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THE LA CAR BLOG - JANUARY 2005

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Jan 1, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Mike Navarro temporarily puts up his own in opposition to the Nazi sign

LA CAR BLOG

YOUR FRIENDLY AMERICAN NAZI PARTY ADOPTS A HIGHWAY, PICKS UP LITTER & GETS A SIGN January 31 , 2005 PORTLAND, Oregon - The American Nazi Party has volunteered to pick up trash along a quiet stretch of rural road in Oregon state, causing an uproar after getting a sign placed there crediting its work, says Reuters. The issue has flared up in the same week that world leaders and aging survivors gathered in the Polish town of Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous Nazi death camp. "American Nazi Party" reads the sign, which is part of the "Adopt-A-Road" program, a widely promoted Federal effort encouraging local groups to clean up road litter in exchange for recognition on small signs. The sign, located on a quiet stretch of road near Salem, Oregon, also lists the initials "NSM," which stands for the National Socialists Movement, another white supremacists group. Marion County officials say there is nothing they can do about the Nazi litter pick up because barring the group from the program will violate its First Amendment free speech rights. "Our hands are pretty much tied from a legal standpoint," Marion County Commissioner Patti Milne told the Associated Press. "This has been very difficult, but the bottom line is they are entitled to participate. We can't pick and choose what parts of the constitution to follow," said Milne, a former Republican state legislator. "I myself have gotten at least 30 complaints," Dan Estes, the senior policy advisor to the Marion County Board of Commissioners said to Reuters. "We knew there was going to be a great deal of public outcry." The Ku Klux Klan "adopted" a stretch of road in Missouri. After several legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that attempts to block the white supremacist group from the litter program was a violation of its free speech. The Oregon county put up the two signs at a cost to taxpayers of about $500, Estes informed Reuters. If the signs are destroyed, the sponsoring organization must pay for replacements. Any group sponsoring a litter pick-up must clean the roads twice a year. They must be a recognized organization, but it is usually a Boy Scout troop or civic organization. According to AP, Marion County put up the signs after a person named C. Marchand applied for a permit under which the "American Nazi Party" agreed to help clean up the road. A person answering the phone at the number given on the permit application said "maybe" when asked if he was Marchand. He declined to make any further comment, according to AP, referring inquiries to a Jim Ramm, who has previously been identified in news reports as leader of the Tualatin Valley Skins, a white-supremacist group that has been active in the Willamette Valley. No listing could be found for Ramm. The Web site for the American Nazi Party lists as its chairman Rocky J. Suhayda. Responding to an e-mail, Suhayda said his group has nothing to do with the two signs in Salem, writing, in part ... "we would never pick up garbage along a highway in this toilet-bowl of a country ..." Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

"...Clear evidence that the Cadillac Escalade is in high demand"

KING OF THE STOLEN VEHICLES January 30 , 2005 We're used to seeing the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry at the top of the list of most stolen cars in America. These list usually don't factor in cars stolen per vehicles on the road. Accordingly, the best-selling cars end up on the list as a result of their overwhelming numbers. When adjusted for the number of vehicles on the road, however, the most popular vehicle on the latest list is an American car - more specifically, it's the Cadillac Escalade. The figures are from a new report from the Highway Loss Data Institute, a research group funded by insurance companies. The HLDI study adjusts for the total number of each vehicle and is narrowed to model year 2000-2002 vehicles. When informed of the study, General Motors put their best spin on it. "While we regret any vehicle being stolen, this is clear evidence that the Cadillac Escalade is in high demand," said GM in a statement. In defense of the Escalade, GM points out that it comes standard with various anti-theft devices including an alarm system and the OnStar remote assistance service. The OnStar service gets 400-500 calls a month from customers seeking to locate stolen vehicles, according to GM. According to the Highway Loss Date Institute, the Escalade also tops the HLDI's ranking for average theft loss payments per insured vehicle per year. Insurance companies paid out $167 per year in theft claims, on average, for every insured Escalade, says the HLDI. That's more than double the amount for the next highest vehicle - , the Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. Insurance companies paid out an average of $75 in theft claims for every Corvette convertible they insured. The average for all vehicles was $15. - RN Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

