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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Wednesday
May082013

1959 Cadillac Convertible

By Vern Parker

Starting in 1948 Cadillac stylists began offering, at that time, what were called fish tails on the rear fenders.

The terminology later changed to tail fins but Cadillac's identity was locked into the rear fender treatment until the final subdued tail fins on the 1964 Cadillacs 17 years later.

From the first tail fins in 1948 the fins grew until the fins achieved outrageous proportions culminating in the 1959 Cadillac models. There was nothing at all conservative about the 1959 Cadillac tail fins.

 

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Wednesday
May012013

1964 Dodge Polara 500 convertible

By Vern Parker

Brothers John and Horace Dodge were master machinists who built transmissions for the early Oldsmobiles and engines for the early Ford automobiles.

In 1914 they began building and selling their own “Dodge Brothers” cars. That first year 249 cars were manufactured. After the Chrysler Corporation acquired the company the “Dodge Brothers” name was dropped in 1938 and ever since then the cars have carried the Dodge nameplate.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary in 1964 of Dodge cars that fact was spelled out along the circumference of the horn button at the hub of the steering wheel. Manassas, Va., resident Mike Fogerty sees that declaration every time he gets behind the steering wheel of his 1964 Dodge Polara 500 convertible.

 

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