When a buddy of mine directed me to the image forum 4Chan this morning to check out pictures of his girlfriend, I immediately re-prioritized when I realized they had heaps of threads with high-res images of way cooler stuff.
I was/am particularly enthralled with this M5 ripping donuts on what looks like a salt flat. Utah, perhaps? Aside from the thick layer of dust the car looks unbelievably clean, paradoxical as that may sound. The bumper isn’t even drilled for a front plate and just look at those headlights; perfect!
I love the way the light shines just enough on the starboard fender to confuse us as to the car’s color; Is it black or blue?
A little research revealed the photo as having been taken by LA photographer Nate Napierala… Nate, if you read this, perhaps I can convince you to shoot my next Land Rover out west.
Anyway, this image makes great computer wallpaper. Just sayin’.
One of my all-time favorites, an E39 M5, was represented at a wholesale auction near New Hampshire last week.
Upon seeing the vehicle on the offerings list, and in the Avus Blue color I have a strong preference for, I was obviously jacked to check it out.
Heartbreakingly, close inspection revealed that neglect had reduced the car to a piece of garbage. Albiet, a very pretty one.
Rough idle, dash alight with malfunction inductors, and that Remus exhaust wasn’t doing anything for me either.
Somebody picked it up for around $11,000… reasonable money for the mileage, but they’re going to be in for some serious time on the tools to get this thing sorted.
The E39 M5, build between 1999 and 2003, was the first to be built alongside its “standard 5-Series” cousins, unlike the prior two generations which had been built completely on their own.
That commitment to standardization on BMW’s part may have contributed to the car’s success- this third iteration of the M5 was/is widely held as the gold standard of sport sedans for many automotive journalists and enthusiasts, myself included.
It had the toys; in-dash nav, a color-coded tachometer that illuminated in accordance with the engine’s temperature (a highly underrated BMW M feature), and so forth… plus the flash everyone who drops more than $50k on a car wants. Huge rims, quad-exit exhaust (at this point indicative of “M” status on BMWs), and a very sexy two-tone interior.
To shut down the haters, BMW sent owners home with a 4.9 liter V8 known as the S62 featuring a variable-timing system and 400 hungry horsepowers.
Paired with a beefed-up Getrag Type-D six-speed from the 540i, this M5 could go from stopped-to-sixty in under five seconds and charge on to a top speed of around 180… once the 155 MPH computer cap is removed.
All this in a somewhat-subtle sedan. What’s not to love? Aside from mediocre fuel economy, breathtakingly high cost of ownership and inevitable speeding fines…
Nonetheless, I’ll be keeping my eyes out for a stock standard Avus Blue example, make mine with a caramel interior and factory exhaust please.
Spotted in front of the Cambridge Trader Joe’s; an E38 7-Series bearing dead-ringer resemblance to the one Jason Statham uses as “the transporter” in the first movie of that goofy franchise.
Some rich supervillan probably didn’t want to face the bedlam of the grocery store around the holidays- so he called the only man who could.
He is, The Transporter. Of frozen burritos and Hawaiian barbecue chips.
Or maybe Statham just to popped in to punctuate his previously-scheduled reckless driving and ass-kicking with a free sample of chocolate-covered espresso beans.
I couldn’t help but peer into the car and see if it also had the one-off six speed transmission swap featured in the movie car, but alas. No.
I can’t see an 8-Series and not get psyched. BMW’s E31-coded car might not have been exceptionally economical, collectible, or even fast, but it sure was funky.
The now two-decade+ old shape has aged gracefully, enduring its entire production life (’89 to ’99) without a facelift. I think it still looks pretty sleek, though I must confess a bias to the “sport-wedge” style that was so popular in the supercars of my formative years.
This particular 850, spotted at the Adesa Auto Auction in Framingham, and was wearing Schnitzer-style wheels and a handicapped parking pass. The driver might not be able to walk, but seated behind this V12 he sure can fly… up to the electronically-capped top speed of 155 at least.
After a long day brainstorming business ideas, the call of the road became too great to resist. By mid afternoon my associates and I gave into temptation and took to the streets a pair of retro ragtops.
There’s only so much inspiration you can gather in front of a computer, after all.
I sniped mum’s DSLR on the way out and got a few good images of my father’s FIAT Spider 2000 dueling with my good friend Ben’s E30 convertible around Cape Ann.
If you didn’t get a chance to hit the tarmac this weekend, we hope these frames will inspire you to get that winter project wrapped up and get on the road!
