Friday, December 13, 2013

The Replacement for the Mitsubishi Evolution Has Leaked!

I mentioned before that Mitsubishi has been working on three new vehicles. One of those new rides is a replacement for the Evo, and I correctly guessed it would be a hybrid high-performance vehicle, thanks to confirmation from Mitsubishi itself.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: a Legend Rockets into the Future

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - all photos courtesy of Chevrolet 
The new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has been one of the most anticipated new vehicles in years. The Corvette has represented affordable and potent American automotive performance for decades, making this new generation ‘Vette an important leap in innovation. Everyone will notice first the futuristic yet muscular look of the new Corvette, complete with LED lights and functional hood vents.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Biker Gangs, Range Rovers and Class Wars

I haven't posted on here as often as I would like due to a huge surge of work from various clients. That's a good thing, so I can't complain really.

In any case, I've been following fairly closely the whole criminal case of the biker gang in NYC that attacked the family in the Range Rover. I knew about the story before the major news outlets picked it up, and I was shocked from the beginning.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Let's All Hate on the New Cadillac Escalade!

Images courtesy Cadillac
In case you're living under a rock and didn't get hit by the media firestorm, Cadillac is showing off the next generation of the Escalade SUV, which will be a 2015 model. I've actually had a pulse on this one for a while, not because I'm a big Cadillac fan, but because it's an important model in the automotive industry. After all, this truck will star in no less than 577 rap videos, usually with 28-inch chrome spinners installed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Spyker B6 Venator Spyder Concept

All images courtesy of Spyker
In case you haven't heard, Dutch automaker is back from the dead after trying to resurrect poor Saab (which is also back,interestingly enough). With some new Chinese backers the automaker is back to making some of the rarest and most unique cars in the industry. And it recently showed off the B6 Venator Spyder Concept, the drop top version of its earlier concept car.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bad Things Happen When Non-Car People Write About Cars Without Researching

Volvo Coupe Concept
I just barely ran across this article on the Motley Fool website that talks about three car brands that might not be around by the year 2020. I always click on these sorts of articles because I find them interesting -- I'm a car nerd! I started  to read through the article and it quickly became apparent the guy who wrote it knows nothing, absolutely NOTHING about the automotive industry. I doubt he looked up a damn thing before he started tapping away on his computer to spew out his ill-conceived notions.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Porsche 918 Spyder Sets a Nurburgring Track Record!

Photograph courtesy of Porsche

The Nurburgring in Germany is a notorious racetrack. It is a place many automakers go to test their vehicles since the track will push a car to its limits, exposing performance weaknesses. It is also a track where a vehicle that turns out a good lap time automatically garners some huge bragging rights.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why Are Manuals Dying? Is it Because of Software Difficulties?

I ran across this interesting article on Jalopnik, which starts off trying to make the case that manual transmissions are dying because they do not behave well with software used in cars' various systems. Read the article by clicking here if you want to see all the nitty gritty details.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Toyota Finally Shows Signs of Life, Yet Haters Gonna Hate

Images courtesy of  Toyota
In the past I have argued that Toyota has killed off its soul as an automaker because it stopped producing exciting models like the Supra, MR2 and Celica and instead has been pumping out quite a few uninspiring vehicles in bland colors. This is why I was shocked when Toyota revealed it was co-developing the Scion FR-S (or Toyota GT) with Subaru. The Lexus LFA was another surprising move by a company known for its body rolls and numb steering.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Smart Shows off the Fourjoy Concept

Photography courtesy of Daimler.
In today's automotive industry automakers simply cannot stand still. This is true even if an automaker is owned by a humongous company like Daimler, which is why it is concerning Smart seems to have stalled out. Sure, the company has released all kinds of weird takes on the quirky (and herky jerky) Fortwo, including a version with wings that look straight out of Mario Kart. And while the Fortwo makes for an incredibly easy car to park, Smart needs to start expanding its product lineup.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Is the C7 Chevy Corvette Stingray Really a 911 Killer

I recently read a brief, rather uninformative article on CNN about how the Stingray Corvette is finally a Porsche 911 "killer." The author of the article did not really explain how that was, so I was left wondering how the Stingray accomplishes such a task.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The New Acura NSX Sings a Sweet Melody

