Monday, May 6th, 2013 is a day that will live in infamy for this storied website. An egregious error was committed by our editorial staff, one so grave that it threatens to undo our credibility and achievements of the past decade that our founder, Robert Farago, and all subsequent contributors, worked so hard to achieve.
Fans of the Acura NSX have long wondered about Ayrton Senna’s personal NSXs. Little information was known, aside from a couple rumors on his Wikipedia page, and a few Youtube videos showing him driving both a red prototype and a white NSX-R.
Is it a cliche to say that as a writer I try to avoid cliches? Anyway, I do try to avoid the word legendary (see Dash Parr on being special), but some concept and show cars are, well, legendary. Not in the sense, of course, that people tell grand tales about them but because they are remembered, ending up in books and blog posts. Some concept and show cars are, if not the stuff of legends, certainly the stuff of history. Other cars, not so much. For every memorable Cadillac Evoq, Sixteen and Converj, there’s been at least one La Espada or Aurora, cars that never really caught the public or auto enthusiasts’ imagination even if they may have influenced production cars. A concept car can cost an easy million dollars to build, but once that year’s auto show season is over, it’s often forgotten.
For anyone like myself – that is, a car fan who grew up in the 1990s and watched Japan’s sports cars disappear from the American market in one sudden swoop, news that Japan’s once mighty auto industry is being “hollowed out” might come as a shock. The cars that defined my youth – the RX-7s, Supras even the VTEC Honda compacts, are a distant memory. Most of what Japan offers on our shores are aimed at the mainstream, while at home, kei-cars and hybrids dominate the market.
A lot of the criticism leveled at Japan is that their focus on the mainstream market and alternative powertrains is what sparked their auto industry’s current malaise. But this is a superficial and fallacious assumption that supposes that the glut of superb Japanese cars in the 1990s is a baseline for our expectations of what a Japanese auto maker should be building and selling. In fact, it is an aberration that will never occur again.
Take a look at this piece of…
272,522 miles. No fooling. This 1996 Volkswagen Passat 5-speed sedan has traveled a distance nearly equal to 11 times the circumference of planet Earth.
It also visited the dealership well over 50 times during that time period as well. Which is just barely good enough for…
There comes a time when the prices for used cars at the auto auctions go the way of an exuberant bubble.
A small army of consumers get their tax refunds. The car lots wake up from their winter slumber, and values for vehicles go the netheregions of the human imagination.
I sell cars during this time, not buy them. In the last three months of every year I will usually buy a lot to avoid the tax time market prices. Sometimes as many as 12 vehicles in a day. But when tax season comes, I buy a chosen few and sell them by the dozen.
Then, after the buying frenzy begins to ever slowly ebb, there will be a welcome break in those hedonistic valuations. Where instead of winding up $1000 to $1500 behind the selling price, I wind up second to another bidder. Almost always to a guy who has been buying cars for a long time. Today was that day.
It’s hard to swallow the fact that the above photograph of me perched on the hood of my father’s Integra GS-R, one of the all-time great Acura products, is now nearly 20 years old. I can’t even remember the last time I saw an Integra on the road. Most of those cars have been crashed, stolen, rusted out or some combination of all three. There is nothing remotely close to the three-door VTEC hatchback in Acura’s lineup right now – and if you ask some people, that’s exactly why Acura is in its current predicament.
Until the research arm of TTAC gets more funding, we’ll have to rely on data from third-parties like J.D. Power. The venerable outfit recently compiled a list of the Top 10 cars with the highest percentage of Gen Y buyers. The results aren’t entirely surprising.
One of the most enduring narratives in the past few years has been the idea that somehow, Honda has lost it’s way. The maker of affordable, high-quality and fun to drive cars had suddenly become a purveyor of bland appliances that were the furthest thing from what they built their name on.
2013′s edition of the Detroit Auto Show is the first I’ve covered for TTAC, and it serves as a nice break from the world of low-cost cars, overcapacity and Bertel’s daily demands for Facebook photos of my attractive female friends. Since I was the sole journalist covering the show, most of the coverage was limited to photos and a brief bit of information on the car. But since you all come here
to read my semi-informed pontifications for some added context regarding the auto industry I’ve assembled this handy guide to NAIAS 2013, free of any regurgitated press release info or PR pap. Enjoy, and send any angry criticisms/threats of press fleet acesses revocation to derek at ttac dot com
Lawdy! Lawdy! Guess who’s 40!
Well, it happened. After a weekend where my daughter scores the game winning basket and the trade-ins numbered 6432, I hit the golden age of middle age.
As for the 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer in the picture, would you believe 403,224 miles? That little factoid was just the very tip of a long data drilldown.
Not to mention a few unusual future contests between the automakers in what will now be called the Trade-In Quality Index… or TIQI for short!
Acura will replace their long-in-the-tooth MDX with a new model that looks a lot like the current MDX and even uses a similar 3.5L V6. The new model should look very similar to this concept. As it underwhelming as it seems, Honda did this with the CR-V and it’s arguably the best small crossover out there. The new RDX, despite criticisms relating to its lack of turbochargers, is a vastly improved car. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.
It’s time to make a confession to the good folks at TTAC.
The mileage game is rigged.
How so? Well, approximately two-thirds of the vehicles that reach the 300k+ mark at an auction I attend will usually belong in one of four categories.
Looks like we were wrong in reporting the demise of the Acura ILX’s 2.0L engine option. Despite reports from Automotive News which claimed that the 2.0L ILX was on its way out of the lineup, Acura PR contradicted these reports, claiming they are “pure speculation”. The initial AN article seemed credible, in part because it was based on negative comments about the car made by Honda’s Executive VP John Mendel. We apologize for not verifying the information before publishing our piece. And by “we” I of course am refering to myself.