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Our Cars: 2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

003Before we begin, I have to clarify that this isn’t really my car in the sense that I own it. Another thing worth mentioning is that I have 3 uncles. To avoid confusion, MR2-driving uncle shall be known as Uncle J, his older brother shall be known as Uncle V and their sister’s husband –and former Chevrolet Astro owner- shall be Uncle D.

An interesting proposition was bestowed upon me earlier in the year (May 2013): my family was to drive Uncle V’s new-ish Toyota 4Runner as part of our daily-drivers, with me being the main driver. This came to be for the following reasons: Grandpa’s former steed, a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Special Edition has been acting up. Not once, but twice I left work in it only to not start, while blocking the same fellow employee in this concrete slab we call parking lot. Thank goodness it had a small descent towards the exit. We got it fixed, but it’s just one of a list of problems that it’s given us. It doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence and its days are numbered.

The second reason was that Uncle J was in Bolivia, at least until mid-July. While over there, we took care of some minor bodywork on his new Ford F-150. Convinced that the truck needed to be used, Uncle V began to use it more as his daily-driver. After the 4Runner got much needed dealership work after serving as my Aunt’s driver while her Toyota Sienna LE was at said dealership, and after I finished ridding the Grand Cherokee of its electrical faults, Uncle V told me to take the 4Runner and park the Grand Cherokee until further notice. While my Mom was the first to let me in on my Uncle’s idea, it came as a surprise that not only did he actually go through with it, but also how soon it was. At least until Uncle J returned in July and order was restored, I have a 4Runner… I kinda like the sound of that.

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Not-So-Great Commercials: That 2015 Cadillac Escalade Commercial - "Evolution" of Indulgence

We’ve talked about Cadillac commercials in the past, though those examples aren’t exactly regarded as automotive advertisement’s crowning achievements. And today is no different. Yes, the ELR commercial had some political undertones attached to it, but it could still be enjoyable. This one struck a nerve the first time I saw it. Even its title rubs me the wrong way. So let’s watch it before it gets taken down.

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December 15 Weekly Open Thread: This Is The Time Of Year When Dreams Come True

It may not be on the scale (pun intended) of "Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men" but for we here at Car Lust, the following development is truly, awesomely, magnificently welcome. Gone are the days (hopefully) when all you could decorate your mantle with were Lambos, Ferarris, and other assorted supercars. Or even just the souped-up (sorta) versions of some regular cars. Now, we might just have the opportunity to display. . . .our own cars. This story from Autoweek:

If you had given up all hope of finding a scale model of your family truckster from back in the day, NEO Scale Models may be able to help. Models of domestic cars in 1:43 scale had basically been written off by model manufacturers because the U.S. market was never really deemed big enough to support them. Those that were offered tended to be purchased exclusively for decorating model train diaramas (O Gauge is 1:48 scale, by the way), and thus had to meet a very low price point. Thus diecast manufacturers like Minichamps, Norev, Herpa, and others focused their attention on churning out models of European cars, producing twenty different versions of a Porsche 911 race Dodge-aries car for every one car that someone might have actually had in their driveway, like a Volkswagen Golf.

Or a Mustang II! VW Caddy! Ford LTD! I've been looking for a Mustang II model kit for a while, but with no success (though never mind eBay). Even if I did find one in the box it would ruin its collectibility (I think) to put it together. So I'm hopeful these things will take off and become viable enough to expand. The design is virtual and, as the article notes, with 3D printing perhaps in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to specify year, color schemes, and options. Even so, once they make a fastback Mustang II, I'll be tempted to just buy whatever they have and paint the mother pink brown.

Lawdy, just go to their web site and start clicking away, but hold on to your credit card. Following the jump are a couple more images for your Lusting pleasure. Also, feel free to discuss anything vaguely auto-related. 

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Carspotters’ Challenge #122: Just Your Typical California Blockbuster Parking Lot

If one lived in California circa 1993 and wanted to rent a video, this is the type of scene one would find on the parking lot outside the Blockbuster… if you lived in the parallel universe of the Jack Slater movie franchise. Lah004011s13.3443

In reality, the pic is from the movie Last Action Hero, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie deconstructs the action-movie genre that Schwarzenegger himself helped redefine, case in point the parking lot filled with glamorous beauties (and girls, too) as only an over-the-top movie can get away with.  I275703The entire movie is full of great cars, but just from these screenshots, how many can you name?

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References: IMCDb.com

The Cars Of "The Andy Griffith Show"

 

TAGS Opening(Sung to the tune that opens "The Andy Griffith Show:")

Well now, take, down, your fishin' pole, and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,

  We may, not, get a bite all day, but don't you rush away. 
  What a great, place, to rest your bones, and mighty fine for skippin' stones, 
  You'll feel fresh, as, a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade. 