THE THIRD TIME'S A CHARM January 28 , 2005 Bismarck Man's Car is Stolen Three Times in Six Days A Bismarck North Dakota man owns one hot car. Police told the Bismarck Tribune that the dark purple Ford Contour was stolen three times in six days. According to the Tribune, Lt. Mike Wardzinski said the car was first reported stolen on January 20th. It was found and towed back to the man's house early Tuesday, only to disappear a few hours later. It was found later in the day. The car was stolen again on Wednesday. Police recovered the vehicle the next day. Wardzinski informed the Tribune that there were no keys inside the car and the doors were locked each time the car was stolen. The owner told police it didn't look like anyone had forced their way into the car. Police have no suspects and are investigating the case. Wardzinski said it appears someone else has a set of keys to the car. "The thefts will likely stop now," Wardzinski told the Trubune. "One of the car's wheel assemblies was damaged in the most recent theft." Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

And do all hybrids "suck"?

ARE WE RUNNING OUT OF OIL? January 24 , 2005 I worked as a power plant design engineer for three years, and as a energy industry economist for another three before going into management. Nevertheless, I retain an interest in these topics and track them with interest in the popular and technical press. The idea of using up an irreplaceable resource has inescapable logic. The trick is understanding how supply, demand, price, and taxes cause them to behave. One of the most interesting effects is that we have had about nine or ten years of proven reserves left for about the last 35 years. Each year, we use more, and each year we find more. The pattern was recognized as astoundingly stable some time ago. Then it was pointed out that many oil companies (depending on where the reserves are located, etc.) have to pay taxes on reserves, even if they aren't pumping from them. This creates a powerful incentive to declare reserves only to the extent you need to borrow money to exploit them. So, oil companies find oil, but keep quiet about it until they want to start development. Crazy, but sane too. Then there is the way that both technology and price impact reserves. Technology decreases the cost of discovery. But price is even more powerful. There are many times more reserves that are discovered, but considered uneconomical, than there are discovered and considered uneconomical. As prices rise, these reserves slide into the economical category. There are other problems with the official statistics, but you get the point. The conclusion is that we absolutely will run out, but that the current stats on reserves are a dramatic understatement of reserves. This means that even though we will run out, it will take more time than the worst-case scenarios. There will absolutely be pain, but it will arrive over time, not all at once. The first phase is already behind us, by thirty years. It was 1972 - when oil was finally treated as a non-renewable and critical resource. The second phase is on us now, as India and China begin to burn it up seriously. So, the basic story of increased use is correct. But as prices rise, consumers are reacting. There are now 250,000 hybrid vehicles on the road in the US - and they all suck as cars. Better ones are coming, and this time next year, the US will come into alignment with the European diesel standards that take 90 percent or so of the sulfur out of vehicle fuel. In Europe, about half of the passenger vehicles are diesel - with mileage ratings 25-50 percent better than gasoline. All these are trends that got started before the $50/barrel oil. More will come. Each of these will extend the effective life of the known reserves. Ultimately, though, there will have to be a replacement for the major use of oil (transportation fuel). Whether this works, depends on whether human intelligence and creativity are up to the task. Since they always have been in the past, I expect them to be successful in the future. (I'm not in the business of forecasting discontinuities.) One early version is likely to be the ability to charge the batteries of a hybrid vehicle from grid power. This will extend the use of oil by 10 percent or so, and is so obvious that it is probably not worth pointing out. Other innovations will follow. This has ever been the way when there is time for technologists to understand the need and to work on if for a few years. By the way, the most interesting aspect of all this is to get the "peak oil" and "global warming" people into the same room. One crew knows we will run out of oil within 30 years. The other knows that we will burn geometrically expanding amounts of oil for at least 100 years. The best part is that they are often the same people. The cognitive dissonance rings like a gong. If you have some young, smart, naive liberals that have nonchalantly adopted both positions, it is best to let them query the advocates. I've played this game a few times, and recommend that you be there to offer some kind of emotional/chemical support for the nubiles when it is all done. Very effective. - Thor, God of Thunder Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

