2014 Buick LaCrosse is like 100mph Butter
December 4, 2013—I signaled and swung into the right lane, star-lit saguaros and mile markers whizzing past, as the transmission downshifted. My right foot was already buried in the carpet. Ahead of me, and now to the left, a twelve car convoy vanished into little red dots in the darkness at a less-than-brisk sixty mph. I cursed them all and heard a gasp from the back seat as the 2014 Buick LaCrosse surged forward. Read the full story here.
LA Auto Show 11-21-13
Novermber 21, 2013—There are two cars that truly captured our attention at this year’s LA Auto Show. Sure there were many, many new car intros, but only two really moved us—the Mercedes-Benz Vision Gran Turismo Concept and the BMW i8. Also rans include the Chevy Colorado, Honda FCEV, Maserati Ghibli, and Porsche Macan. Read the full story here.
Question: Can a car be made cool?
October 22, 2013—There are cars that upon seeing them, one instantly thinks, “that’s cool!” And obviously there are cars that no amount of help will ever render them cool. Or are there? Recently, we drove a 1967 Porsche 911S back from Kansas City and we believe that that old sports car is unquestionably cool. Remember the Chevy Cobalt? We’d argue that the Cobalt is a sad monument to GM’s “almost there” self-delusion of the 1990’s. But what if the Cobalt had been outfitted with a 6.0L V8, rear wheel drive and big fender flares? Here it is… the “Gobalt” for your consideration. Read the full story here.
KC to LA, postscript: Webasto! by Ben Shahrabani
October 17, 2013—I must confess that I was going to withhold this tidbit. The trip from Kansas City to Los Angeles has been covered most excellently (thank you "Bill & Ted" for the right words) by my co-driver, Wide Open’s editor. But upon reflection, my misunderstanding of certain information—that would have been quite helpful—is so humorous that I had to share it. Read the full story here.
KC to LA, part 3: American Le Mans
October 15, 2013—I ordered California rolls, “best to keep it simple,” I thought, “and skip the maguro and hamachi.” Ben opted to skip dinner altogether, I guess the Texas Roadhouse chicken sandwich had been enough. How was the sushi? Well, I didn’t get food poisoning, which is about the highest compliment I think I could ever give to strip-club sushi... Read the full story here.
KC to LA, part 2: Colorado Meltdown
October 10, 2013—Throughout the drive, the cliché “to finish first, first you have to finish” kept popping up in my mind as we constantly balanced maximizing speed and attempting to not break the Porsche. And although we had initially planned to stop for lunch in Limon, Co I argued against it because I wanted to use as much daylight as possible to drive. I knew that after the sun set, and hours behind the wheel, the drive would become much more difficult... Read the full story here.
KC to LA, part 1: T minus Six Hours...
October 8, 2013—Of all the long distance drives I’ve undertaken, including a three and a half-week odyssey covering almost 10,000 miles around the US with a girlfriend and our ultimately doomed relationship, this one contained the greatest chance of failure. Contributing writer and friend, Ben Shahrabani purchased the 1967 Porsche 911S you see in these photos, sight unseen, through the internet. It was for sale in Kansas City and Shahrabani did as much research as possible from a distance including reviewing lots of photos and ordering a pre-purchase inspection (PPI). Read the full story here.
Ram 2500: Terrifyingly Good
October 1, 2013—Stones and pebbles audibly slipped as the truck descended, gingerly as possible for a five-thousand pound object struggling to avoid tumbling down a mountain. We reached a small plateau about half way down and I took a deep, calming breath. As he ominously shut the radio off, the driver turned the Ram left towards what I can only describe as a cliff. Read the full story here.
Scion iQ Road Trip: Smart or Not?
September 25, 2013—There is a wonderful case to be made for tiny cars in urban environments. Parking spaces are at a premium, streets are tight and the ability to change direction quickly to avoid any number of potential hazards is paramount. However, we’re Wide Open. We may live in a city, but look for any excuse to hit the road and explore. Read the full story here.
Riskier Business by Ben Shahrabani
September 18, 2013—If you've read Wide Open’s other Monterey stories then you know the trip was a great time (speeding ticket excluded)! The long weekend was an amazing romp that included driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, a stay at Monterey's only all-suite hotel (Yoav chose to sleep in dumpsters instead), and several delicious meals. Oh, and of course, the car festivities. Read the full story here.
