Tag: History

By on May 23, 2019

It’s the end of an era. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz announced the death of the SLC (formerly SLK) roadster, and today Audi announced it will do the same to its own two-seat roadster and four-place coupe.

The TT first appeared in late 1998, bringing youthful excitement and distinctive design to the brand’s sedan-heavy lineup. It also served as an excellent rival to the SLK, which bowed a couple of years earlier. Thanks to dwindling sales and Audi’s push for electrification, the recently refreshed TT is now doomed.

It’s not the only gas-powered model that could disappear from the lineup, either. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2019

1967 DeTomaso Mangusta, Image: DeTomaso

De Tomaso, the idled Italian supercar brand that built a handful of drool-worthy models during its tumultuous lifespan, is poised for a resurrection.

The one-time maker of the Ford-powered Mangusta and Pantera will return from its hibernation with a new model introduced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 4th, the brand’s owners claim. Lovers of the brand’s historical offerings no doubt have their fingers crossed, hoping this isn’t another false start. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2019

1996 Chevrolet Impala SS - Image: ChevroletLast week, we accepted suggestions for our readers’ least favorite front-drive cars from the 1990s, but commenter Art Vandelay (an importer/exporter) wanted more. We’re back a week later to repeat the same question, but with a focus on rear-drive rides. Let the aero-infused criticism begin.

(Read More…)

By on February 19, 2019

While Mazda’s most famous rotary-powered racer is undoubtedly the 787B Group C prototype that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991, the company spent years fielding the RX-7 in every motorsport event it could qualify for.

Back when the 787 was little more than a twinkle in Nigel Stroud’s eye, Mazda already had RX-based cars running the world’s oldest endurance race. Among these vehicles was the 254i, which served as the culmination of Mazda’s efforts in Le Mans up until 1982 (and was the final RX-7 to run the event). While it didn’t win, it proved that Japan could compete and served as a jumping-off point for the company’s more successful Group C cars.

Unfortunately, it’s customary for race vehicles that don’t manage to take home a trophy to become lost in the sands of time. The two 254i race cars Mazda built were no different — or so it seemed, until the last surviving example resurfaced.  (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2019

If you drive, or walk, down Woodward Ave. from Detroit’s New Center area to downtown, you can’t help but notice the economic development along that corridor. Detroit has bottomed out. Areas formerly bereft of businesses and housing have been filled in, and hopefully that development will start spreading east and west of Woodward, Detroit’s version of Main Street. Over on the east side of town, one of America’s most blighted urban areas, there is another hopeful sign — a symbol of the city and domestic automobile industry’s decline has literally come crashing down.

The Packard plant bridge over East Grand Boulevard, target of lazy photojournalists for years, collapsed last week, perhaps due to extreme temperature swings the midwest has seen recently. (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2019

2018 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition

Ten years of lost time has a way of diminishing past events, even one so extreme as the global financial meltdown of 2008-09. It also pushes aside memories of a lot of vehicles that still lingered on the market a decade ago.

At the time, the U.S. economy found itself in freefall. Unemployment rose like a Saturn 5 rocket bound for lunar orbit, gas prices spiked as oil suddenly gained the value of a icy cold canteen on a desert island, and auto sales tanked like Lindsay Lohan’s career. Trucks and SUVs, which were gaining ground throughout the 2000s, ceded territory to passenger cars as the overall industry shed 3 million sales in 2008. The following year brought the worst of it, followed by a steady climb out of the depths. Happier days, just not for traditional passenger cars.

What a difference a decade makes. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2018

Much has been written about Jim Perkins, the Texas boy with a keen love of Chevrolet whose relentless ambition finally placed him in GM’s sphere of influence. It’s thanks to Perkins that Chevrolet’s Corvette is still General Motors’ halo car, and not some long-departed nameplate culled during the height of badge engineering.

Perkins’ quintessentially American life came to an end this week. The two-time GM and one-time Toyota exec passed away in Charlotte, North Carolina, Friday at the age of 83, earning him tributes from fans of the car he saved. (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2018

Yesterday’s QOTD post by youthful scribe Steph Willems got me thinking about the cars of my youth, as intended. But the thoughts weren’t about the cars I would’ve had on my (non-existent) posters, but rather those I fully ignored in those days.

Little did I know.

(Read More…)

By on December 5, 2018

On the Junkyard Find post at the start of this week, conversation turned to vehicle models which resisted change from the designer’s pen (or ruler) and the engineer’s… tools. Today we talk about the good old days, and how sometimes things stay the same.

(Read More…)

By on November 28, 2018

By a wide margin, the most important automotive-related news this week has been General Motors’ impending closure of five manufacturing facilities across North America. Accompanying the closures are losses of thousands of jobs and the discontinuation of six passenger car models over the next year or so.

Who’s to blame here?

(Read More…)

By on October 31, 2018

It’s fitting that we’re bringing you this story today. For years, scientists have longed to resurrect a dead corpse, but there’s now a plan afoot to do the same with a long-defunct car brand: Hispano-Suiza.

Known for its production of aircraft engines as much as its series of glitzy, early 20th century automobiles, the original Hispano-Suiza brand ceased to exist in 1968, some 30 years after building its last car. Come next March’s Geneva Motor Show, we’ll see what the founder’ great-grandson has in mind for the brand’s future.  (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2018

Are you ready for a Dodge Omni R-GLH? (Really Goes Like Hell)? Okay, maybe this new engine won’t fit between the fenders of an old Chrysler subcompact, but it will probably plug quite nicely under the hood of your 1970 ‘Cuda.

As is Fiat Chrysler’s wont, they’ve left us plenty of clues over which to mull. All of them point to one thing – a return of the 426 Elephant engine.

(Read More…)

By on September 5, 2018

Image: Lada

We’ve all seen movies set in the perpetually grey, bitterly cold Soviet Union (later Hollywood films featuring Russia were apparently allowed to show sunlight), but if you lived north of the border a few decades ago, it wasn’t just the weather that looked familiar.

Lada Canada imported Iron Curtain cars for two decades (1979 to 1997), offering rudimentary, pinko automobiles to Canadian cheapskates for very few kopeks. Your author recalls entering the high school library at the dawn of the internet age and slowly booting up the Lada Canada website, where a five-door Samara was advertised for $4,995. Few of these showed up on local roads, as Hyundai offered slightly better no-cost transportation options.

However, there was one Lada vehicle that can truly be considered a classic, and it’s the one everyone remembers best. Sadly, after more than 40 years of production, the virtually unchanged Niva (now known simply as the 4×4) seems destined, like the Berlin Wall, to pass into history. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2018

We’ve done a couple of ranking challenges before, starting first with the Accord, then the Corvette, and following up a few months later with the Mustang. Today we rank a nameplate which has been in production longer than any of those — in fact, it’s the longest-running in America.

It’s the Suburban.

(Read More…)

By on August 29, 2018

Where were you when you first saw an Escalade? Do you recall the lesser but identical Yukon Denali? Twenty years have elapsed since the Escalade’s introduction, and the luxury brand of wreath and crest has never looked back.

But today, we’re going to.

(Read More…)

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