Features

1962 Mercedes-Benz 220S Fintail Classic Car Profile – Automobile


On the eve of setting off to 2019 Monterey Car Week in her 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220S Fintail, Belinda Clontz’s home flooded on all three floors. But that was just the beginning of the roadblocks.

As she prepared her Fintail for a week of festivities at Pebble Beach, Clontz discovered it had a leak from a split differential. In full-swing panic mode, she backed out of the garage to take the 220S to its mechanic and crashed into the side of a retaining wall. The incident called for an emergency re-chrome of the rear bumper that had to be completed within 24 hours.

On her way to Monterey, Clontz hit a thick wave of fog as she drove through a deteriorating road under construction. And just when she thought life could not get any worse, a giant piece of wood flew off the back of a truck, only missing her car by a few inches. When she finally arrived in Monterey, the garage to the house she rented was not available on the first night. Her car had to be parked outside under the swampy ocean mist, causing her to not get much sleep all night.

Clontz describes the experience as “going through hell” to make sure her Fintail got onto the lawn at Legends of the Autobahn, where she was the only woman showing off a vehicle; interestingly, it also happened to be the 60th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz Fintail. Clontz entered her 220S into the Class 2 and 4 categories and won first place, which made going through hell worth it. We sat down with her to talk about her passion for Mercedes, and more.

Your devotion to Mercedes-Benz is quite remarkable. What prompted your loyalty to the marque?

Belinda Clontz: I have a passion for anything that has to do with women behind the wheel, and Mercedes-Benz is the embodiment of that. When Karl Benz invented the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, his wife Bertha Benz took it out on the road to introduce it to the world. With her two children on board, Bertha drove the Motorwagen for 65 miles to her parent’s house and made history as the first person to drive a car for a long-distance. Imagine seeing a woman driving this thing on wheels through the countryside by herself–and with kids in tow.

I admire any woman who is willing to do something that no one else has done. Bertha Benz was ahead of her time and I consider her a significant pioneer in the creation of the automobile.

How did you first become interested in cars?

BC: I grew up in a rural part of North Carolina and we didn’t have a lot of entertainment, so my dad cleared off some land and built a go-kart track for me and the neighbors. I was the only girl racing all of the boys in the neighborhood. My uncle Jerry, who lived across the street, worked at a dealership and came home with a different car every day. He’d always be driving the latest cars and I remember being so excited to see them. From an early age, I knew that driving new cars meant that you had to work hard and that one day I’d be driving one, too.

Why did you purchase your Mercedes-Benz Fintail, and what condition was it in?

BC: I purchased the Mercedes-Benz 220S for my 40th birthday sort of as my midlife crisis car. Years before I acquired this 220S, I had a very scary accident in a two-seater vintage car. After that car accident, I wanted a vintage car that I would feel protected in while driving through Los Angeles traffic. When I took delivery of the Fintail, it was in semi-restored shape, and in fairly good overall condition. Though it was not in the immaculate condition it is now, I could tell that it was well taken care of and loved by the previous owner.

Did the seller include anything cool with the Fintail?

BC: The original owner was so meticulous about the maintenance and record keeping that he saved about a two-foot stack of documents and receipts, which were included with the car.

Who was the original owner?

BC: My Mercedes-Benz Fintail was previously owned by a gentleman that served in the U.S. Army. Before he was released from service, he pre-ordered this 220S while he was stationed in Europe. I have the letters of correspondence and shipping documents from when the car was being built in the Stuttgart factory, to its delivery at the Port of Long Beach. This car has spent its entire life in Southern California, and I am the second owner.

Tell us about the engine and transmission.

BC: The engine was completely rebuilt, and it has a four-speed manual transmission with a shifter they call “four on the tree.” I can tell you that no valet in Los Angeles can park the car because they don’t know how to operate this style of shifter. And let’s face it, most people here don’t drive manuals. As of right now, the engine has 266,000 miles and is going strong.

That gorgeous all-red interior though…

BC: The interior was done by the previous owner, but I’ve done some upgrades. I bought an entire car just to pull out the factory A/C and have it installed in my car. I added period correct headrests to the seats, which only come in the limousines and took me more than three years to find.

The front grille sports a number of interesting badges. Is there one that is more special than the others?

BC: There is a 250,000-kilometer badge that was awarded by Mercedes for high mileage. They award these badges to cars that have the miles documented. I had the paperwork and obtained the badge in honor of the original owner. It’s my connection to him, and being that he put the miles on the car, I think he’d be proud to see the high-mileage badge on the Fintail’s grille.

Your Fintail has a set of fog lights that are rare. How did you find a pair in such decent condition?

BC: Those fog lights found me. If you put it out in the universe that you are looking for something, things have a way of finding you. I acquired this set of Marchal 660 Fantastic fog lights from a very dear friend who only deals in Marchal lights, and they are period correct for rallying a car. The set on my Fintail is rare in terms of rather than just being fog lights that clip on, these are installed with plates that become a part of the car’s structure.

Have you given your 220S a nickname?

BC: His name is “Finny the Fintail,” and everyone knows him by “Finny.” People talk to me like Finny is my child and it humors me.

The whitewalls on Finny are super clean. Is your Fintail a garage queen?

BC: It certainly isn’t a daily driver; however, it does get some sunlight once or twice a week. If I am feeling really enthusiastic, I drive it five days a week and will go anywhere in Los Angeles.

Owning any classic car requires serious dedication. What does it take to own a vintage Mercedes? 

BC: It takes a flexible sense of humor, lots of patience, and finding the right person who works on the particular model you own. Having connections to people who can help you is an integral part of ownership and upkeep of a vintage car.

When I was getting ready for Monterey Car Week, I faced one of my worst fears and stood underneath the car while it was on a lift. I was standing there for over an hour looking for the leak and it turned out to be the differential. That’s the kind of patience it takes to own an old car.

Do you ever get your hands dirty and work on your car?

BC: The last time I did, I took the engine bay apart and polished everything by hand.

You’ve recently acquired an estate of 20 vintage Mercedes cars and a warehouse full of car parts …

BC: This particular estate kind of fell into my lap and I couldn’t turn it down. It’s given me an opportunity to do research and learn more about vintage Mercedes cars. I’ve been meeting new people through the sales from this estate and it’s been a really fun experience.

What does the Mercedes-Benz Fintail mean to you?