Even an E30 looks big parked next to Pininfarina’s tiny Italian.
Spotted outside The Pier bar in Carins, QLD this late-eighties masterpiece might well be one of the cleanest E30 M3′s I’ve ever seen anywhere.
Completely original (save the RHD conversion) and straight as an arrow, this thing has been very well cared for. And rightfully so. Rare BMW’s like this one are among the few collector cars that actually appreciate in value as they get older.
The E30 M3 has been hailed as one of the greatest cars of all time by pretty well every driving legend, automotive publication and TV show since it was born in 1986. With only about 17,000 built worldwide (and a decent amount of those wrecked by now) seeing a real one is a treat in any country.
But the car was never officially shipped to Australia… automotive collection experts estimate not more than twenty two E30 M3s live here in the Land Down Under. Needless to say, I didn’t care how dorky I looked taking pictures of it in the parking lot.
Throw out the Kelly Blue Book on this one, price on a car this clean would be well over market value because it’s just that iconic- any real automotive collector has to have one, period. And in a country they were never “meant” to live, forget about it.
Best of luck to the owner of this exceptional example of BMW Motorsport history. Enjoy it mate, ya lucky bastard!
A lot of time’s gone by since the Australasian Safari… and a lot has happened since we said goodbye to our fellow racers and friends at the finish line in Kalgoorlie.
But you never trusted this site to be timely, anyway did you?
I could give you a stat sheet on who was there, who was riding what and who won, but if you wanted that information you would have found it somewhere else a long time ago.
So here’s a quick reflection on what transpired in the Team OAT camp.
We picked up our service crew at Perth International on September 20th. Okay, so it was one guy. Fresh off the jet from Albuquerque, New Mexico, our friend Rodger is a beer-swilling, spanner-swinging badass that we were confident could carry the team in the service department.
Magnus ran in to the terminal to find him while I was left in the truck to argue with the TSA officers about whether or not the massive Isuzu would fit in short-term parking.
Later that day we met the three other riders we would be supporting for the week, heavy-set Aussie blokes from Melbourne with enough body armor in their luggage to start a war with Sparta.
Our team assembled, we piled in the Isuzu and motored to the bike/car show and ceremonial start- followed by the KTM Kickoff Party at the Breakwater Club.
Most in attendance were rocking sport coats and heeled shoes… we rolled up covered in grease, but were allowed in with a quick flash of the team logos on our jackets.
While most other teams had spent the day polishing their helmets and signing autographs we had been flat-out for the last three days putting bikes together… and Magnus’ race bike didn’t even have tires on it yet. Rally racing legends Cyril Despres and Ben Grabham were there, among others, and Despres’ race bike was toted out for the admiration of onlookers. When Magnus saw the $130,000 work of art, he got inspired demanded his race bike look at least as cool by the end of the next day… so it was an early night for Rodger and I, leaving before last call for once in the hopes of starting another big day with just a mild hangover.
The actual start of the race was over a hundred kilometers north of where the party had taken place, so the day before the prologue (pre-race race that determines everybody’s starting position) we packed up and boogied to the town of Geraldton with motorcycles in tow. It was the first time I had seen the cab of the Isuzu full… and I hope the last. There may be enough seat belts for six men, but no cab is ventilated enough to support those oxygen consumption/fart expulsion ratios.
Once racing action got underway, Safari truly evolves from just an “event” to an experience. Helicopters sawing the air overhead, power tools wailing all through the night, radios going ballistic and engines roaring like dragons create a sensory-overland that rivals Japanese game shows combined with that first scene in “Saving Private Ryan”.
It’s enough to make any motorhead think he may very well have died and gone to heaven… I’d take a rally-spec Husaberg 570 over seventy two virgins any day.
But desert racing isn’t all money for nothing and chicks for free. This shit’s dangerous… which we learned all too well on Day 2 of the seven day event. While waiting at a checkpoint for our racer to show up, Roger and I heard some chatter on the radio that was most disconcerting indeed.
Bike 22, our rider in the field, had washed out and couldn’t finish the stage. And more, he was being evacuated by helicopter and rushed to Meekathara Hospital- five hundred kilometers away.
