How two men changed the lowrider culture.
Well we have hit that day in Canada where it is now legal to smoke and carry marijuana. Sure we still don't condone its use while driving, but we will talk about how two great men changed one car culture through their movies.
Back in the 70's when Detroit was pumping out performance model after performance model, L.A. was moving on from the speed culture which they had created. With a large influence from the hispanic or latino market they were moving onto the next wave of car culture. Sure the big three weren't finished with their muscle cars, but California partially was.
During this time two men from the area began working on their first mainstream movie, which was about to change the perception on two things. One being the high use of "Mary Jane" during the 70's and the other was the introduction of that wonderful 64' Impala the "Love Machine". With this car Cheech and Chong would fore ever change the perception of term low rider.
It's now hard to believe how one rusted up car from a stoner movie could make such an influence, but really it did. From then on it seemed that the very car culture which they were showing off, took off and with good cause. But again this was California, a state which has given us the hot rod and the import tuner scenes.
A tribute to a fallen family member.
world of the future, with that gleaming stainless steel DeLorean and pearl black Tacoma. Before that day I was only interested in my die cast cars and now I wanted to own that Tacoma and DMC-12. Sure I still don't have either, but my cousin did go onto to get their own Tacoma.
At the time they only had "Back to the Future" on video cassette and it was taped from television, as was the norm back in 1987. But from that day forward any time I visited them I wanted to watch that movie with them. They would teach me about the cars of the movie and the history about DeLorean. It was a great time for me and I'll never forget watching that movie and learning so much from them. But that wasn't all that they taught me.
It was the late 80's and personal computers were becoming more and more common. As with most households of the time my cousin did have a computer, they had a "Commodore Amiga 1000", but it wasn't the cool new computer that I loved most. It was the amazing games that they had. Who doesn't remember the original "Test Drive" and "4x4 Off Road Racing", two games that I still love to this day. Those two games helped push me further into the automotive world as I asked my cousin questions about the vehicles within the game. They answered and helped me learn even more.
As time went on and we both grew older, our tastes in vehicles grew with it. They had helped me learn more than I could off of the package of a "Hot Wheels" package. And as they helped me learn even more, my interest grew even greater for the automotive industry. Soon I was asking them questions that even they couldn't answer. But what did you think was going to happen as I have become somewhat of a car nut by now.
Over the years we seemed to grow apart, but that is something that was expected as we are quite a few years apart in age. But even with an age gap we still were always able to talk about cars.
By the time I hit my teens, they were already driving and teaching me even more about vehicles. During their high school days they were driving their parents old 87 Honda Civic. But it wasn't that car that they taught me about, well they did a little, it was the "Pioneer" stereo they put into it. This stereo is one that they later moved from that civic into their own Toyota Tacoma SR5. I remember back in high school when we took a drive from a family members house to the beach. We had the stereo cranked and by this time that stereo was over six (6) years old. Pretty good stereo I thought. This may have been my turning point into the aftermarket industry.
As the years went on and we both moved on with our lives and had families, we still never lost track of what we had in common. And after all of these years we were still able to talk about our love affair with that stainless steel beast from one of our favourite movies. But for now I must move as this is tribute to my fallen cousin and together we will never get to ride in that amazing piece of automotive history. To my cousin I hope that the door to the DeLoren is open for you and I hope to see later. Go have some fun in our car as I will never forget what you taught me.
Love you Good Buddy, and remember that "if your going to travel back in time, then you might as well do it with a bit of style"
#AutoLooks, @icst88, AutoLooks.net
Too bad we can only dream.
This is one of those "it's too bad we can only dream" moments, as the designer Ihor Alekseev has to be the one who finally brings the real Cuda to life.
We all know that you have been able to purchase Cuda clips, decals and grille from the Mopar store since the introduction of the Challenger, but really why doesn't FCA just make a signature series. This could have been one of those great things which could have really helped the image of the Challenger and FCA out, but they have decided not to pursue this venture as the Plymouth brand is gone. Too bad as utilizing old nostalgic brands or names is one the last few forays most companies can utilized to command a higher margin on a current model line.
This still seems odd as FCA is looking at bringing back the Viper and Dakota nameplates and adding a Cuda name and maybe even a convertible model to the Challenger platform, could help put it back into the Mustang/Camaro's playing field. But even then we would still need a proper entry level model. The AWD V6 Challenger isn't enough to get a younger crowd into your model.
With the Cuda nameplate, FCA could brand the Challenger model as a nostalgic sub-brand and help bring back a few of the great names that came with the Cuda. But as it has been over a decade of sales for the Challenger and they haven't done this, we feel that they won't jump into this playing field anytime soon. But if they did we do feel that both Ford and Chevrolet would do it as well with the Capri/Cougar and Firebird/Trans-Am nameplates.
But for now all we can do is dream and possibly just go out and build our own.
#AutoLooks, @icst88, AutoLooks.net
Have Cross-Treks the next wave?
It only starts with one company, then soon everyone seems to be jumping in. That is how it has always been as we have seen when it comes to the market. Everyone is scared to jump in, but once one model takes off in sales, then it seems that everyone wants a piece of that new market. We have seen this happen to every segment since the entry of the official sedan back at the turn of the century.
As it seems that every segment imaginable today has been entered, there are always other possibilities. Like the introduction of the coupe profile to both the sedan and CUV market. Both have gone different ways in the past few years, but unlike these segments, one seems to be growing ever so slightly.
The Cross-Trek or Trekking market has been around for a long time and can date itself back to the 70's. But even as it has been around for a long time, it has never really gotten any major exposure, or credit for being an ever changing and growing marketplace. But with the slow demise of the standard sedan and hatch and the rise of the CUV market, it seems to be growing yet again.
