At roughly 11,300 miles (just 4,200 miles after its first service), the Camaro SS was showing a conspicuous lack of rubber on its tires, especially the rears. You see, when I’m not driving “my” Camaro, the rest of the staff are welcome to it, I welcome the miles being added, and I welcome hearing their perspective/experience. There are, however, more than a handful of drivers at Motor Trend who are capable of sideways antics in a powerful rear-wheel-drive car and still more who know a thing or two about burnouts, so let’s just say “our” Camaro is a well-loved member of the MT extended family that reaches farther and wider than the magazine itself. You might have seen Carlos Lago driving it in one of his Daily Fix videos on Motor Trend OnDemand. And as Jonny Lieberman’s mantra goes, “We hate tires.” At about the same time, the left rear rubber collected a small screw and was losing about 5 psi each day, causing it to sit while we … [Read more...] about 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Update 3: Burning Rubber
Car smells like burning rubber
HOT ROD typically ignores unless there’s something really interesting like a new Corvette launch. Wait, there is a new Corvette debuting this year at Cobo. Well, here’s a reason we try to pass on all of the PR and media new car launch insanity. For every ounce of news we might pass on to you our trusted readers, we have to put up with tons of absolute nonsense like this: Supposedly Nissan will be releasing a new show fragrance that will be their trademark scent called “the vert oriental.” Why a car company would spend even a minute on the topic of auto show aromas let alone actually investigating, then following through with such folly is just, well, it’s just folly. One reason for this colossal waste of time and money according to Nissan is that they are hoping their dealers will embrace the scent, and want to start using it in all of their showrooms. Really? What’s wrong with “new car smell?” What’s wrong with Nissan? I wonder if … [Read more...] about That New Car Smell
We all know by now that the Plymouth Road Runner came out in 1968 as Chrysler’s answer to the GTO. Yes, the Road Runner epitomized the original econo-muscle car and left the competition, including its sister brand Dodge, scrambling to come up something to compete in the same price and performance bracket. With its standard robust and eager 383 big-block connected to the A833 four-speed, flocks of Road Runners with their trademark “Beep Beep” horns resonated throughout cruise spots and drive-in restaurants during this golden era of cheap, plentiful muscle for the masses.And yes, we have spoken volumes about the 426 Hemi and the 440 Six-Barrel power plants that sat between the fenders of Road Runners, which came off the line and would glue the drivers to the vinyl bench upon planting their right foot on the loud pedal. Yes, we’ve all read those stories in books, magazines, websites, and even watched numerous cable TV episodes that go into detail on the little … [Read more...] about SURVIVOR! This ’73 Road Runner Still Looks & Smells New!
► The top dog, the McLaren P1 GTR ► Martin Brundle thrashes the racecar ► Hybird hypercar gets more powerThe shape bursts into view and turns towards me, evil little lights ethereal and distorted in the haze of the hot tarmac between us. Behind it the air’s a maelstrom of heat, diffuser-flung spray and, I swear, air left visibly broken by the yellow McLaren’s demanding aero. There’s a noise building too, a curious hybrid – apt – of deep V8 thunder and otherworldly jet turbine whine. Then everything drops into slow motion. With one clean input and an instantaneous response the P1 GTR switches direction. Physics is overruled before it can lodge an objection. Despite scarcely imaginable mechanical grip the car drifts into a textbook cornering attitude, its broad, alien haunches set wide in a couple of degrees of yaw. Then more noise and it’s gone, blasted from view by a slug of acceleration so prodigious the video … [Read more...] about 25 British cars to drive before you die: 1) McLaren P1 GTR, CAR+ September 2015
An electrical relay sitting in the front windscreen's rain gutter. Headliner that looks like mouse fur. Soft touch plastics that aren't. If you look closely at the new BMW 3-Series you'll see considerable evidence that Mercedes isn't the only German brand cutting corners at the low end of their lineup. But there's a difference: BMW says they let the whole obsessive compulsive construction thing slide so they could enlarge the 3-Series' performance envelope whilst holding the line on postage. In other words, they amped-up the driving dynamics rather than sweating the small stuff.The new 3's helm justifies the justification. For far too long, BMW has pandered to America's [alleged] predilection for steering with all the feel and feedback of a Novocained bicuspid. Now, finally, The Boys from Bavaria have installed a rack-and-pinion tiller that rewards elbow grease with information. Whether you're giving it some mid-corner or jinking around a Volvo, the wheel tells you where you … [Read more...] about BMW 325i Review
