Our wait is almost at an end as the dates have been set for the relaunch, May 29th in the UK and May 30th in the US. How many have seen the latest trailer promoting the new cast? Well for those of you who haven’t check it out HERE . I’m not 100% on this, but this would be the 3rd iteration of the series about all things automotive. I know my DVR will be set to “record”. I wish them success, and it would be great if they can reinvent the franchise and keep it relevant.
Last week as my tour of the Florida heartland unfolded, a friend of my parents recommended checking out an automotive museum. The “museum” is question was Rick Treworgy’s “Muscle Car City” museum, and as it turns out is his personal collection of some 200 +/- mostly GM vehicles predominantly from the 1960’s and 70’s. There are also a handful of Jeep, Ford, and Mopar products. The focus is the muscle car era, although there are even some pre-WWII vehicles. The collection is housed in a former Wal-Mart location, although I understand that plans are in the works to move to a new purpose built facility sometime in 2016. The museum also has a gift store and snack bar.
I used the term “museum” to describe the collection contained within. The dictionary defines “museum” as a building that houses historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest which are stored and exhibited. Check that box! The docents are all volunteers, and are more than happy to answer any question you might have. The ones we interacted with were very personable and shared insight into the collection and specific specimens in the collection. We even sighted Mr. Treworgy himself! I recommend this for any American car enthusiast and especially any of those who appreciate the muscle car era. I all in all I spent about 2-2 1/2 hours, not counting the time wandering the gift shop. Any 60’s-70’s GM enthusiast should plan for an additional 60-90 minutes to leave no stone unturned or car properly appreciated.
That’s a question that many of us ask ourselves every day, right? Well, what does 1,000 miles feel like? Honestly to me the best answer to a question like that should be “AWESOME”. I mean if it’s done right, road-trips are so much more than simply another way to get to point “B”. Compared to commercial modes; booking a flight with an airline, catching an Amtrak train or going Greyhound (see bus option) driving yourself or tagging along for the ride with someone else can be a defining moment in your life, and in a good way at that. Now, of all those options to get yourself to point “B” or “Z” driving gives you the best of all the travel options; ability to set your own schedule, see more and experience Americana (largest ketchup bottle or teapot filling station), ability to get off the interstate and travel the back roads and see even more. Yes, as you might have inferred from my earlier statements, driving is my preferred mode in most situations. Whether I’ve traveled East, West, North or South I’ve usually found something positive to say about my trip (I survived) and more often than not I can find many more positives on which to pontificate.
There’s a lot of life’s questions you can work out in 1,000 miles, but more about that later. Myself, I just took such a trip to visit my family for the Christmas holiday. My mode of conveyance? My 2016 Volkswagen Golf R. My satisfaction level? Joy. I was not the only one to make the 1,000 mile trek, I also had my little big dog with me (97 Lbs.) along as a co-pilot The biggest surprises, a massive 2 hour traffic jam caused by an overturned semi truck just 30 minutes into the trip, an abnormally long rain belt that lasted 3 states, and the realization that I will physically tire well before the “R” does.
Not sure if anyone visiting this website has heard of the best website out there for people looking for cars, but you have to check out this site: Bring A Trailer. This may be my newest and bestest place on the internet, besides this website of course!
The premise of the site is to showcase great finds that could be added to your existing collection or collection you are about to begin. The process works similarly to Ebay with the cars listed being auctioned off. They also post updates on the status of past auction winners with their prizes, and what’s happened since they won. Check it out, sign up for their email, and register to bid!
I guess for those of you not in tune with car-speak I think it’s appropriate to break down the acronym “OE”. What do those two letters mean? O is for Oh, I’m learning something or it may be more likely that it’s Oh my goodness, why is he patronizing me? Ok, I guess I should just cut to the chase. But why use 2-3 words when 20-30 can be such much, more. So without further adieu, OE revealed. Original Equipment. So back to the theme of this post, can you do better than OE?
Possibly, on a case by case basis. And it’s somewhat subjective as “better” can be in the eye of the beholder and not an absolute. Such is the case in this instance. I’ve noticed a blind spot while driving my R. The car is only 168″ long and I’ve already noticed a blind spot from the “B” pillar to “C” pillar (hatch). Strange, but true the OE mirrors leave you blind. What to do? Well, the good folk at ECS Tuning have the answer.
They offer their “Blind-Spot” mirror upgrade. So for $99 one can eliminate the current visibility issue, and get mirrored glass with a cool blue tint. A bonus if you have a blue exterior. The set come packed in two containers and truth be told, writing this post actually took longer to write then to actually change out the mirrors. Yeah, it’s that easy. The mirrors come with the two lead connections needed for the heating elements on the back side of the glass. The process is so simple, position your mirrors down and work in behind from the top and gently work the mirror off their posts.
Afterwards disconnect the two leads from the mirror housing and reconnect to the new ECS mirror and then place back on the post. Done and done.
The entire process took no more than five minutes, and that included rolling down each window to give me a little more elbow room during the procedure. And I can say the first drive with them installed the difference was like night and day. Well worth the money in my opinion. And I guess this was my first mod on the R. There will be more to come, stay tuned!