I had seen Magnus ride over, around, and through obstacles I couldn’t even look at without falling off. To hear about him coming off was disconcerting to say the least, but nothing could prepare us from what we saw at the hospital. After the six-hour punt across the desert, Rodger and I rocked up on the outpost medical center and rang the doorbell. The nurse knew who we wanted to see as soon as she spotted our truck, and we followed her to the bed our racer was lying on, looking worse than Gary Busey in a mug shot. We could barely hear his voice over the heart monitor, but he was conscious enough to greet us with his typical candor; “You’re a long way from tonight’s rally point.”
Mags told us to carry on supporting the rest of the riders, and to expect him at the event’s closing ceremony and afterparty in just under a week. Orders taken, we headed for the door and prepared for the massive drive ahead. As I hit the threshold Magnus summoned the strength for one more comment;
“Andrew. Be careful. With my truck.”
On the way out I chatted up the nurses a bit. They weren’t sold on the idea of motorcycle racing as a good way to spend your days and dollars…
“So you just, ride around the desert all day?”
“No, I mean, you have to follow a certain route, and go as fast as you can while navigating unknown territory.”
“And then fall off and get sent here?”
“Uh, well, ideally no…”
I could tell the conversation was drying up, and we had a long way to go to the next waypoint; a town called Sandstone.
The ride back was hell. The desert was pitch dark, the road was bumpy, and kangaroos were bouncing off the bumper like popcorn kernels in the microwave. We finally rolled into the bivouac around 9:00PM and recovered the race bike… which we saw Magnus had stubbornly tried to tape back together before calling in an evac. It was a valiant effort… but where there’s a will there ain’t always a way.
The day after the crash brought its own set of disasters. Rodger and I were now in charge of Team OAT, as acting face, hands and brains of the entire operation. We would have to clean up our act and start acting like real professionals and uphold the sterling standard Magnus would set if he were around… by using the Bear Grylls signature knife as much as possible, answering questions with riddles, and being the first team to open beers every day.
But first, we’d have to get out of the parking lot.
Rodger and I had been disagreeing on the necessity of locking the truck when leaving it… which lead to the incident of the doors being secured while the keys were in the ignition.
“No problem, there’s an extra set in the yellow Pelican case.”
“You mean that one on the back seat?”
We had to innovate. We considered picking the lock, removing the windshield, and using the angle-grinder to add a permanent sunroof… but none of those options really seemed viable.
Finally I spotted a crew with the same model of Isuzu. I approached and asked them if they had any insight. Naturally, they began by responding with sarcasm; “Got a brick?” but came over to help when they realized how distraught I was.
The driver of the other NPS showed me a battery access point in the rear of the cab’s underbelly. Too small to crawl through, but maybe big enough to get an arm…
I pushed through the panel and flailed my hand around while Rodger watched from the other side and guided me.
“Not even close.”
We didn’t have it yet… but we were on to something. I grabbed the longest screwdriver we had and made another attempt and knocking the lock mechanism, but the angle still wasn’t quite right.
After three more stages of evolution, genius struck. We could roll down the window much more easily than undo the lock, and so we set to contriving a new tool. We added a few inches to our extra-long screwdriver by taping a handlebar riser on he end, then proceeded to secure a large hose clamp to the end of that.
I wiggled the ridiculous contraption through the panel and moved it toward the window with Rodger’s audible guidance.
The window came down about four inches after forty minutes of laboring, with enough room for me to weasel my scrawny arm in and undo the lock on the left rear door.
Rodger and I cheered, slapped hands and bumped guts in a display worthy of a Superbowl touchtown.
Of course by this point everyone had cleared out… our truck was left alone in the middle of the desert. But it mattered little- we were victorious and would make it to the next bivouac with beers open before the first teams had the carburetors stripped.
If we step on it.
We rolled into the Leonora bivouac and night’s camp early, striding straight through the parking field and into a central location where we flung open the doors and proceeded to unload our cargo. Sun was hot, Jimmy Buffet was pouring out of the stereo and life was good. But it wasn’t long before the Fun Police arrived to curtail our moment of glory;
“Hey guys, did you get a map of tonight’s parking area?”
“Didja look at it?”
I could see where this was going… so I answered honestly.
We had parked in the caterer’s spot- a decision that would be most unpopular indeed when hungry racers showed up in a few hours.
So we piled everything on the trailer and dragged it ten meters forward to satisfy the race official… who threw his hands up in disbelief as another race team proceeded to occupy the space we had just left. I could hear the official repeating his comment as we re-installed our tents and tables.
Later that night we had a run in with the other Fun Police… this time, the guys with blue hats and guns.
