Opinion: Maine's Mitsubishi Delica Dilemma is Troubling

The Mitsubishi Delica is one of those quirky right-hand drive, four-wheel-drive vans from Japan. They’re popular among outdoor enthusiasts, fans of ’80s/’90s “rad-era” vehicles, and people looking for a capable camper without having to spend VW Syncro bucks. But in Maine – The Pine Tree State – Delicas are not welcomed, at least by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The state has sent letters to owners canceling their registrations.

Thanks to the 25-year import rule, Delicas of the right vintage can be brought into the U.S. with little issue and typically registered with minimal hassle in most states (I’m looking at you, California). However, it came to light recently that Maine was sending letters to Delica owners telling them their registration was canceled, and not because they didn’t do the paperwork correctly.

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Street Rod: The Granddaddy of Car Culture Software

While the summer months are normally the perfect time to take a road trip, New York has mandated that any jaunts out of state require a 14-day quarantine upon return — and any location one might want to visit on a lark has a strong likelihood of being closed to visitors.

Seems like a lot of hassle with very little payoff for yours truly, so I’ve been escaping into old films and television shows before they’re cancelled for being offensive. Video games have also become a staple of the modern pandemic lifestyle and, if you read my review of the Ford Simulator franchise, you’ll recall that my tastes skew toward terrible, automotive-themed DOS programs from the late 1980s.

Today’s entry is actually pretty decent, however — or at least it would have been at the time of its release.

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'They Will Grow Older': Jaguar's Product Boss Is Damn Sure Millennials Will Eventually Choose Self-Indulgence

Teen car culture is dying a swift death, The Atlantic claims, but Jaguar Land Rover’s head of product strategy feels the youngsters of today will eventually outgrow their desire for hassle-free autonomous commute pods.

As a great Jaguar print ad in the 1990s once stated, “Live Vicariously Through Yourself.”

In Hanno Kirner’s mind, this mantra will guide more than a few Millennials to take over the driving duties and indulge their innermost desires. It had better.

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Government Intervention is Intentionally Killing the Japanese Kei Car

Anyone with an interest in odd cars probably has at least a passing fascination with Japanese kei cars. As a member of that small subset of enthusiasts, I have a long-held fantasy that involves owning a Suzuki Alto Works, Daihatsu Mira Turbo, Honda Today, or Honda Acty. But the closest North America ever got was the i-MiEV, which Mitsubishi stretched a few inches to comply with U.S. crash ratings — nullifying its official status as a kei.

Sure, most kei cars are utter garbage from a driving perspective, but their utilitarian quirkiness and microscopic road-presence are difficult to replicate on anything other than a moped. They’re also stupidly affordable, which is one of the reasons they’ve persisted in Japan.

However, that’s beginning to change now that their home country has begun taxing them into extinction. The miniature breed, brought to life specifically so budget-minded motorists can have a vehicle and always find parking, lost roughly 25 percent of its yearly volume since Japan targeted them in 2014 — resulting in a sudden annual deficit of nearly 550,000 pint-sized vehicles.

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Automotive Hall of Fame Moving From Dearborn to Detroit, Wants to Be More Than a Museum

The Automotive Hall of Fame thinks it can better tell the history of the automobile if it makes a move to the Motor City.

William Chapin, the museum’s president, wants to expand the facility’s scope and become part of Detroit’s resurgence, so he’s looking for space near downtown, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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Thanks Dad, for Helping Me Appreciate the Joys of a Consistent Panel Gap

On this Father’s Day, I’m thankful my dad showed me his love of cars.

Unlike some fathers and sons, we have never turned a wrench together. Instead of teaching me how to fix cars, my dad, a quality engineer at Honda, taught me how to look for paint runs and inconsistent panel gaps. While some families sit around the dinner table sharing stories of a classic car they restored, my dad reminisces about the time I found a hair in the paint of a new Dodge Viper at a car show.

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Bark's Bites: Miami's Secret For Ridiculous Rides? Better Know 'A Guy'

“Rolls-Royce sold 4,000 cars last year.”

Carlos, a handsome, Cuban gentleman sitting across from me wanted to make sure that I understood this fact. He said it so intensely that I never even thought to question his number ( which was accurate). “Four thousand. That’s it. Do you know how many of them were sold to people on my street?”

I shook my head.

“Six.” He leaned back in his chair for dramatic effect, puffing on a cigar that had been handcrafted by one of Castro’s own private cigar maker’s proteges. “Six. That’s why I have to have the latest one. That’s why I have my friend, Manuel, looking for a very specific car for me.”

