Opinion: We Need More Off-Road Parks (and Drag Strips, and Tracks…)

This past weekend, I went off-roading. I took a Ford Bronco Raptor I was testing to the Badlands Off-Road Park in Indiana (with Ford’s approval) because I felt that the Raptor needed to be taken off-road, if possible, for me to get a full picture of the vehicle’s capabilities ahead of a possible future review.

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Chinese Toyota Plant Runs Out of Electricity


Toyota has suspended operations at a factory in China because local authorities issued an order for the region to conserve electricity. Sichuan province is reportedly rationing energy for both residential and industrial zones, complicating things for manufacturers. Toyota has said that the plant is likely to be closed through Saturday — adding that it would be monitoring the situation and taking guidance from the Chinese government. But the issue could have sweeping ramifications because the area is also home to numerous part suppliers.


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QOTD: Do Automotive Executives Make Too Much?

Automotive News has a story out showing that for automaker bosses who have been in their position for at least two years, median pay has risen 90 percent since 2020.

The story is accompanied by a chart with salary numbers, and some of the numbers are staggering, even knowing that CEOs tend to be extremely well compensated in this day and age.


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That Stings: 2023 Dodge Hornet

The self-proclaimed muscle car brand is finally dipping a toe into the ultra-hot (and ultra-competitive) compact crossover market. It will launch as a 2023 model – the first new Dodge in recent memory, it should be noted – with the choice of a gasoline powerplant or a plug-in hybrid. 


And as part of the festivities, Dodge is bringing back a trio of consonants from their history books: GLH.


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Auto Lobby Warns EV Tax Credits Are Shrinking


With the automotive lobby having signaled its displeasure with some of the concessions made in the “Inflation Reduction Act” signed by President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the White House has said some 20 models will still qualify for electric vehicle tax credits of up to $7,500 through the end of 2022. However, that’s down roughly 70 percent from the number of models that could have ridden out the previous scheme, as the new content requirements have made most fully electric cars ineligible. 


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Rare Rides Icons: Lamborghini's Front-Engine Grand Touring Coupes (Part VIII)

We return to our Rare Rides Icons coverage of Lamborghini’s front-engine coupes at a moment of relative triumph. After three earlier design proposals failed to pass muster with Ferruccio Lamborghini, a fourth received approval and was chosen as the 400GT’s replacement. Part of an in-house collaborative effort between Mr. Lamborghini, Carrozzeria Marazzi, and Lamborghini’s engineers, the resulting coupe was sedate, elegant, and not that removed from the outgoing 400GT 2+2.

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Dodge Unleashes a Festival of Internal Combustion

In the face of an inevitable EV onslaught, Dodge is determined not to go quietly into that good night. Yesterday, they showed plans for a half-dozen Charger/Challenger special editions for its final model year in 2023, tag-teamed a shop in Florida to make Chally convertibles, and heralded the return of the Durango Hellcat.


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U.S. Issuing $1.66 Billion in Grants for Zero-Emission Buses


On Tuesday, The Department of Transportation announced that it was prepping $1.66 billion in grants so that cities can purchase zero-emission buses. Headed by the Federal Transit Administration, the program is aimed at getting 1,800 new vehicles into metropolitan areas – which the White House claimed would effectively double the number of electrified buses currently in operation. Though a portion of the funds will be earmarked for buying up public transportation reliant on hybrid-electric, natural gas, and diesel powertrains.


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Where’s the Beef? Chevy Introduces Silverado ZR2 Bison


General Motors has no shortage of off-road trims in its truck lineup, ranging from Z71 to ZR2 on the Chevy side and all the way up to AT4X over at GMC. Now, the bowtie brigade is borrowing the Bison suffix from its Colorado midsizer and applying it to big-bro Silverado.


Oh – and this tidbit before the jump: Its silky inline-six diesel is set to make more power in 2023.


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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Stutz, Stop and Go Fast (Part XIX)

Today we find ourselves in the 19th chapter of Stutz historical coverage. In the early Eighties Stutz (somewhat) successfully branched out from its Blackhawk-only product line, and made the Bearcat targa, the Bearcat II convertible, some SUVs for dictatorial armament and parade usage, as well as sedans and limousines. 