BC: When the Fintail initially came into my possession, it meant so much to me because I knew that I bought a car that was loved and well taken care of. But then I did some research on the history of Fintails and discovered Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth. They won the 1962 Grand Prix of Argentina in a Mercedes-Benz 220SE Fintail and were the first women to ever win that grueling race.

I also learned that Mercedes-Benz modeled all of its safety engineering after the W111 chassis, which the Fintail was built on. The Fintail means more to me now than when I first bought it. That car is priceless to me.

Who is, to you, the most inspiring figure in the history of Mercedes-Benz?

BC: My love for Mercedes-Benz stems from the fact that it was helped to be founded by a woman. Bertha Benz believed so much in her husband’s Motorwagen that she invested her inheritance money in his business. Although she was not allowed to be named as one of the inventors at the time, Bertha also contributed to the design and engineering of the Motorwagen. She took the Motorwagen on its first test drive and helped put Karl Benz on the map as the inventor of the first automobile. Her role in the history of Mercedes-Benz is influential and inspires me every time I get out on the road with my Fintail.



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Classic Cars, Features

The Ford Escort RS Cosworth is the Rally Special We Never Got – Automobile


Be more like Cory Muensterman. That’s the lesson after an afternoon with the affable mechanic in his tidy-but-crowded shop that serves as both workspace and storage. Vocationally, he’s got it about as good as it gets; after squeezing between two Renault 5 Turbos in different states of repair, you’re greeted with a space almost entirely occupied by hibernating automotive superstars. A pair of Carrera GTs sleep under tight-fitting covers just a socket’s toss from a 993 Turbo and first-generation Ford GT. In the corner, tucked behind a white Defender 110, a pair of pre-war Bentleys with sequential serial numbers—originally built for a husband and wife—sleep under a thick coat of dust.

Closer to the front of the shop, you’ll find Muensterman’s favorites. “This is the coolest car in here,” he smiles as he points to a gray Lancia Delta S4 on storage lift. A Ford RS200 he previously owned sits silently underneath the S4, sold a while ago to fund the restoration of his well-known “Busby” 1978 BMW 320i Turbo race car, an ultra-boxy E21 weapon from the glory days of IMSA GT. Pragmatically, he reminds me that most of us take this whole vintage car thing too seriously. “You don’t need to be gentle with it,” he explains as he whips the door open on the 320i after staff photographer Brandon Lim cautiously touched the windowsill. “I’m definitely not.”

“They’re just cars,” he tells us. That attitude extends to his old RS200 and the three Renault 5 Turbos littered around the space. “I can never figure out why people are so scared of working on those things,” he sighs when asked about the mid-engine French uber-hatch. “They’re so simple once you understand them. ”  Don’t mistake him for jaded; spend enough time around any car, and all the myths and legends burn off like condensation. He’s owned, operated, broken, and rebuilt nearly every type of 1980s homologation special save the disastrous Citroen BX 4TC. At the end of the day, these are rough, mechanical tools built not for comfort or regular road use, and he’s seen them at their very worst.

Muensterman’s personal Group B fleet is long gone these days, but he’s still in the homologation special club. I made this house call for a rare rally special from a different era; when not futzing with customer’s cars or prepping the Busby 320i, he scoots around the South Bay in a 1995 Ford Escort RS Cosworth, one of the many non-USDM performance specials from the American automaker and one of the most prolific rally specials of the 1990s.

There’s precious few “forbidden fruits” truly worth losing sleep over—stuff like the then-new Porsche 959, older Nissan Skyline GT-Rs, and the new Toyota Yaris GR spring to mind as the more lamentable omissions—but overseas hotness from Ford is an outlier. The Blue Oval is about as American as shooting an apple pie with a star-spangled rifle, but for the better part of the 20th century, its overseas operations were mostly left to their own devices when it came to product planning and development, particularly in Europe and Australia. This means there’s a whole heap of tasty performance coupes, sedans, roadsters, wagons, and hatches wearing the Ford crest that we never got our sticky little fingers on.

Sometimes, this separation begat parallel product lines that shared a name but had little relation to one another, like the Ford Escort. Production of the USDM Escort ran the course of three generations from 1980 through 2003, while Europe enjoyed its own distinct versions from 1968 until 2004. A trip through nearly 40 years of the euro Escort provides a perfect cross-section of rally-ready, not-for-the-U.S. specials, including the legendary rear-wheel-drive Escort RS2000 that dominated mixed-surface stages in the 1970s.

Of the later front-wheel-drive Escorts, the RS Cosworth is by far the most potent variant. Developed primarily for the competitive FIA Group A class—a roster that includes such greats as the Lancia Delta Integrale, Subaru Impreza 22B STi, Lancer Evolution, and BMW E30 M3—the RS Cosworth was the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive weapon Ford hoped would claim the WRC championship title. It never did take the overall championship, but the Escort did win ten rallies between 1993 and 1998 before it was replaced by the new Focus in 1999. In that relatively short time, a host of legendary drivers like Carlos Sainz, François Delecour, and Tommi Mäkinen wheeled the Escort to its multiple victories.

Though it wears an Escort badge on the rear decklid, very little is shared with its namesake save a handful of the exterior body panels. The chassis, engine, and drivetrain are copy-pasted from the larger Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, a high-performance homologation derivative of the staid Sierra family sedan that went on to outright dominate the touring car scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Transposing the Escort design onto a Sierra platform was tricky work, so Ford outsourced the work to German contract auto manufacturer Karmann to handle production.

The result of all this nip/tuck is an aggressive design that’s aged as elegantly as Pierce Brosnan. With fat, flared fenders and a wide track on a relatively small frame, it looks like someone pumped the euro-chic Escort full of myostatin inhibitors and let it loose in the gym for a few months. Of course, that delightfully purposeful rear spoiler makes this instantly recognizable, though Muensterman admits he added the trademark whale tail; his car was one of the few that arrived wing-less.

It’s got the guts to match the muscles, too. All Escort Cossies (as they’re affectionately called) pack Cosworth’s YB-series 2.0-liter four-cylinder, though the first 2,500 examples wear a bigger homologation-spec Garrett T3/T04B turbocharger and air/water intercooler to appease FIA regulations. Later cars—including this one—breathe through a smaller Garrett T25 turbo with significantly less lag and near-identical performance. Muensterman’s driven both, and he prefers the later small turbo variants, citing better day-to-day performance than the harsh, explosive nature of the first 2,500.

