My Favorites Vehicle Subjects of the Past Six Years

2016 Buick Regal GS AWD
All Photos by Randy Stern

Six years in…and this site and my overall work still stands.

When I dove into the deep of this business some six years ago, I knew that I would have the privilege of working with some of the finest automobiles ever crafted. I also knew that I would be working with the latest and greatest vehicles being offered in this market.

I also knew that some of the vehicles that I worked would have a profound impact on me. Certainly, they are supposed to be for strict professional purposes. But, somehow, a little kernel of its soul would penetrate my body – if only for the short time I would be around it.

It might take place during a drive. Or, just a long glance. Still, some of these vehicles certainly made one hell of an impression on me. These are among the top ones that made the heart grow fonder about the current state of the automobile.

2011-2017 BUICK REGAL: No, it was not a smashing success. Buick’s sales were eventually driven by its SUV/crossover offerings A shame, really. This car was loads of fun, especially in GS form. That is exactly its sweet spot – a turbocharged four-cylinder model that loves to rock through the highway. No apologies for the lack of rear seat room or the Opel design. No apologies for its all-wheel drive system or anything that makes the Regal a standout among premium sports sedans. Long may it run.

#MAMA16FR

2012- RAM 1500: This was the benchmark of what a half-ton pickup truck should be. This is a design inspired by long haul conventional trucks, powered by a trio of strong engines. The HEMI V8 is a sweet motor made for many tasks, but it is the EcoDiesel that wins with superb fuel economy. Many people have knocked this truck for its quality issues and recalls. When a well-made example comes through, it’s time to go to work.

2013-2017 LEXUS LS 460: Remember I talked about I missed the kind of luxury that I grew up on – cushy, comfortable and smooth riding pieces of pure elegance. This is one modern paean to those cars. The smoothness of everything – the ride, the V8 and the seating – just makes this a car. It is the kind of car you drive on any given highway and would arrive stress-free and revived. It does not need all of the fancy gadgets found on other flagship sedans. It just needs you. That is what this Lexus is really about.

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2015- DODGE CHARGER: I always said that the LX Platform forms the heart and core of my modern automotive enthusiasm. It is what makes me a Moparian. If I had to choose one LX car – the Dodge Charger takes multiple spots on my shopping list. Multiple? There’s the SXT AWD that can be upgarded to the Blacktop or Rallye editions. There’s the HEMI-powered R/T with various packages made for rockin’ driving. Then, there’s the R/T Scat Pack with its 392 HEMI V8 and old school driving experience. That’s the one to get! Heck, they’re all great! Enough said…

2015- LEXUS RC F: This car has the ability to make me do things I do not normally do to any other car. It is a track weapon when presented with the opportunity to do so. It is a cruiser with a huge hammer underneath its hood. Best of all, it never apologizes for what it is: a powerful grand coupe that can carve up canyon roads, tracks and make fanboys question their loyalties. This is why I have a love for this car.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R

2015- VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R: Among high performance sports compacts, this should be on top of the heap. Granted, the Ford Focus RS has more power, as will the upcoming Honda Civic Type R. But, to be athletic, precise and unassuming at the same time is a feat only a Volkswagen can pull off perfectly. It would be the first sports compact that offered an exacting drive that makes streets into road courses. This is why you get the Golf R instead of…you name it.

2015- FORD F-150: While the Ram 1500 provides a benchmark for pickups, the best-selling vehicle in the USA takes it up one notch. Its combination of aluminum body parts and a rolled steel frame resulted in a lighter vehicle than its rivals, delivering better fuel economy. Yet, it also evokes dreams – the Raptor, anyone? For every day pickup use, one drive will point out why it still sells more units than any other four-wheel conveyance on this continent.

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2017- LINCOLN CONTINENTAL: It is that proper combination of modern luxury and heritage that we hoped would become the newest in a line of Lincolns. This is what American luxury should be – spacious, powerful, easy and connected. It is also a technological feast, featuring equipment from active safety and suspension components to SYNC 3. At its heart, it is a Continental – an advanced form of American luxury Lincoln crafted over the past 78 years.

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