Thousands eagerly wait in complete darkness. The electricity in the air is tangible. Adrenaline flowing, heart pumping, chills fly down the spine like a feather faintly brushing skin. Off in the distance a quiet, but familiar, beat sounds. Your head starts to nod and you look down at your feet. Now the music is getting louder.
An epic roar from the crowd.
The bright spotlight reveals a legend’s return to the stage — welcome back VW Bus.
Yesterday Volkswagen announced a new bus due to release in 2022. It’s called the ID Buzz and it’s 100% electric. Volkswagen has teased this vehicle since 2002, now they finally have a concrete concept model. The inside looks spacious, the colors are great, and that exterior is definitely bus-ish.
The Type 2 bus that we’re all familiar with had a rear mounted, air-cooled, engine. This meant instant death in a collision. The car would die if you were rear-ended, and you would die if you rear-ended someone else. Thankfully VW’s new electric design means the ID Buzz will have a stronger structure for crashes.
Then again the VW Bus was never about safety or performance. This machine was made to fit an era. It was designed to be a practical mode of transportation suitable enough to be driven to Woodstock and back. It represented the counterculture flow of 60’s. Could this new electric bus be attractive to the new hippies (aka hipsters)? Only time will tell. For now, I would just recommend changing the bus’s name. Keep groovin’, keep rockin’, and keep solving mysteries in that machine.
Pickup trucks and America go together like cake and ice cream. People love their usefulness, design, and outstanding capabilities. While the pickup’s overall potential has grown throughout the years — the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor is expected to have 450hp, 510lb-ft torque, and a 10-speed automatic transmission — the basic idea remains the same. Pickup trucks have been, and forever will be, designed to get jobs done.
Take the Horse by the Reins
I recently had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a 1991 Ford F-150. Truly a relic of a car. It had a jet-black exterior accented by red trim and a large silver stripe down the middle. The interior was beet red; there was no radio, no heat, and no air conditioning. This pickup was specifically designed to work. In case that wasn’t abundantly obvious, the original owner had named it Bill — after the rough New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
The old Ford had a few quirks to it, the absence of a parking brake combined with a worn out first gear made starting the car on a hill particularity frightening. Rev up to 3,000, release the foot brake, engage the clutch, roll backwards uncontrollably for 300 yards, jam it into second and spin the tires until takeoff. It was fabulous. Never had I experienced such excitement on a simple startup.
Once on the road, the truck drove surprisingly well. Shifting through gears was seamless and the ride was a blast. The missing radio wasn’t an issue because I needed to listen to the engine to make gear changes (tachometer kicked the dust mid trip). Further, the only real scare after the initial start up came on the highway. As you may know, the 1991 Ford F-150 has a floor shifter, meaning that it was extra long and extra easy to accidentally hit. At one point (at 65mph) a heavy bag on the middle seat fell and nudged the shifter into neutral. This caused a tremendous amount of panic. However, this minor accident while carrying a full load on a busy highway never distracted me from the beauty of the car.
300,000 hard miles, over 26 years, and it still worked. This truck epitomized old man strength. I loved it. It was a true lunch box vehicle with its V8 motor; floor shifter, black/red color combination, and massive bed. The 91’ 150 was a joy to drive and I would definitely recommend not being terrified of it. Stepping behind the wheel of an old pickup like this truly allows one to appreciate what those cars are made for — work. No glitz, no glam, just guts.
Are you an executive that is looking to cruise into work at an average speed 10mph over the speed limit? If yes, then the Porsche Panamera is the car for you. Are you concerned about the functionality of having your coffee in one hand and the company’s annual expense report on the dash? If yes, then the Porsche Panamera is the perfect fit for your three-car garage.
The Porsche Panamera is a car that was designed to go fast first and worry about speeding tickets later. The base model starts at $85,000 with a peppy 330hp twin turbo V6. The range topping Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive is equipped with a twin turbo V8 and an electric motor — which combines for a whopping 680 horsepower. The most incredible figure surrounding the ranging topping Panamera is its base price of $194,800. Upon reading this number my wallet had a stroke.
New for this year, Porsche finally unveiled the Sport Turismo version, which in my mind offers a much more sleeked and defiant design. It’s a shooting brake style that simply screams class.
The Porsche Panmera boasts insane stats that are taking New York’s financial district by storm. Fitted with four comfortable seats, this car instantly engulfs its passengers in luxurious leather. A quick look at the dashboard reveals technology suitable to take over a third world country. This vehicle is dripping in money and announces to the world that you vacation in The Hamptons.
