We usually go to all the big auto shows around the country like Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York, but there’s something special about our home show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. We stopped by the 2016 Twin Cities Auto Show earlier this week to poke around and enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere we have here in Minneapolis. The 43rd Annual Twin Cities Auto Show ends this weekend so hurry up and register for free tickets with your Morrie’s store of choice and get to the show while you still can!
As a motorcyclist myself I hope nearly everyone has seen this bumper sticker on Minnesota roads. If you haven’t you might want to keep reading on. The weather is starting to turn and that means it’s time to start sharing the road with everyone. On an average day in 2014 there were a reported 215 crashes on Minnesota roads, that is per day! Of these crashes there were a reported 361 fatalities which has slightly decreased year after year, but unfortunately there were 46 motorcyclists who lost their lives in 2014. While all motorcyclists know the dangers of riding, people should to be aware of how to help avoid crashes and makes sure lives aren’t put in danger when they don’t need to be.
The best information we can offer is that if you are a motorcyclist make sure you are riding smart. Always wear the appropriate riding gear and please for your own safety wear a helmet. The Office of Traffic Safety has a great list of tips to keep in mind as Spring approaches:
- Motorists are advised to watch carefully for motorcycles in traffic and always look twice before turning or changing lanes.
- Riders are advised to wear full, brightly-colored protective gear, including a DOT-approved helmet.
- Riders should travel at safe speeds, pay attention, maintain a two-second following distance and ride sober.
- Riders should seek safety training.
We at Morrie’s care about the safety of motorists on the road and want to make sure you and your family are safe and practicing safe habits while behind the wheel. For more information please visit the pages below and make sure to always look twice!
We’re all pretty used to freezing temperatures, wind chills well below zero, mountains of snow, and all the other terrible things that come with Minnesota winters. Most of us do not willingly go outside without a very good reason during these times; much less do anything to add to the cold. Scott and Tina, the managers at our Subaru stores, feel differently.
This year they’ve decided to participate in the Polar Plunge. They’ll jump (or be pushed) into the frozen Lake Calhoun to show their support for the Special Olympics. Each store is trying to raise $5,000 for the cause. A portion of that will come from a $25 donation for each new Subaru sold during the month of February. We’re counting on family, friends, and anyone else who’d like to help out to make up the rest.
The manager of the store to hit the fundraising goal first gets to push the other one into the lake on March 4th. They’ve both been training hard and are pretty confident in their chances of winning—so now we ask you to pick a side and make a pledge.
Donations raised from the Polar Plunge help thousands of athletes train for and compete in the Special Olympics. Learn more here.
This is part 2 of this blog, check out part 1 here.
5. Buying fancy windshield wipers: Rain, dust, cold, and heat: your wipers’ biggest enemy is simple exposure to the elements. Over time the rubber will break down, regardless of how fancy and organic and sustainable it is. Just get the basic cheap wipers and change ‘em out on the regular.
Basic wipers do work, but I have found you need to change them out more often, especially in colder climates. I’ve tried all the frameless replacements and have actually found some winners. “Fancy” wipers do cost more—sometimes by 3 or 4 times—but they clean your windshield better and work for a longer period of time.
Recently a coworker sent me an article she found an article on thrillist.com titled 8 Car Parts and Services You Shouldn’t Spend Money On. The email subject line was “You’ll hate everything about this article. Literally EVERYTHING.” I started to read the article and the ranting began right on cue. She found it quite amusing, so I thought I should take this to the people. While some points made in the article are good, I am still going to play devil’s advocate. I’ll break them down one by one:
1. Changing your oil too often: Simply put, the mythological 3,000-mile oil change was the domain of your grandfather. Today, the oil is more pure to begin with (especially if you’re using synthetic oil, which you should), your oil filter weeds out more contaminants, and tolerances in your engine are such that less of those contaminating particles get into the oil in the first place. So how long can you go without changing your oil? That’s a controversy for another article entirely, my friend.
Yes, changing oil every 3,000 miles may be too much, but for some cars but it depends on what type of driving and how much you do. Of course you want to follow manufacturer’s recommendation, but If you only drive your car in the city with a lot short drives, you should change your oil a little more often or see if the manufacturer recommends a Severe Duty Interval. On the other side of the coin, if you drive a lot on the highway you may need to change it less often. Your owner’s manual should have this information, and most new cars will just tell you when you should change the oil based on your driving habits. Remember, oil is cheap—engines are not. Using a good quality oil is key; just because something meets the minimum standard doesn’t mean you should use it.
