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BACK SEAT DRIVING - DECEMBER 2006

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 Fri, Dec 1, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

ROY NAKANO BACK SEAT DRIVING AUTOMOBILES OF THE YEAR December 30, 2006 The big seasons for car magazines are in the fall, when the new cars arrive, and in spring and summer, when the new car previews are revealed. That leaves the lowly winter, when car magazine sales traditionally lag. Car magazines have used the idea of awards to add some heat for the cold winter spell. Today, we have the Car of the Year, the Truck of the Year, the SUV of the Year, the Critics' Choice, the Readers' Choice, the 10 Best Cars, and the 10 Best Engines awards flocking the winter season. This week, Automobile Magazine announced that the 2007 Automobile of the Year is the Volkswagen GTI. "Our editorial team was unanimous in its decision that the Volkswagen GTI deserved this honor," said Gavin Conway, editor-in-chief of Automobile Magazine. "The latest GTI marks a return to form by Volkswagen, with a car that gives enthusiasts a great driving experience without sacrificing practicality, affordability and fuel efficiency. This is the performance car for a new generation of enthusiasts." It's a good choice. To my way of thinking, it's among the best apparel to don while navigating the perils of Los Angeles traffic (see LA Car review). It's a better choice than Motor Trend's selection of the Camry as its Car of the Year. Having just participated in a Motor Press Guild six-car family sedan comparison test involving the new Camry (the sporty SE model), the new Chrysler Sebring. the new Aura, the (new for 2007) Ford Fusion AWD, the new Nissan Altima and the (comparatively) old Honda Accord, I can say that none of my fellow participant journalists chose the Camry as the top pick. My top pick among the family haulers was the new Altima. Equipped with its V6 and new CVT manu-matic transmission, the new Altima proved to be a solid, sporty drive, with an interior substantially improved from the previous generation. To my surprise (and those of the other journalists), second place went to the old Honda Accord V6 SE. The design is getting long in the tooth, but it did everything right. Granted, Motor Trend probably considered the Camry's track record as a dependable family workhorse into its decision. The bottom line: Rarely will a magazine choose a dog for its award, but don't take these awards too seriously.

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD HALF DOORS, HALF ARSE December 26, 2006 Mazda RX8, Saturn Ion Coupe, Toyota FJ Cruiser. All of these vehicles have one thing in common: small rear doors that can't be opened without first opening the front doors. Whoever designed these obviously never used them. Not only can you not open them without first opening the front doors, you also can't close the front doors without first closing the rear doors. They are no substitute for real four doors. They're even more annoying than cars that just have two doors. My hope is that they die off quickly.

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD MILLIONAIRES BUY TOYOTAS December 22, 2006 Millionaires spend their money smarter than other people and don't buy into luxury brands "The Millionaire Next Door," a best-seller book that showed millionaires spend their money smarter than other people, recently marked its 10th anniversary. The book by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, subtitled "The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy," was published in 1996. Gregory Karp, a personal finance writer for The Tribune Company says the striking and profound findings revealed in that book as true today as they were then - especially when it comes to spending money. And rather than spending it on a BMW 7-Series, they are more likely to be found spending it on a Prius or other inexpensive Toyota. "The book showed that people with average, steady jobs can become millionaires over their lifetimes - that most millionaires are made, not born. Indeed, 80 percent of millionaires are first-generation rich, the authors found. They are modest. In fact, they might live next door." During a conversation with Karp, Stanley talked about common spending traits of millionaires a decade ago and in his current research, which will be explained in his next book, which has the working title "Looking Rich in America." Stanley's most recent research for his coming book is evidently about brands that wealthy people use. "There are a lot of millionaires buying stuff at Wal-Mart. They don't have a problem with buying, maybe, socks or underwear there or at a Costco or Sam's Club. Men's Warehouse is selling them a lot of suits, I can tell you that," he told Karp. Evidently, the wealthy don't drive away wealth. The No. 1 make of car owned by millionaires in 1996 was Ford. Today, it's Toyota, according to Stanley's new study. "Luxury brands do not top the list, and many millionaires, 37 percent in 1996, bought used cars," reports Karp. "There's certainly something about buying used cars," Stanley said. "Today, they're a little more likely to buy new cars. But what they'll do is buy a $22,000 Toyota and keep it a long time." "What's interesting about spending is that everybody thinks all the millionaires in America have BMWs. Even among the highest income levels, about 60 or 70 percent have never owned a BMW," he said. "I think BMW is a great car. I'm a car guy. But I won't buy one because there is a relationship between wealth and how much people spend for cars. There's no doubt about it. It's a significant relationship." Stanley told Karp that the biggest thrill he ever had came a decade ago when "The Millionaire Next Door" approached No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list. To celebrate, he went out and bought a Toyota 4Runner. The vehicle is still in his garage. "It has 140,000 miles on it," he said. "I'll never own a BMW or Mercedes or Rolex because ... I know how many people who are not wealthy at all but have the glitz. It says nothing about your inspiration, your wealth or anything else."

