By on June 20, 2013

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Car salesmen call buyers like me, “squirrels.” It seems like whenever I buy a new car, I pull a handbrake 180 turn at the last moment and purchase a completely different vehicle than originally planned. Last week I was so close to buying a new Mustang GT with the Track Package that a friend at Ford was poised to set me up with an insider deal. The only problem was I seemed to have forgotten that this will not be my daily driver so why was I analyzing SYNC Packages, luggage space, resale value and the like?

I regrouped and asked myself two questions: which vehicle will have the soul of the two most fun cars I have ever owned, the 1994 Mazda RX-7 and the 1988 Honda CRX-Si? Why do I live in sunny San Diego and have never owned a convertible? The halogens went off in my head. As fate would have it, a dealer I know had just traded for the exact car I wanted. Say hello to my little yellow friend. Read More >

By on May 28, 2013

Matte BMW Courtesy gumtree.com.au

I do not understand the attraction of matte finishes on new cars. Most luxury automakers offer this ugly flat paint option, charging upwards of $5,000 over a standard finish. It is all the rage here in Southern California but I am here to tell you: matte ain’t phat.    Read More >

By on May 28, 2013

Fisker Karma Courtesy tumblr.com


During all the turmoil facing hybrid automaker Fisker Automotive recently, from closing its doors to a possible resuscitation led by Bob Lutz, one thing has remained constant: the rapidly collapsing values of the Fisker Karma cars themselves. Read More >

By on May 8, 2013

Left Lane Priuses courtesy zazzle.comWe are bombarded with messages about the dangers of drunk driving, of the hazard of talking and texting on cell phones while driving, and the need to give a wide berth to folks driving Zipcars. We think there are many other varieties of unsafe motorists that get no attention from the media. As a public service, let’s take a look five subtle, but equally scary, drivers that make the highways a real challenge. Read More >

By on March 1, 2013

You are looking at the rarest Mercedes-Benz vehicle ever built: a 2011 GLK350 AMG that I spotted last week. How uncommon is this SUV? The exact production number was zero as that model does not exist. It appears the owner of the car added an AMG emblem to its hatch, part of an epidemic of de-badge and re-badge engineering happening here in Southern California.  Read More >

By on January 24, 2013

Our Managing Editor is losing sleep over the imminent collapse of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand images due to their upcoming sub-$30,000 models. When you are finished with your 27th viewing of Benz’s sneak peek at their Super Bowl ad above, let’s discuss.  Read More >

By on January 22, 2013

I will admit that I am a Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction fanboi. I spent last week in Detroit during the NAIAS, and thus had to skip my annual trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for their auction extravaganza, one of the greatest automotive events in this country. However, amidst all the breathless reporting about Barrett-Jackson selling the original Batmobile for $4.6M, you might have missed the story of a rare fail by the auction giant. Read More >

By on January 20, 2013

Fraud Rule Number One: no matter how cute your girlfriend may be, do not include her in the picture on your fake ID.

Welcome to Part Two of our exclusive series on the rollicking world of Los Angeles luxury car buyers defrauding automakers, banks and dealers. In Part One we looked at Lemon Law scofflaws and odometer clockers. Today we will examine the crooked schemes that can be used to obtain the vehicle of your dreams. We will begin with the case of robber Baron Haghighi, who last month tried to con a few cars out of several Southern California high-line dealerships. Read More >

By on December 20, 2012

 

I recently stood on the showroom floor of a Los Angeles-area luxury car dealership as their sales manager pointed out a middle-aged couple browsing the lot. “We will never sell them a car,” he said. “In fact, we are going to politely ask them to leave.” Why? “One of our salespeople recognized them. They are professional Lemon Law scammers. They have hit two other dealers but they are not going to hit us.” Read More >

By on November 11, 2012

The Mitsubishi dealership in Easley, South Carolina is aiming for new business by offering a free gun with the purchase of any new or used vehicle, according to Columbia’s Channel 10. Read More >

By on October 22, 2012

I have not read Automobile magazine regularly since the late David E. Davis, Jr. departed the Ann Arbor rag a few years ago. I did grab a copy of their November issue while stuck in an airport last week and was treated to a pair of puzzling pieces from Contributing Writer Ezra Dyer. Read More >

By on October 2, 2012
 

I don’t think Bertel would have gone for my original headline:

It Seemed Like A Gouda Idea. Colby Was A Dip But Knew He Curd Build The Car. He Was Not A Whey Nacho Man Nor A Whiz At Car Building As His Wife Brie Reminded Him On Those Nights She Got Grilled On Kahula And Cream While Sitting On A Brick In Front Of Their Swiss Cottage In Monterey, Jack Baruth Being Her True Love. Colby Was Becoming A Basket Queso In His Quest To Get His Kraft In Front Of Auto Writer Csaba Cheddar: Utah State Students Build Car Powered By Cheese Waste


Read More >

By on October 1, 2012

There are two cars parked in my garage that are just begging for a comparison test. A new Mercedes-Benz GLK350 has taken up temporary residence here. My wife Sally Jo is the proud owner of a pristine 1968 Mustang 302 Coupe which was purchased new by her grandfather. How could we resist not doing a comparo to find out which of these vehicles offers the better…owner’s manual?

Read More >

By on September 21, 2012

Last month, Bertel reported on a Wall Street Journal story that revealed that BMW USA officials inflated sales figures in their zeal to overtake rival Mercedes-Benz in US sales. The automaker was offering dealers cash to basically sell the cars to themselves, under the guise of the units being used as customer demonstrators. The WSJ piece was met with laughter in the halls of car companies, as the practice is common to most automakers. The hilarity has officially ended: a former American Suzuki sales rep was just indicted for wire fraud for conspiring with a dealer to inflate sales figures. Read More >

By on September 10, 2012

When we last reported on the saga of the 2005 Ford GT that was stolen in June during a home burglary in Rancho Santa Fe, California, all that had been found of the supercar were some chopped up parts, with no chassis or drivetrain in site. That soon changed. Read More >

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