Corbran's Corner

Ron Smith Memorial Auto Tech Competition 2017

TOMORROW’S AUTO TECHS ARE BEING TRAINED TODAY… The Ron Smith Memorial Auto Tech Competition by Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistThis past Saturday I had the privilege of attending the 26th annual competition for local high school automotive tech students, as they tried to solve a series of “planted bugs” in a group of new vehicles, with the students’ goal being not

WHY ARE WE WRITING ABOUT SPORTS CARS IN JANUARY?

WHY ARE WE WRITING ABOUT SPORTS CARS IN JANUARY?by Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistThe simple answer to that question is Mazda’s new MX-5 RF.To answer your first question, the RF stands for retractable fastback. And to answer the question I asked at the top, a retractable top makes the MX-5 a perfect year-round driver. And it gives me an excuse to write about one of my favorite cars as we e

CAMARO TURNS 50

CAMARO 50 —CHEVY’S PONY CAR HITS A MILESTONEby Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistI guess it’s safe to say that the pony car wars began fifty years ago with the introduction of the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Ford’s Mustang may have started the whole thing in April, 1964 (and while Plymouth’s Barracuda debuted a few weeks earlier, it wasn’t a major player until later),

WHERE DID 2016 GO?

WHERE DID 2016 GO?— HERE’S A FEW THINGS I NEVER GOT TO…by Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistI was shocked… shocked! to look at the calendar and see that next week is already next year. How’d that happen?I had hoped at some point to mention that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition(above)— which we last saw as a 2015 model — is still available in

The 2017 KIA CADENZA: LUXURY FROM AN UNEXPECTED PLACE?

The 2017 KIA CADENZA:LUXURY FROM AN UNEXPECTED PLACE?by Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistSouth Korea’s Kia had its first foray into the North American automotive market building the tiny Festiva for Ford back in the 1980s. That little thing is a far cry from Kia’s flagship Cadenza sedan, whose revamped second-generation model was unveiled last spring at the New York International Auto

SHORT DRIVES...

SHORT DRIVES — WEEK OF 12-12-16…by Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistWhen I was a young lad spending my paper route money on car magazines and Heath bars, around this time of year Motor Trend magazine would tout what was called by many (mostly MT editors and the award winners, I guess) their “coveted” Car of the Year Award. They’re still giving the COTY award out on

AUTO REPAIR MADE EASY… A VISIT TO PETE’S GARAGE

AUTO REPAIR MADE EASY… A VISIT TO PETE’S GARAGEby Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistThe last time I pulled an engine and began removing the crank hub I ran into a problem with the…Hmm… Okay. As anyone who knows me will concur, I’ve never pulled an engine, and I wouldn’t recognize a crank hub if it hit me in the forehead.But if I ever do in the future, by then

GETTING SMALL IS BIG BUSINESS...

GETTING SMALL IS BIG BUSINESSFORD’S NEW 2018 EcoSport…by Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistIf you’ve been craving an SUV from the Blue Oval folks, but like me live with a Great Depression-era garage at the end of your driveway which is too small for even a Ford Escape, there’s good news.Ford has decided to bring one of its smaller SUVs to North America. The EcoSport has bee

GROWN-UP TOYS...

GROWN-UP TOYS… by Jim Corbran, Automotive ColumnistIf nothing else, the annual fall SEMA Show in Las Vegas (Specialty Equipment Market Association) reminds some adult car enthusiasts that they were once kids playing with Hot Wheels and there’s no reason to think that your Hot Wheels couldn’t also grow up to be adult-sized toys.Take for example the Ram Macho Power Wagon(above) br

THE 2017 ELANTRA SPORT: NOT YOUR FATHER’S HYUNDAI…

THE 2017 ELANTRA SPORT: NOT YOUR FATHER’S HYUNDAI…by Jim Corbran, Automotive Columnist And by your father, I mean me.Back in late 2001 when we were in need of a new family chariot, we gave the Hyundai Elantra a look, based largely on its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. And we bought a new, leftover 2001 model just as the (largely unchanged) 2002 models hit the showroom. Live