Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #99

Well, here we are, the last car pic from the 1990s. After the utter crapitude of the later part of the 1970s and the entirety of the 1980s, the '90s started off meh and ended a little less meh...

1999 Honda S2000. While the other two possible choices for the last year of the decade were candidates because they represented their respective company doing something wrong (or in one case, correcting a previous wrong), the S2000 is a case of the company doing something right. It was high time, given the runaway success of the Mazda Miata nearly a decade prior, for Honda to return to its roots and offer a two-seater, rear-drive drop-top.

The other vehicles? Why, the Cadillac Escalade and the Toyota Tundra. The Escalade, don't get me wrong, was a stroke of *genius* for General Motors. Take a Chevrolet Tahoe. Rip off the grille and the Chevy emblems. Put on the Cadillac crest. Hike price $20K. Profit! I can't blame General Motors for the Escalade - that blame goes square on the imbeciles that bought into it. The Tundra is a great truck, but it corrected the abomination that was the T100.

Back to the S2000. You can't say that Honda was mimicking the Miata, because the S500 - a rear-drive, two seat roadster - was on the market in 1963, some 27 years before the Miata. The last L800 (bigger brother to the 500) rolled off the line in 1970, so Honda had a history of producing MG-like roadsters. Mazda was the first to offer a more modern take, but Honda picked up the ball and ran it into the end zone with the S2000.

Roughly 240 horsepower in a car that weighed 2,700? Add in a 6-speed manual transmission and a ragtop, and that's a recipe for fun. The downside, though, was the price: MSRP in 1999 was $70K, at a time when the Corvette convertible was selling for $25K less - with the same gas mileage and greater comfort. For the price of an S2000, you could buy nearly three Miatas - or you could tune the living daylights out of one and buy a Civic for a daily commuter.

Still, an "A" for effort for the Honda S2000.

That is all.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Likin' the New Wheels...

I mentioned on Facebook yesterday the following:
Between the recent drop in gas prices and the change in vehicle, it cost half as much to fill *both* vehicles, each from 1/4 full, as it did to fill the Dodge...

[Showing the math]

Now, given that at one point during the ownership of the Dodge, gas was over $4 a gallon, and I just filled up for under two, here we go:

Dodge tank: 26 gallons. 3/4 = 20 gallons = $80 at $4/gallon (roughly).

Toyota tank: 16 gallons. 3/4 = 12 gallons = $24 at $2/gallon.

Honda tank: 21 gallons. 3/4 = 15 gallons = $30 at $2/gallon.

$54 to fill the Honda and Toyota from 1/4 tank, $80 to fill the Dodge. There were times it cost me over $100 to fill the tank of the Ram. Maybe not quite half, but I can still fill up both of our cars (and my motorcycle) now for less than it cost me to fill up the Ram for most of 2011 and 2012. There's something to be said for filling up the tank for under $20. We're partying like it's 1999!

Now, yes, there are times I miss the Dodge. Having a covered 6 ¼-foot bed to toss anything and everything in came in very handy. The big growly V8 was nice, too, especially when passing someone moving really slow. I won't pretend I don't miss the big truck feeling, either - the RAV4 is a lot of things, but big is not one of them.

On the other hand, though, in another month or so I'm *really* going to like the heated leather seats...

That is all.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #98

Only one more year and we're into the "aughts"! Here's a car that really turned the automotive world on its head and led to a sea change in design:

1998 Volkswagen New Beetle.

How do you revive a stagnant brand? Look backward. The New Beetle, basically a Golf with a different body grafted onto it, pretty much single-handedly brought Volkswagen back from the brink of relevance. In 1997, VW basically had three vehicles: the Golf/Jetta, the Passat, and the Eurovan. Quality was iffy, styling was bland and boxy, and the company really didn't have much to offer anyone that wasn't trying to get into a German car on the cheap.

Enter the New Beetle.

Pretty much overnight VW was back in the game. With the buzz generated over the New Beetle, the entire industry started looking backward. Now, granted, Chrysler started the retro craze with the Viper nearly a decade prior, but the New Beetle was a car everyone could afford. 2001 saw the Ford Thunderbird come back (after a 4 year absence) with definitive cues to the original 1955 T-bird. The 2005 Mustang was obviously influenced by the 1964½. GM brought the SSR out in 2003 and redesigned the Camaro in 2009 with a body that could have been pulled from 1967. Even stodgy old Chrysler revived the Charger (2006) and Challenger (2008).

