Exchange and Mart – Affordable Classics Online

Exchange and Mart – Affordable Classics Online

Classic cars represent something of an anomaly in the automotive industry, and not just because of their unique design features and fascinating history. Classic cars also offer motorists and collectors a unique opportunity to purchase a vehicle that acquires value over time, which is extremely rare when you consider the pace of technological advancement within the marketplace. Typically, standard vehicles begin to lose their value from the moment that they are purchased, as the costs of ownership, long term wear and market shifts drive down any potential resale price.

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Interestingly, there are several online resources that can provide you with access to a range of classic vehicles, with http://www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/ being one of the most prominent. Buying classic cars from this type of resource may help you to maximize your initial investment, as the vehicles in question are likely to be more affordable and open to negotiation. Here are some great classic cars that were found on the website during a recent search:

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The Alvis TE21 Drophead Coupe Convertible 1965: Finished in stunning Mason black and boasting a contrasting cream hide, this stunning 1965 model was recently available online for a list price of £74,950. A convertible, it was shown to be in excellent condition despite its long and diverse service history. Well presented, picturesque and an absolute pleasure to drive, it represents an outstanding investment opportunity whether you are looking to make a statement or a considerable profit through resale.

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The Rolls Royce Shadow 4DR 1968:  Despite being a 1968 model, this Rolls Royce Shadow boasts just 107,000 thousand miles on the clock and is listed in outstanding condition. Supported by a full service history and comprehensive paper trial, this automatic car offers both style and reliability to classic vehicle enthusiasts. It was available for a bargain price of just £7,250, which is at the lower end of the average for high quality cars of this type.

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Jaguar S-Type 1966:  This stunning example is presented in metallic red with red leather.  A charming old Jaguar produced in the year when England won the World Cup.  Walnut dashboard and original leather together with that wonderful smell takes you back to 1966.  Smartly priced at £10,995.

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The Riley 1.5 Litre Saloon 1949: A genuine throwback one of the older cars listed on the Exchange and Mart website, the Riley 1.4 Litre Saloon comes equipped with full leather interior and a surprisingly short service history. Available at £7,750 and with just 46,000 thousand miles on the clock, this manual transmission vehicle is a must for serious collections or those with a penchant for nostalgia. With the classic cream over conker brown color scheme, it is a vehicle that allows the owner to express a distinct individual style.

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Rolls Royce Cloud series 1 Saloon 1959: Rolls-Royce is the best represented classic brand on the Exchange and Mart website, with several models available to consumers. The Silver Cloud Series 1 saloon comes in a classic black with superior tan interior and automatic transmission. It has 96,000 miles on the clock and a full service history behind it, which should peace of mind for any potential buyer.

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The Bottom Line – These cars are just a select few from those on the website, but they showcase the potential for finding affordable classic cars online. The online medium certainly provides an interesting option for consumers and classic car enthusiasts in the modern age, regardless of whether you are buying for recreational or investment purposes.

12 Future Investment Classics and Why You Should Avoid Them

12 Future Investment Classics and Why You Should Avoid Them

Investing in classic cars has never been more appealing or popular than it is today.  Investment gurus across the nation are spinning stories of amazing returns and massive gains that can be had simply by purchasing a used car.  What they forget to mention, is that investing in classic cars can be a hell from which you never return.

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Jaguar XJS – Undervalued for years, this car is the ultimate Grand Tourer.  Beautiful, quick, classy and rare are qualities that guarantee it will be an appreciating classic.  Though the market is currently soft, I can see this becoming the next E-Type, with a strong return over the next 10 years.  Look for the rare coupe version, the later Series III, the V12 and the special editions (TWR, XJR-S, Celebration-Le Mans, and XJ-SC) for the best return.

After the economic collapse, many middle class families have been saving money, adding to their 401k, and paying down their debt like never before.  These families have grown fearful of the stock market and unimpressed with the miserly returns being offered by banks.  More and more they are turning to “experts” who advise them to invest in recession proof commodities like gold, fine art, vintage wine, and even classic cars.  While very few of these families have the nerve and resources to dive into the fine art and vintage wine markets, they usually don’t think twice about classic cars.  Today, I am listing cars that I think would be a good investment for the future, as well as why you should avoid them.

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Dodge Magnum SRT8 – These are rare, fast and cool.  With 425 horses and a production figure of only 3837, they are sure to be a future collectable.  Look for later model years, especially 2008 and 2009, and always go for the Mafia hit man colors:  Dk Blue, gray and black. 

The market for many classic cars has increased tremendously, averaging a 16% return compared to the Dow Jones 4%.  While stories about people purchasing a Ferrari 250 GTO for $800,000 ten years ago, and reselling it in 2012 for 30 million are true, they are unbelievably rare.  The market is good for some cars, and investment grade historic cars can return 300-500% on rare occasions, but the amount of money and knowledge needed to participate in those markets is overwhelming.  For most of us here on earth, the average classic car is not a good way to invest unless you are very careful.

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Alfa Romeo GTV6 – Low production numbers and a beautiful Italian body make this car worthy of investment.  Prices have gone up dramatically, but you can still find one for small change.  Look for the Balocco and the Maratona editions for extra value.

The classic car market is as volatile as Mel Gibson at a traffic stop.  Cars like the Maserati Ghibli that once commanded $300,000.00, are now selling for $75,000.00.  A Jaguar E-Type once was valued at $150,000.00 can now easily be purchased for $50,000.00.  On average, many classic cars perform well as investments, but you have to be an expert to purchase a real winner.  Once you make the leap, you then have to worry about maintenance, housing, restoration, and a slew of other issues that will arise.  Yes, in many cases the investment will perform better than blue chip stock, but 100 shares of GE will never catch fire and torch your house.

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Triumph TR4 – Michelotti styling on a car that is easy to work on in your own garage.  This is the perfect car for the first time collector looking to get his hands dirty.  Better and more rare than a MGB.  Prices are rising on this one, so find the best example possible (no rust) and buy it quick.   

I recommend buying into the market only if you are a true gearhead.  If you purchase the item for love, and not money, the outcome will be easier to accept, good or bad.  Buy a car that not only a good investment, but one you can have fun with.  Classic cars are meant to be driven, not shoved away in a closet for 20 years.  Using the car on weekends in the summer or for car shows will keep the old girl young, and make it better able to handle to passing of time.  A classic car needs to be loved as you would your own child, which is good because they cost about the same.  Look for cars that have the following characteristics: historical, rare and unusual, famous, loved, or just plain cute.

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BMW M Coupe – This one is a little upscale for many buyers, since a good example could be a little pricey.  Shooting Brake design and very low production numbers make this an excellent investment. 

Historical cars are typically cars that either made or were part of history.  Cars that were raced, certain track cars, special editions, or have a connection to a historical event usually retain their value regardless of the market.  Cars owned by celebrities can be included in some cases.  Examples of these would be special coach built cars, rare editions offered by the factory or the dealer, cars that were used as part of a historical event, movie star cars, and cars that are very old.  Provenance is the key, and it is important to get as much documentation as possible.

