Posted: 22 Oct 2014 08:08 AM PDT
If a car and guitar could be distant cousins, I think the DNA of this mint condition all-original 1985 Ibanez Roadstar II RS440 and equally spotless 2014 Lexus IS 350 C convertible would reveal a genetic match. Both were built by influential and best selling Japanese companies that have flourished in the US market, Ibanez and Lexus are known for enduring quality that ages well and, when cared for properly, provides decades of service.
The Ibanez Roadstar II RS440 was built in 1985 at the Terada Plant in Nagoya, Japan by the now 102 year old Terada Musical Instrument Company and exported to the US. Although the Roadstar series is still a relatively quiet player in the vintage market, the build quality of the RS440 rivals that of many of the guitars being built in the US today and the values have slowly but steadily grown throughout the years. Although I am not a vintage guitar values expert, I predict that the Roadstar will be celebrated more widely as a true classic in the next decade or two as more players realize the quality and versatility of the line.
The fit and finish of the RS440 is top notch, the Fire Red metallic paint looks as crisp and fresh as it did in 1985 when it was carried off the showroom floor. The RS440 used either basswood or birch for the body and a gorgeous deep-grained rosewood for the neck. Headstocks were painted to color match the body, chrome hardware, including the Ibanez Pro Rock’R bridge, a matte black pickgaurd, and painted gloss black knobs finished the color scheme.
The bridge pickup, known as the V5 Blade, could be split to open up more tonal variations converting the “you can’t get any more 80′s than this” humbucker into a single coil lead monster. Ibanez called the wiring configuration “Duo-Sound”, activated by the push button built into the lower knob that still feels as snappy as it did when it was new, further illustrating the quality of the parts and assembly. The neck and middle pickups are single coil Super 7s and they sound great, Fender-ish, but with a tonal quality that is unequivocally 80′s Ibanez.
To learn more about the Ibanez Roadstar II series and other great Ibanez guitars visit: Ibanez Collectors World
For a full AutomotiveAddicts.com review of the 2014 Lexus IS 350 C convertible
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:20 AM PDT
I can remember a time when I considered buying a Toyota Camry. I am not sure what was going through my mind at the time, about to tie the knot and set sail on a new life. Maybe it was the pressure of starting a family, or maybe I didn't want the hassle of settling on a vehicle I wasn't too sure would last me many years into the none-single life. Either way, the Toyota Camry was a fall-back, a no brainer in my situation, that I could bank on being a constant in my new relationship.
I knew, without a doubt, that the Toyota Camry was something almost everyone has experienced, even if you don't own one, and just about everyone knows someone who does. Despite my early-on appetite for the Camry, I instead brought home a Toyota Celica GTS 6-speed.
That went over well.
The all-new 2015 Toyota Camry embarks on Toyota's methodical journey to take a formula that has endowed itself in relentless quality and recognition in America as THE BEST SELLER. Today, the journey continues with a Camry that has been tweaked in many aspects to meet the desires and chants coming directly from consumers. Toyota has listened, and listened well, taking the Camry to a new height with an all-new outwardly appearance. The interior is restyled, as is the sheet metal, for a sleeker appeal that is almost bold in some aspects when you examine the look of the newly-introduced XSE sports trim.
For 2015, the Toyota Camry carries over its powertrains, something that has proven to be a solid and reliable workforce for the 4-cylinder, V6 and Hybrid models. In this aspect, instead of conjuring up additional efficiency in an unfamiliar powertrain, the Camry makes due with its offerings that continue to satisfy in many facets. Both the 4-cylinder engine and V6 continue to use Toyota's proven 6-speed automatic transmission. The Hybrid carries on with its smooth and quick-responding ECVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) unit. Fuel consumption figures retain their values from the outgoing years with the 4-cylinder models getting 25 mpg city, 35 highway and 28 mpg combined. The V6 Camry gets 21 mpg city, 31 highway and 25 mpg combined. The fuel-sipping Hybrid steps in a new direction with two different mpg figure sets dependent on the trim level, giving the SE and XLE Hybrids 40 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined. The LE Hybrid gets 43 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 41 mpg combined.
