The Truth About Cars » brown The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » brown Piston Slap: Crystal Ballin’ With Yo Tranny! (Part II) Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:24:30 +0000 Anything is Possible... (photo courtesy:

Aaron writes:

Hey Sajeev,

Huge fan of TTAC and the piston slap articles. My problem is that I noticed my car(2007 honda civic)would shudder, under light throttle and low rpms especially when going up a slight slope. This usually happens at 30km/hr or 40km/hr. I took it to the honda dealer(4 months ago) and he said the torque converter(tc) needs to be replaced(300 for tc plus 900 for labour and stuff).

My university got a bit busy and I took some time to think about it. The problem might be slightly worse now so I recently went back to the dealer to get more details about the cost and now they are saying the price of the tc has increased to 800 plus another 800 for labour. The guy suggested maybe just changing the transmission fluid(because it is starting to get dark) and driving the car until it fails and getting a new transmission for $3000 because the transmission will probably go out soon anyway.

I’m not sure what to do now. I’m considering going to a transmission shop and see if they can change the tc, but I’m worried about going to a random mechanic. I know a small time mechanic whom I go to for small stuff but I’m not sure if his shop is capable of swapping the tc(is it that complicated?). I have also looked online and found other people saying that if the torque converter is failing, the transmission is probably going to go soon. Some other people have said that if the torque converter fails, it could take out the rest of the transmission which might have been working fine otherwise. I then found another group of people saying that I should just drive the car without changing the transmission fluid because even changing the fluid could cause the transmission to fail sooner.

I just want to know which of these are actually true and what should my next course of action be. If the torque converter can be changed for a reasonable price and my transmission keeps working, I would like to do that. Or maybe I should see if I can get the entire transmission rebuilt or replaced.

Thank you,

P.S: Not sure if this matters, but the car once overheated severely (about 3 years ago) and about half the engine had to be replaced under warranty. The engine has been running smoothly since then and the only other problem is that recently(2 months ago) my engine starter and battery had to be replaced. The battery connectors also look pretty bad so I’m going to replace that soon. Hmmm maybe I should just sell my car.

Sajeev answers:

Oh great, another mystery box transaxle/crystal ballin’ yo tranny problem: one day the B&B will string me up for these blind guesses.

That said, on a more serious note, how many miles are on the Civic?

Aaron responds:

Hey Sajeev,

Thanks for the quick reply. It has 156,000 km(96,000 miles). Admittedly, the car has been driven pretty hard. I just did a quick stall speed test(mashing the brake and hitting the throttle) and the revs went up to 2,500rpm in both drive and reverse. That seems pretty normal. I drove around trying to recreate the problem(Light throttle and flat roads or slight inclines).

It happens at:

  • 15 or 20km/h (9 or 12mph)
  • 30ish km/h (18mph)
  • 40ish km/h (25mph)
  • And at 55ish km/h (34.18mph), the shuddering is only minor at this speed

There is also a sound when this happens, it sounds like metal spinning against metal in a liquid. However, this sound can only be heard if the shuddering is not too violent. If it is violent, it just sounds like the car kind of wants to stall. I checked the transmission fluid and it looks pretty brown and has a slight burning smell. If the car is accelerating faster( atleast above 2000rpm), it feels like there is no problem. Also no problem when slowing down.
Thank you,

Sajeev concludes:

Great assessment!  At this age (under 100k miles) odds are new and correct fluid will solve it: flush the old fluid out of the converter and also drop the pan to change the filter. Which might be asking a lot for many shops, but I’d want all the old ATF out of the system. So will this cure the problem?  Will thoroughly removing varnished ATF cause even more problems than a shudder?

Maybe on both counts.  Or maybe one and not the other.  See how much fun this is for me?

My best guess: do as the dealer said, change the fluid. If it fails, get a rebuilt transaxle from a Honda savvy shop.  Because opening up a transaxle for anything and not doing a rebuild is likely a waste of time, labor and money.

It’s usually best to prolong that moment with anything…including a fluid change. Even if the fluid change actually shortens the tranny’s lifespan. So much fun!

