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Toyota to media: No floor mat recall yet

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  September 30, 2009 11:30 AM

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Toyota issued this illustration showing correct floor mat installation in a press release yesterday.

Hundreds of published reports yesterday claimed Toyota had already issued a recall to address the possibility of accelerator pedals getting jammed under factory floor mats, but the company fired back in an e-mail this morning stating yesterday's notice was nothing more than a safety advisory.

"Despite widespread reporting to the contrary, this is not yet a recall," wrote Toyota northeast PR manager Wade Hoyt. Hoyt said to the Globe this morning that "it wouldn't be a recall until we've worked out a fix that NHTSA approves."

Hoyt said it is likely a recall will be issued, but could not confirm a date or exactly how many cars would be included.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report yesterday warning that improperly positioned floor mats on certain Toyota models could cause the gas pedal to become stuck in full throttle.

The agency recommended that these owners "immediately" remove the driver's side factory floor mat as an "interim safety measure." All told, the agency has received 102 incident reports from owners "in which the accelerator may have become stuck," according to the Associated Press.

"Until Toyota can implement a remedy, it is asking consumers and associates who drive specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver’s floor mat and NOT replace it with any other floor mat," Toyota said yesterday.

About 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus models are affected, including the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2007-2010 ES 350, and the 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350.

Toyota engineers are currently working on a fix "besides the retaining hooks" that secure the mats to the floor, Hoyt said. Part of the problem, Hoyt said, is that owners may remove the mats for cleaning and put them back unsecured, or place rubber winter mats, which are much thicker than carpeted mats, on top of the standard ones.

According to the NHTSA, Toyota issued a recall for similar accelerator concerns in September 2007 for rubber "all-weather" floor mats it sold as accessories for 2007 and 2008 Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Camry models.

A fatal crash last month in San Diego in which a 2009 ES 350 was speeding out of control at more than 100 mph may have been due to a stuck accelerator, officials say, but the crash remains under investigation.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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67 comments so far...
  1. So this will be the next big excuse when a 200 year old "driver" gets "the gas pedal stuck" HEY COP, ITS NOT MY FAULT, I DRIVE A 2007-2010 Camry, NO ITS A 2005-2010 Avalon, OR IS IT A 2004-2009 Prius, MIGHT BE A 2005-2010 Tacoma, POSSIBLY A 2007-2010 Tundra, 2007-2010 ES 350, OR A 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350!!

    Posted by JFM September 30, 09 12:07 PM
  1. Our 2005 Prius (bought 12-04) has the carpet mat. It DOES tend to get loose of the retaining hooks - common with many cars - (and in fact one of the hooks even popped danger) but there is no way that this mat alone could ride over (or even under!) the gas pedal. Even when installed backward. We don't use rubber mats, so do not know. But we are with Toyota on the safety of the regular carpet mats.

    Posted by david Lopez September 30, 09 12:24 PM
  1. Why is this specific to Toyota? Don't all cars have floor mats that could potentially stick the accelerator down?

    I propose that we eliminate cars. This would reduce greenhouse gases, reduce the need for police, eliminate deaths caused by traffic accidents, reduce car theft crimes. Its a win win situation

    Posted by Mike September 30, 09 12:50 PM
  1. This happened to me when I was getting onto the highway. I hit the brake, reached down and pulled the mat back. It was pretty freaky when it happened. With 256 hp you can get out of control pretty quick. When we bought the car used, the clips were gone, and the mat has a tendency to get pushed up under the gas pedal.

    Posted by Chad September 30, 09 12:51 PM
  1. It is time we thin the herd of the stupid people who cannot install a floor mat properly. The two clips are very secure and when I checked my floor mat there is now way it can come loose. I can just imagine how overborad now the fix will be because people are too stupid to check their floormats.

    Posted by MassBrewer September 30, 09 12:54 PM
  1. Maybe they should start using mats with sticky backs or better still velcro backs to grab the floor capet.

