As we saw this past week, snow and ice can be quite a drag when you need to get somewhere—especially when half the country does at the same time. With Winter Storm Boreas hitting just in time for the Thanksgiving travel rush, we got to thinking about just which cars we’d prefer to take out in extreme winter conditions. Some of them are practical, some are sensible, and others are downright nuts—but they’re all cars we’d love to be in when the white stuff starts falling.
Every so often a car comes around that changes the face of a brand, a style or even the industry. Henry Ford did it best with the Model T, not only revolutionizing the auto industry, but also changing the way we manufacture goods forever. No car has changed the world quite so much as the Model T, but automakers are showing off their newest innovations right now in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Guangzou, China, all hoping that their latest and greatest cars could become game changers for their companies or even the industry as a whole.
There is no better compliment than imitation.
If that’s the case, the automotive industry is full of flattery. That’s as true in the U.S. as it is within the unimaginative shores of China, where car designs are stolen like glances at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
Part of the reason for automotive parallels in the Western world is the simple fact that there are only so many car designers to go around. Once a successful design has been penned and millions of cars sold, the designer is lured to another company to create the same look with a different brand.
Who’s the next copycat on deck?
It appears that Mercedes-Benz will get that honor, as it just grabbed the leader of another German automaker’s design studio.
You’ve seen the stickers on the back of Suburbans everywhere. You know the ones, the little caricatures of each family member happily bouncing soccer balls or petting a puppy.
There’s usually a mom, a dad, 4 kids or more and two pets. Presumably they are all in the vehicle at the same time, and I’d almost guarantee they aren’t nearly as happy as their sticker-selves represent.
A lot of crying and yelling happens in the back of those Suburbans, I’m just sayin’.
For large families in need of a 7+-passenger vehicle, the choices are surprisingly ample. Expensive, but ample.
It’s that time of year again. Last night the streets of America were filled with beards, baseball bats and World Series rings, as the Boston Red Sox went door to door seeking gifts of candy from gratuitous strangers. Well, the night may not have played out quite like that in the rest of the country, but that was certainly the scene on the streets of New England.
This week’s World Series finale got us thinking. The Red Sox are a lovable team because of the personality they bring to baseball. Their stadium is the oldest in the league, their history one of the most prolific, and with the exception of a few years (we’re looking at you, 2011), the Sox tend to field a team of talented “characters” (think Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, etc.). All of this gels together to give the Red Sox a distinct personality—a personality that makes them one of baseball’s most lovable teams.
If personality can make a baseball team loved (or hated, in the case of the New York Yankees), what can it do for a car? The answer is quite a lot—many an otherwise awful car has been saved by the personality it projects. Conversely, many excellent or innovative cars have been easily dismissed for having the wrong sort of personality (the classic example being the Pontiac Aztek). So, on this day after Halloween, when every parent in New England has a full year until they have to chauffer around some of the biggest personalities in baseball again, we ask the question, “What cars have big enough personalities to match the likes of David Ortiz, Johnny Gomes and Koji Uehara?”
Reading through the auto blog-o-sphere daily, I find plenty of opinions on cars that are beautiful, cars that are ugly, cars that are fast, and cars that are slow.
I’ve offered plenty of my own opinions on such matters in the past, and today I’m in the mood to defend some of the slow and ugly cars.
We’ve all read about the Camaro Z/28 that beat a Lamborghini’s time around the ‘ring. No need to revisit that. We also know what cars sell the most and which ones are considered beautiful. Been there, done that.
For a look at some of the ones that sell the slowest and some that have been written off as ugly, keep reading. There could be a goldmine of a good deal in here.
There are 24 cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers up for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. Of those, 6 are General Motors vehicles, 3 are Toyotas and the rest are a hodgepodge of Nissan, Jaguar, Infiniti, Kia, Jeep, Mazda, Subaru and BMW.
You read that right, General Motors has the most nominations this year. Know who doesn’t have any? Ford. Not only did the Blue Oval not get a single vehicle on the short list of the nominees, but all 6 of GM’s new-for-2014 models made it.
That’s one heckuva slap in the face by the NACOTY jury, which consists of 50 U.S. and Canadian auto journalists who, apparently, have an infatuation with all things GM.
Regardless of why General Motors has so many nominations, the fact remains that it’s one of the best showings by any automaker in the two decades since the North American Car of the Year program debuted. There’s a very real chance that the General could take home the trophy in both the car and truck categories.
There’s also a remote chance that both trophies could go to India.
I briefly considered ending this post with the headline.
How funny would it be to open the story and see nothing but white space while wondering if it was a mistake or an artistic way to voice the opinion that an American company has never, in over one hundred years, built a truly beautiful car?
Yup, that would’ve been hilarious. An poignant.
I remember driving with my dad one day as a young adult and pulling up behind a Buick Rendezvous at a stop light. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but as he looked at it he shook his head and said, “Travis, why can’t America design a car?”
My dad had a point that day. Yes, this country has produced some iconic cars that have stood the test of time. But I can’t think of one that might be classified as beautiful. Jaguars are beautiful. Aston Martins are beautiful. Ferraris and Porsches are beautiful. Fords and Chevys? Not so much.
We are now 3 weeks into the NFL season, and that can mean only one thing: Tom Brady and the Patriots are in first place. All seriousness aside, it is once again that special time of year when America turns its attention to the champions of the gridiron. Here in Pats Country (as in every other corner of this great, football-loving nation), that means breaking out the grills and coolers and setting up a tailgate outside your favorite team’s stadium.
While there are a multitude of vehicles capable of helping you entertain thousands of your closest friends, we wanted to find out which are the best. After all, what fun is tailgating in the shadows of the Lombardi Trophy (sorry, Buffalo fans) if that involves strapping a grill to your roof, only to get to the stadium and have to stand and cook in the rain, all while being forced to listen to cracked and broken rock music blasting from the 20-year-old boombox the guy parked next to you brought along.
When you’re the best in the business, everyone else wants to beat you. When you’re the best in the car business, everyone else wants to build a better car.
The thing is, when you’re the best, you rarely lose. When you feel the competition getting close, you up your game and make sure whatever you do next sets you apart and shows the world exactly why you’ve earned the title “The Best.”
In the sports car world, “The Best” is Porsche. Other carmakers desperately want to take down the 911, or at least field something somewhat comparable. That’s no easy task, but two recent reviews of new cars both come to the conclusion that Porsche has some surprising new challengers.