The Truth About Cars » Put Up Or Shut Up Challenge The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Put Up Or Shut Up Challenge Behind the Garages At Sears Point: Treasure Trove of Hell Projects! Thu, 28 Mar 2013 13:00:25 +0000 I visit Sears Point aka Sonoma Raceway a couple times a year as part of my gig as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court. That means I do a lot of roaming around the facility, in search of vantage points to shoot photos of the action. Last weekend, while covering the fourth annual Sears Pointless race, I stumbled on a parking area outside a line of race shops just on the other side of the wall near Turn 10. Inside these shops were all manner of high-buck machines, but the get-to-it-someday stuff sitting outside was pretty interesting.
A well-weathered Lotus Europa with tags expired only six years— how hard could this project be?
Or a BMW 850 with peeling clear-coat and some body damage. Depreciation hasn’t been kind to these cars.
As a matter of fact, there was a LeMons 850 racing at Sears Point at the very moment I was admiring the potential project 850. It got stomped by a Buick Skyhawk and an MGB, among other glacially slow “race cars,” but it was still quite luxurious-looking on the track.
Guys that work at race shops cannot resist buying a Yugo when the opportunity presents itself.
This mean-looking Maverick Vega drag car looks like it has run fairly recently.
The kids these days, they like those Nissan Silvias.
This car sure looks familiar! This Plymouth looks like it might even be a runner (in stark contrast to my car, which has been dismantled down to the molecular level).
BMW E9 projects are always so tempting, though I’ve heard the horror stories from those who have attempted to fix up a non-perfect E9. Run away!

01 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 02 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 03 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 04 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 06 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 07 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 08 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 09 - Sears Point Hell Projects - Picture courtesy of Murilee 'Judge Phil' Martin 591-UG-Pointless13 ]]> 30
Future Classic or Crusher Food? Low-Mile Mitsubishi Cordia For $4K Sun, 16 Oct 2011 17:54:34 +0000 Back when I created the Nice Price or Crack Pipe series for Jalopnik, my favorite subjects were super-original cars that most people don’t even remember having existed; the point was to present the readers with a dilemma. Señor Emslie aka Graverobber has done a fine job carrying the NPOCP torch, but I’ve decided to keep this most agonizing of all low-mile dilemmas for my own use: an 18,630-mile Mitsubishi Cordia L.
I’ve lately become fascinated by the Cordia (and its sedan sibling, the Tredia). From the standpoint of the automotive historian, the first generation of non-Chrysler-badged Mitsubishi cars in North America is of some interest, particularly when considering that the only triple-diamond-badged car of the mid-80s that anybody recalls today is the flaky-yet-gorgeous Starion. Very few Cordias were sold in the United States, and those that developed costly problems (i.e., damn near every one) weren’t valuable enough to be worth saving; I haven’t seen one on the street for a decade, and even junked examples are about as commonplace as Aston Martin Lagondas. So here’s this showroom-condition ’85 in Florida for a mere— or is it an exorbitant?— four grand. An ’85 Celica or Maxima with this few miles on the clock and a mid-roller price tag would have dudes cold blasting each other with TEC-9s (remember, are talking about Florida here) to be the first in line to buy the thing, but a Cordia? Bundle it with a low-mile I-Mark for six grand and I’ll be on the next flight to Miami!

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Put Up Or Shut Up Challenge: Fiat 131S Mirafiori Climatizzata Wed, 04 May 2011 20:30:04 +0000
Nobody rescued the low-mile ’66 Coronet from its date with The Crusher (though as far as I know it’s still alive), but now we’ve got a new Put Up Or Shut Up Challenge!

When was the last time you saw a car with “Climatizzata” badges? Not many 131s were sold in North America (the later ones were badged as Bravas), and this is a complete, rust-free example of that rare Italian steed. Its history? Ran when parked.

