Welcome to the Danger Zone

welcome to the danger zone

Well, here it is. At the end of the proverbial day, a website saved is a website earned. I’m sorry I prepared y’all for a quick and brutal transition into paid content, and then dumped a free site on you. Psych! Actually, over the last few days I gradually realized there was no way to give this ship a proper shakedown cruise without putting it on-line. And if it wasn’t 100% ready for prime time, how in the name of St. Anthony could I ask you to pay for it? Why I’d be no better than GM! We’ve got plenty of time to make this the world's best automotive website.

Many of you have emailed in technical suggestions, which I immediately forwarded to Redwing. Rest assured that the back end boys are assembling a punch list of all the geeky stuff that passed over the e-transom. Feel free to continue the technological onslaught. We’re still working out some functionality issues (e.g. all commentators need to be able to edit their posts quickly and easily). I’m sure there will be others. And please let us know quickly if something goes wrong: denied permissions, glitches in function, etc. You are our eyes and ears (and we yours). Use the comments button below.

As for the site’s heart, soul and style, here’s what I figure. The home page doesn’t have enough posts. Well, that’s my take. The old home page had around twenty items in descending chronological order. Should we return to a lengthy home page or stick with the new shortened version (currently set at ten posts)? A glitch resulted in some posts having two paragraphs on the home page, before the jump. I preferred one. Yes? Do you miss the old open road animation at the top, or are you OK with a different detail shot every time? Which buttons are confusing or redundant? Is there something we missed? Something you really like?

Anyway, change is a bitch. You should see the content management side of this bad boy; it’s got a more complicated back end than the first version of the last gen 7-Series. (Who are these Word Press people and why do I think the name was originally used for a seventeenth century printing press modified to interrogate suspected witches?) One thing I’ll be looking for: the car stats. If they have to be migrated over by hand– a nightmare that will teach me far too much about torque– now might be a good time to modify them to include/exclude more info. What stats are we missing? And are there enough rating categories? Forbes said no a while back. What say you?

No, I’m not having an attack of the Bill O’Reillies. In fact, we’ve gone the other direction. You may recall that Brock Yates’ work was slated to appear here. At the sixteenth hour, Mr. Yates developed a cold. Then he decided he wouldn’t put fingers to plastic on our behalf unless we paid him a significant amount of cash (after agreeing to a percentage). Then it wasn’t the money, but the fact that the number of posts per month was too great (four) for his busy schedule. Fair points all, and he’s free to negotiate whatever deal he likes. But he might have mentioned this when we were scarfing sushi in Boston. I’ve left it that I’ll contact him again in two weeks. Should I? Guess which way I'm leaning…

The really good news: our writers are getting better. We’ve added some terrific new voices to the choir, and the regulars are sending in some pitch perfect stuff. Elton is about to throw down another gauntlet (should be interesting to see the comments). A newbie named Jehovah Johnson starts off on Q7 patrol. Mehta met a Morgan. Williams thinks car manufacturers have a license to lie. Lieberman is condemned to Fords. I’m about to Watch GM Die AND get a car to review. And there’s lots more challenging material to come. NOW how much would you pay? Not THAT again…

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  • Terry Parkhurst Terry Parkhurst on Jun 20, 2006

    The site looks good. However, do call Brock and work something out with him. My hunch is it will increase traffic. I have never found him cantankerous as much as thoughtful, intelligent, funny and a savvy negotiator. He has always been kind to me and he encourages talent. But then, I have never tried to hire him to do anything, save for writing an introduction for a book I was working on. He is arguably, the best known automotive journalist in America. And while boy-racers everwhere can debate if he knows his stuff, how many of them have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the American Spectator? Brock is truly thought-provoking. Brock has a gift for putting anything involving automobiles into context, largely because he is a student of history. The only writer who did something similar when writing about the automobile was the late, great Leon Mandel. Please, Robert work something out with Brock. I speak for many of us when I saw we want to read his work at TTAC. He belongs here.

  • Terry Parkhurst Terry Parkhurst on Jun 20, 2006

    Correction to last post: I speak for many of us when I say, we want to read Brock's work at TTAC. He belongs here.

  • Islander800 That is the best 20-year-on update of the Honda Element that I've ever seen. Strip out the extraneous modern electronic crap that adds tens of thousands to the price and the completely unnecessary 400 pd/ft torque and horse power, and you have a 2022 Honda Element - right down to the neoprene interior "elements" of the Element - minus the very useful rear-hinged rear doors. The proportions and dimensions are identical.Call me biased, but I still drive my west coast 2004 Element, at 65K miles. Properly maintained, it will last another 20 years....Great job, Range Rover!
  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Corey. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
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