Why Four Door?

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These are two of the four sedans that I have owned.

Growing up I really liked the BMW 3 series, specifically the sedan. I also liked the 5 series and while walking home from school everyday in 7th grade, which was around 2001, I would pass a BMW M5 that was parked in front of a local furniture store. A Volvo S60 was also parked there on the days the M5 wasn’t there and I’ll have another blog with reference to that in the future. But, the styling of the BMW with the four headlights, muscular and toned panels, and accurate proportions appealed to me as the utmost perfection in sedan design. It was also and incredible performing vehicle and as their slogan said back then, it was the “ultimate driving machine.”

I have mentioned a few cars, sedans specifically, that I grew up with a keen eye for. Knowing I probably couldn’t afford a BMW, which I couldn’t, I tried to reason with myself that maybe I could get my parents to buy me something that looked like it. The Mitsubishi Diamante was one of those cars. It has the four headlights up front, stylish body work, and great proportions.

The second car around 2001 that fit the bill was a Lincoln LS. Again, four headlights, luxurious yet sporty looking, and it had a complementing stance with proper ratios. Someone who attended the church my family went to had one, and it was always a delight pulling into the parking lot on Sunday morning and seeing that awesome silver sedan.

I was never able to convince my parents to get me any of those cars by the time I was able to drive. I was never able to save up to buy anything myself either. But, it these cars were iconic to me and to this day, I believe they fit my personality very well. They are still some of the most wonderfully designed cars in my opinion.

Is the Ford Bronco Back Yet?

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A few of the diecast Broncos in my ownership have seen better days. The same could be said for the yet to be debuted new Bronco.

With this week seeming to be Ford week on my blog, I want to cover the topic of the Ford Bronco. This vehicle is legendary in name and has been anticipated for years. But will uncontrollable circumstances cause us all to wait even longer? Hopefully not.

While the truck and SUV market is heating up, especially for older, iconic versions of those vehicles, the Bronco nameplate is one of the leading vehicles in that segment. Since Ford is putting all of their manufacturing into those types of vehicles, it is no surprise that they are bringing back the Bronco.

They have rumored this for a long time now, somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 years ago. I can understand how long it takes to produce a good product, which I’m sure Ford will make when the next, new generation Bronco is finally revealed, but I won’t lie. It really deflates anticipation and excitement for it when we have seen concepts and rumors for 6 years.

According to Ford, their timeline was to finally show the public the kicking pony in the spring of 2020. They have a website dedicated to this here. Of course now that the time has come, a worldwide pandemic just had to come about which could potentially ruin everything. I know Ford does not want another botched product release like the Explorer and they have put personnel in place to prevent that. Sadly, they couldn’t predict a global catastrophe that would ruin their long in the tooth official debut. Will they go through with the global launch? Only time will tell, but spring is over at 11:59 PM Friday, June 19, 2020. The clock is ticking.

 

The End of the C8 Wait

The New C8 Corvette
I attended a pre-sale party for the C8 at a local dealership and was able to get photos of it as well as sit in it.

For years now I have been hoping, wishing, and supporting that the Corvette would become a mid-engine vehicle. I have wanted that as far back as around 2008, with hopes the C7 would be a mid-engine and properly pay tribute to the C2 “Stingray” name plate. The original Sting ray attributes were polarizing compared to the C1 design.  I thought having a split window should have only been applied to a “Stingray” Corvette, that should have been mid-engine. I was disappointed that Stingray name was re-introduced for the C7 and that the C7 wasn’t mid-engine.

So here we are. The C8 has finally been released and we have a mid-engine Corvette. What do I think?

Well, I think the styling is AMAZING. The proportions are a bit large, but it works and the car seems to have a lot of practicality to it. Since GM doesn’t have to put a massive 10 or 12 cylinder engine in the back, there is a lot of space for cargo. But don’t let all that practicality fool you. This thing can scoot. From all the videos I have seen, this car, even in stock form, is a true track monster.

