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.

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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

2013 Lexus GS450h

Luxurious GS450h gives hybrids a good name

Lexus is synonymous with luxury, which is currently being driven home via the smooth quiet operation of its GS450h, a midsize luxury hybrid.Lexus GS450h

There isn’t much more anyone would need in a luxury car than what the GS450h delivers.

Ride is smooth and controlled, the engine gives it plenty of power when needed and handling is responsive too, if not sports car precise. The interior is swathed in leather and luxury and styled to impress any of your non-luxury-car owning friends. The exterior is upscale, without being showy.

Then there’s the hybrid feature with an electric motor that generates 180 horsepower from the batteries that get much of their oomph from regenerative braking. This naturally aids the car’s quiet running, almost stealth-like as it powers down at stoplights and then kicks into electric mode as you accelerate away from a stop. If you need more power, there’s a plenty from the gas-powered 3.5-liter V6 that pumps a generous 338 horses.

Smoothing that acceleration, even when you want to blast away from the riff-raff, is an electronic variable speed automatic transmission, which like most CVTs aids gas mileage and eliminates the feel of gears shifting. This is a fine one. Continue reading 2013 Lexus GS450h

Die-Cast: Autoart Bugatti Veyron

Top dog in the car world kennel

When you’re top of the heap people take notice, and that’s exactly what the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is – top dog in the car world kennel. Autoart knows that makes it a prime candidate for a stunning die-cast model.Bugattt Veyron

Bugatti is a French exotic car maker that has been turning folks’ heads with its designs since 1909 and now that it’s owned by the German giant, Volkswagen, it has the cash to turn out more world beaters, like the Veyron.

Two key facts: Veyron is the most expensive production car in the world at roughly $2.6 million and the fastest in the world at 267.85 mph in Super Sport trim, otherwise it’ll only do 253.52 mph. Slacker!

It’s also a favorite of those goofy Brits on “Top Gear.” Continue reading Die-Cast: Autoart Bugatti Veyron

2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT

Chevy’s Korean micro car comes up short

Chevrolet’s Spark is a confusing car.

Why? Chevy has a perfectly fine entry-level car, the Sonic. Why it felt a need to go bargain basement with its Spark, a Daewoo (remember that name?) designed four-door micro or city car seems like a decision from the pre-bankruptcy General Motors.2013 Chevrolet Spark

Let’s get out our microscope and examine Spark, which some folks insisted should be called the Speck. It’s small, riding on a 93.5-inch wheelbase and weighing just 2,269 pounds in 2LT trim, as I drove it, with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Consider that most cars now have 5- or 6-speed transmissions and you can see what road we’re headed down.

Spark is made in South Korea and comes in three trims, base, 1LT and 2LT and is aimed directly at the youngsters who simply can’t afford anything larger. Its base price is $12,245, close to its main competitor, the Nissan Versa, but you’d also compare it with Scion’s (Toyota’s entry-level youth brand) iQ or Hyundai’s Accent. Some might argue it would have competed with the Smart car a few years back too, but even the Spark offers more and is a smarter choice than the Smart. Continue reading 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT

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