Category archives: Features

Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016: 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

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Burt Reynolds and Bandit trans Am | Barrett-Jackson photos

Editor’s note: This is the 18th in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

When stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham was planning the film Smokey and the Bandit, he envisioned a low-budget B movie with a production cost of $1 million. But when Needham’s friend Burt Reynolds –- the top box office star in the world at the time -– read the script and said he would star, things got real. Co-stars included Sally Field as a hitchhiking runaway bride, Jackie Gleason as the sheriff, and Jerry Reed as the big-rig driver hired by Bandit to take a truckload of beer across county lines.

Smokey and the Bandit ended up being a smash hit at the box office, was the second-highest-grossing movie of 1977, and remains a cult classic.

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Driven: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL | Larry Edsall photos
2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL | Larry Edsall photos

Spending a week in the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL not only has changed my mind about the vehicle, but about the entire car company.

With the demise of the Montero, a genuine body-on-frame sport utility, and the Evo, a genuine street-legal rally car, I would have argued that Mitsubishi itself could become the next importer to withdraw from the U.S. automotive market, and that few people even would notice.

I was overwhelmingly unimpressed by the company’s initial i-MiEV electric car (hopefully, the new-for-2016 version is much improved) and the non-Evo version of the Lancer was, well, unexciting. There was/is no 2016-model-year Mirage compact, though the 2017 version was unveiled at the recent Los Angeles auto show.

Which leaves Mitsubishi with the Lancer, new i-MiEV and two versions of the 2016 Outlander, a crossover utility vehicle; there’s the plain Outlander, which has three rows of seats, and the Outlander Sport, with two rows.IMG_5046

I used the word “plain” in describing the Outlander, but after driving the car for a week I want to change that adjective. This isn’t just another ordinary crossover that puts three rows of seats above a rather compact footprint. This is a surprisingly capable and almost luxurious vehicle that drove off with a best value award at the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle competition.

Base price on the 2016 Outlander is $22,995 (or add 2 grand if you want all-wheel rather than front-wheel drive). That’s the basic ES version. There’s also an SE that starts at $23,995 and the upscale SEL, which is what we’ve been in, at $24,995.

For that price, you not only get seating for seven but leather-covered seating, with heated front seats; a power-adjustable driver’s seat; dual-zone front climate controls; gloss-black interior accents; 6.1-inch touch-screen display with HD radio; Bluetooth; rear camera; power locks, etc.; cupholders front, middle and rear; rear underfloor storage; hill-start assist; auto-off headlamps; fog lamps; heated exterior mirrors; 18-inch wheels; a full array of airbags, and more.

Power comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, good for 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, which goes to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission.IMG_5048

While the engine doesn’t present very impressive power numbers, we did a drive from the floor of the Valley of the Sun in Phoenix up to Payson and the Mogollon Rim in the Outlander and (a) the CVT was never hunting to find the right gear, (b) this little powertrain has plenty of spunk, climbing from around 1,100 to a mile high posed no serious challenge, and (c) the CVT provides a Sport mode that holds its gearing so you don’t have to ride your brakes as you descend back down into the Valley.

Not only the powertrain but the car’s steering and suspension proved agile and responsive as we hustled up the fast but winding road through the mountains between Phoenix and Payson. The Outlander proved itself more than capable, and even sort of fun to drive.

And while the performance might belie the power numbers, there’s the bonus of the Outlander being rated at 25 miles per gallon in town and at 31 on the open highway.

Rear seats upright and there’s room behind them for groceries or a couple of overnight bags. Fold them down (which requires removing the very tall headrests; tall, we figure, to provide more protection) and there’s lots of room, and fold down the second row as well and you can go big-box shopping.

Our press-fleet Outlander came equipped with one option, the SEL Touring Package. For $5,250 you get navigation, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, auto headlight control, rain-sensing wipers, power remote liftgate, power folding exterior mirrors , windshield-wiper de-icer, power sunroof and 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio with satellite radio.

Add in destination fees and the as-tested price was $31,095.

Also available are a $1,900 SEL Premium Package that includes the sunroof, 710-watt audio, power liftgate, power folding mirrors and windshield washer de-icer and a $1,550 SEL Advanced Safety Package with the forward collision, adaptive cruise, lane departure, auto headlamp, rain-sensing wipers, power mirrors and de-icer. There are also all sorts of accessories, from remote starting to rear-seat DVD player.

