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Guys, I think we should let Rudolf play some of our reindeer games before he goes postal.

“Below a certain ride height and beyond a certain offset, the geometry of the suspension and steering goes out the window, and the car rides like a bag of sloppy [Expletive Deleted].”

In case you arent up do date with the latest in the auto blogging community this is an exerpt from the article http://www.speedsportlife.com/2010/02/25/rich-corinthian-leather-2-hella-suck/ that fellow Up Shifter Jeris Jones recently posted his responce too.

Wow, so where do I start?

No wonder I’ve never heard of the blog page Speed:Sport:Life but you know what, here is the really important part. I’m not mad at them, and here is why.

Not long ago I wrote an article for Modified Magazine which I shall shamelessly self promote with this link HERE. I posted this on a few forums I frequent and one person came back to me talking about how the term JDM had been over used and completely misunderstood, taken out of context and how the trend had gotten so faddish that it made no since whatsoever. This sparked a pretty decent back and forth between this member and I. We were eventually able to agree on this one thing. When it comes to a form of expression in the aftermarket or tuning culture you have beginners who know absolutely nothing about cars other than they roll forward by themselves, and then there is the old school guys who have scared there knuckles with experience and can diagnose a cars problems by listening to it. We also agreed that at some point in time, we were both beginners who thought we knew something but often mis-quoted facts all the time. When it came to my article I had to keep the attention of the beginner, but keep the respect of the gurus who have been patient enough to educate me in the automotive game.

To the uninitiated I can see how a relatively super low stance or leaning tower of Enkei could cause some to scratch their head. However, if we were to take a step back and look at a few of the trends, or should I say genres of our car culture, we would recognize that this type of “tuning” is nothing new. Anyone venture to give a guess at what this is?

62 Buick Special
Thanks www.autotraderclassics.com

Or how about this:
Thanks http://earlyrods.com
Thanks www.earlyrods.com

Take note of the ’65 Mustang in the back left and NSX to the right, sitting peacfully with the rat rod. Hows that for a juxtaposition? What’s really funny is that this last one kind of reminds me of another style of tuning:

Or

Yeah I think this low slung, large and loud piped crazy stance car thing has been going on ALOT longer than the last 10 or so years drifting and the “stance movement” has been around. And if that wasn’t enough to give you a heart attack, here is another shot of Jimmy Crack Corn.


Thanks www.forums.nicoclub.com

Sure some people do things to their cars just to “look dope”. But Low Riders, Boso, Rat Rods and Missile cars have been around for ages and inspired many artistic as well as functional expressions as well as presenting very large communities that people can share their love of not just a certain style of car, but cars in general. Am I going to go out and put a 5 foot section of 2.5″ pipe on my AE86…well actually I have been thinking about it. With one of those little tractor exhaust tip flaps. That would be monkey nuts. But I also don’t see a problem with clear hoods, chrome 20s, or even Big Sausage Pizza Delivery race cars like the one the guys at S:S:L seem to like…


Thanks www.speedsportlife.com.

So what would you have? Clean, shining 4×4 trucks or glossy coupes that show up on trailers? To each his own I say. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why this website was started. There is so much out there in the car world that everyone has a place. There is something for all to love and of course were not always going to like someone’s choices. Because there not ours. Who cares? Someone is having a blast doing what it is that there into instead of smokin crack or stabbing babies. In fact no one was complaining about what was going on over at S:S:L until just a few hours ago.

So, here is the deal. Enjoy what YOU enjoy about cars. Start your own blog and let people know why you like it, share what you’ve learned and help others who want to come behind you. Heck we did. And so have hundreds of others. You can even learn why people are so excited about what there into by reading up a bit like I did with S:S:L which actually isn’t a bad site, though it may be a bit misguided here and there. Just remember, you’re not the Adrian Paul of tuning styles. There can be more than one.

Oh, P.S….SMACK!


