2013 Audi S5 Cabriolet

Convertible adds fun to fast, sure-footed Audi

What’s more fun than a sports coupe? Well, a convertible version of a sports coupe with a supercharged V6 and all-wheel drive, to be sure.Audi S5 Cabriolet/Standaufnahme

That’s what you get with Audi’s S5 Cabriolet Quattro, compared with its standard A5 coupe. The S5 comes as either a coupe with solid top or cabriolet, meaning it has a soft convertible top. Entry price is $50,900 for the coupe, with manual transmission and the super quick 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that will kick you in the pants to the tune of 333 horses.

The “ice silver” ($475 extra) convertible version I drove shoe horns that same engine under its hood and it’ll knock your socks off. Well, maybe just lower them a bit, but the supercharged power plant feels and sounds strong with a throaty, but not overly showy, exhaust note. No lag upon acceleration either. Continue reading 2013 Audi S5 Cabriolet

Die-cast: Replicarz Marmon Wasp

Final look before the real deal hits

DC-wasp xray2I know I’ve been teasing you a bit with updates on the new Replicarz 1/18 die-cast model of the 1911 Marmon Wasp, but this one promises to be a winner.

Well, it already was the winner of the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. (Uh, the real car, not the model.)

But I’ve snagged what appears to be the final update photos of the Wasp, which is due on the market by February, maybe sooner if the ship doesn’t dawdle crossing the Pacific and now that the dock workers have put off a strike. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz Marmon Wasp

2013 Honda CR-V

Upon further review … solid, but bulbous and not as refined as expected

Every once in a while I get to test a vehicle twice in a single year. It’s rare, but this week I had the 2013 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with navigation, just one model year newer than the CR-V I had tested early last spring.honda-cr-v-exterior-side

It confirmed my thoughts and observations, which cheers me that I didn’t miss the mark earlier. The good news, for the driver, is that this one was a pleasant Mountain Air (turquoise blue) color vs. the blah gray of the earlier model.

But, and I apologize if you feel you’ve heard some of this before, the CR-V remains a solid compact sport-utility vehicle with 5 more horses than the previous generation and a more rounded look. In fact, several friends and observers called the Honda’s rear-end ugly and too bulbous. It’s not attractive, but then few utes really are much more than boxes on wheels. Continue reading 2013 Honda CR-V

2013 Volkswagen CC Sport

Streamlined CC Sport shows what VW can do

When Volkswagen launched its sporty CC in 2009 it went head-to-head with its own Passat, at the time a dowdy midsize sedan that was in need of a restyling.1VW

Now, Passat is coming off a facelift last year to thin it’s body to blend more with the other mid-size sedans that sell well, Toyota’s Camry, Honda’s Accord, Ford’s Fusion and Chevrolet’s Malibu. So the CC, which VW calls a coupe, but is indeed a midsize sport sedan, stands out as a distinct step up from Passat, if performance and looks tickle your lederhosen.

CC is sleek with a swept-back rear window and trunk lid giving the car a coupe-like appearance, despite its four doors. Its profile is low and lean, so low in fact that I could stand with my arm resting on its roof and not even strain a tendon. Not many cars are this streamlined looking and the CC actually is more exciting looking in person than in even VW’s press photos. Continue reading 2013 Volkswagen CC Sport

Promo model: 63 Rambler Classic

English: 1963 Rambler Classic 660 Station Wago...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though I was only 9 in 1963…there, I blew the cover on my age, I still remember a lot about that year, the Kennedy assassination for sure. The Beatle’s U.S. TV concert, Route 66, and we had just moved from Madison to Milwaukee when dad got a job at….wait for it…American Motors. And to think he almost took the job at the chicken factory. It was also the year we had traded our 58 Rambler for the 63. It was white with a red interior. I’ve been looking for a promo car like that for a long time.

