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Blog Calendar - Cars

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31 May 2020

  • Nominate COVID-19 Essential Workers You Know for a Free Three-Day Camper-Van Trip
    31 May 2020

    Camper-van companies are working together; they'll give a few days of vacation when this is all over to people who deserve it most.

  • One of 50: A Rare Fiat-Based Moretti 500 is More Than $10,500 Worth of Fun
    31 May 2020
    1969 Fiat Moretti 500

    Sold: $10,500

    While Moretti Motor Company was founded in the 1920s in Turin, Italy as a motorcycle manufacturer, the company is best known today for the handsome Fiat-based coupes it turned out starting in the late 1950s. This little Moretti 500 is based on the Fiat 500 chassis with a 0.5-liter, two-cylinder, air-cooled drivetrain, and would have been a stylish, upscale alternative to Fiat’s popular city car. Think Aston Martin Cygnet and you’re starting to understand the idea. The seller claims that only 50 or so of this model were built and it shares some design cues with the Boano-styled Fiat 850 Coupe, which was in production concurrently. Despite a top speed of about 65 mph and glacial acceleration, this is a pretty rare and special car for not much money, and probably would have sold for more in Europe.

    1973 Porsche 911T Targa

    Sold: $35,700

    We all know the long-hood, small-bumper, pre-’74 Porsche 911 story by now. They were once cheap, then they weren’t, but with prices down some 25 to 30 percent from the highs of a few years ago, we’re finally starting to see some buying opportunities again. This ’73 911 T Targa looked like one of them. Although it showed some signs of fairly minor corrosion, some non-original refurbishment, and an overall slightly scruffy appearance, the 3.2-liter flat six from a later 1984-’88 Carrera makes nearly double the power the original 2.4-liter engine did, and is less finicky with more modern Bosch electronic fuel injection. The buyer will be quickly under water if a full restoration is attempted, so it’s best to keep this one a driver and only worry about the basics. Nicely bought.

    2012 Ferrari 458 Italia

    Sold: $172,500

    The other week, we looked at a Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta that sold for $481,000 and concluded that the limited-edition, naturally-aspirated, 13,000-mile, end-of-an-era supercar was a fair deal. Here’s a little secret: the standard 458 is 95 percent as magical to drive for less than half the price. Leave the Speciale for those who can afford to ignore good value and pick up a standard Ferrari 458 instead while it’s on its way down the depreciation ladder. The original MSRP on this eight-year-old 458 was a heady $314,542, and just 2,400 miles later it sold for $172,500, still looking like a brand-new car. Think you’ll be envious of more modern Ferraris when you’re out on the road? Don’t. The 458 has one of the best automotive soundtracks this side of an IMSA GTLM race car and besides, 560 horsepower at 9,000 rpm is enough performance for both backroads and track-day enjoyment. Oh, and that’s $59 per mile the buyer saved in depreciation without even factoring in maintenance, insurance, gas, or registration fees. A market correct price for now, but 458s are still on their way down.

    2000 Plymouth Prowler

    Sold: $26,250

    Love it or hate it, Chrysler and designer Tom Gale’s contemporary ode to the hot rod is almost impossible to ignore when you see one on the street. Believe it or not, the Prowler actually had a five-year production run, getting its start in 1997 and closing out in 2002. Although the V-6 engine and automatic transmission turned away hot rod purists who wouldn’t have anything less than an eight-cylinder mill and a manual, anyone who’s ever driven a Prowler will tell you they probably wouldn’t want much more than the 253 horsepower that 1999 and later Prowlers produce. The lighter V-6 was probably better for handling anyway, and the car did have near 50-50 weight distribution. Nearly 12,000 Prowlers were sold under both the Plymouth and, later, Chrysler names. Prowler values have been in a holding pattern for years, the result of its fairly polarizing nature. For the price paid, this 9,000-mile Prowler seems reasonable—just don’t expect a profit later.

