We are back, baby!

America, land of the free home of the brave. The 21st century has thrown us a few curveballs and in my mind (after a little bit of time) we have put ourselves on the correct path.

The automotive industry is no exception. Since “the big three” (Chrysler, Ford, GM, and all their factions) went to Washington and asked for money (despite Ford not getting any) there has been nothing but progress towards America, once again, creating great cars. I would also argue that the economic crisis caused cuts that were beneficial to the automotive community. In other words, I’m glad GM had to cut Pontiac, Mercury, and Saturn. It is indeed terrible that the workers of those companies lost their jobs, but those companies had lost what car manufacturing was all about.

Doesn't it just look like a whole lot of fun?

Doesn’t it just look like a whole lot of fun (Focus ST)?

You shouldn’t just build a car to fill a line, you should want to improve the automobile, you should be inspired to create the next great piece of technology that could change the world. These companies took shortcuts and as a result created cheap, plastic, poorly built cars.

5 years after the bailout we find ourselves living in a glorious land of  American cars. Fiestas and Focuses are looking great. I particularly enjoy the ST versions but that is just the teenager in me. Mustangs are looking great, I even think that the Fusion somewhat resemble a Rapide or some other big Aston.

And I don’t only like fords, as for one of the companies that actually received government money, GM has stepped it up too. I think Chevy is doing well; look at the new impala.  When I was younger and I heard the name Imapala I thought of just any general car. It was simply four wheels, some plastic, an engine, and some bits that tied everything together and there it was. What has Chevy done with your money tax payers? They have brought the Impala back to its roots, a big luxury sedan. And the cherry on the cake of Chevy’s line? The newest Corvette. The new

*shiver* Doesn't it look so good? (2013 Corvette Stingray)

*shiver* Doesn’t it look so good (2013 Corvette Stingray)?

Stingray is not on sale yet, but when it hits the markets I predict it will be the best car to come out of the States since the Gt-40, Fords street-legal remake of its legendary racing car from the 60s. The one thing about GM I will say is I don’t really understand why GMC exists, it’s essentially Chevrolet. The same exact thing, I don’t really get it.

Chrysler and its divisions are doing a good job too. I think that in this decade Jeep has really stepped it up. Grand Cherokees are much nice than they have been in the past, the best SUV that comes out of America if you ask me. Dodge came out with the Dart, a remake of the original Dart, a car from the 70s. I’d even go as far as to call some of the 300 and 200 Chryslers cool too. They have tried so hard to make them cool using celebrities that the kids like. For example Eminem, a popular rapper from Detroit (where the company is based), has appeared in many commercials for Chrysler.

These cars are the kind of products that make you proud to be an American. You look at the Corvette or the Mustang and you think: Hey, we really can create something great if we actually work together and focus on using the great minds and ideas the people of this country possess to create something that can truly compete on a global scale. All we have to do is try.

Road test: BMW E46 M3

APPEARANCE

Exterior: I love BMWs I have relations with quite a few thanks to my enthusiast friends. They are great cars, well made and excellent to drive. But their exterior designer isn’t exactly creative. Yes, the M3 is sharper than a regular 3 series. It has big ol’ shiny wheels andImage chiseled features. Despite this the M3 is still nothing special. If you look at it from the front it definitely has some fierceness to it. The headlights are blinding and it has the classic kidneys on the grill that let you know you’re dealing with the Bavarians. I also have always thought that soft tops look a bit weird. Hard tops are definitely better looking. With Bimmers like this, it’s like a black suit; you look professional, you may even look good but you’re not going to stick out in the crowd.

Business as usual, leather stuff, electric stuff, but the stuff works and will forever.

Business as usual, leather stuff, electric stuff, but the stuff works and will forever.

Interior: The inside is truly a nice place to be (unless your in the back, but I’ll get to that later). It has fancy illuminated dials and easy-to-use features; body hugging seats made of high quality dead cow skin; even some Steve-Jobs-style brushed aluminum on the doors. Once again, it’s all business. It’s designed to do its job and do it well: nothing more nothing less.

PERFORMANCE 

Engine: This is where the Bimmer loosens its tie a little bit. This is a piece of art. It means business but it’ll make you giggle. The acceleration will put a smile on your face. Driving this car is a pleasurable experience you leave it a happier person overall. You have a lot of power at the disposal of your right foot and it is truly something you need to be careful with, but when used correctly, it’s magical.

Handling: This may be the best part. Being Jeep driver I am used to horrific steering, but in this you are so planted and there is so much grip. Corners I normally had to brake for I now find myself accelerating through , it’s a much better way of handling corners. Really is.