Thanks www.ekhatch.wordpress.com

The most awsome practice spot ever – want

Thanks to Ryan Tuerck for this video from his facebook page. Its really making me want to get my RX-7 back out there. Thanks Ry!

off seasons from Drift Alliance on Vimeo.

Stance Is Everything – Man, your missing out.

You have to admit, most americans don’t know anything about the rest of the world.  Even our next door neighbors the Canadians.  usually what pops to mind when you think of Canada is Niagra Falls, Maple Leaves and unfortunatly, the French.  Mostly the French.  Surely the last thing you would probably think about is a booming car culture.  Thanks to Dave Thomas, all that is going to change.

Poor Dave never stood a chance and was doomed from the start to be a true car enthusiast.  “I had a lot of hot wheels, transformers, slot cars, and remote control cars growing up.  It was nothing for me to spend all winter building model cars while watching what was TNN, now Spike, and trying to incorporate what I saw on TV into my models.  My dad was somewhat of a car nut as well…

“It didn’t hurt that my neighbor had a white challenger with tripple traps and a daily white IROC-Z either.  I also happened to live on the same street as Scott who runs Hot Rod Scotts (who did my exhaust) and I would see his 32 Ford in his garage quite often.

“In high school I took auto shop, or transportation technologies as it was called and was lucky enough to have an amazing teacher who didn’t just teach us maintenance but modification as well.  Working on a Lambo/Fiero kit car is still a highlight.

All this experience coudn’t have hurt when it came to his first car, an 85 BMW 325e which he did some of his own body work on.  Then there was his second vehicle, a Chevy Blazer that Dave pulled off a well done amp and box installation on and even created a custom center console for even more audio equipment.  Then there is his current ride, an 04 Mazda 3 GT which is in every sence of the word, clean.

Just in the few short interchanges that I have had with him, it is very easy to tell that Dave has a true love for cars that goes far deeper than just body kits and wheels.  Which is funny, because thats exactly where he has decided to make his Presence in the industry with his Automotive Blog – Stance Is Everything.

Just last year it hit Dave that there were no sites for our neighbors in the great north and decided that he would create a place where the Canadian car scene could be well represented and show everyone exactly how its done in the Provences.  Especially in his neck of the woods, the Greater Toronto Area.

“I was somewhat tired of seeing all these other automotive blogs and none based in the GTA, so I figured others were as well.  I wanted it to be a place people can visit that reflects their scene.  If I could do that and make a bunch of new friends along the way then the site has done it’s job.”

We all know it to be true.  Nothing brings a care togethe rbetter than the right offset wheel with a nice lip, just kissing the wheel arch with a perfect ride height.  So take a few minutes to check out his work and that of your fellow car nuts just north of us.  The site is well prepared and always has something new and exciting to check out.  At this rate it wont be long before you see Dave covering much larger industry shows like SEMA which is one of his future plans.

Check out some of Daves work here:

85 BMW 325e – http://www.stanceiseverything.com/2009/06/featured-ride-daves-1985-bmw-325e/

Chevy Blazer – http://www.stanceiseverything.com/2009/08/featured-ride-daves-1992-s10-blazer/

04 Mazda 3 GT – http://www.stanceiseverything.com/2009/09/girlfriend-shot-my-car/

http://www.stanceiseverything.com/2009/10/rolling-experiments-part1/

Nissan Receives Government Support For Zero Emissions Efforts

As we take stock of our situations during the global economic downturn, everyone is looking to implement new strategies that will not simply band-aid the problem so to speak.  What most are concerned with are alternatives that allow permanent change to take effect.  To reduce the bad habits and practices that caused the negative effects to begin with.

The first company we take a look at is hot on the heals of just such a solution.  Nissan Motor Co. announced in July that they, along with its subsidiary NEC TOKIN Corporation, have begun trial production of an advanced Lithium-Ion battery thru its join joint-venture company – Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC).  AESC has the aim of becoming a global leader in advanced battery products and services, and intends to mass produce and market its batteries to any interested automaker.  This marks the start of a strong effort by Nissan to move toward a Zero Fossil Fuel culture.

