Barbara Terry

Barbara Terry's Car Articles

America's Favorite Auto Expert

Barbara Terry's Ten Favorite Cars with Sex Appeal (Plus One)

One of my coolest friends the other day asked me what my 10 favorite cars that I felt oozed enormous amounts of sex appeal are. As I shuffled engines, fenders, trannys, torque and all of the other components that make up the manufacturer’s models through my complex brain I quickly came up with my list of 10… plus one.

Some of you may agree with my picks while others will find fault and disagree but that is fine because we are all allowed our own opinion being as we have different tastes and turn-ons in life.

As I list my 10 I will try my best to put into words why these 10 stand out to me and make me want to go from 0 -120 just thinking and daydreaming about them.

  • 1. Dodge Viper. The first time I laid my eyes on the fascinating curves of the Viper was at the Texas State Fair the year before it rolled out onto the dealer’s showroom floors. What other car on the road put out by an American company when it first came out in the 90’s can make this type of statement... NONE.
  • 2. Chevrolet Camaro 1967 -1969 model/body style. I have been a fan of this era camaro for years. One of my buddies in high school had a 1968 SS/396 big block that we would frequently open up late at night on a dark country highway in small town Texas. There was nothing like the rush of sitting in the driver’s seat and feeling the amount of horsepower throughout your whole body that definitely makes your blood boil from its pure muscle.
  • 3.Porsche 911 Turbo 993 and 996 model/body style. I have always said that the gearshift in the 911 turbo is more like a joystick, oh the fun and thrill of grabbing onto one of these.
  • 4. Morgan Roadster... any year! Every since I saw the movie “Tthe War of the Roses” I have been drooling over this cute but sophisticated machine.
  • 5. Ford Mustang 1964 ½ - 1973 model/body style. Who can forget the movie Bullitt with Steve McQueen and that 68 he drove. Hot!
  • 6. Chevrolet Corvette 1973 - 1979 model/body style. Two words…Beef cake. Most importantly the Corvette is poweed by 2 of my favorite engines, the 350 and the 454.
  • 7. Nissan 300ZX 1990- 1996 model/body style. This era of the 300ZX was the only sliorty car of its kind on the road back then that made such an unmistakable statement as it zoomed liast you on the freeway.
  • 8. Lamborghini Gallardo. Do I really need to even say anything about the hottest car out there? I am in love and want to marry a Gallardo. Stick a fork in me I am done, the Gallardo completes me!
  • 9. Volkswagen Beetle convertible, 1971 – 1979, well actually it is called the “Super Beetle”. No other car is better fit for a Sunday afternoon drive hitting the local flea markets and quaint antique stores while spending some of your hard earned cash and of course cruising with the top put down.
  • 10. Ford GT 2005- 2006. lilease someone let me know the team of designers of the one of a kind Ford GT; they deserve the reward for the sweetest design of the century.
  • +1. Land Rover Defender 1994 -1997 model/body style Okay, can someone get to the bottom of why Land Rover stolilied making the Defender and has not brought it back? Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the classic Toyota Land-cruisers and the Jeeli Wranglers but the Defender is the Godfather of this class, it is unique and toli of the line bumlier to bumlier, in and out.

As you can tell I did not mention the custom conversions for instance, the Shelby, Saleen, etc etc, I wanted to keep this about base models right off the factory assembly line. Of course all of the above favorites are pictured in my head being composed of my favorite color combo which is black on black, with the passenger window rolled down and my yellow lab Rocky hanging out drooling as he rides shotgun!

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The Similarity Between Humans and Cars

As I was going for my daily run yesterday, I came to the conclusion that we as humans are very similar to the cars we drive and covet. Humans come in different years, makes, models and color. Humans also vary between simple, eccentric, expensive and some of us have that flair for the wild side and others are more on the conservative side. So if a car is considered a classic after being 25 years old, should a human be considered the same after 25 years of age? Okay now lets talk about the cars that we gander at. We have economy, sporty, luxury, high-line, exotic…and yes some cars have a history of getting banged up a little, in which that would and should be considered “baggage”… just like the human race. By the time we are in our 30’s, we typically have accumulated some kind of “baggage”.

