Monthly Archives: February 2014

2011 BMW 328i Wagon M-Sport: The Unicorn

2011 BMW 328i Wagon M-Sport

Well-known is the fact your humble TTS staff are station wagon geeks. Having lived with and in them, the long roof versions of regular sedans have drilled deep into our frontal lobes. The combination of utility and potential sport in enticing, especially in a modern package. Last week’s Cutlass was a goofy homebrew that, while certainly entertaining, you probably wouldn’t want to drive every day in any place other than its native Florida. This week’s wagon… oh, dear Lord. Continue reading


Power, Poise and a Vanishing Breed: Five V8 Sedans on the Cheap

M119 W124

Every time I turn around these days it seems like another manufacturer is forfeiting good old burbling big-displacement torquetastic motoring for force-fed fours and sixes. It would appear that the V8’s days are numbered, particularly in cars that us regular Joes can lay our hands on without taking out a second third mortgage. Along with the V8s, regular rear-wheel drive seems to be fading into obscurity replaced with all-wheel. Now I appreciate traction as much as anyone, especially after all the snow that we’ve been graced with this winter, but sometimes you want your back wheels pushing, your front wheels steering, and never the two shall meet. It’s definitely old school, but I guess that I am, too.
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1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Wagon: “Frightening”

1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Wagon

We here at TTS reserve a very large soft space for station wagons, having spent the better part of our impressionable young lives in them. My cohort’s family had an Audi Fox, a W123 Mercedes-Benz, and a couple of Pontiac 6000s. We had a Datsun 510 and, through my father’s company, a venerable GM G-body in the form of a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu.

I always liked those Malibus, especially in wagon format. And I won’t even get into my weird El Camino fetish. Continue reading


1997 Lincoln Town Car: Large Scale Justification

Lincoln Town Car

This was originally going to be a nostalgia piece. But the more I thought about it, any nostalgia on my part would be secondhand at best. I’ve never actually driven or owned a second generation Lincoln Town Car, built between 1990 and 1997. The only real connection – the only real interest – is through the rose-tinted lens of popular culture. Continue reading


1978 Fiat 124 Spider: Disposable Sports Car #11

1978 Fiat 124 - 1

After writing about that gorgeous Alfa Romeo Duetto the other day, I got to thinking: there are a lot of ways to enjoy sleek European styling and a sonorous dual overhead cam motor combined with open air motoring. Most of those have been covered in TTS before – cars like the Alfa Spider, the Jensen-Healey, and even Fiat’s 850 Spider and X1/9. Shamefully, we have not covered Fiat’s 124/2000 Spiders in any depth. Until now. This car, advertised on Craigslist in Leesburg, Virginia for $3,950, represents the same basic experience as the Duetto but for about 10% of the entry fee.

The Fiat 124 was basically the Torino firm’s counterpoint to Alfa’s Spider, and their specs are comparable if not remarkably similar: they were both penned by Pininfarina and released to the world in 1966, both had varying displacement DOHC inline-4 motors, both had full synchromesh manual transmissions and four-wheel disc brakes from the get-go, and both started rusting about six hours prior to leaving their respective factories. In many ways, choosing between the Fiat and the Alfa was really down to preference. Of course, the Alfisti will argue that their Spider came with oodles more pedigree and had sleeker, sportier styling. The Fiat side of the camp will conversely argue that their car ticks all the right sports car boxes, but with more robust running gear that was used throughout the world in hundreds of thousands of their contemporary models. Frankly, I like both of them, albeit for different reasons.
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1989 BMW 325i Convertible: A Nice Clean Swap

1989 325iC

One of the many paths my automotive life may take in the near- to mid-term involves adding a BMW 325i convertible – 325iC, ‘vert, E30, insert your colloquialism of choice here – to the stable.

It’s the dead of winter in Minnesota, but today the sun came out and the temperature went up to 40F degrees. So of course I started looking for clean, relatively unmolested examples. Shockingly, there aren’t a lot of them on the market right now. At least, not anywhere near here. Continue reading