Saturn was in the middle of a “first drive” for a new car you’ll read about in the October Motor Trend. The morning’s drive was done, and we were sitting down to Friday lunch at a local restaurant when the PR guy across the table read his Blackberry. “Kerkorian’s recommending an alliance between GM and Nissan/Renault,” he said, calmly. The next day, Saturn’s staff went on vacation, along with all but a skeleton crew of the rest of GM’s white- and blue-collar workers, for the annual summer shutdown to retool for next year’s models. Many of these GM guys and women would head to various Northern Michigan lakes and resorts, where mobile phone and Internet coverage is deliberately sketchy. Best to take vacation, forget about Kerkorian, and hope it would be old news by the time vacation is over. But Detroit’s auto pundits, analysts, movers-‘n-shakers and journalists were in a frenzy. What’s really going on? … [Read more...] about The View from Motown: On A Clear Day, You Can See Carlos Ghosn
Know if a guy likes you
Solo2 guy: “You know a Chevelle isn’t really a car that’s conducive to autocrossing.” CC: “That’s OK. We have really big tires on the front and back.”Solo2 guy: “Um, what kind of suspension do you have on it?”CC: “Drag shocks and drum brakes, if that’s what you mean.”Solo2 guy: “And you said a big-block with 502 hp?”CC: “Yup, it’s high 11s on the bottle.”CC: “Hello?” No one understands our need to go do stuff with our project Chevelle, but if it sits in the CC shop any longer, people will start to think it’s a resto job. No way, dude. Drive it or sell it is our mantra. So, it was off to the SCCA Solo2 course with a suspension set up for drag racing and some big wheels and tires from Weld and BFG. We will show you how to do it, some driving tips and tricks, and a few blunders to avoid so you won’t look as bad as we did your first time out. Just Go Top 10 … [Read more...] about Chevrolet Chevelle – Drive It Like You Stole It
Car chicks have it rough. On one hand, they have to deal with egomaniacs stricken with wee-man syndrome refusing to believe that a woman can actually build or drive a car better than they can. On the flip side, there’s no shortage of creepy bald dudes who are too busy ogling them to fully appreciate their wrenching or driving talent. A certain open-wheel-turned-stock-car racer of GoDaddy.com fame comes to mind. Michelle Harvey has been dealing with this kind of nonsense her entire life, so she gets a kick out of sticking it to the boys in her ’68 Camaro. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, the fact that this F-body is owned by a woman has nothing to do with why it’s getting featured in the pages of PHR. To the contrary, it’s a homebuilt, autocross-ripping, big-block–powered g-Machine worthy of the limelight in any arena that just happens to be owned and driven by a woman. And whether you have one X chromosome or two, it’s a muscle car from which … [Read more...] about 1968 Chevy Camaro – You Go Girl!
You may not have heard the name Roy Lunn, but undoubtedly you’ve heard about the cars that he guided into being. You think that’s an exaggeration? Well, you’ve heard about the Ford GT40 haven’t you? How about the original XJ Jeep Cherokee? Lunn headed the team at Ford that developed the LeMans winning GT40. Later as head of engineering for Jeep (and ultimately VP of engineering for AMC) he was responsible for the almost unkillable Cherokee, Jeep’s first unibody vehicle, a car that remained in production for over two decades with few structural changes and could be said to be the first modern SUV. In addition to those two landmark vehicles, Lunn also was in charge of the engineering for two other influential cars, the original two-seat midengine Mustang I concept and the 4X4 AMC Eagle. If that’s not an impressive enough CV for a car guy, before Ford, he designed the Aston Martin DB2 and won an international rally. After he retired from AMC, he … [Read more...] about Car Guys & Gals You Should Know About – Roy Lunn’s Resume: Ford GT40, Boss 429 Mustang, Jeep XJ Cherokee, AMC Eagle 4X4 and More!
“When,” I asked her, “did you realize that you, were, well, you know, an actual prostitute?”“Well,” she said, rubbing her cigarette out in the waffle-patterned wrought-iron table, shielding her eyes against the sun as it set in the distance, “I’d been dancing for a while, and there was kind of a grey area there, you’d date a guy and he’d toss you some money to stay home from the club some nights, and then I started being less picky about the guys I’d let cash me out, if a guy was decent-looking he didn’t have to necessarily be my boyfriend. And then I had a friend who did a few parties from time to time, bachelor parties and stuff, and I went with her, and it was good money. And you get used to the idea that you can make five hundred or a thousand bucks really easy. So I stopped dancing because that was getting in the way of my ability to do parties.”“And…”“And, I started taking calls … [Read more...] about Avoidable Contact: Cayenne won’t help ya, Cayenne won’t do you no good.
