By on April 14, 2014

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This well-traveled Houstonian thinks his town is Pistonhead Nirvana, proven every month via fanboi scale and diversity at Cars and Coffee gatherings.  Or with every 1000+hp racer on at Texas2k, every shoestring budget’d LeMons racer and Art Car fanatic: it’s all here. Except there’s nothing like Houston’s SLAB culture.

A confession: I know automotive subcultures, no matter which socioeconomic population nurtures it, always raise the ire of outsiders. My response?  Every generalization about SLABs applies to anyone building a custom, race or show car. We are all the same, deal with it.    (Read More…)

By on November 6, 2013

cv

When you think of a cop car or a taxi, chances are this vehicle will pop in your mind.

Now think of the cars that old people drive. No not Camrys! Get that thought off your mind right now mister!

Well, come to think of it, that’s a big part of the problem. If any car out there is stuck in the netherworld of wholesale heaven at the auto auctions, it’s this one.

(Read More…)

By on October 16, 2013
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TTAC commentator wstarvingteacher writes:

I have been lurking on this site for at least three years. Comment some but mostly subscribe without commenting. I have been spending some time thinking about what I’m going to buy for my “jack of all trades” second car. Life changes so your needs change also. (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2013

TTAC commentator Trend-Shifter writes:

I have a 1984 Audi 5000S Avant that is used as the wife’s car and our traveling/towing vehicle. Here is my dilemma… (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2013

specpanther

One thing you can say about our friends at Jalopnik: they’re never too stubborn to adopt a fun idea when they see one. Whether it’s “driving like an automotive journalist” or racing coverage, they cover whatever the readers want and never worry about whether it fits in with some “mission”. That sounds a bit stroppy of me, but I’m being sincere. Too often in the World O’ Blogs, people refuse to serve the reader’s clearly-expressed interests because they’ve decided that they are too good to do so.

Long-time TTAC readers are familiar with the concept of Panther Love, invented here on TTAC by our own Sajeev Metha and subsequently expanded into Panther Appreciation Week. Our Panther Love roots stretch back twenty-three years. We’re not new to the game. But Jalopnik’s Travis Okulski is new to the game, and he’s taken the time to formally propose what various club racers and track rats have long discussed over beers at the end of the day.

(Read More…)

By on February 25, 2013

Today’s edition of Monday Mileage Midget is brought to you by the state of Florida.

Palm trees. Retirement communities. Traffic signals and double yellow lines that are treated as mere suggestions. Florida has become an economic juggernaut thanks in large part to cheap housing, plenty of sunshine, and legal loopholes that allow well deserving retirees and unethical douchebags to live on the cheap.

There is one other unusual reality benefit of living in Florida… low mileage cars.

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2012

Brougham. To (increasingly elderly) car shoppers nearly to the dawn of the 21st century, that word meant class. Luxury. Success. A brougham was a type of horse-drawn carriage… or it was an option package applied to a car made by GM, Chrysler, or Ford; even Nissan jumped aboard the Brougham bandwagon. Mercury might have been the most broughamic marques of them all, which makes today’s Junkyard Find the zenith of broughamhood! (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2012

 

TTAC commentator DougD writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I put the snowtires on Dad’s 2007 Kia Rondo yesterday, and right on cue we’ve got snow today. While we worked we talked about cars, of course. My parents are in their mid 70′s, Dad bought the Rondo new and there’s a lot to like about it. Upright seating, good ingress for seniors, easy to park in the condo parking spot. It’s been reliable and still looks good, so the Rondo’s held up well. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2012

 

Dan writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

I’m a longtime TTAC reader and I was hoping you guys could give me a bit of advice about an upcoming car purchase. I recently graduated college, and with no debt to pay off and a fairly good income I’m looking to get myself a second car. My current car is a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis in incredible shape with around 130k miles on it, It currently has some minor powertrain and suspension mods as well. I have no plan on getting rid of this car, as it has quite a bit of useful life left in it and is extremely practical. I’d like to keep it as a winter car/possible project car, and the residual value of it (~3kish) is low enough that it doesn’t make sense to trade in. However, having wanted a sports car since I started driving, I’d like to go ahead and get one now that I’m in a position to do so.

