The classic truck marketplace is truly one of the fastest growing in the automotive hobby. From sheetmetal replacement parts to suspension upgrades to full replacement chassis to reproduction bodies, we’re at an exciting point in time for the truck hobby. Some of the most cutting-edge technology is being implemented where it was otherwise before ignored. On the flip side of that is the growing popularity in all things retro, with a huge surge in unrestored, unmolested, patina’d workhorses. Both of these trends are good for the old truck lovers as they both contribute in saving those old haulers we all love so much. But what is really helping keep our hobby on its feet is the plethora of manufacturers who provide OEM replacement parts, reproduction bits, performance goods, and other services to help maintain and upgrade our old beast of burden. With the help of the vast aftermarket available, it’s now possible to upgrade that straight axle’d, granny gear’d, … [Read more...] about 2011 Classic Truck Buyer’s Guide
Grant 990 steering wheel
When we first reported on the Shell Valley Cheetah kit back in November 2002, the only example we had seen was the first prototype. Since that time Shell Valley has been developing the kit to make it even better than it was. We recently had the opportunity to take a closer look at a current example to see the improvements first hand. A quick glance inside and the new dash immediately grabs your attention. While the first kits had flat dashboards with angular edges, the latest design is more rounded and finished. Up front, Shell Valley has opened up the grille for better cooling and a more aggressive look. The wheel openings have been reworked for a more styled look, too. An “eyebrow” has been added to the top of each flare for extra tire clearance, plus the rear fender flare has been subtly reshaped at the bottom for a smoother curvature. The original Cheetahs had a roughly squared off flare, so purists may be less thrilled than stylists, but the new version certainly looks … [Read more...] about Shell Valley Cheetah Kit Car – Of Your Dreams Just Got Better!
How far it has all come along, indeed. If, in the past, Korean cars were seen as dowdy, perceived as unimaginative and subject to the more than odd derogatory comment in passing, then surely whatever is transpiring before our eyes is, quite simply, nothing short of a revelation. Revolution, even. Granted, it has certainly taken time for things to kick in, but you only have to look at the past two years and see how rapid things are coming on line, where the slew of offerings coming about have, one after another, sought to not just placate, but accomplish something far more radical – how about excite for a suitable adjective? Whatever you may call the current Hyundais and Kias of the world, they are most certainly not dowdy, unimaginative or befitting anymore of derogatory comments. Not even if you happen to be an erstwhile Japanese brand loyalist, even though the latter will undoubtedly still be flung this way. For Kia, the pathfinder has unquestionably been the Forte, at least … [Read more...] about DRIVEN: Kia Optima 2.4 GDI sampled in Melbourne
Troy Aves’ Dodge defies conventional expectations. “Turbo Dodge” often conjures up recollections of 1980s front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder Iacocca Mopars or badge-engineered Mitsubishis. “Hemi Dart” typically references Dick Maxwell’s legendary Hurst-assembled LO23 Super Stock Darts from 1968. But “turbo Hemi Dart” lands well outside of these established patterns. And when the “Hemi” part refers to an 8-second, late-model Gen III powerplant instead of a NASCAR-bred, traditional, 426-cube Elephant, expectations are completely shattered. It’s not as if Troy’s GY3 Citron Yella 1967 Dart missed out on being a conventional Mopar drag wailer. Troy bought the bumblebee-striped A-body on RacingJunk.com a few years back as a roller. His first build of it would have stoked nearly any old-school Scat Pack fan: a 13:1-compression, 472-cid winder that eventually ground out a buirdly 750 hp after three escalating stages of … [Read more...] about Troy Aves’ 1967 Dart Runs 8s With a Gen III Hemi and a Big Turbocharger
We're three grown men doing something that isn’t considered to be very clever, such as driving three open-top cars – summer cars – several hundred miles in weather that you’d only walk the dog as far as the pub in. Testers Nic Cackett, Matt Saunders and I weren’t meant to be making individual cases for the cars we’re driving here, shouting to each other and, more importantly, to you about why we’d have one over the others. But call it Stockholm Syndrome. When you’ve spent 14 hours straight in a Morgan 3 Wheeler and can’t feel your fingers any more, perhaps it’s natural to look for reasons why you’re happy you’re not in a Caterham Seven or an Ariel Nomad. Anyway, the road trip – ostensibly – starts at Cheddar Gorge and will finish on the Welsh coast, taking in some sights on the way. For why? Because they’re the kinds of locations you could visit if, during the next week or so, you decide to … [Read more...] about Morgan 3 Wheeler, Caterham Seven 310R, Ariel Nomad: group test