  Whether it's hot... whether it's cool... oh what a spot... for whistlin' like a  fool.

 What a fine, day, to take a stroll, and wander by The Fishin' Hole, 
 I can't think, of, a better way, to pass the time o' day. 

The name of that song is "The Fishin' Hole," and those were the words to the whistling theme you heard every time you saw Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie walking toward Myers Lake in Mayberry. Of course Myers Lake didn't exist, so maybe surprisingly, the title openings of the show were shot here.

Just like the music in "The Andy Griffith Show," cars also played an important part. In fact, several of their best episodes were written around them and the people who were driving them. So let's take a gander at a few of these machines... some of them might even surprise you a bit!

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2015 GMC Yukon: For Those Times When You Need To Take Your Living Room With You


The GMC Yukon: it’s massive, it’s luxy, and it comes equipped with all the comforts of home. As the GMC-branded variant of the Chevy Tahoe (with the even more massive Yukon XL corresponding to Chevy’s Suburban), the Yukon is a longstanding and much-loved full-size SUV, now in its 3rd generation, that epitomizes both road-ready hauling muscle and the distinctly American art of hitting the road without even leaving your couch. As a full-frame, truck-based SUV packed with more Lazyboy recliners than cargo space, the 2015 Yukon feels in some ways long-since antiquated, the improbable survivor of a dying species as it lumbers among today’s nimble unibody car-sized SUV crossovers. But at the same time, it manages to feel fresh and sophisticated, a technological marvel. And once you lay eyes on the thing, sink into its sumptuous interior, and mash the gas, it’s not hard to see why.

DSCN0644-001

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Lamborghini Jalpa

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When did I first learned about the Lamborghini Jalpa? Was it when I saw a pic of it was while perusing through IMDCb.com’s Miami Vice page a couple of years ago? Could have been Rocky IV. I truly believe it was in an indoor auto expo. I have photographic evidence and everything on that one. When browsing Jalopnik, there was this review on the Jalpa. It’s where I got the inspiration and pic to to a Carspotters’ Challenge. It could’ve been that we had few views on the post (nothing wrong with that, it did OK, IMO), but no one blurted out what the black wedge actually was: a Lamborghini Jalpa.

And I don’t blame the readers that didn’t know what it was.

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Car Lust Followup: The Renault Le Car

Seeing as it's the 1st of December and we've recently been discussing winterizing our vehicles, I thought I would throw this out for your consideration. I'm not sure this qualifies as a Car Lust exactly, but it definitely qualifies as a Car Thank You. It also represents something of a turning point in my automotive thought process. Herein, my short, sweet, and cold ode to Le Car.  1024px-Renault5-Le_Car

Yes, we have already covered Le Car (or the Le Car, which may be linguistically incorrect however accurate in marketing terms) in its guise as the Renault 5:

Mention the Renault Le Car to the average person on the street, and, if they even remember it, you'll get only snorts of derision and, perhaps, even some open, scornful chortling.

In truth, the Le Car was an awful car with a cutesy name--slow, unreliable, and little more than a French Chevette. To the cynical, it was the latest installment in a decades-long plot to grind Renault's already iffy reputation in America into dust.

I'm afraid I can't add much to that description and won't attempt to. Nevertheless, despite its sordid reputation, Le little Car holds some pride of place in my Car Lust heart if for no other reason than it once saved my life.

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To Show or Not To Show: That Is The Question

I just wanted to toss this out for Car Lust reader contemplation. The past couple of months I've been wrestling with the question of what to do with my Mustang II. Essentially, to keep it as a fun old car to drive around in, or make it into a show car. I'll run through the pros and cons below, but here's a bit of Car-Show-Fieldbackground to ponder:

First, it's not stock. As the link above indicates, it was my only car for nigh onto 25 years so it got its share of dings and such, and I eventually replaced the engine and exhaust because the old one was pretty wheezy, dirty, and expensive to gas up and maintain. Plus, you know, the old 302 couldn't spin a donut on dry pavement if I tried. Second, despite much of it being in truly excellent condition, it's really not up to car show standards. Oh, I've put it in three Mustang shows and it won something at all three, but in reality it looks pretty pathetic compared to the gleaming, shiny, nearly-perfect cars that populate car shows. So I would be extremely hesitant to put it into a show again without major improvements. Therein lies the rub.

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Winter - getting ready for the change

Parked Car

 

I live in Minnesota.  Or as some say, Minnesnowta.  Inclement weather is just par for the course here.  We don't feel compelled to name every storm, and even when it snows more than a foot (not uncommon) we aren't compelled to label it as a Snowami or Snowpocalypes or things like that.  What we are compelled to do though, is be prepared.  Well, at least the smart ones are anyhow.

