2023 is off to a weird start...

The start of 2023 is already looking grime as the world mourns the loss of Ken Block, automakers continue to drop V8 engines, and people are walking away from their Dodge Charger and Challenger orders. Banks are giving loans to people who are defaulting on their current auto loan, Australian authorities really don’t like gender reveal parties, and more restrictions are hitting car owners in the UK. Canada has a growing theft problem, but they should call the Arkansas troopers on tips to catch criminals on the run. All this plus our inventory picks of the week. Watch here:

Ken Block Dies In Utah Snowmobile Accident

By now most have heard the shocking news: Ken Block died on the morning of January 2 in a snowmobile accident in the Mill Hollow area in Wasatch County, Utah. While death is a part of life, nobody was expecting the Hoonigan founder and 55-year-old professional rally driver to pass away like this. Throngs of fans seem absolutely dumbfounded that such a giant was suddenly taken away, but we can only imagine the pain his family feels at this time.

Initially, Block’s death was announced by the Hoonigans Instagram account on the evening of January 2. About an hour later, the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident, saying Block “was riding a snowmobile on a steep slope when the snowmobile upended, landing on top of him.” Block was pronounced dead on the scene. While he was at Mill Hollow with a group, he was riding alone at the time of the fatal accident.

Read the full story here.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Drops The Hemi V8

A lot of people are shocked at the moment upon learning you can’t get a 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a V8 engine. It’s not like Jeep and Stellantis were trumpeting this change from the rooftops, but they also haven’t exactly been hiding it for the past while. Still, people have been blithely unaware that V8s in general are going the way of the dodo, a fact we’ve lamented for some time.

You see, back on June 30, Jeep released all the details for the 2023 Grand Cherokee. For those of us who read through the laundry list of features and options, it was plainly obvious the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 would be no more. Instead, Jeep is pushing the Grand Cherokee 4xe, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine working with two electric motors.

Read the full story here.

New Cars Have Become More Expensive Than Ever

Benjamin Franklin wisely observed once there are only two things you can count on: death and taxes. Lately, we feel like another item could be added to the list: automakers upping prices on new cars. Sure, automakers want to blame everything on consumers, but if you’ve been car shopping lately you know just how out of control the market is theses days. Obviously, someone is paying the exorbitant prices but the problem goes a little deeper.

First, it’s worth noting that according to Kelley Blue Book, the average new car solid in November for $48,681. That set a new record, surpassing the high in October by $422. More shocking, it was $2,250 higher than last November, which was still too high.

Kelley Blue Book calculates the average car shopper has paid over MSRP for new vehicles every month since July 2021. Chalk it up to desperation, stupidity, and throw in the extra cash people had spilling out of their pockets thanks to all those stimulus checks – that all helped throw fuel on the fire.

Read the full story here.

People Are Walking Away From Car Orders

If you’ve been paying attention to the car market at all in the past three years, you know prices for both new and used vehicles have soared out of control. There was a point not long ago when dealers were offering people more money for their two- or three-year-old car than it sold for new, the market was so tight. Paying over MSRP for a new vehicle was also just accepted for just about every brand under the sun. Now that’s starting to change and quickly as people are walking away from custom car orders, leaving dealers with secretly swelling inventories.

That’s right: customers who took the time to order a vehicle just the way they wanted from the factory, waited patiently for delivery, then are contacted by the dealer to take delivery of the car are instead opting to not complete the transaction. It might sound like lunacy, but there’s a good reason for it.

With interest rates on the rise, plus inflation squeezing people ever tighter (going to the grocery store is a practice in frustration these days), people are looking to shed unnecessary financial baggage. This means their dream car they ordered in just the right spec suddenly becomes either an unwanted burden or quite simply is something they can no longer afford.

Read the full story here.

Can't Afford Your Car Payment? Buy A New Car!