    Posted by P September 30, 09 01:00 PM
  1. The main problem I see is the consumers who try to blame the 'stuck accelerator' problem on Toyota when Toyota has clearly put plastic mat hooks on the floor board to prevent this exact issue. That said, there are two real design problems here. One is that these plastic hooks are a major hassle to use after you've taken the mat out. Because the mat is a bear to secure after taking it out, I can see how people might not reinstall it correctly (or not at all). So, the design of the hooks discourages people from properly reinstalling and properly securing the mat.

    The other issue is that the hooks are plastic and can probably get brittle over a period of time in the sun. So, I could potentially see them eventually breaking on their own and potentially causing an issue (long after the car is out of warranty when no one checks these things).

    Toyota could have made the hook system far easier to use and of higher quality materials. That said, the hooks work as long as they are used properly and remain undamaged.

    Posted by Brian September 30, 09 01:00 PM
  1. If the pedal wasn't practically touching the floor, in the first place this wouldn't happen, Toyota is blaming the floor mat, how about a lame design of the excellerator pedel, but in their little tiny cars I guess there isn't enough room to install one right.

    Posted by ted September 30, 09 01:05 PM
  1. Maybe if people bought American cars they wouldn't have these problems.

    Posted by Maureen Smith September 30, 09 01:07 PM
  1. It's already mandated (or soon will be) that new cars come with tire-pressure monitoring systems to keep the idiots alive who never check their tires. Now the nannies want floor mats to be controlled, too?! Where does it end?

    Posted by Scoob E Doo September 30, 09 01:08 PM
  1. Warning to all drivers! Pushing pedal on right may cause car to move forward, unless you own a GM or Chrysler product, in which case the car will not move from your driveway.

    Posted by Jiveturki September 30, 09 01:09 PM
  1. Errr, most of those Toyota cars mentioned are made right here in America. Check out where most of the "American" cars are made...

    Posted by Scoob E Doo September 30, 09 01:11 PM
  1. Just take the car out of gear, find a place to pull over, and fix the problem yourself. Oh wait...this is America where the majority of drivers find checking tire pressure too much of a challenge to the point that legislation is written that requires car manufacturers to put systems in every car to monitor this for us so companies don't get sued. Ok...this makes sense now.

    Posted by MPW September 30, 09 01:12 PM
  1. Dont redesign the floor mat, redesign the gas pedal so it pivots at the bottom so a floor mat cant creep up. Of course, this doesn't address today's problem so just removing the present floor mat is easiest today solution.

    Posted by Vagabondo September 30, 09 01:12 PM
  1. I have owned Toyotas for years and agree that getting the hooks back into the mat can be difficult, but then again, some people complain that adjusting seat belts is difficult also. Cmon America, take some responsibility for your own safety, grow up and stop blaming things on everyone else.

    Posted by gloria September 30, 09 01:22 PM
  1. I think anyone with a soul would agree that what happened to that family is tragic. Avoidable most likely, but tragic.

    I have a 2010 Toyota Sienna van with Toyota floormats. They are held in place with removable(!) clips. This is rediculous. The clips move around easily and appear close to have become unattached more than once. I cannot recall another vehicle that I or my family has owned that has such a poor design.

    Posted by agnh September 30, 09 01:30 PM
  1. Thanks to the majority of posters here! You have renewed my faith in common sense. Such a sad commentary on the world we live in that floor mats need to be regulated, and the cause of a major recall.

    Posted by Matt September 30, 09 01:48 PM
  1. The same thing happened to me with the clip breaking and the mat getting stuck under the pedal and I have a 2006 Ford Taurus

    Posted by lindsey September 30, 09 01:52 PM
  1. It is not a joke. This happened to me in my 2004 Camry. I couldn't figure out why the car kept accelerating. I would look at the older models too.

    Posted by Julie September 30, 09 02:04 PM
  1. Ok enought stupid people. Just do as it says ""

    Don't blame it on Toyota or even any others companies. IT"S stop whinning......

    Posted by P.H September 30, 09 02:16 PM
  1. Is this for all the toyota cars because i own a 2007 toyota yaris...

    Posted by linda September 30, 09 02:34 PM
  1. Reason 1,000,001 why I am glad I don't own a Prius.

