Archive for February, 2013

Feb
27

Mercedes-Benz 380 SEL

Doing hard time can change a man. Things you thought were true on the outside become less clear as time on the inside accrues. I did time—four years, in fact. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a lot of that time, at least the part that wasn’t spent in chemistry. You see, I was sentenced to four years of “learning” at Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois. My crime? Finishing eighth grade.

Feb
26

U.S. stamp of the 1967 Shelby GT-500

We don’t know if they’ll actually speed up delivery of your mail, but the latest offerings in the U.S. Postal Service’s “America on the Move” commemorative-stamp series sure look like they could.

Feb
25

2014 Jeep Cherokee

After a 13-year absence, Cherokee is returning to Jeep’s model lineup.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be a midsize SUV, likely positioned below the company’s Grand Cherokee midsize SUV. The company claims the new Cherokee will boast “best-in-class capability,” which we interpret to mean a certain amount of off-road prowess. Also mentioned were good on-road driving dynamics. Jeep touts a 45-percent improvement in fuel economy “versus the outgoing mid-size SUV model,” which we assume refers to the Jeep Liberty, last produced for model-year 2012.

It will be built at Chrysler’s Toledo, Ohio plant. That plant has been used in the past for Jeep’s body-on-frame vehicles, such as the Liberty and Dodge Nitro. The plant now builds Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models. From this information, one could assume that the 2014 Cherokee will be a body-on-frame vehicle, but it is also understood to borrow Fiat architecture, suggesting otherwise.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will arrive in dealer showrooms in the third quarter of 2013. It will debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show, which we will cover on March 27 and 28.

Feb
25

The SRT Viper is plenty wild straight off the factory floor, but if it’s still not enough, Mopar offers plenty of aftermarket performance and dress-up goodies.

Most automakers have aftermarket parts divisions, but few put theirs as front-and-center as Chrysler does. At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, Chrysler’s Mopar brand was out in force, with a separate section set aside and plenty of wares on display. For Dodge, SRT Viper, Fiat 500, and Jeep fans, it’s kid-in-a-candy-store time. Check out the pics below. . . . . ..  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Feb
22

Chrysler Crossfire

It has been a while since we published our first list of rewarding-to-find automotive obscurati, and for that we apologize. Take heart in the fact that at least one of the cars listed here represents a pretty serious car-spotter challenge, so the wait was worth it.

Feb
21

Buick Verano

The following article, written by Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel, first appeared in the “2013 Chicago Auto Show Official Show Guide.” Thanks to the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, producers of the Auto Show, for allowing us to share the text again here. 

Per any number of reporting agencies, some time in the last year the average transaction price of a new vehicle crossed the $30,000 line.

Thirty years ago, the average price of a new vehicle was about $11,000, which works out to roughly $21,000, inflation adjusted.

So, why do cars and trucks cost so much more, in constant dollars, than they used to? The easy answer is this: We’re buying a lot more vehicle than we used to.

Not only is every car and crossover we now buy packed with airbags, side-impact and rollover protection, and countless other safety features, we as a nation have gotten used to luxury.

In 1983, most new vehicles weren’t equipped with power windows and door locks, not to mention leather seats, premium audio systems, and navigation systems. Plus, the mix of vehicles in the U.S. now includes a heavy dose of crossovers and SUVs, which typically cost more than the simpler sedans that they replaced.

Feb
19

A Ford “High Swirl Combustion” (HSC) engine

In automotive parlance, the term “fleet special” is almost never used lovingly. Fleet-special cars and trucks are almost always decontented and often down on power compared to retail variants of the same vehicles.

Feb
18
AutoParkiT

Meet the self-parking parking garage.

Are you sick of snaking your car through a multi-layered parking garage, with its tight turns, traffic backups, narrow parking spaces, and no vacancies till the sixth floor? AutoParkiT (www.AutoParkiT.com) has come to the rescue. On February 21, the company will unveil a fully automated parking structure in Sherman Oaks, California.

The AutoParkiT system has the capacity to park up to twice as many cars in the same space as a traditional parking structure. Here’s how it works: Drivers enter the AutoParkiT facility through a traditional garage door, turn off their car, walk to a nearby kiosk, and wave their key fob. The car is then whisked away by what the company calls an “industrial proven, commercially adapted high tech system.” Once parked, cars are safely secured in the structure.

To retrieve the car, the driver needs to just wave the key fob at an HID reader on any floor of the building. About a minute later, the car is delivered, nose out, ready to drive away. AutoParkiT is a venture led by Los Angeles real estate developer Christopher Alan and supported by partners who are leaders in automation, integration and construction.

Feb
18

The Chicago Auto Show is predominantly about new and upcoming production vehicles that can be bought at your local dealership, but the show also gets its fair share of concept vehicles, one-off custom cars, and TV and movie cars. Here are three Hollywood-inspired machines that we came across at this year’s show. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

SyFy network TV show “Defiance”

This post-apocalyptic 2013 Dodge Charger is one of the vehicular stars of the upcoming SyFy network TV show “Defiance.” The Dodge Challenger pictured on the banner will be featured in the corresponding video game.

SyFy TV show “Defiance”

Off-road tires, auxiliary lights, a grille guard, fender-mounted “exhaust headers,” and a hood scoop with a futuristic “supercharger” toughen up the Charger’s already-aggressive looks. The weathered finish looks like it’s the product of 40 years’ worth of exposure to the elements, but it’s actually a vinyl wrap.

Feb
15

1981 Cadillac ad

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and few periods in American automotive history were more desperate than the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Arriving just in time for a double-dip recession and an unprecedented spike in gas prices was the General Motors LC4 V6, a spin-off of Buick’s already ubiquitous 3.8-liter V6.

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