1969. Other than Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the moon and New York’s “Miracle Mets,” things were tough in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We were a country still reeling from the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and inaugurated a president who would be the first in history to resign in disgrace. Vietnam was raging, and the Beetles were preparing to break up. But, man, did we have cars. The daring new Mako Shark-inspired Vette was just a year old at the time and still about the hottest hunk of American iron (and fiberglass) on the street. GM’s big-block V-8 had grown from 396 cubic inches to 427 back in ’66, garnering the affectionate nickname “Rat Motor.” It was available in several states of tune, but the coolest of the cool for ’69 (aside from the nearly unobtainable L88) had to be the L71, rated at 435 gross horsepower and packing three-count ’em, three-two-barrel … [Read more...] about Yesterday & Today:’99 Corvette Hardtop Vs. ’69 427 Tri-Power
Mercedes made luxury waves recently by reviving the Maybach nameplate. Again. Quick history lesson: Before World War II, Maybach was a German luxury car brand. During the war it built Panzer tank engines. In the late 1990s, after rivals BMW and Volkswagen respectively snatched up Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Mercedes-Benz decided it needed its own ultra-luxury player, so it dusted off the long-dormant Maybach badge and produced ultra-pricey, ultra-powerful vehicles that not enough 1 percenters wanted. Seriously, less than 50 Maybachs were sold in the U.S. in 2011. So Mercedes decided to “sunset” the brand, my favorite-ever euphemism. However, the more things change, the more things change right back again. In late 2014, Daimler fired up the defibrillator once more and showed the world the Mercedes-Maybach S600. Over in England, one could make the case that Bentley had been running in zombie mode from 1931 (when Rolls bought it) right up until the recently departed Ferdinand … [Read more...] about 2016 Bentley Mulsanne Speed vs. 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600
The smack talk started more than two decades ago, centered around a controversial article in the Nov. ’84 issue of Muscle Car Review on the 50 fastest musclecars of all time. For a multitude of reasons, that’s an impossible list to compile, especially roughly 15 years after the traditional musclecars became used cars. MCR used road-test data from old issues of Motor Trend, Car & Driver, and other magazines to ensure as much accuracy as possible, but it still bit them. As expected, the magazine was deluged with letters and phone calls from irate musclecar loyalists, the loudest group being the Chrysler Hemi lovers. See, MCR said the ’70 Buick GS Stage 1 was the third fastest (with a 13.38 quarter-mile e.t.) and the fastest Hemi-powered musclecar, a 13.50-second ’68 Charger, was back in fifth place. Mopar guys screamed “Foul!” at the suggestion that grandpa’s Buick was quicker than their race-derived Elephant, and the debate went nuclear. Two … [Read more...] about Hemi vs. Buick – Who’s King of the Strip?
My daily life revolves around used cars. As a former fast-talking auto auctioneer, it was once my job to inspect, appraise, and liquidate thousands of cars throughout the United States. Since I put down my microphone and became a full-time car dealer, I have gone from auctioning off 150 vehicles an hour – yes, we really do talk that fast – to buying 150 vehicles every two to three months.a diesel truck rolling coal, to $30,000 DeLoreans that hopefully can go at least 88 miles per hour. The auctions never run out of weirdness when it comes to cars because they sell over 10 million every single year. So with that big number in mind, let me tell you about these two cars that have about as much in common as Mel Gibson and Mel Brooks.Option A: 1993 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car Edition This 1993 Chevrolet Camaro Indy Pace Car has all of 4,187 miles on it. Neither of those numbers are a misprint and yes, those are multi-colored stripes on the hood. Every week, I find … [Read more...] about Old Car or New Car? 1993 Chevy Camaro vs 2015 Honda CR-Z
If the war of words and press releases between Suzuki and Volkswagen escalates into a legal duel, then the showdown will not happen in a court of law. Germany’s Handelsblatt learned that the “secret cooperation agreement between Volkswagen and Suzuki specifies arbitration in case of differences.”Commonly, arbitration is binding in these cases. It may not even come to that. David McAllister, Premier of Volkswagen’s home state Lower Saxony, which holds 20 percent of Volkswagen, intervened over the weekend. “It would be good if these differences would be settled in private and not in public,” McAllister told the Handelsblatt. McAllister also sits on the board of Volkswagen.Intervention by high-ranking government officials has a rich tradition in these matters. When Volkswagen and GM were at their throats over the Lopez affair, former Chancellor Kohl settled it with then President Clinton. The fight between Volkswagen and BMW … [Read more...] about Suzuki vs. Volkswagen: Peacekeeping Intervention
