Five-year Update: Your Author's 2015 Lexus GS 350

Time flies, doesn’t it? Seems just a year or two ago your author took a troubled and stressful trip to Austin to pick up a lightly used GS 350. But that was a full five years ago now, prior to pandemic times! We last spoke about the GS in April of 2021 at the two-year mark. Three years on, this is the longest I’ve ever kept a single automobile.

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Where Your Author Owns a Used BMW Convertible for a Year

It seems only a couple of months ago I reported on my experience traveling from Cincinnati to Nashville to purchase the 2010 BMW Z4, thus satisfying a used convertible car search that lasted for a year and a half. Though that search was much more lengthy than I’d have preferred, I was convinced at this time last year that I selected the right car for my usage case. But does that still ring true, do I still think an old German car was the right choice?

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Abandoned History: The Apple Electric Car Project, Rest in Peace (2014-2024)

After a decade-long project that saw changes in approach, multiple delays, staff changes, planning and replanning, and conflicting reports, Apple’s Titan autonomous electric car project is dead. The company made an internal announcement on February 27th, 2024 which leaked to the press immediately via several Apple employees. The project’s cancellation created our most recent Abandoned History subject matter to date. Let’s start at the beginning, in 2014.

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Scrapyard Find: 2010 Citroën C4 Picasso VTR+

While SUVs and crossovers have become increasingly popular in Western Europe in recent years, compact MPVs have done very well there during the past quarter-century. One model that proved to be a solid showroom hit was the Citroën C4 Picasso, and I documented one of these machines during my recent trip to the scrapyards of Northern England.

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Scrapyard Find: 2010 Peugeot Bipper, Royal Mail Edition

Last week, I joined fellow car writer Andrew Ganz on a four-day trip to Northern England, with one of Great Britain's two Ewe Pullet-style self-service junkyards as our primary destination. This was the U-Pull-It in York, and today's Junkyard Scrapyard Find is one of the more interesting products of the Société Européene de Véhicules Légers during the 2000s.

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Abandoned History: The 2014 VIA VTRUX Pickup, a Forgotten Silverado
A brief moment in EV history passed us by about a decade ago, when the little-known VIA Motors introduced their lineup of VTRUX hybrid-electric vehicles. You…
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Junkyard Find: 2012 Hyundai Equus

When the first Hyundai Excels appeared on American streets as 1986 models, bearing shockingly cheap price tags, did anyone imagine that someday there would be a big, ostentatious Hyundai luxury sedan with serious V8 power available here? It happened, and I found one of those machines in a car graveyard in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a few weeks back.

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Used Car Review: The 2010 BMW Z4, an Extinct Metal Roof Convertible Experience
Back in February, I purchased an old Z4, one of the prior decade’s smattering of folding hardtop convertibles. Nearly extinct today, such a roof arrangement…
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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Kia's Larger and Full-size Sedans (Part X)

As we return to the history of Kia’s large sedans, we find ourselves in the midst of the 2010s. When the full-size and rear-drive K900 was introduced for the 2015 model year, Kia’s front-drive comfort option, the K7 (Cadenza to you), was in the midst of its first generation. A replacement for the unloved and ugly Opirus (Amanti to North Americans), the K7 ushered in sophisticated but bland Euro-centric styling from Peter Schreyer upon its launch in 2010.


Cadenza didn’t make its way to the North American market until 2014, and debuted with slightly sharper styling and a nicer interior via a mid-cycle refresh. Kia took its time in bringing the Cadenza to the North American market, as they wanted to be sure they got it just right


In the end, the first Cadenza fell between the soft rock of the Lexus ES and the hard place of the Nissan Maxima. Additionally, it lacked the prestige to compete with other large front-drive upmarket offerings of the time. The new cadenza lasted only three model years in North America, as Kia was ready for an all-new generation K7/Cadenza in 2017.

