To Answer Your Question, Let’s Compare Them All!

2017 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
All Photos by Randy Stern

Considering I had a short run of big headline, high horsepower cars – I felt compelled to do a mental comparison of them.

Except, there was a small problem. To compare them, I have to throw out the old “apples to oranges” comparison. Because comparing an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and the Lexus LC 500 is exactly that – apples to oranges.

Yet, it would seem somewhat logical to examine which one would be more suitable for the “living with it” testing environment. The Alfa Romeo represents the intersection of its past and present, as fine-tuned by a Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged V6 and yards of carbon fiber all around. On the other hand, there’s the Lexus grand tourer that was originally a concept turned into a production car with a powerful V8 underneath its hood.

This comparison could be one for the ages Continue reading

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(Our) Favorite Vehicles of Our Childhood

MNVW Track day 7.22.17
All Photos by Randy Stern

We shape our view of the automobile based on what we know…and how we comprehend it.

Growing up, that idea of the car, truck, minivan, and SUV was simpler then. Our memories shape how we were transported to school, after-school activities, and the occasional family night out. Your parents came home from their commute from work with the familiar fumbling of keys to lock up the vehicle after a hard day at a job that puts food on the table and a roof over your head.

Remember those days? You are probably living them right now.

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From Concept to Production…to This!

2018 Lexus LC 500
2018 Lexus LC 500 – All Photos by Randy Stern

I know what you’re thinking…

“Oh, great, Randy is reviewing another Lexus! He must be such a fanboy of the brand himself that his journalistic integrity is just dust by now…”

If you think that way, then perhaps you can wait and read my consumer-focused review of this same car in the lifestyle magazine expected to be published in July. That is, if you don’t mind the intended demographic of the magazine, some of the editorial content and perhaps a few adverts inside said publication.

Incidentally, said magazine was once the Minnesota Magazine of The Year. In 2016.

However, if you think otherwise…then, read on…

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Quickies: Vantage Point

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
2019 Aston Martin Vantage – All Photos by Randy Stern

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Aston Martin?

In this country, it’s Sean Connery – playing James Bond. That silver DB5 has a lasting effect on people, especially when they do not realize that (a) Aston Martin had a long history before its big screen debut and (b) there had been many other Aston Martins produced since.

For those people who know both (a) and (b), there is also another perception to tackle. We know Aston Martin as a purveyor of great grand touring coupes. Sometimes, they’ll pour more horsepower into these coupes to create relevance when pitted against other marques.

When they created the first Vantage, Aston Martin wanted a sports coupe that would rival everything from the Jaguar F-Type to the Porsche 911 and everything else in-between. Continue reading

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Commentary: “The Rolls-Royce of SUVs”

All photos courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

It is now a reality – the Rolls-Royce of SUVs.

Rolls-Royce debuted their latest addition to their growing line of automobiles – the Cullinan. For three years, the bespoke British brand and member of the BMW Group announced it would make this vehicle. A series of videos shot in Scotland, the United Arab Emirates, Colorado and Utah relentlessly teased us by showing its capabilities in these regions.

From prototype to a real-life model the teasing is over. The “high riding” Rolls-Royce Cullinan is set to go on sale. All with a 562 horsepower 6.75-liter V12, suicide doors, and off-road capability to boot.

It brings up a lot of old and new questions. Continue reading

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The Quadrifoglio Experience

2017 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio – All Photos by Randy Stern

For years, I have always wanted to drive an Alfa Romeo.

Even before I finally got a chance behind the wheel of a 4C coupe a few years ago, I felt that I was unworthy of piloting an Italian icon. Even if a Milano or a 164 had an automatic transmission, I passed on that opportunity while circling one on the showroom floor.

Recently, I did a couple of dealer-based drives of Alfa Romeo’s latest vehicles – the Giulia and the Stelvio. It’s great that I was able to experience what these vehicles were all about. Yet, its short time in my care yielded only basic information, despite volumes of endorphin-inducing moments of joy.

Twenty minutes does not equal the full Alfa Romeo experience. Continue reading

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On The Dial: Here, Now, The News!

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Photo by Randy Stern

Radio became popular when the programming was expanded to network shows and news programming.

That was the late 1920s onward into the 1950s. It was also helped by the inclusion of the car radio as an additional way for motorists to enjoy the drive.

As television began to supplant the radio in terms of entertainment programming, networks had to find a way to keep their frequencies open. Listeners knew that they could not take television with them in their automobiles. The shows they knew from radio have all been translated onto television.

News programming has always been on the radio. Continue reading

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Historiography: From Milano, With Love

All Photos by Randy Stern

One brand with such rich history and aura, it spawned many stories from it.

Obviously, this brand would be Italian. It would well over a hundred years old. And, it is brand that invites enthusiasts to rally around it. It won great races and hearts of drivers since 1910.

There are many stories to tell about Alfa Romeo. Let me start with a “legend”…

Jeremy Clarkson may be a legend to most, but he did state that to be a proper “petrolhead,” you must have an Alfa Romeo. He is right – from a European standpoint. It is sort of true in the USA. We take a slightly different perspective on this. Alfa Romeos had a smaller presence per capita in this country. Yet, it would be the true enthusiasts of this brand who have embraced these temperamental machines.

It did take a movie…or, perhaps a few…to truly bring out the Alfisti is most of us. Continue reading

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Quickies: As Published Elsewhere (Volume II)

2018 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription
All Photos by Randy Stern

It’s tough when you give a publication “first rights” to a vehicle subject. It’s even tougher when those vehicles are headline grabbers…and are superb!

This is the story of this batch “As Published Elsewhere” Quickies reviews. Vehicles that are found elsewhere with my byline, reviewed fully on those pages. They do find their way here because you want to know more about them.

Let’s catch up on some vehicles that may not have passed these pages…

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Purified by The Waters of Lake Minnetonka

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4X4
2018 Ford Expedition Limited – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2018 Ford Expedition

Let me talk about a little trend that you may or may not be aware of.

The term “SUV” is on a high trajectory as the family conveyance for the good ol’ U.S. of A. We prefer them to cars – a lot. Some, as demonstrated by a recent announcement during an earnings call, have decided to concentrate their entire automotive business on selling SUVs and Crossovers to everyone they can lure into a showroom.

Keep in mind that there is an SUV for everyone and every budget. You can get them small enough to park in front of your apartment building in a densely-populated part of the city because no one had the forethought of adding parking to the rear of it. They come in every size – all the way up to ginormous beasts only found in certain suburban enclaves where the kids have access to do anything active – and exceptionally well.

I think about whenever I head towards my friend’s restaurant – also known as “the clubhouse” – in the Far West Metro of the Twin Cities. Continue reading

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