They don’t make it, but I want it.

Beretta_90TWO

The Beretta 90-Two.  Beretta’s best and worst in one single package.  Let me explain why.

On one hand, it’s absolutely the best.  The best handgun Beretta has ever made.  It has all the latest features and updated good looks that really take it into the next century.   I love the swept lines and new contours in the frame on the safety levers.
On the other hand, it has the worst name they could have given the pistol.  I had people come to me at the gun counter and say “I want a Beretta ninety two.”  Yes, I have that right here.  “No, a ninety two.”  You get my point.  It’s name was made of confusion.  Had they called in a 2092 or something, it would have worked.  Colt and STI did similar things for the “1911″ and it worked.  Worked just fine, without being cute.  In fact, it was more descriptive and accurate if a name.  People knew what you were talking about.
The internal buffer and the dovetailed sights are both features of the 92A1… and that’s great.  But the 92A1 doesn’t have the fresh new look.
I’ve been wanting one of these more and more this year.  For no specific reason.

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Here’s the other gun I’m wanting.  The 92FS Compact.  I have no real justification for it.  It’s only a little bit smaller than the standard 92FS.  A little shorter in barrel and slide, a little shorter in the grip frame.  So it’s really not so “Compact”.  It’s more of a 92 “Commander” in that it takes the gun that feels rather large and turns it into a gun that feels “Just right”.  I can’t describe it any better than that.  It just felt oh so very “right” when I drooled on one at the last gun show I went to in Utah.  I passed it up, but the gun has been on my mind ever since and as of late as been doing laps like a motorcyclist in one of those round steel cages.

Both of these guns are very high in Want Factor for me.  I want them bad.  But I can resist buying them because of rational reasons.  But rationality can only go so far.

Now, if Beretta made a 90-TWO Compact.  I’d just have to throw my hands up and surrender to the Beretta Trident and do something very foolish to quickly raise the money to buy one immediately.   Because that’s what I really want.  I don’t think I could take living in a world that has that and me not having one.

Jeb Bush and the GOP

1450731_10201883299977559_382447294_n (1)I don’t like Jeb Bush. He’s not just a RINO, but he’s everything I don’t like about politicians rolled up one big fat burrito that the GOP may try to choke us with. He’s another Big Government RINO and we’ve more than enough of those.
The GOP is so completely full of fail that I’d be laughing if this wasn’t happening in my own country.

I am really seeing less and less of a distinction between the two parties. I’m quite disappointed in both… but especially the Republicans.
It’s going to come down between Jeb Bush and Chris Christie… Just watch. Or worse – they are The Ticket.
I tell you what, I keep hearing about Belize… Belize is sounding better and better all the time. Because the USA is looking more and more hopeless.
The fact that I am even thinking like that just pisses me slam off. Because I love this Country. I love America. But America is making some really bad decisions… our Government needs a Factory Reset.
1. We need Voter ID laws passed in every state.
2. We need Closed Primaries. Only Party Members should vote for party candidates.
3. We need Congressional Term Limits. 4 years, 2 Terms Max.
4. We need Congressional Pay, Benefits, and Pensions dramatically cut. Pay should be capped at 80,000, Benefits limited to only during their term of service, and Pensions – no – No Pensions at all. Because serving should be a Service and not a Career.
We do those 4 things… And I believe the Government will clean its self up as the Rats will seek out other ships.

Pistol Braces

I am quite tempted to get an AR-15 Pistol and but a “Arm Brace” on it.   Because I love SBR’s but hate the red tape that goes will them.   Here’s the thing though, and the reason I am hesitant about this… The ATF has changed it’s mind in the past about things and there is no reason that they couldn’t change their mind on this.  This “Brace” thing looks too much like a stock, even if it isn’t.  For some reason.

Because I look at these things… and the first thing that comes to mind is “Stock”.  It just does.  It has the profile of a stock and you can shoulder it like a stock, so realistically, what’s the difference?  I’m afraid at some point in the future, the ATF is going to change their mind on these and all the sudden you are going have an illegal SBR on your hands.   Or even worse, you can be well within the guide lines and yet some local Officer Captain America is going to see it and declare it to be an SBR and arrest you and confiscate the “pistol”.   Because Cops in general, do not have the best track record of knowing all the ins and outs of Gun Laws.   We would think that they do, and a lot of them really do… but some don’t.  MAC talks about being That Guy, well, there is always That Cop.  And you don’t want to be that guy that meets That Cop.    Especially considering that these things could be legally reversed overnight.