If you shed (or in car lingo, “buff off the paint”) the different colors of skin off of us humans, we all have the same mechanism and components, just like the automobiles. If you remove the exterior whether it is metal, thin tin, or fiberglass, all autos have very similar mechanisms and components to get it down the road. We also learn through life from our mistakes, like the personal relationships we experience after the first time we fall in love. We also learn in life from the mistakes that we make from those terrible decisions when we purchase our dream car and shortly after that, hate it for many reasons.

For example, we lose respect for it after it breaks down on us, the fact that it seems to bankrupt us for its expenses, and what about the fact that we love our cars a lot more than the love they show us…sounds like the way I felt after my first long term relationship….”frustrated”. Another comparison….some humans organs fail them throughout the process of life, just like some of our cars components go bad after a few years. With all of the recent technology being introduced to us in the automotive field, cars that can tell the mood of the driver from special sensors placed in the steering wheel to cars that wink at each other with special headlights that a Japanese Manufacturer is introducing to us, so should cars be able to have relationships and get married also?

I do have to say my boyfriend now is the best decision I have ever made when it comes to buying a car or acquiring a boyfriend. His exterior and interior are awesome he comes fully loaded with all the luxury accessories, and when you bathe him his exterior coat/skin really shines, I swear he almost has that new car smell about him. Most importantly his resale value will always remain the highest in my book! The question is, should I consider him a classic or not…he is over the age of 25!

It is very interesting to me that when a car passes away we take it to the junk”yard” and when a human passes away we take it to a grave”yard”…who knew that these two words would be so similar? So to make the questionable comparison…Are humans comparably similar to cars? Both need love, attention and insurance, food or a good diet for humans (we don’t run well on junk food) can be considered gas for cars and a fresh oil change every 3000 miles. My favorite analogy: Autos needing a good tune-up once a year could be considered an annual vacation once for us humans!

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Taking Time Out to Remember

Is it possible that today’s technology is limiting the enjoyable experiences associated with tinkering under the hood and manipulating the motor? As I look back to a less complicated time growing up in Texas, I picture a rumble and tumble 10 year old girl sitting on a stack of phone books enabling her to see over the steering wheel of a 2 ton hay truck with a four on the floor. It seemed so easy to pop the clutch to get the truck engine started so that we could get back to delivering hay or my favorite pouring gas into the carburetor in order to restart the engine after running out of gas. Remember when the mechanics fixed your car? Now they just replace the part(s) that the computer tells them are defective. As I got older, I learned to change the oil, replace spark plugs, change the thermostat and performing other routine maintenance functions. Today’s engines are so jam packed with electronics and sensors that we don’t do this much anymore. You don’t get the same rewarding feeling of knowing your engine and taking care of it by taking it to the dealership. The “factory recall” has become a modern day phenomenon. It seems too often that we find ourselves inconvenienced as we are forced to visit the local dealership because of a factory recall. Factory Recalls are in fact a manufacturer’s apology for being technologically incorrect. It is difficult to admit that there has been a major screw up in the factory as a result of a failure to properly engineer your complex modern vehicle and please excuse the resulting major pain in the butt and possible endangerment that we are causing you. Growing up in a time without all of today’s modern bells and whistles when we used our brains instead of an on board computer, I do not remember my parents having to take any of our vehicles in for such a repair. Many of these defects occur in vehicles that are a first year model in the market. My advice is to shy away from buying the first year of the new model if you can. Let the manufacturers deal with getting all of the kinks out of this new design; that way you will be able to enjoy it more on the road instead of staring at it while it sits all alone up on the repair lift. Perhaps that is one reason why we love our classic vehicles along with the fact that they remind us of our youth. This is why I ooohh and ahhed the other day as I spotted a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport triple black convertible driving down the freeway with the top down watching the slobbering dog sitting in the passenger seat! The technology that we all benefit from today is amazing; however, I do have to say that in some respects it contributes to the throw away and don’t fix it lifestyle most of us lead today in this fast paced world in which we live and drive.

