Category Archives: Car Musings

How to Survive…The Most Dangerous Game (Part 2)

Yesterday’s article was a pre-car shopping list of ways to prepare for battle. Today we’ll be talking about what you can do while you’re on site with the enemy to make sure you get the most for your money. If you didn’t read yesterday’s article go back and read it before you proceed; you’ll thank us later. If not, you might end up getting taken by one of  these\/ guys…

I’ll give you tree fitty….it’s a good deal…do it

A History of Cars, Taxes, and Race Chickens

A recent news article came out that presented the position of a number of high ranking executives at GM: essentially, they were upset that the US Treasury wouldn’t sell their share of GM at a loss in order to remove themselves of the “Government Motors” stigma. Now, I personally would be more upset of the stigma that my company had gotten in the position it was in by shoving a shit product down the throats of US consumers and needed to go crawling on hand and knee to an organization that knows as much about cars as it does the Internet, but that is neither here nor there. They were also upset about the government restrictions on them using private jets, and I’ll just leave that there to stew and piss you off some more. Articles like the piece mentioned above are about to start coming fast and furious (you can laugh now) as the US elections approach. As one of the largest manufacturing industries in the US, it is without question that the current state of our automotive industry will be a constant topic of debate. The auto industry has become politicized: GM has closed plants down to stump speeches, anti bailout forces and those against “big government” are behind Ford for doing things the right way, and a government that owns near as makes no difference 30% of the General is constantly investigating its biggest competitor. Unfortunately, this is nothing new.

It sure was nice of them to circle the problem.

Deal of the Week – Porsche Put the Engine in the Wrong Place Edition

I was once told by someone far wiser than I that in life, a man must own a certain spectrum of vehicles.  Essentially, by maintaining a proper collection of cars, we can experience the finest the world has to offer on a daily basis.  For example, one should own a Ferrari, if even only for the briefest of times.  Sure, 360s are sliding in prices but even at a $70,000 low end I’m hard pressed to find a DotW from the Prancing Horse brand that I can recommend with a straight face.  I was also told that I should spend more than just a few years with a Mercedes Benz, but I’ve already featured one for the Deal of the Week.  He further said that I should move from the Benz to a Cadillac, but it has been so long since GM’s luxury offering has actually been luxurious, I don’t think I could advise as such in good conscious.  He did say, that while young and unwise, I would without question need to own a Porsche.

Like most that bleed Bavarian Blue and White, I have a strange sort of love hate relationship with the Stuttgart brand.  The ass engined super Beetle of death known to rest of the world as the 911 has always held a top spot in my dream garage, regardless of how hard it is to reconcile that it would sit next to an M3.  The 911 is one of those cars that is wrong on multiple levels, yet everything that is wrong comes together to be perfect.  But deals on 911s really aren’t.  You can pick up a 80s pre 964 for cheap, but it isn’t going to be cheap in the long run.  The 996s are starting to really come down in price, but as with all modern German cars maintenance is going to break the bank unless you are really into DIY*, and you have to deal with all those idiots that say that Porsche doesn’t make a real Porsche anymore while lovingly gazing at their 993s that haven’t run in months because they can’t afford a new head or rebuild**.  But fear not good readers, there is hope.

In 1982, Porsche introduced a front engined, rear driven (“BLASPHEMY”-911 owners) sports car based on the brand’s sports coupe/touring car, the 924.  Internally designated the 951, the Porsche 944 was the budget minded (compared to the 911, at least) enthusiast’s choice.  It followed the tried and true front engine, rear wheel drive, DIY cogswapper in the center formula that we all love.  Offered in a base, Turbo, and Turbo S/S2 specifications, the 944 was well known for not only offering a great drive, but also racing hot on the heels of the 911.  This did not go unnoticed by Porsche***, and it is a well respected unofficial truth that the 944 was detuned from the factory in order to not cramp the Carrera.  While not blazing fast by today’s standards, the 944 in its Turbo and Turbo S, and S2 configuration will still offer most of us an acceptable level of performance thanks to its low curb weight and decent power output and modibility.  The S and S2 will offer better performance, but are harder to find for a deal, much like the 968 that followed.  For those that care for such things, it still carries the cachet of being a Porsche, and even most modern 911 owners must tip their hats to the 944.

Finding a Turbo that hasn’t been molested for a good deal is like finding a fair priced Supra.  There are specimens out there running around on well over 150k miles with owners feeling put off that they can barely move their metal for the paltry sum of twenty grand.  If you are buying a turnkey race car, sure that number seems appropriate.  However, if you are like me and considering a 944 as a secondary toy and project car, then picking up something decent to start with is on par with a clutch job on a Carrera GT.  Much like picking up one of Germany’s other favored brands, you must look for one that has maintenance records.  Be prepared to do a timing belt job every 40-50k miles, and unless you have the prohibitively expensive tool you’ll need a good shop for that.  Other things to keep an eye on are a failing water pump and a cracking dash.  Further, most examples for sale are pushing thirty years old, so budget accordingly.

Excellence magazine (yes, Porsche owners are that douchy) gives us a range of ten to thirteen seven depending on year and condition for a Turbo.  I found this pristine example in Canton, OH.  At an advertised 48,000 miles, this has been someone’s garage queen.  It is on the third owner, so I would take him to task over the miles.  Other than that, the body is straight, the paint is clean, and the interior is nice.  It sits right in the mid range of the prices Excellence suggests at $8995, so while not a complete steal, it is a deal for what you are getting.  I’d offer $8000 cash as it stands, and work from there.  After that, cross one of the wise man’s list.  Click here to go to the AutoTrader link.

