Tag: 2010s

By on April 19, 2022

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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By on April 18, 2022

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEven 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. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2022

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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By on March 24, 2022

There has been much speculation over the past week regarding General Motors’ trademark application for a new Buick logo. Likely related to a swath of new EVs on the horizon (but not yet confirmed), the news fired up the old Abandoned History thought box. Why not take a look at all of Buick’s past logos? We began yesterday in 1903, and pick up today in 1942.

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By on January 5, 2022

Historically speaking, the handicap accessible vehicle market in North America was catered to by aftermarket companies, who’d convert standard passenger vehicles (usually larger vans) to be accessible. But in the early 2000s, a couple of entrepreneurs had a new idea: A commercial vehicle designed from the get-go as accessible. Let’s talk about the Vehicle Production Group, it’s a bit of a wild ride.

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By on December 27, 2021

Sort of like the Cimarron we covered in our last edition of Abandoned History a couple of months ago, today’s vehicle is pretending to be more than it is. It’s the luxury X-Class truck Mercedes-Benz sold in markets outside the USA. Can you tell what it actually is?

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By on November 12, 2021

Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio are near-premium sedans from the midsize segment. This set was a suggestion from commenter CoastieLenn on our B/D/B entry from last week. The year is 2011 – does Acura, Audi, or Volvo get the Buy nod? (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is one of just nine Alfa Romeo TZ3s built in 2010 by Zagato. Priced at over $1 million at the time, every example was immediately sold to a collector who put it in an alarmed garage somewhere warm and sunny, and then didn’t drive it.

However, underneath the fanciful Zagato bodywork was a platform few million-dollar class collectors covet for their garage.

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By on July 16, 2021

Late last year I put forth some thoughts about the future direction of Infiniti, largely about how the company was on a downward trajectory. Looking forward, the brand needs a major change in direction – not much has changed since December when I wrote that piece.

But one might then logically ask “Where did the company first lose its way?” I’m going to answer that question right now. Let’s take a little trip to the Before Times, in 1990.

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By on July 8, 2021

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.

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By on June 30, 2021

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!

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By on June 16, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride hails from a brand your author hadn’t heard of until this tweet yesterday. My fingers could not fly fast enough to obtain more information on this beautiful spectacle of an off-road luxury grand touring SUV. Are your eyes ready?

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By on May 11, 2021

Today’s excessively titled Rare Ride is one of a select few Infiniti Q60s blessed with a unique set of colors and options, and sold via luxury department store Neiman Marcus.

Hope you like Metallic Mustard.

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By on May 3, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride started out as a beautiful Chevrolet Camaro convertible and was transformed into a Pontiac Hurst Trans Am by an enthusiastic owner. We’ll let you be the judge on how successful the operation was.

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By on April 20, 2021

Believe it or not, two full years have passed since I took the very long and fairly rushed journey from Cincinnati to Austin to purchase the 2015 Lexus GS 350. After the fly-then-drive non-holiday trip, it was time to settle into some routine ownership and driving. Routine might be the wrong word though, as within a year the scope of “routine” changed considerably. Want to guess how many miles it’s accumulated over the past couple of years?

(Read More…)

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