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Fiat 124 Spyder – Another low production car with few good examples left.  Most were consumed by rust, or trashed by bad driving, but a good example can demand top dollar. 

Rare and unusual cars are typically cars that have low production numbers, custom one-off vehicles, celebrated special editions, first and last cars of a production, cars not readily available on the market, and cars with unusual options not regularly found.  Examples of these cars could be as varied as a Ferrari 250 California, or the last remaining example of an AMC Eagle SX/4.

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Lincoln Continental – the 1960’s models are poised to gain traction again.  This car once commander a premium price, but lost value in the downturn.  Time is making this car rarer every day, and finding a good one is difficult.  Famous due to “The Matrix” and “Entourage.”  Look for the convertible version for the best return, but be wary of the complicated top mechanism. 

Famous cars are typically the General Lee, the Back to the Future Delorean, or Kitt.  These are cars that were found in movies and television, and are recognized as collectable.  More than a few DeLoreans have been sold because of the movie, in spite of the fact that they are actually horrible trash.  Cars like the VW Bug are reminiscent of Herbie, even without the paint job, and automatically resonate with buyers.  However, full reproductions have a limited market, and should be avoided.

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1940-1960 era Pickup Truck – These trucks are in high demand, with restored examples going for well over 50,000.00.  Easy to work on, and with readily available parts, these are perfect for the investor that is willing to put a little work into them. 

Loved cars are typically the type of car owned by your grandparents.  These are the cars purchased new, and have unbelievably low mileage.  They were cared for lovingly, and no expense was spared in upkeep and maintenance.  Car enthusiasts are also a good source for these cars, and locating one can be as easy as finding a specialty car site or forum.  Examples of these are the typical little old lady car, a 1976 Cadillac Coupe DeVille in Forest Green with the plastic still covering the seats.

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Saab 900 – The early Saabs are getting harder to find every day.  Finding a nicely kept low mileage car could mean an excellent return on your investment.  Avoid the late model GM cars, and go for the early models.  Special editions (and there were a lot of them) are best.   

Cute cars are the easiest to find.  Typically these are cars that remind someone of their youth, and spark the urge to relive those days once again.  People buy cute cars just because they can, for fun, and usually resell them just as easily.  Though you probably won’t retire off the profits from a cute car, you will never have trouble selling it.  Examples include the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, VW Beetle, MGB, Fiat Jolly, Triumph Spitfire and the Mazda Miata.

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Ford Probe – I chose this one to represent the whole age of aerodynamics at Ford.  Early examples are hard to find in good shape, but it can be well worth the effort.  Avoid the newer body styles, and go for the original for the best return. 

Before you decide on a car, make sure you get professional advice.  Buy the best car you can, with no maintenance or mechanical issues, low mileage, no body rot or issues, no accidents, as few owners as possible, and with the most complete history possible.  The amount you spend up front could mean less money spend down the road.  Also, I would recommend staying away from restorable cars, as the cost to restore could be many times the value once completed.

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Honda S2000 – This is Honda’s answer to the Mazda Miata.  Produced in low numbers,, and always a favorite of the motoring press, this car promises a good return for investors.  Later models are best, and look for one that hasn’t been abused by a Tokyo Drift fan.

After the purchase is when the fun begins.  Maintenance issues can pop up without notice, and the costs for some cars can be astronomical.  Drive with care, and tackle issues as they arise.  Leaving work for later only adds to the problems.  Store the car properly, maintain it, and drive it enough that it is exercised but not abused.  Classic cars do not make good daily drivers, and I have receipts for $2,000.00 a month in Jaguar maintenance to prove it.  When it comes time for the resale, make sure to market it properly.  Whether it eBay or Sotheby’s, how you sell and market the vehicle could be the difference between profit and loss.  Nothing ruins the sale of a car more than the act of selling it.

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Subaru SVX – This Giugiaro designed grand tourer was Subaru’s first attempt at a luxury/performance car.  The most unusual part of the car is the glass to glass canopy, a feature that makes this car really stand out.  Low production figures combined with the unusual styling means this car is sure to rise in value.  Avoid the teal green or eggplant colored cars at all costs.  

Some other cars to consider include the Mazda RX8, the Porsche 914, the Hummer H2, the Mercedes 190, the Triumph Spitfire, the Jaguar XK8, and the Range Rover LWB.

Article Courtesy of Chris Raymond

Photos Courtesy of motivbrakes.com, hdwallsize.com, autoasas.it, carsfolia.com, forums.aaca.org, gulfgt.com, thehulltruth.com, totalcarscore.com, carstyling.ru, wallpapershunt.com, picstopin.com,

2017 Chevy Silverado 2500HD

2017 Chevy Silverado 2500HD

A Quick Look at the All-New Chevy Silverado 2500HD for 2017

Billed as the longest lasting truck of its kind, the all new Chevy Silverado 2500HD for 2017 has some major changes and enhancements in store for diehard Chevy fans. Not only is the Chevy Silverado 2500HD boasting more torque but also a newly redesigned hood that has vents added to keep that 910 lbs –ft. cool on all those long hauls, allowing more circulation to increase the efficiency of this beautiful big and powerful motor. There are too many new and improved features to list, but some of the highlights should prove that this is one vehicle worth test driving.

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Chevy Silverado 2500HD

Choose Your Power

Both engine options are just as powerful as you’d expect from Chevrolet, but you can choose between the 6.0 Liter L96 V8 Vortec engine and the 6.6 Liter Turbo-Diesel Duramax V8 engine. Both are powerful beasts but improvements on the gas engine enable it to run on fuel that is up to 89% ethanol. What does this mean? It puts the Vortec into a class that is E85 compatible because it has the option, as mentioned above, to run on a fuel with an extremely high percentage of ethanol or standard unleaded gasoline. Both engines are then paired with Chevy’s innovative transmissions to ensure smooth sailing at max power.

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented air intake system. Marked by a dramatic hood scoop, the system drives cool, dry air into the engine for sustained performance and cooler air temperatures during difficult driving conditions.

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented air intake system. Marked by a dramatic hood scoop, the system drives cool, dry air into the engine for sustained performance and cooler air temperatures during difficult driving conditions.

What’s in a Transmission?

Then there is the transmission that makes the Chevy Silverado 2500HD a literal beast. The L96 is paired with the transmission that best suits all that power – the 6-speed MYD automatic transmission. One thing that should be noted is that the gasoline powered Silverado 2500HD HD for 2017 is not equipped with the newly designed hood scoop. Yes, it’s as functional as it is trendy, but that’s the way Chevy wanted it this year and they probably found that wasn’t as necessary on the gas engine as it is for the diesel powered motor.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71. Available fall of 2015.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71. Available fall of 2015.