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD MILEAGE FROM MEGAWATTS December 19, 2006 Study finds enough electric capacity to "fill up" plug-in vehicles across much of the nation If all the cars and light trucks in the nation switched from oil to electrons, idle capacity in the existing electric power system could generate most of the electricity consumed by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. A new study for the Department of Energy finds that "off-peak" electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country's 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics. Researchers at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory also evaluated the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, on foreign oil imports, the environment, electric utilities and the consumer. "This is the first review of what the impacts would be of very high market penetrations of PHEVs, said Eric Lightner, of DOE's Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability. "It's important to have this baseline knowledge as consumers are looking for more efficient vehicles, automakers are evaluating the market for PHEVs and battery manufacturers are working to improve battery life and performance." Current batteries for these cars can easily store the energy for driving the national average commute - about 33 miles round trip a day, so the study presumes that drivers would charge up overnight when demand for electricity is much lower. Researchers found, in the Midwest and East, there is sufficient off-peak generation, transmission and distribution capacity to provide for all of today's vehicles if they ran on batteries. However, in the West, and specifically the Pacific Northwest, there is limited extra electricity because of the large amount of hydroelectric generation that is already heavily utilized. Since more rain and snow can't be ordered, it's difficult to increase electricity production from the hydroelectric plants. "We were very conservative in looking at the idle capacity of power generation assets," said PNNL scientist Michael Kintner-Meyer. "The estimates didn't include hydro, renewables or nuclear plants. It also didn't include plants designed to meet peak demand because they don't operate continuously. We still found that across the country 84 percent of the additional electricity demand created by PHEVs could be met by idle generation capacity." "Since gasoline consumption accounts for 73 percent of imported oil, it is intriguing to think of the trade and national security benefits if our vehicles switched from oil to electrons," added PNNL energy researcher Rob Pratt. "Plus, since the utilities would be selling more electricity without having to build more plants or power lines, electricity prices could go down for everyone." Lightner noted that "the study suggests the idle capacity of the electric power grid is an underutilized national asset that could be tapped to vastly reduce our dependence on foreign oil." The study also looked at the impact on the environment of an all-out move to PHEVs. The added electricity would come from a combination of coal-fired and natural gas-fired plants. Even with today's power plants emitting greenhouse gases, the overall levels would be reduced because the entire process of moving a car one mile is more efficient using electricity than producing gasoline and burning it in a car's engine. Total sulfur dioxide emissions would increase in the near term due to sulfur content in coal. However, urban air quality would actually improve since the pollutants are emitted from power plants that are generally located outside cities. In the long run, according to the report, the steady demand for electricity is likely to result in investments in much cleaner power plants, even if coal remains the dominant fuel for our electricity production. "With cars charging overnight, the utilities would get a new market for their product. PHEVs would increase residential consumption of electricity by about 30 - 40 percent. The increased generation could lead to replacing aging coal-fired plants sooner with newer, more environmentally friendly versions," said Kintner-Meyer. "The potential for lowering greenhouse gases further is quite substantial because it is far less expensive to capture emissions at the smokestack than the tailpipe. Vehicles are one of the most intractable problems facing policymakers seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Pratt. Finally, the study looked at the economic impact on consumers. Since, PHEVs are expected to cost about $6,000 to $10,000 more than existing vehicles - mostly due to the cost of batteries ## researchers evaluated how long it might take owners to break even on fuel costs. Depending on the price of gas and the cost of electricity, estimates range from five to eight years - about the current lifespan of a battery. Pratt notes that utilities could offer a lower price per kilowatt hour on off-peak power, making PHEVs even more attractive to consumers. Adding "smart grid" communications technology to ensure the vehicles only charge during off-peak periods and to provide immediate, remote disconnect of chargers in event of problems in the power grid would make them attractive to utilities. PNNL is a DOE Office of Science laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security, the environment and life sciences by advancing the understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and computation. PNNL employs 4,300 staff, has a $750 million annual budget, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965. For more information, go to PNNL.