I think it's safe to say, though, that the crazy buzz brought by the New Beetle started the retro trend at the end of the 1990s...

That is all.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This 'N' That...

Nope. I'm not dead, just unmotivated. You see, a lot of what moved me to put pen to paper finger to keyboard was stuff that torqued me off, and there's just a lot less of that these days...

In no particular order, though, are a few things I've been stewing over...

So, the pope has a Fiat.

Sure, there's six armored Suburbans getting 3 MPG assigned to guard him, but by gosh the Pope chose a Fiat 500 for transportation around the US. He sure is humble, driving around in a Fiat guarded by soldiers armed with machine guns (are they Christians, Frankie?). You know what would have spared the environment even more? If you had stayed in Rome and bashed America from there.

Very disappointed in the alleged leader of the Catholic Church. Kinda makes me glad Obama deliberated spited him. Last time I checked, the Pope was supposed to lead Catholics in matters of faith. Not beat us about the head and shoulders over junk science.

The "clock".

I won't even dignify this one with a link, but I think everyone knows about the muslim teenager in Irving, TX, who "invented" a clock, brought it school, and got arrested because it might have sort of looked like a bomb. The narrative is that the eeeeeevil right wing Texas school board had the budding young Edison arrested solely because he's a muslim, and that if he had been a white kid, this never would have happened.

Now, I happen to agree with this last part - if he had been a white student, he never would have gotten invited to the White House, he never would have had a talk with MIT, he never would have been consulted by Silicon Valley companies, nothing. He would have served his suspension in silence. Why do I know this? Because it has happened over and over for decades with no fanfare.

Look, I don't know the kid's motives, nor that of his father. It really doesn't matter. Whether they're agitating for muslim rights (and, no, the reaction of the school doesn't vindicate the idea of bias against muslims; zero tolerance policies are just that stupid) or not, the one fact that has jumped out at me throughout all of this is how blatantly this "project" looks like a ten minute rush job the morning it was due. I mean, it really looks like this kid grabbed a standard clock, unscrewed the housing, then put it back together in a different case. It'd be like cutting the rind off a honeydew melon, placing it on a cantalope, and then claiming you had genetically engineered a new fruit. And yet everyone has lost their bloody minds over this kid's engineering prowess - I'd say he's a fairly good *social* engineer, in that he has played his role perfectly.


Another one I won't dignify with a link. I'm trying really hard to wrap my mind around the concept that people are actually up-in-arms over the push to defund Planned Parenthood after the little incident about selling organs from aborted fetuses. The left is so desperate to continue the bulls**t "war on women" and hang it around the GOP that they are actively supporting monsters who sold human body parts from aborted fetuses. People, the goddamned NAZIS weren't this evil.

I'd urge you to think long and hard if the GOP is who you're angry with over this whole mess.

But yeah, go out and crow about murdering infants. That's certain to resonate with the vast majority of Americans who either haven't had abortions or at least had the common decency to realize that, while it might be the best of all possible bad outcomes, it's still a pretty damn horrible thing to do. It's certainly nothing to brag about, and if you do find yourself bragging about killing a baby to score political points, seek professional help. Look, I understand and accept that there are valid reasons for terminating a pregnancy. I don't think it should be illegal, but it should have more oversight than it currently does.

And now that I've thoroughly pissed everyone off, I'll go back to hibernation...

That is all.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #97

Today's vehicle introduced in 1997 is one that I actually owned:

Dodge Durango. Introduced in 1997 as a 1998 model, the Durango started life on the Dakota frame and had two iterations on the truck body. It switched to the unibody Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2011 (after being discontinued for one whole year). When it was introduced, it was sold as a "just right" size - in between the toy-like mini-utes and the gargantuan Canyoneros. The one we owned was a 2001, had the acceptable 4.7L V8 and the third row seat. It was marginally useful when the kids were old enough for booster seats.

The Durango represented a first for Mopar. While they acquired the Jeep marque in the 1986 buyout, meaning they had the Cherokee and the Grand Wagoneer, the Durango was the first four-door SUV for Chrysler. The Dodge Ramcharger (and the much rarer Plymouth Trailduster) was available for 20 years, from 1974 to 2004, ending when the platform upon which it was based (Dodge Ram) was given the radical facelift in 1994. Even as the four door SUV craze exploded, Chrysler inexplicably resisted the urge to jump on the bandwagon for many years, missing the boat and the chance to jump-start the truck line.