Personally, I am grateful for what we have today and yet I miss the simpler times.

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The "Z" Car

How many of us enjoyed the first 240Z introduced to us by Datsun? Then one of my favorites rolled off the assembly line, the Nissan 280Z, which was soon followed by the 300Z. Next was the greatest accomplishment by Nissan, in my opinion, the 300Z with new body that came out in 1990. I owned several of these models and of course they were all Black with a black interior (my favorite color combination). I can recall staring at my car for what seemed like hours as it sat glistening in my garage in the middle of the night.

Let’s jump ahead a few years and discuss the fact that the last year Nissan made the 300Z was in 1996. Years later they introduced us to their new 2003 Z model 350. 7 years to give to the Z enthusiasts of the world a sports car that doesn’t make its own statement, because it is so similar to the Lexus Coupe, the Audi TT, the Infinity Coupe and a few other. What a disappointment! The Z car has always expressed its own style its own individual unique sex appeal, why have you let us down like this? If I had the spare time I would fly to Japan and speak with the folks in charge at Nissan. What is your favorite model? The older 2+2, the Turbo, the convertible or the 2 seater coupe? If you have a favorite 350Z style which of the 7 styles is it? I remember driving my 1995 black on black 2+2 and how it always turned heads. Or maybe it was the fact I had my yellow lab hanging out the window on the passenger side of the car with his drool flying freely all over the place.

“Barb’s bottom line” - The Z cars have always made their own unique statement and had always given the other sports car on the road a run for their money. I hope to see a new body style soon with its own individuality and sex appeal.

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2005 Scion TC

The first time I spotted the Scion TC across the parking lot on the morning my crew and I were scheduled to tape a segment on this cute little beauty I was skeptical and wondered if its manufacturer, the Scion Division, would be as successful as their affiliate, Toyota. I have driven everything from an unidentifiable piece of junk to the highest-powered machines made by man. If the Mercedes Kompressor and the older model Volkswagon Scirroco got together to produce a cool looking baby….the Scion TC is it!. When my hand hit the gearshift and my foot hit the gas I was more than impressed. This cosmetically appealing 2.4 liter 4 cylinder comes loaded with standard equipment that many manufactures would call options and charge extra.

To list a few... dual airbags, power windows and door locks, power outside mirrors, outside temperature gauge, cruise control, alloy wheels, Pioneer AM/FM/CD unit and satellite compatible, anti-lock brakes, a first-aid kit and my favorite a Panorama Moon roof with a power slide…wow!!! Do I have any complaints? Only those associated with every compact car out there on the market. I am curious to see how this new model will endure after its first year on the market (e.g, interior components etc.). Many manufactures have had nightmares on their hands with their new model’s first year release. I will more than likely do a follow up to this article after this cutie has been rolling down the streets with input from the multitude of consumers that will be attracted to the Scion TC. If you are looking for a sporty look with loaded standard equipment (including the option of 5 speed or automatic transmission) this car has tremendous value power. Priced at less than 18,000 dollars, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. Scion has a progressive marketing program and a unique way to let you custom design your own model to your liking. If you haven’t taken a gander at their products I highly encourage you to do so. [Watch the Segment]

