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May 16 Weekly Open Thread: "I'm Mad As #*!! And I'm Not Going To Take It Any More!"

...at least not without saying something about it.

I thought this pet peeve belonged just to me, but apparently there are quite a bunch of folks that hate this. And it's not often that one sees a disguised "colorful" metaphor in the title of a Car Lust post. But if there's one method of bad driving that gets my blood boiling... it's people that think they have no need to hold onto the steering wheel in their cars or trucks.

Wheel wrist

Continue reading "May 16 Weekly Open Thread: "I'm Mad As #*!! And I'm Not Going To Take It Any More!"" »

March 14 Weekly Open Thread: Fiat Edition

This (actually last) week word came down that Fiat is having difficulty in the US market:

Fiat's American dealerships seem to be having trouble bringing in customers and paying running costs. Effective March 9th, parent company FCA will allow Fiat dealerships to combine operations with Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealers, many of which are right next door. Dealers that choose to stay independent will receive monthly assistance from FCA. Sales numbers for Fiat dealers are abysmal. Less than half of the 206 Fiat dealers in the US are profitable, and two-thirds see less than 10 sales per month.

The sentence that stuck out for us was this one:

We're willing to bet that more people would accidentally see a Fiat 500 while looking for a Jeep Wrangler than would actually go out looking for a 500.

Yeah, probably. 

Anyway, I thought this might be a good time to revisit an old post of mine. Slightly embarrassing for me since I botched the cooling system in the original post, but no more than having your entire line recalled for rust problems.

And feel free to discuss this or anything else you may wish to. 

Fiat 850 Sport Coupe

"There comes a time in a man's life when he hears the call of the sea. If the man has a brain in his head, he will hang up the phone immediately." 

— Dave Barry

Some (most?) people go through some form of mid-life crisis and buy a brand new sports car, or maybe that classic muscle car they either had or wanted as a teenager. Others dump their wife/husband and kids  and take up with a trophy spouse or perhaps an old flame they recently met at a school reunion or found on Facebook. Still others decide they really feel20 again and start wearing the clothes that today's "young people" wear, listen to the music they listen to, and maybe try to skateboard or trail bike their way Fiatinto contemporary youth culture, but end up mostly skating their way into the ER.

Of course, we here at Car Lust are different. When we take a walk down memory lane and try to recapture lost youth, we often end up being seized by a mad desire to buy some off-the-wall forgotten car that no one in their right mind few would consider collectible, classic, or even desirable. Thankfully, the feeling usually passes in a few days and besides, the rarity of our objet d'Lust usually makes them difficult to find in any kind of drivable condition, although they tend to be pretty affordable (eBay and the Internet generally can be deadly in our world).

I confess here for all the world to see that despite my obvious disgust with our family's 1975 Buick Century, I did, in fact, troll the Interwebs for a couple days with the half-baked intent to find a 455 GS coupe version of the Century. Why, I don't know. Despite my hatred of that miserable car, I still like they way the coupes look and would love to have another go with it, with suitable modifications to make it a nice driver. Thankfully, financial common sense (i.e., being a cheapskate) and lack of available merchandise (not to mention a potentially murderous Spousal Unit) dissuaded me from acting on that particular impulse.

Digging into my past once again, I've recently recalled another then-hated car that I've consequently developed something of a fetish for, despite my intimate personal knowledge of its many and varied foibles. To wit: The Fiat 850 Sport Coupe. Indulge me, gentle reader, by continuing to read below the fold, but FOR GOD'S SAKE AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, DON'T LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ONE FOR SALE CHEAP. At least not for the next few days anyway.

To view the rest of this post click here.

RIP, Scion

8208167c0a0d028a0039b99d0ac37390While waiting for an e-mail about a part for a Cadillac CTS (still waiting), CarLust contributor That Car Guy (Chuck) let us know the news: Scion will be no more. Just a couple of days earlier we were making fun of Scion’s “lowrider” SEMA car, an eyesore that pretty much encapsulates what’s wrong with the brand. There have been rumors of its demise since I wrote my Scion post and even before that, with Toyota helping out dealers phase out the brand to those that wanted out. There are far more variables responsible for Scion’s fate (Toyota, Millennials’ buying habits, currently cheap gas prices, The Great Recession, global warming, Dinkleberg, etc.), but I won’t go into them.

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August 24 Weekly Open Thread

It was a beautiful day in Northeast Ohio last Saturday, perfect for walking around the Studebaker Drivers Club Ohio Chapter meet in Talmadge.

Studebakers!I'll have a full report for you, starting tomorrow, on the many delightful and interesting cars I saw.

Today's discussion will deal with an automobile I saw there that is anything but delightful. In fact, one might go so far as to call it disturbing. We're talking about a vehicle that flirts with Ssangyong Rodius and Fiat Multipla levels of wrongness. Before you scroll down or click the "continue reading" link, just remember: once you see something, you can't un-see it.

