I had the distinct non-privilege of sampling an ND Miata at a Mazda event for the general public, which was also covered by one of TTAC’s sister publications. A gaze at the hood bulges at (slow) auto journo track speeds netted a surprise: there was an urgency to get this cab-backward profile on the Vellum.
It’s no different than being a design student; visions quickly sketched on vellum (lower case) were crucial. Today’s urgency isn’t for my GPA, but for Vellum Venom’s readers (all 51 of you) and for my soul. It’s been too long.
Every “How To” automotive series pushes the aftermarket hard for free stuff, even under-the-radar journos like Zach Bowman and Regular Car Reviews find themselves with free/discounted goodies. I’ve done product reviews in TTAC’s past, so this isn’t a Baruthian hit piece on journalistic greed. Heck, Bowman generously donated his pre-sponsorship clutch for TTAC’s Ford Sierra (more on that much later) and Mr. Regular seems like a righteous enough dude.
So instead, think of my work as the alternative to PowerBlock TV. What work is this, you may ask?
The latest creation as part of Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke Collections might as well have come from the Fox-body-loving garage of our own Sanjeev Sajeev Mehta. Showered in a svelte shade of heavy-metal brown, this Wraith ‘Inspired by Music’ model is just as inspired by the Brown Car Appreciation Society as it is Rock & Roll.
In a few days, TTAC’s editors will present their best and worst automotive picks of 2013. Today, Sajeev Mehta brings you his winners and losers in the field of design. Winners and losers below the jump.
Back in April, Sajeev and Steve found some time to reply to my letter where I posed the impossible question. As gearheads, we all want something fun, fast, efficient, and cheap (well, most of us want cheap). Much like a traction circle, all these needs are in competition and in order to make good on one you need to sacrifice another. The ultimate gearhead car, unfortunately, does not exist and it never will.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t good, affordable vehicles out there which are fun to drive while ticking most of the boxes. And, this time, I actually followed the advice of someone else and couldn’t be happier.
Have a couple of questions: I have a 72 Dodge Dart that I am performing a 318 to 340 swap. It’s taken longer than I planned (lack of time), I backed the car in the garage 2 years ago and now I am planning on firing it up in this April. The question is the gas: I had about a half tank when I backed it in, and I put some Stabil in the tank, but I took the cap off to try a new cap and the tank smelled really awful. I replaced the fuel filter, but should I drain the tank and refill with fresh gas, put some fresh gas in the tank to mix up what is in there, or pull the tank have it boiled out and refill. I was driving the car up until March 2009, and I put that last half tank in there in March 2009. I am in Long Island, NY so we have that crap gas till April.
I don’t know if this adds up to material for one of your columns but here you go if you want it. I am shopping for a new WRX wagon. These are pretty rare around here, hunted to extinction. I’ve been checking around and the number in inventory at the typical dealership is between zero and two. The local dealership wants to charge me MSRP, as well they might, but they have a new narrative to go with this: the factory was shut down in Fuji and there’s going to be a gap in deliveries. Is this hooey?
This faithful TTAC writer enjoys his break from reality to be a judge at the 24 Hours of LeMons. That said, a perk to having the great Murilee Martin on board is that my LeMons coverage now embellishes his: take a look at the ’58 Edsel Ranger pace car we “procured” from a race team.
One thing about the “rat rod” school of design is how great it makes an otherwise junky heap look in the hearts and minds of most bystanders. An ugly flat black paint job on one of the ugliest cars known to man is a Reeses peanut butter cup of automotive design! That said, the 1970s forged (yes really) Lincoln mag wheels and 390 V8 from a ’67 Ford Galaxie make the theme cooler than cool. And the white shag carpet seemingly taken from Dirk Digler’s rumpus room? Why not, it’s Rat Rod!
Also note the wicked body roll in turn one here at MSR Houston. And yes, that’s during pace car laps! Which begs the question, maybe we need more Rat Rod themed rides in Lemons?
This Autoweek article gave me a college flashback: when UT Austin’s Petroleum Engineers offered me a scholarship, but the Mechanical Engineers said no dice. Mostly because high tech, high mileage oil talk is rather boring. Much like discussing a cutting edge, long-life coolant before the Dex-Cool fiasco. So let’s open a can of worms for the Best and Brightest, and hit the high points of General Motor’s Dexos1, a somewhat revolutionary engine oil with a distinct lack of testing from the American Petroleum Institute. As per Autoweek, matters stand like this: (Read More…)
Is going Between the Lines this time ‘round more like shooting fish in a barrel? Let’s find out with the latest ad campaign from Lincoln, as covered by the Detroit Free Press:
Ford said today it is rolling out a new ad campaign for its Lincoln brand with the tagline “Smarter than Luxury,” and starring John Slattery, who portrays Roger Sterling in the TV series “Mad Men.”
There’s an ironic element there, considering the behind-the-scenes marketing dialogue seen on the TV show. If the boffins at Lincoln chose “Smarter than Luxury” over everything else, I gotta know what they passed on. Perhaps “Lincoln: Our Stuff Looks Like Poop Dung” was already under consideration for the Lincoln Log people. (Read More…)
While TTAC gets scorn for lofty criticisms of mainstream vehicles, should we demand perfection in a $405,000 (as-tested) vehicle? Because the Phantom is inches away from yesteryear’s glory: the highest regarded, finest engineered luxury vehicle before anyone cared about luxury vehicle upstarts like Mercedes-Benz or Lexus.
That’s not to say the Phantom isn’t drop dead gorgeous. The suicide doors are dumbfoundingly awesome. That Hooper Coachwork inspired design is impossible to miss: clock the long hood and short deck. And an elegant swageline, strong and stoic at the front, gently falling earthward before the taillights. Which are suitably small, drawing your eyes to the beauty of finished metal instead of the overwrought lighting details of lesser vehicles. (Read More…)
I lease a 2008 Mazda3 2.3L with an automatic transmission and 30K miles. I have had the car for two years and have been very satisfied. I am strongly considering buying the car at lease end. Here is the problem. After one year of ownership, I got stuck in some snow and needed to aggressively rock the car free. It took so long to free the car that the transmission temporarily failed.
I put it in reverse and just revs – no power to the wheels. Then I put it in drive – same result. I assumed that I overheated the transmission fluid and let it rest for two hours. I went back to the vehicle after it cooled down and it worked perfectly. It has worked perfectly since, with no noticeable damage. I recently brought the car to the dealer for an unrelated warranty repair and the service advisor recommended a transmission fluid change. He said the fluid looked dark and needed to be changed. He knew nothing of my snow escapade. My question is – Has the transmission been damaged badly enough that purchasing this car would be a mistake? Would a transmission fluid change be enough to mitigate the damage I caused? Do I buy the car at lease end or turn it in and run away?