The Truth About Cars » Limousine The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Limousine Pull Up To The Bumper, Baby Mon, 04 Mar 2013 12:30:17 +0000

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?

From the folks at Limousine World comes a nice look at how cars are stretched and rebuilt. It’s easy to see how the process works for both body-on-frame vehicles like the Panthers and for the unibody limos such as the Chrysler 300s that have popped up all over urban centers. It’s also easy to see that there’s room for considerable variation in craftsmanship; think about that the next time you’re headed to a party in a stretched H2 or Navigator.

Of course, the arms race in modern limousines coincides almost exactly with the disappearance of factory-built limos. Cadillac offers just one livery vehicle now: a new variant of the XTS. Lincoln wants you to call the MKT a “Town Car”, which despite my personal partiality to the MKT is a lot like asking someone to refer to Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn Monroe. One wonders what’s changed so much about the purpose of the limousine in the past thirty years to force such a change in their morphology… so stay tuned to TTAC, because we’ll be considering that in an upcoming article!

]]> 16
Monday Mileage Midget: The Travolta Of Cadillacs Mon, 04 Mar 2013 06:00:54 +0000

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!

For starters, I need something that will ferry me off for the half mile drive from my palatial home on the shoreline, to the Starbucks, and then to work.

On second thought, I think I’ll just work here. Lincoln Lawyer… meet Cadillac Certified Financial Planner.

This 2006 model Cadillac DTS Limo has only 1,704 original miles and all of the essentials.

Lights for business meetings. Lights for other pleasurable journeys. Lights for the sheer hell of it.

Now that is one cool deal!  Although I would have to customize that seat a bit so that I could get a good night of rest.

Then there are the seats for my daily work. Nice. But I would like something that has a bit more manual recline and don’t look like they belong in some conversion van made ten years ago.

Also, what am I to do with my computer, printer, files and various subscriptions to business publications that I never read?

Screw it. I’ll just watch TV and get an Ipad.

Finally, there is only one other thing to consider.

Thank Goodness! I don’t want to mess with any indoor plumbing. Just find me a Waffle House with free coffee refills and I’ll bring the Charmin’.

Somehow I think a ride fit for a President would be more worthy of a decamillionaire’s consideration than a visit to a building with dozens of non-descript offices. But as a guy who used to take a six hour limo ride from Michigan to northern Ohio every two weeks, I can tell you these things get real old.

I would rather have a good conversation and a cheap Impala that keeps me better connected to my surroundings and the Internet. But how about you? Any limo rides and experiences worthy of a Monday morning?


]]> 4
Junkyard Find: 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis LS Safety Edition Thu, 03 Jan 2013 14:00:09 +0000 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.
A close look at the badges on the fenders makes me think that we’re dealing with some sort of dealer-installed or coachbuilder option, not a factory trim level.
The vinyl landau roof is a good indicator that some (no doubt Florida-based) company created its own line of Safety Edition Grand Marquis de Sades, perhaps in a shop just down the street from the one that made the faux-vertible ’97 Cougar XR7.
The cylinder heads are in the trunk, which offers a solid clue about the reason for this car’s current parking place.
I couldn’t find any signs of safety features beyond what all Panthers got in 1997. Perhaps this car got the police-grade stab-proof seats to protect the driver from unruly back-seaters.

01 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 60
Hyundai Offering Big Incentives On Genesis And Equus Sedans – But Only To Livery Car Operators Fri, 24 Feb 2012 21:46:50 +0000

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”.

Hyundai has been promoting the Genesis (base MSRP, $35,075) and the Equus  ($59,690) at trade shows and in trade publications. While no body-on-frame sedan such as the Town Car is offered any longer, the Genesis and Equus have rear-drive layouts and can be ordered with V8 engines. Their domestic competitors, the Lincoln MKT crossover and Cadillac XTS, are based on front-drive platforms and come only with V6 engines. The Equus Ultimate that was reviewed by TTAC would make a great limousine, mostly because it’s much better to be driven in an Equus rather than actually drive it. Hyundai offers a factory stretched Equus in South Korea (above) as well as an armored version.

]]> 35
Now Available In Glorious 1:32 Scale Diecast: Hongqi CA770TJ Limo With Lights and Music Wed, 04 Jan 2012 23:30:54 +0000 In what kind of limo did Chou En-Lai and the Great Helmsman ride during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution? The “Red Flag” CA770, of course!
Thanks to the very generous judicial bribes of many 24 Hours of LeMons racers, I’ve got a diecast-car collection that ranges from a Simca Aronde hitchhiking diorama to a Leyland P76 to a Moskvich 408 rally car. And yet, something was missing.
My collection of weird diecast toy cars, which now threatens to overwhelm my office, lacked Chinese cars. Oh, sure, just about all of them were made in the Middle Kingdom, but that’s not the same as a vaguely accurate scale replica of a Red Flag.
Did I say Red Flag? I meant Red Flog, which is what’s molded into the underside of the “Hongqi Luxury LED SOUND METAL CAR.” That’s right, for a mere $25.98 you can have this fine piece of automotive history shipped right to your door from Hong Kong.