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Ford, King Ranch “Brownout” the Houston Rodeo Tue, 25 Mar 2014 12:03:07 +0000

Perhaps you haven’t lived in a flyover state where brown leather gear dominates your town during Rodeo season.  While the Ford+King Ranch press release celebrating the 15th Anniversary of those famous brown leather pickups reached the autoblogosphere, only a local writer with an internationally known knack for automotive snark both finds the sweet mochalicious lede and refuses to bury it in the dirt.

And what does that mean?  You gotta click to find out.

I’ve been blacklisted (brownlisted?) from Ford PR events as long as I remember, but I attended this shindig via the King Ranch side of the Ford+King Ranch love fest.  So I donned my cheap cowhide boots, my thrift store boot cut jeans and herded the Duratec Ranger’s 150-ish horses to the Rodeo…pardner.


As the massive complex–housing the once amazing Astrodome—filled up, I noticed how this Rodeo’s grown in the last 10-20 years.  Ford’s booth hawked their latest wares much like any auto show, complete with a “media only” area for us bloggers, social media influencers and local autojournos. There was the new aluminum F-150, the new-ish Expedition and the current Super Duty…all in King Ranch guise, ‘natch.

And yes, the King Ranch is actually a famous Ranch, much like Bill Blass was a name on Lincolns attached to an actual person. They sold cowboy grade stuff nearby at their Saddle Shop at the Rodeo, too. But I digress…


So what does a native Houstonian think of the aluminum cage’d F150? Pretty cool inside and out, as their design/engineering embodies continuous improvement, even if the rig is far too big for its own good. The doors close with less vault-like heft of the last-gen steel body, but it still feels great. And even the door card is all kinds of broughamy from the days of Ford LTDs with covered headlights and Ghia-clad Granadas.


Now, even more than before, Ford’s take on the American Workhorse is the unquestioned Audi of Pickups.


The new Expedition is a modest evolution, lacking the “WTF” face of the Tahoe’s buzz saw headlights. Its refined snout is a pleasurable throwback to the beard trimming grille of the UR-Fusion.

The hallmark all-wheel independent suspension and the massive fold flat 3rd row seat still bowl me over: shame on GM for not following suit.  But the interior feels distinctly cheap compared to the F-150. But every Ford product takes an R&D back seat to the almighty F-series, right? #pantherlove



The Super Duty (ever present on the Rodeo’s dirt floor) has a new oil-burnin’ motor for 2015, but the stuff you can touch looks about the same.  The new-ish center stack loaded with SYNC looks functional enough, but again, the interior lacks the refinement of the F150.  Ditto the exterior.  But the King Ranch trimming in all three models drove home the fact that this is the brownest lineup in the car biz. Or at least the truck biz…and it’s been that way for 15 years now?

And, as a founding member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society on Facebook, a tail-wags-the-dog group that made brown as “important” as diesels and manual transmissions to auto journos and to the PR flacks that do anything to get their attention, it’s nice to believe our mission adds to the King Ranch’s reach. Because brown makes the King Ranch a cut above, even if the leather isn’t as buttery soft as before: hopefully the lack of tenderness means it’ll hold up better than older models.

Ford also had a brief presentation, after most guests Frank Bacon-ized themselves with free food/booze in the luxury suite.  Succumbing to the urge I felt in 2011 when buying my Ranger, I asked the Ford F-series rep why Dearborn talked me out of an F-150 by making it impossible to configure what I wanted: a regular cab, XLT, short bed, 4×4, limited slip differential with the 6.2L Hurricane-Boss V8.  You know, a Ford Tremor without the poseur trim, the tacky console and a half-ton of big block V8 instead of that funny soundin’ EcoBoost motor.

The rep went into some detail about the cost-benefit of offering everything under the sun (a fair point for any corporation, to some extent) and then threw me a bone:

“You definitely know what you want, maybe we can accommodate you in the future.”

So if the BOSS V8 ever shows up in some twisted FoMoCo homage to the GMC Syclone…well…YOU ARE WELCOME, SON. For now, enjoy these chocolatey photos showing a time when Ford, King Ranch and a lot of brown joined forces to impress rodeo-going pistonheads.



