Yesterday, I got Musked*.
I wrote an op-ed about how I think the Cybertruck won’t sell well over the long term, though I do expect it to sell strongly at first. I said it might be the first real flop from Tesla.
Perhaps predictably, it caused quite the stir among the company’s fans on Twitter.
Tesla’s Cybertruck is in the news again, thanks to some (on paper) comparisons between it and the Rivian R1T and news about a deal with Samsung for cameras for the truck.
I’ve been thinking this for quite some time — since the unveiling, really — and the more I see the truck in the news, the more I think it might be Tesla’s first true flop as a model.
In the concluding chapter of the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen story the other day, I was asked by a frequent commenter to share some of the things I liked or would miss about the Golf now that it’s gone away. I’m thinking of those things now as I view its dealer listing, recently updated with many photos. They never did replace the cargo area trim panels, I can see the scratches from here!
Today’s Rare Ride is the more streamlined successor to the dorky Stanza Wagon, or Multi if you’re Canadian. I mentioned Axxess as a Rare Ride back in 2017 with the Stanza article, and today’s the day we present it properly.
Come along for some versatile Sport Wagon goodness.
Today’s Rare Ride is a one-of-one – a light gold metallic and roof-free speedster. Underneath its considerably revised bodywork is none other than a 2002 Ford Thunderbird, a car Rare Rides has covered previously.
This very special Chip Foose design won at least one award in its day, and now it’s for sale (though not in Florida as one might expect.) Let’s check it out.
A little under two weeks ago, yours truly wrote about President Joe Biden’s plans for cutting tailpipe emissions and helping to encourage the shift to electric vehicles.
I laid out three basic philosophies that are at play in the debate as to how best move consumers en masse from internal-combustion-engine cars to EVs.
The appointment was made, and the Golf was in the shop for the headliner fixes and trim panel repairs after a most irritating morning appointment to trade keys. The same thoughts kept returning to mind continually, forcing me to consider a salient point: Did I want to continue with this sort of ownership experience years into the future?
Short answer? No.
The Rare Rides series has featured five Rolls– Royce premium vehicles in past editions, yet none of them had more than two doors. We remedy this oversight today with a four-door Rolls commissioned and owned by the king of Saudi Arabia.
It’s not what you’d call subtle.
Last we left off in the Golf Sportwagen Ultimate Decision story, the appointment was set for corrections on the headliner and panel issues I’d pointed out as a result of the headliner service. A late June morning, already a hot and muggy day. Your author is seen waiting by the door.
The other day when Rimac merged with Bugatti to form Bugatti Rimac, your author learned Rimac’s latest product release was the hyper-fast, limited-run Nevera. So let’s check out an incredibly quick Croatian EV that’s one of the fastest production cars in the world.
We reported last fall how Volkswagen-owned Bugatti had its future products on hold, given the financially turbulent and awful year which was 2020. In addition to the global pandemic cutting production, sales, profits, and everything else, VW was pouring lots of development money into its I.D. electric vehicle lineup.
At the time, there were mumblings that EV startup Rimac was in talks to purchase the brand from VW. News broke yesterday of a merger, where Volkswagen and Porsche are not entirely out of the picture.
Today’s edition of B/D/B is a little different than the norm. Usually, we ask you to choose from competing cars from three different marques all on sale in the same year.
This time we’re asking you to pick a Buy from among three different two-door Cadillacs, all of which cost about the same in 2021.
Given the constant hassles of Volkswagen Golf ownership lately, and how every media outlet is shouting “Highest Used Car Pricing Ever” as loudly as possible, I’ve been pondering selling the Golf to a dealer. No Facebook idiots, no trade-in for something else, just a sale.
Here in The Current Year, there are many companies that purport to give you both the best deal possible and make the car selling process seamless. I found out this week what five such companies are like in the early stages.
Today’s Rare Ride is a one-off bespoke build of an already very limited-run car. A 2000 7-Series BMW was not enough for one Mr. Lagerfeld, so he sat down with BMW Individual to work his car into something very special.