The longitudinally-mounted Cosworth YBP is as stout a four-cylinder as there ever was, despite the block tracing its lineage back to the Ford Pinto engine originally introduced in 1970. That doesn’t mean this is old-world stuff; at least by 1990s standards, it’s a thoroughly modern design with forced induction, DOHC, and four valves per cylinder. A well-balanced 224 hp and 224 lb-ft of torque is on tap, routed through a Sierra-sourced five-speed manual transmission and a full-time all-wheel-drive system split 34:66 front to rear.

For the uninitiated, this can be a very intimidating car, both visually and conceptually. FIA homologation carries weight, particularly when it’s from an era renowned for big, unpredictable turbos and explosive acceleration in high-strung short-wheelbase cars. Happily, the Cossie bucks expectations and is about as quick and hard-to-drive as a brand-new Subaru WRX. That 224 hp has a relatively hefty 2,800 pounds to pull around, so 0-60 takes somewhere in the mid-five-second range, topping out at respectable 144 mph.

Despite the downsized turbocharger, there’s still some initial lag from a dig, though it dissipates quickly and gives way to strong mid-range pull that lessens as you reach the 6,500 rpm redline. Compared to the antiseptic, direct-injected, and highly muffled four-cylinders found in modern hot hatches, the YBP is buzzy and alive, sounding off with a rorty grumble and turbo hiss that’s so evocative of other pumped-up four-pots from this era.

Muensterman modified his example with sympathetic bolt-ons that complement rather than overwhelm the car’s character, including Mongoose exhaust, Bilstein shocks and springs, short shift kit, and those excellent 18-inch Compomotive wheels. Power-wise, it’s essentially bone-stock, but that’s not for a lack of capability. Tuning shops have pushed the output of this itty-bitty 2.0-liter over the 1,000 hp mark for years; too much, he says. “I wouldn’t want this with over 400 hp,” he admits. “I tell the guys who do want that kind of power to stick with WRXs and Evos. A similar experience, but much cheaper.”

With these mild mods, every input is just the right amount of analogue. Steering is a bit overboosted, but turn-in is still sharp and very tactile. Shifting is direct and reasonably short, while the clutch pedal is well-sprung and forgiving, as is the suspension. Most of my time behind the wheel was on arrow-straight harbor roads, but the few bumps and gentle curves I crossed were dispatched with the same old-school non-adaptive, un-adjustable mechanical ride as other older sport compacts. Inside, it’s a wonderland of mid-1990s smooth-edged plastic, offset by epic period-correct Recaro seats and a weighted metal shift knob. It’s a hopped-up, hunkered-down compact car that’s completely analogous to the contemporary WRX/Evo, albeit with an extra dusting of motorsports “cool.”

It certainly attracts more attention than an old Subaru. Parked near a public beach, passersby fixated on the bulky little coupe in part due to the clean, aggressive lines but mostly thanks to the luscious Gold Pearl paint that makes this a one-of-one car. According to Muensterman, Karmann built this specific Escort for either the 1995 or 1996 Frankfurt auto show, displaying it proudly on its floor stand. Aside from unique paint, the aforementioned shift knob, seat material pattern, and portions of the steering wheel material are all bespoke to this car.

Itching to sell your new STI and hop in a Cossie? Make sure you do your due diligence regarding importation and registration laws, especially in California. Most Escort RS Cosworths populating the pages of Bring a Trailer are brought in under the 25-year import law, bit if you’re lucky and patient, you might be able to score one of a handful of Escorts imported by Sun International (now Sun Speed) in the late 1990s. The team at Sun managed to federalize some Cossies to DOT, EPA, and even CARB standards, so those might be the easiest ones to register—provided you can find one. If you can’t, former Sun employee Muensterman says Sun Speed would be more than happy to import another car for you, provided you have the coin.



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100 Cars That Matter, Evergreen, Features

1990 Acura NSX: 100 Cars That Matter


By the early 1980s, Honda was ready to break out. The Japanese automaker had its sights set on exotic performance without sacrificing reliability. Buoyed by its entrance into the Formula One championship in 1983, the automaker had resources and ambition—and an idea.

In 1984, engineers targeted prancing horses and charging bulls with a mid-engine, rear-drive sports car—a far cry from the front-engine, front-wheel-drive cars it was building. Deep within Honda’s skunkworks, the company converted a lowly Honda City hatchback compact car into a mid-engine mule to test their theory. The car’s handling was thrilling they said, but the technology wasn’t up to snuff to keep it on the road.

Original NSX Sketch – Acura NSX 30th Anniversary

Shelved shortly after, Honda engineers never forgot the City mule’s dynamic potential. Eager to prove to the world that it could make a “New” “Sportscar” “unknown” (an “X” subbed in as the mathematical “unknown”); the NS-X was born in 1985. Early sketches showed a radical body, inspired by the F-16, with an engine planted midships, behind the driver.

Engineers wavered between sheet steel and aluminum for the early NS-X in 1986—steel was easier for production, aluminum was lighter but more expensive and difficult to use. Ultimately, Honda landed on aluminum for its new sportscar, the first all-aluminum monocoque production car from a mainstream automaker in history.

The lighter aluminum didn’t need a big, heavy engine to hit performance targets, and the company landed on a V-6. In America, Honda’s nascent luxury brand Acura needed a halo car and NSX (American Honda preferred no hyphen) fit the bill.

1991 Acura NSX - Acura NSX 30th Anniversary

1991 Acura NSX – Acura NSX 30th Anniversary

In 1989, the NSX made its debut at the Chicago auto show. Then-president Tadashi Kume reportedly started a prototype fitted with an SOHC V-6 from the Acura Legend. He implored engineers to adapt Honda’s variable valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC) from its inline-4 to the NSX’s V-6 engine. Critics who drove early prototypes also said the car lacked power.

Legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna helped, too. At Suzuka to test Honda’s new F1 car, Senna drove the NSX and pressured engineers to make the body stiffer.

“I’m not sure I can really give you appropriate advice on a mass-production car,” Senna told the team, according to Honda. “but I feel it’s a little fragile.”

What arrived in 1990 was a worldbeater. The everyday supercar lasted for 15 years, beyond a recession in Japan that killed several other sports cars but not Honda’s breakout.

Note to readers: Motor Authority has compiled 100 cars that have forever changed enthusiasts. From supercars and sedans to SUVs and muscle cars, these are the cars that have sparked our love for cars. Think we’ve missed something? Leave a comment below or contact us here.



