Friday, May 05, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around the Auto Blog Block for Friday, May 5, 2006

This has been a prime week for people who have a passion for beautiful, fast cars, especially those that are red, are designed and built in Italy and have a racing heritage that pre-dates even that of Ferrari. Yes, I'm talkin' bout Alfa Romeo, which said it's returning to the U.S. market. But that's just the start, so let's hit the road, shall we?

Would you be interested in a diesel Lexus that gets 38 mpg and definitely is not a slow lane penalty box? NoonzWheels will tell you more about the vehicle unveiled in the U.K. this week.

When was the last time you got to use "pimptastic" and Cadillac launch in the same sentence? NoonzWheels explains that one, too.

If you think there isn't magic in a legendary sports car marque, check out Jack Yoest's explanation of why Chinese automakers use a '58 Vette to promote an auto show.

What's the proper location for the "Oh S--t!" handle in the modern automobile? Silflay Hraka has thoughts on that burning question, as well as the case for Ford coming up with a reality show of its own that allows contestants to design cars. I can see it now: "Oh, John, I'm so sorry but America voted has you and your Retro Edsel off the show. Don't let the door hit your tail on your way out."

Would there be a consolation prize for getting the boot from that show?

Anyway ...

It may have lots of "issues," but 20 minutes behind the wheel of a buddy's 79 Austin Mini put a grin on the face of the proprietor of The Garage.

Okay, that "Bond, James Bond" guy is back and so is his Aston Martin. More from NoonzWheels.

Oh yeah, NoonzWheels also has the scoop on the 500 horsepower King Cobra.

Let's see, that makes five CofC submissions in one week from Mr. Noon. Would somebody please hire this guy to do road tests!?

Now, moving right along ...

Louis Albornoz is the pro racer behind Top Speed and he has some sensible things to say about the younger drivers he often "sees driving like crazy idiots." Must be racing Formula Fords.

The Car Connection has a pre-meeting briefing on the upcoming meeting of auto execs with the Chief Executive in the White House.

Joe Sherlock gazes at The View Through the Windshield at news of Rep. Patrick Kennedy's 3:00 a.m. encounter with a concrete wall and asks these reasonable questions:

"'The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From...' Dept.: Why does the headline Kennedy Car Accident seem so hauntingly familiar? And how come didn't he have to take a Breathalyzer test like the rest of us?"

On average, a Buick dealer sells only eight cars a month. Eight. Not Eighty. Eight. The Truth About Cars' Bob Elton explains why. You know you've lost it when people are openly comparing your product - once famous the world over as the last step before a Cadillac - to Hyundai.

Listen up, guys. Michelle has some tips on how to improve your gas mileage over at The Driving Woman. Hey, she saw a 10% improvement. Can you say the same as you pump that three-bucks-a-gallon refined Texas Tea?

Joel at The Car Blog wonders why reviewers aren't more discriminating when comparing vehicles that share common platforsm, such as the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan/Lincoln Zephyr trio.

No, no, it's the return of the Double Nickel! The Auto Prophet isn't worried.

Straightline says hybrid registrations doubled last year. I'm not surprised. Are you surprised? I'll tell you who is surprised - all those hybrid buyers who thought they would get better mileage than they're getting, that's who!

Did you know there are German tuners who actually work on something other than Mercs and Bimmers? Serious Wheels has three of them who do Vettes.

What's your take on NASCAR's restrictor plates? wants to know.

I say if it doesn't come that way from the factory, it ain't stock. But that's just my reactionary Stone Age gut reaction to the France Family Money Machine.

I'll shut up now ...

Paul Tan says Toyota says the recent decline in Prius sales reflects production problems, not customer problems.

Austin Davis at My Honest Mechanic has some tips to help figure out if your high insurance rates are because of the company .... or because of the way you drive, you Moron!

Sorry, that wasn't very nice and I apologize to all ...

He may have bought a Mazda3, but MyFordDreams2 absolutely insists that wasn't an act of betrayal because that Zoom-Zoom mobile is really a Blue Oval product.

David Wassman at Motor Alley is a former ad guy and now he's a car guy, so naturally the brewing controversy over the latest round of VW spots caught his eye. His basic point is that great ads don't save sinking ships. Just ask the people who were running American Motors back in the mid-60s.

Got your deposit ready for the return of the Gullwing from Mercedes? Left Lane News has details.

JustAuto's Dave Leggett saw some German nutters in action this week over on the other side of the pond.

Jalopnik is cautiously, very cautiously, optimistic that DCX's Tom LaSorda's speech to the Renewable Fuels Association portends a significant shift in Motown thinking about cars, energy and related issues.

Think your Chrysler 300 is a tad boring to look at the way it came from the factory? Hot Wheels Blog can put you in touch with some aftermarket types who may have exactly what you're looking for in the way of a design pick-me-up.

Now that's just ducky, says Shouting Thomas at Harleys, Cars, Girls and Guitars. He's not real happy with the Cubs offense this week, either.

GM FYI Blog hands the mike to GM's Gustav Hoffman, who promptly announces that he's mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more. Well, Gustav, old buddy, let's talk about Buick.

Gear6 reports that VW isn't sure about the future of the GX3. Hey, I'm not even sure what the GX3 is, much less what it's future ought to be!

Lutz thinks GM has turned a corner and word is getting around that the new products are much, much better. It's a detailed post at GM Fastlane and yes, a lot of it sounds like the usual spin, but there are some hard numbers to back it up. Defintely worth reading.

Fast Machines covered it but why didn't we hear more about this in the MSM?

They're makin' sausage again up on Capitol Hill. Don't Mess With Taxes isn't buying it.

A Chrysler/Chery hookup? Check out CARSCOOP.

They're reading tea leaves from CNN about Lutz and GM over at Cars! Cars! Cars! Drinking coffee out of square mugs and eating Biscotti at the Buick stall, too. My favorite, though, is the shot of Hell Frozen Over, thanks to the Lienerts and the Detroit News.

Peter DeLorenzo at Auto Extremist points to what will save GM in the final analysis:

"No, GM's future lies with its True Believers, the men and women who actually go to work each and every day with one mission in mind - to design, build and produce the best vehicle they can possibly muster."

There are more of those TBs in GM than a lot of critics realize.

And that is the last word for this week's edition of Carnival of Cars.

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