Here at 100 Techshake Plaza, we often get offers of product samples to evaluate. We don’t always accept these offers, but when we feel that there may be an opportunity to solve a problem we’re facing, we do say yes.
In the case of ScratchPro, my wife’s 2008 Sienna had a few scuffs that I wanted to deal with when I was offered a sample of ScratchPro in early 2011, so I requested a product sample. A few days later, it arrived. And since April 2011, I have not touched the package. It has rested on a forgotten corner of a shelf in my garage. The scratches were still on my wife’s van, but as the van ages (we just hit the five year mark earlier this month), minor scratches bother me less and less.
Sometimes things sound better on paper than they do in the real world. Take the Pontiac Aztek, for instance.
Techshake was invited to the global media launch for the all-new 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible in Los Angeles. As an east coast dweller, the notion of visiting sunny Southern California in late November certainly had appeal. Plus, I’d have the opportunity for my first-ever visit to the Los Angeles Auto Show if I could work out my schedule. Well, everything worked out schedule-wise, but the sunny weather turned into an uncharacteristically long wet spell for the area. I never bothered to check the weather forecast before departing; I just assumed that Santa Monica and Malibu would have beautiful convertible weather. Or not.
The entire automotive world had its eyes pinned on Toyota. The largest carmaker in the world was about to create one of the world’s most affordable rear wheel drive (RWD) coupés, equipped with a limited slip differential (LSD) and promising low weight, a hunkered stance that suggested a low centre of gravity and a short, compact wheelbase. It was a nostalgic return for Toyota to creating truly desirable sports cars again.
In case you’re wondering, I have a strange obsession with Chevrolet Suburbans. Not enough to actually buy one and schlep my family around in it, mind you, but as I’ve noted before, the Suburban plays an important role in my automotive upbringing. For most of my formative years, the Suburban was the family hauler of choice from my parents’ point of view. Sure, we detoured to the occasional custom van (groovy!) and even the occasional sedan (1988 Oldsmobile Touring Sedan, anyone?), but the Suburban was the benchmark against which all other vehicles my family used were measured against. We always ended up coming back to the Sub.
I’ve commented elsewhere on the fact that Japanese cars, even the finest of them, have always suffered from a certain blandness, not to say lack of character, so that you could be driving your Acura, Infiniti, or Lexus along a thoroughfare teeming with car lovers (an unlikely scenario, admittedly) and not a single head would turn, whereas the driver of, say, an aging Jaguar S-Type would draw the gaze of the most jaded. (I know whereof I speak, being that driver.) Face it: Jags have character and Toyotas don’t.
Once upon a time there was a French hatchback, and a very nice hatchback it was. It was called the Renault 16, and it caused a revolution in automotive design and functionality whose reverberations can still be felt. It wasn’t the first hatchback—the Kaiser Traveler and Renault’s own 4L came before—but it was the first mass-market, middle-class hatchback to sell in large numbers: .