a lot, because all my previous experience with EVs had involved growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and hearing a lot of eat-yer-vegetables talk from earnest green types about how electric cars are good for you, when in fact those cars sucked stringwart-covered pangolin nodules. Then, of course, there are all the flake-O electric conversions from the 1980-2000 era that I’ve seen, a fair number of which appear in self-service wrecking yards as long-abandoned EV conversions are towed out of back yards and driveways. In this series, we’ve seen this EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro and this 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport, and there have been others too stripped to be worth photographing. Today we’re going to look at a California-based Ford Ranger that still has just about all its electric running gear. Read More >

By on October 9, 2014

1. Kia Rio NOLAThe Hero in Town: the Kia Soul

You can follow all US Coast to Coast Reports here

We have arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, also called NOLA or, more affectionately, The Big Easy. A very different experience than all other American cities I crossed so far, especially given the fact I was there on a Friday night… Bourbon Street with all its performers, singers, live music, good vibes, cheap (so cheap!) alcohol and deliciously spicy jambalaya is an experience I had not thought possible in the US and one I don’t think I will see again in this trip. Of course, NOLA has its own very particular vehicle landscape, slightly different from Louisiana – as is often the case for big cities compared to the rest of the State they are located in. The Top 5 ranking and full landscape description/photo report is below.

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By on October 8, 2014

07 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen the Mazda Familia first came to North America, it had rear-wheel-drive, its chassis was very similar to that of an RX-7, and it was called the GLC, for “great little car.” By 1981, the GLC had switched to front-wheel-drive, and later in the decade it became known as the 323. In this series, we’ve seen this ’80 hatch, this ultra-rare ’81 sedan, this ’83 sedan, this ’84 hatchback, and now today’s interestingly decorated ’84. We’ve also seen what’s probably the most original GLC in the country, courtesy of Mazda HQ in California. Read More >

By on October 7, 2014

01 - 1964 Simca 1000 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDuring my recent trip to Sweden, I took in a Folkrace, saw many old American cars on the street, visited a farm full of restored classic Chryslers, and, of course, went to the junkyard. We’ve seen this 1966 Toyota Crown station wagon and this 1963 Ford Taunus 17M at Bloms Bilskrot in Söråker, and now here’s a very rusty example of a car that was popular in Europe but never made much of an impression in North America: the Simca 1000. Read More >

By on October 6, 2014

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None of you could ever accuse me of having a particularly thick skin, but there is one accusation that does get to me. Cries of “clickbait” are often doled out in these pages. They seem to occur when somebody disagrees with the conclusions reached in the article, or when too much negative light is shed on the reader’s pet brand. Cognitive lapses aside, these accusations get under my skin for a couple of reasons

  1. TTAC has never been under a mandate to increase our click count, and as long as I am at the helm, it will not be. Unlike other competitors, who tie everything from their editorial schedule to the compensation of their writers to “clicks”, we are allowed to sacrifice quantity in favor of quality and editorial independence. This means that in exchange for our freedom, we don’t get certain things, like unfettered press car access, or the budget to hire a copy editor. But our owners at VerticalScope have consistently understood and respected our need to liberate this site from the shackles of tyranny: in this case, click-based reporting, compensation structures etc. It comes at a significant cost, in terms of budget and salaries, but the end result is a website that can bring you The Truth About Cars, rather than baseless rumors, photos of celebrity genitalia and other unseemly editorial topics designed to juice our stats.
  2. In terms of ROI, a 1000 word essay on the topic of automobiles is hardly the stuff that clickbait is made of. Slide shows, listicles and the like are far better instruments to cheaply generate clicks, and they’ve never appeared on this site. Not agreeing with a point of view does not equal clickbait.

That’s not to say that all clickbait appears in the form of a Buzzfeed-esque “YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT THESE 25 ADORABLE BABY DIESEL WAGONS DID NEXT” piece of “content”. Sometimes, you get it in the blind repetition of totally baseless rumors that are, at best, wish-fulfillment for poorly trained, poorly paid bloggers and at worst, inaccurate information posted out of a reckless disregard for the realities of what it takes to bring a new vehicle to market.

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By on October 3, 2014

Red_hyundai_hb20

Though Christianity is a huge minority in South Korea, it would seem Hyundai has not learned to heed to that biblical injunction. Its long-time partner in Brazil, the CAOA group, has just been fined to the tune of 1 billion reais for non-payment of taxes and fiscal fraud.

Hyundai’s position in Brazil has always been complicated. Back in the 90s, in a bid to bring car makers into Brazil, the federal government extended tax credits and credit lines rather freely and Asia Motors, a mainly light commercial vehicle maker, was one of those contemplated to build a factory in this country. Asia Motors pocketed all it could.

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By on October 3, 2014

Econolodge

You can check out all the Coast to Coast 2014 updates as they get published here.

We are now leaving Memphis TN to drive South to New Orleans, Louisiana, crossing Mississippi via Jackson. For those of you unfamiliar with this often underrated State, Mississippi is home of the blues and the birthplace of Elvis Presley (check out Elvis’ cars here if you haven’t already). We are now entering the next level of pickup domination, more in line with the national sales charts: based on official FY2013 data supplied by JATO, the Ford F150 is the most popular vehicle in Mississippi followed by the Chevrolet Silverado. Full Mississippi stats and my exclusive review of America’s budget motels below the jump. Make sure you read till the end as it gets more ‘authentic’…

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By on October 3, 2014

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If you want to be recognized for your brilliance, it’s best to do something that is less than completely brilliant. The reason for this is simple: Ideas that are very good but less than truly brilliant are generally well-received by the critics and the public. I can give you a million examples, from the Dyson vacuum to any novel by Maragret Atwood to the album The Lumineers, by The Lumineers. All that is required to be lauded as brilliant is to create or perform something that wouldn’t naturally occur to the dimmest member of your audience, and you are good to go.

Should you be so bold as to do something that is actually brilliant, however, you will only suffer one of two fates. You may be ignored, in the manner of post-1850 Melville or pre-Volkswagen-commercial Nick Drake. Worse yet, you may succeed beyond your wildest imagination, at which point it will be the firm opinion of everyone around you that you had only done the natural, nay, the obvious thing. Your work will be taken from you by the critics and given to your surroundings, or your time, or your generation. Historians will suggest that anyone could have done it, given your circumstances. A simultaneous discoverer will be discovered. Your success will be dismissed as having been certain from the beginning.

It’s a tough gig, doing something brilliant. Look at the people who designed the second-generation Prius. But it’s even tougher when you bet the proverbial farm on the results. As Ford did, eighteen long years ago around this time.

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By on October 1, 2014

Elvis pink CadillacElvis with his legendary pink 1955 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood

You can check out all the Coast to Coast 2014 updates as they get published here.

Today we stay in Memphis as in my opinion the one attraction really worth seeing in town is Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised with the tour’s thoroughness, the extravagant decoration and endless flow of music sales records detailed on the self-guided iPad tour. My never-ending thirst for stats was quenched here, and that says a lot! It was also an opportunity to go beyond the singer’s most commonly played hits and discover gems like ‘She’s not you’, ‘Good luck charm’, ‘The Girl of my best friend‘ or ‘Return to sender‘. Most significantly (and relevantly), there is also a car museum displaying a collection of cars Elvis owned. I have ranked the most stylish Elvis cars here along with detailed background info about each model. Yes this is absolutely and unashamedly subjective. The full ranking is below the jump.

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