They have taken very large steps in making an automotive future of Zero Fossil Fuels a reality with just the type of support and backing needed to breathe life into a tangible structure to support it.  Back in July the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced that it was partnering with the U.K. and Portuguese governments to build two plants for the production of advanced Lithium-Ion batteries in Europe for what it calls its Zero Emission Mobility Program.

Having twice the energy density of conventional nickel-hydride batteries, AESC’s advanced Lithium-Ion batteries employ a compact module comprised of laminated-type cells that contribute to more efficient packaging.  The use of manganese-type electrode offers thermal stability and the laminated structure improves cooling, thus contributing to the battery’s safety performance.  The battery has undergone extreme durability tests demonstrating average runs of more than 100,000 Km.  That’s 60,000 Miles!

The effects on the automotive industry are obvious and revolutionary.  Not to mention the long term benefits to the national and regional health of the countries that welcome the production facilities.  The automotive and associated industries can look forward to a boost in jobs, growth in the skills sector, as well as having bragging rights to pioneering the manufacturing of Zero Emission Vehicles in Europe.

Portugal and the U.K. have show that they recognize the impact of this initiative and extended more than just financial support to ensure that Nissan locates the plants in their countries.  Talks are continuing with other governments in Europe to identify more locations for other battery plants in an effort to meet expected production requirements.

Specifics for the U.K. site have not yet been detailed; once they are the plant is expected to be located in Sunderland, England where Nissan already ahs an existing manufacturing facility.  This Sunderland location is planned to be the Nissan European Mother Site for battery production and the centerpiece for the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area in the North East of England.  As part of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area, local government intends to establish a new training centre, specializing in low carbon automotive technologies; a technology park and an open access test track for low carbon vehicles.

Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann said: “In March Nissan and regional development agency One North East signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing both partners to explore fully the North East’s potential to spearhead the U.K.’s drive towards Zero Emissions Mobility.”

“Since then, a great deal of work has been going on at both the local and national level to promote and facilitate the introduction of electric vehicles within the region.  Today’s announcement potentially marks another important milestone in establishing low carbon transport as a viable and attractive alternative across the North East and beyond, and reinforces Nissan’s commitment to lead the world in the mass-marketing of zero emission vehicles.”

The plans for Portugal are the most exciting part of this report.  The first European country to sign a final agreement with Renault-Nissan, Portugal will be implementing a Zero Emissions Mobility program in the year 2010.  This plan will allow Renault-Nissan to supply its electric vehicles starting in the spring of 2011 that will be supported by an extensive network of 1300 recharging stations constructed across Portugal over the next 2 years.

This past June a prototype of the recharging stations was unveiled.  The development of the station between a Portuguese co-operative in collaboration with Nissan has gone so well that the Portuguese Government has signed an agreement with 25 cities, key motorways and parking industry leaders aimed at the implementation of the stations.  These agreements mark a crucial step.  The plan will allow the construction of stations throughout Portugal, creating a recharging network that will secure full coverage for the entire country.  This will transform Portugal into what some are calling Europe’s EV Eco-Valley.

The U.K. and Portuguese plants will be the exclusive supplier of the Advanced Lithium-Ion batteries for electric vehicles to be produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance and will be here A LOT sooner than you might think.  Renault-Nissan’s commitment to the production is so advanced that it says they will begin to offer the electric vehicles in the United States and Japan in 2010.  The 2010 release is scheduled ahead of a mass marketing campaign that will provide the vehicle to consumers globally in 2012.

“The zero-emission mobility program is a priority for the company,’ said Eric Nicolas, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance for Nissan Europe.  “At Nissan, as we manage through this global crisis, we continue to prepare for the major evolutions that are occurring in our industry.  We are not compromising our efforts to mass-market the electric car.  And today, we have taken a key step to making zero-emissions a reality.”

