Rare Rides: The Paul McCartney Signature Edition 2006 Lexus RX 400h, One of One

Today’s Rare Ride was randomly mentioned among some other Lexus discussion on Twitter, and your author knew it immediately needed coverage here. This very special RX was conceived at a time when McCartney and Lexus were particularly chummy and financially interested in one another. Lexus worked up a bespoke special edition car as an homage to the legendary star. And though the resulting homage was even more cringe-inducing than its title might suggest, it was at least created for a good cause. You might say this particular Lexus RoX.

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Pumping on the Stereo: TTAC Rocks ... and Rolls

A week or so ago, I was in Tennessee, testing the Volkswagen ID.4, blasting some country music on satellite radio simply because I was in Tennessee, and it hit me. You folks might be wondering what, if any, music TTAC staffers play while testing.

After all, automakers love to tout the premium audio systems available in their vehicles. This means that we, of course, rock out sometimes.

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Stacks of Gen-Z Won Incoming: Hyundai Ioniq EV Brand Endorsed by Famous K-pop Band

Finding the perfect celebrity endorsement occasionally means deciding which public persona aligns most closely with your corporate image — and figuring out how to lock down that commitment by waving a wad of cash beneath their nose.

The rest of the time it’s just a matter of hooking the biggest fish on your reel and dragging that thing into the boat to secure an all-important photograph together. Hyundai recently decided upon the later for its upcoming Ioniq sub-brand by tapping the K-Pop icon known as BTS.

While you’ve probably heard of the Ioniq liftback, you may not have known Hyundai plans to use the name to create an all-electric subsidiary mimicking exactly what the Genesis brand did for the automaker’s luxury vehicles. Odds are also good you’re not overly familiar with South Korea’s BTS, unless you’re a prepubescent girl or happen to share their taste in music and/or androgynous young men. But we can assure you that they are indeed international sensations — heartthrob material that Hyundai believes will make superb ambassadors for its upcoming EV brand.

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Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Has Ford Humming a Sad Tune

Did Ford rip off someone else’s playlist? The answer to this question will emerge from a courtroom, now that the owner of a vast digital music catalog has filed a lawsuit against the automaker.

The copyright infringement suit, filed late last week, accuses Ford of improperly using 54 songs in its marketing materials over the span of several years.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Toyota Van, Santa Cruz Music Video Edition
Inspired by the unexpected success of the K-car-based Chrysler minivans in the early 1980s, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Toyota each made North American-market versions of their small mid-engined vans. Sales of the Mitsubishi Van (based on the Delica) and Nissan Van (based on the Vanette) never amounted to much over here, but Toyota had a minor hit with the Americanized TownAce van, known here as the Toyota Van.The Toyota Van proved very durable and I still see plenty of them in wrecking yards to this day. Today’s Junkyard Treasure packs some extra-special provenance within its battered, 34-year-old flanks: it once served as the sacred icon of a Northern California band, appearing as the centerpiece of many music videos.
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QOTD: Your Favorite Road Tunes?

Every gearhead reading (and writing for) this website enjoys the thought of a good road trip. One rule which should permeate all voyages decrees that passengers can complain about the type of music or its volume — but not both. This stems from my own belief that a person can complain about the brand or temperature of a beer given to you by a friend — not both.

Rarely do all hands agree, however. What’s your go-to music genre when hitting the open road?

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QOTD: Road Tunes, or No Tunes?

There are a select few machines on this planet in which I prefer to hear the exhaust note rather than the stereo: high strung Italians or any big V8 with a lumpy cam, for example. Noise bylaws definitely come under fire from my right foot when it’s connected to the loud pedal of a car possessing one of these engines.

By and large though, most of us need some tunes to either occupy the time, keep us awake, or simply add to the journey. I’ve a few go-to favorites in my playlist and I bet you do, too.