Stylistic Changes of Note

While power and functional features are what endear truckers to the Silverado 2500HD, in 2017 Chevy decided to do away with three of their newer colors and simultaneously added two new ones. The colors deleted for the 2017 series were Tungsten Metallic, Autumn Bronze Metallic, and Slate Grey Metallic while the two added colors include Graphite Metallic and Pepperdust Metallic. Even the names of the two newly added color schemes are thrilling.

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Words can only do so much to describe the changes made to the 2017 Chevy Silverado 2500HD so the best thing to do would be to actually see one up close and personal. Take a spin and feel the power while checking out some new design elements and those two new color schemes. About the only ‘bad’ thing anyone has said thus far is that it takes a bit of time to learn to maneuver it but it is not bad compared to other makes of its class. All in all, it’s a great truck with a trendy new design that lacks nothing in the way of performance.

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Article Courtesy of dzhingarova

Photos courtesy of Car & Driver.com, Ford.com, vehiclephotos.vauto.com

Ford Builds on Perfection

Ford Builds on Perfection

It’s Hard to Improve on Perfection but Ford Just Did It – Again!

Year after year Ford’s F Series Trucks have been one of America’s bestselling trucks and again this year, the 2017 Ford F250 Super Duty XL tops the charts. The F-Series has always been considered to be the perfect truck in both function and style, and again this year, Ford shows that it really is possible to improve on perfection. They’ve done it again!

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Ford F250 Super Duty XL

Almost 40 Years of Perfection to Be Exact

Most vehicles don’t even make it a decade before they are discontinued and rendered obsolete. For this reason, the fact that Ford’s F-Series trucks have lasted an amazing four decades on the market, since January of 1948, is one for the history books. In fact, not only has the F-Series been one of the longest running series ever but for the entire time, this amazingly versatile truck has been a chart topper. Once you’ve had a chance to see and drive the all-new 2017 Ford F250 you’ll see that the improvements are what keeps this model at the top of the industry.

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Strong & Capable – Yet Highly Maneuverable

If the F-Series trucks are considered to be the iconic workhorse of pickup trucks, then the 2017 F250 Super Duty is the holder of the blue ribbon. This is the truck that can withstand the rigors of literally any job and as for maneuverability, it has it over all other trucks of its category from literally any manufacturer around the globe. In fact, without mentioning names, the other truck put out by Ford’s leading competition in the U.S.A. is said to be ‘okay’ but lacks the maneuverability that is so well-loved in the F-Series trucks.

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Notably Tech Savvy

In keeping with the times, Ford has installed just enough technology to satisfy even the techiest of car lovers looking for a truck that will haul a load but will also offer a system that shows a graphic display when backing in reverse, guidelines to indicate steering and an 8 inch screen upon which to watch while maneuvering into tight parking spaces so that it can be done quickly and efficiently without endless goes at fitting a trailer into a tight spot. The 2017 Ford F250 also has an overlay on the graphic of the steering wheel so that arrows show where you are backing up and which direction you need to turn those wheels. It’s the next best thing to a fully autonomous vehicle and that, alone, is a compelling reason to keep this truck at the head of the class.

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Ford, being the epitome of American made vehicles, has done it yet again. There are so many features on this one Super Duty truck to make it worth taking the time to take a test drive. The F-Series trucks just keep getting better by the year as features that were great last year are kept while new, improved features are added year-after-year. For a truck with all the diesel power you could want in a truck of this category and technology of the future, you just won’t get more for your money anywhere – and that’s a promise.

Article Courtesy of dzhingarova

Photos courtesy of Car & Driver.com, Ford.com, vehiclephotos.vauto.com

DAJIBAN: Why 1990s Dodge Ram Vans are All the Rage in Japan

DAJIBAN: Why 1990s Dodge Ram Vans are All the Rage in Japan

When you think of Japanese vehicles, you probably think of efficient cars designed for everyday use. If not, perhaps you think of the growing luxury car market in Japan and how imports are making their way across the world in today’s economy.

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What you probably don’t think of are 1990s Dodge Ram vans. The interesting fact is that Dodge Ram vans are actually quite popular in Japan at this very moment. Keep reading to learn more about the ‘90s Dodge Ram phenomenon and how demand for this economical van has risen in an astounding manner, and for a very unique reason, in Japan.

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Dodge Ram Van Racing

When you hear that Dodge Ram vans are popular in Japan, you assume that it’s because of their efficiency and ability to carry a lot of stuff, right? That’s what most people think when they first hear about the popularity of these vans overseas.

It turns out that the enthusiasm for Ram vans in Japan isn’t related to those attributes at all. Ram Vans are extremely popular because they’re being modified and raced on a track. While it isn’t exactly a mainstream sport in Japan, there is a whole unique sub-culture related to Ram racing.

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Ram Racing History

Created by Abe Takuro, Ram racing was an idea designed to break all of the rules. When working at a race track, Takuro dreamed of racing the tall vans they used to transport other vehicles and equipment around the track as a lark.

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Over time, his idea took off, though most tracks aren’t designed for taller vehicles at all. Now racers can even compete in the “D-Van Grand Prix,” once they get their Ram van race ready and know how to handle it on the track.

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Maximum Modifications

The 1990s Ram vans that are hitting the track aren’t exactly your standard models, though that could be pretty interesting as well. Instead, racers are heavily modifying their Ram vans and making them as close to real race cars as possible.

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From milled engines and cross-drilled rotors, to racing transmissions and top-notch Brembo brakes, these Ram racers are getting every bit of speed they can out of their vans. Many racers even outfit their vans with wheels that cost nearly as much as an entire older model Ram van.

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Only in Japan, right? That seems to be the case, as Ram racing hasn’t made its way stateside. At least not yet…

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Article Courtesy of Avondale Dodge

Photos Courtesy of hooniverse.com, autoevolution.com, pinterest.com, omgpancakes.wordpress.com, dragtimes.com

BigBoyToyz – The Name Says It All

BigBoyToyz – The Name Says It All

BigBoyToyz – The Name Says It All

Discoveries can be found in even the most mundane of places.  In this case, I was researching a website named BigBoyToyz.com for an article.  What began as a simple project, turned into an afternoon of interesting reading, fun videos, and an excessive amount of drooling over some amazing supercars.

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BigBoyToyz is not your typical premium used car dealer.  Established in 2009 in Gurgaon India, the company offers some of the most exclusive cars on the planet.  Promising to raise the standards of the industry, the company focused on ultra-luxury brands and supercars.  BigBoyToyz has gathered a collection of the finest whips in a mind blowing showroom…It is the Versace of used car dealers.

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The cars are phenomenal, from Ferrari to Lamborghini, to Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin.  If there is a reality star or rapper driving it in Hollywood, then there is one just like it for sale here.  Like some of the exclusive car dealers in the U.S., they cater to the rich and famous.  In fact, there is even a celebrity page where you can see many famous actors and musicians visiting the showroom.

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Some of the highlights of the site include an amazing Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 in Giallo Evros (yellow) and a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG in silver.  Both cars are incredible, and are must have cars for any collector.  Also listed is a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe in Dark Tungsten.  It is a stunningly beautiful automobile, and relatively rare.  However, the car that really surprised me was a car I had not known about prior to visiting this website, called the DC Avanti.

