Ride A Painted Pony

2018 Ford Mustang GT
2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Fastback – All Photos by Randy Stern

The Ford Mustang and I have one thing in common – our birth year.

The original Ponycar’s arrival into showrooms occurred a couple of months later – April 17, 1964, to be exact. Starting at $2,368 for a bare bones Mustang two-door notchback coupe, some 22,000 customers basically said “just take my money” upon first sight. I’m sure there were many of those first day customers who test drove one and slapped their hard-earned money on the salesman’s table for one.

Last year, the 10-millionth was produced at the Flat Rock Assembly plant near Detroit. This was a milestone given how the Mustang has grown to become the best-selling sports coupe in the world – not just in the USA and Canada. The painted pony is now sold in 150 countries, driving a share of 15.4 percent of the segment’s sales. Since 2015, a half-million Mustangs went into customer’s hands – seeing the roads around the Goodwood Estate, Mount Panorama, the Great Wall, Ipanema Beach, and everywhere in-between.

I had some experience with the Mustang. Well…OK…let me qualify this. My brother and I owned a Mustang that was less than spectacular – a 1974 Mustang II Ghia in Lime Yellow with an Avocado vinyl roof and matching vinyl interior. We experienced how the Cologne V6 was not-so-well-matched to the oft-recalled C3 automatic transmission. We felt quite embarrassed with its color scheme and lack of satisfaction it eventually gave us in the end.

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Travelogue: (Re)Connecting DC and Baltimore

Good ol’ DC! – All Photos by Randy Stern

There is a thing about returning to a place I have once lived some decades ago. It is not just the memories that food back of places I once roamed. But, rather, the continuous shock of the new.

I keep on forgetting how Washington, DC and the surrounding suburbs are in constant evolution. New Administrations bring in new people to set the tone for the region in the course of a Presidential term.

Some 39 miles away, Baltimore looms away from the power structures of the Pennsylvania Avenue NW. A historic city that evokes the inspiration of Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem, of Edgar Allen Poe and his dark poetry and prose, of Charles S. Dutton and his civic duty to bring a different image of the city to television, and of John Waters who can flip his beloved city on its side through a crazed form of camp.

Beyond these two historic cities are fields of tangible legacies. Some still evoke scenes of bloodshed as a nation divided fought for the cause of humanity. One felt that people who seen as inferior should remain as such. Others believe that it is wrong to enslave humans in a nation that promoted freedom through democracy.

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New York 2019: Knocking on 2020’s Door

2020 Lincoln Corsair – Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Company

Two cities have been vying for our automotive attention this week. While Shanghai has been rolling out the more exotic stuff, New York offered up more things that are down to Earth – more like, down to our country’s consciousness.

Needless to say, my focus was already on New York. Not because they are introducing new products for our specific market, but of their significance. Rather, the manufacturers saved the best for the last major auto show in the Western world.

By the best, what exactly do I mean? Let me run down the six new vehicle debuts that will play a significant part of the upcoming 2020 model year. And, no, these are not aligned with the future “The Jetsons” laid out for us in cartoon-land.

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Eight Years of V&R…So, Which Vehicles Are Missing?

2011 Lexus HS 250h
All Photos by Randy Stern

This site’s eight years have had its moments. These great moments that were beyond limited to the four I listed in the last article.

We also had the opportunity to work with some great automobiles – also, too numerous to list beyond the four we posted before. Maybe, someday I’ll have a list of everything that made this website and my own media work worth these past eight years.

However, you may have found that there were a few vehicles missing among the well over 350 of them utilized for editorial on this site. This is the purpose of this article – to list out those vehicles that have been missed by this work.

It is actually not that long of a list. However, you may be scratching your head and wondering “how come I did not have that in for review or for an article of some sort.” Too many reasons. Maybe missed opportunities? Who knows? Who cares?