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Classic Cars, Features

Driving the 1991 Acura NSX to Radwood – Automobile


Do you remember when you first saw an Acura NSX? Maybe it was a car show, in a magazine, or on TV. For me, it was in the Universal Studios lot, a black first-generation example with black wheels. I remember thinking it looked sinister, sporty, and exotic. I still have the low-resolution cellphone photo I took all those years ago, the wedge-like Acura parked somewhat awkwardly on a tarmac slope.

Since then, the NSX has been one of my dream cars. I’ve built and raced them in video games and taken photos of nearly every single one I’ve seen. Last year, I tried my hand at proper VTEC power in a 2001 Acura Integra Type R ahead of Radwood SoCal, which celebrates cars from the 1980s and 1990s with a sense of lighthearted nostalgia, whetting my appetite to drive the NSX all the more.

This year, Acura was kind enough to lend me its oldest road-going example of the groundbreaking supercar ahead of this year’s Radwood in Orange County. On the Friday before the show, I headed over to Honda’s HQ in Torrance and picked up the keys to the silver VIN 52 NSX, a preproduction build that predates the first customer car by 10 units. As such, our test car had over 60,000 miles on the odometer. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great driver; Acura refreshed the paint, updated the internals, and touched up the interior where it needed it.

This 1991 model featured a 3.0-liter V-6 at its heart, churning out a hearty 270 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. It revs to a screaming 8,000 rpm, and doing so is highly recommended. Gear changes are handled by a five-speed manual transmission with short and satisfyingly snappy throws. Its power is more than plenty for a car that weighs just 3,010 lbs. In most cases, hitting redline in second gear means you’re over the speed limit.

All of which is to say the first-generation NSX is still bonkers fast today. It hits its stride once the engine enters the VTEC zone; peak power is made at 7,100 rpm. Figure a 0-60 mph time comfortably under six seconds. The excitement builds as acceleration continues; the V-6 offers plenty of power to keep pulling well beyond any posted speed limit in the United States.

Our test car didn’t have power steering – but that just helped the NSX feel even more tactile and mechanical. It helps that the driver operates the throttle and brake by cable. On twisty roads the NSX is a surprisingly stable and willing companion. Its best to let the engine live at high RPMs, when power and torque availability seems instant. Four-channel ABS was one of the car’s significant engineering features and was a welcome safety net considering that this is the oldest example in the United States.

As a show car, the NSX drew plenty of eyeballs at Radwood as part of Acura’s display, which included the 350-hp restomod SLX SUV and a first-generation Integra. It was only one of two NSXs that we saw on site. Even in the rain and mud, the low-slung silver sportscar drew spectators in for a closer look. Getting out of the park was only the slightest bit dicey as the performance-oriented tires struggled for grip on the soaked soil.

Although it came straight from Acura’s collection, our NSX did have some issues that needed attention. For one, the radio was out, although this wasn’t too much of a problem because the naturally aspirated engine is one of the best sounding V-6s out there. The left mirror didn’t quite fully articulate and the trunk lid struts no longer could support the weight of the deck. The third gear synchro seemed to be somewhat temperamental and on occasion it was impossible to shift into reverse gear.

Fortunately, I was just the guinea pig for this refreshed NSX; Acura will continue to tighten it up so it can be driven as it deserves to be. Representatives from the brand told me the car isn’t meant to ever be fully restored. It’ll be a driver, with a somewhat worn interior and some slight imperfections. This way, Acura can continue to share its brand lineage through the vehicle that helped solidify its place in the luxury performance space.

My net impression is that the NSX is the Miata of supercars from its era. It isn’t the most powerful of expensive, but it’s always a respectable choice and will always satisfy in nearly every situation. I had no problem commuting, shopping, carving canyons, or cruising freeways in the NSX. As far as meet-your-heroes moments go, this is one that I’ll forever remember with fondness. Check out our video to see our journey to Radwood.



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Features, New Car Reviews, News

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Review: Holiday Road Trip – Automobile


KERNVILLE, California—During the winter holidays, Automobile staffers are presented with a golden opportunity to commandeer a vehicle from the test fleet for a longer duration than usual. In my case, a 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0T would help me navigate the seasonal chaos, shuffle family around town, and welcome the start of a new decade. Leaving our Los Angeles headquarters and heading back home to Central California, I identified haunts worth exploring that I’d previously ignored; they either never crossed my radar or I had decided, for whatever long forgotten reason, they were “boring” when I was a resident of Kern County.

Take the Basque food scene in Bakersfield, for example. I finally tapped into it when I drove our long-term Infiniti QX30 in search of a low-key hangout with delicious grub. And I found, to my delight, a distinct lack of the usual sleepwalkers with cell phones in hand, poised to capture every mundane experience at any given place rather than actually enjoy the experience. The Selfie-Zombie Phenomenon is so out of hand that environs devoid of it somehow feel almost punk rock in nature.

These hidden gems are not far from my hometown. Years ago, as a student at Bakersfield College, I heard about Kern River Brewing Company. Located in Kernville in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, just more than 40 miles outside of Bakersfield alongside the Kern River, this award-winning establishment doubles as a brewpub and restaurant. Kernville itself—home to approximately 1,400 souls—boasts of its status as the gateway to the Sequoia National Forest. At this time of year, the town is enthusiastically celebrating Christmas; it’s filled with delightful lodges and offers some of the best rafting in California this side of the Kern. Beyond the December holidays, the town’s big to do is Whiskey Flat Days, an annual Wild West festival held for four days on Presidents’ Day weekend.

For years, though, I viewed a visit to Kern River Brewing as a daunting proposition, thanks to the somewhat intimidating road required to get there. But a desire to take the Hyundai Santa Fe on an adventure inspired me to journey to the mountains. As an added security measure, I called a friend to join me on the spontaneous trip, and he jumped into the passenger seat. The Santa Fe—seemingly ready for more than simple grocery hauling—would help me conquer the road to the Sequoia gateway.

With Santa Fe sales up by 8.3 percent through the first three-quarters of 2019, the midsize SUV is doing something right. Start up front, where the Limited 2.0T model gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 235 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. In addition to an abundance of standard tech and safety features, Hyundai’s recent updates to the 2020 Santa Fe include new door sills, dark chrome exterior trim, a rejiggered blind-spot monitor, and newly available rear-occupant alert. This test vehicle came in Symphony Silver, equipped with optional all-wheel drive for $1,700; total MSRP for this model is $40,295, and even at that price point, the fully equipped Santa Fe Limited 2.0T still comes across as a bargain compared to other midsize SUVs that may still lack some of its features.