How fast in the Mercedes Benz E55 AMG Wagon? Fast enough to send the sunroof cover panel backwards. Fast enough to fling the ice cream out of a well-packed cone. Fast enough to make you hit the recirculating air button to keep the smell of burning rubber from curling your nostrils. Fast enough to turn your securely fastened two-year-old into a Teletubby (Again! Again!). Fast enough to lure you out of your office for a quick spin to… anywhere. That's right: pistonhead catnip now comes in station wagon form. Go figure.Just don't try and find one. You won't find an E55 AMG Wagon on your local dealer's showroom floor or in a glossy ad. The World's Fastest Station Wagon is only available by straight-from-Germany-to-your-driveway special order. By its own admission, Mercedes didn't think there were enough adrenaline-addicted Americans willing to stump-up $80k for a supercharged station wagon to justify the cost of marketing, promoting and importing the beast.Huh? What about … [Read more...] about Mercedes E55 AMG Wagon Review
I'm convinced my local highway on-ramp was designed by the Pawtucket (Rhode Island) Fire Department. Drivers have just 100 yards of tarmac to join the outside lane of a three-lane road that immediately and violently kinks left. The ramp ends on a bridge, so there's no breakdown lane for failed mergers and there's an off-ramp 200 yards ahead. As you'd expect, cars line up like F14 pilots on a carrier deck. It's the perfect Death or Glory test track for the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP with Competition Group Package: the "Comp G".Pontiac gave me a fighting chance by transversely mounting a supercharged V6 under the bonnet. The 3.8 litre unit may be older than Abba, but it stables 260 horses. Equally helpful, the super six cranks out 280 ft. lbs. of torque at 3200rpms. By all accounts, it should have been sufficient oomph to keep Pawtucket's paramedics in front of their soap operas.The instant I mashed the go pedal I realized that a Comp G at full chat handles just like a Ferrari. Not … [Read more...] about Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Comp G Review
Anyone remember the AC Ace? It was a nicely balanced British sports car with a space-frame chassis, four-wheel independent suspension, aluminum body panels, a high-revving straight six powerplant and perfect weight distribution. Car magazines of the day raved about the machine's ideal blend of performance and handling. And yet the delightful little Ace has disappeared into that special memory space reserved for die-hard Anglophile automobilists. Blame the snake.When GM started cleaning Ford's clock in the early '60's, a Blue Oval man named Carroll Shelby went and stuffed a big old V8 under the hood of the AC Ace and re-badged it a Cobra. The resulting sports car brought fame and fortune to both man and machine, on track and off. Forty-years later, Shelby is still trading on the reputation generated by his modified two-seater. Forty years later, companies are still fabricating Cobra replicas in their thousands. Forty years later, the Cobra is still burnishing Ford's image. Needless … [Read more...] about Solstice: Cobra Redux?
Regular readers will recall that this site’s denizens helped radio personality, car dealer and fellow commentator John Wolfe name his new CBS radio show. In exchange, Wolfe promised that he’d give me a guest shot. And . . . he’s given us permission to rip this glossary of dealer jargon from his “Real Deal” website. While you peruse the perfidy, I’m thinking turnabout is fair play. How about TTAC’s Best and Brightest invent some of its own terms for what car dealers do to us? Yeah, yeah, some dealers, not all dealers. Suggestions below please.Hole in the HeadThis is a sunroof package in an automobile. Also be referred to as a Sun, a Moon, or the Brains Blown Out.Chicken WalkCar dealer infomercial where the pitch man paces in front of the inventory. Dealership employees witness the production of the commercial spot and refer to the speaker as doing ‘the chicken walk’ Tom Park and Clay Cooley are professional chicken walkers.John … [Read more...] about Editorial: TTAC’s Guide to Car Dealer Lingo
My overambitious 8:30 departure plan becomes nine-something. But we are parked and on the shuttle bus by 9:45. Unlike yesterday, the bus stops in front of our grandstands. As we clear security and proceed to the building, the GP2 cars scream by on their warm up. We all exchange smiles.Our seats are freaking awesome. The south grandstands, at the end of the straight. The cars literally turn in front of us and accelerate away. We get situated to take some pictures and here they come. After 10 minutes, their tires are warm and the drivers start pushing it. They lock up on the gators. Overshoot the turn and drive into the runoff. They bounce and spin out. We all have earplugs and don’t use them. The little open wheel machines scream, then backfire and burble for the downshift, then scream away.The GP2s pit and we head to the club level for refreshments. We paid a bit extra and have a shorter walk. The club is also indoors and air conditioned. Yes, it 11 AM (OK 10:50) but I still … [Read more...] about Mental At The Money Circus, Day Two