Thursday
Jun272013

2013 Toyota Avalon: Lexus Level Luxury

By Ted Orme

So what do you do when you suffer a spate of unprecedented bad press over sudden acceleration lawsuits, recalls and some critical reviews of mundane products? If you’re Toyota, you set about making people forget about this negative blip by building even better cars and trucks. A fine example – and I do mean fine – is the all-new flagship 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring sedan I just spent a most pleasurable week in.

No longer just a gussied up, soft-riding Camry, the new Avalon has clearly moved into Lexus ES350 territory and bested it with stunning new styling, performance and technology. Let’s start outside and work our way in.

This is a fine looking car. I know that’s a subjective judgment but I loved the new coupe-like flowing roofline, lower beltline, sculpted flanks, and new front-fascia design with larger grille and headlight cluster. It gives the Avalon a fluid, athletic stance that earns it a sleek 0.28 coefficient of drag that begs you to get in and drive.

 

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Monday
Jun242013

1986 Ford Ranger

By Vern Parker

It was 27 years ago that a farmer in Indiana decided to purchase some basic transportation. After much shopping he settled on a base model Ford Ranger pickup truck.

Even though the truck was a low-end model he wanted it to last so he took his new truck to the local Ziebart facility to receive an application of rust proofing.

He purchased the little pickup at the Ford dealership in Warren, Indiana. The Ranger was equipped with a 2.3-liter fuel injected four-cylinder engine that delivered 79 horsepower.

Also available but rejected were two other engines, a 2.0-liter carbureted four-cylinder engine that produced 73 horsepower and a 2.9-liter fuel-injected V-6 engine producing 104 horsepower.

Year after year the farmer parked his Ford under cover six months of the indiana winter when he went to sunny Florida.

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Friday
Jun142013

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport: The Ultimate Experience

By Brian Armstead

I’ve driven some really great cars in my lifetime.  Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsches, Mercedes – you name it, and chances are I’ve driven it.  That’s the life of an Automotive Journalist. But my head is still spinning and my heart is still pounding, as I recently drove what I consider to be the ultimate automobile, the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport.

First, a little history.  

The French car company with the Italian name (and now owned by German car company Volkswagen) was founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti.  Bugatti built some of the world’s most beautiful and successful cars, often raced against Bugatti’s main nemesis, the machines from Bentley. Bugattis were built in Molsheim, located in the Alsace region which was part of the German Empire until 1919. The company was known both for the high level of engineering in its automobiles, and for stunning designs. 

Bugattis enjoyed much success on the racetrack, with driver Jean-Pierre Wimille winning the 24 hours of Le Mans twice (in 1937 with Robert Benoist and 1939 with Pierre Veyron, for whom the current Veyron is named). 

Early Bugattis were literally rolling works of art, with the most famous including the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 Royale, the Type 57 Atlantic and the Type 55 sports car. Ettore Bugatti's son, Jean Bugatti, a key figure in the company, died in 1939 while testing a Bugatti, marking a turning point in the company's fortunes. 

 

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Tuesday
Jun112013

2013 Hyundai Three-Row Santa Fe Crossover Flagship

By Ted Orme

The Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia, with its surrounding countryside of scenic rolling hills, historic dwellings (Jefferson’s Monticello at the top of the list), and academe atmosphere (University of Virginia) is a great place to show off a new genteel three row seat crossover vehicle. In this case the extended, more powerful, plushier 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, which replaces the Veracruz as the company’s flagship CUV.

Vern Parker and I tooled down to Charlottesville in a sporty three-door Veloster courtesy of Hyundai. Admittedly, the sight of two old dudes in a hot orange turbocharged pocket rocket zipping down the road got a couple of double takes. But fun is one thing, comfort another, and we both welcomed the switch to the downright luxurious three-row Santa Fe

To get that third row and seating for six or seven the Santa Fe has been stretched an additional 8.5 inches from bumper to bumper over the two-row, five-seat Santa Fe Sport, which debuted last August. The wheelbase has been lengthened by 3.9 inches.

 

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Thursday
Jun062013

1968 Oldsmobile 4-4-2

By Vern Parker

How many teenagers are accompanied by their fathers when they go shopping for their first car?

Not many, I would guess, and if so the fathers, being fathers, would more than likely be in favor of a stodgy, under powered “safe” vehicle.

On the other hand, Zaman Khan of Lorton, Va., has a different tale to tell.

By the time in the mid 1980s that young Khan was 16 years old he had saved enough money to purchase a used car.

 

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