The Drive Home
September 3, 2013—What an event Pebble Beach was! When I arrived at 7:45 there were already enough people to make photography difficult. And supposedly, these were only press and VIPs. You can only imagine how crowded it was when we finally decided to call it a day and head home at noon. We’d miss the crowning of Best in Show, but we hadn’t come for that. And that award at such a show seems to speak volumes while simultaneously being irrelevant. The cars are all so amazing, why choose one? Read the full story here.
Pebble Beach Weekend
August 22, 2013—The drive up the Pacific Coast Highway was a bit tedious, but at least the views were spectacular. The elevation changes along that road border on the extreme from sea level to crests that look down on the foggy sea and back down through twists and turns carved by the unrelenting waves (and seismic activity). Ben, Carlo and I separated approaching Pebble Beach, as they wanted to check into their hotel. I went to claim my press credentials so I could wander uninhibited. Read the full story here.
Fantasy and Reality
August 20, 2013—The Viper roared to life at 6:15 AM on Friday morning and settled into a nice, lumpy idle as I waited for the engine to warm slightly. I plugged one end of the RF transmitter into the cigarette lighter and the other end into the iPod. The morning was cold and damp and while I initially second-guessed my decision to not bring a jacket, I knew the sauna that is the Viper interior would be fully heated soon. A quick call to Ben revealed that his friend, Carlo, who would be joining us, had not arrived yet. Frustrated and eager to get going I told him that we’d meet somewhere on the road. Read the full story here.
Ready to Go!
August 15, 2013—We’re planning on leaving for Pebble Beach tomorrow morning before sunrise. This, of course, means that the Dodge Viper GTS we’re driving up had to break today. I went to get a haircut and decided to drive the Viper just to ensure that it was running properly. After a mile or so, I noticed that it was idling a bit too fast, maybe 1000 rpm (usual is about 500). Read the full story here.
Off to Pebble Beach Driving a...
August 14, 2013—This year the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is honoring the Porsche 911, just as the Amelia Island Concours did, for its 50th birthday. Which makes our 1977 Porsche 911S perfect for this drive. As has been now been pointed out countless times by countless Porsche enthusiasts in countless emails and Facebook posts, we “shortsightedly” sold the 911 two months ago. Mea culpa... Read the full story here.
P.J. O'Rourke on Lost Love
August 1, 2013—Four years ago, P.J. O’Rourke penned an article, “The End of the Affair,” for the Wall Street Journal on why Americans’ love for cars had ended. For me, it was momentous because I had just graduated with a Bachelor’s in Transportation (read: car) Design from Art Center College of Design. My timing has always been questionable. I remember thinking that his proclamation was quite possibly true and that hopefully some upstart Chinese company would send my salvation in offer-letter form... Read the full story here.
July 19, 2013—It’s been quite a few months here at Wide Open. We bought, flogged and drove cross-country, then sold a classic Porsche 911. We received our first test car ever from Lexus. Then we received our second test car ever from Lexus. And finally, since making room after selling the Porsche, brought another car into our garage... Read the full story here.
Couple in Car Getting Coffee
July 18, 2013—SoCal is a wonderful place to live. As Tupac (and Albert Hammond) said, “it never rains” in Los Angeles and even if you’ve never been here, as a car person you’ve seen photos of the roads (the non-bumper-to-bumper ones), right? Well, Lexus threw us a keyfob, which frankly felt a bit ‘parts-bin’ and told us to run wild. Unfortunately, Wide Open was supposed to go crazy with their ES300 hybrid... Read the full story here.
Fancy (car) Lads and their Dads by Ben Shahrabani
July 17, 2013—In many families, between fathers and sons especially, there is that semi-regular trip to the local car dealer of choice to check out the new 'iron.' It’s usually a familial, bonding event. I’ve always been a car guy; my mum swears my first word was 'carsaaa.' So by the time I was a slightly more formed and cognitive human being, I was accompanying my dad on all visits to the dealership. The Ford Pinto he purchased for my mum in the 70's was a tough moment for us, though.... Read the full story here.
