Q. When is
BMW going to make a sexy
version of its Mini? All Mini models look like a box. —
J.H. (via Internet)
A. The British invented the Mini as a tiny but space-efficient, gas-thrifty car, which soon became popular among London’s 1960s swinging crowd. BMW’s Mini just might offer a production version of its zoomy Superleggera Vision roadster, which was unveiled in May in Italy. It has a stretched hood, long wheelbase and short overhangs. The only roadster design cue from the Mini hatchback is the headlight shape. BMW says worldwide response to the roadster from Mini enthusiasts has been very enthusiastic, although the roadster is a completely different type of Mini. It’s estimated that the roadster might cost approximately $48,000.
Q. What do you think about the super-high-performance $845,000 gas/electric Porsche 918? — D.M. (via Internet)
A. It has fabulous engineering and performance, but lacks Porsche’s graceful styling.
Q. What’s your opinion of Google’s self-driving car? — F..K. (via Internet)
A. Why not just take a taxi or a bus?
Q. What do you think of General Motors’ new CEO Mary Barra? — E.W. (via Inernet)
A. So far she gets high marks.Unfortunately for GM veteran Barra, she walked into a hornet’s nest shortly after assuming the CEO job because of the GM ignition switch controversy. She’s by far the best-looking (and first female) CEO GM has ever had.
Q. What do you think of the
Rolls-Royce Wraith? — M.S., Washington D.C.
A. It’s beautiful, insanely luxurious and terribly heavy, but its 624-horsepower V-12 makes it exceptionally fast for such a big guy.
Q. Why is the first (1965) Ford Mustang selling for so much money? — E.H. (via Internet)
A. It has a lot to do with nostalgia. It seems everybody had a new or used one. But, although attractive, the first Mustang, which was largely a rebodied Ford Falcon economy car, was awful to drive. It’s also common. The larger, redone 1967 Mustang, which I bought new in V-8 fastback form, was much improved. My pick of the 1960s Mustangs would be the 1969 Boss 302, which was a disguised Trans Am race car, but comfortable enough for street driving. Ford only built 1,934 Boss 302s. Their price range is $35,000 to $56,000, says the Sports Car Market price guide, but they’re fun and likely to keep rising in price. The famous race-winning 1965 Shelby Mustang from legendary racer and car modifier Carroll Shelby? It’s valued at $275,000-$350,000 and is basically an uncomfortable beefed-up stock Mustang fastback and successful race car that outran even Chevy Corvettes on tracks. Only 521 were built.
Q. Lamborghini always came up with great road cars that often were superior to Ferrari road models, but always seemed overshadowed by Ferrari. Why is that? — J.K. (via Internet)
A. Because Enzo Ferrari’s main passion was racing, and his cars won many races—and thus prestige. Lamborghini creator Ferruccio Lamborghini never believed in racing his cars, although they often were superior to Ferrari models. However, after the sensational Lamborghini Countach appeared as a production road car in 1974, people began ranking Lamborghini with Ferrari.