Mark Savage is a writer and editor. He has written a car review column, Savage on Wheels, for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel since 1989 and was a business news reporter there for 16 years. He also is the editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and has written about diecast cars and slot cars for various hobby magazines. He also is an avid Indy 500 fan, attending races since 1962.
Let’s get this right up front, I like the looks, ride and handling of the restyled 2012 Subaru Impreza.
The small sedan’s chiseled nose and flattened wheel flares give it a much more exciting appearance than its predecessor. But the variable speed 5-speed transmission is a stumbling block. The continuously variable transmission (CVT), like so many others, makes the car’s acceleration less than stellar, plus combines with the engine to create a whine and groan that make the car sound like it’s working awfully hard to get up to normal driving speeds. Continue reading 2012 Subaru Impreza→
The Honda CR-V has been a solid compact sport-utility vehicle for years, so it should be no surprise that the restyled 2012 model remains simply that.
Naturally some changes were made. CR-V adds a few more horses (5 to be exact) under the hood, but it also rounds its styling to the point of being rather bulbous in back, and its length and height shrink a bit while the cargo space grows by 1.5 cubic feet. Pricing has continued to inch upward too. The base LX model with 2-wheel drive now starts at $22,295 and there’s a monster $810 delivery fee to get it shipped from Ohio. Lucky it doesn’t come from overseas. Continue reading 2012 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L Nav→
Lola racing cars continue to be some of the most successful racers in the world, but in the 1960s and ’70s Lola chassis were popping up in every series – and winning!
Noted Ford GT and Formula 1 car designer Eric Broadley was instrumental in the Lola T-70 sports car design. This was a semi-monocoque racer made of light steel and alloys with a Fiberglas and reinforced plaster body featuring the soft sweeping curves that made racers of that era so visually exciting. Continue reading Slot cars: Scalextric Can-Am Lolas rock→
Mechanically cars weren’t fancy in 1954. But some were drop-dead gorgeous, like the then new Corvette. This was Chevrolet’s early foray into the burgeoning sports car market. GIs returning from Europe after WW II had fallen in love with two-seat sports cars they saw overseas, mostly in England. By the 1950s they were starting to earn the income to buy such cars and Chevy was among the first to jump into the segment. Continue reading Diecast cars: Autoart ’54 Vette→
Ford’s GT40 is a legend that won the 24 Hours of LeMans four straight years, from 1966 through 1969. But there wasn’t just one GT40 design in that stretch.
The pre-1966 Mk I was probably the most beautiful, but the Mk II was the model that got Ford into the fabled LeMans’ victory lane, with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon handling the driving.
Scalextric, which earlier created beautiful versions of the Mk I also offers the 1966 version of the Mk II, which features larger air scoops just behind the doors, plus two long scoops just behind the rear window edges on the rear deck, and one mid-deck. Continue reading Slot cars: Scalextric Ford GT40→
Back in 1967 stock cars weren’t anything fancy, in fact, they were pretty much just that, stock cars with headlights taped up and numbers painted on the sides. They still had stock bumpers and bodies – no templates!
There were a select group of top drivers then, just as now. But long before Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt there were Richard Petty and David Pearson. In the mid- to late-1960s they were the top dogs, by a long-shot.
So Revell-Monogram’s offering, Pearson’s No. 17 Ford Fairlane will be a popular model among slot car racers who enjoy vintage machines. 1967 was the year Pearson switched from Dodge to Ford mid-season, jumping to the successful Holman-Moody Team. That meant he only had 22 starts in 48 races, but still finished 7th in points. Pretty impressive! Continue reading Slot cars: Monogram’s ’67 Pearson Ford→
Long-time exotic sports car maker Aston Martin returned to racing in 2005 with its sleek DBR9 racer modeled after its DB9 street car. The intent was to challenge the likes of Audi and Porsche on the road courses of Europe and the United States.
The car, racing in the GT1 class, used a lot of carbon fiber and aluminum to meet weight requirements and its 6.0-liter V12 created a massive 600 horsepower. First race out was the 12-hours of Sebring in the U.S. and then the 24-hours of LeMans in France. Aston Martin finished fourth at Sebring, but first in class, edging Team Corvette. In LeMans the DBR9 finished 9th, third in class.
The Scalextric slot car version is the No. 57 with full team markings for Aston Martin Racing, complete with yellow nose trim, a Union Jack on the hood and side doors and decked out in a modified metallic British Racing Green that the team chose as its new color. This is the car as it appeared in the 2005 Sebring race, driven by David Brabham, Darren Turner and Stephane Ortelli. Their names appear on the car’s roof. Continue reading Slot cars: Scalextric Aston DBR9→
Hyundai has done it again, created a styling home run, a car that people talk about. This time it’s the diminutive 2012 Hyundai Veloster, a sporty coupe/hatch with a bonus back door on the passenger’s side. Ah, you say, “Didn’t Saturn do that years ago?” Yes, but that car wasn’t nearly as attractive as this one, nor as well built.
Veloster, which sounds like a dinosaur from “Jurassic Park,” is a fun drive. It combines the swoopy appeal of Honda’s CR-Z hybrid coupe, with the light, fun to drive feel of former Toyota Celicas. Youngsters, and maybe a few of us 50-somethings looking for a stylish commuter, will dig this economical coupe/hatch. Continue reading 2012 Hyundai Veloster→