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So when Mazda called me up and asked if I’d like to sample a little of their driving heritage in a blatant PR move, I huffily told them that I could not in good conscience be complicit in helping further burnish their brand image as a manufacturer of sporting products. I reminded them that I thought the Mazda2 too slow, the Mazda3 too ugly, the Mazdaspeed3 possessed of worse torque steer than a one-legged unicyclist, the cabin of the MX-5 designed for people with short legs and prehensile elbows, and that they didn’t even build a rotary engine any more, so what was the point?
Naturally, I said all these things in my internal voice during the 3.7 nanosecond pause before, “OohyespleaseWhencanIpickitupHowaboutnow?”
Who’s ready for some yellow journalism? Read More >
The Japanese car industry found a way to soften the impact of the crushingly high yen on its books. It does what U.S. and European automakers have practiced for a long time: Import low-cost parts from abroad. It is a stop-gap measure while large parts of the Japanese car industry is packing. Read More >
When we awarded the Scion FR-S DFL in our three-way affordable-sportster test, many commenters both on TTAC and elsewhere pointed out that the FR-S supposedly wasn’t meant to be a complete package from the factory. Rather, the new hachi-roku was intended to be a platform for individual development, you see. By judiciously applying the finest in aftermarket upgrades, the FR-S would become a highly personal racetrack scalpel.
Well, to paraphrase Katt Williams, “The Scion do look like an outstanding platform on which to build one’s ideal track car… until a real outstanding platform on which to build one’s ideal track car pull up.” As it turns out, one of our Best&Brightest brought his lightly-modified “New Edge” Mustang GT to our test, and he was gracious enough to let your humble author put twenty or so laps on it.
How’d it do?
Back when I wrote the Automotive Survivors series (Part I and Part II), I specified that I was only considering cars built for 20 or more years, and I included boldface text stating NO TRUCKS! NO TRUCKS! Naturally, I got barraged with weeks of hate mail from the Land Rover Jihad (because Land Rovers were being slapped together out of mud and sticks by Celtic tribesman circa 600 BC and thus my cars-only restriction was fatwa-worthy), but that was nothing next to what I heard from the Wagoneer Jihad. Legendary industrial designer Brooks Stevens drew up the original SJ platform-based Wagoneer for Willys-Overland in the year 1905 (OK, the early 1960s), and Kaiser-Jeep, AMC, and Chrysler kept building great big SJ Cherokees and Grand Cherokees until the sun collapsed and became a red giant (OK, until 1991). That meant that Chrysler was building AMC 360s in addition to Franco-Swedish PRV V6s into the 1990s. And, just as you could buy Super 8 movie film at ordinary stores until the early 1990s, so could you buy Jeep SJs with Simu-Wood™ plastic woodie siding. Here’s an example I found last week in a Denver self-serve yard. Read More >
If you’re a regular reader of TTAC, one of the Best & the Brightest, you probably know that the Fisker Karma’s range extender is a 2.0 liter turbo Ecotec engine supplied by General Motors. What you probably don’t know is that GM’s relationship with Fisker goes beyond that of a vendor and a customer. That’s because GM owns part of Fisker. Okay, technically speaking General Motors owns a minority interest in a company that was once Fisker’s majority owner and that still holds an equity stake in the startup EV maker. Regardless of the details, that still counts as GM having an interest in Fisker’s success or failure.
Psst! Hey, buddy! Do you want to have a complete travel/movement database for your automobile-using populace but don’t have the scratch for a a bunch of high-tech, privacy-destroying surveillance copcars? Brazil has an idea for you!
After reports of a Fisker Karma going up in flames in Woodside, California last Friday, we published comments that EV expert Jon Bereisa had made about an earlier Karma fire. Bereisa had said that the tight packaging of the engine and putting the entire exhaust system under the hood and exiting out behind the front wheels compromised the heat shielding. Putting that together with photos and video of the latest fire, that showed the firefighters concentrating their water spray behind the front wheel, I speculated that Bereisa’s criticism was warranted. Now Fisker has issued a statement, specifically absolving the engine compartment and “unique exhaust routing” of involvement in the Woodside fire: Read More >
A month after the deadly riots at Suzuki’s Manesar factory in India, Maoist extremists are being blamed for the insurrection. Maruti Suzuki Chairman R.C. Bhargava told The Nikkei [sub] that “left-wing extremists pushed the factory workers to riot.” Read More >