Archive for the ‘Classic & Vintage Cars’ Category

What’s Your Favorite Utilitarian Car?

October 30th, 2015


There was a time when people bought cars for a specific reason. Sometimes it was for simple transportation, sometimes it was for moving stuff, and sometimes it was for traveling to remote locations.

Cars were built specifically for a purpose. People didn’t drive the Ford F-100 to the theater, they took the Buick Regal into town and left the Ford on the ranch for hauling hay.

Today’s cars have become multi-purpose vehicles and serve as family haulers, date night chariots, moving trucks, and off-road adventurers all rolled into one attractive wrapping.

Does anyone else miss the days of simple, utilitarian vehicles? Keep reading for a few examples of the best utilitarian vehicles ever available in the United States.

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Toyota Goes Back to the Future for New Concept

October 26th, 2015


I realize that everyone is probably worn out on the whole Back to the Future thing. This, though, merits a mention because it’s arguably a major reason why a popular truck became so successful.

The infamous day when Marty McFly and Doc Brown flew into 2015 and wreaked havoc on the past happened last week. Bloggers and Facebookers everywhere spent the day bemoaning the lack of hoverboards, while actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd made the rounds on the talk show circuit.

One of my fondest memories from the trilogy was Marty’s black 1985 Toyota 4×4 truck, which led to my eventual purchase of a similar truck. Last week Toyota announced a modern take on the classic truck, but does is it hold up to the original?

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Car Faces: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

September 18th, 2015

Road & Track columnist Peter Egan once wrote, “Cars are considered to be an art form, yet the Mona Lisa, I’ve noticed, never needs a cooling system flush or new brake pads.” Automotive design has been an integral part of the car industry since the 1920s, when GM began to develop the first year-over-year changes to their cars’ visual appearance. As makes and models have evolved, so have the varying design languages associated with them—with varying degrees of success.

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Military Humvees Available to the Public, Should You Buy One?

September 8th, 2015

military humvee for sale

Here’s an opportunity I absolutely love for this first day back at work after a long weekend.

This one’s for all the people who leave town for the weekend and trek as far from civilization as possible. If you’re the kind of person who believes camping is pulling off the interstate at a state park or pitching a tent in the backyard of your suburban home, this opportunity is probably not for you.

However, if you’re the kind of person who likes get deep into the woods or traverses desolate landscapes long after the cell signal disappears, you need to pay attention.

You’re the kind of guy or gal who needs a Humvee.

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Investing In Cars Could Save Your Life

August 28th, 2015

1966 Griffith 400

You wouldn’t think a former school teacher could have owned so many rare and exceptional cars in his life.

Gary, though, is different.

I met Gary, a 72-year-old retiree, at his home on Priest Lake in Coolin, Idaho. My family went to escape the Washington wildfires and rented his home on the beach. As we sat near the water and discussed life, we discovered a common love: cars.

Gary, it turns out, also dabbled in the buying real estate during his teaching career and amassed a small fortune that he used to invest in cars. One investment turned out to be a silly mistake, but the others ended up saving his life.

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Here Comes the Revolution of Nissan’s Z Car

August 26th, 2015


When I was nothing but a gleam in my father’s eye, he raced his 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7, with the 390 cubic-inch Ford V8, against anything that was up for the challenge.

Dad raced Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Chargers, and virtually all other muscle cars that were around in the late ’60s and early ’70s. He didn’t win all of those impromptu races, but he had fun and knew exactly what to expect when challenged by one of the familiar American cars.

Then something strange happened. A small Japanese car wanted to race. Dad revved his engine, and the two cars bolted ahead.

Dad lost.

The challenger was a 1970 Datsun 240Z, a car that went on to become a Nissan and dominate the hearts of sports car lovers everywhere.

Now a new Z could take over the streets and challenge unsuspecting cars everywhere. Only this time the targets will be the likes of the CR-V and RAV4.

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Guess Who Would Have Been 50 This Month?

August 20th, 2015


Nine days ago there was a birthday that went largely unacknowledged. On August 11, 1965, a legend was born that would go down in history as one of the most influential of its kind.

This legend helped found an all-new category of vehicle and established itself as a forerunner of all others to exist since.

Unfortunately, like too many other world-influencing figures, this legend died an early death. That was in 1996, and even today rumors abound that it’s not really dead, just hibernating and waiting for the right time to return to Earth.

August 11, 2015, would have been the 50th birthday of the great Ford Bronco.

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These SUVs Paved the Way for the F-PACE

August 14th, 2015
Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Cold-weather testing the Jaguar F-PACE

Before the crossovers of today roamed the roads, the SUVs of yesterday paved the way to give them smooth access.

My oh my, have the big utes evolved. This year we have news that crossover SUVs from Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and even Lamborghini are on the way, while existing stalwarts such as Jeep, Land Rover, Ford, Chevy, and more, continue to rake in huge profits from the people-movers.

Of all the new SUVs coming our way, Jaguar’s F-PACE looks the most intriguing. Jaguar Vehicle Program Director Andrew Whyman said,

We developed the F-PACE to offer the ride, handling and refinement demanded from a Jaguar car, together with new levels of ability and composure on a variety of surfaces and weather conditions. Just as we paid obsessive attention to detail over the engineering of every single component, we’ve exhaustively tested the F-PACE in the most challenging conditions to ensure that it will exceed the expectations of our customers around the world.

We don’t have any specs yet, but we do know the Jag, thus far, looks like it’ll be one of the most attractive SUVs in the world.

It couldn’t exist, though, without a little help from these ancestors.

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Why I Don’t Like American Muscle Cars Anymore

August 7th, 2015

1964.5 Value Mustang

The American muscle car craze started with the 1964.5 Ford Mustang. That’s the car that showed Americans that high power could fit into a small package, be inexpensive, and look good at the same time.

The Mustang gave way to a new era of loud-and-fast rear-wheel-drive two-door cars powered by V8 engines. They defined a generation of rebels and teenagers who wanted to live fast and drive hard. The cars were different from sports cars of the time, because they lacked the grace and sophistication of European cars. To put it simply, American cars overcame that lack of grace with pure, raw muscle.

Buyers ate them up for the better part of the next 50 years. But as buyers aged, muscle cars came to represent something different. Instead of symbolizing youth and rebellion, the cars started to represent lost youth and cheap power.

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Ridiculously Cool Vehicles for Under $5,000

July 27th, 2015

1957 fire truck

What car would you buy for under $5,000?

That might seem like a ridiculously low budget for getting a cool car, but start shopping around and you might be surprised at how much car you can get for five grand.

You’ll find all the usual economical commuter cars, some old-but-sleek sports cars, plenty of hard-working pickup trucks, a few worthy classics, and so much more. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll find vehicles outside the norm.

Like a fire truck.

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