“It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat- boxes and supper boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory, we started to town.”
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The year was 1922 and it was nine o’clock in the morning when Gatsby drove up to Nick Carraway’s bungalow in his Rolls Royce. At this particular time in history, Bentley had not yet come across the pond. But, most certainly, if it had been available in the US, Gatsby would have owned one.
In fact, nearly a decade later, in 1931, Rolls Royce acquired Bentley. The companies eventually parted ways in 2002. (It is said that Bentley aficionados refer to these six decades as "the blackest of all.")
Several years ago when I visited the Body Assembly Hall in Crewe, England, the factory where Bentleys are handcrafted, my guide Slim proudly explained, “Bentley Motor Cars, in operation since 1919, started off with the 1920 2 Litre, a vehicle which went on to win the Le Mans in 1924. Bentleys have been making beautiful history ever since.”
Everyone from royalty to Ian Fleming, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Kobe Bryant have owned Bentleys. And even if these vehicles do not assume the same bloodlines as the Rolls-Royce, it is fair to say that driving in a Bentley evokes the same kind of sentiment as Fitzgerald’s poignant quote from The Great Gatsby.
Austin, Texas: Jeep’s update of its 2014 Grand Cherokee model makes it new; there are new drivetrains, more luxury and a bevy of options for off-road prowess define it and its sizzling sibling- the high-performance, lap-of-luxury 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT. One of the original mid-sized luxury SUVs to come to market in 1992, the newest version seats five and is an authentic competitor to VW, Land Rover, BMW, and other high-end sport utes. It’s priced from $28,795 to $50,995; the Grand Cherokee Limited with Jeep’s new EcoDiesel V6 is the lowest priced diesel SUV in the market at $40, 295, says Chrysler.
The exterior strikes a nice visual balance between refinement and ruggedness, with a grille that has been redesigned to give more luxo character overall, with distinguishing trim around each of the signature vertical slots. Slimmer headlamps and a shorter upper grille put a check in the “more refined” category, while 17-inch all-season tires (standard on base Laredo models) and a beefy lower grille have “rugged” cred – plus, depending on the trim level, tires get as big as 20 inches.
The rear has new, larger tail lamps with smart LED lighting, a larger, more aerodynamic rear spoiler, and a re-sculpted tailgate. Dual exhaust tips are standard on all Limited, Overland and Summit models. Front and rear LED lighting, including bi-xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps on higher end models, make Grand Cherokee grandly bright on the road.
It is always fun for me to interview a
fellow female racer and a very competitive one at that, who looks to
have a bright future ahead of her! Just last year, Dominique Van
Wieringen won the 2012 Super Late Model Championship at Springport
Speedway in Springport, Michigan at the young age of 17. Dominique,
who was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, started racing
motorcycles at five years old and later transitioned into go karts
which has eventually led her to the world of stock car racing.
Recently I caught up with Dominique via
email. Here is some of the Q and A:
How did you
get interested in auto racing? After my family and I got out
of motocross racing, our neighbour introduced us to go-karting (the
step before cars) and I loved from the beginning, then we set on car
What are some of the biggest challenges you
have faced as a female in the sport? Some of my competitors
have been hard on me but there was a good level of respect from
On the other hand, what are some of the
advantages to being a female in the sport? Fans are easy to be
around and I think the fans are comfortable around me.
are some of your biggest accomplishments in racing so far? Winning
the Outlaw Super Late Model championship at Springport and raising
over $1000 for the American Cancer Society.
What are some
"girly" things you enjoy? I do have a love for boy
bands, crafts, fashion and the occasional chick flick.
Dominique seems mature beyond her years
and definitely focused on making a name for herself in the stock car
world. She is very well rounded, balancing racing while still in
school and on top of that giving back to the community as she
continues to raise money for the American Cancer Society. She has an
easy to navigate website and is connecting with her fans through all
the new social media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Looks to me
like Dominique is well on her way to a successful career. Her long
term goal is to make it to the upper echelon of the NASCAR ranks.
Certainly one to keep an eye on as she makes her way!!
For its fourth birthday as a unibody crossover SUV, the Kia Sorento is getting the equivalent of a pony, a piñata party and a wardrobe of amazing new clothes all at once. Among its gifts: a completely new chassis, a new V6 engine, a redesigned interior and some vamped-up, top-of-the-line features including an entirely new high-end trim line. Kia wants to be known for design, safety and value.
The Sorento’s facelift freshens its design, while inside you’ll find improved conveniences, upgraded materials and more amenities. A top IIHS safety pick, Sorento seats five or seven (there are 2-row and 3-row versions), and comes in front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive models that start at $24,950, including destination charges.
In case you have not noticed, there are a lot of vehicles in the competitive compact and medium-sized utility vehicle (CUV) segment – and they start to all look alike after awhile. Although Sorento doesn’t look radically different from its contemporaries, it has a few distinctive features that help it stand apart. Among them: a beefy grille and deep front air dam with black hexagonal grille inset behind chrome trim. Vertically set rectangular fog lamps offset sleek, slanted headlamps.
The rear end sits high and is capped at the bottom by a kickplate with a sweet-looking oval tailpipe.