PRACTICALITY 

Ability to be lived with: This car is comfortable; the suspension is not too hard. It’s fun to drive; it’ll make your commute to work or anywhere else a little bit better. An M3 everyday? Yes, please.

Economics: This is a performance car, its not made to break any MPG records. It doesn’t have a hybrid engine; it has a large supercharged dinosaur-bone-burning engine. This car burns fuel and it does it well, but not in respects to your wallet. Its got a big gas tank and a thirsty engine. If your keeping baby polar bears in mind when buying a car then you may want to check out a different market.

If you are one of those people who have feet it might be a bit difficult to get in back here.

If you are one of those people who have feet it might be a bit difficult to get in back here.

Backseats and Trunk: Once again: performance car. Not a soccer mom car. Honestly; the back seats are bad, all 5’10” of me really has trouble both getting back there and being comfortable. The trunk on the other hand is good. Some rear leg room may have been compromised so the execs that are supposed to buy this car can fit their golf clubs in the back.

All joking aside this is a great car. It’s a driver’s car, but if you’re a driver, you won’t want anything else for the rest of your days.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

These times between now and my last last post are very well defined by that Dickens quote:

I’ll ask the question: You want the good news or the bad news first?

Bad.

Well there seems to be a problem. Remember that post a couple of weeks ago about patriotic car modifying? Do you remember the light bar/grill guard that I was eagerly waiting to install? Well when I attempted to do so I made a discovery, after I had successfully removed the grill and the splash guard I discovered it was all for nothing.

The previous owner seems to have, in an attempt to provide sufficient room for the big ol’ tires, moved the front bumper up and in doing so he has blocked off the area in which the grill guard is installed.

I see myself having 2 options: 1. take the bumper off move it back down and hope it doesn’t screw up the tires OR 2. sell the grill guard I have and search for one that will fit. There are risks in both; unfortunately I could either destroy my tires or there could be no ones that fit.

Truly a predicament, but in teenage fashion I will put it off until later.

Now for the good news. I have often questioned my dad’s carsculenity. You see, he formally drove a Volkswagen Beetle. Yes, he did have the turbo, but he also had a built in flower vase. It’s all changed now though.

Cooper Hayes, a friend and fellow auto-enthusiast, has a father who is also a friend and fellow auto-enthusiast. This father is a bit of a BMWophile, and with good reason. He had an M3 and still does but he has a different one now. He formerly had a convertible but now he has moved on to the coupé. Where did the convertible go you ask? MY GARAGE.

M3 (Silver) with its grandpa a 3.0 cs (white)

M3 (Silver) with its grandpa a 3.0 cs (white)

Yes, the best high performance saloon car in the whole world is my garage. I can’t wait.

Auto-Journalism is a dream job but I’m definitely going to make some form of road test for this car and I will present it to you, the readers.

Not only that, but had reaffirmed my faith in my father’s. He told me of how upon receiving the necessary registration he took it out and drove to near Dayton and back touching a speed that was well above the speed limit. He went out and he took a drive, and that’s what it is all about.

You have no alterior motives, you simply go out and drive. Why? Because you love cars, because it’s joyful, because the incredible engineering of those Bavarians can put a smile on a persons face just about as easily as anyone can, even puppies and babies.

Half a 10 Car Garage

Every gear head has one or is currently forming one, it’s one of the criteria. 10 perfect cars that you would put in your perfect garage to drive for the rest of your perfect life. I’ve found that everyone like lists so I will be displaying my perfect garage in list format, though, in order to not drone on, I will post half of the list now and the other half at a later date.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

1. Nissan GTR

Not a particularly beautiful, but from an engineering standpoint it's gorgeous

Not a particularly beautiful, but from an engineering standpoint it’s gorgeous

Listen: this car isn’t gorgeous, it doesn’t have some eccentric, beautiful interior out of a space shuttle, but it does have one trump card.

You see, every engine in a GTR is hand-built by Nissan’s engineers. Someone, with their hands, took some metal, some rubber, and a bit of plastic and made a thing of beauty.

This thing of beauty is, without a doubt, it’s centerpiece. The engine (3.8L V6) pumps out 545 turbocharged horses. This is a drivers car and that’s why it’s perfect.

2. Ford F150 SVT Raptor

100 miles an hour, on just about any surface.

100 miles an hour, on just about any surface.

Snow, sleet, ice, mud, rocks, sand, gravel, grass, asphalt: these are the surfaces that this car can take on with ease, and if there’s some that you can think of that I forgot then please add it to the list.

