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Review: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE

Most of us yawn upon hearing the Corolla name. For years the North American version of the Corolla has been a rather dreadful economy box. It is driven mostly by people who just want a cheap and reliable mobility appliance and by Uber drivers who want a cheap and reliable work appliance. No one ever bought a Corolla because they were in love with its looks or performance. 

That statement is not exactly fair. Corollas are loved around the world for the solid and long-lasting vehicles that they are. Anyone who has traveled anywhere has seen them used as reliable people haulers and sometimes goat haulers. From congested big cities to third-world countries with hardly any roads, the Corollas are the worker ants of the automotive world. And no enthusiast should dismiss the Corolla FX16 GT-S or the AE86.

For 2019 Toyota decided to give us something somewhat unexpected. In addition to the typical Corolla sedan there is now a hatchback version of the Corolla, succinctly but unimaginatively called Corolla Hatchback. But this isn’t just a sedan with a slopped butt, it’s actually an all-new vehicle. And this new Corolla has a new few surprises.

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski August 3, 2018 Mystery Car

What a painful two weeks it has been. First, yous guys couldn’t identify a freakin’ Jeep Wrangler. Then yous got stumped by an iconic (sort of, for the lack of better terms) part of a Hornet AMX. Maybe yous guys just dunno yours AMC cars? Perhaps it was Peter’s detailed pictures that confused you. I just dunno. In the end it was the amazing mdharrell who correctly identified the vehicle in question, but it wasn’t after an unprecedented hint was given. 

Because of this, Mr. mdharrell gets only partial credit and thus becomes the first person ever to be named The Half-Person of the Moment! Half-Congrats!

This week’s Mystery Car once again comes from my friend Peter Ciani. To make it easier I chose to crop the image of the whole car and not just put an image of one of the detail shots that Peter took, which you ladies would never solve. Make and model, please. If this isn’t solved by the end of the day I’m going to change Mystery Car to Misery Car

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Quick Spin: 2018 Nissan Titan PRO-4X King Cab

The full-size pickup truck market is the highest grossing and most competitive of all North American vehicle segments. The big three have been competing against each for almost a century. To show just how competitive this market is and how much brand loyalty there is in, Toyota and Nissan have been offering their versions of full-size or in-between full-size trucks for almost two decades and they’re still clinching only a small fraction of the market. It’s a big pie and everyone wants a piece – sometimes even the crumbs are worth chasing after.

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Project Update: Hellcrate motor into a ’68 Charger

Last December I wrote about a project that my friends at Ace Performance were undertaking. The project was to drop the 707-horsepower Hellcat crate motor into a recently restored 1968 Dodge Charger. While the Charger already had big 440 under its hood, dropping in Chrysler’s latest is a lot more than just a quick and dirty engine swap. The owner of the car and Ace wanted to this right. An obscene amount of power in a chassis that was never designed for it is a recipe for disaster. 

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Mystery Car – HINT!

Kamil Kaluski July 31, 2018 Mystery Car

It’s been five days and I can’t take it anymore. I’m crawling out of my skin here. The group of people who have identified so many vehicles from such minuscule hints seem to be stumped again. There were a few honest shots at what the vehicle was but none hit the target. I even gave a clue that the vehicle was American. 

So here you go, a second picture of Friday’s Mystery Car. And really, I had another picture but the detail was so vague that it would only further frustrate y’all. Get to your googling machines! I cannot make this any simpler!

Roger Sets the Bar High on Velocity’s “Chasing Classic Cars”

Roger Barr, ace mechanic on Velocity’s “Chasing Classic Cars”

This article was written by my friend Bill Griffith for another outlet and is posted here with permission. Bill is a freelance automotive journalist in the Boston area. You should follow him on Twitter @MrAutoWriter-KK

PORTLAND, CT—You know him as “Roger,” the sometimes funny, sometimes curmudgeonly (and often both) 82-year-old ace mechanic on Velocity’s “Chasing Classic Cars.”