Everything about the Panamera is posh. There is no piece of fine-brushed aluminum that doesn’t feel cool to the touch. Some may consider it the automotive incarnation of the devil, however I believe this vehicle exemplifies perfect harmony between performance and comfort.
9 / 11 (too expensive as compared to its Audi RS 7 rival)
Rain wasn’t due for a few more months. Crops were drying up and a lonely Oklahoman farmer feared for the worst. Taking a deep breath he grimly turned his head to the sky. Suddenly, before he had a chance to beg the heavens for rain, the atmosphere turned black.
A grin slowly arches across the farmer’s face as he turns, squints, and walks back towards his house.
“There must be a CCC starting,” he happily mumbles under his breath.
Casual Car Conversation (CCC)
By: Mr. Power & Mr. Slide
We start these conversations with simple, yet thought provoking, questions. This week’s will be, “What is the best car you can take to the beach?”
Mr. Slide: Have you ever driven a dune buggy?
Mr. Power: Unfortunately, I have never driven one but they look like supreme beach vehicles. The styling, the swagger, the rawness, it epitomizes everything fun and exciting about going to the beach.
Mr. S: I’d agree. Besides dune buggies, what other cars make great beach vehicles?
Mr. P: I think there are two different ways of answering this question. One could go whole hog and roll up with a Ford Raptor, or (in a more free spirited way) choose a Yamaha WR250R. Yes, the Yamaha is not a car — it is a motorcycle. Don’t let that fool you though; it has the all the tools to rival dune buggies. Beach parking can be precarious and unpredictable: the bike alleviates all stress however with its small frame and great functionality. As for the Raptor, this beast will have enough cargo space to pack all the boogie boards and beach chairs your heart desires. All while offering the best off-road capability money can buy.
Mr. S: If you’re going with the Ford Raptor and the Yamaha, I’d definitely pick the soft-top Toyota FJ40. Its classic style is fantastic and I love the back seats that face each other. Only thing is it might be tough to eat an ice cream and drive a stick (although I know it’s totally possible). Like the Raptor, it too does well on sand. Can’t beat it…. And, as long as we’re getting two choices, I’d snag the Yamaha as well.
Mr. P: Going to the beach is all about having fun, us car enthusiast find it hard to separate the beach from the car that got us there. The parameters for a great beach vehicle are; 4-wheel drive (or a dirt(ish)-bike), luggage space, and most importantly the smile it puts on your face when you drive it to the shore.
Mr. S: Well said, Mr. Power. However, as we all know, the sandy coastlines are ruled by one king — the dune buggy. Respect its reign and get behind the wheel of one.
“Don’t buy that hunk of junk, it’s a terrible investment.”
“Cars make awful financial assets.”
“They immediately depreciate after you drive them off the lot!”
“They’re a waste of money!”
Wrong! Believe it or not, cars can make excellent financial investments — you just need to buy the right ones.
Yes, yes, yes, we all know that certain monsters like Ferrari, Bugatti, and Rolls Royce, always draw a big demand from greedy collectors. However, there are a slew of other vehicles that people (surprisingly) are willing to pay top dollar for. Understand the shared characteristics of these cars and you can become a savvy automotive investor.
What’s Hot Right Now?
First off, the car you’re looking to flip has to have a manual transmission. This is a must. Automatics are more expensive to maintain and collectors don’t have that same psychotic affection for them. Also, please…keep the mileage down. Automotive aficionados prefer pristine (garage baby) cars that haven’t really been meddled with.
Trendiness is another major factor to keep in mind. People often look for cars, or car styles, that define an era. They want a vehicle that will make them think, “Wow! I remember when I used to see those on the road all the time. Those were simpler (better) days.”
S.U.V. Super. Unique. Value.
As Mr. Power pointed out, folks today are obsessed with SUVs. As a result, there is a massive demand for the oldies. Take for instance the Ford Bronco: in the 1970s and 1980s these vehicles were everywhere. They cost $7,500 for the base two-door model in the 70’s, and now they’re selling for about $70,000. That’s an 833% increase in value. If you want to figure in inflation: $7,500 in 1971 is $45K today, which is expensive, however the Bronco flipped in 2017 still brings in a 55% profit. That’s a pretty solid investment.
Seriously, if you have the cash, and don’t mind waiting, investing in cars can be a fantastic way to make some money. You just have to read what people like, buy one, and stuff it in your garage.