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The New BMW 7 Series

How many of you have been graced with this cars presence? Some of us, like myself have always been enamored with the undeniable luxury of the Bavarian Motor Works…aka the BMW or the Baby Boomers would refer to it as the Beamer! In 2002, BMW introduced to us the new 7 series, the 745i and 745 li. I have to say when I first laid my eyes on this new body style; it was not love at first sight. It was more of a squirmy feeling in my stomach. I was and always will be a big fan of the body style from 1996 to 2001, I said to myself how could BMW improve on their perfection of class and sophistication. What can I say though; the car has grown on me. Now having said all of that, I absolutely have to say that BMW has outdone themselves with this beauty. BMW has gone beyond the call to satisfy the demands of the discerning driver with respect to the way the car drives, looks and most importantly retains its resale value. I am not here today to list all of the awesome options this car has or to plug the car for the manufacturer, I just felt like bringing this model to your attention, since I am a big fan of this technologically advanced shiny piece of metal. Consumers should be informed that anytime a manufacturer releases a new body style it will usually take about a year to work out the kinks. I would not be one of those shoppers trampling all over people to buy in the first year of a new body style of any car. I suggest waiting until the second year of a new body style to purchase and you will be much happier with the results.

Question: Sent in by Anthony Cool. I am shopping for a Jeep Grand Cherokee right now. Which four-wheel drive transmission would you rather have the Quadra-trac or the Select-trac?

Answer: Okay Mr. Cool…is that really your last name. If so, I have to say that is cool! To your question, I can only tell you what I prefer. The Quadra-trac transmission means the Jeep is in four wheel drive all of the time so you are not going to get as good of gas mileage. The Select-trac has the option of two wheel and four wheel drive. I like to save my pennies when it comes to my fuel consumption, so I am more apt to buy the Select-trac. I have owned both types and they both handle very well in challenging conditions.

Question: Sent in by Cindy Fitzsimmons. My cigarette lighter is not working in order to charge my cell phone.

Answer: This could be a couple of things, first of all try checking and replacing the fuse wired to that particular part of your car. Refer to the owner’s manual to find the location of your fuses. Secondly, it may be the housing behind your outlet; if so have your local mechanic look at it. This whole job should not be very costly so do not let someone overcharge you the equivalent of your house payment.

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Purchasing a New Car with Paintwork

What I mean by “Paintwork” is a vehicle that has been painted by a body shop somewhere on the car’s hood, door, fender, etc. A car should not be overlooked simply because it has had repairs that include painting. Frequently my customers ask “Has the car ever been in an accident?” As they ask this question, it appears that they have a preconceived idea that if it has been in accident, then I will not buy it. Would I buy a car for myself with paintwork or even one that had been seriously smacked around to create frame damage? Yes, as long as the repair was performed properly and the car isn’t driving down the road sideways. Paintwork can be minor, such as a car that had been keyed from a scorned partner in a relationship or a fender bender or major as a result of a smash-um up collision where a compact import meets a one ton dual pick-up truck (when the two vehicles have had a very intimate conversation on the freeway swapping paint and metal). Don’t walk away just because there has been some repair work. My most interesting personal experience was colliding with a bull Elk about the size of a thoroughbred racehorse one night in Colorado. I was driving a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee about 70 miles per hour when the two of us met eye to eye. After the impact most of the front end of the Jeep was sitting right in the passenger front seat and the elk was pretty toasted and twisted up in the motor. I walked away with a concussion, (took about a week to feel better). The point is that after some extensive repair, that Jeep it is now driving down the road just fine. So just because you learn that your next potential vehicle has been in an accident because there has been paintwork, it doesnt necessarily mean that the vehicle was run over by an 18 wheeler and now has major problems. I would definitely have it inspected, run a history report on it if you like and see it through. You will likely get a good deal on a vehicle that you will be happy with for a long time.