Have you seen the pictures for the new Acura NSX? It's a great-looking car, but now I have heard the engine sing and I am completely in love. Seriously, in the video below the engine in the NSX comes to life and genuinely sounds like a snarling tiger. Then the car does a hot lap around a track and the engine sings a melody that few others can rival (like Ferrari and the Audi R8).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Freeway Merging: the Fine Art Utah Drivers Don't Understand

I've lived in the beautiful state of Utah for the better part of the past thirteen years, but I don't think of myself as a Utahan. I grew up in New Mexico and I think I will always identify as being from the Land of Enchantment. That being said, there are some truly wonderful things about Utah, including the Moab Jeep Safari, some killer pastrami burgers and more outdoor activities than you could possibly want to do.

Not to be negative, but there are some drawbacks to living in Utah just like there are drawbacks to living anywhere else. One of the first crazy negative things I noticed when I first moved Utah way back in 2000 was that it seems that people here don't know how to drive on the freeways. There's some bad driving on surface streets here, but where Utah drivers become especially bad is when everyone starts travelling at faster speeds, which is just so very comforting.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Brush With a Horrible Driver

Integras are fun little cars, but they unfortunately seem to attract bad drivers

Just yesterday I was driving somewhere with my wife and kids, unfortunately at rush hour, when I came upon a horrible driver. By horrible I mean much worse than your average bad driver, which unfortunately seem to come out of the woodwork here come rush hour. I generally try to avoid driving around at that time, but there was nothing I could do to avoid it yesterday.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Some Car Buying Tips

Car shopping would be funner if I were buying one of these.

I absolutely hate car shopping. Most people are surprised to find this out since they just assume my automotive infatuation makes car shopping a joyful experience. When I clarify why I hate car shopping everyone just nods and smiles to themselves, because they know what I'm talking about.

I hate car shopping not for the test drives, the kicking of tires, etc. What I hate is the money end of it. While there are a few dealerships out there that are pretty honest and straightforward with customers, there are unfortunately enough shysters out there that the car buying experience can be pretty miserable. It makes buying a car a completely stressful experience, where one wrong move can cost you thousands of dollars without giving you anything extra in return.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Evolution of Fast and Furious

The new Fast and Furious movie is coming out on May 24th, and so in the spirit of the movie I wanted to talk about the evolution of franchise.

When the first movie came out I was in college and was swamped with homework, trying to balance a social life, etc. I knew vaguely of the movie but that was about it. It wasn't until the movie came out on DVD that I saw it and was intrigued by its portrayal (however unrealistic) of the tuner world. I had experience modifying cars and was adding onto my car at the time, so that made the movie that much more interesting to me. Of course the cars in the movie looked pretty ridiculous, but that was a thing among some tuners at the time (kind of like with donks now). Some of those zany looks were a way to ruffle people's feathers and for the tuners to thumb their nose at them. And of course the scene where the Supra "smokes" the Ferrari further infuriated many automotive purists that solemnly and foolishly believed a Ferrari would win any race by virtue of the prancing pony slapped on it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Automotive Market Needs a Convertible Minivan!

Chop that top!

 A good friend of mine contacted me today to gripe about how there are no convertible minivans on the market. With the weather warming up, us minivan drivers get to watch with envy as the good people of the world cruise by in their convertible Mustangs, 911s and Sebrings (okay, I'm not really jealous of that last one). If I want the wind to whip through my hair (or what is left of it) I have to roll down my window, which is just plain rough. I want to put the top down on my luxury cruiser minivan and roll hard on the way to dance lessons.

Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Creative Car Badging

I always wince when automakers engage in badge engineering, when a car is given new badges and maybe a few exterior pieces to make a different "model." As much as I would like to say that only automakers engage in badge engineering, unfortunately some car owners do the same thing.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Electric Cars Are Dropping Like Flies!

Is it just me or does the Coda Sedan look a little too much like an old Civic?

