Bang for Buck Nissan 370z FTW

Bang for Buck Nissan 370z FTW

Son of bitch!

Those were my words as I was car shopping on Auto Trader this weekend. Why? Because I kept coming back to the same inevitable conclusion: the Nissan 370z is far and away the best bang for buck sports car.

Why I am upset by this fact? Because I have already owned a 350z and I want something different. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my 350z which is probably why the 370z is such a great buy.

So let’s say you’re in the market for a sporty looking two seater with ample interior amenities (to remind you that you don’t live in Tajikistan) and some power to remind you that you still have a pulse. Now, if you’re on an unlimited budget than you have nothing to worry about and your options are pretty much endless. But if you’re like the rest of us, you aren’t wanting to blow your life savings on your new toy.

What you get in the 370z:

Looks: In my opinion, it’s a great looking car. Yes, there are prettier cars and everyone has their opinions on it and I have heard plenty of people say they don’t like the look of it. Well, everyone likes something different.

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Engine: 332 hp V-6 Naturally Aspirated

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Interior: Leather seats, cluster gauges, and a bit of plastic

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Price: You can find 2010 models for around 20k and change

All-in-all, you get the looks, you get the fun, you get the feeling of a more expensive interior. Now what other cars can you compare with it?

The Competitors

Zee Germans

Well, the Germans will price you out of the market and give you less power – BMW Z4, Mercedez-Benz SLK, Audi TTS, Porsche Boxster/Cayman – all more expensive and less powerful. Granted, you will get some nicer amenities and some smoother rides, but is that really what you buy a sports car for?

The Americans

The Americans? The Corvette is great and will eat the 370′s balls off in the straight. But to get into the 20k price range you’re looking at a car 5-6 years older. Plus, the interior looks like something they pulled out of a 1997 Suburban.

Pontiac Solstace? Let’s not get carried away.

Other Japanese

Other Japanese? Well the Miata MX-5 is super popular, but it doesn’t have the pull you get from a 332hp engine and interior is a bit lacking.

Honda S2000 – I hate the interior on these things, and you will be surprised of the price tag you find on even older models.

Now you could argue that cars like the Mustang, Challenger, Camaro, BRZ, and Evo all give it a run for its money. But then you’re crossing into 4 seaters and muscle cars – which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for.

The sad thing is, the new 370z is not worlds different from the 350z. It’s essentially the same car with a few improvements and more ponies. And that’s disappointing part. Which is why I keep repeating the phrase “Son of a bitch!”

 

 

Convertible 2 Seater Cars: Stop Making Us Feel Like Girls

Convertible 2 Seater Cars: Stop Making Us Feel Like Girls

Let’s be honest, most of the time when you find yourself driving around in a 2 seater convertible you find yourself feeling a bit emasculated. Don’t deny it because you know it’s true. You can say that you’re comfortable with yourself and you don’t care what people think, but as you drive around with that smirk on your face feeling proud of your little roadster, in the back of your mind you think “Do I have a vagina?”

It makes sense too. Unless you want to drop huge dollars on a 2 seater car (and sometimes even if you do), your options don’t give you much in the way of manliness.

Mazda Miata MX-5

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It’s not a bad looking car and is actually pretty fun to drive. But it’s underpowered and so ubiquitous people will be assuming you’re having a mid-life crisis and accidentally bought a chick car.

Nissan 370z

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Lot’s of horsepower, nice exhaust note, has a little grunt. But my God, that rear end is hideous.

BMW Z4

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This is a beautiful car, and no doubt 100 times improved on the manly scale from it’s predecessor with its rounded, curvy style. But again, it lacks the power to really give it the grunt.

Mercedes-Benz SLK350

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Another great looking car – top up or top down. But good luck finding one of these with a proper gear box. Hint: you won’t. What the hell kind of sports car doesn’t come with a manual gear box option??

