JOTD visited the New England International Auto show about a week ago and we wanted to share some of our impressions, takeaways, and general thoughts on the show itself and some of it’s more notable attendees.
The Audi RS3 looks even better in person than it does in publications (certain wheels aside). It has a presence beyond it’s size and it’s up there in the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” category with the older M5. Bonus points to Audi for making in tall-person friendly!
The Genesis lineup had a strong presence there and the cars did not fail to deliver. Interior fit and finish is very tight and overall material quality is excellent. I’m not saying they are on-par with the S-Class (yet), but at a fraction of the price, they are most definitely worth a serious look. We loved the look of the G80 Sport with the copper accents and aggressive wheels (pictured here), well done Hyun…errr…Genesis!
The new favorite of many automotive publications everywhere, the Kia Stinger, was there as well. Once again, pictures simply don’t do it justice. It looked great up on stage and not overly bedazzled as it might appear in pictures. The lines are aggressive but not overly so and we think it will age well, but the verdict on that will, obviously, have to wait.
The Lexus LC500’s taillights are an incredible detail on an already drop-dead gorgeous car, see for yourself.
While the new Ford Expedition does look the part of the big family-hauling, highway consuming behemoth with a handsome, masculine exterior, the interior was far from impressive. For a $70k truck, we’d expect more than a sea of hard black plastic for a dashboard (with a comparatively miniscule infotainment screen) and a few more luxuries to accompany it.
Where were Mercedes Benzand BMW in all this? Did they both decide to call in sick?
Nowadays, you have plenty of people out there breathing new life into old cars. The process of starting from scratch with a decrepit old shell of a car and bringing it back to former glory is a long road filled with media blasting and more cursing than you thought possible. What we’re seeing more of these days is shops and companies making a name for themselves producing NEW vehicles that are nearly identical to the vehicles of old that they are replicating. Some start with an old shell, others manufacture new bodies, but these companies are putting together some very high-quality vehicles that are commanding some very high prices to match. Here are some current leaders in this small world of factory “resto-mods” that we think you should pay attention to.
Singer: What do you do if you want the modern conveniences of a new Porsche, but lust after the mechanical, analog feel of an older 911. You get Singer, a California based shop that has completely changed the way people look at modifying classic cars. Put simply, this is the old 911 re-imagined for the 21st century. Every car is completely redone from frunk to whale-tail and the attention to detail is astounding. Expect to pay a pretty penny for a car that fits you like a glove and will put a smile on your face like nothing else can. It’s not chump change, but some would argue this is about as close to perfection as you can get.
Icon: The Toyota FJ40 has long been an icon (icon…get it?) in the off-roading community. The time-tested capability and reliability are second to none, and Icon has made a market for themselves building these older cruisers from scratch with modern amenities. You can even outfit your 2 door Icon with a 4 on the floor and a Chevy 350 if you so please. The craftsmanship that goes into turning one of the most rattle-filled (albeit rock-solid) trucks on the planet into something that you can tolerate driving on a daily basis is nothing short of incredible, and their pricing does reflect that. They not only work on the tried-and-true Toyota, but also turn out some show-stopping Broncos. But rest assured, if we had the budget, an Icon would be at the top of our list.
Eagle: If classic British motoring is a passion of yours and you’ve got some money burning a hole in the pocket of your Barbour jacket, look no further than the Eagle E-Type. Many argue that the Jaguar E-Type is the most beautiful car ever made (Enzo himself said that), and Eagle is hand building them as we speak (albeit in lower numbers than the original). However, each E-Type produced by Eagle is 100% handmade in their factory to very exacting standards. You can even custom build your own bespoke E-Type to your liking, does it get any better? Hard to believe that the most beautiful car on the road could be reimagined at all, but the folks at Eagle have definitely pulled it off.
Factory Five/Superformance: These two get lumped together often as producing some of the best replicas of the older American performance cars (Shelby Cobra, Daytona coupe etc.) Factory Five has a strong support base and allows you to build the car EXACTLY how you want it. If you are a backyard mechanic, however, your Cobra replica from Factory Five might not operate like a swiss watch. If you opt for the spend-ier Superformance, you get a car that was 100% put together in a factory with high quality parts that were made to go together, but as a result, you are paying up for that privilege. Whichever of these two you select for you gas-guzzling fix, you are sure to get a car more than capable of leaving some rubber on the pavement.
