Back Seat Driving

On Danny Thompson’s record-breaking run

BACK SEAT DRIVING—I remember Mickey talking about Challenger II, but I never saw it in person. When I worked as the PR guy for his Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group, the car was in storage somewhere “down the hill” from our offices that were located in the lower level of the Bradbury home (often referred to as “estate” in the media) that he shared with his wife Trudy. This magnificent missile sat for decades before Mickey’s only son, Danny reanimated his dad’s dream and set a new speed record with the car. Bravo! – Doug Stokes

Rolling down the barriers to the world

BACK SEAT DRIVING—Windows are barriers to the outside world. With so many drivers so focused on their own driving and their own destination, roads can be unsafe. Using medians, bike lanes and even the other side of the road to get to the next light faster is becoming too common. Mirinda Osmer grew up with the windows down, and that helps to remember that there’s more to this world than her destination.

Waiting for the clean diesel train to arrive

BACK SEAT DRIVING—Remember the Richard Gere movie, “Hachi”, based on an actual Akita dog named Hachiko? In the real life version, Hachiko waited by the train station every day for nearly 10 years for his master’s arrival. The master never arrive, having suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. Similarly, owners of VW’s TDI vehicles have been waiting for the clean diesel train to arrive. Will the fix ever arrive, or will owners suffer the same fate as Hachiko? Editor Doug Stokes laments.

Big shift to electrics for VW, but where’s the diesel fix?

BACK SEAT DRIVING—Volkswagen announced it would spend $11.2 billion to create more than 30 electric car models by 2025, develop autonomous vehicles, and move into the ride-hailing business. This represents a major shift for the Wolfsburg automobile manufacturer. Meanwhile, there is no tangible fix in site for the millions of owners who invested in the company’s “Clean Diesel” technology. Editor Doug Stokes opines.

Takata air bag recalls keep growing

BACK SEAT DRIVING— Associated Press reports that eight automakers are recalling more than 12 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators. Documents detailing recalls by Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Ferrari and Mitsubishi were posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Seventeen automakers are adding 35 million to 40 million inflators to what already was the largest auto recall in U.S. history. Editor Doug Stokes comments.

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