Mopar at 75

Remember when you actually followed your owner's manual and replaced parts from your local dealership? You recall the clause in the owner's manual to replace your oil filter, air filter and spark plugs with a manufacturer's own brand. How many of us actually did that?

Seventy-five years ago, a company called Chrysler decided to join General Motors and Ford to offer a distinct brand of maintenance parts along with accessories to customize your vehicle. GM called their products "AC" or "Delco-Remy." Ford had "Autolite" and "Motorcraft." Chrysler came up with the brand "Motor Parts" whose acronym has gone beyond just a brand for an anti-freeze solution – Mopar.

The name Mopar is more than just the brand for parts and accessories for Chrysler and Fiat products. It is a calling card for all things Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, SRT, Plymouth, Eagle, DeSoto, Imperial…and so on. For the past 75 years, Mopar is a term of endearment for a company and its output of loyalty through customization and optimal maintenance of Chrysler's vehicles.

Why Mopar?

Your Turn: A SRT Dream Fulfilled

Tweet Taking Photos of Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Photo by Randy Stern We, automotive writers and journalists, love getting asked consumer questions. For example:…

Detroit 2012: The View from Afar

No, I was not there this year.

If you read my Twitter, you'd probably wondered if I were to show up at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Unfortunately, the stars did not align properly. Yet, I was asked by fellow journalists, media relations people and other industry support people whether I would make the trek to the Motor City for this very important exhibition of the automobile. Not this year. I will someday.

Because of the speed of information available online and the ability to see video and images from the show readily, I was able to ascertain the big debuts and the most curious appearances at Cobo Hall. This helped in my coverage last year from my home in the Twin Cities.

Of course, there's nothing like being there. You get to see and touch these new products ahead of consumer sale. You get to see whether you'd feel comfortable behind the wheel of one. That’s why we go to auto shows, right?

Without further ado, here are my picks from NAIAS…

Which Ones Sold How Many in 2011?

The annual sales figures are in! I could recount which vehicles were the best sellers in the nation, but I’d rather concentrate on how last year’s main vehicle review subjects fared in 2011. Also, I try to analyze how each vehicle could fare in the coming year.

Them and Us – Epilogue

In May on V&R (and in October in Lavender), there was an article looking at the corporate view of the interconnection between the automotive industry and the LGBT community. It spurred plenty of discussion offline on how this information either helped both sides of the question – or, whether it truly mattered at all.

As an update to these articles, the Human Rights Campaign just released their 2012 Corporate Equality Index.

My Favorite Vehicles of 2011

On some level, Victory & Reseda provides some form of consumer information for the weary automobile shopper. At least I try to advise the interested car buyer whether a specific vehicle reviewed on here is worth cutting a check or not. It is not the main reason why I do this site, but it is something that is a byproduct of the work I put into this spot on the interwebs.

WWRD? It Begins

Remember "Toonces The Driving Cat?"

You have to admit that was one of Saturday Night Live's most brilliant ideas during the Phil Hartman era. The concept of having a cat that drove the family car even with Victoria Jackson and Steve Martin in it was something else.

You know who else loves to drive? Me! Yet, compared to Toonces, I avoid any cliff as humanly possible.

The point here is a new fun and interactive way to develop crowd-sourced content towards further engagement for V&R. I call it "WWRD?" Translation: What Would Randy Drive?

How this works is simple. Via V&R's social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, I will ask the question for WWRD? submissions. The submissions are compiled and delivered with 3-5 vehicles as called out by YOU.

On your end, just give me a vehicle – any car, truck, SUV/crossover, van of any make, model and year. What I do is compile what I know of said vehicle and give you an answer why or why not I would drive it. I'll also explain why.

It's a Dart!

Remember the Dodge-Alfa Romeo compact I "speculated" a month or so ago? Well…it's got a name…

Much to the glee of everyone even remotely not in the automotive industry, the Dart name is a throwback to a simpler time. The nomenclature's reappearance was received with such joy never seen of any automobile in a very long time. It received huge media coverage – one of the television outlets in the Twin Cities had a piece on the Dart's return.

Perhaps I should explain why everyone went absolutely ecstatic over Chrysler's announcement of their new compact's name.

Historiography: The Class of 1982

The list can go on forever, but I will concentrate on the most important thing overall: Graduating high school. As I realize today that I am indeed on the latter side of my forties, remembering every moment of that year seems a bit difficult these days.

Los Angeles 2011: The Auto Show that's 23 Miles from Victory & Reseda

It's true – I grew up 23 miles away from the site of this year's Los Angeles Auto Show.

So, how did I get 1,935 miles away from it? Why was I not there to cover it? Long story…but the show did yield some spectacular debuts. Some of these world premieres were well worth the wait.

It is a good thing that the Los Angeles Auto Show found resonance in its timeslot in November. The show itself puts the West Coast in the spotlight for our industry. November in Los Angeles is a great time to soak it all in – just before the Thanksgiving crush.

I'm talking about those of us in and around the automotive industry. But, for those of you who are planning to attend the show…what a way to spend turkey week!