    Posted by Princess_Cal September 30, 09 02:37 PM
  1. don't recall....just give buyers an IQ test before purchase

    Posted by ComeONAmerica September 30, 09 02:39 PM

    Posted by HATETOYO September 30, 09 02:40 PM
  1. I have owned a 2005 Camry with hooked mats for over 4 years never had a problem, bought a 2010 Camry in July no problem, I do find the driver mat a bit longer. wake up and pay attention to whats going on America, because cars of today are so automated it dosen't mean we should fall asleep at the wheel, pay attention buddy!

    Posted by Paul September 30, 09 02:44 PM
  1. I own a US built 2005 Tacoma and never gave much thought as to why the floor mat clips were there. I am glad that Toyota had the foresight to design them with safety in mind. It also has 13 cup holder to ensure that I do not spill hot coffee in my lap.

    Posted by rjpremo September 30, 09 02:53 PM
  1. I am a safety professional who had this happen to me. My floor mat was not in the way. I believe this is a cover up of a bigger problem. I worked as an auto mechanic for several years in college, so when this happened (using my common sense) I reached down thinking it was the floor mat, which was all the way back in the proper position - and the car kept accelerating. My gas pedal was completely free; I pushed it to the floor and let up on it several times thinking that would stop it. It returned to its 0% throttle state, but the car kept accelerating on its own. It was then that I realized I had no control over the speed (about 70mph), so I put it in neutral (the engine still revving to redline), shut it off, and coast off to the side of the road. When I started the car up again it was fine. I took it right to the dealer as it is a company vehicle - they were unable to replicate the problem. For all of you folks saying America is full of morons, perhaps Toyota should be investigating all possible causes, rather than blaming a loose floor mat. Tons of cars have loose floor mats but how often do we hear of the other models having this problem? I think it is related to the drive-by-wire throttle control. I bet that dead highway patrol officer would agree with me.

    Posted by Matt September 30, 09 02:54 PM
  1. Recall to involve replacing gas pedal and steering wheel with motorcycle type handlebar and throttle. Details to follow.

    Posted by Hoss September 30, 09 02:56 PM
  1. Drivers ED 101, your car is accelerating out of control what do you do….. PUT THE CAR/TRUCK IN NEUTRAL…. This is why you can’t lock your car in drive. I would have though the 911 operator or who was driving would have thought of this

    Posted by James September 30, 09 02:57 PM
  1. If this were a GM problem the media would all over them like a cheap suit. Toyota has bamboozled the American people into thinking they make a superior product. Couldn't be further from the truth! Wake up America and drive American or European brands where there is real engineering a "fun to drive" quotient you will never find with a Toyota.

    Posted by Ted11 September 30, 09 02:57 PM
  1. Matt-

    Re: the drive-by-wire. My husband said the exact same thing when news of this broke. It's a known problem with our 06 Avalon.

    Posted by chris September 30, 09 03:07 PM
  1. I burned myself on a hot floor mat. Call my attorney - Toyota must pay.

    Posted by Dewey, Cheetham & Howe September 30, 09 03:14 PM
  1. I was driving a 2007 Is 250awd when this happened to me. I was on a major highway and when I accelerate to merge the car just kept speeding up all the way to 120mph. There was no way to ever know what was happening. Thankfully I went straight to a Lexus dealer and they knew exactly what was wrong. It was scary and im thankful I didnt crash.

    Posted by Omar September 30, 09 03:19 PM
  1. If your car is careening out of control at 120mph, the best thing to do is call 911 like the guy did in San Diego. That way they can send a chopper to intercept you and drop a SWAT team on the roof of your car. Once they cut through the roof with acetelyn torches (assuming you don't have a sun roof), a member of the team can rappel into your car, switch places with the driver, and take the car out of gear - problem solved.

    Posted by James September 30, 09 03:41 PM
  1. 8 years of the same design on my IS300 and no problems.

    I did hear though that all the failures were due to loose nuts behind the steering wheel.

    Posted by Truth September 30, 09 03:47 PM
  1. Apparently the officer who's family was killed had a set of rubber mats on top of the carpeted accessory mats. While I do feel for the loss, improper installation should not be the fault of the vehicle manufacturer.

    Posted by Kevin September 30, 09 03:53 PM
  1. Cool...looks like I'll be getting a new floormat...mine was filthy.

