Category: Editorials

By on October 18, 2019

In Part I of this two-part edition of Rare Rides, we learned about historic manufacturer Talbot and the ups and downs the performance and luxury car brand experienced due to outside forces. Today we take a closer look at the car which generated this story — a very rare T26 Grand Sport coupe.

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By on October 18, 2019

Image: 2015 BMW M6 Coupe

Most people who write to me asking for car buying advice actually take it. That’s in stark contrast to what happens in the real world, where a friend will ask my opinion about a car in his search for confirmation bias. I’ve written about my frustration with this in the past, but just like politicians talking about social issues, I’ve evolved on this one. I now cheerfully offer roughly 5 percent of my attention to these requests and go about my day.

However, I do have one friend from the dayz of wayback who has asked for and actually taken my advice in a few cases — not so much on what car to buy, although I mildly influenced his Honda Pilot Elite selection a couple of years ago — but on the deals themselves. For the purposes of this conversation, we’ll call him Joe. I always knew Joe was a good guy back when we were in high school together, mostly because he had a part-time gig as a bagger at the same grocery store where my mom was secretly a second shift cashier. He could have used that as an opportunity to make fun of me for being poor, but he never did. So, yeah, good dude.

In additional to the aforementioned Pilot, Joe has a BMW Z4 for a fun, summer-focused whip. He’s enjoyed the little Bimmer, so naturally his eyes bugged out a bit when he saw a 2015 M6 Competition and Executive package with only 34k miles on the clock at a local dealership. For those who haven’t done a lot of M shopping lately, that’s a fairly difficult car to find. He pinged me on Zuck Chat and asked me to take a look.

Of course, none of the regular Bark readers will be surprised to know that everything about this deal reeked from the get-go.

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By on October 18, 2019

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

TTAC Commentator ErikStrawn writes:

Over the years I’ve tinkered with a bunch of different cars. Back in the day, you could put green ethylene glycol coolant in every car and it worked fine. If you had a car with the brand new DexCool, it was recommended to drain it and refill with the green stuff. Then some manufacturers went to the red stuff, and VW/Audi went to some other stuff that sludges up if mixed with the green stuff.

A couple years ago I bought an insurance auction VW Beetle TDI, and when I replaced the front end/radiator/etc., I flushed the engine out with water and switched the car to traditional green coolant.

My ’06 Mustang has 140K on it, and living in a constant state of having too many projects, I’ve neglected to change it until now. I’m of a mind to flush it out and run green coolant, but I know aluminum motors aren’t exactly tolerant of the green stuff.

I intend to transition my entire fleet to one coolant. What is a good one-size-fits-all coolant that is readily available? I’m in Oklahoma, and it freezes here, so running straight water is not an answer. Should I stick with the green stuff and replace it more religiously?

The Mustang is bone stock and ultra-reliable, so I don’t want to run coolant that has a propensity to turn acidic and erode the cooling passages. Is the red stuff any better? What is it called and can I find it at a truck stop at 3 a.m.? Does VW’s coolant have any advantage? Find Out >

By on October 17, 2019

Talbot’s history was a difficult one, fraught with adversity. Yet during the company’s earlier iterations it produced beautiful, luxurious cars like today’s Rare Ride. It’s a T26 Grand Sport coupe, from 1954.

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By on October 17, 2019

It has come to our attention that there has been a dearth of Mitsubishi products in this Ace of Base series. Seeing what’s on offer at the instant noodle end of a particular price spectrum can be entertaining, so there’s little reason for us to have ignored one of the least-expensive new cars on sale in America today.

Poking fun at an entry-level car is low hanging fruit, one that’s been picked clean by many corners of the internet. Ignoring that dross, what exactly does Mitsubishi offer in an entry-level Mirage? The answer: more than I expected.

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By on October 16, 2019

U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rick Scott (R-FL) plan to introduce new legislation forcing automakers to install hardware that would effectively stop intoxicated individuals from operating motor vehicles by the middle of the next decade. The stated goal is to prevent the thousands of fatal crashes stemming from drunk driving each year. It’s similar to a bill introduced by House Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), which aims to have advanced DUI prevention devices in all cars by 2024.

While it’s difficult to get bent out of shape over any system that curtails drunk driving, we’ve managed to find a way. As usual, it plays into your author’s ever-growing phobia of surveillance-focused technologies.  Find Out >

By on October 16, 2019

The dam on the Chevrolet Corvette C8 embargo broke in a big, big way yesterday, with Motor Trend shoving their story in their remaining readers’ inboxes around 5:30 am yesterday. Everybody else who had early access to the car (Road & Track, Car and Driver, The Digital Publication Formerly Known As Autoweek, etc.) quickly followed suit, and by the end of the day you had all the Corvette news you could handle splayed all over the internet like Hope Solo. Don’t search that at work.

There were some good takes on the C8, including this excellent lap of Thunderhill by FOB (Friend of Bark) Travis Okulski. But then there was a very, very bad one by Car and Driver, entitled Race Track Hot Throwdown Of All Throwdowns: The C8 Tells The C7 To Step Outside! Okay, it wasn’t actually called that, but it may as well as been. The idea was to compare the C8 Corvette Z51 againsta C7 Corvette Z51 on a racing surface and see which one was faster.

I’ll save you the click and let you know that C/D discovered that the C8 could lap Grattan Raceway in 1:26.1, while the best the C7 could muster was a 1:27.0. The C8 was faster! All hail the new mid-engined Playskool disaster!

Except, of course, they’re wrong. Here’s why.