2. “Restoring” your headlights: Sure, that rough yellowy mess on your headlights ruins their effectiveness, but paying big bucks for a “restoration kit” is total trash when you can DIY instead. Get a few sheets of very fine sandpaper from your local hardware store, soak them in water, and sand your headlights using finer and finer paper until it’s perfectly smooth (if it’s really bad, start with something like 400 grit, then progress to 800 and 2,000). Then use a polishing compound to make it shine, and you’re back to being perfectly clear.
Having the best vision possible while driving is important for safety. The DIY kits can be good, but you have to do your research. I have used them all and can objectively say that the ones without drill attachments work better than the ones with the attachment. The article mentions using sandpaper but buying all the parts separately will likely cost more, so the kits are a good value. If you don’t want to tackle this project yourself, check with a dealer or independent detailers to see if they offer this service. It’ll cost more, but it’s hard to do better than someone using the right tools and products.
3. Opting for service contracts: If you’ve ever bought a new car, you’ve no doubt been bombarded with endless contracts and “warranties” that will see all of your maintenance taken care of, as well as damage to wheels and tires, etc. Newsflash: if these truly made financial sense for you to buy, they wouldn’t be profitable for the dealership, and they would no longer be available. Think about that one…
I was also skeptical about these a couple of years ago. I saw some commercials with the big sales pitch “to buy a warranty if your car has less than 100,000 miles on it, call 1-800-blahblahblah.” There are a couple of questions you should ask when you’re thinking about an aftermarket warranty: “will it cover everything?” and “what does it cover?” The answer to the first one is easy: no, it won’t. But Is it going to cover some of the big expensive issues you might have? Yes. Without a warranty, an engine control unit can cost over $2500 to replace. With a warranty, you’ll most likely only pay a deductible in the area of $100. Some warranties cover some items beyond the common things you would expect, like gaskets and seals or one that covers wheel repair and replacement even if you hit a pothole. Of course these make money for whoever sells them, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in them. In fact, I know multiple people who have aftermarket warranties that have paid for themselves multiple times over. Of course the seller is banking on you not using it, but so is everyone that offers a mail in rebate, your health insurance provider, your car insurance provider, and your grocery store coupon booklet. I have car insurance that I have never used it in my almost 20 years of driving and I have health insurance, yes, but I haven’t been to a doctor since I was 12 years old (that’s probably not good argument). Almost all companies are in business to make money, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in it buying something that someone profits off of.
4. Buying over-the-counter fuel additives: You absolutely do need additives in your fuel to keep your engine running as cleanly as possible. Too much of a good thing, however, can be detrimental, and frankly, unless you’re a chemical engineer specializing in gasoline additives, you probably don’t know how much is too much. The higher prices you pay at “brand-name” stations like Shell and Texaco are partly because these extra proprietary detergents are already added to the gas before it goes into your tank. And that you should pay for. But don’t ever buy them over the counter, period.
I kind of agree with this. There are actually some worth buying, but 95% of them are no better than buying good gas. Most companies that advertise detergents in their gas have already mixed in any beneficial additives. Cars with direct injection really don’t have a need for them, and cleaning the fuel system in older cars will require more than a in tank additive (you need a kit that attaches to your fuel rail and costs more than anything you can buy at a gas station).
Check out part 2 of this blog here.
I just wanted to take a quick moment to discuss what Ford is doing right now, and how excited that should make all of us. We recently took a trip out to the city of Detroit (home of the blue oval) for the North American International Auto Show where, once again, I was blown away by what Ford was doing. I also learned that the auto show attracted some 815,000+ people this year which is a completely different point but nonetheless makes me happy for the auto industry in general. Ford had an amazing display with all the the latest and greatest including the new Ford Fusion, which will be a 325hp AWD sedan that should blow away the competition.
So back to my original point in that Ford is onto something special right now and I truly think this is a great enhancement for the auto industry in general. I mean look at the lineup that Ford is bringing to the table right now. Cars, trucks and SUVs that are everyday capable vehicles that are reliable and, in some regards, the best selling vehicle (cough, cough F-150) for almost the last 40 years. Then look at all this excitement they are building and that really is what this article is all about. Let me start at the so called, “bottom” and work my way up.