Porsche Boxster

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Great looking car, great driving car. But somewhere along it became cliche to drive a Boxster. As if you were someone trying to say “I’m better than you because I drive a Porsche, but I could only afford the entry level one”

Now, if you want a 2 seater sports car that won’t make you question your manhood as you drive through town, something like a Corvette might do the trick for you. And maybe some of these other car manufacturers could take a note from Chevy. Granted, the interior of Corvettes have historically been hideous, and the build quality not quite up to snuff, but there is no lack of energy and aggression in these things.

And that’s the problem with so many 2 seaters. They’re built with aesthetics in mind before athleticism and sport. For the weekend cruiser who wants to be seen with their top down and their Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses on as they drive to the organic food market. These cars out of touch with reality.

To be fair, we all know there are plenty of female car enthusiasts who would appreciate improved cabriolets. Because they don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a miniature-dog-carrying, daily-salon-tanning, unemployed shopaholic.

More power, more aggression, more options for the true car enthusiast and less for the Kardashian wannabe’s.

 

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Connected Cars: Destroying Your Driving Experience

Connected Cars: Destroying Your Driving Experience

Cars kill people.

Well, not exactly. Bad driver’s inside cars kill people. Women playing with their hair and putting on their makeup at 60mph. Guys changing their fantasy football lineup as they merge into traffic. People do stupid things. That, for sure, will never stop.

So the idea of connected cars sounds great doesn’t it? They tell you when you’re drifting across a center line. They automatically stop when you get to close to an object in front of you. But it doesn’t end there.

Governments around the world are enforcing stricter laws on newly manufactured cars. By 2015, all cars in Europe must be equipped with eCall, which dials emergency services when an accident has been detected. Laws in the U.S. are soon to follow. And the latest trends are now moving toward cars that are fully connected and drive themselves from point A to point B. Paranoid of drones? We are becoming them.

On surface, the good parts of something like this are highlighted. Less accidents, better fuel efficiency, less traffic. But what happens when you actually want to drive your car? Want to find that open road to open up the V8 for a few thrilling minutes? Well, be prepared to have your cars power cut to stay under the speed limit. Like cranking the tunes on a road trip? Get ready for a rocking “safe” volume to max out with. The more connectivity cars gain, the more freewill we lose.

And what happens when we lose power in the middle of a dinosaur park??? Somehow “Oh shit” doesn’t quite say it. A few lawyers are bound to be shredded.

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But it’s not just our driving experience that suffers. Connected cars bring a whirlwind of other problems into the picture.

High Security Risk

Earlier this year BBC released information on a study that proved the extremely high security risk of cars that are networked together. The connection devices are made by third parties, not the car manufacturers, and when pressed about the security of their systems these companies did everything possible to hide their results. The full article from BBC can be seen here http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28886463

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“John, it’s a fire sale!”

 

New Infrastructure Needed

Roads and parking lots will need rebuilt and heavily modified to make connected cars function properly. I wonder where they will get the money for that? It’s probably in your pocket.

Mobile Contracts

Connected cars will need to be paired will mobile services to make them function. Which means, getting the wonderful phone services we all love involved. Want to sell your car after a year? Too bad, you’ve got a contract for 3 years with Verizon.

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But let’s be honest, the real problem here is that we are losing our freedoms. It’s a privilege to be able to drive a car. If you have earned it, you should have the ability to drive in the manor you like. And if you violate the laws then that’s your fault and you will suffer the consequences. Maybe we should concentrate on getting people to be more responsible when they’re behind the wheel. But when we start turning cars into trains, how long before our lives are dictated in other ways? Everything has risks and repercussions that could ultimately lead to injuries, illness, fatalities. But if we are supposed to deny ourselves every pleasure in life for the sake of being “safe”, life’s not much worth living anyway.

Or maybe I’m just cranky.

 

 

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Frankenstein’s Monster: Classic Porsche 911 Overhaul

Frankenstein’s Monster: Classic Porsche 911 Overhaul

Before we talk about any other shit, we need to address what’s really important about the Porsche 911 of the 70′s. Who drives them.