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By on October 15, 2019

No one really expected electric pickup trucks to take off as a concept, save for the people developing them. While EVs still need to improve their maximum range to truly surpass combustion-reliant vehicles, modern examples perform much better than their predecessors. But battery size and vehicle weight remain important issues for the segment, making the idea of an electric work vehicle seem about as useful as an edible diaper.

Then the concepts started arriving, sucking far less than most of us expected. There were loads of new ideas, like interesting storage solutions and auxiliary power ports for tools — all stemming from electrification. What’s more is that the vehicle itself seems like it could benefit from the instant torque and lower center of gravity furnished by electric powertrains. Battery packs can also be made larger (improving range), as pickups have more areas to stash cells without intruding into the passenger compartment. Maybe this wasn’t a dumb idea after all.

Ford and General Motors have both confirmed the development of electric pickups, with the former currently running prototypes. Meanwhile, Rivian and Bollinger have already shown off their designs. EV darling Tesla had a truck it wanted to debut over the summer, but the model saw its release pushed back. Now, CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the vehicle will emerge next month.  Find Out >

By on October 15, 2019

Probe is a significant name in the history of Rare Rides, as the series started off in early 2017 with the Ghia-designed Probe I. That design study was the kickoff of a series of Probe concepts from Ford; a series which ultimately resulted in an aerodynamic liftback that entered production in the late Eighties.

Let’s see a clean, original example of the all-but-vanished first-gen Probe.

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By on October 14, 2019

There are plenty of ways to get free gasoline. Unfortunately, most require you to become uncomfortably intimate with advertising to reap any rewards. Converting your vehicle into a mobile billboard for a brand is a good way to convince said brand to foot your monthly gas bill. But you can also sit through hours of digital surveys or ads to encourage companies to part with fuel cards. Either way, it’s free go juice — with a catch.

Volta Industries is attempting to duplicate this model for EV charging, without the need for middle men. The company will allot a certain amount of electric charge time to customers willing to interact with “embedded advertisements” occupying high-end retail zones. While the company has promoted this business model for several years, it only entered our peripheral vision in recent months after securing investments and solidifying its plans.

Despite the phrase “if you’re getting something for free, you are the product” being around since at least the 1970s, it’s infinitely applicable here.  Find Out >

By on October 14, 2019

best tow and recovery straps

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Heading out into the sand — or any off-road environment — is bound to bring a fun-filled day with the chance of scattered calamity. The old saw advises that if you didn’t get stuck during your sojourn to the desert or mud pit, you weren’t’ trying hard enough.

That’s why there are a phalanx of companies eager to sell an array of recovery tools and why the SEMA show in Vegas consumes more and more floor space every year. Today, we’ll focus simply on tow straps because they’re an item that should be flung into every cargo area of each and every off-road vehicle that hits the trail. Even if it’s not used for your own benefit, one may find themselves needing to extricate a buddy who’s eyes were bigger than his ground clearance.

And, for the love of Mickey Thompson, educate yourself before using these things. Deployed improperly, they have the capability to whisk a person off their feet faster than the sun sets at the equator. Watch what you’re doing and use your noggin.

See the best tow and recovery straps below.

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By on October 14, 2019

1981 Chevrolet Chevette in Denver wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - PaardensexNorth Americans could buy the Chevrolet Chevette, featuring the finest in affordable early-1970s Opel Kadett C technology, starting with the 1976 model year. Chevette sales continued all the way through 1987, amazingly enough, because it could be manufactured and sold so cheaply.

Since the Chevette was so simple and sold in such large numbers, enough have survived that I still find them in the big self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a grimy, beat-up ’81 spotted in a Denver yard last winter. Find Out >

By on October 11, 2019

best jumper cables

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Twisting the key (or, more accurately these days, pushing the button) only to come up with a fistful of no-go can be huge pain in the neck. While the root cause can be any number of maladies, identifying the fix as a simple jump start gets you going — at least for now. Stashing a set of jumper cables in the trunk of your car or under the front seat of your pickup truck is cheap insurance against being left stranded in the cold with a flat battery and long walk to nowhere.

Yeah, thanks to Stranger Danger and America’s love of litigation one may have to ask a few more good Samaritans before finding a person who’s willing to help boost the battery of your car than one would have had to ask twenty years ago. Thanks, internet. Nevertheless, there are more than a few good souls left on this earth, so all is not lost if you need to use one of these bad boys the next time you leave yer headlights on during a trip to Walmart.

Note well: the gauge rating of jumper cable wire operates in reverse fashion to just about every other measurement in the world. Here, a smaller number means a thicker cable — sets made with 1-gauge wire are hardier than sets made with 8-gauge wire. #TheMoreYouKnow

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By on October 11, 2019

Our last update on the GM-UAW strike revolved around union reps playing hardball on issues like health care, wages, temporary employees, skilled trades, and job security. The United Auto Workers sent General Motors’ proposals back, holding its nose in disapproval.

With the strike now roughly one month deep and looking like it may disrupt the automaker’s well-laid plans, GM is firing back by suggesting the workers’ union is intentionally wasting everybody’s time. The company’s latest contract offer was issued Monday, with the union having yet to offer any formal back. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra even joined negotiations on Wednesday in an effort to speed up discussions. But the UAW has said it will only issue a counter proposal after five separate committees address a “series of issues” and the automaker publicly furnishes its suggestions.

“We object to having bargaining placed on hold pending a resolution of these five areas,” Scott Sandefur, GM’s vice president of North American labor relations, wrote to UAW Vice President Terry Dittes on Thursday. “As we have urged repeatedly, we should engage in bargaining over all issues around-the-clock to get an agreement.”  Find Out >

By on October 11, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is the rarely seen Dodge version of Mitsubishi’s most famous off-road SUV. It’s a Raider, from 1987.

Find Out >

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