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD MAZDA TO SCRAP 4,700 CARS MAROONED ON SHIP December 16, 2006 Japan's Mazda Motor Corp. will scrap some 4,700 cars that were left for roughly a month on a cargo ship that nearly capsized on its way to the United States in July, reports Agence Française d'Information (AFP). The ship loaded with Mazda cars sat listing at an angle of more than 60 degrees for nearly a month after an incident in the North Pacific in late July, Kyodo News and the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported, citing Mazda officials. According to AFP, even though most of the cars had no visible damage, the automaker decided to throw them out as they were unable to ensure they were market-quality after such a long time at sea, as reported by one Mazda official quoted by the Mainichi said. The total cost of scrapping the vehicles was not immediately clear, the Mainichi said.

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD MISSING WRANGLER PROMPTS NEW VOTE FOR TRUCK AWARD December 15, 2006 The Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7 are finalists for the 2007 North American Truck of the Year award, but it looks like room will have to be made for a fourth candidate. The 49 automotive journalist jurors on this annual North American International Auto Show affair are re-voting on the candidates for the truck award because one candidate - the redesigned Jeep Wrangler - was left off the ballot, reports Dale Jewett of The Detroit News. The original voting for the award closed on December 6th. The truck re-voting closes Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD EPA MAKES FUEL ECONOMY ESTIMATES STICK December 11, 2006 To provide American consumers with improved information when shopping for cars and trucks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing new methods to determine the miles per gallon (MPG) estimates that appear on new vehicle window stickers. The new standards will take effect for model year 2008 vehicles, which may be available for sale as soon as next month. "EPA's new fuel economy sticker ensures American motorists won't be stuck with higher than anticipated charges at the pump," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Consumers can get more bang for their buck by considering fuel use while shopping for cars and trucks - saving money on refueling costs while helping protect our environment." EPA's new methods bring MPG estimates closer to consumers' actual fuel use, by including factors such as high speeds, aggressive accelerations, air conditioning use and driving in cold temperatures. Model year 2008 vehicles will be the first to receive the new MPG estimates. Currently, EPA relies on data from two laboratory tests to determine the city and highway fuel economy estimates. The test methods for calculating these estimates were last revised in 1984. To more clearly convey fuel economy information to consumers, EPA is also enhancing the design and content of the window sticker. The new label will allow consumers to make more informed decisions when comparing the fuel economy of new vehicles. EPA will continue to work with the auto industry, dealers, and other stakeholders, such as the American Automobile Association (AAA), to further educate drivers about all the changes included in the final rule. In addition to better fuel economy estimates, for the first time, EPA will be requiring fuel economy labeling of medium-duty vehicles, which are between 8,500 and 10,000 lbs., including large sport-utility vehicles and vans. Manufacturers will be required to post fuel economy labels on these vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. For EPA information about fuel economy: www.epa.gov/fueleconomy To learn more about the new label: www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/label.htm Related EPA fuel economy information: www.epa.gov/greenvehicle

