How Do You Change the Negative in the Car Show World.

If I’ve learned anything from psychology it’s that it’s very easy to be negative.  We wake up every day to a battle.  Whether it be bills, pushy boss, or that load of laundry that just keeps building up, we’re surrounded by negative influences.  The worst part is not that we have those negatives, it’s that we have no outlet to off-load that truck-load of negative energy.  By the time the weekend hits and we drive up to the car show in our nicely cleaned car, the second we see someone cheating by wearing the wrong badge or spending money on something we had to work hard to get or someone just bringing some piece of junk that doesn’t live up to our standards we don’t have anything constructive to say, but we do have a great place to finally get out all that energy we’ve been building up over the week.

Group mentality can make the dynamic even worse.  If we do find clarity when we showed up in our favorite muscle car we may be tempted to compliment that small import car for its artistic expression.  That is until one of our friends, empowered by the new found negativity feels that he can stack himself up higher by belittling an easy target.  Why not?  He thinks you already hate those cars and the peer pressure alone could get you to acclimate without even thinking about it and now a whole circle of friends believe it’s apropos to do the same and fixing the damage could be irreparable.


So how do you keep your head above water?  How do you keep the negative away?  The first thing you need to realize is you’re not going to win this war.  There will always be negative people.  There will always be people who find something bad in everything.  So the real question is not whether you can fix things, because you can’t.  It’s the weight of, do you cut this out of your life or is it something you can tolerate?  I know that may sound negative, but bear with me.

The reason I put it this way is because yelling at someone for being who they are isn’t going to fix anything, it just makes you look like the square block for the round hole, so the solution needs to be more fluid.  For instance, you ever know that guy who is just negative 24/7?  Someone you finally just had to stop returning calls to or just started ignoring at work?  Sure you do!  Everybody has and they’re not worth dealing, but there are those friends who are just having a bad day, or maybe week, or maybe they’ve just jumped on the bandwagon that “imports suck” and with a little leading they’ll start to come around.  In essence you need to find out if you have a good person on the wrong path or a bad person that chooses to be abrasive.  It shouldn’t be that hard.

Once you’ve deduced who has potential there’s a long path of positive reinforcement and setting an example.  Basically in this pursuit you’ll be leading the way.  When someone says something positive you need to commend them or reinforce that behavior.  You could even spur on good behavior by redirecting negative behavior.  “Hey, that car isn’t that bad, but check out that car over there!  It’s awesome!”  People who get attention tend to want to keep attention so once they see that good vibes get attention they’ll keep those good vibes going.  I’m sure you know that Instagram friend who would do anything to get likes?  Ask him to post a picture of his favorite car at the show!  Now he’s trying to look for the good and not the bad.  Even if he selects his own car you’re reinforcing positive behavior.  Look at this dynamic in different groups and cliques you’re associated with and you’ll see there is a shared energy among people and see how that energy is shared and what kind of energy is it?  How do you move it around?

That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or not have bad days.  No, by all means have bad days.  People should see that you get weak just like they do.  The real day of success is when you say something negative and someone calls you out on it.  That’s the day you’ve truly succeeded.  You’ve made it to the day when even a negative has become a positive.  You’ve found a way that it’s easier to build than it is to destroy!  If we can change the world with that then we’ve done something.

The idea is that car shows, if they are going to succeed and build, need to be a refuge from bad days.  People need to go to these shows so they can feel positive and have positive interactions.  If you’re inundated with negative you won’t stick with something and we have to be honest and say if we don’t invest in our community it will die.  They’re already doing away with manuals and talking about self-driving cars.  We need to invest in our future and it has to be a positive one or no one will understand even why we do it.


What Does Your Car Really Say About You or How Your Car Really is Classified?

In this ever increasing car world of ours it is getting more and more difficult to classify cars! First is started with just Coupe, Sedan, and Truck. Now there are Crossovers, SUVs, SAVs, compact, sub-compact, mid-sized, you name it! Then they introduced Hybrids, PZEV, Electric, I can’t take it anymore!  There has to be an easier way, right?

The reality is we don’t use those classifications unless we’re parked parked at a dealership rummaging through the brochures. Seriously, just look at the car and you know exactly what that thing represents.  When you’re out in the world you use a whole different lexicon to describe a car that just drove past you.  These titles may even deter you from buying a car you want because the title goes with it! Let’s walk you through a few.

Chick Magnet
Probably one of the most overused adjectives at any car lot is the Chick Magnet. The concept is easy. This car will make you attractive and cause woman to want to ride with you. 9.99 times out of 10 it’ll do the exact opposite and even in the .01 it’s because you’re using it as an Uber and even Uber doesn’t want you.  The worst part is I’ve seen the line used on women! The reality is that if you need a car to get a chicks then you’re already doing something immensely wrong.

Mostly likely you’re driving a Mustang, Challenger, or Camaro

Mid-Life Crisis
This model of car is made for those getting over the hump of life.  It’s that day that you question if you’ve lived life to the fullest.  The cheapest performance cars available that get the most bang for the buck are on the menu.  What it really means is that you’re going to spend above your means, crash the car in a week and break your hip! Thankfully you’re old enough and wise enough to have bought GAP insurance.  If it’s taken you 30 years to get into a fast car it probably doesn’t mean you didn’t live your life to the fullest, more likely you probably weren’t cut out for one in the first place (see Old’s Mobile below).

Most likely you’re driving a Porsche, Corvette and Miata

Girlie Ride
If anything is abhorrent to a male driver it has to be the Girlie Ride. It’s basically a car that would look perfectly acceptable with flower rims, hearts hanging from the rear view, and stuffed animals in the back.  It also emasculates any male that comes within 50 feet of it.  Think about a biker gang member sipping on a Shirley Temple through a straw and that’s about what it does.  If you want your masculinity questioned drive one of these.  Fortunately, scientist say there is no proof that it will do as much damage as drinking soy milk so you should be safe in one, but you may want to avoid prolonged exposure… at least around your cross fit buddies.

Most likely you’re driving a Volkswagon Beetle or Mistubishi Eclipse.

