Q. Which is the fastest 0-60
car sold in America? I think it must be a Ferrari. The 0-60
time has been a key indicator of a car's performance for as long as I
can remember. -- J.C. (via Internet)
A. Surprise! It's the all-electric Tesla Model S sedan. It did 0-60 m.p.h. in an astounding 2.275 seconds (or 2.38 seconds, rounded off). The Wall Street Journal reported in its February 25, 2017 issue that the Tesla hit 60 m.p.h. faster than any production car "since Motor Trend magazine began conducting these tests more than 60 years ago." The previous 0-60 record of 2.34 seconds belonged to a $1.4 million Ferrari LaFerrari. The record-breaking Tesla with a January software upgrade, cost $135,700. However, Bob Lutz, a former General Motors vice chairman, said "But after the first few hundred yards, (a high-performance) Cadillac (CTS-V) would draw even and then pull away" from the Tesla. That's argued because the Tesla's battery would overheat. However, Tesla says it has upgraded the battery "since that test."
Q. I am considering buying a wild-looking 1972 Mazda Cosmo sports car with a rotary engine. Mazda used the rotary for years in its RX-7 sports car. But I'm having a very hard time finding a Cosmo for sale. Suggestions? -- K.S. ( via Internet)
A. You're having a hard time because the Cosmo never officially came to America. But keep looking because an undetermined number slipped in. The now-classic Cosmo is valued in median condition at $115,500.
Q. I read that American
increasingly becoming more dangerous. How so? -- F.K. (via
A. Because more motorists are using smartphones to talk, text and access the Internet while driving. Insurance companies say this is a new, important factor behind collisions.
Q. I could easily tell one car from another in the 1950s because they had distinctive styling. So how come we have so many look-alike new cars these days? Notice than many non-automotive products of various kinds currently are pictured with distinctive-looking 1950s or 1960s cars, not modern ones. -- H.C. (via Internet)
A. Today's cars are, for the most part, very aerodynamically designed. That's partly to help them get good fuel economy to meet federal regulations and to help provide quiet interiors. I agree that many modern cars look pretty much alike, but auto producers are making progress creating more distinctive models. Cars looked very distinctive in the "wild old days" (especially in the 1950s) when the government mandated relatively few auto standards, but that situation began changing in the 1960s. For example, drive a 1950s Chevrolet or Ford V-8 at 65 m.p.h. today and the wind noise would be totally unacceptable-not to mention poor fuel economy. While they look good in today's ads, I doubt you'd want to drive distinctive-looking old cars on a regular basis.