Let’s Get Inspired by NFL Player and His Car

Alfred Morris' Mazda 626

I like warm cockles.

I don’t mean the small edible clams native to sheltered beaches throughout the world, I mean the ones in my heart. The ones that feel good when I read a happy story.

I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but an NFL player has warmed the cockles of my heart by buying his dream car. More specifically, he has upgraded his humble car into his dream, which is something so many of us should do… not strive so much for extravagance, but appreciate what we have right now.

That’s what Alfred Morris has done, with some diamond-studded extravagance thrown in for good measure.

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What’s Your Favorite American Classic Car?

1968 Mercury Cougar

I can remember tumbling around on the floor of the Cougar.

I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old, but I remember looking up at my dad from the floorboard below the passenger seat of his 1968 Mercury Cougar. All I knew back then was that the car went fast, was loud and made my dad happy.

I don’t know if I fell off the passenger seat or if my dad had me ride down there on purpose, but I remember laughing and loving every minute of it.

Unfortunately, I never got to fully appreciate the car, because my mom “suggested” that my dad sell it so they could have a more comfortable and practical family vehicle.

That’s a shame, because that ’68 had a 428-cubic-inch 390-hp 4-barrel V8, which certainly explains my inability to stay still on the floor or planted in the seat.

It’s also why the 1968 Cougar is the American classic I’d buy right now if I could.

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Admitting and Overcoming Range Issues

2014 Mazda6

Hello.

I have a range problem.

I didn’t realize I had a problem until a spate of recent road trips in two different cars blatantly slapped me in the face with the realization that my car doesn’t go very far on a tank of fuel. Since I’d really rather not drop $60 every 300 miles, I have a decision to make.

I can go between 270 and 320 miles on a tank of fuel in my car. My average is about 300 even, which translates to about 22 miles per gallon. Not bad. But with premium fuel and more road trips on the horizon, I have to admit that I have a problem. Especially compared with the 2013 Subaru Legacy I borrowed that can easily top 400 miles on regular fuel.

MSN posted yesterday a list of cars with the longest range, and my 10-year-old car, which is smaller and lighter than the Subaru, can’t compare with any of them.

Yup, I have a problem.

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Baby Got Slant: Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Porsche 935 Up for Sale

1984 Porsche 935

That’s not a Porsche, it’s a slant nose.

Yeah, I know, the Porsche 935 slant nose has a rich history in both the racing world and the collector world, but I’m not a fan. The rear end is perfectly Porsche, but that slanted front end looks like a ramp for another car to use as a jump. It’s quite horrific, actually.

The cars still have collector status and typically sell for between $20,000 and $30,000, depending, of course, on age, mileage and condition.

What would it take to sell one for $50,000?

Well, for one thing, baby had better got back.

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Bless This Season: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

This is the time of year we start thinking about the upcoming holiday season, even though nobody really wants to yet. Step foot into any Costco in the land, and you’re welcomed with Christmas trees, holiday lights and animated Santas.

Being early October, you’ll also hear murmurs of, “Christmas stuff already? It’s so sad this is such a commercial holiday now.”

Yes, from one perspective it is unfortunate that this has become the season of excess and commercialism. This should be a time to show appreciation for the ones who love us unconditionally and give thanks for the plenty we have.

Then again, if that’s all we had this time of year, we wouldn’t have the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante.

In a Neiman Marcus catalog.

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2015 Cadillac Escalade: Finally Better Than Buying Used?

2015 Cadillac Escalade, front

Rappers and NFL players can relax—the new Cadillac Escalade is everything it used to be, and more.

For at least a few months, there has been some speculation that the 2015 version of the ‘Sclade would ditch its body-on-frame construction for a more car-like unibody, like Ford did with the Explorer.

If Escalades are used mostly for show or to transport large well-off families, a truck base wouldn’t really make sense, and unibody construction would save money in production and give consumers cheaper gas bills while not sacrificing the bling quotient or interior space.

With the Escalade, though, GM scoffs at what makes sense.

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GM a Shoe-In for NACOTY, Probably

2014 Corvette Stingray

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.

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2014 Toyota Corolla: Great Car, Not for Drivers

2014 Toyota Corolla

It may not be all that fun to read about, but 40 million people can’t be wrong.

Considering it has been around for 45 years, the Toyota Corolla is an impressive feat of engineering. It’s also the definitive appliance of transportation.

As plain as it is, the Corolla is a rock star of the auto world. With more than 40 million cars sold and a nearly impeccable reliability record, the Corolla remains a solid choice for the crowd who appreciates understated transportation.

The stylish new 2014 version hitting the market is bigger, wider, longer and sleeker, but uses the same engine as the outgoing model. Along with a crash-test score that’s nothing short of questionable, is the new Corolla worth it?

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The Most Beautiful American Cars

1963_chevrolet_corvette

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.

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