*Anyone who says Porsche doesn’t make a real 911 any more should be held in the same regards as someone who says a factory turbocharged M car isn’t a real M car.  In other words, ignore them.

** You must remember that even though deprication and age has dropped that $65k car down to $20k, you are still paying for repairs and parts from an out of production $65K car.

***Finally, a history lesson.  Porsche was actually set to end production of the 911.  It had been the same car for almost twenty years when we crossed into 1981.  Porsche had every intent to kill the 911 at the end of the 1981 production cycle.  However, CEO Peter Schultz nixed that idea from the engineers, indicating that he and future CEOs would keep the 911 alive for what would essentially be the life of the company.

One ‘Ring to Rule Them All

Twelve point nine three miles long.  Seventy three official turns.  Estimates put the fatality rate at twelve to eighteen a year.  This massive stretch of asphalt that snakes through the Eifel Mountains in Germany is a Mecca to automotive enthusiasts; it is a proving ground that separates those who play with their cars, and those who drive them.  It is the track by which all others are judged, and on which all cars are judged good or bad.  Formula One drivers refused to race on the track.  There are no restrictions to driving it: show up, pay your due, get baptized in the fire.  Jackie Stewart called her The Green Hell.  We call it the Nordschliefe.  Everyone else calls it The Nurburgring.

She is a cold hearted thing...

Just a thought…

Just a quick thought after reading this article.

I can understand how adding automation to our daily drives could reduce accidents.  The varying number of reasons of why automation sucks not withstanding, by letting computers drive for us I can see the argument for how it would be inherently safer.  That being said, I also am want to wonder if people would put down their damned cell phones, stop texting or talking while driving, actually kept up with maintenance on their cars, and actually paid attention to the rest of the world while piloting their Toyandison Camcordimas and Ford/Chevy Land Mammoth Chrome Plated Platinum Edition Jesus Christ Eff You Ten Thousands, maybe we would see the same results.  I mean, I know I’m odd, but I wonder what it would be like if we went back to treating driving as a privilege to be revered, not a god given right that is bestowed upon us on our 16th birthday.

When We Sell Our Dignity

The rumors of our demise were greatly exaggerated.  In other words, the break is over, time to get back to work.  Posting may still not be at the fast and furious (heh, car joke) level that it was, but things have changed a bit in the real world for my intrepid cowritter and me.  Fear not, valued reader: our posts shall still contain the same level of vitriolic hatred (or unabashed fanboism, either way) if not more!  After all, with more time between posting, why not make the posts better?  If not that, at least get a better content editor so we look less stupid.

But I digress.  Steve has returned from the top of a mountain and will most likely be sleeping for the next month so that leaves me sitting here with the keys to this whole affair.  This isn’t a horrible thing, because I still remember the password to our side of the website so I can still post, and post I shall!  Today’s topic?  Whores and escorts.*

Love at First Sight?

For those who don’t know, my last vehicle before the Tacoma was a Lexus IS300. RWD, manual gearbox, straight 6 engine; it was awesome. I’ve been a moderator on the Lexus forum My.IS for about 3 years now. I like the Lexus brand and they make stellar cars. But there’s been a $375k Lexus thorn in my side called the LFA. It’s been there for a while and I’ve tried to ignore it.

But on Sunday, March 25th, I laid eyes on the Lexus super car for the first time….and it was love.

On a pedestal no less....

Modern Muscle Showdown: V vs SRT

As much as I may hate to admit it, we actually live in a pretty good time for performance cars.  Those boring beige jellybean shaped sedans can hit mid fourteens in the quarter, every performance car and its brother can hit the double century, and four hundred horsepower is considered acceptable.  Not only that, but performance cars are capable of hitting ludicrous speed and setting record lap times on race tracks the world round while being more reliable and easy to drive than ever.  You aren’t looking for that, though.  You are looking for something mean, with a big V8 in the front, power to the rear wheels, and an exhaust note that’ll scare little children and make the happy wombat unhappy.  You want a coupe, because sedans are too much of a compromise.  And you want this car to make a statement about you.  You want the world to know you love going fast, and those piddly little high strung four bangers are for children.  America is about hot, wet, nasty speed, and these two big coupes are all about America.

The 2011 SRT8 in its natural environment...

Holy Hell, the New F10 M5 is Fast

Holy hell, the new F10 M5 is fast.  It is fast enough that that is what I’m calling it from now on.  No really.  If you come up to me and say, “Hey, Robert, other than the M3, what BMW would you really like?”, my response is going to be “I’d like one of those Holy Hell the new F10 M5 is Fasts.”  You don’t have to take my word for it (although you should), you just need to watch this video, and then click more to read about some of the amazing things that the Holy Hell the new F10 M5 is fast can do.


Exceptions to the Rules

1.  No front wheel drive.
2.  No four cylinder motors without factory forced induction.
3.  No less than 250 crank horsepower.
4.  No boring or gimmicky looks.
5.  Must be fun to drive.

These are the rules.  There are many sets of rules, but these are mine.  These are my Deal Breakers, the five rules that cannot be violated or else a car is a no go for me.  If any of these rules are broken, the car doesn’t make the buy list, let alone the short list.  Or does it?  There are always exceptions to the rules, loop holes or caveats that let you get away from the established criteria.  On Tuesday, we looked at some of the established rules and talked about your rules.  Click more to take a look at the exceptions.