What we need to do is just get rid of the Barrel Length restrictions on rifles and shotguns.   Just do away with those line items in the NFA.  And well, if we are doing away with those, let’s just toss out the NFA altogether because it’s a package of regulations that only serve to create infringements and stumbling blocks for things you can still get if you are willing to jump through the hoops.  So they effectively do nothing but piss us off.

So I’m going to avoid a potential ATF trap with these Braces.

Adams Holsters

AdamsHolstersExotics

 

These three holsters are from Adams Holsters.  They are Luke’s “Crossroads” holster in exotic leathers.  Top left is my Glock 23 RTF2 in Shark hide.  The top Right is my Beretta 92FS in two different Shark hides.  A subtle two tone that looks very sharp.  The bottom center is my Springfield 1911 GI in Gator and Elephant.  (Legally imported Elephant hide)

The Crossroads is just one style of holster Luke makes.  These are a pancake style outside of the waistband holster that carries a heavy gun quite comfortably.  It’s my favorite for that reason, because when I wear a gun, it’s from pants on to pants off.

The “Gatorphant” Crossroads is my newest that just arrived the other day.  I’ve been wearing it constantly of course.  The GI 1911 is a heavy pistol and I’ve found it to be less than comfortable in other holsters.  In the Crossroads though, I’ve had no problem with all day packing.   I know I’ve talked about it before, it I wanted to take a group photo.

Armchair Quarterbacking: JEEP.

I’ve not come to terms that Jeep is now owned by the Italians.  Fiat of all things.  Who could have guess that would happen 20 years ago?  Fiat, the makers of cars that break down more often than cars from Jaguar.  Fix It Again, Tony… now has Jeep in it’s pocket.  This is the automotive equivalent of Jennings owning Browning.   It’s an absurd notion… But Fiat made some good moves and positioned themselves to buy Lancia, Alpha, Ferrari, and Maserati… Unbelievable.  Now they own Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.  Boggles the mind.

I think that this is the reason that Jeep is probably the most Bi-Polar of automotive brands.  When one says “Jeep” it invokes a mental image.  One of rugged outdoorsiness.  A majestic warrior off-roading rig perched on a mountain ledge like the Lion King, chin into the wind and looking stoic.
Jeep_King

That’s “Jeep”.  That’s what we think about.  We think about taking Jeeps through deserts and mountain trails hunting Orc and Adventure.  And that’s been The Jeep Thing for decades.  But unfortunately Jeep has become this:

900_acc070611_2_

The new Jeeps, the Patriot and the Compass are a pair of Dodge’s trying to look butch.

WTF?

This is Automotive Evolution gone wrong.  While some companies are making better and better vehicles all the time, Jeep is kinda… going the wrong way.   These butch little Mall Hunters are not keeping in the spirit of the brand.  The Identity.  I swear to heaven that I saw “It’s a Jeep thing” on the back of a Compass.  Do you know why?  Because people are forgetting what a Jeep thing is.  This is an utter failure of the Brand.  To keep up with the Lion King train of thought – this is most fitting:

Jeep needs to Remember.  They need to kill off the Compass and the Patriot.  Get rid of these pathetic little Cute-Utes and return to it’s core.   To do this, they need to bring back two vehicles in updated versions.  First.  The Wagoneer.

jeep-wagoneer

Jeep has defecated on the Wagoneer badge… Used it like a Trim Package that just put terrible wood patterned vinyl on the sides of Cherokees and Grand Cherokees.  I’m talking about bringing back the real thing in an updated version.  A real honest Wagoneer.  Full sized, no apologies.   Jeep doesn’t think this can work, so they have not done anything of this sort.  But it does work.  And I can prove it as evidenced by exhibits A, B, C, D, E… I could go on, but you get my drift now.   Jeep had that.  A full sized, luxurious, commanding vehicle that could carry people and cargo and tow just about anything that needed towing.    I still see them on the road once in a great while… and they are beautiful.  I had one once… and letting it go was a huge mistake.  It was awesome.  Jeep needs to bring this back.  Do some Retro Styling on it for the sake of Identity, but build it on a RAM 1500 platform.  Body on Frame.  Give it some off roading chops.  And give it three engine options.  The 6.4 liter “392″ Hemi for the Petrol Guys.  The 3.0 Liter V-6 EcoDiesel, for those family guys wanting economy and room.  And for those that need to tow heavy things… the 6.7 liter Cummins Diesel.   Give it three Jeep trim levels.  The Limited, the Overland and the Summit in keeping with current Jeep SOP.

