Things To Consider When Shopping For A New Car

Kia

When you’re shopping for a new vehicle, keep in mind what it is your trying to accomplish.

Ask yourself:

If you have kids do they typically like to bring a friend along on a family excursion, and could this new vehicle safely accommodate an extra person in the back. Are you looking for a new vehicle that’s better on gas, or perhaps a vehicle that has all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive to get you through the winter months when commuting to work.

When looking at a new car do you have a family of four or greater, is there room in the cargo area to fit groceries. I did find this to be an issue while looking at some of the crossovers and compact SUVs on the market.

Also what type of a warranty does the new vehicle come with, and what are the crash test ratings and customer reviews of that vehicle.

The Issue :

My wife and I both commute about 50 miles to work each day round trip, in opposite directions. We own two SUV’s and found ourselves spending so much money on gas and repairs each month, that it made sense to find a vehicle that was newer than ten years old and better on gas. Living in New England, the winter months can get downright treacherous while commuting during snow storms and blizzards.

The Hunt:

Armed with dealer invoice figures ( I used the TruCar app for your IPhone), along with some automotive review and crash test rating knowledge, it was time to hit the new car lots.  My first thought was to find an economical crossover or a compact SUV that had decent gas mileage, which would also satisfy our goals including the amount of money that I wanted to spend.

We had to have a vehicle that was low cost and four-wheel-drive because we had to sell one of the SUVs that we own… or so we thought….

Regroup:

After some major sticker shock it was time to hop back into old reliable, and to head back home to do a little more research. On my way home I couldn’t help but think, what is it that we’re trying to accomplish and what do we own. These are questions to ask yourself. After all, buying a new vehicle is a huge investment, but do it right and it may make a lot of sense.

We own a two SUVS, both very good in inclement weather (they just tend to gobble up parts once in a while, and use a ton of gas). However, it also never hurts to have an extra vehicle on-hand, in-case one of them breaks down you now have a backup vehicle to commute to work in while making repairs on the vehicle that’s down for the moment.

Owning one SUV that’s seventeen years old, and another that’s ten years old, at this point in the game it doesn’t cost much to register them every year and keep them on the road. I decided to  keep the two SUVs, cycle in a new economy car to commute in that is awesome on gas, it had to have a killer warranty and more importantly it has to be low cost!

Smart Shopping:

If you’re shopping for an economy car, that has great gas mileage you don’t have to spend a ton of money. While weighing the options I quickly noticed that you can find economy cars starting at around twelve thousand dollars that have fuel economy ratings at over 30 city and 40 miles per gallon highway.

Technology has come such a long way over the years, that some of the new fuel economy ratings are where the hybrid vehicles used to be at.  That’s enough to make anyone smile.

While shopping around and making decisions I ended up purchasing the new 2014 KIA RIO, which gets around 27 city and 37 highway for gas mileage and also comes with all kinds of fun gadgets that make the ride to work a little more enjoyable. This allowed me to cycle in a new vehicle, and to also keep costs low.

 

 

 

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 4

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 3

Part 4:

“Most of my understanding of drag racing has come from limited observation, from a husband who is interested but does not claim it as one of his areas of expertise, and from conversations with Pete McCarthy, well known both in the annals of Pontiac drag racing and as an author of Pontiac performance literature, and with Greg Sharp, noted hotrodding historian and curator of the NHRA Motorsports Museum. Both national and local drag racing  have evolved from the hot rodders of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. Those guys were, however, frowned upon, even stigmatized as the bad boys of the open road. It was to provide them an alternative, not actually to initiate a national drag racing organization, that Wally Parks established the NHRA in the early ‘50’s. Additionally, Robert E. Peterson’s creation of Hot Rod magazine in 1948 was, at that time, considered a very daring move. By the ‘60’s, however, the evolutuion was well under way, and the quarter mile track was a popular spot for a weekend’s recreation and/or entertainment. For a while factory or individually backed teams that could afford to hire fast reacting drivers to race expensively optioned stock cars dominated the scene. Now, with the integration of bracket racing at he local level, anyone with a good reaction time who can put together a consistently running car has a good chance of winning. The races that Tin Indian V participated in were probably very similar, though not exactly the same as bracket races are today, since even drag racing at the national level had not evolved to the levels of sophistication and expense that it has today. » Continue reading more of this post…

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 3

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 2

Part 3

“Actually Pontiac Historic Services had not quite materialized yet. A gentleman named Fred Simmonds had unearthed old files at Pontiac Motor Division (PMD) of General Motors Corporation (GMC or GM), and shortly thereafter, those files would be turned over to Jim Mattison who would launch the business Pontiac Historic Services. At one point during the fall of 1989, Merle had occasion to talk with Fred Simmonds, and, in the course of the conversation, mentioned that he wished he could see the original build sheets for his cars, so he would know what options they were assembled with and where (to what dealership) they were first delivered. Simmonds offered to do a bit of research, so Merle sent him the vehicle identification numbers (VIN’s). Soon the information arrived in the form of photocopies of the original build sheets. Basically, a build sheet is a dated purchase order that gives instructions to the factory about how to build a car and where it is to be delivered afterward. The instructions are in code, and the translation of the numbers into words is not always immediately obvious without research. The build sheet for the green car was vibrant with blue marker. Anticipating Merle’s excitement, Fred Simmonds had parenthetically listed several of the build sheet codes and identified them: “Safe-T-Track Performance Ratio (733), 4.33 axle (74 S), 4-speed close ratio (778), HD Metallic brakes (484)”; and finally “(08-197)” the codes designating zone (section of the country) and delivery dealership were followed by big, bold, believe-it-or-not, capital letters: “KNAFEL PONTIAC, AKRON, OH.” » Continue reading more of this post…

