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This site is about cars, all sorts of cars. Vintage cars, new cars, the mundane and the magical. And about the people who drive — and drove — them. (Nostalgia will be knife-spreadable here.) You’ll find personal stories of the people who drove race cars with skill and speed — Fangio, Moss, Phil Hill, Jimmy Clark, Fireball Roberts, the Unsers, the Rodriguez brothers. And, too, you’ll read of ordinary people who, alas, drive us to despair.
This site deals with what to drive (I recently experienced the Bugatti Veyron); where to drive (some great roads I’ll tell you about); and how to drive (some tips and admonitions to make those despair-makers more like me and thee.)
I’ve been at both driving and writing a looong time. I got my first driver’s license in 1940. Some ten years later I was writing about, among other things, cars. Some of those other things will show up here, too. But mostly cars, trucks and a few motorcycles. Well, an airplane or two. Yes, and skis. But mostly cars.
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DuoBlog: Denise McCluggage and John Paul Gonzales in Car Conversation.
Today: The 2013 Lexus ES 350
D-McC: Years ago when I was a sports reporter for The New York Herald Tribune my specialties were motorsports and skiing, but I was assigned to other stuff from golf to kids’ yacht racing, And dog shows. Though I was amused that canine beauty contests were on the sports page.
One day after the Best-in-Show was chosen we reporters gathered around the judge – pens ready to record a quotable quote to enliven our stories—I got one I’ve never forgotten. The rather lumpy women, frowning with the seriousness of her job, explained her choice with “I could not fault the Peke today.”
Loved it. That became one of my go-to sayings whether apt or not. And, does it fit today. Lexus does not leap to my mind as my kind of car but – certainly JP, I could not fault the ES 350 today. How about you?
JP: You know, it really depends on the context you place the car. The car, like a dog, is innocent and faultless in a vacuum. I think it’s just like in one of those dog shows where one can parade them around on the green carpet, poke here and prod there, and find not a fault with the dog’s perfect coat and obedient demeanor. That’s the dog in a vacuum. But if you want to talk about the dog in the context of “is it good playing with children” or “does parading it around at the dog park attract conversation” then we can really start to get at what the dog means to us—and if there’s fault. (But for the record, I’m not really a fan of normative statements anyway).
You can have a pretty car and find plenty of fault in it, or you can have a plain-jane appliance vehicle that does everything you could possibly want it to do depending on how it’s used. I’ll go on record as saying that the ES350 is pretty much the most fault-less car you can possibly buy for the money today. It does everything you want it do, with no fuss, in comfort and brand-recognition style. After all, “it’s a Lexus!” Look, leather seats, premium sound, this navigation system, and Ooh! A “sport/economy” selector that just might indicate this car has some personality. If I had my clipboard and checklist, I’d tick off these points, frumpily frown, and say “I could not fault the Lex today.”Read More >>
Tesla Gets Testy ... Again. Why not?
Some thoughts on electric cars (EV), Extended Range Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, etc. Rather than pretend coherence I’ll bullet some general observations. Order doesn’t count. Nor relevance.
But first a recurring theme noted. Elon Musk, head honcho of Tesla is clearly a jerk. He complains, sues, threatens, whines (and whines) unless everything — particularly “tests” of his cars – goes exactly as the script in his head goes. Car tests, above all on a TV show (note the word “show” — indicating entertainment, not a scientific investigation), and in a newspaper are not to be looked upon as “tests.” Newspapers are not set up with fifth wheel contraptions or ways of monitoring repeatable processes.
These are not tests so much as “impressions.” Different writers approach the task differently. John M. Broder, who drew the assignment from the New York Times to drive the Tesla S from Washington DC to Boston to check out the bragged-on range of a Tesla S and, in conjunction with supposedly appropriate spots on route where the all-electric vehicle could get re-juiced.
These spots were stupidly called “superchargers” thus lending evidence to my assertion that Elon Musk is a jerk. “Supercharger” is a word with a definite meaning in the car world having nothing to do with stationary filling-stations for an EV. The word is taken, Jerk. Find another for your lovely looking Tesla S that cannot do what many cars can do with ease, which is get from Washington to Boston on a sub-freezing day without being driven preternaturally slowly, or without adequate heat, or without the need to have the stops to feed one’s face dictated by what is being driven. (The car should enhance the trip, not dictate its circumstances.)
I rather think that John Broder was more interested in practicing his ability to write amusing, snide and clever copy about his experiences (one could legitimately hope for misadventure because that’s funnier) than in listening to the instructions from Tesla spokespersons, which if reported correctly were misleading and inadequate — not an unexpected quality of performance to anyone having to explain to a sentient human being in the 21st century how to drive a car from Washington to Boston.
Why all this is demonstrative of the jerk-ness of Elon Musk is that the entire operation is a mistimed, misplaced and WTF scenario. A few thoughts relevant to the matter: batteries lose a great deal of their usefulness as batteries when the weather is cold. Cold is a not an unusual characteristic of a winter day in the mid-Atlantic states.Read More >>
Photos and stories of Fangio, Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, the Rodriguez brothers brought to your car club gathering or corporate meeting. Questions answered. For a women's group: "Being Safe In and Around an Automobile." And along with Personal Car Consultant Fred Vang, "Choosing, Paying For and Tending To a New Car."
6/23/11 - TRAVEL BUG
I think of Santa Fe's Travel Bug as "The Map Store" and confound people when I say that's where I'll meet them for tea (or coffee if they must.)
But there are more maps here than ever existed when cartography was middle-aged. Books too, travel guides yes, but books about the places as well.
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