Prior to embarking on the road to Kernville, I made a coffee run to one of my all-time favorite coffee shops, Dagny’s Coffee Company. For a seamless use of Google Maps and Spotify, I connected my phone to the USB port to activate—for my first time ever—Android Auto. The hype over and widespread adoption of Android Auto now makes far more sense. Utilizing my smartphone’s apps via the 8.0-inch touchscreen interface was not only advantageous, but also turned out to be one of the cabin’s biggest highlights.

New vehicles tend to be equipped with a load of features most people do not utilize (or is it just me?). But in the Santa Fe’s case, I had Android Auto, the surround-view camera system, heated seats/steering wheel, blind-spot monitor, and high-beam assist in heavy rotation. We’re all for high-tech features, provided they actually do something useful; the Santa Fe excelled in this regard.

The drive to Kern River Brewing started out on an open country road, but once we got onto the scenic stretch of Highway 178 East through Kern River Canyon, it became both spectacular and scary with tight twists and curves; however, despite driving through a rock-fall area and it being the winter season, the road conditions were impeccable. The Santa Fe handled it all smoothly and with aplomb, leading us to pull into a turnout to admire the Kern River, the natural rock formations that surrounded us, and the Hyundai itself.

In Sport mode on the canyon road, I tested lane-keep assist on some portions where the view ahead was clear, and the system’s accuracy surpassed expectations. Additionally, the powertrain’s quietness combined with breathtaking forward vision and solid ride quality to help relax us as we tackled the hair-raising road.

Roadside attractions en route to Kernville included Children of the Earth Natural Hot Springs, Silver City Ghost Town, and Isabella Lake. We made a stop at the latter for a quick breather, where an epic view of Kern River Valley welcomed us. When we arrived in Kernville, it felt like a time machine had spit us out into an era where a handshake was as good as a written agreement. The parking lot at Kern River Brewing appeared to be on overflow, yet we managed to snag a slot near the entrance. Inside, the brewpub was warm, practically built from the trees in its backyard, and everything I hoped it would be.

After enjoying a tasty lunch, we climbed back into heated seats and set off to survey the cozy town and its further delights. It turned out that the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0T was an excellent companion for an experience ride that made us remember some of the best things about being alive.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0T Specifications
ON SALE Now
PRICE $38,595/$40,295 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4; 235 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 260 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE 20/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 187.8 x 74.4 x 66.1 in
WHEELBASE 108.9 in
WEIGHT 4,085 lb
0-60 MPH 7.8 sec
TOP SPEED 130 mph (est)



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100 Cars That Matter, Bugatti Veyron, Evergreen, Features, Hypercars

2005 Bugatti Veyron: 100 Cars That Matter


Keen to toy with its latest purchase, Volkswagen Group planned to return Bugatti to its glory days. The original Bugatti folded in the mid-20th century, only to be revived for fewer than 10 years in 1987. In 1998, VW Group rescued Bugatti when it purchased the brand.

Flush with cash, VW tinkered with Buggati’s mission. Would it be an ultra-luxurious automaker? It could have been, based on two concept cars shown in 1998 and 1999. Instead, Bugatti revealed a different kind of car in late 1999 called the 18/3 Chiron.

While the public gazed at a mid-engine supercar with sweeping lines and a massive W-18 engine, VW had set the course for the reborn brand and previewed what would come six years later: the Bugatti Veyron.

ALSO SEE: Witness the $21,000 Bugatti Veyron oil change

Bugatti EB 16/4 Veyron

The 18/3 showed the potential for a mid-engine supercar, and Bugatti followed up with the EB 18/4 that began to show the shape of the Veyron yet to come. In 2000, the EB 16/4 concept bowed, which cemented the Veyron’s future powertrain: an 8.0-liter W-16 quad-turbocharged engine.

VW committed to produce the EB 16/4 one year later, which began the race to usher in a new era for Bugatti.

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

After lengthy production holdups, the first Bugatti Veyron was delivered in 2005. The specifications were out of this world. The original Veyron made 987 horsepower, featured a permanent all-wheel-drive system, and clocked a top speed of 253.81 mph—fast enough to make it the fastest production and street-legal car in the world.

The world took notice almost immediately. The Veyron quickly became an essential part of a high-dollar collector’s garage, for bragging rights if nothing else. On bedroom walls around the world, the Veyron joined other hot metal as the latest poster car for children.

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse - Image via Manuel Carrillo III

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse – Image via Manuel Carrillo III

Five years after the original’s debut, Bugatti doubled down and introduced the Veyron Super Sport with 1,184 hp. The car was limited to 30 units and was capable of going 267 mph. Twice in one decade, Bugatti made the fastest production car in the world.

In 2015, Bugatti ended Veyron production and prepared to pen a new page in history with a forthcoming supercar. The Chiron bowed in 2016 to succeed the record-setting Veyron.

Bugatti Chiron test with astronaut Jon A. McBride

Bugatti Chiron test with astronaut Jon A. McBride

Yet, the Chiron has hardly garnered the hype and enthusiasm the Veyron did. It’s difficult to frame, but the Veyron captured enthusiasts and the public alike with something special—a rare ingredient. The Chiron is hardly forgettable, but the path Bugatti forged with the Veyron will forever make it a trailblazer.

Note to readers: Motor Authority has compiled 100 cars that have forever changed enthusiasts. From supercars and sedans to SUVs and muscle cars, these are the cars that have sparked our love for cars. Think we’ve missed something? Leave a comment below or contact us here.



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Classic Car Profiles & Reviews, Classic Cars, Ethos, Features

Wall Art Comes Alive: We Drive the Lamborghini Countach!


It’s become almost cliché to say, but I was one of thousands of kids in the 1980s with a poster of a Lamborghini Countach tacked to my bedroom wall. Not the one my friend had with a bikini-clad model draped across a white hood. Instead, it was a red Countach, parked almost haphazardly on a double-yellow apex turn sharp enough to necessitate four or five bright yellow and black arrow signs warning oncoming drivers of its treachery.

When I’d get home from school, the Lamborghini was there waiting for me. I’d dream of flipping its door up, clambering in, and firing up that rip-snorting V-12. It stood out from the other posters that covered nearly every inch of my room. The Ferrari Testarossa was almost tame by comparison, and the Corvette ZR1, with its crisp folds that gave it away as a freebie from a copy of MotorTrend, was undeniably ordinary. To this car-obsessed fourth grader, the Countach was the ultimate—a mashup of a Le Mans prototype and an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet. When I finally saw one in the sheetmetal at a local car show, it cost me half the roll of film in my disposable Kodak camera. Save the bizarre Vector W2, it was simply the wildest car I knew. And it was almost a colossal failure.

