Category Archives: Commentary

Trip Notes: California Dreaming Porsche-style

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So it wasn’t just happenstance that I recently started looking at Boxsters. In truth, besides wanting to buy a convertible in the cold months and sell it on when the weather turns warm, I have also been in the process of planning a trip to Los Angeles with my good friend and editor of the UK’s Pistonheads website, Dan Trent. There were (and still are) a lot of question marks around what we would do when we were out here, but we knew two things: first, the good people at Porsche kindly agreed to loan us a 2014 911 Carrera S for the duration of the trip, and second, we were going to explore the local Porsche culture that is really second to none anywhere in the world – including Germany.
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For $3K, What is the Best Winter Beater for TTS Types?

Cars in Snowmaggedon

We hate to break it to you, but winter is fast approaching. In fact, the subject of good “winter beaters” has been quite the buzz around the TTS offices of late, because Lord knows we don’t want to drive our decent cars in the bad weather amidst the snow, ice, and (ack!) salt. Instead, like any red-blooded car people, we prefer to add something to the stable that 1) won’t break the bank in terms of buy-in cost OR maintenance, and 2) will be something that we can respect ourselves for associating ourselves with. Or that we can at least rationalize. Now is the time to buy, however, while the weather is still good enough that folks are selling interesting cars but before the weather comes and all the good ones are either sold or parked until spring. The general guidelines are simple: less than three grand purchase price, and, well, something we could conceivably have fun with. That’s pretty much it. So in a quick scan around Craigslist here are some examples to provide you food for thought…..

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1977 Fiat 132: The Cars of our Fathers…..

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So My dad died about three weeks ago. In his honor, I’ve been trying to write something witty, something solemn, and even something really, really long. But ultimately I decided that first and foremost this is a blog about cars, and he liked cars, and even instilled in me that passion. So instead of eulogizing him and writing some long, drawn-out diatribe about the guy he was, I’ll write about one of his cars: the Fiat 132. It was the first car he ever let me attempt to move (almost taking out a family friend/one of dad’s colleagues in the process) and is to me one of the cars that stands out most in my memory as “Dad’s car”.

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Fleet Update: Building Memories

I hate when life gets in the way of solid blogging, but that’s just the way it’s been lately. I’m actually somewhat amazed at how much has changed since my last post, automotively speaking, that is. Well, truth be told, there have really only been two changes: out with the Volvo, in with the Cosworth. I love a good Volvo wagon – and I have ever since my uncle had a pale blue 1974 145E wagon. It took four kids and a lot of abuse to kill that car – in fact, even all that didn’t kill it. If I recall correctly, it was still running on three of its four cylinders when it was hauled-off. Great cars. That said, we already have a wagon, and we really didn’t need another one. Besides that, the other side of my grandiose dreams of making it into some sort of killer daddy-wagon was that it would be a wallet-draining exercise in futility. And besides, it wasn’t a stick shift.

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1970 VW Type III Squareback: Hip to be Square!

When I was in elementary school as an expat living in Hong Kong, I had a friend whose dad worked for the U.S. Consulate there. What I always envied about consulate kids, apart from their diplomatic immunity and ability to score Dr. Pepper by the case, was that the U.S. government would pay to ship their cars over there. It was all the more interesting to me as a young Car Geek because HK is a right-hand drive market, and those were left-hand drive cars. My friend’s parents had two station wagons, a late 1970s Toyota Corolla and an early 1970s VW Squareback. I always loved the sound and smell of old aircooled VWs, and I like the Squarebacks as more practical alternatives to the standard Bug.

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1991 Acura Integra GS: Endangered Species

I drove a second generation Honda Prelude through much of my five-and-a-half years of college, after the Alfa Spider rusted away and I managed to trade-in the VW Quantum wagon of death on the happy little Honda that Could. I loved that car. Call them boring, call them soulless, but those were the days when Honda made fabulous-handling, well-balanced, reliable front-drivers with some of the best manual transmissions I’ve ever felt in a FWD car. As graduation loomed I started thinking about what I’d buy once I found that big, high-paying job that comes with every bachelor’s degree in communications. The then-new second-generation Acura Integra was the logical choice.

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