The result was intense Germanic luxury with a heavy helping of Regency Elite. Let’s go.
In the last installment of our Studebaker Avanti series, it seemed after four decades the Avanti was finally deceased. Stretched and pulled beyond recognition, the Avanti ended up as a Camaro and then a Mustang, and suddenly wrapped its Mexican production in 2006.
But there’s more!
In our last entry of the Studebaker Avanti series, things were at a low point. In the late Eighties, Avanti Motors Corporation was renamed AAC Inc., and the oft-edited Avanti coupe and convertible models were joined by a new luxury sedan. After the sedan failed to bring new customers to Youngstown-based AAC, operations shut down in 1991.
But after a few years, a familiar face returned to rescue Avanti.
That’s about a quarter of the number of GOP pols who voted against certifying Biden’s win.
We return with more Studebaker Avanti history today after the first three chapters brought us through the mid-Eighties and the first bankruptcy of the Avanti Motors Corporation. AMC built the Avanti as a standalone model since Studebaker ended its production in 1964.
We rejoin the action in a darkened room somewhere in South Bend, Indiana. A questionable new owner enters, stage left.
A few weeks ago, Ford took the wraps off of a new, “right-sized” pickup for the 2022 model year called the Maverick. The truck is different. For one, it’s a unibody design with four doors and a bed that’s integrated into the cab, not separate. For another, it’s a hybrid — which, I dunno. That seemed kind of brave, for Ford. It seemed brave enough to me, at least, to inspire me to take a closer look at the little truck’s specs … and that’s when I noticed that the new Maverick isn’t that little after all.
In fact, at 199.7 inches long, the new “compact” Maverick is a full two inches longer than the 1992 Ford F-150 “full-size” half-ton pickup.
When we concluded last time it was the dawn of the Eighties, and that’s where we pick up today.
In Part I of the Avanti story (which received some great comments) we reviewed the coupe’s design and very short original production timeline at Studebaker. But the car was so unique and so modern that two enterprising Studebaker dealers knew they couldn’t let Avanti die after just two years.
Today we take a walk through the next couple of decades, as the Avanti strayed further and further from its true self, ravaged by the passage of time.
Today’s Rare Ride is a design legend that was built for a very short while by Studebaker in South Bend, Indiana. One of those cars which just wouldn’t die, its two-year history of original manufacture was followed by about 43 years of sporadic independent production.
Onward, to Avanti!
Sweeping lines and a beautiful coupe silhouette, penned by one of the finest Italian design firms and built with care and attention to detail. Yes, the Rolls-Royce Camargue had one of those features. Let’s check out what happened in the Seventies when Rolls stepped outside their typical conservative mold.
As the resident sourpuss, I make it my business to complain about every industrial hypocrisy that crosses my path and the automotive sector has kept me so busy that there’s hardly any time left to address my own failings. Though I do have to confess that I sometimes feel guilty about how frequently I’m compelled to gripe about electric vehicles. Provided that you’re willing to work with their charging limitations and less-than-impressive ranges, EVs have a lot to offer even in their current state. But the way they’ve been marketed has been so consistently disingenuous that I often end my days on the cusp of a frustration-induced aneurysm.
The winds appear to be changing, however.
After years of watching the industry bang its head against the wall, the media seems prepared to shift its position. Accelerated adoption of pure electrics doesn’t seem to be happening and too many EV startups have ended up being little more than an opportunity for investors to throw away money. Increasingly fewer people ask me about battery-powered cars in a way that suggests true enthusiasm. Excitement has given way to dubiousness as more people have begun to ponder if electrics are really all they’re cracked up to be.
We’ve featured two special Eldorados in the Rare Rides series previously. Most recent was the final Collector Series of the ETC, or Eldorado Touring Coupe. Long ago we also featured the very first Eldorado Touring Coupe from the Eighties.
Today we’ll have a look at the ETC in the middle, and complete our collection with the smallest Eldorado generation of all.