    Posted by Zeke September 30, 09 03:57 PM
  1. Look at that, 1 safety advisory from Toyota...versus the 3 recalls I had in the first 4 years of owning my Chevy truck.


    IF YOUR ACCELERATOR GETS STUCK, THROW IT IN NEUTRAL QUICKY. Then you can safely stop and turn off the engine. Can't say it won't cause damage to the engine but you'll live, anyway. I used to own an old carburated Cutlass Supreme when the choke suddenly stuck in open position. Thankfully I knew enough to throw it in neutral to avoid killing myself or someone else. Look at that, another GM piece that had problems. I doubt I'll ever buy another car that isn't a Toyota or Honda.

    BTW, the Honda Accord is made in the same state as the Corvette, and the Dodge(which is owned by GERMANS) Ram is assembled in Mexico if I remember right. This isn't the 1950's, you can't go by the badge on the hood anymore.

    Posted by BruinSox September 30, 09 04:03 PM
  1. I blame the following:

    1. George Bush
    2. Jesus
    3. The Media
    4. William Hung
    5. John Kerry
    6. Liberals
    7. Conservatives
    8. Phantom Gourmet
    9. The guy from Man V. Food
    10. Michael Scott

    Posted by Johnny Stone September 30, 09 04:05 PM
  1. Hard to believe the SD crash victim didn't think to take the car out of gear.

    Posted by Doug September 30, 09 04:09 PM
  1. My $45,000.00 Corolla is well equpped..wanna fide aboud it!!

    Posted by JGraz September 30, 09 04:18 PM
  1. Hell, the throttle cable was sticking a little bit in my car a few weeks ago and I thought nothing of it...probably because I have one of those wacky old clunkers with three pedals (and a passing knowledge of how gears and drivetrains work). I wish I could have traded it in for a brand new Toyota transportation appliance (preferably in beige or maybe silver?) but I was deemed not economically viable.

    Posted by MPW September 30, 09 04:28 PM
  1. Who is so STUPID that they wouldent turn off the engine or take the vehiclec out of gear immediatly when it starts accelerating? Or hit the brake? It will slow you down. try it. Floormats cased it? Idiots!!!!!!!

    Posted by freefloormats September 30, 09 05:01 PM
  1. Why are the clips an issue ??? When you buy floormats from walmart or advanced auto or auto zone do they come with clips ? Not at all ! So do we make them do a recall or supply clips with there's ? Just something to think about ............!

    Posted by c.farris September 30, 09 05:09 PM
  1. I agree with many of the posters is amazing how poorly-trained drivers are these days. My thought is that most people have a total fear of touching the gear selector when the vehicle is in motion, because they do not understand how it works.

    Even the most dumbed down automatics (ie with only P-R-N-D-L selections) can SAFELY be put into neutral.

    Even if the engine is pinned at redline due to a stuck throttle pedal, the computer will not allow it to over-rev to the point of damaging it if "N" is selected. In fact many drive-by-wire cars have a safety feature that cuts the throttle if the brake is applied.

    I think it shoud be mandatory that everyone learns to drive a stick-shift car and pass a basic automotive technical exam in order to get their license.

    Posted by carguy September 30, 09 05:21 PM
  1. I work at carlson toyota. Iv been there for many years. I work in the parts department, and I install the floor mats for the customers, and I will tell you their is no way in HELL! that that would ever happen unless you take the floor mats off the hooks or have no hooks. On the other hand no body reads the manual an more so all I can say is that people are just looking for a stupid excuse not to pay for their stupid mistake. So they blame it on the car company. The best advise I can give is READ YOUR MANUAL AND KEEP THE MATS ON THE HOOKS! "DO NOT REMOVE THE FLOOR MATS OR HOOKS", and don"t say its toyota's fault for your small brain's. Other then that DRIVE SAFE, and enjoy your toyota.

    Posted by ADAM COLE September 30, 09 06:07 PM
  1. Common sense is an uncommon commodity these days.