Old’s Mobile
Ever walked up to a car and felt old?  It’s heavy, rocks like an ocean liner, and has seats that feel like your old sofa.  If you’re younger than 50 you may experience a feeling of dread while sitting in one.  The problem is that the Old’s Mobile is constantly changing, so you’ll have to keep up on trends, but it shouldn’t be that hard.  Just sit in the car and if Death is sitting in the back seat pointing a boney finger at you then you may want to pass (no, not die, like find another car!)  In reality the Old’s Mobile won’t kill you, because it hardly goes over 30 mph without a running start, feels like you’re driving at sea and is built like an Abrahms tank, but you may want to consider writing a will.

Most likely you’re driving a Oldsmobile, Buick, or Cadillac.

Douche Wagon
Sit behind the wheel and you’ll feel a sense of your nose getting higher in the air. No, it’s not your seat self-adjusting, it’s actually your attitude changing.  Soon you’ll be triple parking in handicaps spots and telling homeless people to get a job.  That’s right, you think the world is your oyster now and you can do whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell it suits you. Cut off anyone you like, they’re expecting it.  Don’t expect the disease to last forever though.  Shortly after the car gets repossessed and you have to buy a small car because of the amount of depreciation on it, your humility should come right back to you.

Most likely you’re driving a BMW, Mercedes, or Audi with bonus points for the SUV variant.

Yuppie Cruiser
You don’t work. You sit in an office all day barking orders, smoozing the boss, and going on liquid lunches and when the day is over you go to your overpriced condo or making reservation at the restaurant that is impossible to get reservations at.  In reality you have the intensity level of watching grass grow.  In fact, you’re the perfect candidate for the Mid-Life Crisis car in about 10 years when you ask what the hell happened to your life.

Most likely you’re driving a Volvo, Saab, or Alfa Romeo, which comes with vanity plate and executive parking.

Ever seen a 3 foot tall guy step out of a truck that could drive over your house? Of course you have! These guys have deficiencies and for that, they need a vehicle that can compensate! The bigger, the more flamboyant, the better.  Car companies know these guys exist and build these vehicles to target them. You’ll never own one because you can’t deal with excess, but this fills up the compensator void perfectly.  It’s also important to know that the compensator thinks his car is a chick magnet.

Most likely you’re driving a Ferrari or Monster Trucks.

Do you own a small truck or box van?  You’re probably just an upstanding guy that is just trying to get through a day lugging around a ton of equipment for your plumbing or electrical business, but to the outside world you are a predator waiting to pounce. Better make sure some kind of logo is on the side of your truck or you’ll have the cops called faster than you can say cable guy! The worst part is if you’ve got the required wife beater shirt, spare tire, and the right kind of glasses don’t even look at playgrounds.  That is unless you already have a lawyer retained.

Most likely you’re driving a Box Van, Work Van, etc.

Cop Magnet
Your car is loud and sporty or has a bright or unusual color that draws attention to it… the wrong attention.  It doesn’t matter how slow you drive, when you passed that cop he was pretty sure you almost broke the sound barrier.  Every conversation begins with, “do you know how fast you were going?”  If your answer has ever been, “I was parked” then you’re car is probably a cop magnet.  In fact, you may want to retain a lawyer up front. Trust me he’ll get a lot of work because once a cop pulls you over and finds nothing he’ll have to give you a ticket, no matter how bogus, just to save face.

Most likely driving a Lamborghini, a Mustang or anything heavily modified.

Drug Dealer
Cold medicine may have been the worst drug you’ve ever used, but get spotted in one of these cars and by the end of the day you’ll have a wire tap and a drug enforcement van parked out front of your house faster than you can say, buyer’s remorse!  The beauty of this class is you can actually dodge it. How you may ask? Easy! Don’t have nice rims on it! Leave those stock ugly ones on or downgrade to steel rims.  In fact, the uglier the better.  Suddenly you’ll blend right back into the populace as a productive, boring, part of society.

Most likely you’re driving a Lexus or Infiniti, but any Japanese luxury with shiney rims will suffice.

Eco Police
Your car is small and fuel efficient. If it’s not a electric then it’s a hybrid that, although it’s the size of a walnut, costs as much as an H1 Hummer.  You have no problem driving 30 in the high speed lane or enlightening a diesel driver about how his lungs are two charcoal briquettes. You have no facts to back up any of your claims, but you just know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re making a difference and you’re back window has the stickers to prove it.  If you had done a little more research you’d probably realize the car you’re driving is as economical as a coal factory and about as good for the environment as a Chernobyl.  There’s also a good chance it’s a Girlie Ride too.

Most likely you’re driving a Prius or Insight.

Soccer Mom!
Yea, that’s right, you’re a mom! You need to get 6 kids, to band practice, karate class, and most importantly the soccer game and you have to be there yesterday! There are guys hopped up on speed that are jealous of your Adrenalin level.  Although you’re simply a stay at home mom you believe that your directive has priority above all others and you will probably yell fervently at the cop that pulled you over for going 120 mph with the kids in the back because he just doesn’t understand your importance!  Yup, to perform your job you need a vehicle the size of a commuter bus capable of driving over arctic landscape even though the worst terrain you’ve ever faced is a puddle in your driveway.  It’s got to be big and as fuel efficient as a monster truck.

Most likely you’re driving a minivan or SUV, but the bigger the better, such as a Hummer.

Undercover Cop
Why does the highway slow to a crawl when you’re around?  Why does your friends hide stuff from you like you’re a narc?  Well, it’s probably because you drive something that looks like something a cop would drive!  You’ve had it happen.  You’re cruising down the highway at a brisk pace and those tell-tale lights appear in your rear view mirror.  You have no idea so you slow down way too far below the speed limit… just to be sure.  You can never be too careful, right?  I hate to break it to you, but that’s you.  Don’t expect to be invited to any illegal activity any time soon, plus people are more disappointed when they find out you’re not a cop!

Most likely you’re driving Chevy Capri, Crown Vic, or Dodge Charger in black with steel rims and seriously, take off the brush bar.

So as you’re probably aware, this list is just for fun.  Maybe you just like the car.  The reality is in the world of cars stereotypes are comical at best and nobody takes them seriously so feel free to drive the car you love and make it’s identity yours.  Don’t let anyone’s statements, including these, deter you from buying the car you want.  Even if it is made for a girl!