These “downdraft” cars were the most powerful Countach variants made and require a deck bulge to clear the six Weber carburetors.

The Countach was among the last Lamborghinis born under the direction of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini himself. Work began in 1970 as project LP112 to replace the curvaceous but aging Miura. It was to use the same basic engine as that car (developed by former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini), turned longitudinally in a new Paolo Stanzani-engineered chassis and enlarged from 4.0 to 5.0 liters. The first prototype, dubbed LP500, was given a radical new wedge-shaped body and scissor-style doors from Miura designer Marcello Gandini at Bertone, which borrowed from his prior Alfa Romeo Carabo and Lancia Stratos Zero concepts.

By the time Lamborghini showed the LP500 concept at the 1971 Geneva show (alongside the evolved Miura SV), the name had changed to Countach—thanks to Gandini’s Piedmontese styling assistant who would frequently utter, “Contacc!”—an expression of awe and astonishment in his native tongue. Wider, lower, and shorter than the Miura, the Countach was an instant system shock representing years of conceptual ideas come to life. It quickly graced the cover of nearly every automotive magazine worldwide.

But the following year, cracks started to emerge in the global economy. The ensuing turmoil forced Ferruccio to sell the tractor business he built his empire upon. His fledgling automobile enterprise, by then not quite a decade old, wasn’t doing much better. With the production version of the Countach missing deadline after deadline, the founder ultimately sold his controlling stake in the company to friend Georges-Henri Rossetti, a Swiss businessman. Lamborghini himself was retained to get the car to production, and in 1974 the Countach LP400 finally came to market with Stanzani’s advanced tubular space frame chassis but featuring the smaller 4.0-liter engine adapted from the Miura. Drained of his passion, Ferruccio eventually sold his remaining stake in Automobili Lamborghini and retired to the Italian countryside to make wine as his father had before him. He was still doing just that in 1993 when he died at 76.

Those lovely fixed-back seats are actually very comfortable, and the high center console gives a “cockpit” feel.

Lamborghini’s struggles continued even after the Countach started selling in the European market, and by 1980 the marque was in bankruptcy proceedings. That same year, French entrepreneurs Patrick Mimran and brother Jean Claude took control of Lamborghini in receivership and bought it outright in ’82. During Patrick’s reign as CEO, the company began selling the now eight-year-old Countach in the U.S. Success came rapidly, and by 1986, Patrick Mimran was ordering his third Countach “company car”—the one I’m about to drive.

It’s good to be the boss, and for Mimran, any old Countach wouldn’t do. This 1986 5000 Quattrovalvole wears one-off Bordeuax Speciale paint custom mixed by Lamborghini supplier PPG Milano. It looks sensational contrasted with the Oro wheels and Panna leather interior. The engine is special, too: It’s one of 300 “downdraft” European-spec cars eschewing fuel injection for six downdraft Weber 44 DCNF carburetors lined up in the vee of its now 5.2-liter V-12. Add special-order sport cams (and an extra oil cooler), and this Countach is among the most powerful built, with 470 hp, an extra 15 compared to standard downdraft models and nearly 100 more horses than the fuel-injected U.S.-spec cars.

A stealthy yet high-end period Alpine stereo rounds out the extras, as Mimran, a music fanatic, routinely used this Countach for blasts between his home in Switzerland and Lamborghini headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy. Even in a Lamborghini, that’s a long drive without tunes. Interestingly, this car was ordered without its single extra-cost option: the $6,500 V-shaped rear wing. Perhaps the reason was that the drag it created shaved about 10 mph off the car’s top speed, or perhaps Mimran just preferred the cleaner look. We think it looks perfect as is.

The car was so loved that it stayed with Mimran for a short time even after he sold Lamborghini to Chrysler in 1987 (which turned his $3 million initial investment into a $25 million megadeal). It passed through a Swiss owner until 2015, when Joe Sackey, a British expatriate investment banker turned U.S.-based supercar specialist, bought it from a client. A serial Countach owner who bought his first one brand-new in the 1980s, Sackey found the Mimran provenance intriguing enough that his intention of reselling the car quickly gave way to a lengthy and comprehensive restoration by Oceanside, California-based Dugan Enterprises. The goal was to put the car back in as-new condition. By all measures, it was achieved.

I reach into the depths of the NACA duct on the driver-side door and click open the latch. The door rises easily, assisted by a pneumatic prop, revealing the gently curving, fixed-back seats that look like they were ripped out of a spaceship. The first person to place a posterior in this driver’s seat was none other than official Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni, who drove the car straight off the assembly line. Recently, Balboni was given a second chance to drive it following the restoration, making small but critical suggestions to perfectly dial in its performance.

Driving a car you’ve idolized for years is a funny thing. Sometimes your heroes aren’t the machines you thought they were, though sometimes they’re even better. Weeks before I got into the driver’s seat, I’d talked to a couple friends who’d had seat time in a Countach for tips on what to expect. Tales of “trucklike” (its own cliché at this point in Countach land) steering and ride quality, finicky engines and clutches, and brakes that would have a hard time slowing down a hot dog cart are what I heard most often. I’m not sure which Countach they drove, but it wasn’t this one.

With a twist of its oval-shaped black key, the engine fires quickly. Already warm, it settles into a calm idle with no indication of fussiness. The gated shift lever needs a strong tug to get it into first gear (down and to the left, race car style), and the clutch pedal, while firm, isn’t the leg press machine I’d been led to believe. The throttle is lighter in action and a little sensitive, so it’s easy to go heavy on the revs when getting away from a stop.

The personalized key fob is among the artifacts linking this car to Patrick Mimran. The speedometer is in kph, this being a Euro-spec car.

The steering, heavy at low speeds, begins to loosen, and after the up-and-right shift into second then straight down into third, the Countach starts to hit its stride. Getting more comfortable, I knock the car back down into second with a blip of the throttle, then get back on the gas with more conviction. The sound its six Weber carbs make right behind your head as they gulp down air is really something; I’m reveling in the rare opportunity.