    2005 Lotus Elise

    Sold: $25,988

    We’ve been watching Lotus Elise prices for a while now, as the earliest cars sold in the U.S. settle in the $30,000 range for clean examples with reasonable mileage. This Elise looked pretty well bought at a hair under $26,000 what with its 40,000 miles and gently used appearance. Turns out, a mileage discrepancy, likely the result of a clerical error on the CarFax report, means that the Elise had to be sold with the disclaimer that “true mileage is unknown.” Nevertheless, the car appeared to be an honest example and the mileage seemed in line with the car’s general wear. We think the buyer got a minor bargain here, but if the mileage issue can’t be cleared up at registration, the next buyer will probably get a deal, too.

    1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing”

    Not sold: $1,400,000

    Without question this is one of the nicer 300 SL “Gullwings” on offer right now in the U.S., with cosmetic and mechanical restorations both completed by well-regarded 300 SL experts, a desirable color of Graphite Grey and excellent presentation by the selling dealer. Despite the reproduction luggage set and non-original Rudge knock-off wheels (still a desirable addition, even if they weren’t factory ordered), bidding reached $1,400,000. A few years ago, that would have bought you a nice driver 300 SL, but while this car was being restored, values went a bit south. Today, driver-quality examples are dipping under the magic million-dollar mark, so the high bid here should have been enough to get this deal done. The consigner says the price is close, but no cigar. Potentially this one will sell outside of BaT shortly.

    1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500

    Sold: $5,880

    Of course, it’s not necessary to spend anywhere near a million bucks to feel like a million bucks driving a cool classic sports car around. Here’s a perfect example: this slightly needy but well-loved Triumph Spitfire is from the latter half of production, with a larger, torquier 1.5-liter inline-four engine, a four-speed manual gearbox, and vintage front-engine, rear-drive English sports car dynamics. The seller noted a little rust here and there, somewhat uneven paint and a few other little areas needing attention, but also presents years’ worth of receipts for both mechanical and cosmetic refurbishment that probably exceed the car’s sale price. With a little more work and fresh paint, this car could sell for double what it cost this week, and the buyer will have had plenty of fun in the process. Well bought, just in time for summer.

    The post One of 50: A Rare Fiat-Based Moretti 500 is More Than $10,500 Worth of Fun appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

  • New Nissan Z Car? Let’s Drool Over an Awesome 1990 300ZX Twin-Turbo
    31 May 2020

    As we’ve recently told you, the time to buy a Z32-generation 300ZX is … well, probably a couple years ago. And with a new Z car on the way, interest in the older ones is going to go up. Values have been steadily rising, particularly for twin-turbo models in original condition with low mileage. Part of that is simply a function of time, the classic situation where kids who had bedroom posters of cars like this can finally afford them. But partly it’s because the trite phrase is true: They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

    The 300ZX Twin-Turbo was, in its time, a junior supercar. That’s something you can’t say about the modern 370Z, even if the performance differential isn’t that vast between the Z32 and Z34 cars. With 300 horsepower and 283 lb-ft of torque courtesy of two turbos and a 24-valve DOHC heads, the 30ZX TT has the gusto but the 370Z actually has it beat with 332 horses and just a smidge less torque, at 270 lb-ft. The 370Z Nismo is even stouter, at 350 horsepower and 276 lb-ft.

    But in 1990, the 300ZX TT was a revelation, pumping out significantly more horsepower than a contemporary non-ZR1 Corvette, and featuring available technology like the Super-HICAS rear-wheel-steering system, variable intake valve timing, and a viscous rear limited-slip differential. The high-tech components reflected Nissan’s desire at the time to be the industry leader in automotive tech. The 300ZX wasn’t just a sports car, it was the embodiment of the company’s mission statement.

    And then there was its subtly exotic look, low and lean with encased headlights that were so aerodynamic and stylish that Lamborghini swiped them to use on its Diablo supercar. That’s pedigree! The shape has aged well, and the car is much smaller in person than you’d imagine in pictures. The understated interior has maybe aged less gracefully, but at least there’s enough ’90s-futurism in there to keep the vast expanses of hard plastic interesting. Check out the gauge-cluster side pods with various controls, a very ’80s/’90s touch intended to impart a bit of fighter-jet feel.