5 Speed Modifications That Aren’t All They Are Cracked Up to Be

So you’ve purchased your new car and plan tons of great upgrades, but unfortunately your budget is a little stretched so you’re thinking of some great starter upgrades.  At first you’ll be tempted to go down the path of so many others and take the easy way spending a great deal of money basically pulling the flash off your vehicle.  This could be great for a start, but these options could end up just sapping your budget for nothing and keep you from your goal of real speed.

Here’s a list of modifications that may not actually do a great benefit for your car up front and how they may help down the road.

5.) Rims
At first this seems like a logical upgrade and if you’re looking to dump those heavy stock rims it may be a good idea.  If you plan to spend a ton of money on three piece rims to go faster you’re going in the wrong direction.  In fact, many race drivers use cheap steel wheels and opt to spend all the money on the tires, the actual contact patch to the road, to go faster and get more out of their vehicle.  If the car is just for show then I’m sure you’re going to go crazy on rims and you know the downfalls (or should I say potholes) that you’ll face, but if someone is arguing about clone rims versus real on their 90 horsepower car that will never see the track they’re not the brightest crayon in the box.

If you plan to go fast on the track then wheels will eventually be part of the equation, but it will be long after you have enough experience to make a good decision and it won’t be what is being advertised in your local car magazine.  If you’re talking about going fast down a regular street you’ll be replacing those expensive rims in a week after you hit that road hazard and crack your hoop into three very expensive pieces.  Give it some time to figure out what you need for rims and save that big money drop for down the road.

4.) Short Throw Shifter
I’m still amazed at how many aftermarket businesses harp on $200 short throw shifters as some magical way to make your car faster.  Let me be the first person to let you down by saying no short throw will ever add horsepower to your car, it won’t make you handle better, and it won’t be any kind of improvement on your vehicle other than that feeling in your head.  It still urks me that they try to sell it to kids on a budget that want to go faster and it’s just a feel good part that they’ll never utilize correctly because they don’t really learn how to shift properly in the first place or put it on a car that could optimally use it.

If you plan to run on a cone track then a short throw may be part of your eventual future, but it will be after you learn how to be good at shifting first.  It’ll be when you’re trying to shave a thousandth off your time and beat that pain in your side that keeps jamming you into second place because he has all the money in the world to put into his Miata and all you need is just some oomph to get you over that finish line a tad faster.  That’s it!  If you have some expendable income and want to have fun then knock yourself out, but don’t expect to roast that new Corvette at the light because you just installed a shifter.  Seriously.

3.) Blow-Off Valve
If you run a nice turbo set-up you may be tempted to slap on one of those cool upgraded, adjustable blow off valves.  Why not? It sounds awesome!  If you’re looking for just sound and a way to blow off a couple of hundred bucks then you’ve come to right place.  Otherwise don’t expect a single horsepower gain for your expenditure.  A blow off valve simply takes excess pressure from your intake stream when you let off the pedal and let’s it release.  In some systems that have a recycling effect adding in that cool noise will actually be wasting air.

Down the road if you continue to build up your turbo system though that blow off valve and it’s friend the waste gate will play integral rolls in how well your vehicle performs and could even save it from a terrible demise if the boost gets up too far, so the blow off valve will be in your future, but will be part of an awesome engine build, not because you like to hearing it scream “fish!”

2.) Exhaust
Other than just making your car sound better an exhaust upgrade really isn’t going to do much for your car other than generate an engine code.  Even worse, on naturally aspirated vehicles a huge diameter exhaust can hurt the pressure inside the system used to pull out exhaust gasses and reduce power as well.  For the most part the sound is the bonus and the engine pays for it.  If it’s just a welded on muffler it’s probably doing absolutely nothing at all other than making you feel good.

A well done exhaust is a necessary part of an entire engine build and a well planned free flow exhaust with a specific diameter joined to equal length headers will be just what the doctor ordered down the road, but again, it’ll be attached to a fully built motor and will compliment the engine work, not popped on in some one-size-fits-all fashion.  It’ll be the end of the work, not the beginning.

1.) Cold-Air Intake
Sold like a way to keep charge air down and intake air high, the reality is gains from cold air intakes is minimal at most.  The reality is that the amount of air your vehicle intakes is based more on how your engine itself is set-up.  The air outside isn’t cold either, it’s ambient air temperature, or should I say it’s the same temperature as the air that was going into your intake anyway so the charge air isn’t a great improvement.

What intakes of this type can do is prevent you from having to purchase another expensive filter since they are easier to clean and usually much more easily accessible.  They’ll also support modifications down the road if your stock intake is restrictive or not placed into the flow of the outside charge air and many cars do have some pretty restrictive intakes.  That being said, it doesn’t even have to be a “cold-air”.  It can be any upgraded intake.

This list really could be exhaustive.  After looking at 5 or 6 articles my cringe meter went into the red and popped off the limiter pin as it went back around for another round.  The trick is to just be careful about what you read and think, “will this really do what I want it to do?”  The only way you’ll do that is by thinking about everything before you start your build.  Throwing parts at your car will just make it look like an episode of hoarders on wheels and will put you back to the drawing board the second it gets challenged for its performance.

Simply put; work smart, not hard.

Do you have some mods that you think aren’t all they’re cracked up to be?  Let us know!

How to Understand the Car Enthusiast

When I have a car conversation I think I tend to confuse people.  Everyone talks about supporting everything, but they have expectations and once those expectations aren’t met they turn on those they cheered to support.  For me, I love it all.  Sure, there are cars I wouldn’t own, but it’s not because I don’t like them it’s because they either don’t meet my needs or my garage can only hold so many cars.  I like to focus on the concept of why something was built, where it came from and what it had to offer.  I want to experience them all.

Drive what you’re passionate about.  You’ll spend 37,935 hours of your life, on average, driving.  That’s over 4 years of your life  behind the wheel of a vehicle and some will log even more.  The only thing you’ll do more is eat and sleep and we know how important those things are.  Yet every day someone is saying, “any car will do” or “if the price is right.”

You need to want to drive your car, even if you’re not a car person.  If you dread turning the key you are ruining a certain part of your life, like eating food you don’t like, it has an effect.  Whether the car was free or cost 2 million if it isn’t fun then you’re doing yourself an injustice and it will show.

