Monday, March 26, 2012

Two Cars that Have Seen Too Much Coverage

The first car that has seen more than its fair share of coverage is the exclusive and limited-production 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe. I complain about this in the first place because fewer than 1,000 of these bad boys will ever be produced.

So why cover such a car? To get fans all riled-up? To inspire readers to take standard 1 Series models and convert them to the more aggressive-looking 1 Series M? I plainly don't get the purpose of the media's coverage of the car. Could it be the garish orange that graces almost every model you see the media types driving like they stole it?

Either way, some publications such as Road & Track, Car and Driver and Motor Trend have produced reviews of the car. I find this totally illogical. The chances of you even getting a chance to maybe even see this car are very unlikely. For all the public knows, these cars may be a mythical creation of the media and BMW's PR in order to rejuvenate enthusiasm in the brand.

This car is treated as if anyone could go out and purchase today. Or that they're readily available at BMW dealerships. They're not. They're extremely rare and hard to find. So while making a review for a unicorn is great and all, it's useless.

But don't it look pretty?

Next is the Nissan Juke-R, which isn't even being released, ever. Hence me not assigning it a year. So why are publications like Autocar giving it reviews?! I cannot provide an adequate answer.

In the same way that the 1 Series M takes all the quick bits and pieces from its older brother, the M3, the Juke-R takes the go-fast parts from the Nissan GT-R. So again, like the Bimmer, the Juke goes a lot faster than its platform is intended to. Meaning, the car is extremely impractical.

It is the size of a GT-R. Yet it doesn't look like a GT-R, go like a GT-R, handle like a GT-R, but it eats fuel like a GT-R. So in a sense, Nissan have taken all the good parts, and reduced their inherent goodness, put them into a tiny Juke, and ingeniously incorporated all the bad parts along with it. I'm almost convinced it's wise for Nissan not to release the Juke-R to the public, they couldn't handle its raw power and its lack of handling due to its high center of gravity and worse aerodynamics thanks to the people-carrier intent of the original car.

In fact, the Juke-R weighs 150 pounds more than the GT-R, paired with its worse aero, rendering even worse gas mileage. So it really is a black sheep.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Fast and the Furious (1955): The Slow and the Cheerful

I recently watched the original The Fast and the Furious film and cannot begin to describe how disappointing it was. For the 2001 film to share the namesake is a travesty in itself.

The acting is dreadful and melodramatic. The cinematography is amateurish and unwieldy. The plot lacks common sense, and one plot line "magically" leads to another.

To give you a gist of the film, a vigorous man, a beautiful, young woman and a generously proportioned man find themselves in a cafe. The larger man offers the vigorous man a ride in his truck. He declines the ride as well as to exchange his name. The lady working at the cafe goes to retrieve the pineapple juice requested by the young woman, and the stern man knocks the fat man out. Suffice to say, the man of the vigorous persuasion goes to take the woman with him on a number of escapades, running from the police.

Throughout the film, it is revealed that the angry man has committed murder which is why he's running. The woman has a race to go to, but the man wants to go to Mexico to run away. Conveniently, the race is near the Mexican border.

But, because this film was produced in 1955, and men of that era had insurmountably large egos, it was concluded, rather logically, that woman could not partake in this race. So the man does driving the woman's car instead. Misogyny at its finest.

This film's plot is so ham-handedly thrown together that I don't care to give much more thought nor effort to describing it.

I had such high expectations for a film that shares the name with my favorite. I suppose Universal Pictures used the name because the public forgot how the horrible film the original was, owned the rights to the name or thought the name was markedly more evokative than any result of a word-combination game their marketing team could come up with using dart boards and post-it notes.

Do not see this film. You will thank me while you are not watching it, and say to yourself, "Wow, almost anything is better than not seeing that horrible movie!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Porsche 918, Almost Here!

Here is an interesting article of how Porsche seeks to reinvent the supercar using electric technology to supplement combustion engines. This results in better fuel economy, lighter weight, higher performance and better weight distribution. All of which contribute to Porsche's new 918 to improve on the road as well as the race track.

