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About Duncan

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    Super Sport Member
  • Birthday 11/25/1979

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    Colorado Springs
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    Cars, license plates, cars, video games, cars, music, cars, film, cars, sports and, uh, cars (did I make that clear enough?)
  1. Duncan

    A King's Ransom

    ...is fantastic. Totally 1970s - as it should be. And yeah, something about the Olds 455 sound...just beautiful.
  2. Well, I agree with you partially. Kill the nonsensical Compass, keep the recently-refreshed and decent-selling current Patriot for a bit longer, and then redesign it on an evolution of the Journey's platform in a few years. Keep it reasonably-sized (no third seat for the Jeep version, thank you), make it nimble in town, and add an optional Trail Rated package for those who want it (like me). The current Patriot is admittedly a pretty substandard beast even with its revised interior, but it does one thing right in attempting to get some real off-road ability out of an economical package. I'd appreciate more work along those lines from Jeep in the future - along with the usual harder-core stuff like the new Grand, the Liberty (hopefully with the new 3.6 engine soon) and the Wrangler. I mean, if the Russians have been selling crossovers like this successfully for decades... ...I'd think Jeep could get on the same bandwagon by now, and do an even better job of it. (By the way, this is my first post in a while - good to see the C&G crew remains as sharp as ever!)
  3. My parents used to haul me and my brother and sister around in an '88 Dodge Colt Vista, which was about the same size as a Mazda 5 but had 4WD to boot. That was a neat little wagon. Got better mileage than the Caravans and Aerostars everyone else was driving, too.
  4. Anyone else see an easy opportunity? Ford used to have the Focus wagon here, but that recently disappeared. Maybe Saturn can capitalize with a version of the Astra wagon.
  5. Duncan

    Building a 128i

    But it begs the question - if it's that similar, what's the point? Why sell a slightly smaller, less spacious version of the same vehicle? The same vehicle with BMW's new four-cylinder engine would make a lot more sense. Maybe that's BMW's plan - I hope so.
  6. Duncan

    BIG Ford news

    Bull. Check the history... Lincoln began in 1920 as a new endeavor by the same people (the Lelands) who created Cadillac. Up until the late 1940s, Lincolns always had distinct engineering from Fords - the V12 engine, specifically, along with a totally unique chassis. And, under Edsel Ford's leadership, Lincoln was always the style leader in the company. (The "new" split grille on the MKS is a return to a look Edsel helped invent for Lincoln.) By the mid-1950s, some of that uniqueness had been lost, especially in the engine room (with enlarged versions of Ford engines). But Lincoln remained a top-end product, easily comparable with Cadillac (though not on the same level sales-wise). The 1961 Continental, a landmark design, reinforced and rebuilt this image. Problems began by the mid-1970s, with cars like the Mark series (eventually little more than a glitzed-up Thunderbird or LTD, depending on the year) and Versailles (a Ford Granada with lipstick) serving to erode the brand's cachet. To Ford's credit, they did try to reinvigorate Lincoln during the 1990s, with outstanding efforts like the 1995 Continental and the 1998 Mark VIII. But the easy success of the Navigator in 1998, part of the now-maligned SUV boom, caused them to lose the plot somewhat in the pursuit of quick profits. For instance, the LS was an excellent car, but was followed by...nothing. At least, nothing on the same level of refinement or engineering potential. True enough, at least since the 1970s. But Lincoln hasn't even seriously challenged Cadillac in a long time, and most would argue that Cadillac doesn't yet reach to the heights of those German aspirational brands either. Start where you can, then work up. I love the MKS - I think it's a great leap forward for the brand, stylistically and technologically. But as long as it remains on a front-drive chassis, a lot of the Lexus/Infiniti-type buyers are going to have problems with it. Stupid, I know, but that's the market. (Note the inability of either the supremely capable '95 Continental or the '98 Seville to truly catch on with luxury buyers.) You'll remember that much of Cadillac's renaissance has come about due to its rediscovery of rear-wheel drive - until Lincoln realizes that, they're going to remain stuck in the same rut as Audi and Acura - an otherwise great lineup of cars, limited (supposedly) by its adherence to front-wheel drive architecture. Should Cadillac have been "satisfied" to be in that same position? They weren't - they've changed their game, and they're now beginning to reap the benefits. Ford owes it to Lincoln, a brand with a considerable legacy, to do the same.
  7. Looking at it again, I've come to a different conclusion. So long as Lincoln keeps devolving into what Mercury used to be, there's not much reason for it to exist. To that end, I would argue that it is better off for Ford to gradually retire Mercury until such time as it can find relevance again. It may be quite a while - say mid-2020s or so - but Lincoln first has to regain a reputation for luxury leadership, on par with Mercedes-Benz or Cadillac. At that point, when there is once again a clear pricing gap between Ford and Lincoln, Mercury can return with classic American styling and a level of appointment and performance just beyond that of comparable Fords. I would like to say that the same is true for Plymouth's relationship to Dodge and Chrysler, but the Chrysler brand's got a hell of a lot of work to do before it can ever be regarded on the same level as even a weak Buick, let alone Cadillac.
  8. Duncan