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Abandoned History: Ford's Cruise-O-Matic and the C Family of Automatic Transmissions (Part VI)
We return to the final entry in our Cruise-O-Matic and C transmission series, at a time when the former’s Fifties-tastic name had faded from the memory of most. The C family was the wave of the future when it arrived as a rework of the Cruise-O-Matic in 1964. The first of the line was the C4, a medium-duty box that was followed two years later by the heavy-duty C6.
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Rare Rides: The Wallyscar Brand, From Tunisia With Pride

Today’s topic is an automaker you’ve likely never heard of. It’s a small company that was founded not that long ago, offers vehicles in very limited markets, and produces around 600 vehicles per year. Its product is based upon old ideas from other manufacturers, all done up in fiberglass until very recently. Let’s enter the wonderful world of Wallyscar.

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Abandoned History: General Motors' Turbo-Hydramatic Transmissions (Part III)

We return to the Turbo-Hydramatic once more today, and our third installment sees us at a critical point in the timeline of the automatic transmission. Fuel economy pressure from the government and performance demands of the consumer increased considerably in the intervening years since the THM’s debut in 1964. That meant the creation of lighter, more compact, and cheaper versions of the Turbo-Hydramatic compared to its flagship shifter, the THM400. GM branched out into the likes of the THM350, THM250, and the very problematic THM200.

In 1987, GM stepped away from the traditional THM naming scheme and switched to a new combination of letters and numbers. Number of gears, layout, and strength combined to turn the THM400 into the 3L80. But the hefty gearbox was already limited by then to heavier truck applications; passenger cars moved on to four forward gears after the dawn of the Eighties.

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Abandoned History: The Chrysler UltraDrive Transmission (Part II)

We finish up our Abandoned History coverage of the long-lived UltraDrive transmission today. The pursuit of simplification, modernization, less weight, and better fuel economy lead to the creation of the electronically controlled four-speed A604 marketed as UltraDrive. The idea floated around at Chrysler in the Seventies and then was greenlit and put into production (before it was ready) by an eager Lee Iacocca. A case of unfortunate timing, the new transmission arrived in 1989 at a time when there was almost no exciting news in Chrysler’s product portfolio. Thus the UltraDrive name was coined by marketing, and the new and advanced transmission was featured heavily in the company’s PR materials in 1989 and 1990.

The UltraDrive’s debut version was prone to numerous types of failures because of fluids and sensors, build quality, parts, really everything. But engineers at Chrysler quickly massaged the A604 into the improved 41TE that was ready for use midway through the 1990 build year. UltraDrive was up and running within acceptable reliability standards per Chrysler. Clearly, it was time to create more UltraDrive variations!

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Junkyard Find: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi SE AWD

Even though everything in the General Motors universe looked pretty shaky in 2009 and GM-affiliated Suzuki gave up on its attempts to sell Suzuki-badged cars in America in 2013, somehow an interesting new Suzuki midsize sedan managed to appear on our shores for the 2010 model year: The Kizashi. Just under 23,000 Kizashis were sold in the United States and Canada during the car’s 2010-2013 sales run, and I’ve found this clean ’11 in a yard just south of Denver, Colorado.

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Abandoned History: The Chrysler UltraDrive Transmission (Part I)

The recent Rare Rides Icons post on the 1990 Chrysler Imperial Super-K Gingerbread Cookie Edition generated a few comments not only about the subject in question but its four-speed UltraDrive transmission. It seems more than one of you wants a discussion – no – an essay on the UltraDrive. Wish granted! Here we go.

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  • MaintenanceCosts The symbol is the standard international sign for "controlled access highway." Presumably they are trying to evoke the Autobahn.
  • MaintenanceCosts Absolutely. Most old classics are not Boss 429s or Busso Alfas. Most of them have powertrains that are just crap by modern standards. I'd love to have a classic without the pre-emissions stinky exhaust or the need to futz around constantly with points and jets to maintain drivability.
  • Ravenuer No, I wouldn't be interested in doing this at all. Seems like it would be quite expensive.
  • Tassos Why buy either when you have two matching 2007 diesel e-classes with combined over 950k km. NO ONE SHOULD WANT MORE THAN I HAVE SETTLED FOR.
  • FreedMike Depends on the used car. If we're talking a numbers-matching GTO or something like that, then hell no. But if we're talking about something like a six-banger '67 Mustang, it'd be cool to make it into an EV with modern suspension, brakes and electronics. Call it an electro-restomod.