Commentary: A Blizzard Full of Social Media Rancor

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“Don’t look behind the Ford EcoSport…” – Photo by Randy Stern

Winter decided to create havoc in the Twin Cities – again!

This is not the first time we had significant snowfall in the Twin Cities in mid-April. Back in 1983, the Twin Cities experienced a blizzard with a similar force – on the same day! This weekend saw snow accumulations of around 15 inches.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol and other media sources, 1,182 vehicles spun out during the storm. Plus, there were 630 crashes statewide with 62 involving injuries. There were two fatalities on the roads during the storm.

Those of us who stayed off the roads might be considered smart. Yet, we never let up of our disdain for a major April snowstorm that sometimes pops up on our memory banks on occasion.

The difference between 1983 and this past weekend was your response to it. Continue reading

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V&R@7: My Favorite Vehicle Subjects of The Last Seven Years

I make a bad police officer...
Murray The Cop – All Photos by Randy Stern/Victory & Reseda

On April 13th of 2011, this site received a major boost with the arrival of its first vehicle. This vehicle would open up the floodgates in publishing reviews of the latest vehicles in the marketplace.

From that first vehicle came hundreds more. They came from all over the place – throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. We missed out on some South American, Australian, and African made goods. But, there are so many vehicles we covered. From inexpensive city cars to the greatest vehicles of them all, no stone was left unturned.

Picking an “My Favorites” list from the many vehicles featured on these pages is like picking the perfect fruit from the produce section of your nearby supermarket. You look at it, consider whether it is good to eat or not, then decide to put it in your basket or leave it with the rest of them.

Lists have a way to induce butthurt. Someone will disagree. You might even agree. That is why lists are always debatable.

Continue reading

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V&R@7: The Seven Year Itch

2011 Lexus IS 250C 1
It all really started here… – Photo by Randy Stern

In 2011, this career got a major boost.

I was on your radar. I began to work with tools and products you now see on these pages. I became relevant, as I went deeper into the work.

You invited me to car meets, media drives, auto shows, and other related events. You recognized me as a supplier of content and a brain to pick over.

You loved me. You hated me. You even pretended to give a fuck.

Seven years later, I’m still here. This site is still here.

You’re still here.

Seven years of good luck, perhaps?

How do we celebrate this? By doing what we do best. I write – you read. You follow on social media. We engage.

Seven years of Victory & Reseda. The story has been told. The story continues. Now, what stories do you want to read?

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Commentary: Car Season is Back…From The Freezer!

1968 Plymouth Fury
All Photos by Randy Stern

It was Saturday. We had significant snowfall through the week, but it enabled a brief gap of recovery for the Twins home opener.

However, tradition states that the first MN Cars & Coffee would officially kick off car season for the denizens of the frozen tundra. It would be the first C&C season opener held at their new home at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. It would also be the coldest C&C season opener that I have ever experienced.

It was sunny, which was great. At 8:00 AM that Saturday morning, the air temperature was +12 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yet, the crowds did come. Continue reading

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The Coolest SUV On The Road

2018 Dodge Durango R/T
2018 Dodge Durango R/T AWD – All Photos by Randy Stern

In my humble opinion, the Dodge Durango is one of the few really cool SUVs out there.

There is some proof of this claim. How many SUVs have real swagger? I’m talking the kind of swagger that you can roll up into a car meet, smile, and give the one-finger salute on the way out because some troll tried to butthurt you – because you rolled up in an SUV.

Seriously, which SUVs will allow you to be cool and badass at the same time? Some say that it takes a BMW X6M, a Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG, or G65 AMG to pull that off – with loads of cash in your pocket, of course! A Range Rover would for the simple fact that you can easily look down upon the peasants.

If you look no further than at the same production line as the Dodge Durango – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jefferson North Assembly Plant – you have its two savage cousins: The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and Trackhawk. Both employ big V8s – one with a supercharger attached. Both can work a track without mercy. And, both can scare the living daylights out those fanboys who will eventually head back to their half-done wannabe sports compact.

