Month: October 2016

Mecum Dallas will feature some original Mopar history

Mecum Auctions hosts auto auctions throughout the United States, averaging more than one auction per month. In just a few days, it will be Dallas’ turn and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will be home to car enthusiasts from across the country. There will be plenty to see, with an estimated 1,000-car lineup. One vehicle in particular will likely capture the attention of classic muscle car motorheads. It’s a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda, four-speed with 36,000 miles on it. What’s so special about that, you ask? It’s unrestored. That’s right. Except for some minor paint work on the right side, the vehicle is the original sheet metal and original Tor Red paint. From the floors to the seats to even the spare tire, everything about this vehicle is original. I take that back … it got new tires. Those are the tires on which it will drive up onto the auction block and are date-stamped June 1975 (one) and November 1976 (the other three). The ownership history of the vehicle is carefully documented. The original owner lived in Canada and only drove the vehicle in dry weather. Currently on its fifth owner, each have taken extraordinary care to maintain the factory-original authenticity of the vehicle. The genuineness of this Cuda’s history is further preserved under the factory Shaker hood, … Read More

There’s just something about a truck

We’re shopping for a new Ram truck. Let me tell you, when two people who have both been in the auto industry shop together for a truck, it’s an interesting situation. My husband was in sales, so he’s the negotiator. (He is typically the one who does the research, although in this case it’s a Ram truck, so we’re both fairly well-versed.) He gets all the numbers down, finds the best price, then he comes to me to discuss it. This typically runs concurrently with visits to the dealership and discussions with someone in sales. I’m the budget-conscious, numbers freak. He knows he’s going to have to make the numbers look pretty good to convince me, but in this case, it’s a Ram truck and I’ve wanted one for a long time. A LONG time. It probably won’t take as much to convince me as he thinks, but let’s keep that between us, okay? He doesn’t need to know. My husband likes leases. I prefer to drive my vehicles until the wheels fall off. My husband puts a LOT of miles on his vehicles. (The lease guy … go figure.) I work from home and try to load a trip to town with as many tasks as possible. It’s called multi-tasking. My husband gets excited about the “new toy.” (Bear … Read More

Breweries and wineries – what better excuse for a weekend road trip?

Why is it that, when a person is an authority on good wine (albeit, many times a self-proclaimed authority), they are dubbed a “wine snob” while craft beer experts are christened connoisseurs or aficionados? This is a question to which I will likely never have an answer. I guess it’s a good thing I enjoy both and am an expert at neither. That would explain why, in researching a “winery versus brewery” debate, I came to the conclusion that it’s less of an “either-or” and more of a “why not both?” After all, both have hundreds of varieties – more than enough to please even the most discerning palate. Both can be pared with any number of suitable food choices. Most important, as the days get chillier and trips to the beach are no more, both make for a fun weekend road trip. (Just make sure your plans include a designated driver.) Which are the best wineries and breweries to visit? That, of course, is a matter of taste and opinion.                       After reviewing several “best of” lists, I have compiled my own list of the seven best breweries in the United States. Please note, my list is not taste-tested-Linda-approved, nor was there a scientific method in choosing these particular … Read More

Ram and Jeep® brand vehicles prove to be top contenders

When you hear about a rodeo in a place called Dripping Springs, Texas, it’s more likely to invoke images of this kind of beast: Not this kind: But recently, the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) hosted the Texas Truck Rodeo in Dripping Springs, Texas, and FCA US brand vehicles rode away with some of the top awards. In fact, Jeep® brand vehicles and Ram trucks drove over the competition to take the most awards of any manufacturer present. Three Ram trucks powered over the competition in six categories: Luxury Pickup Truck – 2017 Ram 1500 Longhorn Highest Number of Drives – 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel Off-Road Pickup Truck – 2017 Ram Power Wagon Highest Exterior Score Overall – 2017 Ram Power Wagon Highest Performance Score Overall – 2017 Ram Power Wagon Highest Personal Appeal Score Overall – 2017 Ram Power Wagon “Ram’s debut of the 2017 2500 Power Wagon set new benchmarks in our scoring system with the highest figures in the exterior, performance and personal appeal dimensions across all vehicles in the competition,” said Nic Phillips, TAWA president. “That’s a most impressive feat given all the vehicles we had on hand. And the fact that Ram chose the Texas Truck Rodeo for the first ever media drives and evaluations of its most extreme off-road trucks speaks to the seriousness … Read More

