We’ve all heard about the bad old days at GM when no car was allowed to challenge the Corvette’s performance supremacy. Those days are long dead. Team Camaro has applied its 1LE handling philosophy to the monstrously powerful ZL1, and the resulting monster is the most track-capable road car GM has ever sold. Up front, the standard Camaro ZL1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 still makes 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque because frankly it didn’t need to make more. Being an enthusiast’s car, a six-speed manual is the only transmission on offer. An electronically controlled differential rounds out the powertrain. Out at the corners, magnetic shocks are replaced with Multimatic spool-valve shocks, and like the rest of the suspension, they’re hard-mounted with metal bushings, not rubber. The ride height, front camber, and rear anti-roll bar are all manually adjustable. A bigger grille improves cooling, and dive planes on the front corners and a massive … [Read more...] about Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE: 4th Place – 2017 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car
Why car shakes when braking
Hardly anything can make a car more miserable to drive than a persistent shake. And it’s not just annoying; over time the oscillations generated by imbalanced or worn parts can literally tear a car apart. It’s easy to exorcise demons for most cars with the obvious remedies but others shake despite seemingly all attempts to cure them. But that doesn’t make them incurable. Vehicles are nothing but a collection of parts, each of which can run true on its own. Often an incurable shimmy boils down to an easily overlooked thing, like the way those parts meet or the condition or tune of the parts they bolt to. What follows are some familiar and uncommon things that can make the best car develop the worst shake. Most are universal but a few apply specifically to our cars, at least to the combinations of parts that we use to build them. We won’t address every potential shake source in a car, but if your car still shakes despite these solutions it might need a minister … [Read more...] about Causes Of Shakes, Wobbles, And Shimmies And (Hopefully) Their Cures
So here we are once again, rounding up the year that was with the paultan.org 2014 Top Five list – as with previous editions in 2012 and 2013, the writers each pick five cars that caught their attention big this particular calendar year.A recap on why things are the way they are, in case you’re reading the Top Five for the first time – the marker is set at five not because we have anything against going the more normal 10, but to select five out of a host of new arrivals in any calendar year means having to be more selective about things and encourage more thought in the process.Like in years past, the list works exactly like what it says on the tin – ‘impressed’ in this case meaning something that was memorable or simply a delight to be behind the wheel in. Some changes to authors this round. This year, Paul is taking a break from the Top Five list, but we welcome two new names to the 2014 edition – Jonathan Lee and Gregory Sze jump in … [Read more...] about The paultan.org 2014 Top Five cars list – the writers each pick five that impressed them the most this year
When Audi revealed the lightweight engineering behind the next-generation Audi A8 recently, the punchline came as a surprise. The bare bodyshell of the new car, which Audi has thrown its considerable expertise in lightweight engineering at, is actually 51kg heavier than that of the outgoing model. So what’s going on? Producing cars is a process of addition and subtraction. Reducing the weight is crucial because it takes less energy to move a lighter car, and therefore fuel consumption can be improved. On the flipside, manufacturers are forced to put weight back in to their new vehicles. Who is to blame for that? Well, in part it is due to legislators and ever-evolving crash safety standards, but we, the car buyers, have to shoulder some of the blame too. There are three main reasons why cars gain weight. One is equipment. Manufacturers tell us that customers demand more and more gadgets in the car, all of which add weight. More sophisticated climate systems, … [Read more...] about Lightweight car tech: do car makers mean lighter, or just less heavy?
