Q. Why didn’t you write
anything for your site for most of May? —F.K., Miami, Fla.
A. I was on vacation in Australia, where my daughter, Michele, bought a 150-acre horse farm with her husband in New South Wales. Her most interesting car there is a 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle in good condition.. It took four airplanes and a three-hour car ride to reach her place from Chicago, via Los Angeles and New Zealand. Her farm is about 12 hours from Sydney by car. Lots of combination car-pickups like the old Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino there, built by General Motors’ Holden unit. The steering wheel is on the right side of Australian vehicles, and you drive on the left side of two-lane roads.
Q. I bought a 1970 Pontiac T-37 muscle car with a 350-cubic-inch, 250-horsepower V-8. But the Pontiac Historical Society guy says no such car was made in 1970. What gives? – T.F., via Internet
A. Those guys at the Historical Society are said to be pretty sharp. I think you probably gave the person there the wrong information. Pontiac built a GT-37—not a “T-37”—muscle car in 1970 and 1971, according to the Standard Guide to American Muscle Cars. Are you sure you don’t have a 1971? The 1971 GT-37 had a base 350-cubic-inch V-8 with 250 horsepower, but you could get a GT-37 with larger, more powerful V-8s in 1970 and 1971. Total production was low for the GT-37. The GT-37 initially was sold as Pontiac's no-frills1970 T-37, which was GM's lowest-cost hardtop at $2,683. But Pontiac soon offered it as a budget-priced muscle car as the GT-37 with GTO-like extras.
Q. Have you tested the Hyundai Sonata for your web site? – E.W., Decatur, Ill.
A. Sure have. Take a look. It’s generally excellent.
Q. I hear Jaguar plans to build its sensational 200-plus m.p.h. C-X75 hybrid supercar. Any truth to that rumor? – G.I., Chicago
A. Jaguar announced it will build that car. It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, as might be expected. Jaguar wants to be known as among the fastest “green” supercar builders.
Q. How old is the car marketing genius Jim Wangers, who did sensationally good promotion for the famous 1960s Pontiac GTO muscle car. Is he still with us? —D..M., Des Moines, Iowa.
A. Sure is. Jim soon celebrates his 85th birthday and is still going strong. He speaks at many GTO club events throughout the country and is as sharp as ever about the state of the auto industry.
Q. What’s the big deal
about “direct fuel injection” that some new cars
are getting? –E.W., Nashville, Tenn.
A. It’s a very direct way of getting gas into cylinders and results in more power and lower emissions.
Q. What will be one of the the most common overlooked car maintenance items during vacation drives this summer? —E.W., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
A. People will not check their vehicle’s tire pressures, which affect steering, handling, braking, ride and tire wear. Underinflated tires are especially scary on heavy SUVs.