Henry Payne Blog

Cartoon: Donald Kong

Posted by hpayne on October 20, 2016


Cartoon: Hillary Unstable Trump

Posted by hpayne on October 20, 2016


Cartoon: Samsung Fire Kindling

Posted by hpayne on October 20, 2016


Cartoon: Vegas Last Debate

Posted by hpayne on October 20, 2016


Cartoon: Hillary Catholic Wall

Posted by hpayne on October 20, 2016


Cartoon: Johnson Ready

Posted by hpayne on October 20, 2016


Cartoon: Debate Lemons

Posted by hpayne on October 20, 2016


Cartoon: Hillary Lincoln

Posted by hpayne on October 12, 2016


Payne: The presidential wheels of choice

Posted by hpayne on October 12, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is chauffeured

Americans are defined by their wheels, whether as motorheads, Prius huggers, minivan moms or pickup cowboys.

In a presidential campaign that has defied tradition and split America, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s different automotive tastes are suitably unusual.

The Democratic public servant for nearly three decades hasn’t owned a car since 2000, while the Republican New York business tycoon has a collection of more than 110 vehicles to match his outsized lifestyle.

Yet when it came time to choose their wheels for glad-handing Middle America, they have reverted to campaign tradition and arrived at a bipartisan consensus: Buy American and drive SUV.

“I like the car I’m in now. It’s a Chevrolet Suburban. Made in the USA,” The Donald said in a campaign email when The Detroit News asked him to name his favorite car in a multimillion-dollar fleet that includes a scissor-door Lamborghini Diablo and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

The man is a natural-born politician.

Clinton can be found riding around these days in her campaign’s GMC Savana Explorer Limited van. She likes to call it the “Scooby Van” — a reference to the flower-powered machine that Scooby Doo and his teenage sleuths drove in the popular animated series from the 1970s.

But don’t expect to find her behind the wheel. She hasn’t driven a car since she was first lady in 1996 — the Oldsmobile Cutlass she bought in Arkansas in 1986.

“I remember it very well,” she told the National Auto Dealers Association Convention in 2014. “Unfortunately, so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven’t driven since then.”

Clinton sold the Cutlass and has since been chauffeured in big, government vehicles — usually the familiar black General Motors sport-utility vehicles of the Secret Service.

Clinton has had a long history with big Detroit iron even before she bought an Olds in law school. She grew up in Illinois in her father’s Cadillac. If she moves into the White House in 2017, she will get another Caddy — an all-new, truck-based, presidential limo code-named “The Beast.”

Libertarian long shot Gary Johnson drives a 2003 Porsche Targa and 2009 Toyota Tacoma.

The German and Japanese wheels may not be politically correct, but they represent an American dream garage: A sports car for on-track driving and a pickup for off-roading.

Shake Johnson’s hand on the campaign trail and there might be oil under his fingernails. The former New Mexico governor is a garage monkey.

“Favorite car I ever owned is a 1967 Austin Healey Sprite,” he told The News in an email. “Bought it for $350 with a blown head gasket and fixed it myself.”

He would be a kid in a candy store in Trump’s Garage Mahal of collectibles.

The Manhattan billionaire lives large. A gold and diamond-covered door greets visitors to his Trump Tower penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue. He flies aboard his own $100 million Boeing 757 — complete with gold-plated seat belts, according to BusinessInsider.com. And when he hits the road, he has a selection of toys to fit any mood.

Trump can go out in the Big Apple in a selection of luxury European land yachtsincluding a classic, 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, 2015 Rolls Phantom or a sumptuous Mercedes S600 sedan. When he has the need for speed, earth-pawing stallions await like the 617-horsepower, $450,000-plus 2003 Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren. But he recently put up for sale on eBay the electric-blue 1997 Lamborghini Diablo capable of 202 miles per hour. It got one bid for $460,000.

And if he and wife Melania want to cruise with the hogs, The Donald can wheel out the 24-karat gold, custom-made motorcycle built for him by biker television star Paul Teutal Sr. — former “Apprentice” contestant and proprietor of Orange County Choppers.

Trump also has a taste for American iron — particularly from the General, which may explain in part why Ford Motor Co. has borne the brunt of his attacks about outsourcing production to Mexico (once upon a time, his Chevy Suburban was made south of the border in Silao). He owns a Cadillac Escalade SUV, Cadillac Allante drop-top and a 2011 Chevy Camaro Indianapolis 500 pace car.

