Cocktail Chatter: August 23, 2013

What cocktails go best with all this car chatter? Automobilemag.com is here to help with weekly recipes. Remember, this is for talking about cars, not driving — always designate a driver. This week we're toasting to a fun-filled summer with a classic Champagne Cocktail. Drop a sugar cube into a champagne flute and add a dash of Old Time Aromatic Bitters onto the cube. Next, drop a six-inch lemon twist in, and then fill with chilled champagne.

Spare Me A, Uh, Tire?: I recently discovered I had a slow tire leak in a press car I was driving. Sadly, as is the case with many modern cars, the automaker had decided to skip providing even a space-saver spare tire and instead simply installed an air compressor and tire sealant kit in the trunk. The car didn't even have a jack or lug wrench, which seems like a glaring omission. Anyway, using the sealant kit wouldn't work for three reasons: first, you're not supposed to drive more than 50 miles on a sealed-up tire; second, squirting the goop inside essentially ruins a tire and requires extra work to clean up the wheel later; and finally, tire repair kits can't fix holes in the sidewall, where my puncture was located. I guess that a tire-sealant kit works in a pinch -- use it if you're stranded on a mountain road, at night, in the pouring rain -- but frankly, I'd rather have the convenience and reliability of a spare tire, jack, and tools.

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

Terminal Diagnosis: Is there a doctor in the house, preferably one with psychiatric training? I need their help. I'm crazy about a Mercury, and not even a classic Mercury. Hell, not even a Mercury per se. A preliminary self-diagnosis on WebMD suggests I've contracted Merkuritis, as repeated trolling of Craigslist for a cheap but clean Merkur XR4TI is a listed symptom. I've avoided any horrid, rash decisions thus far, limiting my purchase only to a vintage 1/24 Tamiya kit of a similar Sierra XR4i -- but I'm scared that, if not treated, something worse (or should I say magnificent?) may happen.

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

Mustang Mojo: My initial impression of the 2015 Ford Mustang is that I like it. The first spy shots showing some of the front-end styling hit the Interwebs this week, and they certainly got my attention. The hood and the grille really advance the Mustang’s design. I like the long hood and big, gaping grille in front; it's a cool shape, even though it reminds me a little bit of a Dustbuster. The 2015 Mustang is using design language from the Evos concept displayed way back at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show, and the appearance has been trickling out across the Ford lineup. I think it’s fine to move away from the Mustang’s retro appearance for a bit, and judging by these shots, it still has plenty of pony car genetics. Younger buyers might be turned onto this design. It’s vaguely exotic, and it should position the Mustang to grab attention from a new batch of enthusiasts. That’s what the C7 Corvette is doing, and its design has been well-received. Oh, and I can’t wait to drive an EcoBoost turbo in a rear-wheel Mustang.

Greg Migliore, Associate Editor

Cyber-Hitchhiking: Oh the power of social media. More and more, teens and millennials are taking advantage of Twitter, Facebook and Craigslist to find and arrange rides, aka "ridesharing". Younger generations grew up sharing things online, and that attitude has also translated over to transportation from point A to point B. Couple that with the declining importance of owning a car among teens (30 years ago, 8 in 10 American 18-year-olds had a driver's license compared to 6 in 10 today), and cyber-hitchhiking is comparable to the baby boomer staple of borrowing a cup of milk from your neighbors. Kids these days.

John Kalmar, Graphic Designer

The Sound of Money: Vintage Ferraris selling for five, ten, twenty million dollars and more. That's completely absurd, right? Prior to attending the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and many of the Monterey Car Week events last week, I thought that, too. But then I heard a couple of those little V-12s start, run, rev, and race. Now I get it. I cannot afford them, but these cars are worth millions of dollars based on their sound alone. Their presence, styling, and performance are free.

Don't believe me? Listen for yourself in this video, particularly in the first thirty seconds. I was enlightened during some up-close time with the video's star -- a 1953 Ferrari 375MM Spider that RM Auctions sold last Friday for $9 million and change -- and a raspy 1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, an apparent bargain that went for a hair more than $3 million that same evening.

Car Week's regular appearances of Lamborghini Miuras, Alfa Romeo 8Cs, real Shelby Cobras, Tuckers, and many more wonderful and rare machines can induce an amazing-car coma. But the sound of one of these racy vintage Ferraris is guaranteed to break the spell.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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Indian Enthusiasts: I spent the week with the Nissan 360 event at El Toro in Newport Beach, California, a highlight is the automaker’s autonomous driving technology. Rachel Nguyen, director of global upstream planning spoke of how Gen Y and Z Americans aren’t in any rush to get their driver’s licenses. These future generations may not care about owning cars. Nissan may serve these customers and sell cars to Zipcar-type short-term rentals. There has been much talk about automakers offering lease plans in which you choose the car you need for a short time – an Infiniti QX70 for road trip vacations and a Q50 hybrid for a night out on the town, for example. Meanwhile, Vincent Cobee, Datsun’s global corporate vice president, talked about how his revived entry brand will serve people just getting into the traditional car market in places like Russia, Indonesia, India and South Africa. The Datsun Go begins production and goes on sale in India next year, for example. There’s no opportunity to add autonomous technology to the Go; its only powertrain is a 1.2L I-3 with a five-speed manual gearbox. Sounds like India might become the destination in the future for those of us who actually want to drive a car.

Todd Lassa, Executive Editor

Full Circle: When I first learned about the job at Automobile, I was driving a Cadillac CTS coupe. My last car on the job? A Cadillac CTS-V coupe.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor

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