Anyone who has spent any time perusing TTS can tell that we are generally partial to German cars – or at least European, as I do like the occasional Italian.. That said, we are also geeks for engineering and technology. I recall all too well when my father – Mister PhD in mechanical engineering – went from being a tried-and-true Mercedes guy (The Best or Nothing) to a Lexus guy. Price played a small part, as we were shopping a W126 300SE against an LS400 because the V8 Mercedes were substantially more expensive, but it was really about the quality of the machine. The Japanese took a great formula and made it their own, and the industry never looked the same again. I can still hear him saying “there is really no comparison.” At the time I was heartbroken, but as I’ve gotten older (and wiser?) I understand it – and him – a little better.
Quick! Name a decent-handling, rear-wheel drive, four-door sedan with an inline-six engine and a proper three-pedal 5-speed manual transmission. Nope. Not that. Care to guess again? Continue reading
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
For some, the 1980s were a time of opulent excess, Reaganomics, and Gordon Gekko. For the vast majority (or as we call them these days, the 99%) they were a time of high interest rates, a substandard American automobile industry, and inflation out the wazoo. For those 99%ers, automakers like Honda provided some relief from other stresses in the form of well-engineered, solid, reliable cars some of which were fun to drive while others started down the path of luxury that would ultimately lead to entirely new brands like Acura and Lexus that would end-up taking huge market share away from the German luxury leaders. This 1985 Honda Accord is simple – it has no AC, no radio, no sunroof, manual locks and windows – but is also in amazingly clean condition that would suggest mileage more along the lines of 40K than the still-low 73K it has.
Find it here on eBay in Auburn, Washington with a buy-it-now price of $6,500.
Unlike my poor friends in the L.A. basin, here in Northern Virginia we still have an HOV-lane exemption for Hybrid cars. Those who got in before 2006 can drive in all HOV lanes in the major arteries (I-95, I-66, Rt. 267), those who got in between 2006 and June 30, 2011 can get into the I-66 and Rt. 267 HOV lanes, and those who got in on July 1, 2011 or later can use the I-66 and Rt. 267 HOV lanes until July 1, 2012, then they are out. I originally got in early (December 2004) with a 5-speed manual Honda Civic Hybrid and had free reign of all the carpool lanes. Then I actually started carpooling and decided to drive interesting cars again. When the carpool went away in June of this year, I scrambled to get my Hybrid and corresponding plates before the June 30 cutoff, and made it by that much.