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You'll Never Guess Where Radiohead's OK Computer Highway Interchange Is
Or maybe you will. Someone did.As the 20-year anniversary of the release of UK alternative band Radiohead’s monster OK Computer album approaches, an online sleuth has provided pretty compelling evidence as to the locale of the image seen on the album cover.Radiohead — a band you might have once been really into before worrying it was all a little too pretentious (and back again) — incorporated several automotive references into the album and associated videos. The album cover itself featured a scratchy image of a nondescript highway interchange. Probably a drawing. It’s not like the Blind Faith album cover, so no one thought anything of it.However, music fans are not known for being allergic to geekiness. The same goes for transportation nerds. One such [s]nerd[/s] transportation infrastructure aficionado now says it took him just 10 minutes to figure out the very real U.S. setting for the album cover.
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Car Wreck Humor, 1904 Style: Is That My Eye On the Dashboard? No, That's One Of My Ears!

These days, with the nanny-state enforcers of IngSoc and Agenda 21 mandating 3,000 pounds of safety gear on each new motor vehicle, it’s refreshing to hear that folks in the very early days of motoring got some good yuks out of the idea of impalement on the tiller of a curved-dash Olds. We’ve dug up this 1904 Cal Stewart recording of “Uncle Josh In An Automobile” to demonstrate.

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Harry Belafonte's Kids Sing Olds Trofeo-ized Version of Dad's Big Hit, Civilization Collapses

After creating today’s Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo Junkyard Find, it becomes my duty to share one of the most brain-scrambling examples of the “What Could GM Have Been Thinking?” genre of car commercials. Yes, it’s a version of Harry Belafonte‘s “Banana Boat Song,” with “Tro-FE-oh” replacing the famous “DAY-oh,” and sung by Belafonte’s offspring.

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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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Ask The Best And Brightest: What Will Replace Maybach As The Rapper's Car Of Choice

Jay-Z may have been the biggest celebrity booster (certainly TTAC wasn’t) of the Maybach line, but the brand’s demise is going to leave Hov high and dry for new wheels. So will Hov go back to the Lexus GS that he started out with? Probably not. It’s up to the Best and Brightest to determine what will take Maybach’s place in the whip game. Perhaps something British?

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Not Exactly Hard, Sweet, and Sticky: Sammy Hagar's First Rock Star Car Purchase

I ended up with a copy of Sammy Hagar’s memoir as reading material for my last air-travel adventure, and found it quite entertaining (in spite of the tedious anti-David Lee Roth/Van Halen brothers diatribes). His tales of being the son of Fontana’s town drunk are worth reading, but the only real shocker came when Hagar describes the car he bought in 1973 with the first real money advanced to Montrose. You’ll never guess what type of vehicle the Red Rocker bought with his first rockstar-grade paycheck!

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Doomed Value Van Triggers Bad 80s Roadie Flashbacks

Some of you may be more familiar with this friend of the catering and drinking-water industries in its Chevrolet Step-Van guise, but I’ve always preferred GMC’s name: Value Van! I ran across this fairly complete example in my local self-service wrecking yard, quite close to the Simu-Wood™ LeBaron Town & Country wagon. Me and the Value Van, we have a history!

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Stolen Cassette Deck Karma Goes Around, Comes Around

One thing that really sucked about the pre-MP3 era was that it was a huge hassle to get your car a cheap source of music that didn’t sound terrible. As I gather components to set up my Dodge A100 Hell Project with an ironic 8-track setup, I’m forced to recall the hot cassette deck that was more or less forced into my not-so-willing hands back in 1982.

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  • Corey Lewis Terribly unsafe in a crash. Almost to the point where I can't believe they sold them here.
  • Johnster My understanding is that the Mark VI Coupe was built on the shorter 114" wheelbase shared with the Panther-based LTD and Marquis, while the Mark VI sedan was built on the longer 119" wheelbase used by both the Continental Coupe and Sedan, and that the Mark VI Coupe was then slightly shorter and smaller than the Continental Coupe.
  • Varezhka Ugh, had one as a rental and no wonder they disappeared quickly.Now they still have the current gen. Quest as a Nissan Elgrand in the home market, but even in the minivan heaven that is Japan (where minivan has a 20% marketshare as a bodystyle) they only sell 2~3000 units annually.
  • Fred Look at me! I drive a weird truck thing made by a guy who is losing money running Twitter.
  • Fred The mid-engine Vette hasn't been as successful as the previous race car. They did just come in 2nd at Daytona 24hrs but I'm not sure it's enough for buyers to line up.