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Blair StoverWhat makes a “classic” car?  Some people go by age, others by popularity, still others by personal preference.  While there is no tried-and-true definition for classic cars, here are ten that have been defined in one way or another as classics.  You may not believe some of the cars that made this list!

  1. 1973 AMC Javelin.  This is a true muscle car that may allow you to get in on the ground floor of classic car collecting at a reasonable price.  It looks a bit like a Mustang and a bit like a GTO, but what it really looks like is a unique type of classic vehicle you will be proud to drive to the next auto show!
  2. 1958 AMC Metropolitan.  If you want the 1950′s look in a car that is harder to find than the usually Chevys and Studebakers, take a look at the Metropolitan.  Available in a two-door hardtop with an inline four engine, this car runs like a dream and looks like one, too.
  3. 1974 International 1/2-Ton pickup.  International was a “farm brand” that put out huge heavy-duty vehicles.  Own a piece of American history with one of these great pickups like the 1974 1/2-ton version.  The clean lines and powerful engine performance will show you why these were favorites for real working farmers for many years.
  4. 1965 Shelby Cobra replica.  Looking for a great way to own a replica of some of the most famous muscle cars in history?  Check out Shelby, a replica maker of the most common “muscle” and sports cars throughout history.
  5. 1980 Triumph Spitfire.  The newer versions of the Spitfire are a bit more aerodynamic and sleek than the boxy older models.  A 1980 version is beautiful and looks a bit like a classic Corvette with its rounded convertible design.

What makes a classic car is difficult to define.  Ultimately, it comes down to what you consider to be desirable.  After all, the most meticulously maintained classic car is worth nothing if no one else wants to buy it!  Fortunately, there are buyers out there for almost any type of car you may have; likewise, there are sellers offering whatever type of classic car tickles your fancy.  The trick is simply locating the buyers or sellers who share your enthusiasm for a particular made and model of car!

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25
March
Blair Stover

Blair Stover

Every so often, a story emerges that causes classic car owners everywhere to shake their heads and hug their own collection a little closer, no matter what type of car they usually favor. This was the case when tragedy struck a Corvette museum recently, seriously damaging several of the facility’s finest cars.

The trouble started last month when a sinkhole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, swallowing eight classic Corvettes. Work began immediately to recover the vehicles and one, the 2009 Corvette ZR1 “Blue Devil,” was pulled from the hole and was able to drive away with only superficial damage.

The 1993 40th Anniversary Ruby Red Corvette was also saved, as well as the 1962 Vette, following a difficult extraction in which workers toiled for long hours to save the vehicle from being crushed. The one millionth Corvette built, a 1992 convertible, was also removed from the hole.

All of the cars are capable of restoration, but the museum is facing a long road. The visible damage alone is enough to make a true auto buff weep, whether Corvettes are your true love or not. The ’62 Vette was found wedged between two heavy slabs of concrete, and the 40th Anniversary Car was completely shattered with damage to every visible body panel. The car to fare the worst so far has been the 1984 Corvette PPG Pace Car, a one-off vehicle that was “karate chopped” by a descending slab of concrete. The rear panels were completely ripped away from the body and the front fascia was similarly torn apart.

Ultimately, GM has said it will stand good for the repairs to bring all the cars back to their original condition. However, as any true auto aficionado knows, things are never the same once a class car is damaged. While the museum is no doubt grateful for GM’s offer, there has to be a certain feeling of sadness and of “gluing the vase back together” that means the cars will never truly be “mint condition” again.

On the other hand, there are also positive takeaways from a disaster, and one of them is the proof of resilience evidenced by museum owners and Corvette lovers in this case. The refusal to give up and the ultimate triumph of extracting these cars could be a ready-made symbol of the spirit that drives us all to pursue our passions, even in the face of adversity.

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The 2014 models have been out for some time, and everyone seems to have his or her favorite. According to several sources, there are some surprising newcomers in the “Top 10” favorites list this year as well as some old standbys. Here are some vehicles that experts believe are worth a look if you are shopping for a new car this year.

Blair StoverThe Ford Fusion. No surprises here; Ford’s small, gas-friendly vehicle has consistently been a favorite since its initial release. Comfortable but not pretentious, this is a great vehicle for a college student or a second family car. The interior can feel a bit cramped for larger passengers.

The Mazda 6. If you are looking for a small sedan that is great on gas mileage, the all-new design of the Mazda 6 should have you jumping for joy. You do not have to settle for boring and blah, apparently, to get great fuel economy! The new 6 is stylish, sleek and aerodynamic with an upscale interior. One downside, however, is that there is no hybrid or all-wheel drive version.

The Chrysler 300. When you are ready to graduate to the big-boy group, this iconic car might be your choice. Rear-wheel drive, 20-inch wheels and an optional V-8 five-speed make this more than just a “grandma ride.”

The Kia Cadenza. Have you not heard of the Cadenza? That is fine—most people have not. This well-kept secret offers a beautiful ride and upscale appearance for a relatively modest price. If you do not mind driving a Kia, you will spend about half of what you would have spent on a “luxury” vehicle with basically the same performance.

