Yet Another Policy Update

I have made several minor additions to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for the site. Specifically, I updated the Privacy Policy to make more explicit that this site, its host, and its analytics service are all based in the U.S. and to fix some awkward wording. (ETA: I also clarified that the conditions listed under Disclosure of Personally Identifying Information are separated by “and/or.”) I updated the Terms to add a clearer Contact Form and Email Communication Policy, which is now linked from the contact forms. Please be sure to read them and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

A Hydra-Matic Update

I have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks undertaking an extensive update of the 2010 article on the original GM Hydra-Matic transmission. The goal was to clear up various errors and points of confusion as well as trying to do a better job of explaining the operating principles of both Hydra-Matic and its precursor, the Automatic Safety Transmission.

This endeavor, which has reminded me why I’m neither a mechanic nor an engineer, was actually a good deal more work than the original draft. However, since people continue to read and refer to this article, I felt it was appropriate to try to sort out its inaccuracies and confusing points.

You can read the full article here.

Click below for two additional notes on this update.
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Reprint/Reuse Policy

I’ve updated the site’s Reprint/Reuse Policy (which is now linked in the Administrative Pages menu on the right for ease of reference) and I encourage everyone to read it. The policy is not significantly different than it has been, but I’ve reformatted it to make it easier to read and to clarify a few points.

As with all of the site’s policies, I’ve tried very hard to balance what I reasonably need to do to protect myself and my rights with an appropriate respect for common sense and the principles of fair use. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

ETA (Jan. 13, 2016): I have made a further update to the policy — including reorganizing and reformatting parts of it — in the interests of clarity, avoiding inadvertent contradictions, and trying to balance a bunch of conflicting priorities. I encourage you to read the updated policy if you’re interested in excerpting an article, reusing photos, or anything like that, and to let me know if you have questions or concerns. My intent is not to be scary or unduly restrictive while covering myself and the people who are kind enough to let me use their photos and other material.

Pillarless Under the Rising Sun: Japan’s Four-Door Hardtops

Most English-language automotive histories will tell you that the four-door hardtop became extinct in the late seventies, a victim of American safety regulations. That may have been true in the U.S., but Japan’s love affair with hardtops continued well into the nineties, including some models you probably didn’t know you knew. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we present a brief survey of the Japanese four-door hardtop.

1992 Nissan Laurel Extra Diesel four-door hardtop (Q-SC33) open doors © 2001 Scott McPherson (used with permission)

(Photo © 2001 Scott McPherson; used with permission)

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Bridging the Gap: The Honda / Acura Legend and Rover 800

Japanese cars have a reputation for appliance-like reliability, but are often criticized (fairly or not) for lacking character. Character is a quality of which British cars have rarely been short, but dependability is quite another matter. In the early eighties, Honda and Rover decided to collaborate on two shared-platform luxury cars that promised to bridge that gap: the 1986–1990 Honda / Acura Legend and 1986–1999 Rover 800 (a.k.a. Sterling 800). The long and complicated story of how that project came about and what became of it is our subject in this installment of Ate Up With Motor.

1989 Sterling 827SLi five-door Rover decklid badge © 2014 Aaron Severson

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The MacPherson Strut

Although frequently misunderstood and often misspelled, MacPherson struts are one of the most common suspension systems used on modern cars, found on everything from the Proton Savvy to the most formidable Porsche 911 Turbo. In this newly revised and updated installment of Ate Up With Motor, we’ll take a look at the origins and workings of the MacPherson strut, including modern variations like the Toyota Super Strut, GM HiPer Strut, and Ford RevoKnuckle.

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Updated Terms of Use

In addition to updating the Privacy Policy, we’ve made a few minor revisions to the Terms of Use. In particular, we wanted to point out that when people submit comments — which as you’ve probably noticed are moderated — we may occasionally respond to the comment via email before or instead of approving the comment. (For example, if the comment includes the person’s phone number or email address, we will usually contact the commenter to ask, “Are you absolutely sure you want to do that?”)

High-Tech High Roller: 1981–2001 Toyota Soarer Z10, Z20, and Z30

Before it became a Lexus in 1991, the Toyota Soarer enjoyed a decade of success in Japan through two successive generations, becoming the favored choice of Japanese yuppies. A cousin of the Toyota Supra, the Soarer was a sporty, sophisticated personal luxury coupe boasting an array of high-tech features that have only recently become commonplace on high-end cars. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we look at the complete history of the Soarer including the 1981–1985 Z10, 1986–1991 Z20, and 1992–2000 Z30, with a brief look at the final 2001–2005 Z40.

1983 Toyota Soarer 2800GT-Limited (MZ11) decklid badge © 2011 Aaron Severson
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Except as otherwise noted, all text and images are copyright © Aaron Severson dba Ate Up With Motor. (Terms of Use – Reprint/Reuse Policy) Trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners and are used here for informational/nominative purposes.