The smart Smart car - the ForTwo (Mark Dapoz)

A NOT-SO-SMART SMART CAR January 20 , 2005 One of the pleasant memories I have of my trip to Paris was seeing all the tiny cars that flock the streets of the city. Particularly noteworthy is the Smart ForTwo - an attractive two-seater commuter that makes the MINI Cooper look large. The ForTwo has been very popular in Europe - and no wonder, considering how parking spaces are a precious commodity in the more urban areas. The Smart car is so popular that DaimlerChrysler has decided to bring Smart to America. Rather than bring the ForTwo, however, DaimlerChrysler decided it wants the first Smart car imported to be a RAV4-size sport utility vehicle. DaimlerChrysler seems to have forgotten what makes the Smart car so appealing - i.e., its size. DaimlerChrysler's logic in building an SUV is so obviously off-kilter that some entrepreneurs have taken steps to import the Smart ForTwo into the USA independently. One such entrepreneur, Thomas Heidemann, has invested heavily to get the Smart ForTwo here. His goal is to sell 15,000 Smart cars a year in the larger US cities. With the help of G&K Automotive Conversion, a California company, he's finally gotten approval from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and is awaiting emission results from the Environmental Protection Agency. In an interview with MSNBC, Heidemann remarked, "I never would do an SUV because there are so many of them already. The times are changing, you see that with hybrid cars, with smaller cars." Heidemann's company, smart-automobile, Inc., signed a deal to sell the cars through ZAP, a California company that until now had specialized in all-electric vehicles. ZAP has agreed to pay $10 million for exclusive rights to distribute the car for 10 years and is now lining up dealers. "The response has been incredible," said ZAP spokesman Alex Campbell to MSNBC. "When people found out that we were in this deal, they have been contacting us wanting to buy them right away." According to ZAP, the ForTwo should run between $12,000 for the cheapest model, to just over $20,000 for a convertible with all the extras. One of the biggest hurdles will be to convince Americans that the Smart ForTwo is safe. Supporters argue that the cars are fitted with unusually strong reinforced steel shells. The ForTwos have garnered three stars in Europe's five-star crash rating system. The other concern centers around the TwoFor's short wheelbase, and whether the car might have a greater tendency to roll over during accidental over-corrections of the steering wheel. A very good stability control system should mitigate that problem, however. The long and the short of it: Bringing out an SUV is a not-so-smart idea. DaimlerChrysler should stick with the real Smart car - the ForTwo. - RN Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS IN NASCAR January 17 , 2005

Ford Mustang Stamp

Morty Buckles, an African American member of the all-black Miller Racing Group, took the checkered flag at the NASCAR Late Model Weekly Series race at Coastal Plains Speedway in Jacksonville, North Carolina. According to team co-owner Leonard Miller, as Buckles approached the podium, other competitors in pit lane "waved rebel flags as us in defiance," and a young child behind the fence shouted at the victors, "You people go home!" Had this event taken place during the time of racial segregation in the South, it wouldn't be so surprising. However, this event took place in the 21st century - more specifically, in late 2001. It's one of many stories captured in Silent Thunder, the newly published memoir of auto racing veteran Leonard Miller. The book offers an inside look at the struggles and triumphs of one of the most conspicuously absent groups of men and women in motorsports - African Americans. The image that NASCAR (the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) attracts some of the more racist elements of our society is not dispelled by this book. However, the author does acknowledge efforts, such as NASCAR's early diversity program, to mitigate some of the racial, cultural and class barriers in the sport. The win at Coastal Plains Speedway was part of the program, when Miller's Dr. Pepper-sponsored team took the checkered flag. The author's personal chronicle of his forty-year career as a manager and owner of African American teams is a testimonial to the cultural, racial, and class barriers that often exist in the world of motorsports. But Miller's story is not just about barriers. While it uncovers some of the unfortunate undercurrents of America's most popular sport, it also emphasizes the hope and possibility for change. - RN Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

