2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI Diesel Manual: Award Winning Family Member

By Ted Orme

In a recent review of the little three-cylinder Ford Fiesta I said I looked forward to driving “econo” cars because, like top-of-the-line luxury cars, they tend to define the automotive state-of-the-art. Well, here’s more proof positive: the all-new seventh generation Volkswagen Golf family that is piling up awards like Meryl Streep.

The fuel miser Golf sibling I got my hands on was the thoroughly revised, 2.0-liter turbo TDI Clean Diesel, a compact hatchback that’s refined (for its class), offers exceptional ride and handling and super fuel economy – without any noticeable diesel stink or shake, rattle and roll.

If the diesel doesn’t suit you, “there is truly a Golf for everyone,” said Motor Trend magazine in naming the Golf family the 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year.” The “family” also includes the base Golf 1.8T, sporty Golf GTI and all-electric e-Golf models, as well as the soon to come (in early 2015) all-new 292-horsepower, all-wheel-drive Golf R and the Golf SportWagen range. Just as extensive is the price range, from about $18,000 for a 2-door base model Golf T to nearly $40,000 for a fully optioned Golf R.

The Golf and Golf GTI also made Car and Driver magazine’s 2015 “10 Best” list for the ninth year in a row, Automobile put the GTI on its “2015 All-Star” list, and the GTI was declared 2015 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. Add to that Green Car Reports christening of the Golf line as “Best Car to Buy 2015” for its eco-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick Award for the Golf and Golf GTI and you have a highly recommended brand.


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1971 Pontiac

By Vern Parker

Dylan Hall learned to drive in a 1971 Pontiac Firebird.

With help from family friend Kenny Moyer along with the use of Moyer's 1971 Pontiac Firebird the teenager soon mastered the floor-mounted gear selector lever of the automatic transmission and other driving skills.

From front to rear the gears are Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, Second, First.

Hall became enamored with the clean lines of the sporty Firebird and informed Moyer that he would like to buy the car when he was old enough to get a driver's license.

Moyer gave the teenager a bargain basement price for the car with no idea that he would follow through on the deal.

Hall saved the money he made working at a local car wash facility and any other odd jobs he could find in order to accumulate the required money to purchase the Pontiac.

“The day I got my driver's license I bought it,” Hall says. That would be May 2, 2009. At that time the odometer had registered 114,000 miles. Moyer honored the price that he had made years before for the car.


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1959 Ford Retractable Hardtop

By Vern Parker

Warren McCrary can't recall a time when he wasn't fascinated with the retractable hardtop cars that Ford manufactured in 1957, 1958 and 1959.

A total of 20,766 were built in 1957. That number dwindled to 14,713 in 1958, Only 12,915 were made during the 1959 model year before Ford pulled the plug on the unusual car.

During the 1970s, when McCrary was matriculating at Arizona State University, for inspiration in his studies, he had pinned to his bulletin board a picture clipped from a magazine of a red and white 1959 Ford retractable hardtop.

Upon graduation he moved, along with his picture, to California. Several moves later McCrary – and his Ford picture – were in Hamilton, Virginia. “I've wanted one of these cars for 30 years,” McCrary explains. However, he discovered that the cars he saw for sale were in need of a total restoration or outrageously expensive.


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1981 Fiat Spider

By Vern Parker

Perseverance can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how it is perceived.

Records indicate that a Gary Zamarsky purchased a 1981 Fiat Spider 2000. He promptly took his metallic green convertible sport car to his home on Freedman Avenue in Nanuet, N.Y., where it rapidly became the object of interest to all of the neighborhood car afficionodoes including a young Jaime Steve.

Steve's father, Larry, was particular interested in the handsome Fiat. For more than ten years Steve says his father pestered his neighbor to sell him the car. After all, the Steve family lived only one block over on Fredric Street so it wouldn't be like it was gone forever.

Eventually, Steve's father acquired the car on March 22, 2008 with the odometer showing that the car had been driven only 22,000 miles.


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2014 Ford Fiesta SFE 1.0-Liter EcoBoost: Fun and Frugal State-of-the-Art Bottom Feeder

By Ted Orme

I’m a lucky guy. I get to test drive a bunch of nice new cars every year, many of them way above my pay station. Maybe it’s the deviant in me, but I really look forward to driving the bottom feeders as well – you know, those cheap, bare bones little cars that nobody really wants to admit owning. I like this group not only because it’s probably closer to my heart and wallet, but because, like those vehicles at the very top, it tends to define the automotive state-of-the-art.

Not all that long ago these little nits were tortuous devices – rough, ugly, tinny, unsafe, generally disagreeable and sometimes even hostile. I know. I’ve owned a few. Now, having sampled several of the latest generation of “econo” cars, I am happy to report that is no longer the case.

A fine example of the quantum leap automakers have made in the subcompact segment is the 2014 Ford Fiesta SFE 1.0-Liter EcoBoost, a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder hatchback that delivers surprising comfort, performance, utility and extreme frugality.

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