By on April 3, 2020

Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC

Hey all. Big plans this weekend? Lots of stuff going on?

Yours truly plans to finally swap his car’s cheap winter rubber for equally cheap, corner-carving summer slicks (55 series — OH YEAH) in order to drive…. nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Then, if there’s time, maybe I’ll take a nighttime run in the only place where physical distancing isn’t likely to be an issue: the spooky graveyard on top of the hill. If there’s time, mind you.

Yes, with warmer weather upon us, the list of carefree pursuits knows no bounds! But tell us, what strictly automotive things are you doing this weekend to mentally distance yourself from, you know, issues? Read More >

By on April 1, 2020

Try as we might, there’s just no way to know everything about the contemporary offerings of all car manufacturers, even if consideration is limited in scope to North America. Invariably, our mental encyclopedia is missing a few pages. That means sometimes, we should consider the unknowns of our automotive knowledge.

Allow me to explain.

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By on March 31, 2020

“If you’re one of us, you’ll take a bite.”

If that quote soars over your head, I don’t want to know you. The infamous Seinfeld incident in which an eager-to-impress George reveals to his colleagues that he’s not a team player (at the same time sparing himself from becoming violently ill), riffs on the homogeneity of upper office environments. The forced social collectivization of a corporate in-group.

Climb the ladder high enough and you’ll wear the same brands, enjoy the same timepieces, drink the same booze, and golf the same courses. Or so the perhaps dated view of these things goes. Now, what about cars? Read More >

By on March 30, 2020

Image: FCA

Events of the last month (and the foreseeable future) will surely cause more than a few auto manufacturers to reevaluate their portfolios. Numbers for Q1, scheduled to be released this week but potentially delayed for understandable reasons, will surely be quite dismal.

Leaving one’s own personal views about the current economic shutdowns aside, do you think car companies might be forced (or choose to take the opportunity) to scrub a few underperforming models — or even entire brands?

Read More >

By on March 26, 2020

Ford F-150

Last year’s debut of a wonderfully throwback engine was just the early Christmas present many traditional truck fans needed. Sporting an iron block, pushrods, and 7.3 liters of displacement, Ford’s new heavy duty V8 felt like the 1970s were still upon us.

Rumor has it Mathew Guy has a blueprint of one adorning his bedroom ceiling.

While a delightful addition to the world of all things American and big, the engine carrying the codename Godzilla leads us to ponder how long it can all last. Read More >

By on March 25, 2020

1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham emblem in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About CarsLast Wednesday we recounted the cars of our youth — specifically, the first car we could recall which really impressed. Though few of you could top my example of the superbly fresh and fun Dodge Neon, everyone put in a good effort.

Today we’ll flip the question, and consider the first vehicle we recall as a disappointment to our youthful car enthusiast selves.

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By on March 23, 2020

There are a few manufacturers selling vehicles in this country that seemingly don’t want everyone to drive something painted a dull shade of grey or white. Large, teutonic sedans from Ingolstadt or Munich all seem to be on the greyscale (when was the last time you saw an A6 or 5 Series in any sort of bright color?), but even these manufacturers let loose with their sportier offerings. The natty Turbo Blue found on a TT RS is particularly eye-popping.

What’s your take? Given the option, if you were to buy a new car today, would it blend with the pavement — or would it be visible from space?

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By on March 20, 2020

In this time of stress, fear, and uncertainty, please forgive the gendered headline, online Millennials. It applies to all genders.

Having said that, this week’s release of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, a bread-and-butter product for the Korean brand, got this author thinking about design. Specifically, the decisions taken by design teams between major styling revamps. Read More >

By on March 18, 2020

Today we take a little trip down memory lane and consider the cars which impressed us most in our youth. And not the part of youth which contains a driver’s license and costly insurance, but the more formative experiences before that. Let’s talk foundational cool cars.

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By on March 17, 2020

Self-isolation and social distancing — it’s all the rage these days, though your author hopped on that bandwagon long before it was cool. Lonely nights lead to fewer viruses, the thinking went. A strategy that’s panned out over time.

As you digest that completely unnecessary and frankly uncomfortable information, you may as well ponder something that’s crossed my mind repeatedly over the past few days. Perhaps you can come up with an answer. Read More >

By on March 13, 2020

1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, gearshift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

You had to expect it. This QOTD, that is, not the reason for it.

As yours truly basks in the smugness of having stocked up on at least a month’s worth of food, toilet paper, and disinfectant two and a half weeks ago, thus sidestepping the panic-buying hordes picking supermarket shelves bare like buzzards on still-fresh roadkill, his self-satisfaction is nonetheless tempered with an edge of dread.

Frankly, I’m freaked out. Prepared and informed, yes, but worried all the same. For many of us, there could be plenty of days — and maybe even weeks — ahead where we’re not allowed to leave our homes. Your author’s prime minister already finds himself in just such a situation.

How would you pass that time? Read More >

By on March 12, 2020

No, this has nothing to do with the goings-on in your bedroom, but it does have everything to do with your garage.

To say the full-size pickup segment is a cash cow would be an understatement. Ultra-lux trims and specialty editions have led to obese ATPs and decadent margins, and few would disagree that we’re living in the golden age of the pickup. Still, not everyone’s getting what they really want — perhaps even you. Read More >

By on March 11, 2020

The virus that’s on everyone’s lips is having an incredible economic impact throughout the world. Auto shows have thus far been disrupted by the virus outbreak, too, and I’ve begun wondering: At the end of the day, do they actually matter?

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By on March 10, 2020

Image: Ford

We’ve talked in the past about models that left a bad first impression, then grew into themselves over successive years and generations — eventually earning our respect, and perhaps even our desire. My choice in that exercise was the Mercedes-Benz CLS, a model that aged like Robert Downey Jr. over its 20-year lifespan.

For the uninformed among us, that’s a good thing.

That particular change in perception was the result of fastidious German designers. This time around, let’s find examples where it isn’t the model that’s changed — it’s us. In short order, our initial disdain turned into something altogether different. Same car, same generation, but a different view. Read More >

By on March 6, 2020

GM

Shedding models is a hot pastime at General Motors these days. As the automaker embarks on an electric product push, it was CEO Mary Barra’s axe that cleared the way… by chopping waning ICE-powered nameplates. With the recent loss of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6, it seems the cull is nearly complete.

Lineup pared, GM now promises electric models in every segment and at every price point — a strategy made possible (and more importantly, profitable) by a modular electric vehicle platform juiced by cutting-edge Ultium battery tech.

With economies of scale supposedly on its side, which corner of the market should GM not ignore? Read More >

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