Several months ago, my brother Matt, a.k.a. The Blacktop Experiment, was searching for his first real car, and of course turned to me and fellow Oppo Clayton, a.k.a. Cletus44, for advice on what to get.

After discussing reliable, good-value options with him for several hours, he waited for the one weekend Clayton and I were out-of-town – visiting Chicago for the Muscle Car Nats – and bought—a 2013 Dodge Avenger Blacktop.


As my posts might make clear, I’m a classic-Plymouth-owning, Hemi-Orange-blood Mopar fanatic, but even I wouldn’t wish an Avenger on just about anybody. In the end, as his Oppo handle suggests, our joint efforts to dissuade him from following through with the sale were fruitless.

Part of that effort included my buying a copy of the latest Lemon-Aid to show him just how bad the Blacktop is. The Lemon-Aid guides, by consumer advocate Phil Edmonston, are a car buyer’s staple in Canada, and have been on shelves here for as long as I can remember (full disclosure: I’m 27, and the guide has been on sale for the past 45 years).

I noticed the cover mentioned this was Edmonston’s “Last Ride,” and was confused: was Phil finally hanging up his keys? I reached out to Edmonston, with whom I had previously spoke for an article on the terrible Firenza, to find out.

Turns out—yeah. The resulting three-hour interview – Phil has lead an extremely interesting life as Canada’s version of Ralph Nader, and I like to indulge his stories – turned into this feature, the definitive history of Lemon-Aid and how Edmonston built it into an institution by getting sued by automakers over and over.


If you’ve ever picked up a Lemon-Aid and wondered how it all started, I suggest you check it out. Or if you just want to read about the incredible career of a consumer advocate who made car-buying in Canada roughly thirteen times better than it used to be.


Oh yeah, the Avenger Blacktop? It gets a “bad buy” from Lemon-Aid.

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