Up On Two Wheels

Supercross Media Preview
All Photos by Randy Stern

Rarely does Victory & Reseda cover anything with two wheels.

In this case, it is driven by your interest. I found out that aside your love for four-wheeled transport, you also love two-wheeled – preferably motorized – transport, too.

Importantly, you also like to advance your love of two-wheeled, motorized transport in the motorsport arena. You may enjoy the global excitement of MotoGP, which brings the best riders in the world on superbikes at the best road courses around the world. You may like dirt track racing, putting high powered bikes onto the dirt oval.

Then again, you might like motocross and Supercross. Of all of the motorcycle motorsport series, motocross and Supercross is the most popular in this country.

To explain these series, it is as simple as summer and winter. Continue reading

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Watching The Big Trucks Fly

All Photos by Randy Stern

Deep inside all of us is a person that loves crazy things that drive, fly and land.

This is not to reduce the fun and excitement of Monster Jam. It is a form of entertainment that is borne in the psyche of unfiltered joy. It is the sight of a 12-foot high by 12-foot long vehicle, on 60-inch tires and the highest suspension lift known to machine take on dirt hills to go as high as 35-40 feet in the air.

We love that kind of stuff.

Unfortunately, I used to snub my nose at things like this. I found the commercials ridiculous and the idea of such a vehicle just childish and cartoonish. If I wanted something like this, the vehicles had to be more down to Earth, running around some tarmac…you get the idea.

There comes a time when the experience has to be achieved. All snobbery and disdain for things such as Monster Jam must be set aside for a brief episode in life.

So, I attended my first Monster Jam at the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Continue reading

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Commentary: Mitsubishi Eclipse….As Another Crossover?

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America

To the collective groan of, frankly literally anyone who has heard the news, Mitsubishi brought back the Eclipse…as a crossover.

Mitsubishi did acknowledge that they are playing off the name of the extremely popular sports car which sold 1.8 million units over it’s 23 year lifespan, so it’s not like they’re trying to hide it. Then they tried to justify it with some hot trash about the astronomical origins of the name and how the car’s lines reflects said astronomical event to justify the naming conventions. Nobody is fooled. Really, it’s just Mitsubishi trying to capitalize on the Eclipse moniker. Hoping that since people will remember the Eclipse fondly, it will translate into better sales for the new truck.

This feels really gross but it isn’t the first time a brand has gone about doing this in the past. The issue at hand here, while most companies at least attempt to have some common theme with their naming, Mitsubishi honestly doesn’t give a shit. Now, this isn’t me blasting Mitsubishi because I don’t like them. Honestly I really want to like Mitsubishi. They have the potential for really great stuff, it just seems that they’re in serious fiscal trouble and they’re panicking to get back on track. What they should do is calm down for 5 seconds and follow Mazda’s lead.

Continue reading

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Historiography: A Personal History of Flight

…indeed! All Photos by Randy Stern

I arrived from my trip to the Chicago Auto Show this past Friday. The memory of a successful show still lingers. It was a great trip overall.

However, there is nothing like getting psyched up for a flight to the destination…and wind down on the one coming home.

Though the destination and the work done there are the centerpieces of any trip, it is the journey there and back that bookend a good trip. When everything clicks perfectly, that is considered a great trip.

Over the years, the amount of flying have fluctuated over the years. Some years, I’ve seen more of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport than I ever anticipated. Other years, I felt that going to MSP is indeed a special occasion. Either way, the airport is a familiar location – whether it is Terminal 1 or 2. I have my routines when I check in, go through security and when picking up people there.

Which airlines do I choose to fly? Continue reading

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Quickies: Higher Voltage

2017 Chevrolet Volt – All Photos by Randy Stern

You can never give up when you truly believe in something.

Electrification is a part of the mobility scheme for the future. Though the indicators show that we will see growth in electrified vehicles – everything from light hybrids to plug-in battery-charged models – early indicators have been mixed. While you see plenty of Tesla’s premium vehicles on the roads, other EVs have not been as present. Toyota saw growth in the Prius, but that has been cooled down in the past several months.

This is not stopping Chevrolet from trying. The 2017 Bolt EV has been winning accolades left and right – including Motor Trend’s Car of The Year and the North American Car of The Year. The Volt continues in an all-new guise with its mission still intact, along with some improvements.

Over five years ago, I had a chance to work with a Chevrolet Volt. It was a ground-breaking vehicle that was designed for electric propulsion as its primary power source, backed up by an internal combustion “range extender.” The result was something that was odd looking, but worked quite well. Yet, it battled hard in the marketplace, while hybrids were trying to nudge their way into the mainstream of the market.

