Tag Archives: Car of the Year

Zoomie Car of the Year Awards 1990-2014

25 Years of Zoomies

Here are my Car of the Year Awards for the first 25 years of the Savage On Wheels column, as they appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This year the Zoomies will appear only on this website. Watch for their posting …. very soon!

Art: Stuart Carlson
Art: Stuart Carlson

Here are the past Zoomie winners:

2014: Mazda3 (light, swoopy hatchback with power, fun handling and fuel efficiency)

2013: Dodge Dart (sassy smart looking small car, full of youthful features, value)

2012: Chevrolet Volt (good looking, well built and cutting edge technology)

2011: Ford Mustang (in any trim a beautiful, fast, fun car with excellent ride and handling)

2010: Suzuki Kizashi SLS (modest price, good looks/handling, loaded with goodies)

2009: Volvo C30 (sassy, economical, fun with fresh styling)

2008: Nissan Altima Coupe (awesome looks, good value, fun drive with power)

2007: Mazda5 (stylish blend of sportwagon-van, low price, practical)

2006: Ford Fusion (good looks, good value, improved fit and finish) Continue reading Zoomie Car of the Year Awards 1990-2014

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2015 ZOOMIE Car of the Year Awards

Zoomies: The Everyman’s Car of the Year, where style and value still matter

Zoomie got kicked to the curb this year, after 25 years of top car selections for the Milwaukee newspaper.

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Art: Stuart Carlson

Hey, stuff happens!

So while you didn’t get to see my top car, hybrid, crossover, etc. selections in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after 25 consecutive years, you can see them here. I hope you also hear, or heard, me chat them up on WUWM’s (89.7 FM) Lake Effect show on March 9.

Zoomie backstory

My Zoomie Car of the Year was launched in 1990 as a response to what I thought a travesty. Noted car mag Motor Trend had just dubbed the bulbous whale-like Chevrolet Caprice, that of big city taxi fame, as its Car of the Year.

OMG!

This was the year that Mazda had launched its soon to be iconic Miata roadster, the first, the best and the most affordable sports car ever. I had to right a wrong!

Thus, my first Zoomie (named after my brother Steve’s iguana) went to the Miata, instantly setting the automotive world right – even if said world was fully unaware.

NOW … 26 years later I’ve driven roughly 1,300 cars and trucks and use that as my basis for selections. Yet I only compare the vehicles I’ve driven in the past year, since the last Zoomie Awards, for Car of the Year, and other categories as befit the past year’s fleet.

My intent, as always, is to select a car for the masses, but one with styling flair, something that’s fun, yet also delivers value.

So you won’t see a Ferrari, Bugatti or Lamborghini here (uh, they’ve never even invited me to drive one), but the award also won’t go to a big ol’ truck either, as they simply aren’t fun or sporty, ever.

Now the envelopes please: Continue reading 2015 ZOOMIE Car of the Year Awards

Chasing Classic Cars: You find them when you least expect them

A car show at an air show

Car shows, classic cars, plymouth, mercury, chevy, pontiac covnertibleSo this past weekend, I was up with my buddies in Oconto, WI putting on an airshow with our radio controlled airplanes. Our gig was actually just part of a bigger event they held at their local airport. Well one of the other parts was a classic car show. I saw the shiny bright objects right away and when I was in between flights took a walk over. All kinds of cool cars and they pictures I’m sharing here are just a sample of the cars there.

A 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator

The Cougar was Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year for 1967 and helped Mercury sales quite a bit when it was introduced in 1967. A Mustang twin? Well sort of except that unlike a lot of other cars built on the same platform that make minor changes, Mercury did a lot. This with the Eliminator package was high performance. The owner wasn’t around but if it had a 427 in it, would be worth some serious cash.

, chevy, pontiac covnertible, chevy, pontiac covnertible

The Duster everybody wants

There basic model was kind of…eh. It was built for economy and they don’t have a lot of value to collectors, however this one with the 440 is and are very affordable muscle cars. I found one on Hemming’s for around $15 grand. Not a lot of dough for a very fast car.

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OOOOOOh…Barrracuda

The Plymouth Barracuda was a two-door car that was manufactured by the Plymouth division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1964 to 1974. This is a third-gen Cuda and the redesign for the removed all its previous commonality with the Valiant. I love the color treatment on this one.

cuda-front, chevy, pontiac covnertible

A rare Firebird

This is a first-gen made from 67-69. I believe this is a 68 and what makes it rare it the 440 and its a convertible. Hemming’s trend guide showed that it would go for about $117,000.

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The classics of classics

This 1957 Chevy convertible was pretty cool. I also love the drive in touch. Depending on the package it had pricing goes up to $120,000. What’s not to like about a car show? Two of my loves, cars and planes.

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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.