Cars & Motorcycles

Automobile March/April 2019

Automobile is an award-winning automotive publication that captures the passion and experience of driving great cars. Featuring engaging writing and stunning photography, Automobile transports readers with each and every issue. Discover a well-rounded editorial mix focused on design, technology, automotive art, vintage cars, and industry trends.

United States
TEN: The Enthusiast Network
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In this issue

4 min.
at the speed of thought

I SPIN AROUND, and suddenly there it is behind me—a red Lexus LC 500. “Go ahead and take a look inside,” says a voice somewhere in the ether. I hesitate for a moment and then decide to poke my head in through the window glass, instinctively bracing myself for impact. It never comes because the LC’s not physically there. But man, does it ever seem like it. By now you’ve probably seen people bobbing, gesticulating, or fumbling around with virtual reality (VR) goggles strapped to their skulls. I’ll never forget the first time I put them on several years ago: I was teleported into an off-road buggy, hitting dunes, bombing along the trail, hucking myself over jumps. It was mind-bending. Others on staff have experienced world-class driving simulations using VR tech, and…

8 min.
rubicon ho!

I WAS LAST HERE IN 1992. THEN IT WAS THE 4.0-LITER INLINE-SIX WITH A THREE-SPEED AUTOMATIC; TODAY IT’S A 3.6-LITER V-6 WITH AN EIGHT-SPEED AUTOMATIC. IN THE YEAR 49 B.C., emperor Julius Caesar led his troops across the Rubicon River into Italy, an egregious act of aggression that caused much peeing of pants among Roman senators, who fled rather than face the civil war Caesar’s act was sure to incite. “The die is cast,” Caesar said shortly after drying off, thus coining one of two phrases that resulted from his actions. The other: “crossing the Rubicon,” which has come to mean, according to Dictonary.com, “to commit oneself irrevocably,” perhaps to the point of no return. That’s a good attitude to have when you climb into a Jeep to tackle the Rubicon Trail, en…

1 min.
you want to drive the rubicon?

The Rubicon Trail hosts multiple off-road events each year, but the two best known and most popular are the Jeep Jamboree and the Jeepers Jamboree. Yes, despite their so-similar names, they are two separate events. The Jeep Jamboree is smaller, shorter, and more exclusive, and it encourages families. The Jeepers Jamboree offers more of an “adult atmosphere” and allows non-Jeep vehicles, including Toyota Land Cruisers, Toyota trucks, Suzuki Samurais, International Harvester Scouts, and pre-1979 Ford Broncos. Jeep Jamboree, however, requires that you drive a 1987–2019 Jeep Wrangler, with older Jeeps or non-Wrangler models requiring prior approval. Prices per person are about $400 to $500 and include different amenities. The Jeepers Jamboree is typically in July; the Jeep Jamboree is in August. You can register online. Make sure you do so early, as…

4 min.
when too much feels just right

EVEN ITS NAME is ridiculous: Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. It is more than 16 feet long, as wide as Kobe Bryant is tall, and weighs 2.5 tons—yet only has seats for two (with the rear-seat delete option). With a nice assortment of extra-charge goodies, this one costs more than $81,000. In the city, it burns through a gallon of premium fuel every 13 miles. And then there’s this: Under its hood lies a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 cranking out just a mouse whisker less than 800 horsepower. Which is to say, the new-for-2019 Redeye makes about as much sense as opening a box of thumbtacks in zero gravity. Let’s hear a round of applause for the nonsensical crew at Dodge! Look up the words “stupid fast” in the dictionary, and you’ll…

6 min.
an electric supertruck lurks

BECAUSE THIS IS our annual design issue, let’s talk about design. Or let’s talk about it as it pertains to the car launch prelaunch we attended at the Plymouth, Michigan, headquarters of Rivian—an electric vehicle startup founded in 2009. In other words, so long ago. But now, some 10 years on, here finally standing before us is Rivian’s first production model, the R1T, a high-riding, full-sized, electric, crew-cab, all-wheel-drive pickup with a claimed 0-60 time of less than 3 seconds, the ability to ford streams and excel off-road, and a claimed range between charges as high as 400 miles, though presumably not when towing to its maximum 10,000-pound capability. Rivian’s truck is not set to deliver until late 2019 at the earliest, but it’s here today for us to inspect, reflect upon,…

9 min.
place your bids

I ENJOYED Mike Floyd’s editor’s letter in the December issue regarding buying and selling. I am intrigued by the prices of some of history’s most important automobiles when presented at auction. The prices you noted surely do place these rolling works of art out of reach for all but the few and position them as investment-level art. There must be a thrill for those who win the auctions, but I wonder if they miss out on the real thrills of owning a special automobile? At these prices, the cars can be admired but not driven. I have been fortunate enough to buy and sell some great driver-grade cars in my life, from a 1977 Volkswagen Beetle convertible to a 1956 Nomad to an Aston Martin DB7 12-cylinder. Even more satisfying…