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The Avanti is a sleek, low slung sports car completely designed and manufactured by the Indian car brand, DC Design.  Sporting a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo engine, it pushes out 250 horses, and can do 0-100kmph in about 7.7 seconds.  Built using lightweight carbon fiber both inside and out, the car is not supercar fast, but it is certainly supercar stylish.

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They have a slew of other brands on offer and have a collection of used cars from marquee brands like BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi and what not.  You name it and they have it. They have one of a kind car collection and the only word that comes to my mind is insane!

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BigBoyToyz.com is an interesting website, not only for the array of mind-blowing rides.  It offers some fun videos that include everything from cool car commercials, to scenes of idiots driving supercars.  On the blog page, there are well written articles that cover everything from automotive news to interesting car factoids, some of which were even new to me.  Overall, if you have the type of war-chest where you can afford to purchase the ultimate supercar, then this is the best place to shop in Asia.  If not, it is still worth the visit just to check out the fun articles and videos.

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Article Courtesy of Chris Raymond

Photos Courtesy of BigBoyToyz.com

Car Lister’s Epic Giveaway!

Car Lister’s Epic Giveaway!

The following is a sponsored post

Car Lister’s Epic Giveaway

Those of you who have followed my site know that I joined a website called Car Lister.co a while back to connect with my car-enthusiast friends and to post my content.  Car Lister is a new website that promises to be an all-in-one consumer car buying solution.

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Utilizing technology, Car Lister simplifies the transaction of a vehicle between two parties in the online world in a way that’s never been done before. Car Lister has solved the problem of selling a car online, with a fully integrated, automated process that incorporates real time notifications and full validation throughout the entire process.

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The system allows buyers to shop for new and pre-owned cars from any smartphone, tablet or desktop. What I like most about Car Lister is that it’s like Facebook for gear heads.  I can connect with my friends, talk about my rides, or post and read articles about the stuff I am interested in.  Users can even form groups, trade pics, and network with people from all over the world.

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To celebrate the launch of their new website, Car Lister is introducing the 2016 Car Lister’s EPIC Giveaway.They are giving away daily,weekly,and monthly prizes. The grand prize will be a $25,000.00 voucher to purchase a vehicle at one of their participating Car Lister dealerships every month!  Daily prizes include gas cards and oil changes, weekly prizes include new tires, jumper box, and vehicle detailing and the monthly prizes are a $500.00 service voucher and the previously mentioned voucher for a car.

With everything that they are giving away, Car Lister also have a weekly contest that is called You Share, We Repair.  If you share your story with Car Lister, you will be entered to win up to $3,000.00 towards vehicle repairs at a participating Car Lister dealership.

Restrictions are listed on the rules page on their website.  Just sign up for a free Car Lister.co account and click on sweepstakes then click “enter to win” and you will have access to daily,weekly and monthly giveaways.

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Check out theWinner’s Circle,” and you will see that there have already been 118 winners from 37 states, winning prizes ranging from gas cards all the way up to the lucky February “Grand Prize” winner who won a $25,000 voucher to buy the car of their choice.The best part about this giveaway is that it’s just the beginning. The entries have reset as we enter March, and I am crossing my fingers that this could be my (or your) month to win!

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If you’re like me, you’ll be making this Epic Giveaway part of your daily routine. By the time your coffee is finished brewing, you have plenty time to log into your account and enter the daily, weekly and monthly drawings. Considering that the promotion is still in its early months, the odds to win are incredible. With just over 8,000 entrants into last month’s grand prize drawing, I can’t think of another promotion with better odds to win $25,000.00 (plus the cost of taxes) to put towards the car of your dreams. #Epic

Joining Car Lister is a great way to network with people who love cars, and a great way to make friends.  Once you join, check out the Chris On Cars page for articles, comments and discussions on the latest cars…don’t forget to join my group and connect with me.

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Top 7 Cars USA Gave To the World This Decade

Top 7 Cars USA Gave To the World This Decade

The following is a sponsored post

 

With the ferocious competition coming from the European continent, the American automotive industry had to step up on all fronts: performance, style, and overall awesomeness. Disregarding the latest VW scandal, it is right to say the USA provided a series of awesome cars over the years, both for the American market as well as the international market. Here is a list of some of the best cars built by US-based automakers this decade.

  1. Ford Focus ST

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It is highly important to outline the difference between price-bargain and value-bargain. While low-priced vehicles will try its best to constantly remind you about its inferior capabilities, a car with great value (even if not the cheapest) performs differently. It will aim to provide the best choice within a certain budget. Although Ford Focus isn’t the cheapest choice in the compact class, it delivers a lot. Whether you are choosing the 140hp standard or the 252hp hot-hatch version, Ford Focus competes head to head against bold names in the industry: Mercedes, Porsche and Lotus. Expect to see and feel a pumped up version of a Volkswagen GTI, which roars and makes tires scream on every corner, while sweating power and rage through all its pores.

  1. GMC Yukon

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Falling right between the cheaper Chevy Tahoe and the more expensive Cadillac Escalade ESV, the 2015 GMC Yukon rests along the few remaining body on frame full sized SUVs on the market. Nailing the big, blocky theme, GMC Yukon is able to run from 0 to 60mph in just 5.5 seconds, competing directly with Porsche’s Cayenne GTS. The overall design has been improved dramatically compared to its previous versions, although some may argue there is still room for improvement, as Infinity QX80 has proven. Nevertheless, GM doesn’t show signs of closing up production of the model, thus we can expect even further improvements on design and functionality.

  1. Chevrolet Impala

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While being nothing more than a company fleet duck in 2013, Chevrolet did a complete makeover for the 2015 Impala, including interior design, bodywork and powertrain. All elements have been updated in order to produce a new vehicle able to stand out of the crowd. A 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine featuring an aluminum block pushes the car forward with 196hp and 186 lb-ft. The bigger brother, a 3.6 liter V6 engine available in 2LT trim pushes the performance index even further. With a front-strut and rear multi-link suspension, 2015 Chevrolet Impala is able to offer a smooth ride along with a 21 mpg average fuel economy. Now, you may just stop by to check it out instead of passing by, unbothered by a dull design.

4. Dodge Durango

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One of the best choices when you need to look badass but still provide enough room for up to six people, 2015 Dodge Durango also makes the cut for the best American made vehicles of this decade. The unique Hemi sound coming from beneath the hood distinguishes Durango from other street vehicles, while the suspension and chassis work together to provide an unexpectedly high level of rigidity. Don’t expect to drive 2015 Dodge Durango like you would drive a sports car though; it is still a big SUV with a considerable curb weight. With premium features and an 8-speed gearbox designed for luxury cars, 2015 Dodge Durango also offers a rather affordable price.