More details on Nissan’s initiatives can be found here:

http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/ENVIRONMENT/GREENPROGRAM_2010/index.html

Mazda Releases ’20th Anniversary’ Special Edition Roadster in Japan

The 20th Anniversary of the MX-5 Roadster, A.K.A. Miata in the U.S., truly is something to take note of.  Since its launch in 1989 the MX-5 has sold in excess of 860,000 units in approximately 60 countries.  After selling 800,000 units it was certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s most produced two-seat, open-top sports cars.

To commemorate 20 years of Mazda Roadster sales, Mazda Motor Corporation has released a Special Edition version for the Japanese Market.  The Mazda Roadster 20th Anniversary goes on sale today at all Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealerships nationwide.

The new 20th Anniversary is based on the MX-5 soft-top model with a six-speed manual transmission, while the VS Power Retractable Hard Top or RHT model is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission.

There are a host of features that sets the 20th Anniversary apart from the other MX-5 models.  Each unit only comes in Crystal White Pearl Mica, a first for the Mazda Roadster, with exclusive ’20th Anniversary’ badges on each side fender.  Clear front fog lights and bezels.  Black Alcantara or red leather seats appoint the interior with a heated option that has 5 temperature settings.

Owners will appreciate the soft padded door armrests and center console lid.  If they are anything like me, they will need them.  Sure to give the roadster gripping performance are the standard front strut tower bar and 205/45R17 tires with 17-inch aluminum wheels.

Tempted owners can plan on spending 2,860,000 Yen for the Soft-top and 3,120,910 Yen for the RHT model, $29,878.42 and $32,604.15 respectively.

A Brief Look Back So That We Can Look Forward

This is actually a copy of a rather old press release from October of 2008.  In fact some of you may already know about Mazda’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and have seen the RX-8 Hydrogen RE.

The reason I wanted to revisit this article in its entirety is because the momentum behind the green movement, and its effect on the automotive industry, is starting to show signs of not only picking up momentum, but accelerating toward a greener future.  We may see the infrastructure and availability necessary to support the Eco-Cars of the future alot sooner than anyone ever expected.

In fact, for the entire month of August I plan to focus on a few key developments in the industry.  They showcase clear plans in place for a new automotive industry, centered on responsible motoring, that will be a reality in just a few years.  For now thou enjoy a spark from that flame:

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation today introduced the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE (Rotary Engine) vehicle to Norway’s public roads in collaboration with the Norwegian national hydrogen project, HyNor. Initially, the RX-8 Hydrogen RE’s driving performance on Norwegian roads will be validated with a single vehicle, which will also be shown at various events. This marks the first time that a Mazda hydrogen rotary vehicle has been put into regular use on public roads outside Japan.

Mazda signed a memorandum of understanding with HyNor (Hydrogen Road of Norway) to participate in the project in November 2007. HyNor is a national project in the Kingdom of Norway that aims to establish a clean energy transport system based on hydrogen fuel. Beginning in fiscal year 2009, Mazda will provide approximately 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles for the HyNor project under commercial lease contracts.

 

RX-8 Hydrogen RE handover ceremony

 

The RX-8 Hydrogen RE validation vehicle is being delivered in advance so that Mazda and HyNor can jointly assess its driving performance in Norway. It will also be exhibited at environmental and other events for potential customers who are interested in leasing a hydrogen vehicle.

“Up to now, real world use of Mazda’s hydrogen rotary vehicles has been limited to Japan. Participation in the HyNor project marks our advancement to the next stage,” says Akihiro Kashiwagi, Mazda’s program manager in charge of hydrogen RE development. “After we validate the first vehicle on Norwegian roads, we intend to deliver 30 more units under commercial lease contracts. We are pleased to be a part of the establishment of a society based on hydrogen energy in Norway. Mazda plans to use the wealth of data and experience that will result from this project for the further development of hydrogen vehicles.”