Continue reading

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The Heirloom MkII: My First Home Opener Ever

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All Photos by Randy Stern

Forty-eight years of baseball memories have yielded so much.

I set foot in fourteen Major League Baseball homes. Each one still has a lingering effect on me. Some of these places no longer have their respective teams playing there anymore.

It is one home team that had been a goldmine of memories since 2004 – the Minnesota Twins. Between two ballparks were a trove of memories that were never experienced elsewhere. Continue reading

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Historiography: The “X” Factor

Chevrolet Nova
All Photos by Randy Stern

In 1975, Cadillac took an important step to reclaim lost sales of their larger, more iconic automobiles. They introduced the Seville.

The Seville represented a new kind of Cadillac – trim, small, but had every inch of Cadillac luxury inside and out. A 5.7-liter V8 powered this trim new Cadillac, even in the face of the residual effects of the OPEC Oil Crisis that threatened the existence of the 230-inch full-sized automobile.

Yet, the Seville did not sport the brand’s iconic fins. They also integrated a grille that was seen as a mix of Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce rather than a Cadillac. Not to mention, the interior volume seemed a bit tight for traditional Cadillac customers used to limousine-like rear seat space in their Devilles and Fleetwoods.

The one bit of information that was kept away from the general public laid deep below the upright roofline and leather-laden cabin. It was the frame itself.

In order to make the Seville, Cadillac looked to the entire General Motors lineup for inspiration. Continue reading

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Commentary: Subscribe To Your Car Here…

2018 Chicago Auto Show
Photo by Randy Stern

The 2019 Volvo XC40 had a great launch in March of 2018. Over 1,000 units were spoken for in the USA alone, according to published sales figures.

A percentage of those units sold came from a new form of vehicle ownership transaction. It is called Care by Volvo. In other words, this is an inclusive subscription service that includes insurance, maintenance, and service on wear items. All told, a 2019 Volvo XC40 Momentum T5 AWD would be yours for two years for the subscription cost of $600 a month, as long as they adhere to a 15,000-mile driving limit per year.

This sounds like a great deal, right? Well…that is if you start comparing the cost of a purchase or a lease against the Care by Volvo subscription cost.

Instead of crunching the numbers, let’s talk about subscription car “ownership” for a moment.

Continue reading

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On The Dial: From Radio to a Song

2018 Dodge Durango R/T
Photo by Randy Stern

Is radio still a way to introduce you to new music?

It used to be. It was a way to introduce you to new artists, songs, and movements. The powerhouse AM stations of the 1950s and 1960s drove young music-hungry consumers to the record store – remember the record store? They bought singles – remember those, too? Eventually, they would buy albums on vinyl, 8-track cartridges, cassettes, CDs…amazing, wasn’t it?

It remained true for the rest of the 20th Century. This pattern of listening to new music on the radio, then buy your copy of that song that you went crazy for.

What happened to those days? Oh, that’s right…the Internet, Napster, smartphones, apps, wider delivery of broadcast programming…

Continue reading

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The Volkswagen Passat Fuel Economy Challenge

2018 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T SEL Premium
2018 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T SEL Premium – All Photos by Randy Stern

One of my favorite sedans I have worked with has returned.

The current Volkswagen Passat has always engaged me with its combination of performance, economy, space, and comfort. After all, it has one of the largest cabins in the midsized family sedan segment. Not to mention a smooth ride with a bit of Germanic firmness, though designed for American families in mind.

For 2018, the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder TSI engine gets a bump in displacement and horsepower. Of course, any change to this favored sedan is welcomed, but it also needs to be tested. Of course, I was curious how this new 2.0-liter TSI engine would do with its bump in horsepower in an old familiar shell.

The horsepower bump is just four horsepower – 174 vs. 170 in the old 1.8-liter version. There is no change in the torque rating, which I found interesting. Still, a 200cc bump is displacement should translate into something greater, right?

The 2.0-liter engine has many tunes available across the Volkswagen lineup. Continue reading

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