If you are in a position, and looking, to purchase something that’s unique, classic and modern all rolled up into one beautiful piece of sheet metal, look no further than these artists keeping classic cars alive.
What do you get when you take an average AWD family sedan and inject it with 8 cylinders that scream to a glorious redline of 8250 rpm? The answer, folks, is the Audi RS4. Long coveted by enthusiasts looking for subtle speed, the RS4 was the fastest variant of the B7 A4 platform and is no longer available in the states. We had the opportunity to glimpse one for sale out towards western Massachusetts, and it did not disappoint.
With an original MSRP of over $80,000, this particular example from 2008 is finished in the ever-popular Daytona Gray with just a hair over 75k miles. From the outset, it is clear this was a well-maintained car. Service receipts are plentiful, and creaks and rattles are basically non-existent. There are a few very minor blemishes on the car, but only ones you’ll spot if you’re really looking for them. But then again, vehicles like this were never meant to be center stage at a concours d’elegance, these cars were meant to be driven.
The interior shows some wear consistent with a nearly 10-year-old car, but there’s nothing that a little bit of TLC couldn’t fix. The white interior sets off the gray exterior nicely and could look almost brand new with a good leather treatment.
The car is located at Right Way Auto Sales in Southborough, MA and is listed at a very fair $29,995. Considering the level of refinement, gobs of power, and overall desirability of the RS4, the price is quite appealing. Here’s to hoping it finds a new home where the new owner will appreciate it for the wolf in sheep’s clothing that it is.
Auto enthusiasts and non-gearheads alike are wondering when the electric vehicle will become more mainstream. Tesla’s successful shattering of the “uncool” stigma that plagued EVs and hybrids of the past has many new startups trying to follow suit (yes, we’re talking about you, Faraday), and this has people wondering; what is standing in the way of electric cars taking over?
Well for one, there’s the lack of proper infrastructure. Many people are still married to the idea that they can simply jump into the car and drive wherever they like, limited only by the size of their bladders and frequency of gas stations along the way. The often innate desire to be able to drive across the country at the drop of a hat can be found deep in the recesses of their repressed wanderlust, and that very notion being limited is what hurts electric vehicles sales no matter how little it actually matters to the workaday commuter. The idea that once the needle hits “E”, there is no way to power back up in 5 minutes (unless you have carefully crafted your route around available charging stations) is a tough pill to swallow.
Batteries come to mind as another limitation. Their size, weight, and general lack of performance hinder what are otherwise very technologically advanced vehicles. Advances in battery technology to the point where they can last longer, weigh less, and offer up more overall performance will be needed to move more EVs from dealership lots and get the general population on board with accepting these vehicles as a viable alternative to traditional fossil fuel vehicles.
Until charging stations or battery swap locations are more actively subsidized and built at a more rapid pace to match the ambitions of major manufacturers, the majority of consumers will still pick the regular, fossil fuel burning auto over the futuristic EV as their primary mode of transport.
If you’ve been paying any attention lately, you’ve likely heard the buzz surrounding new versions of the Subaru BRZ and STI that are coming out. Well Subaru has finally released images of the STI Type RA (Record Attempt) and BRZ tS (tuned by STI) and, simply put, they look menacing.
Thanks to new pistons, cold air intake, exhaust and a retuned ECU, the RA will get a slight bump to 310 hp (up from the standard 305). A different 3rd gear ratio and removal of the spare tire make the car feel lighter and nimbler than previous years. 19″ BBS wheels wearing some sticky 245 section Yokohama tires round out the exterior package alongside some carbon fiber aero and subtle visual clues to let onlookers know this is not a standard STI.
The BRZ tS gets a host of suspension work and chassis stiffening. Sachs dampers and coil springs on all 4 corners coupled with V-bracing up front will undoubtedly make this an apex-slayer to the utmost degree. Add some lightweight 18″ wheels and some sticky 215 section tires in place of the old Prius-sized pizza cutters and you have a recipe for a knife-edge vehicle that will probably be quite happy at the road course.
Visual updates will be limited to some carbon fiber aero bits and some well-bolstered seats inside the cabin, but then again, it’s all about the go and not the show here.
We look forward to the release of pricing and detailed specs of these two new track-focused, pavement-hungry animals from the mad scientists inside Subaru’s STI division. They are expected to go on sale in early 2018 and well frankly, that can’t come soon enough!
