The tuning world has always had to adapt to changing laws and regulations, but the industry is grappling with tightening emissions regulations that have changed almost everything about how they can do business. Iconic Miata tuner Flyin’ Miata announced it would no longer sell completely converted cars or conversion kits because of the changes, and now eBay has banned the sale of emissions defeat devices.
As electric cars are finding favor again, I keep hoping that their virtue of instantaneous, silent power will inspire automakers to revive the personal luxury coupe. Electric propulsion would be ideal for a car whose mission is to provide comfortable, stylish accommodation for two passengers plus the occasional occupants of a not-too-small rear compartment.
The long hood, an essential styling hallmark of the genre, could become a commodious “frunk” able to hold all the golf bags the marketing department might desire. Glove-soft upholstery might enrobe seats devoid of confining, uncomfortable lateral support bolstering. Every power assist and convenience would be in place to gladden the sybarite’s heart. For instance, power window switches could operate just by sight, so one’s fingers aren’t strained when ordering at the Starbucks drive-through window. Personal luxury coupes don’t need to be fast, enhancing driving range. The possibilities for Broughamized electric coupes are endless!
Yet, despite my frequent, vigorous attempts to show them the way, carmakers seem blind to the golden opportunity to revive the personal luxury coupe. Elon Musk has even stopped returning my texts. Philistine.
The MKVII is such a counterpoint to its predecessor, the MKVI. That car was a shrunken-down disco barge that clung to baroque styling and superfluous opera windows like a Titanic passenger might cling to an empty champagne crate bobbing in the freezing North Atlantic. Survival by dint of false luxury. The MKVII, on the other hand, was a personal luxury SPORTS coupe. A svelte, aerodynamic machine that could carve a few corners on the way to the county club.
Before Lexus, there was Cressida. It was probably more of a Japanese take on a Buick- or Oldsmobile-style upper-middle-luxury car than the game changer Lexus would be, but that’s no mark against it. The first Toyota bearing the Cressida name became available in the U.S. in 1977, and they were decidedly trans-Pacific cars, bearing much resemblance to contemporary Detroit products. Interiors could be Brougham plush; some available upholstery fabrics wouldn’t look out of place in a bordello – or a Buick. However, the instrumentation was more complete than you’d find on most Detroiters.
The name Sonett has precisely zero connection with the fourteen-line poems Shakespeare was so adept at writing; those are sonnets. Instead, it comes from a Swedish slang expression: Så nätt den är, which I’m told translates more or less to mean “how neat it is.” And neat the little front-drive sportsters are. The first SAAB Sonett was a roadster of compelling curvaceousness. It debuted in 1956, and the trolls in Trollhättan built precisely half a dozen of them.
Last week, a Lexus ES300 caught my eye. Glimmering two-tone Multiple Taupe Metallic paint called out to me, and frameless windows over thin pillars promised stylish and understated luxury. The 300 lettering on the back guaranteed V6 power and pleasant NVH characteristics.And the low miles guaranteed a final sale price that was ultimately insane. Is there a method to the madness?
Hi, I’ve recently acquired a 2003 Jaguar S-Type R. Sort of rare. It’s the supercharged V8 model. The car is in good condition, but has 140,000 miles and needs some TLC, to say the least. I’m having trouble finding parts. Salvage yards tell me they have parts, only the donor cars are standard S-Types. I’ve been on Jag forums and found help with engine, supercharger, and mechanical parts.
I need the lower (under engine, trans) body panels from the front valance back through the trans including inner fender wells and spoiler. The correct parts have cooling channels for brakes and trans. Jag dealers want small fortune. I’m trying to get salvaged parts. I even bought all new aftermarket pieces from eBay UK. Struggled installing them, five hours on my lift, altering parts to fit. So, obviously not correct, as a “Jag expert” assured me. During my first test trip I saw my new panels in my rear-view, bouncing off the highway into a million pieces.
So, I’m looking for some direction in finding R Model parts. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
If you’re looking for some electronic assistance backing your car but don’t want to mess with installing a rearview camera, a backup sensor system might be the solution.
Consisting of ultrasonic sensors mounted at the rear of the vehicle and connected to an audible alarm inside the car, a sensor system gives you a warning when you’re getting close to something behind you, typically growing more urgent as you get closer.
There’s no question a rearview camera can add a measure of convenience to the business of backing up and increase your margin of safety. Studies have shown a rear camera makes it easier to see small children, pets, or obstacles behind your vehicle that might be otherwise invisible using just your mirrors or looking out the rear window. And that goes double for pickups and other tall vehicles, which can have a blind spot as long as 50 feet to the rear. Adding a rearview camera can also make it easier to see and hook up a trailer.
Many new cars have backup cameras, and it’ll be mandatory equipment by the 2018 model year. For those of us without, the aftermarket offers plenty of choices.
Even if your car is equipped with a built-in power port or two, it may not have enough outlets to support all the electronic devices and habits of you and yours, or said ports may be inconveniently located or accessed. Maybe you want a configuration your car doesn’t have, like a 120V outlet to power a laptop or portable DVD player. Or maybe whatever ports your car has just haven’t been quite right since that last Big Gulp incident.
If any of these scenarios is the case, a power inverter can be the solution. Depending on the make and model you choose, an inverter can give you the versatility to power several devices at once, juice up your laptop or other electronic device, or provide more power and quicker charging than built-in ports in your car. And with prices starting at less than $50, inverters are affordable enough to make sense for almost any budget.
What would you do with a $500 eBay Gift Card?
Maybe you’ll want to hit Buy it Now on that Orange Monster you’ve been looking at for weeks, or maybe you’ll use it to pick up that rare collectible you’ve always wanted—but whatever you choose to do if you win one of the three $500 eBay cards we’re giving away is completely your choice.
Here’s how you can win.
This is my new 1992 Honda Prelude Si five-speed, which passed 100,000 miles last week while I was driving it home from Tampa to Tucson.
The car was for sale on eBay and I was in the market for a vintage stickshift Prelude as the ultimate souvenir from my Honda days. In addition, my wife and I had always wanted to do a cross-country drive. My sister and her husband recently moved to Florida, a hundred miles south of where the car was located. My wife had never been to New Orleans. We decided, what the heck, let’s buy the car and drive it home.
Did I mention that this Prelude was the closest thing to a barn-find car I’ve ever bought?
My supply of reader-submitted Piston Slap queries is running low! So in the coming weeks, please help re-fill the coffers. Just about anything goes! (Purchase queries go to Ask Bark.)
While you brainstorm your questions, let’s discuss headlight upgrades — because there’s a right and wrong way!
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- 285exp If the conversion to EVs was really so vital to solve an existential climate change crisis, it wouldn’t matter whether they were built by US union workers or where the batteries and battery materials came from.
- El scotto Another EBPosky, "EVs are Stoopid, prove to me water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius" article.It was never explained if the rural schools own the buses or if the school bus routes are contracted out. If the bus routes are contracted out, will Carpenter or Bluebird offer an electric school bus? Flexmatt never stated the range of brand-unspecified school bus. Will the min-mart be open at the end of the 179-mile drive? No cell coverage? Why doesn't the bus driver have an emergency sat phone?Two more problems Mr. Musk could solve.
- RICK Long time Cadillac admirer with 89 Fleetwood Brougham deElegance and 93 Brougham, always liked Eldorado until downsized after 76. Those were the days. Sad to see what now wears Cadillac name.
- Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
- Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.