Hmmm…I wonder what kind of car could be the next Ford Bronco (hint, hint, Performance Hatchbacks, baby!)
Buy. Store. Sell.
That’s right; The Powerslide is back at it again hyping hot hatches. They are extremely popular on Europe’s narrow roads and ready to explode in America (if we can just get some more good ones). Most of the performance models, like the Honda Civic Type R, the Ford Focus RS, and the Volkswagen Golf R, already come standard with 6-speed manual gearboxes and distinctive looks.
They also have already garnered a tremendous demand from the younger generation. Kids today think they are cool and wish they could afford the marked up prices. However — they can’t — but perhaps you can. Buy a hot hatch now, throw it in the garage for 15 ~ 20 years, and boom. Retirement fund.
The same way you youthfully dreamed of the 1970’s Bronco is the same way today’s kids fantasize about hot hatchbacks. They have a strange aura about them. An aura you can capitalize on — they are generation defining.
Up until this point the automotive industry has largely relied on dinosaurs to power their products. Now, as Climate Change becomes even more evident, we must listen to the polar bears and move towards a different energy source to power our beloved cars.
So, What are Our Options?
Option 1: A Shock
Companies such as Tesla have revolutionized the electric car and it looks like it’s here to stay. Other car companies have tried to compete with Elon Musk by reveling their own versions of an all-electric car. These companies include; General Motors, Nissan, and BMW. Frankly, its fair to say that they don’t hold a candle to what Tesla offers.
Option 2: A Mix
Hybrid powered cars (which contain both gas and electric powered motors), represent the midway point. They harmonically blend technological improvements all while keeping the oil companies happy. They are terrific for now but still rely on the dinosaur juice to get going.
Option 3: Something Wildly Different
After electric and hybrid, we begin to get funky with the hydrogen-powered car. Honda is the first major automotive company to venture down this road, and their troubles have highlighted the tasks complexity. Although hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth, it’s easier to extract gold from Fort Knox then to get un-bonded hydrogen.
The great thing about hydrogen though is that it is not at all harmful to the environment. This is because it only disposes water vapor through its tailpipe (or something along those lines).
After weighing these options, and meeting with the polar bears, I’m personally of the opinion that electric power is the best way to go. So next time you scoff at the Solar Panel loving, Telsa driving, Crunchy Granola Dentist, think about how he has chosen to save us all and values polar bears lives.
Exotic vehicles can be broken down into three categories; ones that you have to drive to appreciate, ones that you have to ride passenger in to appreciate, and ones that you just have to watch to appreciate. The 36,000hp Shockwave definitely falls into the last category.
Combining the power of three U.S. Navy jet engines (each producing 12,000hp) allows this rig to hit 376mph and clear a quarter mile in just six-and-a-half seconds. I know, sounds bananas, but it’s true.
The Shockwave is also one of the wildest looking vehicles ever produced — think RC car with a rocket attached (like from Toy Story) only scaled up by a million. It has double smokestacks that spit out demonic black clouds, an absurd flame throwing tailpipe, and military grade parachutes for “brakes.” It seriously sounds like a rocket ship and resembles a bullet train whizzing by (except it’s 125mph faster). However, it’s just a Chevy…from 1957. Bananas.
Neal Darnell, the brave man who drives Shockwave, claims that he experiences 6G of positive force while accelerating and then negative 9G of force when the parachute brakes eject. That’s more than what astronauts experience during liftoff. In fact, most people pass out at 9Gs of force because blood struggles to reach the brain.
So there you have it, one of the craziest vehicles ever made — the Shockwave. You wouldn’t want to drive it, you wouldn’t want to ride in it, but you would definitely want to see it.
The year is 1997, highways are infested with Mini vans. Silver ones, blue ones, or the worst of all — gold ones. All car enthusiast can admit these were dark times for the auto industry. Suburban America was obsessed with Ford Windstars, Dodge Grand Caravans, and the historically disturbing Mazda MPV. Good cars, however they focused too much on practicality and not enough on speed.
Longevity = Finding the Balance
Flash forward 20 years and the American automotive scene is at another crossroad. Highways are once again plagued with large variants of motor vehicles — except now they’re called SUVs. With subclasses ranging from crossovers to the more extreme 4×4 style, SUVs offer more ground clearance compared to other types of cars. They are also very practical and extremely well rounded. However, their added height leads to pitiful handling dynamics and horrendous fuel economy (comparatively speaking). Also all midlevel SUVs feel the exact same behind the wheel (if you can feel the difference in driving dynamics between the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4 you deserve an award). These cars suffer from chronic boredom and they don’t have to! SUV drivers are extremely fun and deserve more than dreary styling, lackluster engine performance, and mundane handling!