COMPARISON TESTS 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs. 2009 Kia Borrego, 2010 Nissan Pathfinder, 2010 Toyota 4Runner Finding Faults: Four SUVs with $40k price tags go rock hopping in southern California’s shakiest earthquake zones. 2011 Aston Martin V12 Vantage vs. 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI V10, 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia, 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S Rocket Science: Back to the lab with five very serious projectiles. ROAD TEST 2011 Honda CR-Z EX X, Why, and Z: Finding the hybrid hot spot is harder than combining two good ideas. LONG-TERM ROAD TEST 2009 Acura TSX Sophomore, Sans Slump: Could the second generation possibly be as satisfying as the first? SHORT TAKE ROAD TESTS 2011 BMW Alpina B7 Mucho muscle. Much moola, too. … [Read more...] about November 2010
It’s not Donald Trump’s tax returns or Hillary Clinton’s deleted e-mails, but the fine folks at Camaro6.com have stumbled upon the order guide for the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro. And thank the muscle-car gods that they did, because one number listed within the guide truly stands out: 650.That figure represents both the horsepower and torque listed for the all-new Camaro ZL1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine—10 more than Chevy had estimated in each case. We’ve reached out to General Motors for confirmation or comment; however, we’ve yet to hear back from a brand representative. Nevertheless, we’re not exactly shocked by this revelation. After all, the ZL1 is fitted with the same supercharged LT4 engine found under the hood of the Corvette Z06 in which it makes—surprise!—650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. One might have expected the engines to make slightly different outputs based on packaging and … [Read more...] about Wild Horses: New Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 To Pack 650 Horsepower?
I recently wrote an article entitled “Lincoln Can and Will Come Back,” in which I insisted that Lincoln would, someday soon, rise from the ashes and return to its rightful place as a top luxury brand for people who can’t afford an Infiniti. Many of you thought I was crazy, largely because Lincoln’s lineup consists of five re-skinned Fords, all of which share the same name.But as a patriotic American, I am certain that Lincoln will come back. In fact, I believe its resurgence has already begun, as I will illustrate with a comparison between the Town Car and the MKT. I know what you’re thinking: Why are you comparing the Town Car with a … wait, what the hell is an MKT? Is that a sedan? The answer is: because that’s what Lincoln is doing. You see, Lincoln is telling current Town Car drivers – in other words, airport limo services and Jack Baruth – that the MKT is the Town Car’s rightful replacement. Also, the MKT is not a sedan, … [Read more...] about Doug’s Comparison: Lincoln MKT vs. Lincoln Town Car
250 years ago, in Prince Edward Island’s 1767 land lottery of 64 parcels, Lot 20 was scooped up by Theodore Houltain and Thomas Basset.Encompassing the communities of Malpeque Bay, Clinton, French River, Park Corner, Sea View, and other hamlets, and possessing fewer than 1,000 people, Lot 20 is a gem along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s a gem I thought I knew well, at least until I took possession of our new family home earlier this week. Last night, with my friend Jeff The HR Manager operating as a tour guide, we traversed virtually every road on Lot 20 in the company of a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Cabriolet.We reached antisocial speeds, as AMGs are prone to do. We consumed fuel, as twin-turbo V6s are inclined to do. We made inappropriate noises, as Mercedes-Benz’s Dynamic Select Sport+ mode (with the Performance Exhaust System’s button also depressed) is wont to do.And we made friends, as convertibles have always and will forever do.They emerge … [Read more...] about What Can I Find Near My New PEI Home in One Evening of Touring in a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet? New Friends, Mostly
Oh, come on. Don’t be mad. You knew I was gonna bait you a little bit this week with political stuff, right?As I was reading the dozens and dozens of posts from my friends and frienemies on the Bookface yesterday, I couldn’t help notice all the discussion about the “popular vote” vs. the “electoral vote.” Depending on which side of the aisle you sit, I’m sure you have opinions about which one is more relevant. However, automakers play the popular vs. electoral game all the time, every day of the year.What do I mean? Well, let me try to explain it in the context of both the election and the automotive game, and see if it makes sense.In the general election, the vast majority of the states don’t matter in the end game. In fact, 37 of the 50 states this year were so easily predicted and determined that within minutes of the polls’ closing time, they can be called for one of the candidates. While a couple of states were in … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: The Popular Vote Doesn’t Matter