Archive for October, 2011

Porsche 930 Turbo: stolen 23 years ago, recovered by Customs

Alert officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection saved a long-stolen 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo from being shipped from Long Beach to the Netherlands. The CBP announced Oct. 25 that the Outbound Enforcement Team at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport discovered the car in a container to be exported to the Netherlands. In a check of the Vehicle Identification Number, it was learned the vehicle was reported stolen Las Vegas in Nov. 1988. Nevada...

Plug-in hybrid: Toyota Prius to start at $32,760

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, with a new lithium-ion battery, is now available in two models for ordering in 14 launch states, with deliveries beginning in spring, 2012. The base model has a starting price of $32,760 and the Prius Plug-in Advanced starts at $40,285, including the $760 freight charge from Japan. Both models are expected to qualify for a federal tax credit of approximately $2,500. The plug-in model is based on the third-generation Prius...

New car test: Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec – 429 hp bargain sport sedan

5.0 R-Spec is a comfortable step up in performance and style

The 429-hp, Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec sedan is a halo model with global aspirations, but this car is no angel. The 5.0 R-Spec has a tuned suspension that feels like BMW; it has the commanding substance of Mercedes-Benz; and the millimeter-tight assembly for which Lexus is known. To these positive similarities, the Genesis adds a big, booming presence that is unique to this car. It is a collection of advanced Hyundai engineering, of which only...

1936 Chevy assembly line: When men were men and machines couldn’t function without them

Reader Greg Gieselman onpassed this link for a video of a 1936 car-assembly line. He said it “is certainly a history lesson in only a few minutes about where these things we find so important came from years ago.” Ergonomcs? We don’t need no stinkin’ ergonomics in the 1936 workplace!

Hail ICON! Bosch storm blades are a wiper revolution

Windshield wipers have been a final frontier in automotive advancement until the fairly recent innovation of the flat-blade, beam-type blades. The age-old, steel-frame architecture with a thin strip of rubber grows wobbly and ratchety in short time, giving a streaky sweep. Bosch has raised the level of clarity in inclement weather with its ICON wiper blades that have tensioned, internal steel springs and no external joints or brackets. That’s not entirely unique in these flat...

New-car test: 2012 Nissan Versa – virtues and a couple of vices for a song

2012 Nissan Versa sedan

  The once subcompact Nissan Versa sedan has been re-engineered on a larger platform and  restyled with enough interior capacity to push it into the compact class – but with subcompact pricing. With starting prices ranging from $11,750 to around $18,000, Versa now has more appeal, ranging from misers to young families. It has incredible back seat room and a trunk for elephants.

Get a grip on paint scratch repair: ScratchPro

I’m a great believer in the Rule of 5. A car-enthusiast friend says he won’t attempt a big repair job – car or home – unless he’ll be doing at least five similar repairs. Because, he says, the first job he’ll screw up, the second will be better and by the fifth, he will have become a passable expert. That’s how I feel about trying to make repairs to paint – and most other automotive...

New car test: Chrysler 300 SRT8 – the tire-smoking BIG Hemi

Road test: 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8

New car test: Chrysler 300 SRT8 with the big, tire-smoking Hemi gives a big-guns salute that will make American sedan drivers sit a little taller in the seat. This 470-horsepower, “big” Hemi, 6.4 liter V-8 is a likeable, over-the-top show of force – with luxury finesse. It will smoke the rear tires like a drag car, launch to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds and get 23 mpg on the highway on the daily...

About Mark Maynard

Mark Maynard has been the automotive editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune since 1992.

He drives nearly 200 vehicles a year for review, has attended several high-performance driving schools and a few off-road driving courses.

He attends many new-vehicle press introductions and schmoozes with auto-industry execs.

Mark Maynard