LA Car's Zoran Segina checks out the new HHR

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT - OR RETRO DONE RIGHT? January 13, 2005 One of the bigger debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show was Chevrolet's new 2006 HHR. With styling inspired by the 1949 Chevy Suburban, the HHR strikes a decidedly retro theme. Powered by either a 140 horsepower 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine or 170 horsepower 2.4-liter engine, the HHR is significantly smaller than a modern day Suburban. General Motors is hoping that customers will take to customizing the HHR. To this end, it commissioned West Coast Customs (of MTV's "Pimp My Ride" fame) to customize an HHR. The WCC version was introduced at the show, sporting a chopped top (kids, don't try this at home).

West Coast Customs' HHR GM vice chairman Bob Lutz reportedly spoke to a small group of journalists at the show, and expressed some displeasure over a story he read on the HHR. According to AutoWeek, Lutz today that is the height of stupidity: 'GM's reply to the PT Cruiser, but it comes to the party at least three years late.' "Who the hell says there is some magic period when you must absolutely introduce a heritage-derived vehicle for one of your brands?" AutoWeek says Lutz continued, "I swear to God, some of your colleagues just don't understand this business, which doesn't prevent their busy fingers from moving over the keyboard. ...Read my lips, the HHR will be sensationally successful. I don't apologize for it." The LA Car editorial staff is divided over its forecast for the HHR. Chevy's other retro-derived vehicle, the SSR truck, has been a sales slug on the showrooms. However, some argue that the SSR flopped because it's impractical as both a truck (limited bed space) and passenger vehicle (seats two). The HHR, on the other hand, is a station wagon, and therefore very practical. Those who say the HHR will do much better than the SSR are probably right. However, whether it will be sensationally successful is another matter. Sales of the similarly retro-styled PT Cruiser have waned, and the public may be PT Cruisered out. On the other hand, the HHR is not a PT Cruiser, and that may be enough to bring people to the showroom. - RN Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

DeGarmo introduces the new Mustang convertible (Segina)

HOW TO MAKE A GREATER LA AUTO SHOW January 8, 2005 Okay, so the Detroit Auto Show (which overlaps with the LA Auto Show) gets the lion's share of the new car debuts and concept car introductions. What can LA do to fight back? LA can play its strengths - and that's exactly what it did for the 2005 show.

VW wins an Ultimate Street Machine award at the conference. As the home for 14 automotive design studio, what better way to show it off than to hold the biggest automotive design conference right at the same time and place as the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show? LA is also the entertainment capital, so why not have American Idol's Diana DeGarmo introduce the new Ford Mustang convertible? While we're at it, let's have Jim Belushi and Los Lobos over for a party at the Volvo press conference.

Jim Belushi & Los Lobos at the Volvo press conference (Segina) All of this happened at the LA Auto Show, and more. LA may not get quite the quantity of new car introductions that it deserves, but it still knows how to put on a good show. By the time the show ends on January 14th, more people will have visited the LA Auto Show than the one in the old Motor City. For more on the LA Show, see LA Car's report, LA Plays Its Strengths. - RN Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

