Category: Ur-Turn

By on February 17, 2016

2015 Honda CR-V

(Welcome Daniel Ho — a.k.a. “Waftable Torque” — who’s here to school you proles on the true appeal of the crossover/cute-ute/abominable mom-van. — JB)

There has seldom been a topic that riles automotive journalists and commentators up as much as crossovers. They inhabit categories that are successfully profitable and growing. Non-existent 20 years ago, they have become increasingly aspirational to a large segment of today’s drivers. There have been many theories as to why they’re successful. Some blame CAFE, others the baby boomers, and others still blame American exceptionalism. They may all be right.

The Truth About Cars has always pointed out things others don’t see. Sometimes it’s the authors who provide the evidence, but sometimes it’s the commentators who supply the observation. I’d like to show you something that, once you see it, you can never un-see.

The crossover is merely the tip of the iceberg.

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By on February 9, 2016

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(From “HW” comes a tale of a Corvette, a hot-blooded Alfa Veloce, and a young Italian wife with romance on her mind.)

Sam, a good friend of mine, had lusted after a particular 1965 Corvette Stingray, and had somehow finally acquired the object of his desires. However, the cost of putting on 23 coats of a gorgeous, dark, lipstick red paint and clear coat, of making mechanical improvements, and paying for necessary auto insurance (Sam was under 25 and single) kept him totally broke for a period of time.

We had a lot of fun running around Louisiana in the ‘Vette, but his automotive mistress was keeping him in the poorhouse. Sam wasn’t some rich kid, so he reluctantly decided to sell his mistress. But he had a plan. He would get another car before he sold the ‘Vette. That way he could hold out for the best money on his beauty.

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By on September 17, 2015

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Aaron Cole’s articles about the ridiculous incentives available for purchasing a Leaf in Colorado piqued my interest, mostly because: I live in Colorado; and, I like the idea of paying way less than half of MSRP for a new car.

We moved to an inner-ring suburb of Denver about a year ago with a family of six and the requisite three-row crossover: a leased Mazda CX-9. Yet, ever since I bought my Volvo V70R with the way-back seat, we use the Volvo almost exclusively for hauling the family around town. We also bought an RV for long road trips. For the last year or so, the CX-9 has just been a really thirsty, oversized runabout. Read More >

By on July 30, 2015

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In my youth I was a vital, virile, male Manly Man. So manly that when I got a new ’86 GTI as my first “nice” car, I left off not only the automatic transmission but also the power steering. Mind you, it drove great — when it drove at all.

One night my parents tossed me the keys to drive them home from the restaurant. Mom’s whip was a mid-trim, 4-pot ’88 Camry. Yes, its limits were low, it was gutless, and it was tailored to bourgeois tastes with pastel upholstery here and fake stitching there. However, it was up front about its limitations, pridefully built, civilized in all its moves, and driving it was just so…easy. I one-fingered steered all the way home and made an earnest mental note.

Fifty VW defects later, I went Japanese and never looked back.

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By on July 30, 2015

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I bet you didn’t know the longest continually running vintage car race and show in the nation is held in Yinzerville. That’s right. Every summer since 1983, Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park becomes the scene of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The course consists of a 2.33 mile stretch of road inside the park that challenges drivers with its twenty three turns, walls, telephone poles and other common features of an ordinary road.

This event routinely draws drivers, spectators and car buffs from all over North America and Europe, with this year’s attendance being 200,000 over the week of events. The Vintage Grand Prix raises money for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School and, since its inception, has raised $3.9 million dollars for these charities. Your humble correspondent just happened to be in the area a few Sundays ago and made an unplanned stop at the event.

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By on July 21, 2015

Force Dynamics Driving Simulator

My company, Force Dynamics, builds full-motion driving simulators. They work by tilting you as the simulated vehicle corners or accelerates, so your brain is tricked into feeling lateral or longitudinal accelerations.

Sometimes people who watch our machines in action say, “This is moving way too much!” So when we started racing a Mazda Miata in the ChumpCar World Series, I decided to conduct an experiment.
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By on April 18, 2015

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(If you have some time this weekend, this contribution, from our reader Robert, will be worth that time — JB)

“I will NEVER drive a minivan.” Thus ended the first hostile negotiation serious discussion with my wife about our next vehicle purchase.

The story so far: It was the summer of 2005. Our family truckster (a 1995 Toyota 4Runner SR5) was doing a fine job hauling mom and the first born around town during the week, plus me, the dog, and the cubic yard of gear required to travel with a one year old child on our frequent weekend trips to the Texas hill country. Anything I wanted to bring had to survive on the roof.

The 4Runner had been a masterpiece of engineering, form, and function to us. But even with Toyota’s legendary reliability, after 10 years and 135k on the clock, her many trouble-free miles were running out. A starter here, a radiator there, and stranding my wife and infant son on the side of the road with electrical gremlins made its replacement eminent. Contemplating the addition of another child with our already tight space requirements made it a matter of practicality. Her preference for large SUVs and my deep seated frugality made it, um, interesting.

“A Sequoia or Armada will work.”
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By on May 17, 2014

(This week, major management and perhaps ownership changes were announced for Nelson Ledges Road Course. These changes might eventually include the closure and/or sale of the track. We asked noted NLRC racer and LeMons stalwart Daniel Sycks to write a piece in reflection — JB)

Change is never easy. It doesn’t matter if its a relationship, your drive to work, the packaging of your favorite breakfast cereal, we humans are creatures of habit and we like continuity and familiarity. Its part of what keeps our simple little brains happy. Sadly, change is part of life.

Evolution happens and things progress if we like it or not. Changes happened recently at Nelson Ledges Road Course in Garrettsville, Ohio; now I feel like I have lost a dear friend.
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By on May 10, 2014

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(Cory Crelan returns, with more SE-R mayhem — JB)

The plan was a simple one- sell Sentra SE-R #1 and keep the SCC project Sentra SE-R. A bout of bad indigestion was a good comparison to what happened next… just when you thought it was over there was another cramp, pain in the gut, or worse.
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By on May 5, 2014

TTAC commenter Buickman, better known as Jim Dollinger to friends, colleagues and loved ones, was on Autoline Detroit last week to present his plan to save General Motors. Rather than present it in the form of an article, we’re posting Jim’s Autoline segment for your perusal The video should start right at Jim’s segment, but if it doesn’t fast forward to the 42 minute mark. Let us know what you think of the plan.

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