There are many critics of electric cars, especially people who work in the petroleum industry (that's slightly a joke, but only slightly). People cite the limited range of electric cars as a concern as well as battery problems, battery replacement costs, extra strains put on maxed-out electricity delivery systems, etc.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Dreaded Exhaust Back Pressure

I remember the first time I saw a tuner's huge tailpipe. I'm pretty sure it was on a Civic and was at least large enough to fit a small cantaloupe inside of it. It was intriguing and almost laughable at the same time. I quickly learned from someone that the idea behind having a huge exhaust system on a car is to allow for the freer flow of the exhaust gases from the engine block with the aim of increasing power output. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Drive a Minivan and I Can Parallel Park

2013 Toyota Sienna. Photo courtesy Toyota

Yes, I drive a minivan. No, I never thought I would. Trust me, when I was younger I hated pretty much every minivan on the road. They would swerve suddenly, cut me off, not pay attention to the road, etc. I pretty much thought minivan drivers were horrible. Oh, and the guys driving minivans always wanted to race, which I found incredibly hilarious.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Twenty Annoying Driving Habits Everyone Should Stop

Some drivers need robots to drive them around
I have to admit there are a lot of things about the way people drive (or don't drive) that get under my skin. Maybe it's that I'm just more aware of cars and how people interact with them, or maybe other people just keep their pet peeves to themselves. Regardless, I'm going to vent here and list off twenty annoying driving habits that should be abolished starting now:

20. Hanging cigarettes out of the window. I'll admit I will never understand why people smoke. Smoking smells awful, it's horrible for your health in more ways than most people even realize and it costs a lot of money. I really don't care if other people are smoking, but I HATE it when other drivers hang their cigarette out of their barely cracked window. Get an ashtray and keep your stink in your vehicle! If you don't wan to smell it, do you really think the rest of us do?

19. Tailgating. I've mentioned this one before, but until people stop doing it I'm not going to stop mentioning it. I'm the guy where if someone tailgates me I will slow down to under the speed limit just out of principle and out of fear that if I have to suddenly hit my brakes I don't want to get whiplash. Tailgating other people is the equivalent to pushing in line. Grow up and move beyond grade school, people.

18. Turning the steering wheel by gripping it with your thumb facing toward you and your fingers facing the instrument cluster. I first noticed this before I started driving. My sisters would turn this way all the time, and guess what? They would also regularly lose control after exiting a turn's apex! I've noticed this habit is prominent among women, but it's a dangerous way to grip the steering wheel since you can easily lose your grip. Which leads me to seventeen...

17. Gripping the top or bottom of the steering wheel. I notice women are more likely to grip the top of a steering wheel with white-knuckled fear, although I've seen some men do the same thing. Men are much more likely to lazily grip the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand while the other is hanging out the window. Both can result in the vehicle spinning out of control or flipping. At least use ten and two, or better yet nine and three.

16. Weaving through traffic. Driving a "shaggin' wagon" I have dumbasses in their low-powered econo boxes cut in front of me all the time like we're in an F1 race and nobody told me. These people then proceed to do the same thing to other cars that could easily crush theirs. And guess what? They usually end up stuck at the same red lights as me.

15. Pulling up window-to-window with other cars. I purposely don't pull up window-to-window after I've had about a half a dozen cops tell me how dangerous it can be. I really hate it when other people try to do that to me, and it's even more annoying when I scoot up a few inches and they scoot up too while gawking into my car with a big, dumb grin on their face.

14. Trying to race people who have their kids in the car. I don't care if the other driver is in a Porsche 911 Turbo, if you can see little kids in the backseat DO NOT ENCOURAGE THE OTHER DRIVER TO RACE! Street racing is a bad idea anyway, but don't put little kids at risk because of your stupidity!

13. Flipping out because someone else honks at you. Sometimes we zone out at red lights, sometimes we don't see another car on the road -- we're all human. Car horns are designed to get other drivers' attention, not for venting frustrations. So when someone honks at you, just acknowledge the other car and any mistake you have just made, swallow your pride and move on -- period.

12. Brake checking other drivers. Tailgating is annoying, but brake checking other drivers is perhaps even more dangerous. Not only could the other driver crash into you but you could trigger a big pileup and people could be seriously hurt or killed.

