Tag: roadster

By on July 6, 2021

1996 Mercedes-Benz SL320 R129 in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsMercedes-Benz built the R107 SL-class, in all its stodgy-yet-sporty glory, from the 1971 through 1989 model years. I have documented quite a few of those iconic SLs and SLCs in car graveyards over the years, but have not paid much attention to their successor: the R129, built from 1989 through 2001. Today, we fill in some junkyard-history blanks with a mid-production R129, found in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard last month. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2020

The Mazda MX-5 is the automotive embodiment of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ Despite having gone through several generations since its debut in 1989, the Miata has remained remarkably consistent. But the industry believes there’s a subset of motorists who absolutely cannot live without vehicular connectivity and active safety technologies, even on a petite roadster that’s supposed to be focused on entirely on driver engagement.

This is why Mazda sells the luxury-oriented Grand Touring trim and has decided to continue sprucing it up for the 2021 model year. Though we cannot say this makes it the best option for everyone.

(Read More…)

By on May 8, 2020

New Tesla Roadster

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast this week, mentioning that the resurrected Roadster stands to see less love as the company turns its focus to other projects. Rogan, who already owns a Model S P100D and is an avid car collector, said he was interested in picking up the new Roadster once it becomes available. To that, Musk had some bad news. Higher-volume cars would have to come first.

“Roadster is kind of like dessert,” he said. “We gotta get the meat and potatoes and greens and stuff.”

The rest of the interview saw the two men discuss Musk’s opposition to unconstitutional lockdown orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as humanity’s growing need for symbiosis with technology in order to ensure we’re not left behind as artificial intelligence begins to surpass us — boring stuff that has nothing to do with cars.  (Read More…)

By on October 28, 2019

They’re coming for our cars, people. “Alternative mobility solutions” are all the rage at many big automakers attempting to virtue signal (and electric-scooter) their way into social acceptability. I’m pretty certain that I heard a sweaty politician say something like, “Hell yes, we are going to take your crossover!” Even some automotive journalists have called for outright bans of private cars.

I suppose this is where I photoshop a Momo Prototipo into the infamous “from my cold, dead hands” Charlton Heston photo.

Do me a favor, friends. Let’s stem the tide. Take these car-haters for a ride in a proper sports car, like this 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF. Better yet, let them drive. All other worries of the world wipe away like raindrops on the windscreen as the right hand slots the shift lever into third, all while the corners of the mouth gently turn upward. The Miata is our last hope for motoring freedom.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2018

Ferrari plans to launch two limited-edition supercars using the Monza formula and name. The open-topped pair are said to have “the most powerful engine Maranello has ever built.” That’s a 810-horsepower, 6.5-liter V12, according to the automaker’s September press announcement. We imagine it’s the same unit currently residing in the 812 Superfast.

As you might imagine, the single seat Monza SP1 and double-chaired SP2 aren’t meant for aimless weekend cruising. Inspired heavily by the 1948 166 MM Barchetta, 1954 750 Monza, and 1956 860 Monza, they’re pretty hardcore for a modern-day automobile. Alleged (by the manufacturer) to be capable of a 0-to-62 mph sprint in 2.9 seconds, with 0-to-124 mph passing in 7.9 seconds, the duo are said to be capable of at least 186 mph. We wouldn’t recommend trying that without a full-faced helmet, as neither model comes with a windshield.  (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2018


After the prolonged teasing of both the new BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra, it’s nearly impossible to have any feelings left on the matter. We equate it to the rare sensation of desperately needing to urinate for an extended period before it mysteriously goes away. It’s impossible to know why or how that feeling left you, especially considering that’s now how things are supposed to work. But, inexplicable as it may be, it still happened.

That doesn’t mean you’re unrelieved when you finally make it to a bathroom. It just wasn’t the big event you were hoping for. The Z4 unveiling is a lot like that. We’re glad it’s finally here, but Bimmer’s returning roadster has been teased out, leaked, and speculated upon so much that it’s not that big of a deal anymore.

Alright, let’s see what BMW has for us.  (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2018

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Soul Red Front Quarter Wide AngleTake a good look at the photos throughout these virtual pages. A really good look. If you haven’t been obsessively reading about the refreshed-for-2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata, you are no doubt puzzled by the “First Drive” tag in the title.

Indeed, Mazda didn’t change anything visually significant in this, the fourth model year of the fourth generation of the legendary Miata. From the outside, the only real clue is the appearance of a gash in the rear bumper for a rear-view camera. But under the hood, it becomes clear that Mazda engineers channeled the storied fictional guitarist in turning the already excellent Miata to eleven.

(Read More…)

By on June 10, 2018

While rumors that BMW’s upcoming Z4 roadster would begin production at Magna Steyr’s facility in Graz, Austria, for months, it wasn’t until late last week that the company was actually willing to confirm them. Unfortunately, the manufacturer hasn’t been willing to do the same with the Z4’s sibling car — the Toyota Supra.

