- Return of the SHO
- The 2010 Ford Taurus SHO isn't exactly what I had in mind all these years while waiting for Ford to realize its mistake and bring back the Super High Output Taurus. It's too big, its brakes suck, and there's no manual transmission available. That extra spark of magic that made the original so special is somehow just missing. All the same, I'm thankful that the SHO is back in showrooms and hoping Ford has some improvements planned that will make me more thankful next year.
- John Neff
- Wagon Redux
- Call it some kind of twisted automotive fetish, but I've always been a sucker for a wagon. Long out of favor with American buyers, it's heartening to see this segment returning to prominence with entries in just about every segment. Not crossovers either, but proper extended roof sedans with a gate out back. Although my weakness, the Dodge Magnum, hasn't faired well during this renaissance, there are still plenty of enthusiast options from Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Saab, Subaru, Volkswagen and even Acura coming next year.
- Frank Filipponio
Retirement Plan Shattering Depreciation!
- Retirement Plan Shattering Depreciation!
- 2009 has been rough. While maybe not the Great Depression 2.0 some pundits were predicting, both General Motors and Chrysler went belly up costing stockholders untold kazillions, and odds are your 401k lost 70% of it's value -– assuming you didn't cash it out to pay your iPhone bill. But do not fret car lovers, as bargains are everywhere! One team just brought a 1995 Mercedes-Benz S600 Coupe to the 24 Hours of LeMons. A car that cost $133,000 new 14 years ago was snatched up for $1,000! More realistically, E46 M3s, Corvette C5 Z06s and W12 VW Phaetons are simply yours for the taking. 2010 will be forever known as the year of "Or Best Offer!"
- Jonny Lieberman
Top Gear: Less Is Truly More
- Top Gear: Less Is Truly More
- Instead of being thankful for something we gearheads received this year, I’m actually grateful for something we didn’t get: an Americanized version of Top Gear. As a devotee of the BBC series, this may seem like a strange thing to be pleased about, but hear me out.
Having seen the other international iterations of Top Gear, they simply don’t come anywhere close to the genuine article. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May not only have the sort of unassailable chemistry that would be nigh unto impossible to duplicate, British social and broadcast standards give them carte blanche to call a spade a spade – or call a Ssangyong a piece of crap. None of which would ever have flied on advertising-driven NBC. And there are plenty of other reasons why the series wouldn’t have worked, including the fact that network’s lawyers, the FCC, and nanny-state handwringers would ensure that stunts and races would be blunted, muzzled altogether, or at the very least wallpapered in obnoxious “Do not try this at home” disclaimers.
Yes, Autoblog faithful – we have much to be thankful for this year. Including the fact that Eric Stromer will never, ever get the chance to play the role of Captain Slow.
- Chris Paukert
Green Behind the Iron Curtain
- Green Behind the Iron Curtain
- One of the weirdest bits of tradition/nostalgia in the automotive industry extends to the Trabant. I mean, this is the car that defined East Germany, and not in a good way. Growing up, I heard once that the body was made out of cardboard. Turns out the automotive symbol of all that's wrong with centralized planning actually used Duroplast, a type of recycled material made from cotton waste and phenol resins. While we can't call the Trabbi the original green car, I'm thankful that there's a chance the iconic shape will be turned into an all-electric production vehicle with the Trabant nT. I mean, if you can sell over three million crappy versions to a captive audience, imagine what you can do with today's slick marketing to tug on all those heart strings.
- Sebastian Blanco
The Manual Transmission Option
- The Manual Transmission Option
- Today’s dual-clutch automatic gearboxes are faster, smoother and more efficient than any human operator. In spite of that, I applaud the automakers that still find a few dollars left in the development budget to satisfy the enthusiasts who crave manual-transmission variants of models like the Dodge Challenger SRT8, Porsche 911 Turbo and Cadillac CTS-V.
- Michael Harley
Stable Condition for U.S. Auto Industry
- Stable Condition for U.S. Auto Industry
- I am thankful that America still has an auto industry. Lost in the cries of "Let them fail!" from the ignorant multitudes was the truly frightening fact that a GM total failure, let alone a concurrent Chrysler implosion, would have brought down Ford, virtually the entire U.S. supply base and, as a result, nearly all U.S. production by transplant automakers, not to mention the continuing chain of dominoes that are the auto dealers and other businesses large and small throughout this country that depend on the auto industry and its employees for survival. I am thankful that at least a modest number of the forgotten workers, the college educated, incredibly dedicated and hard-working white-collar men and women who are neither executives nor union members still have jobs in this critically important industry. And I am thankful that, despite this country's and its business-ignorant government's indifference and (too often) hostility to it, our domestic auto industry is showing signs that it just might survive and someday prosper again, to the benefit of all of us.
- Gary Witzenburg
Bring on the EVs
- Bring on the EVs
- As someone with a strong desire to see transportation move beyond fossil fuels, it's been great watching the progress electric vehicles (EVs) have made this year. Not only are they getting lots of love at the major auto shows, but hundreds have begun trickling their way into driveways, presaging next year's veritable flood. All this in spite of a less-than-stellar economy and relatively cheap gas. The only thing that warms my automotive cockles more (so to speak) than EVs on the road is EVs on the track and this year's thoroughly enjoyable TTXGP only piques my appetite for more carbon-free racing.
- Domenick Yoney
Rebirth of the Turbocharger
- Rebirth of the Turbocharger
- I love big engines and ridiculous power numbers, but there will always be a place in my heart for the turbocharged engine. But for years all the great boosted powerplants resided in Europe while our hi-po engines contained eight cylinders and, typically, a heavy, clumsy nose. But with the ever-rising price of petrol, the power paradigm is now shifting to smaller engines with direct injection and my beloved turbos. Who can argue with more effiency, more power and flatter torque curves? And although 2009 seems to be but the beginning of a very exciting trend, we've already been blessed with the Genesis Coupe 2.0T, Ford's quartet of EcoBoost-powered 3.5-liter twin turbos, the 550-hp twin-boosted 4.4-liter monster under the hood of the BMW X5 M and X6 M and the optional 2.8T underpinning the 2010 Cadillac SRX. And this Thanksgiving as I'm jamming 10 psi of turducken into my gullet, I'm going to look forward to the many smaller and more efficient turbo engines coming to a dealer showroom in 2010.
- Chris Shunk