Nobody likes being late and while anyone can check the time on their smartphone, it’s not a particularly elegant option. Watches have made a huge comeback lately (especially mechanical watches that don’t require batteries to run) and it’s easy to see why. With a style to fit nearly any wrist, there’s something cool about strapping a tiny little machine or supercomputer to your wrist. Being a bunch of car lovers here at Morrie’s, we figured we’d compile a list of our favorite automotive-themed watches to keep the car lover on your holiday gift list on time.
We’re big fans of Autodromo, not just for their watches, but also because the owner of the company is a big car guy. He races a vintage Alfa Romeo and creates some great driving gloves as well as sunglasses. Autodromo’s watches (ranging from $375 – $1,200) are offered in five styles, although we prefer the models that emulate the classic gauges of our favorite race cars such as the “Veloce”, the “Stradale”, and the “Group B”.
While Autodromo is a relative newcomer to watch world, Tissot has been assembling watches since 1853. While that was quite a while before the first cars (or horseless carriages) were ever created, Tissot has built a solid reputation for themselves with a line of automotive-themed watches. The range features both quartz (battery-powered) and mechanical watches with prices ranging from about $350 – $2,000.
For those that appreciate motorcycles, Tudor offers the Fastrider chronograph (about $4,000) in conjunction with Ducati. Available in three unique colors taken directly from the hot new Ducati Scrambler motorcycles, they also come with a really unique leather strap that reminds us of our favorite leather jacket.
One name synonymous with motorsports and cars in general is Steve McQueen. While Heuer (now Tag Heuer) has been around since 1860, Heuer went through a bit of a golden age when they began sponsoring motor racing events in the 1960s. That resurgence hit critical mass when Steve McQueen began wearing a blue and red Heuer Monaco at the track and on set while filming movies like LeMans. As such, that style of Monaco has been dubbed the “Steve McQueen” and now Tag Heuer is offering an updated version with their Caliber 11 movement for 2015 ($5,500).
One of the quintessential timepieces that harkens back to vintage racing is the Chopard Mille Miglia. Named after the famous 1,000 km street race through Italy, the Mille Miglia comes on a really cool rubber strap made from actual recycled tires and stamped with a cool vintage tire tread pattern. We especially like the Mille Miglia GTS Power Control ($6,640) model seen below because it features a power reserve indicator that looks just like a gas gauge to alert the wearer when the watch needs to be wound.
Those of you who attend our Formula One viewing parties at our Morrie’s Heritage Car Connection warehouse, you might’ve seen three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton sporting his signature IWC Ingenieur Chronograph ($15,200) around the paddock. The titanium case, ceramic crown and chronograph pushers, and carbon fiber dial just scream motorsports.
But for those who aren’t part of the Lewis Hamilton Fan Club might want to consider something even more exotic: the carbon fiber-cased IWC Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance Ceramic. With a case made out of solid carbon fiber and accented with shiny and nearly indestructible black ceramic, this lightweight watch is just as much F1 car as it is a watch ($20,800).
OK, so that was more than five but with so many cool options out there, we didn’t like limiting ourselves, or you, from seeing some really cool watches. And since we already blew past our five watch limit, we’ve got one more holy grail of a watch to share with you…
The MB&F HM5 CarboMacrolon is a true piece of haute horology with a completely in-house designed movement and a sleek case that was designed as an homage to one of the most beautiful cars ever built: the Lamborghini Miura. Limited to just 66 pieces in each of three colors, we picked this version as the best of the bunch. What makes this watch so unique is the fact that this is a mechanic watch that displays the time in a digital way, showing the time in two little windows on the side of the watch. What would normally be the face of the watch is actually made up of intricate movable louvers that can be opened by the wearer to allow light to come through the watch and illuminate the time readout. But good looks don’t come cheap – the MB&F HM5 CarboMacrolon carries an eye-watering pricetag of $63,000, or about as much as this lightly used 2014 Maserati Ghibli S Q4.
Hockey is an integral part of living in Minnesota. We all love watching the Minnesota Wild and cheering them on during the hockey season. The reality is all of our favorite hockey players had to start somewhere but the odds are stacked against many of our Twin City’s youth from ever getting that chance. With the decline of hockey programs in Minneapolis and the overall cost to participate, many kids will never get the chance at playing the game of hockey.
