Evolved SUVs: A Gift from Design Freedom

By: Mr. Slide

Mr. Power recently mentioned on The Powerslide Podcast that the SUV market is on fire. He’s correct. Over the last twenty years SUV sales have skyrocketed and Volvo’s recent upgrades to its XC60 and XC90 are certainly impressive. The aggressive, square-jawed, features of these models are atypical of Volvo. The formally Swedish, now Chinese, company has always been known for its modesty. Their cars were fantastic, humble, practical, safe, and built for life. No alarms and no surprises with these babies.

 

Make no mistake; Volvo’s recent aesthetical improvements speak more towards a SUV liberation than they do a Volvo overhaul. In other words, the XC’s epitomize more freedom being granted to SUV designers.

 

Shackles have been loosened a bit, and now more than a few companies are producing beautiful SUVs. This should be celebrated — and it is. Audi, Acura, Range Rover, Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche, Volvo, heck even Lamborghini; the list continues as all produce handsome SUVs. We are living in the SUV renaissance. Automotive companies are progressing with styling, allowing car designers the freedom to stretch their legs and run.

 

Design Liberation

 

European and Asian designers have chomped at the bit and produced sleek, crisp, vehicles. The lines are sharp and the angles are strong, however they are not next level, knock-your-socks-off cool. No. The most fashion forward SUVs in today’s market are being produced out west — in California.

 

A few miles east of Los Angeles a company known as U.S. Specialty Vehicles (USSV) is turning Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups and Jeep Wranglers into Ritz Carlton suites. Their newest creation fuses Hollywood comfort with the power to drag an AMG G65 out of quicksand. A vehicle fit to cross Antarctica with the Kardashians in the back. The resulting monster has a stampeding name that facilitates pinched nerves in the necks of double taking cell phone photographers. Introducing the Rhino GX Executive.

 

This 19-foot, 9,800-pound, monster rolls on 20” aluminum custom wheels and is built upon the powerful Ford F450 Super Duty chassis. Under the hood the customer is allowed to pair either a 6.7L Powerstroke V8 Turbo Diesel or a 6.8L V10 gas engine to the standard 5-speed automatic transmission. With 440hp and 860lb-ft torque the Rhino GX Executive is certainly powerful…and very big.

 

While the physical appearance of this jazzed up Ford F450, turned steroid-fueled-Hummer, is head turning — the inside of the GX Exec is even crazier. The interior design and overall styling illustrate a complete detachment from conventional SUV tailoring. It only seats five people, including the driver (whom the customer most likely hired), contains a DVD player, and video game connections. Additionally, the special soft leather seats made by USSV serve as a foil to the SUV’s rugged physique. This level of exterior and interior design contrast is rarely seen in SUV’s. The Rhino GX Executive straddles both luxury and toughness — and only for $200,000.

 

Freedom spawned by big name automakers has fostered the creation of monsters like the Rhino GX Executive. It’s not a limo, it’s not an armored tank — it’s an untapped 2018 SUV. Keep em’ coming.

Rhino GX Executive Link To Website

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The Acura NSX: The Masterpiece that Doesn’t Command an Audience

By: Mr. Power

 

It’s a hybrid supercar loaded with technology. From its praised electric steering system, to the integral way it delivers power to all four wheels, the NSX should have been a home run. But it’s not selling…. go to Autotrader or Car Guru and you will find a whole host of NSX’s sitting on the lot. Its competitors, the Porsche 911 Turbo and McLaren 570s fly off the lot. The NSX sales, on the other hand, have been stagnant.

 

Acura’s Weapon

 

This is too bad because the NSX is truly a second coming of an automotive God — the original NSX. Originally produced in 1990, many years have passed since the original NSX hit showroom floors. Long gone is arguably the best F1 driver of all time in Ayrton Senna who graced this car with his expert analysis. Establishing the NSX as a household name in the world of supercars was no easy task, but Honda did what it does best, build a car that is reliable and fun. The NSX thrashed the Ferraris of the era and left every 911 turbo owner with a frown on their face, they were no match for the performance monster that was the NSX.

 

It is no small feat for Hondo to try and build a car that can hold a candle to the original NSX. As a result Honda’s engineers decided to experiment. From the ground up this new NSX is a totally different car. Which I think is admiral. The fact that Honda is willing to dive in head first into the supercar market and break the manufacturing taboo that supercar production is based around heritage (eat your heart out Ferrari). The only thing that is similar between these two generations of cars is that they both have a V6. Although the new NSX has a highly tuned twin turbo V6 punching out 573 horsepower, when paired along with 3 electric motors it can reach 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds. These numbers place the car right in the fight of formidable competition, cars that may have more flair or more dramatic interiors. But the NSX has an ace up its sleeve — hybrid technology. Utilizing its three electric motors: one for each front wheel, one to fill in the gaps of power between shift changes, and one for when the turbos are not fully spoiled, fosters tangible levels of excitement whenever the driver gives it the beans. This technology can only best replicated in cars such as the Porsche 918 or McLaren P1, which cost way more than the NSX and can no longer be bought new.

