Welcome to Lyons On Wheels

I’m Dan Lyons – a writer/photographer, with a specialty in automobiles, new and old.  I write new car reviews for the Times Union newspaper, and the Motor Matters syndicate.  I’ve penned six books on classic cars, and have over 180 calendars to my credit to date. 

As you browse through my site, you’ll find all of my new car reviews as they appeared in the Times Union.  Click on the links to any 2016-2019 car review, and they will open a two page, .pdf copy of the road test.  On 2015 and older reviews, the link will take you directly to the complete articles on the Times Union’s site.

My Links page gives you one-stop access to all of the automaker’s websites, for more information about new cars.  My test drives are currently archived back to the 2012 model year, if you’re looking for information about late model cars.  

You’ll also find some samples of my photography here, as well as news of any new projects that I’m working on (calendars, books, etc.).   Thanks for stopping by. 

New Car Reviews

2019 Cadillac XTS

2019 Honda HR-V

2019 Lexus LS 500

2019 Hyundai Kona

Featured Classic

1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

For the most part, the late 70’s were the Bad Old Days, when it came to muscle cars.  Early in the decade, a squeeze play by energy and insurance interests combined to hit the muscle car market like a meteor.  Suddenly, the cars that ate the most fossil fuels turned into dinosaurs themselves, and you know what happened to them.  Muscle cars didn’t become extinct, exactly, but they certainly were an endangered species.  Most of the era’s prime specimens were destined to show up in museums and collections decades hence, like so many stuffed predators. 

If the pilot light wasn’t completely out by the late Seventies, it was turned down so low that you could barely see the light.  Pontiac was one of the few brands keeping the flame alive by building performance models. In the beginning of the decade, the 400 c.i.d. V-8 in the 1970 Firebird Trans Am was rated at 345 horsepower.  By 1979 - the year of our featured, Atlantis Blue ‘bird – the power rating of the top, available Trans Am motor was down to 220. Granted, the earlier number was a gross rating, and the latter was net. But, by any measure, time had taken its toll on muscle cars.  Most ’79 T/A’s packed the Olds 403 V-8, rated at 185 hp.  All of the year’s special, 10th edition Trans Am models were equipped with the 6.6L, 220 h.p. 400 (it was also available on standard T/A’s, like our featured car).  Mainstream Formula Firebirds got a 2v/150 h.p. version of the 301 c.i.d. V-8.  That motor would return under the hood of a limited run of Indy Pace Car edition.

​A face and tail lift for 1979 gave Firebirds from this era a distinctive look.  Quad headlights were relocated into recessed, rectangular pods. The lamps framed a wide, no-grille nose section, which replaced the former, tapered beak.  A fan tail spoiler on the rear deck showcased full-width taillights.  The lights had a blackout look, when not in use.  While Trans Am was selling more sizzle than steak by the late 70’s, it sure was still selling.  The looks remained hot, and in an age where all cars had lost a step, Trans Am was fleeter afoot than most.  In 1979 - years after most muscle nameplates had been put out to pasture - Pontiac sold over 117,000 Trans Ams.  That’s more TA’s than Pontiac sold from 1970-76 combined, and the highest, single year sales total of Firebird’s flagship in the car’s history.  

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What’s New

2019 Car Calendars

Please check out the Calendars page for details about my six, retail, car and truck titles for 2019.

The page has direct links to the publisher’s website (Tide-Mark Press), where you’ll find photos and a description of each title, along with purchase information.  

Latest Reviews

2019 Cadillac XTS

2019 Honda HR-V

2019 Lexus LS 500

2019 Hyundai Kona

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

2019 Honda Insight

2019 Toyota Avalon

2019 Nissan Kicks

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel

2019 Nissan Armada

2019 Ford Edge

2019 Ford F-150

2019 Acura RDX

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