For another publication, I was invited to drive the 2017 Volt by a local dealership. I did…briefly. I will say that it has certainly improved in this second generation model.

Continue reading

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Chicago 2017: “Blair Witch,” “Star Wars,” and Then Some…

All Photos by Randy Stern

I could do a standard-issue look at the 109th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. However, I have done that plenty of times.

In fact, this is my tenth time I visited the show. This marks the 15th anniversary of my first one – credentialed as media. That now makes it nine years as a media person, the seventh in a row.

So, how do I talk about the 2017 Chicago Auto Show that won’t be as predictive and boring?

Let’s just start from the beginning – the night before the Midwest Automotive Media Association breakfast.

Continue reading

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Chicago 2017: Preview Time!

2016 Chicago Auto Show
Photo by Randy Stern

The Chicago Auto Show is almost here. This will be my seventh straight time I have been credentialed to work as a member of the automotive media. This will also be my ninth Chicago show I have worked since 2002. With the additional visit in 2008, this will make my tenth visit to McCormick Place in February overall.

Through all of these Chicago Auto Shows, I always have two agenda points to accomplish. One is to go over any vehicle of interest that debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the North American International Auto Show. Second is to attend any press conferences for any manufacturer of interest.

As of going to press, press conferences being scheduled for Thursday, February 8 include Acura, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, MOPAR, Nissan, and Toyota. Subaru will also have a product unveiling in Chicago, as well.

As for the “catching up” part, there are quite a few new models to check out. Continue reading

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The Birthday Jeep

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 – All Photos by Randy Stern

In my 50-plus years of life, I don’t recall ever getting a Jeep for my birthday.

Not that I ever had one. Nor do I recall getting one. My brother and I might have a Tonka toy of an old Wagoneer, a military Jeep or a CJ. But, a real live one? Who would have thought about it in my 50-plus years of living?

It is a great gift. A Jeep is a vehicle that honors its legacy of being the victor in war and conqueror of all majesty of this wonderful land of ours. It is the embodiment of the spirit of the U.S. of A. in sheetmetal.

I could wax poetic over the Stars-and-Stripes and everything patriotic, but there is a new reality for Jeep. Though Willys-Overland and Ford began producing the Jeep as a versatile implement for Allied forces in World War II, it became a civilian after the last bullets were fired. Willys-Overland built not only the civilian version of the war hero, but added fun models that could be driven in town, as well as up in the mountains or down on the farm.

The Jeep brand had changed hands many times over the past 75 years. Continue reading

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My Favorites From My Birth Year

1964-1/2 Ford Mustang
“You knew I had to show up eventually…” – All Photos by Randy Stern

What was so good about the year I was born? The Beatles, The Supremes, Muscle and Pony Cars…am I missing anything else?

Here’s an idea: Shove an engine from one of the full-sized models into a smaller one. Before you do, you have to upgrade the transmission, driveline, final drive ratio, suspension, tires, wheels, brakes and steering. These upgrades don’t have to be custom-made since the supplier just happens to be around the corner in the parts bin.

The next step is to promote the new “option package” through auto racing. If it wins somewhere on Sunday, you make sure to buy it on Monday. It doesn’t matter if it’s NASCAR or the drag races, it brings a racing machine closer to home – as near as the local car dealership.

That was the mid-1960s in a nutshell: Muscle Cars and Pony Cars were all the rage!

I was born at the right time. The year 1964 provided new opportunities for domestic automakers to expand their portfolios not only across market segments, but also in the breadth of variants made for each model sold.

Not everything born in 1964 was a Muscle or Pony Car. That’s why you’ll see how this list of My Favorites will shape up.

Continue reading

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Commentary: The (Re)State of V&R – 2017

The V&R colors flying at Joey Nova’s – Photo by Randy Stern

On Wednesday, February 1, 29 folks showed up at Joey Nova’s in Tonka Bay, MN for some dinner. It was supposed to be Victory & Reseda’s official send-off of the 2017 Polar Run. However, it turned into many other things.

The die-hard local car enthusiasts group, Cartholicism, held their “Carch” at this event. We were joined by members of Minnesota Volkswagen (MNVW), Minnesota Nissan infiniti (MNNI), FZS and CarQueenz. It was a good crowd, as welcomed by Gary Ezell and Anna Marie Ledstrom and their great crew at Joey Nova’s. It was indeed a great night at what we now call “The Clubhouse.”

Gary and I made some speeches that night. I saw a recording of one of those speeches as posted in another Facebook group. It made me think about some of the remarks I made. I wanted to make sure how true they were to what I do on here and for other publications and outside clients.

The main point that was made on how much this site is not an ego trip for me. Continue reading

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