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Ur Turn

By on June 25, 2015

Maybe it’s the horrific condition of most New England roads. Maybe it was because we just had snowiest winter in Boston since anyone’s been counting. Or maybe, just maybe, I have finally fully succumbed to my Napoleon Complex. “The great proof of madness is the disproportion of one’s designs to one’s means.” ―Napoleon Bonaparte  What […]

By on June 22, 2015

Just a couple of months ago, GM quietly announced their factory 5 year/100k mile powertrain warranty was going to henceforth be downgraded to a 60k mile powertrain warranty because their cars are all fine now and customers don’t care about long-term warranties. About 48 hours after this was announced, my wife found herself limping along […]

By on April 18, 2015

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(If you have some time this weekend, this contribution, from our reader Robert, will be worth that time — JB)

“I will NEVER drive a minivan.” Thus ended the first hostile negotiation serious discussion with my wife about our next vehicle purchase.

The story so far: It was the summer of 2005. Our family truckster (a 1995 Toyota 4Runner SR5) was doing a fine job hauling mom and the first born around town during the week, plus me, the dog, and the cubic yard of gear required to travel with a one year old child on our frequent weekend trips to the Texas hill country. Anything I wanted to bring had to survive on the roof.

The 4Runner had been a masterpiece of engineering, form, and function to us. But even with Toyota’s legendary reliability, after 10 years and 135k on the clock, her many trouble-free miles were running out. A starter here, a radiator there, and stranding my wife and infant son on the side of the road with electrical gremlins made its replacement eminent. Contemplating the addition of another child with our already tight space requirements made it a matter of practicality. Her preference for large SUVs and my deep seated frugality made it, um, interesting.

“A Sequoia or Armada will work.”
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By on April 9, 2015

Reader iMatt shares his experiences with the Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 “Quebec Special” Is the old 2.0L engine really as bad as the internet believes? I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d need to buy a second vehicle to compliment the Honda Fit shared by my girlfriend and I. That time finally […]

By on April 2, 2015

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If you thought yesterday’s article on Alex Roy’s latest “cross-country record” was fake, you were right on the money. As many of you suggested here and elsewhere, Alex and I came up with the idea during our cross-country drive in Matt Farah’s Million-Mile Lexus. Alex was frankly dismayed at the cottage industry of cross-country driving that had sprung up since the publication of The Driver and wanted to do something to demonstrate just how low the standards of participation, “competition”, and proof had become. When we found out that someone was trying to set up an “original Cannonball” to take place in the near future, Alex decided to strike. He “went dark” for 72 hours, as did I, and with the help of many of his friends and fellow drivers Alex created the idea of 26:28.

Now here’s the weirdest part: someone else did set a new cross-country record this past weekend. He says he doesn’t want publicity or media attention. So… Should we leave this piece as the final word on a pop-up culture of absurdity that honestly believes it’s “safe” to cross the country in under thirty high-speed hours? Over to you, Mr. Roy — JB

Sorry, Ed and Dave. You still hold the Cannonball record, to the best of my knowledge.

To quote the drummer from Spinal Tap: “I believe almost everything I read, and I read quite a lot.”
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By on March 31, 2015

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Please extend a warm welcome to Tavarish from Jalopnik and APIDAonline as he takes you step by step through the Alex Roy cross-country Q50 — JB

Life, when it boils down to its base elements, is about one thing: legacy. It’s up to the movers and shakers in the world to make sure that not only are they never forgotten, but that their accomplishments are so far outside what’s possible that all one can do is stand by the wayside in quiet admiration, with a pinch of envy. Alex Roy happens to be one of these modern-day luminaries, and as you’ve probably learned today, he, along with two co-drivers, shattered the transcontinental record in a car that is a pioneer in its own right. Here’s what it’s like.

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By on March 5, 2015

Workers of French oil giant Total and the SFDM Society, and SNCF railway workers block the entrance of the deposit of the society SFDM near the oil refinery of Donges

 

If you drive a Tesla, Leaf or a Volt, you may not have been to a gas pump lately. For the rest of us you’re probably wondering how in the Hell did he get it so wrong! There are some pretty amazing things happening in the oil industry, and a perfect storm gathered to spike gasoline prices in the short term, and has set up a tidal wave of oil that could completely collapse both crude oil and refined fuel products just as the summer driving season begins.