 

Outlining all the highlights of the new NSX leaves me wondering — why is this car not selling? The answer is quite simple; when non-car people ask what you’re driving and you say an Acura NSX they will respond with “oh how long have you been a software engineer?” But if you have a Porsche Turbo S, the answer would be “Wow, that’s nuts what type of surgeon are you?” The only thing holding the NSX back is stereotyping. If a person were going to spend $170,000+ on a supercar their first choice wouldn’t be the Acura. To most it seems bland and mundane, much like the complex coding you would have to do to be able to afford this car. This is far from the truth; every aspect of this supercar is perfect in my eye. It goes and achieves everything that it should. It’s able to beat every other Japanese import at your local track and overtake that random guy from accounts payable in his leased BMW i535. The NSX is edging near automotive perfection.

Bring the Wood to the Game: The Best Tailgate Car

By: Mr. Slide

Snacks are the most important part of a tailgate. You can have the best spot; you can have the coolest set up (with a tent), and you can even be rooting for the best team — however the snacks will always be the most important item.

 

That said, it’s fall, and football is in full swing for both the NFL and the NCAA. It is officially tailgate time. The team over here at The Powerslide recently got together for a game and set up shop for a parking lot party. The day was filled with lawn games, music, good friends, and a devastating blowout loss for our favorite FCS Division 1 Double A football team. It was a wonderful day for our first tailgate. However, it could have gone a lot better.

 

As first-time-tailgate-hosts Mr. Power and I made several mistakes. We ignored our wise parking lot party mentors’ advice that tailgates revolve around the food. Instead of whipping up some wings and nachos, the first thing Mr. Power and I did to prepare was hit the garage. We needed the perfect vehicle to serve as the nucleus for our tailgate.

 

“Tailgate (n.) a gate at the rear of a vehicle; can be lowered for loading. Synonyms: station waggon. wagon. station wagon. estate car. beach wagon. truck. tailboard. beach waggon. motortruck. gate. wagon.[1]

Obviously, tailgates are synonymous with pick-up trucks. They’re American, they’re big, they’re loud, and they’re fun. We thought of all this…and immediately threw it out. Pick-ups are over done at tailgates, too often they become the center of attention simply because people can sit in the bed and jump around. At a tailgate you need a car that attracts attention because it deserves it, not just because it’s there and is big.

 

SUV’s are also great parking lot party warriors. The trunks can hold a lot of snacks and the retractable gates allow people to sit and lean. Further, many of today’s models have killer speaker systems in the boot — allowing you to bump your tunes. Unfortunately utility vehicles are just too common at these gatherings. No matter how amazing your Jaguar F-Pace is or how beautiful it looks, folks are always going to gloss over SUVs. At a tailgate you need a car to set the tone.

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An old school tailgate

After much deliberation we finally agreed that a customized camper or a jacked up 18-wheeler/monster truck would be great for a tailgate. These vehicles have loads of space and definitely signify a serious tailgate. The problem was we had only rented one parking space…At a tailgate you need a car that can fit in the designated parking spot.

 

Finally, after days of profound thought, Mr. Power and I agreed upon the best car for a tailgate: a 1948 Ford Super Deluxe Woody Wagon. We believed that its wood paneling, wood grained dash, dark green pain job, whilewall tires, and drop down tailgate would be perfect. Under the hood the wagon has a flathead V-8 that pairs with a 3-speed manual transmission. It represented fun and marginal practicality while effectively setting the tone for the party.

 

1948-ford-super-deluxe-woody-wagon-survivor-woodie-wagon-original-wood-rare-1-1
Image from topclassiccarsforsale.com http://topclassiccarsforsale.com/uploads/photoalbum/1948-ford-super-deluxe-woody-wagon-survivor-woodie-wagon-original-wood-rare-1.JPG

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 2.28.11 PM
Image from WeBe Autos on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycNFlk1hJTQ

 

Pack the old woody full of lawn games and other fun tailgate accessories and you’re ready to go. People won’t jump on it, but they will come up to it. So, if you do end up deciding to bring a Super Deluxe Woody Wagon to a tailgate, make sure you have plenty of snacks to share.

 

1948-ford-super-deluxe-woodie-wagon-5
Image from classiccarb.com http://classiccardb.com/uploads/postfotos/1948-ford-super-deluxe-woodie-wagon-5.jpg

 

[1] http://www.synonym.com/synonyms/tailgate

A STANDARD Ferrari

By: Mr. Slide

The years 2004 – 2009 were frightening times for many people. Underpowered, eco-friendly, cars were becoming more and more popular. Thousands of people were being robbed of truly great driving experiences. An entire generation of Americans was being taught that cars were predictable, boring, and homogenous. The dark-ages of the common car were poisoning the driving experience[1].

An Expensive Light in the Darkness

The general consensus among automotive historians on early/mid 2000s supercars is that past and future models were/are better. Mr. Power and I tend to agree with this. Back then; it was rare for someone to physically seek out (and pay for) a magnificent driving experience. Thankfully, that didn’t stop Ferrari from making one.

