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’s cocktail comes from Men’s Journal, which has brought The Atom Smasher to our attention. After bruising three cucumber slices and two pinches of salt in a mixing glass, add half an ounce of green Chartruse, 3/4th ounce of tonic water, and two ounces of St. George Terroir Gin in the glass and stir. Strain the mixture into a rock glass over ice and float half an ounce of Fernet to finish it off.
You meet the nicest people on a Honda. A vintage catchphrase, but it seems it isn’t far removed from the truth. Over the past few months, I’ve bought some parts for my 2000 CR-V from folks who used to also used to own first-generation CR-V. As soon as they laid eyes on my car, they lit up, and started asking questions about my vehicle while interspersing tales of their own vehicle. This is the sort of response I’d expect from baby boomers reacquainted with the muscle car they pined after as a teenager; it’s not the sort of response I expect over a common, late-era compact SUV.
The latest case came this past weekend, when I bought some exterior trim parts from a woman in southern Michigan. She was fond of her 2010 CR-V parked in the driveway, but insisted she regrets parting with her ’97 to this very day.
“The newer CR-Vs just don’t have the same sort of fun personality, you know?”
I’m just glad to know I’m not crazy — or, at the very least, that I’m not the only one.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
That Snail Is Fast: This week I went to see the animated DreamWorks movie “Turbo,” which follows a snail named Theo who dreams of racing in the Indy 500. Despite the cheesy premise, and the fact that the film is clearly geared to lure in kids, it’s really good for car enthusiasts. Imagine a blend of Cars, The Fast and The Furious, and A Bug’s Life, and you’ve got a basic idea. Chevrolet has a huge partnership with the film and there are several clear shots of bowtie badges on the hoods of cars in the film (most prominently a Camaro and a Traverse). But the best part is that no realism (OK, aside from the fact that a snail can talk) has been sacrificed: Theo accurately recounts the engine specs of an IndyCar, an in-car shot shows the racer’s multi-button steering wheel, and a brief street-racing scene shows burnouts, gear changes, nitrous oxide tanks, and the inner workings of a supercharged engine. Will films like this help get kids and teens interested in cars and automotive culture? Who knows, but I certainly found it an entertaining way to pass two hours.
Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor
Cautionary Tale for Craigslist Car Buyers: There are no “take backs” with Craigslist. At least that’s what one 18-year-old California woman assumed before having her 2009 Honda Civic stolen by the couple who had just sold it to her earlier that day. The woman agreed to pay $10,600 for the Civic and then drove it back to her home in Palm Springs. The next morning, the car was gone, and to add insult to injury, the title she had turned out to be fake. Police set up a sting meeting with the couple, posing as interested car buyers, and eventually arrested them after a short pursuit. I can no longer complain about my less than ideal Craigslist roommate experience. He didn’t steal my car; he just never did his own dishes.
John Kalmar, Grahpic Designer
Mr. Wang’s Maserati: We only know him as “Mr. Wang,” one of post-Mao China’s major success stories. He paid 2.6-million yuan for his black Maserati Quattroporte. That’s about $423,000 to you and me, based on this week’s exchange rates. Mr. Wang is dissatisfied with the treatment he’s received at the hand of Maserati China, his local dealership. It seems the dealership allegedly fixed his sporty luxury sedan with used parts, instead of the new parts he had expected. So early this week, Mr. Wang hired three locals and supplied them with sledgehammers. They went to town on his prized car’s sheetmetal and glass in front of the Qindao International Auto Show, though clearly, these three know nothing of the anti-Japanese car demonstrations in the ‘70s and ‘80s Rustbelt Midwest. They seemed to have trouble applying serious damage to the Maser at first, succeeding mostly in totaling the easily replaced windshield. Finally, well into the video available on YouTube, one of them smashes off the Quattroporte’s grille trident. Mr. Wang is quoted as saying, “I hope foreign luxury car producers acknowledge clearly that Chinese consumers are entitled to get the service that is commensurate with the brand.” That’s what we all want, Mr. Wang. Now the question is, can Maserati survive this, or will it have the same kind of reputation in China that it has in the West? Will it ever be able to run with Audi and Buick?
Todd Lassa, Executive Editor
That Snail is Fast: Despite presenting a very fresh conceit — a snail that competes in the Indianapolis 500 — the new Dreamworks film “Turbo” comes off as a derivative blend of several movies including “Ratatouille,” “Talladega Nights,” “Cars,” and the Fast and the Furious series. It’s nonetheless fairly entertaining, although the high-octane dramatic scenes were at times “scary” for my toddlers. And I don’t think the movie has instantly turned them into IRL fans.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
Beetle Bond: I’m with Aston Martin in England this weekend for its centenary celebrations, and one of the first cars I saw when I arrived at Gaydon HQ was this 1966 Aston Martin DB6, which formerly belonged to Paul McCartney and in which he drove around John Lennon’s son, Julian, when Lennon was having marital problems with his first wife. McCartney had a recording device installed in the car’s dash in case he was inspired to do some songwriting while behind the wheel. While babysitting the young Lennon in this car, McCartney composed the lyrics, “Hey, Jules,” to try and soothe the fussy boy. This, of course, became “Hey, Jude.”
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
Slow Down, S-Class: At the intersection of my love of cars and pop culture this week, I find the video for Selena Gomez’s new track “Slow Down.” Prominently featured throughout the music video is a classic Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser. I love the track, I love the choice of car even more, and it’s all the more appropriate since we spotted the Grosser’s successor out testing again.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor