Category: Heritage

By on December 18, 2018

Considering they’re only making 160 of them, the suicide doors on the eighty Coach Door Edition Lincoln Continentals to be sold next year have garnered quite a bit of attention.

The use of rear-hinged doors on vehicles dates to the horse age. It seems that sometime in the 1930s the moniker “suicide doors” was applied to them, apparently due to people’s propensity  for falling out of cars in the decades before Ford introduced the seat belt (as an option in 1956). There’s also, at least according to something frequently reproduced online, a connection with gangsters pushing people out of cars — though to my ears, that would be more like homicide doors.

I’m not convinced, though, it’s any easier to fall (or be pushed) out of a car with such doors, other than the fact that aerodynamics will help keep the door open while you’re falling (or being pushed). Read More >

By on December 17, 2018

Image: Lincoln

It’s true. You’ll soon be able to slap down a pile of hard-earned cash for a 2019 Lincoln Continental with suicide coach-style doors. Well, 80 of you will.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Continental nameplate, Lincoln Motor Company went the extra mile for heritage devotees, revealing a limited-edition model that dispenses with front-hinged rear doors and adds half a foot of wheelbase to pull it off. You’ve never had a better look at the Continental’s B-pillar. Read More >

By on December 13, 2018

Image: Lincoln

So many of us want this to be more than just a sick tease that results in nothing new on the showroom floor. Would we buy it even if it wasn’t? That’s debatable.

Regardless, all we have now is the tease, plus plenty of clues. Posted Thursday afternoon to Lincoln Motor Company’s social media accounts, an image of suicide doors — a feature that graced Lincoln Continental sedans from 1961 to 1969 — has appeared, along with a cryptic message. Read More >

By on November 15, 2018

Image: Honda

The space between compact and midsize crossovers, automakers have discovered, is ripe for the creation of a wholly new segment. A tweener, essentially, that bridges the gap with two rows of seating but more cargo room, power, and (often) luxury than a compact can muster.

Ford learned this long ago with its Edge, and General Motors recently discovered it with the reborn 2019 Blazer. Nissan’s Murano stakes out the same ground, positioning itself as the slightly upscale alternative to the Rogue and Pathfinder. Then there’s the former Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, now just Santa Fe. Not to miss out on an opportunity for big crossover bucks, Honda’s preparing to enter the fray with a new iteration of the Passport.

Unlike the Passport that came before, there’s no Isuzu hiding beneath these clothes. Read More >

By on October 31, 2018

It’s fitting that we’re bringing you this story today. For years, scientists have longed to resurrect a dead corpse, but there’s now a plan afoot to do the same with a long-defunct car brand: Hispano-Suiza.

Known for its production of aircraft engines as much as its series of glitzy, early 20th century automobiles, the original Hispano-Suiza brand ceased to exist in 1968, some 30 years after building its last car. Come next March’s Geneva Motor Show, we’ll see what the founder’ great-grandson has in mind for the brand’s future.  Read More >

By on September 20, 2018

Image: PSA Group

Damn, you’re thinking. If I could get my hands on that. Just think — Italian leather shoes, a sport coat, people wrenching their necks as you drive past, Papa Was a Rolling Stone oozing from the stereo…

Okay, this fantasy has gone too far. The vehicle you see above is Peugeot’s e-Legend Concept, a vehicle that wins the “glimpse of the future” contest hands down. This is the kind of all-electric, all-wheel drive, partially autonomous vehicle we like looking at. Read More >

By on September 12, 2018

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

Kiss the never-ending Summer of Love goodbye. Leaves are falling from the trees, there’s a chill in the air, and Becky from Sacramento just left with your best friend — and wallet. After two latter-day revivals, the Volkswagen Beetle, formerly the New Beetle, formerly the Beetle, formerly the KdF-Wagen, looks to be entering its final model year.

There’s no concrete plan to return it to the lineup at any point in the future, either, despite the tie-dyed dreams of certain wistful VW executives. Maybe this truly is the end. Read More >

By on September 11, 2018

Image: FCA

Which is to say, not close at all. The automotive brand born of the farm equipment giant produced its last passenger vehicle — the long-in-the-tooth Scout SUV — for the 1980 model year, five years after its pickup line bit the fertile Midwestern dust. Not long after, International Harvester ceased to exist as an independent brand, shacking up with Tenneco subsidiary I.J. Case after the company hit the skids and sold off its agricultural division. Navistar International Corp. rose from the remaining IH ashes.

The truck you see above is most certainly a Ram HD, but the paint is all International Harvester. You guessed it — the bright minds at FCA have come up with another special edition. By our count, it’s the 987th of the past decade. Read More >

By on September 7, 2018

Image: Ford

A lengthy Medium post penned by Darren Palmer, director of product development for Ford’s Team Edison, went live yesterday, no doubt at the request of Ford PR types and company brass. (It was shared on Ford’s media page.)