With the powertrains and roof structure remaining the only carryover 'parts', the all-new 2015 Toyota Camry is improved in all other areas, making way for a more ridged, refined and bold approach to America's best selling car. To put things into perspective on the major force that the Camry represents in America, if the Camry were its own brand it would be one of the 10 largest in the automotive industry. With that respect, Toyota took on the seriously meticulous task of redesigning an American staple in the automotive world. Quite the important task as to not mess up a good thing.
The new 2015 Toyota Camry is on a fresh path with its redesign despite its carryover 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 178 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, hybrid drivetrain making due with a combined electric motor and 2.5-liter 4-cyl engine output of 200 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.5-liter V6 champions in its 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels.
The all-new 2015 Toyota Camry lineup features the same returning trim levels with the addition of a new XSE trim. The Camry starts with the base LE then moving to the SE, XSE, and XLE. The LE, SE and XLE can all be had as a Hybrid, giving consumers the benefit of a sporty Hybrid in the SE trim, featuring the Camry's sport-tuned suspension ultimately changing the over-all driving dynamics. I was able to experience the differences in each trim in Toyota's invitation to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL to experience the all-new 2015 Toyota Camry. The location was a change of pace, as it only required me to drive about 30 minutes from my home to check out Toyota's steady hand of American automotive ingenuity – a vehicle that is about 75% derived here in America.
Setting out on a journey to experience the all-new 2015 Camry, the initial takeaway was it felt familiar but better. Actually, better in just about every aspect with the exception of its power delivery. The interior of the new Camry has taken on a new shape, literally, in many portions where the appeal is more upscale and gone are the dreadful faux stitching and un-agreeable plastics – all left with the last generation. The interior makes clever use of its plastics while there are several areas that have infused materials to emulate a luxurious feel. The infotainment system, upgraded to feature the latest Entune app suite and connectivity integration (Bluetooth, USB, Aux) all fall in line for a mostly user-friendly interface.
Seating positions are optimally placed for better appointments of passengers and the driver. With my 6-foot 3-inch frame, I felt right at home in the new Camry. The initial soft approach of the 4-cylinder XLE trim was agreeable while jumping into the XSE V6 proved to be a nice attraction for mild-hearted enthusiasts. Yes, it was just that fun dashing to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. Following up with the SE Hybrid, the fuel-miser kept on a nice pace through many roads and highways I have traveled often. The new Camry Hybrid is never a slouch does a magical job of mixing in a bit of sport and hybrid economy, something rarely seen meshed together so well.
At the highlight of the new 2015 Camry's tech is the availability of LED headlights (LED daytime running lights standard on XSE, XLE trims) in all trims except hybrid models, and as part of an available technology package you get lane departure alert, pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. The available Entune Premium JBL audio system comes as part of a package including GPS Navigation and App Suite. Moreover, a wireless cell phone charging station is available for charging up Qi-compatible phones. Having an iPhone I was a bit curious about the feature, but on my trip Toyota cleverly provided the proper iPhone accessory – much like an iPhone case – to wirelessly charge iPhones. Smart!
On the outside the all-new 2015 Toyota Camry gets two main styling choices where the LE and XLE in either 4-cylinder, Hybrid or V6 drivetrains, have a front fascia that has softer lines mostly found in the grill, almost mimicking its larger Avalon sibling. Moving to the sport trims, SE and XSE, the front grill and bumper have an aggressive glossy black grill, virtually eliminating the chance of mistaking the sport editions for anything but a bold-looking Camry.
Toyota's long proven record is enough for most folks to take home a new Camry while there are those that ask for something more than a reliable transportation appliance. I can say with a certainty, after checking out the all-new 2015 Toyota Camry for a couple of days, it will surely grab the attention of a wider demographic, and that includes a younger audience without taking away from the traditionalists that will always see what Toyota is up to on the next Camry. With a compliant and smooth ride, several trims to choose from including a sporty and powerful midsize sedan on one end and an economical 43-mpg marvel on the other, the 2015 Toyota Camry is the best yet.
The all-new 2015 Toyota Camry LE 4-cylinder starts at $22,970. Moving up to a comfortably-equipped 2015 Camry XSE you will expect to pay around $27,000. Loading up a 2015 Camry XSE V6 the way we like it including technology package and navigation, the price comes in around $33,000.
Copyright: 2014 AutomotiveAddicts.com
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