By on December 9, 2015

Photo credit: Factory Five Racing/Facebook

For decades, enthusiasts came to dread new motor vehicle laws, as they typically conspire against the use of motor vehicles for fun. Post-Nader safety regulations that made cars heavier and less nimble came first. Emissions laws came a few years later, which strangled the previously-unrestricted engines into submission. The death of leaded fuel helped many of those old dinosaurs meet their untimely end.

For once, however, a massive new bill has actually lifted some restrictions. The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 (as we covered in June) was passed last week as part of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015.

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By on August 18, 2015

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Toyota’s facelifted Land Cruiser will reach American shores, the automaker confirmed Tuesday. Toyota lifted the cover off the SUV yesterday in Japan and we reported that Toyota would tell us the same today.

(Oi. We should have stretched before patting ourselves on the back like that.)

The updated Land Cruiser will still sport a 5.7-liter V-8 that produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The engine will now be married to Toyota’s eight-speed automatic (the first Toyota-branded vehicle on our shores to use the gearbox) but oddly, mileage doesn’t improve beyond 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway/15 mpg combined, which were the numbers for this year’s six-speed box.

Toyota’s announcement also includes one of the best lines in press release history: Read More >

By on November 2, 2014

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Just about all of my daily drivers have been stock, more or less. I did some engine, transmission and overdrive swaps on Volvos back in the 1980s, but everything was factory, if not on that particular vehicle when it left Goteborg. Also, there was a 1972 VW bus for which I built a high-performance Beetle *engine so it could cruise at fast enough speeds to be safe on the interstates. Other than those, I haven’t done any mechanical modifications to cars that I’ve driven regularly, at least not to the chassis, but now I’m taking the plunge. Read More >

By on April 21, 2014

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Since arriving at TTAC, I have been continually challenged and impressed by the B&B. The knowledge, wisdom, and rather civil discourse that arrives in response to the so-called journalism I produce is awe inspiring, often. Thank you, B&B. I’ve also been tasked with handling the GM recall story, given my technical background and my familiarity with GM’s processes at the dealer level – but today, I want to turn the floor over to you.

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By on October 11, 2012

 

Chevrolet is betting that the number 13 will be lucky one. The GM brand announced on Wednesday that they will be introducing 13 redesigned or completely new vehicles for the North American market in 2013. While a number of those are expected, like the new Impala and the latest iteration of the Silverado fullsize body-on-frame pickup, according to GM spokesman Michael Albano the automaker is “thrilled” that two of the thirteen cars and trucks will be “complete surprises”. Joining the Impala and Silverado, among the non-surprises there’s going be a new Traverse CUV, a diesel Cruze and an electric Spark (sorry, I didn’t name the car).

“13 is a big year for Chevrolet. You know some of them. There’s a lot of chatter about others and a couple will be complete surprises, which we’re thrilled about.”

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By on April 6, 2012

A scheduling conflict led me to be booked into a 2013 Mazda CX-5 SkyACTIV. With Jack and Brendan having already driven the car, I’ll spare you all yet another review discussing Mazda’s latest crossover. But a week in the CX-5 raised an interesting question; when are automatics better than a stick shift, even if it’s a vehicle that (arguably) has some appeal as a driver’s car?

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By on March 27, 2012

I’m pretty good at taking tests. The problem is, with some tests that you take, success is not attained by giving the logically correct answer but rather by regurgitating the answer the test giver wants. I forget that sometimes. When the Michigan Secretary of State’s office told me that I needed to take a written test to continue to have the privilege of driving, on one question I forgot the proper test taking strategy was to determine what some bureaucrat in Lansing wanted me to think. Instead I just read the question, parsed its logic, and gave the same answer that I’ve given my now-adult children concerning the same driving situation. Wait. That’s a fib. I didn’t just read the question, parse etc. The question and possible answers intrigued me enough that I jotted them down on an envelope I had with me. They were unclear enough that I wanted to run them by the other TTAC writers and the Best and Brightest to get your opinions. Here’s the question:

Q. If you cannot stop before hitting another vehicle it’s usually best to:

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By on March 21, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen… As Katt Williams once said, “this country is in turmoil.”