There's a reason they were bought by *Fiat*, after all...

That is all.

Monday, September 14, 2015

This Place is a Barn, You'll Never Fill It.

(A million internet points to whoever gets the reference in the title...)

Libertyman sent in this awesome barn find a while ago, and while clearing out my e-mail I came across it.

Texas Time Capsule: Five pre-war automobiles discovered in barn
Barn find. Arguably the most powerful, attention-grabbing two syllables in the classic car universe.

“It’s the Holy Grail for a car guy,” said Antonio Brunet, chairman and founder of Motostalgia Auctions in Austin, Texas. “Opening the doors, seeing the cars covered in dust, untouched for years … It’s like you’re in a time machine.”
And yes, they're still out there. Like this:

1938 Cadillac Series 90 Limousine (picture from link).

I've got a buddy back in MA who has a Caddy very much like that one. His wasn't a barn find; rather, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. He's a true car nut - as in, he makes me look like a piker - as well as being a Ford Master Mechanic, so not only does he talk the talk, he walks the walk. This is a guy who bought his first car in 1986, a new Ford F-150, and stopped driving it in 2006, when his son was born and the truck (a regular cab) wasn't big enough for him and his three kids.

He currently owns a 1959 Plymouth Belvedere made up to look like the Gran Fury from "Christine" as well as a 1969 Ford Torino GT in original condition. His dad - where he gets the car nut bug from - has the Cadillac limo and a 1932 Ford coupe with a Chevy V8 that can pull wheelies in second gear. Getting together with my buddy is always a treat - one time, he called me up to have me come over to look at a NASCAR racing car that he was working on. I forget what the exact specs were, but something like 800 horsepower firing up in a garage is something you remember.

Oh, and his daily driver is a 1999 F-150 with a supercharger that he has literally hand-made parts for to keep it running - and it still looks new.

Cars, like guns, are a time machine. You look at a car from the 1950s, it reflects the time period. Acres of chrome, a hood you could land a helicopter on, tail fins... It defines the American post-war era. In the turbulent 1960s, cars got more squared away, less flashy. Muscle cars sprang to life at the height of the Vietnam war, almost as if we were saying, well, we might not be the best at projecting force in the face of a nebulous Cold War, but damn we can make fast cars. As the 1970s rolled on and gas became scarce, our cars got comically smaller and crappier, a trend that continued into the 1980s.

The difference, of course, is that you can pick up a 1911 from post-WWI and shoot it all day long without worrying about it breaking. You can carry a Smith & Wesson snubnose revolver from the 1960s all day, every day, and know that it will work every single time. Not to mention that you can own a hundred historical firearms, even rifles, and store them in a corner of your basement. Cars, well, even if you can afford them, space gets limited pretty quick...

That doesn't mean I wouldn't move heaven and earth to get my grandfather's 1936 Plymouth Business Coupe back, though...

That is all.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #96

Looking over the list of car models introduced in 1996, one stuck out above all the rest:

1996 Cadillac Catera. Yes. They did it again. Not content to sully the Cadillac name with one of the "Fifty Worst Cars of All Time," General Motors pulled that sad pony out of its bag of tricks less than 10 years later and did it all over again. At least this time they didn't slap Cadillac badges on a Chevy Cavalier, they at least had the common decency to pull a small sedan from the Opel family to rebadge and charge more money for.

Honestly, what was most surprising about the Catera is that it was the Cimarron, Take II. The Cimarron, a re-badged Chevrolet Cavalier (which was a rancid POS in its own right), has (rightfully) been called "Cadillac's biggest shame" - they took a crappy little sedan, tossed $25 worth of Cadillac badges on it, and doubled the price. There wasn't a better engine available over the Cavalier - at least for the first three years of the Cimarron's existence - and the interior was barely an upgrade.

Without question, it was the worst idea General Motors saddled with a Cadillac crest, and less than 10 years after the Cimarron was smothered in its sleep, GM brought back the idea yet again. Anyone wonder why they needed a bailout in the 2000s? Hey, we had this idea in the '80s, it was utter crap and really damaged our reputation. Let's do it again!

I'm waiting for the 2020 Cadillac Sonic...

That is all.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Into The Woods...

So, this Labor Day weekend, I got back to my camping roots. When I was a young buck, once or twice a summer all the guys would get together and go camping. Of course, when I say "camping," what I really mean is "drinking a *LOT* of beer in the woods while subsisting entirely on bacon and hot dogs."

