If you thought high gas prices and a questionable economy meant the era of big SUVs was over, you’d be wrong; 2011 saw large SUV sales in the US grow 3.7% with a 7.4% growth in the luxury SUV segment. If you are one of those people with six-figure salaries and snow-filled school runs, the Cadillac Escalade is probably on your short list. But what about the person who isn’t ready to look “gangsta” while dropping Jimmy Jr. off at softball practice? Infiniti might just have the answer: the all-new, all-enormous QX56. Michael Karesh snagged a QX56 from a dealer back in March 2011, and in December Infiniti tossed me the keys to a 7-seat QX to see what the behemoth is like to live with for a week.
I live in the country, well outside city limits in the septic tank/well/propane tank kind of area. Like many that live out where the blacktop ends, we have some farm animals, over a mile of fencing and a pasture in need of TLC. Since I’m a DINK and have a day job that has nothing to do with my animal husbandry, I’m apparently the perfect demographic for a luxury pickup. True to form, the last 5 times I shopped, I wanted a pickup truck. Badly. Every time it came time to put money down however, I ended up with a sedan, station wagon or SUV. Still, I’m not ashamed to admit my loins burn for a “cowboy Cadillac”, and now that my GMC Envoy has 140,000 miles on the clock it’s time for a 6,000lb tow-capable replacement. Since the HD pickup trucks are honestly overkill for the majority of us, I hit Ford up for an F-150 Platinum to see if I should take the plunge.
Scouts are still pretty commonplace in Colorado, for reasons too obvious to get into here, and that means that some of them are going to wear out and take that final tow-truck ride. This one is a bit rusty, but should have been good for a few more years of farm-equipment-style abuse. (Read More…)
Living in Denver gives me a great perspective on the history of the four-wheel-drive car. Nowadays, it’s pretty much an all-Subaru affair around these parts (an observer who never left Denver would make the extrapolation that Subaru is one of the top-selling— if not the top-selling— marques in the world), but there was a time when Eagles and 4WD Tercels and many others slugged it out with the machines from Fuji Heavy. Here’s an example of Honda’s nearly-forgotten four-wheel-drive wagon, finally heading for The Crusher’s cold jaws after nearly a quarter-century of work. (Read More…)
When I lived in California, I never saw a car covered with Insane Clown Posse paraphernalia in a junkyard. Colorado is a different story. When a Juggalo slaps some ICP stickers on his or her car here, it’s next stop, junkyard! Usually such cars are pay-it-no-mind Contours or Accords, and so I don’t really notice, but I’ve been not-so-secretly lusting after a Subaru XT as a winter driver and it pains me to see one end up like this. (Read More…)
A couple months back, Cadillac gave me a bright red, three-ton, rollin’-on-22s, chrome-drenched, hybrid-electric, $88,140 luxury truck to drive while in Michigan for the Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis 24 Hours of LeMons. Since that time, the effort of attempting to write a meaningful review for this ridiculous-yet-amazing machine has caused my brain to develop a severe rod knock. Who is supposed to buy this thing? I asked myself. What can you do with it? (Read More…)
Since I’ve only been wandering about in Denver junkyards for a year, I have no way of telling whether the current glut of junked AMC Eagles I’m encountering (e.g., this ’84, this ’84, and this ’82, plus a few more that I haven’t photographed yet) is a recent development or a trend that’s been going on for many years. Eagles are still plentiful in Denver, but a cheap used Subaru becomes more attractive once the youngest possible Eagle has turned 24 years old. (Read More…)
When we think of Japanese four-wheel-drive station wagons these days, we immediately picture a Subaru product. We often forget that, in the 1980s, most of the Japanese automakers made four-wheel-drive versions of their small wagons. Honda had the 4WD Civic Wagovan, Nissan had 4WD Stanza and Sentra wagons, Mitsubishi had the Mirage and Colt 4WD wagons, and so on. Of all of the non-Subaru 4WD wagons from that era, however, the only one you see with any frequency these days is Toyota’s Tercel 4WD wagon. These things are about as common as the AMC Eagle in Colorado, i.e. you see them all the time. (Read More…)
Weirdly vivid car colors were all the rage in the early 1990s, along with clear products, and so this Justy’s Cherenkov Radiation Turquoise paint fit right in with the times. Sadly, the jarring hue and econo-four-wheel-drive weren’t enough to save this rust-free, 5-speed-equipped Subaru sedan from The Crusher’s cold jaws. (Read More…)
Remember the mid-mounted “passing light” Subaru installed in some of its Late Malaise Era cars? I had forgotten all about this oddball option until I ran across this ’82 in a Denver wrecking yard. (Read More…)
Denver being the Land of Subarus, I see plenty of 20-year-old GLs, Loyales, and whatever else the marketing wizards at Fuji Heavy Industries decided to call the Leone over here. What I don’t see often is examples of the hatchback coupe version of the Leone, so I did a double-take when this car caught my eye today. (Read More…)
Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, Audi Quattro, VW Syncro, and the whole host of all-wheel drive cars, crossovers and CUVs: they all trace their roots back to this skinny and ugly little Subaru 4WD wagon. Is this the most revolutionary and influential modern car?