Oh, Cadillac. Sometimes I feel bad for you, what with your rebadged Impalas, your ATS wasting away on dealer lots for $15,000 under sticker, your XT5 badges that look exactly like XTS badges — it’s enough to make a man pity you.But then you go and do stupid shit like starting a “Luxury Subscription Service,” and I lose any sympathy I have managed to scrape together. Yes, Cadillac thinks that renting you a car (that nobody wants to buy) for $1,500 a month is a great idea, and it has all the early signs of being something that Cadillac has excelled at recently — being a complete and total failure.In order to get some sycophantic press for their service, Cadillac enlisted those willing idiots known as “autowriters” to be beta testers for the program. Josh Rubin at Cool Hunting gave a brilliant review of the program, right above his photo gallery of Lululemon’s Men’s fashion (I am not fucking kidding you). … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: If You Won’t Buy A Cadillac, Maybe You’ll Borrow One?
There’s a considerable need for independent research and analysis, especially when it comes to cars.But I have something to tell you about J.D. Power and Associate’s annual Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study: it’s remarkably flawed.The annual survey — alongside most other annual surveys — serves as a stump from which automakers proudly proclaim, “We’re the best, see? These guys just said so.”But the APEAL survey, alongside J.D. Power and Associate’s Initial Quality Survey, give a distorted glimpse at the reality of buying a car.They have no perception of cost. And that’s a big, big problem.If you could afford a new Porsche, how satisfied with that purchase will you be in 90 days, when seemingly nothing expensive has gone wrong? What about 4 years later when warranties start to wane, and regular maintenance includes parts like a notoriously fussy internal oil separator that runs $2,000 to fix? Rear … [Read more...] about Wait a Second Before You Invest Any More Energy in J.D. Power
As those of you with access to the Internet will know, President Obama recently discovered the executive superpower to rename mountains. As a consequence, Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America and the tallest mountain in the world when the measurement is taken from the surrounding ground, is now known by the name given to it by the Athabascans: Denali.In a prepared statement, Mr. Obama said, “With this action, I am fulfilling two of my most cherished dreams. First, I’m living the progressive dream of presiding over the surrender of a national monument to a native group. Secondly, I’m honoring my childhood memories of Mount Kenya, which rose in splendid African majesty over the place of my birth and early years.”Just kidding, of course. Mr. Obama is as American as Dave Matthews or Steve Nash and to suggest otherwise is to lend strength to the right-wing racist slander of people like Linda Starr and Philip Berg. But enough of that twaddle. If … [Read more...] about No Fixed Abode: Denali Ain’t Just A Mountain In Alaska
“Rolls-Royce sold 4,000 cars last year.”Carlos, a handsome, Cuban gentleman sitting across from me wanted to make sure that I understood this fact. He said it so intensely that I never even thought to question his number (which was accurate). “Four thousand. That’s it. Do you know how many of them were sold to people on my street?”I shook my head.“Six.” He leaned back in his chair for dramatic effect, puffing on a cigar that had been handcrafted by one of Castro’s own private cigar maker’s proteges. “Six. That’s why I have to have the latest one. That’s why I have my friend, Manuel, looking for a very specific car for me.”I was having this conversation with this distinguished, impressive caballero on the patio of Zuma, perhaps the finest Japanese steakhouse in all of America, overlooking Biscayne Bay. It’s nestled snugly into the first floor of Epic, which is, in … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: Miami’s Secret For Ridiculous Rides? Better Know ‘A Guy’
Let’s be real with each other for a minute, okay? Car reviews are just plain awful. They serve no real purpose for today’s in-market automotive consumer — they only serve to boost the SEO rankings for anybody searching for “MID-SIZE SEDAN UNDER $30,000 NEAR ME,” which is approximately nobody.Your friend Bark is here to tell you how this, um, industry of car reviewing needs to be improved in order to help customers find and buy the car they need instead of the car they’ve already decided that they want.The way the car buying journey is supposed to go is as follows:Oh noes my car is old and bustedI wonder what car would be best to replace itMy budget is $XXXXX and I think I’d like something different from/similar to what I already hadLet me read some reviews of cars in that segment from sources I trustOh, that one looks goodLet me search some reviews of local dealers to find the best place to buy my new Maibatsu MonstrosityI’m … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: Car Reviews Need A Reboot