    This one’s also outfitted with the ultimate early ’90s accessory: a car phone, which wasa functional way to conspicuously display one’s wealth. They weren’t cheap, and the stick-on curlicue antenna signaled to bystanders the person inside was important. Heck, people were buying fake antennas and slapping them on their beaters at the time just to get a taste of that feeling.

    This example went up for sale on Bring a Trailer. It’s beautifully clean and original, and it hasn’t been modified or abused as far as we can tell. It’s basically a one-owner car, since the selling dealer only recently acquired it to flip. It’s showing 32K claimed miles and given its good color, it’s sure to attract some serious bidding. This auction site isn’t always the best place to get a great price on something like this, but whether this one sets a new record or ends up at a surprisingly low price, it’ll be interesting to watch. Either way, if you want one, don’t wait too much longer—and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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    The post New Nissan Z Car? Let’s Drool Over an Awesome 1990 300ZX Twin-Turbo appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

  • 2021 Chevy Corvette C8 Prices Won’t Go Up, But Delays Having an Effect
    31 May 2020

    We have some good news, and we have some bad—well, mediocre, really—news about the C8 Corvette. The2021 Chevy Corvette pricing won’t get a price hike, despite rumors abounding that the company was losing money on lower-trim cars. But the combined effects of a strike in Bowling Green last year, combined with the coronavirus outbreak and resulting factory shutdown, have some downstream effects on 2020 orders, as well as 2021 availability.

    A Price Twice As Nice?

    Let’s start with the good news: the 2021 Corvette coupe will start at $59,995—that magical sub-$60k price point that seems all the more remarkable given the C8’s overall brilliance. Pricing holds at $59,995 for the coupe, while the convertible stays pat at $67,495 (rather than going up, as expected). After all, the new Corvette is an Automobile All-Stars Winner and all-around exceptional performer. And the Magnetic Ride Control system that we love will no longer require upgrading to the Z51 package. It’ll be a standalone option for the base model, allowing for better handing and ride comfort even on the least expensive ‘Vettes. That’s great for potential buyers who want MRC but are already budget constrained.

    But there’s some mixed news. We already knew that 2020 would be a short model year, with some orders becoming casualties of the various calamities that struck the workforce recently. The UAW strike in late 2019 meant that the order books for 2021 Corvettes wouldn’t open until late May, but that timing now looks like July, Juechter told MotorTrend. 2020 Corvette production will be extended slightly to try to fill those existing orders, but the company’s still indicating that some vehicles may not be built as ordered.

    Corvette production didn’t get back under way until a few days ago—May 26—and the Bowling Green factory is still operating on a single shift. The second shift won’t resume until it’s safe to do so.

    As MotorTrend points out, the result for potential C8 buyers is really more like an extended, two-year model year—with a few small changes between the 2020 and 2021 models, but without a change in price. That’s a concession to buyers who otherwise might be miffed by unfilled orders and a price bump. Thankfully, that’s not happening.

    Corvette Production Hit With a Double Whammy

    If you’re waiting on a convertible C8, it’s not going to hit production until later this summer, and that specific date hasn’t been set yet as the factory adjusts to working under new safety protocols. So far, of 2020 Corvette orders, the convertible has made up 17 percent. Juechter didn’t say what the production mix would be going forward.

    Did you place an order for a 2020 and are wondering how all of this affects you? A “Corvette concierge” will be happy to answer your questions at a number that will be provided soon, and anyone who’s placed an order will also get an update in a few weeks.

  • Five Driver’s-Ed Tips to Teach Your Teen in the Driveway
    31 May 2020

    With driver education courses on hold, parents of teenagers who are itching to learn skills behind the wheel have probably found themselves reaching into their back pockets for plans B, C, D, and E. Most everyone knows it’s wise to practice in empty parking lots, and there is certainly no shortage of those right now. Additionally, Bill Wade, national program director of Tire Rack Street Survival, has some helpful advice and new-driver tips for parents teaching their teens at home—solid new-driver tips you can use without even having to leave your driveway.