11. Not letting others merge. This one is bad here and in other parts of the country and world. Not letting traffic merge leads to aggressive driving maneuvers (i.e. cutting other cars off) that causes traffic to back up. If we all allow drivers to merge everything will flow smoother and we'll all get to where we're going sooner.

10. Carloads of overly flirty girls/guys. I was young once and I get that when you get a group of teenagers or early twenty-somethings together it can get kinda crazy. But trying to distract other drivers by acting all flirty is kind of annoying. Trust me, you don't want to be the victim of road rage because a spouse/passenger doesn't like your advances on her hubby.

9. Not signaling. This is kind of a chicken or the egg debate. People cut off anyone who signals/people don't signal for fear of getting cut off. Maybe if we all didn't drive like a bunch of overly-competitive jerkwads, use our signals and let people in "our" lane we could all just get to where we're headed? Apparently that thought process is too much for some people.

8. Blaring music. There comes a point when a car's music volume obviously is no longer for enjoyment but instead is meant to just annoy other drivers. If you want to be a douche be prepared for reciprocation from other douches on the road.

7. Speeding down a lane that's ending. This in effect says you are more important than all of the people who transitioned over well in advance, especially if you end up driving on the shoulder for a while.

6. Doing anything but driving. Talking on the phone, webbing, texting, applying makeup, shaving, plucking eyebrows, watching movies: why is it so many people who are driving cars do everything but drive?! Robot cars cannot come soon enough, I tell you...

5. Getting preachy with your bumper. This is not really a driving habit, but it's still annoying. I really don't care what your political social views are when I'm stuck behind you in traffic. Preachy bumper stickers just tell me you're self righteous and self important.

4. Speeding through neighborhoods. I live on what should be a quiet street, except for the steady stream of commuters who use it for their shortcut during morning and evening rush hour. The increased traffic is annoying, but when people turn my 25 mph street into a 40 + mph zone it's downright dangerous. And these shortcutters often blow through stop signs because they're going way too fast for little residential roads. Speeding through neighborhoods is extremely rude, no matter the reason.

3. Revving your engine over and over. As I sit here writing this one of my neighbors is doing just this. It's a regular habit of his since he has a big throaty V8 I would love to shove down his throat. And no, he's not working on his car. Apparently people want to throw or rod or they want to be noticed for being annoying.

2. Not waiting for pedestrians in a crosswalk. I have almost been hit by people who don't think they need to stop for a parent and kids crossing in a crosswalk. Let me tell you one dork in particular I just about went over and dented his fender because he kept inching forward toward my kids after barely stopping in time. Doing that doesn't make you tough, it makes you a dick.

1. Driving super slow. Unless someone is tailgating you (see number nineteen) it's annoying and dangerous to be driving well under the speed limit. I know some nervous drivers think driving way slow is how they stay safe, but it gums up traffic and can cause an accident. If you're that nervous about driving get a bus pass or call a taxi.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Beautiful 1970 Plymouth Cuda Convertible

It's Easter today and so this post will be short. But I wanted to share with you all this amazing video of a 1970 Plymouth Cuda Convertible I ran across.

Enjoy the holiday!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Keep Baby Car Carrier Handles Folded Down!

Photo copyright: Dmyto Samsonov, stock.xchng

I'm a parent and I vividly remember the time I brought my first child home from the hospital. I think I read through the installation manual for the car seat a few dozen times and checked that the base was cinched down as tight as possible. I was incredibly worried that something would happen to my baby, and my worry was completely justified.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Think I'm in Love With the New Cadillac CTS

2014 Cadillac CTS. Photo courtesy General Motors

In case you have been locked in a closet or was lost in the woods for the past week, the New York Auto Show has been going on and quite a few great cars have been revealed. I have to say that I was totally shocked when I saw the 2014 Cadillac CTS Revealed.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The New Mercedes S-Class Will Make You Feel Like You Went to Automotive Heaven

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior. Photo courtesy Daimler

Have you seen the photos of the exterior of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Exterior? Mercedes has been putting out some great designs lately and the new S-Class is no exception. As can be expected with the flagship sedan, the S-Class delivers a plethora of creature comforts and snazzy new technology that will keep everyone who drives or rides in the car satisfied in just about every way imaginable.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Installing Exhaust Headers in the Spring

Image copyright: Hector Landeata, stock.xchng
Modifying a car can be a lot of fun even if it does involve some knuckle-splitting work. When you are young and dumb you make some mistakes when it comes to modifications, but hopefully those mistakes teach you a lesson. This post is all about one such mistake I made.

