Friday, February 25, 2005

The Korean Aztec

Some vehicles, thankfully, are not sold in America, and Korean manufacturer SsangYong's brand new Stavic MPV is one. This 11 capacity behemoth is easily one of the ugliest and ungainly vehicles ever designed, constructed, and built. Yet, for some unknown reason, South African jounalists seem to like the horrid little bugger. I know automotive styles vary from nation to nation, but some designs transcend national tastes and are per se ugly. The Stavic is one of those special cars. No explanation can justify the ridiculous lines of the Stavic, and no argument can be made in its favor. Please note that the following link contains frightful images that may damage the eyes. Individuals who are week of heart, young children, or anyone who loves motor cars should use extreme caution when viewing this site.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Alfa's all new very "big" compact sports sedan

There has been a lot of press about the Alfa Romeo Berra, which will make its world debut at the Geneva autoshow, but almost nothing on the new 159. Yet the 159 is possibly Alfa's most important car introduction ever, a make or break model if there ever was. Not only does the 159 have big shoes to fill, its precdecessor, the 156, was hugely popular, but this car will most likely lead Alfa's return to the American market. And, I for one, am hopefully optimistic. I am a big fan of the old 156, it came out nowhere, an unexpected champion in the compact sports sedan market. And as an underdog, many of its flaws could be overlooked. Not so for the 159. It needs to be great. Not a great Alfa Romeo, not a great Italian sports sedan, but a great sports sedan regardless of the competition. Americans will expect nothing else. And so far it look, well ... great.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

Japanische Autos - Perfect for my Monkey

You have to love the Germans. Who else would spend the time to post hundreds of pictures of vintage and modified Japanese model cars from the used car lots of Japan? And who in the world would ever spend the time flipping through all 91 pages? Oh wait. Never mind. Hey, it is president's day. I've got time to kill. This visual retrospective is not only fascinating from a design perspective, but also illustrative of how naming conventions vary from nation to nation. The Nissan Cedric? The Toyota Lucida? Skyline fans beware, the pages of used Skylines eagerly waiting for a petrol-loving owner will make you jealous and wish your local used car lot had more then just Cameros and Probes. Nothing wrong with those names. Nothing at all.

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