The 1963 Classic was the first all-new cars developed by AMC since 1956. Keeping the philosophy of the company,  they were more compact – shorter and narrower by one inch, as well as over two inches lower than the preceding models. Even though they were smaller, they lost none of their “family-sized” passenger room or luggage capacity featuring a longer 112-inch wheelbase. Now does that sound familiar today in cars?

Savageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital managerFor the 1963 model year, the Rambler Classic line was completely redesigned with subtle body sculpturing. Outgoing design director, Edmund E. Anderson, shaped the Classic that was named Motor Trend magazine’s 1963 “Car of the Year.” These were also the first AMC models that were influenced by Richard A. Teague, the company’s new principal designer.

Throughout its life in the AMC model line-up, the Classic was the high-volume seller for the independent automaker. In 1963 mostly because of that car, many times the company was listed by some as part of the Big 4, outselling other brands such as Buick, Dodge, Mercury Chrysler, and Cadillac.

So here’s my 63 Rambler. Dad might have brought some home but most likely they were victims of car bombs Savageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital managerSavageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital manager(firecrackers) or car fires, or ???? I bought this one at a car show. Not sure how much I paid for it but it wasn’t a lot. Maybe $50-$70. All the parts are on this one. There is some minor warping on the right front quarter panel and the bumpers could probably need a re-chroming but otherwise in pretty good shape. I’m still looking for the white body, red interior one. If you’re not an AMC geek like me it could be for an entire Car of the Year collection. Good luck on finding the other AMC COTY in a promo model. It was the Renault Alliance.

Die-cast: AutoWorld Vette, Tang started on Road&Track covers

Muscle cars are here to ‘pump you (your collection) up’

Ahhh, muscle cars, those high-horse brutes of the 1960s and early ’70s that lived the high life until the evil Oil Embargo forced us all to rethink power and gas guzzling, at least for a few years.Filename: MOD-DC0113_RoadandTrack.psd

These babies were stylish and fun, and AutoWorld knows it. It also knows us Boomers have a little more extra spending money than the youngsters, AND that we still love our muscle cars and the memories they invoke … dating, drag racing, dating, drive-in movies, dating!

There is much muscle metal to choose from, so why AutoWorld’s latest series? Simple … value and selection.

I’ve written about its Torino GT and AMC AMX before, and there are many others AutoWorld is making in 1:18 scale. But now comes a 1961 Corvette and 1965 Mustang Fastback, tied into Road & Track magazine, a little different twist, but with the same fine detail at collectible prices, $79.99. While many diecast car makers are creating models that cost north of $100, AutoWorld still is well below that mark. Continue reading Die-cast: AutoWorld Vette, Tang started on Road&Track covers

Airplane takes off roof of AMC Pacer

Here’s a wacky video I did a while back where I flew one of my radio controlled airplanes off the roof of my radio controlled AMC Pacer. Told you I’m an AMC geek!

Promo model: VW Karmann Ghia

VW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paulWhat were you doing in 1967? For me, even though I was a kid, I was pumped because the Green Bay Packers become the first team in the modern era to win their third consecutive NFL Championship, 21-17 over the Dallas Cowboys in what became known as “The Ice Bowl”.  It was a great year for cars with lots of new ones coming out.

One I remember is the Karmann Ghia made by Voltswagen originally called the Type 14 which combined the chassis and mechanics of the Volkswagen Type 1 (Beetle), styling by Luigi Segre of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia, and hand-built bodywork by German coach-builder Karmann. A guy I worked with at one time had one of these, a green one. Tall guy too. Always wondered how he fit into it. The car was a hit with consumers too. Production doubled in Germany so it was exported to America where it was also popularity especially the convertible.

VW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paul daniel creative digital marketingIt was also a hit on TV too. Trivia time here. In this spy spoof the lead spy talked to his boss on a shoe phone. Not ringing a bell? The agency he worked for was trying to bust up KAOS. OK, one more. His partner was agent 99 (Barbara Feldman). Bingo, Get Smart! The 1967 Type 14 Karmann Ghia convertible was driven by CONTROL Agent 86 Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) in the opening credits of the third and fourth seasons of Get Smart. Agent 86 would be seen in the opening credits screeching to a halt outside of his headquarters. Click on the screenshot and watch the open. Fun stuff.

