Today in History: First 3-Point Seatbelt


If you’ve ever seen pictures of collisions from the 40s or 50s, you might have been surprised at how well the cars would hold up in a fairly serious accident. Even with collisions at 30 or 40 mph, the cars would look only slightly banged-up…the passengers, on the other hand, usually fared much worse. In those days before ‘crumple zone’ designs, the passengers would be the ones absorbing the energy of an impact. In fact, the prevailing wisdom in those days was that a passenger’s chances were much better if he was “thrown clear” of the wreck.

Today, of course, we know better.

By the mid 50s, padded dashboards were starting to appear in some cars, dashboards were being redesigned to get rid of protruding knobs and switches, safety glass was improving and som ...[more]

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TBT: 5 Movie Cars We Want


Let’s get right to it here, shall we? 

  • The DeLorean from “Back to the Future” – The DeLorean was as much a product of the 80s as anything you can think of. With its brushed-stainless skin, angular body lines, gullwing doors and complicated backstory involving the flamboyant John Z. DeLorean himself, the car wasn’t an especially strong performer…but it sure does sum up a point in time nicely.
  • The green Dodge Charger from “Bullitt” – Yes, everyone loves Steve McQueen’s Mustang from the movie…but we kinda prefer the 440-powered Dodge Charger that met a spectacular end. Something about the Charger is more menacing and brutal than the Mustang. May ...[more]

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How Tires Can Vastly Improve Your Fuel Economy


When you think of enhanced fuel economy, you probably think of the usual things…aerodynamics, engine size, rear end gear ratio, vehicle weight, driving style and speed, and your engine’s state of tune (clean air filter, good spark plugs, etc). Did you know, though, that your tires can have a huge bearing on gas mileage as well? 

  • Tire Size – The bigger, wider and heavier a tire is, the more rolling resistance it presents. Don’t believe me? Go for a ride on a skinny-tire racing bike, then go for a ride on a fat balloon-tire beach cruiser and see the difference. You shouldn’t go for a narrower tire than original equipment, as engineers tune suspensions and steering for a given tire size, but also remember that wider tires can cut into your fuel economy (even if th ...[more]

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Throwback Thursday: 1970 Datson 240Z


 

With the introduction of the 240Z, Datsun changed the sports-car world by introducing a serious, good-looking true sports car with Japanese reliability and practicality. Sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady, the 240Z was an instant hit in the US, with a 2.4 liter single-overhead-cam inline 6 that put out 151 horsepower. Equipped with a four-speed manual transmission, the 240Z could sprint to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds and top out at 125 mph, while getting 21 mpg on the highway.

The two-seater 240Z was fairly sophisticated mechanically, with MacPherson struts in front and 4-wheel independent suspension and twin Hitachi side-draft carburetors. It also undercut the prices of its competitors from Jaguar, Porsche and BMW, making it a popular seller in the US, and was a solid performer on the rally and ...[more]

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How Does Your Driving Style Affect Tires?


Does your driving style affect how your tires wear and hold up? You better believe it does.

If you put a lot of interstate miles on your car, that’s about the easiest thing you can do for the tires and your car’s drivetrain both. Tires and engines both love maintaining steady speeds for hours on end (provided the tires are at the correct inflation).

Here are some things that are likely to compromise your tires’ life, though: 

  • Frequently hauling heavy loads (especially for pickup truck tires)
  • Frequently pulling a trailer
  • Hard cornering
  • Hard acceleration
  • Taking potholes, railroad tracks and bumps at high speeds

It’s not surprising that heavy loads or trailer use would wear out tires prema ...[more]

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The Equus Bass 770


There’s something about those 60s-era muscle cars still resonates with drivers today. It’s the combination of tough, muscular styling with brute-force horsepower and performance that still captures the imagination of drivers 40-plus years later. Unfortunately it’s getting tougher and tougher to find first-generation muscle cars that are still intact and drivable, and the ones that are left are getting pricey. The modern Challenger and Mustang manage to rekindle the same fires, with modern-day emissions compliance, safety and dependability (and performance that matches their long-ago kin). Still, for some that’s just not quite enough. The answer?

The Equus Bass 770.

The Bass 770’s looks evoke the Mustang, Shelby GT500 and Dodge/Plymouth muscle from years ago, with a ...[more]

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Throwback Thursday: 1961 Jaguar E-Type


Few cars are as recognizable as the Jaguar E-Type, with its sleek lines, long hood and elegant profile. It’s a model that’s so renowned that Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made,” and The Daily Telegraph put it on their list of the 100 most beautiful cars of all time.

The E-Type got its start back in ’57, based around the highly successful dual-overhead-cam XK straight-six engine.  By ’61, the Series 1 XKE was ready to go, with a 3.8 liter three-carburetor version of the XK6 engine putting out 265 horsepower, for a top speed of 150 mph and a 0-60 time of around seven seconds. The XKE was mechanically advanced, with an independent coil spring rear suspension and torsion bar front end; it was also one of the first cars to f ...[more]

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Simple Tire Roundup: Reliable Tractor Tires


There’s a lot to consider when it comes to rear tractor tires – soil compaction, flotation, ride, traction, wear and resistance to damage. We rounded up some of our own favorite tractor tires for you to consider: 

  • Michelin MultiBib – Compared to standard radials, the Michelin MultiBib offers a much larger footprint, with a wider tread and longer sidewall flex zone. The MultiBib’s tread formulation offers up to 35% longer service life than many of its competitors; it also carries a D speed rating, meaning it can carry loads at up to 40 mph.
  • Firestone Performer 70 – All of the Firestone Performer series are an excellent value ...[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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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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