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Entries in Corvette C7 (2)


January 2013

January 30, 2013: The next three weeks are crazy busy, starting with a trip out to Arizona to driver the new Kia Forte. That’s the reason for the early issue this week, and the abbreviated content. Next week it’s off to Chicago for the auto show, and the following week it’s back to Arizona for a drive of Toyota’s new RAV4. In the interim, Al Vinikour weighs in on winter driving, specifically the careless louts who drive off without adequately cleaning snow from their vehicles. And Chris Sawyer comments on the mad dash to increase the ethanol content in our fuel and the damage it might do to your car. Who wins in this battle? Certainly not the consumer.


January 25, 2013: After the rush and bother of the Detroit auto show, this week’s issue is quieter and more eclectic. First up is a look at the technology used by Mercedes to set an on-road speed record in 1938, and the Porsche-designed vehicle they built in hopes of bringing the land speed record to Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, automotive analysts are singing the praises of Tata’s Jaguar Land Rover unit, but Chris Sawyer wonders if they have missed the point; can it sustain its current pace and pay the price to do so? Finally, we have the third episode of Cars In Context Television, co-hosted by John Clor and Editor Sawyer. Make sure to pay close attention as barbs fly early and often. And, just to show he’s a nice guy, Sawyer has given Al Vinikour the week off. (He's not fooling anybody, especially Al.)


January 18, 2013: It’s been one heck of a week. First, the annual North American International Auto Show took place in Detroit’s Cobo Hall. Not only did Chevy launch its latest Corvette, many automakers brought their best to the Motor City in an attempt to impress the natives, the press, and each other. This gathering of global automakers got our own Al Vinikour thinking about cars as teaching tools, and how their diverse places of origins could lead today’s youth to become interested in geography and geopolitics. (Editor’s note: Despite what Al wrote in his last sentence, we have a hard time imagining him on the couch grooving to Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) or Itchycoo Park for that matter, nursing the munchies.) Finally, The Virtual Driver was contacted by representatives of and asked if we might be interested in reprinting its coverage of the top car auction sales in 2012 in our Lifestyle section. They didn’t have to ask twice.


January 11, 2013: Next week, it’s the Detroit auto show. This week, the world’s automakers descended on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. CES continues to grow in importance as car companies add more software, hardware and capability to their products. First up is Delphi, which introduced a plug-and-play connectivity solution that can do some of the things OnStar can, and some things it can’t. Next up is Hyundai. It showed its ideas for future on-board electronics, including connecting to Apple’s Siri and Nuance’s Dragon Drive. Finally, Ford gave notice that it plans to be an even bigger player in the automotive electronics field. On the lighter side, the folks at Laguna Seca have created a run of Corvette t-shirts to celebrate the marque’s 60th anniversary, and Mecum Auctions has a 1954 Corvette that has risen from the dead, so to speak. Al Vinikour spends a week with the Prius c and comes back smitten, despite its diminutive size. Finally, Al remembers those thrilling days of yesteryear when new tires would get you to the lake, and old ones would keep you afloat.


January 4, 2013: How many times have you perused the news section of your favorite magazine or blog, and read something that never came true? The many, many iterations of the mid-engined Corvette are a prime example; lots of coverage, but no vehicle. Chris Sawyer may have an answer as to why this phenomena keeps happening, and its stems from a conversation he had years ago with a former colleague. Speaking of ghosts, Sawyer was certain the last appearance he made on the In a Heartbeat TV would never get aired. Technical difficulties made it impossible to upload the show, but perseverance has paid off. You can see the show here. Al Vinikour returns from vacation with a story about driving the new Land Rover LR2 in snowy Montreal. Plus, he takes time out to take owners of rusted out vehicles to task, and question why vehicles built in the “quality years” rust so quickly.  




August 2012

August 31, 2012: It’s Editor Sawyer’s birthday today, but his present came early in the form of a column David Wilks photo.from race driver and entrepreneur Andy Pilgrim (pictured). The British-born racer joins the TVD staff as an occasional contributor, and reviews a vehicle you might find surprising. We certainly did. Speaking of surprises, we discover tires that can spell. And Osram introduces a low-cost LED solution for front fog lights. Dan Brochstein takes us behind the scenes at the recent Concours d’Elegance of America, and picks a few favorites. Al Vinikour drives the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, and comes back impressed. Former Lotus CEO Dany Bahar sues his former employer while it puts his former company car on the auction block. Editor Sawyer takes a look at the new CAFE standards, and gets a Red scare. And Al Vinikour take aim at the one of the most annoying, exasperating and stupid devices ever fitted to an automobile.


August 24, 2012: The week was filled with travel, specifically out to Laguna Seca where Editor Sawyer attended the U.S. launch of the BMW M5, M6 and Gran Coupé. And while running around the Corkscrew was fun, the real tale was told out on the road. Are these cars road course  heroes and rolling ego strokes, or are they capable of dispatching with the daily grind as well as trail braking? The heavy travel schedule also meant Al Vinikour was only able to give us his view of vinyl roofs, a.k.a. bad toupees for cars. White hot in the 1960, 1970s and even the 1980s, these plastic abominations still pop up today. Which is enough to make Al see red.


August 17, 2012: There were two major unveilings at Pebble Beach this week. First up is the new Ferrari F12berlinetta. With more than 700 horsepower and lb-ft of torque, it’s so fast the name ran together. Next up is the latest Range Rover. With an aluminum body/chassis unit, it’s significantly lighter than its BMW-designed predecessor. Ford launched its new Advanced Electrification Center this week, but it only underlines the fact that politics, not demand is driving the market in this direction. Also, Harris Interactive polled drivers from 18 to 66 about in-car connectivity, and the results may surprise you. Ever want to dress up your garage door, but wanted something that was more visually arresting than a new paint color? A company in Munich, Germany has just what you need. Finally, Al tells us why, if you don’t like you child’s driving, you’re to blame.


August 10, 2012: As we were going to press, news broke that Jay Penske, owner of IndyCar’s Dragon Racing team had been arrested along with his older brother on a variety of charges. This comes on the heels of AJ Allmendinger’s problems, and sets a high bar for punishment. This isn’t a story with shades of gray, but of yellow. Al Vinikour features prominently this week. The Editor takes a chance and sends the automotive technophobe to Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission plant to report on the company’s new in-house hybrid transmission. He also spent a week with a supercharged Range Rover (poor baby), and gives us his impressions. Plus, his Tirade take a backwards glance at rearview cameras and their place in the automotive firmament. Editor Sawyer, meanwhile, spent a week with Audi’s S4 quattro sport sedan, but couldn’t quite give it a 5 out of 5 rating. Find out why. Plus, he gives a preview of the lighter, more fuel-efficient 2013 Nissan Pathfinder and the sybaritic 2013 Lexus LS with its sport-oriented F Sport variant.


August 3, 2012: First came word that Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick “resigned” before GM issued a terse press release calling into question Ewanick’s character. It was followed by word that designer Dave Lyon was fired a week or so before heading to Germany to lead design operations over there, and rumors began to fly that the new Corvette isn’t very handsome. We speculate what might be behind this busy but bad week at GM. On a lighter note, we drive Audi’s supercharged A6 quattro. Jump inside to see if it’s everything you could ever want or less than expected. Al drives the 2013 Audi allroad, the first car is seven years to wear that badge in the U.S. BMW adds a new bike to its lineup, the HP4. We take a look. And Al Vinikour asks why automakers can’t design a decent cupholder.