THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #353

While international auto shows start to wane, what is perhaps the most important exhibition in the largest automotive market in the world continues to stand strong. The Los Angeles Auto Show brought us many tasty morsels to digest as we wait for the ambitious unveilings to transform into reality. One of the juiciest bits was the unveiling of Rivian, and Automotive Journalist, Basem Wasef, says it was the big standout of the show for him. Also, Basem shares how world culture has given him a unique automotive perspective, and fills us in on his new book, “Speed Read Supercar”. Then, Director of Corporate Communications for Rivian, Michael McHale, reveals where the company came from and gives us the details on the R1T and R1S, their all-electric truck and SUV offerings which were shown off to the world for the first time at the LA Auto Show. Next up, Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer remains skeptical as to whether or not anything will come of Rivian – he’s seen and heard it all before. What really impressed Karl was the new Gladiator, Jeep’s first truck! Shifting gears, President and CEO of Subaru North America, Tom Doll, is excited to discuss the new Crosstrek Hybrid, next generation Outback and Legacy, the 7 to 8-seater Ascent, and record month-to-month sales. Changing lanes, JoshCAR Hollywood Car Consultant, Josh Hancock, gives us his picks from the LA Auto Show, including the Toyota TJ concept, Lincoln Aviator, and Hyundai Palisade. Last up, Justice Brothers President and CEO, Ed Justice Jr., shares his thoughts on the new Porsche 911, and tells us what to expect from the new book, “Legacy of Justice / An American Family Story”, available on Tune in for more from the LA Auto Show.


  • [00:00:00] LA Auto Show, Rivian, World Car Culture
  • [00:06:15] “Speed Read Supercar”
  • [00:12:30] Taking Electric Vehicles Off-Road
  • [00:19:51] Rivian R1T, The Truck of Tomorrow
  • [00:29:17] Vaporware or Reality?
  • [00:35:52] Jaded on New Electric Car Companies
  • [00:42:12] Jeep Gladiator Stealing the Auto Show
  • [00:48:37] Subaru Continues to Dominate
  • [00:54:43] Josh Hancock’s Picks from LA Auto Show
  • [01:02:04] Hyundai Palisade and 7-Passenger SUVs
  • [01:10:46] The New Porsche 911 – Is It Too Big?
  • [01:18:04] “Legacy of Justice”


Discover more about segments and guests below…


[00:00:00] LA Auto Show, Rivian, World Car Culture

As we witness manufacturers pulling out of other auto shows en masse, the LA Auto Show still seems to be going strong. Automotive Journalist for Automobile, Robb Report, and Men’s Journal, Basem Wasef, says that while the major talking points of electrification, autonomy, and etcetera were alive and well at the show, the real standout was the reveal of an all-new electric vehicle company, Rivian. Out of nowhere, Rivian caught everybody off guard with a production-ready pickup truck and wowed journalists and showgoers alike. Also, find out how Basem’s ‘man of the world’ upbringing and professional life have given him a unique appreciation for American and European car culture.


[00:06:15] “Speed Read Supercar”

What makes a supercar… super? As a young boy, author and journalist, Basem Wasef was the kid with Lamborghini Countach posters on his wall, so when he was approached to write “Speed Read Supercar”, he couldn’t say no. This big-picture view of the supercar world examines the history, personalities, designs, engineering, and how it all fits together. A supercar, for Basem, is a vehicle that stands so far beyond what most people consider automotive transportation that it becomes exceptional. It warrants the kind of emotion that Italian designers wanted to capture when they named the Lamborghini Countach. Find out why cars like Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and the Dodge Viper all deserve to be considered exceptional in Basem’s book.


[00:12:30] Taking Electric Vehicles Off-Road

Watch out Tesla, there’s a new electric car in town and it’s not afraid to get dirty! Michael McHale, Director of Corporate Communications for Rivian, describes how the brain behind Rivian was able to quietly develop his vision in relative secrecy for nine years, not so much as putting a sign on the building they work in, until three months ago. With 750-HP, 1000 lb-ft of torque, a 0-60 of three seconds, and a hardened design, the Rivian R1T and R1S are ready to take you off-road. Traverse the wilderness in an eco-friendly, all-electric truck or SUV for just $65,000. Find out why Michael is feeling electric over these new vehicles.


[00:19:51] Rivian R1T, The Truck of Tomorrow

You want features on your truck? You want power and engineering in your pickup? Well, look no further than Rivian’s R1T, the truck of tomorrow. Director of Corporate Communications, Michael McHale, gives us the rundown on this feature-packed pickup, starting with the fact that the engineering team is lead by former McLaren Executive Program Director, Mark Vinnels. With a quad-motor system, 400+ mile range, wading depth of three feet, and a 0-60 of three seconds, you’ll be headed into uncharted electric vehicle territory. A ‘skateboard’ chassis design gives Rivian the freedom to add a host of unique features, including an incredibly stiff body, a kevlar battery armor frame, an onboard air compressor, a gear guard extendable cable, and a gear tunnel. All of that and a starting price of $61,000 means you can’t afford to miss out on this sexy new machine. Learn more here.


[00:29:17] Vaporware or Reality?

