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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

On: Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 3:47PM | By: John Welch


2011 Toyota Sienna test 2

Mulally and Whitacre make nice-nice;

Whitacre does not extend nice-nice to schleps within his own company;

and the new Toyota Sienna debuts, renders Venza pointless . . . or was it the other way around?


Petit Le Mans Joins The Intercontinental Cup For 2010

On: Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 12:34PM | By: John Welch


Petit Le Mans Joins The Intercontinental Cup For 2010 test 1-1

The American le Mans Series is expanding its world-wide influence during the winter break. The Petit Le Mans, the crown jewel of the ALMS calendar, has been added to the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, a championship for LMP1 class cars to be contested at three races: The Petit, the LMS race at Silverstone, and an as of yet unannounced Asian Le Mans Series race.

 


Danica Finally Signs With Dale Jr/NASCAR

On: Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 5:11PM | By: John Welch


Danica Finally Signs With Dale Jr/NASCAR test 1-1

So, it was bound to happen. Now that it has, are there any surprises in store for us? Any morsel of information surrounding Danica Patrick's "move" to the Nationwide Series (I hate the word "move" in this context; she's still racing the entire IRL season, you goof-balls!) that hasn't been leaked, dredged or milked in the last three days to four weeks? Naw, not really.

The 'Shopper tries to avoid NASCAR, if at all possible, and this is one of the reasons why. There is no mystery. There is no suspense. Just an example: Audi announced the R15 in July of 2008, yet no one saw a prototype until January of 2009, a week before its Sebring debut. See that NASCAR Press?! Intrigue! Something to freaking ponder! Another example: Every Formula One team has been working on new cars for the 2010 season for several months. Other than the pictures Lotus has displayed on their half-assed website (images which appear to depict the Force India car . . .), none of these machines have been leaked to any news outlet or private citizen. And these examples focus on the cars actually being driven, not the future plans of a certain human being behind the wheel.

So, we all knew Danica was coming, and now here she is. Whoopdeediddledoo . . .


VW's Plan To Rule The World

On: Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 11:38AM | By: John Welch


VW and Suzuki test 2

Welp, they're gonna own us all one day. Volkswagen, I mean. Earlier this year the fiesty automaker declared its intentions to be the world's number one car manufacturer by 2018. And then VW set about doing just that. They purchased a 49.9% stake in Porsche and then moved on to consuming companies with strong Indian and Chinese presence. Suzuki, for instance. Look at the big brain on Dieter!


 

The Reason You Don't Work In Construction . . .

On: Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 2:33PM | By: John Welch


Jim Henson's failed venture:  test 2

 . . . is pretty clear. At a construction site, there is no YouTube. Plain and simple. My 21st century sensibillities won't stand for a internet-less occupation, as I'm sure yours won't either. Here are a few reasons why our breed requires the majesty of the innerwebs to fill out the productivity gaps in our lazy, office chair-based business day . . .


Grand-Am Off-Season Updates

On: Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 5:35PM | By: John Welch


The Rolex Grand Am Series test 2

We are mired in the racing dead-zone between November and February, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of news as race teams prepare for the 2010 campaign.

Grand-Am will see a number of changes after the winter break: a new title sponsor for the Sports Car Challenge, teams adding and subtracting the number of cars they field, and new models racing, just to name a few. Herein we have an update to the goings-on behind the off-season scenes . . .


Fiesta Pricing Announced, The 'Shopper Prices Our Own

On: Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 4:41PM | By: John Welch


Ford Fiesta test 2

Aww geez, Ford went and screwed up the Fiesta. Who knows why; US crash regulations, marketing fluffery regarding fake chrome, needing to save a few pennies with a cheaper grile. Whatever the reason, Ford went and uglified the new Fiesta but-good for our (American) consumption. What was once an attractive, almost angry looking small car now has that unpleasant small-car cheapness to the front end that none of us particularly like . . . Here at the 'Shopper anyway. You might like it, but you also might be a total jerk.

So it got all goofy/cheap looking; it's still a fantastic amount of car for a (comparable) pittance. Certainly worth pricing, as it will probably occupy more than a spot or two behind the gates of the 'Shopper parking lot in years to come. Served on a platter: all the steps needed to reserve a $13 grand Fiesta for yourself, thoughtfully scewed to keep that "13" from swelling much past "17" . . .


Fritz Gets Fired; Ms. Fritz Jr. Gets Fired Up

On: Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 12:17PM | By: John Welch


Fritz Gets Fired; Ms. Fritz Jr. Gets Fired Up test 1-1

I was sick. I missed it. Fritz Henderson has finally gotten pushed out of GM, Tex Whitacre has finally gotten his "Mullay-Badge", and I was sick. Thankfully, I couldn't really care less. Allen Mullay can't be replicated, GM can't squash corporate bureaucracy even with the proverbial "gun to its head," and Fritz has been wishy-washy during his entire tenure. Bring back my four-door Zeta, and then maybe I'll care. Right now, I really don't.

Thankfully, social-networking and the wholesale destruction of American "class" have produced a complete public meltdown that I can at least feign interest in. Fritz has himself a daughter. She has herself one uh them fancy Facebook dealies. As we all know, the relative consequence-free world of Facebook lends itself to all sorts of ess-talking that maybe should have been proof-read before posting. It's a girl, she was born in the nineties - thus, there was no proof-reading . . . .


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

On: Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 3:39PM | By: John Welch


Chevrolet Cruze test 2

The "small-car" landscape keeps getting bigger and brighter for American buyers;

Hyundai is cleaning up everywhere except Japan;

Chrysler kills the program responsible for their bail-out; this makes my teeth hurt . .


HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y'ALL !

On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 6:33PM | By: John Welch


Oh, Fritzy, always hard at work destroying my automotive dreams . . . test 2

Tomorrow the staff here at the 'Shopper will be observing the women-folk as they carry out their indentured servitude, screaming our heads off as the Lions lose, again, and pounding copious amounts of tasty beverages. We'll be back on Friday with "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," as well as Toyota/GM/Ford/Chrysler news, and "Gems From the International Motoring Press" . . .

Until then, HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY; Thanks for reading!

Drive safe,

xoxo

JD


Motorcycle -Motored Mayhem

On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 5:13PM | By: John Welch


Metro Gnome test 2

I absolutely despise kypping other blog's stories for my own benefit, but these cars are just waaay to rad to pass up. Do we all know what the 24 Hours of LeMons is? Probably not.

An amateur race held all over the country, the 24 Hours of LeMons can be broken down in a fairly concise manner. You go junkyard-hopping until you find a beater you like. After spending no more then $500 on the car and modifications (brake and safety-related parts are exempt from the mandated budget),  you have to be able to prove that five bills was the ceiling. Proper documentation is a good idea, because if the organizers don't believe you spent only $500 getting that Roush supercharger for your '89 Town Car, well then they're gunna bash the crap out of the poor girl. Or they're going to force you to let them buy it from you. Or they'll decree an immediate crushing. Needless to say, buy a complete hunk-of-ess and engineer/penny-pinch your ass off! Complete rules and history of the 24 Hours of LeMons can be found here . . .

So, this was all somebody else's idea, and I really have absolutely nothing to do with it; why am I just now mentioning this marathon of corner-carving destruction derby? Simple: the outlandishly brilliant technology born of severe determination and a $500 budget. Inside the post: links to every scrap of info I could find regarding tiny front-drive econoboxes and the motorcycle powerplants that have been lovingly stuffed into their passenger seats . . .