  1. Cadillac CTS

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The CTS deserves the compliments for Cadillac’s continued renaissance over the years. The biggest news for 2016 is the replacement of the original 6-speed gearbox with an 8-speed automatic. According to Cadillac, the newly implemented ratios offer faster acceleration and a bolder sense of instant performance. The steering is alive and body roll is almost non-existent, with or without the optional magnetic dampers. A Premium package adds sophisticated features to the already pumped-up sedan, making it even more comfortable and enjoyable on the road. A 2L engine unit is responsible for pushing 268hp and 295 lb-ft to the wheels.

  1. Chevrolet Suburban

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Being on the scene long before anyone knew how to spell SUV or Crossover, the Chevrolet Suburban reached its 11th version this year. While other competitors came around and left in a hurry, the Suburban passed the test of time with impressive scores. The 2015 edition of the Suburban comes with a body-on-frame design sharing many mechanical underpinnings with Chevrolet’s Silverado. A 5.3-liter V8 engine makes use of a 6-speed automatic gearbox with manual shifting mode selector, delivering 355hp and 383 lb-ft of torque to the ground, through a set of 19” wheels. Buyers can opt between 6-seater or 9-seater versions, depending on what’s needed the most: more people or more trunk space.

  1. Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

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We’ve left the best for last, and for good reason. With 707hp, there is little need for words when describing the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. It all starts at the heart of the beast, where a 6.2 liter supercharged and intercooled Hemi gives its tremendous force: 707hp and 650 lb-ft, enough to burn out a set of tires in seconds. Called the most powerful muscle car of the moment, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat breathes fire upon everything daring to stand on its path. It scores a 0-60mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 165 mph. It travels over the quarter mile in just 11.1 seconds. The numbers could keep flowing, but at this point, it is basically useless. This demon-child is the ultimate American big-block car.

American automakers haven’t wasted any time in producing automotive products which can easily compete, and in some cases surpass, their European and Asian competitors. Everything from compacts to full-sized SUVs and insanely powerful models have been released by Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge. All working to improve the overall automotive market in the US and around the world.

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7.

6 Iconic Cars from TV and Film

6 Iconic Cars from TV and Film

The following is a sponsored post

If you think only actors can have memorable roles in films, you’ve never been so wrong—even cars can hog the spotlight too. And over the years there have been dozens of memorable cars in film, so memorable indeed that some have overshadowed their actors.

Have a look six of the greatest rides of the silver screen, which have become the stuff of every kid’s—and even grown up’s—dreams.

1964 Aston Martin DB5, James Bond

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James Bond has always been known as a character who loves to enjoy the finer things in life, and when it comes to automobiles he’s not one to get left behind. The 1964 Aston Martin DB5, driven in Bond films Goldfingerand Thunderball, has left a mark in popular culture and began Bond’s legacy for far-out gadgets and cars. The original DB5 was in fact so iconic that it sold a staggering $4.6million in an auction.

1981 DeLorean DMC-12, Back to the Future

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With special features like Flux capacitor, hover conversion and a Mr. Fusion generator, Doc Brown’s DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future undoubtedly deserved its legendary status. A simple stainless steel stunner, the DeLorean wasn’t just a car, but a time machine invented by Doc Brown. It appeared throughout all three blockbuster Back to the Future films, instantly becoming an icon.

Batmobile, Batman Returns

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The original Batmobile designed by George Barris sure caught the attention of car enthusiasts back in the days. However, the redesigned militaristic version that appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins definitely looked a lot more powerful and a whole lot sexier. Powered by a 350-cid Chevy v8, Nolan’s Batmobile appeared to be a cross between a tank and a Lamborghini. It had two 94.0/15.0-15 Hoosier Checkerboard dirt tires in the front, and Interco “Super Swamper TSL” rear tyres at 44/18.5-16.5. Despite its unusual and different tyre sizes, the beefy tank runs at 60mph in around 5 seconds.

Ecto-1, Ghostbusters

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Everyone’s favorite ghost busting team wouldn’t be able to travel throughout New York City and clean up places overrun with evil spirits without the trusty Ecto-1. A converted Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance, the Ecto-1 was bought by Dr. Ray Stantz for $4,800 and restored it, adding the distinct yet particularly famous siren, logo, and lights. After some much needed makeover, the Ecto-1 was able to fit the entire squad, along with their proton packs and ghost busting equipment.

The Mystery Machine, Scooby Doo

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The Mystery Machine was the green van in the hit animated series Scooby Doo. It was the van that transported Scooby Doo, the cute talking dog, along with his owner Shaggy and other friends as they went on their crime-solving and ghoul-debunking adventures around the world. The Mystery Machine appears to be a modified 60s Ford Taunus Transit van. However, in live-action films an 80s Chevrolet Chevy van and an 80s Ford Econoline were used.

Bumblebee, Transformers

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The list wouldn’t be complete without including the tough bee from the Transformers movies, Bumblebee. An autobot with attitude, Bumblebee first manifested himself as a battered 1970s Camaro but transformed himself into a sleek 2009 Camaro after being insulted for his looks.

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Article Courtesy of Jack K

Photos Courtesy of pursuitist.com, giantfreakinrobot.com, anglefire.com, douglassonders photography, pinterest.com, caranddriver.com, sodahead.com

The Epicness of Ford

The Epicness of Ford

“If she doesn’t scare the hell out of you a little, then she is not the one.” – Unknown

Lately I have started to notice a thing or two about one of my favorite car brands, Ford Motor Company. It seems that since the great auto-pocalypse, almost everything Ford touches is golden. Every model has the confidence, affluent swagger and chiseled good looks of a Kennedy.

2015_ford_fusion-hybrid_f34_ns_71414_600Ford Fusion

In my search for a car, I checked out some British Ford Dealers online and noticed two things. First, the Ford’s of Europe are cooler than the Ford’s in America. In the US, we are not offered the Ka, the B-Max, the C-Max or the Kuga. Second, the whole face of Ford has changed. Gone are the utilitarian transports that severely lacked in design, and in its place is a series of crisp, stylish and truly modern automobiles. Ford has morphed into something like the love child of Honda and Aston Martin. Each model is reliable, exciting, technologically advanced, and just pretty to look at. Ford is making buying a car exciting again.

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Ford Fusion

The Ford of old was never overly attractive. Sure, some models like the first generation T-Bird were stunning, and I am still fascinated by the 1960’s era Mustang, but one only has to look at a 1970’s Ford Fairmont to understand the word appliance. That has all changed, lately there is a new theme in the looks of all Fords, whether they are from the US, the UK or the new exports into China. There is a determination about them, a look of business. Gone are the fatty shapes of recent cars, like the oval inspired Taurus. There is feeling of weight, of mass in every car, right down to the diminutive Fiesta and KA. The weight may not be actually present, but the spirit is there. Try closing the door, or even sitting next to a 2015 Taurus, it is like an armored car or an Escalade. The Taurus, for its price and market segment is massive, formidable, but still enjoyable.

