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February 2013

$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Big Chris

I added an extra level of requirement to my fantasy garage - I had to be able to find my vehicles within 100 miles, or at least have them delivered here if new.  I did this because we as a family are indeed in the market for two new(er) vehicles.  Without exaggeration I added 2.5 quarts of oil to my wife's '96 Civic last night (yes, it sounded like a tractor prior to this) and have added 6 quarts in the last 6000 miles.  That's on top of what was put in at the oil change.  And my 2001 Dodge Caravan needs all new suspension (yes, all of it), brakes, tires, and has an AC condensor that is going to grenade at any moment leaving me stranded somewhere.

Chris' Subaru2010 Subaru Forester - $15,000 - These are readily available at this price, and I'm kinda in the market for one as we write this. I want something that will get through the Minnesota winters.  Something I can throw junk in the back of.  Something that will house my growing son for some time to come.  Something I'll be able to drive for a long time, and something I won't be completley bored with.  I think this will do all that and then some.  And it gets better gas mileage than my current van.

Continue reading "$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Big Chris" »

$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Anthony Cagle

You know, when this topic was first broached I thought the process would be about as exciting as painting the living room. But once I started I found it a lively little exercise in pushing the boundaries of getting as much as possible without going over budget. There's only two of us in the household so I was looking at a minimum of two vehicles; I've already got a true Car Lust car so I wasn't about to get a stable of Pacers, Hornets, and F-body Camaros and Firebirds. So I went mostly new and nice with one thrown in for fun. I did, in fact, consult the Spousal Unit on her preference(s), and after dissuading her from demanding a Tesla roadster, I think I've come up with a few decent choices.

Continue reading "$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Anthony Cagle" »

$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: That Car Guy

Let's see... a hundred grand for garage toys. Where to start?

Jeep Garage ChallengeHow about our brand new vehicle first. For that, I'd get a 2-door Jeep Wrangler Sport, which is their base model. And from their somewhat limited palette, I'd get this color called Commando Green, which looks somewhat military to me.

I built and priced one; they come standard with tilt, cruise, traction control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, fog lamps, a 285-hp V-6, a 6-speed manual, and more. Oh yeah, it also has 4WD standard... a Jeep without 4WD? Heresy!

The only options I'd want are air conditioning and a hard top; soft tops are just way too noisy on the highway. Its Grand Retail Total, minus shipping, is $24,085. Not bad.

Why get a Jeep? Well, I've always liked them, they make great service vehicles, if you get stuck it's your fault, and despite new model year updates, I think we know pretty much what the next one will look like.

Continue reading "$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: That Car Guy" »

Welcome to $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge Week

In place of the usual Monday discussion-starter, we're going to try something completely different.

Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum.In the comments to my Chrysler 300 review, reader "Hiptech" provided a link to a video review of the 300's Dodge platform mate at Everyday Driver. I got to rooting around on the Everyday Driver site and discovered that they'd had a "Dream Garage" reader contest a few years back. That gave us the idea to try one of our own.

Car Lust proudly announces the $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge. (Insert brass fanfare here.) The concept is simple: pretend that a generous but reclusive billionaire who reads Car Lust has given you $100,000 to spend on motor vehicles for you and your family. To answer the challenge, tell us what you'd buy with that kind of scratch.

We the Car Lust contributors will be taking turns for the next few days describing what's parked in our fantasy garages. If you'd like to play along too, the official rules are after the jump.

Continue reading "Welcome to $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge Week" »

Carspotters' Challenge #49--Sunset Strip, 1964

Let's try a video challenge this week.  This is a film of Sunset Boulevard--alias "Sunset Strip"--in Hollywood, taken on a bright sunny day in 1964.  There's plenty to look at.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Once Upon a Lust: The Cars of Storybrooke

We've done a few "famous cars" posts before -- James Garner's Firebird(s) on The Rockford Files, among others -- but how about some not-so-famous cars? You know the ones, the automotive equivalents of Star Trek's 'Redshirts', anonymous Security personnel who frequently end up dying horrible deaths so the main stars won't have to. Actually, a better analogy might be Hot Ad Girls, "unknown actresses or models. . .in various television commercials" who grace our TV screens, largely anonymously, offering up everything from cellular phone service to credit cards (a truly addictive, and largely SFW, site even if your hormones don't run in that particular direction). Oh sure, we all know about the Batmobile, or the Munsters Coach, both of Once-Upon-a-Time-Posterwhich had near-starring roles of their own. But what about all of those background cars, only ever seen cruising in the background or in some anonymous taxi garb dropping a character off before driving away, or even the true automotive equivalent of the Redshirts: those that show up on-set only to be gloriously wrecked? Who would even notice such things?

