Go Retro, Buy Used Muscle

2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

The modern-day retro muscle-car craze may be on the downward side of its spiral of popularity. The Mustang will evolve into a sleek sports car within a couple model years, which surely means the Camaro will follow suit shortly thereafter (because, honestly, the Camaro is always a step behind the ‘Stang, right?)

For 2013, though, Chevrolet will offer the Camaro SS 1LE, which is a tarted-up track version made with bits from the Camaro ZL1. The ZL1, in convertible form, starts at just over $60,000, while the SS 1LE will begin at just under $40,000. Yes, the prices have gotten outrageous, which is why it might be best to buy a real retro muscle car and have some fun customizing it yourself.

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The Aluminum Ford F-150: Fact or Fiction?

2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost

The Jaguar XJ and Audi A8 famously use aluminum frames and body panels to help the luxury barges achieve a low weight and improved fuel economy over their steel-wearing brethren.

In those vehicles, aluminum makes sense, and it’s probably the material of the future for cars in their class.

Full-size American pickups, though, require something a little sturdier. American cowboys like their domestic workhorses because they’re tough, heavy-duty machines built with good old-fashioned steel. No pansy lightweight building materials like those Europeans are using.

Well, cover your ears cowboys, because the F-150 is going aluminum. Maybe.

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Spotted Any Cool Cars Lately? Share Them!

Old School Mini

Ah, the last weekend in July. You know, the time of year when a “Sunday driver” gets a little more usage than it does in November. If you’re not lucky enough to be putting your own top down, we hope you’ll still see some cool cars this weekend. Car show, parking lot, shopping trip, your neighbor’s driveway—summer’s the best time to spot beautiful cars. If you do spot something hot, please do us all a favor and share a photo. (Please remember, though, if it isn’t your car, we’re sure the owner would appreciate you hiding its license plates.)

We’ve gotten things started with a sweet old right-hand-drive Mini, spotted close to CarGurus headquarters. We look forward to seeing what catches your eye this weekend!


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The Most Beautiful Cars of 2012

2013 Maserati GranTurismo Sport

On its website, Forbes listed the cars it believes are the most beautiful of 2012. It got some right, but in my opinion, missed some real lookers and included some serious head-scratchers.

For some reason, the Jaguar F-Type, which hasn’t had its official reveal and won’t even be available until sometime in 2013, made the list. Odd, right? Also, the awkward Ferrari 458 Spider got the nod, which isn’t nearly as good looking as the coupe version or its arch-nemesis, the McLaren MP4-12C Spider (which also made the list). Most suspicious to my eye was the inclusion of the Bentley Mulsanne, which looks like a droopy old man.

There are no mass-produced cars on the list, either, which I find remarkable. So, here are some of the cars I’d place on a list of the most beautiful of 2012:

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Cars Coming Soon: All-New 2014 Mazda6

2014 Mazda6

I like it when teaser pictures reveal everything.

A typical teaser image of a coming vehicle is a vague, blacked-out silhouette or just the line from the hood to the trunk. Other teasers show an extreme close-up of a taillight or a fender flare and hope the image pacifies the public before the car’s official debut. Sometimes teasers show no parts of the car at all. I remember a teaser for the new Ford Explorer that showed only a snow-covered forest.

The 2014 Mazda6 has some teaser images floating around, most of which do a lot more than tease. In fact, they show a nearly full reveal of what’s to come. Keep reading to see the pictures, and be sure to let us know what you think!

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Choose Your Poison: Gas Tax or Mileage Tax

Golden Gate Bridge traffic

Unless we want the streets of the United States to look like the streets of Michigan, we’ve got to figure out a way to pay for proper infrastructure repair and replacement.

The most logical ways to fund streets are through vehicle registration taxes and gas taxes. The problem, of course, is that both are about as high as they can politically get in most areas while streets and highways continue to crumble. As hard as it is to admit, I believe gas taxes should increase, because it’s the most fair way to evenly distribute how much tax individuals pay. Higher gas prices also will spur drivers to save more fuel and drive less.

But cities in the Bay Area have a different idea.

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Subprime Loans Are Back: More Cars for People Who Can’t Afford Them

Subprime car loans

Maybe we didn’t learn our lesson the first time around.

Maybe lending to people who represent a large credit risk is just the American way. Maybe we’ll just keep cycling through economic ups and downs, recessions and recovery, because we can’t seem to understand that building a recovery on shaky credit will never end well.

People need cars, though, and sometimes they just don’t have those perfect 800 credit scores (or even a reasonably healthy 650) to open a credit account and secure a loan for a pricey new or used car. Of course, it would be better if someone just saved up cash, searched the CarGurus used listings and bought the car that was priced right. Instead, they gobble up offers by banks to finance a $20,000 car when buying a $5,000 car for cash would make more financial sense.

A story at The Detroit News had this scary quote:

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Your New BMW: Available By the Hour?

2012 BMW 328i Convertible

Luxury car dealers should rent cars.

Imagine the new revenue source for dealers if they had a fleet of popular vehicles available to rent by the hour, day or week. I’ve been thinking about this for the last two weeks or so as I’ve planned a 15th wedding anniversary celebration. Guys like me may not want to parade our wives around town in our ’94 Tercels on an anniversary night. Maybe the dumpy car is fine on a normal everyday trip to the Hobby Lobby, but when visiting a fancy restaurant on a special night, there’s a need for something more.

Some cities have exotic rentals, but that may be overkill on the budget. Wouldn’t it be great if guys like us could call up the local BMW or Porsche dealer and request a nice new 3 Series or Boxster to shuttle our brides for the evening?

At some BMW dealers, such a program is in the works.

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Animal Collisions, Roadkill and Kangaroos

Kangaroo crossing sign

The only animal I’ve ever killed was a cat. With my car. While running studded snow tires.

I felt terrible, but it was dark out, and I just didn’t see the feline in time to even attempt saving its life. Since then I’ve come dangerously close to much larger animals: an elk on the side of a North Idaho highway and a number of bucks encroaching on I-90 in Montana and Wyoming. But I’ve never come close to hitting a kangaroo, and I’ve never swerved to hit an animal on purpose.

Unlike some people.

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Cars Coming Soon: Kia Quoris Heading for Global Release

Kia Quoris

A blog post about car names may be in order soon.

The latest in head-scratching nonsense words being affixed to the tail end of cars comes from Kia, with its flagship sedan being branded with the made-up word “Quoris.” It’s hard to spell, hard to say and doesn’t really mean anything. According to Kia, the word was derived from the words “core” and “quality,” which still doesn’t make any sense, since that would make a word more like “Corality.”

Regardless of its name, the Quoris will likely come to the States as Kia’s best effort so far at a flagship car.

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