I have never understood why someone would buy a fast car, and then drive it like they're a blue-haired lady. Every time I see a Porsche Boxster or Chevy Corvette, invariably it's the slowest car in traffic. It's a crime, an affront to what the vehicle stands for. If you want a rolling billboard to advertise your personal wealth, go buy a Lexus. You'll be more comfortable, and so will your car.
It just kills me to be driving down the interstate in my Escort and pass a 'Vette, in fact everyone else is passing the 'Vette also. You can almost see the car just screaming to be let loose.
We were admiring the beautiful styling of a first-gen Ford Taurus wagon today, and the conversation drifted to childhood times spent in the family wagons that our parents and friend's parents used to own. I'm talking about sitting in the fold-up, rear-facing, third row seat that the older wagons used to have. Where the view was not of where you were going, but of where you had been.
Being a kid in a car was always frustrating. You couldn't reach the radio to change it to the station you wanted, your view was obscured by the front seats, and you had to deal with those damn child-safety windows that only rolled down partially. It just wasn't fair! Everything conspired to reinforce the fact that the car was basically a rolling playpen you couldn't escape, and you were much too old to be stuck in some damn playpen!
But, if you were lucky enough, sometimes your "mobile prison" was in that magical seat that disappeared beneath the cargo area. Inhabiting that seat was like getting away with stealing some cookies, and your parents never suspecting you. The huge rear window giving a view akin to a wide-screen television, the fact that you weren't forced to look past your parents to see the world, put together gave a moment of freedom in an otherwise captive enviroment.
Even with onboard DVD systems and rear seat radio and climate controls that you find in today's SUV's and minivans, they all lack the magic of that wagon-style third-row seat. Watching Finding Nemo may placate the rugrats for a little while, but it can't compare to the mystical moments spent watching the world go by in reverse.
There's something about the look of a naked motorcycle. By "naked" I mean a bike with minimal bodywork, allowing the engine and frame to be seen in their full glory. It's a very different style from that of a fully-faired motorcycle, or even a car. There's a mechanical feel, a message that is conveyed that this a working machine.
Most of the mechanical items we deal with on a daily basis do their best to hide all the working parts. The inner working of the machines are best left alone, a job for a techincian, someone qualified to deal with these contraptions. It's just not something we want to deal with. We all have our own sense of what reality is, and for many, mechanical things fall into the realm of magic. As long as it works, we don't care the how's and why' of it.
Naked motorcycles, on the other hand, brazenly advertise the fact that they are a machine, and you will deal with it on it's own level, regardless of how you feel. To me, that's the most charming aspect of their character. The engine is right there in plain view, begging you to fiddle around with it. What does this piece do, how does it relate to the entire process of combustion. It may be something that many don't want to think about, but it piques my curiosity. I can't resist it.
Go ahead, go out naked. You just might learn something about your machine, and hopefully something about yourself.
There's an infomercial running that's advertising a very interesting device. It's called the Tornado Fuel Saver. It's supposed to increase horsepower and fuel mileage. Of course, there is a slight disclaimer...
Your results will vary. These tests were completed in a laboratory under test conditions. Mileage improvements, if any, vary widely depending on driving habits and the model, engine, and condition of the vehicle.
I haven't bought one myself, but here's some things I find interesting about it. They don't tell you what laboratory did the testing, so you have no way to verify the test data, or find out what the test conditions were. If it does what it says, wouldn't the auto manufacturers have done this already? Form your own conclusion, but something that sounds too good to be true usually is.
Two things occured to me recently. I was reading an FAQ on Gran Turismo, and the writer's recommendations for best cars did not include any rear-wheel drive vehicles. Why? Because they are too hard to handle, said the author. This seemed strange to me. Being able to slide out the rear-wheels at will sure makes it easier to get around the turns, or at least I think so. Then I realized the author was probably younger than me, and probably never drove a rear-wheel drive car in his life.
My first car was a Ford Granada, and my second was a Toyota Supra, both RWD. Growing up in Ohio, learning how to drive RWD cars in the snow, and sliding the rear wheels out in a turn was a natural part of the driving experience. For many people younger than me, those born in the eighties, FWD is all they have known. Dad's Camry, Mom's Accord, Uncle Larry's Taurus, these three cars have dominated the sales charts for so long that most youngsters only know FWD, and automatic trannies. If they only knew what they were missing.
