Tales From The Cooler

Tales From The Cooler: TTAC Writer Buys A Cool Car

Car salesmen call buyers like me, “squirrels.” It seems like whenever I buy a new car, I pull a handbrake 180 turn at the last moment and purchase a completely different vehicle than originally planned. Last week I was so close to buying a new Mustang GT with the Track Package that a friend at Ford was poised to set me up with an insider deal. The only problem was I seemed to have forgotten that this will not be my daily driver so why was I analyzing SYNC Packages, luggage space, resale value and the like?

I regrouped and asked myself two questions: which vehicle will have the soul of the two most fun cars I have ever owned, the 1994 Mazda RX-7 and the 1988 Honda CRX-Si? Why do I live in sunny San Diego and have never owned a convertible? The halogens went off in my head. As fate would have it, a dealer I know had just traded for the exact car I wanted. Say hello to my little yellow friend.

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Tales From The Cooler: A Primer On That Primer-Like Paint

I do not understand the attraction of matte finishes on new cars. Most luxury automakers offer this ugly flat paint option, charging upwards of $5,000 over a standard finish. It is all the rage here in Southern California but I am here to tell you: matte ain’t phat.

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Tales From The Cooler: Instant Karma Depreciation

During all the turmoil facing hybrid automaker Fisker Automotive recently, from closing its doors to a possible resuscitation led by Bob Lutz, one thing has remained constant: the rapidly collapsing values of the Fisker Karma cars themselves.

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Tales From The Cooler: Disregarded Dreadful Drivers

We are bombarded with messages about the dangers of drunk driving, of the hazard of talking and texting on cell phones while driving, and the need to give a wide berth to folks driving Zipcars. We think there are many other varieties of unsafe motorists that get no attention from the media. As a public service, let’s take a look five subtle, but equally scary, drivers that make the highways a real challenge.

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Tales From The Cooler: The Persian Conversion

You are looking at the rarest Mercedes-Benz vehicle ever built: a 2011 GLK350 AMG that I spotted last week. How uncommon is this SUV? The exact production number was zero as that model does not exist. It appears the owner of the car added an AMG emblem to its hatch, part of an epidemic of de-badge and re-badge engineering happening here in Southern California.

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Tales From The Cooler: Is Mercedes-Benz All Washed Upton?

Our Managing Editor is losing sleep over the imminent collapse of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand images due to their upcoming sub-$30,000 models. When you are finished with your 27th viewing of Benz’s sneak peek at their Super Bowl ad above, let’s discuss.

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Tales From The Cooler: O, Barrett Where Art Thou?

I will admit that I am a Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction fanboi. I spent last week in Detroit during the NAIAS, and thus had to skip my annual trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for their auction extravaganza, one of the greatest automotive events in this country. However, amidst all the breathless reporting about Barrett-Jackson selling the original Batmobile for $4.6M, you might have missed the story of a rare fail by the auction giant.

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Tales From The Cooler: The Land Of The Crooked Car Buyer – Part Two

Fraud Rule Number One: no matter how cute your girlfriend may be, do not include her in the picture on your fake ID.

Welcome to Part Two of our exclusive series on the rollicking world of Los Angeles luxury car buyers defrauding automakers, banks and dealers. In Part One we looked at Lemon Law scofflaws and odometer clockers. Today we will examine the crooked schemes that can be used to obtain the vehicle of your dreams. We will begin with the case of robber Baron Haghighi, who last month tried to con a few cars out of several Southern California high-line dealerships.

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Tales From The Cooler: The Land Of The Crooked Car Buyer – Part One

I recently stood on the showroom floor of a Los Angeles-area luxury car dealership as their sales manager pointed out a middle-aged couple browsing the lot. “We will never sell them a car,” he said. “In fact, we are going to politely ask them to leave.” Why? “One of our salespeople recognized them. They are professional Lemon Law scammers. They have hit two other dealers but they are not going to hit us.”

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Tales From The Cooler: Throw In That Used Caliber And You've Got Yourself A Deal

The Mitsubishi dealership in Easley, South Carolina is aiming for new business by offering a free gun with the purchase of any new or used vehicle, according to Columbia’s Channel 10.

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Tales From The Cooler: Buff Book Boy Beaten By Dealer, Booed By Bugatti

I have not read Automobile magazine regularly since the late David E. Davis, Jr. departed the Ann Arbor rag a few years ago. I did grab a copy of their November issue while stuck in an airport last week and was treated to a pair of puzzling pieces from Contributing Writer Ezra Dyer.

