Category: 3WTP

By on August 14, 2012

It’s easy to tell when you’re spending too much time emailing people about cars: your GMail ads start looking like this. The Miata ad probably comes from our comparison test winner, and the Mustang GT ad might be from the Zeroth Place Mustang. Notice anything odd about the GT500 ad?

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By on July 23, 2012

A little-known paragraph in most press-car loaner agreements states that “The vehicle may not be used for competitive purposes.” When you buy your own cars, however, you can do whatever you like. Our (not-so-much-of-a-)mystery contributor, Bark M., wanted to get an SCCA event under his Mustang’s belt before the temp tags ran out. He drove it back to back with an AP1 Honda S2000, and perhaps we’ll get some impressions from him in the near future.

But the question remains? What’s wrong with this picture?

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By on July 12, 2012

TTAC contributor-by-virtue-of-being-related-to-a-contributor “Bark M.” is in New York this week, without his new Boss 302, and sends this shot taken through the dealership window at Manhattan Jeep-Chrysler-Dodge. Read More >

By on June 28, 2012

I remember sitting on the pitlane wall at VIR in November of 2009, head in my hands, absolutely freaking out. In my Koni Challenge debut, I’d run about two seconds a lap behind my teammates Randy Pobst and 2008 series champion Jamie Holtom. The data said the difference was entirely confined to Turns 9 and 10, but no matter what I tried in those turns to fix the gap, it wasn’t good enough. I’d been pushed off the Climbing Esses by a GS-class Porsche 911, I’d struggled with brakes that were so bad Holtom refused to drive the car after me for more than two laps without a rotor change, and I had the distinct feeling that I’d let my team, Grand-Am champions Compass360, completely down.

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By on June 12, 2012

ViperVette - Photo: CarsInDepth.comAlmost every time I go to a car show I see something that reminds me that skill in shaping metal and plastic doesn’t necessarily translate into aesthetic taste or talent. Last year at a Woodward Dream Cruise event I saw what at first glance appeared to be sort of a Dodge Viper, but actually was a C4 Corvette with some creative fiberglass work. Then, a few weeks ago at a spring shine-n-show in northwest Detroit I spotted this not-so-cute ute.

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By on May 22, 2012

I should go on vacation more often. No, really. Last time I took some time off, I accidentally caught a parade of BMW prototypes descending the Sellajoch in Italy’s Dolomite Alps. Then, just weeks ago when I was in Los Angeles with Bertel, I was driving along towards Venice when I caught a glimpse of the tell-tale camouflage that makes every auto enthusiast’s heart skip a beat. And then I noticed that it had no tailpipe…

Of course, the vehicle I caught wasn’t anything earth-shattering, just a prototype of Toyota’s first-ever EV for the American market. And here in California, where electric RAV4s have been running around since 1997, this prototype didn’t exactly bring traffic to a halt. Still, it’s a reminder that even EV skeptics like Toyota are already dipping a toe in the battery-powered market… if only as a “compliance exercise.” Plus, it’s more evidence that my employers should give me more time to get away from the computer and drive around unfamiliar places. Obviously these prototypes want me to find them…

By on May 21, 2012

It’s easy to see the two Japanese luxury brands as Wahlberg brothers. Lexus is Marky Mark, the one which started off by flexing some low-priced knock-off S-Class clones and has gone on to make big bucks, receive critical acclaim. and fantasize in public about stopping 9/11 while respectful pop-culture writers whistle in awed approval. Infiniti is Donnie, who started out very stylishly but quickly became B-List despite popping out the occasional respected performance.

Part of the reason for that prestige gap between Lexus and Infiniti has to be what you see in this photo, which I snapped on the way back from lunch today. We have two vehicles here which are ostensibly from different brands and certainly don’t share any major dimensional commonalities or mechanical components, but I’ll be darned if they don’t look like the same car to most people.

The Sentra and G37 aren’t the only Infiniti/Nissan efforts which are totally different under the skin but very similar in the metal. Think first-gen Murano and FX, for example. Lexus does it the other way ’round, creating visually different vehicles from the Camry platform. Who’s right? It’s hard to say, but it’s easy to see that buyers prefer the approach where you put lipstick on a pig to the one where you dress a BMW like a Sentra.