That’s a bit steep for an admittedly low-quality 1:32 diecast, but look what happens when you push down on the back wheels or open either door (after wedging four AG3 watch batteries into the alleged battery compartment with cardboard shims). I do hope the real CA770 doesn’t make that terrible Vegematic-full-of-lug-nuts noise when starting. That’s a GAZ-M21 Volga in the background, by the way.
How could I ever top this? A diecast Renault-IKA Torino!

CA770-12 CA770-01 CA770-02 CA770-03 CA770-04 CA770-05 CA770-06 CA770-07 CA770-08 CA770-09 CA770-10 CA770-11 CA770-13 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 8
Weekend Head Scratcher: What Is The Future Of Limos and Livery Cars? Sat, 19 Feb 2011 17:12:51 +0000

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?

]]> 57
Soviet Limousine: Our Favorite Oxymoron Wed, 22 Dec 2010 14:00:42 +0000
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?
Once again, English Russia comes through for the lover of arcane Soviet road machinery. Sure, the site is backed by all manner of scurrilous/lowest-common-denominator advertisers, but seeing limo-ized ZAZs, Volgas, and Ladas makes the irritation of sleazy pop-up ads a small price to pay.

English Russia

]]> 23
Quattroporte, Stretch Limo, Model T, and More: The Greatest Gathering of LeMons Cars In History! Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:30:53 +0000
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.

We’ll start with a car we’ve been waiting for years to see at a LeMons race: a Triumph Spitfire. The going rate for a LeMons-grade Spitfire currently stands at about negative 200 bucks, but for some reason no team has been willing to run one… until now! Yes, the Sex Pistons will be running their punked-out ’80 Spitfire this weekend, and they haven’t even swapped out the Triumph Slant Four with a– how shall we put this nicely?– less terrible engine.

We’ve already made it clear to the Sex Pistons that they’ll need to blast the X-Ray Spex in addition to “Never Mind The Bollocks.” In fact, let’s hear some Spex now!

We’ve also been waiting quite a while for our first LeMons Mini Moke, and now it has finally happened. The two-time Index of Effluency-winning madman behind the Air Prance SChitroën and the Mr. Bean Austin Mini (which will feature blow-through turbocharging this weekend) has obtained the World’s Most Horrible Mini Moke and converted it to– get this– a replica of the Apollo Lunar Rover. Could it get any better than that?

Normally, such a feat would be impossible. However, at this race even a Mini Moke Lunar Rover can’t be assured of a slam-dunk Organizer’s Choice award, not when it’s facing off against the likes of the Fiaguzzi Fiat 600, which features a Moto Guzzi 1,000cc engine swap. Yes, the legendary Italian Stallions have replaced their X1/9 for a much cooler Fiat, and they’ve done this to it:

There’s nothing wrong with the 600 that nearly doubling the displacement can’t fix, right? Let’s see how it looks at a recent Thunderhill track day:

If there’s one thing we love in LeMons racing, it’s Italian cars. And the more needlessly complex an Italian car is, the more we love it! That’s why the Maserati Quattroporte has long been one of our Holy Grails, and Pendejo Racing has brought one this weekend.

You may remember Pendejo Racing as the team that brought the most radically depreciated LeMons car in history to the last Arse Freeze-a-Palooza; they claim the inflation-adjusted purchase price of their ’80 Quattroporte beats even the S600. All we know is that this car makes us deliriously happy.

Can you think of any reason that a full-stretch Lincoln Town Car limousine doesn’t belong on a crowded road course? Neither can we! The veterans who have been running the Lemon Demolition CRX (and the People’s Curse front-end loader) since the early Altamont races have caged this beast and painted it pink for its bachelorette-party theme. Best of all, I’ll be suiting up and driving the Rolling Chicane Racing Town Car this weekend, because members of the LeMons Supreme Court have a standing invitation to take the wheel of this excellent race car when and if time allows.

