Thursday
Mar282013

1966 Pontiac 2+2

By Vern Parker

Pontiac was busy building excitement in 1966 and Leo Cummings wanted to be a part of it.

He had his eye on a Catalina 2+2 convertible but such a dazzling car did not mesh well with the young man's family situation which included a wife and two children.

Consequently, plans for the Pontiac were placed on indefinite hold.

Besides the shark gill slits on the rear fenders what had attracted Cummings to the stylish Pontiac was the advertised performance of the car. All of the available V-8 engines delivered well over 300 horsepower.

 

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Wednesday
Mar272013

2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring: New Class Leader

By Ted Orme

The midsize sedan segment has become a phenomenon of excellent automobiles. It seems each new entry in this preposterously competitive category ups the ante in terms of style, performance and efficiency, as well as comfort, technological and safety content that used to be only found on  luxury vehicles. The latest entrant in this battle royal is the totally redesigned 2014 Mazda6. It is, in my opinion, the new class leader.

It’s not that Mazda has created some breakthrough technology that stands above the rest. It’s the total package as personified by the company’s SKYACTIV engines, transmissions, body and chassis technologies, which it says “are designed to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the company’s new generation of vehicles while at the same time further enhancing safety and driving dynamics.”

Despite a lack of hybrids and electrics, these SKYACTIV technologies earned the Mazda6 the Green Car Technology Award at the recent Washington Auto Show for improving fuel economy and lowering emissions.

 

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Tuesday
Mar262013

1954 MG TF

By Vern Parker

The iconic style of the early MG sport cars has always appealed to Johanna Covel.

She recalls seeing her first one in southern Virginia when she was in high school and later, after college, another one.

As she later learned both sightings were of the same car.

“I always thought they were so cool,” she says. Her husband, Jerry, has long known of her affection for the early MGs.

 

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Monday
Feb252013

1914 Renault

By Vern Parker

“This car was delivered to the French Army to be used as a staff car during World War I,” Doug Tomb, the current owner explains.

He says his 1914 Renault EK Voiturette has been restored to its original colors, French Army Grey and French Army Blue.

Typical of cars of that era, an abundance of brass is evident.

Tomb reports that the whereabouts of his car in the years between World War I and World War II is a mystery.

 

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Monday
Feb252013

2012 Scion iQ: Clown Car, Bro

By Ted Orme

The first thing I did was remove the rear seat head restraints and lower the 50/50-split rear seat backs in the micro-mini Scion iQ. I did this to improve rear visibility and because nobody I know is going to use the back seat and because there is no storage for anything fatter than a couple of library books behind the rear seats (3.5 cubic feet and 16.7 cubic feet with seat backs down). Scion calls the tiny iQ a “3+1” passenger car, but think two-seater, three at best with fully cooperative best friends or family. You will never see Shaquille O’Neal advertising this car.

What would you expect in a 2,127 pound car that is barely 10 feet long (120.1 inches.), 66.1 inches wide, with a 78.7-inch wheelbase? Forget about hauling people and stuff. The game plan here is cheap transportation ($15,265 base price, $17,198 as tested) designed for urban scooting and parking. You can make a U turn in just over 25 feet and parallel parking is a snap – hell, the car is so short you can park perpendicular to the curb in a pinch.

As the Nat’s Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper might put it, “It’s a clown car, bro.” But clowns are fun. They make people smile, and a week behind the wheel of an iQ is a unique driving experience that will leave you smiling.

 

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