II Thou shalt not make for thyself any graven images of Chevys, nor of Pontiacs nor of Oldsmobiles, nor of anything that is made by GM; Thou shalt not bow down to them or serve them, for the Renault is a jealous car.
III Thou shalt not take the name of the Renault in vain, even though they forsake thee and send thee no parts.
IV Remember thy oil changes, and keep them faithfully. 3000 Miles shalt thou drive and do all thy errands, but then shalt thy Renault rest and have its oil changed.
V Honor thy 13mm wrench and thy Phillips screwdriver that thy Renault's days may be long in the land of the living.
VI Thou shalt not kill Renaults by driving them in the salt.
VII Thou shalt not commit adultery in the back seat, lest thou hurt thyself, for it is far too cramped back there. And remember ye the benefits of reclining bucket seats.
VIII Thou shalt not steal engines from Chevys for use in Renaults, for this is an abomination.
IX Thou shalt not bear false witness about thy 0-60 time.
X Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Miata, nor his Del Sol, nor his BMW Z3, nor his Mercedes SLK, nor his Volkswagen Cabriolet, nor any Renault that is thy neighbors. Thou shalt fix up thine own instead, and make thy neighbor covet it.
Here is the National Weather Service warning for hurricane Katrina. This is going to be a major disaster.
EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA CONTINUES TO APPROACH THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA
DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL... LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
It has a nice logo. After more than a week that's the only nice thing I can think of about the Ford Pinto. I've searched the web, gone through my mental databank, and talked to other enthusiasts, all to no avail. It's the first car that's stumped me. Sorry Big Ford Fan, maybe if someone out there owns a Pinto and wants to take me for a ride I can come up with something!
The French are not very popular in the US today, and they make some quirky little automobiles that most Americans just don't understand. If you're feeling like some French motoring, but don't want to support the surrender monkeys, I've got the car for you!
It's the Renault GTA, designed by the French but built by UAW members in Wisconsin, it's French pastry baked by Yankees. Only made for one model year, 1987, it's a truly rare vehicle. It's 2.0 liter engine puts 95 horses to the ground, not exactly awe inspiring, but from all accounts the car's a hoot to drive.
If you actually consider purchasing a GTA, there's some things you'll need to know. Reliability, or lack of it, haunted the Renault Alliance, the basis for the GTA, which means you'll probably be doing repairs, often. Just getting the parts can be a challenge also. Are you up to it?
The first one is always special. It matters not what kind of car it is, the fact that it's yours is what makes it significant. Ideally, it should be something that you've worked for, sweat and tears, scrimping and saving every penny until the day of attainment arrives. If your parents outright buy it for you, it's just not the same and your appreciation is diminished as a result.
Good ole' American Iron
Powder blue was her color. The engine bay housed a 302 cubic inch V8 mated to a four speed automatic transmission. Not a Ford Mustang, my first baby was a 1977 Ford Granada 2-door coupe, a vehicle that ford touted as a domestic equivalent of a Mercedes-Benz. Ad agency hyperbole aside, she was a sweet ride to this once 16 year old driver.
Click for larger view
A decade had passed under her tires by the time she resided in my driveway, which in northeast Ohio meant rust. It wasn't too bad, but it did irk the hell out of me. I purchased chrome polish to try and remove the surface corrosion from the bumpers, and it polished so well it removed the chrome itself. It was your typical blue-haired old lady car, never venturing far from the Cleveland area. Never abused, she was broken in gently and thus balked at the heavier right foot of it's new owner. Full throttle produced a plume of black smoke from the exhaust, but damn did that V8 sound sweet.
If only mine looked this good
I can still remember sweltering summer days spent detailing my precious, caressing the sheetmetal. The vinyl bench seat was splitting in a couple of areas, so my first "mod" was a set of seat covers. My next mod was much more radical, the quintessential late 80's accessory, a suction cup Garfield on the driver's side opera window. I was cruising in style!
Vinyl was king in those days
Two years of my life were spent with that car, taking me through high school and my formtive driving years. I learned what hydroplaning was, how to get unstuck in snow by using the floormats, the unadulterated joy of donuts on an empty parking lot in winter, and that E really does stand for empty. Never once did she fail me, a miracle for a late 70's domestic model.
One day I'm going to buy another Granada and restore her to her original glory, reunited once again with my first car.
It all has to start somewhere. The spark that ignites a lifelong passion. For me it was my parent's 1981 Toyota Celica. They also owned an inferno orange Ford Pinto, and it was these two cars that shaped the foundation of my automotive enthusiasm.
Mercury Bobcat, sister to the Ford Pinto
The Pinto was a perfect example of everything that was wrong with Detroit in the late 70's. Being twelve years old meant a lot of backseat time, and the Pinto was as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist. It was cheap, bargain basement cheap, apparently the designers believed that no one would actually ride in the back, that, or someone at the factory forget to install a lot of trim pieces.