IMG_2888 IMG_2889 IMG_2890 IMG_2891 IMG_2892 IMG_2893 IMG_2894 IMG_2895 IMG_2896 IMG_2898 IMG_2900 IMG_2901 IMG_2902 IMG_2903 IMG_2904 IMG_2905 IMG_2907 IMG_2908 IMG_2909 IMG_2912 IMG_2913 IMG_2914 IMG_2915 IMG_2917 IMG_2918 IMG_2922 IMG_2923 IMG_2924 IMG_2925 IMG_2926 IMG_2927 IMG_2928 IMG_2935 IMG_2936 IMG_2937 IMG_2939 kingranch photo IMG_2890 IMG_2896 IMG_2922 IMG_2936 IMG_2939 IMG_2924 kingranch photo ]]> 86
Capsule Review: 2013 Volvo XC70 T6 Polestar – Brown Wagon Edition Wed, 02 Oct 2013 13:00:39 +0000 photo (3)

If you had to pick a Q-Car, the vehicle you see above would be nobody’s first choice. Something like a Camry V6, a Pentastar Avenger, or perhaps even a Verano Turbo with a Trifecta tune would be a more suitably anonymous roller skate with enough power to pummel most “civilian” cars on the street. Or perhaps a Regal GS. In grey or some other nodescript color. I am thinking about this as I wander aimlessly within my lane on Lakeshore Boulevard, the Polestar-tuned I6 humming along at a sedate 1800 rpm in 6th gear. CBC Radio is broadcasting yet another nebulous documentary extolling Canada’s secular state religion of diversity, as my Costco grocery list scrolls through my head. How banal and bourgeois.

And then I hear the staccato vocalization of a small block Chevy V8 breathing through a set of big pipes. A glance in the mirror reveals a 4th generation Camaro convertible coming up fast behind me in my mirrors. In a flash, he’s past me by a few car lengths, and I can just make out the “SS” badge on the decklid. If I were in another T6-powered Volvo, say, my parents XC60 T6, I’d step on the gas, wait a brief second for the turbo to spool up, and hope that I’d be in the powerband long enough to catch him. With a standard T6, peak power (295 hp) comes in at 5600 rpm while peak torque (325 lb-ft) arrives at 2100-4200 rpm In this car though; 354 lb-ft comes in from 3000-3600 rpm, while all 325 horsepower are available from 5400 all the way to redline. From a roll, this car is a monster.

It doesn’t take long after nailing the throttle for the gap to close between us, and while the Camaro is droning out its V8 song, there’s just a muted hum from the Volvo’s blocky hood, while barely audible diverter valve noises can be heard through the open windows. A red light conspires to bring us next to one another, and I can see him regarding me with the faux-menacing glare typical to most underemployed 20-somethings brimming with insecurities. He’s much more handsome than I am, and his girlfriend is in the passenger seat.  I smile and give him the thumbs up.

“You think you can beat me?” No change in demeanor from him.

“Actually, I do.” I respond.

There’s no revving, no theatrics, no Fast and Furious Limp Bizkit sound track despite the corny but spontaneous exchange. But when the light goes green, he disappears behind me. And I didn’t even get a good look at his girlfriend.

This is really a silly car. The XC70 sells in inconsequential numbers, even for a Volvo. Last year,  the smaller XC60 outsold the XC70 by a ratio of 4:1, as Volvo customers, my parents included, opted for the higher driving position, easier ingress/egress and crossover-look of the XC60. Wagon fans insist that if only Volvo would bring back a real wagon, then all would be well, the brand would have its mojo back, and American consumers would finally learn that their enlightened European brothers had it right along.

photo (4), whether we’re discussing social safety nets, rail transportation networks or diesel engines. But there is good news. The XC70 and the XC60 are basically the same car. I know this because I had the chance to test them back to back. It’s true that the XC60 has a bit more ground clearance and a higher ride height, and the XC70 is perhaps a bit higher than a regular V70, but to tar either them with the “crossover” brush, is incorrect. These are as much crossovers as the last generation Outback was, and the extra cladding and slightly taller springs are red herrings. Of course, driving a wagon signifies that one has sophisticated, Continental tastes, which is more important to many than how these vehicles actually perform on the road.