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD BILL FORD TO HELP DETROIT REVIVAL December 9, 2006 Ex-Ford CEO to head Detroit Renaissance executive committee

After relinquishing his job as CEO of Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford Jr. has picked up an equally daunting task: To revive the city of Detroit. The Detroit News reports that Ford has agreed to lead the 20-member executive committee of Detroit Renaissance, replacing General Motors Corporation Chairman Rick Wagoner. Also moving up in the leadership of Metro Detroit's most influential business group is Domino's Inc. CEO David Brandon, a potential political star who will assume the newly created role of board secretary at Renaissance.

"The moves, effective January 1st, could be announced as early as next week," reports Daniel Howes of The Detroit News. "Bill Ford traditionally disdained Renaissance, privately likening it to a do-nothing men's club," says Howes. "Under President Doug Rothwell, however, the group has expanded its membership, tightly focused its mission on economic development and avoided backing controversial political causes."

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

Fabrizio Giugiaro and J Mays take the covers off

BT JUSTICE: BSD FORD FINALLY DOES SOME FIRST-RATE MARKETING December 6, 2006 As Ford's sales, share and profits have slid, the company has endured harsh criticism over its marketing. The current Bold Moves campaign has been bashed not only by industry pundits but also by the company's dealers. The ads vaguely feature personality traits of idealized customers but don't sell Ford cars and trucks. The corporate Innovation campaign, launched with fanfare barely a year ago, prompted ridicule. People asked "What innovation at Ford?" They couldn't see how images of innovative Ford vehicles of the past, such as the Model T, made a case that Ford is developing innovative products of the future. The Ford on Ford campaign a few years ago, featuring Bill Ford, the company's chairman, and at the time CEO, was a dud. The days of slamming Ford's marketing are over. The company has hit a home run with its latest campaign: "You can achieve your dreams." The marketing was targeted at hourly employees, asking them to quit. No joke. Ford is encouraging its employees to go to school, travel, find a job at another company, start a business, retire or do anything they please ... as long as they get off the Ford payroll. To make sure its message was heard loud and clear, Ford brought in motivational speakers, handed out DVDs, coordinated efforts with the United Auto Worker's Union, conducted unprecedented target audience research and dangled $100,000 checks to entice employees to accept buyout offers - and walk away from future health care and pension benefits. Considering the company's financial predicament, a lot of employees decided to take the money and run. Ford says 38,000 of its 83,000 UAW employees - that's 46% - accepted voluntary separation packages. The final number who quit might be less because employees can back out. What a shame. If the company applied the same intelligence, creativity, passion and commitment to building and selling vehicles, maybe it could get out of the predicament it's in. - BT Justice Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