I started a new job yesterday, and have seven weeks of training to go through. One of the first things we did was interview each other so we could know a little bit about the memebers. There's fifteen of us in the class, and one of the questions was "What is your dream car?". One said Corvette, two votes for Porsche, two muscle car votes, and two Beemers. Every one else (except me) wanted some kind of SUV. We're talking dream cars, and these people want an oversized station wagon! And not one of them at least said Porsche Cayenne! Better treasure the performance cars on the market today, theyr'e a dying breed.
What did I choose? A 1986 Toyota MR2, 5-speed, red (the color God intended it to be)!
Today we stay with FoMoCo, this time with the Mercury Division. Check out Cool Cats, focusing on 83-89 Mercury Cougars. Technical info abounds, and it's a great resource for these cars. My dad used to own a black XR7, so I'm kinda partial to them.
Been working on Babytang (Ford Tempo) the last couple of days, so here's some interesting Tempo links. First up is Tempo Topaz.com, the Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz car club of North America, lots of info on these cars. Then we have Brian's site, detailing his Ford Tempo GLS and Mercury Topaz XR5. His Topaz has a working lighbar like the Sable, and many other mods. Finally comes the SHOpaz, a Mercury Topaz with a Taurus SHO engine and transmission. Crazy!
For being the largest automotive market in the world, we sure get shafted a lot when it comes to cars. We got the Ford Escort GT, Australia got the Ford Laser TX3...torbocharged and AWD.
This happens all the time, and I don't understand why. Every time a manufacturer brings out a niche vehicle here, it fails. Even the PT Cruiser is having sales woes. If it's not a mainstream sedan or SUV, it seems like it doesn't stand a chance in the US.
Think of the Ford Focus SVT commercial where the parents take their son's car out for a midnight drive and get caught. It's a 4-door, fer chrissakes!
mr2 is a comfortable car
mr2 is our answer to this interest
mr2 is neither authorized by nor affilated with toyota motor sales
mr2 is by far the best value for the money in the sports car industry
mr2 is a pretty noisy car anyway
mr2 is a roadster in the true tradition and features two seats in a very snug cabin with the engine mounted mid ship behind the seats
mr2 is aiming squarely at this market
mr2 is designed for the impulsive
mr2 is a pure sports car
mr2 is truly a unique vehicle and one of the sad casualties of the mid-nineties
mr2 is great fun
mr2 is a better car than $81
mr2 is the epitome of a sleeper
mr2 is undeniably well put together and beautifully engineered; the engines are long proven and the fit and finish is excellent
mr2 is great fun to drive
mr2 is going through a rejuvenation of it's own
mr2 is less powerful
mr2 is a cheeky little number
mr2 is still mine
mr2 is almost too comfortable
mr2 is a little more forgiving than the race cars for which these automated manual transmissions were devised
mr2 is indeed a safe car
mr2 is very popular in tarmac and rally racing all over the world
mr2 is changed
mr2 is scary in slippery weather
mr2 is meant to be driven with verve
mr2 is reasonably rapid
mr2 is already half way up that steep hill
mr2 is the less known brother of the toyota supra and this is the purpose as to why we built this website
mr2 is everything a roadster should be
mr2 is economical too
mr2 is a terrific place to start
mr2 is not trying to take either on directly
mr2 is a cracking little device
mr2 is supercharged if it has a sticker on the back that says "supercharged" on the left
mr2 is quite a noisy little beast
mr2 is an outstanding basis for professional tuning
mr2 is all about driving thrills
mr2 is becoming a very popular car
mr2 is slightly faster once spooled up
mr2 is a playful sport car with exuberant power
mr2 is back
mr2 is a true two
mr2 is a sheer joy to drive
mr2 is one of the most enjoyable cars you can buy
mr2 is pretty steady into the difficult sparkplug
mr2 is ready willing and able to rev quickly and often
mr2 is perhaps the most thrilling to drive
mr2 is deceptivley quick
mr2 is well equipped
mr2 is an amazing car
And this website, ride, is...
