Yesterday’s piece on Mazda’s “upmarket” move (really, a pledge to improve the quality of their cars) dredged up the name “Amati”, as these discussions are wont to do. The legend of Amati has persisted for years, partly due to the fact that so little is known about the project.
TTAC Reader Richard responds to Derek’s Scion Metalhead Marketing piece from the perspective of a car lover and metal fan
” ‘Entrails ripped from a virgin’s c**t,’ ” I thought to myself. Toyota wants to play patron to a musical genre that has spawned songs like ‘Entrails Ripped from a Virgin’s C**t’ and ‘Christraping Black Metal.’ What are they thinking?”
My disbelief at Scion AV’s announcement echoed across heavy metal fandom. If there’s such a thing as collective cognitive dissonance, Scion AV caused it. Nobody could believe that Toyota was going to do this. What did heavy metal have to do with selling cars? And why would Toyota risk its stodgy and safe image on promoting itself via heavy metal, even if done through the ‘edgy’ and ‘youth-oriented’ Scion brand?
This time on Ur-turn, reader Erikstrawn weighs in on an issue that kept TTAC busy for years: Will GM go bankrupt? After all those years, Forbes woke up to the issue and wrote a long article on same.
While we are at it: Parts of the Forbes article was written with generous help from TTAC. What bedeviled the magazine to quote an article on Volkswagen’s Winterkorn checking a Hyundai at a motor show is anybody’s guess. While Forbes acknowledged TTAC as a source, the magazine did so without adding a link, which is considered both common and professional courtesy in the business. Also, the rather generous “quote” from a TTAC article was more generous than the formatting at Forbes made believe. Letters to Forbes were not returned. Both common and professional courtesy must run short at the magazine.
With that said, now it’s Ur-turn:
There’s a big argument online this last week over whether or not GM is really going bankrupt again, and it seems to have been started by a politically motivated piece on Forbes.com. I’ve been keeping an eye on GM’s situation, and I don’t think GM’s going bankrupt any time soon, but I think they eventually will if they don’t change what they’re doing. Read More >
(This fictional contribution comes to us from a TTAC reader. We’d like to see your contributions too: send them using the E-mail addresses on the right side of the page — JB)
“Do you know what I hate about you?”
It was an odd question, considering the circumstances.
This is a guest article by our reader levaris. We wanted to see what the Best & Brightest think.
According to an Associated Press article today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending that States “should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies”. How using a phone during an emergency is safer for the driver than when they aren’t calling about an emergency isn’t made clear, but that is not the biggest problem with this latest public safety cry.
The article mentions that this recommendation is made because of a crash in Missouri involving a semi cab (no trailer), a pickup truck, and two school buses. The driver of the pickup was killed, as was a student on one of the buses; a further thirty-eight people were injured. Read More >
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every weekend (well, almost) we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution, from Mark Whinton of carquestions.ca, casts a winking eye at Chrysler’s interior improvements to a vehicle that seemed to escape much of the media’s attention at the North American International Auto Show.
Well it looks like Chrysler has finally listened to the chorus of criticism from its customers and industry pundits and the results are better than anyone expected. Bucking the industry norm Chrysler has a number of trend setting “firsts”. Starting with seating Chrysler has ditched the standard bucket seat arrangement and developed a new “wide body” style that fits any size width and meets the goal of fewer parts since the seat needs two less tracks, one less motor and entirely eliminates the center console, a reported savings of $350 per vehicle. The biggest change has been a switch from mostly plastic to a definite functional metal theme. Gone are the plastic shifters and door handles replaced by solid metal. The feeling is incredible and reminds me of the mid 60’s when you knew you had your hand on something, not like the 90’s that feel like a pool noodle.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Weekend we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution, from Jag Singh, reveals that, for an Indian immigrant in post-9/11 America, love of the Panther chassis could hold hidden dangers.
Coming out of India two decades ago, I had a broad experience with 2 wheelers of various types. But, my experience with 4 wheels was limited to micro Suzukis that still rule the road over there. When I bought an old Integra it was everything I could ask for, and provided more hoonage possibilities than I could muster courage for. I used to travel every week, and Taurus was my default weekday rental car. Soon I had a gold plated card from Hertz, and could walk into the rental car lot to pick up any car available there. There were always some Town Cars or Grand Marquis’ in the lot, most people seemed to ignore them. And so did I, initially. Jaguars were rare, but Maximas quickly became my favorite. I tried Mustangs but did not like the rattling noises or the cheap plastics used. Also, they felt way underpowered compared to a Maxima.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Weekend we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution comes from Nick Naylor, who explores the street-level reality of American cars in Asia, and the prospects of American exports to Asia.
As a frequent TTAC poster and lifelong enthusiast, some of my favorite topics and articles are the ones in which vehicles are found outside their cultural context. Paul’s classic Mustang on the streets of Paris, for example, struck me as a particularly beautiful image. “Real” American cars are of special interest to me—cars designed predominately for the North American market, built there, and exported. You don’t see too many of these outside of North America–for a myriad of reasons I need not get into here. That said, when I see a Cadillac, or an American Ford product in an Asian or European city—it invokes a similar feeling to what Paul experienced seeing the Ford and the Hummer in Paris. In this time of Obama’s pledge to double exports in 5 years, with cars being a particular sticking point with Korea, it is American made vehicles that he must be most interested in selling, not Chinese-made Chevy Sails. Is it possible?