Street-legal Porsche 917 Replica
Spicy Tangy Chicken
July 3, 2013—We were handed the keys to the Deep Sea Mica Lexus IS250, or ‘ni goh shu’ in Japanese and were nervous about the “beige.” The problem, as most enthusiasts know, isn’t that Lexus and Toyota build crap cars. Quite to the contrary they build solid, reliable machines without bad habits. It’s just that they’re so ninety-five percent—they can do everything that ninety-five percent of people need and want... Read the full story here.
The King Might be Dead
June 26, 2013—At Wide Open, with few exceptions, we focus on the present. We’re all about living in the moment, man, and enjoying the experience. But last week we attended the Tesla battery swap/media circus and it gave us a glimpse into the future. However, the point of this piece isn’t to bore you with utopian visions of unicorns performing instantaneous battery changes... Read the full story here.
Test-drive #2: 2008 Porsche Boxster
June 19, 2013—After some online digging I found a perfect, private-sale 2008 Porsche Boxster. A call was made and an appointment set. Upon my arrival the car sat in the driveway, the sun setting behind it helping to accentuate the overall contour. It was pretty. Unlike the 911, I believe that the Boxster and Cayman are the cars that Porsche should have been building all along. Their engines are located between the wheels, as on every racecar on Earth. Read the full story here.
Test-drive #1: 2003 Honda S2000
June 12, 2013—Full disclosure: I owned a 2002 Honda S2000, purchased new. I drove it, happily, until 2008 when a woman driving an Acura MDX decided to smash into it while suddenly attempting a U-turn on a busy, four-lane road from the right lane crossing my path of travel. Oh and we weren’t in an intersection either. Anyhow, to this day the S2000 is the most neutral and exciting sports car I’ve driven, the Ferrari 458 being the only potential exception (Jalopnik seems to agree to some extent). Read the full story here.
June 6, 2013—100 days. That’s exactly the length of time that Wide Open owned the 1977 Porsche 911S. As many of you know, I sold the classic, silver “Neunelfer” on Monday. I took a lunch break and met up with Shawn, the buyer, to wrap things up. We had agreed to the price the night before and when I arrived he was ready to go, money in proverbial hand. The whole deal took about five minutes. Read the full story here.
Abdellatif and the Aston
June 4, 2013—About a year ago, my girlfriend and I were in sunny Spain testing the aerodynamic speed limit of a Volkswagen Polo when we decided to take a brief detour to Africa. Hell, it was only an hour-long ferry ride away to the semi-cosmopolitan city of Tangiers, Morocco so we bought the ticket and took the ride. Across a calm Strait of Gibraltar we sped in a large hydrofoil. I have to admit that I was anxious visiting a Muslim country with “place of birth: Israel” typed in my American passport. But Morocco has been a fairly enlightened place throughout its recent history and ultimately, travel is the very definition of leaving your comfort zone. Read the full story here.
Dinosaurs and Trannies by Ben Shahrabani
May 23, 2013—When I think of 'keeping it wide open' (both the 'go pedal' as well as this fine website), I think of manual transmissions. You've heard of them, right? Sometimes they're called stick shifts or 5 or 6-speeds (Porsche and Chevy now have 7-speed!). Once upon a time they were called 'standards' as in manuals were the standard transmission. Get it? And if you actually wanted to go somewhere in your car, you had to shift the gears yourself. Nowadays, only a very small percentage of cars in the USA are sold with manual transmissions, at last check only 5% or so of total vehicle sales. Read the full story here.
Supercar Sunday Hot-rod
Primary Colors, SoCal Viper Cruise
May 21, 2013—Do you remember the thrill of carnival rides painted with thick, bright primary colors? They spun and twirled and zoomed in the dazzling sun. And when you were finally at the head of the line and climbed aboard, the rush! Is it any different today with the Viper? Read the full story here.
Two Balls: a Movie Review by Ben Shahrabani
May 13, 2013—Wide Open obviously loves road trips and when we got to discussing the best road trip/car movies, two immediately came to mind: Cannonball Run and The Gumball Rally. Two movies about man (and occasionally, very attractive woman) and machine racing from coast-to-coast, but which is better? Read the full story here.
Above it All
April 22, 2013—I received my pass for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and wasn’t expecting too much. I love street circuits, but to me street circuit means Monaco. Frankly, I enjoy American Le Mans Series but wouldn’t call myself a big fan and Indy Car barely registers on my racing radar. I love racing in general, but don’t follow ALMS or Indy like Formula One. Still, a day at the track beats a day watching TV. Read the full story here.