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Finally, See Spielberg's "Duel" on the Big Screen (If You Can Get to Denver Monday)

Because the power of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ is so extreme, the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Denver has fallen under my spell and allowed me to select and introduce four car films, to be shown each Monday during their “Alamo Takes the Wheel” month of April (actually, it was the endorsement of Repo Man director Alex Cox, who teaches at the University of Colorado, that convinced the Alamo management that this idea wasn’t completely stupid). The first of those films is the amazing Duel, an all-time-great Malaise Era car movie that shouldn’t need any introduction for TTAC readers.

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A Primer On Houston SLAB Culture

This well-traveled Houstonian thinks his town is Pistonhead Nirvana, proven every month via fanboi scale and diversity at Cars and Coffee gatherings. Or with every 1000+hp racer on at Texas2k, every shoestring budget’d LeMons racer and Art Car fanatic: it’s all here. Except there’s nothing like Houston SLAB culture.

A confession: I know automotive subcultures, no matter which socioeconomic population nurtures it, always raise the ire of outsiders. My response? Every generalization about SLABs applies to anyone building a custom, race or show car. We are all the same, deal with it.

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Junkyard-Found Chevy Tribal Sticker Leads To New Meme, Blame Social Media

During one of my many junkyard trips, I spotted a Crusher-bound Chevy truck with an “EAT’N FORDS/SHIT’N RAMS” window sticker. It wasn’t really worth a separate post here on TTAC, but I figured it would be good for a laugh on the Murilee Martin Facebook page. So, I posted it with the comment “This truck will be GET’N CRUSHED” pretty soon.” Next thing you know, a bunch of my miscreant car-writer friends jumped in with their own versions. Within a few weeks, this meme may well be a bigger online car meme than VTEC JUST KICKED IN YO and the debilitating skabsession, combined!

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When You Need Garage Tunes Right Now: Field Expedient Surround-Sound Audio System

When I moved into a Victorian near downtown Denver summer before last, I finally had something I’ve been longing for since I started messing around with cars: a garage! Since that time, I’ve been (very) gradually upgrading the place, with better wiring, insulation, beer signs, and so on. My long-term plan for the place involves an elaborate garage audio system, with a serious amp, good speakers all over the place, and a CAT5 line to the house that will provide access to the music collection on my file server. However, my long-term garage-upgrade plan also includes certain items that have higher priority— like, say, a source of heat— and I have been working on those items first. In the meantime, I needed to be able to listen to The Atomic Bitchwax at top volume, and I didn’t want to spend any money on temporary measures. One afternoon, I scavenged up the gear to make an extremely loud four-speaker setup. Here’s how.

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Bored On a Long Road Trip? Bad Car Bingo!

I’ve played many a game of Buzzword Bingo with equally bored coworkers while stuck in 19-hour PowerPoint presentations, back when I slaved as a tech writer in the software biz. Why not apply this concept to a bingo game for car freaks trapped in a boring rental car on a road trip across one of those states that’s nothing but cornfields?

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Quote Of The Day: Score One For The Car Mags Edition

The New York Times has a story that’s fascinating in its own right: the number of people leasing a car on leasetrader.com without first test-driving the car has doubled since 2007. Troubling stuff for most auto enthusiasts among us, but probably not much of a surprise to readers on the retail side of the business. One auto broker explains the most common reasons for taking this leap of faith:

Generally these are people who know what they want, whether it’s because they’re very brand-loyal or they’ve fallen in love with the styling of a particular model. Same goes for buyers who are strictly interested in getting the best deal, and those with limited choices like a big family that needs a nine-passenger vehicle with 4-wheel drive.

But, as one “enthusiast” explains, some consumers are just so well informed, they don’t need to drive their car before they buy it. That’s what they subscribe to magazines for!

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Live Chat With The Authors Of "Carjacked: The Culture Of The Automobile And Its Effects On Our Lives"
Book Review: Carjacked: The Culture of Automobiles And Its Effects On Our Lives

[Editor’s note: Please join us today at 3pm Eastern (noon Pacific) for a livechat with the authors of Carjacked: The Culture Of The Automobile And Its Effects On Our Lives]

Over the last several weeks, the Toyota recall scandal has reopened the national discussion about car ownership, raising new questions about the role of personal responsibility in our relationships with automobiles. Here at TTAC, we’ve argued passionately that a major lesson of the Toyota recall is that consumers can not rely on brand reputation or the assumption that cars will always work as we expect them to in order to protect ourselves and our families. But responsible car ownership doesn’t end there. To maintain a functioning relationship with our cars, it’s important that motorists understand that the vehicles we cherish come with high costs. And anyone who thinks that the awesome power of the private automobile doesn’t come with great responsibilities would do well to read through the relentless documentation of these costs that makes up the book Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect On Our Lives.

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  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.