HyNor is a unique Norwegian initiative to demonstrate the implementation of a hydrogen energy infrastructure along a 580 kilometer route from Oslo to Stavanger in Norway. Hydrogen filling stations are being established along this transport corridor to enable refueling of hydrogen vehicles. The project aims to revolutionize transportation in Norway by encompassing buses, taxis and private cars, and varying types of transport systems, including urban, inter-city, regional and even long-distance transport. In August 2006, Mazda attended the ceremony to commemorate the opening of Norway’s first hydrogen filling station constructed by HyNor. This was also where the first on-road demonstration of a RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle outside of Japan took place. Since April 2006, Mazda has delivered eight RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles to government bodies and enterprises in Japan under commercial lease contracts.

Mazda Hydrogen Technologies: http://www.mazda.com/csr/special_features/env/01-06-03.html

I highly encourage you to check out Mazda’s commitment to CSR: http://www.mazda.com/csr/

BMW to Exit Formula One at End of 2009 Season

In 1980, BMW announced entry into Formula One racing as an engine supplier. In 1991, a joint talent promotion campaign by BMW and ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club) allowed Formula One drivers like Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Adrian Sutil, Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien to learn the basics of Formula Racing. Then BMW scored ten victories when it Joined Williams F1 in the 2000 season. In the middle of 2005, BMW acquired the Swiss team Sauber, took to the starting grid, and collected a total of 19 Grand Prix wins. By 2008, the new BMW Sauber F1 Team had established itself as one of the top three teams.

Now BMW is putting a close to yet another chapter in its motor sports history. In a press conference on July 29th, BMW Group announced that they have decided to pull out of Formula One at the end of the 2009 season; dedicating these resources to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability.

The BMW Group is rolling out that strategy in all areas within the BMW Group. “In addition, we initiated an internal change process that goes hand in hand with a new mindset throughout our workforce.” says Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. C02 and other emission requirements standards in the UK continue to be reduced. However sportiness and dynamics remain key attributes of all BMW models, albeit paired with responsibility. Being the world’s leading premium car-company in the automotive industry, Reithofer says, “We believe that this demands accountability.”, and is convinced that they must remain a positive role model within our society.

Reithofer continues:

In line with our Strategy Number ONE, we are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability. We made this clear with the initial announcement of our Strategy Number ONE. And, naturally, this also includes motor sports. And I have always been clear about my position on making tough decisions that will help ensure the BMW Group’s success over the long run. As our company places stronger focus on sustainability initiatives, our participation in Formula One becomes less a key promoter of this engagement. It goes without saying that this step was very difficult for us – as well as for me personally. On behalf of the entire Board of Management, I would like to express our immense gratitude to Mario Theissen for his commitment and successes. Everyone knows that the BMW brand embodies sportiness with sheer driving pleasure. Sportiness and fair competition are firmly encoded in our DNA. This is why we will remain loyal to motor sports. But we will do this in series that enable us to transfer technology more directly and to realize additional synergies, while strengthening our brand values. This is in our customers’ best interest. As a company, we are making a paradigm shift based on our Strategy Number ONE. We are setting new priorities in an ever-changing environment.

Having had great success in touring car, sports car, rally and Formula Two racing, BMW reports they will continue participation in the Formula BMW, Touring Car, ALMS and endurance races as well as their increasing activity in close-to-production customer sports and the Super Bike World Championship.

FD RX-7 Rant

I happened to be perusing one of my new favorite websites nextautos.com and came across an article for the 93 RX-7 that claimed it may be the greatest sports car of all time. I personally agree. The pixels weren’t even dry however before the reliability card was pulled. This being a sore spot of mine I had to chime in. Read my response below…

Let me dispel those reliability fears right now.

Its true the vast majority of examples belonging to the dead 7s society do so because of blown water seals, over heating, and shattered apex seals. However I just help but to take up a Jihad every time I hear that reliability card pulled on the RX-7.

