Autoblog 2010: Some of our favorite features

We're like the proud parents of a newborn bundle of joy. We published about 6,800 individual posts in 2010, which is itself a pretty staggering statistic, but there are always a few that we're especially fond of. Whether we're making ill-informed buying decisions, traveling at triple-digit speeds in a supercar through Mexico with an official police escort, nearly careening off the side of a cliff on a motorcycle or driving the fastest production car in the world, we've had ourselves some good times in 2010.

Now, without further ado, click here to read some of the stories we're most proud of from 2010.

How Not to Buy a Project Vehicle: The tale of the 1975 International Pickup

1975 International Pickup Project Vehicle
1975 International Pickup Project Vehicle - Click above for high-res image gallery

Earlier this year, our own Zach Bowman (the world's foremost authority on poor decisions) decided he needed a project vehicle. He scoured Craigslist (it's like Krispy Kreme doughnuts dipped in crack cocaine for any connoisseur of bad ideas) and located one cherry International pickup truck (It quickly became obvious that we had progressed past the occasional red flag and into the factory that produces them for mass consumption.) It was the best decision of his life.

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AB Road Trip: Crossing Mexico on the trail of La Carrera Panamericana in a Mercedes SLS AMG

From Puebla to Oaxaca on the trail of La Carrera Panamericana in a Mercedes SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery

"With the increasingly well-publicized progression of drug wars, ransomings, robberies and, well, murders in Mexico, I thought it sensible to familiarize myself with the various government tourist advisory messages ahead of a trip retracing part of the route of La Carrera Panamericana, the famed Mexican road race that ran from 1950 to 1955. Regarded by many as the toughest and most dangerous race ever to take place, the perils of our run down memory lane were likely to be rather different than what was encountered in the '50s. Here are some excerpts of what we were told to expect:

Here are some excerpts of what we were told to expect:
• "Toll (cuota) highways should be used whenever possible, rather than less secure free (libre) roads, where armed robberies and carjacking are more frequent."
• "Large fire fights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico."
• "U.S. citizen visitors are encouraged to stay in the well-known tourist areas."
• "Mexican styles of driving and road safety standards are very different from those in North America. Police do not regularly patrol the highways. Be prepared for vehicles that fail to observe speed limits or indicate lane changes, and that do not stop at red lights."
• "Thefts occur regularly. You should dress down, avoid wearing or carrying expensive jewelry, and carry only small amounts of cash... try to blend in."
• "Be careful accepting food, drinks, invitations or rides from strangers or recent acquaintances."
• "Road conditions vary and can be poor in some areas. Dangerous curves, poorly marked signs and construction sites, roaming livestock, slow-moving or abandoned vehicles, and other obstacles pose hazards."
• "You are also strongly advised against borrowing a vehicle... drivers are legally responsible for their vehicle's contents, as well as for the legal status of passengers and the items carried by passengers."
Thankfully for you, dear reader, we aren't terribly proficient at heeding warnings, so a Mercedes-Benz invitation to borrow their spanking new (and clearly utterly inconspicuous) gullwing SLS AMG supercar and drive it through Mexico at a high rate of speed seemed downright reasonable and prudent. It also appeared to be an absurd amount of fun.

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Battle of the Sixes: Ford Mustang V6 takes on Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 and Nissan 370Z

V6 Sports Car Comparison – Click above for high-res image gallery

"Hyundai Genesis Coupe versus Nissan Z versus Ford Mustang V6. Looking at nothing but numbers, all three cars match up rather well. All have high-revving V6s that produce in excess of 300 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. Aside from their potent mills, each ride comes with prima facie sports car stuff: rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual gearboxes and some form of manufacturer-supplied go fast/stop fast parts. For instance, all three cars featured strut tower braces. Better yet, all three lie within 200 pounds of each other. So... which one is best? The answer may just surprise you.

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Retro Spin: 1988 BMW M5

25 Years After Launch, Original M5 Still Stirs The Soul

1988 BMW M5
1988 BMW M5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

"How would you like to drive a 1988 M5 up Highway 1?"

Well, you don't have to ask us twice. Was everything we hoped it would be?

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Review: 2010 Ural Patrol T takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'

2010 Ural Patrol T – click above for high-res image gallery

"I was still moving at a fairly good clip when I slammed into the fallen tree. I'd be more than happy to share the exact velocity that I was moving, but I can't. You see, I was kinda busy at that exact moment trying my darnedest not to plummet 50 feet down the side of a cliff in the mountains northeast of Seattle, Washington.

How and why did I end up in this harrowing predicament?

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Frank Sprongl weighs in on Travis Pastrana's Mt. Washington Auto Road record

Frank Sprongl in his Audi Quattro
Frank Sprongl in his 1983 Audi Quattro

"Frank Sprongl would like to chat with Travis Pastrana. You see, not long ago, Mr. Pastrana established a new record for driving up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Travis' time of six minutes and 20.47 seconds in a rally-prepped Subaru WRX STI bested the previous time laid down by Sprongl. In 1998, Frank Sprongl and his 1983 Audi Quattro S2 attacked the Auto Road and set an official record time of six minutes and 41.99 seconds.

"It's unofficial to begin with... it's basically just a test day and he did it with a co-driver and pace notes," states Sprongl. He adds, "The course has 76 turns and I ran it with no co-driver or notes, I memorized every turn." He further notes that the Auto Road had longer gravel sections when he made his official run. It has since received more paving.

In Frank Sprongl's opinion, this run is simply Red Bull and Travis performing a stunt for advertising. He does say that he believes Travis put in an amazing effort and it was certainly an excellent run... but was it official or not?

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Pikes Peak 2010: Tajima fastest man on the mountain, but ten minute mark remains unbroken

2010 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Click above for high-res image gallery

"I had a choice to make for the race day of this year's Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Do I stick to the more photogenic middle portions of the course or do I head to the finish line to potentially see history made? The decision was easy. If the infamous ten-minute mark was going to be broken, I wanted to be there to see the car at the checkered flag. After all, the chances seemed quite good. "Monster" Tajima had smashed the qualifying record the previous day and had looked incredibly fast during the practice sections. The track conditions and weather were ideal in the morning, and the first few groups showed plenty of promise.

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First Drive: 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Worth. Every. Penny.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport rear 3/4 view
2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport - Click above for high-res image gallery

"Current Veyron owners wanted a more dynamic, exciting driving experience," said Julius Kruta, Bugatti's Head of Tradition. "Most of the orders booked for the Super Sport are from current Veyron owners. They asked us for a car that felt more extreme." Is that even possible? We flew to Spain to find out. The short answer? Absolutely.

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