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Day Two on Route 66 — All things Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(June 25, 2016) — Back in the 1950s and '60s a great many people may have planned their Route 66 vacation to include a stop in Springfield, Ill., to visit President's Lincoln's house and the train station from where he left for Washington to begin his first term in 1861. So we took a day out of our hectic schedule down the old road through Illinois to look at all things Lincoln.

2017 Mercedes SL65 AMG

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — If you are going to cruise Key Biscayne, Fla., you might as well do it in a 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL65 Roadster, right? Right. Normally I wouldn’t evaluate a car with which I had only spent 30 minutes; but because it was and will probably be my only opportunity to pilot this $217,000-plus roadster, I’ll go with it. I am an opportunist at heart.

2017 Chevrolet Volt

PHONEIX, Ariz. —  For 2017 Chevrolet has rolled out the second-generation Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle that extends the benefits of all-electric drive and eliminates range anxiety via the security of a range-extending gasoline powered engine when you need it. The first thing that strikes you about the new Volt is the attractive, conventional styling that eliminates any suggestion of a hybrid vehicle other than the electric fuel door on the front fender and upper and lower bright aluminum grille blades.

2016 GMC Canyon Diesel

MOAB, Utah — The GMC Canyon is the costlier up market counterpart to the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck. After a two year hiatus due to low demand and slumping sales GM brought back the trucks for 2015. It was seen as a surprise because other smaller trucks such as the Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline and Dodge Dakota had already left the market. That left just the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier and, neither of those trucks had seen a redesign since 2005 until the Tacoma this year.

Vehicle of the Week

2016 Toyota Tacoma — An off-road champ

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The bottom line — If you like the previous-generation Toyota Tacoma you will almost certainly like the all-new 2016 edition. All the things that have made the Toyota mid-sized pickup America's favorite over the past decade have been retained in this total remake. Toyota has improved the Tacoma in numerous ways while retaining its unique flavor.

Here's the Thing

Versatile Ford Transit Connect helps balance work and play — and side business

(June 25, 2016) DEARBORN, Mich. — New Ford Transit Connect Wagon owner Devin Stovall is one of a growing number of entrepreneurs putting their passion to work in a side venture. Stovall — a husband and father of two from Lincoln Heights, Calif. — recently won a customized 2016 Transit Connect Wagon as the randomly selected recipient of the Ford #Unminivan Giveaway.

MIT Technology Review ranks Toyota 17th 'smartest company'

(June 23, 2016) PLANO, Texas — MIT Technology Review has named Toyota one of the world’s smartest companies, placing the automaker among respected tech leaders like Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook, and ahead of others such as Microsoft, IBM, and Intel. Ranked #17, Toyota was one of only two automakers to achieve the distinction.

Tesla was the only other automobile company ranked in the top 50 coming in at number four.

J.D. Power ranks Kia highest in new vehicle quality beating premium brands

(June 23, 2016) DETROIT — Kia ranked highest in J.D. Power initial quality rankings of new vehicles with a score of 83 PP100, the first time in 27 years that a non-premium brand has topped the rankings. It is also the second consecutive year that Kia, which ranked second in 2015, has led all non-premium makes in initial quality.

Inside the Industry

UK premiere of 1,479-horsepower Bugatti Chiron this weekend

(June 25, 2016) GOODWOOD, UK — The venue for its first public appearance in the United Kingdom could hardly be more appropriate for the Bugatti Chiron. The motto of this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is “Full Throttle — The Endless Pursuit of Power." The Bugatti super sports car with 1,479 horsepower and a top speed of 260 mph limited for road use is being presented at the legendary hill climb piloted by British racing driver and Le Mans winner Andy Wallace. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is being held from June 23 to 26.

Day One on Route 66 — Not enough time to see everything

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(June 24, 2016) The biggest takeaway from our first day on old Route 66 is that we did not allow nearly enough time traveling the old highway out of downtown Chicago through such cities and towns as Joliet, Odell, Pontiac, Bloomington, Lincoln, and Atlanta on our way to Springfield. The route is teeming with small museums highlighting the glory years of the road, restored gas stations, diners and drive-ins of the past, and dozens of old car displays. One day simply is not enough for the serious visitor to discover the past glory of famous 66.

Mecum's first collector car auction in Portland has sales of $9.3 million

(June 24, 2016) WALWORTH, Wis.— With 300 vehicles hammered sold on the auction block in just two days, Mecum’s inaugural Portland auction at the Portland Expo Center was a pronounced success. Held June 17 and and18, the auction attracted vehicles from 17 states across the country and attendees from even more with total sales reaching more than $9.3 million.

The city was electric and the buzz about Mecum’s arrival in Portland was inescapable in the days leading up to the auction. The local enthusiasm coupled with the event’s national reach resulted in a packed house both auction days.

Abandoned Car of the Week

Willys Jeep wagon lives in Wisconsin

This 1953 Willys Jeep station wagon was found in good condition in Door County, Wis. The Willys Jeep wagon was the first mass-produced all-steel station wagon designed as a passenger vehicle. It was built in the United States from 1946 to 1965 with more than 300,000 sold.
(Photo by Ed Meachen)