Commentary: A New Editorial Year

2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited
Packing to go somewhere…in 2017? Photo by Randy Stern

Welcome to…2017?

Your calendar is correct. It is December of 2016. However, I operate on a different cycle. OK, two…

One cycle is for the #VOTY, which began after I closed the nominations at the end of October. The first two vehicles seen on this site are already in consideration for #VOTY17. Yes, I do work that fast…

However, December 1 began a new Editorial Year. This date is important because the last month of the year is set for year’s first deadlines for one of my outlets – the one named “Magazine of The Year” by the Minnesota Magazine Publishers Association.

Starting a new Editorial Year means renewal. Renewal of the soul and of the mind. Cleansing of last year’s low points and stress with hope for the next twelve months. With that said, I will not recap the year, as it will induce ill thoughts of what went wrong and who did what to induce poor health choices on my part that screwed up my 2016.

All I am looking forward to is the next twelve months. Continue reading

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My Favorite Vehicles of 2016

2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Gone Gandy Dancing
All Photos by Randy Stern

#VOTY16 has been awarded. The editorial calendar has turned over a new year. It is cause for celebration!

There is one more bit of business to take care of.

As a tradition, I sit down and look at all of the vehicles I had the chance to work with for all of my outlets and list my favorites of them all. It gives a chance to let you know what truly made this work special, whether you saw it here or elsewhere in the Interwebs.

You would think this is an easy task. It is not. I probably worked with 50-plus vehicles on a 12-month period, so picking a few out of that number is a monumental task. It gets more difficult every year.

However, this year was one that rose the bar further in this work. How so? I decided to select ten vehicles (OK, twelve) I worked with from last November to this one and compiled this list. I think some of it would come as no surprise. Others? Just read onward…

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#VOTY16: The Winner Is…

#VOTY16 Cert

The scores have been tabulated. The votes counted. There is one more thing to do here…

Announce the winner of #VOTY16.

Before we do so, here is how #VOTY16 shaped up.

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#VOTY16 – The Last Day to #VOTE4VOTY

This is it! You have until 11:59PM CT tonight to place your #VOTE4VOTY. Use the ballot below to record your vote.

Create your own user feedback survey

And then, tune into our Facebook page for a live broadcast at 7:00PM CT from Joey Nova’s in Tonka Bay, MN to see who won! We will also release the winner on here, via Twitter (@victorynreseda) and Instagram (@victoryreseda).

Don’t forget – if you don’t vote, you can never complain who won #VOTY16!

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A Wagon Everyone is Thankful For

2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited
2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2017 Subaru Outback

Let’s talk about stereotypes for the moment.

When you see the vehicle featured in this article, what does it come to mind? According to those who have seen photos…or have seen it in person…think of one specific stereotype: It is a vehicle for Lesbians.

I think it’s time for some education. In fact, have you read Ryan Senensky’s Historiography on the rise of Subaru as the leader in all-wheel drive vehicles? Nowhere in his article does it state anything about ownership stereotyping – not even the stereotype of the vaping habits of WRX or STi owners.

As an automotive media person, I have to intake and absorb all feedback from each vehicle I work with. As a gay man, I have to wonder if I should be complicit in the automated feedback of people equating one vehicle as belonging to a certain culture or population. Between my lesbian friends and vaping enthusiasts, we are not amused.

Yet, the Subaru Outback is the biggest selling car sold by Fuji Heavy Industries in the USA. For 32 consecutive months, Subaru sold over 10,000 Outbacks a month in this country. In October, they sold over 18,000 Outbacks – more than a lot of vehicles out in the marketplace.

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My Favorite Forbidden Fruit – Round Two

By OSX - Own work, Public Domain,

By OSX – Own work, Public Domain,

Over the past few years, the gap between things we (USA people) cannot have and could possibly get have narrowed.

Part of it due to the limitation on importing vehicles outside of the country – whether the regulation is for a vehicle that is 21 or 25 years old. Our Customs and Border Protection office of the Department of Homeland Security, allow for these vehicles to enter our country. Add on additional standards from the Environmental protection Agency and the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and your dream R34 Skyline GT-R could become more of a hassle than a reward for being unique and happy.

I will admit being fascinated by what can show up when it comes to the imagination of automobile folks. For example, my friend Richard’s 1968 Triumph 2000 estate that ran in his family for a couple of generations and a couple of countries before his importation of it into the USA this year. It is a thing of beauty that still provokes the big question: “what is it, exactly?”

It is a white wagon that now wears Minnesota Historic Vehicle license plates.