Tesla proved that speed and power could be achieved in an all-electric vehicle. s Rivian here to pick up where they left off and prove that EVs can do even more? Or is it just more vaporware? Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, and Executive Publisher, Karl Brauer, has seen new electric car companies come and go and he remains unconvinced that this latest upstart is anything different. Not even Tesla excites him anymore, “You know what wows me? Profit and hitting deadlines.” Do you think there’s more to Rivian than hot air? Let us know in the comments!


[00:35:52] Jaded on New Electric Car Companies

14 years ago a new player entered the scene promising faster speeds, superior range, and sexier styling all at a lower price than all other electric vehicles on the market. Four years later, the Tesla Roadster was unleashed on the world, but all of those stats got worse from announcement to release. Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer remembers hearing a story about George Clooney becoming frustrated with and returning his Tesla Roadster only weeks after receiving it. These stories are all Karl can think of when he hears about the next big company to step into the EV ring. Can Rivian overcome the ghosts of electric car companies past?


[00:42:12] Jeep Gladiator Stealing the Auto Show

The Jeep Wrangler’s customizability and off-road capabilities are legendary, but are you ready to take it to the next level? Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer fills us in on the true showstopper of the LA Auto Show, the Jeep Gladiator. Finally, Jeep has entered into the pickup truck segment with a fully customizable Jeep pickup truck. Based loosely on the Wrangler, the Gladiator comes with all the handy features Jeep fans have come to expect – removable doors, fold down windshield, dual range transfer cases, and off-road systems to take you anywhere. This, coupled with a 1600-lb payload capacity, a 7650-lb towing capacity, and a 285-HP 3.6L V6 engine make this midsize truck a disruptive grenade in the category. Does the competition even stand a chance? Let us know what you think.


[00:48:37] Subaru Continues to Dominate

If you’re Subaru of America, Inc. President and CEO, Tom Doll, there is a lot to be excited about. To start with, Subaru has seen 10 years of sales records and November marks their 84th consecutive month of sales increases. How did they get there? Alan tells the story of his Subaru Brat and selling Subaru engines to airplane designers out of his junkyard due to their reliability, over 35 years ago. Their reputation precedes them, and it helps that they continue to pump out high-demand, quality cars that stay on the road for well over 10 years. Continuing the tradition of excellence this year at the LA Auto Show, Subaru announced their all new Crosstrek Hybrid, which gets 17-20 miles of electric run-time per charge. Tom Doll also fills us in on their upcoming next generation of Outback and Legacy, as well as their 7 to 8-passenger Ascent. Find out why every car in Subaru’s lineup will make you fall in love.


[00:54:43] Josh Hancock’s Picks from LA Auto Show

Okay, so we’ve heard all there is to hear about Rivian and the Jeep Gladiator, but what else was there at the LA Auto Show? JoshCAR Hollywood Car Consultant, Josh Hancock, describes some of the interesting new vehicles and concepts he saw, like the Toyota TJ Concept. Perfect for family commuting, this plug-in hybrid SUV is larger than a Toyota RAV4 but not quite as big as the Ford Flex. Another reveal that caught Josh’s eye was the Lincoln Aviator, which he claims photos do no justice. This third-row seating SUV offers two drivetrains: a 3L 400-HP gasoline engine, and a 450-HP, 600 lb-ft of torque plug-in hybrid engine. Find out what other vehicles Josh was impressed by at the LA Auto Show.


[01:02:04] Hyundai Palisade and 7-Passenger SUVs

While the new version of the Porsche 911 isn’t garnering wildly positive reviews from our friends, the Porsche Panamera is looking pretty hot. JoshCAR Hollywood Car Consultant, Josh Hancock, is pretty impressed with the new stylings of the Porsche Panamera; but we’re not sure what to make of the new 911, with a wheelbase nearing the length of Corvette and no manual transmission option. Changing gears, Josh fills us in on the Hyundai Palisade, which is a sister vehicle to Kia’s Telluride and an apparent ‘Explorer fighter’. The largest growing segment is still compact SUVs, but the 7-passenger SUV numbers are astounding as well, so it only makes sense for Hyundai to get their beak wet. Discover the evolution of the five and 7-passenger SUVs, from the first Explorer to present day.


[01:10:46] The New Porsche 911 – Is It Too Big?

With 50 years behind the wheel driving Porsche 911s, Justice Brothers President and CEO, Ed Justice, Jr. has a deep emotional connection to the vehicle; but what did he think of the new model revealed at the LA Auto Show? Realizing that it’s tough to please everybody, Ed admits that no one asked for most of the changes, but after a little time in the car it still feels like the Porsche he knows and loves. Also, hear why Ed Justice, Jr. isn’t too bothered by Porsche’s decision to leave out the manual transmission with this entry.


[01:18:04] “Legacy of Justice”

The Justice family history is one that is intertwined with that of the motorsports hobby. That’s why any true auto enthusiast needs to pick up a copy of the new book, “Legacy of Justice / An American Family Story”. Justice Brothers President and CEO, Ed Justice, Jr., gives us a preview of the 100+ year history and 540 photographs covered in this 500-page publication. From an auctioneering grandfather, to a dad with an entrepreneurial spirit who decided to strike out west and found an empire, the roots of Justice Brothers, Inc. run strong in Ed Justice, Jr. Learn more about the rich past of Ed’s family.


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Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Cody Castleberry

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