Autopia

Carl Sagan had a Corvair

Went to Ithaca in ’93 to check out Cornell. While I was there I saw a Rabbit convertible with Carl Sagan at the wheel … only now does that automotive choice make sense. His Corvair, restored:

CarlSaganCorvair_01_2500-700x466

Le Car

In France it was known as the Renault R5 – a benign hatchback designed to compete with the Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit. In the U.S. it was sold as Le Car. I test drove one in the early 80s and observed that it had worse-than-normal front-wheel-drive tendencies – understeer, which means the front end plows ahead despite your insistence on going around a corner. The Golf of that period was so much better, so that’s what I bought.

But Renault, determined not to relive the Maginot Line in rallying, retooled the car, putting the engine in the middle and making it rear-wheel-drive. But then the car had the Porsche 911 problem – severe snap oversteer because the weight of the engine/drivetrain was nearly hanging out the back. This meant the rear end would come ’round the driver’s side window and put you firmly into a ditch. Or over a cliff. At least you got to see a bit of your fancy sports car before plunging to your death. Similarly, the R5 Rallye:

Drove a mid-90s Porsche 911 once – it nearly handed me my ass. Much more so this car.

When the Internet Comes For You …

First State Chevrolet in Delaware sold John and Debbie Hooper a new 2o12 Camaro ZL1. After they had put 10k miles on the car, there was a paint issue that still had not been resolved. Tom dropped the car off at the dealership for a bit of a respray and, when he returned, the car looked like this:

original

Seems an employee of the dealership came in on a Sunday when it was closed and took the car out for a little joy ride. And wrapped it around a phone pole. Totaled.

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The Taxi of Tomorrow

It isn’t a hybrid. It isn’t wheelchair accessible. It certainly isn’t pretty.

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And now it isn’t going to happen:

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1959 Chevrolet Corvette

7:50 am Broadway in the 60s:

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Just blown away … and this was not a museum piece. Scratches on the side, sounded like it needed a tuneup. This car gets driven, which is nice.

Isetta

Did you know BMWs used to look like this?

1948 Plymouth Convertible

Awwww …