Re-Thinking the Oscars: 5 Films That Deserved to Win “Best Automobile”

Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler - iStock

This Sunday, the 89th Academy Awards will honor the actors, actresses, directors, and other critical contributors to the films of the past year. The Oscars are all about rewarding the many artists responsible for the year’s best movies—whether their craft be acting, direction, costume design, music, or any other facet of filmmaking. But, unfortunately, the Academy consistently forgets one important detail:

The cars. Continue reading >>>

Reimagined Classics: What Do You Dream of Driving?

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept

We know most of you like classic sports cars, but we had no idea exactly how deep your enthusiasm ran until we saw the reaction to Wednesday’s post on the possibility of a midengine Corvette. Some folks commented directly, but the promo on our Facebook page drew hundreds of comments and shares. Commenters mostly ended up debating the current Corvette’s cost, practicality, and appropriate age bracket, but all those comments and the energy behind them impressed us. Thanks!

Now we want to know what other classic cars you’d like to see remade in new and different ways. We heard just this week about Dodge’s recent debut of the new Challenger GT, which can’t use the Hellcat V8, but can deliver power to all four wheels. What do you think of that? Are you interested in test-driving one? We’ll mention a few similar reimagined classics below, and we’d be happy to see what you think of those, but we want to see your ideas, too. We can’t promise any of them will actually get built, of course, but we’d love to help get a great revision into production. Continue reading >>>

Volkswagen Debuts New Microbus Concept… Again

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept

“Volkswagen is making a new Microbus!”

My wife excitedly read the headline out loud over the weekend, to which I replied, “Yeah, they’ve been saying that for the last decade or so. Let me guess, that story is about a modern electric version?”

“Yeah,” she said, “So you don’t think it’ll happen?”

I didn’t mean to crush her hopes, but rumors of a new version of the much-loved VW Microbus have circulated for years. The company has even trotted out occasional concepts, further stoking the fire and raising hopes of the rabid Microbus U.S. fan-base.

My first thought when hearing about a “new” concept was that an old article had been recycled. But, sure enough, Volkswagen has shown a new concept, called the I.D. Buzz, at the auto show in Detroit.

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Acura NSX to Add Electric, Gas, and Convertible Versions

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The Honda NSX, known in America as an Acura, began life over 25 years ago as a lower-priced and mechanically reliable alternative to the V8-powered Ferrari supercars.

Introduced in 1990, the NSX became the world’s first mass-produced car to feature an all-aluminum body and was powered by an aluminum 3.0-liter V6 engine, which featured Honda’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system, along with a choice between a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission.

The NSX became a spectacular success and remained in production until 2005. Fans mourned the loss of their Japanese supercar and eagerly watched the headlines in anticipation of its return.

As of this year, the NSX is not only back with a vengeance, but it will likely launch an entire platform of supercar goodness.

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40 Years of the Accord: Here Are Our Favorites

Honda 40

In 1976 Honda changed the automotive world by introducing the Accord, a slightly larger alternative to the popular Civic.

The 1970s were similar to today in that drivers wanted efficient cars to combat rising gas prices. The Civic and Accord did just that, while providing a dependable, high-quality, and fun-to-drive experience.

A smash success from day one, the 1.6-liter 68-hp Accord came with a nearly 50-mpg rating from the EPA.

Honda made the Accord much larger and less fuel efficient over the years. Here’s how Autoweek compared the first Accord to the latest model:

The wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) alone tells the tale — the 2016 Accord’s wheels are spaced 109.3 inches apart, whereas the 1976 Accord only had a 93.7-inch wheelbase. That’s actually 6 inches shorter than a 2016 Honda Fit’s wheelbase. Overall length is even more staggering — the 1976 Accord was a compact 162.8 inches long (about 19 inches shorter than a 2016 Honda Civic), while the current Accord is relatively gargantuan at 192.5 inches in length — a full 29.7 inches longer than the 1976 model.

Today the Accord is one of the “most American” cars on the road. With 40 years of Accords behind us, though, which was your favorite model year? Here are some of ours.

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Forget Kit Cars, Here Come the Repli-Mods

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If you could flip through the annals of automotive history and bring back a modern version of any car within their pages, which car would you choose?

That’s a question that may receive an answer in the coming years as a new kit-car law could spawn an entire automotive sub-industry.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 allows manufacturers to apply for an exemption from NHTSA safety and crash-test standards for up to 325 “replica motor vehicles” each year. These modified replicas, or repli-mods, would still have to meet current-year emissions standards, which will require modern EPA-certified production engines and emissions controls.

The reality of buying a modernized classic could be just around the corner. Here are some we’d love to see.

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What’s Past Is Prologue: Looking Back on the Origins of Today’s Tech

1962 Oldsmobile Cutlass Jetfire Advertisement

In The Tempest, William Shakespeare once wrote, “what’s past is prologue.” The quotation implies that one’s history can dictate his or her future actions. It’s written outside the United States National Archives Building, and I had a particularly intelligent and entertaining professor who reflected on it often. Looking at the auto industry, it’s clear that the sentiment extends beyond Shakespeare’s verse.

New automotive technologies emerge every year. We covered some of them last week. Some, like the airbag or the seat belt, have ushered in a new era of motoring, changing the landscape forever. Others fall flat—despite Saab’s creative thinking with the 9000 Prometheus, steering via joystick never really got off the ground (the Prometheus didn’t even make it to production). What I find most interesting is looking back on these advancements and seeing how they’ve impacted cars today, despite their often lackluster starts.

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The Carroll Shelby Cars You Forgot Exist

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Carroll Shelby died just over four years ago, but he left a legacy that continues to this day.

Best known for his work on the Shelby Cobra and an association with Ford that resulted in high-performance Shelby Mustangs in the late 1960s and 2000s, Shelby forged a path for himself that also included some lesser known automobiles.

Some of the other projects that bore his name happened in the 1980s and were questionable at best.

We can’t deny, however, that Carroll Shelby changed the face of the automotive landscape and set the bar for high-powered muscle cars to this day.

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Your Favorite Car: Modern or Vintage?

Mercedes Benz 300 SLS and SLS AMG

Cars have gotten so good in recent years that a new base model can be better than an older top-of-the-line performance model. Engineers have managed to coax much more horsepower out of smaller, more efficient engines while also increasing vehicle size and improving ride and handling.

Comparing new cars to vintage cars isn’t really feasible for buyers looking for the latest in safety and technology features. For buyers who want fun performance without the frills, though, it might be worth going back a few years (or decades) to find a model that was once considered the best an automaker had to offer.

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