The new Duster is quite different from the Indian version and embraces a lot of cosmetic changesRenault, the French automaker has launched 2015 Renault Duster facelift in the Brazilian market. The Crossover cum compact SUV has been getting updates internationally on regular intervals and the latest modifications make the vehicle more upmarket. The new Duster comes with a long list of alterations inside out while under the hood mechanics remains the same (for the Brazilian market).Down the memory lane, Brazil is the country where Duster was nurtured and brought to youth and then it faced towards other markets of the world. Renault has released two videos in which each and every detail of the latest facelift is portrayed (Watch the videos at the end). The changes seems to be market specific and might not be granted to other versions running in various countries.Exterior Changes Front profile gets new black grille, tweaked headlight cluster that now embraces LED daytime running lights and … [Read more...] about India bound Duster Facelift Launched in Brazil, Priced approx INR 12.29 lac
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently performed a series of crash tests to garner widespread MSM coverage to justify their enormous operating budget to the insurance companies that pay for the “don’t tell anyone we’re not from the government” organization’s existence—I mean demonstrate the heretofore unimaginable fact that small/lightweight cars get the snot kicked out of them when they collide front-to-front with medium size cars, despite the fact that the small cars involved received the IIHS’ best possible frontal crash ratings. All this came as no surprise to Mike Dulberger, founder of InformedForLife.org.Mr. Dulberger is an engineer with an OCD vehicle safety thing. He reckons the IIHS and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety ratings are “confusing, conflicting and incomplete.” Amongst other criticisms, Dulberger slates the two heavyweights for failing to adequately consider … [Read more...] about Editorial: How Forbes Spiked smart Safety Slam
I’ve been driving the 2014 Mazda 6 GT w/ Mazda’s SkyActive Technology Package for about a week now. It’s a stunner, looking for all the world like the kind of sports sedan Aston Martin would build if it had any stones. On top of that, the car has some seriously trick fuel-savings features and, I must admit, handles brilliantly (even on my tester’s Blizzak winter tires). For each of the Mazda’s highs, however, there is a low, and I will do my very best to remain objective as I share these, leaving you, dear reader, to decide whether the highs outweigh the lows.Get comfy, then. We’re about to get weird.2014 Mazda 6 GT: Highs and LowsThe 2014 Mazda 6 GT is a study in compromises. As I alluded to above, the Mazda is the best car I’ve tested in some ways. In other ways, it’s the very worst. Let’s start, then, on a high note: the Mazda’s muscle-car styling.The 2014 Mazda 6 is, simply, one of the best-looking cars ever built. That … [Read more...] about A Bi-polar Review of the 2014 Mazda 6 GT
Chrysler is waging a war against the lame reputation of its own products—a war on dullness, if you will. The battlefield strategy? Thoroughly refresh or totally redo pretty much every Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep model for 2011, an audacious rollout—a Mopar “shock and awe”—that arguably began with the excellent new Grand Cherokee and will culminate with the debut of the 2011 Chrysler 300 at the Detroit auto show this January. But easily lost behind tip-of-the-spear debuts such as the all-new Grand Cherokee and Dodge Charger are foot soldiers like the Dodge Journey, which is merely overhauled. To transform the rental-fleet darling Journey, Chrysler has granted the crossover more power, a sharper chassis, and a vastly improved interior for 2011. Priorities Inside Out Dodge focused less on the Journey’s styling and more on its interior and chassis, a decision we support. And so the exterior changes are minimal. Up front, all … [Read more...] about 2011 Dodge Journey
2017 Mini Cooper S Countryman ALL4 2.0-liter inline-four, turbocharged, DOHC (189 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm; 207 lb-ft @ 1,350 rpm)Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive22 city / 31 highway / 26 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)10.5 city / 7.4 highway / 9.1 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)24.0 mpg [9.8 L/100 km] (Observed)Base Price: $32,550 (U.S) / $34,125 (Canada)As Tested: $43,000 (U.S.) / $44,880 (Canada)Prices include $850 destination charge in the United States and $2,135 for freight and PDI in Canada. If you’ve come here to read a Mini Cooper S review, I suggest you look elsewhere. What we have here is a vehicle that has very little to do with the small, lightweight and simplistic design of Sir Alec Issigonis’ original Morris Mini concept.This is nothing more than a disguised BMW X1.But if you’re currently in the market for a subcompact luxury crossover that blends style with practicality, all while remaining somewhat fun to drive, then the 2017 Mini … [Read more...] about 2017 Mini Cooper S Countryman ALL4 Review: Care for Some Badge Engineering, Sir Alec?