Q. The first Ford Mustang of
one of the best-selling first-year new models in history. But
I’ve heard that dealers of that original Mustang made most of
their money on the car’s accessories, not the car, itself. Is
that an auto industry myth? – E.K., Indianapolis
A. It’s no myth. Few Mustang buyers ordered a basic “stripped” car. And the first Mustang came with all sorts of extras. Even today, dealers make a good chunk of money from accessories ordered for new cars. With really popular new models, note that many in inventory have many options.
Q. I’m kicking around purchasing a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette to drive daily and to occasionally take on long-distance cross-country trips. I recently drove from Chicago to Columbia Missouri (about 6 hours) in a 2000 Porsche 911. The ride was pretty rough and the car was loud. I was wondering how you feel the Corvette would compete. – V.R., via Internet
A. The Corvette would be more comfortable. For one thing, it’s designed for an average American audience, which expects lots of comfort. The 911 you mention, although pretty refined, is much more of an auto for car buffs, who are willing to contend with a firmer ride and more noise.
Q. If one car looks better than a similar auto but isn’t as good mechanically as a less-attractive, but better-driving car, which one would most people buy? – J.D., Dallas
A. Dealers will tell you that most car buyers would pick the best-looking one—almost every time.
Q. If water helps cause a car to rust, why wash it unless it gets really dusty or dirty? – J.W., Phoenix
A. Because dirt and dust trap moisture, which help cause a car to rust.
Q. Many older cars have
Is it more difficult to start a car with a carburetor or with a
fuel-injection system? – E.N., New York
A. With fuel injection, you just turn the ignition key (or push an increasingly common “start” button) to fire up the engine. It’s a little more difficult with a carbureted auto, which typically calls for such actions as pushing the accelerator pedal down about two times before turning the ignition key.
Q. One tire on my car has a “bubble”—or slightly raised, rounded area. The tire is old, but its tread area still looks good. Should I be concerned? – P.S., Harrisburg, Pa.
A. Replace the tire. The bubble indicates possible tire failure. In fact, it’s a good idea to replace all four tires.
Q. I like the appearance of the rakish-looking 1950s British MG TF, which has such items as sweeping fenders, cut-down doors and an outside mounted spare tire. But I hear that the 1955 MG TF is better suited to modern traffic than the 1954 TF, which looks identical. Any hidden differences? – D.W., Detroit
A. The TF was the last classic-style MG and still is a kick to drive. The 1955 TF had a larger four-cylinder engine that makes it better suited to modern traffic, although it’s no fireball and is most comfortable on secondary roads. The 1955 TF came with two small metal markers on its front sides that said “TF 1500” because it had a 1.5-liter (really a 1,466 c.c.) four-cylinder engine. The 1954 TF had a 1,250 c.c. four-cylinder with less punch. Prepare to pay about $30,000 for a 1955 TF in really good condition, which is almost pocket change in today’s collector car market.