By on May 14, 2012

“…as some men try to be proud of their defects, he extracted an ornament from an inconvenience, and vanity produced a grotto where necessity enforced a passage.”

So Johnson wrote of Pope. It’s always best to face the truth and do one’s best with it. Thus, in this TTAC-reader-contributed image, we have a FIAT Seicento — the absolute exemplar of “crappy Euro commuter” — and, rather than a Valkyrie or guy with a Fast and Furious sword on the side, we have the humble snail. Slow is good! Ask any hipster.

By on May 2, 2012

We all know Google’s evil hivemind constantly scans your GMail and targets advertisements to your recent mail threads. As a result, I’ve seen stuff from “Reliable Pregnancy Testing” to “Hundreds Of Collings Guitars In Stock” over the past few years, but what I saw this morning — “Check Out The Features Of The 2011 Lincoln Town Car” — intrigued me.

Why is Ford paying good money to direct people to the website pictured above?

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By on April 23, 2012

“Heritage” is a funny thing. Lamborghini wants to use it to sell you a shopping trolley. Chevrolet hopes you’ll see some of the spirit of the Sixties Impala in their current Azera-like.

What does Ford want?

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By on April 19, 2012

The third worst thing about this car is the fact that it’s known as the “Tom Mix Duesenberg” though western actor Tom Mix had apparently had absolutely nothing to do with it. That was a ginned up provenance by a former owner of the car. The second worst thing would be that somebody thought that the car pictured above looked better than the Murphy built Beverly Berline body styled by Gordon Buehrig pictured here: Read More >

By on April 3, 2012

Grizzled automotive veterans of the VRA (that’s Voluntary Restraint Agreement to you whipper-snappers) often wake in the night screaming about “ADP! ADP!” That’s “Additional Dealer Profit”, a little markup sticker found on everything from Accords to Z-Cars in the Reagan era. Honda dealers were perhaps the worst offenders, adding as much as three thousand dollars’ worth of pure markup to vehicles which often had MSRPs below ten grand.

There’s no “agreement” on the books that limits the number of Elantras that Hyundai can import from the far-off land of Alabama (or, in the case of this Touring model, Korea) but it looks like at least one dealer has decided to revive the glory days of automotive “stealerships”…

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By on March 20, 2012

This has to be a Photoshop job, right? Some of the pixels don’t look quite right, and I’ve seen quite a few ‘shops in my time which look similar, but most of that could be explained away by the fact that the EXIF data indicates it was taken with an iPhone, and some iPhones take awfully grainy pictures.

Alternately, it really could just be another one of these well-meaning but statistically naive attempts to get people to stop looking at their phones while they drive. You know, so they can look up and see the bumpers of all the stopped traffic ahead. Or the billboards…

By on January 8, 2012

Maruti Suzuki’s big news at the Delhi Auto Show was the debut of its production compact MPV, the Ertiga. But it wasn’t all staid family-carriers at the Suzuki stand, as the Japanese-Indian automaker also debuted its XA Alpha concept, described in this dramatically-narrated (to put it mildly) video as “The Small God For The Big Future.” Remember the Suzuki Samurai (our global readers will certainly remember the Jimny)? It’s getting ready for its 21st Century makeover…
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By on January 8, 2012


Ever since the ill-fated Contour experiment, Ford has maintained a strict separation in its global midsized offerings: Fusion for the Americas and Mondeo for Europe (let’s ignore, for the moment, Australia’s Falcon as the doomed atavism it is). But under the global “One Ford” strategy, a fusion (ahem) of The Blue Oval’s midsized offerings was inevitable, and Ford has signaled for some time that the Fusion and Mondeo are on the verge of becoming one. And here, courtesy of the, is the first leaked image of Ford’s unified, world-wide midsized contender: though the Fusion and Mondeo names will continue to be used in their respective markets, this car will carry both badges. But are we looking at a revolution in the oft-troubled “world car” game, or a repeat of the Contour’s compromises? Only time will tell…

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