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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry




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 . . .


More Lukewarm News Out Of GM And Toyota

On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 12:26PM | By: John Welch


Opel Corsa OPC test 2

The Saab deal has crumbled, surprise surprise. Koenigsegg, unable to secure the loans necessary to acquire Saab's assets, pulled out of negotiations yesterday. The Swedish government has ruled out any chance of a state bail-out for the beleaguered automaker.

Slightly better news comes out of Germany. GM will be cutting capacity at all of its Opel manufacturing plants, however, none of the plants will be shut-down, as previously feared.

Which brings us to Toyota. In an effort to trim expenses throughout its North American operations, Toyota is planning on moving jobs from California to Michigan or Kentucky . . .


Toyota To Reshape And Replace 3.8 Million Gas Pedals.

On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 10:23AM | By: Drew Christy


Toyota To Reshape And Replace 3.8 Million Gas Pedals. test 1-1

 

Toyota has announced they will replace the gas pedals on 3.8 million vehicles. This announcement is part of the largest recall in Toyota's history and affects both Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States. The company said it will reconfigure the shape of accelerator pedals to cut down on the risk that they may be jammed in the floor mat. In addition, it will replace original equipment floor mats with redesigned mats.

The following models are affected:

  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2007-2010 ES 350
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350

 

Toyota will start notifying owners of the involved vehicles via first-class mail by the end of this year.  Owners of the involved vehicles are asked to take out any removable driver’s floor mat and not replace it with any other floor mat until the pedal is replaced or modified.

Initially (beginning of 2010) dealers will reshape the current accelerator pedal until a replacement pedal is manufactured. As replacement pedals become available (around April 2010)  customers will have the opportunity to receive a new pedal if they desire.

Owners with questions or concerns, are asked to please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center (1-800-331-4331) or Lexus Customer Assistance Center (1-800-255-3987), or consult the information posted at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.

We have posted the press release from Toyota after the jump.


 

Mark Reuss To Save the SS . . . es . . .

On: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:50AM | By: John Welch


Mark Reuss test 2

Any company suffering from economic malaise will want to streamline its product offerings in order to maximize gain from expenditure. In the past GM has done this by axing low-volume performance models, eliminating the cost of expensive go-fast bits. It's a new day in Detroit, and the new GM vice president of global engineering, Mark Reuss, is not going to stand for euthanizing Chevrolet's high-profile "SS" cars . . .


Toyota, Dana Must Report On Crusty Truck Frames

On: Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 4:53PM | By: John Welch


Toyota, Dana Must Report On Crusty Truck Frames test 1-1

Nah, Nah - Toyota finally screwed something up. Not that I'm wishing Toyota any bad luck, but MAN, am I sick of their "holierthanthou" reputation in the US market. Finally, after years of hearing all about Toyota's amazing reliability, and their astronomical resale value and their magical fuel economy blahblahblah, they've finally gone and really screwed the pooch. Hard. The pooch has a broken hip.

"Wasn't that 'floor mats' thing a pretty big deal?" you ask. Well, no, not really. Zip-ties solved that problem. Here we have a real serious failure. Here we have an afront to humankind that just cannot be overlooked: The thingee that holds the spare tire in place gets a little rusty . . .. What?!? What a let down!! Is that all??! No, this rust can cause your Tundra's brakes to fail in extreme cases . . . sigh, I was hoping for some sort of grisly catastrophe that involved the Tundra completely imploding on itself, crushing the driver and the driver's dog in a cocoon of twisted metal and shattered glass . . . Toyota, you always let me down . . .


Twelve Drivers Linked To USF1

On: Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 11:22AM | By: John Welch


Jonathan Summerton test 2

America needs a pick-me-up. A cattle-prod to the collective face. We need to go out and trounce the rest of the world at their own, uhm . . . some game of theirs. We got our Basketball "Cojones" back, now how about our Engineering-Prowess "Cojones." USF1 plans to do just that, albeit with a British co-owner and some sort of European driver.

Which is fine. Lately I don't trust us enough to assume we could dominate the most technically advanced sport in the world without any experienced help. I mean, seriously, Taco Bell invents asinine, Newspeak, adver-words and we don't out-and-out boycott them over it?! ("Melty"?! How stupid are we, really?) Eff, I had Taco Bell yesterday!

Even if I and most of the rest of us are hopeless trainwrecks, Ken Anderson most definitely is not. He's put together a world-class F1 program in North Carolina, and now he's ready to employ some drivers. The first year might not be pretty, but 2011 could be the year America wins its pride back . . .


Captain Slow Tells It Like It Is

On: Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 6:05PM | By: John Welch


James May test 2

We have provided links to Jeremy Clarkson's articles in the Times Online before, but he isn't the only Top Gear presenter who writes a semi-weekly column for a British newspaper.

Good 'ole Captain Slow (a.k.a. James May) scribes his own articles, for the Telegraph. James has a slightly different style, a little more subtle, a little less "car testing" oriented. He explores some interesting subjects, some interesting cars, and does some wildly interesting things.

Your "James May Primer" inside the post . . .


Hexatech C3TR, Worth Every Stinking Penny!

On: Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 1:55PM | By: John Welch


Cruden Hexatech C3TR test 2

If anyone is paying attention, this is my Christmas List:

1.) Six dozen cases of Widmer Hefeweizen.

2.) 35 cartons of Marlboro Reds.

3.) 300 some-odd gallons of Dutch Brothers Espresso,

and 4.) the Hexatech C3TR six-post Racing Simulator.

 . . . then I would humbly request that I be left in solitude until July . . .


Button Leaves Brawn-Mercedes, Heads To McLaren- Mercedes

On: Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 4:21PM | By: John Welch


Jenson to Mclaren test 2

Jenson Button does it all. He wins championships, has a different cast of models on his arm (arms, plural) at every race, and he has also authored a book on the 2009 World Championship - seemingly spewing out a novel in the span of two weeks. What a fancy Lad this Button is!

How do you follow all of this up? Why you simply leave your championship-winning outfit (that you have been a part of for the better part of ten years) to drive for a rival. Not because of money, not because of fanfare that comes with McLaren, but because you "want to be a member of an all-British GP team."

Balls, my friends, sheer Balls . . .


CTS-V Sport Wagon Is A Go!

On: Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 11:24AM | By: John Welch


Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon test 2

It has an interior constructed of balsa wood, formica fiber board, and goat hides. It's oddly porportioned, has a wretched driver's-left blindspot, and almost fills a two-car garage. Normally these issues would cause me to absolutely hate and mistrust a car, verbally tearing it to shreds at every opportunity. Normally. Fortunately for the Cadillac CTS, the intangibles greatly out-weight the direct by-products of GM bureaucracy. It is a fantastic car.

How could GM possibly make me overlook all the obvious quality issues that I've noticed in their vehicles since my first ride in an '88 Celebrity? For starters, build an angular BMW that actually handles like a BMW, and shoehorn a blown smallblock under its eager bonnet. Ok, we've got the near-600 horsepower, tire euthanizer - now we need to make the car cooler . . . . WAGON TIME!