I had a cat-back exhaust system installed on a car of mine. After that installation job, which was done by a professional because of the weld joints that needed to be done right, I ordered and decided to install some exhaust headers. The only problem was that it was springtime and I didn't have a garage to work inside.

I live in Utah where spring really is just an extension of winter. We don't get a real spring where it is nice, moderate weather. Normally it goes from snowing one day to almost hot the next and so forth. The day I had set aside to install the headers turned out to be frigid, and it started to rain when I was partway through the project.

Laying on a cold cement driveway is a good way to chill yourself to the bone. Luckily I had a friend with me, so we took turns laying under the car and freezing our backsides. Installing an exhaust header isn't difficult work, unless you are freezing cold and it's hard to even hold a wrench steady. That and the catalytic converter on the car hooked up directly to the header, and it used springs in its connection which were difficult to work with in the cold.

So what's the point of this story? First of all, it's best to work on your car in good weather, or at least to have a garage you can sit inside out of the elements. I would have killed to have had an electric space heater and a dry garage. Since then I don't even change my oil outside when the weather isn't nice. Trust me, a frozen back is not worth it.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

60 Years of the Corvette

2013 Chevrolet Corvette. Image courtesy General Motors

Anyone who has actually driven a Chevrolet Corvette understands that it's a special car and not just an everyday driving machine. The sports car that was almost canned in the beginning by General Motors has become the company's crown jewel, being easily the most recognizable model GM has ever produced.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mitsubishi is on the Ropes in America

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X

Back in the day I owned a couple of Mitsubishi vehicles. One was a Mighty Max pickup truck. It was an extremely cheap vehicle, and I'm not talking about just the price. The good thing about the truck was I had no misgivings about throwing whatever kind of crap in the bed because nothing could have made that truck look worse.

The second Mitsubishi I owned was an old Montero. Even though it was pretty Spartan inside, that truck was fun to drive and was great at off-roading. I still kick myself for selling it, but I had my reasons when I did.

Just as I have mixed emotions about my two Mitsubishi vehicles, I have mixed emotions about the company. Some of the products are amazing and exciting, like the Evolution or the Pajero (it was called the Montero here, and yes it's still very much available in other parts of the world). But Mitsubishi lately has been producing some pretty crappy vehicles. The quality isn't bad, despite the overall impression Americans have of the brand's quality, but the vehicles are just so odd I don't know what to make of them. For example the Outlander is a vehicle I just can't quite categorize, and not in a good way. I know some of the most revolutionary vehicles have been hard to categorize at first, but Mitsubishi lately hasn't been putting out revolutionary vehicles.

This is the kind of fun you have in a Mitsubishi Evolution
I read an article on Jalopnik the other day where they very briefly touched on the whole Mitsubishi mess. According to them, Mitsubishi is considering several new vehicles to amp things up in the Americas as well. One of those possible vehicles is a full-size SUV, which Jalopnik of course hates the sound of (Jalopnik very much has a bias against family vehicles for reasons I can only guess at). Personally, I think a full-size SUV would be a smart move. Other Japanese automakers have moved into that space with some good success, so why not Mitsubishi? There's a huge market for them (and I'm in that market). Larger vehicles provide larger profit margins for automakers, particularly full-size SUVs and trucks, and right now Mitsubishi needs more cash in a bad way. Just look at how Porsche has done by producing a mid-size SUV, the Cayenne, which now makes up half of the company's sales in the United States! Like I've said before, if producing less exhilarating but more practical vehicles keeps an automaker in business so it can keep making those exhilarating vehicles, then it's a good thing. Not everyone can afford nor wants to drive a hepped-up, turbocharged rallycross vehicle to work each day and if automotive enthusiasts can't understand that, then they're out of touch with reality.

