Cocktail Chatter: August 16, 2013

The Cadillac Elmiraj and the Woodward Dream Cruise.

What cocktails go best with all this car chatter? is here to help with weekly recipes. Remember, this is for talking about cars, not driving — always designate a driver. This week’s cocktail comes from Diamond Jim Brady’s in Novi, Michigan. The Pimm’s Ginger is both simple and delicious: it combines equal parts of Pimm’s No. 1, ginger ale, and lemon juice, shaken with ice, and served in a rocks class with a mint garnish.

Failure to Launch: The Ford C-Max Hybrid was recently downgraded in combined mpg figures after much chatter about the car not living up to its EPA mileage estimates. Consequently, I met a Ford engineer at my running club who worked on the C-Max, and he brought up an interesting point: one big mistake with that car was launching it in the winter, when all cars—and especially hybrids—suffer a fuel economy loss because of cold temperatures. It got me thinking about how the launch of a car can be so important for the initial success of any new model. Launch failures, whether it’s a timing problem or a supply issue, can receive a lot of negative attention, like the recent 2014 Jeep Cherokee delays due to transmission calibration and previously with the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu which launched only in the disappointing Eco mild hybrid trim. First impressions really do matter, it seems.

Joey Capparella, Associate Web Editor

My Other Car Is…: So wait, you don’t commute in a Hemi-powered Jeep Wrangler Rubicon? That’s right, not just a regular Wrangler from the factory, I’m talking about a custom creation from American Expedition Vehicles. These are the guys that drop a 6.4-liter Hemi into the most venerable and capable of Jeeps. In between my off-roading adventures, I had the keys to this bruiser for a couple of nights. I had to get home somehow, so I blitzed the freeways between the office in Ann Arbor and my house on the other side of metro Detroit. And it’s actually a comfortable cruiser. The first day I was a little tentative. But after a few commuter laps, it was fine. The 37-inch mud rollers are great for seeing over traffic and the expressway. They’re pretty soft, sort of like riding on marshmallows. And naturally, the Hemi is plenty potent. Oh, and in a 24-hour stint I averaged 10.72 mpg, including long periods of off-roading, idling for video and photo shoots, and yes, commuting.

Greg Migliore, Associate Editor

Cruising Woodward: Jean, Joe, and much of the rest of the staff and contributors are on the Monterey Peninsula for the Pebble Beach Concours and (I hope) Historics at Laguna Seca this weekend. I’m sticking with the Great Lakes. After spending Monday at the beautiful Road America circuit for an upcoming Automobile Magazine feature, I returned to Metro Detroit to see the buildup to Saturday’s Woodward Dream Cruise. I walked one of our collies, Django, along Woodward down Wednesday and watched classic Fords, Mopars, Chevys, the occasional Buick or Cadillac, and orphan brands make U-turns for their loops just south of Nine Mile Road. For me, the Dream Cruise is the real deal, with no trailer queens, just a bunch of enthusiasts enjoying summer Michigan weather with their Eisenhower-to-Carter era cars and trucks, sometimes performing burnouts for the huge crowds. While Pebble Beach has become another international car show, at least for the luxury brands, Woodward is a place where the Detroit Three can run near-future product up and down the boulevard, from Ferndale to Birmingham, and further north in Pontiac. I’ve already seen at least half a dozen C7 Corvette “captured fleet” cars running Woodward most of the summer long; no doubt there will be more Saturday, along with Chrysler’s Ram Rumble Bee concept unveiling. Watch it live as I Tweet from Woodward Saturday, @AM_Lassa.

Todd Lassa, Executive Editors

Flummoxed: The last time I was hit this hard was three years ago. I don’t mean literally hit, but taken aback and physically short of breath by an absolutely gorgeous car. That was my reaction when I saw the utterly spectacular Cadillac Elmiraj concept. Retro-futurist in its design, it embodies everything a glamorous Cadillac has been, currently is, and should (and must) be in the future. I can’t get enough of the long muscular body, the Dali-esque LED tailfins, and the opulent cabin. Oh, and that last car that hit me this hard? The 2011 Jaguar XJ. I’ll take one of each, please.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor