Friday, May 26, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around the Auto Blog Block for Friday, May 26, 2006

It's been 1975 all over again this week as Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, calls for a return of the hated 55 mph national speed limit - one of the all-time most stupid measures taken during the first energy crisis. Saved about a teacup of petrol but cost people billions of dollars in lost time and added travel frustration.

So, let's hit the road for this week's drive around the auto blog block and enjoy the open cyber road while we still can before our power-happy public servants in Washington, D.C. do more mischief.

Debtblog promises to try out all those gas-saving devices starting to appear on the late night cable tv commercials, thanks to $3 a gallon petrol. They aren't enthusiastic about hybrids, either.

Speaking of hybrids, I Want a Jeep discusses the choice between a hybrid version or a diesel and concludes the latter is easily the way to go, if only because it could conceivably run on french fry grease.

Not sure I believe it but The Garage Blog says its great to be young and Amish in Buffalo.

Sure, it looks like a Bimmer, but Straightline knows better - it's a mule of the coming Porsche Panamera testing at the Ring in Germany. Expect it as a 2009 model.

Some guys get to have all the fun, guys like Karl Brauer of Inside Line. He reports on his recent cross-country trek in an M6, which started at this great sausage stand in Wisconsin that happens also to have a race track attached to it.

Stay tuned to Inside Line because they just dropped off a Jeep for service and promise a full report when the vehicle is returned.

"But honey, this is a car that gets better gas mileage compared to our old Altima." Confused? Check out The Driving Woman. It's a new edition of the Cayman that has a nifty EPA rating. Anybody remember those "Sun Porsche" television sports for the 2.0 liter 914?

Over at Strategies for Smart Car Buyers, editor Philip May got to practice what he's been preaching for six years, with a result that a new Honda Fit sits in his driveway. And his wife likes it, too!

Now Honda claims to have invented Bio-Fabric. NoonzWheels has details. This will give new meaning to the phrase: "Nah, I didn't like it much when I first bought it but it's been growing on me."

Okay, that's the bad pun for this week. Aren't you glad I got it over so quickly!

Do you remember the significance of Dinoco to the story line of the original Toy Story? NoonzWheels has that one, too. And photos. Those pixars good ones, too!

Did I say that?

Nick at Punny Money has 10 reasons you should buy a Mini with your money.

Now, moving right along ...

At Auto Extremist, Ethanol Boy previews the Penske v Ganassi battle royal aka The Greatest Spectacle in Racing on this Memorial Day Weekend. My pick to win is Vitor Meira, who EB tabs as a strong dark horse. My second pick is Scott Dixon who, like Meira is due.

Here's another desirable scenario: Michael wins it and we all get to stop hearing about the family curse at the Brickyard.

Autoblog's Eric Bryant has four easy ways to make your buggy handle the turns better.

There's a note about a popcorn Saab for sale over at Carpundit.

Cars! Cars! Cars! says Ford ought to grow up, get rid of the "war rooms" and start making "kick-ass cars and trucks." Sounds about right to me, good buddy.

Betcha didn't know Toyota sells an Avensis in the UK. Carscoop has pictures and more from the official uveiling of a vehicle that looks a lot like an Avalon. Strictly coincidental, I'm sure.

Finally, the war is over! The Spanish-American War, that is. You just thought Teddy ended it with that epic charge of his Rough Riders up San Juan Hill. We've been paying for that war ever since via a three percent federal telephone excise tax. Don't Mess With Taxes reports Uncle Sam has finally decided to stop collecting the tax and will even refund whatever we've paid for the past three years. We get to apply for the refund when we file our 2006 tax returns.

Right, the item above has nothing to do with cars. I just figured you could use some good news.

Allen Brewer at Fast Machines says the new tv trio of Scott Goodyear (who taught me how to threshold brake long, long ago at Summit Point), Rusty Wallace and Marty Reid brings back memories of the first guys on Monday Night Football.

There is another illustrious race right around the corner in June at that fancy-schmancy place A.J. won at once. Fastlane blog has a podcast up that explains how the Corvette team is ready to take another 24 Hour victory for the Bow Tie Brigade.

It won't be on the market for a while but you can see a great artist rendering of the upcoming Audi Q3 at Left Lane News.

The Rooskis get to build Beetles when VW finishes the plant Gear6 reports is now planned to open in late 2007.

The incomparable Robert Farago wonders why GM is paying a bankruptcy expert not to provide his bankruptcy expertise. Find out more at GM Death Watch. Here's just a sample:

"... The General has launched a guerilla war to stop people like us telling people like you that people like Wagoner are running the company into the ground. As revealed by The Detroit News, GM's so-called 'Arlington project' will deploy some 50 GM flacklings throughout 16 U.S. cities. It's part of what the News called 'attempts to secure favorable news coverage.'"

Robert is not impressed.

For those who wonder what life must be like for a "launch manager," Sonya Moore tells all at GM's FYI Blog.

Jalopnik says "I am Indy: Paddle Me Austin!" Interesting, very interesting.

Dave Leggett notes that the main guy behind Hyundai's rather remarkable surge in recent years is facing a long jail term. Go to for more. One thing about the South Koreans - they play politics for higher stakes than we do here in the states.

Dave Wassmann says think again about those internet ads telling you dealers have too many of Toyota's high-demand Prius on their lots and you, too, can get a great deal. Remember what your daddy told you - if it's too good to be true, then odds are it isn't. See it all MotorAlley.

Jerry Flint is talking about Ford again, so naturally Joe at MyFordDreams2 can't resist the urge to respond.

If your 05 Kia Sedona makes funny noises when you hit a bump or make a right turn, Austin Davis at My Honest Mechanic has some info that will be of interest to you.

Brian at has a solid roundup of previews of the major races this weekend, including Monaco. Can you believe they still run F1 there? I still think of Jim Garner's busted suspension in "Grand Prix" and the sight of the faux Jim Clark's vehicle hurtling into the marina every time somebody mentions Monaco.

Want to know what it's like to almost high-side at the Ring? Sure you do and The Auto Prophet has the clip. Note to the producers: It would be so much better w/o the crappy music that drowns out the real music indicated on the tach.

Joel at The Car Blog is snorting coffee again, thanks to the new Mercedes.

They're still making Lincoln LS V-8 Sports and The Truth About Cars has Sajeev Mehta's thoughts on that fact.

I don't know why either but ya gotta read The View Through the Windshield.

And finally, Julie from Harrisburg wants to know what is "drifting." Louis calls it "a specialized driving technique." Mark from Sykesville calls it "a waste of time and tires."

There I go having the last word again!

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