You have to realize that a car isn’t a car, it’s the extension of the person driving it.  Like a psychological experiment you can read a driver by what they drive.  Is it utility or performance?  It is clean or dirty?  Try it out sometime, even on yourself, it works.  We spend our whole lives trying to understand people from our perspective being told we should live in their shoes, well climb into their car and feel what it’s like to be them for 10 minutes.  Ask them what’s important to them and you’ll know a person by their vehicle, even the stuff they don’t know about themselves.  You’ll be quick to realize a better way to pick your friends and why you do.

For that reason, for me at least, all cars are created equal.  They start of hunks of metal, as an ideology or concept, with a purpose and that purpose will identify with a buyer.  A person that sees that concept and attaches to it and becomes one with that vehicle, truly defining who they are by their mode of transportation.  No other thing on the planet can compare.  This can even help us understand the world and give us hope.  Cheap cars usually fail unless they have character like the VW bug.  Cars of performance and flash like the Lamborghini Countach are exonerated as our desire for the apex of results and we want to live because make stickers that say life is too short to drive boring cars.  Simplified like this, as people, we aren’t as bad as we think.

For this reason when I hear someone say they hate something and want it removed I’m quick to ask where the data is that supports having it made illegal.  We have to understand that driving is a privilege and many an unfair law has been made to regulate it.  If we are to embrace freedom then it is indeed the vehicle that we will first embrace that concept.  I’ll keep this section short because it should go without saying, make good choices to minimize your risk to others.

So the next time you think about going out to a car show, try out something new.  See a new group of people and try to appreciate what they do and see why they do it.  If you leave your mind open you’ll find that we, as car people, aren’t so dissimilar.  We all started as dreamers waiting on a hunk of metal to complete our vision.  We were all considered rabble-rousers or some variation of miscreant as we enjoyed that passion.  We can talk about how bad our lowered car is, but there was a time when our grandfather’s lifted ’57 Chevy was considered gaudy by the world.

If I could ask our community one thing it would be to take off the identity hat for 2 seconds when you’re talking to others.  Don’t try to press your world into theirs.  Don’t try to get people to drive your make, your model, your manufacturer and consider for a second that their car, whether it’s faster or slower, may be something that you would like to drive for a second or two.  If you’re not opened minded about that, trust me, I understand and honestly, it’s your loss.

As for me, I’m going to keep enjoying everything from Yugos to Koenigseggs.  I’ve seen the bar set all time lows and crest to breathless, oxygen deprived, heights.  I’m going to enjoy the people, whether they race, drift, drag or just like to camber it out and drag it on the ground a la those absolutely gorgeous low-riders <insert drool here>… and I hope you do the same.

Should the New Toyota Supra be called a Supra?

Geneva is about to unveil a car bearing the name of a car you undoubtedly have heard about.  For this reason you’re going to have expectations, so let’s peer into a little history of the Supra and see if Toyota really wants to resurrect it from the dead.


Just using the iconic name inspires visions of power and performance.  The Toyota Supra MK4, offered from 1993 to 2002, was iconic for its appearance in the Fast and the Furious after it stomped on a Ferrari 355 rival for the truly repeated line, “more than you can afford pal… Ferrari.”  From the Castrol Tom’s Supra, used in Super GT, and other famously reported 1,000 horsepower Supras its fame pushed its price tag North of $40,000 for an unmolested version.  But, was all this hype up to snuff?

If you’ve dealt with anything in car land you’ll notice that numbers are more skewed than a sailor adjusted for fish size, and the Supra was no exception.  It came stock with 320 horsepower in the turbo variant for the stateside version and although there were a ton of upgrades that made it produce impressive digits, most only put down 600 horsepower on the dyno.  The one the Fast and the Furious was modeled after made only 544 horespower at 6,800 rpms.  Albeit that does make its numbers above that Ferrari 355 on paper, you’ll have to remember it weighs in a fatty 200 pounds heavier, not counting the body kit.  As for cheaper, sure when the movie came out not many people could even spell the word Supra, but once the movie came out, adding in cost of upgrades, and how unreliable that power was, well let’s just say the total price tag is debatable at best.  Even the Castrol Tom variant didn’t even use the notable 2JZ-GTE engine replacing it with a 450 horsepower 3S-GTE 4 cylinder to cut weight and it enjoyed a successful racing career after it did that.  So I think we can come to terms with the idea that what we thought we knew about the Supra wasn’t exactly accurate.

So now fast-forward to 2018 and realize that none of the information I’ve just said has sunk in.  You hear the word Supra and what’s the first thing you think?  A thousand horsepower tuner car that can crush Ferraris for half the price after we put $10,000 in it and overnight parts… from Japan.  But can it?

So how will it match up to our expectations?  With Ferraris cresting the $200k mark I think we’re safe it’s cheaper, but with a rumored $50,000 price tag the question is, is it more than we can afford as well?  With a 335 horsepower output unfortunately we know it won’t be smoking ’em anytime soon.  Even the aged 355 Ferrari came with 375 horsepower.   You also won’t be banging away at gears a la Fast and Furious either since it only comes in automatic trim.  It also comes with a good deal of tech under the hood and without the power potential of a ceramic engine under the hood it won’t be making 600 horsepower anytime soon or without a great deal of investment.  Not to mention the sizing of this new car will resemble a Z Type BMW which is in stark contrast to the large body of the original.  We brings us to the next point.

Did we mention it’s also a BMW?  Sure enough, the new Supra is actually a Z type BMW.  In fact, the Z Type will have a 380 horsepower option not available in the Supra.  Now since we bring up BMW the questions of reliability and tuning come up and now there’s a whole new can of worms that we have to deal with.  A cheap tuner car, this is not.

This leads us back to the original question, should Toyota revive the name Supra?  Let’s be honest, without the expectation of the title Supra, go back over and review the numbers, you’ll realize this is a pretty sweet ride.  It’s got great power, sleek looks, BMW performance backing it, and although it isn’t going to outrun Ferraris anytime soon I’ll venture it’s no pawn on the chess board.  Looking at it without the title Supra this is going to be a fun car!!!

There-in lies the problem we’re addressing.  Without the title there’s no expectation.  We have to be frank and say the Supra bar is just way to high.  Unlike the Skyline that made its name off of technology and track performance versus outright power, the Supra only lived to be a tuner powerhouse.  The expectation bar is so much higher and in fact, like a legendary pro wrestler it’s a fantasy height that nothing that followed it could truly attain.  It’s the same reason we never got another RX-7, because there is only one RX-7.  That being said, there was nothing wrong with making an RX-8.  You just can’t live up to the height.