Scene from 2 Fast 2 Furious © Universal Pictures

STREET RACERS FACE BIGGER PENALTIES January 4, 2005 This one comes courtesy of LA Car contributing editor Doug Stokes: Another year begins, and with it comes stiffer penalties for street racing. More specifically, the new law, authored by state Sen. Bob Margett, (R-Diamond Bar), adds a mandatory 40 hours of community service to a street racing conviction. Violators already face up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and a driver license suspension of up to six months, reports Rodney Tanaka of the San Gabriel Tribune. According to Tanaka, the Industry City Council approved an ordinance earlier last year prohibiting spectators at illegal street races. Industry has reportedly become a haven for illegal street races. A person arrested for watching illegal race faces a fine and jail time - the same penalty an illegal street driver faces. "Also going into effect today is a fine of up to $750 for a second conviction within three years for driving more than 100 mph," says Tanaka. The fine evidently increases up to $1,000 per conviction for subsequent offenses committed within five years of the first two. As an alternative, Doug Stokes suggests a Thursday night tension-relieving session of the drag strip at Irwindale Speedway. For more information on new traffic laws, see Reed Berry's article, New Laws for 2005 - RN Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

TLC's "Overhaulin" crew - a competitor to MTV's "Pimp My Ride"

DON'T PIMP MY RIDE January 2, 2005 Last week, federal regulators imposed a $16,000 fine on West Coast Customs, the auto body shop affiliated with "Pimp My Ride," an MTV reality show that makes over rundown cars. According to Danny Hakim of the New York Times, the shop was fined for removing front air bags in cars to install video screens in steering wheels. Another celebrity shop, Unique Autosports in Uniondale, N.Y., was fined $5,000 for a similar offense, according to the Times. Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told the Times that the fines were the first of what was expected to be a larger crackdown on car customizers who are disabling safety equipment. Regulators have evidently noticed that front-seat video screens have become a popular offshoot of the car customization boom. The safety agency does not have jurisdiction over installing video monitors in cars and trucks after they have been manufactured. They do, however, have jurisdiction over tampering with safety equipment (such as air bags). "We're actively pursuing several others," Mr. Tyson said to the Times. "It's not only a bad idea to disable the air bag, it's against the law. Air bags are there for a purpose, to protect you. If you have a DVD player there instead of an air bag, it's not going to protect you in a crash." Car customization continues to be a booming business, and TV shows on car makeovers have been spouting up everywhere. On The Learning Channel, it's "Overhaulin," with custom hot rod legend Chip Foose, and "Ride with Funkmaster Flex" on Spike TV. According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, annual spending on after-market car parts and accessories has doubled to $28.9 billion a year, for the past decade. Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

THE BEST OF 2004 January 1, 2005 Born in April of this year, the LA Car Blog has become this publication's most widely read section. Our aim was to make it a cornucopia of automotive diary entries. When LA Car gave birth in 1997, its subtitle was The Journal of LA & Its Car Culture. The Blog, then, is a return to our roots - it is the journal section of LA Car. Our thanks to the readers who keep coming back for more. Below are some of the highlights from the Blog's first year: April 2004 Hybrids & California's HOV Lanes - Our first Blog entry became the most widely read article in LA Car history. Evidently, 75,000 Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Civic owners are eagerly awaiting the time when they can travel the carpool lanes of California without a carpool. When You Can't Afford To Own The Real Thing - We report on Bicaji's, one of the most dazzling model car stores in the Southland. Shortly afterward, Bicaji's gets evicted from their Westfield Santa Anita mall home. They are currently looking for a new store location. Are BMW Drivers A-Holes? - After this piece is published, we get feedback from a number of BMW drivers admitting they drive a tad on the aggressive side. Others complain that SUV drivers and those with lowered import tuners should also be on the list. May 2004 BMW Drivers Get More Tail - Radio host Tom Leykis has claimed for years that men that act like jerks attract more sex than those who don't. After we ask the proverbial question, "are BMW drivers A-holes?," a new German magazine called Men's Car conducted a survey concludes that male BMW drivers have more sex than any other group of drivers around. It all comes together. Favorite Freeway Shortcuts - If you live in Los Angeles, you gotta know this information. Then again, if too many people know, they won't work anymore. All the suggestions were consolidated into an LA Car article, which now ranks at the top of the Google search under "Freeway Shortcuts" 300C, Doggy Style - We comment on reports that rapper Calvin Broadus, a.k.a. Snoop Dogg, left the following voice message for Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group CEO, at DaimlerChrysler's Los Angeles business center: "Yo, what up? This is big Snoop Dogg, trying to put these new legs down for this new 300C." The Chrysler 300 has replaced the Cadillac Escalade as the primo gangsta ride. June 2004 Who's Survey Do You Want To Believe - Just one month after the Westlake Village, California-based JD Power and Associates firm released the findings of its 2004 Initial Quality Study (QSI), the San Diego-based Strategic Vision research firm releases its 2004 Total Quality Indexâ„¢ (TQI) with almost polar opposite results. Paris Is Getting Ready To Ban SUVs - "You have to wonder why people want to drive around in SUVs," Baupin, a Greens party member, said on Europe 1 radio. "We have no interest in having SUVs in the city. They're dangerous to others and take up too much space." In the end, it didn't happen. Favorite Road Music - Musing on favorite tunes for driving the streets and highways of Southern California, in this four-part series. It's Not Easy Being Green - Are liberal automotive journalists an endangered species? That's the question, since the notion of a left-of-center automotive journalist is almost an oxymoron. We note, however, that the ones we know are are as addicted to cars (and fast ones at that) as their right-leaning counterparts. They also bring some fresh thinking into the fold. July 2004