Jeep_Wagoneer_Lifted

And maybe a stripped down version for the Die-Hard off roading Jeep Enthusiasts.  Keep it simple, straight forward, honest and truck-like and guys will cheer and sell their houses to buy it.  Ram does this with a version of the 1500 truck and it sells well to those guys wanting to hotrod it out.

The new “Cherokee“?  I hate it.  It may be a decent all roader and something people are wanting – vehicle class wise.  But come on.  For the love of all that is holy at least make it look like a Jeep.  Make it look like a smaller Grand Cherokee with similar styled lights and grills.   What you have now is alien and disgusting.

Batarians_Codex_Image
Not in a good familiar and hot way.Avatar-bug-eyed-alien-1

You get my point?

The other vehicle you need to bring back… Is one of your pick up trucks.  There was the Comanche and others… and they didn’t sell well, because Jeep was owned by people who didn’t know what they were doing.  But they did make a solid truck.  They just didn’t know how to market it.

1980 Jeep truck

People want Jeep Trucks.  And they are willing to pay for them.  Do you want to know how I know?  See the Brute and tell me people don’t get weak in the knees like that.   You guys tried with the Comanche. But that failed because quite frankly, that was a stupid idea.  Cutting down a unibody into a pickup?  Who’s idea was that?  It was so bad, that your Dealers had to ask you to stop it.  But the Brute shows us something.  The Brute shows us that Gladiator Concept was a good idea.   The problem with the Brute is that it’s expensive as hell.  Too expensive.   As is everything with a Jeep badge these days… but the Brute is just stupid expensive.   You get what I’m saying.  Make the Gladiator and make it simple.  If you did that… Adventurers would be applauding around the world.

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Armchair Quarterbacking Chevy, Part 2

Continuing my Armchair Quarterbacking of Chevy; it’s time to look at the SUV’s and Trucks.

2013_chevrolet_equinox

This is my ride.  A 2013 Equinox 2LT.  I own this.  I got it brand new last May in 2013.  I added a trailer hitch to it and other than that, it’s bone stock.  This is a great car.  Well, it’s really a crossover SUV according to the Auto Industry, an SUV/Truck according to Chevy, and a Station Wagon according to my friends.   It’s got a direct injected, 3.6 liter, multi-fuel, V-6 engine that cranks out over 300 horses.  It can really haul ass. I love the big bore looking dual exhausts.   I’ve got 15,000 miles on it now, and the only problem I’ve had was a bad battery that was replaced under warranty at 8,000 miles.
Here’s the problem though.  I keep calling it a car because it doesn’t feel like an SUV at all.  SUV/Truck?  There is nothing truck-like about it and there never well be.  It’s a Station Wagon.  Even the All Wheel Drive versions… are just all wheel drive station wagons.  So let’s improve upon what it really is.
What I don’t like about the EQ is the lack of testosterone in the Shifter.  When in Manual Mode, to up and down shift you have a tiny toggle think on the shifter.  Come on.  Let me play with that stick.  I want to move the stick to shift.  Not toggle the button.  And also, when in manual mode, make it stay in the gear until I manually shift it.  And if I want to down shift – let me down shift it.  The EQ’s Manual mode has no control over anything – it only takes your command as a suggestion that it will consider later, down the road.  Manual Mode should also involve a sport setting.   An SS version would be nice too, because… Reasons.  Really there should be an SS version of everything.  Because having the option of More Power should always be available.

2014_chevrolet_traverse
Keeping up with Chevy’s evident idea of taking one thing and making it a bit bigger… The Chevy Traverse is to the Equinox what the Sonic is the Spark.  Basically the same damn thing a bit bigger.  Again, this is supposed to be an SUV.  What it really is, is a Mini-Van.  Anyone telling you differently is selling something.  The Traverse really is a nice vehicle.  They sell very well, as I see millions of them on the road, just like the EQ’s.  But they should be called the Transverse because it’s just a cross-dressing Mini-Van trying to look a little more butch.  It even has Eyeliner.