This year alone we can welcome nine (9) hew or updated models this segment, which means it beats out both the coupe and convertible segments. Sure thanks to the introduction of the coupe profile, the coupe and convertible markets have been sliding, but now you can add in the fact that most consumers don't want individual traveling machines. With this shift in consumer mentality it seems that the Cross-Trek is finally getting noticed. Well that and the rise of the soft road CUV market.
So what really is a Cross-Trek model? It is made up of two basic components. One being a current platform and the other being the introduction of an AWD system to the existing platform. Sure Audi made the Quattro back in the 80's and Subaru has always had AWD, but today it seems that no one can along with their personal vehicle unless it has AWD. This as it seems to be the new fad just like how FWD became popular in the late 80's. So again why the rise in models and sales. Well for the most part, most major automakers are trying to find new ways to squeeze every penny they can out of every model. And with that you get Cross-Trek models as they are an easy way to command a higher sticker price.
But again we also have to look back at what we said earlier, as consumers want all models with the option of soft road capability and AWD for safety. So why not add an existing CUV under carriage to a base hatchback, you would be stupid not to.
So even though this market has been around for more than four (4) decades, it doesn't seem that it's about to go away anytime soon. Of course that could change when consumers realize that they don't need AWD or soft road capabilities when they live in a city of asphalt and concrete and the only dirt they ever see is from a construction site. But really do you think the average consumer would be smart enough to figure that out, when there are still people who drive Suburbans and only have one child.
#AutoLooks, @icsts88, AutoLooks.net
Citroen's French connection to the N.A. market
By now you have heard about the return of the PSA group and the possibility of one of their brands returning to the North American market. But which one will they choose as they now have a few more brands to choose from. But two of them may not be wise to import to the U.S. market as they almost became Canadian a decade ago.
Back in 2008 the world was set into a global financial crisis, with many automotive companies looking for ways to trim the fat from their bottom line. Ford finally got rid of their premier brands and the Mercury lineup, Chrysler was sold off to the highest bidder (again) and GM dumped a few of its losing brands. But at this time GM came close to closing a deal with a Canadian firm for the purchase of the Opel/Vauxhall brands. The deal was set and it seemed that Canada was about to get not just one, but two of their own corporately owned companies with Magna at the helm. But to the surprise of everyone, GM pulled a fast one and killed the deal with Magna stating that breaking the brands would create more competition within their home market. The truth was that GM just couldn't sell their products to European customers and still needed the brands to help launch Cadillac and Chevrolet back into the E.U.
Fast forward a few years and you again have GM wanting to unload their European brands as by now Chevrolet has either made it or failed in a big way. But know GM can't afford to hold onto these dying brands as they will bring down their corporate fuel average. Leaving a bad taste in Magna's mouth, GM went out to find someone else who would take over the ailing brands and would also keep them out of their home market. That is where the PSA Group comes in as they have no desire to move other brands into the N.A. marketplace, as they want back in themselves. This in the end is how PSA will choose which brand they will use to enter the N.A. market.
As both the Citroen and Peugeot brands have already been hear before it seems odd to return a brand back to a place you left as it seems that not even the Fiat brand can stage a great comeback. So for PSA to make their true decision they have to look at what people are actually purchasing within the American marketplace.
Well for starters we really love our CUV's and trucks. But PSA Group doesn't have a good enough portfolio of these models to make a go of it in the N.A. market. So what's next then. Hey! Americans really love to show off and have a massive desire to one up their neighbors. Well that might be it, as it seems it would be best for PSA Group to launch the DS brand within the N.A. market, as they could start from scratch with an existing tried and true product line. And it also helps that the DS lineup consists of overpriced premium models which are build off of existing Citroen models. Add to this the desire of the N.A. market to get their hands on one of those DS3 hatchbacks and you have the makings of the perfect brand in which to enter the N.A. market. And if that doesn't help, the fact that Mexico has already been subjected to exposure from the DS and Citroen brands with the run of the WRC could help push the DS brand into this market.
So if that doesn't help you determine which brand you might see within the next few years, then I would say catch the next flight to France and go talk to your company executive for the PSA Group. As that is the only other way your going to find out which brand they will be bringing here.
#AutoLooks, @icsts88, AutoLooks.net
Kia not to get it's own N sport badge...or does it already have its own?
I'm sorry but a few years back we reported that Kia would soon have their own performance brand. How far off from the fact we were, but really we weren't all that far off as they may already have one.
With the release of the Hyundai "N" performance brand, it seems everyone is asking the question as to when Kia will get their own performance line. Hyundai tells us that it's not going to happen. But we have to call their bluff as Kia has been branding their own performance models for a few years now.
If you don't know what we are talking about, then take a look at the new ProCeed and Rio. Both models come with a top of the line model with enhanced performance and a few extra upgrades to their visual dynamics. If you haven't figured it out by now, we are talking about the "GT Line". Sure they aren't admitting that they have their own performance lineup, but really when you have a Rio, Ceed and ProCeed arrive within in year carrying the same nameplate and enhanced aero package, you might have your own aftermarket lineup.
But of course the GT and GT-Line models are not up to the same standards as the "N" line as that lineup has more added power and a wild aero package to back up all that added power. As with the GT and GT-Line models do not, they only have minor upgrades when it comes to their powerplants and aero package. So I guess by Hyundai's standards you could say that they don't really have their own dedicated performance arm.
So in the end it all comes down to real power and proper terminology, but to us the use of the GT and GT-Line nameplates signifies that Kia want's to play in the aftermarket arena. So what's the problem with that Hyundai, as we would all love to see a V8 GT-Line version of the Stinger. This could really help cement the Stinger as a true 3-Series or M3 fighter, but that will always be the dream we never get to live.
#AutoLooks @icst88, AutoLooks.net
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