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Loaner Review: 2016 Chrysler 200S AWD

Ross Ballot April 7, 2016 Quick Spin, Reviews

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“I’ll borrow the Viper for a few days!” The puppy-dog lips and eyes I had just thrown on had no chance of changing the inevitable response, but at least it took a slightly different form: “you’re the third person to ask that today.” I laughed and mumbled something to the effect of the joke having run its course, but shockingly the very kind lady at the service desk that I’d been dealing with said that she actually found it funny and that it was acceptable *just* one more time. Joke was on me though: instead of the orange beast I was drooling over, my time sans Challenger would be in a loaner car that initially induced thoughts of pure sadness but proved to be unwarranted. And yet, it took everything in me not to roll my eyes when the lady at the service counter said my loaner would be a white Chrysler 200 (unfortunately not a white Chrysler LeBaron). Oh, and that Viper? Sitting dormant and very light in the front end, waiting for a new motor larger than most Manhattan apartments.

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A day at the 2016 NYIAS

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I’ve been going to the New York International Auto Show on-and-off for the the last ten years. Of those 10, some were better than others; this year fell right in the middle. The automakers brought some really exciting vehicles, but many more were just background scenery.

That said, I went to this year’s NYIAS and snapped photos of anything and everything that caught my eye or that I thought would be of interest here. A quick disclaimer: I’m by no means an expert photographer, and mediocre may even be a stretch. Without further ado, come with me as we take a look at what New York’s premiere new car show had to offer…

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2001 Isuzu VehiCROSS: Intro and History

Ross Ballot March 25, 2016 All Things Hoon

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A few months ago I found myself digging through a toolbox full of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars from my childhood, reminiscing, thinking back on simpler days, and laughing inwardly at how little I’ve changed in regards to my love for cars.  The collection was largely nothing special, but there were a few exceptions among them in the miniature forms of a Viper, Corvette, 911 Targa, R33 Skyline, and CJ Scrambler.  All had a place in my heart back then, just as they still do now in their full-size forms.

Mixed in with the others were two oddball SUVs, one yellow and the other bright shining silver, both with plastic cladding adorning their lower portions, a spare tire molded into rear gate, and a black insert on the hood just behind the pulled-back headlights.  Both of the Isuzu VehiCROSS toys lived in one of my desk drawers ever since I found them that day, while thoughts of the quirky little Japanese 4×4 lived in the back of my mind.  Mere months later I’d be signing my name on the title of a real one.

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Project MR2: Background & Introduction

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A free car is always a good car.  A free sports car is an even better car.  And a free sports car that runs and drives is the best car.  Such is how the dreams of myself and my friend Dan are finally coming together.  And by “coming together,” I mean that the car needs some love.  A lot of love.  What will be a low-budget build, moderately capable of any kind of racing (within reason) we dare throw at it, has to start somewhere, and for us it’s with a free 1991 Toyota MR2.

The following is an introduction to our project car and to what we aim to do with it.  The future promises a lot of time spent wrenching which will hopefully reward us with much more time spent racing, but first let’s back up to day one…

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On the topic of Low Limits

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Low limits are what make light, tossable sports cars great.  The Dodge Challenger R/T, however, is not a light, tossable sports car.  On the contrary, it’s a big, heavy grand tourer with more visual brawn than balls.  And yet, with a Hemi V8 up front and moderately grippy tires at all four corners, its limits do extend beyond the magical threshold of what can be fun on the street within the letter of the law.  Logic says that lowering the Challenger’s limits would make it more enjoyable, and I have just the remedy for that as well as for the ever-present issue of cars being just too much for the street: snow tires.

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