All posts by Mark Savage

Mark Savage is a writer and editor. He wrote a car review column, Savage on Wheels, for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1989 through 2019 and was a business news reporter there for 16 years. He now writes car reviews for WUWM (NPR-Milwaukee) and for his own site. He also has served as editor and publisher of several hobby magazines and a snowmobile title, all the while writing about diecast cars and for various hobby magazines. He is an avid Indy 500 fan, attending races since 1962, and an IndyCar enthusiast, and Formula Ford race school graduate.

Slot cars: BBR’s Ferrari F430 looks great

The Ferrari F430 is a champ on the track and a popular racer in the American LeMans and FIA GT championship series, and also has raced at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Plus who the heck doesn’t like a Ferrari F430, slot car reviews, savageonwheels.comFerrari?

So it’s natural enough that noted Italian die-cast car model maker BBR has jumped into the slot car world with an F430.

In the real world the F430 goes for upward of $225,000 in the U.S. market and its 4.3-liter V-8 cranks out an a stout 483 horses with a top speed of nearly 197 mph. No wonder these are racers.

The interesting part here is that BBR’s first slot car is a kit, not pre-built, so BBR fans will get to build their own Ferrari. Continue reading Slot cars: BBR’s Ferrari F430 looks great

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep, savageonwheels
Photos Courtesy Chrysler, LLC.

With Hummer gone, Jeep is our resident Alpha male off-road vehicle and truth be told, it has been for 70+ years. Hummer was the upstart.

While Wrangler is Jeep’s real Type A personality, it’s more sophisticated brother, the Grand Cherokee is no shy guy. Take the Limited model for example.

Standard with a 290-horse Pentastar V6, our silver test model upped the ante with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with variable valve timing and Fuel Saver Technology aimed at eeking out an extra mpg while still giving the Jeep major grunt. Continue reading 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2012 Hyundai Accent GLS

Hyundai is trying something few carmakers have of late, offer a small entry-level car with nice styling.

4-door sedan reviews, Hyundai Accent 4-door sedan
Photos Courtesy Hyundai

No, the Accent isn’t as swoopy as the Sonata or even the Elantra, which is sandwiched between Accent and Sonata. But its lines are crisp and give the small car some flair. I drove a sparkling “marathon blue” 4-door GLS for the week and found it a great value. Here’s why.

First, it doesn’t cost you much to get into an Accent. Base price on the 4-door is $12,545 and for that you get the same 1.6-liter fuel-efficient direct-injected 4-cylinder all aluminum engine as all Accents. It delivers 138 horsepower, which is best in class, so there’s plenty of power for a light, 2,463-lb. car. Continue reading 2012 Hyundai Accent GLS

2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

The world needs another compact sport-utility vehicle like it needs a few more politicians, but Mazda definitely needed a new compact SUV.

It’s Tribute, which was based off Ford’s Escape, was aging and barely selling. Its CX-7 and CX-9 are larger and frankly, more expensive.

2013 Mazda CX-5, Mazda reviews, savageonwheels
Photos courtesy of Mazda

So the 2013 (already) CX-5 comes along at just the right time, for Mazda. The fact that it’s attractive, abandoning the giant gaping mouth nose styling that Mazda has fancied of late, will likely make it popular too, that and its performance. The good mojo starts with better than average gas mileage and extends to a pleasant ride, above average handling and a stylish interior. Continue reading 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

2012 Subaru Impreza

Let’s get this right up front, I like the looks, ride and handling of the restyled 2012 Subaru Impreza.

Subaru Impreza, car reviews, savageonwheels
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

2012 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L Nav

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD, Honda CR-V
Photos Courtesy Honda

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

Slot cars: Scalextric Can-Am Lolas rock

Lola race cars, savageonwheels.comLola 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

Diecast cars: Autoart ’54 Vette

Diecast car: Autoart builds iconic ’54 Vette

Reviewed by Mark Savage

Diecast car reviews, Autoart ’54 Vette
Photos Courtesy Autoart

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

Slot cars: Scalextric Ford GT40

ford gt40, daytona, ford race carsFord’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

Slot cars: Monogram’s ’67 Pearson Ford

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