With this on my mind, and camera in hand; I recently spent three weeks between China (Hong Kong and Guangdong province), Korea (Seoul) and Japan (Tokyo). What I observed follows below. There’s no reports, sales numbers, or data here…just observations and supporting photos.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Saturday we select a different piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. In the spirit of Halloween, today’s contribution from Bobby Wayland takes on the scariest scenario a driver can face: motoring in Italy.
I recently arrived in Italy, stationed in Naples for a two year tour. When the topic of driving in Italy arose, most passed on stock advice they’d heard third hand from those who’d actually done it: the Italians are crazy drivers; get a beater and forget about exploring Europe in anything zippier or more comfortable than a Fiat Punto. Possibly good advice, and buttressed by simple observation of many Italian (especially Neapolitan) cars – they’re nearly all dinged, dented, scraped or deformed in some fashion. There’s even a term for it employed in used car advertisements; “just a few Naples kisses,” they read, to describe a bruised VW Polo as if the fist-clenching scrape of another car against your own is somehow comparable to pleasant lip to lip contact. The phrase is actually a reference to the palms-turned-upward, eyes aloft, “who, me?” gesture that accompanies most Neapolitan smooches, a cheerful way of dismissing the frustration and inconvenience of 430€ of body work by swaddling it in “isn’t that adorable?” Since lots of Neapolitan cars would only be worth 430€ if they were transporting 615€ of socially inadvisable narcotics, they go unrepaired and their owners grow further unconcerned about a little bit of contact driving.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Saturday we select a different piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution comes from TTAC commenter Rob Finfrock, and it tells the story of how one car-buying decision might have made the difference in his battle with cancer.
I’d planned to buy a new car on August 26, 2006. A loaded Mazda6S Grand Touring with the 6-speed manual, Dark Cherry Red over beige leather, with in-dash CD changer and moonroof. I justified the extravagance as a reward to myself for getting through the last seven months following a health scare. Diagnosed with testicular cancer that January, I had been extremely fortunate in the time since the initial surgery. Monthly observation scans had shown no additional tumors, which meant no radiation or chemo.
The deal wasn’t done that Saturday, though. The dealer’s numbers were still a bit too high for my tastes, so I left that day in my Grand Am. I wasn’t too worried, as I expected the dealer to come around in a day or two. The plan changed two days later, during the monthly consult with my oncologist.
I was still a nervous patient, and sweated each CT, X-ray, blood test, and follow-up. Dr. Bhogaraju was extremely understanding of that fear, and it was his custom to greet me with the statement ”you’re OK.” He didn’t say it that day.
If you think Baruth’s series on speeding demonstrated both a lack of adult responsibility and abundant sociopathology, you’re going to love this.
[Ed has flown the coop for a week of R&R, and I know he has a number of Ur-Turn submissions in his inbox. Normally, we wouldn't be running a piece from a prior Ur-Turn contributor, but these are not normal times. Mike George sent me this, and its a fitting finale to Panther Week. PN]
My auto insurance bills remind me of two things: how old I was when I got my drivers license, and how much older I have become since . You see, I got my license on my eighteenth and a half “birthday”, so the first due date of the year reminds me of the license, the second of my graying hair. Oftentimes on paying the first bill I think back of my first Road Trip, which took place no more than three months after Oregon gave me the go-ahead. My best friend Matt had moved to Culpeper, Virginia to drive a snowplow for his uncle. I wanted in on the action. Read More >
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Saturday we select a different piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution is a a meditation on the coming classic car crisis, from reader Matthew Betts.
Classic cars have been part of American car culture since the 1950s, when rat rods roamed the evening streets and gas contained heavy metal. As years have passed, those classics have given way to the over-restored muscle car and the garage queen time capsule. Those cars have held the spotlight for quite some time, probably because the kids of the 80s lusted after the cars of the 60s, much like their parents. The next step in the progression of the classic car will be Japanese and turbocharged group from the early 90s. This new wave can already be found creeping into auctions with prices on the rise.
After this wave passes, what will be next, if anything at all? While this may seem like a crazy question at first glance, there are several drastic differences between the cars of the last 10 years and the cars of yore that will make long-term car of them a nearly impossible goal. Some of these differences strike at the very core of classic car culture.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Saturday we select a different piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution is a cautionary tale about knowing your (mechanical) limits, from reader Ross Schold.
I saw an interesting thing recently. While in a parking lot I noticed a couple clearly having mechanical trouble with their van. Being only two spots away I was able to determine in just a few seconds that they were not stranded, but working through the process logically. I gathered that even with the turn of the key their vehicle showed no signs of life. The hood was up, Mr. Van was peering into the engine compartment with a look that bordered on wonder and complete confusion. Mrs. Van, however, was clucking into a cell phone to arrange roadside assistance. They surely seemed to have everything under control.
Read More >
Memory can be a funny thing: an ally or an enemy. Any modern American likely grew up with cars, and can summon countless tales of good and woe. Childhood vacations that required an I-70 burn through Kansas winters, causing the POS ‘83 Vanagon’s fuel lines to freeze. Dad pumping bottle after bottle of Heet into the damned thing to no avail. Making our way to Oregon during the freakish Wyoming blizzard of ’85, seeing countless vehicles of all sizes rolled in the median, while the family cat is sleeping peacefully on Mom’s lap… Read More >