Determined to uphold Team OAT’s “reputation”, Rodger and I convinced the mechanics from Team Husqvarna to come to the bar with us for a pint.
But once we got there, we learned we had shown up on a night when the barmaids were working the taps in lingerie. Apparently this is a Western Australia tradition, but in any case I had a hard time convincing the rest of the boys I not been apprised of it beforehand.
Photos were, let’s say “discouraged”, which is a damn shame- because the scene was something to behold.
Imagine a bar full of hard-faced and tattooed miners, being served by women in bikinis who were, let’s say “overweight”, and us standing in the middle wearing race gear and expressions of sheer astonishment. My bright white BMW jacket was pretty tough to miss between coal-stained work jerseys, and I estimated we had six-point-five seconds before I got my ass kicked. But we were determined to stick it out for a round, and whaddaya know, all was forgiven after a couple rounds of Jim Beam.
I folded my arms to avoid brushing the sleeves of my favorite jacket against the walls as my friends tried their hands at hitting on the strippers. Everyone was describing their jobs on the team until the barmaid, Kelisha or Kaylie or whatever, looked my way; “So what’s that make you, the pretty boy who does fuck all?”
At least she said I was pretty… I guess. Damn, are Australian chicks mean. A flood of retorts came to mind at various levels of offensiveness but not wanting spit in my next beverage I decided to take the high road;
“Hardly! I drive the truck.”
“Oh, I thought you were the guy who just stands around and looks good and doesn’t do anything.”
The boys were having a proper laugh at this point, and I had no clue if this chick was trying to flirt with me or make me cry. Rodger came to my rescue; “No, he figured out how to break in to the truck the other day!”
The conversation deteriorated from there as we convinced each other to buy more rounds. Finally a cowbell interrupted our babble and one of the barmaids yelled over the noise; “THAT’S IT BOYS, EVERYBODY GO HOME!”
I stumbled out into the street… I mean the one street in town… and into the arms of the local constable.
“Oy! Good-day, man. Any idea where the camp is?” I burbled in Australian/American hybrid vernacular.
One of the Husky guys helped me articulate; “Yeah, yeah we’re with the race cars! Is there a short cut back to the camp?”
The cops laughed and shook their heads.
“Yeah, mate we know yer with the race cars.”
The first officer looked at the second, and motioned to their vehicle- a Police spec Hilux with a big plastic holding cell on the back instead of a cargo tray.
We were all pretty rapt at the idea of getting a free ride home, especially if it was in the back of a paddy wagon.
We piled in the back and laughed like idiots as we got tossed from one side to another when the cop driving jerked the wheel. The cops parked in the middle of the bivouac and we spilled out of their vehicle. We thanked them for the ride and they left with a laugh and something like “good luck tomorrow.”
The boys from Team GHR Honda, hard at work on their CRF 450’s, glanced up and laughed like hyenas when they saw us stumble into our swags from the care of Mr. Plod.
Reputation: intact. If anything, I’d say improved.
A few days later we arrived in Kalgoorlie for the end of the race and the afterparty. Nearly everyone we knew who was competing had dropped out or sustained serious injury, and Magnus had since been transferred from Meekathara to the major hospital in Perth. But so determined was he to show up for the event’s closing ceremony that he hopped a bus from Perth Royal to the train station, and rode the rails for eight hours to meet up with us in Kal.
I parked the Isuzu, extra carefully, at the train station and Rodger and I headed to the platform to await our fearless leader. When his train showed up, they kicked him off about a hundred meters away from us.
For twenty minutes we watched him hobble toward us with broken ribs and a hematoma in his hip the size of a football. But he did look better than the last time we had seen him; prone and hooked up to a heart monitor.
We exchanged salutations and he snatched the keys as we headed for the truck.
“You sure you want to drive, man?” I said hopelessly, knowing full well my truck-commanding privileges had expired with the arrival of the boss.
“Yep. Gotta toughen up some time.”
He winced as he pulled himself into the driver’s seat, but was clearly pleased to be back in his “office”.
We updated him on what had transpired in his absence, and he was especially glad we hadn’t resorted to violence against the truck in our efforts to liberate the key.
Everyone at the bivouac was glad to see Magnus back in action, and congratulations were issued to the finishers over Coronas at the Kalgoorlie country club.
The Australasian Safari was a mind-blowing event that hooked me into racing that much more… if that was possible. I’m dead keen to give it go on two wheels next year, we’ll see if I can work it in to my compensation package next year.