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Caption This

Stop me before I paint again

Akron, Ohio, June 13, 2015.

The NEXT Top 10 Worst Cars Of All Time

Thank You so much, dear readers! Your contributions and input when this post was suggested a while back were well received and appreciated. But we had a couple more blanks to fill, so I've injected my own supplemental nominees for this dubious honor. There aren't really any winners here, except for maybe some great deals on a used car lot if you can find one of these veehickles in superb condition. If.

So now, without any further fuss and in no particular order, here are your (And our) suggestions for

The NEXT Top 10 Worst Cars Of All Time:

Windstar

Ford Windstar. Ya know 'em, Ya love 'em, Ya can't live without 'em. Well, OK, we can. And we do. Plagued with corrosion and durability issues throughout its production life, the resale value on these is, well... ▼.

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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.

Subaru Outback: I've Got a Dyslexic Heart

Do I read you correctly, I need you directly
Now, help me with this part
Do I love you? Do I hate you?
I got a dyslexic heart
-- Paul Westerberg, "Dyslexic Heart"

OutbackGen1Yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings regarding the Subaru Outback. Do I love it for being a practical, non-offensive-looking, Everyman's sport utility wagon? Or do I hate it for being soulless and and styleless and intimately associated with the Birkenstocks-and-socks-wearing set? Who will get irritated most depending on which side I come down on? 

Sometimes it's tough being a Car Lust contributor.

I'll readily concede that I'm occasionally influenced in my taste for a lot of things by the (real or imagined) kinds of people associated with certain items. I admitted as much in my gentle diatribe against the BMW 3-Series and that same sentiment extends to other things. Ferinstance, I was reluctant to get a Mac for a long time because, well, I didn't want to be seen as a Mac PersonTM ("OOOoo, let's wait in line 36 hours for the new iPhone. The headphone jack is on the bottom this time!"). There's even a chance I might have bought a Grateful Dead album at one point but I'd never have gotten past the thought that someone, somewhere might associate me with Deadheads (What do Deadheads say when they're not high? "Hey, this band really sucks."). Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I also admit that I have a proclivity, on occasion, to try for the Ironically HipTM look. You know, like driving around in a hopped-up old pickup truck with fuzzy dice dangling from the rear view and Spandau Ballet cranked up really loud. But I digress.

So I have some trouble with the Outback. I want to hate it, but I just can't; I want to love it, but I just can't. It's functional and practical and efficient and reliable and . . . .bland. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But. . . .

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February 10 Weekly Open Thread: Most Boring Open Thread Ever

*yaaaaawn*

Yeah, Dullsville. Corolla

Paint drying.

Chartered accountancy.

Sitting in a bucket of warm wallpaper paste reading a Jane Austen novel.

February.

Or perhaps a Toyota Corolla? I've taken to disagreeing with my esteemed colleagues on this one: It's not the Camry. I know, I know, it's sold 40 million copies and is the best selling nameplate ever. It's reliable. It's practical. It's cheap. It's. . . .boring. So boring that after looking at it for five minutes I kind of want to poke out both of my eyes just to give them something interesting to do.

When I first saw the "Corolla S" out and about I had a fleeting thought that maybe they'd finally done something interesting with it, but such was not to be. Unless you consider adding a "Unique piano-black front grille" to be, you know, interesting. More "utterly forgettable" is more like it.

So I dunno, talk about the Corolla or anything else auto-related you can think of. I'm already tired of thinking about this car. It's. . . .it's. . . . . .

What was I talking about again?

April 22 Weekly Open Thread: The "New Car" Blues

Used-car-salesmanOur recent $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge has inspired me to seek out and find a new vehicle. I won't say the brand so that nobody gets offended or sued, but I will say that so far, the experience has been a borderline nightmare.

On my first visit to the dealer, they said they can't discount any new ones at all. Then I got on the internet, and saw that they are advertising a $1,500 discount or more on all of them (after a "Dealer Fee" of $598 is added).

Now I'm getting the usual runarounds... "There's no markup to work with," and "It's the time of the year where everybody wants one."

There was the perennial favorite, "There aren't any incentives on them right now." Then I got hammered with, "What are you going to trade in?" (I never trade.) Also, "Who do you have your financing with?" (It's a cash deal, folks.) Seems they're exploring every other opportunity to stick me as well. At this point, I'm seriously thinking about forgetting the whole thing.

But the biggest "pisser" has been when I have twice placed a vehicle request all over the Middle Tennessee region, and the local dealer sees it. They saw the requests and quickly called me back to say, "You won't get a better deal than we will give you," and, "You need to come back in so we can toss some numbers around."

Continue reading "April 22 Weekly Open Thread: The "New Car" Blues" »

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

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