Monthly Archives: August 2011

1975 Kawasaki S1 Rebuild: Installment Four

Rebuilding this bike – which had been sitting for probably 20 years before I got it – required more than just a clean-up and refreshing of the mechanical parts. The frame, for example, needed to be stripped to bare metal to do a proper job of bringing it back. The original factory paint had been…

2012 Toyota Prius: The Only Sensible Hybrid?

It’s hard to believe but the Toyota Prius has been around for a decade now. It is both the first successful mass-market hybrid and – by far – the best selling hybrid. Arguably, because it’s the only hybrid that makes any sense. Critics will say the car’s ongoing popularity is due mostly to greenie-geek posturing…

The Pushbutton Devil

As bad as the government is about making new cars cost a fortune by issuing regulatory fatwas (such as “fleet average” fuel economy requirements) the automakers themselves are just as guilty. Maybe more so, because much of the stuff they are engineering into new cars is stuff that they could leave out since there’s no…

Time to Chuck it?

There comes a time when it’s time to cut your losses. When it no longer makes economic sense to pay for new repairs to an old car. The hard part is knowing when that time has come. Here are some guidelines that may help: * You can’t trust it anymore -  Even if you’re handy…

Nissan non-Nanny Vehicles

Nissan may be the last redoubt of (somewhat) non-Nanny State cars. Nissan vehicles do not have DRLs; you can turn the traction control off (really off – not “limited”) and -  alone among all car companies – Nissan does not fit its new cars with “belt minder” buzzers that try to harass you into buckling…

2012 BMW X5: The “Crossover” With Cojones

BMW’s X5 has one thing no other mid-sized luxury-brand crossover’s got – an available turbodiesel engine – and another thing very few others – in fact, just one, the Infiniti FX – have: a RWD sport sedan-based layout instead of a front-wheel-drive car based layout (like, for instance, the FWD ES350-based Lexus RX350). You can…

Retro review: Honda S2000 CR

Time machines do exist. If you want to remember what was really quick – and state of the art – circa 1999, take a drive in a 2008 Honda S2000. It hadn’t changed much since then – which had its good points as well as its bad points. It all depended on your perspective. First,…

Return of the Beetle – Mark I

Beetle 1

I’ve begun to notice a fair number of old (Mark I) Beetles on the road. The original ones.  Last sold here (new) in the late ’70s. Not at car shows (or on their way to/from one). But in traffic, being used as everyday drivers. My survey is  far from scientific, but my eyes are telling…

More on the Electric Edsel

Henry Ford with V-8 Engine

Well, here’s a surprise – the Chevy Volt electric car isn’t selling. Only 3,200 of these $41,000 “economy” cars have found buyers so far – most of them probably in the Hollywood hills, where it is trendy for the rich to show green (Leonardo DiCaprio owns a $100k Tesla electric roadster). But out in the…