After much heaving, pushing and pulling the long-neglected BMW is safely back in our possession. With a new rear wheel installed (a fried bearing had forced us to abandon it in the first place) it might even see some action before we drag it home to Airlie Beach.
Race Day One
Day one of the actual “race” a fellow adventure rider named Martin rides shotgun and navigates while another riding enthusiast we picked up named Big Joe sits in the back and adds color to the conversation.
Racing atmosphere is full-on. This ain’t no Friday Night Thunder at the New England Dragway… there are straight-pipe exhausts cracking, million-dollar support trucks stumbling around and helicopters blazing overhead.
It’s loud, crazy, and awesome.
The support trucks are allowed to meet the racers a few times per race. We get to the first station and lay out tools, put a pot of coffee on and tune up the CB to get word of any crashes.
Most riders make it to the first stop. A quad gets a round of applause for limping in on three wheels.
Our boy makes it in one piece needing just a splash of tea and a cup of fuel. Or was it the other way around?
Either way Team OAT finished the first day in good nick, so Big Joe convinced me to join him in a bit of a celebration.
After cleaning out the truck’s cache of beers we headed into town, and after picking up a few bridge-playing ladies from the RSL (Australian American Legion) we stole some street signs and lit fires all the way home.
Race Day Two
I fought my way out of my swag late in the morning, shoving myself into my boots hoping desperately that my truck hadn’t left without me.
“There he is. Thought you had a sheep in there, mate,”
Looks like the team was yet to mobilize, but only just- there was no time for coffee and since my BAC was still a few clicks above racing standard, Martin took the help of the Isuzu for the day.
The bikes seemed a lot louder today… and the road bumpier. But after putting on a kettle of coffee at the first service stop, things were coming back into focus.
Because we had a lot less ground to cover between service stops than the racers, the second day of the Condo involved a lot of waiting around. Luckily we had a good view of the helicopter landing area, where an R24 Raven was busily going to and from with photographers and injured racers.
At the end of the day, our racer had earned himself a medal for completing the event without breaking of self or steed.
We hit the pub and were serenaded by a drunk local… who refused to play Jimmy Buffett despite our repeated requests.
Baaack to the camp.
You probably know Honeywell as the company that makes your thermostats. So did I, but apparently they make turbochargers for just about every automaker out there. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Chevy, Ford, Tata and even the adolescent Chinese firm Geely has been known to utilize Honeywell snails under their hoods. That’s a pretty big deal- especially regarding Audi, a company that pretty much lives and breathes turbo.
Investigating further I checked out the Honeywell Turbo Website, which is surprisingly informative and includes the only internet IQ test I’ve ever taken. Check it out:
This would have been really useful for my 11th grade science fair project.
But the entry-level C-Class hasn’t enjoyed such lionization, since it has to compete with the BMW 3-Series which is, lets’ face it, one of the best cars on Earth.
With the 2011 facelift, Mercedes is making another big push at the 3-Series, trying to sex up their “mini me” car and co-releasing it with a new E-Class coupe to make it cooler by association.
Real automotive journalists spotted the new C-Class clad in “disguises” being raced around the famous Nürburgring against Bimmers.
Of course there will be a bunch of great diesel versions for Europe, but there’s rumors that a petrol V-6 turbo will be released as well. And yes, there will be a beastly AMG V-8 for The Stig to ruin some tires in.
The sedan-in-coupe’s clothing from Benz stirred up a whole mess of trouble in the German car market when it was released.
It pretty much invented its own genre, combining the curves of a coupe with a usable rear seat… and featuring one of the sexiest front end’s on any contemporary Merc.
Now that the car’s been out for awhile, the other Deutchmachers have got their shit together as BMW came out with the 5-series GT, Porsche squashed the Cayenne to birth the Panamera and even VW attacked the up-market with the Passat CC.
Not to be caught napping, M-B has facelifted the CLS to fit in a little more closely with the rest of their lineup. To be honest, I prefer the original but the new incarnation is still pretty sexy. The shape remains largely the same, but the headlights are a bit flatter, the grille more pronounced, and of course the whole thing is gleaming with LEDs as is the style these days.
What do you think?
The 1972 BMW 3.0 CSi; Swift, subtle and beautiful.
Unfortunately most examples are now also bent, rusty, and wheezing to keep up with modern Vespas.
What’s a classic BMW lover to do?