In my mind, this is the ultimate truck. The lubricant in the suspension in this car is more expensive than entire suspension systems in other cars, pure insanity.

This is the insanity that drives gear heads. Yes, I would like to jump off of dunes in the Mojave going 100 miles an hour and when I land, I would like some well lubricated shocks.

Best truck ever, america, yes. (That’s not really a sentence but I think it gets the point across of why it’s perfect)

3. Mclaren F1

Doors that say "look at me! I cost more than your house! And I can go 250 MPH! Try beating that in your camry!

Doors that say “look at me! I cost more than your house! And I can go over 200 MPH! Try beating that in your Camry!

I have always had tremendous respect for car engineers. They pump out things that inspire passion within us, but in the case of the F1 they hit a milestone. When it was released in the 90s it was the fastest production car in the world.

This is admirable to me because, to me, this is what engineering crazy cars like this should be about.

I just imagine in the meeting they sat down looked at an aerodynamic fish and said “how can we make that go well over 200 miles per hour?”

The answer: 6 liter v12 with over 600 horses in a car that weights a little more than a ton.

And the best part? One seat, in the middle, like your piloting a tie fighter from Star Wars. That’s the reason its better than a Veyron.

in all seriousness, it was built to be the best and that’s how a supercar should be.

4. Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

The most classic definition of American classic muscle.

The most classic definition of American classic muscle.

AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!

You see one of these, you don’t think of the genius of some engineer who has a girl’s name (although you should), no, you think of america: good ol’ boys, red white and blue, stars and stripes, big V8s, steak, burgers, freedom, loud hemi’s, drag races in between the lights, and blue jeans, you think of America.

Hop in one of these, barbecue with your friends, watch some football, and then go sit by the fire pit with maybe a bit of Springsteen or CCR in the background.

Classic America: that’s what it defines. Perfection.

5. Subaru Impreza WRX

It's not a looker, it's a hatchback, but there's something about it that makes you scared a bit.

It’s not a looker, it’s a hatchback, but there’s something about it that makes you scared a bit.

This car is perfect for one reason: versatility.

You want to take your kids to school, with your dog, to school and then go to the grocery store still with dog and buy enough groceries for the next few weeks? You can, but on the other side of the coin you can go drive 100 miles an hour, around a dirt and gravel rally track.

That’s what make this a perfect car, you can transport your mountain bikes and your snowboards and your golden retriever and your kids, and have a bit of fun while you’re doing it.

What else do you need?

Santa Claus and some good ol’ American modifying

HAHA! Yes, finally, the barrier has been hurdled, the battle won, the army conquered, and I am victorious. Yes despite my bit of a pitfall (see my last post) I am finally on the road, legally of course, and it feels so good.

Naturally the next thing to do, to start of my automotive career right is to modify.

In Europe, people are content with boring stock cars, no mods, no uniqueness, just colorless uniformity. That is what makes America’s passion for automobiles great. Any French hairstylist can go out and by a Merc or a Bimmer, but here in America its pretty fun when some rednecks from Kentucky plop 1000 horsepower in some gigantic mustang.

Things that make us different, we want to be faster, we want to corner better, we want to look cooler, we want to be more comfortable, even we want to bounce up and down on 50 inch solid gold rims with neon lights underneath. That’s what makes American gear heads great and  different from “petrol heads” or any other enthusiast who drives on the wrong side of the road, as vulgar as we may be sometimes.

So my inclination as a newly licensed American gear headed driver was to modify my own ride.

When its all said and done this is what I am hoping the end product will be.

When it’s all said and done, this is what I am hoping the end product will look like.

Having gotten my license on the 21st of december I was out of money much before Christmas and had to call on old saint nick for some financial aid.

I received I grill guard that I intend to put auxiliary lights on and a trailer hitch so I can tow things because towing things is cool.

The grill guard will be the first major operation on my Jeep so it will more than likely be documented with the intention of posting it to this blog.

The trailer hitch is really not for aesthetics and won’t really separate me from the large crowd of Jeep owners, I personally feel that the ability to tow things like trailers and such is not a bad ability to have. It’s not very “cary” but it will also allow me to transport my snowboard, mountain bike, and dirt bike with ease through various attachments.

The winter is really against me in these matters. It’s cold, and as much as I love cars, I’m not getting frostbite for mine, especially because that will probably limit my driving ability.

That being said I am quite eager for to get to work so I can make my fellow American motorist’s proud.

Gear Heads

The last week has left me questioning myself a lot.