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Ford Taurus

My favorite of the group is probably the Ford Fusion. The car wears the new “Aston Martin” styled grill the same way Jack Kennedy wore a Brooks Brother suit, with confidence. The car seems more expensive than it is, and if the roofline and stance were a few inches lower, you would have a hard time telling it apart from an Aston Martin Rapide. From the sneering front, to the cute c-pillar, down to the hexagon shape of the rear, the car is almost cutting edge. The way the rise of the trunk almost seems to pull on the taillights and exhaust giving the car a sense of purpose, a feeling of speed that makes the car more than interesting… it makes it relevant. Ford uses the Fusion as the base for the Lincoln MKZ, and in spite of the $15,000 dollar difference, the Lincoln has nothing over the Fusion in terms of design.

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Ford Focus

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Ford Focus

The Focus and Fiesta, B-Max, EcoSport and C-Max all have the same determined chiseled Ford looks. There is something interesting happening on every panel. The attention grabbing way the rear lights on the Focus wrap up into the backlight, the eyebrows and the “Bond Bug” wedge shape on the Fiesta…these are cars who have passed from the hands of artists, not just the grip of bean counters. And when it comes to style and image, nothing compares to the new Mustang.

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The Mustang is simply astounding. The car makes me drool. Every angle is more perfect than the previous, and the overall effect is the same you would get from a $250,000 Aston Martin, sheer perfection. The new Mustang is cool…epic. There is the resemblance to the previous model, but it has undergone a year’s worth of steroid abuse. The front is mean, like someone in desperate need of anger management sessions, and even the tail screams speed. The whole car threatens power…I pulled up next to one in my Miata, and I just naturally slunk lower in my seat. The Mustang is intimidating in the same way a ripped grunter would be at the gym.

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Ford Mustang

The Mustang is stunning on the outside, but simply beautiful on the inside, having one of the most attractive interiors on a muscle car. Just compare it to the Challenger or Camaro, and you will instantly recognize the differences. The switches are something from a Spyker or Pagani. The dash harks back to the 1960’s models, and doesn’t have the massive “bedroom dresser” feel to the upper dash of the Challenger. The dual hoods make it feel like a fighter jet, and even the headrests in the standard seating remind me of the Ferrari Daytona. Everything in this car has a reference to a classic.

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Ford Mustang

Ford has created the perfect hot hatch in the Focus, and a massively impressive little dervish in the Fiesta. It builds the most stylish and advanced compact sedan with the Fusion, and the best of the muscle cars with the new Mustang. Add to that the array of SUV, crossovers, hybrids, transit vans, trucks and commercial vehicles and I can’t think of another automaker I would buy from.

2015-ford-mustang-front-view-slantedFord Mustang

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Ford Mustang Interior

For me, the choice would be a 2015 Mustang GT Fastback Coupe, with the 6 speed manual transmission, and 435 horse, equipped with the Line-Lock and Launch Control feature. Epic doesn’t cover it.

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Article Courtesy of Chris Raymond

Photos Courtesy of Ford Motor Company, netcarshow.com, bangshift.com

How to Avoid Junk Car Buyer Scams

How to Avoid Junk Car Buyer Scams

After years of driving your car, you have decided to get a new one, but do not want to simply throw your old one away. All vehicles have a salvage value at the end of their life, whether it is as little as a few hundred or as much as a few thousand dollars. For this reason, many people choose to call a salvage or junk car removal company to not only remove their car, but to receive cash for it as well. However, there are many junk car scams that take place that you should be aware of in order to avoid falling victim to shady companies.

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Bait and Switch

One of the most common scams that occur with selling junk cars is the infamous bait and switch. Typically, you will call a removal company who will give you an estimate based on the information you provide about the junk car’s condition. This estimate should be firm, meaning that when they come to pick up the vehicle, you receive what you were quoted. If a junk car removal company decides to offer you less than your original quoted amount, it is a good idea to look for another company to avoid being scammed. Do not let anyone pressure you into turning your car over for less.

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Registration and Title Issues

Make sure that when you transfer the ownership of the vehicle that it is done properly. If the title or registration is not transferred properly, it can result in several offenses such as parking violations being charged to you, even if the car is no longer in your possession. Choosing a reputable car buying company is the best way to avoid this pitfall.

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Additionally, if you are buying a junk car rather than selling one, you should never purchase a car without a title, even if the seller offers you a form of written authorization that lets you apply for the title in your name. The claim of a lost title is a popular scam run by some unscrupulous sellers who are looking to make a quick buck off of undisclosed salvage vehicles.

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Paying by Certified Check

While check writing has become obsolete in today’s society, a more popular version of a buying junk car scam is when the buyer offers to pay by check. While this in itself isn’t suspicious, if they ask to write the check for more and have you refund the difference this should set off red flags and warning bells. These checks almost never clear your bank and you end up having to pay the funds to cover the cost of the check and any fees associated with the check bouncing. Despite the fact that the check is fraudulent, you will still be held responsible by your banking institution.

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There are many scams that are being perpetuated on unsuspecting victims each day in the used car industry. Knowing the warning signs of these scams can help you avoid falling victim and losing money.

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Article Courtesy of junkauto.com

Photos Courtesy of motoresanu.blogspot.it

Three Great Reasons to Start Your Car Search Online

Three Great Reasons to Start Your Car Search Online

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 Three Great Reasons to Start Your Car Search Online

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Remember those times when your only hope of finding a car was heading down to the local dealership hoping that they would have something suitable? The chances of stumbling across the ideal car were, at best risky; but nowadays all that has changed with the rise of the internet. Hurrah! Now you have a host of cars across the web and in fact the world, all within our grasp. Now, even if you are lucky enough to live with large dealerships or car supermarkets on your doorstep you should still start your car search online. And to make sure you have all the information before jumping in we have outlined a few key tasks for homework:

The Searcher Games

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The used car market, especially in the UK, is booming with millions of pounds worth of cars changing hands every week. This interest has led to car supermarkets and dealers, like Motorpoint in Birmingham, ploughing resources into their websites to enable customers to search their options easily. Buyers can refine their search criteria and whittle down the results to only show vehicles that are within their budget and suit their lifestyle. Dealership websites have grown to not only let you search by price, but also break it down much further by things such as colour, make and model and even age or mileage. Now is the time to be specific, funnel it down or even branch out to other makes or models previously never thought of.

Flair and Compare

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Most good used car websites offer user-friendly capabilities that not only allow you to search a wide array of vehicles, but also compare them against each other. The ability to rank cars side by side is not something you would have previously been able to do online in the past. Image comparing cars on paper! Think of the rainforests! Luckily savvy web designers have made it easy and you can now compare not just on simple things like price, size and performance, but also on their green credentials, economy and road tax. You can see what car is cheapest to run as well as buy. Not to mention saving your search so you can come back again and again when putting your shortlist together.

 Instant Help. Just Add Chat

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One key improvement on websites nowadays is their interactive nature. Many come equipped with live chat options which enable you to speak to a member of the dealership’s sales team then and there! Motorpoint has this feature. You can discuss anything you do not understand about vehicles listed on the website without running up a phone bill or leaving the house! Better still, they will be able to book in a test drive, find out about finance options and see what you could be looking at as a part-exchange price to trade in to make your deal cheaper, all online!