What’s most interesting is the changes in spec between the XC70 and the XC60 owned by my folks. Their XC60 has three adjustable steering programs as well as the Volvo 4C system, which employs active shock absorbers made by both Ohlins and Monroe. Three modes are available, labeled Comfort, Sport and Advanced. Comfort is fairly soft, with Sport cranking it up by just a bit. Advanced, however, is truly stiff, sacrificing ride quality for flatter cornering. The XC70, by contrast, has one steering setting (equivalent to the heaviest setting on the XC60) and no 4C system. My own handling loop was illustrative of the differences: the XC70 felt as if it possessed more bodyroll, whereas the XC60  felt a bit more surefooted with the 4C shocks set to “Advanced”. But Advanced mode also makes the shocks rather unpleasant in everyday driving, and when set to “Sport” or “Comfort”, it’s a wash between the two cars.

All this talk of performance for a station wagon may seem out of place, but when the car’s main marketing proposition is the Polestar engine tuning, it’s hard to ignore it. The XC70 is also a very practical vehicle. Despite my bearishness on wagons as a commercial proposition in the marketplace, I quite like them. I tried in vain to convince my parents to buy the XC70, hoping that the giant stuffed German Sheppard in the back of the showroom demo model would sway them (it looked identical to an old stuffed dog from my childhood). Instead they hemmed and hawed and made vague remarks about the “height” of the XC60′s cargo area (for the one time of the year when they’d bring home tall garden plants) and the extra length (8 inches longer, which does count when parking in urban areas) as reasons to get the XC60. This time, I was determined to induct them in the “cult of the wagon”.

Tossing the keys to my parents for a “blind taste test”, they were more impressed with the revised interior than the driving dynamics or the lower seating position (which they also enjoyed, in a reversal of their previous stance on the car). While my folks car invokes the usual “Swedish furniture” cliche, with black baseball stitched leather and aluminum trim (no surprise if you know them: they wear more black than an amateur theatre troupe and my mother obsesses over modern furniture like we do over rear-drive BOF Fords), the XC70 is much more organic, with generous helpings of wood and natural tone leather. Volvo’s IP and telematics interface remains unchaged, and is thankfully devoid of touch screens or haptic controls.

It takes a few minutes to learn the ins and outs of the buttons-and-knobs, but once you do, it becomes second nature, and one can navigate their iPod music selections without taking their eyes off the road. The navigation system was far less cooperative – while the controls were easy enough, it failed to recognize even well known streets, forcing me to use my iPhone as a navigation aid. The XC70 also came with Volvo’s “Premium Sound System”, something my father chose to forgo when he declined the navigation system in the XC60. It’s worth the money, something he readily acknowledged after one playthrough of Gil-Scott Heron’s Bridges. Cargo proved to be one area where the extra length didn’t lend the XC70 too much of an advantage. The XC60 has 67.4 cubic feet of space, with 30.8 cubic feet with the seats up, while the XC70 has 72.1 in total, with 33.3 if the rear seats remain intact. In practical terms, it’s possible to easily fit a full-size mens bicycle with the seats down in the XC70, while the XC60 takes a bit of finagling. For most every day items, it was inconsequential, with grocery bags and suitcases fitting fine in both cars. The XC60′s reduced length does make it easier to park, something I can appreciate given that my parents live in an area with abundant street parking that seems to be sized for C-segment cars at best.

In that light, it’s understandable why they chose the XC60, but after driving the wagon, I am not ready to take their side. Nonwithstanding my mocking of the commercial viability of the station wagon, I like this one a lot. It’s difficult to find a car that does it all so well. Where else can you find something that can turn on a dime from being an invisible luxury commuter appliance, to a bike hauler to a stoplight dragster that can be used in every weather condition, 365 days of the year? It just makes so much sense. Which is its biggest problem. We as humans rarely want what makes sense for us, whether it’s choosing an incompatible lover, a consumer item we can’t really afford or voting for a politician that sways us with charming rhetoric rather than policy that may be beneficial to our station in life.

photo (1)

At $50,310, it’s not exactly within the reach of the common American family either. This car, even without the Polestar, is an incredibly niche proposition. But that’s a big part of its charm. It will never be loved like the Brick Volvos of yore, nor the upcoming V60 (which will be lauded as a return to form for Volvo), but it has earned its place, along with the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT and Audi S4, in the lore of “great wagons we got in America that nobody appreciated”.

