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September 22 Weekly Open Thread: The Top 10

Rusty-car1As we all know, every car publication, blog, and TV car show has produced its choices of the "10 Worst Cars Of All Time." And many cars, such as the Chevy Vega, the Pontiac Aztek, and the AMC Pacer, have shown up on virtually every 10 Worst Cars List ever done.

So since those lists have become all too familiar, we're now going to do a 10 Worst Cars Of All Time list, but with a little twist. And we need your help.

The twist is this: We're putting together a list of "The Next 10 Worst Cars Of All Time," and we need your choice(s) for any of the Top 10 worst cars of all time, especially when you exclude the following:

Chevy Vega/H-Body Cars

GM X-Body Cars

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4th Annual Home Depot Cruise-In, Medina, Ohio 9/14/14

Last Sunday was a perfect day for a cruise-in, so the Frazer Manhattan and I went to the one sponsored by our local Home Depot.

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There were probably close to fifty vehicles that were in attendance at one point or another over the span of five hours, and it was a pretty eclectic mix.

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Here's some of what we saw.

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Review: If Kia's Not Your Forte, It Might Be Time For a Second Look

As Tigerstrypes' recent post emphasized, Kia has made a stealth ascent within the US auto market, moving from punchline to serious contender in the space of a generation. Once considered the ultimate in disposable transport, Kia's lineup has morphed into a kaleidoscope of seeming contradictions: Kias can be both derivative and innovative, cheap and luxy, aspirationally flashy and plain-jane commuter. The company's marketing injects goofball hamster-laden whimsy into a famously risk-averse industry; its design cues manage to be distinctive but not "polarizing"; and we end up with things like a teenage-dream sound system packed into a compact SUV whose primary market is Baby Boomers. The compact Kia Forte, redesigned completely for 2014 to give it some independence from its Hyundai sister Elantra, embodies everything that Kia is doing right. For a Civic alternative that comes in at just over $20K, our top-line EX test car turns out to be surprisingly feature-rich, and has some character to boot. While it's hardly a flagship vehicle, this compact you've probably never given a second thought to just might surprise you.

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September 15 Weekly Open Thread: The People's Car?

Over at Top Gear -- that poor stepsister to Car Lust -- James May had a 3-episode series on Cars of the People (which, you know, we've been highlighting FOR YEARS). Largely devoted to automobiles designed 1024px-VolkswagenBeetle-001 for ordinary folks to carry out their daily business in -- like the VW Beetle, Ford Transit VanCitroën 2CV, Ford Mustang, Fiat 124/VAZ-2101, and various other primarily inexpensive automobiles produced for the masses -- it was an exercise ostensibly directed at determining what the ultimate Car of the People was. Not the car everybody wanted, but the car that the majority of people needed and could get along with and, you know, use

What do you think he decided on?

The VW Golf

"Pah!" said I, "That's not it because. . . .well, because it's. . . .I mean, it can't be since the real ultimate People's Car is. . . . .hmmmmm."

And you know, I couldn't really come up with any good reasons. It seats five. Drives well. Has a hatchback so it's practical. Covers a range of budgets, from basic to hot. And over six generations since 1974 it's sold over 30 million copies so they've got to be doing something right.

Right?

Maybe. But for my money, it's the Honda Civic. It comes in sedan, coupe, and hatch versions in a variety of trim and option levels, it's more reliable and cheaper to maintain than the Golf, and has had its own hot hatchback at times. It hasn't sold quite as well though, only reaching about half the number of the Golf in about the same amount of time (sales figures here). So maybe I'm wrong (perish the thought).

Then there's the Toyota Corolla, the best-selling nameplate ever at 40 million and counting. That must count for something.

He mentioned the Model T and I think that, considered across the entire span of automobile history, I would probably go with it over everything else. It was the first car that was really built for the masses and it fulfilled that role magnificently. As I noted earlier, the Model T was for everything from an around-town runabout to delivery trucks -- beer, milk, you name it -- to ambulances to farm implements. They fulfilled every conceivable use and made motoring a part of daily life for everyone, not just toys for the rich. 

So, what do you think? The Golf? Civic? Toyota Corolla? Something else? 

And feel free to discuss anything else auto-related that comes to mind. Beetle photo from Wikipedia. 

