By on May 15, 2015

For decades, compact cars from Dearborn were miserable. Blue Oval enthusiasts in North America looked longingly at the rally-bred Escorts in the UK and Europe, wondering when the promised “world car” would cross the Atlantic.

Improbably, I was one of those guys. I bought a 2000 Focus sedan (ZTS model with the twincam Zetec) with six months and 6000 miles on the odo, and flogged it for seven years and about a dozen recalls. Should have listened to my Dad, who always warned against buying a first-year model. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2015

citroen_c6

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a closet Francophile. Unfortunately, the nearest Citroen dealer is, at least, a forty hour drive-and-ferry ride from my Ohio homestead.

As much as I enjoy driving a small, taut-handling roadster, I must resign myself to the fact that I have a wife and two kids that will occupy the car as well. We are frequent long-haul roadtrippers, with at least four round trips of over ten hours over the last year as a family. A quiet, rapid, smooth-riding vehicle is in order. Who does calm and comfy like the French?

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By on May 1, 2015

The “big engine in a small car” theme has been with car enthusiasts for generations. GTO, Sunbeam Tiger, Cobra, Monster Miata: plenty of enthusiasts, both in the boardrooms and in garages across the globe, know that more power plus less mass equates to speed.
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By on April 23, 2015

Insert your own preferred derogatory descriptor in the title.

The E36 M3 – lauded as a wonderful driver’s car, yet derided as a watered-down car unworthy of the ///M badge. Built in reasonably high numbers, this M3 will never be as collectible as it’s predecessor, the Mighty E30, nor as beastly as the E46.

I think that’s ok.

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By on April 17, 2015

Apologies to Messrs Johnson and, to a lesser extent, Plant for the title.

We continue our journey through the wasteland of the automotive internet with another car that fills my imaginary garage–that fantasy world where there are no orthodontist’s bills.

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By on April 8, 2015

 

Another red ragtop? What is this guy thinking? I promise. I’m not a hairdresser, or whatever BS-esque image you might have of me.

I just dig small, unusual, cheap cars that are fun to drive on the street.

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By on April 5, 2015

Miata. The answer to everything.

Perfect commuter?

Ideal first car?

Autocrosser? Racer? Demo derby? Seriously, have you ever watched a regional level Spec Miata race?

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By on March 29, 2015

1965-Ford-Cortina-Front

Last week’s Hillman Husky/Miata swap provided the example for what I view as the best of both worlds – old European car with an entirely new drivetrain. Here’s a half-way finished example that could be turned into a real firecracker – provided you have the patience of Mother Teresa.

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By on March 27, 2015

hillmanhusky

I like the aesthetic properties of old British cars. The way they drive, leak fluids and operate on a sporadic basis is another matter.

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By on January 5, 2015

00O0O_gX2EYz9Pe50_600x450

One of the cars I’ve always admired from afar was the Fox Body Mustang Cobra. I say admired from afar because I’ve always known that it would never live up to my own fantasies if I ever drove it. But this rolling chassis presents an interesting way to get into a Cobra without running afoul of the need to preserve its authenticity.

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By on August 25, 2014

$_20 (1)

I have an unnatural aversion to two-door cars. Jack’s Accord V6 Coupe would, in my eyes, be perfect if it were only a sedan. Give me an Audi S4 or a BMW M3 over their coupe siblings, no matter how attractive the lines. Ok, maybe I’d take an S5. I’d much prefer a 4-door GTI to the three door variant, and I’m glad that our Fiesta ST has a set of rear entry ports. Most people didn’t feel that way when it came to the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

(Read More…)

By on August 19, 2014

a08304e1-2c32-4f42-a84a-50c34ea29798

When Michael Karesh reviewed the Saab 9-3 Turbo X some 6 years ago, he found it wanting. I still want one.

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By on July 7, 2014

1965-Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-Super-Front

 

Why wait to pay $30,000 for Alfa’s new, long-rumored, often-postponed rear-drive Giulia when you can have one right now?

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By on July 3, 2014

1993-Mazda-Miata-White-For-Sale-Rear

What a difference a decade makes. My own 2003 Miata is, by modern standards, a pure, elemental sports car. Lightweight, with a cable actuated throttle, a 5-speed manual and no ABS. But turn the clock back to 1993, just ten years prior, and you could still buy this.

(Read More…)

By on July 1, 2014

2003-holden-adventra_4d85b055b01c5

 

Even though it’s Canada Day today, my fair nation has never managed to build its own local auto industry with any sort of distinct brand.

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