Which, for the record, is *not* what I did this past weekend...

There's the campsite in a nutshell. Or, perhaps as I alluded on Facebook, a Coleman gear commercial - there's two Coleman tents, a Coleman canopy, Coleman stove, numerous Coleman lanterns (gas, propane and battery-powered) and (not pictured) two Coleman sleeping bags. Yeah, I might be a fan. I've been using Coleman products for well over 20 years, and some of those are relics inherited from my parents.

That still work just fine today.

Now, I've been camping with TheBoy and Cub/Boy Scouts for years. We've gone on a few father/son trips for the weekend, and each time we've had a great time. This Labor Day, though, we brought the girls along. The Mrs. isn't much for tent camping - hence why we had the travel trailer for as long as we did, and the pop-up camper before it - but she gave it the old college try and off we went.

So, the weekend was spent reading books, throwing a frisbee or football around, playing card games, and generally just relaxing. The campground had a pool, which was nice, but not a lot of other amenities like bike trails or hiking trails, so the next trip will include more activities to partake (we're thinking kayaking or canoeing would be fun). We also need to pare down the gear if we're going to get back into camping - one of the downsides of having a full-size pickup and a 26-foot camper is we had LOTS of room to store stuff, so we never got around to consolidating and updating gear.

But everyone's on board for another trip next year, so I consider that a solid win!

That is all.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #95

1995 wasn't a terribly inspiring year for new model introductions. Many models were revamped in '95, like the Corolla or the BMW 5 series, but few truly inspiring models were introduced. There was, however, this interesting pickup:

1995 Toyota Tacoma. Rather than simply revamp the pickup like, Toyota opted to actually give their North American small pickup a name. I remember when the Tacoma was launched - there was a fair amount of consternation given that Tacoma, WA wasn't exactly a place most would think of to name a vehicle after.

But the Tacoma was the first model to roll off Toyota's North American assembly line, and they wanted it to have a uniquely American name, and thus what was known around the world as the Hi-Lux became the Tacoma. Or Taco for short.

I've thought about a ~ 10 year old Tacoma for TheBoy. It's really just about the perfect vehicle for a teenage boy - it only seats two, so he can't bring a contingent of peers; with the 4 cylinder engine and automatic transmission he won't be racing anyone in the truck; and with a 4" lift and 33" tires it still looks pretty badass. And since it's a Toyota, it'll run for a long time.

Now, anyone got a line on a used Taco?

That is all.

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Wheels

So, over the weekend, I said goodbye to an old friend.

The Earthf**ker has gone on to find a new home. After 8 and a half years (it's a little younger than this blog), she's moving on. I no longer need a full size, V8 pickup truck (although I still love them), and opted for something more economical. While, yes, doing the math shows that it's highly unlikely that buying a new car will ever be cheaper than fixing one you already own - even if the new car does get double the gas mileage - there's one thing the new vehicle has that the old one cannot: peace of mind. The Dodge had been utterly fantastic for me these past 8.5 years; it was the doubt as to how much longer it would hold up that was getting to me.

So, you ask, what could possibly replace the Earthf**ker? I present to you, the Earthpesterer:

Toyota RAV4. I don't know that I ever would have called this one. The Honda CR-V was a tight contended, but Toyota offered more for the Dodge and had a 0% interest end-of-the-month special running. I also liked the ride of the RAV4 best of all the small SUVs I tried out. Another reason for switching vehicles has to do with the nature of my commute. When I was in MA, I had a 15 mile commute that took about 30 minutes everyday, through gentle country backroads. Now, it's entirely bumper-to-bumper DC commuter traffic where I routinely take over an hour to cover the 19 miles to work.

I'm not gonna lie, here; one of the big considerations in getting a new vehicle was comfort. The past two years have involved a lot of sitting in traffic; it's much easier to do that in a vehicle with a more car-like ride, 25 MPG, and heated leather seats. I'm also digging the in-dash navigation and back-up camera - easier to get around a less-familiar area and negotiate parking garages. Oh, and it's a LOT easier to run a RAV4 in a crowded city than a full-size pickup.

The Ram treated me well; I have absolutely no complaints about my time with the big Dodge. It's got a lot of life left in it, and I hope whoever winds up with it enjoys her for a long time. Lots of power, lots of cargo hauling space, and that V8 sound... Interestingly enough, this is the first car I've owned that didn't have a V8 in nearly 20 years. We have to go back to early 1997 to find a time in which I wasn't driving something with 8 cylinders. And the car I was driving then? A 4 cylinder Toyota...

