Blog Archives

AAH #287 – Slicing Open Cadillac’s CT6

May 15th, 2015 at 4:15pm

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Inside the Volvo XC90 and the strategy behind its new U.S. plant
- The autonomy plot thickens with reports of Google-car accidents

SPECIAL GUEST: Travis Hester, Executive Chief Engineer, Cadillac CT6
- Learning the secrets of Cadillac‘s innovative new flagship

All that and much more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Lauren Fix, The Car Coach.

Fast-N-Loud-book-on-set-sig
AAH Richard Rawlings Book Giveaway

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Jeep Renegade

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Auto Tune: “Ridin’ in my Car” by NRBQ

May 13th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

NRBQ_All-Hopped-UpThese days Al Anderson is a first rate songwriter in Nashville, TN playing gigs around town every now and then. But back in the early days of his career he was the guitarist for one of the most beloved bands who still performs today, The New Rhythm & Blues Quartet, or better known by its initials: NRBQ.

The band has been a favorite of any self-respecting hipster who has been listening to music since the ‘60s. And what’s so great about the band is that it’s, well, just a band. Despite several talented iterations, these guys have never made it big which is probably one of the reasons it’s still kicking today. However, if I were to choose, it’s a no-brainer that the ’74 to ’94 version of the band was the best by far.

Led by pianist Terry Adams –- today’s remaining original member — with drummer Tom Ardolino, Joey Spampinato on bass and Al Anderson on guitar, this band released 18 albums during its 20 years together and influenced countless future musicians. And without a doubt, the best song these four ever recorded is the upbeat but heartfelt break up tune called “Ridin’ In My Car.” Written by Al, I call it the sweetest fantasy breakup song ever. With summer just around the corner, plug it into your audio system and see if you don’t agree.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

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Win a Copy of “Fast N’ Loud” by Richard Rawlings

May 12th, 2015 at 3:38pm

Fast-N-Loud-book-on-set-sig
AAH Richard Rawlings Book Giveaway

AAH #286 – Autonomous Technology Takes a Great Leap Forward

May 8th, 2015 at 11:11am

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Remembering the late, great automotive legend Denise McCluggage
- Autonomy leaps forward as Freightliner‘s Inspiration Truck hits the road
- April Sales: The Golden Age of the Muscle Car?

All that and much more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Todd Lassa, Automobile; Stephanie Brinley, IHS Automotive.

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Jeep Renegade

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!

Auto Tune: “The Heart of Saturday Night” by Tom Waits

May 6th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

TomWaits_TheHeartofSaturdayNightIn the early ‘70s, pianist Tom Waits was a Sunset Boulevard vagabond. He crafted songs that featured a world of Jack Kerouac characters, probably because he interacted with them on a daily basis.

Hanging out a LA’s famous Troubadour club paid off when he was signed by Asylum Records, which released his first album called Closing Time in 1973. It was followed quickly by his sophomore effort the next year, “The Heart Of Saturday Night,” which was an unmistakable homage to the great Sinatra concept album “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” in both cover art and content.

And though there are several cuts on the album that could’ve been this week’s Auto Tune, our choice today is the title cut. Here, the song’s protagonist has got his weekly pay, gasses up his Oldsmobile, picks up his girl and goes “barrelin’ down the boulevard… cruisin’ with a 6… looking for the heart of Saturday night.” The song is a melancholy bit of nostalgia that causes many of us, as Waits so aptly observes to be, “dreamin’ of them Saturdays that came before.” Of course memories and age play a big part of that, but so do songs that capture the essence of the car culture and what it means to us, especially when we’re young.

This song was recorded in 1974, but listening to it today it seems just as fresh as it must’ve been then. Check it out and maybe like Tom says, “this’ll be the Saturday you’re reachin’ your peak.”

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.

AAH #285 – FCA’s Santa Klaus Shares Some of his Easter Eggs

May 1st, 2015 at 2:51pm

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Will VW’s Ferdinand Piech be missed?
- Cadillac is “V-serious” about performance. The right strategy?
- Who will Sergio Marchionne ask to dance with FCA?

SPECIAL GUEST: Klaus Busse, VP of Interior Design, FCA US LLC
- Inside the coming trends of car interiors and the secrets of award-winning design

All that and much more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Drew Winter, Wards.

 

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Henkel

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!

Auto Tune: “Crawling from the Wreckage” by Dave Edmunds

April 29th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

dave_edmunds-repeat_when_necessary(1)Disco might’ve been ruling the roost in 1979 but that didn’t stop new wave artists from making their impact felt. Super producer Nick Lowe teamed up with pub rocker Dave Edmunds to form the group Rockpile which not only issued its own album but the same team of musicians played on Lowe’s “Labor of Lust” record as well as Edmunds’ “Repeat When Necessary,” the home of this week’s Auto Tune.

