Category: Editorials

By on January 5, 2017

candytangerineptcruiser

Longtime TTAC Commentator Nate writes:

Hello Sajeev,

An acquaintance bought a PT Cruiser new in 2002 and did some minor customizing, drove the crap out of it for a few years, then the transmission failed. Apparently, they “all do that.” So here’s the deal: I was out scavenging vintage (’77~’85) Mercedes parts and ran across a rolled and totaled 2008 PT Cruiser: can its transmission be used in his 2002 model ?

He seems to think that 2002 is a one-year-only deal. He’s disabled and on a tight budget, says the car is worthless even though it’s pristine, but he’d like to fix it if possible. Unfortunately. rebuilding the current transmission is not in his budget.

Any thoughts or comments would be helpful, but no, I won’t be doing a tranny swap on this cute little car. Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

1998 Subaru Impreza WRC; Image: Prodrive

The name Prodrive isn’t one you’ll stumble across every day, and sounds a bit like a company that might offer teen driving courses. However, it’s one of the world’s most successful race car shops, and bests many individual manufacturer efforts.

How successful?

How does six World Rally Championships, four Le Mans wins, five World Endurance Championships, and four British Touring Car Championships victories sound for a start?

But while “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” is the parable that motivates many marques in motorsport, Prodrive sells no road cars.

How does a small, generally unheard of firm compete against the likes of Porsche, Honda, and Ford? Simple — those companies hire Prodrive to run their race programs. Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

citroen-numero-9

Pininfarina SpA will be see Carlo Bonzanigo succeeding Fabio Filippini as the Italian styling firm’s reigning design director on January 9th.

Filippini’s decision to leave Pininfarina for “personal reasons” comes during a difficult time for the shop. While his responsibility for heading new projects is essentially over, he has promised to remain on board as a personal advisor to company CEO Silvio Angori, and will continue to provide oversight for old projects leading up to a concept car unveiling at March’s Geneva Auto Show. Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee OverlandGeneral Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles all ended 2016 selling fewer new vehicles in the United States than the traditional Detroit Three managed one year earlier.

Yet for a second consecutive year, U.S. auto sales improved to record levels, shooting past 17.5 million units thanks to an end-of-year push that propelled December to a 3-percent increase, not the 2-percent decline forecasted. Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet 2012

Convertible sales have slid steadily for a while now and “everyday” droptops like the difficult to praise Chrysler Sebring have vanished from the automotive market. With the exception of a few premium options from Germany, fun in the sun doesn’t seem to coincide with daily driving anymore.

With their sales volume now trumped even by impractical, short-ranged electric vehicles, lidless cars are less popular than ever. In fact, America’s most popular convertible isn’t even a car (Jeep Wangler), and today’s remaining open-air options are either performance focused, comically small, or extremely expensive European luxury items. That’s likely to remain the case for some time, considering it took us over a decade to get here.  Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

2016 Lexus IS 300 AWD F SPORT, Image: Lexus

Dave writes:

Should we get a better deal on a special order car vs taking one off the lot? The dealer wants MSRP and won’t budge giving us some story about special orders affecting his allocation. We can’t go to another dealer because the other Lexus dealer in town has the same owner.

We’re looking at an IS 300. The reason for special order is my wife wants an exterior/interior color combo (from the standard colors) that the dealer can’t find in any U.S. or inbound inventory searches.

She’s flexible on other options, just has to have her color combo and is willing to wait for approx 90 days to get it.

Thanks,

Dave

Dave, you seem like a sensible guy, and not a dope fiend at all. So let me drop some knowledge on you about how dealer allocation and special ordering works.

Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

Ohio State Highway Patrol Charger, Image: OSHP

I remember the day I committed the minor misdemeanor offense of reckless operation as if it was yesterday, although it was actually one day longer ago than the statute of limitations regarding minor misdemeanors in Ohio. I was surrounded by my accomplices — my “gang” if you will — and we were hell-bent on committing some serious traffic offenses.

The situation was this: We were all driving through Cincinnati, Ohio, at approximately 65 miles per hour. This is the speed limit for Route 71 on the north side of Cincinnati. Approximately five miles south of I-275, the speed limit on 71 drops from 65 to 45. There’s no visible logic or reasoning behind this; I-71 is still a five-or-six-lane road at this point. There are certainly times when the road is brought to a standstill by traffic, but the same is true of I-71 between Columbus and Delaware, Ohio, which has a marked limit of 70 mph.

As I passed the speed limit sign together with my gang of approximately 20 visible vehicles — most of which were doing about 70-75 mph but a few of which were going slower or faster than that — not a single driver touched his or her brakes. In the space of a few moments, we had gone from being legal or semi-legal road users to serious violators of the Ohio Revised Code. Had there been a sufficient police presence in the area, every one of us could have been sentenced to 60 days in jail and been subject to impounding of our vehicles.

This is clearly ridiculous, so it’s time to ask the question that is always relevant in situations like this: Cui bono?

Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

2017 Ford Expedition XLT EL

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that is — all things considered — the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.

While I may have dipped into the good cheer while penning last week’s Ace of Base, the B&B can rest easy knowing I have been off the sauce for at least the last couple of hours. Hey, where I’m from, the Christmas season extends to January 6th.

Ford made a lot of noise yesterday, broadcasting announcements ranging from a sudden aversion to the label “Hecho en Mexico” to the imminent construction of hybrid Mustangs and F-150s. Now, I get the appeal of hybridization — especially when it results in MOAR POWERRR for fun stuff like burnouts or towing a four-ton trailer. Taking technology that was originally developed to save fuel and subverting it to produce shocking 0-60 times or stump-pulling torque is akin to weaponizing a wind farm.

Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

2017 Ford Mustang - Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company announced today that it is committing itself fully to the development of electric vehicles, including a hybridized Mustang and F-150 pickup, a small electric crossover, and a fully-autonomous hybrid unit. Company CEO Mark Fields expressed his faith in the future of electric cars and Ford’s intention of bringing 13 new electrified models to the global market within the next five years.

“The era of the electric vehicle is dawning and we at Ford plan to be a leader in this exciting future,” Fields said. “Leading in electrification, in autonomy, and also connectivity are critical as we expand to be both an auto and a mobility company.”  Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen front quarter, Image: © 2016 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars

I’ve no idea how, as I’ve lived in the same Ohio county for all of my 30-plus years (sounds better than nearly 40) on this earth, but I stumbled upon an unfamiliar rural road not far from home last week while testing the new 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. New roads are naturally meant to be explored, so I flicked the signal lever and looked for adventure.

The weather was typical for late December: brisk, with frost in spots making the fallen leaves a bit slick. My first instinct was to drive cautiously, but I realized that I never get opportunities like this. A few hours alone behind the wheel, in daylight, with nowhere to be. The 4Motion all-wheel drive should save me if things get hairy, right?

Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Updated with statement from General Motors.

It’s not just Ford’s Mexican assembly plants that has President-elect steaming on Twitter.

Donald Trump’s latest online automotive salvo wasn’t directed at the Blue Oval, which was a favorite corporate punching bag during the election campaign. Rather, it was General Motors’ turn to be blasted. Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

1981 Ford Granada in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The first-generation Ford Granada was based on the aging platform that debuted with the 1960 Falcon, and we have seen this ’77, this ’79, and this ’79 so far in the Junkyard Find series. For the 1981 model year, the Granada moved to the Fox Platform, and very few were sold for the two short years of the Fox Granada.

Here’s a rare ’81 sedan that I found recently in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard. Read More >

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