Edition: October 2005 - Vol 13 Number 10
It’s the 2005 Dodge Magnum RT, according to Bradley Mounts, a 30-year-old sales manager for Wichita, Kan.-based BG Products, maker of auto maintenance supplies. Mounts made his case in the Aug. 12 edition of The New York Times. According to Mounts, “My Magnum holds all my equipment; it’s a blast to drive and it looks cool. When you’re in sales, first impressions matter.”
The Magnum “is a salesman’s dream for several reasons,” says Mounts, who calls on car dealerships and garages around Missouri. It has Sirius satellite radio with Boston speakers, a navigation system that gives estimated time of arrival and a hands-free cell phone system. The Magnum has a 340-horsepower V8 Hemi engine that “roars when the car accelerates,” but also provides good fuel economy on the highway. (Four of its eight cylinders shut down at cruising speeds.) “With its chop-top look from the 1950s, big wheels and beefy grille, this is definitely a station wagon for guys,” says Mounts. In fact, when his wife first saw the car at the local Dodge dealer, she said it looked like a hearse. But she changed her tune after Mounts bought his “cool vanilla” RT. “She describes it as ‘kind of hip and kind of cool, yet practical,’” he says. Base price of the Magnum SE is $22,995; the SXT, $26,935; and the RT, $30,910.
One way to turn off an alarm
Annoyed by car alarms? You could try what 48-year-old David Owen Rye did recently in Simi Valley, Calif. Annoyed by an alarm from a sailor’s parked Toyota Camry, Rye fired at least three bullets at the car, silencing the alarm and bringing out police who hauled him away in handcuffs, according to the Associated Press. “I mean, that’s not a safe guy,” says the car’s owner, Nicholas Moreno. “I mean, you get upset over an alarm, over a noise like that, [then] there’s some little kids making too much noise, and he decides to do something awful.”
10 cars they oughta sell here
Eat your heart out, America. Motor Trend presents its Top 10 list of cars that should be sold in the United States but aren’t: 1) Alfa Romeo Brera (“gorgeous two-door coupe” with “passionately Italian” styling; cost is around $40,000); 2) Ariel Atom (“the ultimate in automotive minimalism,” created by former GM and Aston Martin designer Simon Saunders and hand-built by race-car craftsman; cost is between $50,000 and $60,000); 3) Elfin MS8 (“the perfect postmodern sports car” with a 0-to-60 mph time of under 4.5 seconds; cost is between $84,000 and $98,000); 4) Ford Focus ST (“the best Focus that Ford won’t give us;” cost is in the mid- to upper-$20,000 range); 5) Ford Falcon GT (“room for five adults inside and a trunk big enough for a few sets of golf clubs,” plus a 390-horse version of Ford’s DOHC 5.4-liter modular V-8 and six-speed manual transmission; cost is around $35,000); 6) Holden HSV Maloo R8 (“a 21st-century El Camino SS, only better, much better;” cost is around $35,000); Land Rover Defender 90 (“[its] simple, riveted-aluminum body hides long-travel, four-coil suspension, disc brakes all around and a sophisticated five-cylinder BMW turbodiesel engine;” cost is about $24,000); 8) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ400 (“more than twice the price of America’s current Evo bad-boy, but that’s gotta be worth the satisfaction you’ll get from giving a Ferrari Enzo driver a heart attack at traffic lights at 3.5 seconds [to 60 mph];” cost is about $90,000); 9) Pagani Zonda C12 S7.3 (“the greatest Italian supercar you’ve never heard of;” Cost? “If you have to ask, you almost certainly can’t afford it.” Try a half-million); and 10) TVR Sagaris (“the Sex Pistols of sports cars: loud, fast, outrageous and uncouth;” cost is about 18 percent less than a base Porsche 911).
For sales reps who aren’t contemplating buying a Pagani Zonda but, rather, a small, fuel-efficient car, Consumer Reports offers these words of warning: Only two cars, the Toyota Corolla and Chevolet Cobalt, were given an “acceptable” rating in side-impact crash tests conducted earlier this year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Even these two cars initially failed the test when tested without optional head-protecting side airbags. Tests were performed on 14 small cars. Rated “poor” were the Cobalt and Corolla (without the side airbags), Volkswagen New Beetle, Suzuki Aerio, Mitsubishi Lancer, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Spectra, Suzuki Firenza, Nissan Sentra, Saturn Ion (with and without the side airbags) and Dodge Neon.
Inflation can be good
There’s not much you can do about rising gas prices. But, simply keeping your tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage by an average 3.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 PSI (pound per square inch) drop in pressure in all four tires. The bonus is that properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.