Fleet sales data can be some of the toughest numbers to find, but thanks to a post from commenter GarbageMotorsCo, we’ve got some pretty comprehensive numbers for last year’s fleet performance [courtesy: automotive-fleet.com, PDF list here]. Overall fleet levels have been higher this year, but by identifying the most popular vehicles with fleet buyers (in terms of fleet sales as a percentage of overall sales), we’ll at least have some hints about this year’s performance. To help give a more accurate picture, we’ve left out obvious commercial vehicles (mainly large vans, and the queen of all fleet queens, the Ford Crown Vic (95% fleet)), as well as discontinued models like Chevy Uplander (57%) and Pontiac G6 (44.7%). We also left out hybrid or CNG versions of nameplates. Two vehicles with limited sales last year (GMC Terrain and Kia Forte) are on the list, even though they may not be on a similar list for 2010 (the Honda Insight is not on the list, despite … [Read more...] about The Top 20 Fleet Queens Of 2009
It’s possible that the Ghia-built 1957-58 Crown Imperial limousine was Chrysler’s effort to show the other members of the Big 3 automakers that they too could sell an extravagantly assembled and appointed ultra-luxury car and lose big money on each and every unit they sold, just as Ford did with the Continental Mark II and the General Motors did with the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. More likely, though, Chrysler executives saw the Imperial limos as carrying on a nameplate that had graced Chrysler’s most elegant and exclusive cars since the 1920s. Perhaps more than the other big Detroit automakers, Chrysler had a reputation for innovative engineering and it used that reputation to give the Imperial some cachet. The Hemi engine, disc brakes, power steering and the Powerflite, Chrysler’s first automatic transmission, were first offered on the Imperial. Still, as the 1950s went on, Cadillac’s dominance in the luxury class went from strength to … [Read more...] about A Crown Imperial Limousine Fit For A Queen
Personal opinion time here: I hate trailer queens. Let me clarify the term “trailer queen” before anybody gets the wrong idea. Trailer queens are vehicles that leave the safety of a garage, enter the safety of a trailer and head out on the street in an enclosure towed by another vehicle.I saw a very nice car being shoved into a covered trailer this weekend and it just kind of set me off on the topic of trailer queens. Don’t get me wrong, there are many other vehicles beyond broken-down cars that should be towed behind another vehicle. A barely street legal quarter mile ride should be trailered for practical reasons like: microscopic gas mileage, finicky track motors, an earnest desire on the part of their owners to remain in one piece.A theoretical situation might be a 10 second-or-less car that has just enough safety equipment like lights and wipers to render it a street legal vehicle. It also might have wheelie bars and laundry on the back end because, more than … [Read more...] about It’s Time To De-Throne The Trailer Queens And Put ‘Em On The Street
There are several vans that will not be among the finalists to replace the Kreutzer family’s ailing Ford Freestar and among them are the size and utility queens of the Japanese Domestic Market, the Toyota HI-Ace and the Mitsubishi Delica. Of course you already know that neither of these vans are sold here in the Land of the Free, so my attempt at including them in an article about my current search may seem a bit facetious but, the truth is, I know these vans well and they come up enough in the comments that I thought they might be worth discussing in more detail. Since I have become the resident “van guy” for the time being, let’s avail ourselves of the opportunity, shall we? Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between Kansai and Kansas. The roads in Japan are usually narrow and impossibly crowded. In most neighborhoods there are no sidewalks and buildings come right out to the edge of the street. Rows of bicycles and scooters are lined up in front of … [Read more...] about Japanese Size Queens: Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear & Toyota Hi-Ace Vans
Since Queen Elizabeth II took the throne in 1953, Her Majesty has surrounded herself with Corgis and Land Rovers. She has likely owned as many Rovers as dogs—the unofficial count hovers around 30—so it’s as expected that the queen just traded in her 2002 Range Rover roadster for a 2015 long-wheelbase Range Rover landaulet.The Queen rides in such open-roof “State Review” cars for official ceremonies where it’s appropriate for her to wave from a one-off British 4×4 nobody else in the world can buy. Her 2015 Range Rover State Review, with her royal flag mounted on the hood and painted in the same elegant shade of maroon as her previous model, features the company’s new diesel hybrid powertrain unavailable to us Yanks. Unlike her last few parade cars, this one retains its rear doors and roof rails, although it’s unclear whether the passenger area can be covered with a softtop as on a true landaulet.While this is the fourth time Land … [Read more...] about As Range Rover Turns 45, Queen Elizabeth, Who Is Considerably Older, Gets A New One
I sing the coupe eccentric;It wasn’t that long ago that I recorded my generally favorable opinion of the outgoing Nissan Altima during an impromptu trip to Nashville and parts south. That car was obsolete even as I was reviewing it, supplanted by a zoomy and flame-surfacey new sedan. As of yet, however, the corresponding new Altima coupe has only appeared in renderings and rumors. Therefore Nissan has returned the old two-door for a very limited 2013-model-year engagement. It’s available in one trim level (S), with one drivetrain (2.5 four-cylinder/CVT) and at a relatively steep price ($25,230).As a child of the Seventies, I have a not inconsiderable attachment to the idee fixe of the mid-sized coupe. The Altima Coupe is the natural successor to the Cutlass Supremes and Monte Carlos that prowled the neighborhoods of my youth. For some time I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to rent a new one; that quest came to a successful conclusion when I stepped off the plane in … [Read more...] about Trackday Diaries: Couped up in the palace of the Snow Queen.