I understand that these cars provide more room than other variants of automobiles — thus making for great people carriers. However, there is a great SUV competitor that commonly gets overlooked…The Station-Wagon.
These cars handle better, pack more than enough room, and provide better fuel economy. One of the best manufactures in the station-wagon game is Volvo. Recently healed from its abusive relationship with Ford, most Volvos are being made right here in America (and China). Other manufacturing plants include Sweden — where these cars are more popular than Michael Jordan in the 90’s.
Seriously, look at the all-new V90 cross-country. Volvo has integrated sleek Swedish design with a fruity punch of American ingenuity. Delicious. This car offers all the off-road capabilities anyone would need, a world-renowned all-wheel drive system, and the comfiest seats in the automotive world. So next time you’re looking at getting a new car, don’t just go straight for the SUVs, try a wagon (preferably a Volvo because the Swedish know how to do it best). You’ve driven an SUV — now try something different.
Everybody can relate to that annoying feeling of forgetting where their car is parked. You step outside the mall after a long day of tedious errand running and boom…it’s like looking at a colony of penguins bunched up on an iceberg. The sun’s harsh rays add to your mall induced delirium, combining for an evil hex that forces you to exclaim, “Drat, where did I park?”
Obviously, you’re a prideful person, the last thing you want to do is hit the alarm button on your fancy new key fob. That’s essentially the automotive equivalent of having the clerk at the store’s courtesy booth use the all-call to flag down your kid. How could you be so irresponsible? Are you an idiot? It’s your car for gosh sakes, you parked it! Yet in your moment of panic, hands full of groceries, and patience thin, you press that button faster than a ship’s captain lights up a flair.
*BEEP….BEEP….BEEEEEEP…YOU PARKED OVER HERE, BABOON*
…oh right, yeah………..haha….sorry…
Then — after raising the white flag — you invoke the power of hearing to help locate the lost chariot. Finally, moments later, you find your grey car…right in-between the other grey one and the silver one. Ha.
“There must be a better way to find my parked car!” you think to yourself as you carefully exit, avoiding other drivers hunting the massive penguin colony. Well, it turns out — there is! The folks over at Find My Car Smarter have released an app that utilizes Bluetooth Smart Technology in order to eliminate the need to hit the shameful alarm button. You simply plug your phone into the cigarette lighter (if you still have one of those suckers); open the app and it will use the GPS to mark where you park. Then, upon exiting the mall, you open your phone and easily navigate the crowded colony. Simple as pie!
……Okay, frankly we can’t necessarily say to buy the app, and honestly it would be way better if everybody just bought cooler cars. You would never forget where you parked because your car would stand out to you. “Ah! There is my nitrous blue Ford Focus RS! I recognize it because I love it, take pride in it, and enjoy driving it!” That’s what you would say. You wouldn’t even need that alarm. The app is fantastic and really helps if you’re in a bind, however buying an unmistakable, unforgettable, car is truly the best option.
The 991.2 Porsche GT3, a.k.a. the car that no automotive journalist can hate. Honestly, Porsche has created a car that has ZERO flaws. Seriously; none, zippo, nada. What’s not to love about the 4.0 liter flat six that can punch out roughly 500hp?
An Elite Runner
Fitted with either the lightning fast PDK transmission, or the more involved six-speed manual, this car can stretch its legs all the way up to 9,000rpm. One would think that the doctors who drive these cars would struggle to control its power. However, Porsche has honed in is rear-wheel steer system that now makes even pizza delivery drivers look clinically clean while hitting racing lines. Porsche has developed this car to be a track ace and (amazingly) hasn’t damaged the GT3 sports car feel.
Less Fear. More Fun.
There is nothing scary about this vehicle. The ABS doesn’t flash every time you stab the throttle, nor are you met with unyielding over-steer in the bends. The GT3 is confidence inspiring, and it dares its drivers to absolutely mash the throttle.
The lucky few that can afford this car (and the even luckier who can get their hands on one) will be graced with automotive bliss. Starting at $144,650 the lucky owners of the Porsche GT3 will be able to enjoy there own little slice of driving bliss. Not many car brands can match Porsche’s sport car heritage while delivering true track reliability.