Quickies: As Published Elsewhere (Volume I)

2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL 4Motion
All Photos by Randy Stern

“Um, how come you do not publish a review in for every vehicle you drive in Victory & Reseda?”

It’s a question I get from time-to-time. However, it came out of a situation where other outlets I currently and previously write for want exclusive content. They want the one vehicle above others. A decision is usually made to decide which outlets get the write up on certain vehicles and anything that is not assigned to those outlets are published here.

It’s not a fair editorial policy, but it is one that meets the editor’s requirements and makes everyone happy – including that outlet’s readership.

However, I have decided to do something different for you. Instead of doing a full review vehicles vehciles that were published elsewhere, I will do a quarterly Quickies article that looks through the previous quarter – dating back to November 1 (the cut-off for #VOTY each year) and give you a quick synopsis of each vehicle that did not appear on these pages.

Enough housekeeping… Continue reading

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My Favorites Among The Finest Cars in the World (That I Have Worked With)

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S carbiolet
All Photos by Randy Stern

When I finally got my driver’s license in April of 1980, I thought I was given a license to conquer the world. Then again, I was 16 and had wild dreams of the future.

Thirty-eight years later, some of those dreams have been fulfilled. Others…not so much. Let’s just concentrate on the positive, shall we?

Those positive dreams have been the vehicles I’ve always wanted to drive – even for a minute. As it turns out, a minute was not enough. In those cases, they were vehicles that one could actually dream of driving.

The fact they were achieved at all was remarkable by the fact that a few folks in my hometown would actually experience them.

I always point out that I am a humble person who came from a background that turned into a struggle and tough times for my family. We tried our best to keep the house up, paid for, along with the utilities. As much as I rather be somewhere else, I look back and praise the fact that I stuck to what I did for as long as I did.

I’m glad the opportunities to experience some of the finer vehicles in the world came later in life. A sense of age, experience, and maturity helped me to frame the opportunities to drive some of the finest vehicles ever made.

Continue reading

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Commentary: 54 Cycles Around the Earth

Super Bowl LII Radio Row at MOA
Just leave, please? – Photo by Randy Stern

Another cycle around the sun. Another year under my belt. And, it’s tough to not complain about it.

This 54th annual celebration of this automotive media person’s birth comes with an anti-climax. Super Bowl LII was played in downtown Minneapolis – a few miles from home/V&R’s headquarters. The crowd was intense. The security zone was truly inconvenient. The weather outside U.S. Bank Stadium was pretty damn cold…below zero at the end of the game.

As for the game itself, the Philadelphia Eagles took the New England Patriots to the limit. They take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time.

Now, the tourists are leaving. I can breathe again. I can drive down certain streets again. We can get our Twin Cities back to normal.

Yet, the relative calm lends to some activity towards the end of the week. Continue reading

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Commentary: Super Big *Bleeping* Deal

2017 Audi S6
The 2017 Audi S6 at the site of this year’s Super Bowl – Photo by Randy Stern

The Super Bowl is happening within miles of my doorstep.

The fifty-second rendition of the National Football League’s biggest show will kick off at U.S. Bank Stadium on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis. It was on the same spot that the NFL’s big game took place in 1992 inside of the former occupant of that property – the Hubert H, Humphrey Metrodome.

The new enclosed stadium will bring in the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles, over 66,000 fans, 5,000 members of the media, and countless other locals and tourists to the Twin Cities. The organizers created a security zone around the stadium, enough to close the stadium’s light rail station for 48 hours. This, along with other events happening in far-flung places, such as Nicollet Mall, the Mall of America, and in St. Paul’s RiverCentre.

This Super Bowl is all about corporate involvement and sponsorship. Continue reading

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Historiography: Spoils for The MVP

2014 MLB All Star Game
Somewhere down there, Mike Trout will make the right decision… – All Photos by Randy Stern

For being the most valuable person who participated in a major sporting event – they get a car.