An Interview with a Cannonballer
April 8, 2013—As children, we watched all the ‘car’ movies: Grand Prix, The Gumball Rally, Le Mans, Smokey and the Bandit, etc. And as we grew older we continued watching car movies, in particular the Fast n’ Furious series. But one film always stood above the rest: The Cannonball Run. Sure it’s kitschy and slapstick, but the original script was much darker, originally written for the late Steve McQueen, and it’s a classic. Read the full story here.
Jay Leno's Garage interviews [kiWO]'s Yoav Gilad at Amelia Island
Spotted on Angeles Crest 3-24-13
The Amelia Island Concours, 2013
5,661 Miles and Eleven Days in a 1977 Porsche 911S
February 25 - March 14, 2013— We celebrated the Porsche 911's fiftieth birthday by buying one, driving it from Venice, CA to the Amelia Island Concours in Florida, where the marque was honored, and back in eleven days. Finding one was tough, completing the drive was even tougher. Read the full story here.
Enzo's birthday at the Petersen Auto Museum, February 16, 2013
Contrast of cool at Costco
Red and Obnoxious
February 7, 2013— There is a chauvinist saying that goes—“if it’s got tits or tires, it’s going to give you trouble.” The statement may have a shred of truth because all relationships (whether with a person or car) require maintenance, and yes, they're difficult. But the trouble with tires (and the vehicles they are attached to) is frequently caused by our need to supercharge/lower/raise/install a new stereo/take the turn using only a handbrake/etc… Read the full story here.
Saccharine, Rehashed Nostalgia and Memories of Greatness
January 23, 2013— Wide Open recently came across a Facebook page dedicated to a Facel Vega Concept and wondered if the storied coachbuilder was being resurrected and who was behind the effort. The Facebook page only shows a few development sketches that are updated infrequently along with a 3D digital model. The design is an evolution of the HK500/Facel II from the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. Beloved by celebrities of the era and powered by a Chrysler Hemi, the Facel II is terrific inspiration for a new 2+2 grand tourer. Additionally, it started us thinking about other cars that deserve resuscitation and whether they should be. Read the full story here.
Design Analysis: Chevrolet Corvette C7 (2014-20??)
January 13, 2013—While American car companies are still firmly in the throes of retro-futurism (when appropriate—think Camaro, Mustang, Viper) there are definitive signs that ‘retro’ is falling out of favor. Ford’s current designs are fresh, if not revolutionary and Chrysler is experimenting at the bottom end of its range (Dart—historic nameplate, but modern design). Chevy is also seeking a new form language (think Spark or Volt). Read the full story here.
Design Analysis: Chevrolet Corvette C6 (2005-2013)
January 12, 2013—The sixth generation Corvette was penned while retro-futurist design raged. Chevy was building (or about to build) nostalgia-inspired vehicles such as the SSR and HHR. The Viper had been redesigned and Ford built its own supercar, the GT, a mild redesign of the iconic GT40 that won Le Mans forty years earlier. Naturally, the ‘Vette was going to go for a stroll down memory lane. Read the full story here.
Design Analysis: Chevrolet Corvette C5 (1997-2004)
January 11, 2013—Building upon the C4’s successful reassertion of the brand, the C5 sought to bring back some of the extroverted character present in older ‘Vettes while maintaining the fourth-gen’s aerodynamic efficiency. Additionally, the 1990’s saw a resurgence of organic design themes, central to the C5. Read the full story here.
Design Analysis: Chevrolet Corvette C4 (1984-1996)
January 10, 2013—After a one-year hiatus, the Corvette returned in 1984 sporting an all-new design. The delay was allegedly due to changes in California's emission requirements. It is worth noting that this ‘Vette was touted as the most technologically advanced sports car in the world; a claim supported by its new, slick shape. Read the full story here.
Design Analysis: Chevrolet Corvette C3 (1968-1982)
January 9, 2013—The third generation Chevy Corvette had a difficult task from a design perspective. The ‘Vette, now fifteen years old, was essentially the only American sports car at this point (yes, Ford had the GT40 and Cobra, but they were hardly mainstream sports cars). Furthermore, the styling on the C2 had been so successful that attempts to improve it would likely fall flat. Read the full story here.