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Technology, Yes, But It Is Still a Luxury Compact SUV

2018 Audi Q5
2018 Audi Q5 2.0T quattro – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the Audi Q5

As I was planning my trip to Washington, DC and Baltimore for the Washington Automotive Press Association’s EV Day at the Washington Auto Show, an e-mail came from a public relations representative from Audi. It was an interesting pitch regarding the expansion of their vehicle-to-infrastructure technology that includes Traffic Light Information and Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory features.

I’ll admit that, at first, I ignored it. Then, she followed up with asking if I would like to try out the technology. Eventually, the discussion turned towards this trip to Washington. Therefore, I was scheduled an Audi Q5 for the purposes of experiencing this advances technology.

Before I go off the deep end of driver assistance technologies and the brass tacks of vehicle-to-infrastructure technology, there is a vehicle to discuss here. A very important vehicle for consumers in higher income brackets who simply want a compact SUV to roll around comfortably in places, such as Washington, DC.

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For The Love of The 4Runner

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road – All Photos by Randy Stern

Let’s state some facts, shall we?

First off, 4Runner sales are on the rise. The first quarter of 2019 saw a 4.1-percent increase in deliveries over the same period in 2018. It is the sixth best-selling vehicle in the Toyota lineup – one of seven that are selling over 10,000 units per month.

Then, there’s the reports and accolades pointing to the longevity of 4Runners out on the road. Between Autoweek, iSeeCars, and other outlets, their reports put the 4Runner among the Top 10 or Best In Class in terms of dependability and durability.

Lastly, we keep on forgetting that the 4Runner is built as a body-on-frame SUV. According to enthusiasts, that is considered a proper SUV. Therefore, we see 4Runners going into off-road trails and overlanding everywhere across North America.

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Washington 2019: Plugging In and Taking It All In

All Photos by Randy Stern

The Twin Cities Auto Show was not my final stop on the circuit. That was reserved for something that challenged my memory.

In December of 1996, I arrived in Washington, DC seeking a complete change of life. I was already involved in an online community of like-minded gay/bisexual men and I also brought that movement to the Nation’s Capitol.

It was an interesting time. I learned a lot about life and where I should be in it. It was well before I would undertake a career in writing/blogging/photography/media/etc.

I tried to recall whether I attended the Washington Auto Show during my time in DC and Northern Virginia. I don’t think I ever attended any auto show on the East Coast ever – even after I moved from there in October of 2000.

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Chicago 2019: We Got Videos, Yes We Do!

Photo by Randy Stern

To wrap up our coverage of the 111th Chicago Auto Show, we now turn to Josh Dvorak and FlecsMedia for a series of videos from McCormick Place.

Josh and Veronica Krawiec have been on our team for last year’s show. This year, we had a few ideas in mind. They appear to be random, but we think these are some of the headlines you will find at any auto show across North America.

Where do we begin? How about…

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V&R Turns Eight

Dodge Dart Social Media Drive 5
All we do as automotive journalists is follow each other, right? – All Photos by Randy Stern

We’re turning eight years old this month.

It is cause for celebration. But, it is also a prompt to get busy on ensuring the future of this site through the work it is doing currently. It is also a cue for us to reflect and plan at the same time.

To know its future, you must know its past. At its core, V&R is a website. It is about the written word, telling stories, passing down history, and analyzing the industry we love.

But, it is just a component of everything V&R does. It collaborates on video projects with others, engaging readers and social media followers, create experiences, and pursues stories that pertain to your interests.

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Up For Your Next Adventure

2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2019 Toyota RAV4

Let’s look back at 2018, shall we?

The top three best-selling vehicles in the USA were, of course, pickup trucks. Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram continue to dominate vehicles sales with the combined force of their half-ton and heavy-duty pickup trucks. This has always been this way for decades.

We often talk about thee proliferation of the SUV in this country. Last year, that has continued to dominate the market equally with the pickup truck. Families have decided that the SUV is the way to go for family transport and to fill the parking lots and garages of their place of employment. You cannot go to a shopping center without having to sift through them for an open space.

Believe me, the enthusiasts are upset. Their precious coupes, sedans, convertibles, and wagons are slowly fading into oblivion. Several car lines have been cut for 2019. Woe is you.

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