If you cant tell from my defensive position on the subject, I’m a FD RX-7 owner who has seen the end of my own 13B engine and I can tell you one thing for a certainty, all of the horror stories you’ve heard about this car are all thanks to the poor maintenance habits of their negligent owners. I admit, I’m also part of that club.

What I’ve learned from my experience as I researched to complete my first rotary rebuild, is that that engine has to be absolutely pampered. The car needs to be warmed up and allowed to cool down. Not doing so degrades the oil very quickly in turbo cars which doesn’t make it easy for the turbos and apex seals to do their jobs. Its easy to understand the turbo side of things, however most don’t know that the RX-7 injects oil into the combustion chambers to lubricate those apex seals. I am convinced that if proper and timely oil changes are carried out, the seals would be well lubricated and not generate so much internal heat which I believe is most likely why water seals, which are very close to the combustion chambers to begin with, loosen and expand to failure. That having been said, the car does benefit greatly from minor cooling modifications as well.

Staying on top of those two issues alone would keep the vast majority of RX-7 owners out of a lot of trouble. Like me its not something many pay attention to when making their purchases and completely forget about the first time they experience wide open throttle past 4000 rpm. Make sure the life blood of your rotary is changed just a little sooner than you would in any other vehicle and keep it cool. This will make for a very long lasting RX-7 that will continue to provide oodles of fun every time you turn the key.

The rest of the conversation can be read here: http://www.nextautos.com/forums/keepers-buying-owning-and-driving-great-used-classic-cars/keepers-mazda-rx-7-best-japanese-sp#comment-123666

Ford and Fiat – The Automotive Saviors?

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I am typically not a fan of American automobiles. And I haven’t been for quite some time. However it looks like I might be forced to change my opinion.

As I mentioned in one of my past articles (Auto Americana), some of the greatest sellers from American auto makers like Pontiac are actually European inspired, some even borrowed like the Opel GT. Normally this would be the point at which I climb atop my soap box and start to wail, and I will, however I can no longer be angry at Ford. In that same article I mentioned that “in recent years this has been more a stroke of genius than an affliction of sub-par decision making” and the decision makers at Ford seem to think so as well.

Back when gasoline was selling as high as $5 a gallon in some places, small car sales were booming in America. In Europe however Ford has been selling smaller, smarter vehicles like the Focus (If you question this choice just look at the new Focus RS, or even the old model, you will be impressed), the Ka and now, the new Ford Fiesta. For Europe this might not be such a big shocker or even seen as the light at the end of the tunnel. For US customers though, this means a whole new ball game. Its not hard to see the changes being made and much like the time of the $5 Gallon we are forced to factor in far more than before. That having been said, choices like the new Fiesta and possibly the new Fiat 500 and Grande Punto might just make all the difference in the world.

The news of Fiats decision to step in and help Chrysler reorganize is all the buzz. This type of assistance however isn’t news. A similar “helping hand” was lent when Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault, took the reigns as CEO for Nissan and brought the company from a $6.1 billion loss in ’01 to a $2.7 billion net profit the very next year. Ghosn is also credited with turning Renault around before doing the same for Nissan. If Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is anything like Ghosn we stand to see amazing things happen with the Chrysler brand. In fact Marchionne already has the credit of bringing the company he hails from, Fiat, back to profitability. Like Ghosn, if successful, this will be Marchionne’s second victory. In the very year Ghosn took over at Nissan we saw a landfall of change in the models offered by Nissan. Similarly Fiat also plans on lending Chrysler several new engine and model designs.

Could you be driving a new Ford Fiesta or Fiat 500 in the next year or so? Absolutely! Learn more about them here…

Ford Fiesta: http://www.fiestamovement.com/

Fiat 500: www.fiat500.com/eng/

Auto Americana – Why The American Auto Culture No Longer Inspires Buyers

It wasn’t long after I started selling cars that I had come to learn the difference between American, Asian and European craftsmanship.  Long before I got my first car I was stunned by the looks of the ’79 Camaro and almost every mustang ever produced (the Mustang II included).  Awestruck by the build quality and expense of my dad’s old Mercedes-Benz and ultimately impressed with the balance of those qualities found in Hondas and Toyotas of the mid 80s.  Even to this day the current products from most of the auto makers that spawned those very vehicles and eventually nurtured my enthusiasm for the automobile still stoke the fires of my imagination today.