Mike Hudema of Global Exchange

ROY NAKANO: BSD LA AUTO SHOW: THE SHADOW SHOW December 5, 2006 One way to measure the success of a show is to see how much people pay attention to it. By this measure, the ongoing LA Auto Show is the most successful in its 100 year history. For the first time in its history, environmental protesters disrupted the show's Motor Press Guild keynote speech and one of the show's press conferences. In addition, a number of protests have been held throughout the show to denounce gas guzzlers and to support environmental initiatives. Past shows never received this much attention. This year's show, however, was anticipated to be the biggest ever. This show mattered in ways that past ones didn't - and the protesters were well aware of it. After giving what may have been the most pro-environment keynote ever by Rick Wagoner, the Chairman and CEO of General Motors, Mike Hudema of Global Exchange approached the podium. Wagoner must have thought he was receiving an award. On the contrary, Hudema was there to compel Wagoner to sign a pledge to make GM the most fuel-efficient automotive company in the industry by 2010. Hudema was politely whisked away, but not before a dozen broadcasters surrounded him to get Global Exchange's view on the story. The commotion at the end of the Ford press conference was even more inventive. After the press conference ended, a couple of voices came over the Ford public address system. Initially, it sounded like a radio station commenting on the auto show. It started off innocently enough, with plaudits for Ford's work on hybrids. Then the subject turned to Ford Motor Company having the worst corporate gas mileage of any major car manufacturer. "A distinction it has held for several years," said the voice on the PA system. Curiously, it wasn't readily apparent where the source of the voices were coming from. It was the Wizard of Oz speaking, and no one knew where the man behind the curtain was. The next day, the groups had scantily clad models give a green car wash to the biggest gas guzzlers in front of the LA Convention Center doors (with green-colored water). Environmental advocates held other actions throughout the duration of the auto show, including the convening of an Oil Addicts Anonymous meeting at the show to offer empathy, support and encouragement "to help the American auto industry confront its grave addiction to oil," giant balloon banners, and public education efforts focused on the auto industry's contribution to global warming. This auto show has definitely arrived. The Los Angeles Auto Show goes on through December 10, 2006. For LA Car's coverage of the LA Auto Show, click here Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

BRIAN KENNEDY: BSD LA AUTO SHOW: ACURA PROMISES TO ADVANCE December 3, 2006 Acura cars aren't usually thought of as trendsetters. That will change over the next several years. Or at least, that's the version of 2020 that the company was promising at the auto show on Wednesday. "We advance in leaps and bounds, but can you advance at the push of a button?" a video presentation asked before the company's Senior VP of Automobile Operations, John Mendel, got up to speak. The company celebrated its twentieth anniversary in the US market last year. Now, they are taking a step onto the global stage. The idea, paradoxically enough, is that if they are successful in the rest of the world, Acura can do more here - in the all-important US market. It (and the pronoun usage in the video as cited above) weren't the only things that seemed kind of mixed up in the company's presentation. The goal is to have what Mendel described as "complete product creation" and in 2007, Acura will open its LA-based design center. Next week, the company opens its Advanced Design Studio in Pasadena. Aren't these the same things? No. The idea in the Pasadena office is to look far forward into the future, at least 10-15 years. Acura hopes to take advantage of LA car culture, which, according to Mendel, "paces world styling."

Acura Advanced Sedan Concept (BK) Having said that, he stepped aside so that the company's luxury flagship of the future could be unveiled. In charge of this portion of the presentation was the , Inc., Dave Marek. The draping came off to reveal - ta dah - a Cadillac concept car, circa 2002. Not really. But what they showed was more "new edge" (now "old crease") than interesting. The clever name? The "Advanced Sedan Concept." Too bad, because it's not often that someone like Marek gets to the top of a business as conservative as the auto industry. Sporting a kind of ponytail mullet and a pair of the pointiest shoes seen this side of Milan this year, he is a fresh, if old-school, face in a sea of short-haired corporate stooges. But if he thinks that what the company showed in LA is going to sell to the "captains of industry" who were cited as the ideal customer, well, he's just watched too many episodes of The Jetsons.

Mazda Nagare concept car (BK)

OH NO, NOT AGAIN An hour or so after Acura unveiled its vision of the future, it was Mazda's turn. Again, the head guy stood up on stage. This time, he was Jim O'Sullivan, VP of North American Automotive Operations. And as if the same copywriter had turned out the script, he promised just what Acura had - a vision into the future, circa 2020. The concept Mazda is going for is also a one-worder. (Acura's was "Advance" remember.) For Mazda, it's "Flow." And in the future, they will have a greater and greater commitment to the idea of flow, according to O'Sullivan and the video of ocean and clouds which played behind him. Good thing, because if they produce a car like the one he next unveiled, customers will flow out of their showrooms as fast as they flow in. Remember the aborted GM/Saturn-looking electric car, the EV-1? How about the Honda Civic hatchback that had that little see-through window at the back edge of its hatch? Well, add those together, throw on a ridiculous number of side strakes, and you've got the Mazda concept. Now I'm no marketing genius, but I just can't see this car, any more than the Acura, having any chance of making a dent in the market. Nor is it possible that, forty years from now, someone will pay several million dollars at a televised auction to acquire such a car, as has been done of late with several 1950s GM concept cars. They just don't have anything like the panache of those 50s concepts, or even the raw appeal of last year's Challenger and Camaro concepts.

