Category Archives: Cars

Autoblog’s G37 Coupe Review

Sounds like they liked it, overall: “The sum of its evolutionary details adds up to a revolution.”  They say Infiniti has further refined the already excellent handling of the G35, which is impressive.  They also mention, to my mild annoyance, that iPod integration is now available.  That’s the only option on the G35 that I really, really wanted that was not available.  I don’t want it enough to trade up, though.  Also, I still much prefer the look of the older car.

Speaking of Maroon Convertibles…

…here’s one, which I spotted at the ferry dock outside Victoria, BC, that’s a bit older than Rip’s, but still a beauty.  The driver of this Plymouth gave his gracious permission for me to snap these pictures (which I have clumsily stitched together here, since I couldn’t get far enough away to get the whole car in one shot.)

plymouth

Auto Fancy

I’ve had this car now for a little over a year, and boy, is it fun.

It’s  a 1968 Corvette 427 Roadster, in more or less really good condition.  It’s not anything like a collector’s car: it doesn’t have the original engine (a $13,000 item) and a lot of the interior parts are a mishmash of 1968 / 1969 / 1970 components.  There’s some body damage, too, and the paint, while pretty, is a long way from "perfect".

However, all of these little defects add up to a really good "driver" car.  A ’68 Vette in show condition is a $40K – $100K car.  Not something you want to drive around all the time.  But this car has already had its collectible value wrung out of it, so there’s very little that can go wrong with it through normal wear and tear.  And it’s very easy to work on: I’ve already done plenty of odd improvements involving the vacuum, electrical, and interior.

First Infiniti G37 Pictures Disappoint

Pictures of the Infiniti G37, 2008 replacement for my beloved 2006 G35 coupe, have exploded onto the Web in the last few weeks, and I’m not crazy about what I’ve seen so far.

The G35 is a nice performer, but it’s also one of the most striking cars on the road.  From these first pictures, the G37 seems… less so, in my humble opinion.  The changes are subtle, but they appear to make the car look entirely more pedestrian–a little more like everything else on the road.  But if I wanted a Nissan Sentra, I’d buy one.

Automobile Magazine throws me this bone, at least:

Our initial impressions of the new exterior design were mixed – we were afraid that the G37 looked watered-down when compared to the old G35’s aggressive stance. But, we changed our minds when we saw the two G Coupes next to each other in person. The new car’s front end, which looks soft and Lexus-like in pictures, looks muscular and tough in person.

So maybe I’m jumping the gun.  I remain skeptical, but I’ll have to check one out in person.

Bavaria’s New De-Bangled Hard-Top

New BMW 3-Series Hard Top ConvertibleCar and Driver has a short story about the new BMW 3–Series hardtop convertible up on their web site.  I like.  I’m fond of the design of the new 3 overall, and for the convertible, I think the line of a solid roof fits better with the style of the car than a cloth top would. 

As a fan of convertibles, I applaud the growth we’re seeing in the number of retractible hard top models.  While light and simple—which Mazda’s ragtop Miata does better than anyone—is nice, there’s a lot to be said for quiet and leak-proof, too.

Let’s all drive to Iowa to gas up!

Gas Prices Fall to $2.05 a Gallon In Iowa

Rental Car O’ the Week: Ford Mustang Micro-Review

Mustang06-0905The Hertz people set me up with a more interesting than average rental ride this past week: a Ford Mustang.

I was happy for the upgrade, and it’s a great looking car.  After having spent a few days with it, however, there were a few small things that put me off of the overall package.

The console-mounted shifter looks nice, but it feels like it’s made of cheap plastic, and there’s an exposed Philips screw head on the front makes it feel flimsy and cobbled together.

The steering wheel was leather wrapped and felt solid enough, and the retro spoke design looks nice.  Said spokes are made of hard plastic, however, and extend all the way to the edge of the wheel, interrupting the leather.  Heated by the North Louisiana sun to several million degrees, they made grasping the wheel anywhere near the 9 and 3 o’clocks positions uncomfortable at best.

Acceleration was fine, as was handling on level ground.  I was only driving back and forth between the hotel and the office, so I didn’t really tax the car.  Even so, I found bumpy pavement or gravel on the road threw the car off its track even at moderate speeds, making it feel as if it were ready to slide off the road—which, I suppose, it might have done, had I been driving aggressively.

I enjoyed driving the car for the few days I had it, especially compared to the base-level compacts I often rent, but I don’t think I’d be in a hurry to buy one of my own.  Too many questions about fit and finish.  Is this what’s been killing American car makers?  Products that are superficially appealing but that lack the polish that makes you feel like you’re buying something solid?

Exotic Rentals

I love the idea of exotic car rentals but I doubt I’ll be partaking any time soon. I mean, if you’re going to bother upgrading from whatever Hertz is offering, you can’t just choose something common, can you? Oh, sure, a BMW 7-Series or a Mercedes SL500 is adequate for running errands about town. But you see those cars on the street. You could even test drive one if you dressed nicely. If you’re going to rent an exotic, it’s got to be
really out of reach. The sort of car they keep behind the ropes at the local car show. A Ferrari 360. A Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Maybe a Aston Martin V8 Vantage, if you’re slumming. I’m thinking, though, that at $2,650 per day for the Lambo, even renting these worthiest of cars is… still pretty much really out of reach. But now you know what you can get me for my birthday.

The new Mini’s interior

Holy cow, have you seen the prototype interior pics for BMW’s MINI Mk II?  Autoblog has the pictures here.  That center speedo is something else.  I don’t hate it exactly… at least, I don’t think I do.  But I loved this comment from Lithou:  “Safeway called, they want their produce scale back.”

UPDATE:  Oops!  I had linked to the wrong Autoblog post.  It’s fixed now.

Zoom-Zoom With A Tin Top

As a former Miata owner, I feel the need to trumpet Mazda’s roll-out last week of theretractable hard-top MX-5 Roadster Coupe. Very nice. I think it looks even better than the third-generation rag-top, and the factthat they were able to find a place to stow the powered lid without eating up the Miata’s (almost non-existent to begin with) trunk space
is just brilliant.