Into third once more, and I pin the throttle under my foot as the tachometer makes a run for 7,000 rpm. I have the side windows cracked to better hear that giant 5.2-liter V-12 bellow out its quad exhaust pipes—a mechanical concerto that someone should set to a musical soundtrack. Getting out of the gas before a sharp right-hander, I’m treated to an angry series of pops and bangs that make the hairs on my neck stand up. This car isn’t interested in slowing down.

It quickly becomes apparent that a well-maintained Countach isn’t a car to fear. The visibility out the back and rear quarters isn’t terrific, and, mostly for that reason, it wouldn’t be great in rush-hour traffic or on busy city streets. But the ride isn’t jarring, the steering is precise, and the view out front is fantastic, with thin A-pillars and a virtual 180-degree view over the low dashboard that offers excellent sightlines of the road ahead. I can barely see the hood at all, and the sensation of asphalt rushing toward the car makes me feel as though I’m driving even quicker than my moderate pace.

With the sky turning ominously gray, we’re worried about getting this concours-grade car caught up in a downpour, but the twists and turns keep coming and the Countach devours them with its flat stance, those massive 335-section rear Pirelli P7s keeping the business end in check. It aches to run harder, but I decide to play things safe and hand the key back over to its rightful owner before I get too comfortable. After all, it’s never a great idea to get too confident in someone else’s Lamborghini. And anyway, somewhere in the back of a closet, there’s a dusty, old, thumbtack-pricked poster that needs framing.

Read More
Classic Drive: 1988 Countach 5000 QV
Original Influencer: History of the Lamborghini Miura
What It’s Like to Drive a Ferrari Testarossa








The post Wall Art Comes Alive: We Drive the Lamborghini Countach! appeared first on Automobile Magazine.



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Ethos, Features, News

30 Years of Lexus: How the Luxury Brand Changed the World


It isn’t always easy to recognize a watershed moment as it happens, but when the Automobile staff first drove the 1990 Lexus LS400, editor David E. Davis Jr. recognized the significance. “All you guys from Munich, Stuttgart, and Coventry, call your offices,” he wrote in the January 1989 issue. “I’d say the fox is about to find his way into the henhouse.”

Although its conservative styling and quiet demeanor led some to dismiss the LS400 as a glorified Toyota, it proved the Japanese understood what Americans wanted in a luxury car, perhaps even better than Detroit and Stuttgart did—and that they could execute it with the same pedantic attention to detail and quality for which they were known best.

“Audi may dismiss it as plastic,” we wrote when we named the LS400 a 1990 All-Star. “Porsche may dismiss it as a pretender. Mercedes-Benz may dismiss it as plebeian. And they’d all better duck, because the LS400 is about to kick some serious tail in the luxury-car market. Nothing close to the Lexus flagship—in price, size, and class—will be unaffected by the new standards the LS400 has set. We all knew the Japanese were serious about their move upmarket into the big-money machines. But in all honesty, none of us expected such a stunning first-year effort from the masters of the econobox.”

1990 LS400

The LS400 was notable for its unpretentious approach. The styling was a bit derivative, but it was honest, a simple shape with no tacked-on adornment. Inside there wasn’t a lick of chrome to be found, just plenty of leather and a bit of wood. Even the plastics didn’t pretend to be anything but. Every switch, lever, and button felt weighty and solid, a level of quality that made Cadillac and Lincoln look like amateurs. And with a base price of $35,000—some $28,000 less than a Mercedes 420SEL—it was equally embarrassing to the Germans.

Even today, a drive in an original LS400 impresses, if not for its modern amenities then for its silence, smoothness, serenity, and solidity. Dynamically it’s not quite up to modern standards; the brakes feel soft, the steering lacks feedback, and the engine takes its time to build up torque. But whereas today’s luxury cars try to overwhelm you with amenities, the LS400 takes a simpler approach, welcoming you in and inviting you to get comfortable. Drive it for a mile, and you’re ready to settle in for a cross-country cruise.

1996 SC400

In 1991 Lexus followed up with the 1992 SC coupe, which stunned Americans with its styling. In that era, most rear-drive coupes were boxy, long-hood, short-deck affairs—think ’89 Monte Carlo, or even ’64 Mustang. But the SC’s shape, all curves and no flat planes, was a novelty. The car was penned by Calty Design Research in California, and Lexus went so far as to design a bespoke hydraulic radiator fan drive to ensure the power package would fit beneath its desired hoodline. History has blunted the SC’s impact; the rest of the industry went bonkers with the no-straight-lines approach, and it became a cliché of 1990s automotive styling. That the first-gen SC stayed in production for eight years with few changes didn’t help much, either. At the time, though, no one had seen anything like it.

The SC made a strong counterpoint to those who thought the LS400’s styling and dynamics were too bland, and it proved Lexus could be flexible. Although it shared its bones with the LS, alterations to the wheelbase, steering, suspension, and gearing gave it a distinctly sporty edge. Inside, it featured a wraparound cockpit and maple wood trim that curved into the door panels, a sharp contrast to the more sedate LS. The SC400 debuted with the LS400’s V-8, and Lexus would follow with the SC300, featuring a 3.0-liter inline-six that would soon have a starring role in the ’93 Toyota Supra, coupled with an available manual transmission.

We took a drive in a vintage SC400, and it’s still a passable sporty coupe by today’s standards—a bit bookish, perhaps, but with a distinct sharpness to its responses. Most important, it’s a very different car to drive than the LS, a distinction that showed the world Lexus wasn’t a one-note brand. It’s not difficult to see why our 1992 staffers were so pleased with the SC400 we added to our Four Seasons fleet. After a year and 36,468 miles with the car, we wrote, “Toyota set out to make the perfect machine and, with the Lexus SC400, has come as close as anyone ever has. It is difficult not to turn a backflip for this car and the entire company that made it possible.”

1993 GS300

If the LS and SC put Lexus on the map, the 1993 GS300 showed the world where its sights were set. With the SC300’s inline-six, rear-wheel drive, and a de-chromed exterior, the GS300 was a shot across the bow of BMW’s 5 Series. This may have backfired on Lexus, because in the inevitable comparisons, the GS always came up short. In our first drive, we cited Lexus’s goal to build “a Lexus with a BMW persona. It isn’t quite, but we’re not unhappy with what we found.”

Our modern-day drive in a first-year GS brought the memories flooding back. The straight-six engine is a novelty today, but it lacks the snap of the LS’s V-8, while the exterior styling doesn’t have the SC’s visual excitement. Lexus eventually added an optional V-8, all-wheel drive, and a performance-minded hybrid powertrain, all much-needed improvements, but the GS 300 was the first indication Lexus wasn’t entirely infallible.