I was able to attend an event at a local dealership for the C8 where I got to sit in it. It was nice to get up close and personal with it. The interior is stunning, but both my wife and I were not thrilled about the seating position. I was too tall and she was not tall enough to make all the driving ergonomics comfortable. Although, I am 6’4″ just like Doug DeMuro, and when he reviewed the C8, he had no problem driving it. He actually commented on how large the cabin was compared to other mid-engine vehicles. So, I should give it second chance if I am ever given the opportunity.

There were delays upon delays for this car, some of them were chassis related. While that is believed to have been sorted upon now finally launching the car, there still might be some issues that arise, as with any new vehicle. One of the issues is a wavy dashboard where the material/fabric is starting to wrinkle on the passenger side dash. Another issue that might come about is a noise that comes from the passenger front end. I don’t know much about this, but it is heard on a C8 in a video done by one of my favorite YouTubers, The Stradman.

While this blog shows I have little personal experience with the car and is slightly picky to some both personal and production flaws, I want to convey how much I truly like this car. It has been a long time coming, it looks amazing, performs well, and I believe that it has not only met, but exceed the hype that has surrounded it. It is a true American icon and it has now started a new chapter. I am just surprised that Hot Wheels has not come out with a C8 Corvette yet. Whenever they do, I will be adding that to my collection. Chances are it will be the only one I will ever own.

The Concept that keeps on Giving

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I’ll never forget being in 5th grade, 1999, sitting in the computer lab at school on one of those shiny, new, colorful Mac computers. We were accessing the internet, which was still a fascinating thing, and a page loaded displaying the image above. The glorious Dodge Charger R/T concept.

I had always been a fan of Dodge products, even at that age. The Dodge Ram, especially the one driven by Walker Texas Ranger, was my favorite truck. Maybe I’ll write a blog about that later. But, back to this Charger concept. It has stuck with me ever since. Not long after seeing it, I was able to by it in as a Hot Wheel. That car is still one of the highlights of my collection.

Now, 21 years later, it is absolutely awesome to see the design elements live on in the current generation Dodge Charger. Sure, the style elements didn’t fully come into effect until the Charger name came back in 2006, and many of them were missing on the production model. But, as time has shown, the newest Chargers, especially from the side and back, take many elements from that 1999 concept.

I applaud FCA for making the absolute most out of a design that was drawn up over 20 years ago. They found a secret recipe and know what customers like and want. Plus they have saved lots of money over the years by not having to retool for new styles. My wife and I have agreed that a Charger would defiantly be a car we both would like to own and drive.

Fun fact, I had this blog drafted up 8 years ago, with the title being 12 Years Ago. It is awesome that even after that amount of time, the Charger is still going strong and has only gotten better looking based off that original concept.

Color Me Impressed

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept
2014 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept from the Detroit Auto Show.

There is something incredibly powerful about the color a car is launched in. Seeing a car displayed at an auto show for the first time can have a magnetic effect. A car that always sticks out to me is the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept I was able to see at the Detroit Auto Show. A photo of it is shown above. The red paint that covered that car had me mesmerized and the camera cannot capture how stunning the color really is. If I were ever to buy an Infinity, it will be in that color.

Other notable cars are in specific colors are a Honda S200 in yellow, a Volvo S60 or C30 in Polestar Blue, a Nissan Xterra in yellow (although red has grown on me), a Cadillac CTS-V in Black Diamond, the original Ford Raptor in Orange, the Lamborghini Huracan in Green and Aventador in Orange, there are countless cars that the color they are debuted in are the ones I find most appealing. But, that isn’t always the case because some cars are launched in multiple colors or a specific special edition colors, which are some of the examples mentioned above. A notable example of that is the Toyota 4Runner or Tacoma in TRD specific Cavalry Blue.