 

Introducing the Ferrari F430, produced from 2004 – 2009, amidst the height of the underpowered eco-friendly plague. With it’s 4.3L naturally aspirated V8 it kicked out 483hp. You’re probably thinking, “hey, if I wait a few years later I could get a much better car in the Ferrari 458.” The 458 is a juicier car, however, there’s something special about the humble F430. It has a gated manual transmission.

Maestro

Harmonically orchestrate your own experience behind the wheel of the F430. Slam that shifter through the gears while climbing up to 200mph. Listen to the magnificent grumbling noises while heel-toeing and controlling everything yourself. This is a Ferrari you can HAMMER. It’s all about the driving experience with the F430, and the gated shifter simply amplifies it. You don’t just sit back and hit the gas, like with modern supercars (458!!), you’re the boss, you’re calling the shots.

 

It was half the cost of the 458 but twice the involvement. Unfortunately, Ferrari will never make this gearbox again. In fact, they don’t plan on making any manual production cars ever again.

ferrari-458-563815_1920
458 Italia

Cash in on Control

That can only mean one thing…the Ferrari F430 manual is a fantastic investment car. They are just coming out of Ferrari’s seven-year, unlimited mileage, warranty — making them less expensive to buy. Right now they are selling for about $100,000. Scoop one of these up, drive it like crazy, and have fun. Then stuff it in your garage and hang on to it for a decade or two. Pretty soon the F430 will be considered vintage and collectors will be willing to pay a fortune for that manual transmission.

ferrari-1864043_1920
F430

People forget that there were in fact cool cars produced in the early 2000s. The Ferrari F430 is an interesting car, and certainly one that you can enjoy driving. It represents a changing in times for Ferrari; and highlights the beauty of heel-toeing, shifting, and conducting the orchestra.

[1] The remnants of these times can still be felt today.

The New Ferrari Portofino — The California We Never Got

BREAKING NEWS!

By: Mr. Power & Mr. Slide

Mr. Power and Mr. Slide sit down to discuss Ferrari’s newest vehicle dropped today : The Portofino

Mr. Slide: Well, it looks like the California is dead and Ferrari has officially announced its replacement — the Portofino

 

Mr. Power: Yes, Mr. Slide. The ugly stepchild of the Ferrari brand is out. The California, in its last iteration, was a far cry from its classic movie star heritage. If Enzo was still alive he would’ve never let it outside the factory gates.

 

Mr. S: Strong words, Mr. Power. But how about this new Portofino? Named after the small (expensive) vacation city in Italy, its looks are phenomenal. With a 598hp V8 this car can absolutely fly — reaching 60mph in only 3.5 seconds. Ferrari also completely revamped the old California T by adding 40hp, an overhauled intake system, electric power steering, and that fancy new torque delivery technology (the Variable Boost Management system). Added to all this is that fiery electronic rear differential.

 

Mr. P: I agree, this car is stunning to look at, it blows the California away. Honestly, it may be the best looking car Ferrari currently makes. I think it has perfect dimensions and a better wheel design then the 812 Super Fast. Ferrari’s design department took styling queues from the Aston Martin Zagato and it shows. The fluid shapes and exterior contours are stunningly beautiful. For the first time Ferrari has finally made a GT car that is aerodynamically designed with just the right amount of Italian flair. Well done.

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 11.36.42 PM
Image of the Portofino from Ferrari’s website http://auto.ferrari.com/en_US/sports-cars-models/car-range/ferrari-portofino/

Mr. S: I guess I would agree. I’m impressed with the beauty of this so called, “starter Ferrari[1].” Would you buy one?

 

Mr. P: Trying to buy a Ferrari is a complicated process. Most dealers will emphasize how difficult it is for people to get in the Ferrari brand, or fit the qualifications to buy a new one. However, if I had the money, I would most certainly buy one. I’m a huge fan of the cars Ferrari makes, but I hate all the strings attached. They have done an impeccable job retaining their customers, however they have turned their backs to new buyers. If for whatever reason you are a 20-something-year-old with a big enough trust fund to endorse such a brash decision, I would highly recommend considering the Portofino as your first Ferrari.

 

[1] Whatever that means…

The New VW Bus

By: Mr. Slide

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.

Eyes up!

Yes!

The bright spotlight reveals a legend’s return to the stage — welcome back VW Bus.

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NOT the new Bus. We don’t have the rights to post a picture of it. Pls just google it

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.

 

 

 

 

The Blue-Collar Steed

By: Mr. Slide

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.

cq5dam.web.1280.1280
image from Ford’s website http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/2017/?intcmp=lp-sse-cta-vhp-f150

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.

A Fighter

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.

The Verdict

8.4 / 10 (could be less frightening)

2018 Porsche Panamera: Powerslide Review

By: Mr. Power       

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.

porsche-normal-1
This image (like the cover image) came from porsche.com

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.

The Verdict.

9 / 11 (too expensive as compared to its Audi RS 7 rival)