During my drive through the Carolinas, I spotted for the first time the trend of squatted trucks, also known as the Carolina Crouch. They’re raised in the front, lowered in the back, and give the driver terrible visibility as to what’s ahead of them. Headlights shine straight into oncoming traffic. And on top of all that, they’re just ugly.
North Carolina, one of the states from which the trend got its name, has come down hard on this trend. The Drive reports that as of December 1, this will be illegal. Not only can drivers get fined, they can also lose their license for a year if cited three times for this. That’s serious.
Interestingly, the law, as written, specifically addresses raising the front and lowering the back. Wording from the previous law, prohibiting any ride height change of more than six inches, has disappeared. Oversight, or intentional?
People used to turn their Subarus into wanna-be rally cars. Now, it’s wanna-be overland rigs. Good news! Subaru will now do it for you in the Forester Wilderness. The Drive has a good write-up about it. It’s taller, beefier, and can tow more.
My concern, though, is for the transmission. Subaru CVTs have not proven to be all that reliable. Many people I know have had problems with them. The Wilderness package doubles the Forester’s towing capacity from 1,500 pounds to 3,000 pounds. It does get a transmission cooler, which will help. I foresee it being an item that many Forester owners will retrofit to their own cars, as well as any other models it’s compatible with. Maybe that’ll help cure some of these problems.
We’ll have to wait and see whether the Forester Wilderness is a true overlander, or a fauxverlander.
Starting with the CB750, Honda redefined what a motorcycle should be. The other Japanese manufacturers followed Honda’s lead, resulting in the UJM, or “Universal Japanese Motorcycle.” This left its mark on the motorcycle industry, which has never been the same since.
Ultimate Motorcycling has a great article on the history of Honda’s inline-four bikes, starting with the iconic CB750. While my own 1981 model was no longer the barnstormer the original was, it was still a fun bike, and just what I needed at the time. Truth be told, I originally wanted the Magna parked next to it, but after seeing it was smashed down the left side, my eye moved to the CB750 Custom parked next to it. I have no regrets (though I still want a Magna someday).
Subaru’s been slow to hop on the electric bandwagon, but they’re getting there. They just released teaser photos of the Solterra, their first electric model. Naturally, it’s an SUV.
I agree with Elektrek’s take on this. All-wheel-drive is what Subaru is best known for, and they’re doubling down on that. But when it comes to electric vehicles, all that goes out the window, because you can easily have multiple motors powering the wheels. No trick STI center differential can replace the flexibility of two independent electric motors front and rear. So it’s puzzling as to why Subaru has taken this approach.
Only time will tell how an electric Subaru will blow head gaskets.
The camo color scheme is amusing, because it’s impossible to disguise a Morgan 3 Wheeler to look like anything other than what it is. What these pictures reveal, though, is the clear lack of a Harley (I know, S&S) V-twin engine comically hanging off the nose of the car. It’s just some ugly gridwork, which will likely look much nicer in the production car.
So what’s under the hood? Morgan says a Ford three-cylinder (1.0 EcoBoost, maybe? That engine would put a lot of pep into this car) and I believe them, but I can’t help speculating that there may be an electric offering in the near future as well. We’ll have to see. But I’m glad that the 3 Wheeler is not dead after all. Thank you, Morgan, for listening to my request.
Your car breaks down, and it’s going to cost a lot of money to fix it. How do you decide whether to bite the bullet and fix your car, or throw in the towel and replace it instead? This article at FIXD may help you decide.
Yes, I wrote it. That’s my day job. This is my website, and I can toot my own horn if I want to, so there.
The early days of motoring, back in the late 19th century, saw the introduction of speed limits. After all, people were operating their new fangled horseless carriages at ludicrous speeds, exceeding 10 mph in some cases!
Obviously things have changed since then — or have they? RFI reports the city of Paris, France, has just set a citywide speed limit of 30 km/h. That’s 19 mph, barely more than some of the speed limits of the 19th century. The goal, then as well as now, was to improve pedestrian safety, as well as cyclists. (Horses are kind of rare in the city these days.) It’s a growing trend across Europe, though, and elsewhere as well. Last week I stayed in Amesbury, Massachusetts, which just set a 25 mph limit across the entire town. By some strange coincidence, I saw numerous speed traps during my travels around town, on roads designed to safely handle speeds greater than 25.
Let’s remember how things used to be in Paris with this whirlwind tour from Rendezvous, where Claude Lelouch might have broken a speed limit or two himself during filming…
Colin Chapman would be spinning in his grave. The company once known for “simplify and add lightness” has announced big plans to do quite the opposite, reports Electrek. We knew Lotus was going electric, but three of the four new models on the way aren’t what you’d expect from Lotus. They include two SUVs, a four-door coupe, and a sports car, which will be the last to come out. We’ll have to wait until 2026 to see it. All four of these models will be electric.
While it’s a sad departure from the true sports cars we know and love, it’s also pretty much inevitable for any car company that wants to survive. Survival is necessary if we’re going to keep getting the little zippy sports cars that made Lotus famous in the first place.
Further validating the NHTSA investigation into such things, another Tesla flying on Autopilot has crashed into a police car conducting a routine traffic stop, this time in Florida, reports Automotive News.
It may or may not be the fault of Autopilot itself. It is certainly the driver’s responsibility, because either way, he shouldn’t be allowing his car to smash into police cars on the side of the road. Jalopnik makes a convincing argument about how awful Level 2 autonomy systems such as, but not limited to, Autopilot are. They can drive under ordinary circumstances, but it doesn’t take much to confuse them, at which point the human driver is expected to take over immediately. We’re bad at doing this. It’s not that we’re bad drivers (well, some of us are) — it’s just human nature.
At this point, just add one more incident for NHTSA to investigate, and be glad that nobody got hurt — especially the cop who might’ve been standing on the side of the road if the timing had been different.
Fans of Top Gear likely remember the trope where James May would report some piece of news about the Dacia Sandero, after which they would immediately move on to some other piece of news that we actually cared about. We have to care about the Sandero now, though, as Automotive News Europe reports that it has displaced the VW Golf as the top selling car in Europe for this past July.
We still don’t really care. It was just a convenient excuse to write a throwback to the old Top Gear days for fun.