    Get Comfortable Behind the Wheel

    Before your eager teen turns the ignition, they must be relaxed and familiar with the controls on the dashboard, mirrors, and pedals—and know how they all work together without having to change seating position.

    • Start by adjusting the seat to a comfortable angle.
    • Next, raise your arms without moving your shoulders away from the seatback, and drop your arms on top of the steering wheel.
    • Adjust the seat forward or backward so the steering wheel is at the break of your wrists while your arms are straight and, again, you don’t need to move your shoulders off of the seatback to achieve this. If you can’t do this, you are too far away from the wheel. This new-driver tip provides the appropriate bend in the arms.
    • With the car running and in Park, push the ball of your foot on the brake pedal, and push it down as far as possible.
    • Adjust the position of your seat in relation to the pedals so you can depress the brake fully without “locking” your knee. In other words, there should always be a slight bend in the knee; this allows a little more travel for when the car goes into ABS mode under panic braking and allows the foot to be in the most stable position.
    • A driver should never have to operate the brake pedal with just the tip of their shoe. The foot should be firmly planted on the pedal and not slip off.
    • Adjust the seat to a height that provides the best field of vision; you should not have to adjust the seating position once the car is in motion.
    Proper Hand Positioning
    • The correct hand position is at 9 and 3 o’clock; this provides maximum ability to turn the wheel without having interference in the arms, or having to cross your arms too often.
    • Always have two hands on the wheel. To make the car turn, you should pull down on the steering wheel and not push up. The reason why you want this is anatomical: You have small muscle groups in your forearm, and large muscle groups in your upper arms and your shoulders. You have much more control over the smaller muscle groups than the larger ones.

    By pushing up on the steering wheel, you use the smaller muscles rather than pushing up using the big ones, especially in a panic situation. If you pull down the steering wheel, you have a better chance of achieving the correct steering input. If you push up, you might have too much input and get the car out of shape or into a spin.

    Seat Belt Safety

    Your teen driver needs to wear their seat belt every time they get in the car and wear it properly–no exceptions. The lap-belt portion needs to be low on the hips and not riding high on the stomach, where it can damage internal organs in a crash. The shoulder belt, meanwhile, cannot be left loose. If the belts are loose or put outside of bulky clothing, it will take additional time for them to tighten fully in a crash.

    Proper Mirror Positioning

    This is one of the most important new-driver tips: Putting the mirrors in the correct position is critical to eliminate blind spots. Most people believe—falsely—their car has a blind spot, but in reality, they simply have misaligned mirrors. If you can see the side of the car in the sideview mirrors when you are in the driving position, the mirrors are aligned improperly.

    • To properly position the mirrors, set the seat in its proper position and then lean your head to the left so you hit the window glass with your temple.
    • Keep your head there and adjust the mirror so you can see just a sliver of the side of the car.
    • Once that is done, sit upright. Lean parallel to the dashboard (to the right) so your forehead is positioned in the center of the car and approximately equal to the rearview mirror.
    • Adjust the passenger-side mirror so you can see a sliver of the side of the car on the right side. This will “flatten” the angle of the mirrors, making them slightly more perpendicular to the sides of the car. In doing so, it increases the cone of reflection behind the car. The rearview mirror should always be in a centered position to have equal visibility across the rear window.

    Your teen—and you—should never look over their shoulder while driving. Our hands follow our eyes, and if you look over your shoulder to change lanes, you might subconsciously move the wheel to that side. With proper mirror position, there is no reason to look over your shoulder because there is no blind spot. To reaffirm it is safe to make a lane change, teach your teen driver to lean forward while looking in the mirror. This action changes the angle of reflection and will reassure you.