Auto shows have a personality and the Chicago Auto Show is described by automakers and autowriters as a “down-home” show—and they love it! There’s even an event sponsored by all the automakers for the press and other early attendees called “Sweet Home Chicago”! But, don’t let its slower pace and more comfortable setting make you think it’s small. In fact, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and this year’s show marked the 105th annual event, which makes it the longest-running and one of the best-attended shows in the world. Sponsored by the Chicago Automobile Trade Association dealers, the show is held at the McCormick Place Convention Complex where the enormous amount of space on hand brings an ease for car makers to offer free concerts and set up experiential test tracks. There’s also a ‘social media day’ now held annually that draws a wide variety of presenters and consumers to come together to evaluate and promote this new landscape and its effect on the automotive industry. AskPatty.com was one of the presenters this year, helping to showcase the exciting and rapidly-growing arena of Marketing to Women.
But, at the end of the day, an auto show is really about new sheet metal and the introductions of new models soon to hit the streets along with the unveiling of concept vehicles that are experiments in design and technology and are meant to take the temperature of the audience, plus help automakers make decisions about whether to move forward with a particular model or technology. There were a number of both-new models that will be in dealerships soon and a few hot concepts. My personal favorites were the 2014 Toyota Tundra, the 2014 Ram Promaster, the 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO and Nissan NV200, and the Kia Crossover CUT Concept.
past December I received an email that at first I thought was a hoax.
It was an invitation from Michelin Tire to be part of their
‘Influencer Community’. They wanted to send me to the NOLA
Motorsport Park in New Orleans where I would test drive their new
‘Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3’ ultra-high performance all-season
tires that will be available May 2013. Without even looking at my
schedule I replied: “YES!” and immediately started packing my
always enjoy driving cars on test tracks under extreme driving
conditions. Experience has taught me that tires are the most
important part of a vehicle that keeps you safely on the road. If
tires are worn, warped, not balanced, or are the wrong type of tire
for current driving conditions, you are taking a huge risk. Think
about this: you can be driving a car with a fresh tune-up, new
brakes, four wheel drive, traction control, and every other
automotive widget known to mankind, but if your tires are inferior,
you could get into an accident. If you are lucky your fender bender
would only damage your vehicle, but there is the possibility you
could wreck someone else’s car or worse yet hurt yourself or
The Nation's longest running auto show in Chicago opened it's doors for a media preview of this year's latest and upcoming redesigned and brand new models. Here is a sneak peek at what we saw at this years show:
Jaguar introduced their latest XJ and XF models which will feature AWD 3.0 Liter V6 engines. The XF will also be available in RWD and XFR-S. The XFR-S is 550 hp and, "is one serious motorcar," said Jaguar and Land Rover President, Andy Goss. Meanwhile the manufacturer also introduced their fourth generation Range Rover which will feature an all aluminum body. "Everything about this Range Rover is new except the engine," Goss added. They will also be releasing a two seater F-type sports car, "which is our most important new car we have released in many years."
Also in the new car mix is Kia who introduced a very svelte concept crossover and their new Superhero, DC Comics inspired line. Michael Sprague Executive VP of Kia's Marketing and Communications gave a glimpse of models with superhero paint, logos, and trims. The Optima Hybrid and Sorento will be available in this line and Kia's 'hero' theme ties in with their Builtforjustice.com program which helps those located in the Horn of Africa. Kia will also have, "seven all new significantly redesigned vehicles to go on
sale this year," Sprague said. The Kia Forte is one of those redesigns which will be available in March. The Forte will offer two trims and
will be a turbo charged compact which features 201 hp.
Nissan's VP Joe Castelli introduced the manufacturer's expansion of their Nismo option which now includes a Juke Nismo and 370 Z Nismo. There will also be a Nissan GTR track edition which will sell 150 units. This highly anticipated GTR track edition will feature an even greater level of high performance components.
General Motors says that today’s pickup truck buyers don’t just use their trucks from 9-5, but also from 5-9, too! They want trucks that have the DNA or core technology of toughness for work, carrying payload, and hauling trailers, but also comfort and room for taking their kids to ball games and ferrying their family around town, as well as connectivity and good gas mileage. Listening to their customers, who are also buying more extended cab models, GM has just taken the wraps off of its next generation Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 that have been updated and renovated for 2014.
Scheduled to go on sale later this year, the stablemates have a refreshed exterior, a completely redesigned interior and upgraded powertrains for more power—but also improved fuel economy. We took a ‘first look’ at the new models recently in Detroit; pricing has not been announced.
While General Motors played it safe with this model year update, and kept some familiar exterior design cues and, in some areas made modest changes, there are also some significant improvements, particularly with some technology features – the improvements offer a welcome change and are clearly a sign of many new and good things to come from The General.
Although southern California is celebrated as a sports car mecca, sport utility vehicles of every size and type were among the biggest hits at the
2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show. More than 40 different brands parked their new models and concept renditions on the ‘red carpet’ at the Los Angeles Convention Center, as 50 new vehicles made their premier entrance or global debut. The LAIAS is among the most significant shows in annual big-city show season in the U.S. and the home of the Greater Los Angeles Auto Dealers Association (GLANCDA), the umbrella organization for local and regional dealers. The LAIAS is followed by 2013 auto shows in Detroit (January), Chicago (February), New York (April) and other cities across the nation.