Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1958 Scarab Mk. II, Riverside winner

This beautiful Scarab won Riverside in 1958 … 1958 Scarab

First came the 1959 Scarab that Jim Jeffords drove to a win at Meadowdale, but now Replicarz delivers the first Scarab to win a sports car race. This beautiful bright light metallic blue racer is a replica of the one Chuck Daigh drove to victory at the Riverside International Grand Prix in California in 1958.

Replicarz exclusive lineup of Scarabs are cast resin, so feel substantial and are magnificently shaped with their sexy bulging fenders and long hood. This is a 1/18 scale model with great shelf or display case presence. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1958 Scarab Mk. II, Riverside winner

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC

Outlander a star in Mitsubishi’s quiet lineup …2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi is the quiet company in the U.S. auto market; we hardly hear a peep out of the Japanese vehicle maker. Its lineup is compact and advertising minimal.

But the star of its lineup for several years has been the Outlander, a competent crossover with available AWD and a standard third row seat. That’s certainly something to tout to families looking for inexpensive wheels and the ability to carry 7 passengers. Continue reading 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

Pacifica plug-in hybrid rocks the MPG …2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid

What would you say if I told you there’s a 5,000-lb. minivan that will get 84 miles per gallon, maybe 88.9 mpg?

I thought so. You’d laugh. You’d think this Savage dude has gone off his noodle, is a couple bricks shy of a full load, has an elevator that doesn’t go to the top floor. Continue reading 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

Road America test drives

Car heaven at Road America

Nobody ever has to ask a second time if Mark and I want to attend an event at Road America. For us track, located in Elkhart Lake, WI, is one of the most fun locations we visit in the automotive world. We were among the 80 plus media members from across the country given the opportunity to check out more than 90 new vehicles at the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s (MAMA) annual Spring Rally held May 23-24. Continue reading Road America test drives

2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium

Kia’s  Niro plug-in hybrid rocks the mpg ratings …2018 Kia Niro PHEV

Last year Kia’s Niro hybrid crossover wannabe surprised me big time. It’s attractive, handles well, has decent power and achieved good gas mileage because it was a standard hybrid.

Sure the Toyota Prius is queen of this category, but Niro has it all on looks and thoughtfully designed interior. Continue reading 2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

Toyota C-HR takes cute, useful and fun to drive to a new level … 2018 Toyota C-HR

Mini has had cute pretty well sewed up among small cars with four doors, but now Toyota has stepped up to the plate with its latest C-HR crossover.

The tested C-HR (cute hot rod?) was the top-level XLE Premium model decked out in a  bright blue paint job with a bright white roof. It’s a fun, economical home run of a car! Continue reading 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

2018 BMW M550i xDrive

BMW’s M550i a hot, but sophisticated, rocket! … 2018 BMW 550i xDrive

BMW 5 Series sedans still rock.

I know I about drooled myself silly praising the BMW 530e xDrive I tested about six weeks ago. I lauded it as epitomizing BMW’s motto of The Ultimate Driving Machine, and I still believe that. But …

Along comes its sister sport sedan, the M550i xDrive, and well, my lather has returned. That’s because in place of the silky smooth plug-in hybrid system of the 530e, with its 248-horse twin-turbo I4 and electric hybrid system, the 550 drops in a throbbing V8. Yes, this one has a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that creates — hold on — 456 horsepower. Continue reading 2018 BMW M550i xDrive

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Muddy Fun

Muddy fun for a Jeep geek

2018 jeep wrangler unlimited, jeep, wrangler, wrangler unlimitedFull disclosure: I’ve been a Jeep guy for a very long time having first driven the SJ Cherokee back in the late 70’s.

I was forwarded on and email from my blogging partner, Mark Savage, who received an invitation from the Jeep people but couldn’t make it to an event. I was all over it and jumped at the chance, along with other media folks, to discover the off roading capabilities on the new JL Wrangler at Cliff’s Insane Terrain Off Road Park in Marseilles, IL.

This latest rendition created a lot of buzz prior to its release earlier this year, maybe even more than the last redesign in 2006.  All kinds of speculation about what the JL would have and maybe not have. No worries off roaders, the Jeep guys were all over this from the start.  Continue reading 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Muddy Fun

Die-cast: Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Pete DePaolo’s Duesenberg is a beauty … Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Last time we laid eyes on Replicarz’s 1/18 scale Indy-winning Duesenbergs they were prototypes. Now comes the real deal, and just in time for next month’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

Granted Duesenbergs haven’t been ripping up the Speedway recently, but they were a force in the 1920s. And Peter DePaolo may have been the best-known racer of his day, and Duesenberg’s main man too. So this 1925 Indy winner should be the fastest mover of the three winners (also 1924 and 1927) now available. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1985 March 85C, Indy Winner

Spin and Win Indy 500 winner a beautiful race car …1985 Indy 500 winner, March 85C

The March chassis was a dominant one in Indycar racing during the 1980s, and it was a beautiful racer.

That’s what makes Replicarz’s new 1/18 scale March 85C, the Miller beer-sponsored red and white beauty driven to the Indy 500 win by Danny Sullivan in 1985, such a winner. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1985 March 85C, Indy Winner

2018 Audi Q5 2.0T quattro w/Prestige

New Audi Q5 remains smooth, luxurious …2018 Audi Q5

Evidently once a smooth operator, always a smooth operator.

Audi’s new Q5 compact luxury crossover/sport-ute carries on its tradition of smooth, sporty performance with luxury ladled on for good measure. It’s a bit larger than its predecessor and slightly more fuel efficient too. This is an all-around winner. No wonder the Q5 is Audi’s best-selling vehicle. Continue reading 2018 Audi Q5 2.0T quattro w/Prestige

Die-cast: Ixo’s Ferrari 275LM 1965 Le Mans winner

Ferrari’s final Le Mans winner, the 275LM  …Ixo Ferrari 265LM

Ferrari established itself as an endurance racing powerhouse in the 1950s and early 1960s. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright eight times between 1954 and 1965, six in a row from 1960 to ‘65. It hasn’t won Le Mans since.

For many, that last win in 1965 embodied the Italian car maker at its peak, entering a variety of red racers to ensure better odds of winning. And then there’s a bit of a mystery as to who actually drove that car to Ferrari’s last win. The tale is interesting. Continue reading Die-cast: Ixo’s Ferrari 275LM 1965 Le Mans winner

Die-cast: Autocult’s Volkswagen T1

VW T1 van
Can you imagine any of today’s pampered F1 drivers riding to a race in one of these?

Unique VW for the racing-oriented collector … 

When I was a kid the only minivans were VW vans. They fit the mini category, maybe even invented it.

But these were simple vehicles that like VW’s Beetle captured many of us Boomers’ imaginations. What may have been forgotten, however, is that there were several iterations and in Germany in particular, the pickup version was a popular commercial vehicle. Continue reading Die-cast: Autocult’s Volkswagen T1

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