The Japanese market is notorious for being closed to the outside world. It has forced successful U.S. companies to abandon the country, as Ford did recently, and propped-up sales of niche producer Porsche to outstrip sales of corporate giant General Motors. At first glance, it would seem Japanese buyers just don’t want cars built by companies outside the Land of the Rising Sun.
On this side of the Pacific, imports are so popular that domestic manufacturers attempted to make them their own multiple times. We’ve had Opels called Pontiacs and Buicks, Mitsubishis masquerading as Dodges, Toyotas and Suzukis selling as Geos, and Isuzus branded as Chevrolets.
But has it ever gone the other way? Have Japanese brands ever tried to appropriate the automotive culture of other countries to move the metal?
Oh yessss!!! (photo courtesy: www.britishv8.org)
A friend recently acquired the carcass (very deliberate choice of words) of a Bugeye Sprite. We were discussing what engine might go into it, and I was thinking that the turbo three-cylinder Ecotec would be a light but sufficiently powerful choice. However, I know very little about what is involved in turning an engine 90 degrees to run the rear wheels.
A 10-month-old baby is dead after being left alone Thursday inside a hot car in Austin, Texas, KTLA reported. Police haven’t charged the male driver, who was found at the scene, with a crime. It’s unclear how the driver and the baby may have been related.
According to police, employees at a Waffle House spotted the baby around 2:45 p.m. in the car. After calling police, the employees pulled the baby out of the car, which was unlocked, and attempted CPR. Local reports say the temperature was around 98 degrees.
Coroners said the baby died of hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature. (Read More…)
Google’s autonomous cars have made it to the Lone Star state for testing, The Detroit News is reporting.
A self-driving Lexus 450h prototype was recently dispatched to Austin, Texas for testing on that city’s streets. The cars are used to map roadways and signs for future autonomous vehicles to use. Google said the car has begun to drive itself after testing in Texas it will be sending another Lexus to Austin soon.
The search-engine giant likely selected the Texas capital because a free-range Lexus fit in very well with that city’s culture.
“We also want to learn how different communities perceive and interact with self-driving vehicles, and that can vary in different parts of the country,” an official with Google told The Detroit News.
When we had a 1960 Nash Metropolitan Junkyard Find a couple months back, you may have thought “Well, that was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion!” As it turns out, finding examples of the little Austin-built proto-AMC commuter in cheap self-service wrecking yards isn’t difficult at all— here’s another one, discovered at a yard in Denver. (Read More…)
I find 1960s cars in self-service wrecking yards all the time, but the last time I saw a Nash Metropolitan in this type of yard was, I think, in 1983, at the long-defunct U-Pull in east Oakland. I went back to the East Bay last weekend to visit family and decided to visit some of my favorite yards while I was there. I thought maybe I was hallucinating from the 90-degree heat and the endless rows of Tauruses, but no— this is a rust-free, complete Metropolitan! (Read More…)
Even though I’ve never been in a Austin/MG Maestro, I feel fairly confident in stating that the Rover Group’s little front-drive compact was unexciting at best. Still, the advertising folks must have though (after 11 rounds of Singapore Slings down at the pub) we can make it look cute and sexy! (Read More…)
Here at TTAC, we just love to talk about the Panther-based Town Car. I’m personally a big fan, but the rest of the staff is not as fond of the last full-sized Lincoln.
Whether you love or hate driving a TC, however, you have to admit that they are very durable vehicles. It’s no surprise, then, that “Charlie The Town Car”, a 2004-vintage model used daily as a cab in Austin, Texas, wasn’t laid low just 9,211 miles short of the half-million-mile mark by mechanical failure. No, it had to be rammed by a truck.
Today’s CC Austin A40 Devon too frumpy for your taste? Austin’s Chairman Leonard Lord (shouldn’t that be the other way around?) read your mind. When he saw Jensen’s handsome new Interceptor, he made a deal for Jensen to build a sporty body to plunk on its A40 chassis. The export markets, America in particular, were in Lord’s mind with the A40 Sports. But despite a revised cylinder head, the inevitable twin SU carbs and 50 hp, it didn’t really catch on, especially with the yachting crowd. (Read More…)