We’re in the latter group of automobiles at the moment. So far we’ve covered the one-off Duplex that found no customers, and its successor the IV-Porte that did. After the IV-Porte came the Victoria, which added 10 additional inches to IV-Porte’s base, the B-body Bonneville. Victoria survived the Bonneville’s full-size demise in 1981 and moved its basis to the similar Oldsmobile 88 in 1982. Around that time Stutz added an even more exclusive, larger, and more garish sedan to the lineup. Let’s talk about Diplomatica.

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2021 Ford Bronco Black Diamond Review – Cheap(ish) Wheelin’

Those who’ve studied the build and price site for the Ford Bronco will note that the company labels the upper trim Badlands and Wildtrak versions as the ones you should select if you plan to go wheelin’ often. That’s before even thinking about adding the Sasquatch package.

The "Save the Manuals" crew will also note that the Badlands trim is the only way to get a loaded Bronco with a clutch pedal.

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Oregon Sees Sizable Stolen Catalytic Converter Bust


As you may have already heard, catalytic converter thefts are on the rise for a myriad of reasons. Crime is up in general, the economy is in rough shape, they're pretty easy to steal, difficult to track, and the price of certain metals found inside the emission-limiting devices (e.g. platinum, rhodium, and palladium) absolutely skyrocketed after global shutdowns stifled production. The issue has actually gotten so bad that even relatively small cities are reporting organized theft rings getting busted with piles of catalytic converts on hand.

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QOTD: Ready for An EV Performance Revolution?

Recently, Dodge made news by saying its beloved V8 performance cars are going full EV in the not-too-distant future. BMW is talking about a similar transition.

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Mercedes Pulling Metris Van From U.S. Market


Reports that Mercedes would be removing its Metris van from the U.S. market emerged over the weekend, with the German automaker confirming the decision.


Despite carrying a larger price tag than the competition (starting around $35,000), the Metris often compares favorably from behind the wheel when the maximum cargo capacity and price aren't the chief concerns. Unfortunately, those tend to be very important items when people are shopping for working vehicles and the Metris' sales numbers have reflected that. Mercedes has struggled to reach 10,000 deliveries annually and the Metris volume is routinely bested by models like the smaller Ford Transit Connect or the ancient, full-size Chevrolet Express.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XII)

Lincoln was in a bad way at the turn of the Sixties, both financially and in terms of its product. The company lost hundreds of millions (adjusted) in the early and middle portion of the decade, when it invested in and then promptly canceled the Continental Division. Attempting a rebound, Lincoln dumped lots more cash into a new unibody platform that was exclusive to Lincoln models. 


The new lineup was on sale from 1958 to 1960 and was unfortunately introduced at the start of a sharp economic recession. However, even after the recession ended Lincoln’s gaudy and overworked styling caused customers to steer clear of Lincoln and purchase Cadillacs instead. Lincoln lost $60 million ($550 million adj.) more. 


1961 heralded the arrival of an all-Continental lineup, the Elwood Engel design that was instantly popular and saved the company. However, the new and streamlined (in all ways) Lincoln lineup spared no room for a Continental Mark series. The Mark slumbered until 1968.

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  • EBFlex They are getting rid of the Charger and Challenger for a modern day Neon?just end it Dodge, you had a great run
  • Garrett Frankly, I don’t understand why some of the manufacturers haven’t lobbied for more areas, or built their own. Imagine being able to access a local Jeep park, at a reasonable membership fee. Or a Land Rover one for a lot more. That’s money worth throwing down.
  • Lou_BC Developing "off-road parks" in areas with higher populations and a lack of public access land would be a good idea. It would be great to be paired with licensed off-road instructors. Set up costs would be relatively low. I took an entry level off-road course a few years ago with my son's Cherokee. It was fun. I'd like to take a winching course and an advanced driving course.
  • ToolGuy If you want a new Toyota, plan to buy it in the next 4 years.
  • ToolGuy The real question is - with all the value they add and all the sacrifices they make - do automotive journalists make too little. 😉