For one reason or another, a vast majority of us will want a new car within a few years. A combination of getting bored with the current ride and the allure of a fresh new set of wheels has the average consumer buying a new car every 6.5 years (actually, a dramatic increase as of late). But out there right now is someone who has owned a car for decades and loved every minute of it, so what’s the magical combo that keeps a car interesting for that long?
For many, it’s the aftermarket support. Part of keeping a car for that long means that it’s always evolving – never truly finished, and that means LOTS of parts to be swapped in and out as tastes change. Whether that’s an abundance of wheels to try or 23 different types of exhausts to fit, the availability of aftermarket parts to keep rides looking up-to-date has always been a big part of the “it’s almost done, honey” perpetual project car.
A car that you always look back at when walking away, that’s when you know you’ve got something worth holding on to. Whether it’s a 2017 or a 1987, a car with timeless looks can be the difference between trading up to the latest and greatest and holding on to your prized possession because “everything was better in the 80s”. Of course, this is subjective, but a car that has captured your heart by way of your eyes is one that will usually be the object of your affection for quite some time.
What keeps you swooning over your car? Is it the former or the latter? If it’s one of the two, a combination of both, or something entirely different, leave your thoughts on what helps cars defy the odds and become un-sellable.
Every year seems to bring something new and exciting, and 2017 looks like it’s going to be no exception. From the “needs no introduction” Ford GT to a Mazda Miata hardtop enthusiasts have been pining for, manufacturers are really bringing their A games in technology, style, and performance. What we have here is a few of the vehicles we’ve been anticipating since the prototypes were released.
Mazda Miata RF: The RF stands for retractable fastback so while it is not the stiff, rigid and reworked coupe many enthusiasts would have hoped for, one can’t deny that it looks great and will keep drivers smiling for miles even in colder temps. It is without any major drivetrain changes, but why mess with perfection?
Bugatti Chiron: While you won’t hear anyone say that this is a completely new beast when compared to the Veyron, you can’t argue with the fact that is does look lot less bloated and more purposeful. While still utilizing the ground-pounding quad-turbo W16 engine from the Veyron, Bugatti says the new 1500 horsepower figure is enough to tie the 0-60 time of the Porsche 918 of 2.2 seconds. For those of us that loved the technological breakthrough that was the Veyron but didn’t care for the looks, prepare to open your wallets to the tune of 2.6 million dollars.
Ford GT: This re-work of the re-work of the LeMans winning vehicles of the 1960’s has probably received more press than any other vehicle being released in 2017. With Ford dialing back the cylinder count to 6 from 8, purists haven’t been afraid to vocalize their disappointment. But Ford is saying that this will pack over 600 horsepower and couple that with a lightweight, mostly carbon fiber chassis and you’ve got a recipe for a car that will be very happy at a track indeed.
Toyota Supra: Few vehicles are reveled by the tuner crowd than the Toyota Supra. From a manufacturer that produces some of the most reliable vehicles on the planet comes a car that produces reliable high power numbers. We don’t have many details on this concept pictured above, but if it is anything close to its predecessor, it will already have a cult-like following.
Acura NSX: You’ll be hard pressed to find a more recognizable name among JDM fans than the NSX. Long heralded as a handling and chassis benchmark for performance, the first generations delighted drivers with impeccable handling and a driver focused experience that beat most anything else on the road. This newest generation is staying true to its roots with V6 mounted amidships, but adds electric motors to the front wheels for a bit more kick. We’ll see if this new kid on the super car block can live up to the hype.
Volvo S90: The Swedes are going hunting for Germany car buyers with this all new luxury sedan dubbed the S90. A completely new platform for Volvo has this big Scandinavian boat riding smooth but also handling well according to most reviews, with enough pickup to get you into a little trouble. With a base price under $50k, this car could mean a big comeback for the beloved brand of safety-minded buyers.
Alfa Romeo Giulia: For those who think that the BMW e39 M5 was the best car to come out of the doors at Dingolfing, you might want to take a glance at the new Alfa. The Quadrifoglio model with a turbo 6 that offers up 505 horsepower going to the rear wheels via a true 6 speed manual is probably the closest thing we’ll see to a true driver’s sedan for years to come. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this is probably one of the prettiest cars to be coming out in 2017 either.
Cadillac XT5: A new crossover from Cadillac, how is that exciting? Well it is not so much about the vehicle itself as much as it is about the company as a whole. Cadillac struggles with the image that their cars are only driven by retirees and the XT5 is an attempt to shed that image. With less-than-stellar sales across the board, the XT5 needs to be a saving grace to help bring the manufacturer back from a slow decline.
