'HotWheels' Blog

      We're Talking All About Cars Here, & Trucks, & SUVs!


New Jeep Commander Reviewed

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 4:00 pm

Mark Tapscott reports on his test of the new 7-seat Jeep Commander on his blog, Tapscott Behind the Wheel, and guess what – he thinks that Jeep owners are going to like it!

My Commander Limited 4X4 tester was liberally equipped, with just about every option available short of the Hemi. At $41,530, the high-line Commander is a bit pricey, but Jeep fans tend to be extremely loyal. I think they’re going to like this one.

Visit Mark’s site
to see what “he” liked/disliked about it.


AUTOart™ Accessories now at BTG Motoring

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 2:50 pm

All of us at BTGMotoring.com are super excited to be able to offer this beautiful line of automotive themed home, office & garage accessories. Now you can express your love of performance and racing cars with unique expressions of your personal enthusiasm.

High-style items made from stainless-steel, machined alloys and carbon fiber showcase masterful design.

Just in time for Christmas & Holiday giving, what better gift could you find for that automotive enthusiast on your list?

See the entire line of AUTOart™ Design here, at BTGMotoring.com.


Coachbuilt Cars for a New Millennia

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 9:15 am

In the July issue of Motor Trend there is an interview with Henrik Fisker, designer of the BMW Z8 roadster, former director of advanced global design for Ford and former director of design at Aston Martin. Starting from Scratch introduces the new Fisker Coachbuild LLC – in Newport Beach, CA – where Henrick and business partner Bernhard Koehler, also formerly of BMW and Ford, are working toward a September 13th introduction at the Frankfort International Auto Show of their first limited production model.

Although many have tried, and mostly failed, to bring their own individual interpretations of amazing, beautiful automobiles to production status, we wish them well. With all the homogenized, everything-coming up-to-a-medium-high-standard of dullness by the major manufacturers – yes, even the Germans – it’s time for high-concept coachbuilt designs to be seen again.


Happy 50 Years to Car and Driver Magazine

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 8:29 am

I’ve been having a great time reading the latest Car and Driver, their 50th Anniversary Issue, packed with 60 additional pages of reminicences and profiles of C/D writers, editors, photographers and artists who have made it the premiere automotive themed periodical of its time.

My first introduction to C/D was the August 1968 issue, and it was great! I had even started collecting back issues, filling in the years before 1968, while I still lived in Tulsa, and while I had “free” storage at my folk’s farm. But several moves getting ready to come out to Caleefornea, (sorry Arnold, you’ve had a rough 24!), caused all these to be given to the Coweta, OK public library. My next set of issues ended up being given to the Art Center College of Design library, when I made the move from Altedena to Santa Monica. Now, the recycle bin gets ‘em.

If you have any interest in cars or driving, I would urge you to pick up this one on the newstand while you can. I think I’ll keep mine around for a little while.


Random Musings on New Stuff

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 7:44 pm

A week ago I saw my first Mercedes CLS on the street, and I have to say it was the most exciting vehicle that I have seen in a long time. Gliding past my position, it was super elegent, sexy, powerful looking - everything that a mid-60K priced sedan (sorry, 4-door coupe) should be.

At Autoweek.com, they have news of a 2008 Porsche Panamera, a four door “replacement” for the long gone 928. Not much is know about the actual architecture of this deviation from the current mid-rear engine placement line of Porsches, but it may share a rear-wheel-drive platform with a new VW sized between the Passat and Phaeton. Slated to have the V8 used in the Cayenne, this would be the next addition to the Porsche model mix after the Boxter Coupe and would be built alongside the Cayenne at the Lepzig factory in Germany. Go to Autoweek & check out the photo.

Not available online yet, the current issue of Road and Track magazine has an article on the special cars owned by Ralph Lauren, including the McLaren F1 and five other important, beautiful cars.

BTW, Ralph has three (3!) of them. I’ll wear my Polo shirts with a little more pride knowing my buying habits have supported his auto-art collection!


A New Car Blog is Now Online!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 9:19 am

Always looking out for great writing about all things automotive, we would like to introduce you to a brand new automotive blog, Tapscott Behind the Wheel. Created by Mark Tapscott, who has been writing his weekly newspaper column “Behind the Wheel” for nearly two decades, his new blog will be the Internet home for these articles. In his own words:

So, even if the prospect of heel-and-toe downshifting while braking an open wheel race car from 150 mph for a 50 mph hairpin, or revelling in the tearing-sheet scream of a Ferrari V-12 at full song at 3:30 a.m. during the Daytona 24 Hour or experiencing the intoxicating 10,000 rpm lunge of a Suzuki Bandit 600S isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you still might discover a pleasurable distraction from numbing spin, analysis, ranting and facts of the Blogs and politics.
That sure sounds like “our” cup of tea, Mark! Welcome to the world of automotive blogs.


Tax by the Mile - States are Saying, “You Feel Me?”

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 8:52 am

Let’s say you have a pang of conscience, or are just tired of huge gasoline bills, and go out and spend the extra dough on one of these new hybrid cars or SUVs. Now you are getting significantly better gas mileage, aren’t spending your kid’s college money at the pump, and generally feel better about yourself because you are doing something good for the environment, too. But noooooooooooooo! What you are really doing, according to the EPA and states like California and Oregon, is hurting the state’s economies by lowering the revenue they get from gasoline taxes. Less fuel bought = less taxes collected = “We’re really gonna git you now, sucka’!”