    It may have in fact been a failure of the fly by wire system. This, however, does not excuse lack of basic driving skill.
    Nuff said/

    Posted by shadowlife25 September 30, 09 06:08 PM

    Posted by ihatethepeoplewhocommeontonhere September 30, 09 07:01 PM
  1. This goes way back to 1995 Toyotas and maybe previous years as well.
    I spent forty years in the car service business and this flloor mat retainer issue is not limited to Toyotas.
    Drivers should pay attention to the floor mats after having their car washed.
    Most of the time the mat is not properley reinstalled to the retainer.
    It is difficult to reinstall.

    Posted by cal September 30, 09 07:09 PM
  1. There are riduiculous people out there who puts the pedal to the medal like me and complain about the floor mat. They are idiots for doing that. These idiots don't know how to slow down when something is wrong and then complain about the stupid floor mats big whoop wanna fide about it. These people are LOSERS for having this happen to them.

    Posted by BGriffin September 30, 09 07:34 PM
  1. I don't believe this is just a floor mat issue. A few years back this happened to me in my '95 Camry, as I was headed down the highway. My gas peddle was jammed full speed ahead. Luckily i was able to ride the shoulder until i could throw it into park and yank out the keys from the ignition. I have a hard time believing this to be a floor mat issue and not a much bigger issue. Sounds like this has happened to others in the past with Toyotas as well. They definitely need to look at ALL models and years.

    Posted by Ellen September 30, 09 07:36 PM
  1. Spill hot coffee, let's sue someone; I get fat, let's sue someone; and now, car drives itself? Hmm! Perhaps not turn off the car and let it keep driving in D? We have been driving for decades here in this country, we can do better than this.

    Posted by boyish78 September 30, 09 07:41 PM

    Posted by Jonny Mac September 30, 09 08:09 PM

    Posted by tomes350 September 30, 09 08:44 PM
  1. I had that happen a few times on my 1997 Corolla. The same plastic clips broke off and it makes the carpet floormats very slippery and they slide all over the place, sometimes buckling under the pedals and you have to make sure to keep it away from them. Surprise more models were not included in the recall since there are a lot of older toyota's on the road. However still better than the recall I received for my 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier. There was no backing on the horn housing and it would come off of the steering wheel. Ours fell off the day just before we got the recall in the mail. Mind you it has been awhile since i've had a Chevrolet or any other American automobile.

    Posted by Mark September 30, 09 08:55 PM
  1. If you think this is bad, wait until we have aging and neglected steer-by-wire systems with absolutely no hard linkage between the driver and steering components. Thank God we're not all flying around like the Jetsons.

    Physics 101 and defensive (but courteous) driver education with those gory pictures should be the minimum requirements for a license.

    Posted by Ron October 1, 09 12:16 AM

    Posted by HATETOYO October 1, 09 01:17 AM
  1. Matt comment #27 has it right. Adam Cole, the Toyota employee is dead wrong. It is the "fly by wire system" mfg. by Toyota
    that is the cause of unintended sudden acceleration. It always happens randomly and cannot be duplicated on demand. But when it happens you will know it, Aam and all the other doubters, pay attention, this time the recall will go through and not be blocked by Toyota lobbyists and corrupt government officials!!! The Toyota deception will be exposed soon. Toyota Tacoma automatic transmission trucks 2004 t0 2010 are the worst offenders. It happened to me twice in 2008 while I was stopped, in Drive, and with my right foot firmly on the brake pedal. The truck went ito full acceleration on it's own, and by fully depressing the brake pedal i was able to stay in place, with the rear tires spinning and smoking until I turned off the ignition. Check out Google for " toyota tacoma unintended sudden acceleration recall and read the information. Over 400 + specific complaints to the N.T.S.B. on the specific 2004- 2008 Toyota Tacoma truck. Floormats, my ass! I could not make my floormat move if I had telephone linemen climbing boots on. You will soon find out that this is a gigantic Toyota Corp. coverup. Shame on Toyota Corporation for lying to, and endangering the unsuspecting American public!. By the way, the vin number on Tacoma trucks involved in the last atemted recall were built in Toyota's, Truckee, California plant.

    Posted by Capt.Pete October 1, 09 04:22 AM
  1. Try zee foot brake. with both feet. will stop the car.

    Posted by PC October 1, 09 11:47 AM
  1. When there is a recall on a car, what happens?