2014_chevrolet_traverse_Eyeliner

Not that there is anything wrong with that…
What Chevy really needs to do though, is get off it’s ass and bring back the Trailblazer.  Here’s a rendering of what that could look like:
2015-chevrolet-trailblazer
Now THAT is a freaking SUV.  And Chevy, when you do this.  Don’t make it like how Dodge did the Durango and Ford did the Explorer… That’s what the Traverse is… a huge bloated Station Wagon.  No.  Base it on the Colorado.  Truck First.  What you need to do is make it something that can compete with Toyota 4Runner.  Something that has some actual Off Road capability instead of the rival’s Dirt Road capability.  Make the Trailblazer live up to it’s name.  Give it the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but the clearance and ruggedness of 4Runner.  That’s the target.  People would go BONKERS for it.  I’d trade my EQ in on it.  Engine options would of course have to start out with the 3.6 Liter V-6, but then give it that 5.3 Liter V-8 option.  Because – BALLS.  That’s something missing in the Off-Road market.
Colorado

I’m loving the new Colorado… or what I’m seeing of it.  Dropping it was a mistake.   I really liked the last one.  I did.  I had a friend who got one and I was jealous.   A great little truck.  But it was rather gutless.  You had rather weak engine options in it.

Chevy really needs to do something to answer to the Ford Raptor.  Toyota brought out some cosmetic upgrades to make their truck look like a Raptor type Rig… but it’s only weak sauce.  So here is what you do, Chevy… Go to YouTube and watch every video on something called the King of Hammers.  Eat Bacon.  Listen to Heavy Metal. Go shooting.  Grow a beard.  And then eat some more Bacon… and then let your engineers do a version of the Colorado called the Hammer.  Give it some serious performance chops, and make it a freaking Off Road Super Hero.  And put one in every Dealership.  Get the Hammer Pro Team out and run it to the North Pole like what Top Gear did with the Toyota.  Run it around the Nurburgring like what Ford did with the Raptor.  Promote the hell out of it and show the world that Chevy has it.

One last thing, Chevy.  Remake the Avalanche on the Colorado platform instead of the Silverado.

Arm our Armed Forces

It was decades ago when I first said it… A pistol and a fixed blade knife should be part of the Uniform.  If you are in Uniform, you should be armed.
Our Military Bases are essentially Gun Free Zones.  Most bases are like small cities, lots of traffic in and out.  And the MP’s or DOD Police are too few and far between to be effective at insuring people’s safety.   It’s asinine that we expect our Military to “Protect our Freedom” when we do not allow them to even protect themselves. This has always been the greatest hypocrisy and injustice.

When a soldier graduates their AIT… not boot camp, their Advanced Individual Training, and are officially trained in their MOS… Part of that graduation ceremony should be that they are bestowed their weapon of office.  A pistol and a knife.  These items should be given to them with the expectation that they are now part of their uniform and should be maintained and cared for and that while in uniform they should be worn at all times.

I’ve been told that my idea is “extreme”.  Really?

At Ft. Hood, 2009, an Officer shot and killed 13 other soldiers and wounded 30 others.  Now at Ft. Hood, April 2014, a soldier shot and killed 4 other soldiers and wounded 16 others.    The Navy has had a couple recently as well.  Let’s ask those people and their families if my idea is too extreme.  I bet there are a great many soldiers – trained warriors – who would have given anything to be able to defend not themselves, but their brothers and sisters in arms.   How many of the loved ones of those killed and wounded would have wanted their servicemen to have been able to defend themselves?  Ask them if my idea is too extreme.

I heard a pundit on the radio say that they need to have been searches at the Base Gates.   Search every car and ever person coming on base.  This person is an idiot.  We can’t even keep contraband out of Prisons, let alone a busy military base.  This person has obviously never been near a military base.   Let’s take a look at a small one.   I happen to live right close to a small Marine base.  And every morning I am in the traffic flow heading into that base.  I turn off before the gate, thank heavens.  It’s bad enough as it is.   Seriously… the traffic is hell on wheels.  And a detailed search of everything going in?  That’s just flat out unrealistic.  Getting on base would take hours.  And for what?  You take all the problems of the TSA at Air Ports and magnify that to controlling the incoming traffic into city sized areas?