In the 2008 film of the same name, a Karmann Ghia once again made an appearance driven by Smart, along with its two sister cars, though the car in the film was a model from 1970. On the 1970s sitcom Good Times an orange Karmann Ghia convertible is seen briefly during the intro. The Karmann Ghia is also the subject of a secret pass phrase in the 2011 movie Cars 2. Love that movie.

The Karmann Ghia’s last year of production was 1974 and replaced by the Volkswagen Rabbit in the U.S market. But the car’s lengthy production run, reliable underpinnings, and striking styling ensure the Karmann Ghia can be recognized in virtually every town in America. It also means it enjoys strong appreciation amongst collectors. With an original list price of $2,395 restored ones can go from around 8 grand to up to $22K for a convertible.

VW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paulVW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paulThe promo car can be hard to find, as I can attest but are very affordable. You will have to do some looking beyond eBay to the sites that specialize in selling promo models such as Wheat’s Nostalgia and Bob’s Promotional Cars. This example I did find on eBay and is in pretty good shape. It’s so darn cute. Sorry, can’t say that with guys in the room. Nice detail on the floor pan too. It ended up finding a new home for around $150. Not bad for a good memory from 1967. Pardon me while I get my shoe phone.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu 1LZ

New Malibu impressive as high-value family car

Chevrolet continues to impress with nearly every new model, or revamped model it launches, save the Spark.

Chevy1Its new Malibu is another winner with tweaked styling to make it look more like a Camry, especially from the rear. But to me, that’s a good thing as the current Camry is the most stylish it has been in years. I tested a sharp looking metallic crystal red ($325 extra) Malibu in 1LZ trim, which is near the top end of the line.

The 1LZ starts at $27,830, right in the midst of the mid-size family sedan market. But this one added loads of options to push it to $32,360. That’s pressing it, but in the Malibu’s defense, it was well equipped, including a back-up camera.

Families on a more moderate budget can get into a base Malibu LS for $22,390 and there are seven trim levels in all, the $30,162 2LZ being the top. Most come with the same 2.5-liter 4-cylinder semi-direct injected engine that creates 197 horses. That’s plenty.

There’s an ECO version too with hybrid electric power coupled with a 2.4-liter 182-horse I4 engine. That model is available starting at $25,335 and boasts 25 mpg city and 37 highway. As it was, the test car delivered 25.1 mpg in my test and is EPA rated at 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Continue reading 2013 Chevrolet Malibu 1LZ

Slot cars? Star Wars Speeders

Star Wars Battle of Endor, star wars, land speeders, ewok, luke skywalker, slot car reviews, savageonwheels.comOK, show of hands. Who’s a Star Wars geek? OK who’s seen the movies? OK, who has ever heard of Star Wars? You know, “May the force be with you”. Big guy in black that has trouble breathing. This movie clip should help. Well if you haven’t, you’ve been stuck on some tropical island for the last 4o years. And you didn’t invite me? I am definitely built for warm weather. Anyway back to Star Wars. I was standing in line as a kid to watch the first film in the series released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars. I paid to watch the movie 14 times before getting a bootleg video copy. Only kidding. Call off the FBI. Then I saw the next two although, not 14 times, but a lot. Hey I had extra time on my hands just graduating from college with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Those jobs didn’t exactly grow on trees then. Fast forward about 30 years or so where I’m now a dad with a 13 year old daughter, who just like dad, is into Star Wars, but bigger than me. Getting my drift here on how this Star Wars thing is big and transcends generations? And it will only get bigger because the planets, in this case Dagobah and Coruscant, have aligned. With Disney’s recent purchase of Lucasfilm, the Star Wars brand will become even stronger especially because new movies are coming out. Continue reading Slot cars? Star Wars Speeders