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Suzuki Does TTAC A Solid Mon, 18 Feb 2013 21:20:01 +0000

Despite our relentless Death Watch against Suzuki, the company decided to throw TTAC a bone by displaying a brown Grand Vitara at the Canadian International Auto Show.

This is actually one of two shades of brown available on the GV. While you can no longer get a rear-drive or stick shift configuration on the GV like in days past, it’s nice to know that someone is listening to some, if not all of our prayers.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail photo (33) photo (35) photo (34) ]]> 16
Piston Slap: Of Panther Love, and a Fox Love Supreme (Part II) Tue, 06 Nov 2012 17:16:10 +0000

Sajeev writes:

This is an update to a previous Piston Slap query about buying one of the last great American sedans. And there’s no Panther bias here, you insane Rotary guys are free to buy this beast and share your thoughts the same manner. We’ll listen to ANY great story.  And go vote while you’re at it…since our opinions can’t help us keep cars in production!

C.K. writes:

How TTAC inspired me to live the dream…or how a Lincoln Town Car changed my life…and how I stopped living in fear of the unknown and took the leap

On October 12, 2011, I took delivery of the very last, fully loaded, brand new, never owned, 2011 Lincoln Town Car Continental Edition left in the US. Vibrant white over black leather, my dream car down to the last detail. Built in the last few weeks of production, July 2011, in St. Thomas, at a factory that is no more. That built cars that are no more. A car of so many lasts. The last true Lincoln. The last body-on-frame luxury car. The last RWD, non fleet, bench seat equipped, chrome laden, no excuses version of a car that has roamed America for decades. Unapologetic in every way. The anti-Prius.

It was not an easy process getting to this point. Since May, the deal had fallen through about 3 times. First, even though I have a good career and credit, getting a loan with an interest rate that wasn’t an insult to my ego was like herding cats, or pulling teeth, or pulling cat teeth! Either I was turned down (by my own bank – the very idea!), or given Mafia rates (the dealer, big surprise), or given the ol’ bait and switch (the local credit union). It seemed like no one wanted to loan a 29 kid $44K for a car that had been sitting on a lot, out of state, for over a year. Maybe they have learned their lesson from the big bust!

Then a chance conversation with my insurance agent (when I was trying to get the insurance for the new car for deal #3) and how they did car loans, and well, the rest is history in the garage. Got the rate I wanted, and of course the dealer magically had a new rate that month that would beat my current rate…whatever jerks, you had your chance to finance me. All along they had been telling me 5 something percent, and then the day they found out I was getting 2.39 did they offer me 2.35. Car dealers suck, no doubt about it.

But how could he buy a car sight unseen like that? From a dealer that sucks big donkey balls? For a price that makes absolutely no economic sense? Well, the week I bought it I had a layover in New Orleans, and me and 2 coworkers made a road trip out to see the car. I had to know for sure. And secretly I wanted something to be wrong with the car. So wrong that it would make me change my mind and not want it anymore. Some damage, some missing detail, some fraud. I kind of wanted the whole thing to fail, crash and burn, to save me $44K, to make me come to my senses. I call it self sabotage. Of course the road trip was a blast. Can’t give any details, you know, what happens in rented Camry…but the car was perfect. It was new. Not a year old used car like JSC credit union said. Not 2 years old and disgusting, like my mom said. But just the way I had pictured it, and obsessed about it for weeks, months, years, well, my whole life! And when I saw it, I knew, I had to make it happen.

I flew out at 7am, barely got on the flight, due to weight restrictions and a life on stand by. If I didn’t get on that flight, I was never going to. Back pack full of CD’s (remember, no USB or ipod hook up thing, which i dont have anyway, and i asked about a cassette player, they stopped that on Grand Marquis in 2010), second biggest check I have ever held, fear, hope, nervous…who just passed gas behind me on this Express Jet metal tube? Talk about dream killer!