At the start of the year, the city of Chicago announced that it would be changing rules pertaining to traffic enforcement as part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s updated 2021 budget package. But the one that was causing the most concern among motorists was a provision to have speed cameras issue tickets to anybody traveling 6 miles an hour over the posted limit, rather than the previous cutoff of 10 MPH. While just a singular aspect of the city’s plan to resolve a $1.2-billion deficit, it turned out to be one of the most controversial items and appears to have resulted in a tenfold increase in fines.
According to local affiliate CBS Chicago, data from a public records request indicated that during the 36-day period before and after the change took effect on March 1st, citywide ticketing went up from 35,784 citations in the weeks before to a massive 398,233 in the proceeding weeks.
Long before the S90 moniker was applied to a Chinese-produced front-drive car, it was (for a short while) the last chapter in a series of luxurious rear-drive Volvo sedans. What we have here is a last-of moment for Volvo, and a very rare one at that.
Presenting the S90 Royal Hermès.
It seems like we talk about personal luxury often here at Rare Rides, not that the topic could ever be discussed too much. Even though we discussed personal luxury just days ago via the Chrysler LeBaron, we’re back with more PLC today.
Let’s check out the 1988 Lincoln Continental Mark VII, in fashionable Bill Blass trim.
Volkswagen recently announced that it plans on making massive amounts of money by introducing more vehicles with over-the-air updates (OTAs), many of which will be able to store and transfer personal profiles so that users can effectively just rent their vehicles for eternity. Additionally, VW has suggested future models will have ability to lock features (that have already been physically installed) behind a paywall that users can unlock via subscription services — things like heated seats, satellite navigation, or even the vehicles top speed.
“In the future, our customers will buy, lease, share or rent cars just for a weekend, and we can use software to provide them with whatever they need over the air,” VW brand’s sales chief Klaus Zellmer said during an online presentation held on Tuesday. “The ID family has been designed for further development, with OTA updates to improve the software’s performance and tailor it to our customers’ needs.”
Today’s Rare Ride is one of the rarest versions of Chrysler’s third-generation LeBaron, in its run up to the final days and the conclusion of the very long-lived K-car platform. Sporty, turbocharged, and done up in black, the LeBaron had a long and winding road to get to its terminus.
Let’s talk about that history a bit.
We’ve featured several Aston Martins on Rare Rides previously, but have never covered its most recognizable car: the DB5. Designed in Italy, the DB5 was an instant collector’s item when it starred as James Bond’s ride in Goldfinger.
Today’s collection includes all three different DB5 body styles, each rarer than the last.
Hello! We’re back again with another installment of the Golf Sportwagen Follies. In our last update, I’d dropped off the Golf for its second new headliner after a sunroof drainage issue caused some considerable water damage. Just under two weeks later (this past Friday), I received the “All finished!” call from the dealer and went over to pick it up a couple of hours later.
What I found afterward was less than impressive. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Breathtaking, isn’t it? Just the right size, its lovely proportions carry off a premium look well. It was always a cut above the Camry and Accord with its superior drive and buttery smooth VG30 V6 as standard. Four-door Sports Car it was called, 4DSC stickers proudly on display. Nissan had a winner with that Maxima. But that Maxima was three decades ago, and after an experience with a 2020 Maxima, I’m here to tell you Nissan most definitely gives no more shits about its most expensive sedan.
Recently Rare Rides featured a very clean example of the DKW Schnellaster van from 1956. The front-drive and transverse-engine layout of the Schnellaster previewed in the Forties the basic format of the family minivan that would arrive over three decades later.
Among the standard Schnellasters produced, there was an even rarer variant: An electric version, as DKW experimented with the possibilities of early EV tech.
Today’s Rare Ride will mark the third Jensen featured in this series. Both our prior Jensen examples were produced by the company in 1975, but for very different customers and at very different price points. The P66 seen here is one of just two prototypes ever produced, planned to launch an all-new line at Jensen. But what happened?
