Driving the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, the plugged-in European wagon
There are plenty of excuses for not considering a hybrid when buying a new car – some legit, some not so much. My personal favorite has long been “If it only performed like the gas-powered model” — that is, until I test drove the new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron in the Bavarian Alps a few weeks ago. Now I think that excuse sounds dumb.
July 31: Louise Smith, NASCAR’s first woman driver, was born on this date in 1916
Everything that Louise Smith meant to NASCAR, beyond being the first woman to compete in the series when it was still a bunch of barnstormers in the 1940s and ’50s, can be explained by the photo above. Already an experienced driver — despite the wishes of her husband — Smith was running in 1949 at […]
Driving the Airstream Sport and GMC Yukon, the camping power couple
Our family loves to camp. Every summer we pack up a car full of gear, including a giant 3-room tent and we set out to be with nature for a week. And inevitably every year we’ll pass motorhomes and travel trailers, and our two boys ages 11 and 9 will chime in: “When can we get a RV and camp?” Immediately the images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s 1953 “The Long, Long Trailer” comes to mind. The idea of having all the creature comforts of home with you is undeniably exciting. But the thought of piloting a big rig, let alone towing a few thousand pounds of metal and parking the land-train combo can be equally intimating. When GMC and Airstream offered us to take its 22FB Sport travel trailer and a 2015 GMC Yukon for our camping trip this year, we quickly answered “yes!” — followed by my wife’s dubious stare over whether we could handle it.
July 30: The last original Volkswagen Beetle was built on this date in 2003
I feel confident predicting that no vehicle will ever match the 65-year production run of the original Volkswagen Beetle, which was launched in 1938 and ended on this date in 2003 at a factory in Mexico, where VW was still building them for taxis. That last Bug was number 21,529,464 — not including those built […]
Preserving the two-seat Ford Mustang “Shorty” that never was
Two-seaters have never been that popular with the business side of the auto industry; for ever Corvette and Miata bought by a hot-shot wannabe, there’s a dozen buyers who just can’t live without a back seat. The last time Ford built a true two-seater was the limited-edition GT supercar in 2005, and despite often toying with the idea, has never made a production two-seat Ford Mustang. And yet if you’re lucky enough, you might run into this at a car show — a 1964 Mustang known as “Shorty” with two fewer seats, 16 fewer inches between its wheels and a long history.
"New" Ferrari driven one mile in 33 years among hidden gems at RM Auctions Monterey
The package landed on my porch with a thud — twin catalogs from RM Auctions that felt more like telephone books for medium-sized cities. On those 600-plus glossy pages were more than 120 dream cars to be auctioned off at Pebble Beach Aug. 15 and 16. For a car lover, leafing through these books is akin to a child being deposited in a candy factory; the world slips away. Beyond just being a treat to peruse, the catalogs revealed intriguing — and sometimes outrageous — things about the state of the collector hobby in general and the perceived value of certain cars in particular. Among the revelations:
July 29: General Motors buys Cadillac on this date in 1909
Cadillac, founded in 1902 and named after the French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac (who founded the city of Detroit in 1701), was purchased by General Motors on this date in 1909 for $4.5 million. Henry Leland took the role of leader at Cadillac in 1904, with his son Wilfred by his side. […]