If you read TTAC (and chances are if you’re a fan of this site, you do), you’re probably aware that Jack Baruth and his merry band of tag-alongs recently published a multi-part track comparison pitting the Scion FR-S against a Mazda X-5 PRHT and a Genesis 2.0T. You can read the crucial details here if you like (if you don’t, be warned that I’m going to spoil the results after the jump), but what you should really take away from this isn’t their analysis, but the absolutely ridiculous reaction from the online community.
Category - Lord Byron
When the initial rumors of David E. Davis, Jr.’s passing crept up Sunday, I remarked to some colleagues that the inevitable onslaught of Car and Driver nostalgia commentary wouldn’t be far behind. But instead of a long-winded, reflective piece detailing DEDJr.’s career, we’re simply going to take the next few days to revisit some stories that we think Mr. Davis would have appreciated. Godspeed, David. Wherever you are, I’m sure there are no boring cars.
Previous days’ “best of” pieces:
Monday: Over the river and through the cones: The 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour
Tuesday, part one: Supercar Saturday Part One: Running the R8 and Viper against the clock at MSR Houston
Tuesday, part two: Part Two: Supercar Saturday Part Two: Taking it to, um, the streets.
Wednesday: Imaginary Internet Millionaire Track Test: Ferrari F430 v Lotus Elise v Dodge Caliber SRT-4 v Ford Mustang GT500
When I concluded part I of this feature last week, I said that this piece would be about the Sonata and Optima. It will. But for those of you who came looking for a more traditional road test, I must apologize. You won’t find that here. Feel free to ask specific questions about the cars, but for this piece, we’re going down a slightly different path.
If you ask somebody on the street to identify the most “American” car they can think of, you’ll probably get a predictably narrow subset of answers. SUVs and pick-up trucks will probably top the list, with the occasional Corvette or Mustang thrown in for flavor. Some may even identify entire brands–Jeep or Cadillac, for instance. Others may reflect on our heritage of being one of the largest sources of mass-produced goods in the world, and then prattle on endlessly about the Model T.
But they’re all wrong. You see, the above cars may be icons of the American auto industry, but they simply represent what we’re good at. Those are cars of and by Americans, but not for. Anybody can appreciate a well-built truck or a go-anywhere SUV, but for our purposes we must look elsewhere. Indeed, to find a reflection of American culture, you need to look a a segment which, ironically enough, American manufacturers seemed to have virtually abandoned until very recently–a segment so seemingly devoid of character that it has been dominated for nigh on twenty years by the Toyota Camry. Yes, dear reader, the quintessential American car is the mid-sized sedan.
What you see above is a craigslist.org ad for a 1997 Jetta VR6, meticulously restored (well, mostly). As the ad states, it’ll do 0-60 in under seven seconds, it’s fully loaded, and it’s a Florida car. And it could be yours for P-Diddy’s pocket lint–just $30,000.00 U.S.
That’s not a typo.
It’s no great revelation that the World Wide Web is an indispensable resource for car shoppers, but sometimes you come across an example of somebody who has failed in every possible way to properly utilize it. When that individual also happens to be the founder, editor and publisher of a multi-platform activist newsletter who holds multiple graduate degrees (including a M.A. in Journalism), well, you have a spectacle in the making. What follows is a step-by-step breakdown of how Stephanie Donald of LGBT-Today went about thoroughly embarrassing herself.
by Carl Modesette. NAIAS Photography by Zerin Dube, Mark Fields photo courtesy of Ford
From 10,000 ft, the glow of Detroit after sunset could be that of just about any other Midwestern city. Altitude and darkness impose a serenity that belies the nocturnal unrest below. Even the vast expanses of unused industrial property and the inch-thick dusting of snow that come into focus right about the time the landing gear drops are anonymous this time of day. The nighttime approach is a stirring equalizer. With the departure of the sun goes any character, and it’s not until you cross over from the too-white lighting of the airport terminal into the dingy glow of sodium-vapor lamps that your senses really have a chance to recalibrate. By the end of your cab ride, reality has set in.
by Byron Hurd. Photographs courtesy of Volkswagen. *This article has been corrected. See note above feature list.*
A few months ago, while reading one of my favorite Web comics, I came across a bit of a gem. While commenting on the endless debate between competing game console services Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, Penny Arcade‘s Jerry “Tycho” Holkins wrote something that every auto journalist knows, whether they’ve consciously considered it or not.
“In order to appear reasonable it is sometimes necessary to say things which are untrue.”
Such profundity and brevity rarely coexist.