Saturday, March 25, 2017

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Car Crazy now lives at

 We moved to a new roomier sight at  Be sure to visit often as content is added regularly! Many cool things ahead-including NY auto show exclusives and more original posts that are right up your ally. See you there!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why We Love Cars

On this Valentines day it's customary to buy chocolate and roses and maybe a card for your special someone and wish them a happy lovely day. This is usually no problem until the one you love is also a car! (I can't relate in anyway and will deny any evidence of such). But why? Why do we love cars (or trucks) so darn much? I looked into this briefly and found an interesting article in Road & Track on this very subject. Oddly enough it wasn't written in February but in July! Go figure. Among the 50 reasons they chose here are some highlights. The roadster (notice they picture the Miata) , rivales (like the Mustang & Camaro), working on cars (especially classic ones that you can actually fix up without a modern computerized garage, Craigslist-(where your next project car is waiting for you to click it up a notch, riding shotgun with your bestest good friend, Characters, no not the annoying people on the road that drive 45 in 65mph left lane, TV characters like Smokey and the Bandit. (what a great car that was), the right shifter (custom ones especially), and finally, one that I'd like to personally submit- the Convertible!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Push Button Transmission

1962 Plymouth Valiant

Sometimes in the world of cars things that are old are new again. We're seeing that in the comeback of several nameplates that were retired and are finding their way back to the road. Names like Jeep's Wagoneer or Lincoln's Continental for instance. This is also the case with functional parts of the car like the transmission shifter. Some of them were on the column (who remembers "3 on the tree") while others and perhaps more common especially in later model vehicles the shifter was moved to the center console. Well, now there's a trend to go back to the older push button style shifters.  After talking to some Car Crazy fans they fondly remember the 1962 Plymouth Valiant who famously had the push button shifter mounted on the dash. (See below)

Acura RLX push button shifter on the center console.

Push button shifter mounted on the dash of a '62 Valiant.

Acura has re-introduced the push button transmission in the new RLX as noticed at the DC auto show posted by Grant Winter of In Acura's design the buttons are mounted on the console with varying shapes and textures. The gear selected illuminates to notify the driver of which gear they've activated. It's an interesting arrangement that apparently takes time to get used to. Notice the contrast between the two. It reminds of the distinct styles of the classic 1960's Starship Enterprise verse the modern 1990's version. They both do the same thing but one is a low tech functional version while the other is high tech sophistication.
You may enjoy this photo submitted to me by a reader (Thanks Jon!) of the 1962 Plymouth Valiant bought new for $1600 cash! What a proud moment for this couple! (They won the money playing Bingo at the Knights of Columbus!) You can click here for a gallery of photos of more cool pics of the push button shifter over the years. This sight has a plethora of pics to feast on. It's quite fun to browse through.  Have you ever owned or driven a car with a push button trans? Chime in! We'd love to hear from you.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Jeep's New PickUp

Earlier this month Fiat Chrysler (FCA), Jeep's parent company made a splash in the mud by confirming its new 2018 much rumored pickup truck.  It will apparently be made in Toledo, Ohio on the same platform as the also new Jeep Wrangler JT. Exciting and certainly much anticipated but what will it look like? How much will it cost? And us Jeepers want to know what the specs will be. What engine size, transmission, and passenger capacity? Not to mention how much of my house will I have to mortgage in order to buy one? Jeep brand head Mike Manly confirms that the new Jeep truck will have Crew Chief elements sharing the JT Wrangler platform committing a billion dollars to retooling their factory to outfit it for the new vehicles. What we don't know are any specifics. It's estimated that the truck will be priced in the $30-40K range to compete with the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma.  We only have enough bate to stay ashore while they cast the net in the water. The new pickup is said to be for sale late 2017 as a 2018 model. The cousin, JT Wrangler will be available first. I've scouted these photos of the 2018 Jeep truck but these are NOT the final product. Jeep is still holding out on it's final design.   Once the new Wrangler is released we'll have a much closer idea since it'll be based on that build. Take a look at these pics and draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fiat Chrysler's Self-Driving Minivan

Image result for chrysler pacifica hybrid autonomous
Credit: Waymo
There's been a lot of buzz about self-driving vehicles, or autonomous cars as the tech industry likes to call them. And this year’s auto show season is no exception. In a reveal at the Detroit International auto show on Monday, Google's spinoff auto tech company Waymo, premiered a plug & play autonomous system that would work in any vehicle. In this case it was the hybrid- electric Chrysler minivan, Pacifica. What's interesting about this to me is not only the self-driving technology coming to the common car but more importantly the fact that Fiat Chrysler was not debuting this on their own platform, but on Google's! While auto manufacturers have previously partnered with tech companies, this marks the first year a technology company has premiered a product on its own. Likewise, Fiat Chrysler introduced its self-driving cars at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this month. This is a key game changer in both marketing & the future of cars in general. Tech fleeced autos are such a big deal in the future of driving that they are willing to change what was an auto industry exclusive show into an auto tech show. The lines between each industry are coming down like never seen before. These are both exciting times and uncertain times. On one hand, I like the "Knight Rider" self-driving capability, yet on the other hand I can't help but wonder when my car will fly? (Not to mention will this really be safe enough for my family to ride in without incident?)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 MX-5 Miata Club Vs. 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

Photos courtesy of: Car and Driver

If you've read Car Crazy blog before you know I'm a big fan of the Mazda Miata. I even want to buy one at some point in the (hopefully near) future. In a nut shell it's all that a sports car driver wants in a compact package and affordable as a Costco membership. Well when news came out that Fiat was introducing a convertible roadster I was intrigued but also a little nauseous. I mean what ever Fiat makes seems to fall to pieces and ruin your driving experience. (Don't get me started with Fiat Chrysler making the Jeep!) It turns out that the new 2017 124 Fiat roadster shares a lot of common ground with the Miata. In fact, it's so similar that they are even made in the same factory as the Miata in Hiroshima, Japan. They are similar under the hood but do have some differences. While they both employ an in line 4 cylinder engine the Fiat 124's is turbocharged and inter cooled while the Miata is not. The horsepower their respective engines produce are also similar: Fiat produces 164 Hp at 5,500 rpm while the Miata pushes out 155 at 6,000 rpm. These twins also share a 6 speed manuel transmission and rear wheel drive. Car and Driver has a wonderful write up on these two cousin roadsters including all the technical specs you care to read. Basically, while much is shared between these two seaters the real difference comes in the road test. The Miata is boss on the road and remains the champ of the battle of "cousin convertibles". As Tony Quiroga writes in his article in Car and Driver "It didn’t take us long to pick a winner. The Miata might be louder and jumpier than the 124 Spider, but it’s also more charming and honest than the Fiat. And that means the Miata is a better sports car where it really counts." Tony puts the nail in the coffin when you realize that despite the 124 having turbo the Miata still beats the Fiat in acceleration! Not to mention the fact that the Fiat weights more and is quieter, more refined but also more boring. The Miata is just plain fun to drive and that's why I still have "Miata on my mind."