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Still Rolling: Wrenching on and falling in love with Alex, a 1981 Chevrolet Corvette

This C3 lives in South Texas where it is a daily driver for a young Corvette enthusiast.

Photo by Jesus Garcia

You've heard of Mustang Sally, but what about C3 Alex? It may not be a Stingray but this yellow 1981 Chevrolet Corvette C3 has six figures worth of sentimental value that's been collecting interest for over 20 years.

Twenty-two-year old Evelyn Cortez has had Alex as her only means of transportation since she was a senior year in high school. Even though she has only been behind Alex's wheel for four years, the C3 has been a part of Cortez's life since birth.

You could say that she grew into this Corvette.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette Must of the Corvette is original.Photo by Jesus Garcia

During Cortez's childhood, she watched the Corvette evolve from a salvaged titled basket case to a T-topless, tire smoking, DIY hotrod.

Little is known as to how the 1980's treated this particular 'Vette. Cortez's father, a long-haul truck driver, found the car collecting dust in the corner of a freight warehouse somewhere in Kansas in the early 1990s. The car was in really bad shape with no interior, body damage, and a complication with its paperwork.

While it's true story has been lost to history, it is likely that this C3 was stolen early in its life. After being written off by the insurance company, the car was probably found and given a salvage title – a common practice for dealing with these sorts of occurances.

Despite its complicated history and condition, the car struck a chord with Cortez's father and decided to buy the press-molded fiberglass heap and take it home.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette Cortez is hoping to change out the interior from red to black.Photo by Jesus Garcia

The Corvette took a backseat to family life when Evelyn was born in 1997, but it was never forgotten. As Cortez grew up the Corvette became a vehicle for the young Texas and her father to bond over as they worked on it during moments of opportunity.

When Cortez turned 15, the keys to the Corvette were her birthday present. The car was now hers and motivation to get it road worthy was higher than ever before.

At age 18, Cortez became the Vette-girl at school as she drove the newly road legal C3 to school during her senior year. She named the the car Alex.

Under Alex's hood is the car's original 5.7 liter 350 small block V8 with some DIY modifications to keep it on the road while staying within budget.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette The Corvette has the car's original 5.7-liter engine under its hood.Photo by Jesus Garcia

The seats are correct for the year but not the original ones.

The C3 has survived with all its original dashboard gauges and the radio still works. The only thing that doesn't work, and is very high on the must-fix list, is the air conditioning unit. Daily driving a vintage Corvette with T-tops sounds romantic up until South Texas heat comes along and makes your head feel like an egg sunny side up on a flattop grill.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette All of the car's dashboard gauges and systems are original.Photo by Jesus Garcia

Evelyn adores her Corvette for many reasons that go beyond the horizon of the obvious. The car is a family member, an older sibling, a photo album of memories, and her ambassador to the automotive hobby.

To say that Cortez loves her Corvette is an underestimate as her Instagram account (@alex_vette.c3) is dedicated to her beloved C3.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette You can follow Alex's life on Instagram at @Alex_Vette.c3.Photo by Jesus Garcia

Cortez plans to restore and paint Alex in the future, changing the body to a royal blue. This blue will be matched with a black interior. If she is able to have her way, Alex will also add a third pedal to the firewall and convert the automatic to a 5-speed manual.

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Chevy has offered the regular cab short bed configuration in global markets for years.

Chevrolet Bahrain

The pickup truckhas been the vehicle of choice for working people for decades, but they've become rolling luxury lounges in recent years. A new full-size American truck can be decked out with as many tech and luxury features as a German luxury sedan, but there's hope for people who love basic trucks. Chevrolet confirmed to The Drive that it will begin offering a regular cab, short bed version of the Silverado 1500, and it'll be one of the purest pickups on sale when it arrives.

The configuration was popular in the 1970s and 1980s, when GM's square body trucks were rolling off the production lines by the thousands. A small but dedicated of enthusiasts have kept hope alive in places such as Reddit's r/rcsb (regular cab, short bed). According to reporting from The Drive, Chevy will soon offer buyers two bed lengths for their regular cab Silverado. There's a catch, though. The short bed will only be available for the WT (Work Truck) trim, so opting for the combo means you're also opting for features like cloth seats, a barebones stereo, and plastic flooring with no mats.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado LT Even the most basic non-WT Silverado is quite nice. Chevrolet

The upside here is that there are fewer things to break and you'll still have a choice of three engines, but you'll miss out on all of the great updates that Chevy gave most Silverado models for 2022. That means no refreshed interior with neat new tech and no off-road features. You really have to want the short bed to opt for the basic WT, and though you'll have a cool, rare truck, you'll also likely miss many features that even a lower trim regular Silverado gets.

Chevy hasn't released pricing for the shortbed WT yet, but looking at the rest of the trim lineup, it should carry a price tag of around $30,000 when it hits the market.

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New full-size pickup truck

The 2022 Toyota Tundra is worth the wait

The Tundra is all-new for 2022.

Toyota

Toyota is proud of the makeover of its full-sized truck—and should be. This Japanese automaker with its American headquarters in Plano, Texas is building the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra at its assembly plant in San Antonio, TX, and has remade the pickup for an American market that has a vociferous appetite for full-size trucks. This segment of the market is so competitive and the Tundra "redo" is so significant that Toyota invited a large cadre of the automotive press to a "deep dive" first to learn more from its designers, engineers, marketers and other truck experts before the recently-held drive program and tour of its factory in San Antonio.