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The 2015 Ford Fusion Energi: Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

During my entire week with the Ford Fusion Energi, it did not stop raining. Not. One. Day. Well, maybe once for a few minutes, but it was at night when I couldn't shoot pictures. But you know what? It didn't matter. This velvety-smooth little hybrid, combining everything that's perfect and balanced about Ford's Fusion platform with the ultra-efficiency of a plug-in hybrid, managed to shine through the most dreary miasma that Seattle's late-fall days had to offer. Maybe the pics turned out a little soggy, but the essential vibrancy of this plucky and refined hybrid was impossible to ignore.

Focus8

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SEMA at the Speed of Light

What car enthusiast doesn't include the SEMA show on the old bucket list? Here at Amazon Automotive, our whole team gets to make a yearly foray into that candyland of automotive excess. And while we feel blessed about that, one of the torments of that grueling week is that we are there for work, and we don't get to spend as much time as we'd like just goggling at cars and taking it all in. But people have some pretty high-quality cell phone cameras these days, and how are we supposed to stop ourselves from snapping occasional pics of the most fantastical rides as we run from one meeting to another? Now that we're all back in the office, I've rounded up the compiled cell-phone SEMA pics of Amazon Automotive. While most of them are just quick fly-bys, they represent a broad skim off the surface of the most intense car show on earth through the eyes of a few of us who were there for business. Hit the jump to enjoy!

2014-11-05 12.17.05

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1985-2007 Yamaha V-Max

  Yamaha-vmax

For 1985, the motorcycle world would never be the same. Few bikes deserved the title of “game-changer”, but this one did. And that bike was… the 1985 Suzuki GSX-R750.

But wait! What’s going on at the Yamaha pits? A roaring engine, a cloud of smoke and burning rubber, accented with the almost totally-drowned-out sound of uncontrollable laughter?

I can just picture the (totally made-up) scenario…

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Time To Go Rogue: A Review of Nissan's Dark-Horse Crossover

While the Nissan Rogue has yet to achieve household-name status in the ongoing crossover arms race, it would be a mistake to look only at the well-worn CR-V, RAV4 and Escape if you were shopping this segment. While it might not yet have the sales numbers of these perennial favorites, the Rogue is possessed of the underdog's hunger to please, and the result is a feature-rich, comfortable, and super fuel-efficient version of the miniature SUVs we've come to know so well. I test-drove one for a week, and came away from the experience with a new respect for a vehicle to which I'd probably never otherwise have given a moment's thought. And since its 2014 redesign, consumers have been taking notice of the Rogue too, rewarding it with steadily increasing sales. So will it take over the world? If it does, we will be able to say we knew it when.

Rogue8

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November 10 Open Thread: The More Things Change. . . . .

You know the saying "There's nothing new under the sun"? Yeah. 

Submitted for your contemplation: Girls + Cars. Cars + Girls. I'm fairly certain that the average Roman  curri dealer occasionally had a couple of calida mulierculae Romana* posing next to the new (AD) 14 models. And you can bet that the first thing some guy will do when he invents an anti-gravity landspeeder is dress up a future honey or two in quasi-futuristic bikinis (or perhaps grab a couple of Fembots) and sit them on the hood. It's what we do. Hence, compare and contrast:

Flappercar

That, according to Vintage Everyday, is a Peerless Touring Car, taken in 1923 in San Francisco.

And here. . . .

Two_girls_one_car_by_Graffton

is a more recent rendition.

A couple of things I noted:

-- There's no bumper on the Infiniti to stand on

-- There's probably more steel in the hood of the Peerless than in the entire Infiniti

-- You could probably outfit 20 of the modern ladies in the material in one of the vintage ladies' suits. 

Anything else? 

Sources for the photos in the links above. And let me tell you, if was a tough assignment doing research for this post. . . . .

* Hot Roman Babes. Loosely translated, of course. 

1989: It Was a Very Good Year!

Nineteen eighty-nine was a dream in a dream
We straddled the thin line between what it means or it seems
To be sure enough we left the world behind

--Grey Eye Glances, "The Lost Coast"

Though nobody expected it to be that way at the start, 1989 was a momentous year, one in which much of what seemed a permanent part of the world was left behind by December 31.

It was certainly that way in Eastern Europe. The "Iron Curtain" looked like it would be there forever on January 1, but that would soon change. In February, the Polish Communist government and representatives of the Solidarity independent trade union entered into the "Round Table Agreement" for the liberalization of the political system; the country held free elections that summer and the new government abolished state socialism and withdrew from the Soviet-dominated "Warsaw Pact" by year's end. In East Germany, a series of mass demonstrations inspired by Solidarity's success led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.