How about we trust our Armed Forces with Arms?  Considering that we train them to use them, it seems like a pretty simple solution.   A pistol and knife is a lot cheaper than hiring and training an army of TSA type security people to secure every gate and every fence-line at every military base.   And you’ll keep the traffic flowing.  No one wants to go to work 3 hours early just to get through security to get into work.  That’s just stupid and short sighted.  Because you only serve to maintain the gun free zone inside.  You would have a hard shell on the outside… and inside would be just as gooey and soft as it’s been and a mass shooting could still happen.  Because like I said before – we can’t even keep contraband items out of our prisons.

To make this worse, even the Base Commander at Ft. Hood is against the idea of his soldiers being armed.   Think about that for a moment.  He feels like he can’t trust his own soldiers?  Isn’t that an indication that maybe he shouldn’t be a Commander of any base?   Here’s a question to you Officers out there… If you can’t trust your own men, what does that say about your Leadership?

Think of the disconnect of logic here… Civilians are protecting our Armed Forces, because we don’t trust them to protect themselves. Yet we trust them to protect the Civilians.  Where is the logic in this?  Just thinking about that gives me a migraine.

Also note – The shooter in this case was rampaging for 15 to 20 minutes.  This has been repeated in the media’s news coverage.  So now would be copycat maniacs and terrorists now know the response time at Ft. Hood and probably other bases.  And they know our bases are essentially great Gun Free Zones.  Which means that situations like this are more likely to happen in the future than before.  We’ve already had 3 this year?  We’re going to see this happen again and again.

Why?  Why are our soldiers good enough to Protect America yet the troops are too inept to be allowed to protect themselves?  I’ve heard even other Military Guys say that they would hate to see a PFC packing.   Come on.  I’ve seen plenty of PFC’s with more sense than many Lieutenants and yet “Officers” automatically get a pass?  So an Officer’s Rights according to the Bill of Rights is more important that a PFC’s?    That’s bullshit.  Utter bullshit.   And don’t talk to me about the antics of the younger Enlisted – That’s a direct reflection of their Leadership and you know it.

A few days of pistol training, as a part of BASIC TRAINING is not too much to ask for.   You could pay for the cost of a Battalion’s worth of pistols for the price of a couple Javelin Missiles.  Here is the extreme part.  When the Soldier leaves the service… They keep the knife and the pistol as a token of their Oath.  Because that Oath doesn’t expire.

We can roll this out easily.  Start by arming our Officers and NCO’s.  E5′s and above.  Then cycle the rest through training and issuing sidearms as the training is complete.  Then issue sidearms at AIT Graduations moving forward.

Arm our Armed Forces.

Top 10 Rigs for the Zombie Uprising.

Hummer-Humvee_Military_Vehicle_2003_photo_01

10.   The HMMV, or Hummer.   While it is not a ideal in areas of operation where landmines and IED’s are used by insurgent forces, the HMMV offers many advantages.  It has enough power and clearance to plow through and over hordes of undead walkers.

2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Pictures-HD

9.  The Jeep Wranger.  Wait, what?  Yes.  A Jeep Wrangler… But specifically the Sahara or Rubicon and specifically with a Hard Top.  Ideally it would be the Rubicon.  A 2012 or newer stock or older with something other than the factory engines.  Any crate motor swap will do.  While not as overly rugged as a HMMV, the Jeep has the ability to thread through areas the big Hummer can’t go.  It’s also quicker.  Forget the things like soft tops, half doors and the popular Jeeper summer options… You don’t want nothing but canvas protecting you for the Biters.  You want something that can get you out of trouble and over those mountains?  This is good way to go.  That and you can find them at any abandoned Dealership.  So just go into the offices and find the keys.

MATV

8.  The MATV.  Built for warfare in areas too hostile for the HMMV, the MATV offers more mine resistance and greater clearance.  It’s high saddle allows you to see well over the heads of the oceans of shamblers you may have to roll over.  This beast can punch through into areas other rigs can’t go.  A turret up top allows one of your team to mount up a belt fed to help clear out path when things get rough.  And incase you run into marauders and bandits, it’s armored hull may prove to be a life saver.

