Monday
Oct092017

2017 MAZDA CX-5 Grand Touring AWD: Making a good thing better.

By Ted Orme

I’ve been reviewing cars on and off for a lot of years. But to call yourself an “expert” you have to immerse yourself in this business full time just to keep up with all the changes. That’s why the car mags employ whole staffs of experts.

But there is one model I consider myself an expert on: the Mazda CX-5 crossover. I was so favorably impressed by a test drive of the 2015 model that I bought one. Over the past three years, I have logged thousands of enjoyable miles in my mid-trim CX-5Touring AWD. So I jumped at the chance to test drive the next generation, top-of-the-line 2017 version of a vehicle I love.

That may have been a mistake. Mazda has so improved and refined the CX-5 that, once again, as Jimmy Carter would say, I have lust in my heart. To the point that I am sorely tempted to extend my car payment just to get all those neat new treats and bells and whistles.

First introduced in 2012, the CX-5 was much praised by auto writers for its sporty character combined with family friendly utility. Tapping into a burgeoning SUV and crossover market, this compact crossover with “SKYACTIV” engineering and “KODO” design quickly became Mazda’s sales leader.

So how do you make a good thing better? You start by retaining your core strengths – solid platform and drivetrain. Then you take a fine-tooth-comb to literally every component and feature of the vehicle and upgrade where possible. Mazda claims 250 improvements were made to the all-new CX-5.

 

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Friday
Oct062017

1956 Thunderbird

By Vern Parker

Decades before Mike Shepherd's grand daughter Shelby was born the Ford Motor Company introduced a “personal car” in the 1955 model year. The two seat sporty car was named Thunderbird.

A few improvements were made to enhance the car in the 1956 model year. Of course all of this activity was pre-Shelby.

The most visible changes were the addition of round porthole windows in order to improve visibility.

Cargo space in the 1955 Thunderbird was extremely limited because the dual exhaust pipes were routed through the trunk space. To expand the cargo space in 1956 Ford rerouted the exhaust pipes through elliptical slots in the ends of the rear bumpers. The space occupied by the spare tire in the trunk was freed by moving it outside of the trunk in a Continental kit addition.

 

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Monday
Sep042017

1972 Pontiac Trans Am

By Vern Parker

Like many young men back in the glory days of muscle cars, Gary Lore purchased a new 1972 Pontiac Trans Am.

Also like many young men he sold the car after only a few years prompted by rapidly rising fuel prices and the very real shortage of gasoline. It was an action he soon came to regret..

“I started looking for a replacement in the mid-1980s,” Lore recalls. In 1987 he bought a used 1972 Pontiac that had been altered to appear as an authentic Trans Am. In 1991 he found a buyer for the car who was not particular about the authenticity.

Then the search continued for the real thing. Not long afterward Lore saw a virtual twin to his original car. It was advertised for sale and was located in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

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Wednesday
Aug092017

1967 Volkswagen

By Vern Parker

For years after a Navy commander purchased a 1967 Volkswagen for his daughter he took the car to master technician Bob Burgess for regular maintenance and needed repairs.

In the spring of 1991, after 74,000 miles, a number of parts on the car simultaneously worn out.

When Burgess gave the Navy officer the bad news he recalls the commander said he did not want to spend any more money on the car and he was going to sell the VW.

 

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Monday
Jul312017

2018 Hyundai Sonata: Back in the Game

By Ted Orme

That applies to the car and the writer. By the luck of the draw at a local press introduction of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Hybrid, I was one of two lucky Washington Automotive Press Association members drawn from a hat to attend the introduction of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata at the luxurious Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California in July. “Yes, yes, oh boy,” was my response. 

Back in the day, when I was an active freelance auto writer, I attended many a “long-lead” new model launches in exotic locales. But I had to step away from that wonderful life to make a living. I took a real job and the junketing ended. So, after a lengthy absence, it was a very happy Teddy that boarded that flight to La Jolla to get back in the game.

For the next couple of days, over windy roads that that led us within sight of the border wall with Mexico and through a Border Patrol checkpoint to make sure we had no illegals in the back seat, we got to flog the thoroughly revised Sonata, which is also looking to get back in the game.

 

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