Saturday, June 17, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around the Auto Blog Block for Friday, June 16, 2006

Now this was an interesting week! Not least because George Soros - billionaire investor and financier of multiple forms of left-wing political activism - is dickering with Malcolm Bricklin over a $200 million investment in a joint venture to bring China's Chery vehicles to the U.S. Think of the cheesy advertising slogans made possible by this development if Soros does an Iaccoca and appears in Chery ads himself!

Anyway, let's head out and see what else we find in our weekly drive around the auto blogs, shall we?

A first-time entry this week from 9D, which has a shot of the fresh-air Scion C that Toyota should waste no time in offering. Wouldn't surprise me a bit to see such a C on the streets soon.

Chuck at Car Buying Tips has a graph on how to know when it's time to buy new tires. Mr. Lincoln makes the expected appearance in this one. Chuck also has a shot of the new Silverado, which looks rather cool in dark red.

You know that Denny Hamlin got his first NASCAR Nextel win last weekend at Pocono, but did you also know that he spent a lot of time on a virtual Pocono beforehand? Brian at has the details. Looks like "seat-time" is about to get a whole new meaning!

Gary at The Garage has photos and commentary on the opening of the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame. Lots of fascinating stuff there, including a Frisbee Can-Am car (I wonder if it ever flew?), Scott Goodyear's mount in the closest-ever finish at Indy (with "Little Al" Unser) and much else.

And, moving right along ...

Peter DeLorenzo at Auto Extremist offers some thoughts on the emerging crisis in Auburn Hills and notes that:

"Chrysler has been living on borrowed time ever since Dieter Zetsche's departure to run the whole shebang back at headquarters in Germany. Up until that point, Chrysler was the 'darling' of the media, the Detroit-based automaker that loved to tout that it was smarter than their cross-town rivals - too smart to get caught up in the downward spiral that was paralyzing the fortunes of Ford and GM.

"And they loved to flaunt their smug swagger every chance they got, too, reveling in the fact that their 'That thing gotta Hemi?' campaign had become part of the country's lexicon and that their 300C was the poster child of why they were better than the folks down at 'The Tubes' and over in Dearborn. My, how things have changed."

Indeed they have. What will DCX do now that too many of those thangs with Hemis are sitting unsold on dealer lots? Firing some of the managers isn't likely to get at the real problems, according to DeLorenzo. Peter isn't optimistic that DCX will figure it out, either.

Over at Auto Muse, E.L. Eversman takes a look at a suit that has been filed on the Left Coast alleging that Drive Time has been giving an insurance company privilege info about customers in order to help sell insurance. Keep an eye on this one as it just might be the tip of an ugly iceberg.

Auto Spectator has Alfa's news release and a bunch of photos of the new Spyder.

Autoblog's newest contributor is Carnival of Cars contributor Alex Nunz and he's got the scoop on Peugeot's WMD for the Goodwood Festival. Congratulations, Alex!

Carpundit explains why the death of State Trooper Paul Barry was a scandal and how you can help his wife and seven kids, all under the age of 11, now that he is gone.

They've got a new way of looking at the Big Blue Oval at Cars! Cars! Cars!. Somehow, I doubt that Billy is gonna like this.

Did you know Honda makes a stretched version of the Civic? CARSCOOP has the details on this Japan-only product.

Consumers Hero says Rocketsports is adding veteran German driver Klaus Graf to its Jaguar Trans-Am team. Anybody else out there remember Klaus Ludwig?

Sunday is Father's Day and Don't Mess With Taxes has a delightful meditation on different kinds of dads. No, it's not about wheels, but it is a wonderful read nevertheless and you will be glad you did.

My Dad passed away a dozen years ago and I still miss him because one of the things he gave me was a love for cars and racing. He loved Indy, which was kind of unusual since he grew up in East Texas during the Depression and there wasn't a whole lot of racin' there in those days. From some of the stories he told of how his Dad reacted when he saw the side skuffs on the family's old Ford, I am sure Dad was doing his best to make up for the paucity of competition! Happy Father's Day.

Speaking of Dads and sons, Friday was my birthday and guess what my Marcus gave me - tickets to the Indy car race at Richmond next weekend! He is the perfect son!!

More on Dad's Day at GM's FYI Blog, including an interesting shot with a 55 Chevy Bel Air in the background. My Dad's first new car was a black-and-white 55 with the 265 V-8 and a three-speed overdrive tranny. We put nearly 250,000 miles on that wonderful car over the years. To this day, it remains my favorite.

More on Indy cars at Fast Machines, which takes a look at the emerging "middle class" of the IRL, including my favorite dark horse, Vitor Meira.

GM's Steven Harris lands another haymaker to Tom Friedman's glass jaw (i.e. the facts). The GM Fastlane post also links to a great Josh Hendrickson piece at Tech Central Station that points out a bunch of stuff The New York Times columnist somehow forgot to mention in his latest anti-General tirade.

Gear6 wonders about those continued reports of a return of the Z8.

And Jim Dollinger at General Watch says the clock is still ticking away for Rick Wagoner at you-know-where.

Grant's Auto Rants has the best thing I've seen anywhere on the world's cabs, starting with those Holmesian monuments produced by LT1 Vehicles in Coventry, which is now in the cab export business. Does your town have one yet?

Shouting Thomas at Harleys, Cars, Girls and Guitars says he will put on the suit and tie one more time. I hear ya, buddy!

There's a new Mini coming for 2007 and Jalopnik is on the story.

Dave Leggett of explains that diesels just aren't that big in Japan.

More GM travails at Left Lane News - this time it's a report about production plans, or the lack thereof, for the new Tahoe/Envoy.

Smart man, that David Wassman. He explains why it wasn't W, it wasn't the car companies and it wasn't Big Oil that "killed" the electric car. Go to MotorAlley to find out who was the real villain.

MyFordDreams2 sees reason for optimism for Lincoln in a Chicago business publication, while over at the opposite end of the automotive spectrum (to say nothing of being on the other side of the globe!), Paul Tan is looking at the new Proton Satria Neo.

No, Carver One is not a new steak knife. It's the world's first tilting three-wheeler, at least according to Serious Wheels. Why do people make these things????

You just think your Hemi puts all its power on the asphault. Straightline straightens you out on that one.

The Auto Prophet has a great Mazda spot from the other side of the Pond. See if you can figure out how she does it before watching the spot.

Joel at The Car Blog is just a little teed off with some of the media commentary on Ford's travails.

Is your vehicle "ideal," as in the AutoPacific ratings? The Driving Woman offers some observations and information about the winners and losers.

The Truth About Cars' Bryan Myrkle has some great memories of a long day spent on a cold garage floor trying to get a Jetta back together. Amazing what a little shut-eye can do for the ole mechanical grey matter!

If you can tear your eyeballs off the opening shot of the car wash, Joe Sherlock at The View Through the Windshield will tell you what he thought of Cars!.

Doesn't look like much is changing for 2007 with Honda's Element, at least according to the shots in The Car Connection.

And finally, Top Speed addresses the heartbreak of Driving Phobia.

That's it for this week's drive around the auto blog block folks. See you next week.

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