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Tales From The Cooler: It Seemed Like A Gouda Idea: Utah State Students Build Car Powered By Cheese Waste

I don’t think Bertel would have gone for my original headline:

It Seemed Like A Gouda Idea. Colby Was A Dip But Knew He Curd Build The Car. He Was Not A Whey Nacho Man Nor A Whiz At Car Building As His Wife Brie Reminded Him On Those Nights She Got Grilled On Kahula And Cream While Sitting On A Brick In Front Of Their Swiss Cottage In Monterey, Jack Baruth Being Her True Love. Colby Was Becoming A Basket Queso In His Quest To Get His Kraft In Front Of Auto Writer Csaba Cheddar: Utah State Students Build Car Powered By Cheese Waste

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Tales From The Cooler: Owner's Manual Shootout: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 Vs. 1968 Ford Mustang

There are two cars parked in my garage that are just begging for a comparison test. A new Mercedes-Benz GLK350 has taken up temporary residence here. My wife Sally Jo is the proud owner of a pristine 1968 Mustang 302 Coupe which was purchased new by her grandfather. How could we resist not doing a comparo to find out which of these vehicles offers the better…owner’s manual?

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The Story Behind The Goosed Suzuki Sales Numbers

Last month, Bertel reported on a Wall Street Journal story that revealed that BMW USA officials inflated sales figures in their zeal to overtake rival Mercedes-Benz in US sales. The automaker was offering dealers cash to basically sell the cars to themselves, under the guise of the units being used as customer demonstrators. The WSJ piece was met with laughter in the halls of car companies, as the practice is common to most automakers. The hilarity has officially ended: a former American Suzuki sales rep was just indicted for wire fraud for conspiring with a dealer to inflate sales figures.

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Tales From The Cooler: Stolen Ford GT Falls To Pieces. TTAC Reader Idemmu Wins Grand Prize.

When we last reported on the saga of the 2005 Ford GT that was stolen in June during a home burglary in Rancho Santa Fe, California, all that had been found of the supercar were some chopped up parts, with no chassis or drivetrain in site. That soon changed.

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Tales From The Cooler: France Forces All Drivers to Buy Breathalyzers. This Is Not A Joke.

On July 1, all 37 million car owners in France were required to spend 2 Euros for a disposable breathalyzer to be kept in their vehicles at all times. Failure to do so will result in a fine of 11 Euros. Lest you think this is a weak attempt at a parody of the French and their love of wine, go here.

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Tales From the Cooler: Requiem for Hideaway Headlamps

I bought my first Corvette primarily because of its headlights. Spy photos of the 2005 model had just hit the press, revealing that Chevrolet was dumping the Vette’s hidden headlamps, the heart of the car’s sleek look for 41 years. Corvette purists howled in protest. Convinced that the automotive world as we knew it was coming to an end, I immediately ordered a 2004 Spiral Gray 6-Speed Coupe.

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Tales From The Cooler: Stolen Ford GT Found Stripped

Well, that did not take long. Authorities in Vista, California today found what was left of the 2005 Ford GT discovered stolen from tony Rancho Santa Fe last week. We usually don’t mind strippers at all, butt …

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Tales From the Cooler: Come Vacation In Beautiful Starspangled200 Dot Org!

While stopped in traffic on the 405 today, I gazed at the California license plate on the Mini in front of me, marveling at the clever phrase that Sacramento has chosen to promote the Golden State: “dmv.ca.gov.”

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Tales From The Cooler: Who Stole My Ford GT?

The city of Rancho Santa Fe is located in the rolling hills north of San Diego. It claims, like so many other burgs across this country, to have the highest average family income in the nation. Wherever they rank, the little town of 3,100 residents boasts some serious bucks.

And one RSF resident just lost his or hers 2005 blue-with-white stripes Ford GT supercar.

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Tales From The Cooler: California "Helps" Car Buyers By Raising Documentation Fee

Despite the Golden State being 16 billion dollars upside down and spinning towards bankruptcy, its legislators still find time to concoct regulations to confound the thousands of franchised and independent auto dealers within its borders. These statutes are always enacted to “protect the consumer.” That may not be the case this time.

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Tales From the Cooler: Car Museum Found in Barn

You will find the Deer Park Winery and Automotive Museum in suburban San Diego, next door to the Lawrence Welk Resort for seniors. Yes, that Lawrence Welk. Just follow the Chevy Impalas with their turn signals stuck on.

The museum is a semi-secret. I lived in Southern California for three years before I heard about this eclectic Escondido auto collection. I would later introduce it to other car nuts who were unaware of it, including one who worked only five miles away.

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Tales From The Cooler: Prius Dethrones Cadillac. In The Left Lane
Please say a friendly hello to TTAC’s newest author, Virgil Hilts.

Brock Yates called them “members of the Anti-Destination League.” You and I have our own pet names for the folks who dawdle along in the fast lane, oblivious to those around them.

I have recently deduced that the auto-demographics of Left Lane Blockers has shifted. Over the past 30 years, no automobile has come close to the most common clogger: the Cadillac. Was the traditional Caddy owner taught to drive in the left lane as teen? Does owning the “Standard of the World” give you some entitlement to annoy your fellow man? Whatever the reason, I am here to announce that the Cadillac’s reign is over. All hail the new King of the Left Lane Realm:

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  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.