Chevy_Avalanche

7.  Chevy Avalanche.  The Avalanche is a great truck for a jack of all trades, do everything sort of rig.  4 doors allows your team to quickly get in and out, and the pickup bed can let you guys haul a lot of stuff and it has decent towing.  You’ll want to outfit it with some brush guards for pushing through undead biomasses.

halo-ford-raptor-660

6.  The Ford Raptor.  Sometimes you really need to get somewhere fast.   The Raptor can deliver your Rapid Response Team like no other.  Fast.  Agile.  Perfecting for racing over mounds of fallen undead.

patriotic_semi

5.  RAMROD.  You are going to need a vehicle that haul a lot of people and supplies.  You are going to need a vehicle that can push abandoned cars out of the way and clear the highway.  You need a Semi.  When you raid that Sam’s Club or Costco or Cabella’s, how are you going to bring all those good home?  You are going to have to find someone skilled to drive that if you don’t know how.  Don’t worry… you’ll find plenty of volunteers.

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4.  A Highway Snow Blower.  Because sometimes to get where you need to go… You may need to paint the town red.  The problem with pushing your way through a horde of zombies is that they will be waiting for when you come back.    The upside to clearing a path this way… You have one hell of trail of bread crumbs to find your way back.

Toy_FJ

3.  Toyota FJ.  Giving you a more room and protection than a Jeep, but a smaller footprint and more range than a HMMV, the FJ just may be the best Zombie Rig that isn’t a Ford Raptor.  Great reliability for when you explore far from your base of operations.  These can go anywhere and do anything.

Blackhawk helicopters (AP file)

2.   A Blackhawk.  To get your team in and out of an area fast, extractions or tracking a target… You need some air power.   The Blackhawk is tough and reliable and easy to fly… as far as choppers are concerned.  And you get to yell “Get to the Choppa!”  Because you know you want to.

Centauro01

1. The Centauro.  Because you may need a tank.  Normal tanks are slow, cumbersome, and the tracks are problematic if you have a long way to go.  The Centauro can get there and bring everything you need a tank to bring, and then can haul ass home.  You can carry a squad of dismounts with you.  So you and your team can ride in style, kick ass, and bring back the bubble gum.

Armchair Quarterbacking: Chevrolet. Part 1.

I’m going to run through all the major automakers in a series.  Since I’m driving a Chevy and my last cage before it was a Chevy, it only seems right.  So, let’s start at the bottom.

chevy_spark

The 2014 Spark.  The Spark is designed to be an entry level city car.  Small, and economical… It’s a cheap car.  There are some comfort upgrades, but not many.  For what it is, it’s designed very well.  This is the spiritual successor to the Metro.  My wife bought one and we actually had it for a great many years.  That was a good solid little car and I would expect this to fill that nitch… so I understand the Spark. New for 2014 though is a new CVT automatic transmission.   That version is a total dog that gives up fuel economy, speed, acceleration, and makes the car feel a lot cheaper than it is.  Don’t get the CVT version.  Get the 5 speed Manual.  The car will be more fun and you’ll get more out of it.  And it will probably last a lot longer as well.
Here’s what Chevy needs to do with the Spark.  They need a Hot Hatch.  The Automotive Journalists like to compare the Spark to the Fiat 500.  Not the hotter Abarth version of the 500, just the base 500.  The Spark is better looking, with a better ride and a better interior.    Chevy needs to drop some Turbo into the Spark and call it the Hot Spark.   It needs some more energy.   It doesn’t have  a lot of room for bigger brakes, but some cross drilled rotors will help.  Body Paint the calipers on that.  Give it some aggressive suspension.  While doing that, give it some race styled wheels and some sticky rubber.  Offer the Hot Spark only in a 5 speed manual.   Have some fun with it.  Oh, and one last thing.  Put the Dash back onto the Dash and not the Steering Column.  The way it is now is kinda just stupid.  The half analog and half digital dash configuration… Just go all digital and call it good.  Please?

chevy_sonic

 