    BIG Ford news

    It's kinda sad, but I kept trying to think up reasons for Mercury to live and I kept coming back to this conclusion. Mercury's decline goes hand-in-hand with Ford's total inability to maintain Lincoln's former standards of excellence. Thus, as Lincoln has declined to something less than a full-on luxury brand, Mercury's niche in between Lincoln and Ford has gradually eroded away. Until Lincolns can once again sell at premium prices, there will remain less and less rationale for Mercury to continue selling better-styled (in my opinion) and more luxurious Ford products. Much like DeSoto, which eventually earned a specific place in the Mopar lineup between Dodge and Chrysler. As Dodge moved upmarket and Chrysler moved down, DeSoto was squeezed into irrelevance and, eventually, destruction. I suspect that the 2012 date being bandied about for Mercury's demise is the final run-out for its various models, as well as the intro for Lincoln variants to replace those that can be replaced. At least it's a better solution than the way GM handled Oldsmobile...
  9. Lemme just edit what you apparently forgot to emphasize. That's closer to what you intended, right? It would fit your usual pattern...
  10. I have to agree, as the V8 is kinda the whole point of the Camaro. My only compromise would be the choice of an automatic over a stick, since that's probably the only way to get DOD and the extra economy it provides.
  11. I did, thanks. And this is what I read: Translation: Remove GME/Holden/Daewoo from the company as the "stronger" side, leaving GMNA to survive on its own (perhaps called something else, though we would know better). You may personally translate that in the opposite direction - removing GMNA and leaving GME/Holden/Daewoo to survive - but my definition is how such a move would eventually pan out in regards to the home country's industry. (Remember, GM is still an American company. Remember?) Feel free to ask yourself how the separation of Chrysler from Daimler panned out. My view is that a stronger Daimler took what it could use, then excised Chrysler and threw it out like so much dead weight - allowing Chrysler's stock to plunge, since clearly Daimler had "no faith" in their American arm's abilities. I'd rather not see a similar situation as to what has happened/is happening with Chrysler (merger with large auto company, later buyout by investment group, subsequent misdirection and economizing, and probable eventual sale as a tax write-off) or MG-Rover (basically the same, but with complete collapse of the organization first before the tax sale). Australians should consider this an ominous prospect as well - what use would GME/Daewoo have for anything that Holden is able to provide, except on a token level?
  12. My 60-year-old father, a long-time import buyer (most recently Toyota for my mom and Honda for him), was amazed at the quality of the Malibu when we saw it at the Denver Auto Show recently. As he said, "I'd be proud to own this car. I'm glad GM finally gets it." He also really liked the Buick Lucerne (he was surprised that it offered a V8 engine), but is amazed at the amount of energy expended on the marketing of full-size trucks and SUVs. Keep in mind that my dad generally views cars from a design/practicality standpoint. For instance, despite all of its other fine features, he immediately discounted the Ford Five Hundred for having a "crappy trunk" (specifically, with exposed hinges and poor finishing). He was also very impressed with the new Challenger and the Mustang Bullitt ("that's what these cars need to look like" - he never liked the last-gen Camaro, as it was too futuristic for his tastes), and has finally been vindicated by the HHR Panel in his wish for someone to build an economical panel truck (though he still wishes it came with 4WD of some kind). I suspect he'll be even more impressed when Ford finally brings over the Transit Connect. He has also grown quite appreciative of my sister's Kia Sedona (perhaps the best cargo space value on the American market), is only half-convinced about my own Mazda 626 (since he hates its low stance compared to Mom's Camry), loved his old Subaru Justy and Suzuki Swift purchases, and thinks the Toyota FJ Cruiser is an overpriced plaything that doesn't justify its poor fuel economy or compromised design. And don't get him started about people who use pickup trucks as family sedans. The current Toyota Tundra, to him, is a bad mistake that Toyota never should have made - too big, too lacking in quality, and too much of everything he didn't like about American pickups. Finally, he sees no reason why EVERY car shouldn't have a hybrid system. He wishes his own Element came with one, and still laments that Honda won't put their system on more vehicles that need it. He might have seriously considered the Saturn Vue Hybrid at one point, but it has never had enough usable cargo space for him. What does all this tell us? That intelligent design, practical engineering, and competitive products can win over even the jaded import buyer. If the American makers keep that in mind, and continue working toward great products rather than easy profits, a turnaround IS possible.
  13. Correction - the plants and employees of Chrysler will be owned by a foreign company. And wouldn't it be ironic if Renault, who Chrysler squeezed out of their company once (via AMC), came back along with Nissan to take them over entirely?
  14. No, it doesn't. Half of GM's engineering that it will need to survive in the next decade - EcoTec engine development, smaller platform architectures - is centered in Europe and Korea. Stock analysts like these kind of moves because they shake up the market and increase speculation, which is good for them - but $h!ty for actual product development. Not to mention the effect on corporate morale - it turns everything into a saleable asset, rather than an integral part of the company. For those who will instantly compare this to Ford's sell-off of Jaguar and Land Rover, that's not an apt comparison because neither of those brands did much that was innovative on their own - they borrowed from the larger engineering centers of Ford Europe and Volvo Cars. (This is why I still think selling Volvo Cars would be a horrible mistake - they have done, and continue to do, a lot for Ford.) What needs to happen is a serious rethink of how GM develops its vehicles - every vehicle should have the strongest possible case to be able to be sold to as many buyers around the world as possible. Whether this is derived from something as simple as offering different powertrain choices in various countries, or is more complex like substantial platform-sharing arrangements, each vehicle needs to make a case for itself. Splitting the company into digestible chunks, however, is the fastest way to having no company at all.
  15. Duncan

    BIG Ford news

    I'm 29, and I can appreciate a suspension tuned for comfort too. (Both a '98 Continental and a '96 DeVille have managed to impress me in the past.) But the thing is, for the kind of driving I do nearly every day - the usual cut-and-thrust through city traffic - the so-called "Euro" style of handling works better. Given that, I'm more inclined to buy a car with a bias towards sharp handling - and I'll accept the stiffer ride when I take a long trip, because that's a necessary sacrifice for a car I can live with on a regular basis. However, I can overcome some of that compromise by taking smaller roads with more curves...

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