Advertising for Honda‘s recently introduced 2011 Odyssey highlighted its 15 cupholders. So how exactly is Dodge marketing a new variant of its 2010 Grand Caravan? By adding a badass appearance package to appeal to a more gruff, masculine audience. In a recent meeting with dealers, Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles discussed plans for a “man van” that would shake off stereotypes of a mom-mobile. According to The Wall Street Journal, production of such a minivan variant would help give the brand a more masculine image, hearkening back to ad campaigns of recent years. According to the Journal, one dealer said, “A man van won’t generate huge sales, but it’s one of those vehicles that gets people talking and heads turning.” Similar to the Dodge Grand Caravan R/T concept from the 2008 SEMA show, interior and exterior enhancements would help to differentiate dad’s van from mom’s. Sources hint that the interior would feature bespoke stitching on the … [Read more...] about We Hear: Dodge Planning a Hotter Grand Caravan for Dads?
How dad can help new mom
This 1965 Pontiac GTO was delivered to my dad, Van Seymore, specifically for him to run in NHRA drag race competition. The car was delivered through the famous Royal Pontiac dealership by performance car salesman and personal friend Dick Jesse, with the idea of fielding a nondescript (but class-winning) B/Stock entrant with, unbeknownst to the casual observer, full factory sponsorship. Built in September 1964 at the home plant in Pontiac, Michigan, the car was ordered with all the right go-fast content of the day: 389 Tri-power, close-ratio four-speed, 3.90 axle ratio, and metallic brake option. Sprinkling the order with eye-catching goodies like Rally I wheels, redline tires, an AM radio with reverb, backup lamps, and door-edge guards added to the GTO’s visual appeal without adding significant weight or power-robbing accessories. One of my earliest memories is of bringing the GTO home. As fate would have it, my sister was born on Thursday of that same week. Instead of going to … [Read more...] about 5,000-Mile Unrestored 1965 Pontiac GTO Was a Dragstrip Warrior When New—and Is Still in the Same Family
Some 300 people populate Vrensted, an unindustrialized, all-but-forgotten outpost in northern Denmark, and it appears each and every one of them is watching the bright blue 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR drive through the doleful town, backfiring and trumpeting the arrival of the heir to Denmark’s throne—me. The backstory I adored my dad, Steve Nelson, who would often tell friends, co-workers, and strangers at the bar that he was an illegitimate prince of Denmark. Here’s how he said it: “I’m sitting with my mother [after] my father had died, and we’re talking and … I never liked [my dad’s] father, ‘Bumpy.’ He was kind of a crabby old Danish guy, and he was married to the most sainted woman in the world, my grandmother [Christine]. My mom says, ‘Well, you know, Bumpy’s not really your father’s father.’ And I go, ‘What do you mean?’ And she says, ‘Well, you know, Christine worked in a big … [Read more...] about Digging Up Royal Roots in a Range Rover Sport SVR
Lamborghini up close. I was out in Los Angeles visiting a relative with my mother and sister, and I took the change of scenery as an opportunity to look for more exotic cars than my middle-class Midwestern upbringing would usually encounter. We were on a walk, when off in the distance I saw – and heard – something extraordinary: An early '80s Lamborghini Countach, black with those bronze five-hole wheels, pulling into a parking spot. My mom still takes great joy in periodically retelling the events of that day, and as the story goes, I joyfully took off without warning, chasing the car down the street shouting "Lamborghini!" "Lamborghini!!" in my best eight-year-old Italian accent.I must've still been adorable, because the owner not only let me sit in his car, scissor door open and ridiculous grin on my face, he left me playing around in its interior, nonchalantly telling me to shut the door when I was done. Just like that, he left, disappearing into a shop across the … [Read more...] about World’s Best Dad invites Lamborghini owners to son’s birthday party
TTAC Commentator Jimal writes:Sajeev and Steve,I have one of those quandaries that most adults will go through sooner or later in life and I figured I would tap into you and the B&B for suggestions. My father passed away recently after a long illness and I’m helping my mother with settling his estate; cleaning up finances, etc. Among the things my father left behind were his 2005 Buick LeSabre, which my mother hates, and her cherished 1996 4-door Chevy Blazer. They bought the Blazer new and 14 years and 170k miles later it owes my mom nothing. The problem is it is a ticking time bomb. My mother realizes this and realizes that they don’t quite make SUVs like that Blazer anymore. Our (my) plan is to sell the Blazer on the front lawn and either trade in the Buick or put it on the lawn for some down payment money for something.My first question is what CUV built today would be the best replacement for my mother’s beloved Blazer? Because my father was a GM … [Read more...] about New or Used: Being a Parent…to your Parent
TTAC commentator DougD writes:Hi Sajeev,I put the snowtires on Dad’s 2007 Kia Rondo yesterday, and right on cue we’ve got snow today. While we worked we talked about cars, of course. My parents are in their mid 70’s, Dad bought the Rondo new and there’s a lot to like about it. Upright seating, good ingress for seniors, easy to park in the condo parking spot. It’s been reliable and still looks good, so the Rondo’s held up well.Unfortunately Mom hasn’t held up quite as well as the Rondo. She’s got some back problems now and finds that the Rondo’s so-so seats, jouncy ride and boomy interior make it a literal pain to be in for more than short trips.Ideally they’d like to replace it with something that combines the Rondo’s good points with great seats and a serene, quiet ride. They drive about 15,000 miles a year including the 900 mile trip to Myrtle beach each fall. All options are open from something new to a … [Read more...] about New or Used: No Rondo in the Condo?
