Video contains offensive language — JB
“Sweetie, please don’t tell them I’m a car dealer.”
“They already know Steve. Oh, before I forget, Jeff will be asking you where to find a cheap transmission for his Dodge Caliber.”
“Hmmm… you know what? I think maybe I should change my name to Siri. I could have the guys pull my finger and the women…”
“No you won’t! And don’t go on about fixing Johnson Valves and torquing your nuts. And please, don’t brag about your John Holmes drill either.”
Photo courtesy of curbsideclassic.com
My 1974 Nova was as utilitarian as they come. It was a low optioned base model with a 250 CID inline six mounting a one barrel carb and backed by a three speed manual with a column mounted shift lever. It had so few options that on the inside it had a rubber floors, vinyl seats and a pegboard for a headliner. Outside there was no decoration, nary a pinstripe nor so much as a strip of trim to protect the car’s flanks from door dings. It was a plain, gutless, spiritless little car that inspired no passion or love from anyone other than the 17 year old boy who owned it. To me it was, and still is, one of the greatest cars ever built. (Read More…)
Well, folks, I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Nissan is cancelling the Altima Coupe. This, I believe, will affect many of us. You, for instance, might read my opening line and think: I MUST GET ONE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. If that’s the case, I strongly suggest visiting a Nissan dealer before supplies dry up, likely sometime in early 2015.
In my rant about the Holden Ute, I qualified my cynicism with a caveat; my tastes are not representative of the broader market, or what makes good business sense for an auto maker. Some of you suggested that I should start injecting more of my own opinions/enthusiasm into these sorts of articles. I am reluctant to mix business with my own automotive fantasyland (after all, everyone with access to a keyboard does just that that), but this post isn’t supposed to be informative or insightful, just pure fun. I am limiting myself to new cars on sale outside the United States and Canada, as there are far too many used cars out there that I’d love to own.
Something I’ve long maintained (and that has been backed up by many of the B&B) is that young people still like cars and do care about them. The issue of falling car ownership among young people is largely an economic one. The cost of living is going up while wages are stagnating. Gasoline is expensive. Student debt, smartphones and rent are more important obligations than car payments, insurance and fuel. All of that can be quantified with data.
What hasn’t been so easily demonstrable was that young people still like cars, despite the wishful thinking of many who cheer for the end to the automobile era. Now we finally have some good research that backs up my gut feeling.
This week, the idea of Brazil’s cars being “unsafe” due to inferior construction has been gaining a lot of currency on the blogosphere after the Associated Press published a report on this topic. Very few outlets have anyone posted in Brazil to do any deeper digging, but TTAC does. Unfortunately, our man Marcelo de Vasconcellos is currently in exams right now (good luck, Senhor!) and was unable to write up an article refuting these claims. Still, Marcelo took the time out to talk to TTAC about the problems behind the article.
TTAC’s forays into areas like law, politics and economics are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they do matter. The dry, dense topics like regulation and financial topics have real implications for car enthusiasts, not to mention society as a whole. One subset of that is urban planning, a discipline which can have an enormous impact on our favorite hobby.
Coffee. Old magazines. Quiet murmurs of conversations. I am stuck in an old office with two dozen other people who are awaiting instructions from a young tattooed lady with a clipboard and a shrill nasal voice.
“Follow me!”, I hear six inches from my ear. It seems like the perfect moment to have a rendezvous with the doctor, the dentist, or the job interview. Or at least someone who doesn’t instantly give me an instant flashback to my New Jersey upbringing.
Not this time. I’m in…
There are a lot of unappealing cars that most of us would never buy, and wish that automakers had never built. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking of the Pontiac G5 right now. Or the G3. Or really any Pontiac made since about 1976. Except, of course, for the G8, which is automotive perfection according to their owners, who show them off in large numbers at cars and coffee events and do burnouts as they leave.
But how about a variation on the theme? What about cars that you’d never buy, but you’re glad were built? This question was inspired by a post on my blog where someone described the Buick Reatta this way. I don’t agree. To me, the Reatta belongs in the former category, somewhere between the Pontiac G6 and that awful Daewoo-based LeMans hatchback.
Instead, here are a few of my picks.
A thick book. A banana. Two year old sneakers. A backpack.
Then there is an oversized laptop that has to be wrapped around the zipper line of the backpack in order to fit.
I’m headed for the Hartsfield International Airport in Clayton County, Georgia. The most visited airport in the United States, and a second home for me way back in my traveling days.
10 years ago I traveled over 200 times a year to various auto auctions throughout the country. My job was to inpsect, appraise and liquidate over 10,000 vehicles a year for an auto finance company. Travel was almost instinctual back then. I could sort out all my personal belongings for the road ahead without any wasted space or thought.
This time, I’m hopeless.
A lot of folks may look at their early teenage years with fleeting moments of fondness.
Friends, birthday parties, fun and games. Not to mention a healthy variety of mischievous activities to help keep life interesting between the endless classroom lectures and local social drama.
I don’t remember 99.9% of it… which is no doubt a good thing since my life was pretty much in a counterclockwise hormone ridden tailspin by the time I hit the big 1 3.
But I do vaguely recall one unfortunate thing I never could avoid.
I live in a nice quaint small town called Powder Springs, Georgia.
The sidewalks are paved downtown and even partially bricked for artistic value. Thanks to a generous donation by the taxpayers. The streetlamps are ornate and well lit thanks to the same contributors.
The old closed down ACE hardware store is now the new police station. The old city hall has been replaced by the new city hall. Even the vehicles that get too old to keep get replaced with shiny new ones thanks to American taxpayers far and wide.
How many miles do you think would it take to replace a car owned by the local city government?
Morning phone rings at the car lot…
Random Stranger: Hi there, like, I have this friend you know and he told me that you finance vehicles, and his name is Emmanuel and aahhh, like I was wondering, well, uh, do you have any Toyotas and like, do you, ummm… finance vehicles you know?
Me: I’m sorry. Who is this?
The basement of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is the subterranean parking structure in the recurring dream of automotive enthusiasts young and old. You know—the one where you exit the department store head down, fumbling for car keys as the scenery shifts to a chiaroscuro of concrete and fluorescent lights, and out of thin air appears a collection of vehicles decadent enough to make a sheikh weep. This one, however, is quite real, and perhaps the best-kept secret known to gearheads worldwide, but experienced only by a select few. Until recently, that is.
At some point between now and Christmas, you will have a chance to see an old movie.
If you have toddlers, it will likely be Grinch related. Adolescents and tweens will get A Christmas Story. Teenagers? You probably don’t want to know.
But as for those of us who are single, or older, or just pain sentimental, this holiday movie classic will likely feature two towns that symbolize American community.