Hybrids Getting All The Breaks - Between free metered parking in Los Angeles and an exemption from California smog checks, there's a slight undercurrent of resentment building against hybrids. Ultimately, it's not enough to stop California from moving ahead with the single-occupant hybrid HOV allowance law. LAPD To Test Gun That Immobilizes Cars - Chuck Dapoz writes about a test unveiled at Euroem 2004, wherein a device stops a vehicle up to 55 feet away by shooting a narrow beam of intense radio waves, according to The Guardian. We wonder if sophisticated criminals might come to favor carburetors and classic American muscle for their getaway cars. August 2004 Surveying The Best New Car Systems - We review the cream of the crop in factory sound systems, including the Lexus-Mark Levinson system and Acura's new DVD-Audio system. In the end, the optional 9VE system in the Volkswagen Phaeton is declared the best sounding factory sound system on the planet. EPA on the Best and Worst Corporations for Fuel Economy - 2004 Fords earn the lowest average fleet fuel economy of any major car maker selling vehicles in the United States - a distinction they hold for every year since 1999. Toyota achieves the best average car fuel economy.

SUVs Ready to Roll (Over) - Chuck Dapoz reports on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's latest rollover safety ratings for 2004 vehicles. As expected, SUVs perform the worst, while Ford's Explorer Sport Trac 2x4 earns the lowest score. You Are What You Drive - LA Car published its first "You Are What You Drive" back in 1997. In August, we published an update. Is Your Car Vegan? - "Toyota Motor Corp. is so attuned to the sensibilities of these so-called green consumers that the company doesn't even offer leather seats for the popular Prius," says Sharon Bernstein of the LA Times. "(Ford) ran an eight-page advertisement in the New Yorker magazine touting the company's green credentials. 11 members of Ford's hybrid Escape SUV are reportedly vegetarians, and its leader is a vegan. Bill Allowing Single-Occupant Hybrids Into Carpool Lanes Passes the state legislature. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would later sign the bill. September 2004 Six Degrees of Reparation - We challenge our readers to name a major car company with an unblemished history - i.e., without one or more skeletons tied directly or indirectly to its past. Many are suggested. None pass muster. Here's a Novel Idea: Make Better Cars - Five categories:After the California state legislature passage of AB2628 (allowing drivers of the most fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles access into the carpool lane even without a carpool), Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford complains to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that the plan "amounts to a 'buy Japanese' bill" and a "special-interest measure ... intended for almost exclusive use by Toyota Prius drivers." The Best Cars to Drive in Rush-Hour Traffic - Five categories: Best Isolation Chamber - Volkswagen Phaeton Best Green Car - Honda Civic GX Best SUV - Audi allroad 4.2L Best Truck - Nissan Titan Crew Cab SE Honorable Mention - Chrysler 300C and Mini Cooper October 2004 Irwindale Police's Alternative To Speeding Tickets - Some 26-plus cities around the San Gabriel Valley are participate in Irwindale Speedway's two year-old "Speeding Ticket" program. In lieu of real speeding tickets, officers can issue a free pass to race at the Irwindale Dragstrip. In order to avoid a citation, the recipient is required to partake in legal drag racing in Irwindale's controlled drag strip. Man