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Pets Riding in Cars

Six years ago my yellow lab was just six weeks old. All pet owners remember that first day of taking on the huge responsibility of pet ownership including cute puppy breath and shoe destruction (“why the heck must you always pick my $400.00 Stilettos and reject those stinky rubber fishing boots)? I had Rocky nestled on my left shoulder tucked under my hair until he became fascinated with chewing and pulling on my earring on his first car ride…bad idea! As the weeks and months went by he outgrew me holding him and took his permanent position in the passenger seat or as he refers to it as his seat. How many of us allow the pooches to stick their heads out the window with their jowls flapping in the wind and slobber scattering everywhere. What is the alternative? Should we buckle up our little furry ones in child safety seats as puppies and harness then in as adult doggies? Whatever happened to throwing them in the back of the pickup, now they ride in air-conditioned leathered up seats while they watch their favorite episode of Lassie on the DVD mounted in the rear of the SUV. I know my Rocky is especially fond of the heated seats in the wintertime. We only have so many years to love our pets, so it is important that we take our furry friends along with us on errands after all. Bottom line, I do not see any problem with allowing our pets to hop in and go for a ride if the owner and/or driver always makes sure your pet is never blocking the driver’s view and you never roll down the window so far that it can fall or jump out of the vehicle. I also encourage you to put them in their own area in the car. The most important situation to avoid is your pooch distracting you when you should be paying attention to the road by riding in your seat with you and endangering others.

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Dangers at the Gas Pump

Believe it or not pumping gas is not the safest daily routine out there. You might think that I am going to discuss the obvious hazards of smoking at the gas station. I believe that you can figure that one out. There should be clear warnings about static electricity posted at your local gas station stating the risks involved while pumping the fuel that gets us down the road. The Petroleum Equipment Institute is campaigning to make us more aware of the dangers associated with static electricity at gas pumps. Being a woman trying to multitask, while pumping gas I usually get back in my car, adjust the radio to my favorite song, call my boyfriend to remind him to pick up my dry cleaning, and of course check to see if I am in need of more of what most of us women love most,...quality makeup. Static electricity can be created while getting in and out of your car and then finishing filling your tank. Fires have been started and deaths have occurred. I will warn you to never use a cell phone and please avoid getting back into your car until you have finished your duty at the gas pump. If you absolutely have to get back into your car while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, shut the door, and touch the metal on the door before you grasp the nozzle. This will discharge whatever static electricity may be lingering around your body. On the other hand, we should simply be more like the men in our lives and stick with the procedure until your fuel tank on your vehicle is full.

Question: Sent in by Randy Sciletti. My wife’s 1996 Dodge Neon blows a ton of white smoke as she is driving, what do you think the problem is?

Answer: Hi Mr. Sciletti, Dodge had a serious problem with the motor they put into the Neon, starting with the first year it came out in 1995, you more than likely have a blown head gasket or as some mechanically oriented people refer to it as a “cracked head”. Basically, compressed air from a cylinder is mixing with the fluids in your cooling system and it creates a white colored steam. You can either fix the cracked head if extensive damage has not been done to the motor or I would suggest checking into a rebuilt motor that will fit the year and the make of your car, preferably not another Neon motor.

Question: Sent it by Tammy Frankel. I noticed the other day that I had a bubble like thing on one of my tires, what is this and is it dangerous?

Answer: Okay, the store where you purchased your tires should without an argument take the defective tire back and replace it at no charge, provided of course that they are still under the warranty subject to mileage limitations. The bubble is a weakness in the tire usually caused by an error in manufacturing or as a result of unusual contact (e.g. a curb). As far as it being dangerous, picture this, you are on the highway doing 80 mph and the tire blows out because of the weak spot which has now formed a bubble. This could be a life threatening situation. I strongly suggest replacing the defective tire ASAP.