Remember me talking about how excited I was about finally getting my license? Yep, failed that.

This failure has me questioning my “carsculenity,” if you will. I decided that I needed to call in some experts, namely: Bill Hayes, Wells Coafleet, and Gene Reily.

To you these are just names but to me they are the names of my comrades, my brethren, my fellow enthusiasts. These men have been given the task of defining what it is to be a gear head. I will then, in turn, figure out if I can consider myself one.

“I am a gear head, and I take pride in it,” says Gene Reilly. Gene is a man I have come to know through many stories and Cc emails. He is the quintessence of a gear head as are these other men. Gene’s interest spans through the realms of motorcycles and even farm machinery.

Gene stresses the importance of appreciation for all things machinery.

Wells stresses the need to work on it. No matter your skill level he explains you just need to get your hands dirty sometimes.

“One who embraces all things mechanical, but particularly transportation related, and enjoys working on vehicles even if lacking the most rudimentary skills, and enjoys discussing and exchanging ideas and opinions with like minded individuals. A person who pursue mechanical interests with a vigor, who appreciates the sometime subtle beauty and latent sensuousness of sheet metal. A person who never met a horsepower he didn’t like.”

This was a quote shared to me by Bill Hayes, and Gene, Wells and Cooper agree that it is really THE philosophy as far as gear heads go. The man who said it is called Egan and all I know about him is he has created the philosophy that truly sums up a gear head as far as intangible qualifications.

I feel like I can constitute myself as under this definition.

But to many there is an tangible part of being a gear head.

This is where the purpose of the title of my blog comes into play. Here I am, a broke teen, who can’t even evade a cone or two when in a car. This is the struggle, it’d be quite difficult for this unemployed 10th grader to pull together enough money for an Alfa or something like that.

But an Alfa is required, BBC Top Gear, a british show about cars explains that it is necessary for a petrol head (british equivalent) to have owned one at any point in time. Bill Hayes adds any car with lucas electronics, which is essentially a late 20th century british car. These are both things that are incredible to drive (so I’ve been told) but equally incredibly unreliable.

I also need to be sure that I am not a poser. Bill says that it is needed to be able to drive a manual, which is something I can do. In fact that is one of the main reasons I got my Jeep.

Wells explains that a poser is one who talks but does not act. If you do something with the soul purpose of looking like a gear head then you are a poser.

Having worked on cars quite often with the son of Bill, Cooper, I would say that I am not a poser by these words.

All this being said I think I can safely say that at least philosophically I am a gear head, I may not yet be so with my tangible requirements but I think I can also be sure that I am not a poser.

This has reassured my confidence, despite this I will not jinx myself by saying that I will obtain my license on my next try, but I sure hope I do.

The evil, evil gas pump

It finally happened, Cooper and I’s blissful glimpse of freedom and independence has been brought down to earth. Our feet are back to the ground thanks to the element of evil that we know as: The Gas Pump.

It is a terrible evil that we have come to face. It was a very sad moment for me when reality set into my head Cooper and I came to the realization what would actually be our primary worry financially for driving, not food, not the new activities we will do, no, its the fuel to get us to those places.

This is simply bad, my sheltered mind has never really thought this problem all the way through. Cooper bought a little more than 5 gallons and he payed almost 20 dollars, it swallowed up the entirety of his gas card.

I remember watching the price fly up as the amount put it meandered slowly its way up and hearing my friend exclaim “S***.” When I can drive I’m going to have to refrain from filling up all the way just to stay sane!!!!!!!!!

What could the possible solution be? Yes, electricity works wooo hybrids (sarcasm!) at least from my perspective cars like that are essentially, I don’t want to say neutering but more taking away the manliness of cars, their piece de resistance, the part of them that makes a gear-head say “hey lets just go drive,” the engine at work, combustion, pumping pistons, exhaust notes, torque, horsepower, a lot of the best parts of cars will be minimized, or eliminated.

I am not in support of endless greenhouse gases being omitted until we have to go live underground, the underground which no longer contains a drop of oil souly because of cars, but I do believe that gasoline cars need an alternative to extinction.

I’m already brainstorming for future campaign slogans, I wonder if they’ll let two 19 year olds run…maybe we can just run libertarian.

SULLIVAN HAYES 2016: RESERVE ALL EARTHS OIL FOR AUTOMOTIVE USE ONLY, POWER ALL OTHER ENERGY NEEDING DEVICES WITH ALTERNATIVES.

That doesn’t sound too bad right guys? At least until I’m gone and in heaven where I’m sure there will be plenty of cheap gas.