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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Simple Tire Review: Pirelli Scorpion ATR Review


I put a set of Pirelli Scorpions on an ’08 model Honda CR-V and have since put about 13k miles on them. My experience so far has been pretty good, they’re a pretty comfortable and quiet tire, but they do lack in traction when it comes to wet pavement or snow. I live in Kansas City, and we do see fair amounts of snow here in the winter; the Pirellis get adequate traction in winter conditions, as long as you keep your speed down, but they’re not real inspiring. Of course, that might be a good thing, considering how many people get overconfident and drive too fast in the snow!

The Pirellis are excellent on the highway, with good road manners and a real solid straight-line feel. If you’ve ...[more]

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Throwback Thursday: 1964 Aston Martin DB5


The ’64 Aston Martin DB5 is going to be familiar to any fan of the early James Bond movies – Sean Connery was behind the wheel of a DB5 in “Goldfinger,” a role that made it “the most famous car in the world” at the time. The real-life DB5 was almost as exotic as its Bond-movie counterpart, minus all the weaponry and gadgets; standard equipment on the DB5 included a magnesium-alloy body, a 282 horsepower 4-liter aluminum inline six engine, wool pile carpets, reclining seats, power windows, an oil cooler and even a fire extinguisher. The 2 + 2 coupe was available with a five-speed manual transmission or Borg-Warner automatic, with a 145 mph top speed and 0-60 times of around eight seconds. The DB5 Vantage was a high-performance version of the DB5, with three Weber carburetors and a revised camshaft, producing 315 horsepower. &n ...[more]

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OE Tires vs. Replacement Tires


Soooo…it’s time to replace the tires on your late-model car. Maybe you weren’t that crazy about the original equipment (OE) tires, or you just want to try something different. Well, here are some things to consider.

The engineers and design teams that worked on your make and model of car selected a specific brand and model of tire for it. All of their formulations for ride comfort, handling, steering response, traction, noise and vibration isolation, roughness and  overall performance used that specific tire as a benchmark (of course, the bid process for tires entered into it as well). A luxury car might have been designed around a grand touring tire with a quiet ride, an eco-friendly hybrid might use a low-rolling-resistance tire, ...[more]

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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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Tire Load Rating


You’ve probably heard the phrase “tire load rating” and wondered what exactly it meant. Tire load ratings are a pretty important part of safety and proper tire maintenance, so let’s break it down: 

  • Your tires will have a service description embossed on the sidewall. The service description includes proper inflation levels, tire size, speed rating, and other information. You’ll also find tire load rating on the service description.
  • The higher the load rating number, the more weight your car’s tires are able to handle. However, that doesn’t mean an actual weight limit. Tire load ratings are coded according to federal standards. A rating code of 60 means actual weight rating of 250 kg/550 lb. Rating code of 80: 450 kg/550 lb, rating code of 125 ...[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: 1970 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda


In 1970, the Barracuda had been redesigned from the ground up with a new body style and a shorter, wider version of Chrysler’s B-body, now called the E-body. The radical-looking new ‘Cuda (whose styling is revisited in the modern Dodge Challenger) was available with two versions of the venerable Slant 6 6-cylinder, as well as the 318 V8, 383 two-barrel, 383 four-barrel/dual exhaust, or 440 Super Commando, or the 440 six-barrel Super Commando Six Pak.

The top of the performance heap, however, was the 426 Hemi V8. The 440 Six Pak dialed in at around 390 horsepower, but the dual-four-barrel equipped 426 delivered 425 horsepower, propelling it to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds (in stock form). The Hemi Cuda could make the quarter-mile run in 14 seconds flat, topping 100 mph easily.

As if the outrageous engine ...[more]

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How To Measure Tire Pressure


Rubber is a porous substance, and tires will inevitably lose some air over time due to seepage. Tire pressure is something that’s neglected by many drivers, as an “out of sight – out of mind” sort of condition. Low tire pressure, however, costs money in terms of increased rolling resistance and poorer gas mileage. Tires that are habitually run low on air also wear out prematurely, due to heat buildup and an uneven wear pattern.

The good news is that it’s an easy problem to fix.

For 100 years, tires have used the same valve design (known as a Schrade valve), identical to the valves on bicycle tires. They’re still the same design because the Schrade valve does its job well and there has never been a need to improve on it. 

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