Let’s face it: when it comes to modern cars, no model is as maligned as the diminutive two-seat Smart Fortwo. Well, maybe the Mitsubishi Mirage.
Measuring just 8-feet-10-inches in length, the rear-engined Smart looks less like a car than a rolling phone booth, or perhaps the bubble that would take Patrick McGoohan back to The Village in the TV show “The Prisoner.”
Jokes and instances of car-tipping aside, the Smart harbors a secret ability that sets it apart from its larger peers — and it took an Ontario mechanic to find it.
It’s BMW Group’s centenary — and except for some problematic stuff in the late 1930s and early ’40s, it’s been a great 100 years.
Rather than gaze wistfully at the past, BMW is spending its birthday looking into the future and imagining what marvelous things might lie ahead. Naturally, one of those things will be a BMW, and, lo and behold, here’s a futuristic concept!
The BMW Vision Next 100 concept was unveiled in Munich on March 7 and was designed with an autonomous future in mind, one where individuality remains a selling point with buyers.
Aussies are clearly not in love with the Volkswagen Beetle. The company will scrap sales of the slow-selling vehicle in Mel Gibson’s homeland later this year.
According to Caradvice, Australian sales of the Beetle fell to just 240 units in 2015, a small fraction of what Volkswagen enjoyed when the first-generation New Beetle arrived on its shores in 2000. In contrast, Volkswagen sold 22,667 Beetles in the United States and 2,347 in Canada during 2015, according to GoodCarBadCar.net.
Porsche announced Wednesday that it would change the model names for 2016 of its Boxster and Cayman models to “718 Boxster” and “718 Cayman” because there was once a race car in the 1950s and 1960s that had four cylinders and competed in a bunch of races, I guess. Either that, or Porsche is really into the Queens area code.
The name change seems, well, odd. Despite the loose association with a 60-year-old car, the switch to 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman seems to add a level of unnecessary naming convention for a German company that counts the ounces of its seatbelts for chrissakes.
Porsche announced Friday that it opened its first classic Porsche center in the Netherlands, the first among nearly 100 centers that will sell, service and make money on maintain old sports cars.
The network will eventually include a center (or centers) within North America, according to the automaker.
Porsche says that nearly 70 percent of all the cars that it has made are still on the road, and that its centers would be staffed with specially trained technicians that can identify and work on any problem. (Plus, Singer can’t make all the money on old Porsches.)
Classic cars are the ultimate form of navel-gazing. And a car like the 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is the ultimate nerdgasm.
The 33 Stradale was so limited that when it rolled off the production line, no one knew how to fix it. Its composed of equal parts of unobtainium and eludium. Cars like this are harder to find than unicorns humping a rainbow.
At $10 million it’s hard to think that it’s anything other than comically overpriced. But when it starts up and screams like that, it’s hard to think about anything at all.
Matt Gephardt and KUTV in Salt Lake City have a good story about a Utah man who was hit by a state vehicle and its insurance company — which is the state itself — shortchanged him on his 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible.
The car was totaled, and the state offered to pay $8,000 for the car. Tyler Winger, who said he restored the car with his grandfather, said the car was worth $12,000 to $13,000. (He’s not completely wrong.)
Winger said the state told him that they wouldn’t budge and that he couldn’t complain to the state’s insurance oversight board since that board doesn’t have oversight over the state’s self-insurance company.
Atlas Obscura has a fine, fine retelling of former President Dwight Eisenhower’s treacherous slog across the U.S. in 1919, presumably before Google Maps could tell him where to go.
His 62-day, transcontinental epoch may have served as inspiration for the creation of America’s interstate highway system — not the threat of a nuclear attack and evacuation of America’s major cities, apparently — later on during his presidency.
Among the highlights: 6 mph traveling speed, biblical salts in Utah and misery in Nebraska. Pack a lunch for the long read, because it’s entertaining.
The last car the King of Cool custom-ordered will be up for sale next month in Monterey, California.
Mecum Auctions (via Autoblog) details the 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera (sold here with the internal type number — 930 — in its name) that McQueen ordered shortly before he died. The 3.0-liter, air-cooled turbo 911 will be sold for charity, with proceeds going to Boys Republic, a nonprofit school for at-risk teenagers in Chino Hills, California.
According to Mecum, the car was fitted with a switch to kill the rear lights if McQueen was being chased down Mulholland. That’s so cool.
Land Rover, just after building its two-millionth Defender (pictured), looks to be extending final production of the go-anywhere utility into January of next year.
According to Automotive News Europe, the manufacturer will extend production of the Defender and increase production before the new best-before date to meet renewed demand, the company said a statement.