Well if you’ve got the cash, you can take your classic Bavarian cream puff to “BMW Welt” (Welt auf Deutch means World in Engeles).
This place is awesome like a pizza factory run by hot naked girls.
It’s undeniably wacky looking… but beat up Bimmers that enter this place come out with a second lease on life, sometimes to the tune of over one hundred grand.
But if you’ve got a truly classic BMW with a lot of historical value and you want to look just like it did when it rolled off the showroom floor, what better place to take it than the showroom itself.
BMW engineers got to incredible lengths to get the resto done right, with the original blueprints sourced for custom work like a transmission swap from another classic Bimmer.
BMW is hoping that this trend will catch on with fans of the brand- people bringing their classics in to get the most pampering and accurate restoration that money can buy.
Doesn’t sound like the best business model in the throes of recession, but I love the idea and I hope there are enough rich Bimmer owners out there to make the operation last.
The more classic cars that survive, the better.
Too lazy to read? Check out the video/slide show:
Lamenting my absence at British Car Day this year, I was determined to attend the next lawn event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum despite the fact that all two of my remaining local friends were otherwise engaged.
It took awhile to maneuver through the crowd, as I kept getting stopped by show-goers who wanted to know more about the car I was driving.
“Yes, it’s an original Honda Odyssey. It’s got the optional sunroof, no big deal.”
Ironically my mum’s ratty minivan did stand out a bit in the parking spot I finally found- between a Ferrari 360 and Bentley Arnage.
The show itself benefited from having many more exhibitors as last year’s- probably twice as many, in fact. I think that can mostly be attributed to the weather, as last year’s show took place in rain.
German Car Day tends to attract the largest group of uninteresting vehicles, as anybody with a 3-Series or E-Class (which is everybody in Brookline) decides to “exhibit” since the cost is less than admission if you have more than one person in your car.
This year, however, I am pleased to report that the stock E36′s stayed away for the most part, and the field was full of interesting specimens including many race-tuned 911′s, a few 300SL Mercs, more Opel GT’s than I thought existed, and even a BMW M1.
You know what a 911 looks like, so I won’t waste your time with pictures of the fifty I saw. Instead, I’ll show you the special cars I saw that most non-dorks wouldn’t appreciate.
This 80′s Mercedes-Benz is the not only the predecessor to the E-Class, but was/is the roadgoing version of Merc’s foray into the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, “German Touring Car Championship” in English). With an engine worked by British tuning company Cosworth, these things are pretty rare and some of the few Mercedes in America you can find with a five-speed manual gearbox.
I don’t care much for Audis in general, but this Quattro Coupe is one seriously cool car. Brutally 80′s in design (check out that giant Audi logo on the door), like many of my favorites, but a really original performance car to be driving today. I give the owner of this one a lot of respect for keeping it in such fantastic condition.
The only times I’ve ever seen BMW M1s have been at car shows. Talk about rare. Another so-80′s-it-hurts piece of work, but serious performance icon and probably as fun to look at as it is to drive. Interior, unfortunately, is one of the lamest ever.
The dudes over at Total BMW Magazine cream their pants over these- it’s an old E28 BMW M5 tuned by a company called Alpina. TBMW always has limp-wristed adjectives in its captions like “rapid” and “dashing.” …I’ll spare you the British verbiage, but this car is pretty damn cool and probably one of the only examples of its kind in the U.S.
My girlfriend tells me that seeing another woman at a social gathering with the same dress is a major buzzkill (her words)… so imagine dropping $150,000 on a fresh Audi and seeing two other dudes with the same idea. The R8 doesn’t even look like a car… but it’s hard to say no to all that carbon fiber.
Other than that, German Car Day attracted the usual flock of German-car driving douches- I saw one guy jump out of a black Carrera with some seriously tight pants and a pony tail. And whether he was fresh from Europe or fresh out of a time machine from 1991 I really don’t care… I didn’t like him.
Next lawn event is the much-anticipated Italian Car Day… where we’ll be exhibiting our FIAT in its newly-restored glory, if we ever get it back from the mechanic.
“The Transporter” movie trilogy gets a bad rap. That totally makes sense, because all three movies are terrible. But least the first one features an interesting vehicle: an early 90′s BMW 735 with the suspension and transmission of an 8-series swapped in. Neat.
You also get to see main actor Jason Statham shirtless and oiled up in a bus-station fight. If you’re into that kinda thing.
