2018 Volvo XC60: Dropping the Hammer on the Competition

By: Brian Armstead

With such a wide array of Crossover and Sport Utility Vehicles now on the market, wily auto manufacturers are in a pitched battle to infuse their ‘Utes with the latest comfort, convenience and safety technology.

Volvo is no different.  Once on the brink of extinction, the renowned Swedish brand was purchased by Chinese auto giant Geely, which wisely pumped cash into Volvo to resuscitate it, while allowing Volvo to do what it does best -- build superb cars with tons of luxury and safety.  The result has been a string of hits for Volvo, including the XC90, S90, V90 Cross Country and the 2018 XC60.

Let’s start outside with the all-new XC60 where surprisingly, Volvo’s are now known for sensuous, sleek styling.  Up front, “Thor’s Hammer” Daytime Running Lamps with LED technology are a “smashing” styling hit. Loosely based on the shape of Thor’s Hammer from Norse mythology, these lights make quite a statement that carries into the side styling.  Along the sides, the profile sports a high character line that accentuates the height of the XC60.  Deeply sculpted concave lower door panels angle down toward symmetrical, convex rocker panels.  Add an upper hatch lip spoiler and gorgeous, optional 20” diamond-cut alloy wheels, and the XC60 is a bonafide head turner.  At the rear, high mounted taillights and dual rifled tailpipes round out another impressive design from Volvo.  Remember folks, Volvo was formerly known for safety and boring styling.  Still a safety icon, Volvo’s new styling themes are super impressive.


Click to read more ...


1939 Chevrolet

By Vern Parker

Ralph Langford finds it easy to recall his first car even though that car is long gone.  An exact duplicate now occupies space in his garage.

When military service beckoned that first Chevrolet was placed in storage with the thought of eventual restoration in mind.

Reality eventually set in and Langford realized the car was too far gone for an amateur restoration so he reluctantly sold the car.

Then along came the spring of 2004 when Langford saw an ad offering for sale a restored twin to his first car.  It was a top of the line 1939 two door Master DeLuxe Town Sedan that the seller said had been restored.


Click to read more ...


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.


Click to read more ...


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.


Click to read more ...


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.


Click to read more ...