So I hope that when you see the unveiling of the new Supra that you forget the Supra name exists.  Look at the vehicle as something completely new and hopefully it won’t fall into the expectation pool that killed the 7th Generation Celicas that eventually mothballed the name in sad obscurity.  Hopefully the title can survive this aberration and live on and if not we will continue to discuss this topic for another 20 years.

Thanks for reading and if you have any input put it in the comments below!

3 Easy Steps to Test Driving a Vehicle

It might surprise you to know that every day, customers walk away from their perfect vehicle, missing out on options they needed because they were focused on the cost and didn’t pay attention to the drive. The reality is that both you and the dealer want to find that one vehicle that’s right for you yet we’re quick not to listen to the professionals and tools that are absolutely free.

So where is the struggle? It lies in bad buying techniques that have been propagated for a hundred years, although we think they may save us money, may also cost us the optimum vehicle we want and inevitably create a sense of buyer’s remorse because we’re not sure we did the right thing because we’re not even sure of our techniques.

The baseline to any purchase is the test drive. Never skip it. You wouldn’t ask your doctor to operate without an x-ray; don’t go into any purchase blind. Even if you’ve driven a vehicle like it in the past or have driven your friend’s version of it, do not skip the test drive!

Get familiar with the car so you know what you’re getting. Don’t aim for the lowest price; aim for the right price for the right vehicle; the one you’ll be happy with because it’s the car you want and, therefore, valuable and satisfying to own.  If you only consider cost in your factoring you’re already setting yourself up for disappointment.

Here are three steps to take to get the most out of your test drive so that you can gather the best information that will lead you to making the right decision.

Step 1. Gather Information Ahead of Time
Good information is going to set the stage for your vehicle selection, and also help to remove any fear or apprehension you have prior to your visit.

Before going to the dealership, take a quick “test drive” on your current vehicle. When you’re done driving, make a list of the things you’ll need, the things you like, and things you want your next vehicle to have that this one doesn’t. Try not to take anything for granted; don’t assume the next vehicle has that option.

A lot of things have probably changed since you last purchased a vehicle, so you’ll need to be prepared for these changes. Manufacturers understand your need to know these changes so they make websites that go over the details.  When you go to their websites look for their “vehicle builder”.  Here you have an opportunity to see your finished vehicle first hand.  Use the list you created earlier as a reference and build a vehicle the way you want it. Take note of new technology in the options as these may be something you’ll want to consider on your test drive. You will be able to see the MSRP of the vehicle and can compare it to your current vehicle’s original MSRP. Remember that payments are simple mathematics so if you like your last finance payment then build a car with similar price.  You can print this out and bring it with you.

It can be disheartening if the vehicle that you test drive is not equipped with what you were planning for, so start out by giving your vehicle build to your sales person first.  This will help them find you the closest match. Don’t let it disturb you if they don’t have your exact vehicle either, but don’t select something with less options.  Always move up in your selection.  The importance is to see the options you want first and if they don’t work you’ll be in a better place to rule them out.  Now if the dealership wants you in a vehicle on the lot they’ll have to match the price you have or get you what you want for that price.  This sets you up for success from the get-go.

Step 2 Get Comfortable & Take Your Time
Your first impression will be to jump in the vehicle and rush the drive. Whether this is due to anxiety, fear or excitement now is a great time to take a deep breath and slow down. Absorb your new surroundings. Some things will be different while others will be familiar.  Use this moment to feel the ambiance of your new surroundings.

This is your opportunity to slow down and make this vehicle yours.  The vehicle you’re about to drive has had someone sitting in it before you. Whether that be the last person to test drive or the delivery person who drove it off the truck, it is likely that their physique is nothing like yours. Take the time to adjust the seats, the mirrors, the climate control, turn to your regular radio station and find your way around while you let the vehicle warm up to its maximum operating conditions.  You don’t want to be driving down the road and not realizing where the turn signals or emergency brake is either.

Try your hand with the new technology. Program your favorite radio station into the presets and play with the navigation system or even pair your phone with the Bluetooth (but don’t forget to unpair it when you’re done). Make sure the functionality works well for you.  Remember the sale person assisting you is trained to know the vehicle while you’ll be experiencing it for the first time, so absorb every ounce of information you can retain and don’t be afraid to ask questions; lots and lots of questions. You don’t have to pass the test on how it works, but you should know how comfortable it works with you so when you are familiar you will enjoy it more. Think of this as the light version of your daily commute.

Now when you’re done the real question is, does this vehicle work for you.  If it doesn’t then don’t feel bad.  If you move to the next step and this isn’t the vehicle you’re just wasting everyone’s time, but nobody cried foul when you tried it, didn’t like it and moved on.  So before you move to step 3 you should be saying, “this is the car I want to own.”

Step 3.) Save the Money for the Desk
You may be tempted to start thinking about cost and asking prices right during the drive or even worse, before you even get behind the wheel.  Resist the urge with all your might.  The test drive is a compressed moment to absorb the vehicle and see if it works for you.  It will require a good amount of focus to do that. If you’re thinking about how much the navigation will cost, you may ignore it and defeat the whole purpose of the test drive.  Just because the vehicle has lamb’s wool carpets doesn’t mean you’re going to have them in the vehicle you drive away with, but it shouldn’t stop you from considering them in your wish list if you find that enjoyed them.  Make sure you ask if there are any additional options that you should consider and don’t add them to your list unless you’ve experienced them.

If you performed step 1 correctly, then you’re already in a vehicle that will be close to a price you’ve already considered, so stop worrying and enjoy the ride. At the end of the test drive when you are sitting down crunching the numbers back at the showroom you can start crossing things off that don’t fit into your budget and since you’re probably in a car with a couple of more options you can simply say, “to earn my business today you’ll need to get me this built vehicle or find a way to make your vehicle in inventory meet my price.”  It doesn’t get anymore black and white as that and your sales person, his manager, and his boss will all understand it.