ride is leaving nasa after making major contributions
ride is here
ride is back
ride is only part of the weekend fun
ride is a great way to enjoy
ride is not enough
ride is supposed to be fun
ride is looking for recruits
ride is the reason
ride is anything but routine
ride is smoother now
ride is here
ride is unbelievable
ride is cosmic
ride is not a race
ride is a great way to enjoy winter in vermont
ride is half the fun
ride is a plan in motion
ride is available to you
ride is free
ride is over but then again you already knew that as financial reality thundered down upon the head of the dot
ride is faster than free fall
ride is safest means to school
ride is worth the labor
ride is smaller but still joyous
ride is in ducks guts
ride is upon us
ride is coming to town sat
ride is the place for all your watercraft and boating needs
ride is an appropriate way to encourage public transport use in perth
ride is about 45 to 50 minutes long
ride is what you're in search of
ride is over abilene mother has witnessed a metamorphosis by susie striegler
ride is smooth for most hokies
ride is getting faster and faster
ride is on
Today I purchased another car. A 1994 Ford Escort LX. Here she is...
First impressions are good. Decent handling and acceleration, good brakes, and a simple but endearing style. The car is in excellent shape, and was absolutely a steal at $710. I'm not in love yet, but I think it will happen.
This is, of course, a happy occasion, but it also leads to a quandry. Sitting next to the Escort is my Ford Probe. There should also be a Geo Storm on the opposite side, but there isn't. The Storm is no more, after only a month in my possesion. I barely knew her, but in the brief time we shared the road she touched my soul. She was one hell of a car, and will be sorely missed.
The Probe has been sitting in the same parking spot for over a month, motionless. The engine works, but the transmission doesn't. Last month she dies on my way home from work. A new ignition system ($625) and battery (drained from the emergency flashers being on overnight and no longer holding a charge, $40), and the Probe would start. She just wouldn't move. In addition, needed in the very near future are new CV joints (around $600) and new shocks and struts (about $400). Add in the estimated $1000 bill for the tranny, and you have a grand total 0f $2,665 to fix a car I purchased for $600 a year ago.
Logic says it's not worth it. It would make more sense to get rid of the car than soldier on in the hope of fixing her. Repairing a transmission that I want to eventually replace with a manual is another strike against the Probe. Surely, Spock would say "Sell."
But, the heart speaks just as loudly on the Probe's behalf. The car has been my faithful companion for a year now. There's beauty in the sheetmetal, even with the scrapes and bumps left by the previous owners, and underneath there's true beauty. The mechanical symphony that resonates from the engine bay, the interaction of the car and the road that feels so right (when the suspension's up to snuff), and the tactile feel of the human-vehicle interace that melds man and machine seamlessly. This car, this broken machinery, is something to preserve and cherise, says the heart.
Hard numbers. Deep emotions. One choice. A decision I don't want to make.
You have to give Cadillac some credit. Their current designs fall under the "love-it-or-hate-it" school of design. Unfortunately, I hate it. It's one thing to use edges to accent a shape, it's another to think that edges can be the shape. It's like someone took a bunch of broken glass, glues it together randomly, and said "I'm done!".
I don't believe the designers really like the design, they're just trying to make something stand out. If you want to compete with Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus, funky style alone will not do it. Look at any of the other three makes, and the style of the cars says luxury, without being audacious and flashy. Subtlety and style rule the design. Cadillac still has a long way to go.
Been playing a lot of Gran Turismo 2 lately, and with all the cars available, there's a certain type that's the most fun to drive. Front-engined, rear-wheel drive cars like the Toyota Trueno and Nissan Silvia are a blast even if they don;t have the HP figures of the more powerful cars. They handle well and are easy to drift. It truly is the classic configuration for sporting automobiles, no matter the advances in front and 4WD technology. A universal truth that manufacturers try so hard to ovrcome for economic reasons.
The Tempo may no longer belong to me, but she's still a part of my life. She belongs to my best friend Wildvines. I never named her, but with Bobby at the helm one has been chosen. Baby 'tang (Mustang). If you squint while looking at her, it's possible to imagine that you're seeing a Mustang, and Bobby certainly drives her like she is one.
I'm a decent driver, but I'm not comfortable pushing a vehicle to their limits. Wildvines lives at the limits. Baby tang's speedo only goes up to 85 MPH, so most of the time we're not certain of our rate of progress. If ever there was proof that the driver makes more of a difference than the car, this would be it. Mustangs, Corvettes, V6 Cougars, and even a Porsche have underestimated Bobby, to their chagrin. From a standing start it's no contest, Baby 'tang doesn't have the horses to stay ahead, but on the interstate it's another story.
