By on May 11, 2016

fz1motor

Almost 25 years ago, I walked into a small-town gun shop looking for a surplus Chinese SKS rifle. At the time, the gun market was flooded with SKSes and the steel-cased 7.62×39 ammunition that they used. $99 for a gun, $0.02 a round for the ammo; it was pretty much the official rifle of Ohio rednecks for a solid year. If I had a nickel for every afternoon I spent with a bunch of worker’s-comp-addicted ex-bikers shooting at abandoned cars, ovens, and “empty” propane tanks, I’d have my very own Viper ACR already.

Most of the shops I’d visited in pursuit of my own SKS had tried to foist off recent-production stuff made for the U.S. market as authentic ’60s ChiCom army stuff. I was sick of it. You can imagine my relief when the fellow behind the counter at this particular shop had the right gun at the right price and was willing to go over every component of said rifle to make sure it was correct. He even helped me get the Cosmoline off the thing. I was impressed by that dude. So impressed that I ended up shooting competitively with him and traveling all over the Midwest to ride mountain bikes with him. He was the best man at my first wedding, and we stayed close even when he left the shooting world to start a mortgage brokerage firm.

Over the past couple of decades we’ve pursued all sorts of stupid ideas together, from riding bicycles off loading docks to running a Neon in NASA’s Performance Touring class. Our latest idea, hatched during a dinner in which we celebrated his divorce was this: How fast can we go for virtually no money at all?

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2016

chieftain

For a guy who never goes on press trips, I’ve sure been in a lot of airports lately.

Last weekend, I was in Southern California, following up on a few weekdays spent in the Miami area. This weekend, I was in Las Vegas to hang out with my brother, do some electric karting, and one other thing that slips my mind right now but I’m sure I’ll remember later.

From Friday night to Sunday evening, I traveled by a diverse variety of conveyances, including but not restricted to: an Indian Chieftain, a Prius, a Prius V, two Altimas, a Jetta, and a white Lincoln Town Car. I met a former political prisoner who has witnessed three suicides, accidentally taunted the police, hit a wooden box on the freeway, and learned about predatorial fish.

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2016

2015-chevrolet-suburban-texas-edition-badge

Last week I offered you, the man or woman in the street, a chance to own a “TEXAS EDITION” badge at my expense. I asked you to tell me what you’d do with such a badge. After an exhaustive selection process consisting of me having a couple shots of Ketel One Citroen and picking shit at random, I’ve come up with the “winners.” I’ll be contacting each one of you via email in the next week. If the email address associated with your username is no longer valid, now would be a good time to update it or to contact us via the various links to the right of this page.

I’d like to thank all of you who came up with ideas. Unfortunately for you, some of those ideas sucked and frankly I’m insulted that you’d even think that I’d give you a $2.87 badge for something as stupid as that. You must think I’m rich enough not to care just because I own four PRS Private Stock guitars and a bunch of motorcycles and rare books and stuff, when in fact those are the very reasons that I am not rich enough to not care.

Enough about the losers. As they say, winners aren’t losers. So let’s get to the winners.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

20160124_175208 (Custom)

Who has two thumbs and loves the ’79 Eldorado? This guy. I’ve spent more time writing about it than I’ve spent writing about Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis … combined. What made the ’79 Eldorado great? Everything. It was styled with a crispness and strength of purpose never again seen on a Cadillac. It had a solid drivetrain as standard, although the optional engines and the later HT4100 tended to misbehave. The packaging was superb inside and out: trim yet spacious, small enough to be hassle-free in a parking lot but big enough to be recognizably Cadillac.

Most importantly, it was the last great coupe from a company that had a reputation for building brilliant luxury two-doors. (The CTS-V Coupe had pace but possessed neither space nor grace.) As a statement of personal wealth, taste, and maturity, no automobile truly satisfies like a full-sized luxury coo-pay. The man behind the wheel of an S-Class sedan or Cadillac XTS always risks being mistaken for a chauffeur, while the driver of a luxury SUV always risks being correctly identified as an imbecile. No, in order to convey the correct image to everyone from valets to unattached society ladies, it’s critical to drive a coupe.

Which leads me to this BMW 640i Convertible, rented by me this past weekend for the purpose of escaping Winter Catastrophe Jonas and relaxing in central Florida … but why am I talking about Eldorados in a review of what is intended to be a German sports coupe? And am I likely to quote Marcus Aurelius after the jump, seemingly to no purpose? You probably know the answer to both of these questions, dear reader.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2016

20160111_211232

Once more into the breach, dear friends / Or close up the segment with our heavily-rebated dead.