The Honda CR-V. If you are looking for a simple good ride, it is hard to beat the flexibility of the Honda CR-V. Roomy and comfortable, this mini-SUV boasts much better gas mileage than its bigger brothers.

GMC Yukon. This big, bad SUV is taking it to new levels of luxury for those who simply cannot give up the full-sized SUV experience. Unfortunately, its gas mileage is not anything to write home about, but for carrying large numbers of people, it is hard to beat this behemoth.

The Audi8. As long as we are dreaming, here is the epitome of luxury: the Audi A8. The largest of Audi’s prestigious A Line, this car features tons of room and performance that is unparalleled. However, its $100K-plus price tag might cause a bit of sticker shock.

Share your favorite new or old vehicle with us!

 

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Blair StoverUsed car prices are lower than ever and they may go even lower in 2014. New car buyers are flooding showrooms and that means prices for used cars are falling, in so much that they’ve hit a four-year low. Blair Stover has more on why used car prices are dropping below.

Experts say that prices will fall even more in 2014 as people trade in their cars for new cars. Used cars and their expiring leases will be flooding car lots. Average used cars sell for a little over $15,600 at franchised dealerships, the lowest it has been in four years according to Edmunds.com. Since the beginning of the year, prices have been steadily dropping and they are expected to continue.

Here is why prices are falling:

The truth is that as long as new car sales are strong, used car prices will drop. It is that simple. If you are in the market for a new car, now is the time to start looking. Particularly as prices on used cars mean numerous deals to be found.

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10
December

How the Bailout Helped

Written by Blair Stover. No comments Posted in: Cars
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Looking south above Interstate 80, the Eastsho...

Looking south above Interstate 80, the Eastshore Freeway, near Berkeley, California on a Saturday afternoon. Picture taken by Minesweeper on May 14, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been reported that the still controversial auto bailout helped the industry in the end. Blair Stover shares how reports are showing the auto bailout saved nearly 1.5 million jobs, and possibly made $50,000 on each one.

A recent study shows that the bailouts of 2008-2009 in the auto industry cost the United States less than $12,000 per job since 2009. On the flip side, these employees have contributed over $105 billion in taxes to the government, resulting in a net gain of about $59,000 each.

The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) conducted this study, and it was reported by NBC news. NBC news calculated the loans auto companies received from the government and the effect they had. The loans were awarded under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). CAR found that the $79.9 billion in loans allowed the prevention of immediate job loss for 2.63 million Americans in 2009. It is estimated that of those 2.63 million, 1.5 million would have still been out of work in 2010. Contrarily, since January 2009, the entire job addition nationally holds at 2.34 million, inclusive of the estimated number of job additions in November.

However, the U.S. has not yet recovered every job lost since January 2008. But, the hole would be 2.78 million jobs deep rather than 1.28 million jobs deep if the 1.5 million jobs were missing. TARP funds over time, meaning the repayment and spending of funds are tracked by the Treasury Department. As of this month, $10.9 billion is considered still outstanding, as $62.2 billion has been repaid.

So while the bailout still remains controversial, quite a few owe their job to the action, and in the end the bailout may have been a lifesaver for a large industry in a still shaky economy.

What are your thoughts on the topic?

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Over the past many decades, New York City subway cars have become quite a predictable space. One can expect to find benches or seats, along with poles to grasp, with slight variations.

An entry way into the subway station at Times ...

An entry way into the subway station at Times Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If one is unable to find a seat, or wanting to avoid what are often impromptu musical performances, they are just out of luck until the next stop. Blair Stover reports that this may be changing. A vision of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have envisioned a subway car for the future. In their vision, New Yorkers will be offered an out. Thus, putting an end to the era of captive car population.

A 142-page document was created by the officials which outlines necessities for the next 20 years. In the documents, benefits of articulated trains were noted by the authority. These are similar to accordion-style buses, having no doors between the cars. This allows unrestricted flow throughout the stretch of the subway.

Although articulated train cars are included in the report, there is no guarantee the cars will be reaching the rails anytime soon. Or, that they will reach the rails at all, for that matter. The cost comparison of the articulated cars with non-articulated cars was not clear. However, the authority seems poised to consider this change for the first time in history. Such models have been adopted in cities like Toronto, Paris, and Berlin.

The spokesperson for the authority, Adam Lisberg, stated that an increased capacity may well improve “dwell time”, the period a train is stopped at a station due to overcrowding. Therefore, more trains would be allowed to run.

Whether these cars appear or not remains to be seen. For now, New Yorkers will just have to grin and bear it when it comes to switching cars.

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Rear View Camera of the Ford Taurus 2010.

Rear View Camera of the Ford Taurus 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Safety advocates filed a lawsuit demanding that federal act on rules to require rear-view cameras in new cars. It is reported by Blair Stover that on that very same day, there was an announcement by the government that it will make cameras in new vehicles a “recommended feature”.

It is reported by safety advocates that they are fed up with the current administration delaying implementation of a law from 2008 requiring rear-view cameras in cars by 2011. Safety advocate Susan Auriemma explains that by making the feature only a recommendation, it is simply an option for carmakers and not a requirement.