At the end of the test drive you’ll be going back to talk numbers. The great thing about this three-step process is that you won’t be worrying if you picked the right vehicle or not. You’ll already know what you want and what you don’t want, and the rest is just math. Does this mean you’ll drive away the first time out? I certainly hope not!  Give it some time and try out a few vehicles.  It’s okay to get out of your comfort zone here.  Get your bearings and a sense of what you do and don’t like.  The goal is to be happy with your vehicle and to avoid buyer’s remorse.


Why I’m Not Excited About the New Toyota Supra

I’m very bad when it comes to cars.  I get excited over the smallest thing.  Whether it be new technology, new engine, just a new car in general I want to know what it is, how it runs, all of it.  That is until I heard there was a new Supra.  When I heard the word I had not only a level of apprehension, but a truck-load of expectation and when doing the research I wasn’t happy with what I found.

Before I get into this I think it’s important to remember the old Supra.  A car made popular by the Fast and the Furious films it was known for its 2JZ-GTE engine.  It is indeed the engine that made this vehicle legendary, but the 2JZ was not flawless, it was very heavy because of its ceramic construction.  Many tuners took this engine and made upwards of 1,000 horsepower, but that really is where its legend lies.  The reality is, the Supra in stock format was a lumbering, under-power, overweight mess.  It was canceled due to low sales figures and after driving it there’s no shock why.  Yet, when the Fast and the Furious came out it was suddenly a niche market masterpiece that sold for upwards of $40,000 used because people saw power and spent a lot of money getting it.  It was indeed the engine that was both the success and failure of the vehicle.  Even its race car counterpart in Super GT would remove the whale 2JZ in the engine bay and replace it with a lightweight 3S-GTE 4 cylinder to compete and it did very well.  So the blessing and the curse of the Supra is its engine.  Otherwise, it’s just a regular 300 horsepower car that was featured in a film outrunning a Ferrari that with the cost of the mods probably clocked in more than the Ferrari.

So with the new Supra you have to ask, what’s the lineage?  Brands like Mazda and Nissan may have made replacement vehicles for legendary models there is a clear lineage, such as the RX-8 and GT-R.  These weren’t just replacement cars they have a clear and concise attachment to their former models.  Toyota on the other hand has a history of being detached from this thinking with examples like the last Celica and AE86 which bear little resemblance to their past.  Here we are again with a car that literally just carries a name when in reality is simply adopted to the branding.  Toyota is smart though and they know that people have been fawning for a  Supra so why not give them what they want?  The problem will be with what the expectations will come with that.

This new Supra is really a BMW Z4.  Once you hear that statement it’s easy to see the lines in the modelling.  In fact it’s so uncanny that it’s hard to unsee it once you know.  Add in a little cartoon-esque Toyota feel to the nose and viola.  Once you dig deeper you realize that the new Supra has literally nothing to do with a Supra at all, and is only a rebadged Z4.  So why aren’t they hyping a new Z4?  Easy, the Z4 never had a $5 billion movie to its name.  The Z4 never garnered the hype that the Supra did.  The Z4 never had a 1,000 horsepower engine under the bonnet and you have to be truthful to yourself, neither will this one.  This ruined expectation will not be what buyers want.

We have to come to terms with what the real hype is about and what it really means.  Everyone is now thinking, pick up a new sporty looking Supra and throw in some tunes, make 1,000 horsepower and get back where we left off and that just isn’t going to happen.  For starters the new model will come in North of $50,000, which is Z4 money with only 335 horsepower on its best day, but the standard 4 cylinder equipment will only make 248 horsepower, well below the dream of the 1,000 horsepower Supra for similar money.  The most damning concept is that the Supra will not even have a manual transmission, so those dreams of banging gears a la Fast and Furious are only in your dreams and you’re in for a rude awakening.  In fact, the new car will not even have the power of its BMW counterpart at 380.  This is where buyers start scratching their heads.

So the real question I have is, what did this car do to deserve the Supra title?  The answer is a resounding nothing.  That’s the problem we have here.  Call it by any other name and we may be excited, but this car, like a no name fighter earning a shot in the ring with Ali, is completely unearned.  In fact, if you called it a Z4 the world would release a humble “cool” and move on with their lives.  It’s definitely no Chuck Wepner either.  Unlike Chuck there will be no movie attached to this vehicle to rescue it from the disdain and betrayal that will add to the remorse buyers will inevitably feel.

Here’s where we need to help the car world out.  Nothing will bring back the greats.  There will always be articles about the Skyline, the RX-7, the Supra and even the Eclipse.  There is a full and beautiful history that is attached to these models and there’s no need to try and water down their titles with something new.  Allow them to sustain something on the used market and we could see a new breed of collector that will keep them alive forever and they are indeed well-deserved, even the original Supra.

That also means there’s nothing wrong with a new car trying to be the next big thing, the next exciting vehicle, but have it start its own lineage and it may take off and be an awesome car with all new expectations.  This car has that potential to be something new and exciting and unfortunately that is going to be ripped away from it because it’s trying to be something it’s not and the history books are not going to be kind.  Just ask the Toyota Celica how that went.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this.  Leave a comment if you agree and what you feel this new Supra will be.

Until next time!  #godspeed

5 Must Watch Throwback Car Videos

The turn of the century was an amazing time for cars.  With The Fast and the Furious hitting theaters a new craze was taking over and it was car mania on a whole new level.  Video games like Midnight Club were introducing a whole new generation of open world drivers in something other than race cars and exotics.  It seemed every car had some secret unlocked potential and videos were no exception.

This spawned a whole new generation of car videos to come out and follow suit in the new excitement and unfortunately many of them have been lost to time.  It always makes me worry when I ask someone wholly into vehicles who responds they have never heard of these classic and ground breaking videos and short films.

So without further delay here are some must watch car videos from the not-so-far-back past that will get your adrenaline pumping for a throw back Thursday of automotive mayhem!