2003 RX300

You can’t talk about Lexus history without mentioning the 1999 RX300. At the time, the luxury SUV segment consisted of gussied-up trucks like the Infiniti QX4, a poshed-up Nissan Pathfinder (not to mention Lexus’s own Land Cruiser–based LX450). Toyota’s RAV4, our 1997 Automobile of the Year, had already introduced America to car-based SUVs—the term “crossover” was not yet in common use—and the RX 00 brought the same concept to the luxury field, in a more family-friendly size. (Mercedes was attempting the same thing with the ML320.)

Today we take it for granted that SUVs will drive like cars, but 20 years ago, it was a new concept. At the time, we were a bit confused by an SUV that couldn’t go off-road, but we certainly appreciated the soft on-road ride. The RX300 flouted the advantages that came with its transversely mounted V-6, including a flat floor and minivan-style center console separate from the dashboard. This was exactly the vehicle that upscale suburban moms were looking for. A year before it went on sale, Lexus predicted the RX would be one of its best-selling models. It was, and it remains so to this day.

Driving the RX300 in 2019 is a very different experience than the other vintage Lexus models. Aside from the expansive view out back—we hadn’t realized how small and pinched back windows have become—the RX felt perfectly ordinary. And that, we realized, is what makes it so amazing: What the RX300 pioneered 20 years ago has become today’s normal.

Today, Lexus is a luxury brand working hard to stay ahead in a very competitive segment. Ironically, it might not have to work so hard to compete had it not raised the standards for the whole industry in the first place.

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2020 Lexus LS Long-Term Intro: How We Did Spec It
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Lexus LX570 Review: A Big Ol’ Texas-Sized SUV


















































The post 30 Years of Lexus: How the Luxury Brand Changed the World appeared first on Automobile Magazine.



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Features, News

In Photos: My First Auto Show and Favorite Karma Ride


Like many of the cars and trucks out on the stands, I made my world debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. My star shone brightly behind a few planetary obstacles, however, since I spent most of the day in the (less than stellar, windowless) press room quarterbacking Automobile content from behind a laptop screen. Surviving in the crowded pen full of journalists proved no easy feat, but the bottomless cups of coffee and free Perrier certainly helped. Welcome to my first-ever auto show.

After maintaining a low profile behind a computer screen for most of the day, I was finally able to jet out for a brief self-guided tour of the show floor. With no plan of action as to where to begin my show car consumption, I went into full tunnel vision mode and walked toward the Concourse Hall of the L.A. Convention Center, where an ensemble of futuristic and elegantly designed cars brought my feet to a halt. My tour took a pit stop at the Karma exhibit, where among the mere four cars on display, one of them left so potent an impression on me that I’d drive away from that spot, if only I could: The Karma SC2 concept. Its long front end, incognito side mirrors, and scissor doors captivated me, so I decided to flag someone down from Karma who could tell me more.

Making its debut in L.A., the tech-heavy Karma SC2 concept (SC for Southern California), is a fully electric hypercar with four motors, a 120 kW-hr battery pack, and a claimed 350-mile range. Touted by Todd M. George, Karma’s vice president of platform engineering, as a car that will be an “an absolute delight” for the driving enthusiast, word is the SC2 will be able to crack the 2 second barrier to 60 mph. Yeah, I think that would be absolutely delightful.

One super cool tech feature of the SC2 is its high definition camera under the windshield that can capture a 360 view of the car in motion and record your entire driving experience: Everything from acceleration, turns, braking, to sounds—even your music playlist—all in real-time. Say, for example, you’re cruising down Las Vegas Boulevard on Friday night with your favorite mixtape thumping on the speakers, hit one button and you’re good to go.

The public’s reaction to the SC2, with its truly insane power numbers of 1,100-hp and 10,500 lb-ft of “wheel” torque, is said to be unanimously positive, and Karma is considering putting this bad boy into production. And with that, I had to go and see the rest of the L.A. show—and be more judicious with my time at each booth. My first stop had eaten valuable time from my escape from the press room, but I managed to grab a glimpse of the displays beyond Karma’s. So, take a look at the rest of the cars that caught my eye during my first-ever appearance at the L.A. show, to see what an overwhelming event such as this is like from the perspective of a total newcomer.

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A Visual Tour of the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show’s Must-See New Cars
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2019 Los Angeles Auto Show Hits, Misses, and Revelations


















































The post In Photos: My First Auto Show and Favorite Karma Ride appeared first on Automobile Magazine.



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Features, Opinion

Opinion: I Like the Tesla Cybertruck’s Design. There, I Said It | Automobile – Automobile


Worse, you might say, is the more I look at the Cybertruck, the more I like it still.

Perhaps one day not too distant, I’ll look back on this and wonder what I was thinking. How I could have been so obviously wrong-headed (if, you know, it turns out I was wrong). Beyond freaking people out, the truck’s edgy design appears to introduce enormous, untenable blindspots to the front and rear. But right now, all I see is a rad-looking space truck from the future that will do all kinds of truck stuff and is claimed to not cost an absolute fortune. And I like it.

Stop screaming, I can hear you just fine. This website doesn’t allow readers to comment, either, so stop slapping your keyboard like a memeable cat. So maybe the Tesla is an affront to your senses, and not just the metaphysical ones like aesthetics: this thing hurts your actual eyes, you say. I know, change is hard. Hard like the Cybertruck’s bulletproof stainless-steel coating. I like that, too.

In fact, what’s really not to like, once you get over yourself and look past the exterior? The truck was unveiled by the same Tesla that has caught the world’s hair on fire with each new model release. Underneath its wedge cap, the Cybertruck uses pretty much the same Tesla hardware you’re familiar with, except more robust and even more advanced. We’re being promised the pickup will offer the longest driving range of any Tesla, it will seat six, and it has its own loading ramp (plus a matching ATV to drive up that ramp). I like all of that.

The windows seem to need some work still, sure, but you can’t exactly shoot or throw large metal balls at any other pickup truck’s windows without severe consequences, either.

But please, take a moment to reflect, and try to look at the Cybertruck not as a grossly nonconformist pickup truck of hideous proportions, but as a new thing that shatters the century-old pickup-truck mold. A thing foreseen by generations, imagined, hoped for, animated, and simulated. Not a truck. A Cybertruck.



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