The Chevy Sonic is basically the bigger brother to the Spark.  Everything I said about the Spark can be applied to the Sonic.  The Sonic is slightly more expensive, slightly bigger, but not too much and it’s in fact “Just Right”.  I was initially thinking that the Sonic would be comparable to the Ford Focus or the VW Golf…  Unfortunately it isn’t.  It competes closer to the lesser Ford Fiesta, or a Dodge Dart.  There is a turbo version, but the 1.4 liter engine they put the turbo on is just not quite enough.  At least the Sonic is built in the United States, so I do like that.  A lot. Which means I like the Sonic a lot more than the Spark.  The Turbo version comes with a snarlier Borla exhaust.  This lets the Sonic make the right sounds, but it still isn’t making the right moves.  I think this is just a much nicer car all around than the Spark.
Again, there needs to be an angry version.  The Turbo doesn’t do enough for it because there just isn’t enough engine under it to make a lot of difference.  It also has that half analog and half digital type dash that the Sonic has – which really irritates me a great deal.  Give it an all digital dash.  Or a GTI style analog dash.   I have to say I really like the way the Sonic looks.  Chevy needs to up the trim levels into an SS version and really knock on the VW GTI, Focus ST doors.  Chevy – you can do it.  And it would be completely awesome.

Given the differences between the Spark and the Sonic… I’d just drop the Spark all together.  We don’t need to import a South Korean car to compete with the  Made in the USA Sonic.   The base versions of the Sonic and Spark are only like 2000 difference.  You can make the difference by dropping features to cheapen the Sonic down to Spark levels, and adding enough to really make the Sonic what it wants to be.  A Hot Hatch.

chevy-cruze

The Cruze is a solid little car.  It’s what the Chevy Cavalier used to be… Something for Rental Agencies, Municipal and Corporate Fleets, and Pencil Necks.   It’s a good looking car, for what it is.  It looks like it could be sporty.  It looks like it could compete with a Civic or Corolla or an Altima from 10 years ago.   It’s not a bad car and it’s very economical.  There’s a diesel version that’s new…  which will make this a great economical option for that want to just blend into the background… be one of the masses.  This is the anonymity for the Meek and Mild.  These are cars for Eunuchs and Librarians.   There is no sex appeal at all.  The Cruze is what replaced the Cobalt.  Which was a car that had a lot of spirit.  I really liked the Cobalt.  The Cruze though…  doesn’t have any of that spirit… none of the moxie.  It’s rather sad.  What makes it even more sad is that in other markets, there is a hatch version which actually looks badass.
2012_Holden_Cruze

Not bad, eh?  Too bad… You can’t have one.  Which is a shame, because it really takes the Cruze up a notch.  Now here’s the thing… Chevy could amp the Cruze up if they wanted.  Add the Super tag to the Sonic and add it to the Cruze.   The Super Sonic and the Super Cruze.  Yes, SS versions.  The DNA is there.   Throw twin turbos on the Diesel (instead of the one small one) and slap a Duramax tag on there and give it a monster exhaust note.  With some good torque under the Diesel Cruze  it would have some machismo as well as good economy.  The Cruze doesn’t have to be a Bean Counter’s Ride.   Sure, have the versions that are all about being economical.  But give it some versions that EARN that BOWTIE BADGE.

The Malibu.  I’m not even going to post an image of the Malibu.  Drop the Malibu.  Just get rid of it.  Why?  Because you can have trim options of the Cruze that go up and the Impala that could go down that could overlap the Malibu and be done with it.  Maybe I’m biased… But I’ve always hated the Malibu.  I’ve hated the name, I’ve hated every time I’ve ridden in one, and every time I’ve driven one.  It makes the Cruze look like the good looking sister.   Just make the Malibu go away.  It really doesn’t fill any nitch.  It’s like that weird looking Ginger in the Butterfinger commercial.

I’m just not comfortable with that.