La plus ca change, c'est le meme chose...

That is all.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #94

We're halfway through the 1990s, and things are starting to get better. While I'd really like to include the 1994 Dodge Ram, it's not a new vehicle, just a redesign (an excellent one, one that really brought the Dodge truck back from the grave). However, today's car is a Mopar product.

Dodge Neon (introduced in January 1994, but called a 1995 model). Chrysler had a really bad reputation for the company's small cars. From the Dart to the Omni to the Shadow, Mopar had a bad run of really, completely awful cars. Now, the Dart had its good points, in that the slant six didn't develop enough power to tear itself apart.

But the Neon was different. Oh, sure, it was underpowered and uninspiring to drive, and had a nasty tendency to kill the driver should they crash, but it had an upbeat ad campaign! It said "Hi". The front end looked like a smiley face - if you kinda squinted. The styling was so popular it changed the front fascia of the small car for near a decade.

The only thing missing was a Carol Shelby version...

That is all.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Shortest. Ride. Ever.

So, yesterday afternoon I decided to take the Harley out for a quick spin. Got the lawn mowed, shrubberies trimmed, laundry done, errands run, and it was time to feel the wind in my hair. Err, mustache.

I made it as far as the end of my subdivision when this happened:

That's what an Acura TSX looks like after it's rolled over after failing to negotiate a 90º turn at a high rate of speed (60 MPH+ in a 45 MPH zone). He clipped the traffic island and rolled twice, coming to a rest on its wheels after at least twice. He made a right turn from a travel lane, cutting someone off in the process (one of the other witnesses thinks he was racing the other car).

I was sitting on my Harley at this stop sign when all this went down:

He missed me by *maybe* 2 or 3 feet. Had I been in the truck, he'd have hit me right about dead center of the bed. Almost certainly totaled the truck, and I'd have at least gone to the hospital for observation. Had he been half a second sooner, he'd have hit me on the Harley, in which case I'd be having breakfast with my grandfather right now instead of posting this.

I remember sitting at the stop sign watching the traffic. The road perpendicular to the stop sign has two travel lanes and a right turn lane coming up to that intersection. I saw a car in the right turn lane, then I saw the Acura roar around him and try to take the corner. I heard him clip the curb, and then the car was airborne.


I'm not exaggerating when I saw he missed me by a couple feet at most. I watched the car hit the grass to my right and roll over again. I saw the airbags, deployed, as the car was still rocking on the shocks. At first I just rolled on the throttle, but turned around at the next intersection to be a witness. A crowd had gathered, 911 had been called, and as I rolled the bike to a stop I could hear sirens off in the distance.

Every day is a gift. First thing I did when I got home was hug my family. I'm fighting *REALLY* hard not to put a "For Sale" sign on the Harley. This is my second close call. Back about 20 years ago, I got T-boned by a kid who didn't realize that his side street ended at the state highway I was traveling on. I went through six months of physical therapy, and dealt extensively with insurance companies over whether my car was totaled or not.

I had planned on taking my motorcycle that night. Circumstances changed my plans so that I took my car instead. Now, had I been on the bike, much would have been different. The extra time I'd have needed to put on helmet and leathers might have meant I got stuck in traffic as a wrecker extracted his car from the house across the street. Or I might have left earlier, as I had done laundry at my folks' house, which obviously I'd not have done had I been on the bike.

There were enough "what-ifs" that I was able to get back on the bike. Eventually.

Not so sure about this time, though.

That is all.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #93

For the next in a series (and we only have twenty-something more of these to go!), here's the latest car introduced in the year matching the number.

1993 Toyota T100. No, I don't know what Toyota thought they were doing with this. Yes, let's introduce a full size pickup to compete with Chevy/Ford/Dodge, but we'll put an anemic V6 into it. Never mind that every other manufacturer has a V8 and a large diesel available! The 150 HP 3.0L V6 just didn't cut it, especially since the existing Dodge V6 had 175 HP.

Even worse, the T100 didn't have an extended cab version available. GM, Ford and Dodge all had club or crew cab versions available, although Dodge lost the crew cab in '94 when they came out with the new body style. Of course, the new body style pretty much killed the T100, as the Dodge market share of the truck market went from 100K to 400K, while the T100 went from 40K to, well, negligible.

