April 18, 2014: We start off this issue with coverage of the New York International Auto Show, paying particular attention to seemingly contradictory paths taken by the mid-size sedans from Toyota and Hyundai. Then it’s a quick trip to Japan to see a steel pine tree made by the hands of automotive artisans as a memorial to victims of that country’s devastating tsunami. On the technical side, Johnson Controls has released a seat coating that is stain-, dirt- and odor resistant, and is as relevant for a rental car as it is for a minivan. Volvo, on the other hand, has designed an inflatable child seat that makes keeping kids safe while traveling much easier. And Land Rover creates a virtual transparent bonnet via technology with multiple uses around the vehicle. Dan Gurney’s handsomest F5000 car, the Eagle FA74, flies again during this weekend’s Formula 5000 Festival at Britain’s Thruxton race circuit. We take a look at a devilishly clever ad U.K. televisions viewers get for Mercedes’ CLA that is built around that fellow pictured to the right. Dodge’s Dart GT gets tested, and we wonder why the world isn’t beating a path to their Dodge dealer’s door. Al Vinikour does a riff on a Freddie Mercury and Queen hit record. And we review a book on automotive branding and marketing that definitely won’t put you to sleep.
April 4, 2014: While GM CO Mary Barra has been in front of Congress this week, some pundits have called for criminal penalties — jail time — for executives and engineers involved in building defective products. We take a look at why this suggestion is a singularly stupid idea. On the lighter side, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick get in touch with their inner Elvis. Toyota takes the iRoad concept on the road to test its suitability. Honda launches a sinister new cruiser motorcycle for 2015. Silverstone hosts a Barn Find and Restoration auction on April 12th that’s chock full of bargains. Separately we test Subaru’s turbocharged Forester and a vehicle it’s pitted against, Jeep’s V6-powered Cherokee. Plus, Al Vinikour takes aim at oil burners, and he doesn’t mean diesels.