I am currently cruising through all four Canadian seasons in my 2008 6MT Audi S5. Could be worse, I know. The car is owned by Audi Finance, and apparently they want it back at the end of November – something about the lease term coming to an end. As of late, conversations about the S5 have gone something like this:
Q1. Do you like it?
A1. Unequivocally! It’s amazing.
Q2. Are you going to buy it out or extend the lease?
A2. Absof@!%inglutely not.
Q3. Why not – you just said you loved it?!
A3. True, but it’s a constant reminder of the adages (i) never buy a first year vehicle (ii) never lease a car out of warranty and (iii) someone, somewhere, is tired of her sh!t. Well, maybe just the first two.
This coming week is the week when all car manufacturers wish they would have a split personality. The New York Auto Show and the Shanghai Auto Show will take place in the same week. Jack Baruth will take Manhattan. (Hey, Jack: The famous Headquarter’s “Steakhouse” is right next door to the Javit’s Center. Scores is just a few blocks south.) I’ll take Shanghai and my camera. I’m sure Jack will come equipped. Maybe.
As a special service to the Best & Brightest, YOU can put in requests for what we shall take pictures of – apart from the obvious.
We’ll try to fulfill all requests – to the best of our abilities.
After this week’s article on Sergei Rachmaninoff and his connection to the world of automobiles, I thought it might make sense to look around to find other interesting music/auto combos. I ended up constructing a mental two-axis graph in my head, where X was musical ability and Y is driving talent. Some people, like Damon Hill, are close to the left side of X and pretty far up on Y; others, like noted collector and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, are the reverse. I think of myself as being more than halfway up Y but less than halfway along X; you can decide for yourself where the autojourno group Exhaust Tones would place.
Since this is a car blog and not MOJO magazine, however, we’ll focus on the best driver we can find with musical cred, and that is… Force India stalwart Adrian Sutil. (Read More…)
So there I was, minding my own business, driving down the road, enjoying the new Isobel Campbell record and relaxing in the right lane, when I saw two Crown Vics from the local sheriff’s department running up hard behind me, lights, sirens, the whole deal. I moved halfway onto the shoulder to let them by, and then, motivated by nothing more than a love of mayhem, decided to follow them for a while.
You’ve heard the old joke about ham and eggs, right? The chicken is involved, and the pig is committed? Well, I’m going to give ethanol a shot for a while and report the details to all of you. I’m involved, and my Town Car is committed.
I’m no attorney, but I’ve read articles posted anonymously on the Internet by people who claim to be attorneys, and therefore I feel confident that my extensive research regarding the statute of limitations for insurance fraud in certain Midwestern states is correct. It’s time to tell a story of minitrucks and maxipayments, of bumbling crime and hilariously apt punishment…
Count on Rodney to ruin a fine romance. “I just thought you should know,” he said as I opened up the lockbox to find the keys for our only four-cylinder, five-speed Probe, “that I screwed your up.”
“You screwed me up?” It wouldn’t be the first time; he’d recently driven a new Taurus headfirst into our “JBL: The Sound Of Ford” display while trying to manuever it out of the showroom, approximately four hours before I was scheduled to deliver it to its new owner.
“No, I screwed your up. The girl sitting at your desk. With the hairy forearms.” Come to think of it, her forearms did have a fair amount of remarkably dark hair on them. “She still thinks my name is Cleveland Washington or something like that. We hit it off right in the club bathroom, like I am known to do.” And yes, indeed, Rodney was rather infamous for anonymous tile-surrounded sex. There were five waitresses who worked the late shift at our local Waffle House. Rodney had violated two of them on the women’s sink over the past year and was working a third with all the patience of a champion bass fisherman. “You know what it means when a girl has hairy forearms.”
“I really don’t.” So he told me. Well, I should have realized that.
TTAC tested the street version of this car a few years ago: check it out for a classic example of mid-RF-era TTAC reviews, complete with withering attention to interior-quality issues and not-so-gentle comments regarding the unwillingness of the average automaker to purchase a Ford.
At the time, the Focus sold for about fifteen grand. That was for the street car. How much does a racing Focus cost? The answer: One dollar. The answer is also $2500. And $6000. And $25,000. Confused yet?
Book Reviewed: Where the Suckers Moon: An Advertising Story, by Randall Rothenberg, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994, 477 pages.
I don’t know what you get out of the current Subaru Legacy ad campaign, but what I get out of it is: “The Subaru Legacy is so banal, and sucks so unrepentantly hard, that we had to put extra crap on an old Kia Optima to create an alternative you wouldn’t automatically prefer.” This is not the first time Subaru has pointed a shotgun at its own feet, nor is it likely to be the last.
Where The Suckers Moon is, primarily, a story about advertising, but along the way we get a true sense of Subaru itself: a company stumbling from failure to failure, forever being rescued by market conditions, outrageously misinformed buyer perception, and completely random factors. It’s simply a company that is too lucky to fail, no matter how hard it tries.
I am the electron, the distant particle. Sometimes I know where I am, sometimes I know where I am going, but never do I know both. I look back and see where I was. This time I covered 1,600 miles in sixty-six hours, from Ohio to Indiana to Ontario and back, racing, partying, making videos, lulled to dullness by the long road, sneaking out with the morning light and never really sleeping. This is not On The Road: this is Two-Lane Blacktop. We cannot learn about ourselves; there is no “there” there. But we can learn about this Buick, this uneasy inheritor of a tarnished nobility.
“Why didn’t you check the mileage of the dealer trade?”
The answer is simple: I wasn’t even permitted to call other dealerships, much less arrange trades. At that particular shop, salespeople weren’t even permitted to see the final numbers at deals. We were intended to be “product specialists”, not wheeler-dealers.
In fact, our rather idealistic general manager believed in specifically hiring people with no experience in the industry. His boss, the dealer group manager, had deep roots in the buy-here-pay-here biz. The conflict between these two philosophies occasionally led to trouble…
It was actually a “Dear John” letter! No surprise, since that’s my proper name, and that’s how I registered my SRT-4 six and a half long years ago.
My name is (blah blah), manager of (blah blah) Chrysler Jeep Dodge and I am contacting you today to inform you of a special offer available designed just for you. Over the last couple of weeks we have had several customers inquire about purchasing a reliable pre-owned Dodge Neon…
It is not an exaggeration to say that I laughed for a full thirty seconds.