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Monday, 25 February 2013


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The Canadian three-wheeler must have been a V13R from Campagna (http://www.campagnamotors.com/). They also make the T-Rex since 1995.
And to tie with yesterday's post, they just signed an agreement with BMW for the development of new vehicles.

Hey now! I own one of those cat-cars.

I'll admit it's a bit smiley, but, overall, the styling is quite nice and a lot better looking then anything else in its class.

The 6 does look like a nice evolution of Mazda's design philosophy.

[The 3 is a very good car actually. --Mike]

"Fiat Abarths are nicer than I thought they'd be, too, but who are those cars for?"

If my wife is anything to go by, the answer is: "Italian expats living in the US who yearn for something similar to the 500s of their youth..."

That has to be a big market, right?

VW just reintroduced a new Golf in Europe but those have not yet crossed the Atlantic. No word on when they will get here (a shame because the new frame and features look nice) but it would make no sense to show a line that is on late-stage life support.

The best thing about the Fiat Abarth is this ad:


I read to the end... Happy Birthday Mike !

Mike, forgive me for being totally off topic. But today I figured I'd know what your topic would be as you usually report on such happenings. According to an obituary in the NY Times this weekend, a very famous photographer passed away, one who had over 1800 covers in magazines the world over. Shame on you. ;-)

Happy Birthday, Mike. May it be picture perfect.

If you run into the VW guys talk them into bringing in Diesel VW Pickups to the US. I like a small pickup with 45+ mpg.


Doesn't get any better than this for a car guy.

They certainly don't make them like that anymore.

This man Owned & Drove Same Car for 82 YEARS.
Can you imagine having the same car for 82 years!
"How Long Have You Owned a Car?"
Mr. Allen Swift ( Springfield , MA.) received this 1928
-Royce Piccadilly-P1 Roadster from his father, brand new - as a
graduation gift in 1928.
He drove it up until his death last year.....at the age of 102 !!!
He was the oldest living owner of a car that was purchased new.
Just thought you'd like to see it.
It was donated to a Springfield museum after his death.
It has 1,070,000 miles on it, still runs like a Swiss watch, dead silent at any speed and is in perfect cosmetic condition. (82 years). That's approximately 13,048 miles per year (1087 per month)...

1,070,000 that's miles not kilometers!!

That's British engineering of a by gone era. I don't think they make them like that any more.

The FIAT 500, Abarth or not, has "Buy Me" written all over it. Some people get this, others don't. That's ok. :)

Happy birthday, Mike.

I have dreams about those AMG Mercedes wagons...having been lucky enough to drive an import BMW M5 wagon, which I'm pretty sure was powered by satan's horses on meth, the AMG just seems even more so delightfully insane. But there's just something about a car that hit such speeds, carry so much, and be able to hold a tripod in the back, fully extended.

Cadillac CTS V wagons are pretty sporty.

556 horsepower, 551 FP of torque, and ugly.

How nice to see a "proletariat" photographer. How may "internet stars" would think to show next to a bunch of cars. Actually, Mr. Ferderbar there is kinda slick considering the money involved in some of those car shows.

"Fiat Abarths are nicer than I thought they'd be, too, but who are those cars for? ... [and] It's my birthday today"

I used to have a Fiat Abarth (the way they used to be made - a modified 600D with Abarth camshaft and other components) Great car, got it up to 116mph once - so I might be one of those potential buyers - if my current Sienna wasn't so practical and in such great shape ... and it was my birthday (74) yesterday. So happy birthday to us both.

I looked at a Fiat Abarth last summer. It was just curiosity; I was in the market for a new car and it didn't fit the bill of particulars. However, the dealer had one that was sold and prepped for delivery (none to drive) and we started it up in the enclosed garage. I have say that once I heard that thing, I began to rationalize one. Went home and took a cold shower...

I almost missed your note near the end - happy birthday! I think birthdays should be a day where you get to do whatever you want, and it sounds like you've found just the thing. I hope someone throws a cheek-reddening, public happy birthday song your way, too.

Dear Mike,

Given how little I care about cars, I skimmed the second half of your article very, very casually and with only one quarter of an eye.

Which is why it grabbed my attention to learn there was a car named the "Fat Albert."

Peripheral vision comes up with the damnedest spoonerisms.

pax / Ctein

Happy birthday Mike, it's also my wife's birthday today. So if you had to choose between the GX1 or the D800 which would you choose?

[I think I'd need help from Goldilocks.... --Mike]

You used to be able to avoid the weird Mazda styling by buying them labeled as a Ford or Volvo, but this paintjob on the 6 sort of fixes the styling
I like plaid!