Of course I'm also excited that Mitsubishi is saying it wants to also produce a replacement for the Evolution. My mind could go crazy thinking about what the company could churn out as a replacement (likely a hybrid high-performance vehicle, given the racing tech we've seen from Mitsubishi lately). But it doesn't matter if the company can't stay profitable. Large SUVs are profitable, as long as Mitsubishi plays its cards right.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Body Roll and Riding With Friends: a Childhood Memory

1970 Buick GSX

Last week I was writing an article about handling modifications for cars. Of course the subject of body roll came up, that thing that automotive enthusiasts absolutely hate. Body roll is when the body of a vehicle literally rolls in the opposite direction a car is turning. What ends up happening if you roll the body too much is the tires on the inside of the turn actually pick up off the ground. Let me tell you that having any of your tires leave the ground is bad. You can lose control and possibly roll the vehicle, plus you at least temporarily lose forward momentum.

There are all kinds of technologies to help prevent this from happening, such as stabilizer bars and chassis braces. But back in the day when I was a kid most cars (particularly the huge land yacht American cars) handled like garbage. Those cars had body rolls like the Biggest Loser.

A strange childhood memory came flooding into my mind as I was writing the article. When I was a kid and I would go somewhere with friends, all of us sitting side-by-side in the backseat of a mom's car, we would play a little game with the car's body roll. Every time we went around a turn we would all lean with the roll like we were on a roller coaster. It sounds stupid now, but for some reason the game was fun. We would even scream like we were on some amusement park ride.

Thinking about it now, I realize that none of those moms were taking any of those turns at more than 15 mph. And I remember that even if we had tried to not sway from side-to-side in the car we wouldn't have been able to stop our sideways motion. Cars really do handle better these days, considering I have driven vehicles where I can take a 90 degree turn at 25 or 30 mph and the tires barely squeal. Anyone who complains that cars these days aren't as good as back in the day needs to stop looking through the rose colored glasses.

But I do have to admit I have a fantasy about buying an old muscle car, be it a Chevy, Buick, Ford, Dodge, etc. With a huge V8 and tire-evaporating rear-wheel-drive, I would attack the car's suspension and chassis with vigor, tightening things up so the body roll would be almost eliminated. Or I guess I could pick up a new Dodge Charger SRT8 that has a modern suspension system and have both knuckle-dragging power and incredible handling all in one package. But there's something cool about having old muscle, especially old muscle that handles better than you would expect. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Risks of Racing Supercars

Porsche Carrera GT. Photo courtesy Porsche Cars North America

A while ago when I was purchasing a vehicle, everyone at the dealership where I made my purchase was buzzing about what had happened the day before. Apparently some guy had ordered a Porsche Carrera GT (this was back when the cars were brand new) and had come by to pick up the German supercar. I wasn't surprised when the dealership employees told me that the guy also came with an enclosed trailer, simply loading the Carrera GT into the back and towing it off instead of driving the car away. I'm sure these guys were thinking that if they had bought a supercar that costs as much as many people's homes they would speed off into the sunset in a cloud of tire smoke. The guy who bought the car was likely thinking of its value, since he likely planned to drive it as little as possible and mostly garage it until later.

There are plenty of people who think that supercars should be driven and driven hard. Unfortunately there are plenty of supercar owners who do not subscribe to this philosophy. There are owners who take their cars rally racing or even on a challenging racetrack like the Nurburgring. Anyone who knows about the 'Ring also knows it's a challenging track, and one Porsche Carrera GT owner paid for this challenge in the form of some new wheels and bodywork. Check out the video below, which unfortunately doesn't show the crash but does show the aftermath in excellent detail. Would you drive your supercar fast on a track?

Friday, March 15, 2013

How to Look Rich Driving a Lexus ES

Behold the poser vehicle of choice! Photo courtesy of Lexus.

I've found that there are many people in life who go around trying to act like they make drastically more money than they actually bring in. Over time I've developed several theories about why people try to act like they're rich, and in the end I've concluded that such poser activities are pathetic, foolish and completely misguided. In fact many of the richest people I've ever known try to downplay their wealth by making efforts to not stick out amongst the crowd.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How NOT to Load a Car into a Trailer!