Within 30 minutes on the road, during awesome sight seeing for hundreds of miles due to the Cruising the Coast Car show, I pulled off for some breakfast at McDs at about 10a where I noticed a 2003 TC with 2 tone white and tan paint parked and Lovin’ It. I got out of my car and a 80 something year old lady panzer attacked me to talk about my new car. “What year is it?” she asked. “Brand new, ma’am.” “But dear, they stopped making them,” she further interrogated with skepticism. “Wow, you’re right, but mine was left over.” “Oh my, I love the dark interior!” And she told me how she was on her third, and best ever. How she only rode in Town Cars, how to use the cruise control because that is the only way to keep from speeding in them, how she has never had to take hers in for anything. And she told me how lucky I was. And she looked just like my grandmother who passed this year. And on cloud nine I floated in to McDs, feeling so great about getting such a warm welcome into the club of geriatric Lincoln owners, that I walked up to the counter to order breakfast, only to find that Miss Daisy had chatted to me so long about the joys that is the legend of Town Car, that they had stopped serving breakfast 15 minutes ago!

Did I make the right choice? Yeah, I think I did. The fight with my mom lasted about 24 hours. The older she gets, the shorter she can hold a grudge. I think it was mainly about her youngest finally becoming a man. She even was mad I didn’t bring it by when I saw her the next day. And I made her drive it to dinner the other night. She still doesn’t know why I wanted a car like that, but she did say it was nice, even though it is big and ugly! My oldest brother asked where Grandma Mary was when he saw it, and my middle brother said I could rent it out for funerals.

And in the biggest surprise of the whole ordeal, I sold the Sebring to the first person who saw it. I had clayed and detail every inch of my former dream car, bought a plethora of for sale signs and poster boards, and parked it on the main drag of my town. Within an hour, a family had seen it, driven it, and then had think about it. I was asking $7200, after being insulted by Carmax with a $4000 trade in offer, for a one owner, warranted, top of the line Chrysler. I mean, come on, 150K mile Corollas and Civics go for for that much! Because they were very nice and lived blocks away, I told the father my rock bottom price was $6500. I had fixed the electroluminescent gauges, it had new tires and battery, all receipts, brochures, manuals, window sticker, etc, and was the cleanest Sebring, heck used car anywhere to be found locally. It needed nothing, just a new owner. And so that night, they called, said it was for their daughter, $6500 seemed fine to them because she needed to replace her 1993 Mustang Convertible. A Fox! Just like the Granada!

When they picked up the car, I showed them pictures of it when I first bought it. A young, skinny kid with a big grin standing by his first brand new car. Now, I am older, not so skinny, but still have a big grin with my second brand new car. My mom kept telling me I was going to be sad when it was gone. No, I said, it was just a car. But when I saw it round the block and leave my life forever, I chocked up. They might just be cars, but they somehow become an extension of who we are. A part of our lives because of how much of our life they make possible. I loved my Sebring TSi and now I love my Town Car.

I have decided to keep the Granada for a while. I have had multiple offers on it, so I know the opportunity is there, but I still enjoy it. And it will help keep the miles off the new car.

I had the dealer order a new window sticker to replace the one they damaged. And I took the Town Car into Bayway Lincoln to get the front license bracket put on, wheel balancing and alignment, order 2 sets of new Continental floor mats (one to keep packaged and one for use for special occasions, lol, I’m OCD), a new driver side wood grain power window switch cover since mine looks bowed, for some reason the fuel filler shuts of the pump when you start filling up the car and cuts off early when the tank is almost fuel, which they ordered parts to fix, and to check into a slight rattle in the dash. They said it was because the visor wasn’t clipped in, but the ting sound is still there. I think they are use to dealing with elderly people who will believe anything! The loaner they gave me was a MKZ, which further proved I bought the right car. It rattled in the A pillars, dash, and doors with 14k. The V6 sounds anemic and agricultural when driven sanely. The SYNC is soooooo distracting. This is definitely not a Lincoln. But, I did like the back up camera and how fast it was when you got on it. My Town Car has back up assist, so it beeps when you get close to something, which I ignored and plowed down my trash cans last week. I am learning to trust technology!