In it, the Ford product veteran goes on about the challenges facing his team of electric vehicle developers, mentioning, “The stakes are high.” Are they ever. With 16 fully electric vehicles on the way by 2022, joined by 24 electrified vehicles, that’s a heavy plate to carry. Despite having nearly 20 years of hybrid vehicle exposure under its belt, large swaths of the buying public remain confused by electrified powertrains (“Will my PHEV leave me stranded with an empty battery?”) and anxious about EV range. It takes time — a lot of time, apparently —  to change hearts and minds. The U.S. EV take rate is less than 1 percent of new vehicle sales.

However, what created a splash on Thursday was not the revelation that building and selling EVs to the American public is hard, but the image accompanying the post. Read More >

By on September 5, 2018

Image: Lada

We’ve all seen movies set in the perpetually grey, bitterly cold Soviet Union (later Hollywood films featuring Russia were apparently allowed to show sunlight), but if you lived north of the border a few decades ago, it wasn’t just the weather that looked familiar.

Lada Canada imported Iron Curtain cars for two decades (1979 to 1997), offering rudimentary, pinko automobiles to Canadian cheapskates for very few kopeks. Your author recalls entering the high school library at the dawn of the internet age and slowly booting up the Lada Canada website, where a five-door Samara was advertised for $4,995. Few of these showed up on local roads, as Hyundai offered slightly better no-cost transportation options.

However, there was one Lada vehicle that can truly be considered a classic, and it’s the one everyone remembers best. Sadly, after more than 40 years of production, the virtually unchanged Niva (now known simply as the 4×4) seems destined, like the Berlin Wall, to pass into history. Read More >

By on August 31, 2018

Image: Harley-Davidson

It was always a weird partnership, but, despite ending five years ago, it seems a struggling Harley-Davidson can’t stop thinking about its ex.

For more than a decade, Ford Motor Company sold Harley Davidson Edition F-150s to consumers whose other car was a bike. The “wow” factor varied, as over the years the model morphed from an appearance package to a performance variant to a luxury castle, only to be muscled aside by a growing roster of high-end trims.

Well, Ford and Harley-Davidson are back at it, but it isn’t an official reunion. Read More >

By on August 28, 2018

Image: Ford Mustang Mach I, by Corey Lewis

Don’t worry, Mustang owners. Ford Motor Company is definitely leaning away from naming its upcoming sporty, “Mustang inspired” electric crossover the Mach 1.

Fans of what will soon be the last remaining Ford car gave the automaker an earful after it teased the model at this year’s Detroit auto show. Hold on there, sailor, the voices cried — you’re telling me the V8-powered fastback of my dreams, the one with an optional Cobra Jet motor, is about to be sullied by a case of name theft? Why not just debut a bicycle called the Thunderbird while you’re at it? The back-peddling began almost immediately.

Now, it seems Ford realizes not everyone is as eager for an all-electric, self-driving (but maybe not completely self-driving, wink, wink) future as CEO Jim Hackett is. The Mach 1 revival seems doomed. Read More >

By on August 25, 2018

Image: Jaguar Classic

The sexiest car ever built rides again, only this time it won’t emit pollutants from its slender, chrome tailpipes. Jaguar Land Rover Classic, the automaker’s parts and servicing arm for old British tin, has announced a production version of its 2017 E-Type Zero concept will be made available to buyers.

Yes, this is the vehicle that Prince Harry and his bride, Meghan Markle, drove away from Windsor Castle in following their May nuptials.

Boasting a body long considered the equivalent of automotive porn, the E-Type Zero uses a restored E-Type Series I as a starting point. Beneath the car’s shapely flanks, however, it’s strictly 21st Century living. Read More >

By on August 23, 2018

Image: Kalashnikov

You don’t have to be from a former Eastern Bloc country to feel strange pangs of desire for this Russian one-off. Built by Kalashnikov — yes, that Kalashnikov — the CV-1 concept car features an old body concealing an advanced electric powertrain.

The maker of the AK-47, AK-74, and various other automatic small arms apparently wants to stamp out Tesla’s decadent invasion of the Motherland’s fledgling EV market. Read More >

By on August 17, 2018

In 1968, Ford issued a limited number of lightweight, “335-horsepower” Mustangs intended for the drag strip. While street legal, the vehicles were absolute beasts on the track thanks to the implementation of the 428 Cobra Jet engine. The powerplant utilized the racy 427 FE’s intake manifold and added ram-air induction, a functional hood scoop, and an engine bay full other performance modifications. It was serious business and produced far more horsepower than Ford claimed. Most estimates place the initial Mustang Cobra Jet’s output around 410 hp.

It’s now half a century later, and the model 50th anniversary is not an occasion you ignore. Ford chose to bring the Cobra Jet back for the occasion with iconic decals and mechanical upgrades that send it into the past and future, respectively. Unfortunately, onlookers can only enjoy the retro graphics and savage acceleration of this version at the track or in a garage. Because the Cobra Jet is way too extreme to be road legal.  Read More >

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