So, facing declining tax revenues, what’s a future-thinking state legislature gonna do? Well, cars are “smart” now, they have computers in them and everything! They keep track of how fast you drive, how much time the vehicle spends at any given speed, like driving in stop-&-go traffic, etc. Most are even equipped with a GPS (global positioning satellite) device — think “On Star” from GM — that lets the car know exactly where it is on the planet to within a foot or so. Here’s where it gets real fun. CBSNews reports today that some states, facing projected reductions in fuel tax revenue due to increased use of more fuel efficient vehicles will have to start taxing motorist “by the mile".

Officials in car-clogged California are so worried they may be considering a replacement for the gas tax altogether, replacing it with something called “tax by the mile.”

Seeing tax dollars dwindling, neighboring Oregon has already started road testing the idea.

“Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it’s as simple as that,” says engineer David Kim.

As outlined above, they can track you via your GPS system to monitor “where” you drive, in the city or in rural areas, and via the car’s computer to track “when” you drive, during rush hour, middle of the night, etc. CBS goes on:

The new tax would be charged each time you fill up. A computer inside the gas pump would communicate with your car’s odometer to calculate how much you owe.

The system could also track how often you drive during rush hour and charge higher fees to discourage peak use. That’s an idea that could break the bottleneck on California’s freeways.

So go ahead and buy that Honda Insight, Toyota Prius or Ford Escape hybrid, pay the extra three grand over a regular vehicle, and sleep better at night, all while knowing that you are hastening the days of Big Brother that Mr. Orwell predicted way back in 1848.


Not Just a ‘One Trick Pony"!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 9:19 am

Ward’s Auto World
reports today that the executives at the Chrysler branch of Daimler/Chrysler are determined to keep the hot buzz going for the 300C and it’s stablemate at Dodge, the Magnum.

Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, Chrysler Group says it already is pursuing derivative options for its LX rear-wheel-drive platform, including a possible stretched version.

The auto maker vows it will not repeat the mistakes made with the Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was an initial hit that commanded long waiting lines for delivery to which Chrysler over-reacted by adding production at a second plant in Graz, Austria.

“We don’t see the 300 as a one-car wonder. It’s not going to be like the PT that was strong only a few months,” says Eric Ridenour, executive vice president-product development at Chrysler Group. …”

300C Convertible Show Car Interior — SEMA ‘04 (photo by ABDesign)

We certainly hope that Chrysler follows through with its plan to offer more variations of this dynamic and exciting platform. A convertible and/or a limo would be great places to start! For those of you lucky enough to already own one, here is a high-flow 300C intake system to consider, and here is a cool stainless steel 300C exhaust system!

My hat’s off to Chrysler for its bold interpretation of the classic “Big American Car"! I just hope that GM steps up and brings out some new affordable product with this much style and in-your-face attitude, and that they do it soon.


Keystone Restyling Reborn

Filed under: — maiers @ 2:38 pm

We’re proud to announce that Keystone Restyling, one of BTG Motoring’s premiere lines of aftermarket hoods, has joined forces with the manufacturing giant Core Molding Technologies (CMT) of Columbus Ohio. CMT has steadily grown its marketshare in the FRP market and now enjoys relationships with every major North American-based truck manufacturer and leading companies in other segments including the ever growing aftermarket for custom products.

The major changes include the technology used in manufacturing their hoods. The majority of aftermarket hoods available today use the antiquated spray-up/chopper gun method of composite production. CMT employs wet layup of true fiberglass "cloth" which results in a much superior, incredibly stronger final product. Finish times for the installer are therefore minimized as there is much less cleanup and surface prep before final paint and installation.

Keystone Restyling hoods take full advantage of this technology. Their product line includes applications for Chevy, Dodge, Ford and GMC truck lines plus Acura, Honda and Mitsubishi passenger cars. Order fullfilment times have been streamlined by this new alliance and product is now shipping upon demand.


Media Against SUVs? — You Decide

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 11:40 am

Michelle Malkin brings to our attention that WNBC.com in New York has posted an anti-SUV story this morning. Read the wording carefully. This is not the first time the major news media has attacked SUVs and it surly won’t be the last.

Man In Wheelchair Struck, Killed By SUV In Bronx

Police said 41-year-old Juan Jimenez was crossing Broadway near 230th Street at about 5:44 p.m. when a late model black Mitsubishi SUV hit him and pinned him under the vehicle with the wheelchair.

The vehicle then fled the scene, leaving Jimenez in the street. … “

This type of journalism tries to demonize a whole class of vehicle out of bias against their size, fuel economy and status level. Those of us that are vehicle enthusiasts need to be aware that this bias exists in order to help protect our right to buy and drive what we want.

As Michelle notes,

The vehicle fled the scene? This ant-SUV bias is getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

It sure is, Michelle. It sure is!


What to Buy?

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 10:24 am

We should all have such a problem! One of our good buds is wanting to get away from his tricked out GS400 (chipped, big brakes, lowered, cat/back, yadda, yadda) and go with something a little more Western this time. An STS-"V” would be perfect, but that’s not available until the end of the year and this purchase will happen in the next few months. So here’s the short list:

Cadillac CTS-"V”

Chrysler 300C - SRT/8

Mercedes CLS

Let us know which one you would choose via the comments, and if you know of something else in the same league that is available now that you would rather have, tell us that, too!


Hello world!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 4:33 pm

Welcome to Hot Wheels Blog, a discussion place for those who love their cars, trucks and SUVs and feel the need to personalize them. Join us as we explore ways to make your ride faster, handle better and look great!

BTG Motoring, for all your car, truck or SUV parts and accessories

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