Archive for October, 2013

Oct
21

The 1936 Ford DeLuxe Club Cabriolet was about one third as popular as the less expensive rumble-seat version of the same car.

Note: This article is reprinted from the October 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.

The future doesn’t always take a direct path to its place in history. A case in point is Ford’s shift in convertible construction that started in the late Thirties.

From the emergence of cabriolet-style convertible coupes in the late Twenties, the common seating configuration for these weathertight ragtops with roll-up windows was two seats under the top and two more in an external rumble seat. It wouldn’t be until 1940 that the rumble seat was finally a thing of the past for American cars and the era of the modern convertible—with all passengers seated in the cabin—had fully arrived.

Oct
18

The 1959 Jaguar Mark IX was one of the few sedans of the era to boast a DOHC engine.

  Note: This article is reprinted from the October 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.

By Jack Stewart

Jaguar was duly famous for its sports car in the Fifties and Sixties, but it was sedans that paid the bills.

During World War II, Jaguar decided to develop a dohc engine that would power sedans capable of 100 mph. Only race cars and exotics such as Duesenberg, Bugatti, and Alfa Romeo had used such a valvetrain before World War II. The twin-cam’s efficient breathing allowed Jaguar’s XK engine to wring 160 bhp from a 210-cid six—the same power as Cadillac’s 331-cid V-8 introduced at about the same time.

Oct
17

The person in this crossover should already know what they want. If not, they should PARK AND GO INSIDE.

Hillary Clinton once wrote about it taking a village to raise a kid. Whether or not you’re a Clinton fan, it’s tough to fault her basic premise, that being that there are things outside of your control that will impact your child’s development.

Oct
16

New High Country trim level gives Chevrolet Silverado (right) a premium topline model along the lines of the GMC Sierra Denali (left).

At a press event a couple years ago, a manufacturer’s rep riding with us in one of his company’s high-end pickups made the comment, “We can’t seem to find the price ceiling that makes our customers balk.” Indeed, this “truck” we were riding in boasted leather upholstery, wood trim, every conceivable power accessory, a sunroof, a navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment … and a window sticker close to $50,000.

Keep in mind our country was just clawing its way out of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, during which vehicle sales dropped by a third. Yet it seemed the pickup market was booming, at least when it came to pickups loaded with accessories that nearly doubled their base price.

In the past few years, almost every full-size pickup manufacturer has brought out specially trimmed high-end models: Ford has the F-150 King Ranch and Platinum, GMC the Sierra Denali, Ram the Laramie Longhorn Edition, and Toyota the Tundra Platinum and 1794. Conspicuously absent was a high-end Chevrolet. But no longer.

Oct
15

At $33,480, the 2014 Honda Accord Touring represents all the Accord sedan you can purchase.

2014 Honda Accord Touring

Dates tested: 9/30/2013-10/17/2013

Miles Driven: 299

Real-world fuel economy: 23.7 mpg

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

Base price: $32,690 (not including $790 destination charge)

Price as tested: $33,480

Quick Hits

The great: Great ride, loads of smooth power

The good: Sporty handling

The not so good: Oddly shaped trunk compromises cargo options

Oct
14
Wildbad 100, Saba

Too expensive for the U.S. market, Saba radios like this Wildbad 100 are fairly rare finds stateside.

One of my most prized possessions isn’t especially valuable in the greater scheme of things. Fully restored, in mint condition, it might bring $1000 if the right buyer came along. But, like most heirlooms and inherited memorabilia, this item’s cash value has nothing to do with why I hold it dear. And, decades after taking possession of it, I came to realize that it has ties to one of my all-time favorite automobiles, making it even more wonderful.

Oct
11

The Ultimate package costs an even $7000, and includes everything that can be ordered on the 2014 Hyundai Equus.

2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate

Dates tested: 9/23/2013-10/07/2013

Miles Driven: 513

Real-world fuel economy: 18.1 mpg

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

Base price: $61,000 (not including $920 destination charge)

Price as tested: $68,920

Options on test car: Ultimate package ($7,000)

Quick Hits

The great: Loads of power

The good: Classy cabin, high-content for price

The not so good: Ride harsh on poor road surfaces

Oct
10

The $15,990 Versa Note SV becomes an SL by checking the SL Package box ($1,700).

2014 Nissan Versa SL

Dates tested: 9/12/2013-9/26/2013

Miles Driven: 356

Oct
09

1947 Studebaker Gardner Special Roadster.

Note: This article is reprinted from the August 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.

Nearly 65 years after it was created by talented but mercurial designer Vince Gardner, the Studebaker Gardner Special roadster was still turning heads. The latest owner of the low-slung two-seater, John Allen, of Naples, Florida, had been invited to enter it in the prestigeous 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. This no doubt was the crowning moment for an automoble that had been to lots of places in its lifetime—including the junkyard.

Oct
08
Women in Car Brochures

1946 Buick brochure cover

It wasn’t until 1920 that American women were allowed to vote in national elections. As galling as that may seem in retrospect, it took some elements of society far longer to embrace those of us without Y-chromosomes as the decision-making equals of men. You probably already know where this is going…

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