Archive for May, 2013

May
16
Cars of "The Great Gatsby"

In a scene from the 2013 film, Gatsby drives Daisy in Tom’s blue car (a 1933 Auburn) while Tom drives Gatsby’s automobile (a 1932 Duesenberg) with Nick and Jordan as his passengers. Obviously, these 1930s vehicles are not right for the story, which was set in 1922. By the way, the Auburn shown here is  authentic, while the Duesenberg is a replica.

Cars were an important part of the Jazz Age and of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald mentions only two cars by make in The Great Gatsby— Nick Carraway’s Dodge and Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce. The rest are left to the reader’s imagination.

May
15
Yogi Bear Car

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Yogi Bear Car?

Well, maybe it doesn’t look quite like Yogi Bear, but from this angle the steering wheel with the speedometer and tachometer look like the face of an old-time cartoon character. Felix the Cat? Something. This design faux pas reminds me of the smiley face front grille on some of the Mazdas a couple years back.

May
15

Azera vs. Sonata

As luck would have it, the Consumer Guide test fleet contains both a 2013 Hyundai Azera and a 2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited this week. The former is Hyundai’s entry into the “near luxury” large-car segment; it competes against the Chevrolet Impala, Kia Cadenza, and Toyota Avalon. The latter is the ritziest trim level of Hyundai’s mainstream midsize car. We thought it would be enlightening to examine these stablemates side-by-side to see exactly what the Azera delivers over the Sonata.

May
15
1955 Chevrolet Drawings

1955 Chevrolet by AMC

Note: Frank Peiler is the publisher emeritus of Consumer Guide Automotive. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Mercury, 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and Lincoln Continental.

The 1955 Chevrolet had it all. It was all-new from bumper to bumper with a new frame, new V8 engine, and new body.

The body design was a complete departure from previous Chevys. The hood was low, and the fender line was window-sill high. With a wide panoramic windshield and Ferrari-like grille, it looked like it was designed as a show car for one of the General Motors Motoramas. Here it is in hardtop form . . .

May
14

Jeep CJ-7

I’ve driven some pretty refined vehicles in my day. In an earlier blog post, I noted my affinity for the Mercedes S-Class. When it comes right down to it, I’ve grown intolerant of vehicles that make noise—or ride too harshly—while offering little real performance in exchange.

May
13
Cars with Personality

Fiat 500

There are a lot of great cars on the market today. They go about the business of transporting people with surprising performance, impressive fuel economy, and historically high levels of refinement and creature comforts. But for the most part, you could wring every drop of personality out of them and there wouldn’t be enough to coat the bottom of the ashtray that the Fiat 500 doesn’t have.

May
10

1966 Mercury Park Lane Convertible (photos by Doug Mitchel)

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

Nineteen sixty-six was a facelift year for the full-size Mercury, which had been completely redesigned from the frame up in 1965 and dressed in new styling that was advertised as being “in the Lincoln Continental tradition.” Still, there was enough new to give prospective customers plenty to think about.

May
09

According to Doug Bartusek, associate research director for the Council for the Research of Applied Plastic Stick-on Stuff (CRAPSS), after-market car modifications need not be expensive to purchase or difficult to install. According to Bartusek, “Most people don’t realize that all you need to significantly improve your car’s performance can be purchased at your local flea market or Speedway mini mart.”

May
08
Online Car Shopping Experience

This Chevy dealer’s website tries to be helpful, but it really isn’t.

My wife and I might be in the market for a new vehicle sometime in the not-too-distant future. While my job as an auto critic gives me unique access to the industry’s latest and greatest, I will still need to get into the proverbial trenches to research not only the product but the dealerships who sell them.

May
08

Peter Go’s 1/16-scale 1908 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost features incredibly delicate wire wheels and many other fine details.

If you’re a male of a certain age, chances are you built at least one model car kit in your younger days . . . maybe several. You got a kit from AMT, Monogram, or Revell and some paint and glue from Testors, put down some newspaper on the dining room table, and did your best. Maybe your finished product turned out good enough to occupy a spot of honor on your bedroom shelf, or maybe it ended up being fodder for firecrackers in your driveway.