Prior to this weekend, the oldest 24 Hours of LeMons car was the Rocket Surgery Renault 4CV (unless you count the ’51 Chrysler Saratoga– a Carrera Panamerica car we allowed as a last-second replacement for a dead LeMons car in Lousiana– which we don’t). That record was annihilated at the ’10 Arse Freeze; make way for the Beverly Hellbillies’ ’31 Ford Model T! Assembled by Black Metal V8olvo crew chief Hellhammer, who knows a thing or two about cheap Model Ts, has horse-traded enough parts to squeeze a ’31 T body, a Model A frame, a Pinto suspension, and a Ford 302 into a LeMons-grade $500 budget. The team will be stacked with the same Spec Miata demons who drove the V8olvo to victory at the last Buttonwillow race, so this glorious heap might actually have a hope in hell of contending! Even if it falls apart on the second lap, it will all be worth it.

We’ve seen the Angry Hamster Honda Z600 before, but enough has changed between its last thrown-rod-a-minute race experience and today that we consider it a new car. The best-engineered LeMons car in history now has a Honda CBR1000 engine in place of the series of extremely fragile Honda V65 Magna engines it once ran. Will the Hamster finally live up to its incredible power-to-weight potential? We shall see.

There’s more! Sharing the track with the Quattroporte and the limo will be this black-bumper MG.

And this Shelby Lancer! I’ll try to post the usual timelapse video of the BS Inspection tonight, if the effort of inspecting 180 cars hasn’t made me completely incoherent by that time. Check in later!

LBW10-Preview-01 LBW10-Preview-02 LBW10-Preview-03 LBW10-Preview-04 LBW10-Preview-05 LBW10-Preview-06 God Save Our Spitfire! LBW10-Preview-08 1980 Triumph Spitfire 24 Hours of LeMons race car LBW10-Preview-10 LBW10-Preview-11 LBW10-Preview-12 Fiat 600 with Moto Guzzi engine swap LBW10-Preview-14 LBW10-Preview-15 LBW10-Preview-16 LBW10-Preview-17 LBW10-Preview-18 LBW10-Preview-19 LBW10-Preview-20 LBW10-Preview-21 LBW10-Preview-22 LBW10-Preview-23 LBW10-Preview-24 LBW10-Preview-25 LBW10-Preview-26 LBW10-Preview-27 LBW10-Preview-28 Town Car Stretch Limo 24 Hours of LeMons race car LBW10-Preview-30 LBW10-Preview-31 LBW10-Preview-32 LBW10-Preview-33 LBW10-Preview-34 LBW10-Preview-35 LBW10-Preview-36 LBW10-Preview-37 LBW10-Preview-38 LBW10-Preview-39 LBW10-Preview-40 LBW10-Preview-41 LBW10-Preview-42 LBW10-Preview-43 LBW10-Preview-44 LBW10-Preview-45 LBW10-Preview-46 LBW10-Preview-47 LBW10-Preview-48 LBW10-Preview-49 LBW10-Preview-50 LBW10-Preview-51 LBW10-Preview-52 LBW10-Preview-53 LBW10-Preview-54 LBW10_Preview-Moke-01 LBW10_Preview-Moke-03 LBW10_Preview-Moke-02 LBW10_Preview-Moke-04 LBW10_Preview-Moke-05 LBW10_Preview-Moke-06 LBW10_Preview-Moke-07 LBW10_Preview-Moke-08 LBW10_Preview-Moke-09 LBW10_Preview-Moke-10 LBW10_Preview-Moke-11 LBW10_Preview-Moke-12 Mini Moke 24 Hours of LeMons car LBW10_Preview-Moke-14 Beverly Hellbillies Ford Model T 24 Hours of LeMons race car Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 11
What’s Wrong With This Picture: Groß und Großer Edition Fri, 07 May 2010 20:15:35 +0000

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?

If you guessed that the new Benz by Binz (yes, that’s the company’s name) is simply larger than previous Großer models, you were wrong. The original 600 Pullman of 1963 measured 6.24 meters long, eclipsing this latest model’s 5.98 meters. And at 4,630-ish pounds, the latest Großer is a mere feather compared to the 1963 Pullman’s 6,100 pound dry weight. No, the answer is slightly less obvious than that…

That’s right, this is a Großer Kleiner. A stretched, six-door version of the Mercedes E-Class. Remember, Mercedes has a whole gross, er, Groß brand dedicated to 6+ meter-long, 6,000+ pound stretched S Classes: Maybach. But then, who could picture the next John Lennon in one of those?

]]> 11
Geely Rolls Out Updated GE Limousine Wed, 14 Apr 2010 15:47:15 +0000

Remember the Geely GE, the poster child for Chinese auto styling theft? It’s been updated for the upcoming Beijing Auto Show, and trust us, it doesn’t look like a Rolls-Royce copy anymore…

…but did we say it was an improvement? Ah well, the journey from pirating to successful, original design begins with a single, awkward step. We still prefer Hu Jintao’s retro-tastic Hongqi HQE though.

geelygeupdate1 geelygeupdateint1 geelygeupdateint2 Improvement? The old model... look familiar? ]]> 16