Giving away cars as prizes for excellence was a ritual that continues today. Though today’s professional athletes are making extraordinary salaries that a mere pickup truck or popular coupe would be a bit beneath their lifestyle. After all, we are living in the days where starting offensive linemen can afford to buy homes for themselves and their mother, along with a small fleet of supercars and flagship sedans.

Yet, there are no qualms about a company, like General Motors, to sponsor a professional league and provide the most valuable sports star of a major event the keys to their finest wares. It has always been like that.

Or, has it?

Continue reading

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V&R Stories: The National Football League and an Automotive Storyteller

Another Consecutive Sellout
On any given Sunday – All Photos by Randy Stern

As much as my brother and I liked the National Football League, it took us a while before we actually went to a game.

Before I dive into this little series of stories, I understand fully this is an automotive website. It is all about cars. However, the biggest game in American football is happening just a few miles from V&R’s headquarters. How can we not ignore the hype?

Let’s be honest here, how many of us actually are automotive enthusiasts and sports fans? I know for a fact that you might (or might not) be both. You might be on my Facebook posting photos from an NFL game – in particular, during the Minnesota Vikings regular season.

Since I was a child, the NFL was an added bonus after the baseball season. Continue reading

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Plugged-In Ahead of The Curve

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

It begins with a compromise.

I am not entirely sold on electric vehicles. In fact, I have plenty of opinions about pure battery-charged EVs, some of which cater to upper-income homeowners that can afford to (a) buy one and (b) fit their garage with at least a 240-volt charger. We shall not name certain brands that have a greater recognition in this field.

Maybe because of my age and experience, I would prefer a gasoline (or diesel fueled) vehicle. The infallibility of them lends to more flexibility on longer drives and the old school feel of the internal combustion engine. Then again, I am told that they will become simply scrap by the middle of this century.

Perhaps combining the two elements of automotive power is indeed a compromise. If well executed, it would be a good compromise in the end.

This is not a new topic for me. Continue reading

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Commentary: The Bucket List Revisted

Photo by Randy Stern

I am at the age where bucket lists seem to be almost appropriate.

Not that I’m dying or preparing to do so. I am actually enjoying living, even if I am a half-step slower than I was a year or so ago. Still, I always believe in dreaming and attempting to fulfill my dreams.

There was once a bucket list. Now, I have rewritten it. So many things have happened since the last bucket list. Yet, it was time to alter some line items, make some new ones, and see what is actually possible in the next several years.

Here’s to making lists and checking them…periodically.

Continue reading

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Coming Up in 2018…Maybe

Photo by Randy Stern

In my many years of living, I strongly agree with some conclusions being made by fellow media people and enthusiasts. We are indeed living in a great time for the automobile.

I would not call it a “golden age,” by any account. Yet, the newest vehicles being produced and admired by almost every camp is just something to witness and celebrate.

The energy and excitement you have been giving to these new and upcoming products prompted some questions as to what I am looking forward to working with during 2018. I know that I evaded this question. To be honest, I am not one to state that I want to work with a vehicle because I know that there is a chance I might not work with it at all.

But, one can plan…and hope…right?

So, to answer your question, this is what I have to look forward to working with in 2018…

Continue reading

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Visiting The Service Department

Green Garage Community Car Clinic 6.8.17
All Photos by Randy Stern

Service. It is the most important part of the automobile ownership experience.

If something is wrong with your vehicle, you want it fixed. If you are unable to do your own maintenance, the service bay is where they can do it for you. When a recall notice is sent out, the service team is obliged to apply the fix to fulfill the requirements of the manufacturer.

As vehicle owners or lessors, we demand a lot from our mechanics. We want our vehicle’s problems resolved. We want our vehicles to operate at peak performance and that everything inside of them works accordingly. We also want to make sure they meet the standards set by the manufacturer.

It sounds simple, but it is not.

A service department at a dealership or an independent garage is our assurance that anything that goes wrong with our automobiles has a resolution. Continue reading

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