By on September 29, 2010


While TTAC gets scorn for lofty criticisms of mainstream vehicles, should we demand perfection in a $405,000 (as-tested) vehicle? Because the Phantom is inches away from yesteryear’s glory: the highest regarded, finest engineered luxury vehicle before anyone cared about luxury vehicle upstarts like Mercedes-Benz or Lexus.

That’s not to say the Phantom isn’t drop dead gorgeous. The suicide doors are dumbfoundingly awesome. That Hooper Coachwork inspired design is impossible to miss: clock the long hood and short deck. And an elegant swageline, strong and stoic at the front, gently falling earthward before the taillights. Which are suitably small, drawing your eyes to the beauty of finished metal instead of the overwrought lighting details of lesser vehicles. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2010

TTAC Commentator Jenneil624 writes:

I lease a 2008 Mazda3 2.3L with an automatic transmission and 30K miles. I have had the car for two years and have been very satisfied. I am strongly considering buying the car at lease end. Here is the problem. After one year of ownership, I got stuck in some snow and needed to aggressively rock the car free. It took so long to free the car that the transmission temporarily failed.

I put it in reverse and just revs – no power to the wheels. Then I put it in drive – same result. I assumed that I overheated the transmission fluid and let it rest for two hours. I went back to the vehicle after it cooled down and it worked perfectly. It has worked perfectly since, with no noticeable damage. I recently brought the car to the dealer for an unrelated warranty repair and the service advisor recommended a transmission fluid change. He said the fluid looked dark and needed to be changed. He knew nothing of my snow escapade. My question is – Has the transmission been damaged badly enough that purchasing this car would be a mistake? Would a transmission fluid change be enough to mitigate the damage I caused? Do I buy the car at lease end or turn it in and run away?

Sajeev Answers: (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2010

Cindy writes:

I have a 2009 Honda Pilot that I love very much. I was wondering how far I could drive once the gas light comes on. Highway or city. Thanks!

Sajeev Answers: (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2010

Germany 1958: Women are allowed to take a job without asking their husband for permission. Europe makes its first baby steps to an EU. Elvis Presley arrives as a GI in an army barracks in Friedberg. Mercedes is in its fourth year of the gullwinged 300SL, one of the finest automobiles of all times.

The last perhaps was car journo hyperbole, expected from someone who was just handed the keys to a sports car fully restored by the Mercedes Classic Center in Stuttgart. Juan Perón had one, Porfirio Rubirosa had one, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Zsa Zsa Gabor had one. Now Sajeev Mehta has one, if only for a day, and if only for the benefit of the readers of Thetruthaboutcars. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2010

One has to be slightly off their rocker to make a LeMons racecar. But then again, you also have to possess self-awareness not seen in most other forms of motorsport. Simply put, this race series totally rocks. And without any further ado, here are the final five vehicles in TTAC’s Ten Coolest Engineering Feats of The 24 Hours of LeMons Dallas. (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2009

When life gives you lemons...

The weekend of October 24-25 was the third running of the 24 Hours of LeMons at Motorsport Ranch in Houston, TX. TTAC was there for the insanity.  And it was the fourth time our LeMons race car, a 1972 Datsun 240Z hit the track.  I was an honorary “penalty” judge this time ’round (props to Autoblog’s Jonny Lieberman and LeMon’s Founder Jay Lamm for that), so I did the best I could for my teammates when they got black flagged. But I’m no crooked judge, Jonny said I was too nice to other teams, too. No matter, it wasn’t enough for us to come close to victory. Then again, the Datsun Z is the butt of many a LeMon’s joke. What’s up with that?

(Read More…)

By on November 18, 2009

j-gate (courtesy caradvice.com.au)

TTAC Commentator Karl_Donina writes:

Hi, Sajeev. I want to know why it’s so fashionable for automakers to provide obnoxiously labyrinthine automatic shifter gates. It seems to have started with Jaguar’s innocuous J-shaped gates of the ’80s, but these days it seems to have become passé to provide a simple, easy-to-use linear gate — push button or hold lever to one side to move in a straight line out of park and through the gears, or back the other direction.  Now every shift, whether from 1 to 2 or N to R or whatever, requires inconsistent and annoying fore-aft and transverse movements. The gates on Subarus I’ve driven lately are ridiculous, as is the one in the Yaris I rented last week. And there are many more. Thanks for whatever enlightenment you can provide.

(Read More…)

By on November 9, 2009

"13's are OK if you are going for stock or restored look but as you say 13" tires are getting harder to find and in my opinion just look too small. There are 14" wheels out there with 4 lug patterns that look good on a II but even 14" tires are getting limited in size. I now think 15's are the way to go and with the aluminum adapters converting 4 to 5 lug, just about any wheel can be made to fit the II. Tire choices in 15's are unlimited so the correct look can be had by doing your homework on backspacing and wheel width. A nice set of Cragar 5 spoke 15's would look awsome on the II or you could stager and put 14's on front and 15's on rear." (courtesy allfordmustangs.com)

Mike writes:

Sajeev, what ever happened to 14-inch wheels?  I mean, seriously, does the Caliber really need to be shod with 17-inchers? Why does my dad’s new half-ton pickup have 17-inch wheels? His old one had what used to be the industry standard 235-75R15. He about had a coronary when he found out new tires would be over $100 each. Perhaps if I put on my tinfoil hat, I’d say the tire companies are behind this. So really, does the average family sedan or minivan really need anything bigger that a 15-inch wheel/tire?

(Read More…)

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