Kia: 20 Years After

Kia the power to surprise logo

Probably the most truthful automotive slogan I’ve read.

Like Mitsubishi’s 30th Anniversary and Scion’s 10th Anniversary, I was caught off-guard by Kia turning 20 in the American market, hadn’t it been for a news snippet on the local classifieds. Truth be told, I wasn’t paying much attention. Kias weren’t my thing. But seeing how much the brand has grown in a slightly shorter period of time than its sister Hyundai, I believe it deserves merit to travel back in time to see where it all began, even if it’s just for the kitschy-ness of it all. So set the VCR to record the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as the first episodes of Gargoyles, ReBoot and Street Sharks, to name a few; tie up those rollerblades or Air Jordan IX’s, put some fresh batteries on your Gameboy (don’t forget the Donkey Kong cartridge!) and Walkman (with Corona’s Rhythm of the Night), bring a pair of fresh underwear in your JanSport backpack, get the tickets for Forrest Gump, pay your respects to the late Ayrton Senna, forget about the canceled World Series and please keep your opinion on the OJ Simpson murder case to yourself,  because we’re going back… to 1994.

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Carspotters' Challenge #118--Meanwhile, in Maryland…

While looking for a 1970s reference of businessmen apparel, the search engine of choice gave me this pic as a result. Yes, it had to do with a certain crisis involving petroleum-based goods. Then again, you’d expect that the Wikipedia page that discussed the 1970s would mention something of said events, wouldn’t it?

This photo was taken by Warren K. Leffler, who is an accomplished photographer, to say the least. It’s titled ‘Line at Gas Station, Maryland’, circa July 15, 1979. This photo seems like a pretty big deal, as you can find it in the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division (digital ID ppmsca.03433).

1280px-Line_at_a_gas_station,_June_15,_1979
 

Bigger version here.

So, while we wait for gas, how many vehicles can you identify?

--Tigestrypes

 

Image source: Wikipedia.

The Knight Industries Two Thousand – K.I.T.T.- Behind the Scanner

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Just like the first post, lists of all of his gadgets, websites and blogs have been made and books have been written about the making of K.I.T.T., the stunts and how they were made, so I’ll try to keep those details to a minimum, too. Which was easier said than done.

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The Knight Industries Two Thousand – K.I.T.T.

  Knight Rider KITT intro scanner shot

2012 marked the 30th anniversary of many things. This date took me by surprise when I found out that movies like Tron and The Last Unicorn (both Jeff Bridges flicks. Wild, huh?) and albums like Yaz/Yazoo’s Upstairs at Eric’s, A Flock Of Seagulls’ self-titled album and Rush’s Signals turned 30. The youngest of the Checker A11/Marathon taxi cabs as well as the original Suzuki Katana also turned 30 in its odometer. Other 1980s wheeled-sweethearts turned 30, the MkII Supra and 3rd-gen Celica, the S-series trucks and the 3rd-gen Pontiac Firebird… and Camaro. But out of that model year, there’s one 3rd-gen Firebird and 1980s icon that also reached this not-insignificant cornerstone: The Knight Industries Two Thousand- K.I.T.T. for short.

Before we begin, it’s worth mentioning that the body, the hardware, is called the Knight 2000, while the computer A.I. itself is K.I.T.T., but to avoid confusion, for this post K.I.T.T. is the whole machine, as it should be. Websites and blogs have been made and books have been written about Knight Rider and K.I.T.T., with lists of all of his gadgets, including those one-offs seen only once, so I’ll try (emphasis on the word ‘try’) to keep those details to a minimum.

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September 1 Weekly Open Thread

WP_20140824_13_01_10_ProAs always, this is the place to talk about anything you want to talk about.

For your amusement and edification, may I present a vintage non-digital gasoline pump, encountered (and refuelled from) a week ago in the bustling (not really) metropolis (not quite) of Sulphur, Indiana, where it is still in service. Apparently, it's not the only preserved artifact of a bygone age to be found thereabouts.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Carspotters' Challenge #117--Abbotsford (BC) Air Show, 1977

The air show is an annual event held in early August. The 1977 edition featured performances by the Royal Jordanian Falcons and the USAF Thunderbirds.

Abbotsford Air Show 1977 (GTW)

Bonus points for ID-ing the airplane.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum collection, contributed by member "GTW.")

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

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