2022 Toyota Tundra The Tundra gets two new powertrains and a load of new tech. Toyota

The third-generation pickup has been redesigned from the ground up in Toyota's California design studio, in Michigan's engineering and technical facility and at the company's Arizona proving grounds. "We took a fresh, transformational approach to our truck development and had to rethink many things we'd previously done," said Mike Sweers, Senior Vice President, Product Development Office, and F1 Platform Chief Engineer. "Not only did we improve the performance and enhance the capability of this new Tundra, at the same time, we were certain to retain the strong quality, durability and reliability for which Toyota trucks are known."

The new truck comes in 2WD and 4WD variants: in both 4-door Double cab and Crewmax body styles; and with the option of 5.5-foot , 6.5-foot or 8.1-foot bed lengths. Six grade levels include SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 and TRD Pro. It has an updated fully-boxed steel-ladder frame, an aluminum composite bed and a new multilink suspension with rear coil springs. Towing capacity has been bumped to 12,000 pounds, with a max payload of 1,940 lbs. Pricing starts at under $38,000.

The remake brings a blend of more muscular, rugged and sleek-lined styling on the exterior with a cabin that has been crafted with a "Technical Muscle" motif: A horizontal design theme integrates the instrument panel and center stack. Trims materials and appointments vary depending on grade however all are more premium. An available 14-inch touchscreen highlights the all-new Audio Multimedia system that comes with many updates and a cloud-based navigation system. Among the new is WiFi Connect offers 4G connectivity for up to 10 devices. A 12.3-inch gauge cluster display is available. Also updated is Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 that is standard on all trims; it now includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection in low light. Among other safety features are automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and automatic high beams with new blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert and more optional safety features.

2022 Toyota Tundra The truck's interior is now more upscale and modern than before. Toyota

The new Tundra comes with a choice of two twin-turbo V-6 engines; the base engine delivers more power (389) and torque (479) than the previous-generation's 5.7-liter V-8. Optional is an i-Force Max- twin-turbo V-6 (437 hp./583 lb.-ft. of torque), set up with a motor generator between the engine and the transmission to boost power, as well as parallel hybrid components that provide start-up, EV motoring, electric assist and energy regeneration. Both engines are shifted through a 10-speed automatic. Estimated EPA fuel economy for the 3.5-liter, V-6 non-hybrid is 18/23/20 (2WD) and 17/22/19 (4WD) city/highway/combined; hybrid numbers have not been announced.

I drove the old model from San Antonio to the Hill Country, where I jumped aboard the new Tundra models on a collection of on-and -off-road loops to illuminate the upgrades and to illustrate the 2022 truck's upgraded towing and 4WD prowess. There is a long list of big differences, however. Of note are the truck's ergonomics (improved seat track, seatbelt adjustability and visibility), more power on tap with both powertrains, ride comfort and cabin quietness, and a higher level of technology, safety, towing capability and off-road competence, while the new chassis and suspension improve ride comfort.

An off-road course allowed us to try out the TRD Pro package that has been fitted with new 2.5-inch diameter FOX internal bypass shocks that add stalwart toughness for harsh terrain and bring a 1.1-inch front lift. Also new are a TRD Pro front stabilizer bar, red painted suspension parts, a TRD aluminum front skid plate and additional underbody protection, plus unique all-terrain Falken tires.

2022 Toyota Tundra Large displays and bold interior colors are available. Toyota

Tundra's new air suspension system, available on some grades, cushions the ride and features automatic and manual leveling functions, with High, Low and Normal heights. The High setting aids with slow-speed off-road driving under 18 mph and optimizes damping to help with roll rigidity. Low height brings an ease for loading and unloading, and returns to Normal height once the truck exceeds speeds of 8 mph. The pickup's Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system also adjusts the damping force based for different road conditions, such as large potholes, bumps, and small rocks.

The new Tundra also benefits from a number of tow/haul upgrades, such as the new heated extending and folding trailer tow mirrors with integrated blind spot monitor and LED trailering lights that aid in night-time and low-visibility backup, a collection of cameras, and the Trailer Back Guidance system with Straight Path Assist. All features take some of the "white-knuckle" stress out of towing. I pulled trailers of different weights and lengths and appreciated the increased throttle response with the standard Tow/Haul mode to accommodate light to moderate towing needs, such as small box trailers, utility trailers or small boats; the throttle response is more aggressive for towing larger trailers like RVs, larger box trailers or larger boats. New cameras project multiple exterior angles (front, rear and side as well as a top-down view with the Panoramic View Monitor) be viewed from the 14-inch touchscreen or an optional rearview mirror camera accessory. Views also include the rear truck bed to check on cargo, and a rear split-view to check on the sides and hitch.

2022 Toyota Tundra Some trims get air suspension with adjustable ride heights. Toyota

Impressive are the two different tow/haul modes (regular tow haul and tow haul +) that change parameters when towing less 5,000 or more than 5,000 pounds; electronics will help regulate the transmission from shifting frequently and searching for the right gear.

Of note:

The RD Pro versions will be available only with the hybrid powertrain that is an option on Limited, Platinum and 1794 trims.

The TRD Off-Road Package is available on SR5, Limited and 1794 trims; the package adds TRD wheels (18-inch on SR5 and 20-inch on Limited, 1974), TRD grille, TRD off-road suspension, skid plates, mud guards and TRD leather shift knob.

TRD Off-Road Package models with 4WD will get an electronic rear differential lock, Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control.

The TRD Sport Package is available on 4X2 or 4X4 SR5 models in both the Crewmax and Double Cab, adding 20-inch TRD wheels, TRD grille, TRD lowered sport suspension and a TRD leather shift knob.

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