You’ll have to watch it here in two parts, but this opening sequence is the best chase of any Transporter movie. Be sure to engage your suspension of disbelief for the jump-from-bridge-to-car carrier scene and you should find it entertaining.
The actress from this movie is not really my type… but here’s a picture for all the Qi Shu fans out there:
To some people, this is the “Car Chase of the Decade” (if that decade is the 90′s) so it would be wrong of me not to include it early on in the series.
Robert DeNiro plays some sort of badass gangster/ex-secret agent (typical) and he’s got to collect a package from this blondie who doesn’t want to give it to him.
The result is a wild pursuit through Paris between a BMW E34 driven by Natascha McElhone and what looks like a Peugeot 405 driven by DeNiro. Bobby D. definitely got the short end of the stick in terms of car choice, but emerges victorious nonetheless as the German sedan ends up exploding.
A clip not to be missed.
Sounds the gongs, because the 2010 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition AKA AutoChina10 AKA (第十一届) 北京国际汽车展览会官方网站 is here, and according to the Cambodian Automobile Magazine Chow Bingkuen it’s the “biggest Asia auto show ever.”
Or, in their words; “ขวัญชัย ปภัสร์พงษ์ ประธาน บริษัท สื่อสากล จำกัด และประธานคณะกรรมการจัดงาน “มหกรรมยานยนต์ ครั้งที่ 11 ” หรือ THE 11th AUTO CHINA 2010 เปิดเผยถึงที่มาของแนวคิดประจำงานปีนี้ว่า “ในอุตสาหกรรมยานยนต์มีผู้เกี่ยวข้องสำคัญ 3 ฝ่าย ประกอบด้วย ผู้ผลิต รัฐ และผู้บริโภค ที่ผ่านมาผู้ผลิต รถยนต์ล้วนพัฒนาและออกแบบรถรุ่นใหม่ๆ ซึ่งมุ่งสนองต่อความต้องการที่หลากหลาย และไม่สิ้นสุดของผู้บริโภคด้วยการพยายามเอาชนะกันด้านความเร็ว แรง และความหรูหราสะดวกสบายเป็นหลัก”
You heard it here first.
Since RoadRoving.com is at the forefront of the automotive news industry we got offered a first-class flight to the Chinese capital to enjoy the show’s Press Days (April 23rd & 24th) and all the lo mein we could wolf down.
But unfortunately that isn’t true, so I’ll just have to report it remotely.
That’s actually harder than it sounds, because every time I click a link on the show’s main website I get about 15 popups that look like this:
Anyway, let me save you the trouble and bring you the highlights right here, in the comfort of an good ol’ American-based English-written website.
You can tell this show really is huge just by looking at the map.
Wait, wait you’re right- that’s the Death Star.
But the Beijing Auto Show floor plan is almost as intimidating. Click here for a close-up image that you can actually read.
Ford is rolling out some more lame green-tech stuff at the show, and I already told you about the Chevy “Voltivan” that will be on exhibition. But don’t worry, the automotive industry hasn’t been completely stripped of its decadence.
Ferrari will be debuting their 599GTO, which packs an ozone-tearing 6.0 liter V12 that puts 670 horsepower to the pavement. Boom, baby.
This car is based on the 599XX and can supposedly hit 208 mph, snapping to 60 in 3.35 seconds on the way.
Remember the Volkswagen Phaeton? It’s a lovely car with a great name… but super-rare because so few people are willing to shell out $70,000 for a “people’s car.” Well, VW is finally hinting at a revision to be released, and is pulling the tarp of the 2011 edition of the car within the next few days.
The upgrades are subtle, and the car retains its I’m-rich-but-who-cares vibe.
Engines range from a frugal turbo diesel V6 to a V8 and even a monster 6.0 W12 (why?). Rich liberals who I imagine love this car will be saddened to learn that a US revival is not necessarily going to happen. I guess we Americans can’t appreciate Das Auto like the Germans do.
BMW has big news in China this year, but not necessarily revolving around the auto show. Apparently they just built a BMW super-mall that not only sells cars, but just about everything else including bicycles, shoes and stuffed animals sporting the blue-and-white BMW roundel.
They also have a cafe, computers, showers and beds… what?
BMW is incredibly popular with China’s middle class, which is blowing up like STDs at Woodstock.
And since this is the only all-BMW facility around, some people are traveling incredible distances to buy cars or have their Bimmers serviced. Customers have free usage of the showers and beds to freshen up after a long ride.