This is the third time I’ve encountered this generation of Ford Focus SE, having enjoyed the car on its press preview and suffered through an overheated PowerShift sedan in Florida traffic a year later. Now I return once again to this vaguely-Germanic ground, this time for a 448-mile odyssey through the Michigan winter.

Since we last met, the Focus SE has been given a thorough and comprehensive revamp, from the new global front end to what looks like an all-new interior. The price has also been favorably adjusted. Is it enough to put the aging Euro-compact back on your personal radar screen?

(Read More…)

By on January 14, 2016

Der neue Volkswagen Phaeton

Supposedly, there’s a Powerball ticket somewhere in this house. It’s Wednesday night as I write this, a few hours before the drawing. By the time you read this, you will know that I did not win the Powerball, and neither did you. I feel mathematically justified in believing that not a single TTAC reader is in any danger of actually winning the Powerball. Statistically speaking, about sixty of our readers this month are probably going to die behind the wheel at some point in their lives, but none of them are going to win the Powerball. Depressing, huh? Not that any of us are prepared for the life-destroying effect of being suddenly and publicly minted as a billionaire. Just imagine all of your friends disappearing and being replaced by a million times as many people who all despise you to the core of their souls.

It’s a shame that I’m not going to win the Powerball, because I’d probably spend a million dollars or so on buying, and restoring, a fleet of Volkswagen Phaetons. Instead of being known as “the idiot who had two new Phaetons,” I would be known as “the idiot who has twenty Phaetons in tip-top shape.” I’d be most interested in W12-powered examples with the four-seater package, but I’d have at least one of every major configuration. I’d lend them out, the way Matt Farah lent me his Million Mile Lexus this past January. I’d drive them myself. And I would once again be able to enjoy that singular feature of the VW Phaeton, the one thing that it did better than any other car in the world, even ones that cost much more.

(Read More…)

By on January 1, 2016

ferrari

It’s that time of year again! As I did in 2014, 2013, and 2012, I’m channeling my inner Joni Mitchell by linking back to some of my most popular articles of the year and also reanimating some of the things that I loved but you hated.

So let’s set the wayback machine to “not terribly far” and let’s go living, we’ll keep living, in the past!

(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2015

IMG_5322

Four and a half years. That’s how long it’s been since I served as a cross-country delivery driver for TTAC reader doctorv8‘s 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman.

As the more eagle-eyed of the Best & Brightest noticed earlier this week, that same Fleetwood is now for sale after a $10,000 freshening. So let’s catch up on what’s happened with the car, and the characters, from that once-in-a-lifetime trip.

(Read More…)

By on December 21, 2015

continental

Three years ago, around this time, I begged the nice people at Ford to build a proper Lincoln. This was shortly after I begged Cadillac to put a V-8 in the ATS. If you put the two articles together, you might get the sense that I have the completely antediluvian mindset that an American luxury car needs a V-8 and rear-wheel drive and main-battle-tank proportions to be completely legitimate. And you would be correct, because that is how I feel and, last time I checked, the nice people at Lexus and BMW and Mercedes-Benz felt the same way because most of the cars that they put on the cover of the Robb Report and the like seem to at least meet those basic criteria.

Well, the spy photos of the new Lincoln Continental are making the rounds. I can see that they have deliberately failed to honor my requests, the same way Cadillac stuck two fingers in my eye by afflicting the ATS-V with the asthmatic blown six when the same-platform Camaro SS has the mighty LT1 from the sublime Stingray. This is a retro Continental alright, but the retro-rockets are only firing back to 1988 instead of 1963.

You remember that 1988 Continental?
(Read More…)

By on December 10, 2015

baxi

Arunabh Madhur gave up a 15-year career in brand, media and digital content marketing to set up M-Taxi, the second company that has launched bike taxis in Gurgaon. “You’re our first lady customer and I will take you for this ride myself,” says Madhur, a biker himself and an enthusiastic member of a Gurgaon super bike club.

What’s faster, cheaper, and more panic-attack-inducing than a taxi, an Uber ride, or even a rickshaw? The answer is clearly a motorcycle taxi. It’s now a thing. And there are now multiple startups competing for your motorcycle-taxi business in a place where, more now than ever, the future is being built.

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

Get No-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners Automotive News in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked