By on December 8, 2016

Car Not A Costume, Ford/Land Rover

True story: Many, many years ago I briefly dated a young woman who, at the age of 16, was the subject of a custody battle between her hard-luck mother and her suburban aunt. You’d expect this to go the way of the aunt, and you’d be right. But what you would not expect is that the aunt was married to a fellow who, some 15 years earlier, had been L. Ron Hubbard’s personal bodyguard. He was deeply involved in the “Sea Org” and a bunch of other Scientology-related stuff. He also claimed to have been a Green Beret and a decorated Vietnam veteran. (More information on the dude here, if you’re interested.)

Scientology in general, and my girlfriend’s foster dad in particular, was notorious for “fair-gaming” its lapsed members and anybody else who gets in the way of the organization. “Fair Game” is an L. Ron Hubbard phrase that means, basically, no action that can be taken by church members against the person in question is off-limits. It’s okay to attack them, kidnap them, have their home “SWATted”, destroy their careers or their credit rating. Being “fair gamed” by the Church of Scientology is very far from a picnic. The Church now disavows “fair gaming”. (More info here.)

The Ford Motor Company, on the other hand, doesn’t seem too reluctant to “fair game” a few of its lapsed members, as you’ll see.

(Read More…)

By on December 6, 2016

2017 Nissan Pathfinder blue front quarter

As we bring you one Question of the Day each weekday, we figured getting someone from TTAC’s commentariat to ask questions of the same commentariat above the fold would add a dose of flavor. That flavor comes from Ohio, and its name is CoreyDL. Welcome him to the headlines and bylines.

It’s entirely likely in 2016 that you or someone you’re very close to own one or more crossovers.  The CUV is as prevalent in the North American landscape these days as the midsize sedan was in about 1988.  But as with the body-on-frame SUV which came before, and the all-American wood-sided family wagon before that, the party can’t last forever.

Safety groups want pedestrians to giggle like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when struck by two-ton metallic death machines, necessitating ever softer edges. Stricter fuel regulations push the roofs lower for the sake of aerodynamics, shrinking space for people and cargo. Designers who don’t shower very often show us shapes inspired by used bars of soap.

How long can this go on before the party’s over, and the CUV isn’t the cool kid any more?

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2016

Aston Martin AM37

Cue the yacht rock.

Aston Martin’s latest offering isn’t a curvaceous, high-performance car. Nor is it an SUV. It’s a boat, and a nice one at that — but it’s also a gamble. The British automaker wants to squeeze money out of previously untapped markets, starting with the boaty set.

After this, the sky’s the limit. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2016

Aston Martin Vanquish. Picture courtesy Aston Martin

The Aston Martin Cygnet was just the beginning.

For those who thought the luxury automaker’s now-defunct rebadged Toyota city car was a weird idea (and that includes just about everyone), just wait. Aston Martin is now eager to sell you anything — your clothes, your baby stroller, and even your house. (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2016

Sean_Connery_(Goldfinger_promotional_still)(Smaller)

Of all the Bond movies, there’s no doubt Goldfinger is the most iconic. Glamorous women, exotic locales, evil (and expendable) henchmen, nifty gadgets galore, and cars, cars, cars.

The 1964 film created the template for the movie franchise, and provided us with timeless images of vehicles we’ll probably never own in places we’ll probably never drive.

The man behind the movie, director Guy Hamilton, shuffled off this mortal coil yesterday at the age of 93. Though his career includes such classics as The Third Man, we can’t remember that film containing an ejection seat-equipped Aston Martin. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2016

Mercedes Benz; C-Klasse

Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is getting cold feet about opening a factory in Russia, and thinks it might just skip a little bit west.

That, two Porsche executives avoid the Big House, the NHTSA wants autonomous rules post-haste, Volkswagen seeks a quick way out of trouble, and Aston Martin wants an F1-inspired moonshot … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on January 5, 2016

astonfisker2

Car designer Henrik Fisker is planning on launching a new vehicle, called the Force 1, next week at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in conjunction with Bob Lutz’s VL Automotive.

To make sure that the debut comes off without a hitch, according to the Detroit News, Fisker is suing Aston Martin in U.S. Federal Court for $100 million, alleging civil extortion.

Fisker used to be in charge of design for Aston Martin. The British automaker had claimed earlier that Fisker’s new design was cribbed from one of its own. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2015

RM-NYC-2015-1955-Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Sportabteilung-Gullwing-15

During the last week, much has been written about the “Driven By Disruption” auction Dec. 10 by RM Auction/Sotheby’s.

Most of that reporting was about Janis Joplin’s Porsche, which sold for a mildly outrageous sum of $1.6 million (plus fees), which beat the estimate about 2.5 times. Other top-dollar cars were mentioned as well, especially the first Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato sold in almost a decade, or the Ferrari 290 MM that was driven by the famous Juan Manuel Fangio in the Mille Miglia. Both cars brought even more eye-watering amounts of money – $13 million for the Aston, $25.5 million for the Ferrari. The Aston even set a historical record for the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.

The message is clear: The collector car market is not only alive and well, it’s thriving. Cars sell for ever-higher sums and they are a marvelous investment value. After all, they aren’t making any more classic Ferraris and Astons, are they? So the value can only go up, right? (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2015

AstonMartinRapide

Gearing up to sell its own four-door, all-electric sedan in a couple years, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told well-heeled listeners in Monterey, California that Tesla’s “Ludicrous Speed” was plain ol’ dumb, Automotive News reported.

“We don’t do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid,” Palmer said.

(But selling a variation of a four-door Aston Martin that’s been on sale for 6 years with a 200-mile range for $200,000 to $250,000? That’s genius.) (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2015

3d-printed Aston Martin

Ivan Sentch, the New Zealander who is 3D printing an Aston Martin DB4 and building the car in his garage, is back at it after a two-year hiatus, he told us today.

In an email, Sentch said he’s moved into a new house and is bringing the car back into the garage where he’ll pick at the project, bit by bit, until he’s done.

“It’ll just be a couple of hours at night after the kids go to sleep but you’d be surprised how much you can get done doing just a little bit each day,” said Sentch.

Kinda puts our Facebook meandering before bed to shame, really.  (Read More…)

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