That’s where the Herb Brooks Foundation has been making a difference since 2003 with the Rink Rats program. The legendary player and coach Herb Brooks had a vision to keep hockey sticks in kid’s hands and give them the chance to experience the game of hockey. Rink Rats is the embodiment of his vision and it has continued to bring the love of hockey to kids all over the Minneapolis and St. Paul Metro. Rink Rats is an after school program available for several Twin City schools and is continuing to expand across the metro. It’s not uncommon to see onlookers and parents alike at the local ice cheering on these youngsters as they skirmish, practice stick handling, and learn the rules of hockey.
Morrie’s contributes two 16 Passenger Ford Transits to transport kids from their school to the local ice. I personally have been participating in driving the kids for several schools now for three years. It’s unbelievable how much the game of hockey can bring a group of kids together.
Watching some of these kids over the past few years develop skating and stick handling skills is an amazing experience. Many of them are equipped to join school or local teams after their time in the program. The Herb Brooks Foundation no only provides professional coaches/players to mentor and instruct the kids but the skates, helmets, and sticks they need to have a good experience on the ice.
This opportunity is one of a kind and I have found my time investment transporting the kids to be really rewarding. It’s great to see a program so dedicated to investing in the local youth and we are happy to continue our contribution to Rink Rats and the Herb Brooks Foundation. To learn more about Rink Rats and the Herb Brooks Foundation visit: http://www.herbbrooksfoundation.com
With the 2015 LA Auto Show behind us, we figured it was time for a quick recap to talk about some hits and misses from the show. There were roughly 20-25 new vehicles revealed at the show and while we won’t cover everything, there was a lot to see. It’s easy to show up at these big auto shows and get sucked up into all of the hype and excitement but we’re here to cut through the bullcrap and break down what was really cool and what was just show floor fodder.
Alfa Romeo Giulia: HIT
With 505 hp and the fastest production sedan lap record at the Nurburgring, this BMW M3-fighter has us rummaging through our couch cushions and smashing every piggy bank in sight to scrape together the estimated $70,000 to buy one. Seriously, how can you not fall in love with this thing!?! It looks fantastic inside and out, is available with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, and offers rear or all-wheel drive. And this shade of blue looks particularly dashing as well.
Cadillac XT5: HIT
The Cadillac XT5 is the highly anticipated replacement for the SRX, which is currently the oldest model in their lineup. With a fresh new look and updated materials, the XT5 is a very important launch for Cadillac since the SRX it replaces was the company’s most popular model. With a nearly 300 lb diet, and an updated CUE infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay, the XT5 is bound to be a strong seller for the brand yet again.
Fiat 124 Spider: MISS
We want to like it, we really do, but the new Fiat 124 Spider takes the already gorgeous new Miata and somehow manages to make it look just a bit frumpy. While we can appreciate some of the styling cues of the original 124 Spider of the 1970′s in this car, it doesn’t really work when it’s scaled up on a modern car. Kudos to Fiat for using the 500 Abarth engine in this car though! It should sound pretty wicked and with turbos make everything better, even if the 124 Spider only comes with 160 hp.
Fiat 500e Stormtrooper Edition: HIT
We’re a sucker for Star Wars so while this fun little collaboration panders to our fellow nerds just a bit too much, we can’t help but love it all the same.
Hyundai Elantra: HIT
While we heard some rumblings from fellow show-goers that the new Elantra just ripped off styling cues from a bunch of other cars, we feel they borrowed some inspiration from some of the best designs out there. The headlights remind us slightly of the Jaguar XF while the grille looks like a mix of Ford Fusion and Audi TT, but these shapes have all been tweaked to fit the new Elantra in a cohesive way that works better than you might at first think. The rear reminds us of Hyundai’s own Genesis which certainly isn’t a bad thing either. Who said a cheap car has to look cheap?
Ford Escape: HIT
Given how good the current Ford Escape already is, the 2017 update is sure to be even better. The new look, with styling cues taken from the Edge, really works on the scaled down Escape too. Black accents and a sportier looking front grille don’t look bad, but we wish they would’ve taken more of a chance with the styling like they did in 2012. No doubt it’ll still be one of the top compact crossovers on the market when it becomes available later next year.
Lincoln MKZ: HIT
Lincoln has had a tough go of things over the last few years. The current lineup’s styling is a bit hit or miss, but we got excited when we saw the stunning Continental concept in New York earlier this year. Now we appreciate Lincoln taking that breathtaking look and applying it to the MKZ. Not only does the new front end look fresh and luxurious, but the MKZ also offers a new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 hp mated to all-wheel drive. Inside, the MKZ is finally on track for offering a level of luxury that at least matches that of its direct competition. If Lincoln can keep rolling out cars like this, their future is beginning to look brighter.