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By on February 16, 2015

I’m driving down a narrow dirt track somewhere in a South Texas at a hurried but not unreasonable pace. As I round a bend, the ground arches up into a tall “whoop” just a few meters in front of me. I can’t go around it, and hitting the brakes will only send me skidding into […]

By on February 11, 2015

User carguy gives his take on the Cadillac ATS Few cars have been the subject of so much lively debate among TTAC readers than those made by Cadillac – and no more has been more polarizing than the ATS. As it happens, I have been driving one of these controversial machines for the past 15,000 […]

By on February 4, 2015

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TTAC reader David Obelcz is back with his rundown of the latest crop of Super Bowl ads.

For some watchers of the Super Bowl the game being played is meaningless. For them the sport is not on the field and the debate is not that the Patriots are one of the most dominate teams in football history and Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to play the game why Pete Carroll didn’t give the ball to Marshawn Lynch in a 2 and goal on the 1 yard line. It isn’t meaningless to them because their team didn’t make the big game either. For some, the Super Bowl is all about the advertisements that run.

For the 2015 Super Bowl there were fewer car advertisements than previous years and from a marketing stand point, mostly duds. Thirty-eight national ad campaigns debuted that were required to turn 60 minutes of sport into four hours of television, 7 from auto makers. In addition, General Motors, Ford and Mini showed previously released advertisement in the 30 minutes prior to kickoff.

Some of the Best and Brightest of this hallowed site have suggested that Detroit sells on emotion, and emotion doesn’t sell product. If that’s true than a lot of ad agencies got it wrong this year because not just auto makers, but most advertisers played on emotion. For some including Nissan, Nationwide, and Dove, there was more emotion than the look on Richard Sherman’s face when Malcom Butler picked off Russell Wilson.

On to the ads.

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By on January 16, 2015

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A Ford engineer responds to our last piece on the Ford GT.

In “Ur-Turn: The Hater’s Guide to the Ford GT”, we get a glimpse into the Ford product development cycle for high-volume vehicles.  The authors, who humbly claim that it was a broad overview, give a rather complete account of the roles, responsibilities, and procedures behind nearly every Ford product that comes to market.  It’s a fascinating process, and it occurs every day at virtually every OEM and supplier.  But what happens when a particular design or system defies convention?  How do you validate something that is unlike anything your company has ever produced?  What happens when you push the product development envelope so far, that you enter a completely new and unfamiliar design space?  This is where we’ll find the Ford GT.

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By on January 15, 2015

TTAC reader James Federico sends us his take on life with a Mitsubishi Delica “It’s a Mitsubishi Delica” “Japan originally, but I bought it from a dealer in London” “About 10 grand” These are the first three sentences I speak any time I exit my van within twenty feet of another human being. There are […]

By on January 14, 2015

David Obelcz is back with Part Two of his series on oil prices. Part One can be viewed here.

In the 1966 Spaghetti Western classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the three principal characters come together in what is considered the most iconic standoff in cinematic history. Three parties hostile to each other and the first one to shoot is the most likely loser.

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By on January 14, 2015

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TTAC and the Blue Oval have a wonderful back channel that bears all kinds of fruit. Information on the new Mustang, the F-150’s aluminum construction, the subsequent delays in manufacturing aluminum bodies and the Raptor’s upcoming EcoBoost engine were just some of the scoops we’ve obtained via our sources. We also blew it when we called BS on the new Ford GT.

As it turned out, the car is real. But it’s being done outside of normal channels, and this could have potential negative consequences for buyers of this very exclusive, very expensive supercar. A few of our sources penned this editorial to help shed some light on the matter. They are drawing on their collective experience in various functions to help illustrate how the GT was developed, and why the secret, skunkworks nature of the project could be negative.

If you’ve read any media outlet (automotive or otherwise), you’ll know that the new Ford performance group will be releasing 12 performance inspired vehicles coming before 2020.  The star of the show is the Ford GT, with its carbon fiber construction and mid-mounted EcoBoost V6 engine. The reception from the press could not have been any more enthusiastic. The last thing we need is to throw more lube on the collective media hand job for this car.

TRIGGER WARNING: The following editorial might be offensive to Ford fanboys, supercar geeks and those who aren’t acquainted with the way things work inside Ford. You have been warned.

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By on December 1, 2014

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TTAC reader (and Pontiac G8/Holden conversion owner) David Obelcz gives us his thoughts on the current situation in the world of crude oil – and how that will affect car enthusiasts.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, Saudi Arabia blocked a proposed production cut by OPEC, sending oil prices plummeting around the world. As I write this the price of oil and gasoline futures are in collapse. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures are down over 10% to $66.15 a barrel on the near-month (January 2015) contract, Brent is at $70.15, and gasoline futures are down to $1.90.

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