I'll be brief: the following video shows exactly how you shouldn't load a car of any kind into a trailer. They make ramps for that for a reason. A group of not very bright guys decide to jimmy-rig their own ramp out of wood, an old ladder, old wheels and such, so they can load an old Nissan Prairie into a trailer (sporting a nice set of green painted steelies, I must point out). What happens in the end is... well, you'll see.


What Whiny Porsche Fans Can Learn From Saab

2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Photo courtesy Porsche Cars North America

If there's one thing in life I hate more than anything it's whiners. We all know people who are never satisfied with anything, who always pine after "the good ol' days" when everything was obviously so incredibly superior and who find fault in so much that surrounds them. Sadly there are many Porsche fans who fall into the whiner category.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Duesenberg - the Original "Duesy"

Duesenberg Model Y

Have you ever heard anyone say "that's a real duesy" when they're talking about something that outdoes other things of its kind? What you likely don't know is that the term actually comes from an old American luxury automobile, the Duesenberg. The company and its cars were lovingly given the nickname "Duesy" which was instantly grafted into English slang.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Disneyland and Cars

Cars Land at the California Adventure
Not too long ago I was able to enjoy a short trip to California, with some time spent at Disneyland. One thing I love about the resort is there really is a little bit of everything for everyone. Of course I'm a car guy, but the good news is there is car stuff at Disneyland. Anyone who has been to the park in the past few decades or so knows about Autotopia, the ride where you get to drive an internal combustion miniature car through an outdoor course. The car is kept on the pathway with some rails, which you can slam into pretty hard if you really jerk the wheel. Autotopia is a tribute to some old-time car culture, including the retro designs of the cars you get to drive. If you haven't been to Disneyland, I highly suggest going and checking out Autotopia.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Car That Detects Cyclists and Brakes for Them?

Image courtesy Volvo Car Group

For those of you who don't follow the news in the automotive world, you should know the Geneva Motorshow is going on right now. Geneva always features some big launches that make the show quite exciting and this year is no exception. We have seen the unveiling of Ferrari's new supercar, Volkswagen's new incredibly fuel-efficient vehicle and a new safety technology from Volvo that's caught the world by surprise.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Automotive Infatuation is on Etsy!

I'm proud to announce that I have established an Automotive Infatuation shop on Etsy. This is one of many steps that will take this blog to a different level, transforming it into something more than just your average blog that talks, rants and reports on cars.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Wagons are Better Than Sedans and Crossovers

2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. Image Courtesy General Motors.

Before I started having kids I thought sedans and coupes were the only vehicles to own and drive. I was amazed that having one kid filled up part of the backseat and most of the trunk of our sedan, which seemed so big before. When we had a second baby it became apparent to me that we needed something with much more cargo space. We looked at SUVs, crossovers and minivans, but that performance hunger screamed when I drove those other vehicles. Many of those larger vehicles made me feel like I was literally driving the short bus. They took forever to stop (because of their high curb weight and wimpy brake systems), many had significant body roll and some even felt as if they would topple over with each right turn made. Crossovers were new then and were billed as a great SUV alternative, but one look at their puny cargo and third row space made me laugh.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why So Many Vehicle Recalls These Days?

Some people dread finding this in their mail. Photo credit: Steven Symes.

Yesterday I received in the mail the dreaded recall letter for my Honda. I had read in the news not too long ago that the NHTSA was looking into complaints about a safety problem, something I myself had encountered with the vehicle before. So it wasn't really a surprise when I opened the mailbox and found this notice sitting inside. Instead I was glad Honda was owning up to the problem (whether by choice or force) and I will get a remedy free of charge.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Crazy Russian Dashcam Videos

Dashcams are becoming increasingly popular across the globe. Photo credit: Steven Symes

Anyone who is a big auto enthusiast knows Russians love their dashcams. There are a number of reasons why this is, including that they use it for evidence against the prevalent insurance fraud in the country, to help identifying would-be carjackers and for protection against unlawful actions by the police.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Aston Martin Rapide Wagon

