By on April 3, 2020

Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC

Hey all. Big plans this weekend? Lots of stuff going on?

Yours truly plans to finally swap his car’s cheap winter rubber for equally cheap, corner-carving summer slicks (55 series — OH YEAH) in order to drive…. nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Then, if there’s time, maybe I’ll take a nighttime run in the only place where physical distancing isn’t likely to be an issue: the spooky graveyard on top of the hill. If there’s time, mind you.

Yes, with warmer weather upon us, the list of carefree pursuits knows no bounds! But tell us, what strictly automotive things are you doing this weekend to mentally distance yourself from, you know, issues? (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

Maybe self-isolation is getting to me. Maybe the lack of balcony, deck, backyard, or sprawling property rife with plant life and woodland critters is having an impact, forcing this urban writer with his small carbon footprint into wild daydreams of wide open spaces and the road less traveled. Maybe there’s not enough booze kicking around.

Come to think of it, that could be the problem.

Anyway, as we continue enjoying a springtime of fear, uncertainty, and vastly reduced travel options, let’s turn our minds to a less-talked-about aspect of personal vehicles. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

Try as we might, there’s just no way to know everything about the contemporary offerings of all car manufacturers, even if consideration is limited in scope to North America. Invariably, our mental encyclopedia is missing a few pages. That means sometimes, we should consider the unknowns of our automotive knowledge.

Allow me to explain.

(Read More…)

By on March 31, 2020

“If you’re one of us, you’ll take a bite.”

If that quote soars over your head, I don’t want to know you. The infamous Seinfeld incident in which an eager-to-impress George reveals to his colleagues that he’s not a team player (at the same time sparing himself from becoming violently ill), riffs on the homogeneity of upper office environments. The forced social collectivization of a corporate in-group.

Climb the ladder high enough and you’ll wear the same brands, enjoy the same timepieces, drink the same booze, and golf the same courses. Or so the perhaps dated view of these things goes. Now, what about cars? (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2020

Image: FCA

Events of the last month (and the foreseeable future) will surely cause more than a few auto manufacturers to reevaluate their portfolios. Numbers for Q1, scheduled to be released this week but potentially delayed for understandable reasons, will surely be quite dismal.

Leaving one’s own personal views about the current economic shutdowns aside, do you think car companies might be forced (or choose to take the opportunity) to scrub a few underperforming models — or even entire brands?

(Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

1977 Chrysler New Yorker in Denver junkyard, grille - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I don’t profess to be a filmmaker, but were I to one day find myself behind the camera, I’m pretty confident I’d come up with something better than 75 percent of the mediocrity I see on Netflix. And you can bet there’d be a car component. No fast cutting during the action sequences, either.

As I sit here watching the detective in The Valhalla Murders pilot her grey Tiguan across the bleak and snowy Icelandic landscape, I think about the on- and off-road duels that haven’t yet made it to the big screen… and wonder which matchup I’d prefer to see first. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2020

Ford F-150

Last year’s debut of a wonderfully throwback engine was just the early Christmas present many traditional truck fans needed. Sporting an iron block, pushrods, and 7.3 liters of displacement, Ford’s new heavy duty V8 felt like the 1970s were still upon us.

Rumor has it Mathew Guy has a blueprint of one adorning his bedroom ceiling.

While a delightful addition to the world of all things American and big, the engine carrying the codename Godzilla leads us to ponder how long it can all last. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2020

1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham emblem in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About CarsLast Wednesday we recounted the cars of our youth — specifically, the first car we could recall which really impressed. Though few of you could top my example of the superbly fresh and fun Dodge Neon, everyone put in a good effort.

Today we’ll flip the question, and consider the first vehicle we recall as a disappointment to our youthful car enthusiast selves.

(Read More…)

By on March 24, 2020

“I’m a lawyer from Denver, Colorado, Mike… I probably can’t hit a thing.” – William Holden, The Bridges at Toko-Ri

Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you planned. Sometimes, despite erring on the side of caution and always treading the right path through life, fate deals a cruel blow. It’s just the way it is.

A man who did everything right can find himself dying in a muddy ditch, far from home. Other times, it’s an automotive brand laying in that ditch — a victim of circumstance, world events, changing societal trends, financial incompetence, or hasty cost-cutting. Whatever came before no longer matters.

Still, some deaths are worse than others. Which automotive demise was least charitable to the deceased? (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2020

There are a few manufacturers selling vehicles in this country that seemingly don’t want everyone to drive something painted a dull shade of grey or white. Large, teutonic sedans from Ingolstadt or Munich all seem to be on the greyscale (when was the last time you saw an A6 or 5 Series in any sort of bright color?), but even these manufacturers let loose with their sportier offerings. The natty Turbo Blue found on a TT RS is particularly eye-popping.

What’s your take? Given the option, if you were to buy a new car today, would it blend with the pavement — or would it be visible from space?

(Read More…)

By on March 20, 2020

In this time of stress, fear, and uncertainty, please forgive the gendered headline, online Millennials. It applies to all genders.

Having said that, this week’s release of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, a bread-and-butter product for the Korean brand, got this author thinking about design. Specifically, the decisions taken by design teams between major styling revamps. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

Today we take a little trip down memory lane and consider the cars which impressed us most in our youth. And not the part of youth which contains a driver’s license and costly insurance, but the more formative experiences before that. Let’s talk foundational cool cars.

(Read More…)

By on March 17, 2020

Self-isolation and social distancing — it’s all the rage these days, though your author hopped on that bandwagon long before it was cool. Lonely nights lead to fewer viruses, the thinking went. A strategy that’s panned out over time.

As you digest that completely unnecessary and frankly uncomfortable information, you may as well ponder something that’s crossed my mind repeatedly over the past few days. Perhaps you can come up with an answer. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

Spending imaginary money and theorizing an answer to a ridiculous question is always a good bit of fun and diversion. We’ve asked in the past how you’d allocate 29 cylinders and how you would spend the average price of a new vehicle in America.

Today, we’re kicking it a nickel. Edmunds has estimated the average transaction price for pickup trucks in 2019 was $49,543 — the highest on record. Given that amount of scratch, what vehicle would you take home?

(Read More…)

By on March 13, 2020

1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, gearshift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

You had to expect it. This QOTD, that is, not the reason for it.

As yours truly basks in the smugness of having stocked up on at least a month’s worth of food, toilet paper, and disinfectant two and a half weeks ago, thus sidestepping the panic-buying hordes picking supermarket shelves bare like buzzards on still-fresh roadkill, his self-satisfaction is nonetheless tempered with an edge of dread.

Frankly, I’m freaked out. Prepared and informed, yes, but worried all the same. For many of us, there could be plenty of days — and maybe even weeks — ahead where we’re not allowed to leave our homes. Your author’s prime minister already finds himself in just such a situation.

How would you pass that time? (Read More…)

Recent Comments

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