Thursday
May302013

1936 Ford Deluxe Phaeton

By Vern Parker

It can be argued that during the decade of the 1930s Ford never made an ugly car.

In 1936 Ford manufactured 21 models with prices ranging from $510 for a two-passenger, five-window Standard coupe to $780 for a five-passenger, turtle back, Deluxe convertible sedan.

A 1936 Deluxe Phaeton had a base price of $590 for those who wanted four doors, a top that could be folded down and no side windows.

A decade or so ago Art Zimmerli was shopping for a 1936 Ford roadster when he learned of a freshly restored 1936 Ford Phaeton that was for sale. It wasn't too far from Amissville, Va. home so he went to investigate.

 

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Friday
May172013

1971 Ford Torino Halo

By Vern Parker

It's not often that a man buys the same car twice but David Claveloux has an explanation. It really wasn't the identical car.

Until he graduated from George Mason University in 1971 he motored about in a vintage Corvair.

Upon graduation Cleveloux stopped by the nearest Ford dealer to see what he could see.

He was particularly attracted to the Torino models and was seriously considering one of them when a salesman, like salesmen are wont to do, suggested that he might like the slightly more expensive Halo version of the Torino.

Like most auto manufacturers in those days the regular models were dressed up to attract a higher price. They were produced for only three months.

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Thursday
May162013

2014 Acura RLX Advance: “Sweet”

By Ted Orme

That’s what I said at the end of my first test drive in the all-new Acura RLX Advance. And it must be more than sweet if Honda’s premium car division is to be a bonified player in the mid-size luxury sedan segment where it has languished for years in competition with far better products from Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac.

But that should change with the thoroughly redesigned RLX. Handsomely restyled using advanced aerodynamics and lightweight body design, the 2014 RLX has been enlarged with a 2.0- inch-longer wheelbase and 1.7-inch-wider body than the outgoing RL. The RLX’s attractively finished cabin is now befitting of a true luxury automobile; with soothing tones, high quality materials, outstanding execution and plenty of room to stretch in comfort, both front and rear – a major complaint in the cramped RL. According to Acura, the RLX boasts the longest rear-seat legroom (38.8 inches), and best front (59.6 inches) and rear (57.0 inches) shoulder room in the mid-luxury class.

In keeping with the times, the bigger body gets a slightly small but more powerful and efficient new engine and new 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The naturally aspirated, direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 with i-VTEC and variable cylinder management makes 310 horsepower (up 10 over the previous 3.7-liter V-6), 272 lb-ft of torque, and a class leading EPA fuel economy ratings of 20/31/24 mpg (city/highway/combined).

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Friday
May102013

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

By Vern Parker

Every day on his way to school Bob Mayhugh used to pass by a house where a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T was parked in the yard.

He recalls that he always admired the Dodge but as a student he was aware that he could never afford such a car.

In 1982 Mayhugh located that same, long dormant, Banana Yellow Dodge Challenger only without an engine.

 

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Thursday
May092013

2013 Mazda 3 Rent-a-Car Star

By Ted Orme

The best, most honest test drive is probably in a rent-a-car. Unlike well prepared and detailed manufacturer test fleets, the rental car is “rode hard and put to bed wet,” so to speak. Nobody baby’s these vehicles, which offer a real world preview of what ownership is likely to be like. So let me tell you about the little 2013 Mazda 3 my family recently logged some 1,200 miles on through Colorado and Utah.  In short, the more you drive this willing little sedan the more you like it.

I didn’t set out to rent a car. We were headed for a photo shoot in Moab, Utah, one of the country’s renowned off-road meccas. I wanted a Jeep, preferably the Moab edition, but none were available from the manufacturer. When I enquired about any the availability of any 4x4s in the Denver region, the guy who handles such requests said, “Sure, you want it in April 2014 or 2015?” Turns out everything is locked down well in advance of springtime in Moab.

So, a quick check with Orbitz pointed me to EZ Rent-a-Car and a fairly cheap Ford Focus airport rental. Unfortunately, after taking the shuttle bus to EZ’s off-site building I was informed that they didn’t rent cars for out of state travel. But Dollar next door did, and that’s where we picked up the Mazda 3 – for less money than EZ, I might add.

 

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