    Always in Park Procedure
    • Teach your teen to make all adjustments necessary that may be a distraction on the road before putting the car into motion.
    • Seat positioning and mirror alignments should be corrected while the car is in park.
    • Teach your teen to secure their phone away–placing it on “Do Not Disturb” or turning it off to ensure they have no temptation to check a text or answer a call while driving.
    • Music adjustments such as volume, station, or playlist should also be made before putting the car in motion.
    New-Driver Tips to Put it All in Perspective

    When your car travels at a speed of 60 mph, it covers the length of a high-school basketball court every second. At just 55 mph, it covers the length of a football field every 5 seconds. Also remember: our hands follow our eyes. Looking at the dash to change the radio station means you are driving blind for the duration it takes to change the channel—more than enough time to cause serious damage and inflict serious injury.

    The post Five Driver’s-Ed Tips to Teach Your Teen in the Driveway appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

  • A TOUGH Test! Give Us ONE CONVINCING Reason WHY Anyone Would Choose A Porsche Boxster OR Cayman Over The 2020 Corvette?
    30 May 2020
  • News: Bird Scooters Improve as They Relaunch
    30 May 2020
    Micromobility Revamps in a Different Market

    Bird, a leader in the electric scooter market, is relaunching in some cities with not only a strict regimen of protective cleaning, but with a new feature that makes it faster than ever to grab and use a scooter. Now, welcome Quick Start.

    A quick video about Quick Start

    If your key stays in your pocket when you enter and start your car, you already get the hang of it. Rather than having to scan a QR code on the scooter with your phone, now you just walk near it and press theStart button that appears on your phone. Then, off you go.

    “Our product, design and development teams are continually striving to innovate and push the industry forward for the benefit of our community,” said Scott Rushforth, chief vehicle officer at Bird. “Quick Start is the latest industry-first feature to emerge from this collaboration, and it’s one that we believe will deliver riders a more magical micromobility experience.”

    Safety During COVID-19 Restrictions

    If you’re concerned about the safety of using a shared scooter now, here are the steps Bird is taking to ensure its scooters are clean and ready to go:

    • They have set clear guidelines for deep cleaning and sanitizing the scooters
    • They thoroughly sanitize each vehicle every time they are recharged or serviced with CDC-approved disinfectant products
    • They perform regular spot cleanings in the field on surfaces such as bells, throttles and handlebars
    • Technicians use face masks, hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves, protective goggles and disinfectant sprays and wipes, and are required to wash their hands regularly and dispose of gloves after each use
    Riding Longer

    And riders are coming back as shelter-in-place restrictions lift. Interestingly, they are taking longer rides, too.

    Bird scooters are being used longer–and can be purchased

    “Over the past month, we’ve seen sustained increases in trip duration of more than 50%,” said Ryan Fujiu, chief product officer at Bird. “We’re seeing strong indications that it may be a much longer-term trend related to things like public transit concerns, nearly a thousand miles of new open streets and a spike in the construction of protected cycling infrastructure.”

    Some of those long rides may be turning into purchases as Bird has also launched a store at to sell its scooters for adults and kids.

    Perhaps riders are using the scooters instead of taking the bus. Or maybe people are just happy to get out of their houses again.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy–More Scooter News

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    News: The Future of Yamaha

    Interview: Melinda Hanson of Bird

  • Are You Brave Enough To Buy This Innotruck?
    30 May 2020

    Your chance to own a truck of the future.

    Read full article at

  • Splitting the Difference: 2003 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Honda Civic Type R
    30 May 2020

    You know how they say ’respect and honor your elders?’ Well, we can all agree that Honda is doing just that with the Civic and in particular with the Civic Type R.

    The nifty hot hatch has remained true to its origins - albeit switching to turbocharging along the way - but that original Type R ethos is still present in modern Type Rs. Don’t believe us? Check out Throttle House’s latest video.

  • SpaceX, NASA's Demo-2 Launches Successfully, Dragon Capsule in Orbit
    30 May 2020
    Falcon 9 is back on the ground after landing on a remote droneship, with the Crew Dragon capsule flying freely into Earth's orbit now. By all measures, Demo-2 has been a resounding and historical success. The Falcon 9 rocket ship is in the AIR and…

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