Chevrolet-impala

The Chevy Impala.  I love this car.  It’s one of my very favorite cars for 2014.  I could happily have one and drive it for the rest of my life.  I love it that much.   The Impala has been a name plate second only to the Camaro and Corvette in terms of Chevy Iconic Heritage… Because there has been some ultimate badass Impalas in Chevy’s history.
But the new Impala isn’t one of those.  It’s good though.  It’s very good.  Now, let’s take a quick look at the Caddy CTS Vsport.  Linking you here to a simple review from C&D.   The CTS Vsport and the Impala have the same base engine.  It’s the same engine that is in my Equinox.   It’s a good engine.  It’s a great engine for an entry level Impala.  But the CTS Vsport throws in twin turbochargers that bumps the power from just over 300 horses, to an impressive 420 angry warhorses.   The Impala needs this as an option.  And here’s why they should do this…
Chevy brought out the Camaro Z/28 for 2015 and in doing so they threw caution to the wind and said “screw it” to all conventional thinking.  They gave the Z/28 EVERYTHING they could.  From suspension and brakes to engine and transmission.  They crossed all the lines and turned a Muscle Car into what everyone dreams a muscle car could be.  It fulfilled the muscle car promise.  They didn’t care if it stepped on Corvette toes.  Screw it, they said.  Let the Corvette stand on its own merit.  No protected territory here.
Chevy needs to do that to the Impala and bring out an SS version.  Because every Car Guy is waiting for that.   So what if it steps on the toes of the Chevy SS… Let that car be it’s own thing – We’re talking about the freaking Chevy Impala here and that means something to a lot of people.   The Impala badge isn’t ready to retire to a Golf Course.  Not with this American Resurrection of the Muscle Car Era.

As far as the Chevy SS goes.  How come a factory Supercharger is not an option?  Where is the hood scoop and the Supercharger?  The Chevy SS is a car without Tradition.  Calling it just the “SS” I think was rather stupid.  Chevy’s history is that the SS was a Trim Level and not a Name Plate.  This was a Mistake.  People know what an Impala SS is… or a Chevelle SS.   But just as SS?  Where’s the Tradition?  Where’s the Heritage?  It’s just out from the wild blue, here’s a rebadged Pontiac.   That’s just wrong.  The SS needs to be rebadged as the Chevelle.  Think I’m wrong?  Take a look at this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at that!  That’s the history Chevy should have touched on when they brought out the “SS”.  Give it the standard package that it has now… All Muscle Car… that’s good.  That’s the Chevelle.  Now add the SS badge to the new 2015 Chevelle and throw in a Supercharger.  And just for some fun – Hood Pins.  Because screw the Dodge Challenger, that’s why.  Freaking fake-ass Shaker hood scoop.  Give the Chevelle SS a real one.  The Commercial for it would be simple.  A tire scorching, mushroom cloud burnout for 60 seconds.  That’s it.  No spoken words… at the end of the commercial zoom in to the bowtie.  Done.

The Camaro – Keep it going, Chevy.  I want a turbo version though.  And I really do think you should drop all the V-6 versions unless they are turbocharged.  There should be no Mild versions of a Camaro.  Leave the watered down V-6 options for Dodge.  Every Camaro should be filled with hot sauce.

The Corvette – keep doing what you are doing.  You finally hit the nail on the head.

Coming up in Part 2, we’ll look at Chevy’s line of SUV’s and Trucks.

Auto Rags

To judge an automotive journal these days, you can’t take them on just their print media anymore… You have to look at their social media as well.  That means facebook, instagram, twitter, and Youtube.  How connected the magazine is to its audience, and how relevant the information and entertainment is.

The top three are MotorTrend,  Road & Track, and Car & Driver.
In that order.

MT is awesome in Print and Video.  Their channel on YouTube is a Must to Subscribe.
R&T has FB posts so good that if you are a Car Guy, you are missing out of you don’t follow them.
C&D has solid FB posts and a good layout in the printed medium.  Their writers have some good insight that provides more perspective.

If I was to only pick one, MotorTrend would be the Magazine.  But MotorTrend is not as strong without it’s social media.   As solid as it is.   A couple years ago I used to think that these magazines were going to be a thing of the past and that Digital Media is the future.  I could get the magazine, as printed, in digital form on tablet or smart phone.  Here’s the thing though… I did that.  And it was interesting.  But nothing beats kicking back with the Printed Pages.  No batteries, no distractions… Unplugged.   I find that I enjoy the magazine so much better than it’s digital counterpart.  While the digital format of the magazine is great… I really prefer it in print and will read an issue cover to cover.  In digital, really it’s just skimming the photos while you are waiting for something else to happen.
Print is not dead.