Design Analysis: Chevrolet Corvette C2 (1963-1967)
January 8, 2013—It could be argued that the first generation Corvette ushered in a fresh era of motoring in the US. It was the first modern American sports car—the fenders were flush with the rest of the body and the body enveloped the frame (rather than sitting atop it). The ‘Vette made such a personal luxury statement that Ford was caught flatfooted and responded two years later with the Thunderbird. They quickly diverged though, the Corvette remaining true to its European gentleman-racer roots. Read the full story here.
Design Analysis: Chevrolet Corvette C1 (1953-1962)
January 7, 2013—The 1953 Chevrolet Corvette was never intended for production. Like so many cars before and since, it was simply meant to be another of GM’s show cars, a mere tease to whet the appetite and showcase future design directions. Consumers responded very positively at the 1953 GM Motorama in Chicago, where the Chevy debuted, and as a result GM decided to produce the small two-seater. Read the full story here.
Top 5 Vehicles for the Mayan Apocalypse: Ciao, vita bella!
December 20, 2012—Finally, the Mayan Apocalypse is nigh. So we’re suggesting vehicles to ensure that you're prepared while commuting. Who knows the precise moment tomorrow when doom will strike? Stay protected while crawling along the I-10. Go buy one of the following, before it's too late! Read the full story here.
A Chill, Damp, Wonderful Drive
December 18, 2012—It was warm and dry when I awoke at six forty-five Sunday morning. Condensation on the window meant it was cold outside. The sun was up but hiding behind clouds it merely cast a glow. Having showered and dressed, I ate a quick breakfast and excitedly headed out. It was cold, about fifty degrees and the clouds hung low. Read the full story here.
Nissan at speed
Something old and something new
1996 and 2013 Pre-production
Solitude in Japan, Companionship in Spain
December 11, 2012—Personally, the end of 2006 was a very lonely time and the loneliness continued for a while afterwards. A long-term relationship that should have ended long before, finally concluded. We had both lacked the courage to declare it dead until that September, unfortunately. Read the full story here.
Looking forward to the weekend
Cloudy day in El Segundo
The Fog of Love
December 4, 2012—A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a life-long friend’s wedding. Joe was marrying a creative, pretty French girl named Christine. I was excited for them and eager to attend because weddings are typically a blast—music, food, alcohol, dancing and the spirit of love. But this was no local, social-hall wedding; it was taking place in a tiny town in the French Alps. I was ready to go! Read the full story here.
Lamborghini Reventon 1/20 being delivered
LA Auto Show 2012, Day two
How do you say 'typo' in Italian?
LA Auto Show 2012, Day one
Ken Block, James Bond and Homer Simpson’s Latest Creation
November 28, 2012—The tone of this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show was immediately set by keynote speaker Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, USA: technology equals sales. And whether discussing the Lexus LFA, the Prius series or Toyota’s “Board of Awesomeness” (powered-skateboard concept), which uses hand gestures to accelerate or brake, it is clear that Toyota R&D will be busy indefinitely. Read the full story here.
Low Earth Rental
November 21, 2012—Winter is my least favorite time of year, but it’s redeemed by the holidays, parties with friends and family, and doing doughnuts in snowy parking lots. Not here in Los Angeles of course, but snow reportedly falls from the sky elsewhere in the US. Maybe I’ll soon be travelling to snowbound Maine or Montana. Read the full story here.
The editor-in-chief's daily driver
November 14, 2012—Since styling and design became a concern to the auto industry, design trends have been cyclical (think organic as opposed to geometric) and tended to influence, as well as mimic the overarching fashions in global industrial design. The latest design movement is called “geo-mod” from geometric and modeled (think Apple iPod). But it’s not new (around since the early 1990’s) and can be found in auto design as well (the first generation Audi TT is a shining example). Just as every movement has sub-genres, one of Geo-Mod’s subgenres is Retro-Futurism. While Retro-Futuristic cars can be Geo-Mod, this is not a strict requirement (there are always exceptions). Read the full story here.
Pasadena, California's design heritage by Yoav Gilad
March 21, 2012—Twenty hours later, Wide Open touched down on a bright Thursday night to a thermometer that read 92 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of about eighty percent at Sukhumvit Airport. Even without the humidity we desperately needed a shower. A few miles away, about fifteen million people were trying to stay cool and hoping for a late night downpour to refresh the air, if only for a while. Read the full story here.