Archive for June, 2012
Car makers can get lazy. Sometimes a marketing executive will look at a product line and think, “Hey, there’s a hole I can plug!” Of course, it’s never quite that simple. Filling a gap in the lineup, done the right way, can mean years of development and marketing. So what happens if there isn’t enough time—or money—to fully develop a new model?
Recently I’ve been working on a Corvette hardcover book project. While reviewing the text, I came across a reference to a never-released 15-inch alloy wheel that was intended to be the standard wheel on the all-new 1984 Corvette.
The much-anticipated successor to the mid-engine Ferrari Enzo exotic sports car is speeding toward a public debut late this year as the first-ever hybrid from the Prancing Horse stable. Company chairman Luca di Montezemolo announced the timing in May without citing a specific date or introduction venue, but test prototypes spied in recent months suggest that the car is fast nearing completion. As a hybrid, the “New Enzo” will join a growing list of gas/electric “eco-supercars” that includes the BMW i8, the Porsche 918 Spyder, and the still-to-be-named retail version of Jaguar’s 2010 C-X75 concept. All are due to hit the streets in the next two to three years.
Lexus more or less invented the luxury crossover market back in 1999, with the introduction of the RX 300 SUV. Through the ensuing 13 years, the company has kept the RX at the forefront of the premium-crossover SUV segment by executing a couple well-done redesigns, adding a gas-electric hybrid model, and generally staying true to the RX’s solid original concept.
The Nissan Versa has a reputation for being an inexpensive, economical, and roomy little car, but I never would have imagined that it had a following among the dashing and debonair world of high fashion. But lo and behold, while dropping off a friend the other night, I spotted this rare, special-edition Nissan “Versace” near downtown Chicago. Nissan Versace.
As the tragic film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? hit theaters in 1969, Ford engineers were working on a new car called the Pinto. Oh, the irony. . . . Though it wasn’t stylish or powerful enough to be considered a “pony car,” Pinto was one little horse you wanted to shoot in the head.
I might have just answered my own question in the title. After reading the blog about the Pontiac Aztek by my boss—CG publisher and automotive sage Tom Appel—it got me thinking about General Motors’ other vehicles that used the old Chevrolet Venture minivan platform.
Many members of the Consumer Guide Automotive staff also work on Collectible Automobile magazine. A few days ago, a small collection of vintage automobile advertisements and dealer brochures landed on CA Editor-in-Chief John Biel’s desk, courtesy of a reader in Wisconsin. Most of the ads were from non-automotive magazines, so they weren’t the typical pieces for muscle cars and such that were placed in the “buff books.”