Even with the quibbles, Bayway is fixing everything on Lincoln’s dime. No, I am not getting the experience of buying a luxury car. Yes, Lexus would have wiped the floor with the Lincoln experience. But the car is well made. Everything is soft touch, the leather looks and smells great. It has a controlled float and sounds great when you push it. It is silent to the point where you hear the clock tick at all times. Everybody who has ridden in it has remarked at how luxurious it is, even if they laugh because it that doesn’t have navigation or a USB port or air conditioned seats or SYNC or more power or more gear ratios or come standard with a blue wig. It is like me, flawed but American. And yes, I know it was made in Canada!

It happened. You knew it would. (Photo Courtesy: C.K.) photo(1) photo(2) photo(3) photo ]]> 24
Piston Slap: The Last Insane Interior Color? Mon, 27 Aug 2012 11:53:35 +0000

TTAC commentator econobiker writes:

Related to my comment here, the Japanese makers were early on this common car interior colors. But when did the US makers kill the goof-ball color combos? Like the white Cornithinan leather seats in a brown interior Cordoba posting the other day.


Sajeev answers:

Porno Red velour.  Deep Blue carpets.  Green dashboards.  I miss them all, son!

The Big Three rolled deep in funky colors well into the 1980s, but things changed in the 1990s.  The Chrysler LH cars, for better or worse, ushered a new era of Euro-centric interior colors for American machines: boring grey, black and tan interiors were the norm for these machines.  In fact, I only remember some goofy speckled seat fabric as the only splashes of color in 1990s Chrysler products.

GM was a different story: I remember a fair number of orangy-browns in Caddies, dark reds/blues in “bubble” Caprices and Fleetwoods…even the Corvette and certain Chevy trucks were seriously red inside…until their late 90s redesigns.

Ford was even better…or worse. 1990s Lincolns came in some seriously bizarre colors: powder blue, cream (i.e. 100% white), dark blue and even dark green (very rare, for a reason) were on the option list. The 1996 Taurus written about here was probably the last Detroit redesign to sport an odd color palette, including that bizarre dark green color.

Which leads to my answer: the 1997 Taurus’ Willow Green interior was the last insane interior option for a Detroit carmaker.** Crown Vics and Lincoln Town Cars also lost them in 1998, but they were lame ducks this year.  The Taurus was still a hot number, hence why I’m singling it out.

Best and Brightest, off to you.

**But wait, the 2002 Ford Thunderbird came in some seriously insane colors, and you can still get some interesting accent colors on Corvettes, but I chose the Taurus to focus on the color palettes of mainstream machines.  

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Attention Brown Car Fans: The Rarest Unicorn Of Them All Tue, 01 May 2012 15:39:56 +0000


I do not subscribe to  the school of Panther Love, nor do I pledge allegiance to the Brown Car Gods, but this is just too good. A brown Acura ZDX, spotted at Honda Canada.


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Mid-Engined Brown Car For Sale: $1,100 OBO Mon, 30 Jan 2012 15:23:07 +0000

One of the neighborhood characters growing up was “Toyota Van Man”, a middle-aged gentleman who drove a denim blue Toyota van. We never knew much about him, but assumed based on his vehicle choice that he was some kind of pederast. More likely, he was a hard working immigrant from Vietnam who lived on top of our local pizza joint and we were a group of overprivileged adolescent brats.

Over a decade has passed since my friends and I would shriek at the sight of “Toyota Van Man”, and these mid-engined oddities have all but disappeared from the roads. But Auto City, a Redwood City, California car dealer, has a Toyota Van for sale, with a mere 85,000 miles. Sporting a “Gold” on red color combo (come on, it’s brown), and a 5-speed manual transmission, this is an automobile that was born before customer clinics and brand management were a twinkle in the eye of an ex-Bausch & Lomb marketing wag. Bidding starts at $1,100. Hell, you could even submit an alternate album cover for the Black Keys with this thing.

Thanks to Bring A Trailer for today’s entertainment



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