Last week, the world turned its attention to the resort city of Sochi on Russia’s Black Sea coast for the 2014 Winter Olympics. While television has showed endless montages of athletes winning gold medals, people enjoying the sights and sounds of Sochi, and breathtaking shots of the seemingly endless Caucasus Mountains, one integral part of Russian life has thus far been left out: cars.
Not long ago the auto world panicked over the exceptionally high price of used cars. A perfect storm of unfortunate events contributed to a shortage of pre-owned vehicles.
Back in 2007–2008, the U.S. economy took a nosedive. Soon after, American automakers filed for bankruptcy. Then, in early 2011, an earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan halted production there. Potential car buyers everywhere put purchases on hold. Car leases were all but eliminated, which of course caused a serious shortage of lease returns, typically a major source of quality used cars.
With new car sales at a halt and people holding on to their existing cars for much longer, the prices of late-model used cars were through the roof. In fact, sometimes it was more expensive to buy used than to buy new.
Finally, some 5 years later, things are getting back to normal.
When listening to the classic rock station, I’m accustomed to hearing music from Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. So when a Metallica song came on the other day, I thought the station switched without my consent. When I realized the channel was still locked firmly on classic rock, I had a small tantrum.
“Metallica is NOT classic rock,” I said to myself. “I listened to Metallica as a teenager, just a few short… umm… oh man, 15-20 years ago.”
Holy moly, it’s true. Metallica are now considered a classic rock band.
Today I’m having the same realization about cars.
Sometimes old just looks better than new.
The sleek silhouette of the revamped sedan looks intriguing but, as with any all-new model, runs the risk of pushing just a little too far.
Based on the concept that debuted at last year’s LA Auto Show, the new Legacy has promised us greatness. Now that official images have leaked ahead of its Feb. 6 debut at the Chicago Auto Show, we have to stop and ask ourselves:
The Porsche P1 might be considered rare by some people. It’s an electric model, so you might think it’s a fairly recent development, but in fact the P1 is an 1898 model.
Yes, that’s right. The world’s first Porsche was built in 1898. As in 116 years ago.
The small, open-top car was built by Ferdinand Porsche when he was just 22. It’s the first car he ever built.
Some 30 years later, the same Ferdinand Porsche would form a company that initially designed German tanks for WWII and then vehicles such as the original Volkswagen Beetle. After the war, the company focused on building sports cars, and the first Porsche under that umbrella was the Type 356 in 1948.
Despite the decreasing practicality of the giant luxury SUV, I see some really compelling reasons to get a used Navigator.
A new one… not so much.
Getting a second-hand Navigator means substantial savings over buying new, along with guaranteed access to a proven, sturdy, rumbling V8. Getting a Navigator that’s about 5 years old can easily save 50 percent or more off the cost of a new one, which is a real no-brainer for people who enjoy the status that a luxury SUV offers.
We could sit here all day and debate why Lincoln even built a new Navigator. Honestly, I was under the impression it had gone extinct quite some time ago.
There’s no better time to think about a small, sporty roadster than in the middle of winter.
That must be why a friend asked yesterday what car I’d recommend if he’s looking for a somewhat low-maintenance, small, sporty convertible to add some fun into his otherwise mundane life. Naturally, my thinking went straight to cars like the Porsche 911 before he dropped this little factoid:
He doesn’t want to spend any more than $5,000.
My friend mentioned a Miata, a used version of which could certainly be had within the budget. But come on. What self-respecting man drives a $5,000 Miata for fun? Here are the options he should consider, even if it means plunking down a few extra bucks:
I remember the old era well. I remember when things were different, a time when the concept of having fun while driving was reserved for people with super-expensive cars or for mechanically inclined tuners who liked to turn econoboxes into home-built racers.
The cars have been an enormous success, which means just one thing:
There will be imitators.
Perhaps this is a sign that I’ve officially become out of touch with advances in technology. I thought I’d been doing pretty well keeping up, as I’m well-versed in things like The Google and The Facebook.
But when a friend mentioned bitcoins to me yesterday, my response was nothing more than a blank stare.
“What kind of coins?”
“Bitcoins,” he answered.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“How can you not know about bitcoins? Someone just bought a Tesla with them!”
That caught my attention. “Someone bought a car with Monopoly money?”
“It’s not Monopoly money,” he replied. “It’s actual worldwide digital currency.”
“So someone strolled into a dealer, paid in these bitcoins, and drove away in a $100,000 car?”
Naturally, I had some research to do.
The Dodge Avenger is going away. Conventional wisdom says the Durango and Journey should be branded as Rams. The Grand Caravan will likely yield to the Chrysler Town & Country. The Challenger and Charger should last a little longer, at least as niche vehicles.
That leaves the Dart, a fine little car that still falls somewhat short when compared to the competition.
This all begs the question:
Why is Dodge still in existence, and how long can it last?