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Car and Driver December 2017

This magazine is for automobile enthusiasts interested in domestic and imported autos. Each issue contains road tests and features on performance, sports, international coverage of road race, stock and championship car events, technical reports, personalities and products. Road tests are conducted with electronic equipment by engineers and journalists and the results are an important part of the magazine's review section. Get Car and Driver digital magazine subscription today.

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american dream, the

The car gave Americans the ability to envision ourselves on the road, in faraway places, our destinations wholly up to us. Before the car, most people had never traveled faster than a galloping horse, save for those who boarded trains. But cars were different from trains or even horses because they were completely under our control. And that mattered. Cars enabled and embodied mankind’s freedom to dream and do. Cars individuated and empowered us. One could even argue that the idea of space exploration germinated on dusty highways that led to places where we didn’t know what we’d find until we got there. The car was the first machine to make us comfortable with the unknown. It made explorers out of all of us. The car created another kind of comfort,…

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assembly line

Here’s an inside look at Fiat Chrysler’s stamping and truck plants in Warren, Michigan, where parts for the Ram 1500 Quad and Crew Cabs are made and the trucks are built. The two factories cover more than 5.4 million square feet and produced 332,830 trucks in 2016. That’s a brand-spanking-new pickup truck every 94.8 seconds. Stage One: Stamping A team of 1732 hourly workers monitors 380 robotized presses and machines that stamp up to 12,000 hoods, roofs, liftgates, floor pans, and fenders per day for the Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan and Durango, Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and Ram trucks. Switching dies to change what’s being stamped can take as little as four minutes. Stage Two: Welding The 405 robots in this stage precisely weld steel frames and the stamped body panels for…

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autobahn of america, the

A Good Thing Gone Rudy Stanko, a man of many court battles, has had only one that matters to driving enthusiasts. And his win is our loss. Stanko is the man who challenged Montana’s “reasonable and prudent” speed law, which stood between 1955 and 1974 and again between 1995 and 1999. It was Stanko’s case that gave the Montana legislature reason to impose a highway speed limit. In March 1996, Stanko was ticketed for traveling 85 mph on Montana State Highway 200. He contested the charge in justice and district courts and was convicted by a jury twice. His second appeal landed the case in the Montana Supreme Court in December 1998. That court, in a four-to-three ruling, reversed the district court’s judgment. It called the “reasonable and prudent” clause vague on…

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Dear friends, we have arrived at a very dangerous moment in history. Please listen closely to what we have to say. The Pontiac Aztek, that automotive punchline made by General Motors for five long and regrettable years in the early aughts, is on the verge of being considered cool. We blame its recurring role on AMC’s insanely good series Breaking Bad for getting this ugly ball rolling. Right now, 10 bloggers are spitting out stories about the ways in which the Aztek is now cool. Okay, not actually cool, but “cool” through the process of ironic reassessment. It’s the process by which sales of that low-budget swill Pabst Blue Ribbon increased by about 150 percent between 2005 and 2014. As we pointed out in our “Guide to Automotive Bullsh!t” in July 2017,…

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History sometimes makes it seem as though the events of the past were inevitable. Gazing at photos of Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt spraying champagne after winning Le Mans in a Ford GT40 Mark IV in 1967, it’s difficult to imagine any other result. Yet the Ferrari 330 P4s that finished second and third crushed the 11 other Ford GTs in the race, and the big-block beast driven by Foyt and Gurney was the only Ford to run trouble-free to the finish. So, in effect, Ferrari was only a silly mistake or a sheared bolt away from winning the great road-racing war of the 1960s. Of course, Enzo Ferrari had nobody but himself to blame. Not for losing the war but for starting it in the first place. He’d set the…

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bmw 2002

It started with “Turn Your Hymnals to 2002.” That invocation, penned by the late David E. Davis Jr. in his paean to the 1968 BMW 2002 in our April 1968 issue, marked the beginning of the sports-sedan era. The 2002 wasn’t the only car of the time that synthesized the agility of a European sports car and the practicality of a compact sedan, but we instantly recognized it as the best and heralded the news to our readers. Back then, of course, no one could know that the 2002 would give rise to the enthusiast-oriented vehicles that flourish to this day. We certainly didn’t know that the 2002 and the 3-series it begat would win 23 10Best awards. Or that the 2002’s popularity would lead BMW to cultivate, own, and then…