Perhaps plaid would look better than houndstooth, but they don't seem to sell a station wagon in the US

Fiat 500s are all over the place in my neighborhood, but then again there are a handful of die hard Peugeot and Citrons drivers here in Brooklyn.

I'll say it.

Happy Birthday


Here in the UK the 500's - and esp. the Arbarth model - seem really popular - the basic 500 is a bit girly, but the Arbarth seems to have got past that. I think where BMW got it wrong with the "new mini", Fiat got it spot on.

Nothing much wrong with the new Mini as a car, but it doesn't really capture the spirit of the original, whereas the 500 is spot on.



The part about the Ansel Adams workshop caught my eye. Amazing price! I attended Ansel's workshop in 1977 where he taught several classes. Karsh was on faculty for that workshop (still have a portrait he made of me on Polaroid Type 52), as was Bob Kilbrenner. By that time, the price had ballooned to $177 USD for the 10 day workshop!

Re the link back the car-ezzthetics post comparing the look of the 2010 Mazda 3 to the Cheshire Cat.

Last night's Top Gear pointed out the frowny look of the new 2013 Mini Paceman with the Hamster (Richard Hammond) doing a very passable imitation of it ...

Mini (i.e. BMW) does seem to be mangling the mini's ezzthetiks.

In case the image is mangled see this link


A Fiat Arbath is a good excuse to take the longest route between two urban points. Particularly if the roads are narrow, twisty, and punctuated with good places to stop for a cappuccino. People who live in grid-pattern cities with freeways don't know what they're missing.

Wish I owned one!

The Mazda 6 color is called "Blue Reflex".

Interesting color names on the 6...

Soul Red
Jet Black
Blue Reflex
Meteor Grey
Snowflake White Pearl
Liquid Silver

I always wondered if names like that really have a marketing effect.

Happy birthday, Mike!

I like the Fiat Arbarth, and if I needed a car here in Hong Kong I would be in like a shot. Drove one a while back. Great car. No, outstanding car.

Saw the elderly vehicles and wondered if somebody had placed a drop pan unde reach wheeled device as that is carpet and motor vehicles do drip fluids. Even nicenew show cars!

Then again the comment one older friend of mine said to me the other day: "BMW do they also make motorcycles?"

BMW: Bring More Wampum (after a regular service)
BMW: Be my Witness (after shooting the service deak person when the bill for an oil and filter change were presented)
BMW: under acronyms...many others, not complimentary...

Then again MIke, you had a Benz, what didn't you like with the alternative?

The AMG Mercedes are indeed brutish. I remember that a few years ago Audi, BMW and Merc all announced that the horsepower wars were over - it was getting silly. Hmmm.... S8 520 HP, M5 540, S63 571. At least Merc are sensible to limit the C63 to a mere 487 HP.

That's not silly, is it?
P.S. These are European specs, US models might be a bit weedier.

Another happy owner of the "cat car" (Mazda 3) here. First, this is an amazing car, especially for the money: minimal body roll, very precise steering, firm but not punishing suspension etc. These are the things that come to mind when I think of my car. Second, the taste of the American public (Canadian too?) in car designs is, shall we say, different than in other countries. I, for one, actually liked the shape of this car http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scion_xB (first generation's) while strongly disliking the shape of this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camaro (esp. the ones from the '70s). I suspect most Americans took the opposite view.

You just wrote a long post about how much you miss light, simple, powerful, purposeful, agile, affordable small cars. Now you can't figure out who would want an Abarth.

Mark my words: you'll be writing a post in ten years telling us that the new Abarths aren't as good, and that you should have bought one when you had the chance.

I like Green!

Here is a picture of Mr. Allen Swift and his car. I bet it was made in Springfield.

From the Rolls Royce site:
In 1919, the company incorporated as Rolls-Royce of America and acquired its first US manufacturing plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. Production began the following year. By 1923, Rolls-Royce presence in the U.S. was substantial, with offices in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Cleveland, Hartford and Troy, NY, in addition to the original office in New York City. The company was further represented in 16 cities across North America. Rolls-Royce of America Inc. manufactured nearly 3000 Silver Ghosts and Phantoms before succumbing to the Depression. To this day, Springfield is the only place outside England that Rolls-Royce cars have ever been built.

Two visits to an auto show! Sounds like me, with my two annual visits to the San Francisco show. Mazda only had a couple of years of stupid styling courtesy of the guy with the unpronounceable name. Before that they were very solid. And since they seem even better. I like the interesting lines leading from the hood to the headlights on the 6. Their grilles are a bit large, but at least they aren't a ridiculous shape (see Lexus).

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