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The Only Thing That's Ever Been Free On Rodeo Drive: 2011 Concours d'elegance

On: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 9:26AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

I hear that it’s important to the highest of high-end stores that they set up shop “where the money is” to succeed, and in these United States that place/street is Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

This storied street is known around the world for its incredibly expensive yet relatively frivolous things, so it’s no wonder that it would be chosen to host a high fallutin’ car show. And if you had to pick the most expensive, yet least practical cars, chances are your first fifty or so would be Italian.

So the 2011 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance theme (“The Art of Italian Motoring”) and its choice of Fiat as the event’s “honored marque” brings everything full-circle. And with an expected 125 “vintage Italian cars on display” at the free event Sunday, June 19th (Father’s Day!) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., what’s outside of the glass of the street’s superlux stores will be worth more than what they have within.

New Photos: Tesla Model S

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 5:59PM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla Model S  test 2

Though it's winding down, the electrifying (lame pun Intended) Tesla Roadster, Tesla is working hard to bring the market a new electric performer. The Model S will launch next year and Tesla is busy testing prototype versions of it. Just so you don't think they're lying, they released some new photos proving that they're doing work.

Young UK Driver's Get Incentive-Based Auto Insurance

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 3:52PM | By: Chris Salamone

ncentive-Based Auto Insurance  test 2

Ah, to be young again. To arrive two hours early at the DMV on your birthday, only to discover that an ‘appointment’ really means waiting in an identically-long line with people who just walked in. Or perhaps, to pay your first car insurance bill only to discover that you’re paying far more than Grandpa McGregor who can’t see past his nose hair. These are just some of the trials and tribulations associated with new drivers in the United States. Yet, in the United Kingdom, the Co-Operative Insurance Company has debuted a revolutionary incentive-based program which hopes to award young drivers for good behavior: Smartbox.

The "Improved" Volt Goes On Sale In All 50 States (Enthusiasm Remains Limited To Two)

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 2:44PM | By: Andrew W Davis

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Hooray! Yippee! Wow… oh, forget it.

Look GM, I tried REALLY hard to be enthusiastic for you now that your 2012 Volt sparkwagon can be ordered—and presumably taken home and kept—by folks in all 50 states.

And giving it a “starting” price of $39,995—or “$32,495 assuming a full federal tax credit of $7,500, which is subject to the customer’s eligibility”—including an “$850 destination freight charge but excludes tax, title and license fees” which is “$1,000 below the price of the 2011 model”… Stop! You are literally killing me here with your number-laden caveat-fest.

And therein lay my problem with the Volt: NOTHING can be easily and/or clearly be said about it without an explain-o-page full of notes attached. Well, I’m gonna go ahead and translate your press release MY way, asterisks be damned (except for one).


Smaller SLS AMG 911 Fighter Coming In 2014

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 2:02PM | By: Chris Weiss

Smaller SLS AMG 911 Fighter Coming In 2014  test 2

The SLS AMG Roadster has just gotten out of the gate, so attention has naturally turned to other upcoming Mercedes ventures; rumors of a smaller, cheaper version of the SLS being referred to as the SLC have been flying for a few months. Now German magazine Auto Bild has come out with a few new details on what the car will be all about and when we'll see it.

World's Largest Gathering Of Smart Fans: Another Reason To Avoid Italy This August

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 11:29AM | By: Andrew W Davis

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I kid. It’s not like smart (damn lowercase) did something horrible to me or mine at some point, it’s just that I find it hard to resist putting into words what the design of their ridiculous-looking pseudo-cars screams out in pictures.

But here is where it ends. Well, if I am kidnapped and flown to “the seaside resort of Riccione on the Adriatic coast” (Italy) between August 4th and 7th then (and only then) will I feel like perhaps starting the beginning of the ending procedure.

Why? Because “More than 4000 smart enthusiasts from 22 countries, some with individually designed vehicles, are expected in Riccione where they will celebrate their passion for smart cars together and connect with designers, tuners, and industry experts.”

God help them.

Lincoln's Dracula-like Town Car Gets Heart-Staked... Sort Of.

On: Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 2:30PM | By: Andrew W Davis

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The latest installment in my non-existent series “They Still Build That?!?” brings terrible news for car-hire businesses and old people alike: 2011 is the final year for FoMoCo’s finest model, the range-topping (oh, yes, it is!) Lincoln Town Car.

Like the Mercury Grand Marquis (OK, Mercury, period) and non-cop Ford Crown Vic before it, this last of the rear-drive, body-on-frame luxury sedans from the Blue Oval Boys will greet its first sunrise and be converted to ash or whatever happens to vampire-like vehicle lines when they get tired of living forever without aging.

But fear not; Lincoln has seen fit to “transfer” the Town Car name to a wholly inappropriate vehicle the named-after-the-dude-on-the-penny folks want to cram down our (and limo/taxi companies’) throats.

[More on that in a minute.]

Porsche Panamera S Hybrid: 100 Grand Never Looked So Green!

On: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 6:02PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Porsche Panamera S Hybrid test 2

So you're finally in the market for a hybrid. Enough of the 7-Series BMWs and the big S-Class Mercedes, you want something different, something that makes you feel a little better about yourself. But let's face it, after working your way up life's ladder for the past few decades; you can't demean yourself to the likes of a lowly Prius or Altima Hybrid. A Tesla looks like fun, but you still have to pick up the grandkids every now and then or take that extended weekend with the wife at the country club, so, of course, you need your space. So, what are you options? Not many, my friend, not many. But, thankfully, there is at least one new option on the block, and it may be the only one you need:  The 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid. That's right; the biggest Porsche car is now also the greenest. 

Mecum Set To Offer 400 Corvettes, Five Of Which Are Here. Hooray For Playing Favorites!

On: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 3:53PM | By: Andrew W Davis


I would like to say that I’m an expert in all things automotive (or at least be able to say it with a straight face and/or in public), but just like categories involving popes and kings are my Jeopardy kryptonite, Corvettes—and their myriad configurations—kill me every time.

I could probably learn a lot visiting St. Charles, Illinois, and if I do it June 23-26 some of that learning would undoubtedly involve Corvettes, thanks to the 2011 Bloomington Gold show—self-billed as “America’s Original Corvette Show”—at the nearby(?) Pheasant Run Resort.

Problem is I usually equate “good” with “expensive,” so in order to know how good a particular Corvette model is—or how much better it is than another—I need to know what it’s worth.

Enter the folks at Mecum Auctions, and their “Corvette Exclusive” Bloomington Gold auction event nestled into the same time (June 24-25) and space (the show grounds) as the Bloomington event with which it shares its name.

BMW Frozen Black Special Edition M3

On: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 1:22PM | By: Chris Salamone

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BMW of North America just announced a twenty-car production run of identical 2011 Frozen Black Edition M3 Coupes lined up for the good ole’ US of A. Although the 2010 M3 received similar treatment with the Frozen Gray Coupe, in 2011 the Frozen Black edition will feature red brake calipers, 19-nch GTS wheels, Novillo leather upholstery, red-on-black juxtaposed stitching, “carbon leather” trim, and, of course… matte black exterior paint with gloss black accents.

Did Chrysler Spin Off SRT To Screw With Us? First Move: The Viper Camper

On: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 10:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

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As you may or may not have heard, Chrysler spun-off their Street and Racing Technology division into its own standalone brand earlier this week, naming Dodge chief Ralph Gilles its CEO and president. The company didn't waste much time getting down to business, but chose an odd move as one of its first public maneuvers. It "teased" the 2013 Dodge Viper (or at least some form of Viper) in response to social media inquiries about the upcoming muscle car.