Well, dweebs who write about mostly forgotten and anonymous cars, that's who. Well, and the fan-geeks who follow certain shows with near-religious fervor.

And in keeping with that tradition, I present to you a truly odd and interesting collection of cars from the ABC show Once Upon a Time. "Huh?" I hear you thinking, "What could a show about fairy tale characters possibly have to do with cars?" Well, not much really, but when one writes about odd collections of cars for an avocation one tends to notice such things. I'm not sure why I noticed these in particular, but the show seems to have a lot of different -- and usually older -- cars in the background, most of which are more or less typical Car Lust-type cars. Maybe the producers designed it that way for some internal storyline reason (which is what I suspect, so keep reading) or maybe I'm just imagining things. At any rate, I'd like to take some time to have a look at some of them and let you, gentle readers, decide for yourselves whether I'm blowing smoke or am really on to something.

I should note that I'm not the only one to notice this; I've done some minor searching and found it commented on tangentially in various show-related fora, but probably not to this extent.

Continue reading "Once Upon a Lust: The Cars of Storybrooke" »

February 18 Weekly Open Thread: More Electric Car Whining

TeslaThe automotive world is slowly accepting electric cars and the like. But there is controversy of late. It seems that a test drive of a Tesla went wrong... that it didn't meet the advertised claims of its parent company.

Or did it fail? There are two sides to this story, and Tesla has a great argument.

Rather than me trying to retell the story, here it is from Wikipedia:

"On 8th February 2013, the New York Times published a review, written by John Broder, about the real possibility of a Tesla Model S making a trip between Washington, D.C. and Boston using Tesla's Supercharger network, which only has two stations in the East Coast. In this review Broder made a variety of negative claims about the limitations of batteries during cold weather, and the separation between Tesla's charging stations, that resulted in finishing the trip with the Model S carried by a flatbed truck to the Milford station in Connecticut.[81]

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk responded in a blog on Tesla's website, publishing logs of the charge levels and driving speed that contradicted Broder's account on several factual details.[82] Musk implied that Broder's behaviour in charging and driving the car forced the car to fail. Broder replied to Musk's criticism in a blog post.[83] In the middle of the controversy, a reporter from CNN recreated Mr. Broder's trip, and he was able to make it with battery capacity still left. However, there were two key differences with CNN's test from the one from the New York Times. The weather was about 10 °F warmer, and the reporter did the trip in one day; the reviewer from the Times split it into two.[84]"

Continue reading "February 18 Weekly Open Thread: More Electric Car Whining" »

Carspotters' Challenge #48--Bears Repeating

This week we have two postcard images of the TraveLodge in Erie, Pennsylvania, taken a few years apart from roughly the same vantage point.

Erie TraveLodge #1

Erie TraveLodge #2
See anything interesting?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Images obtained from the online motel postcard collection of writer James Lileks.)

Test Drive--2013 Kia Rio

The week of Thanksgiving, my oldest son emerged unhurt from a rather severe accident which destroyed the car he was driving. Regular Car Lust readers probably recognized that unfortunate car as the third generation Hyundai Accent I wrote a "test drive" post about back in the summer of 2009. The car we've replaced it with is a Kia Rio, the platform-mate of the new (as of 2011) fourth generation Accent.

"Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand...."It turns out that in the space of four model years, the term "base trim level" has acquired a rather more expansive meaning than it once had.

Continue reading "Test Drive--2013 Kia Rio" »

February 11 Weekly Open Thread: T Tops

Trans-Am_banditEver since Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason made a little movie with a black Trans Am, T Tops have become a staple in our automotive land. For about two decades, every American automaker offered them. The Subaru BRAT, Nissan 300ZX, and Toyota MR2 were a few foreign models that had them as well.

After all, convertibles were gone forever after 1976 (Or so we were told), so this was the only way, other than a sunroof, to open the skies for us motorists. And they just looked, well... cool!

Even the Wikipedia "T Tops" link shows a "Smokey and the Bandit Mobile" as their example of a car with T Tops. In fact, this is that image. So please behold, in all of its splendid magnificence, a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with T Tops, which is still the desire of many diehard car chase movie fans, truck drivers, and Coors beer enthusiasts.

Continue reading "February 11 Weekly Open Thread: T Tops" »

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

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