BMW sold 480 cars in all of China in 1994. Fifteen years later, they cashed in on 90,000. In the first quarter of 2010 they’ve sold over 34,000, so they expect this year to be bigger than ever.
Another interesting fact is that the average Chinese BMW buyer is 36, that’s ten years younger than in the US or Europe. Looks like BMW’s on the track for a cash rainstorm in China, and Mercedes better step it up and build a theme park over there if they want to compete.
Since this is China, there are some automakers you haven’t heard of on the scene as well- including Dongfeng which sells this Golf knockoff called the “Fengshen H30″ for less than $15,000.
Brilliance Auto will be there too, showing off it’s FSV which is not only all-electric but is made with a considerable amount of recycled materials. The seats, tires, carpet, roof and other parts are made of soybeans and whatever “biomass” is. The marketing pitch for that thing literally writes itself.
If a gas-free car made of recycled crap were for sale here in Burlington, Vermont the line to put down a deposit would be as long as the one for Phish revival tour tickets. Actually, it would probably be the same line.
That’s about all the reporting that can be done from the other side of the world. Guess you better turn to Road & Track for the rest of the story, or buy yourself some seriously expensive plane tickets.
There was a time when this symbol meant something.
Not a cool movie with a terrible sequel, go further back.
Not the TV cartoon either… go a newer than that.
Back in the good old 1990′s automotive tuners were using this symbol to identify their cars as “hybrids”… another title which now has a different meaning.
The term “hybrid car” today makes you think of hybrid propulsion- half gas, half electric, half unicorn farts or whatever people think will slow down the rapid destruction of our atmosphere.
But it used to mean cars that had an engine from another, totally different car… or even better half an engine from one car the other half from another.
Think a Honda CRX with a B20 engine block from a CR-V and a GSR VTEC head from an Integra. Now that‘s a hybrid.
Why go to such wild lengths to build a car you’ll look poor in and still get smoked by $2,000 Mustangs?
Because it’s unique and very, very cool. It’s also not terribly expensive if you’re very good with tools.
Did those letters and numbers go a bit over your noggin? I’ll break it down for the non-Honda freaks out there: a CRX is a light little car that comes with a puny little 1.6 liter engine, and if you want to keep up with the big boys you’ll have to get some Enzyte in that thing pronto.
Although a CR-V is not a sports car, it does have a larger engine that can serve as a better base for adding power.
VTEC is Honda’s name for their variable-valve timing system (Mitsubishi has a similar system called MIVEC, Toyota as VVT-i, BMW has VANOS, ect…).
Such a system basically means when you keep the RPMs low, the engine only lets in a little bit of air and fuel to be more economical. But when you step on the gas and you rev over a certain RPM, the engine opens up and sucks in more air and fuel leading to more combustion which makes moooooooorrreee pppoooooowwwwahhhhhhh.
When you add the VTEC head to a bigger-displacement engine, you suddenly have that variable-valve advantage in addition to more room to burn all that gas and air your engine can suck down.
So, ironically the original hybrids were created to be less efficient than they were in stock from.
As you probably guessed that was a super-simplified explanation… so if you’re really interested give it a Google or check out this website which describes and illustrates the process.
If that sounds like a project you’d like to undertake, I’ll warn you you’re going to need new valves, pistons, cam gears and a host of other things to do it right. If those words don’t sound like English to you, I’d recommend buying something that’s pretty much your style right of the box
But today I came across another exceptional hybrid, and it’s not even a Honda…
If you recognized that shell as a BMW E30 I’ll give you a cookie. And if you recognize the engine… well, then you should probably be reading a more legitimate news source.
THAT is an RB26DETT from a Nissan Skyline… and finished in Hello Kitty pink to boot.
The creator of this (now completed) monster is Christian Newman of New York, and if you can’t tell he’s a maniac by considering the logistics of this project then the paint scheme should leave no question.
I mean come on guys, there are still a million E30 325′s running around… is it really that much of a travesty that one dude decided to be creative and do something unique with his?
It’s not really my style, but I give the guy respect for thinking of it and pulling it off. Apparently it makes around 260 horsepower, which is a lot more than almost every other E30 out there. I would be interested to learn more about what this swap did to the suspension geometry and handling dynamics though.
By the way:
…You didn’t think I’d be able to search images for “transformers” and then not find a picture of Megan Fox, which I would consequentially have no choice but to post did you?
Whoops, there’s another one. Isn’t the internet useful?