BACKSEAT DRIVING—BFGoodrich asks Andrew Comrie-Picard, the 2014 Rally America champion and one of the team members to pilot a win in the Baja Challenge class at the Score Baja 1000 race, to take its All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires for an all-day test drive in the off-road hills of Calamigos Ranch, just off of Mulholland and Kanan Dume Road. Editor John Grafman goes along for the wild ride.
CONSUMER TECH—It’s a Baja Buggy with a lightweight aluminum alloy chassis, powered by a 6.2 liter LS3 Chevrolet V8 tuned to 500 horsepower, and driving the rear wheels. It’s got California written all over it. Except it’s not California. It’s a river bond near Shanghai, in the People’s Republic of China. And it’s not Stillen, Penske or AEM behind this open frame tuner. The builder is Yu Guangyi, and he cranks out about five cars a year from his Eastern hot rod shop. The subject vehicle was designed for the Taklimakan Rally—one of Asia’s biggest rally events.
BACK SEAT DRIVING— California has a history of setting trends. Hot rods, Kustom cars, import tuners, Cars & Coffee, clean air regulations, skateboarding, gourmet food trucks, palimony. Get ready for another one: Dusty cars as a badge of honor. Who would have thought dust would share space as a status symbol alongside diamonds? Leave it to Californians to make that happen.
BACK SEAT DRIVING— Can it really be four decades ago that this water-pumped newbie was first rolled off the Wolfsburg production line in 1974? Initially, it was quite a struggle for the numerous contracted designers to break free of the iconic curved and rounded Beetle form. Ultimately, Giorgetto Giugiaro managed it. A cool, boxy, geometrical hatchback emerged, with a front-wheel drive and a transversely mounted water-cooled engine tucked tidily under the bonnet. After 40 years, the car remains as energetic and youthful as ever.