So powerful was this need to have cars in my life that I decided I would sell them.  Eventually I became a new car salesperson for a Mitsubishi dealership where I watched the Mitsubishi Employee propaganda video.  I use that term jokingly because as I found out, Mitsubishi has been in the automotive manufacturing business since 1917 starting with the release of its very own Model A.  It became Japans first series production automobile.  The most interesting fact though of this video was the target market for the ’00-’05 Eclipse.  Initially I could not understand why they were targeting Mustang owners.

Could there be two more different vehicles to compare, a 150 bhp Single-Overhead-Cam 2.4L 4 Cylinder and a 205 bhp Dual-Overhead-Cam 3.0L 6 Cylinder.  Yes, a Front-Engine Front-Wheel-Drive coupe built on a Chrysler ST-22 Platform had firmly crushed any desire I had once had to own any ford product, let alone a Mustang.

To completely understand why I get a bad taste in my mouth whenever I see a Ford product I first have to go back to where it all began.  In December of 1979 I decided that it was time to great the word at Alexian Brothers Hospital in my native San Jose, California.  Some 2,063 Miles away the first brand spanking new Fox Body Mustang rolled off the assembly line at Fords plant in Dearborn Michigan.  It continued to roll off the assembly line until 2004.  Yes while the rest of the world was moving along, Ford decided that all it would change was the body style it laid over that structure.

Now at this point I’m obligated to bring up a very important point about one of the greatest cars of all time in my opinion, the Nissan 240SX.  What’s really important about that vehicle is this.  The First Generation S13, produced from 1989 to 1994, as well as the Second Generation S14 produced from 1995 to 1998, were both built on the Nissan S platform.  Why do I love 240SX and develop Turrets on sight when it comes to the Mustang?

The 240SX completely outclasses the Mustang for one reason.  The S platform the 240SX was built on was purposefully designed to roll out a sporty vehicle to the masses.  The platform selected for the Fox Body was not.  It first saw service in 1978 as the underpinnings for both the Ford Fairmont and Mercury’s Zephyr and Ford decided, like most American manufacturers of the day, that it would be cheaper to simply slap another body on and fit a really nice small block under the hood.  So even as a new vehicle in 1979, the Fox Body Mustang was somewhat of a hand-me-down.  Like the Star Wars T-Shirt that for whatever reason is still in your dresser drawer even though it’s still a size of two too small.

Pontiac is currently doing a similar thing with the Solstice.  Many savvy auto buyers know that the Kappa platform that holds the Solstice body is the same for the Saturn Sky.  What many might not know is that the sky is simply a rebadged Opel GT.  Pontiac has taken it a step further.  Anyone who is a fan of the GTO should take a look at the Holden Monaro.  Like the Pontiac G8?  It’s based on the Holden Commodore.

In recent years this has been more of a stroke of genius than affliction of sub-par decision making.  As auto makers bottom lines become more and more financially troubled it has become important for car makers to think this way.  However where Ford uses a singular platform to build multiple cars, many are now realizing that one platform on one model can be used globally and actually sell.  You can thank the Subaru WRX for that.  A car on the market for years in Japan and Europe that was finally allowed to come to US shores.  When it did, sales were massive, which encouraged Mitsubishi to do the same with its Lancer Evolution line.

Thanks to the brilliant minds responsible, we now have vehicles like the Nissan 370Z, Toyota’s Yaris, Hondas Fit and the ultimate in affordable supercars the GT-R.  It seems that some manufacturers word-wide have finally heard the voice of their customers and responded with exactly what they want.  If only American manufacturers could have gotten the message a little sooner.