Let’s start with the list:

Ralph Lauren – Dousche

Jerry Seinfeld – Likeable Dousche

Richard Hammond – Hard not to like

Rowan Atkinson – Mr. Bean

Christ, even Bill Lumbergh drives a 911…

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All joking aside, the Porsche 911 of the early 70′s was one of the best sports cars ever made – before regulations and government caused Porsche to modify their engine. This essentially made the Porsche 911, less Porsche-like. Less fun, less grunt. And sadly, these early Porsches are becoming harder and harder to find.

Winter Tires from Amazon – Be Ready for the Snow

Luckily, a company named Singer Vehicle Design, has figured out a way to breathe life back into the Porsche monster – and the result is incredible. They use a process called “backdating” where they start with a modern car, strip it down to the essentials, and build it back up as an “old” car. In this case the new car is a ’89-94 Porsche 964. It gets stripped down and rebuild with a carbon fiber body, 360hp engine, and is scary fun to drive.

The downside: if you don’t have a 964, you probably won’t be getting Frankenstein’s Monster either – since they create these based on owners bringing them in. The good news is, you will save yourself $500,000 and an 8 month waiting period while they build the damn thing. That’s a lot of cheese.

But if I had the money, would I get one of these things? Absolutely. And no, I won’t be working this weekend.

Winter Tires: Saving Your Ass in Snow

Winter Tires: Saving Your Ass in Snow

Winter is headed our way again and it’s always amazing how many people choose to struggle through the pounding snow on their set of balding all-season tires. If you live in the northern region of the country (or you’re a Canadian), then winter tires are pretty much a no-brainer. It’s always enjoyable to struggle getting your car out of the driveway at 6am so you can go to work (your favorite place!). If you’re in the South well, you don’t know how to drive in snow anyway so different tires are pretty much a moot point.

So the real question is, do they work? In short, yes.

Winter tires, which actually should be called cold-weather tires, are made with a softer rubber that does not become hard in low temperatures, allowing the tire to keep better grip with the surface below it (whether it be pavement, snow, or ice).

Winter tires from Amazon – Be Ready for the Snow

Winter tires also have specially designed tread patterns to allow sludge and water to more easily escape from the tire. This also helps improve grip, stopping distance, and prevents hydroplaning and sliding. The tires also have added pads for increased gripping points on the tire and help with biting into the snow. This helps you accelerate in that white powdery stuff.

So how much will they cost. Well, they aren’t cheap. A decent set will probably run you about $600 bucks or so. And it’s only up from there. And yes you have to buy all 4. Adding winter tires to only the driving wheels will unbalance the car and cause more harm than good.

The good news is, a decent pair will probably last you about 3-4 seasons… unless you live in Canada where I assume people drive around in snow 12 months of the year :)

Jeremy Clarkson Net Worth: Loaded

Jeremy Clarkson Net Worth: Loaded

Jeremy Clarkson Net Worth: $50M

Jeremy Clarkson, one of the 3 presenters of Top Gear which airs on BBC, has done quite well for a man who drives cars around for a living. Other people who drive cars around for a living, say like, a New York City cab driver, earn about $38,500 a year. However, Clarkson blows that number out of the water with a Top Gear salary of $4M a year.



And that’s not all. Clarkson previously had stock in the show Top Gear, owning 30% of all merchandise sales, DVD’s, re-runs etc. So on top of his $4M he also earned around $10-12M.

In 2013, BBC bought all stake in the show Top Gear, including Jeremy Clarkson’s chunk of ownership. This netted him somewhere in the range of $21M.

All that brings Jeremy Clarkson’s net worth to something around $50M. He beats out his co-hosts as well with Richard Hammond, who has done quite a bit narration and work for other British shows, weighing in with a net worth of $25M and James May, who was a founding member of Iron Maiden but kicked out for cannibalizing another member, coming in with $13M.

Did I mention Jeremy punched Piers Morgan in the face? That alone is worth $50M

315mph American Supercar

315mph American Supercar

It’s called the Dagger GT and it might be considered the first true American Supercar. This monster is being developed by a company called TranStar Racing (who?) and wait until you get a load of these numbers.