I don’t have any particular bias against American cars, but it’s fair to say that I’ve always preferred imports over American muscle, save for one major exception; the GMC Typhoon.The first model car kit I ever built with my Dad was a GMC Syclone, and as I learned about the cars over the years, my interest has only deepened. Here is a relatively crude package, based on a BOF truck platform, that was one of the fastest accelerating cars at the time, and can still keep pace with a lot of today’s performance cars.Every so often, I check the internet for Typhoons, then talk myself out of it. I would need to store it in winter, be extra careful not to damage the now-irreplaceable factory cladding and be extra careful with using the twin-turbo AWD drivetrain at every single stoplight.My most recent Ebay foray led me to the Typhoon you see above. Priced rather optimistically at $99,999 OBO, it has just 9.6 miles on it, making it essentially brand new. I … [Read more...] about QOTD: Garage Queen Or Daily Driver?
When I go to a first-rate car show, collection or museum, I often vacillate between “but of course” and “what a surprise”. There are cars that you know that you’re going to see, cars that naturally belong in that environment, and then there are unexpected but undeniably special cars that turn out to be one of the highlights of the event for you. The Concours of America at St. John’s, formerly the Meadow Brook Concours, is not only at the pinnacle of Detroit area car events but it’s also a world-class event, in the rank of the Amelia Island and Pebble Beach shows. The 2012 CoA was held last Sunday and as expected there were plenty of “of course” moments, but also a few very pleasant surprises, including this McLaren M1B, what I consider the ultimate anti-trailer queen.Racing McLaren’s are not so rare that I haven’t seen them before. As a matter of fact, in 2009, the same concours had three beautifully restored McLarens in … [Read more...] about Look What I Found!: McLaren M1B – The Ultimate Anti-Trailer Queen
We shouldn’t be surprised that somebody is trying to sell the Queen’s former Bentley Mulsanne for a substantial markup. Vendors often try to extract a sizable premium for cars that have been owned by somebody famous, and celebrities don’t get much bigger than HRM. So if you’re in the market for a right-hand-drive Mulsanne and dig the fact that Her Maj once sat on the back seat, then you can buy this one, currently listed on the British Auto Trader website (unrelated to the U.S.–based autotrader.com), for £199,850, or $283,000 at current exchange rates.You’d be as mad as King George III to do so, of course. Although gently used to convey Queen Elizabeth to and from her various castles and palaces and with just 5000 miles recorded, this 2012 Mulsanne is, by our reckoning, nearly twice the price of a similar car in the U.K. without a royal pedigree. Alternatively it could be a canny investment, depending on how much value the market places on its … [Read more...] about Royal Flush: Queen’s Bentley Mulsanne Ends Up on British Auto Trader
“Another one bites the dust.” Queen, 1980. “Another one drives the Duster.” Dacia, 2016.As the elites gaze at yet another Dacia Duster drive by, they adopt the 36-year-old words of Queen. Sort of.“Another one drives the Duster,” Dacia’s latest ad repeatedly says.“Relax, you can drive one too,” the commercial ends. And if you live in one of Dacia’s mostly European markets, you surely can. The Dacia is priced from only £9,495 in the United Kingdom, less than half the price of Nissan UK’s Rogue twin, the X-Trail.If you, like me, capture major European sporting events through European-based streaming services, you’re bound to come across this Queen-inspired Duster ad before long. You’ll be uncomfortable at first – are they saying, “Another one bites the duster?” – and then you’ll simply perceive the ad as dorky. But the Duster ad manages to fulfill its mission of showcasing a … [Read more...] about Dacia Borrows Iconic Queen Hit For New Duster Commercial