By on March 28, 2016

McLaren 675 LT Front 3/4 on Pacific Coast Highway, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

The rich are different. They have nicer things. – Leonard Schreiber, DVM

I try to avoid superlatives unless the object of said superlatives is, well, truly superlative. In this case, however, they may be applied without reservation. The McLaren 675LT is an extraordinary car, with performance capabilities exceeded by fewer than a handful of very limited production vehicles. Perhaps what makes it most extraordinary, though, is just how well it performs as an ordinary car.

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By on February 11, 2016

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I’ll start with this: Hannah, wherever you are, I do not apologize for stealing your car. You were a real b— … well, white men like myself aren’t allowed to use the “b-word” nowadays, it’s considered more harmful to womyn than all 359 of those sexual offences that happened in Cologne that we’ve all agreed to pretend didn’t really happen. Why don’t we just say that you’re a very mean person. I don’t apologize for that, or for stealing your car.

Now, where were we, to use three words in a row that start with “w” and end with “e”? Well, it’s like this:

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By on December 2, 2015

Two weeks ago, the B&B took the time to educate me about license plate readers and their various extra-legal uses. As someone who has worked at least part-time in the tech industry since the mid-90s, I started thinking about what the cost would be of a distributed plate-tracking business. Eventually the readers will be smaller and less obvious, at which point you throw a couple of bucks to Uber drivers and the like to toss them on all four corners and send you the data.

Given enough sources, eventually you’d be able to have a pretty good database of personal movement in your chosen area. That data is certainly worth money to someone, whether that “someone” is a real-estate developer, a fast-food franchisor or a private detective. Short of writing legislation specifically to stop such activity, I don’t see how anybody’s going to stop that business model from eventually becoming a reality.

In the meantime, however, there’s already one entity that has access to a nontrivial database of ANPR information. Good news! At least one government official has proposed that this information be used to save you from yourself.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

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Like Randy Newman, automakers love Los Angeles this week as the industry descends on Southern California for two days (really, one-and-a-half days) to showcase their latest and greatest.

Automakers are lining up to show off their wares Wednesday (Cadillac is a lone exception for Thursday) so we’ll reuse our tuxes without dry cleaning for two days, we guess. We’re animals.

We’ll be on the floor live Wednesday to cover everything we can, but in the meantime, here’s a primer to whet your appetites for the show.  (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2015

2015 Mitsubishi RVR (1 of 11)

Mitsubishi will reveal redesigned versions of the 2016 Outlander Sport crossover and 2017 Mirage subcompact at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show next week, the automaker announced Wednesday.

Both models will be mid-cycle refreshes, though the Mirage is expected to get more attention beyond a simple skin-deep rework.

The latest news means Mitsubishi’s rumored future crossover, expected to sit between the Outlander Sport and larger, three-row Outlander, won’t be making its debut in Los Angeles this year.

(Read More…)

By on April 30, 2015

08 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

As the owner of a proper California-built custom, I’m always on the lookout for down-at-the-heels examples of the breed when I return to my former state of residence. Last month, I spotted this flamed-and-custom-grille-equipped Eldo in a San Jose-area yard. (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2015

01 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost of these Junkyard Finds come from big chain-owned self-service wrecking yards that have fast inventory turnover and plenty of fresh cars at all times. This means that I’m going to see lots of Volvo 240s in California, lots of old Subarus in Colorado, and millions of acre-feet of Tauruses and Sables everywhere. Oddball high-end stuff shows up, too, like the occasional Maserati or every Jaguar XJ-S ever made, but you just aren’t going to see a Rolls-Royce in this type of yard… until now. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2015

UIS-CroppedSome might tell you that Cheech & Chong’s 1978 movie, Up In Smoke, was about Malaise Era drug culture, or Los Angeles, or California punk rock, but in fact it is one of the greatest car movies in cinematic history. For this reason, I have used my Svengali-like powers to convince the management of the Denver Alamo Drafthouse theater to include this fine automotive film as part of the Murilee Martin Presents series. Yes, on Monday, which just happens to be April 20, we’ll roll Up In Smoke starting at 7:30 PM. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2015

08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinExamples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough ’76 that I spotted in Los Angeles while visiting Cheech & Chong movie locations in a ’15 Ford Transit van. (Read More…)

By on February 16, 2015

07 - 1953 Plymouth Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen I visited Southern California back in December, I hit the jackpot with interesting junkyard cars to photograph. In addition to stuff I haven’t shared yet, there was this fully-loaded ’82 Subaru BRAT, John DeLorean’s weird rope-drive Tempest with 540-lb four-banger, this rust-free ’84 Cressida, and this ’51 Plymouth Cranbrook. The self-service yard that had the ’51 Plymouth also had today’s Junkyard Find, which tells you a lot about how spoiled Los Angeles car freaks are. (Read More…)

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