You may find the idea that relatively obscure British sports car, with fewer than 16,000 made, could be the most inspirational or influential sports car ever a bit far-fetched, but I think a compelling argument can be made in the favor of the Lotus Elan. Yes, there were two seaters going back to the MG TC and even before that there were cars like the the Jaguar SS100. In many people’s minds the MGB defined 1960s era two seat roadsters, but was the B that much different from the Austin Healeys, the MGA, and the Jaguar XKs? An argument could be made that the Elan was the first modern sports car (putting aside the E Type Jaguar for the sake of argument) and it was introduced almost simultaneously with the MGB. Its contemporaries from MG and Triumph were primitive cars compared to the Elan. (Read More…)
Tag: Jay Leno
We don’t typically do a lot of television coverage around here. You’ll have to go to some other car enthusiast site to find out the latest thing that Jeremy Clarkson has said to ensure that folks spell his name correctly. Still, I’m willing to bet that most of our readers do watch television and if they do they are likely to gravitate to programs that have some automotive content. There’s a new car build show, that you might want to check out. Now, to begin with, I’m not naive about the nature of “unscripted” “reality” shows on tv. I’ve personally witnessed producers of Hardcore Pawn feed lines to folks in Les Gold’s parking lot. Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this game it’s that people are more interested in people than they are about cars. Would Shelby cars be as interesting without the personality of that overall wearing chicken farmer from Texas? People watch reality shows because the people are real people, not professional actors, even if the premise and settings are a bit staged. (Read More…)
The verdict is in. After two popular articles on the inner workings of the transmission, it is clear that TTAC loves technical articles about complicated mechanical devices. Always one to try to get into the middle of the latest fad, I thought that maybe I too could use my own hard won technical knowledge to write an informative article. The problem is that the only thing I really know how to work on involves technology that is seldom seen in cars these days: steam. (Read More…)
The Nissan IDx concept, which debuted at the Tokyo motor show back in November of last year, is in the news again, this time appearing on YouTube as a part of the popular Jay Leno’s Garage series. We learned in January that the IDx is expected to go into full production and Nissan has been relentlessly seeking publicity for it by taking it to events all around the country. It is a good looking little car with just enough retro touches to remind people of the times when Nissan was sold in this country under the Datsun brand name and this video is the lengthiest review of the car I have yet seen. Leno spends a lot of time speaking with the car’s designer about all the little details that make the car so special and then takes it on a real world test drive. If you haven’t seen it yet, take time to look at it now as it will soon be the topic of discussion around water coolers and wherever else it is that car guys gather these days. (Read More…)
If you didn’t know, you might think it’s a Cobalt or a Camry. I don’t think there’s a lot of cachet in having the first one. It’s meant to be a people mover, not a people impresser. It’s not like when you pull into Bob’s Big Boy parking lot with the Volt, you’re going to open the hood.
I caught some flack from TTAC’s Best and Brightest for suggesting that Jay Leno was less than entirely impressed by the Chevy Volt when it showed up at his legendary garage back in December. Today though, Leno’s ambivalence towards GM’s wundercar hit the front page, when the auto-obsessed comic gave the Detroit News a withering reaction [above] to the extended-range electric car. Maybe next time GM will give Team Coco a try…
Getting a car like the Volt on Jay Leno’s Garage seems like a no-brainer. America’s patron celebrity of car obsession has the gearhead credentials to help explain the Volt’s positive attributes, and the enthusiasm to draw a very different crowd than the usual Volt fanboy sites. And yet from the first, the Volt’s visit to automotive Valhalla seems to have chief engineer Andrew Farah in permanent flinch mode. Leno is never overtly hostile (alá Letterman), but from his comparison of the Volt to a 1916 Owens Magnetic, to his assessment that the Volt is “not a tiny car,” you can’t help feeling that he thinks it’s all a bit of a joke. It’s a four-seater. Literally. They’re shooting for a 2,900 lb weight goal. Your mileage may vary. The hood is held up with a stick. What is the deal with that? Like any comedian, Leno’s only as good as his material. Luckily, the yawning chasm between the modest reality of the Volt and its relentless hype is fertile ground indeed.