I bet you’ve always wanted to know how limousines are made, right? What’s that? You’ve never had any interest in that whatsoever?
If I ever opened up a financial consulting business in Boca Raton, I wouldn’t do it for the money.
I would do it for the cars.
Forget about paying me a fee. Just will to me your cherry, top of the line ride. I’ll invest your money without ever churning that portfolio. Honest. I’ll leave that to the Goldman Sachs office that’s a few doors down from my more modest digs.
As my silent partner Joe Isuzu would say, “You have my word on it.”
Now Mr. Investor! Let’s start with some well chosen divestitures!
By the time the last few years of the Mercury-ized version of the Ford Crown Victoria rolled around, every single Grand Marquis sold was an Ultimate Edition. Back in the late 1990s, however, Mercury shoppers had more choices. Including, apparently, a Safety Edition. Here is an example I found in a Denver self-service yard last week. (Read More…)
If you want a $3,500 discount off of a Hyundai Genesis, or $4,500 off a Hyundai Equus, you can get one – but only if you operate a livery car service. Hyundai is putting a lot of cash on the hood for their two luxury sedans, as they hope to capture some market share left by the cancellation of the Lincoln Town Car, America’s favorite “black car”.
In his write-up on the new Town Car-replacing livery version of the Lincoln MKT, Jack Baruth takes on the practical issues at stake, writing
I’ve put plenty of miles on both the MKT and the outgoing Town Car. Make no mistake, the MKT is quieter, faster, more spacious, and possessed of a vastly superior level of interior technology. If you told me that I would need to run one up a curb at sixty miles per hour for the purpose of avoiding a wandering falafel vendor across 110th Street, however, I wouldn’t think twice before reaching for the old-style keys. Ford has their work cut out for them.
Well, livery fleet owners think Ford’s got its work cut out for it too… but not for the practical wear-and-tear reasons that Jack points out. No, the problem, according to the owner of one Chicago-area limo company [via AN [sub]] is that
What I heard from most people is that they’re dissatisfied. It’s mainly the appearance, which is a crossover vehicle. People are used to what they consider a luxury vehicle for their clients and this has got a bit of a van styling to it.
Yes, as is so often the case in the great automotive discussions of our day, aesthetics trump all. And in this case, the shallow critique might actually be fairly valid. Not only is the MKT seen by some as being “unrelentingly grotesque” (to borrow a phrase), but limos are typically the most traditional, conservative vehicles on the road. Though clearly the better vehicle, would a baleeen-grilled crossover impart the same sense of timeless gravitas as a black Town Car? Another limo fleet owner encapsulates the issue with a rhetorical question:
When you say limo, I know what that means now, but will it mean the same thing a year from now? Will I be thinking about the Lincoln or will I be thinking about all kinds of vehicles?
Well, is the MKT up to filling the Town Car’s shoes? Or will limo and livery buyers look to a more traditional replacement (hello, Chrysler 300)? Is the livery car’s conservative image about to be blown wide open, or is it more resilient than that?
The best thing about the Soviet Corvair, aka Zaporozhets? The original idea was to rip off the design of the Volkswagen air-cooled engine for its powerplant, but Soviet engineers made their air-cooled four a V4 so that the cylinder heads would be more accessible when working on the engine in a mud-floored lean-to in Kemerovo (no doubt using tools made on the spot from melted-down kitchen utensils). So why not make a limousine version? (Read More…)
With nearly 180 entries, the 2010 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza will be the biggest 24 Hours of LeMons race in history, and it also promises to have the highest concentration of never-belonged-on-a-road-course awesome machinery ever gathered in one location. At this moment, I’m wearing the LeMons Supreme Court judicial robes and busting cheaters, which means that I’m finally allowed to share some of these fine machines with you and not ruin their grand entrances at the track. (Read More…)
Long-wheelbase Benzes have a long and proud history, having been owned by such icons of cool as John Lennon and Hugh Hefner, as well as infamous villains like Pol Pot, “Baby Doc” Duvalier and Jeremy Clarkson. And, as Auto Motor und Sport informs us, the decline of other glandular vehicles like the Suburban has not prevented a new round of six-door Benz models. In fact, something about this picture indicates that vehicular size inflation is not completely a thing of the past… can you spot it?