The level of influence Elon Musk has is truly staggering, though not entirely without precedent. Steve Jobs was similarly famous and his whimsical marketing style ended up being so effective that you would see doppelgangers embracing his tactic of selling people an experience, rather than focusing wholly on the product. Minus the black turtleneck, some might even argue Musk has aped his style — perhaps while noticing similar sales tactics embraced by Ron Popeil, David Ogilvy, or P.T. Barnum.
A good pitchman is one that can adapt tried-and-true methods from their forebears while having enough unique flare not to come across as derivative. But not everyone has the magic and we’re left with a sea of less enduring (and endearing) copycats. Notice how practically every electric vehicle manufacturer seems hellbent on becoming the next Tesla, rather than adopting a corporate personality of their own.
The Rare Rides series has touched on the Ford Escort a couple of times before, via the sporty EXP and extra sporty Mercury Tracer LTS. And we’re back with more Escort today! This one carries no sporting pretense whatsoever, and unlike the prior two actually wears an Escort badge.
It’s an early wagon with the seldom-selected Squire package.
There’s a small camera just above the rear-view mirrors installed in newer Tesla models. If you haven’t noticed it before, it wasn’t of any particular relevance. But it certainly is now.
Tesla has decided to activate driver monitoring protocols in an effort to avoid liabilities whenever Autopilot fails and motorists unexpectedly find themselves merging off a bridge. After rummaging through the wreckage and collecting errant body parts, investigators can use the vehicle’s camera data to see what was happening moments before the car hurled itself into the ravine. If it turns out that the driver was totally alert and did their utmost to wrangle the vehicle as it went haywire, a colossal payout for the surviving family is assured. But if that camera catches them slipping for a microsecond, the manufacturer has all it needs to shift the blame onto the deceased driver.
Today’s review is brought to you by water: Water! It’s moist. The other day when I handed over the keys to the Golf Sportwagen, my dealer’s service department loaned me this base model 2021 Tiguan S 4Motion. There’s no glass on the roof so it’s almost certain not to leak water, but what about its other characteristics?
On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee advanced the Clean Energy for America Act making a few tweaks from earlier proposals. Changes include raising the federal EV tax rebate ceiling to $12,500 and opening the door for automakers who already exhausted their production quotas.
It’s good news for General Motors, which recently begged the government for just such a handout. But any manufacturer participating in the sale of electric vehicles will find themselves similarly blessed by the updated rules — assuming they make it through the halls of Capitol Hill with the necessary support.
Let’s take a peek behind the curtain to see what the updated proposal entails.
It’s time once again for an update in the Golf Sportwagen’s precipitation issue. Last we spoke, I’d noticed an initial musty smell in the Golf, and considerable headliner staining shortly thereafter.
After some delays in the service appointment process, my local VW dealer has a solution for me.
Last week we challenged you to pick a Buy from V6 versions of the 2007 Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima, and Honda Accord. The overwhelming feeling in the comments was in favor of an Accord purchase (and I agree with you). Today though, we step back a decade to the 1997 model year.
Does the Accord still win your vote in the Nineties?
In our last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we looked at some midsize V6 sedans of Japanese origin from 2007. In the comments most of you decided the Accord was worth a Buy, but complained that you’d rather spend $28,000 on a V6 Altima than the larger and nicer $28,000 V6 Maxima. Go figure.
Anyway, on to the American midsize sedan triumvirate of 2007!
In contrast to the Try Very Hard Japanese sedans of the Nineties, the early and mid-2000s period was a time for Japanese manufacturers to rest upon their laurels. It was a time to save some cash, and put in a bit less effort than in the tiring decade prior.
And lucky you, today you get to pick one to buy.
Rare Rides has featured a couple of fine Lagonda sedans previously. First was the 1980s rectangle designed by William Towns, which miraculously remained in production from 1976 to 1990. Next was the Lagonda Taraf, a super sedan intended only for the oil-flush UAE market.
Today we bring you the genesis of the Aston Martin Lagonda sedan line, the Rapide.