Lincoln Continental: Lincoln finds itself in a similar situation as Cadillac in that they are trying to appeal to a different buyer, but the Continental is far from a vehicle for younger drivers. With big aspirations to take down the well-established German competition, Lincoln has re-worked the Continental with available AWD and an optional twin-turbo V6 pushing out 400 horsepower. Only time will tell if this all-American luxo-barge is up to the task.
While the boy racers of the world have been in an ongoing search for cheap power for what seems like thousands of years, there are still some out there that just want to enjoy their daily commute in a car that doesn’t empty the wallet. Well for those people, there are a couple of options out there for a reasonably priced, fun car that will make you the envy of the other road-goers.
1) Honda Civic Si: Everyone knows the Honda Civic as the boring, hum-drum sedan that runs forever and hasn’t gotten anybody’s heartbeat going any faster that a slow crawl in a couple decades. Well the Si is a tuned up version that has about 200hp and can turn any on-ramp onto something worth drooling over. It still retains that Honda reliability and won’t break the bank at the shop or the gas pump. Expect to pay somewhere around $15k or less for later year models with average mileage, with higher mileage or older examples going for less.
2) Subaru WRX: Probably one of the more popular cars with the tuner crowd, the Subaru has also gained a reputation as one of the best all-weather fun cars thanks to the legendary Subaru all-wheel-drive. As a cherry on top, they come in hatchback form for added practicality and get decent gas mileage considering how much they are oriented towards driving pleasure. They are not without their faults as they can be picky on which oil they like, and older early 2000’s models have weaker transmissions. Prices can vary significantly, but a good, mid 2000’s model can be found for around or under $15k depending on mileage, making it a fast but relatively affordable car.
3) Mazdaspeed 3 or 6: These left-field Mazda’s can be a little harder to find but when in good shape can be a lot of fun for a little money. The Mazdaspeed 6 was the fast version of the last Mazda 6 sedan and is no longer made, but the Mazdaspeed 3 was, and still is, a very popular alternative to the Subaru and others. As a bonus, they actually have very nice interiors for their class and size. You can also find the Mazdaspeed 6 in all-wheel-drive form making it all the more desirable for those who live in inclement weather states. If you can find them, expect to pay up to 18K for the well-cared for Mazdaspeed 3, and even more for the 6.
4) Volkswagen GTI: Well known as one of the best all-around hatchbacks thanks to its incredibly well appointed interior and the German fit and finish that other automakers can only dream of, the GTI is a very lively front wheel drive hatchback that has a little more character than its Japanese counterparts. Be wary though, these little firecrackers can cost a little more than average when they go in the shop as German cars in general are a little more difficult to work on. GTI’s can go for as low as $13K for 2010 model years, and up to $20K for newer vehicles.
5) Honda S2000: This was Honda’s attempt at making a fun, affordable, lightweight 2 door convertible for the “masses”. What we ended up with was a fun little screamer that handled well and looked great without sacrificing on reliability and convenience. Made with one of Honda’s well established 4 cylinder engines, and a true manual transmission, they have a comparable recipe for fun to the legendary Mazda Miata. They aren’t easy to find as they were never made in huge numbers, but if you can find one expect to pay around $20K for low mileage late model examples, with less pristine versions going for somewhere in the teens.
6) Ford Mustang GT: As the only American example here among those from foreign soil, the pony car holds its own with a 4.6 liter engine offering up over 300 horsepower in earlier iterations. As far as cheap power goes, it’s hard to find something that can keep up for this amount of money. As newer body styles keep coming, the older versions keep dropping in price, but don’t expect to get a lot of luxury for your money, this car is about a big motor powering the rear wheels and not much else. These will be easier to find with many examples on ebaymotors and similar sites, with models from around the late 2000’s going for a little under $20K.
7) Mazda Miata: We all know the little fun-loving roadster that is the Miata. Legendary handling, well balanced driving pleasure in a 2 door package, it truly is hard to beat. However, be wary when looking at used models as there is a good chance it has been tossed around a bit by the previous owner. They are generally pretty reliable, but never make that assumption when checking one out,always get a 2nd opinion. Prices are all over the map as they sold in high numbers through the years, so you can expect to pay over $20k for a late-model with low mileage, or around $6-8k for a well-used example with some wear and tear. If you are going for a newer model, the third generation’s engine received an update with a higher redline being a highlight.