Trump was actually supposed to pace the Indy field in the Camaro — but racing legend AJ Foyt took the wheel instead.

If this were a conventional election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid usually would be the greenest of them all. After all, Stein chose the made-in-Japan fuel-sipper “because it had the lowest environmental impact of any vehicle offered by the auto dealers near her home” in the Boston suburb of Lexington, a campaign spokesman said.

But spitting in tradition’s eye, it is the Republican who owns the greenest ride. Trump, a global warming critic, has a Tesla Roadster, the first all-electric vehicle made by Silicon Valley’s environmentalist-in-chief Elon Musk. The little green sports car gets an EPA-rated 120 MPGe compared with the 2010 Prius’s mere 50 mpg, and the thirsty Scooby Van’s 12.

Nevertheless, if The Donald wins the election, he too will be ferried by the Secret Service in the gas-guzzling Beast down Pennsylvania Avenue. Who knows, maybe he’ll get it gold-plated.


Cartoon: Donald Clinton for President

Posted by hpayne on October 12, 2016


Cartoon: Debate Bumper Cars

Posted by hpayne on October 10, 2016


Cartoon: Trump as a Democrat

Posted by hpayne on October 10, 2016


Cartoon: Trump Lewd Inauguration

Posted by hpayne on October 10, 2016


Cartoon: Hurricane EPA

Posted by hpayne on October 8, 2016


Cartoon: Trump’s Clothes and Ford

Posted by hpayne on October 8, 2016


Payne: Roush and Shelby Mega-Mustangs pack a punch

Posted by hpayne on October 8, 2016


I knew a tennis player once upon a time who showed up at the courts dressed like Bjorn Borg. Headband, bright sweatbands on both wrists, multiple tennis rackets, and carrying an expensive tennis bag so big it needed a caddy. Then he walked out on court and hit 10 mph fluff balls. Why the big show if you have no game to back it up? It reminds me of folks who dress up production sedans with wings ’n’ things without changing a thing under the skin.

I got held up by one such dashing muggle recently while driving a fire-engine red 2016 Roush Stage 3 Mustang on the twisty two lanes of Detroit’s outskirts. The other guy had a neon-blue Honda Civic with a giant rear wing and exhaust the size of the Alaskan Pipeline, yet it labored along with nothing more than a stock four-banger under his hood.

Buyers of the wicked-looking, track-trained Roush or Shelby GT350 Mustangs are not that guy.

When Ford introduced its all-new coupe for 2015, Mustang nation swooned over its sleek styling and crouched stance. The pony car galloped out of showrooms. We motorheads, meanwhile, quietly salivated over the potential of the car’s new DNA. What would Ford’s legendary performance shops — Roush and Shelby — do when they got their hands on this beast? After all, this was the first Mustang equipped with independent front and rear suspension, chassis dynamics to finally harness its V-8 power.

Those mad geniuses didn’t disappoint. With Stage 3 and GT350, the fusion of a lineman’s muscle and tailback’s athleticism has been realized in two striking, similarly priced — yet very different — V-8 packages.

Indeed, I should probably be thankful that my Honda friend held me up. I might have had a trail of Smokeys behind the Roush longer than what chased the bandit. With the suspension wrapped in the sinew of available, three-way coil-over springs channeling a Hellcat-like 670 supercharged horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque, it’s hard to behave in this land rocket.

How to exercise it? I might bolt on rally lights and go out after midnight when no one’s about. When I lived in Washington, D.C., in the ’80s, petrolheads would go out at 4 in the morning to set the fastest “lap” around the 64-mile D.C. Beltway. A Ferrari reportedly held the record at a half-hour — that’s an average speed of over 125 mph. Gives ya chills, doesn’t it? It’s a record sure to stand forever as I-95 has become busy 24/7.

Ditto, Detroit’s highways. So to thoroughly enjoy this meaty Mustang you’ll want to book a regular table at local tracks like Waterford or M1 Concourse. In fact, just move out of the house right now and buy a condo at M1, because you’ll want to track it every night. Some come home and unwind with a glass of Scotch. You’ll prefer hot laps around M1’s 1.5-mile track.

When you buy the condo, make sure the garage has room for two so you can put a Shelby next to the Roush.

Ooooh, the Shelby GT350. Grown men swoon at the sound of its 526-horse flat-plane crank V-8, the only such engine this side of Ferrari. The great Carroll Shelby has passed to that great racetrack in the sky, and his Cobra badge now belongs to Ford. But his spirit lives on in this monster.

