Tag: QOTD

By on May 29, 2020

Original Venice Crew Shelby GT350 On Track

One night over the Memorial Day weekend, boredom forced me in search of something mindless and light. Netflix beckoned, and there, unfortunately, I came across a foreign tale of two friends rekindling the old days — and a nearly forgotten lust for life — via a road trip in an old French car. It starred Jean Reno of Ronin fame, so, what the hell.

Sadly, anyone’s mechanic’s brother can sell a script to Netflix these days, and the resulting flick was awash in clichés, overused tropes, and painfully obvious sociopolitical commentary. Still, it did prompt a moment’s reflection.

When was the last time you felt truly alive behind the wheel? (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2020

In each and every one of us lurks a number of hidden longings. Yours truly, as a child and even later, used to yearn to one day work at the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Florida.

That clearly didn’t pan out. They probably demand a degree in science-y things, the jerks. Oh well.

Other yearnings aren’t quite so specific, and I think one thing we all share as a diverse population of individuals is the desire for more choice. To express ourselves in one of the dwindling ways that’s still socially acceptable. I’m talking, of course, about color. Paint color. (Read More…)

By on May 27, 2020

In various places on the automobile Internets, one will often see the same misconceptions and myths repeated over and over, presented as strong opinion or perhaps even disguised as fact. There are an awful lot of car fans who are dead wrong about a lot of things on the Internet. Let’s talk about it.

(Read More…)

By on May 21, 2020

toyota

I can’t quite remember what it was that jogged my brain the other night, but whatever it was, it conjured up a wholesome yet frustrating memory. A memory of a person and a car from my childhood.

The person was my oldest friend’s mother — one of the kindest women I’ve ever known, matched easily by the daughter she clearly raised right. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. As for the car, it was a blue, mid-’80s Toyota Tercel 5-door. For me, that car is just a memory, and a somewhat annoying one at that, but for the owner — my friend’s mother — it was the first of many.

Toyota. They’re like the mob; easy to get in, awfully hard to leave. And that’s the way it was with my friend’s mother, who never again owned a car from any other brand. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2020

Some new vehicles remain mired in the muck of mediocrity, never to emerge in an improved form before their inevitable replacement. Others are able to reinvent themselves and become better vehicles than they were previously. They rise like a phoenix, changing from caterpillar to butterfly (or some other trite verbiage).

Today we talk about those vehicle models which raised the bar over their predecessor.

(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2020

It may have escaped your notice, but things aren’t quite the same lately. I look at my hands more, wondering if the side of my right index finger escaped a good scrubbing 6 minutes earlier. The sight of a box of cookies bought two weeks ago prompts mental calculations about viral half-lives on semi-porous surface areas. For someone who’s already a germaphobe, the past three months has offered all the merriment and relaxation of a POW on bridge-building duty.

And to think I visited the dentist for a filling in January. Where had those hands been?

One calming pastime unrelated to work or worry (and maybe serving as an an antidote to both), involves the silver screen. I watch films. Old films. Bad ones, good ones… terrible ones. All in an environment free of mucus and saliva droplets ejected at terrifying speed from the filthy mouths of strangers.  (Read More…)

By on May 13, 2020

vwConnectivity is one of those special buzzwords used across most industries, whether it be for a virtual meeting app, a washing machine, or a car. All companies seem to think we need more of it. Today we want to know — are you a fan of cars that come equipped with over-the-air update connectivity?

(Read More…)

By on May 12, 2020

Image: 1994 Toyota Previa

Some segments and roles just don’t mix. While unfavorable bodystyles and vehicle sizes can be kitted out for sport or luxury, perhaps even succeeding in their mission, sometimes a vehicle’s basic fiber — its core identity — proves an impossible match for its newfound mission.

Sometimes a car is too ponderously large for serious muscle car competition (Mercury’s bargelike, Marquis-based Marauder X-100) or too small and basic for well-padded luxury transport (the earliest Chevrolet Cavalier-based Cadillac Cimarron). Like a dumb-as-rocks linebacker donning a tux and attempting to make conversation at a literary society soirée, these vehicles didn’t fool anyone.

Now, what about the lowly, plebian van? (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2020

IIHS

We’ve talked about being upside down on auto loans on these digital pages before, but we’ve never really talked about being… upside down. Literally.

Sometimes all the traction in the world does nothing to keep a car’s undercarriage pointed towards terra firma. Sunroofs can become glass floors in a hurry, especially if soft earth or an impacting vehicle unexpectedly enters the scene. In the case of Jeep’s latest Wrangler Unlimited, the unexpected trip 90-degrees from vertical took place in the worst place possible: in front of cameras, in the crash test facility of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Suffice it to say the institute frowned upon the Wrangler’s unrecoverable roll to starboard. (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2020

1984 Dodge Ram pickup in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It’s a situation a good many of us have found ourselves in — and one we’d all like to avoid going forward, if at all possible. Alas, fate isn’t known for its even-handed distribution of fairness.

Sometimes we’re forced to make a painful choice concerning something we love, with neither outcome a good one. In the case of aging vehicles, that choice is one repair bill away. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2020

Today’s QOTD is about past vehicles that just weren’t quite right. Perhaps a manufacturer intended to make the sort of vehicle you might actually want in your driveway. And they got the styling just right, but the materials and build quality were terrible? Maybe the mechanics and trim were just right, but the end vehicle was so hideous you had to look away in horror? Let’s talk about the multiple times OEMs ended up with a proverbial fly in the product ointment.

(Read More…)

By on May 5, 2020

The pursuit of safety can lead an individual down many paths. To a self-defense course. To a gun store. To a withdrawn, frightened existence well removed from the warm confines of relationships and social gatherings. And even to a car dealership.

Yes, owning and driving a car puts you more at risk of dying in a crash than riding the train or bus to work every morning, but in these strange times, a car can be more than just a convenient way to get to work on time (or not). It can be a sanctuary. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2020

Last night’s online conversation about bad General Motors vehicles wasn’t the first of its kind, and it’ll surely not be the last. More important than restful sleep, wee-hours back-and-forths about rattly but somehow indestructible GM J-bodies are an important part of staying sane as lockdown measures remain in place on both sides of the Detroit River.

Naturally, thoughts of Cavalier soon turned to CALAIS, and from there to an aspect of that particular era that’s always bothered yours truly: rooflines. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020

Things change. Once upon a time, the greatest concern among Americans was getting home in time to watch that Three’s Company episode where Jack wakes up in bed with Mr. Roper. Now, it’s antibody testing and virus-rocked retirement funds.

Things change in the automotive world, too, and along with it, our perceptions. Preconceptions often become misconceptions as new technology and a focus on quality control (or lack thereof) changes minds en masse via personal experience and word of mouth. Brands and entire countries once known for building the best become the stuff of jokes, and vice versa.

How has your thinking evolved? (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2020

Image: Lincoln

Ford bought its way into Rivian’s good graces — and its proprietary “skateboard” electric vehicle platform — with a $500 million pledge back in April of 2019. In January we learned that the “all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle” promised a year earlier would wear a Lincoln badge, with most observers expecting that model to appear as a midsize, three-row SUV (mirroring Rivian’s own R1S).

Scratch all that, Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday. The joint vehicle is off the table, but the relationship is still on. So what now? (Read More…)

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