5.) Getaway in Stockholm
What happens when a couple of guys who knew about a loophole in the law that they would be unable to be arrested if they weren’t caught in the act.  So they take two powerful cars and race them through the city streets literally taunting the cops of Stockholm Sweden.  Getaway in Stockholm did it multiple times.  The first video was a Porsche taunting the cops, but part two was legendary, taking a souped up Supra against a Cosworth Escort literally driving the wrong way through tunnels to outrun each other.  It’s actually astounding to watch.
Check it out here:

4.) The Hire
You’ve probably heard about the Hire but you don’t realize it.  The Hire was the predecessor and inspiration to the Transporter movies.  The Hire, created in 2001, put Clive Owen behind the wheel of various BMWs on unusual and unique transport missions.  The first was called the Ambush and it took off among car enthusiasts.  The series ended up with 8 videos over 2 seasons, with some awesome cameos, and even made a comeback in 2016 making it 9 videos total, not to mention the success of its offshoot the Transporter series of films and shows.
Here’s the latest 2016 episode the Escape:

3.) High Octane
A mix between crazy fast racing and slap stick comedy skits High Octane delivered on all fronts.  They made various videos disks, but were most widely known for a race between a Ferrari 355 and a Viper that ended in the Viper sliding off the side of a mountain in Los Angeles.  Everyone was okay which made the skit even more entertaining to watch.  Unfortunately it appears that all that is left of this great group is their YouTube page with some full length videos, but if you get a chance, check them out, heres’ a link:

2.) The Last Race
Right after the Fast and the Furious film a 22 minute short known as the Last Race came out.  It’s the story of a guy street racing his Integra against a visiting rival in a Mustang all while dealing with woman troubles.  For 22 minutes it crams a lot in and it’s just a guilty pleasure to watch and it’s a staple of a time when everything was new again in the car world and indy films could be fun and cool.  The real question is, have you seen it?

1.) Mischief 3000
After the success of the first Mischief video it was followed up with an amazing part two in 2002 known as Mischief 3000.  Although the first one, filled with high speed and police dodging was good, Mischief 3000 put them on the map.  It covered the Gumball race across the US.  It’s main driver Dado and copilot filmmaker Dustin took a nasty race worthy M3 on the event and drove it literally like they stole it.
Here’s the Trailer:

These are, by far, not the only videos out there that can bring back some serious nostalgia all while feeling relatively fresh when even the Fast and the Furious films don’t even feel like car movies anymore.  If you’re into documentaries the Best Motoring series, the JGTC/Super GT and Pirelli World Championships and the Drift King documentary are all great places to get that adrenalin pumping.

What’s your favorite video?  Leave it in the comments below!

5 Things Car Guys Shouldn’t Share on Social Media

Social Media is such an awesome resource and provides us with great power.  We constantly share pictures of our cars and our builds.  We can share the products and shops that are awesome for us and help us get the job done!  Once we’re done we share the drives and the shows and who we are!  It’s awesome.

Alas with great power comes great responsibility.  We don’t realize sometimes how much damage we can do with Social Media, to both ourselves and others.  Even being a paparazzi can be harmful to events and ruin the experience causing people to continually become more secretive and have less people involved.

So we’re making this little trainer to help you make great decisions when you share something on social media and avoid the pitfalls.

1.) Videos of Breaking the Law
It’s my primary rule and I’ve stuck to it from the beginning.  People speeding down the highway and endangering others may be fun for your friends but to the 99% of the other people on the planet it makes you, and everyone you associate with, look really bad.  Sure, it may have been the one time you decided to lay some speed down on the highway and you probably don’t even support it, but to the millions of viewers that see it and pass it along now identify it with you, the car world, and everyone in the media.  Not to mention that even if the license plate is covered you’ve now shared evidence that could get someone in a large amount of trouble even if they weren’t involved.

You may think we’re being a stickler, but the reality is that you won’t lose much media with this.  The trick is only “illegal” media.  Burnouts at a car show may be frowned upon, but they aren’t illegal.  People ripping their bumpers off from being low, not illegal.  Even if the video says “street race” if the cars are just parked around they really aren’t doing anything illegal, it’s not illegal.

2.) Sharing Pictures That Tell Thieves Where to Go
You may not know this but the internet is filled with criminals.  You may go window shopping at the mall?  Some criminals just turn on their computer and search some hashtags and, voila, they see the part or car they want right their in living color.  If you take a picture of the car at its home base they know exactly where to go.

Sure you may think you didn’t give away any information in the pic, but the truth is unfortunately a little deeper.  Have you ever posted a picture on social media and noticed that the program had a pretty good idea where that picture was taken?  Every wondered how it knew?  It’s because that information is in the data of the picture and anyone savvy enough can look it up.  If  your picture can link it up they can simply drop it into their navigation and go directly to it.  Then they just wait for the owner to Check-In somewhere else and now they even know when to strike!  You’ve inadvertently assisted a criminal.

How do you avoid this?  Simply take abstract pictures or remove any tagging functionality.  A random picture in a parking lot doesn’t tell anyone where that car will be 5 minutes from now and a criminal won’t spend the time it takes to look it up when there is low hanging fruit elsewhere.

3.) Media Crashing Events
You would be amazed at how many times people show up to an event they have no reason to attend to get a shot they need for their social media account.  Over the years I’ve called them paparazzi because their goal isn’t to be a part of the event but to get their picture at any cost.  The weirdest part is that they could probably just ask and they would get in and once they’ve asked and they should respect the event.  For instance, if it’s a cruise don’t drive recklessly trying to grab an image, breaking the law, or potentially cause accidents.

If you’re media and you’re attending an event, welcome or not, you should be a wallflower when you’re in action.  If people are saying, “when did you get that shot” you’re streamlining your existence with the show in a way that doesn’t rock the boat or ruin anyone else’s experience.  Make sure that those who are filmed are okay with being filmed and they always look good when they are and even more importantly don’t get arrested and be negatively associated with the event you’re covering.  Go by some minimal respect and you’ll find yourself being invited to these events more and more.

4.) Hatred and Trolling
I know it may seem like low hanging fruit to bully the Reliant Robin Owner’s group page, but what you’re doing isn’t productive and it’s definitely not professional.  In fact, it makes you look like scum.  Let’s be honest, we all want to enjoy what we enjoy in peace.  We understand that not everyone enjoys what we enjoy, but since we have something to enjoy we certainly don’t have time to visit what you enjoy and bash it endlessly.  We also don’t do it because we don’t want it done to us.