    Do they fix your car, give you a new one or just buy it off from you?

    Posted by Total Recall October 1, 09 12:11 PM
  1. If the vehicle is accelerating when you don't want it to accelarate, turn the the power off. This is done with a key in older cars but with the Prius the POWER SWITCH does this. From the Prius owner manual:
    "If in an emergency, you must turn the hybrid system off while the vehicle is moving, press the "POWER" switch for more than 3 seconds. At this time, the "ACC"mode and shift position "N" are automatically enabled."
    This will allow you to brake and stop the vehicle.
    Toyota needs to educate Prius drivers, as this could stop crashs regardtless of the source of the problem

    Posted by terry October 1, 09 01:10 PM
  1. Ret me terr you abow my Toyota it's good car velly leriaburr (reliable)...Geej suxx

    Posted by Ha tah dah October 1, 09 03:37 PM
  1. I am a mechanic and i never see any problems with the floor mats in my entire life. To my knowledge, it has to be the driver's fault by pushing the pedal all the way to the floor. They should have used the e-brake and put the car in neutral to help it ease the car a bit. Word up BRANDON!!! By the way, i drive a Lamborghini and a ferrari and both of these cars are hot just like me. Thank god i don't need to worry about any problems.

    Posted by Zulfikar October 1, 09 05:12 PM
  1. I love how people are weirded out about this whole situation. I drive a MINI VAN and i some have problems here like mechanical but not my floor mats. That idiot was probably driving to fast where it could not be resolved. Zulfikar you have those type of cars? I want you to pick me up someday no homo... I love my job.. not!

    Posted by Greg October 1, 09 05:37 PM
  1. Some of you are dumb.... That happened to me. The pedal got stuck under the mat and the moment it happened, (1st time), I did put it in neutral and turn of the car on the side and realized it was my mat. And then it occurred one last time before I just removed the mat all together, Hopefully they resolve this soon cause the mat is def too long and I can't stand the hooks either, mine have come out actually twice. Can't control that. I own at 2008 Toyota Camry.

    Posted by Drea October 1, 09 05:40 PM
  1. The National print and television media is scared to put the heat to Toyota Corporation to answer why the 2004 to 2010 Toyota Tacoma truck and other Toyotas are having the unintended sudden acceleration problem. It may have something to do with the 60 minutes program years ago where they faked and staged a program about sudden acceleration and were embarrassed when the real facts were put forth. It involved a conventional acceleration system, (not the "fly by wire" system. where people were actually mistakenly stepping on the accelerator and crashing into garages, cars, etc. Toyota Corporation is lying to the American people about the current situation. They know very well they have a big problem with their "fly by wire" control system for the accelerator. Toyota engineers have not figured out how to fix the problem, and the Toyota Corporation has decided to blame their "ignorant and stupid" American customers. After all a recall on something as serious as this would be EXTREMELY expensive as well as lawsuits! I hope that some of the people that have had this unintended acceleration experience will weigh in and contact their state Senator's and representatives. Report your experience to the National Transportation Safety Board at their website. Also keep pressure on your Toyota dealers. They are instructed to lie to you." Oh, you must have kicked your floor mat under the gas pedal." or "oh, you must have stepped on the gas all the way to the floor by mistake." How many people have died that did not have a chance, or THE CHANCE to tell the tale of what happened to them?? Google or Yahoo, "toyota tacoma sudden acceleration" and read what you have been missing in the media. You will be in for a surprise.

    Posted by Capt. Pete October 1, 09 07:34 PM
  1. This kid Joe at my work is a huge jackass. He drives a Corolla and pays 950.00 a month for it not including insurance and his arithmetic tutor. He only got the job here because he has a Corolla, they are the most reliable car ever. So Human Resources figured. "let's give this asshole a shot." He drives a Corolla, a TOYOTA Corolla. Maybe he is as reliable as his vehicle they thought. Too bad they were wrong......His other vehicle is a Carnival Cruise Ship. "Hi this is Joe^&^%^%&*%^&*^*&^&*&*(%^%^ Not too good. *&*&*&*&&&R%$%^%&^%^&*, T^hanks. ":

    Posted by Anonymous October 1, 09 08:06 PM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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