Rare Rides: The Beautiful and Illustrious Fornasari 99, From 2012

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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QOTD: Should Drug Testing Be Necessary for Plant Work?

Matt raised an interesting question yesterday in his piece on GM’s worker woes.

Specifically, should drug testing even be a thing for plant work when many states are legalizing or at least decriminalizing marijuana?

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Report: GM Needs More Manpower, UAW Suggests It Stop Drug Testing

Flint Truck Assembly is the only standing reminder of General Motors’ formerly impressive commitment to Genesee County, Michigan. Other representations include a myriad of crumbling factories that were closed decades ago and the area’s preponderance of vintage, high-mileage Buicks retained out of utility after the employment situation turned sour. Saying that the region has fallen upon hard times would be a grotesque understatement.

But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t still automotive jobs to be had. Despite GM reducing its Flint workforce from roughly 80,000 in the mid-1970s to fewer than 10,000 in 2010, the truck plant is still operational and reportedly looking for 450 temp workers to help fill in scheduling gaps for the 5,100 union-represented staffers it currently employs. Unfortunately, it’s been having trouble finding enough bodies, though the UAW has a solution. It believes that General Motors should stop drug testing, especially now that Michigan has legalized recreational marijuana use.

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Chip Shortage: GM to Remove Stop-Start Tech From Trucks

Despite hearing murmurings that the semiconductor shortage is about to turn a corner, General Motors has recently decided to begin manufacturing full-size pickups without the sometimes obnoxious automatic stop-start feature (intended to improve fuel economy) as a way to cut back on chip usage.

While this saves many the trouble of having to manually deactivate the system each time they return to the vehicle, some will undoubtedly miss having it. Those traversing the countryside or racking up highway miles during their daily commute have little to gain from the feature. But testing has revealed that city dwellers constantly exposed to stop-and-go traffic actually have an excellent shot at lowering their fuel bill. The vehicles GM has selected can do without start-stop technologies reflects this, though the compensation it’s offering remains laughable.

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General Motors to Increase Truck Shipments Soon

A statement from General Motors suggests the chip shortage that has crippled vehicle production may be easing.

GM has said in a statement that it plans to increase Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra production by about 1,000 trucks a month, starting in mid-July.

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GM's Cruise Asks White House to Dissolve AV Testing Restrictions

General Motors has a long and illustrious history of receiving government favors, with 2021 likely to continue the trend. Having recently seen its request to have federal EV tax credits reset approved by the Senate Finance Committee, GM-owned Cruise is now seeking to double down by asking regulators to scale back restrictions on autonomous vehicle testing. With practically every automaker simultaneously requesting government hookups on a weekly basis, it’s hardly surprising to see this.

What is unique is the rationales given for government help and it’s often the only way to measure their merit. While most claims tend to boil down to “ we need more money,” Cruise wants regulators to get out of the way so the United States can become more competitive against China’s AV programs and is hardly the first company to make such a suggestion.

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2022 Chevrolet Blazer: Fewer Engines, More Hues

The Chevrolet Blazer will be dumping its base engine for the 2022 model year. The naturally-aspirated, 2.5-liter motor always felt as though it would have been more at home in a vintage Plymouth Acclaim or original S-10 Blazer, however. Removing the 193-horsepower unit from the modern crossover, which can be optioned to weigh in excess of two tons, probably isn’t going to make anyone’s eyes well up.

In exchange, the manufacturer has seen fit to expand the color palette.

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Report: Semiconductor Chip Shortage Could Affect 4 Million Vehicles

The semiconductor shortage marches onward with no real end in sight. Supply chains remain a tangled mess following a year of pandemic-related restrictions and demand remains ridiculously high as we unnecessarily network and digitize increasingly more consumer goods (e.g. toothbrushes).

Though this website is really only concerned with the pace of automotive factories — most of which seem operating at the industrial equivalent of driving on the shoulder with the hazards on. The global number of vehicles lost in announced shutdowns and line slowdowns as a result of chip shortages is swiftly closing in on 3 million and estimates have it continuing on unabated for the rest of 2021.

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Rare Rides: The 1989 Saab 900 SPG, It's Sporty, Personal, and Good

Today we return once more to the Saab 900. You may recall our first featured 900, a very early green on green example from 1979. Today’s refreshed and sportified 900 is substantially different from its older brother to warrant another look.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: V6 Midsize American Sedans of 2007

In our last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we looked at some midsize V6 sedans of Japanese origin from 2007. In the comments most of you decided the Accord was worth a Buy, but complained that you’d rather spend $28,000 on a V6 Altima than the larger and nicer $28,000 V6 Maxima. Go figure.

Anyway, on to the American midsize sedan triumvirate of 2007!

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General Motors Asks Government to Change Rules on EV Tax Credits

General Motors is asking the federal government to reset the federal EV tax credit system, effectively requesting a personal favor. As one of the first manufacturers to get an electric vehicle to market that people actually wanted to buy, GM hit the 200,000 cumulative EV sales cap in 2018. While customers could still get money back through April of 2020, the automaker exhausted its allotment of $7,500 subsidies before most of its rivals.

Now it wants to see the government press the reset button on the program under a pretext of fairness. GM executives are claiming that companies investing in electrification shouldn’t be handicapped by not getting additional money from taxpayers. It seems anything but fair, frankly. Though it should be said that all-electric models have a poor track record in terms of profitability. The Chevrolet Bolt certainly didn’t make any money, however, GM CEO Mary Barra has said new versions of the model will be capable of turning a profit.

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Rare Rides: An Utterly Pristine 1991 Chevrolet Cavalier Wagon

We featured the predecessor to General Motors’ J-body last week in the Pontiac Sunbird, which was replaced by the J-body J2000 in 1982. But the Cavalier was always the star of the J-body show; the one everyone thought to buy.

Today we feature an immaculate wagon from Cavalier’s second generation.

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Rare Rides: A 1976 Pontiac Sunbird, Practical Malaise Luxury

Today’s Rare Ride marks the third time we’ve featured a Pontiac Sunbird in this series. The first Sunbird was from 1978 and presented itself as the Safari Wagon. But that was just a renamed Astre and not a real Sunbird. The second Sunbird we saw was a convertible with a 2000 in its name, a J-body from a time of naming turmoil at Pontiac.

In contrast, the Sunbird we have here is the original: An economical and optionally luxurious car that debuted in the Seventies without a confused identity. Your author’s never seen one in real life.

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Rare Rides: A 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible That's Pontiac, Hurst, and Trans Am

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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UAW Annoyed With GM's Mexican EVs

General Motors has decided its fifth electric vehicle facility should be in Mexico and has set aside $1 billion for its complex in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico. While a portion of the funds will go toward a new paint shop, the manufacturer also said the money would be used to prepare the site for EV and battery production, angering the United Auto Workers (UAW).

“This is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families,” stated UAW Vice President Terry Dittes. “General Motors automobiles made in Mexico are sold in the United States and should be made right here, employing American workers.”

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  • Jeffro As I sit here this morning with my 2 day old TRD OFF ROAD 4RUNNER tucked safely away in the garage, my head spins with this weird desire to locate a 85 LTD equipped with the epic 😵‍💫2.3 and the FOUR ON THE FLOOR. THE HOLY GRAIL. Ying and yang baby!The search begins.
  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
  • ToolGuy Second picture: Do you like pegboard storage? (I don't.)
  • ToolGuy "WHAT???"(old 'I was in the artillery' joke)
  • ToolGuy Oh and this.