Dodge “cool factor” strengthened by solid safety ratings

When you think safe car, what image do you conjure up in your head? A sedan? A minivan? An SUV? A tank? If the phrase “safe car” does not invoke thoughts of muscle cars, you are not alone. But recently, both the 2017 Dodge Challenger and the 2017 Dodge Charger were dubbed two of the safest cars on the road, both earning five-star overall safety ratings from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).                   So, what exactly is a five-star safety rating? For more than 30 years the NHTSA has been a leader in vehicle crash-test safety, and according to their website, SaferCar.gov, it’s simple – More Stars means Safer Cars. The program tests frontal, side and rollover crashes and compiles the results (from one to five stars) into an overall rating. This rating is then made available on both new car window stickers as well as SaferCar.gov, assisting customers in their new-car purchase. “NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings program was the first of its kind and the idea has now spread around the world,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Today, we’re adding to that legacy of global safety leadership, ensuring that American consumers have the best possible information about how to protect themselves and their families, and taking a significant … Read More

PacifiKids run the best kind of dealership

What if buying a car was F-U-N? What if sales associates came out of their office through a tube slide that landed in a ball pit? And many of the “chairs” were beanbags? What if you came out of the dealership with a huge smile on your face, not only because you got a great vehicle, but also because it was the “best dealership ever”? Check this out: If you’re asking, “Is this real?” The answer is yes. At least it was for one day, at Victorville Motors in Victorville, California. The PacifiKids, also known as Izzy, Miles and Harper, and their staff of eight (other kids ranging in age from eight to 13), took over the dealership on October 10, greeting unsuspecting families in search of a great family car. It’s one thing, as an adult, to tout the features and benefits of a vehicle. It’s a whole new adventure to see that same vehicle through the eyes of a kid. “Kids today are influencing their parents’ purchasing decisions more than ever, from the clothes they buy, to the music they download, to even the cars they buy. And kids love minivans,” said head of passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT®, Chrysler and FIAT®, FCA – North America Tim Kuniskis. “So we thought, why not let children, the ones … Read More

Understanding what your vehicle is trying to tell you isn’t always easy

What do you do if you slide behind the wheel of your new vehicle, push to start and … nothing. It’s not the battery – you’ve checked the lights and the radio is blaring at 100 decibels, so the battery is obviously operating just fine. Then you notice this little gem shining brightly at you from the instrument control panel: If you see this and guess that your vehicle likes the shoes you are wearing, you would be incorrect. If, however, you speak “dashboard symbol,” you likely recognize that, if you expect your vehicle to take you to your intended destination, stepping on the brake in order to start the engine would be a good place to start. Dashboard symbol is not an easy language for everyone to learn, especially when you’ve just upgraded your 1987 Dodge Shadow to the latest and greatest, with all the bells and whistles. There are some basics, however, that can help determine what your level of concern should be and, possibly, whether you will be spending your day in the waiting room of your friendly, local service guy. For example, let’s start with color. Generally, you can think of the color of the symbol you see in much the same way you think of a stoplight: Red means stop. Your vehicle is warning you … Read More

Arrive alive – winter driving dos and don’ts

Snow. It’s beautiful and it’s fun. Especially if you’re into skiing, snowmobiling or just some good old-fashioned sledding down a nearby hill. But it can also make for some dangerous driving situations and, if the Farmer’s Almanac is right (they claim up to 96.3 percent accuracy, but I’ll let you be the judge), the 2016-2017 winter season will be a snow-filled extravaganza that starts early and ends, well, sometime next year. So far, I’ve told you about my own back-and-forth with the winter tire decision. (Most likely, my own recently-purchased winter tires will be mounted and balanced sooner than I’d like.) And, I reviewed a few winter car-care items to check off your to-do list before the frigid temperatures hit. But what about driving in the cold and snow? AAA offers some solid advice for winter driving, whether you’re simply driving across town or venturing out on a long-distance winter road trip. Here are just a few tips they offer: Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. This is just good advice to follow no matter what the weather, but fatigue can add to the stress of driving in bad weather, making for a potentially dangerous outcome. Keep your gas tank at least half full. Another good practice to follow despite weather conditions, doing so in cold weather helps to prevent condensation … Read More