They would rectify these problems with the Tundra a mere 6 years later, though...

That is all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Reserve the Right to Waffle...

We took a couple days off and had a little mini-vacation up north this past weekend. Thursday night, I took my wife, son, and brother-in-law to see the Patriots lose to the Packers in pre-season football (my wife's sister's father-in-law has season tickets and wasn't going. TheBoy is a Packers fan and it was just perfect).

On the ride up, the Mrs. and I came up with a third option for the new ride. While I still really want the Challenger, right now it's just not in the cards. We were noodling over a mid-range sedan, thinking that something we could pay off in 4 years or less would be good, and then we can discuss the Challenger at that point. The Mrs.' Pilot will be about the same age as the Dodge is now, and reaching the same milestones (new tires/brakes/etc.), so it would be a natural time to trade in before putting a lot of work into it.

Then we realized: Why not a small, AWD SUV?

The Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota Rav4 are all well-within the price range that lets us achieve the "mid-range sedan" objective. The CR-V and the Rogue get mid-20s gas mileage in the city, low 30s for highway; the Rav4 slightly less (although the Toyota does come with 2 years' free maintenance, which IMHO offsets the 2-3 MPG differential).

I checked out the Ford Escape, and the mileage drops another couple MPG, plus it doesn't have the same options at the price point (yes, the Ford is more expensive than the Honda, Nissan, or Toyota!) Another consideration is resale - the three Japanese SUVs will sell for 2X what the Ford commands when we sell in 10 or so years. And by that I mean the CR-V/Rogue/Rav4 will still be worth *something*...

Dodge doesn't offer a small SUV - the smallest they offer is the Journey, which get s 16 MPG on the highway. Jeep offers the Cherokee, Compass, Renegade, and Patriot; all are in the right price range, but at lower gas mileage numbers than any of the Japanese SUVs (21 MPG city vs. 26). The advantage to Jeep is that, since it's the same parent as the Earthf**ker, that's where I'm likely to see the highest trade-in value.

There are a LOT of options in this price range, especially with a decent trade-in. If the Mrs. is going to take the vehicle once it's paid off, it would help for it to be comfortable, dependable, and similar to what she's been driving (CR-V gets the edge here). There are going to be a lot of test-drives in my future - given that I spend 2+ hours a day in my vehicle (and make the occasional 1,000+ mile round-trip to ME), I need something that is comfortable to drive *and* sit in traffic in. That means features and accessories.

A lot of the final deal is going to come down to price - specifically, who's willing to negotiate. I know the MSRP of each car with the accessories I want, and I have a rough idea what my truck is worth, as well as what most of the manufacturers claim it's worth. If a dealer wants to offer me significantly below book value for the Dodge, they'd better be offering a staggering discount on the new vehicle, or I walk. I'm not beholden to anyone, and if enough of them piss me off, I'll rehab the damn Ram and they won't get a single penny out of me.

Looks like there are going to be a lot of test drives in my future...

That is all.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #92

Man, there were some good cars introduced in 1992. The GMC Typhoon (and how on earth did I ever miss the Syclone last year? FAIL), the Honda Del Sol, the Mclaren F1 and the Nissan Altima all merit mention. The Chevrolet Tahoe was a very close second, given the sheer genius GM showed when they cut 21 inches off the back of a Suburban and then charged MORE for the vehicle. But the winner, of course, was this:

1992 AMC Hummer. First year the Humvee was offered to the public, in part thanks to the gentle prodding of Arnold... Naturally, with the pro-American sentiment running high in the wake of our success in the first Gulf War, the Humvee sold like mad, despite having the turning radius of a parking garage and all the amenities of a Model A Ford. But it was vaguely militaristic and totally not like a WWII Willys Jeep...

I can grok those that purchased the Humvee for the off-road capabilities. 16 inches of ground clearance. An approach angle of 35 degrees. Able to climb a 60% grade. Fording 30 inches of water. The Humvee made sense if one was interested in exploring areas normally closed to the motoring public save those with specialty vehicles. Of course, probably 1 in 100 ever saw dirt, let alone mud.

Without the H1, there never would have been an H2, the Hummer built on a Suburban frame. Realizing that 99.9999% of all Hummer owners had no interest in the vehicle's abilities in the mud, but rather the status of the name, GM decided to take an existing frame, put a modified, vaguely-Hummer-looking body on it, and sell it for twice what the donor vehicle was selling for.

Naturally, they sold a ton of 'em...

That is all.