Not only is the Outlander well-equipped, it’s nicely designed as well and features Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” styling theme.

Outfit an Outlander to meet your personal needs and you’ll likely understand why the active lifestyle voters — media and athletes — gave it an award.IMG_5058

Although there’s no trophy to go with it, here’s more praise: I’ll recommend the Outlander to my youngest daughter when she’s ready to replace the compact crossover in which she’s been hauling around three of my grandchildren. That’s about the highest endorsement for a vehicle a grandfather could offer.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL
Vehicle type: 7-passenger crossover utility vehicle, front-wheel drive
Base price: $24,995 Price as tested: $31,095
Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 166 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 162 pound-feet of torque @ 4,200 rpm Transmission: continuously variable
Wheelbase: 105.1 inches Overall length/width: 184.8 inches / 7.13 inches
Curb weight: 3,340pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 25 city / 31 highway / 27 combined
Assembled in: Okazaki, Japan

Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016: 1940 Cadillac Series 62 ‘Sophia’

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1940 Cadillac Series 62 “Sophia” | Barrett-Jackson photos

Editor’s note: This is the 17th in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

Last year at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, a 1941 Packard Custom built by r John D’Agostino sold for $495,000. This year, two more of D’Agostino’s creations will cross the block, including this 1940 Cadillac Series 62 known as “Sophia.”

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Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016: 1967 Bumblebee Camaro

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1967 Bumblebee Camaro | Barrett-Jackson photos

Editor’s note: This is the 16th in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

If you have seen the latest installment in the Transformers movie franchise, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, you will recognize this 1967 Chevrolet Camaro resto-mod as Bumblebee.

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Pick of the Day: 1948 Chrysler Town & Country

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1948 Chrysler Town & Country

Picture yourself driving along the countryside on your way to the Hamptons for the weekend in a glamorous car. For the well-off-well-to-do you type, you would be cruising in nothing less than a Chrysler Town & Country which is a perfect combination of style, class, and elegance, while being a perfectly suitable family car, making this particular 1948 Chrysler Town & Country sedan our Pick of the Day.

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Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016: Automobilia

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Automobilia for sale at Barrett-Jackson 2016 Scottsdale | Barrett-Jackson photos

Editor’s note: This is the 15th in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

Automotive memorabilia, also known simply as automobilia, has been around as long as cars themselves and has helped fuel America’s passion for collecting all things auto related. However, in recent years, the collecting of automobilia has become extremely popular.

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Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016: 1953 Buick Skylark

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1953 Buick Skylark | Barrett-Jackson Photos

Editor’s note: This is the 14th in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

Created to celebrate Buick’s 50th anniversary, the Skylark joined the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta and Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado as the top-of-the-line, limited-production specialty convertibles introduced for the 1953 model year as part of General Motors promotion of its leadership in design. Of the three, Buick proved to be most successful, in part because of its less expensive price tag.

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Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016: 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Kellner Cabriolet

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1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Kellner Cabriolet | Barrett-Jackson Photos

Editor’s note: This is the 13th in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

Georges Kellner began making carriages in Paris in 1861. His sons, Paul and George Jr., joined their father’s enterprise in 1890. Thirteen years later, in the Kellners began producing bodies for motorcars.

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Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016: Vin001 Corvettes

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1955, 1956, 1957 Corvettes | Barrett-Jackson Photos

Editor’s note: This is the twelfth in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction. 

Chevrolet’s Corvette was originally developed to be a part of the General Motor’s Motorama exhibit at the 1953 New York Auto Show, where it was so well received that GM decided to make a production version. Over 60 years later, America is still engrossed in a love affair with its sports car.

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Pick of the Day: 1956 Buick Special Estate Wagon

1956 Buick Special Estate Wagon
1956 Buick Special Estate Wagon

For the 1956 model year, Buick built 13,770 four-door station wagons, including some 4,545 upscale versions of what was known as the Estate Wagon. This is one of the survivors, and the North Chicago classic car dealership offering it for sale says it’s a two-owner original with only 54,035 miles on its odometer. Continue reading