OK, a semi-orphaned Malaise Era Italian car that’s been sitting for years sounds challenging. But just look at what it could be!
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Mark Malkoff Is Funnier Than Murilee Martin Sun, 10 Apr 2011 10:43:50 +0000

Some nutcase on a big wheel trike beat a bus in a mile-long race in midtown Manhattan—by an absolutely incredible two minutes and 38 seconds.Meshugina Mark Malkoff, the comedian best known for living in the Ikea off the New Jersey Turnpike between exits 13 and 14 for an entire week; for visiting all 171 skcubratS in Manhattan in less than 24 hours, and buying something from each, and eating or drinking it; and for disappointing his mother by refusing even to apply to medical school (I made that last up, but logic dictates that it had to have happened) accomplished this feat on a Razor Rip Rider 360, obeying all traffic signals, and averaging 4.7 mph. The bus averaged 3.8 mph, which, as Mark pointed out in the video, is slower than a brisk walker, a skate boarder, someone on a pogo stick, or a snail riding on the back of a turtle. Not to name-drop, but Malkoff just happens to be my sister-in-law, Alison’s first cousin once removed. Which makes him my first cousin-in-law, once removed.

I’m sure Mark just wanted to bust the laughmeter but the implications are actually profound for us car guys, and for all those micro-managing nanny-staters who would pry us out of our Porsches, or even our Priuses, and shoehorn us into buses (yes, I know there are TTACers who drive Priuses, and love them, and I would never begrudge a car person their favorite wheeled vehicle, even if it were a Yugo, an Edsel, a Chevette, or–heaven help us!–a Trabant). Current settlement patterns in the Western world outside of cities such as Manhattan, Paris, and London doom transit to being a niche—albeit a useful and important one. (For example, traffic would undoubtedly be even worse in major cities without it, so you deficit-cutters who would eviscerate transit would do so at our collective peril.)

But even the subway is wanting if it fails to cover the city like a thick rug. To wit: I lived in the Brookland section of Washington, DC, six blocks from the red line. To get door to door to my HMO in downtown DC took 20 minutes by bicycle, and 20 minutes by car, including parking at a meter, but 40 minutes by subway with just one change (this was the ‘90s). To get to the National Institutes of Health, another frequent destination: 30 minutes by car, about 50 by subway. Heaven help me if I’d had to ride the bus. It’s no wonder that transit is an absurdly expensive way to mitigate carbon emissions.

Anyway, do watch the video. It actually busted the NIST/DARPA* experimental titanium laughmeter (amazing work, Mark!). And Mark: you really should race in the next LeMons. An Edsel would be the perfect car for you. But a Yugo or a Chevette would suit you just fine. Or a Trabant. I’ll be there rooting for you.

*National Institute of Standards and Technology/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

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Put Up Or Shut Up Challenge: Snatch This ’66 Coronet From The Crusher’s Jaws! Mon, 07 Mar 2011 13:00:48 +0000
We had plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the fate of the cool cars I saw being eaten by The Crusher over the weekend. It’s too late for those cars, but here’s one that you can save! If you want the right to curse those who crush classic cars for a few bucks, your enraged thunderations will be more impressive if you rescue one yourself.

A guy I know just bought a bunch of cars that had been stored in a forgotten Denver warehouse since 1982, mostly to obtain a handful of seriously cool/valuable ones (such as a numbers-matching, low-mile, factory 383/4-speed ’69 Satellite coupe). Most of the others aren’t particularly collectible, so their most likely fate will be a trip to The Crusher; at $250/ton, most 1960s sedans are worth more as scrap than as project cars.

This Coronet is a tough call; it appears to have a freshly rebuilt engine and it’s damn near completely rust-free, but it’s a 4-door and the body and trim saw their share of wear and tear during the car’s 16 years of driving (yes, it has nearly twice as many years in storage as it has on the road). Its new owner could keep the engine and crush the rest, pocketing a few hundred bucks for the steel and whatever a Mopar small-block of mysterious provenance goes for these days, but he’d prefer to sell it to someone who could get it back on the street. I’d take it, but I’ve already got one ’66 Dodge project and don’t have room for another.

Since it’s a Chrysler B Body, restoration parts should be easy to obtain and it shares suspension/drivetrain components with vast quantities of Chrysler iron; as project cars go, it’s not particularly difficult. So, if you’re within towing range of Denver and you’d like to rescue a classic example of America’s automotive heritage for an easy three-figure price, shoot me an email and I’ll put you in touch with the seller.
Thanks to Rocket Surgeon Rich for the photos!
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