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Online shopping is so popular in today’s fast pace rat race and even though you would not buy a car online without seeing it up close and personal (please do the checks too) you can at least start your researching crusade there. Those cheesy “Your dream car is just a click away” slogans are starting to click (get it? Click?)

 

Article and Photos courtesy of Motorpoint.co.uk

 

The New Ford – Going Further

The New Ford – Going Further

A new era in automotive design is slipping by unnoticed.  In a world where our technology changes on a daily basis, consumers and journalists alike have come to treat all advancements as ordinary.  In the automotive world, the days of poorly made, unsafe vehicles are over.  Even cars considered basic transportation have changed dramatically.  Now we live in a time of amazing automotive technology, creative design and unparalleled safety for even the most basic US model, and there is no company that embodies this change more than Ford.

Ford Concept Car 2014

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The Ford Motor Company started life in 1903.  The company sells a broad line of automobiles and trucks throughout the world, both under the Ford name, and its partnership labels. In this discussion, I will focus (pun intended) on only the Ford brand cars, and not the partner models.  Fords have always been good cars…never great, and certainly not the best.  A basic Ford car is geared towards the budget minded buyer and the average American family.  With the exception of the Mustang and some Thunderbirds, the cars have always been basic, simple and terribly average.

1978 Ford Fairmont

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I have been a Ford guy since I learned to drive.  I have owned many Fords over the years, including a ‘65 Mustang, ‘66 Ford Fairlane, ‘73 Galaxie 500 Interceptor, ‘81 Ford Escort, and even a ‘90 Ford Probe (not to mention other Ford partner brands like Mercury, Lincoln and Jaguar).  The Fords I remember from my youth were family cars like the Falcon, the Maverick, and the Torino.  They were massive “compact” cars with tons of cheap sheet metal, bad handling, and virtually nothing in the way of comfort or safety equipment.  Parts would randomly fall off, even when new and the paint came out of the factory with a dull sheen.  Seats were covered in a vinyl with the same texture as the rubber floor mats and portions of the interior were made from actual cardboard.  After a few weeks, the plastic chrome on the knobs and switches would flake into razor-like shards, jagged enough to slice you to pieces.  The cars were so bad that for the longest time, I though the “new car” smell was supposed to be gasoline.

1975 Ford Maverick

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One thing I remember most is that all of them couldn’t really handle a curve.  They would bob and weave like Muhammad Ali.  They would squeal, over steer, and roll like a carrier in high seas.  Fords were consistently average.  Think of the Fairmont with its paper thin doors, or the hideous little abomination called the EXP, the Aspire which never even tried to aspire, the Granada which was shamelessly plugged as a European car; or the Tempo which was the successor to the Fairmont and proved that shit didn’t have to be square.  These are the types of cars the American buyer could expect…basic, ugly and soul crushing.  Compared to European and Japanese cars of the same era, these were built with the quality of a Porta-Potty.

1984 Ford Tempo

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Skip forward to today and compare the offerings from Ford to the supercars of yesterday.  The cheapest car in the list is the Ford Fiesta.  Richard Hammond of UK Top Gear recently tested a ST model and commented “everything about the Fiesta, the steering, the handling, the responsiveness is peerless.”  Not bad from a guy who has driven everything from a Bugatti Veyron to a half-track mobility scooter.  The new Fiesta is stylish and very good looking for a tiny car.  It comes with the new Ford corporate grille, a one off borrowed from Aston Martin, which I think is the best thing about the new Fords.  It has an option for leather and heated seats, a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine that gets 39MPG with the new 6-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.  It can come with a new 6.5 inch MyFord Touch infotainment system, electrically assisted steering, Advance Trac with electronic stability control, SYNCH, perimeter alarm, ambient lighting, a rear view camera, intermittent wipers, cruise control, power doors and windows, defroster, CD/MP3 player, air conditioning with rear seat heat ducts, hill start assist, acoustic laminate windshield, seven airbags with side curtain and driver knee airbags, SOS post crash alert system, tire pressure monitoring system…the list goes on and on.  It even has a standard Personal Safety system that detects the severity of a crash, the front seat passenger safety belt usage, the driver’s proximity to the air bag, and then it analyzes the information and determines what restraints should be deployed.  SUV’s will have this with an added Safety Canopy that will detect imminent rollovers and deploy a side curtain airbag for 6 seconds preventing people from being ejected from the vehicle.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

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The next level up from the Fiesta is the Ford Focus.  Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear called it “the perfect hot hatch” and thought the handling and 150MPH top end had “immense grip” and was “unbelievable in a car this small…absolutely brilliant.”  The Focus comes with the same options as the Fiesta, but also is offered in an electric version, and comes in (my favorite) Tangerine Scream with a Tangerine Scream and Black leather interior.  The car is simply mad.

2014 Ford Focus RS

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All Ford cars are a quantum leap from the old models.  The Fusion is starting to look more and more like an Aston Martin Rapide, and comes in a hybrid (ion-lithium battery) and Energi (electric) models.  The C-Max (hybrid+electric) is a combination a Toyota Prius and an Aston Martin Cygnet.  The Taurus has available AWD and a cool color called the Dark Side.  Gone are the days of the old bubble Taurus, the new one is sleek, stylish and getting into it is like crawling inside a full size SUV.  The car is massive by any standard.

2014 Ford Taurus

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The world of automobiles has progressed so far in 20 short years that I cannot even understand some of the latest technology.  Back in the 1960’s, the best cars included Ferrari 250’s and Jaguar E-Types.  A stock basic Ford Fiesta can outrun both with ease, handle better, and be more reliable by miles.  Ford has transformed itself into a company that creates cars that rival, and even surpass the European manufacturers.  Remember, this is the one US automaker that never took any TARP bailout money.  Of course, Ford still has to eliminate its miserable corporate culture.  The days of the Pinto scandal and the Firestone cover-up and scandal are not that long ago, and the company needs to “do the right thing” regardless of cost…think Escape engine fires, MKZ and child lock recalls, Solyndra and C-Max MPG ratings.  They are on a roll, and managed properly, this could be a new golden age for Ford Motor Company.

2015 Ford Mustang

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Author’s note – New technology is everywhere.  Some of the latest includes self-parking system…one even allows you to get out of the car and go into your office while the car parks itself.  Rear end collision avoidance systems and OnStar type vehicle communication and monitoring.  Google is working on a system that learns and optimizes your car based on your driving habits, as well as the Ghost Vehicle, a self driving car.  Mercedes has auto tinting glass, and has the current technology to not only advise you when you cross over the lane markers, the technology exists for the car to drive itself within the lane…though it’s not being used in current cars.  They offer Airscarf, a neck heating system, Mbrace which is an iPhone app to control your car just like James Bond, blind spot assist, attention assist for the driver, active LED headlamps, Adaptive cruise control that controls distance between you and the car ahead, and even night vision.  Future tech includes a device (app?) that will take control of the car in case of a heart attack or stroke, stop the vehicle and even call the paramedics for you.  If you’re in traffic, and dead, the car will actually find a break to slowly pull the car over by detecting the other cars around you.  Ford is even working on driver health monitors for their cars that can display glucose levels, pollen counts or even detect heart issues and help predict heart attacks through the seat cushions.  These are the days of Tron and AI.