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By on March 20, 2012

An impromptu dinner meeting with a friend last night led talk of a possible G-Body project car (and two very bored girlfriends). Joey, who has long wanted a G-Body Monte Carlo, asked what it would take to make a cool street car out of an old G-Body car, like a late 1980’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS.” It can’t be that hard,” I said. “Can’t you just drop in a crate motor from GM Performance Parts?”

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By on March 12, 2012

A report from Britain’s “WHATCAR?” magazine suggests Bentley will go back to the drawing board before their EXP 9 F SUV hits the market in 2015. I, for one, am not so sure this is a good idea.

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By on January 23, 2012

I was thumbing through the latest issue of Living Blues magazine, looking for authentically bluesy phrases, both musical and lyrical, to repeat as if they were my own invention, when I saw this cover.

Putting crapwagons on the cover is a bit of a hipster-esque affectation nowadays, but I get the sense that Mr. Bailey has that ’93-96 Regal on the cover just because, you know, that’s his car. It’s always been hard to make a living playing music and nowadays it’s tougher than ever. Nor is the blues customer particularly interested in seeing some sort of Scott-Storch-esque lineup of recently-purchased, already-in-stock “exotic” cars.

I’ve been working on cover ideas for my personal blues/rock album, to be released when I get around to it. My best idea so far has been unfairly criticized as derivative (warning: image contains explicit language and Jeff Beck-related sarcasm). Perhaps I need to find a Regal and stand in front of the thing. What about you? What car would be on the front cover of your album?

By on January 22, 2012

If there’s one thing that enthusiasts and the general public can agree on, it’s that minivans are deeply uncool. The terms “swagger wagon” or “man van” may seem like oxymorons, but the minivan marking has seen slow growth this past year. Read More >

By on January 13, 2012

 

I remember looking at the then brand new Ford Five Hundred and thinking to myself, “This would make one heck of a Volvo.”

Like the Volvos of yore this Ford offered a squarish conservative appearance. A high seating position which Volvo’s ‘safety oriented’ customers would have appreciated. Toss in a cavernous interior that had all the potential for a near-luxury family car, or even a wagon, and this car looked more ‘Volvo’ than ‘Ford’ to me with each passing day.

Something had to be done…

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By on December 20, 2011

To be clear, we aren’t talking about the next brand to linger on long past its kill-by date, pitting the brand loyalty of its fans against common sense for an agonizing eternity. No, now that Saab is dead and its warranty coverage has been suspended [per Automotive News [sub]], Saabophiles need an alternative. TTAC commenter Pig_Iron writes:

Now that SAAB is gone, who is the new SAAB? By that I mean, who makes the best winter handling front driver in coupe, sedan and wagon avail with man trans?

Your pal,

Pig_Iron

My answer: Buick’s Regal. It’s a rebadged Opel, available in several states of turbo tune, it’s got a distinctively European feel inside (firm seats, dark cockpit), and a fine-handling front-drive chassis. What more could you want from a Saab? On the other hand, what Saabista is going to buy from GM now that The General has cruelly slain mercifully euthanized their beloved brand [PDF on the definitive causes of death here]? So, if GM is out… possibly some kind of Volvo? An Audi? What say you, Best And Brightest?

By on November 27, 2011

With the 2011 model-year ending, it’s time to eulogize the cars that have reached the end of the road and are being discontinued with the 2012 model-year. Some of them are well past their sell-by date (Hello, Lucerne, DTS!) whereas some are being euthanized in their prime due to regulatory issues (Goodbye, Elise and RX-8!). Some are slow-selling luxo-confections with nowhere to go (X6 ActiveHybrid), some are long-running workhorses which have simply run out of time (Ranger, Crown Vic),  whereas others are simply mediocrities that the market has run out of patience with (Eclipse, Tribute). The New York Times‘ Sam Smith provides our list of expiring models, so hit the jump and tell us who you’ll miss and who you won’t. After all, unlike a real funeral, we don’t mind if you speak ill of the recently deceased…

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