I also have friends and acquaintances that own R32 Nissan Skylines. More desirable are the GT-Rs – the moniker that brings all of the enthusiasts together. You can blame the late Paul Walker for the R32 – it is a very provocative car that is capable of great velocity and performance. The R33 would seem to be the next to permeate our shores, while the R34 still have a few years to wait until they do the same.

Between that 1968 Triumph and the Skyline GT-Rs, there is something to be said about what we – as American citizens – can see as possibilities to fulfill our dream of owning some forbidden fruit. To be able to work with Homeland Security, the EPA and the NHTSA to be the most unique and interesting person in America.

My thought? What if I was a gambler? What if I wanted something I always wanted to drive here legally…at least to legal enough standards? What will it take to work with DHS and the rest of the Federal Government to get something truly unique for the show circuit and on the road?

I have done this before as a “My favorites” post. Let me revisit it again? That way, I can truly explore what is out there to maybe – just maybe – make someone’s dream come true. Or, mine? Or…well, you get the idea…

Here I go…

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The Year of The Pathfinder

2017 Nissan Pathfinder 4WD Platinum
2017 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan has declared 2017 as their “Year of The Truck.” It is with plenty of fanfare to help boost their entire pickup, SUV and van lines as drivers for improved sales.

There are those who have a problem with how the term “truck” is being used in the marketplace. For example, when the North American Car/Truck of The Year jury awarded their truck award to the Volvo XC90, there were calls to reform that award. Now, the NACOTY has been split into three awards – the third being for the SUV of The Year. Still, most OEMs see sales of pickup trucks, vans and SUVs as one combined market as reflected in their sales reporting. True, SUVs were once derived from truck frames with bodies bolted on top of them. Today’s SUVs are actually more derived from a car platform than a truck one.

We can go on about market distinctions and definitions. The point is simple: Sales have risen for Nissan’s SUV and truck products in 2016. It is a trend that will continue into 2017. This a great time to polish up the lineup and add new products. The all-new Armada arrived with a global look and a specific purpose to battle with the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe. The Titan pickup added a half-ton version with a choice of cabs and trim levels – all powered by the uprated 5.6 liter Endurance V8 engine. The Rogue got a mid-cycle refresh and the addition of a hybrid driveline that will be different than anyone else’s in the marketplace.

Nissan was not done. They did a mid-cycle refresh of the three-row, mid-sized Pathfinder. It was reconfigured to compete directly with the likes of the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Kia Sorento and the three-row version of the Hyundai Santa Fe. It is highly competitive, but the entire segment seemed to have cooled off. It is not because of the rise of the compact SUV/crossover – the Rogue included. Rather it is the rise in pricing for these family haulers. For a well-equipped three-row mid-sized vehicle, you would be lucky to get a new one under $38,000.

Still, the Pathfinder and its competitors are essential and relevant in the marketplace. Continue reading

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L.A. 2016: Oh, Look, Stormtroopers!

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

I would’ve gone to the Los Angeles Auto Show this year. But…

Excuses, excuses. You heard it all. And, you probably heard how much the marketing tie-up between Nissan and Disney/Lucasfilm created an attractive exhibit this year on the floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The place is replete with Tie Fighters, movie models and the Rogue One special edition. The presser had a small phalanx of Stormtroopers escorting the Rogue One special editions.

If you’re a Star Wars fan and is in the Los Angeles area, stop by the Auto Show to see it. While you’re there, check out the other attractions that piqued our interest from afar…

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Now, you can #VOTE4VOTY! It is as simple as this…

Create your own user feedback survey

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Commentary: Happy Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving 2007 Downtown Minneapolis 2
Thanksgiving in downtown Minneapolis, 2007 – Photo by Randy Stern

Ah, Thanksgiving!

The feast that mired in historical discourse. Depending on your worldview, Thanksgiving (USA) was supposed to honor the first “Pilgrims” from England who sat down with the members of Wampanoag tribe in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was supposed to celebrate the feast of plenty after the settler’s first harvest. The story has been through plenty of revisions that not even Wikipedia has it all exactly down.

The arguments of the origin of Thanksgiving and its successive elevation to a national holiday are as many as the arguments made at the dinner table. Consider the latter for a moment. There is always a White Sox fan among generations of Cubs season ticket holders. There is a Toyota owner, while the entire family had owned General Motors products since Louis Chevrolet started his own car company.

Let us not forget about the “bombshell.” The prodigal son comes home to announce his sexual orientation is different these days. The lovely daughter who went to college, find a cool dude and will explain why she wants to have a child by him. A family elder might not be in good health. These are just a few scenes that are not exclusive to the movies or in works of fiction.

Imagine the first feast at Plimouth Plantation having someone drop a “bombshell.” Oh, how history would have been different…

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