What we do appreciate is constructive criticism or trying to understand the plight of owning what we own.  Let’s be honest, even exotics catch on fire, so every car has some sort of plague that makes its ownership interesting and eventful.  Sharing these experiences can help us grow together making a stronger community and in that same vein sabotaging it can split a community apart.  So sure, you don’t have to be a fan of cambered cars, but identify your thinking as not being aligned with you, not a hatred you feel you need to punish others for.  Really, what did these guys ever do to you?

5.) Your Own Personal Negative Review 
Let’s say you recently went to a shop and you are not happy with the service that was performed.  Maybe your car was damaged and upon return you decided before bringing it up to the location you decide that you’re going to lambaste the location for its unprofessional behavior while threatening to sue.  Now at first you may ask, how is this bad.  Effectively the person is justified and aren’t there review websites out there for just this reason?  Well there’s a couple of reasons this is a bad idea.

The first ideology is that everyone should have an opportunity to fix their mistakes.  Before you publicly berate someone you should go to them and calmly describe your problem.  If they are not receptive to you plight you can raise the stakes to anger which hardly ever gets results or you can choose to take them to court.

Secondly you set yourself for a defamation case.  If you start pointing fingers and you’re actually the one in the wrong (which I mean how many times does that happen on the internet am I right?) the location you’re complaining about can sue you for libel or slander, depending on how you defamed the business.  They can sue you over lost wages, a bad public image, etc. because once it’s on the internet the world believes it must be true, right?  If you shared private conversation or released privileged information things could get even worse for you.  For instance, sharing an audio recording where there was an expectation of privacy could be a felony wire-tapping charge.

It’s important to understand that we’re not saying you can’t complain either.  No one is going to judge you harshly for complaining that the shipping company is too slow getting your new car part there or that they sent you the wrong part.  We’ve all been through it and we feel your pain.  That is something we enjoy sharing on the social media and it’s all just fun and games.  It’s quite different to say that a business is incompetent because someone ran a red light and hit your car during a test drive to deduce a problem you signed off for them to check.  We understand you’re upset but let’s deal with those feelings responsibly.

I’m also not saying that in some cases you wouldn’t be justified, but you have to ask is it worth destroying someone’s future over?  The reality in a majority of the cases I’ve read is a resounding absolutely not.

The term Caveat Emptor is latin for let the buyer beware.  It’s a legal term to describe your responsibility to research a person prior to dealing with them.  If you didn’t do your due diligence the problem is not the person you’re complaining about.  The fault lies completely with you.  That may seem harsh but it’s legally how it will be defined.  So before you start going keyboard commando it’s important to stop and think.

And that’s our list!  Did you agree or are there things we missed!  Leave a comment and let us know.

5 Reasons Why People Own Cars Longer

Back in 2012 KBB reported that the average time that people owned their vehicles was 71.4 months.  In 2015 it was reported that the average ownership had increased to 138 months.  In 3 years we’ve seen a 67 month increase!  So in effect every 2 years we’re owning our vehicles 5 and half years more.

That could be confusing to understand.  How could that number increase so much?  In essence it means to me that not only have people who already owned their cars for 5 years not traded their vehicles in, but they’re collecting more owners in the pool.  Now you’re asking, how exactly does that happen?  Well, here’s 5 good reasons why.

5.) Not Interested in Technology
I know it may seem really cool to have all this neat technology, such as touchscreens and other toys, but to some people this is just more stuff to break and cause problems.  Honestly, some people just want to get from point A to point B with as little trouble as possible.  The main problem they see whenever looking at a replacement vehicle (because they’re not about to upgrade) is that the new vehicle is covered in tech they can’t option out.  They can’t say no and to them that added cost makes 0 sense so they give up and stick with something that is tried and true.

4.) Difficulty to Repair
When I began in the business of vehicles you could get a new engine replacement for $400 and it took 24 hours to perform the work.  Today a new model vehicle can cost $5,000 or more and take a car out of service for a month.  To some the cost doesn’t make sense.  They don’t understand, or understand all to well, that a vehicle has more things plugged into the engine to make it more efficient and meet ever increasing government regulations.  They may also come from a time when they could perform their own oil change and when asked to purchase a vehicle that would force them to work only with the dealership and they aren’t willing to be committed to the increased cost if they don’t see the value in it.  We also can’t argue that the craftsmanship of vehicles has decreased over the years and with shoddy plastic parts that fall apart in under 100,000 miles, why jump ship when the car you have either doesn’t have those problems or has already had all that work performed.

3.) The Hassle
Honestly, who likes buying a car?  If you are okaying with working with a dealership you’re either certifiably insane or a registered masochist.  There have been books written on the subject it’s so bad.  So why should I drive an hour to get beat up by a dealership, low balled on my trade, and just generally disrespected when I can just stick with what I have?  Oh yea, I don’t!  Which is why I’ve owned my car for over 6 years.

2.) Dedication to the Dealership
Manufacturers realize that aftermarket mom and pop shops have been cutting in on their repair action.  Dealerships have had a hard time keeping people coming back past a warranty because of many factors.  This reasons can include cost, that even with all the bravado dealerships can hire amateur technicians to provide a lower wage and higher payouts so their skill level is even more fallible than their 30+ year private mechanic, and the parts are overpriced in comparison.  So the only way around it for the manufacturer is to make parts impossible to fix outside of the dealership.  This goes directly back to the difficulty of repair as well.  Add in new CPO programs that force you to only work with a dealership to get a good warranty and you have the concept that if you buy a new car you might as well buy a ring for the dealership and a key to move in, with all the negatives that includes.  Some people just aren’t ready for the commitment.

1.) Cost
Let’s be honest, cars aren’t getting cheaper.  From purchase to repair the general cost of a new car on a regular buying cycle can be 30 to 40 percent more in operating costs over your last vehicle.  The old adage is, why get in on the new when my current is paid off?  Even if that means potential exorbitant repair costs, it’s easier to risk it than go with a guaranteed kick in the pants, wallet side.

It shouldn’t be a shock that not only will we see this trend increase, you can expect the trend to continue as long as manufacturers keep on their current path of not giving the people what they want.  The true motivation is to offer a product that is so much more appealing than what you’re currently driving.  So much so that you’d be willing to part with your money and a car you love to have it.  This is by no means the be all end all of input either.  These are just some ideas to consider and there may even be better ideas that capture the reason for why people won’t pick up something new, but the reality is it until there’s something better there’s no drive to change.