Fights Off Repossessor With Chainsaw and Gas Bombs - The title speaks for itself. What Ever Happened To The 205 mph Motorcylist? - The latest on 20-year old Samuel Armstrong's citation for going 205 mph on a motorcycle not capable of going that fast. Howard Stern's Move To Satellite Radio May Improve Car Sales - Not overall sales, but here's the theory: If a Stern listener is trying to pick between two cars, the listener might be persuaded to choose one over the other if that one has Sirius radio and the other doesn't. November 2004 DWA: Driving While Asian - Does the reality match the stereotype? This one caused a commotion on the Internet boards. VWVortex's Car Lounge usually locks controversial sites. They ended up censoring their DWA thread after things got too hot and heavy. Whatever Happened To You Meet The Nicest People On A Honda? - Back in the 1960s, Honda's slogan was "You meet the nicest people on a Honda." Volkswagen Beetle ads proclaimed "Hello," which later inspired Chrysler to run their Neon "Hi" ads. Those were the days. That was then; this is now. One In 10 Admit To Cutting Off Other Drivers Or Wanted To Force Them Off The Road - The title speaks for itself. Car Salesman Offers Discount For Sex - A car buyer complained to the local police that a particular salesperson told her he'd knock $1,000 off of the price of the vehicle if she'll have sex with him. After setting up a sting operation, the salesperson was arrested with two counts of solicitation of prostitution, one count of lewd and lascivious act and one count of battery. Student Found Guilty of Torching SUVs - A Cal Tech graduate student is convicted of firebombing dozens of sport utility vehicles and causing more than $2 million in damage in an eco-vandalism rampage. SUV Rollovers Are Sustaining The Trial Lawyer Industry - At least one segment of the community is reportedly benefiting from all the SUV rollovers. December 2004 What Will It Take To Make Suzuki Cars Cool? - What Suzuki needs is an icon vehicle or two to really move their car line. We offer some suggestions. Ford Wants You To Name Its Next Car - After we observe the anniversary of Ford's effort to have Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Marianne Moore name what ultimately became the Edsel, we ask readers if they can do better. The Best High-Performance Buy Under $25,000 - A number of good candidates are named, but there is one winner. Happy new year, readers. - RN Your LA Car Blog comments can be sent to : Letter to the Editor.

A JOURNAL OF LOS ANGELES & ITS CAR CULTURE

Ford Mustang Stamp

That was LA Car's subtitle when it started back in 1997. Since then, it became Reporting From Car Culture Ground Zero, then From The Heart of Car Culture, to today's The Cars and Culture of Southern California. At all times, however, we aimed to chronicle the Southland's spirit - much like a journal. Now, the diary goes daily. LA Car has always been a great source to come back to from month-to-month, to see what articles and reviews have been added to our rather staggering database. With the LA Car Blog, we give you a reason to come back virtually every day, as we will be posting new blog entries virtually every day or two (well, there will be occasional vacation breaks).

So, go ahead and bookmark www.lacar.com. We'll be sure to always provide a link to the latest blog entry. In the meantime, welcome to the journal and journey into the cars and culture of Southern California.

- Roy Nakano

For past LA Car Blog entries, click the following: December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004

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