Tag Archives: Chicago

2018 Chicago Auto Show: New vehicles big and small

It’s the largest show in North America

Mark and I love this show and have been making the trip down south from Milwaukee for a long time. Besides seeing the latest from the auto manufacturers, we spend time catching up with our fellow reporters. And we got some exercise walking two miles in the one million square foot exhibit area at McCormick Place. Continue reading 2018 Chicago Auto Show: New vehicles big and small

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2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo’s Giulia makes us giggle it’s so much fun …2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

            Rare is the sports sedan, or any car, that makes you giggle when you tromp on its gas pedal. Rare too is a car that makes your friends envious.

Corvettes have become too common, Jaguars too mainstream, BMWs too numerous. No, for something special you want an Italian sports car, preferably in red and preferably with a sexy sounding name. You want something not everyone of a certain economic standing has.

Today, that car is an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. That’s Giulia, as in the woman’s name, Julia. And the Quadrifoglio? Well, that means four-leaf clover, which is emblazoned on the car’s front quarter panels. More on that in a bit.

Alfa Romeo embodies Italian car history, especially its racing history. It’s who Enzo Ferrari worked for, or with, before Ferrari became Ferrari. Despite its long history the Italian make pulled out of the U.S. market in 1995 and only recently, along with its parent, Fiat, has come back.2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Giulia is the car it needs to regain a foothold in the American market and from a performance standpoint it is an absolute home run. Or in the sporting vernacular of its homeland, GOOOOOOOAL!

With any sports car, or sports sedan, one must start with the power plant. Alfa snags a 2.9-liter bi-turbo V6 created by Ferrari and it is magnifico! It’s strong and sings like one of the Three Tenors, a thing of beauty. Continue reading 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

New Hybrid Accord comfy family sedan with top-notch mpg …2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

            Honda’s Accord is a car that’s hard not to like. It’s comfortable, handles well and provides a first rate ride. There’s room for four or five adults and the trunk is sufficiently large. Sexy it ain’t.

Now add a hybrid power system and well, for many, yawning will ensue.

Honda though has tweaked its 2017 Accord to cut a few pounds, add a little overall length, which aids trunk space, and given it a 16-horsepower boost. Refinement defines the Accord, which has been around now for 40 years. Accord never has been about sexy, it has been about service. Owners get their money’s worth in fuel and design efficiency.

The new Accord hybrid punches up its pony power by 16, now at 212 horses, but still with a modest 129 ft.-lbs. of torque. The tested dark red Accord features a 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder gas engine along with a hybrid electric system. Power is applied smoothly via the electronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), and the car is exceedingly quiet, inside and out.2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

But while the Accord cruises like a champ, it’s still fairly slow away from a stoplight and takes a while to wind up to highway speeds. There’s an Econ button to further slow the shifts to save fuel, but I left the test car in normal mode just for the small boost of power it provided. That said, there IS a Sport button on the console that actually gives the Accord more power away from a stop. You’ll want it engaged, a lot! Continue reading 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

Braking News: Our look at the Chicago Auto Show

New reveals, but kind of laid back

ford racing, ford gt, supercars, lemans, chicago auto showLaid back, that’s how Mark and I sum up this year’s Chicago Auto Show as far as the new models go. Of course nobody could top Subaru’s reveal of their new Legacy last year. No car was cooler than the new Ford GT, which you can see in the image here and in one of the videos below.

Continue reading Braking News: Our look at the Chicago Auto Show

Bank on collecting metal promo models

For the heavy metal collectors

Banthrico-corvette-bankUp until this point, all of the promo models I have written about have been plastic but there are a segment of collectors who concentrate those made of metal, most of them banks. Produced mostly in the 40’s by Banthrico Company in Chicago, IL. Banthrico models painted in authentic Big Three colors and used as “paint chips” so dealers could gauge the upcoming colors on real models. These primitive promotionals included Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Packards, DeSotos, Chryslers, Dodges, Ramblers and, of course, the more common Chevrolets and Fords. Today these cars are sought after, and in mint condition can garner several hundred dollars.

I have two examples to share with you both near and dear to my heart this 49 Nash and a Nash bank 150 Chevy. This Nash pictured was available only to the Nash dealer as a bonus for ordering a car. Original dealer cost for the carton of 12 promos was $12.50. What a deal. Think about it if you had bought a case or two. Bingo, lots of cash.

1951-Nash-RamblerThe Nash Rambler was produced by the Nash Motors division of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation from 1950 to 1954. On May 1, 1954, Nash-Kelvinator merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company to form American Motors Corporation (AMC). The Nash Rambler was then built by AMC in Kenosha, Wisconsin through 1955. The Nash Rambler established a new segment in the automobile market and is widely acknowledged to be the first successful modern American compact car.

Grandpas Chevy1950Chevy2dr2This other example, a 1950 Chevrolet 2 door and also close to my heart as my grandfather had one, maybe a Skyline Custom. I think it was that drab green like this one I found. They were huge sellers for Chevy, in the millions. This model is pot metal and has rubber tires, it has some paint missing but overall good.

These banks can go anywhere from$50 to several hundred dollars depending on the shape they are in. Since I have lots of the plastic promo models, I might move into the bank cars. For the good ones, it is certainly something you can bank on giving you a return. Sorry, had to throw that pun in there.