Tiny Car is Tiny

Tiny Car is Tiny

Some of you reading this may know that, in order to stop my whining about turning 40 The Mrs. got me a track day via Hooked on Driving.

So, yeah, that was really, really fun, but beating up The Mrs.’ Mini for my high priced new hobby1 seems like a dick move.  So now, what I need is a track car.

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  1. Chuck- who provided half of the DNA for BMX wunderkind Devon – Smillie told me that drugs would be a cheaper habit.  As a former MC racer, I’m inclined to believe him

Dear Automotive Hipster

Congratulations on your purchase of a clapped out, old 911 1


Not even close to this nice.

Not even close to this nice.

You have paid roughly the cost of a new Mustang, Camaro or 360 Z 2 for a sports car that is, objectively, worse performing than a Toyota Camry. Also more expensive to maintain and less reliable.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though.  The snap oversteer provided by the world’s worse drive train layout 3 guarantees that when you come around a corner to hot you will back into that tree, not go in face first.


Fortunately, you have the additional “style” of the 911 5 will keep you smiling as you sit down for your nightly viewing of Urban Outlaw.6

So, have fun with that.  I’m shopping for old 944s. As long as you stay away from them, I can buy two for the cost of your Magnus Walker door handles.



  1. Photo taken from Influx.  Check that site out, it’s got pretty pictures.
  2. Or a used Boxster or Cayman
  3. Which made sense in the Beetle, but not in a sports car.  Not that purists would ever let it change.
  4. Irony!!!!
  5. Admission time, besides the ridiculous slant nose/935, I’ve always found 911s to be entirely unattractive, to each their own, tho.
  6. I mean, he’s a rich guy who collects Porsches.  Nothing says outlaw like collecting Porsches.

Total Eclipse of My Car

The first car I bought with my own money was a 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T, like this one but with less jack stand:

Exactly like this one, but with less jack stand

That car taught me about several things including torque steer, lift throttle oversteer (on I-85 South) and the insurance turbo tax.  When she wasn’t trying to kill me, which wasn’t often, she was a great lady.  The same can be said for many women I have known.

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The Good The Bad and the Ugly

Due to some recent changes at Casa Negro I find myself on the hunt for a small vehicle which can carry my crap, three dogs or home improvement implements.  I don’t need anything particularly big, I want something small and fun to drive and also kind of practical.



Nissan introduced the U.S. spec NISMO Juke at this year’s Chicago Auto Show.  It’s got a modest power boost (up to near as makes no difference, 200 hp) stiffer shocks, recalibrated steering feel and some functional aero bits that add downforce, but do nothing to subtract ugly. Basically it’s a relatively quick car with good handling and limits which are approachable on the street at legal speeds.

It’s also available in all wheel drive and with a six speed manual.  Unfortunately it’s not available in all wheel drive with a six speed manual.

Which is bullshit.

There aren’t a whole lot of players in this space.  There’s the arguably better looking (but still no beauty queen) Mini JCW Countryman and in a month the Mini Paceman aka the Countryman Coupe.  While the NISMO Juke and the Paceman are still a month or more from hitting dealerships, I can get a JCW Countryman from my local Mini dealer now.


For $45,000.

Which begs the question, if I smoke that much crack rock, how do I hold onto a job that will allow me to make $45,000 for a car?

Time Money Cars: Magnum Summer

I am a car guy from America.  Being a CGfA is a not the same as being an American car guy.  I don’t actually care where a car is from; I just like cars.  I especially like wagons.  I have what could be termed an irrational love for all things station wagon. Obviously I’ve never owned a station wagon despite having plenty of opportunities to do so.

The CGfA is above all a hypocrite. Continue reading

Time, Money, Cars

…Or How I’m talking Myself Out of Doing a Very Bad Thing

The last couple of years I read a lot of biographies, a lot of biographies.  These books primarily consisted of rock stars, comedians and adult entertainment performers, people who’s career paths, or rather people who’s personalities lead them to their career paths,  invariably led them to a single line that went something like this:

I knew that this would be my last line, just one last bump and I’d be done forever.

Just as invariably Mr. Defibrillator would show  up the next chapter.

What I’m saying is that, the idea of taking one more hit is always, always a bad idea.

Just one quick bump, though.  Just a little one..

If you are a car guy there are two things that have happened to you in your life.  With some slight variation, these two things have happened to every car guy, all of them.

  1. You woke up and walked outside and looked at your car, which was your dream car six months ago when you bought it.  Now, however, it’s just not right.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but maybe you saw another one exactly like it on the street or maybe you just think the grille would look better not chrome or something.  The thought crosses your mind, “Maybe if I just got some new wheels,” that is to say, “one small hit, just this one line.”
  2. Your father/uncle/cousin/sister’s boyfriend/next door neighbor/Starsky and or Hutch had the coolest car even when you were four and you always wanted one, and now that you’re 40 you can afford it, but it’s a pile and you’re used to driving your executive saloon so, you need to bring that drum brake, live rear axle having land yacht up to spec. Nothing crazy, just a key bump.

A while ago, Dax Shepard was on Adam Carolla’s CarCast talking about his 1967 Lincoln Continental

Those wheels, really, dude?

At the time of the interview (which I’m sure that you can still find on your podcast aggregator of choice) he claimed that his goal was to have a 1967 Lincoln Continental which rode and handled like a modern 7 Series BMW.  Unfortunately he’d already dropped roughly $140,000 into it.  If you’re keeping track that would be about twice the price of a base 7 Series.

So now, the Lincoln is finished (as much as projects are ever finished) and Dax is all over the automotive media talking about it to promote his new movie (I’ll just link here, since PHR’s stupid video embed code appears to not work at all).  Of course, if I were to interview Dax it would go something like this:


Me: Hey, Dax, word on the street is that you’ve finally finished your ’67 Conti.
Dax: Yeah, it’s a 5000 pound M5 killer!
Me: Right, so how much did that run you?
Not Mathew Lillard: (mumbling) $200,00
Me: Wow, really, so the price of between two and four M5s
Mr. Veronica Mars: (sheepishly) yeah.
Me: I mean with warranties and everything…
No For Real His Name is “Dax”: But that’s not the point
Me: I mean, not only with warranties, but can easily be repaired at any one of the hundreds of BMW dealerships and many of the certified BMW repair shops in the country.
Dax: But it wouldn’t be as cool.
Me: Have you seen the wheels you put on that thing?

Wheels aside, the Dax that lives in my imagination has a point.  A project car is almost always a losing proposition.  Unlike a house, spending more money on a car means that you spent more money on a car.  You will never get your money back if you decide to sell, you have to do it for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Also, you have to be a little bit stupid.

This is unfortunate, as no one can claim that I am that smart, so over the next few however long it takes, I am going to talk myself out of building a project car, publicly.  Here’s hoping that’s successful.


BMW Releases New Model, Confuses People

No, Really, This isn't a Five

So, BMW decided to jump on the hot “four door coupe” bandwagon that its European competition has been pushing for years now.  It decided to do it with this, the Six series Gran Coupe, making a sedan out of a coupe.  Brilliant.  Except for one small detail, the Six series is already a coupe based on a sedan, the Five series.  So, what they’ve done is given the Five series a slightly less formal roofline and called it a new model.

Oh wait, they did that, already, too.


Don't Look Directly At It, You'll Turn to Stone.

So now we have four cars based on the same platform, two of which that look pretty much the same, one of which is an abomination against good design and on that has two doors.

Really? Is there a hair left after all of that splitting?

Not really, but there you go, the new BMW Six Series Gran Coupe, a Five with less rear head room.  Exactly what the world needed.