2015 Ford Evos Concept (Possibly new Capri)

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Article Courtesy of Chris Raymond

Photos Courtesy of Ford, Car & Driver, Autoexpress, AutoSpies, and Wikipedia

The Art of the Movie Car Chase

The Art of the Movie Car Chase

Car chases have become action movie must-have scenes which can make or break the success of a film. Get it wrong and it looks like a worn out cliché, but get it right and it can solidify your film in legend. Some of the classic favourite chase scenes include Steve McQueen’s Bullitt, The Italian Job, The French Connection and pretty much every Bond movie (with special props to The Spy Who Loved Me for involving a motorcycle, a helicopter and a Bond car that is also a submarine).

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A good chase scene is tense, adrenaline filled and skilfully executed – and not necessarily a special effects blow out. Legendary car chases such as that in Bullitt came along way before CGI took over our movie screens, but screeching tyres and driver’s view camera angles make Bullitt an exciting ride which has held its place at the top of most car chase countdowns despite the hundreds that have tried to rival it since.

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When we’re thinking about the art of the movie car chase it would be remiss not to mention the professional stunt drivers who make these scenes possible in the first place. Notable stunt drivers include Bill Hickman, Bud Ekins and Ben Collins. Many of the most famous and best chase scenes couldn’t have been made without them, not least because it can be beyond the scope of every insurance policy on earth to allow the famous actors in the driving seat. You can compare all you want; there’s no way Daniel Craig is getting insured to drive that Aston Martin like that.

Chase-Scene

Here are a few awesome chase scenes to get you revved up and ready for action:

Bullitt (1968)

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The Dark Knight (2008)

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The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

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The Blues Brothers (1980)

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Bridgestone Drive & Learn

Bridgestone Drive & Learn

You get the best out of others when you get the best out of yourself – Harvey S. Firestone

Tires are important.  I didn’t fully understand that until I spent some time with the people of Bridgestone.  They showed me some cool technology in the tires they produce, and gave me a chance to try them out on the track.  It was not only a learning experience; it was a hell of a lot of fun.

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Bridgestone is the largest tire and rubber manufacturer in the world, and also owners of the Firestone brand.  This past week I was invited to attend the Bridgestone Drive and Learn day at Gillette stadium in Foxboro, MA.  The event is held in 22 cities throughout the US and usually attended by tire dealers.  How they got my name is suspect, but I wasn’t going to pass up a day at the track.  Basically, the event is held to give the product people a chance to introduce the new tires being offered, explain the new technology and demonstrate the benefits.  The day starts with a few videos highlighting the new Dueler, Potenza and Ecopia line of tires.  Then the fun begins.

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A team of 8 professional drivers take us out onto an autocross style track.  Driving new BMW 328i sedans, we are given a chance to attack the track driving on each of the new tires.  The drivers are not your average wheelmen, and the introductions reminded me of one of Richard Hammond’s Top Gear Challenge races…champion after champion.  The list and their qualifications are impressive.

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Brian ColeProgram Manager for Driver’s Edge and a former Skip Barber School instructor. 

Jeff BarkerDriving coach for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), the Ferrari Owners club, Porsche Owners club, test driver for BMW and Viper, and NASCAR Super Truck series driver. 

Dominic CiceroWinner of the Elf-Winfield Driving championship, winner of the TelMex Grand Prix in Mexico City, stunt driver for the Leverage and Grimm TV series, and driver for Elf Oils and Renault who competed at tracks like Monza, Monaco, Daytona and the American Le Mans. 

Pierre Kleinubing5 time champion of the SPEED Touring Car series, former Brazil Touring Car Champion and driver in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series.

Andre SerraDriving coach, Kart racing champ and Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car driver

Mark WeberLegend of the SCCA Sports Car Club of America who has competed in over 500 races as well as being an acclaimed motorsports photojournalist.

Burt FrisselleGrand Am Rolex Sports Car series driver (Daytona prototype class).

Toby GrahouecSports Car Club of America SCCA National Champion, Grand Am Koni Challenge champion, US Touring Car champion and All American Ice Hockey Hall of Famer. 

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The driving was fun and pretty challenging.  We were placed in a car with a set of the new tires, and given a few laps around the track.  Once done, we switched to another car with a different set of tires and repeated the process.  All in all we drove on 5 different types of tires, from the economical Ecopia line, right up to the ultimate Potenza S-04 Pole Position Ultra performance tire.  The difference was amazing.  All had an excellent feel and ride quality, but the more high performance the tire, the more we could molest the new BMW’s.  The ultra high performance tire was the most fun.  It had amazing braking and cornering capabilities, no feel of skip on spin on the tire, and returned a feeling of being really connected with the road.  Even the fuel efficient Ecopia tires had an excellent feel to them.  Though they were less forgiving of my driving faults, they were quiet and gave an excellent ride, all while saving serious money.

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To cap off the day, we were then broken up into 4 teams and challenged to a Le Mans style race.  Each team is setup in relay race style.  The first guy runs to the car, buckles in and does the fastest lap he can.  Once back, he is given a specific area to park (within some cones) and then runs to tag the next guy in line.  Points are lost for hitting a cone, not buckling up, or parking outside the boundaries.  It was a lot of fun, even though my team came in second.

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So, what about the tires?  Bridgestone is on the cutting edge of tire technology.  The company is focusing on green tires made from things like soy and even dandelions, as well as compounds and polymers that work on a molecular level.  The average design process has been reduced from 1-2 years to a month, so they can keep on that edge.  Recently, the company even introduced an air-free concept tire made from thermoplastic resin which is entirely 100% recyclable.  Current tires are also designed for excellent wet traction using a silica compound and futuristic stuff like 3D sipes and Particle Z.

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Fuel efficiency is improved using something called NanoPro Tech which controls the interactions between the polymer, filler materials and other rubber chemicals at the molecular level.  Fuel saver sidewalls help reduce rolling resistance, and computer optimized components put all the right materials in the right design to make the most fuel efficient tire possible.  Add all this technology to improvements made in ride comfort, wear life, tire noise and even ride comfort and you have an amazing lineup of tires.

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So, what did I learn?  First, I learned that in spite of my enthusiasm for cars and racing, I am slower than your average tire dealer.  Second, I learned that the right set of tires can compensate for a lot of simple mistakes in my driving.  Better tires allow for slower reaction times, and can mean the difference between avoiding a crash or becoming part of one.  Third, I learned that when you get an invitation to a track day, never pass it up.

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Article and Photos Courtesy of Chris Raymond