Luxurious crossover, quiet comfortable family mover
A lot of time has passed since I last tested Nissan’s fine Murano crossover, yet it remains a solid, quiet, comfortable family mover.
While many folks buy this in front-drive form, Nissan says, I had the next to top level SL model with AWD. That means it goes for nearly $41 grand, which seems high, until you consider many other crossovers with luxury leanings.
The tested dark metallic blue Murano started at $38,000 and ended up $40,855 with mainly a navigation system upgrade adding to the price. If price is a concern, start shopping at the S level, which begins at $29,960 for front-drive and $31,560 for AWD. There are four trim levels, the top, LE, going for $40,560 with AWD. Continue reading 2012 Nissan Murano SV AWD→
CMC’s Ferrari detail excels, including first working trunk latch
There are few, if any, models in the die-cast world as finely made as those produced by CMC. And while pricey, they are well worth the cost for serious, selective collectors.
Consider that the new 1:18 Ferrari 250 California is hand-assembled from 1,634 individual parts including wire-spoked wheels with aluminum rims, each spoke hand-mounted with a single nipple and each tire has a valve stem. Wiring and other under-hood detailing is exquisite and realistic looking, as is the car’s underside. No corners are cut here, thus the premium price tag. Continue reading Diecast: CMC Ferrari 250 California→
Ford invested $400,000,000 in its development and those were mid-5o’s numbers. Can you imagine what that would have taken in today’s dollars? Yikes. It would be enough to bankrupt a car maker. The Edsel is most famous for being a marketing disaster and the name “Edsel” became synonymous with commercial failure, and similar ill-fated products. Since the Edsel program was such a debacle, it gave marketers a vivid illustration of how not to market a product.
The public also had difficulty understanding what the Edsel was, primarily because Ford made the mistake of pricing the Edsel within another of its car lines, Mercury and its market price segment. Theoretically, the Edsel was conceived to fit into Ford’s marketing plans as the brand slotted in between Ford and Mercury. However there became issues when it was priced to close to the best-trimmed Ford sedan and $63 less than Mercury’s base model. In its mid-range pricing, Edsel’s Pacer and Corsair models were more expensive than their Mercury counterparts. Edsel’s top-of-the-line Citation four-door hardtop model was the only model priced to correctly compete with Mercury’s mid-range Montclair Turnpike Cruiser model. The Edsel was produced from 1957 to 1959 although some models were manufactured that borrowed heavily on other Fords and most notably the horse collar grill.
The Edsel did however offer several innovative features, among which were its “rolling dome” speedometer, warning lights for such conditions as low oil level, parking brake engaged, and engine overheating, as well as its Push-button Teletouch transmission shifting system in the center of the steering wheel. Other unique features included ergonomically designed controls for the driver and self-adjusting brakes, offered such advanced safety features as seat belts (which were available at extra cost as optional equipment on many other makes) and child-proof rear door locks that could only be opened with the key. I remember my dad taking me down to the dealership when I was a kid and vividly remember the push button transmission shift.
Even though the car bombed, more than a half a century after its spectacular failure, the car has become a highly collectible item among vintage car hobbyists. Fewer than 10,000 Edsels survive and are considered valuable collectors’ items. A mint 1958 Citation convertible or 1960 Ranger convertible may sell for over $100,000.
Plastic scale models of all three Edsel years were produced by AMT, in its usual 1/25 scale. Both promotional and kit versions were sold. The promo models are also considered valuable collector cars and they command premium prices today, especially the rare 1959 and 1960 models. Because of the way the models were molded, there can be some warping, especially on the earlier models. These images are from Wheat’s Nostalgia and were priced anywhere from $80 to close to $200. Not a lot of money for holding a piece of automotive history in your hand.
Acura created one of the finest entry-level sport sedans with its TSX a few years back, but now introduces another winner to slot in just under the TSX.
For 2013 Acura rolls out the ever so slightly smaller ILX to fill the entry slot as TSX has crept up to a $31,010 base price. The new ILX wedges in at a more approachable $25,900, yet is only about 6 inches shorter overall and rides on just a 1.4-inch shorter wheelbase. In reality, this is the size that cars like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Mazda 626 used to occupy before the Japanese car makers grew them to fit U.S. mid-market appetites. Continue reading 2013 Acura ILX Premium→
Titanium edition pricy as a near premium small ute
Let’s start with the shocking part, the price. The tested Ford Escape listed at $34,735.
Granted this IS the top-of-the-line 2013 Escape Titanium 4WD, but that price is near premium small-ute territory, one where you expect a luxury nameplate. By adding the Titanium moniker it means you get a LOAD of tech features and the horsy 2.0-liter GTDI I4 EcoBoost engine that cranks an impressive 237 hp.
EcoBoost is a turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers monster power and normally delivers better gas mileage than a V6 with equivalent power. That may be, much of the time, but I got a ho-hum 20.5 mpg in about 60% city driving. The EPA has rated this model at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, so I expected better. Continue reading 2013 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD→
In the early 50’s most of the car manufacturers were going the “bigger is better” route. Nash Motor Company executives were examining the market to offer American buyers an economical transportation alternative. In came the Nash Metropolitan. Wait a minute, isn’t the all coming around again with cars like the Fiat 500 and Smart Car? Same concept, small car, good gas milage and fun to drive. The “Met” as it is called sometimes was first introduced in 1953 and was a partnership between Nash, here in the US, and Austin Motor Company, and Fisher and Ludlow in England to become the first American-designed car, that was to be exclusively marketed in North America, had been entirely built in Europe. It was also the first American car that was marketed specifically to women.
What’s not to love about this car? It’s wheelbase was just 85 inches, smaller than a VW, got great gas mileage, 40-47 mpg, and it was fun to drive. By the time of the end of the production run, there were 94,986 sold in the US and Canada with 1959 being the best sales year where 22,209 were sold. Today this car has a cult-like following with several car clubs.
For those of you who don’t have the cash or garage space there are the Met promo models. These were made mostly by Hubley Manufacturing both as promo model and a kit. The one way to tell them apart is that the promo was friction and the kit was not. When the Met came out, a dealer could order a box of them for 18 bucks. These are actually pretty easy to find.
I believe the one I have here was my dad’s. The detail on this is pretty good and they only thing keeping this one from being a perfect 10 would be the missing post on the passenger side. It has very little warp in it. I do not have the box with it which also would knock it down some. I have seen ones with boxes going in the neighborhood of around $200. I almost had the real deal but for some reason couldn’t hook up with the buyer and it was the same color as this one.
Since it was nice this past weekend, I hopped on my motorcycle and took a ride to the Wilson Center in Brookfield, WI for an art show. No wait, not just an “art show”. Sure they had paintings, which I barely glanced at, but they also had some pretty cool cars which are really rolling pieces of art. Here’s my video. Make sure to send us your ride and we’ll feature it right here.