2018 Dodge Durango SRT 392: Holy Smokes!

By Ted Orme

NOTE TO READERS: You have no doubt noticed that Street Dreams has been unusually quiet for a while. The reason, unfortunately, is that Vern Parker has been dealing with a serious illness in the family that requires his full time and attention. But we are not done! Vern will be back at it soon. In the meantime, I will get going again with reviews of some new products. We have also put out the welcome mat to other car writers for additional contributions of new and classic cars. So, stick with us.

I can’t think of a better way to revive this column – and my automotive libido – than a review of the totally outrageous 475 horsepower, 6.4-liter V-8 Hemi powered Dodge Durango SRT, which is capable of 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and four-wheel burnouts. No, that’s not me in the above company photo, which would be a sure fire way never to get anymore test vehicles. But this is the fastest, most powerful three-row SUV, according to the automaker, and it is certain to bring out the devil in you.

We used to call these tire burners “sleepers.” You know, those drag strip champs in Plain Jane wrap that could blow away muscle cars and sporting machines from an unpatrolled stop light. At first glance, the SRT appears to be a family friendly SUV. But the tipoff that it is something very different than the rest of the far more civilized Durango line is the red 392 emblem (as in cubic inches of engine displacement) on the front fenders. There’s also the functional vented and scooped hood, wide grille, body-color side skirts and beefy red Brembo front brakes peeking through black 20-inch wheels.

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1968 Porsche 911

By Vern Parker

The superb handling of sports cars appealed to Dan Rowzie so much so that in his younger days he began attending sports car events enjoying the sound of mostly British sports cars.  He was happy in that pursuit until one day he witnessed another competitor in an air cooled Porsche.  The sound of that German engine captivated him.

Since buying a used 1962 Porsche Cabriolet in 1965 he reports that  about 50 Porsches have come and gone in his life.

His stable of Porsches currently consists of a single 911 model which he purchased in October of 2017.  He located this most recent 911 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, liked what he saw and drove it to his Charles T own, West Virginia home.  The car had been repainted and the odometer had counted 46,600  miles.


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2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: A Fine Blend for Fun and Family

By Ted Orme

If you read my recent Street Dreams review of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 you know I’m a big fan of a brand I own. In fact, it wouldn’t be all that unfair to say, “That guy is in the bag for Mazda.” So here I go again, being as fair as I can, with another gushing review of the latest great Mazda: the 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD.

Like the 2017 Toyota Highlander SE AWD I recently reviewed, the CX-9 is a three-row midsize crossover SUV with the same pinched third row and cargo capacity shortcomings, which I countered by leaving the third row seat folded down in both models. But the difference in these two competitors boils down to one thing: the CX-9 is more fun to drive – a trait that endears Mazda to its loyal following across the line.


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1940 Mercury Convertible Sedan

By Vern Parker

Ford Motor Company no longer produces Mercurys, however, one of the first ones continues rolling on after close to 80 years.

This tale involves Clem Clement and the 1940 Mercury Convertible Sedan that he bought twice.  In the spring of 1956 the car was parked on a side street in Hoboken, New Jersey.  "It was worn out, abused and tired," he says.  The top had been replaced with a painter's canvas.

With youthful logic the unemployed student with no money thought buying the car was a great idea.

He left a note with a monetary offer on the windshield, not expecting a response.  A fortnight had passed when the call came informing Clement that he was the new owner of the 1940 Mercury.


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2017 Toyota Highlander SE AWD: A van for all seasons

By Ted Orme

The classic cars filling this site are seldom used as everyday drivers. For that most of us exercise our more pragmatic side. You know, a vehicle that always starts and runs us through our daily routines without drama and in all kinds of weather.

I’ve got one for you: the 2017 Toyota Highlander SE AWD, a worthy combination of comfort, versatility and drivability. Classified as a three-row crossover “family vehicle,” a condemning nomenclature for “enthusiasts,” the Highlander is what I would call a do-it-all van for all seasons.

I’ve got to add a qualifier up front, however. Although enlarged somewhat in 2014, the midsize Highlander is still smaller than most of its three-row competition. The third row in the Highlander is a pinch that should only hold small people or kids. And storage behind the third row is a meager 14 cubic feet, just enough for a few grocery bags. But with the seats stowed cargo volume grows to 83.7 cubic feet – plenty big enough for all kinds of stuff.

So the easy solution for me was to forget about the third row until pressed into service. I much prefer the smaller size and more nimble handling of the Highlander as opposed to big maladroit three-seaters that are hard to maneuver or park in cities. I could be very happy with a four or five-seat Highlander (two captain’s chairs in the second row of the SE and higher trims and a three- person bench seat in other models).


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