Mazda CX-9: HIT
Mazda has been on a hot-streak lately with their whole lineup, but the CX-9 had been starting to show its age. Thankfully, Mazda adapted their Kodo styling language to the new 7-seat crossover and heavily upgraded the interior and driveline. The new interior is now much more luxurious than it’s ever been in the past with rich and vibrant leather seats and plenty of safety and infotainment tech. The new 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv 4-cylinder offers 250 hp and plenty of torque.
Jaguar F-Pace: HIT
The all-new Jaguar F-Pace made its US debut at the 2015 LA Auto Show and we fell in love with the styling immediately. This is going to be volume seller for the Jaguar we see it being pretty successful for the British manufacturer. But really, who cares how many they sell. It looks beautiful and that’s pretty much all that matters to us. That, and we’re holding out hope that they offer the super aggressive 5.0-liter V8 from the F-Type R at some point down the road. Yes, please!
Range Rover Evoque Convertible: WTF?!?
We don’t even really know to categorize this. It’s ridiculous and useless and stupid and yet, we applaud Land Rover for having the stones to build it. This one can definitely be filed away in the same dark corner as the Nissan Murano Crosscabrio in a folder named “Weird Vehicles You Never Actually Thought Existed”.
Audi’s Booth: HIT
We couldn’t pick just one favorite from Audi’s booth so we picked them all. They all have over 600 hp, they all go like stink, and they all look amazing. You just can’t go wrong.
Porsche 911 C4S Targa: MISS
Welcome to the 328th obscure version of the Porsche’s 911 lineup. This one is the latest 911 with the new twin-turbo engine that isn’t technically a Turbo. It has all-wheel drive, wider rear fenders, and a roof panel that folds down compared to the regular, plain-Jane 911. For those who don’t like this *exact* iteration, it can also be had with a fixed roof, or a full convertible top. Or with less power, or less driven wheels, or with more power, or pretty much any way you could possible want it. Yes, it’s still a 911 so it’ll be amazing to drive but the 911 lineup has become so bloated now that it’s hard to get excited about any new iteration at this point.
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport: HIT
Although the Boxster/Cayman lineup has plenty of different versions, all with minor tweaks, we love Porsche’s approach to the GT4, and they went somewhere really exciting with this, the GT4 Clubsport. This track-only model takes a largely stock Cayman GT4 and adds a roll-cage, beefed up suspension, and a unique 6-speed version of their PDK gearbox. While it’s largely targeted at a one-make racing series, we’d love to get our hands on one for some track days!
Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept: HIT
We love the design of the Impreza Sedan Concept and really hope the production version will look this good. While most other manufacturers have given up on building concept cars these days, it’s nice to see that Subaru still likes to wow us. Keep your fingers crossed!
Nissan Sentra: HIT
The Nissan Sentra has been a staple of the Japanese automaker’s lineup for decades and this new model, although largely a refresh, is a handsome car. Beyond the fresh new look, Nissan has added some real substance through technology like intelligent cruise control, blind spot detection, forward emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert. NissanConnect is also available now with navigation, Siri Eyes Free integration, and plenty of apps and services above and beyond what you might expect in this segment.
Halloween is right around the corner, so naturally we thought a Spooktacular party was in order! We invited Customers, Friends and Family out to the event – and what better location to host a Halloween party than the Morrie’s Heritage Car Connections warehouse? We dressed it up with spiderwebs, fog and a few other spooky surprises! Activities included Trunk or Treat, pumpkin tic-tac-toe, pin the spider to the web and pumpkin carving – with an automotive twist. Our talented graphic designers whipped up some MHCC-themed pumpkin templates along with a few beloved children’s characters like Baymax from Big Hero 6 and the Minions from Despicable Me, which were predictably a huge hit with the kids. Attendees weren’t the only ones who dressed up, either; a few of our cars had costumes of their own! The orange Volkswagen Thing made a great Jack-O-Lantern, and the Firebird, Land Cruiser, Bronco and Mustang all got makeovers to look like they stepped out of Pixar’s classic, Cars!
We had a fantastic time hosting and would like to extend a huge thanks to everyone that came out and made the event such a success – we hope everyone had a blast! Happy Halloween!