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 2

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 1

Part 2

“About a year earlier and a week before the birth of our third child and only daughter, a white, though less than pristine, 1966 GTO convertible had wandered into our yard. Frankly, I remember feeling overwhelming joy at the arrival of only one of these two priceless blessings acquired almost simultaneously. In honest fact, I had to be recently reminded that the two blessed events occurred in such proximity. But that was 1978; this was 1979, and this car was even worse than the white one. Yet my husband, ever the optimist, could see only its potential. This facility, this ability to foresee the image of a restored old car I see as absolutely amazing, since he is totally incapable of picturing the finished effect of new flooring, new wall covering, or even new matching bedspread and curtains. In a way, I suppose I do understand this inclination but from the opposite end of the spectrum, since even the vision of a well restored old car does not fill me with carefree thoughts of happy, trouble free excursions off the beaten path. In this case anxiety quickly clenched the pit of my stomach. I knew what was going to happen. Merle assumed that the car had been raced, but he was unable to trace its origin back farther than 1972, so he simply shrugged and, while happily contemplating the sale of my lovely little Luxury Lemans station wagon, restored it for me to drive. » Continue reading more of this post…

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 1

Around 5 years ago, we had a very “early” edition of the 1A Auto Blog.  It wasn’t nearly as fancy as the work of art that you are reading today (wink-wink), but it did have some really great content on it. Unfortunately during the update from the old “Nutts and Bolts Car Blog” to the amazingly awesome “1A Auto Blog”, some content didn’t quite make it all the way over. Luckily, I saved it all! Over time, I have posted a few things from these archives, but today I am sharing quite possibly my favorite post that has ever been on the 1A Auto Blog. It isn’t just a post though. It is a 4 part story written by Janice Green, about a very special 1966 Pontiac GTO. So, I will roll out 1 part per day for the next 4 days.  You’ll want to grab a coffee and a comfy chair for this one, it’s quite an incredible true story.

Part 1:

“I should have known what to expect when Merle told me that he had been reading General Motors (GM)/Pontiac literature since he was sixteen years old. I should have known when parting with the 1940 Chevy, which he had tinkered with and driven around the field behind his childhood home throughout adolescence, all but drew tears. I should have known when I was closing out my savings account during the second half of my senior year in college in order to help my then fiancé make a down payment on a bright Montero Red, 1966 GTO convertible. Later, I should have known every time I belted kids into my station wagon in order to trek out into the country to follow some derelict Pontiac home. I should have known when we sold my station wagon, and I began driving my kids around in a 1966 GTO hardtop. I should have known. » Continue reading more of this post…

2003 Audi RS6 LS1 Engine Swap

Great, now that I have your attention, what you are about to witness is pure automotive hottness at its very best. There’s beautiful fabrication, a beautiful car, a beautiful engine, and an overall beautiful build thread. The whole event took place over on MotorGeek, and if you have a spare hour or so, you will definitely want to read through the entire build thread. It’s dang near incredible. Here is the short story.

A user known as “timmmy” got a great deal on a 2003 Audi RS6 that had a missing twin turbo engine. He decided that rather than replacing it with a very expensive factory replacement, a 2004 Pontiac GTO LS1 v8 would be the best candidate to go in its place. The best part?  He also swapped in manual transmission and kept the all wheel drive. For-The-Win. Absolutely ideal daily driver in New England? Yessiree Bob… err… should I say “Judas”? I forgot to mention that, this project is named Project “Judas”.

Now it’s one thing to plop this GTO engine into a 70 Chevelle, but a totally different game to surgically slide it under the hood of an awd Audi RS6. Mechanically, this engine swap had a unique set of challenges that you might expect, like relocating the transmission further rearward, modifying axles, and just basically making space for 4 more inches of engine under the hood. There was plenty of awesomely fabricated parts to make this happen. Transmission cross-members, engine mounts, accessory brackets, the whole shebang. The majority of the parts were made of aluminum, and if you have been reading the 1A Blog for a while, you know that I’m a sucker for TIG welded aluminum.

Fuel Injection. For those of you that have done fuel injected engine swaps before, you know that it has its own variety of challenges that carbureted engines don’t have, like ohhh, about 4 million wires. Not only that, but this builder then had to connect the LS1 engine harness to the Audi harness and have them play merrily. That way he would have a dashboard, OBDII port, and engine accessories that actually worked like they were intended. That takes some serious noggin power, and is almost always the most frightening part of a car build.

Within the build thread, there are probably hundreds of pictures, many videos, and great automotive banter throughout. I grabbed a few to share with you today, but really you need to check out the complete thread. It’s everything you want and more.

Here is a link to the truly spectacular LS1 Audi RS6 build thread: http://www.motorgeek.com/

You  know I grabbed my favorite video as well right? Here, he tests the Audi RS6′s new launching capabilities and LS1 rev limiter.  They work!

Special Note To MotorGeek Guys:  I fixed the “slight” error on transmission swap ;) My bad.

This is Just a Nice Picture of a 1966 GTO Drag Car.

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