This article notes that the German auto manufacturer will change the face of the automotive industry. The 918 can be selected to run solely on electricity, with only combustion or on electricity in conjunction with combustion power. For the automotive layman, this means better MPGs due to reduced weight. The car is currently in production, as evidenced by the incomplete body panels, and is slated to go on sale on Sep. 18, 2012.

Pardon the absurdly large images. Don't thank me, thank Jalopnik!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Car Brake Manufacturers are like Snake Oil Salesmen

I have been on the hunt for the ideal (1) big brake kit, (2) rotor or (3) pad set up for my 1985 BMW 323i track day monster that will feature an S54 engine from a BMW E46 M3. Suffice to say, I need more than the OEM brake set up to deal with the extra (333hp) power.

I tell you, brake manufacturers are like snake oil salespeople.

There is not one definitive answer to be found anywhere. No objective means by which to measure one brake set up versus another. All brakes have to do with are word of mouth, and trusting one brand over another due to a number of factors like advertisement, branding, sponsorships, racing application, etc.

It is a minefield ready to strip you of your precious cash. As a teen, I have little of it to spend.
And as a college student, I have even less time to spend doing all this research.

And what's more, there appears to be no one reliable source by which to rely upon for consumer advice. Here I am, completely befuddled if I go with Brembo, StopTech, Wilwood, AP Racing, PFC, EBC, DBA, Hawk, Baer or Powerslot. Who am I to trust? The brands I've been told to trust? Or the brands I have a gut feeling to trust? It is senseless.

My intended application for these brakes go like this, intense club racing and autocrossing, and occasional street driving from event to event. So that means I need a fade-free pad that does not make excessive noise for road use. I would prefer a slotted rotor, because I hear those dissipate heat more effectively. However, I hear drilled do the same. And yet at the same time, I also hear drilled have a higher tendency to crack. To make matters worse, I have been told on to ditch any worry about it and simply go with blanks. (I really know I should go with slotted because they don't crack and manage heat dissipation best, I mean, they are used by the pros).

Brembo - E30 M3 Front Big Brake Kit

Brake manufacturers are like snake oil salesmen because they will stop at nothing to deceive you. They are fully willing to take advantage of you precisely because there is [seemingly] no governing body nor regulation in place to keep companies honest about their products. They must be saying to themselves as they make off with your $1.5k, "Good luck getting them to work, buddy!"

Watch as this fine man tells you pretty lies. He does well, doesn't he?

It is becoming harder and harder to distinguish rip-offs from credible brands as well, which makes finding a good brand harder as well.

I was not expecting this to be a headache and a half.

In fact, I could be well satisfied with likely the most widely trusted brand, Brembo, and call it a day. But I am not. "Why," you ask? For I do not wish to be suckered by the big, name-brand company to shell out $1,500 that may do nothing more than look cool. I reason this because Brembo's primary market is posers who want to enhance the appearance of their car.

After all, I could get away with spending less than half of that on EBC pads, and DBA slotted rotors and perhaps stop even quicker than big-name Brembos or StopTechs.

I know what I need most of all. That is a reliable outlet than can review these products which have otherwise been purchased based on dodgy consumer advice from other message board users. I need experts to go to the track and find out the cream of the crop, no "ifs", "ands" or "buts." They do it for cars already, why can't they for auto parts?!

No advertising BS. I need unadulterated product reviews. There is a clear lack of auto product review sites out there, and somebody could go fill that void and make a killing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

JDM Lowrider Subculture

Recently, a whole subculture of "slammed rides, yo!" has been brought to my attention (in rather a stylish fashion). The once-totally unbeknownst to me hobby of capturing the beauty of cars by emphasizing their colorful paint schemes, their low ride; camber, wheels, and the closeness between tire and wheel arch.

Here are some choice examples of cinematographic glory. (Quality cinematography is one of the few reasons I'm willing to sit through Top Gear USA's drivel).

I'm a sucker for a great camera angle!

Addicted to well-placed lens flares!

Look at that! Man o' man! And listen how well they capture that exhaust note from that E36 M3!

(Above) has to be one of the best videos! I think that's the single one that got me hooked looking from link to link, subscribing to more and more YouTube channels, scouring day-in, day-out... Yes, I'm an addict.