How Ford Almost "New Coke"-ified the Mustang to Death

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How Ford Almost "New Coke"-ified the Mustang to Death

The 1980s was a dark time for the Mustang. Sales tumbled amid the era of OPEC, high gas prices and fuel rationing, and global automakers were shifting towards front-wheel drive platforms as a solution to this problem.

Seems like a good solution, right? That's what Ford executives thought - that what American rear-wheel drive muscle car fans really wanted was a front-wheel drive Japanese car, so long as it had the galloping pony slapped on its grille.

It was a plan as brilliant as "New Coke." Read more>

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Zombie Defenders, F1 Simulators and Adventure Time! The Cars of Comic Con

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Zombie Defenders, F1 Simulators and Adventure Time! The Cars of Comic Con

Last weekend, Comic Con descended on Gotham - er, New York City, bringing with it all manner of cosplay, comics, art, toys and a heinously-awful smell that got worse as the day progressed.

But it's all worth it! Because what Comic Con brings that other shows don't are some seriously badass vehicles you won't see anywhere else.

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse? Hyundai and The Walking Dead have you covered. This fan-designed Santa Fe has everything you need to fight off the undead, including knife blades, automatic crossbow, razor-wired windows, three machine guns, a samurai sword, aluminum armor and a muffler silencer (so the walkers don't hear you as you're out scavenging for food). Read more>


 

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Sideways and Into the Dirt

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Sideways and Into the Dirt

For three years, I was a designer at Mattel working on the Hot Wheels brand. One of the benefits of the Hot Wheels office is being surrounded by people who love cars. These are people who collectively own a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a Subaru WRX STI, a gaggle of Miatas, a pristine Acura NSX, a DeLorean, a '31 Ford hot rod… just to name a few.

Likewise, these people understood that cars are meant to be driven. Every six months or so, the team pools their money for a track day. I'd been invited a few times, but with my rusty old Acura, I'd never really felt like I had something track-worthy. Read More>


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Why I Sleep in Each Car I Buy the First Night I Own It

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Why I Sleep in Each Car I Buy the First Night I Own It

Now that I live in New York City, I meet people who have never owned a car. EVER.

Those people are crazy.

I grew up in a rural New Jersey town known more for its buffalo farms and hot air balloon festivals than any semblance of urban life, and I never realized how "rustic" my upbringing was until I left. I attended a large regional high school and lived at the furthest end of the district. I had friends who lived an hour away, and a mom who was never particularly thrilled when I asked for a ride to one of those friends' houses. So it's always shocking to me when I meet people who weren't jumping to get their first car as soon as they possibly could. Read more>

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Banksy Tags Unsuspecting Mazda Protege in NYC

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Banksy Tags Unsuspecting Mazda Protege in NYC

International man of mystery and X-Acto knife specialist Banksy continues his month-long residency in New York City with this piece that popped up yesterday on the Lower East Side. While it's no longer possible to see out of the car now that it's covered in paint, the owner should be thrilled that they now likely have the most valuable Mazda Protege...in the world. Read more>

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Go Behind the Scenes of the Design of the Mustang II

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Go Behind the Scenes of the Design of the Mustang II

 As the Mustang closes in on its 50th anniversary next year, let’s pause for a moment and go back to 1969.

After years of showroom success and inspiring a host of imitators, the original pony car faces higher gas prices, stricter emissions standards, and tough competition from its Motown rivals. Loyal fans complain that they want a smaller car, but they want it to feel powerful. They want it to be fun. They want it to be a Mustang. Read more>

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Losing the Mazda Furai: A Designer's Reaction

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Losing the Mazda Furai: A Designer's Reaction

The Furai wasn't just a concept car—it was a purebred runner. So it's no surprise that when Top Gear Magazine released a photo of the Mazda Furai concept reduced to a smoldering pile of ashes, the Internet mourned.

Carlos Salaff was a senior designer at Mazda and part of the team responsible for exterior design development on the Furai. I caught up with him to talk about the Furai and his reactions to the Top Gear photo. Read more>

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How a Stuntman Proved Human Drivers are Better Than Drone Cars

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How a Stuntman Proved Human Drivers are Better Than Drone Cars

Google engineers will tell you that one day robot-controlled cars will be able to drive better and safer than humans. One year ago, in a stunt for Hot Wheels, driver Greg Tracy proved just how far off those robots really are.

Hot Wheels released their behind the scenes documentary on last year's Double Loop Dare stunt at the X Games. In it, Hot Wheels VP Felix Holst narrates the story of how the stunt came to life. The math and engineering were certainly impressive - it took a team of 11 - including a NASA engineer, roller coaster designer and Navy pilot - to design and build the 6-story split loop.

When it came time for testing, the team had a custom-fabricated stripped-down Mitsubishi drone car that would be driven remotely to ensure that the stunt would work. After months of preparation, time and money - the team anxiously watched as the car got up to speed on the ramp, hit the loop, and crashed miserably.

It was a disheartening moment, but it proved that all of the science and engineering can't give driverless cars the one element that only a driver brings - the human element.  Read more>

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How Facebook Changed My Life

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How Facebook Changed My Life

 We’re all products of Facebook, right? We all waste countless hours a day checking in on everyone – friends from high school we never talk to in real life, our co-workers, our exes, our neighbors – constantly hitting refresh on that massive time suck that is the News Feed.

But I’m different. I can credit the most important point of my career – hell, my life – to Facebook. And now, five years since that moment, I realize how unbelievably different my career experience is from that of my parents. Read more>

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Now You Can Build (and Destroy) Your Favorite Hot Wheels Cars

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Now You Can Build (and Destroy) Your Favorite Hot Wheels Cars

From the company that brought you the Porsche 911 GT3 RS that kept me sane during a snow storm comes a new line of Team Hot Wheels vehicles, mini-figs and play sets created in partnership with Mattel.

For those who are fans of Team Hot Wheels, this toy line is actually the only one featuring the Team Hot Wheels drivers - brought to life as mini-figs with detailed fire suits and helmets, miniature replicas of Troy Lee's original designs. Read more>

 

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Now Your Kid Can Afford a Cooler Car Than You

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Now Your Kid Can Afford a Cooler Car Than You

Remember when you were a kid, and you scooted around town in the adorable, rotationally molded wonder that was the Cozy Coupe? Remember how awesome that was? Remember how, at that age, you thought it was the pinnacle of automotive excellence?

Kids these days have it way better than you ever did. Read more>

 

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Building a Porsche 911 GT3 RS

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Building a Porsche 911 GT3 RS

To most people, the name "Mega Bloks" conjures up memories of big, chunky, brightly-colored building blocks in a clear plastic carrying bag - the types of toys meant for young children before they hone their motor skills enough to graduate to LEGO. The brand is thought by many to be second-tier, the "knock off" to the company that brought us LEGO Batman, LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Harry Potter - to name a few.

Mega Bloks had developed a line in partnership with the Need for Speed franchise, and the sets are a true car lover's dream. They're proportionally accurate, complete with the perfect balance of visible blockiness and smooth plastic finishes to ensure the finished products reflect the cars they were designed after.

The one set I hadn't put together was the biggest build - the 630-piece 1:14 scale Porsche 911 GT3 RS, complete with detailed interior, adjustable seats and mini engine build. The set has been sitting in the box for months, and had made the journey from LA to NYC with me when I moved for Gawker back in October. Read more>

 

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