Sorry folks, I didn’t have the camera with me and traffic was a bit heavy for shooting anyway. I just saw a silver 2010 Camaro coupe on the Streets of it’s home town, Oshawa, Ontario. I know, its such a shame that the iconic American muscle car is actually going to be built in Canada!
Archives for December 2008
I have a secret to share. My wife, family, and friends do not even know it, but I am about to tell the auto blogging community: I seriously like this little Hyundai in a big way. The Elantra Touring is a five-door hatchback that has, until now, been a European market car only.Ã‚Â
Hyundai is pitching this car as the “sporty” Elantra, with sharper suspension tuning and steering. The powertrain is, sadly, a bit pedestrian-the standard Elantra 2.0L four rated at 141hp, coupled to your choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. At least the five-speed promises a reasonable 31mpg on the highway. I think an extra 20hp and an extra cog in the tranny are a must here, but could be forgiven given the price.
Welcome to The Garage’s second installment of forgotten (or forgettable) sporty cars where we recall an era of small, frugal but sporty looking cars that modern manufacturers have have forgotten about themselves, save for the Scion tC. This week we recall the Nissan Pulsar. Although the Pulsar was sold worldwide in several body styles, we are only concerned with the sporty cars imported to North America.
1983-1986 Nissan Pulsar NX
The first Pulsar imported to North America was the NX, which was essentially a rebodied Sentra. Buyers could choose from either an anemic four cylinder or a fuel injected turbo, but all Pulsars were all show, with little go or much in the way of impressive handling. The most remarkable feature of the Pulsar is its angular, ‘Totally 80’s!’ styling with requisite pop-up headlights.
I keep hearing the line “its not a rally, its a race” from La Carrera competitors. Somehow, some folks seem to have the idea that a rally isn’t a race. They’ve obviously never actually seen a performance rally, much less gone for a ride in a rally car!
At the Rally of the Tall Pines last month, Alan Ockwell says the top speed the Subaru he co-drives for Pat richard reached was 193 kmh. On mixed surface of snow, ice and gravel. For those of you non metric types, that’s just shy of 120 mph!
Regular readers might recognize a couple of cars from our Subaru show earlier this year including the black and green WRX that yours truly got to drive. Ok, so I moved it around the parking lot.
Thanks to the folks at TV2GO, we have some sweet video coverage of Pines via Flatovercrest.com
While it had been known for some time that Mercedes-Benz and McLaren were nearing the end of the line for the SLR exotic, Mercedes announced a final-run edition dedicated to one of its most famous drivers, Stirling Moss. “Regular” production of the SLR is scheduled to end near the end of Spring, 2009, when the Moss edition is expected to start in June, and end in December, with a run of 75 cars.
Like the 300SLR race car Stirling Moss drove himself, the modern iteration is no daily driver. The car has no roof, and no windshield-just a couple of windscreens to (hopefully) prevent you and your passenger from a mouthful of bugs. Of course, performance is devastatingly fast. With 650hp on tap, 0-100kph comes in 3.5 seconds. Without a roof, top speed is well over 200mph (but Mercedes does give you a tonneau cover).
According to Autoblog, any Mercedes fan can buy one of the 75 cars to be built….as long as they already own an SLR. This is not an uncommon practice in the highest tier of exotica-the Ferrari Enzo was also sold by invitation only. Don’t argue that the brand is being exclusionary-this is an important car (to them). They get to choose the buyer.Ã‚Â
Let’s just hope the buyers of the SLR Stirling Moss won’t total them at the rate that Ferrari Enzo owners seem to be destroying their completely irreplaceable pieces of automotive history.
The belly tanker that is!
Mamma G says I’m the hardest one in the family to buy for. Huh? Maybe I’m missing something, but a trip to the local automotive collectibles shop is a no brainer!