"You can bend me you can break me, but you'd better stand clear/When the walls come tumblin' down..." --John MellencampThere were other peaceful transitions to democracy in Chezchoslovakia ("the Velvet Revolution"), Bulgaria, and Hungary. The not-so-peaceful Romanian Revolution in December overthrew the brutal Caucescu regime, and the tyrant met his fate before a firing squad. Even in the Soviet Union, the seemingly-mighty empire which would go out of business completely in anticlimactic fashion just two years later, the government had begun yielding to the tide.

The tides of liberty weren't confined to Eastern Europe. Down in South Africa, P.W. Botha met face to face with Nelson Mandela, one of a series of negotiations which led to the end of the apartheid system of racial segregation. The thuggish Noriega dictatorship in Panama was put out of business Just under half of the class appears in this photo.by U.S. military intervention. Brazil and Chile held their first free elections in decades. In China, the Tiananmen Square protests captured the world's attention before the democracy movement was brutally suppressed.

On a much smaller scale of importance, 1989 was a year of great changes for me personally: I graduated from law school, moved, passed the bar, got married, and embarked on my present career. With my law school class holding its 25-year reunion in August (photo at right), and me being all nostalgic and such because of that, it seemed an appropriate occasion to look back on the automotive world of 1989.

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Great Cars of Death V: Conspiracy Edition

Once again the wind whistles through the trees and a mournful cry drifts across the shadowy moors as ghostly images cruise down silent streets. Is that a Gremlin? A Shadow? Or perhaps a Demon

No, it's just another edition of Great Cars of Death here at Car Lust. This year we've chosen a topical car PattonCarfor highlighting, the 1938 Cadillac Model 75 that General George S. Patton was. . . .almost killed in. Technically, he didn't actually die in the car but did pass away 12 days after having an accident in it that paralyzed him from the neck down. I say 'topical' because Patton is back in the news lately with the release of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's latest book in their "Killing. . ." series, Killing Patton:

General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost seventy years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident--and may very well have been an act of assassination. Killing Patton takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton’s tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.

Ooooo. . not only a death but a conspiracy theory, too! Almost as good as a regular old (car-related) ghost story. O'Reilly and Dugard aren't the first to broach the conspiracy angle, it's been kicking around for decades now, but they may be the first to really popularize it. So was there anything to it? Does the car still possess secrets waiting to be uncovered? Read on, but I must warn you: if you believe any of it, we'll have to kill you. . . .

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The "New" Kit

We all love that new car smell. And we all hate the payment book. But we also love something else about getting a new car, truck, motorcycle, or whatever. It's a bunch of little things that make no real sense whatsoever individually, but collectively, no new vehicle would be complete without them.

001

It's called The "New" Kit. And it's those extra little markings, stickers (This time, on the headlight), and other things that usually disappear in a week or two.

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October 27 Weekly Open Thread: Will No One Rid Me Of These Turbulent Noises?

FIle this one under First World Problems: Since I bought a new vehicle to replace one of 1970s vintage (and an addition to one of 1990s vintage), I have experienced many neat and wondrous things. Such as heaters that heat quickly; quiet; a smooth ride, etc. However, there are one or two things that have been really bugging me. In this case, constant beeping and flashing:

 

Yes, all the infernal beeping and flashing that seems to accompany virtually every press of a button, though to be honest it's mainly locking and unlocking it with the fob. Lock it and it beeps a couple times and the lights flash. Unlock it and it beeps a couple of times and the lights flash. Lock it before the doors are all closed and it beeps and flashes and then beeps again once the doors are all closed. Can this thing not do a simple task without being a drama queen about it? 

I did try to bypass all the beeping and flashing early one morning by simply opening the driver's side door with the key, but then it immediately started beeping and flashing and added blowing the horn to the mix. "No!" it seemed to say, "Bad owner! No driving!"

I imagine there's some way make it all shut the hell up, but it's not risen to that level.

Yet. 

Stealthy entry is not its strong point. 

Sometimes it's really pleasant to get into my old Mustang with a simple turn of the key and nary a beep or a flash to be heard or seen. 

Please discuss this or any other auto-related topic.

Carspotters’ Challenge #121: Something’s Out Of Place Here…

While browsing the comments’ section on a Jalopnik post, the pic below grabbed my eye. While a certain black wedge is without a doubt CarLust material, let’s take a look at the contemporary machinery that makes said wedge stand out. Who knows, maybe one or more of the surrounding machinery will become CarLust fodder sooner or later.

Jalopnik lamborghini japlapa review printscreen izzdsbqxzwkeb0xcz8al So what can you identify out the back window?

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References:

Pic: Jalopnik

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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