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Categories: Reports

Random Lake Mirror Classic Awesomeness Pt.1

On: Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 11:40AM | By: John Welch


Jaguar XJ220 test 2

The Lake Mirror Classic featured so many dozens of pristine classic/custom cars that we could never cover them all in individual posts. However, we did take a ton of pictures!

This gallery features some of the meaner entries in the classic. A nasty GNX, some Shelbys, a Monster Miata; the list is endless.


Tampa International Auto Show Pt.3; In Which We Learn That Bankruptcy Is Not A PreReQ For Building A Rubbish Interior

On: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 11:11AM | By: John Welch


Tampa International Auto Show Pt.3; In Which We Learn That Bankruptcy Is Not A PreReQ For Building A Rubbish Interior test 1-1

So far we have gushed over Lamborghinis and Camaros, completely panned pathetic Buicks and Chryslers, and have had some kind words for Kia and Subaru.

After the Chrysler booth I was desperately low on blood sugar, a feeling that may have been exacerbated by my utter disgust at what I saw in the Chrysler booth. Moving on to Ford, I was hoping that a financially solid American company was going to turn my frown upside down. It did, sort of.


Lake Mirror Classic 2009; Saab Sonnet GT4

On: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 10:16AM | By: John Welch


Saab Sonnet III GT4 test 2

The 2009 Lake Mirror Classic Car Show presents an interesting mix of classics, imports, super cars, and even race cars every year. This yellow Saab Sonnet is one such race car.

Its unassuming looks, encouraged by its unassuming tractor/passenger car roots belie its abilities. This car started life as a run-of-the-mill sedan, but quickly blossomed into the thouroghbred you see here . . .


Tampa International Auto Show Pt.2; American Companies Still Need to Execute Bean Counters

On: Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 12:41PM | By: John Welch


Tampa International Auto Show Pt.2; American Companies Still Need to Execute Bean Counters test 1-1

The first floor of the multi-tiered Tampa International Auto Show was used to showcase high-end autos and customs. Audis, Aston Martins, GLK-Convertible abortions, and so on. The real war was going on upstairs, where Chevrolet, Buick, Ford, Lincoln, Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, and several others were all positioned uncomfortably close to each other. Why uncomfortably close? Because the AutoShopper was able to compare Kia and Buick directly . . . not a good thing for Buick.

To follow, the vicious bar fight and it's grisly aftermath.


 

Tampa International Auto Show Pt.1

On: Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 10:45AM | By: John Welch


Tampa Convention Center test 2

The Tampa Convention Center hosted Motor Trend's "International Auto Show" over the weekend. It isn't Detroit or Geneva or Tokyo or any city demanding a multi-billion dollar auto extravaganza featuring concepts and glitzy umbrella girls and gorillas on jet skis. Thankfully.

Because it is so exempt from auto manufacturer excess, there is little to get in the way of an overly anal, under-funded auto reviewer such as myself from actually comparing the construction and execution of new cars with each other. Still haven't found the magic wand that allows me to actually take home and drive press-beaters, but the Tampa Auto Show afforded me the opportunity to get an accurate picture of what car companies are up to, and how they directly compare with each other.

What I found was equal parts disappointment and joy...


Webber Wins Brazil; Button, Brawn Win Championship

On: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 1:16PM | By: John Welch


Webber Wins Brazil; Button, Brawn Win Championship test 1-1

Mark Webber and Red Bull were able to pull out a victory in Sao Paulo, but Jenson Button managed to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettle and teammate Rubens Barrichello to secure the 2009 Driver's Championship. Brawn GP was able to take the constructor's championship, with one race remaining in Abu Dubai.

The week leading up to the eventual win was a busy one; a recap of all the dramatic happenings here . . .


Lake Mirror Classic 2009

On: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 9:01AM | By: John Welch


Lake Mirror Classic 2009 test 1-1

Annually, the City of Lakeland and a few corporate sponsers put on a little car show at Lake Mirror, in down town Lakeland. Little like 500 cars and 30,000 spectators little. In other words, not so little. In fact, kind of a big deal. The Auto Shopper attended the Lake Mirror Classic of course, and we took some pretty decent notes . . .


BMW M3 Test At The Nurburing; New CSL?

On: Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 1:43PM | By: John Welch


BMW M3 Test At The Nurburing; New CSL? test 1-1

Car companies currently have an unhealthy obsession with the Nurburing. Everything from Trailblazers to GTRs are tested there, and now manufacturers are dueling for the fastest 'production car' laptime. It's a drug, that dern Nurburing, and the auto industry is selling their VCRs and golf clubs just to get a taste.

What about companies who are ahead of the curve? Companies who have been testing at the Nurburing for thirty years? Companies like BMW . . . oh, they still test on the Nurburing, and photo-spys were able to capture their most recent visit to the "GreenHell" . . .


Buh Bye, Buell, MV Agusta Next On The Chopping Block

On: Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 5:14PM | By: John Welch


Buh Bye, Buell, MV Agusta Next On The Chopping Block test 1-1

I consider myself at least slightly knowledgeable when it comes to motorcycles. Regarding Harley-Davidson's sales figures however, a working knowledge of the paralever isn't really necessary. Harley is in trouble, severe trouble. Their sales have tanked, probably because of the economy, but I like to think it's because their bikes are horrible: heavy, under-powered, louder than hell, smelly, ridden mostly by accountants who should have bought a Goldwing . .

As is always the case with bloated conglomerates, the interesting product is the first to get the ax (Pontiac G8 anyone??! . . still burns me up). To this end, Harley does not disappoint. Buell, this is your swansong . . .


ALMS Season Finale Pt.2 - GT Car-Stag!

On: Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 3:42PM | By: John Welch


ALMS Season Finale Pt.2 - GT Car-Stag! test 1-1

Yowza! I don't usually say nonsensical things like that, so enjoy it now: Yowza! All it takes to produce entertaining television is a Porsche, a Corvette, and a finish line. A couple of Europeans who seem to absolutely despise each other driving the two cars doesn't hurt either. Throw in one gut-twisting piece of elevation-shifting pavement referred to, simply, as "The Corkscrew", and you have the makings of a prime time bash-fest that network TV could never hope to compete with. Or, you would, if we Americans had any taste. Instead we get 'Private Practice' in prime time . . . yeeech!

But I digress; this weekend's ALMS finale featured one of the best last lap battles ever witnessed in American road racing, along with a number of other surprises . . .


Brumos Wins At Homestead, Gainsco Takes The Grand Am Championship

On: Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 12:01PM | By: John Welch


Brumos Wins At Homestead, Gainsco Takes The Grand Am Championship test 1-1

Sunday could have gone a little better. A Bucs receiver not named Kellen Winslow could have caught, oh, I don't know, ONE friggin' pass. Jeff Gordon could have avoided letting Jimmy Johnson win. I could have been on my way to claim my $500 million worth of "lot-rie winnins" . . . naturally, none of these things happened. The Bucs choked away another promising start, Jeff forgot how to drive on the second to last lap, and I couldn't even afford the dollar required to be eligible for "lot-rie winnins" in the first place. To top it all off, both versions of American sports car championships wrapped up their seasons this weekend. By bedtime Sunday night, I was in a less than agreeable mood, needless to say.

The day before, The Rolex Grand Am Series ran an unforgettable event at the Homestead Miami Speedway. Both classes, Daytona Prototype and GT, were still up for grabs, three teams vying for the DP title . . .