If you’ve visited a dealership recently you might be surprised to see that while the selection of vehicles sitting on the lot is better than a year ago, prices haven’t dropped as much as you might’ve been hoping. This seems to defy people’s simplistic knowledge of supply and demand dynamics in economics as everyone waits for the bottom to fall out of both the new and used vehicle market. We’ve even seen repossessions on the rise, yet car prices in many instances are still unbelievably high. There’s an interesting potential explanation which might account for at least part of the continued inflation of new vehicle prices, but if true would mean a big fall is building.

First off, you need to understand how we got to where we are today. Things were fairly normal when 2020 began, then a virus of unspecified origin made people and especially governments turn to desperate measures, just about everything shut down, and automakers scaled way back on production in anticipation of demand plummeting. When people realized they weren’t dying and they were sick of being cooped up they decided to get a new car and drive a lot, which in turn put a pinch on dwindling new car supplies so automakers started trying to figure out how to ramp production back up.

Read the full story here.

Australian Authorities Purposely Destroy Gearhead’s Car

A man dared to hoon his car (what we in America call performing a sick burnout) and that not only earned him prison time, authorities had his car destroyed on the steps of Queensland’s Parliament House. This coming from the same government which used strong physical force against peaceful protestors to keep everyone safe from going to the beach and parks for a couple of years.

Far too many times, we’ve watched government officials destroy perfectly good cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles to show how tough and serious they are. We think it comes off with the same energy as a toddler breaking someone else’s toy because they didn’t like what they were doing. After all, do governments seize a white collar criminal’s house and knock it down “to send a message”?

Read the full story here.

British Private Car Restrictions Approved, Coming Soon

Back in October we covered an explosive report from Daily Mail that drivers in Oxford would have to start applying for driving permits to drive through the city center. We, like a few other news outlets, saw this as the potential gateway into climate restrictions/lockdowns similar to what was done during the pandemic, only this time to “save the planet.” Coverage of the story put some pressure on the county council, which was weighing this option, however in the vote at the end of November they moved forward with what appears to be an even more radical move.

As reported by independent news sit Vision News, the approved plan sections the city into 6 zones with electronic-controlled gates on key roads for entering and exiting, seemingly to physically control the movement of private vehicles. While Vision News says this move is to keep residents in their own neighborhood instead of driving freely, Oxfordshire News highlighted a rebuttal from an unnamed member of the county council.

Read the full story here.

Ottawa Has Quite The Car Theft Problem

Recently, Canada’s state-funded news outlet CBC ran a rather fascinating story about how car theft is surging in Ottaway, the country’s capital city. So far in 2022, about 1,200 cars have been stolen in Ottawa alone, a city of just over 1 million people. What’s more, over the past 5 years the rate of vehicle theft has approximately doubled. Even worse, police are recovering precious few of the boosted cars.

The CBC article admits a mere 173 stolen vehicles were recovered in 2022. In other words, 85 percent disappeared perhaps forever. We’ve covered before the car theft problem in Ontario, noting that most of the stolen vehicles are loaded into containers, put on a ship, and go to somewhere across the ocean. In other words, if you don’t track down your ride quickly, it’ll be out of the country and gone forever.

Read the full story here.

Arkansas Trooper Goes Full Leeroy Jenkins On Camaro

We’ve praised Arkansas State Police in the past for keeping up with and eventually stopping suspects in much more powerful, faster vehicles. The agency’s troopers seem to be exceptionally well-trained, however accidents happen, even with all that training. That’s what some are saying happened when a trooper ran into a Camaro which already wrecked out and the suspect was exiting. We’ve included the video so you can make up your own mind about what happened.

It's possible the trooper just got really excited and pulled a Leeroy Jenkins, going overboard when more finesse was needed. Everyone can name instances when police used more force than was necessary in a situation and we’d say slamming into an already-stopped car as the suspect is surrendering probably falls into that category.

Read the full story here.

Inventory Picks:

2000 Argosy Transcoach

See it here.

1971 Plymouth Cuda

See it here.

See Al Young's Cuda here.

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