So this all started when I read Jalopnik’s recent review of the Trabant. That car, a little East German two-stroke literally made of pressed rags, has fascinated me for some time, and I’m only just starting to figure out why. The Trabant was a humble car, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that some of my favorite cars fall into this category. But can you even get a humble car anymore?
Continue reading “Are There Any Humble Cars Left?”
Ah, SEMA, annual gathering of America’s richest automotive psychotics. Each November they converge on Las Vegas, bringing with them some impressively customized cars, some clever and tasteful, others subtle as a jackhammer molded out of C4, but all crafted with the excuse of showing off the parts that made them. I have zero complaints about this, no matter how far over the top these projects have been tossed, but I know that not everyone shares this opinion. The looniest SEMA cars can be quite polarizing, and many tend to simply dismiss the more measured cars with the mad. So I’ve devised a rating system to help offer some context to the SEMA uninitiated.
Continue reading “How many crazy pills does it take to understand SEMA?”
There was only one answer, really. I had just bought a 2006 Honda Civic Si, bloated in design and bleached-bone white. When I remembered that our October Cars and Coffee event would host a Trunk or Treat and that the following day’s autocross would have a car costume competition, the new-to-me Civic had to become its cinematic analogue – the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I hope I didn’t ruin the car.
Continue reading “How Not to Make a Car Costume for Halloween”
In our bottomless search for automotive embetterment, we’ve discovered an interesting debate. Well, interesting to us. Not to boring people who don’t like cars. It boils down to this: Are yellow fog lights better in poor weather? Here in America, we’re about to experience a whole season or two of poor weather (if this stupid summer ever decides to die), so we thought we’d take a closer look at this optical sorcery.
Continue reading “Are Yellow Fog Lights Really Better?”
If there is a phrase the back of my windshield has heard more than any other, it’s “Come on,” usually shouted. Like most gearheads, I get frustrated with others on the road. They’re content to simply commute, distractedly glancing at the road once in a while, while I want to drive. I want to brake a little later, accelerate a little faster, and generally glean some enjoyment out of transportation. Not being able to do this because I’m stuck behind someone afraid of the rain can be maddening. But will it be worse when that Prius merging onto the highway at 35 mph is actually driven by a robot? Will the madness force me to ride in a robot of my own?
Continue reading “We Will All Drive Autonomous Cars or Go Mad”
Legendary F1 design wizard Gordon Murray and saintly British philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman have teamed up to build the GVT OX, a revolutionary, low-cost, flat-pack truck to aid the developing world. It’s rugged, simple to maintain and repair, and can be assembled by three trained people in just twelve hours. It can traverse rough and rutted dirt roads with ease and can transport thirteen people. And if it gets funded and built en masse, it could drastically improve life and work for people living in rural areas of developing nations. But we’ll let those goody two-shoes (two shoeses?) worry about the underprivileged. The OX would be great for us selfish, pompous first-worlders, too! Here’s why. Continue reading “All the Selfish Reasons to Support the GVT OX Project”
This was going to be perfect. I’d make money doing what I love – driving – and I could set my own hours, ideal for nights and weekends. This delivery driving gig was going to change my life. And it did. The money situation has improved, and now I have these sweet talons and antlers. Also, I can see in the dark, and I spend more on gas.
Continue reading “Delivery Driving has Reduced Me to an Animal State”
Reuben was nervous about chopping up his rear bumper cover. Once it was done, it was done. He loved the cut-off look of timeless rally cars like the Lancia 037, with its gearbox hanging out like a turbine out of a Batmobile. His current gen Hyundai Genesis isn’t mid-engine like that beast of yore, but it does have an attractive straight-pipe exhaust system he wouldn’t mind showing off. And since that exhaust had required an underbody diffuser removal, the bottom section of the bumper was only catching air, acting as a parachute. Reuben, Collins (first name, not last), Jay, and I stood in Reuben’s garage while he used his Dremel and a specially-ordered plastic cutting bit to slowly carve away the offending section with dental precision. And it was a great time. It’s one of many memories with car friends that will go into the vault until I’m senile and driving something with a CVT. If you’re a gearhead, it’s better to have car friends. Here’s why, and how to find some. Continue reading “How to Make Car Friends”
Just the other day, St. Jeremy Clarkson the Punchy posted a picture of the first set of his new show with his former Top Gear co-starts, The Grand Tour. But the Amazon Prime show won’t hit our smart TVs for binging until fall. And since it’s hot enough to end all known life outside, we’re going to stay indoors until the leaves start changing. So how can we pass the time until the summerpocalypse ends and it’s safe to breathe uncooled air again? Other car shows. And the best ones are online. Continue reading “5 Youtube Car Shows to Watch While Waiting for The Grand Tour”
At 4 this morning, I decided to admit to myself that sleep wasn’t coming, so I got up. Hands shaking, I customized my new phone until I could reasonably get dressed and drive down to Dagwood’s, the nearest diner open at 5. Dagwood’s was already ancient by the time my ’87 CRX was in development. It was dishing up massive half-orders of biscuits and gravy when the first Camaros rolled into Kansas City. It made pancakes when the Willys Jeep was still shuttling GIs toward victory in Europe. As I shoveled similar pancakes into my mouth, a sturdy brace to a stomach bitterly void of all but pain meds, I got to thinking about that old rusted heap of Honda parked just outside. Continue reading “Old Cars Are Just Better”