She needn’t worry though, as I’ve already received what I want. An original from our resident artist here in The Garage, Paul Chenard, wrapped in a card fit to frame as well. The card is an image of Sir Stirling Moss at the 1959 Nurburgring 1000 race. Knowing that I’ve been into the traditional rodding scene these days, Paul included a wonderful drawing of an iconic belly tanker at speed on the white
sand salt of Bonneville. If you use your imagination, it almost looks like the red and white machine is gliding across some freshly fallen Christmas snow.
It will be hard to top this one come Christmas morning!
This morning arrived with a bit of a conundrum here in The Garage. With a huge blast of winter forecast for this evening, what will my weapon of choice be for the drive into the big smoke. Let’s see now: old Nissan Xterra with some sort of generic snows, 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4×4 or the 2009 Saab 93 Aero Xwd. Hmmm.
The Xterra was the best choice For Mamma G to cart snow covered kids around town for the day, so that left the big honkin’ pick me up (no snows) or the Saab with brand new Hankook snows. As much as I’m really enjoying my time with the Ram, the Saab was the flavour of the day given the more appropriate contact devices.
Its pretty common for reviewers to compare any Saab to a fighter jet given Saab’s other product line. I suppose that’s a fair comparison, as the 93’s interior feels like it means business. Completely free of squeaks and rattles, with absolutely no outside noise to detract from my enjoyment of the Charlie Brown Christmas tunes I loaded on my iPod last night. No noise other than the surprisingly aggressive growl from the turbo V6 motivating all 4 wheels through a sweet 6 speed autobox.
Always one to captivate an audience, long time auto analyst Joe Sherlock has a fresh look at a literary classic. Updated to the modern sensibility of course:
The first Little Pig built his house with a good foundation. But subsequent generations were more interested in stylish-looking dwellings than quality. So the finned, chrome-bedecked, cab-forward-looking house became weak and mostly made of straw with only a few brick and stone components. But the furniture, covered in Corinthian leather…
You’ll just have to follow the link to see how things go for this piggie and his buddies!
While Chrysler typically idles its plants between December 24th and January 5th, today the company announced that it would be closing all 30 of its US plants on December 19th, and ordered no employee to return to work until at least January 19th.Ã‚Â
This latest announcement follows news that GM will be idling approximately 30% of its North American manufacturing during the first quarter of next year, in a plan to reduce vehicle production by 250,000 units. Ford also announced plans to add an additional week of no production “to a number of plants”.Ã‚Â
Chrysler claims one of the reasons for the extended shut-down, apart from an obvious over-abundance of dealer inventory, is the fact that banks are not lending money to willing customers. In fact, Chrysler reports that they have lost an estimated 20%-25% in sales to the credit crunch alone. It should be noted that earlier this year, Chrysler Financial announced that it would no longer offer leases on its new vehicles, and tightened up lending terms to prospective buyers.
Still, closing the door on all of its factories for a month paints a bleak picture for Chrysler-a company who many believe are the weakest of the Big Three, and without help from the Federal government, could be the first to go down.
The rumormill suggested that the new NSX was edging closer and closer to production, but today Autoblog confirmed that Honda has shelved the project. These are proving to be brutal times for Honda sports car and racing fans, as Honda earlier announced plans to sell its once promising Formula 1 team.Ã‚Â
What the production NSX was to have been like was based on rumor and speculation-Honda did a fine job of keeping details under wraps, as they typically do. While this news is disappointing, the NSX filled a very small niche. Honda is hurting in a global recession, just as most manufacturers are. While sales are down, Honda was prepared for the economic downturn, with small, handsome, solid performers like the new Fit and the Civic. These cars are the focus of Honda currently, as well as the upcoming Insight hybrid.
Production of the last generation NSX ended in 2005, so it’s not as if Honda was feeling forced to rush a new NSX into production anyways. For the time being, the Nissan Skyline GT-R remains THE Japanese super-car. Once the economy sorts itself out eventually (we hope), Honda could revive plans to bring the NSX back. But for the time being, the NSX is not the right car for right now.