Considering that the pair share a common platform and development team, it would make a lot of sense to see them occupying the same factory. But Toyota has remained incredibly tight lipped on the car, only offering us a singular taste by way of the Gazoo Racing concept from the Geneva Motor Show. Meanwhile, BMW has been parading the Z4 around endlessly and even went so far as to show productions test mules lightly camouflaged in self-released “spy shots.” (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2018

2018 FIAT 124 Spider

Many corners of the internet expected the roadster shown here to show up as an Alfa Romeo Spider, not a Fiat 124 Spider, when rumours surfaced all those years ago about the MX-5 donning a natty Italian suit. Perhaps Fiat Chrysler made its decision at the time based on Fiat’s larger dealer network or some sort of answer provided by Sergio’s Magic 8 Ball.

Whatever the reason, we now live in a world where a brace of affordable and fun two-place roadsters are on offer. While the fraternal twins share a great deal, their clothes are different, as are their hearts. We’ve already deemed the base Mazda MX-5 to be worthy of AoB mention; can its Italian brother turn the same trick?

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2018

D-Type Jaguar Classic continuation

Jaguar has announced the D-Type is re-entering production this week, part of a “once-in-a-lifetime project” designed to get 25 examples of the iconic racer back on the streets. While it’s always exciting to see a venerable model resurface after a six-decade absence, this is nothing new for Jaguar. The company did a limited continuation of the E-Type coupe in 2015, the XKSS in 2016, and a singular electric-powered E-Type prototype in 2017.

That means the “new” D-Type is just another entry in Jaguar Classic’s ultra-premium heritage collection. However, this does not mean the continuation cars aren’t any less cool than a penguin perched atop a glacier adjusting his brand-name sunglasses.  (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2017

New Tesla Roadster

Unless you were living under a rock or on the moon late last week, you know Tesla introduced not one but two concepts on Thursday night — a Class 8 semi truck and a kinda-sorta-maybe Roadster (is it a roadster or a targa? It’ll only cost you a quarter mil to find out).

Since then, many corners of the internet have been yammering about the feasibility of Tesla’s plans, not to mention the wisdom of taking eyes off the very important ball that is the Model 3 in favor of two models that likely won’t appear until the next decade.

(Read More…)

By on November 17, 2017

New Tesla Roadster

The Roadster’s back. Tell a friend.

Not that you’ll need to, of course. Elon Musk and Company seemingly pulled off the impossible last night in California, blowing up the internets by upstaging Tesla’s own semi truck reveal with a carefully choreographed “one more thing” moment. (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2017

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth gray front quarter

I suppose it’s a bit like buying a car, but at once more limiting and liberating. Anytime I take the keys of a press vehicle, I must sign a long legal form agreeing, basically, not to be too stupid while driving someone else’s car. Invariably, near the top of the form is a serious restriction – that no one other than the person who signs the form is to drive the car.

I find this somewhat limiting. I understand the reasons, but occasionally some input from others can help evaluate the car. Thankfully, I found a loophole while driving the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth – I asked my 23-year-old self to drive the turbocharged roadster, alongside the current 38-year-old edition.

At twenty-three, I didn’t have kids. I had a mortgage on a starter condo with my eventual wife, but the full weight of life’s burdens were not yet bearing down upon me. So Young Chris decided not to wait until middle age, and he bought a sports car.

That’s why this discussion between Young Chris and Old Chris is an enlightening look at the modern Italian sports car, by way of Hiroshima.

(Read More…)

By on June 16, 2017

nissan leaf charging

Dan writes:

Lately I’ve been obsessed with buying a Nissan Leaf as a commuter car. That might seem like a sensible stop-and-go commuter choice for most people, but there’s a wrinkle: I already have four other cars and I don’t want to get rid of any of them — 2014 BMW X1, STR class 2012 Miata, 2011 Boxster Spyder, and a 2014 Audi TT.

I autocross the ‘verts, the X1 is my long distance and winter ride, and for reasons I can’t go into I can’t get rid of the TT.

I’ve wanted an electric car for a long time (I looked into conversions 10 years ago or so, but never did one) and the prices on used Leafs are very attractive. It might not be the most exciting car, but sometimes a person just wants to drive in meditative silence with smooth and instant throttle response without actually going very far or very fast.

So, tell me there are other people out there with five cars and I’m not being crazy for wanting to be one of them.

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2017

2017 Mazda MX-5 Sport

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base model in which it might be more prudent to spend one’s extra cash on aftermarket upgrades and not a more expensive trim. Here’s a candidate.

Many songs of praise have been penned and much digital ink spilled of Mazda’s rear-wheel drive, two-seat roadster. From the original version in 1990 to the current fourth-gen model, Mazda has always managed to keep a lid on cost and weight, two things which generally spiral out of control in both successive iterations of a popular vehicle and my own personal lifestyle as I age.

A total of $5,150 separates the base MX-5 Sport from the top rung Grand Touring model. Is that sum of cash better spent on DIY upgrades? Or should buyers spring for the high-zoot MX-5? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

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