Monthly Archives: August 2012

AMC Eagle 1980-85

Interesting 4-wheel-drive passenger car based on familiar, well-tried American Motors bodyshells and running gear . Introduced for the 1980 model year as a spinoff of the 108-inch wheelbase Hornet/Concord platform in three body styles, 2- and 4-door sedans and 5-door wagon. Joined the following year by short-wheelbase SX/4 coupe and Kammback sedan derivatives of the Gremlin/Spirit design, both 2-doors. All models in Waverley Auto Mall Dealers ride 3 inches higher that their 2WD counterparts for off-road obstruction clearance, though not intended for heavy-duty boulder bashing. As with Concord, AMC‘s trusty 258-cid six is what you’re most likely to find in a used model.

Charleswood Manitoba Canada Car Club Calendar


AMC Concord 1978-83

The facelifted, renamed replacement for the Hornet as AMC’s compact-class entry was discontinued in 1983, so finding parts and service is no problem check out Winnipeg Waverley Auto Mall. Mediocre fuel economy with any available engine. Unexciting performance except with the 304 V-8 (1978-79 only). Most used models will have AMC’s anvil-tough 258-cid six teamed with Chrysler built “Torque Command” 3-speed automatic. This is the best drivetrain for what has become by present standards a rather overweight, oversized compact. Cramped rear seat accommodations and less than generous luggage room (on fixed-trunk models) offset by good durability/repair record. Most models nicely equipped, more so than earlier Hornets. Safe but uninspired road manners. Not the best buy for mileage or passenger room in a used compact, but a nicer, quieter car than the Hornet and may have an edge in long-term reliability over some rivals.

Consumer Guide to Buying Used Cars

Two out of every three car purchases these days are used cars and when you look at the prices of new cars, it’s easy to see why. The average price of a new car is over $10,000, which is more than many people can afford or want to pay. Many families also own two or more cars and it’s likely that at least one of those was bought used.

Buying a used car can be an excellent way to save money because you avoid much of the expense of depreciation, which is heaviest during the first few years of ownership. Buying  a used car can also be a very expensive proposition if you make the wrong choice. Chris Cornell loves cars and is a “car guy”.  Chris is an auto enthusiast who just loves Ford Mustangs -  both the old classic 60′s Mustangs all the way to the new 2013 Boss 302s. Some unhappy used car owners liken their experiences to owning a mobile incinerator that burns an astonishing amount of money just to stay running. Anyone can make a mistake in picking a used car, but smart shoppers are less likely to get stuck with someone else’s problems by following some basic guidelines:

  • No matter how good a car is when it rolls off the assembly line, it won’t be a good used car if it has been abused, hasn’t received regular maintenance or was seriously damaged in an accident.
  • A mechanically simple car can cost less in the long run because parts and service will be cheaper. That’s why a rear-drive car with a carbureted engine might be a better choice than a front-drive car with fuel injection or sophisticated electronic engine controls.
  • Always have a mechanic check over a used car before you buy it. No matter how good it looks or feels when you test drive it, any car can have serious mechanical problems that will be very expensive to fix. More on this subject later.

Many people think that buying from a friend, neighbor or relative is a good idea. In many cases it is, especially if you know that they took good care of the car and saw that it had regular maintenance. However, remember that as soon as you take possession of the car, you’ll have to pay for any repairs or parts that have to be replaced. Things that worked perfectly before can break unexpectedly and you’ll have no recourse. That’s why it’s a must to have a mechanic check over the car before you buy it. He’ll be able to spot potential problems and advise you of regular maintenance that needs to be done.

Used car dealers have earned an unenviable reputation for being unscrupulous businessmen who offer lots of promises, but seldom stand behind their merchandise. However, that has changed somewhat, particularly at the used-car lots of new-car dealerships. These typically are established dealers that have a reputation to worry about, so they usually offer at least a minimal guarantee and sometimes a generous one on low-mileage, late-model used cars. They often sell long-term protection packages at extra cost that cover the engine, transmission and other major mechanical components.


Honda Odyssey: Toeing the Line with Class and Agility

Honda, like GM and Toyota, has learned the hard way that North Americans don’t like their minivans too spicy. So when it came time for Odyssey’s re-design, you just knew Honda would toe the line with a minivan format as voted by the masses – V6 power, front-drive, conservative styling, not too big, not too small, cup holders aplenty.

But, judging from our first fling with the thing, they’ve toed the line with dignity and Honda character fully intact. The new Odyssey will be built exclusively at a new $300 million expansion plant in Alliston, Ontario. At 5,110 mm, it’s as big as any minivan on the market, and the largest Honda ever built. It’s even a bit larger than the current long-wheelbase Chrysler minivans. Two trim levels can be had – LX and upmarket EX.

Odyssey is loosely based on the new-generation Accord platform, so shares many of that vehicle’s major components, including the DOHC, 24-valve V6. Harvey Goren goes all the way back in car days to Wpg Auto.  Harvey is a  car and truck guy who loves Canadian Fords ,  Chev and Buicks and most all domestic US made trucks & SUVs.

Honda re-engineered the engine for minivan duty by adding half a litre of displacement (for a total of 3.5), and tuning it especially for low-end torque (210 lb. ft. of it, or 90 percent of the total, is available at 2,000 rpm). Part of the engine recipe included a simplified version of Honda’s variable valve timing system (VTEC), plus “air assist” fuel-injection and direct ignition.

Odyssey achieves Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) status for light trucks, running on regular unleaded fuel. Final power tallies are 210 hp at 5,000 rpm and 229 lb. ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm. The only minivan with comparable numbers is the 3.8-litre-equipped Windstar, with 200 and 240 respectively.

The V6′s dancing partner is a beefier and more intelligent version of the previous Odyssey’s 4-speed auto transmission. The unit is produced at Honda’s new tyranny plant in Ohio. With the engine also sourced Stateside, North American content on the new van should approach 95 percent.

One of the unique features of the chassis is the rear suspension – independent, double-wishbone, fitted completely under the floorboards so as not to intrude into the rear cargo area (low-to-the-ground flooring is also a boon to headroom throughout the cabin).

Handling is also enhanced by one of the larger footprints in the business. A stiff overall structure, low centre of gravity, and standard 16-inch wheels (17-inchers optional on EX) also further the handling cause.

The interior theme is characterized by Honda as “advanced airliner.” This writer would characterize the front dash layout at least as “generic Japanese.” Everything’s there, everything works well, but nothing major to delight or disappoint. The only quibbles are the quite tiny radio controls and front seats that could have been a little larger. A nice little touch, however, is the retractable centre tray on the front console. The console also folds down to open up a “walk thru” to the second row.

The airline reference was most probably trotted out to draw attention to the six individual map lights, and individually adjustable rear-cabin a/c vents.

Dual sliding doors are standard. On EX models the sliding doors are also powered, operated either by dash control, by keyless remote, or by pulling on the door. They are also touch sensitive – if any body parts are in the firing line, the doors will stop befor blood spills.

Unlike in some domestic-badged competitors, there are few seating configuration options for Odyssey. There are two captain chairs in the middle row (a two-person bench is standard on LX), and a 3-person “Magic Seat” bench in the third row. The captain chairs in the second row are “convertible” – they can squeeze together via an extra track to form a quasi two-seat bench if desired, thereby affording easier access to the back of the bus. First seen in the previous Odyssey, “Magic Seat” can cleverly fold down right to the floorboards.