Speed is important, of course, but if you're not looking ahead and predicting the flow of traffic you will become ensnared behind the slower vehicles. Fortunately for Wildvines, most people lack this ability, and are perplexed when an innocous looking Tempo is able to get by them. As long as there's traffic, Wildvines will have the upper hand 90% of the time.
Look underneath the Ride logo up there, at the list fo cars I've owned (OK, and one truck). There's one thing in common amongst them. Can you guess what it is? Time's up!
Each one only had two doors. There's not a 4-door sedan among the lot, and it's a concious decision. Practicality is not one of the traits I look for in a vehicle, in fact it's at the bottom of the list of "must-have" features. Yes, four doors do make it easier to haul your friends around, but besides that I see no practical reason for them. My Probe, Storm, and Supra are or were all hatchbacks, and I can carry a lot more in them than most sedans.
Passengers are something I try to stay away from. I don't own people movers, I own machines of passion. Objects that connect to my soul in ways many people cannot fathom. To me, my cars are extensions of my physical being, tools that allow me to explore the spiritual side of life. To call them simply cars is to demean myself, an act of misunderstanding what they represent.
I've probably lost many people by this point, but the few who've kept up know exactly what I mean. Life is meant to be lived, and that includes commute time.
Coming down the interstate this morning I saw a Ford Focus in my rearview mirror catching up to me. As he was passing, I was admiring the car. Slightly beefier tire and wheel combo, slightly lowered suspension, sharp paint job, all low-key performance mods that were serious, not just for show. I was impressed, someone who was more concerned with actual performance instead of just style. Until I saw the rear of the vehicle. There where a ZX3 emblem should have been was a GT-R emblem from the Nissan Skyline.
I almost tried to pull the driver over so I could save him from the darkside, but my exit came up, and it was too late.
HondaKid was a little rough on Toyota in one of his recent posts, and I feel it necessary to respond. Toyota is, has been, and will be my car of choice, so I'm a little prejudiced, but they do make some damn fine vehicles.
I used to own a '95 Tacoma, 2WD, and she was as truck as you could get. Once you get away from civilization here in Tennessee you find the red-roads, byways carved into the earth by bulldozers, exposing the red clay to act as a road surface. Every time it rains the ruts get wider and deeper, and nearly everyone who lives in those parts owns a truck. You have to, a regular car's suspension can't handle it. You see plenty of the Big Three's models out there, this being the south an all, but the next most common trucks are Toyota. Many a Sunday were spent on these roads, Snarl (my Tacoma's name ) and I finding the most desolate trails to explore, and never once did she let me down. I can't speak for the 4WD models, but if the 2WD ones are anything to gauge by, they're awesome trucks. There is nothing wimpy about the Tacoma.
The demise of the MR2 was truly a sad occasion for enthusiats, but unfortunately inevitable. As the Corolla moved upsacle, so too did the MR2, being based on many of the same mechanicals. There's just not enough of a market for a baby Ferrari, even if the price could have been significantly lowered. The market determines what can and cannot be built, and the MR2's time has come and gone. The MR-S is a fine vehicle, for what it is, and Toyota should be lauded for producing it. Not many manufacturers have the balls to produce anything mid-engined, and making it convertible only makes that task more difficult. Mourn for the MR2, or better yet seek out one and drive it, but do not berate the MR-S as a poor replacement. That's not what it is.
Now we get to the main problem with Toyota today, and it's one they share with every other automobile manufacturer in the world. Cars continue to move upscale, gaining luxury in classes that used to be spartan, and drastic increases in price. Thirty and forty-somethings can afford the price of a new car, and that's the way the market has shifted. Everyone has trouble marketing new cars to 20-somethings, but I don't believe the problem is what you hear in the news. It's simple really, it's all about the cost. Once you get past the $10,000-$12,000 range, you have passed the 20-somethings by. Someone starting out in their carer or in college just does not have the cash-flow for a loan much larger than that, and 72 month loans won't fix it. A new car is simply out of reach.
Used car lots are the domain of the 20-somethings, and there's not a new car in the world that can compete price-and-features wise with what you can buy secondhand. It's tough being young, grabbing a copy of Car and Driver, and realizing that there's not a car in there you can buy. Unless you have rich or gullible parents, that new-car smell will not grace your driveway for at least a decade. It seems like forever, especially when you consider that's almost have of a young person's lifetime. The solution for the manufacturers is simple, but implimentation is nearly impossible.