This previously published article appears courtesy of my local regular print publication, the North Shore News.Some dear friends of ours have a pair of twin boys that are just entering their latter teens. I have seen them grow from precocious eleven-year-old scamps to lofty, sullen, intimidating goons. Actually, just joking, they’re both about as sullen and intimidating as a basket-full of labrador retriever puppies.However, they’re allowed to drive now. Eeep!Naturally, and partially because I’ve corrupted the youths by showing them Top Gear episodes where Jeremy Clarkson drives around sideways in a cloud of smoke, they’re always talking about cars. Cars cars cars. Ben wants a Mini. Not sure what Matt wants. Probably a Zonda.However, because Matt and Ben can’t afford a car, being at the stage in life where money seems to mysteriously slip from one’s bank account and end up taking shape as ski trips and giant, heart-stopping hamburgers, it’s … [Read more...] about How To Buy Your Kid A Car. Sort Of.
The longer I do this, the more I realize that it’s about people, not machines. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that cars are way cool, something only human beings could create, but it’s those human beings involved in that creation that make stories worth telling and hearing. When my son, my only son, Moshe, whom I love, was a boy we put model cars together. It was a father-son thing but I also wanted him to learn a little patience. We took care putting them together, but we rarely painted them. That too took much patience. Sometime when he was in fifth grade, so this would have been 1994 or 1995 when Mo was ten years old, we were building a model of a Dodge Viper. It was an AMT/Ertl kit, in 1:25 scale.I let him pick out the models that we built and by the time he picked out a Viper, we’d already assembled a Lamborghini Diablo and a Ferrari Testarossa and by then we might have made his Pinewood Derby racer too (the fastest finisher that wasn’t over the … [Read more...] about Dad, Is This How Vipers Really Go Together?
It’s just the title of a recent Charlie Hunter album, but it says a lot about life in post-2008 America: Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead.Here’s one example: According to Business Insider, the average middle-class family can no longer afford the average new car. Is that true? And if it is true, how and why did that happen, and what can be done to fix this sad state of affairs?The first thing we have to do is figure out what the average new car costs: USA Today says that it is north of $33,500. But that’s not really the median price, and it’s wildly distorted by the so-called one percent and its indiscriminate purchases from the top shelf of the luxury-car offerings.A new Camry LE is $23,905. That’s as close as we can come to the traditional American automobile nowadays. The Highlander LE is $29,990, and that’s as close as we can come to the traditional American family wagon today. Let’s split the difference between them and call it … [Read more...] about No Fixed Abode: Who Can Afford a New Car, Anyway?
(If you have some time this weekend, this contribution, from our reader Robert, will be worth that time — JB)“I will NEVER drive a minivan.” Thus ended the first hostile negotiation serious discussion with my wife about our next vehicle purchase.The story so far: It was the summer of 2005. Our family truckster (a 1995 Toyota 4Runner SR5) was doing a fine job hauling mom and the first born around town during the week, plus me, the dog, and the cubic yard of gear required to travel with a one year old child on our frequent weekend trips to the Texas hill country. Anything I wanted to bring had to survive on the roof.The 4Runner had been a masterpiece of engineering, form, and function to us. But even with Toyota’s legendary reliability, after 10 years and 135k on the clock, her many trouble-free miles were running out. A starter here, a radiator there, and stranding my wife and infant son on the side of the road with electrical gremlins made its replacement … [Read more...] about A Nine Year Quest, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Looking Cool and Love the Van