“Motormouth” normally isn’t a term of endearment; in fact, saying someone “is a motormouth”refers to a person who doesn’t know when to stop talking.
Using a play on the name, the folks at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline have assembled a group of well-documented car guys for the debut of “MotorMouth: A Live Storytelling Event.” It will take place March 21 at the museum, and hopes are that it may become a bimonthly event.
MotorMouth is a sort of open-source lecture event that’s been held at the museum before. But museum director Sheldon Steele and auto writer George Kennedy wanted to take it in a different direction. Kennedy, a frequent contributor to the Globe’s auto section and the managing editor of auto enthusiasts’ website BoldRide.com, will moderate the ﬁve-man panel.
The panelists embodyawide range of automotive expertise:
Craig Fitzgerald: We know him as one of the world’s foremost motor scooter authorities, but the auto world also knows him as a Globe contributor as well as the former editor of Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car and Muscle Machines. He’s now editorial director of IMN, managing a team of writers who develop content for nearly 2,000 auto dealers.
Bob Lapane: Former race car driver, automotive engineering teacher and now drivetrain specialist for Paul Russell’s restoration company in Essex.
Rick Rosso: Lime Rock Park’s irrepressible PR guru and racing insider.
Paul Zangari: Host of the long-running Drive-Thru radio show in Providence, RI, member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, and award-winning news radio anchor and reporter.
Joe Puleo: An historian (automotive and otherwise) who was restoring cars long before it became a big-money and competitive enterprise.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, and there is a cash bar and refreshments. More information is available at larzanderson.org/motormouth.
The $10,000 Used Car
The editors at Cars.com did some searching and came up with a list of 10 cars under $10,000.
With used cars commanding a premium price these days and a shrinking price gap between buying new and used, the list can be a guide for used-car shoppers on a budget.
“We took a look at cars from 2006 or later and came up with our best 10 used cars that shoppers should be able to ﬁnd for around $10,000,” said Cars.com editor-in-chief Patrick Olsen. “To make our list, the cars had to pass crash tests and have key standard safety features. We also analyzed reliability, drivability, and practicality.”
• 2006 Ford Escape: The previous generation compact utility vehicle had truck-like styling but car-based underpinnings, and the driving experience combined handling and ride comfort in a way that few car-based crossovers of the Escape’s era could match.
• 2008 Ford Focus: The car’s sharp handling separates it from the pack as do safety features like side curtain airbags and electronics such as Bluetooth and USB/iPod integration.
• 2007 Ford Freestyle: This budget-friendly family hauler comes with spacious seating for seven passengers and impressive cargo storage.
• 2007 Ford Fusion: A responsiveV-6 engine and decent handling distinguishes Ford’s midsize family car. So does trunk room.
• 2006 Honda Civic: Its interior quality, fuel efﬁciency, and overall drivability remain contemporary.
• 2006 Hyundai Azera: A full-size sedan with comfy ride, upscale features, a big engine, and big backseats.
• 2006 Hyundai Sonata: A family sedan with roominess, safety features, and value in spades.Should remain relevant for years.
• 2008 Kia Optima: A cousin to the Hyundai Sonata.The Optima has more available luxury features, but less styling and a smaller engine.The most recent generation Optima won Cars.com’s Best of 2011 award.
• 2008 NissanVersa: Unexpectedly roomy and plenty of zip. A great city car.
• 2007 Scion tC: Strengths include rich cabin materials, a responsive four-cylinder engine, andToyota reliability. The ﬁve-speed manual version adds to the fun.
“Keep in mind that buying a used car is going to rely a great deal on the stewardship of the car’s previous owners, so shoppers should get the car checked out by their mechanic before signing on the dotted line,” says Olsen.
A New Harley-Davidson and Other Matters
• Harley-Davidson introduced a new Breakout premium model at this month’s Daytona Bike Week Rally. It’s designed with minimal coverings to show off the engine and wheels. It’s a reminder to break out the “Motorcycles are Everywhere” bumper stickers.
• Infotainment systems still are complex. GMC has a crew of 25 specialists (with more to come) to help buyers set up and personalize the Terrain’s IntelliLink system. We think dealers should offer a class for new-car buyers who want to get the most out of these systems.
• MPG Car Rental in Venice, CA, offers an array of Prii models, VWTDIs, and Chevy Volts in its Green Fleet. Makes it easier to return the vehicle with a full tank.
• The folks at helmet-maker Reevu are offering what the company calls the ﬁrst Rear Vision System motorcycle helmet. It has an integrated optical device that bends light over the top of the wearer’s head to provide a rear view. Interesting if you can afford the $400–$480 price tag.