My (possibly strange) requirements are as follows:
1. It must be fun and engaging to drive
2. It must be blue
3. It should be a convertible, preferably a 2 seater (I’m open to a fixed roof car as well, but would prefer a convertible)
4. Must be either a manual transmission or a dual clutch
5. I would prefer that it be a rear wheel drive vehicle
6. Fuel economy is a non-issue so long as it gets above 20 mpg highway
7. I don’t mind some maintainance, but I would like something thats fairly reliable and not TOO expensive to maintain (I don’t expect panther-like reliability but, for example, $1500 spark plug changes on a Boxster would be a bit much)

I can spend a max of $30-32k on it, but ideally I’d like to keep it ~$25k. I’ve looked at a new Miata, Mustang GT (Convertible is rather pricey), and the Genesis coupe (it’s not a convertible but I liked the looks and interior enough that I’d consider it). I’ve also given some thought to the following (newer, low mileage) used cars: Honda S2000 , Mazda Miata, Porsche boxster(mentioned above), BMW Z4, and a co-worker of mine also mentioned that I might consider a C5 corvette as well. I think they’re all great cars, and each has its own strong/weak points. The S2000 and the Miata are probably the most serious contenders, but I’m trying to keep my eyes open. I’m torn as to what I should get, and I’m also wondering if there’s any cars that I missed that are worth looking at.

Please let me know what you guys think, I’d love to hear back from you on this.

Sajeev answers: (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2011

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Scott writes:

I am a regular TTAC reader and have a question that I hope you can shed some light on. Currently my wife and I own a 2004 Accord with about 100,000 miles and in good shape and a 1993 Grand Marquis with about 90,000 miles which is also in good shape for its age – according to my mechanic we can get at least two more years with basic maintenance. I commute to work in the G. Marquis every day about 50 miles round trip and my wife put 15-20,000 miles per year on the Accord for her job (her Gas is reimbursed at 50 cents / mile).

My wife wants a new car (SUV-we’re thinking FLEX) and I would get the Accord thinking we move up in fleet reliability with more room to tote around a toddler, a large dog, and related items. The Accord has trade in value ($8,500 – $9,500 according to KBB) and the G. Marquis does not ($875-$1,100 according to KBB).

I think it makes more sense to keep the Grand Marquis as long as we can and trade in the Honda considering its value. My wife disagrees. What do you think?

(Read More…)

By on September 22, 2010

In the magical half-fortnight festival of full-size Fords known to all and sundry as Panther Appreciation Week, the most fortuitous things can occur for the True Believers. The obstacles before our durable front suspensions are laid low and the rough path is made smooth before the live axles of our minds, which is how I found myself rolling through New York Tuesday afternoon in a 2010 Town Car Signature L.

“Something happened a few years ago,” my driver, Leo, said. “They ain’t as good as they was.”

“I can explain why,” I said, and I meant it. But first, a word about wheelbase.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2010

Marquis-Mark and the funky bunch

Jeremy writes:

Hello Sajeev, I have a 1993 Mercury Grand Marquis that I picked up from a family member a couple years back. I registered the car in my name with only 37,000 miles on the clock, it now has just over 51,000. The car was garage kept for years. I have updated the fuel filter, spark plugs, tires, air filter, and the regular oil changes.

After driving the car for a while I noticed the transmission shifted with a slow “shudder” from 3rd to 4th gears. The transmission seemed to shift smoothly under light acceleration but mild to brisk acceleration is accompanied by the transmission shudder.

(Read More…)

By on November 14, 2009

royalty

This Marquis Brougham certainly seems the polar opposite of yesterday’s Nissan Pao. It weighs three times as much, is a domestic, certainly not an illegal alien, not exactly artistic or tasteful, definitely not retro, and didn’t require a lottery to buy it (more likely rebates). It’s available 7.5 Liter engine is 7.6 times as big as the Poa’s, even if it only makes 202 hp. Yet, a number of similarities occur to me:  They’re both in the same parking lot. Their owners are obviously making an artistic statement. They both have a horsepower to weight ratio of 31 lbs/hp. Both engines are carbureted. Nissan and Mercury joint-ventured on the Quest/Villager mini-van. Both of them are not displayed at MoMA. Somebody help me out here… (Read More…)

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