Today in History: Six Millionth Honda Civic

The word “ubiquitous” might have been coined specifically for the Honda Civic. Civics are so common, such an everyday sight that you don’t even notice them anymore…until you actually pay attention and realize that there are a LOT of Honda Civics on the road.

On July 23, 2007, the six millionth Civic rolled off of Honda’s production lines; the Civic was introduced in 1972 and has been through numerous generations and nine separate design iterations along the way. The tiny two-door first-generation Civic couldn’t have come along at a better time; in ’72, the American auto industry was being shaken up by the first oil crunch as the Middle East turned off the spigot. Big, wasteful cars were suddenly on the outs, American companies were scrambling to introduce (very mediocre) small cars, and in no time the ...[more]

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Throwback Thursday: 1969 Ferrari Dino 246 GT

Ferrari Dino models may not have the cachet of their exotic models; named after Enzo Ferrari’s son Dino, the name represents Ferrari’s attempt to brand a relatively low-cost sports car. The 246 GT and GTS, produced from ’69 to ’74, was designed with a dual-overhead-cam 2.4 liter V6; in a 2,425 lb car, the 195 horsepower engine meant a 150-mph top speed, with 0-60 in about 6 seconds or so.

Of course, “low-cost” is relative…as is performance! The Dino 246 GT was a solid performer against its contemporaries like the Porsche 911S, Fiat Dino or the Citroen SM, and had a respectable production run of 3,569 cars over its five years. The V6 was a winner, making its way into other Italian performance cars such as the Lancia Stratos. 

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Throwback Thursday: 1957 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gull Wing

The 300SL name has been in the Mercedes stable for a long time, but the 50s-era Gull Wing models may be the best known, and for good reason. Along with the distinctive gull-wing doors, the 300SL had the world’s fastest top speed for its day and was the first car to offer fuel injection for consumer models.

The 300SL was an offshoot of the 1952 W194 race car, with “300” referring to its 3.0-liter engine and SL standing for “Sport Light.” The 300SL featured a tubular steel chassis for balance of strength and light weight. It was this frame that made the gull-wing doors necessary, with part of the chassis passing through the area where the lower half of a standard door would be. Without the gull-wing design, the 300SL would have been awkward to get in and out of; a tilt-away steering column wa ...[more]

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Throwback Thursday: 1966 Lamborghini Miura

Produced from ’66 to ’72, the mid-engine two-seater Lamborghini Miura was the fastest production road car available in its day. It didn’t come cheap – its $20k pricetag would come out to well over $100k in today’s dollars – but it was the state-of-the-art in its day.

The Miura featured a 3.9 liter V12 that produced 350 horsepower, with sheet metal that was only 0.9mm thick for a curb weight that was well under 3000 lbs. The result was a top speed of 174 mph, but the tall gearing meant a quarter-mile in over 14 seconds and 0-60 in about 6.5 seconds. It hardly mattered, though; Lamborghini Miura drivers weren’t likely to be drag-racing Detroit muscle cars anyway.

The Miura’s swoopy, aerodynamic body style was the very definition of an exotic car for the day, and ...[more]

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Coolest Concept Cars for 2014

Over the years, manufacturers always field some concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show and others around the world. Sometimes they’re showcasing some great ideas, other times…not so much. Here are some standouts we noticed for 2014: 

  • Audi Allroad Shooting Brake – A “shooting brake” is a really archaic term for a small station wagon design, and the Audi Allroad is a sort of tiny crossover SUV…with a 408 horsepower hybrid drivetrain. This tidy little crossover looks like something that could actually make it to production and to car dealerships someday.
  • Mini Cooper John Cooper Works Concept – This one also has a pretty good chance at production, with an unpainted sheet metal body and an assortment of stripes, flares and scoops to go along ...[more]

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Throwback Thursday: 1969 Maserati Ghibli 4.7

The Sixties were a golden age for performance cars and sports cars, as technology blossomed and stylists were given free rein to come up with sexy-looking, sleek body styles. Maserati was no exception, with its V8-powered Ghibli two-seater. The Ghibli has since been named as one of the top ten sports cars of the Sixties (in the magazine Sports Car International), and outsold its contemporaries the Lamborghini Miura and Ferrari Daytona. Giugiaro designed the Ghibli’s body, with its low, shark-shaped nose and low profile; under the hood was a 330-horsepower  4.7 liter V8 engine.

The Ghibli could sprint to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and top out at 154 mph – not so impressive by today’s standards, but remember that many of the mechanical features common on today’s cars were introduced 40-plus years ag ...[more]

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Throwback Thursday: 3 Best James Bond Cars

Aston Martin Tires

Along with all the womanizing, drinking, fighting and spying that James Bond does, the other thing he’s always been really, really good at is driving. Bond’s been through a lot of cars over the years, including some ones you wouldn’t expect…like a Ford Galaxie and an AMC Hornet…but we picked out three of our favorites: 

  • Sunbeam Tiger – This one dates back to the ’62 film “Dr. No”; in the early 60s, Carroll Shelby took the cute, mild-mannered little Sunbeam Alpine roadster and jammed Ford’s 260 V8 into it. Bond put this little sleeper to good use, of course.
  • Toyota 2000 GT – Featured in ‘67’s “You Only Live Twice,” Toyo ...[more]

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