Just come out with a new car that costs $10,000, looks like it's more expensive, and has the standard features of, say, a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. Anyone know how to do this?
There must be something in the water at Hyundai HQ, just look at the cars they're producing and you can see a major miracle in the works. The company that flooded the American market with the cheap (and cheaply built) Excel is now making some very attractive vehicles. They've learned how to compete in the marketplace better than anyone thought, and are truly turning into a force to be reckoned with.
The Sonata has gone from a wannabe Camry/Accord into an impressive midsize sedan that stands on it's own merits. There's still a ways to go before it can match the big players toe-to-toe, but it's getting awfully close. Honda, Nissan, and Toyota have to be feeling the heat, never mind what the domestic Big Three are feeling.
My father had an early 90's Sonata, and it was decent but uninspired. The styling and performance have matured, and it's difficult to think the old and new versions come from the same company. Finally, the Japanese get some real competition, and consumers will be the ultimate winners in this battle. The midsize segment consists of each manufacturer's best seller, the car that truly is the physical representation of that company. There's been a renaissance at Hyundai Motors.
Instead of a little cute-ute as thir first foray into the SUV market, Hyundai shows off it's marketing savvy by producing the Santa Fe. Along the lines of the Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner in dimensions, it's a serious choice in this segment. I'm not a big SUV fan, but the Santa Fe's styling is some of the best in the land. The only SUV that I think surpasses it would be the new Nissan Murano.
Six-Cylinder engine. 6-Speed manual transmission. The Tiburon firmly nails the sporty coupe target with a winner. The redesigned style is a little lacking, less avant-garde than the original, but the mechanicals are what really matter here. This is another segment where Hyndai really shines, even though it's not a huge market. It is important for image, though, and bravo to Hyundai to have the balls to put out an enthusiat's car.
For proof that Hyundai wants to be a world-class auto manufacturer, look no further than the XG350. Hyundai's going after the jugular with this one, and I wouldn't be suprised to see a luxury division emerge if this car is successful. From the Excel to the XG is a huge leap, but Hyundai has pulled it off.
Competition is such a good thing when it comes to cars. Now if only Kia would get serious.
Some time yesterday someone hit mt Probe. It's not anything major, it's on the fender that already has a dent, but it's annoying that they didn't do the right thing and at least try to contact me. All they had to do was leave a note. F'ing bastard.
An interesting article about the new Mini. In the end, I think she still doesn't get what the Mini is really about, just like all the people who bought the Miata when it first came out. It's all about the ride, baby!
You've seen them on the road before, senior citizens driving down the road with their turn-signal permanently on. My buddy and I were behind one yesterday, and almost witnessed an accident. A man on a Kawasaki Ninja was going to turn left onto the road we were on, saw the car in front of us with the turm-signal going, and decided it was OK to proceed with his turn. Unfortunately the senior citizen was not turning, and I thought for sure they were going to collide.
Speed is blamed for many accidents, but this time speed prevented one. The rider gouged on the throttle and avoided the accident. Who was at fault in this almost accident? It would depend on who you asked. The driver was not aware his turn-signal was on, so to him the rider was definitely at fault. You know those crazy bikers on their murdercycles! Someone ought to outlaw 'em!
The rider was probably pissed because the driver was not paying attention. Even if he could not hear his signal going off, surely he could see the blinking light on his instrument cluster. Those damn seniors don't need to be on the road! Someone ought to outlaw them!
If you ask me, both were at fault. The driver, of course, should have realized his skills were diminishing and compensated for it. If you find that you kleave you signal going, a good driver would develop the habit of looking at his instruments to make sure the signal shut off. No one is a perfect driver, and everyone, including me, can benefit from honest evaluations of their driving skills.
If you spend any time on a motorcycle, you should realize that you are nearly invisible to motorists. Many drivers never see the bike they hit until it's too late, and a good rider does what he can to compensate for this. It takes constant vigilance, and second guessing what actions the drivers around you are going to take. Will that guy pull out in front of me? Assume he will and plan for it. Check the lane beside you to make sure it's clear, release the throttle to slow y9ou down somewhat, and evaluate the shoulder as a last ditch alternative. Sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but being prepared makes all the difference.
Of course, brake lights on the front of vehicles would help too. Anyone else think this is a good idea?