Dave Edmunds was an incredible guitarist however not much of a songwriter. He relied on his contemporaries like Elvis Costello and Graham Parker for that sort of heavy lifting. In fact, Parker wrote “Crawling From The Wreckage” about a rather rambunctious young man, his crazed acquaintances and driving, of course, which ended up on this, perhaps Edmunds’ best all around album.

All this background info is fine but the reason “Crawling from the Wreckage” is this week’s Auto Tune is because it’s a full-throttle no holds barred sing-a-long about driving. Kind of a theme song for the Fast and Furious crowd.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.

Seat Time: 2016 Fiat 500X

April 27th, 2015 at 3:00pm

500X Exterior

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Seamus McElroy
Manufacturer: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Make: Fiat
Model: 500X
Type: Compact Crossover
Competitors: Nissan Juke, Kia Soul, Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3
Price: Starts: $20,900. Top: $28,000. As tested: $24,900
Made in: Melfi, Italy
Drivetrain: 1.4L four-cylinder w/ 6-speed manual. 2.4L four-cylinder w/ 9-speed automatic.
EPA Ratings: Not Available

Final Impression:
2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus
Fiat’s new compact crossover, the 500X, is entering one of the hottest segments and one that’s about to get even more competitive. The Chevy Trax just hit the market plus Honda and Mazda are set to introduce their own small CUV’s. The 500X is built in Italy alongside the Jeep Renegade which it shares a platform with. But it’s not just a rebadged Jeep, the styling is completely different and the Fiat doesn’t have the off-road capability that the Renegade does. But it’s still a bit surprising to see that the 500X has a starting price that’s $2,000 more than the Jeep. $18,000 vs. $20,000. Even though it will be sold in 100 countries, this is the first Fiat developed for the North American market.

The 500X is much larger than the regular 500 and has its own unique styling, but you’ll instantly recognize it as part of the family. Much like MINI does with its models. The nose, clamshell hood and air intake are reminiscent to the 500. But there are some cues that help set the X apart from the others in the 500 line-up. The headlights are more rounded and it has a higher ground clearance plus wheel arches. The interior has a simple layout which makes it easy to use infotainment and climate controls. There are 3 different screen sizes to choose, ranging from 3 to 6.5 inches. It doesn’t feel like you’re in a compact, you sit a bit higher than you normally would in a car that size. And there’s a decent amount of room for passengers in the rear, for your legs and head, but you wouldn’t want to sit back there for a long road trip.

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AAH # 284 – Tearing Down the Model T of Our Time

April 24th, 2015 at 4:07pm

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SPECIAL GUEST: Sandy Munro, Munro & Associates
- A teardown analysis of the BMW i3 so complete that the company thought the secrets were leaked!

All that and much more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Lindsay Brooke, SAE.

 

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Henkel

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!

Auto Tune: “99 Miles from LA” by Art Garfunkel

April 22nd, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Art-Garfunkel-BreakawaySometimes great “Auto Tunes” have strange origins. Take the Albert Hammond story for instance. Who, you ask? Well if you don’t know the name you certainly know his work. He had a top five hit in the early ‘70s that’s still in heavy rotation on the oldies stations with “It Never Rains In Southern California” co-written with fellow Brit Mike Hazelwood. They also teamed up with “The Air That I Breathe” which was a hit for The Hollies. But perhaps this pop singer’s strangest collaboration came when he co-wrote a couple of songs with unquestionably the greatest lyricist of all time Hal David. One song, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” made Julio Iglesias a household name – and plenty of money — while the other is this week’s Auto Tune.

99 Miles From L.A.” appeared on Hammond’s 1975 album of the same name but never generated the attention he hoped. That same year, however, Art Garfunkel released “Breakaway,” a star-studded disc that contained not only with his duet with former partner Paul Simon (“My Little Town”), but also his cover of “I Only Have Eyes for You.” But in addition to those hits, tucked away toward the end of Side 2 was the Hammond/David tune, which on its face sounded like a simple drive to Los Angeles, but in fact was, and remains, a hauntingly beautiful understated song about the evanescence of love. The Albert Hammond score married with Hal David’s heartbreaking lyrics sung by Garfunkel — one of the greatest voices to ever record music — is a treasure to enjoy over and over again. Especially if someday you find yourself on the 5, 10 or 405 as you’re driving around Southern California.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.