He plays off show centerpiece Wayne Carini so well that you are immediately drawn into the nitty, gritty of the mechanical fixes. How well? So well that Roger rates an Emmy as Best
Supporting Character in a continuing series.

What’s a normal daily scene at Carini’s F40 Motor Sports is the stuff that makes the TV series, in its 13th season, an enduring part of auto enthusiasts’ viewing. 

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski July 27, 2018 Mystery Car

Well, I am very disappointed and rather perplexed. How did anyone not get this. When the Mastery Car is fragment of a taillight an obscure one-off it gets identified within minutes. But here was a vehicle as common as a dog, an iconic American vehicle sold and known the world over, and no one could identify it. Last week’s Mastery Car even had a damn television show named after it, for eff’s sake. How did you miss it? 

Again, I am disappointed. But despite there being no clear winner, there still is The Person of the Moment! award. And that person is… me! For stumping you with something so simple. Bow to me!

Today we once again keep it simple. It’s so simple I expect more than just a make and model. Please don’t let me down again. 

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Hooniverse Asks: Did you drive a million miles?

After driving Matt Farah’s #MillionMileLexus yesterday I started thinking, which is never a good thing. I asked myself if I have driven a million miles in my life. I got my driver’s license in 1994 but I’d be lying if I wasn’t driving much earlier than that… in Mexico, of course. Even so, in my 24 years of driving I would need to average over 40,000 miles per year. 

I kept calculating and looking over the past twenty years of my life. For that part of my life I lived in northern New Jersey and downtown Boston. While I always drive, the distances I cover are not great. When I worked in Manhattan and downtown Boston I used to take the train or bike to work. My longest car-commuting distance was a round-trip of about 40 miles and I did that for about two years. I accumulated the most miles, almost a 1000 per week, when I worked in NYC but spent my weekends in Boston. 

Adding it up I think I might be somewhere around a half a million mark in my lifetime of driving. I might, might, be at a million if I add up my lifetime of flights and distance covered as a passenger. And this is what makes the Million Mile Lexus even more remarkable. It started life in 1996 and by 2018 has 981,201 miles on it. That’s an average of 44,600 miles per year. 

Today we are asking – have you driven a million miles?

Driving Matt Farah’s #MillionMileLexus

There used to be a time when a 100,000 mile vehicle was past its useful life. 100,000 miles meant that the oil rings wore away and the transmission was one gear short of a picnic basket. 100,000 miles meant that the floor boards were as solid as paper. 100,000 miles meant that your malaise mobile was maybe worth its weight in scrap.

Over the decades Toyota automobiles grew in popularity. They gained a reputation for reliability and longevity despite seriously lacking resistance to rust. When Toyota launched the Lexus brand in 1989 they claimed to be relentlessly pursuing perfection – whatever that was.

Today I drove Matt Farah’s Million Mile Lexus. Like the town bicycle, the 1996 Lexus LS 400 is getting pass around between people with the single goal of accumulating miles. Due to time constraints I was only able to add two humble miles to the odometer that as of this writing reads 981,199.

Can a vehicle that is capable of traveling ten times further than many others be considered at least a technical perfection?

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Star 266 goes off-roading

Star was a Polish truck maker in the communist era. The state-owned company made several versions of was then a rather heavy duty truck. Like most trucks, many models shared cabs but frames varied in strength, length, and capacities. Star, named after the city of Starachowice where truck were made since World War II, made several models. Some of most popular were the 200-models, used throughout Poland for variety if services. It’s not uncommon to see one even today. 

The 266 model was the heavy duty military version. In production since the 1970s, the 3.5-ton 6×6 truck so good that it was used by several countries and saw combat in Afghanistan. In 1988 two teams even entered the grueling Paris-Dakar rally with the 266. Further, despite MAN having taken over Star, there is exists a company that overhauls and modernizes the classic Star 266. This video made by an off-roading company in southwestern Poland shows some off-road capabilities of this aged rig.