Bobcat cockpit, more luxurious than the Pinto
The occasions where my father let me "drive" while sitting on his lap only highlighted the dreary cockpit. Somehow my dad had purchased this abomination, and I never understood why.
Toyota Celica (It's a 1978, not a 1981, but close enough)
The Celica was always the preferred method of transportation. The interior was trimmed in black, just like the Pinto, but here the materials and design communicated an attention to detail that the Ford lacked. Thought and regard for the passengers had guided the creation of the cockpit, and even a twleve year old kid could tell. The instrument cluster even contained a tachometer and a clock!
This is more like it
Riding in the Pinto always came with a dose of shame, the feeling that somehow my parents were duped into the acquisition, whereas the Celica was always a source of pride. That little car was the beginning, an introduction to he world of the automobile and the joys it can bring to life. I owe that car a lot.
Showing once again that enviromentalists really don't get it, they're vowing to continue to fight the dual fuel vehicles program. Dual fuel vehicles can run on gasoline and another fuel, usualy ethanol, giving consumers the ability to use gasoline in case they can't find the alternative fuel. Problem is, apparently 99% of the time these cars are using gasoline "due to the lack of availability of other fuels."
Somehow this is the fault of the automakers. They get a credit for CAFE for every dual fuel vehicle they sell, so they must be oppressing the availability of alternative fuels! The fault, as always happens in a free economy, lies with consumers. If there was a demand for alternative fuels, there would be more places to get the stuff. Logically wouldn't these groups efforts be better spent on educating consumers about the availability of dual fuel vehicles to create a demand for alternative fuels? Nah, it's easier to blame someone else and bitch about it than to actually do something about the problem.
In 1989 The Ford Probe debuted, and in the minds of many there was a blemish on an otherwise sleek design. On the hood were two small bulges, giving clearance for the shock towers , apparently the design team wanted a lower hood than was possible and decided it was easier to fit the bulges rather than redesign the suspension.
The next year the trio from Normal, Illinois arrived, the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon, and PLymouth Laser. If you opted for a turbocharged version, you received a car with a prominent bulge on the driver's side of the hood, again a measure to allow clearance, this time for the turbo. Strangely, this "Power Bulge" ended up being a standar feature on every model of the Diamond Star coupes, with or without the turbo. The blemish had become a performance statement. Was the bulge here to stay? Not quite.
It was used on a few more cars, like the Chrsyler P-Bodies, but was soon to fade. Probably viewed as the automotive eqivalent of acne by designers, the bulge quickly died away, a shame too. People really seemed to like 'em.
V-6, an alphanumeric combination that promises speed an smoothness, especially compared to the lowly I-4 (inline four). In the automotive kingdom, V-6 is almost never associated with economy models, but Chrysler did exactly that with the Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance Duster, the P-Bodies.
For the enthusiast there's only two models that need to be considered, the SHadow ES and Sundance Duster. Equipped with Mitsubishi's 3.0 Liter V-6, and a stiffer suspension with upgraded tires, they're not the most stylish sedans available, but make very good pocket rockets.
The Duster usually came in darker colors, making it Plymouth's version of the Stealth fighter, a sneaky package that can keep up with Mustangs and Camaro's if handled correctly, all without the go-go graphics and looks that cause a policeman's hand to reflexively go for his ticketbook. P is definitely for possibilities when it comes to the P-Bodies.
You would think that Canada would have the same brands as the United States when it comes to cars, but that's not been the case. Ford had three marques that were not available in the US, the Meteor, the Monarch, and the Frontenac. They were all dead by the 1970's, and you never hear about them today. Weird, eh?
Here at RIDE we believe cars should be fun. Our version of fun follows the less is more theory. The Mazda Miata is the classic example, fun because it handles well, not because it uses brute force to overcome inertia.
It's not a very popular theme in America, where no replacement for displacement seems to be the 11th commandment. Being a student at NADC (Nashville Auto Diesel College), I run into this all the time. My classmates and I were talking about cars, and I mentioned the Mada MX-3 with the 1.8 liter V6. Lithe and light, it's a car that lives for the corners. The reaction I received was that the car sucked, when you hit the gas pedal it didn't push you back into your seat. They're the type of car nuts who would stuff a domestic V8 into a Mazda RX7, destroying the near 50/50 weight distribution in favor of horsepower.
They have no idea what fun is to be had by taking a car near it's handling limits. Fast in a straight line is fun, for a little while, but like life itelf, there's always a curve up ahead. A two ton muscle car is subject to the same laws of physics that a Mazda Miata is, no matter how many ponies are under the hood.