Science fiction author Charlie Stross recently penned a blog piece on the future impact of autonomously computer-driven cars. Let’s call them “robocars.” I’ve pondered this before and Stross’s post is the perfect jumping-off point for a discussion of the many issues standing between science fiction and the robocar future. Let’s take a look.Firstly, based on the progress from DARPA’s Grand Challenge and now Google’s fleet of robocars, it’s eminently clear that computers are getting very good at driving. Robocars rely on a variety of different ways of sensing the road (stereo video cameras, laser range-finders, sonar, radar, GPS — you name it and somebody’s tried it). One of the ways that robots gain increased accuracy is by fusing data from multiple distinct sensors, and that means that the cost and reliability of those sensors will be one of the limiting factors before robocars hit the mainstream, never mind the pesky … [Read more...] about The Future of Robotic Self-Driving Cars
Curbside Classics takes you back to 1971 for a virtual comparison test of six small cars, based (and partly borrowed) from a C/D test.There it is, a golden yellow Vega, seductive and infinitely irresistible, hanging from the tree of automotive disappointment. Its serpent maker found plenty of smitten takers (especially among the motor press), because the bitter truth imparted was apparently in a time-release potion: “The best handling car ever sold in America” (Road &Track). Motor Trend’s COTY. C/D readers voted it the best economy car three years in a row. And it won this C/D six small car comparison. I (mentally) bit too, having spent idle hours in 1971 with a Vega catalogue specifying a yellow Kammback GT exactly like this one. But sure enough, the sweetness of that first bite evaporated all too quickly: the apple was rotten at the (engine) core. The Vega was GM’s Watergate/Waterloo, the beginning of its inevitable end. And yet here I am forty years … [Read more...] about Curbside Classics: 1971 Small Cars Comparison: Number 1 and GM Deadly Sin #2 — Chevrolet Vega
“All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.” So wrote the poet John Masefield, and we get it, the urge to depart, to swiftly kiss off in a vehicle built to go places. All we want is an enthralling ship and a good rack-and-pinion to steer her by. Is that too much to ask? For some car companies, yes. However, this trio more or less gets it. Handed the key to the Audi A4 or the BMW 2-series or the new Jaguar XE—any of their versions, by the way—you can happily chase horizons for as long as the money supports your vagrant gypsy lifestyle. Yes, in order to produce a 10Best winner from this class, we had to cut the holes in our filter extremely fine. Which is a true statement about many segments these days. Cars are indeed demanding more and more gold, but they’re also getting better and better. As evidence, we give you Audi and Jaguar, both challengers to BMW’s longstanding domination of the compact-sports-sedan genre, but both at vastly … [Read more...] about 2017 10Best Cars: BMW M2 / M240i
TTAC Commentator nickeled&dimed writes:Hi Sajeev,How does one keep an old car going on a shoestring budget? I do repairs myself, which helps, but sometimes I don’t quite pull it off correctly, as my power steering belt loudly proclaims every morning when I cut the wheels to pull out of my parking spot. With a list of items that are showing wear, how do I prioritize, and how do I know when to start shopping for another 10-year used car? I like to do my own wrenching, and have a basic tool set, decent mechanical knowledge, and neighbors that don’t call the cops when I work on my car in the street outside my house. Actually all repairs take place in the street outside my house with hand tools only. This last piece, however, means that absolutely no involved repairs can take place at home.My 2000 Subaru Legacy GT Wagon has got to be one of the better cars I’ve owned. It handles nicely in the wet and snow (which has decided not to appear this winter), and it invites a … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: When To Say Uncle?
Our intention this month was to run a feature called "How to Conduct a Super-Boffo 30-Minute Road Test That Doesn't Frighten the Salesman into Having You Arrested." Thirty minutes, we figured, was probably the max that a new-car dealer would allow. But first we needed to know if that premise was correct. So we interviewed a dozen salesmen and general managers to find out what the current test-drive rules are. We'll discuss later what to do when you're finally behind the wheel. For now, the trick is getting your butt into the car in the first place. It's not as easy as we thought. The first thing you should know is that test-drive rules are unique to each dealership. We visited a Volvo store where a salesman said, "If I believe you're a serious customer, I'll let you take a car home for a night with unlimited miles." Then we visited a Honda dealership where the general manager said, "Our test drives are restricted to less than five miles, with the salesman driving half … [Read more...] about How to Get That New-Car Test Drive
It’s just a car. That’s what I keep telling myself. It’s my first car. A 1997 Mazda Miata. British Racing Green with tan leather. A rip in one of the seats. Torsen LSD, Bilstein coilovers, a roll bar. Needs a new 02 sensor. Otherwise in great condition. In the last year, it’s needed a new alternator, new brakes. Body is good, paint is only so-so. Someone made me an offer I’d be stupid to refuse. I am usually responsible with my finances. No debt to my name. Rarely carry a balance on my credit card. Roughly a quarter of each paycheque goes into a dedicated savings account. I’d be an idiot not to sell it. My self-control is failing me. It’s just a car.That money, plus the money I’ve set aside in savings from my meager auto journalists salary will give me enough for a down payment on a home of my own. No more renting. A chance to get in to Toronto’s booming real estate market before I get priced out by foreign investors buying … [Read more...] about It’s Not Just A Car – It’s My First Car