Before any of you start having a heart attack and go visit your local Aston Martin dealership to see this car in person, let me tell you that the car you see pictured above is a custom, one-off job ordered by an Aston Martin collector. The collector worked with Bertone, who is famous for modifying these exotic rides from England, turning a stock Rapide S into a high performance wagon.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Irrelevance of "Buy American Only"

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Photo courtesy General Motors

I remember when I was a kid there was a huge push in the United States against Japanese vehicles. My family formerly owned a big Ford LTD station wagon that was a hunk of junk, so there was little love for domestic cars in our household. In fact all but one car we owned were Japanese and were super reliable. I would watch the news at night and see videos of rallies at different domestic car dealerships across the country where people literally bashed in Toyota Camrys and Honda Civics with baseball bats and monster trucks as a way of taking out their frustration for what American automakers claimed was "unfair business practices." At the time I was puzzled about why people were so outraged.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is Buying a Smart Fortwo a Smart Idea?

2013 smart forjeremy, a winged version of the fortwo. Photo courtesy Daimler Group

I remember several years ago the huge fury of enthusiasm Daimler whipped up here in the United States just before introducing its smart fortwo mini-car. It's a subtle yet significant marketing strategy that Daimler does not capitalize the first letters in "smart" or "fortwo" as if to stress the diminutive nature of the car. Conversely, BMW insists on capitalizing all of the letters in "MINI" like it has some complex with building mini-cars, which would explain why MINIs have been steadily growing in size over the past several years.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Ten Most Annoying (And Dangerous) Driving Practices

Photo credit: Bud Adams, stock.xchng

Everyone who drives around a city for any period of time knows there are other drivers who do things that are damn annoying. I'm sure we can all list off our driving pet peeves, especially after a long rush hour commute. The problem is that some of these annoying habits are actually pretty dangerous, for the person doing them as well as any occupants in their car and in other cars around them. These are the ten most annoying driving habits (according to yours truly) that everyone should work hard to avoid.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Koenigsegg is Teasing Something...

Swedish automaker Koenigsegg makes some of the most amazing production cars in the world, and now it's teasing something good (read: carbon fiber) for the Geneva Motor Show 2013. Automakers usually tease new vehicles either by showing a silhouette of the car or a closeup of one part. Koenigsegg has chosen to show a cryptic closeup. All we get for now is some exterior part of a car that shows off carbon fiber with a clear coat and yellow racing stripes. The company is inviting everyone to celebrate 0 - 100 -10 with it at the show. Let the speculation begin!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The 2014 BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo: An Economy Car Redesigned

BMW has been playing with a version of their sedans, what they're calling a "GT" or "Gran Turismo." First there was the 5-Series Gran Turismo, which looks and drives like a 5-Series with a bloated rear end. Honda copied the idea with its Crosstour (it used to be the Accord Crosstour, but that was changed).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The 1971 AMC AMX/3

It's surprising to me how many younger people have no idea there was an American car manufacturer called AMC or American Motor Corporation. It's history is quite interesting as AMC battled it out with the Big 3, including the period that Mitt Romney's father headed up the company. In the end it had a sad and painful demise, which seems to be the way most automakers end up perishing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

PZEV: the Acronym That Means Nothing

Have you ever been driving along, stopped at a red light and noticed the car in front of you has a "PZEV" badge on its rear end? Quite a few people see the badge and at least casually wonder what it means. Is it the trim level for the car? A special feature? Maybe it's a super-secret type of turbo?

In reality PZEV is none of those things. It is an acronym, one that really doesn't mean much of anything (if you ask me).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stick Shift Nostalgia

Photo credit: Myles Davidson, stock.xchng

I have mixed feelings about what seems to be the inevitable demise of the stick shift. The first car I drove regularly was an automatic Honda Prelude. It ran and ran, but other than a sunroof there was absolutely nothing fun about the car. It wasn't until I bought my first car (you know, one with my name on the title) that I finally had a stick shift that provided much more driving fun. I had attempted to drive stick shift a few times before that, but in all honesty the people who were "helping" me were too busy shouting and acting like an ape that had been stung in the ass by a bee.