I first tested the twin-striped snake — the track-goosed, $66,970 GT350R — over the rolling hills of Monterey and Laguna Seca, California a year ago. The $57,970 GT350 in my driveway is no less intense. Lope along in SPORT mode, and the flat-plane, 5.2-liter V-8 gurgles like a T-rex stalking its prey. Nail the throttle and rex takes off in a bellowing sprint to 8,000 rpm. The ground shakes. Birds flee from the trees. Fire hydrants explode.

There’s plenty of torque at low revs, but the piercing wail of a V-8 at 8-grand is other worldly. You NASCAR fans know what I mean. It oughta be a phone ring tone.

The Roush motor is different. Or rather, the same, core 5.0-liter eight you’ll find in the 435-horse Mustang GT. Unlike other hot rod shops that have to buy their cars and modify them, Roush gets exclusive access to Mustangs right out of Flat Rock Assembly so customers can accessorize them through dealers and have them delivered in full Roush attire. Get a Roush and you’re accessing performance engineering that has won 32 racing titles and 400-plus races.

Roush herds its pony recruits through their Plymouth plant where they are given a nose job, tattooed and generally hardened into track-ready stallions. Roush works its magic on Mustang’s V-6 (RS package), turbo-4 (Stage 1), and V-8 (Stage 2 and 3). But Ford holds back the 8,000-rpm screamer for Shelby only. It’s Ford’s signature engine.

Roush’s signature is supercharging: An Eaton TVS supercharger spins atop the V-8 boosting horsepower by a mind-blowing 235 horsepower. I tuned the ACTIVE EXHAUST mode to TRACK, buried my right foot out of a Telegraph stoplight and was sure I was going to the moon. With a chirp, the 20-inch tires channeled a wave of horsepower arcing to the 6,800 rpm redline. Unlike the old, solid-axle, 662-horse GT500, this animal (priced from $56,410-$72,080) never feels unstable. It never threatens to throw its rider.

This nimbleness translates to the track where Shelby and Roush record sports-car like, 1-plus G cornering numbers. Indeed, at this year’s Car and Driver Lightning Lap, the $66,000 magnetic shock-equipped GT350 lapped faster than a $105K Porsche Cayman GT4. Cradled in heavily-bolstered Recaros, drivers can enjoy the performance in leather-wrapped comfort.

What sports cars don’t have, however, is The Look — that intimidating visage that appears in slower vehicles’ rear-view mirrors causing them to reflexively pull over (neon blue Civics exempted, apparently). The Roush machine breathes down your back with a unique front clip, but what catches your eye is the “ROUSHCHARGER” hood scoop.

The Shelby’s hood scoop is more aerodynamic and therefore less obvious. Not that you’d notice because the twin stripes and massive “flying buttress” front splitter scream “Snaaaaaake!” My front splitters were jet black, yet still glinted in the sun like two machetes.

Shelby GT350 and Roush Stage 3: Twin-stripes or gaping hood scoop. High-revving snake or supercharged demon. These stallions perform as good as they look.

2016 Roush Stage 3 Mustang


Power plant 5.0-liter, supercharged “Coyote” V-8
Transmission 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic
Weight 3,892 pounds
Price $56,410 base ($72,080 as tested)
Power 670 horsepower, 525 pound-feet torque
Performance Quarter mile: NA; top speed: 155 mph
Fuel economy EPA 14 mpg city/23 mpg highway

/17 mpg combined (automatic as tested)

report card

Lows Cop magnet; tight backseat for family burnouts


Grading scale: Excellent ★★★★Good ★★★ Fair

Poor ★

2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350


Power plant 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V-8
Transmission 6-speed manual
Weight 3,791 pounds
Price $49,995 base ($57,970 GT350/$66,495 GT350 R as tested)
Power 526 horsepower, 429 pound-feet torque
Performance Quarter mile: 12.3 seconds est. (Car and Driver); top speed: 155 mph
Fuel economy EPA 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway

/17 mpg combined

report card

Lows Ticket bait; tight backseat for thrill ride-sharing


Cartoon: Kaine and Trump Rude Ticket

Posted by hpayne on October 5, 2016


Cartoon: Trump Accountants

Posted by hpayne on October 4, 2016


Cartoon: Miss Piggy

Posted by hpayne on October 3, 2016


Cartoon: Clinton’s Women’s Room

Posted by hpayne on October 3, 2016