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How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

I have always been an adamant believer in checking and changing your oil on a regular basis. The rule of thumb is every 1500 miles, but if all cars were the same, it would be a boring world now wouldn’t it? What has proven best for me is to do what is best for my specific car. First, I check my oil every 500 miles, or spend an extra 5 minutes while filling up and have the attendant check it for me. You can not tell what oil leaks you may be experiencing sporting around town from the inside of your car. If your car is like mine, well after 300 thousand miles, I am always springing a leak. Do you suppose it is time that I take a trip to the nearest car lot and treat myself to a spanking brand new SUV. When checking your oil, you should always turn the motor off, and use your emergency brake; I am all about safety when spending time under the hood! Pull the oil dipstick out, if you seem to be having a hard time locating this you might want to refer to the owner’s manual. Secondly wipe it clean with a cloth, stick it back in and when you pull it out you will be able to read the oil level on the dip stick. Some automobiles require 30 weight while others require 40 weight. If you are not sure which is best for your car, refer to your owners manual or check with your local mechanic. Also, pay attention when checking your oil level to the color and consistency of your oil. The oil should always be pretty thin with a rich medium brown color. If it too dark (more black than brown), it needs changed. Preventive maintenance will assure a prolonged life for your car.

Question: Sent in by Ms Hill. My 1996 Nissan Maxima has started missing, what is wrong with it?

Answer: Well Ms Hill, it could be a number of things. First, since your car is fuel injected, I would recommend checking your fuel injectors, one may be clogged and definitely check your spark plugs, your spark plug wires and your vacuum hoses. If you are uncertain as to how to do this, please ask a qualified mechanic.

Question: Sent in by Dee Sneed. Hi, Barbara, I was wondering why my car shakes when I apply my brakes?

Answer: Hi Dee Sneed! It could be one of several problems. Your rotors may need to be turned, your calipers might be grabbing or your brake pads might be ancient and need to be replaced. I would strongly suggest having a mechanic look for these problems. A malfunction like this can only get worse and the repair will usually cost more if it is not addressed early.

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How Often Should I Change My Tires?

I have always liked the little tricks of the trade. When I first started driving, my mom helped me out with this one. You are going to love the simplicity of it. Take a standard US penny with Abe Lincoln’s head on it. Insert the penny into a space between the tread of the tire. If you can see the top of his majestic head, you better take a trip down to your local tire joint and slap 4 spanking new ones on your mode of transportation. A more conservative approach would be to pay attention to the mileage allotted for the life of the tire or if you think the tread is getting a little weak, then get your tire store to inspect them and give you their opinion. I would recommend spending an little extra dough and get the Road Hazard Warranty offered, it will save you in the long run pertaining to the life of your tires, also it is very important to have your tires balanced and rotated every 5000 to 7000 miles.

I would love my readers to write in with any other little tricks of the trade that I may not be aware of. Looking forward to checking them out!

Question: Sent in by Tom Brown. My bright lights are not working on my car.

Answer: Hi Tom, Okay, a few things may be wrong here. First of all I would check to see if it was just the bulb, then I would recommend replacing whichever headlight you is not illuminating. If the problem still exists you will need to venture into the bright light switch on your steering column, or if you are driving around in your grandparents car, you will have to check into the switch on the floorboard, you know the one down on the floor by your left foot.

Question: Sent it by Rebecca Chung. Hi, My car seems to have a hard time starting and not stalling in wet weather. Will you please tell me why?

Answer: If you car runs great in dry weather but is impossible to keep running in wet weather, it is more than likely a crack in your distributor cap. I do not know how dirty you want to get your hands under the hood performing mechanical repairs. I would suggest next time it is damp, pop your hood, locate your distributor cap, unscrew it, take a clean dry cloth and wipe off the under belly of the cap making sure it is very dry, then replace it by screwing it back on. If your car starts right up, then we have figured out the repair that will need to be addressed. Keep in mind though that as soon as a little moisture works its way back to that cap, the problem will reoccur. Most importantly always think safety first. I am all about being very careful and safe when I am working on anything related to my car. Always make sure you turn your engine off, engage your emergency brake before attempting any chore. Keep in mind that those parts under the hood that resemble a jumbled mess of metal get very hot so be extremely cautious and careful not to burn yourself.

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