Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Crazy Russian Dashcam Videos

Dashcams are becoming increasingly popular across the globe. Photo credit: Steven Symes

Anyone who is a big auto enthusiast knows Russians love their dashcams. There are a number of reasons why this is, including that they use it for evidence against the prevalent insurance fraud in the country, to help identifying would-be carjackers and for protection against unlawful actions by the police.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Aston Martin Rapide Wagon

Before any of you start having a heart attack and go visit your local Aston Martin dealership to see this car in person, let me tell you that the car you see pictured above is a custom, one-off job ordered by an Aston Martin collector. The collector worked with Bertone, who is famous for modifying these exotic rides from England, turning a stock Rapide S into a high performance wagon.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Irrelevance of "Buy American Only"

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Photo courtesy General Motors

I remember when I was a kid there was a huge push in the United States against Japanese vehicles. My family formerly owned a big Ford LTD station wagon that was a hunk of junk, so there was little love for domestic cars in our household. In fact all but one car we owned were Japanese and were super reliable. I would watch the news at night and see videos of rallies at different domestic car dealerships across the country where people literally bashed in Toyota Camrys and Honda Civics with baseball bats and monster trucks as a way of taking out their frustration for what American automakers claimed was "unfair business practices." At the time I was puzzled about why people were so outraged.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is Buying a Smart Fortwo a Smart Idea?

2013 smart forjeremy, a winged version of the fortwo. Photo courtesy Daimler Group

I remember several years ago the huge fury of enthusiasm Daimler whipped up here in the United States just before introducing its smart fortwo mini-car. It's a subtle yet significant marketing strategy that Daimler does not capitalize the first letters in "smart" or "fortwo" as if to stress the diminutive nature of the car. Conversely, BMW insists on capitalizing all of the letters in "MINI" like it has some complex with building mini-cars, which would explain why MINIs have been steadily growing in size over the past several years.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Ten Most Annoying (And Dangerous) Driving Practices

Photo credit: Bud Adams, stock.xchng

Everyone who drives around a city for any period of time knows there are other drivers who do things that are damn annoying. I'm sure we can all list off our driving pet peeves, especially after a long rush hour commute. The problem is that some of these annoying habits are actually pretty dangerous, for the person doing them as well as any occupants in their car and in other cars around them. These are the ten most annoying driving habits (according to yours truly) that everyone should work hard to avoid.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Koenigsegg is Teasing Something...

Swedish automaker Koenigsegg makes some of the most amazing production cars in the world, and now it's teasing something good (read: carbon fiber) for the Geneva Motor Show 2013. Automakers usually tease new vehicles either by showing a silhouette of the car or a closeup of one part. Koenigsegg has chosen to show a cryptic closeup. All we get for now is some exterior part of a car that shows off carbon fiber with a clear coat and yellow racing stripes. The company is inviting everyone to celebrate 0 - 100 -10 with it at the show. Let the speculation begin!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The 2014 BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo: An Economy Car Redesigned

BMW has been playing with a version of their sedans, what they're calling a "GT" or "Gran Turismo." First there was the 5-Series Gran Turismo, which looks and drives like a 5-Series with a bloated rear end. Honda copied the idea with its Crosstour (it used to be the Accord Crosstour, but that was changed).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The 1971 AMC AMX/3

It's surprising to me how many younger people have no idea there was an American car manufacturer called AMC or American Motor Corporation. It's history is quite interesting as AMC battled it out with the Big 3, including the period that Mitt Romney's father headed up the company. In the end it had a sad and painful demise, which seems to be the way most automakers end up perishing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

PZEV: the Acronym That Means Nothing

Have you ever been driving along, stopped at a red light and noticed the car in front of you has a "PZEV" badge on its rear end? Quite a few people see the badge and at least casually wonder what it means. Is it the trim level for the car? A special feature? Maybe it's a super-secret type of turbo?

In reality PZEV is none of those things. It is an acronym, one that really doesn't mean much of anything (if you ask me).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stick Shift Nostalgia

Photo credit: Myles Davidson, stock.xchng

I have mixed feelings about what seems to be the inevitable demise of the stick shift. The first car I drove regularly was an automatic Honda Prelude. It ran and ran, but other than a sunroof there was absolutely nothing fun about the car. It wasn't until I bought my first car (you know, one with my name on the title) that I finally had a stick shift that provided much more driving fun. I had attempted to drive stick shift a few times before that, but in all honesty the people who were "helping" me were too busy shouting and acting like an ape that had been stung in the ass by a bee.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What Automakers Can Learn From Harley Davidson

The 2013 Iron 883. Photo courtesy Harley Davidson.

The story of American motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson is a truly fascinating one. If you ever have the chance to read up on it or watch a quality documentary on the subject you will understand what I'm talking about. Like some automakers, Harley Davidson has been on the verge of utter collapse before, but in recent years it has enjoyed greater prosperity.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Car Myths Abound

Some cars, like my Saab 9-3, can go over 10,000 miles between oil changes.

We've all heard them, maybe even grew up believing them. Sadly some adults are still fully committed to them. I'm talking about car myths, of course. I've studied car culture on a collegiate level, and I have to say the myths about cars are some of the most fascinating things about car culture group dynamics. What really fascinates me is that there is such an abundance of information to refute these claims, but in some ways this proliferation of information has made people believe the myths even more (remember, don't trust the system!).

Here's a sampling of some of the most interesting and frustrating myths. I have to admit I have at one time or another believed a few of these, but then I saw the light. Enjoy.