Auriemma knows the importance of cameras first-hand. Her own three-year-old daughter darted behind her car in 2005 as she was backing up. Each year, on average, two hundred ten deaths occur from similar circumstances. Most of the children involved are only one or two-years-old.

Luckily, Auriemma’s daughter, now eleven, survived. In light of her experience, she has become a safety advocate. She, alongside with three organizations, are currently suing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reasoning that it is dragging its feet on this issue and disregarding Congress by not passing a rule for these rear-view cameras.

The auto industry reports that over half of new cars are equipped with some sort of backup feature. These features include beeping systems as a car gets too close to an object, or automatic breaks (without the driver breaking) which stops the car if it gets too close to an object. The industry stands by the consumer’s choice, rather than government mandates, on whether to have a camera in their car. Requirement of cameras would add to the cost of a car in the range of $58-$203.

The battle has yet to play out, yet what do you think: should rear view cameras a requirement or are you not sold on their effectiveness just yet?

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Blair StoverThe thought of having a car drive for you is scary, but people are warming up to the idea. In fact, just a few years ago, most people were condemning the thought. Not anymore.

According to a survey performed by Cisco earlier this year, people are warming up to the idea. Out of the participants surveyed, 57% of Americans said they would welcome the idea, followed by 70% of Chinese and 40% of people from the U.K. An eye-popping 95% of Brazilians wouldn’t mind it at all. As Blair Stover explains below, BMW is just one of the automakers on the list of driverless technology.

Both diesel versions of the new BMW X5 make this a flawless car. You might like the design changes more or less but what remains clear to most people is the driverless technology. It makes steering, braking and maneuvering in and out of traffic a breeze. The chassis quickly adapts to road and variable speed conditions, never causing you to look at the dashboard to change the program or take the wheel. Out on the road, the BMW X5 2013 behaves perfectly and the aerodynamics are sought above all its competitors.

When you sit behind the wheel of the new BMW X5 and start the engine, the first thing you notice is the enormous amount of information that is projected on the heads-up display. The car is capable of showing you the contacts in your address book and displaying radio programs. The car is equipped with Driving Assistant Plus, which includes highway traffic assistance.

BMW is one of the first in what will undoubtedly be a long line of driverless carmakers. What are your thoughts? Will you be looking into this technology or are you wary?

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11
September
BMW X1

BMW X1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September 2013 means that the Frankfurt Auto Show is knocking on the door. There are already many important innovations emerging, according to manufacturers: BMW is serious about the “Project i” series and the new Mercedes S-Class is hot off the line. Porsche is presenting its 991 Turbo making Frankfurt a home game this year for German manufacturers. However, don’t count out American and Japanese auto makers either. Blair Stover has more on the auto show below.

Apart from abound innovations and world premieres, Aston Martin shows that the Vanquish and Volante on the BMW stand next to the electric car and the new BMW X5 and the 4- F15 Coupe will be right on its heels. Hyundai, meanwhile, is considered as this year’s renewed subcompact car with the i10 series.

The auto show continues with M – as in Mercedes. A new star is born: The third branch of the A-Class, the small SUV GLA is to debut in Frankfurt and, its opponents – the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, take on the grain. For this, the AMG version of the new S-Class comes with no less than 585 hp. The new Mini F56 will be introduced in 2013 and the hybrid supercar Porsche 918 Spyder also becomes a befitting successor to the Carrera GT.

A few classes including the new Mazda3, looking to fight with the compact forward with the Insignia facelift and a chic Monza. Anticipation is higher than ever since technology is running rabid and smart cars have died down a little bit. Sleek and fast are starting to take over once again.

 

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With the launch of Ford Motor Co.’s hot-selling Fusion sedan, Blair Stover highlights the broad problem for all auto-makers in that there is an apparent shortage of cars. That is, cars that the consumers of America are wanting to buy.

“Honda_Cars_Car_dealership_Tokorozawa_Saitama”

“Honda_Cars_Car_dealership_Tokorozawa_Saitama” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As cars, such as the Nissan Sentra, improve their fuel economy shoppers are lured to them. The 2013 model Sentra was particularly popular, to the point that some California dealerships August report stated only one model of the Sentra could be found on their lot.

Similar reports come from Ohio Jeep dealerships. These business owners report having only half a dozen Jeep Wranglers and Jeep Cherokees on hand. Dealership owners find this frustrating as they indicate that they typically can sell more than that in one month’s time. Unfortunately, they are having a difficult time obtaining the automobiles in the numbers desired.

It is expected that automakers will soon report that light-truck and car sales rose in the United States by around 14% in August. This means in excess of 1.4 million vehicles, even accounting for shortages.

As a consumer, bargain prices are more difficult to obtain with limited supplies. This is true even as annual summer clearance sales traditionally take place. Sales incentives were reported at a decline of 2.6%, an average of $2,477, from last year. This marks the lowest level since January.

The United States auto industry recovery is seeing a new phase with this appearance of spot shortages. In 2009, car sales saw a low and have risen from there that past three years. During these years, car makers did not have difficulty keeping up with supply and demand in the market.

Will you be buying a new car this year, or you will wait out the shortages?

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