It was inevitable that I would try and put something like a primer together about The Nurburgring or as I like to call it my favorite paved place on Earth. Now what will all my years’ experience turning laps there and instructing the others, I am perfectly qualified to write something like this about The Ring. That was sarcasm, about my experience. I’ve been to The Ring, but no I don’t presume to tell you that I have the time on track to guide anyone as an authority, just an enthusiast. No, this information was put together by someone else who has more experience and sadly lives closer to The Ring than I do, and that’s a bit of a sore point. I was looking for something that already existed on the web until I can put something together on The Ring. So with that in mind let’s focus on the information gathered and presented by Christopher Heiser. Although I’ve never met him, I have read the information he has compiled. Follow this LINK.
Today’s question is what are the best feature films about cars, and what makes them good. My basic criteria is simple, which films have involved a substantial amount of cars, shown a focus on driving or placed great emphasis on car culture. Below is my list, and if anyone has one that I missed or disagree with one I put on the list I’d like to hear about it.
- Le Mans
- The Furious series (yes even the 2nd installment, Too Fast, that almost ended the series)
- Mad Max franchise
- The Transporter (the first definitely and maybe the third, but no love for the sequel)
- Gone in 60 Seconds
- The Italian Job (both original and remake)
- Grand Theft Auto
- Driven (What, no love for Stallone?)
- Bullitt (duh)
- Smokey and the Bandit franchise (Yes, the Trans-Am rocked when I was 8)
- John Wick
- Grand Prix
- Days of Thunder
- Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby
- The Blues Brothers
- Drive Angry
- American Graffiti
- Cannonball Run
- Vehicle 19
- Get Carter
- Death Race
- Thunder Road
- Back to the Future
- The World’s Fastest Indian
This past weekend I took the R on its first real road trip. A 1,200 mile test from the Mid-Atlantic to Appalachia and back again comprising most of the prized road characteristics you’d want: steep inclines, vistas, sweeping turns, downhill straightaways, straight sections of 10 or more continuous miles of divided highway, winding roads, and a balanced mixture of both urban and rural settings. I’m not sure if this is common for everyone to experience on a road trip utilizing the interstate system (A big thank you goes out to Dwight Eisenhower…I like Ike) is that at some point during each leg you find a fellow motoring enthusiast who just gets it, that is is dialed in to the style of driving you like most. And when you find that person at that point you may begin what can be best described as an enjoyable game of “follow the leader”. This happened on both the outbound and return leg. The first instance I spied 3 friends in a dark gray Subaru STI that were more than happy trading lead roles winding our way through Western Maryland for about 45 minutes, until I had to stop for gas. The 2nd occurrence was on the return leg when a black GTI was at first ahead of me, but then proceeded to follow me for the next 2 hours. It made the drive seem to come alive as you are focused on passing, taking the right “lines” in the turns. The only hiccup came in the last 40 miles on the return leg when the Tire Pressure Monitoring System to TPMS light began flashing on the dash. A lump formed in my throat as I started to construct all the possible ways in which I could have damaged the tires. How could this happen? Have I not been diligent about checking the pressure weekly? I have. And certainly before starting off on the return leg of the trip I made certain to check again. And another thing while I’m on the subject of the TPMS, it only informs you that a change in pressure has been detected among all four tires…it doesn’t want to coddle you and share which tire may be on the verge of ruining your day. TPMS to me now means Temporary Pain in My Side. On to the good news, the R is awesome! It made the miles fly by, acquitted itself nicely through each bend, turn, and hill. It was subjected to wind and rain. One of the goose bump moments came when I realized I was entering more than one turn on the interstate over 95 MPH without feeling any slide or loss of traction. Nope, the R felt solid and powered through the turn. Yet another came while I was descending a hill a little over 100 MPH when I noticed a municipal vehicle parked in the median of the interstate. Figuring I was screwed I accepted that fate with dignity and simply took my foot off the accelerator in the hopes of getting the final radar gun reading below the “Immediately impound the vehicle and detain the driver” speed. But it seemed as though luck was to intervene in this instance. As I passed the police vehicle and expecting its light rack to fire up any moment signaling the start of the inevitable dance that would end with a court appointment I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the vehicle remained motionless in the median. Whew! The last of those moments occurred while we (me and the R) were descending one of the hills in Western Maryland and I began opening up the throttle (80-90-100-110…) and I realized at that exact moment while racing down a steep incline that the R doesn’t generate that much downforce or more to the point enough for me to comfortable opening it up any more. And at some point if I kept accelerating the tires may begin lifting off the road. So as discretion is the better part of valor, I saved that less traveled path for another day.
The take away from this first, of what I hope to be many more, road trip with this delightful hatch is that it’s genuinely fun to drive. The DSG was the right gearbox option, the R kept a smile on my face many many times, and it was overall a real pleasure to drive in varying road and weather conditions.
This year’s installment was the 18th of the series held at the venerable Moose Lodge in Dundalk, Maryland. On September 19th, and under temperate sunny skies, over 400 cars made their way to the show from around the Old Line State, up from Virginia or down from New Jersey to create a perfect balance of unrestored “survivor” specimens, mild and extreme customs, resto-mods, and simply restored stock classic pre-1969 vehicles. This was not simply a car show of early American models such as the ubiquitous Model T’s, Deuce Coupes, and the 3 and 5 window sedans. No this was a show that played host to American, British, and German manufacturers representing cars, trucks, bikes, and one small coffin on wheels that had to be seen to been believed. I will post the pictures in a new Portfolio shortly.