Cowhides in the Mustang Giugiaro concept Good thing this was the last reveal of the day and the free drinks as appetizers were about ready to, well, flow. They gave the gathered horde something to take their mind off what had been, honestly, a pretty depressing day. Look, this auto show was boring enough before these two "concepts." Ford had nothing except a tarted-up Ferrari-looking Mustang with cowhide accents inside, and a couple of - hold your applause, please - hybrids. One featured Kermit the Frog talking out its side window, explaining how this car would somehow help there be fewer two-headed frogs in the world. That, I suppose, is good if you're worried about frogs with two brains becoming smarter than the people who run car companies. GM didn't do much better, nor did anyone else, other than the exotic/boutique manufacturers. Honda reinvented the Scion XB into something looking like the concept of the Scion XB when it debuted a half-decade ago. But now it's got two sliding doors and a Honda badge. So if you're worried about the future of the car, then you're pretty much on track, and nothing revealed on the first day of the LA Autoshow promised any great hope that the car as we know it, or even as we wish it to be, will survive. Better buy a 1968 Chevy now, and fix it up to drive. And if anyone gives you any trouble, tell them you converted it to run on hydrogen. - Brian Kennedy Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

ROY NAKANO: BSD FISKER COACHBUILD WILL GRANT 3 WISHES December 1, 2006 Fisker Coachbuild, creator of coach-built luxury sports cars, says it will donate $15,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each Fisker Tramonto exotic two-seat convertible sold. For each car purchased from Fisker before December 31st, 2006, a child with a life-threatening medical condition in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and Orange County & Inland Empire will each receive his or her one most heartfelt wish. "Part of our vision at Fisker Coachbuild is to enrich the lives of others and with this donation we feel that we can touch some children with visionary dreams for the future" says Cristina Cheever, vice president of marketing for Fisker Coachbuild. "We are delighted that Fisker Coachbuild is making this wonderful donation to our children. We have granted over 2,500 wishes in the Orange County and Inland Empire and we are sure that Fisker can help us to grant more" expressed Mark Pilon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County & the Inland Empire Chapter. Fisker Tramonto pricing starts at $234,000. 150 are built in Italy for worldwide distribution. Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler opened the doors to Fisker Coachbuild in January 2005 in Southern California. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions with the goal of enriching the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Born in 1980 when a group of individuals helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 69 chapters in the U.S. and its territories. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Ed

A JOURNAL OF LOS ANGELES & ITS CAR CULTURE

EVO MR

That was LA Car's subtitle when it started back in 1997. Since then, La Car became LA Car. Its subtitle 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 one's own journal or diary. Now, the diary section goes daily. LA Car has always been a great source to come back to from week-to-week, to see what articles and reviews have been added to our rather staggering database. With Back Seat Driving, a.k.a. BSD (note the similarity to two well-worn abbreviations, BS and BFD) and Live Wires - Hot & Tender News From the Car Culture (co-located with Back Seat Driving, and updated at least daily), we give you a reason to come back more often (all opinions, by the way, are those of the respective author). So, go ahead and bookmark www.lacar.com. We'll be sure to always provide a link to Live Wires and the latest Back Seat Driving blog entry. In the meantime, welcome to the journal and journey into the cars and culture of Southern California. - Roy Nakano

For past Blog entries, click the following: November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004

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