Cars of Ireland: The Shamrock and the Costin

March 17th, 2014

Shamrock_car

Since everyone’s Irish today, let’s take a moment and remember the cars that were built on the green isle. The first one to come to mind, and the most successful car assembled in Ireland, was the DeLorean DMC-12. Regardless of the fact that the DeLorean is also a time machine, it sold only about 8,500 copies before the company shut down.

Because we’ve covered the DeLorean on this blog again and again, that’s the only time it’ll be mentioned here today.

Yes, believe it or not, it’s possible to discuss Ireland’s car industry without mentioning the DeLorean. The country certainly isn’t known for its auto industry, which today is non-existent, but a couple of interesting little automotive gems existed there in the past.

Good luck finding one today, though.

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10 Cars We’re Going to Miss Next Year

March 14th, 2014

2014 Ford Mustang

Cars are no different than anything else in this world—even the best will meet their end at some point. It happened with the original Volkswagen Beetle, it will happen soon for the Land Rover Defender, and there are rumors swirling about the future of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

With all the announcements of new models in Geneva last week, we got to thinking about what won’t be around next year. There are a lot of truly great cars that will not see 2015 (along with plenty we wished never made it to 2014). While not all of them will be gone forever (some are simply moving on to their next incarnation with a redesign), others will be saying their final farewells once automakers start shipping 2015 models to dealer lots. For a closer look at what we’re going to miss, keep reading to see the 10 cars we’re not quite ready to see go.

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New Fisker Owner Alienates Existing Owners

March 14th, 2014

Fisker Karma

Let’s say you bought a Chevrolet. Not just any Chevrolet, but a really nice expensive one. In fact, let’s say you went crazy and checked all the boxes on a 2014 Corvette Stingray 3LT with the ZL5 performance package, carbon fiber roof, racing stripes—the whole shebang.

The purchase set you back about $75,000, but you love the car.

Now fast-forward two years. Let’s say General Motors had some serious trouble, went bankrupt (again), but this time was purchased by a foreign company. That company vowed to put products, like your Corvette, back into production but stop supporting, warranting or servicing models produced before bankruptcy.

How would you react?

For the answer, please speak with your nearest Fisker Karma owner.

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Average Family Can’t Afford Average Car

March 13th, 2014
Even a Kia can top $30,000

Even a Kia can top $30,000

The average cost of a new car in America is now over $32,000. The average American household income is about $51,000. That means the day has finally come that the average American family can’t afford the average American new car.

That, friends, is a problem.

Why are cars getting so expensive? I remember shopping for new cars just 10 years ago and looking in the mid-$20,000 range for a decent family hauler. A car over $32K was simply excessive. In our modern times, though, excessive has become the new normal, and nothing good can come of that.

There’s a simple solution, of course, if you want to buck the system and tell the makers of new cars that you’ve had enough. Continue reading >>>

Volvo’s Magnet Tech: Imagine the Possibilities

March 12th, 2014
Some see autonomous cars. I see hoverboards.

Some see autonomous cars. I see hoverboards.

One way to deal with the problem of cars driving themselves is to use GPS and radar to manage traffic and avoid collisions. That technology has started to prove itself with Google’s self-driving cars, but obviously not to the point of massive testing on regular city streets and interstate highways.

I still fail to see the point of cars that drive themselves, as I’d much rather take the wheel and steer. For those few times I don’t want to drive, I prefer to take public transportation or bum a ride from a friend. That aside, though, autonomous cars are quickly becoming a thing, and now Volvo is testing an even more advanced way to handle driver-less traffic.

The Swedes’ answer?

Magnets.

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Selling Cars with Convenience and Parties

March 11th, 2014

2015-audi-s3-sedan

Think of two things that would make your life better right now. Take a few minutes, if you like, and really put some thought into what needs to happen to make you happy.

I thought of my two pretty quickly, and I’ll share them in a moment. First, though, let your mind wander. What events or changes in society would lead you to a happier, more content, less stressed and overall more satisfying existence?

Here are my two:

  1. No more red lights.
  2. Invitations to lavish parties.

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Chrysler Wants Original Vipers Destroyed

March 10th, 2014
1992 Dodge Viper Coupe prototype

Heading to the crusher

I checked my phone after the familiar buzz in my pocket. With the swipe of my thumb, the sexy rear end of an SRT Viper popped up in my text messages.

My lovely girlfriend, on her way home from work, sent the text along with a brief message asking about the car. That quick text led to a lengthy conversation about the Viper, why it’s no longer called a Dodge, and the history of the devastatingly powerful car.

Being a Porsche purist, she was only mildly impressed, but left our talk with a healthy dose of respect for the brute. Enough respect, anyway, to shed a tiny tear when we read last night that Chrysler has ordered the destruction of up to 93 vintage Vipers.

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What to Drive If You Want to Look Rich

March 7th, 2014

1980 Porsche 911

A Kia will never make you look rich. Nor will a Ford Focus.

I don’t care how shiny and sleek it looks on the showroom floor, once it’s out on dirty roads and covered in grime and leftover road salt, you’re going to look like any other guy or gal in a value econobox. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheap Ford or Kia, it’s even a bit admirable, but don’t think for a second that you’ll be perceived as having a lot of money.

For some reason an article at Men’s Magazine included the Kia Soul and the Focus on their list of cars that make you look rich. The list sinks in quality from there.

If you want to look rich, you simply need to be seen in the brands that are perceived as “for the rich.”

Keep reading to find out how to really do it.

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Look Out BMW, Here Comes the Jaguar XE

March 6th, 2014

Jaguar XE

I gave the car two chances. I bought the first one brand new after negotiating a killer deal, then sold it two years later when I noticed the devastating effects of rapid depreciation along with a host of technical issues.

A few years later I found the same make, model and trim level on a used car lot, and fell into temptation and bought it again.

I shouldn’t have, because the same issues began to surface.

The lack of power. The strange amount of effort it took to put the car in reverse. The power windows sporadically not working. Then, after a couple years of driving, the refusal of the engine to rev past 3,000 rpm.

Ahhh, the pleasures of owning a Jaguar.

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Renegade? That’s Not a Renegade

March 5th, 2014

Renegade? That's not a Renegade...

Oh, how the Renegade has fallen.

Picture a Jeep Wrangler Renegade in your mind, and you’ll likely see an American-made, brutish, square-shaped, dirt-covered, rock-hopping jacked-up SUV on oversize tires.

That’s the Renegade of the past, which was actually an option package offered for the Wrangler from 1991 to ’94.

The Renegade of the future is a FIAT with a 7-slot grille.

There’s not anything wrong with that, per se, it’s just not what one would expect from the Renegade name. I totally get it—there’s an economic demand to create vehicles with low price tags and high miles per gallon. Why is it necessary, though, to mess with history to make it happen?

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