These colors are sometimes what I associate to cars in diecast as well. I tend to gravitate towards realistic models of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, especially when they are in the color debuted by the original manufacturer. Not all colors are captured well by diecast makers though. The Hot Wheels McLaren Senna does not quite match the color I have seen pictures of. Other times, maybe due to reasons like scale or proprietary information, the diecast car color is not exactly the color on the real-life car, but to the eyes and brain, it looks the same. It is a fascinating effect.

This topic has such depth to it and there are countless more stories of my fascination with cars and colors, that I could fill countless more blogs. If you have any stories related to this topic, I would love to hear it. Feel free to leave a comment if you feel the same way or have any cars you enjoy in a specific color.

Dodge Can Do No Wrong

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The Dodge Challenger has recently outsold the Chevy Camaro for the number two muscle car sold in the US. It is quickly gaining ground on the Ford Mustang as well. You can read more about that here. I think Dodge has one of the best strategies in terms of manufacturing, marketing, and proven product, that factor strongly into the success of it outselling the Camaro and potentially the Mustang.

The Challenger design has been produced for far longer than initially intended or is common for the life cycle of a design. However, it has worked brilliantly for Dodge. They have been able to save money on all the factors that are expensive when a car is redesigned. That long life has allowed consumers and the general public to get very familiar with the look of the car. Dodge has squeezed every ounce out of the body and chassis. In 2018 there were 17 trim levels for the Challenger with prices ranging from $27,000 to $85,000.

Dodge has done brilliantly at marketing the Challenger.  They communicate an aggressive, bold, and cool image about the car. Some campaigns use famous people, others just showcase the car, but all have colors and sounds emphasized. The Challenger has been marketed so well, and there are so many on the road, that I “challenge” you to recall a memory of one.

A few months ago I was able to rent a Challenger for a work trip. After spending over 12 hours in the car, I came to the conclusion that it was an incredibly practical vehicle. The car had four-cylinder shut off, so I was able to get about 30 miles to the gallon, but if I wanted to get a bit feisty, the other four cylinders would light up with the tip of a toe. It has an incredible interior room, a spacious trunk, stupendous looks, and an aggressive sound.

Whoever made the decision to extend the life cycle of the Challenger should be applauded. That decision has allowed the Challenger to grow into being one of the best muscle cars on the road, aggressively “challenging” for the first place spot. In my opinion, Dodge can do no wrong with this car.

All Cars Look the Same

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Lately, consumers might have noticed that all cars, more specifically the ever increasingly popular SUV’s and CUV’s, all look the same. The graphic above is a wonderful illustration of that point. There are two reasons why this trend is beginning to take place.

First, manufacturers have invested incredible amounts of money on studies and research to figure out what consumers find aesthetically appealing. Automotive companies send representatives to design conferences to learn currently and what will be fashionable and trendy. Things like colors, fabrics, shapes, designs, and even smells and sounds, are all worked on years before they start to trend. What we see on the road today is a product of 3-5 years worth of research, data, and design foresight.

Due to that research investment, they know what consumers will buy. As with any business, manufacturers have to make things consumers want in order to continue to operate and make a profit. Consumers speak with their money and it is very clear, they want SUV’s and CUV’s regardless of how similar they all look.

Second, the strict fuel economy standards and safety standards, really begin to dictate how a vehicle will look. In order to achieve these benchmarks, designs to reduce drag coefficients are a leading supplemental way to meet the fuel economy standards. Angles, edgy creases, and deep concentration on airflow management all result in better fuel economy, but also begin to produce the same results in designs. The best example of this is airplanes. To an untrained eye, there are very few differences in airplane design.

Whether or not one thinks that manufacturers are just simply creating similar looking products to force consumers to accept what is being built and that they are limited by the designs in the choices of products available, that is an acknowledged hypothesis. However, many jobs and lively hoods, possibly even your own, hinge on the sales of vehicles, so it is hard for a company to take a risk on different designs. Consumers would need to reward risk with dollars and that is a challenging task to accomplish.

Give it time and new trends will start to emerge. Remember, what we see now was foresighted to trend a few years prior. Designs will change and uniqueness will find it’s way back into the automotive industry.