  • 2,000 brake horsepower
  • 315mph top speed
  • curb weight: 2,000 lbs
  • 10.35 L Twin Turbo V8
  • Cost: $1.5M – That’s a lot of cheese

What? This is ****ing mental. It sounds like something a 5 year old says to one-up his buddy. “Mine has a million bajillion horsepower!!”

The thing is, this is a real car. Despite the fact that it doesn’t come from an Italian or German name, this thing could actually be quite an incredible feat of engineering.

It has one goal, be the fastest production car in the world. There’s just one problem. It hasn’t been made yet. TranStar racing is still working on achieving its stated goals and getting in compliance with emissions regulations.

There will be 6 different versions of the Dagger GT – 3 racing models and 3 street legal models. If you are really that concerned about the differences between each one, you can check them out at Dagger’s Site

And now, for your viewing pleasure… pictures.

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Well, it looks like a supercar…

Portland Parallel Parking Fail

Hatchback Haters: Why Americans Don’t Drive Hatchbacks

Hatchback Haters: Why Americans Don’t Drive Hatchbacks

Hatchbacks never really caught on the way they did in Europe. Which a lot of us wondering why the hate? After all, from a practicality standpoint they are way better than family sedans – extra storage space, better gas mileage, some of them even look pretty damn good.

There is some logic to it though.

  • A lot of european roads and cities were layed down pre-car and so tend to be narrower and twistier than american roads
  • In the aftermath of WW2 European economies were poor and needed small cheap cars – while americas economy boomed driving demand for large cars
  • Fuel is more highly taxed in Europe and insurance can be more expensive – favoring smaller cars.

Right, so the 4 door sedans make sense in America. But then you look at these… goooooooo!

Dodge Avenger

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Chevy Malibu

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Buick Lacrosse

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Slow, terrible handling, small storage space… It’s like driving an ocean barge for a cool $35k.

Hatchbacks seem to be catching on a bit more now and car manufacturers are giving buyers more options. So before you go buying that Chevy Malibu you might want to check out some of the hatchbacks.

Comfy Cruisers: Best Road Trip Cars

Comfy Cruisers: Best Road Trip Cars

Some of our lives require a lot of time in the car. Visiting relatives, long distance relationships, driving around for work… whatever the case, the hours cushioned fabric squishing our cushioned asses really start to add up. When you’re driving 15 hours of interstate the last thing you need is a plastic seat with the suspension of a wooden roller coaster. You need something smooth and silky. Something that reminds you of being in your recliner back home so you can pass out with your mouth open and careen into oncoming traffic.

Seriously though, if your looking for a road trip car, you need something that will absorb road and not fight you to drive it.

Well, that’s an easy answer! Just get a Bentley or a Rolls!

**** off, guy. We’re talking about cruisers you can actually afford. And if you CAN afford a Bentley or a Rolls, what the hell are you doing reading this blog?

Alright enough bullshit. Here we go.

5. Nissan Maxima

There is a lot to love about the Nissan Maxima. It’s roomy, it’s comfy, it’s got a 300hp engine. I know what you’re thinking; “Why wouldn’t you just go with the Infiniti M37 or Q70?” Well, that’s a fair question because afterall, Infiniti is Nissan’s “luxury” line. But to be honest, the interior of the Nissan is just as good. Both come standard with sunroofs, leather upholstery, and power seats. Both have a fantastic entertainment system and premium sound system.

The difference is, the Maxima starts around $35,000. The Infiniti starts around $49,000. To me the choice is obvious: Maxima

4. Buick Verano

Yes, when we think of Buick we think boring old man who needs his walking stick to get out of the car. (A walking stick with a mosquito fossilized in amber?) No.

But anyway, this car contains all the features you look for in a luxury car. Soft suspension, cruise control, auto A/C… you know all that old man shit. But isn’t that what you want when you’re in the car for hours on end? And, the interior is actually pretty nice and Buick has worked pretty hard to improve the exterior styling of their cars.

The best part, it starts around $23,000.

3. Volkswagen Touareg

The nice thing about having a “luxury” SUV is that you get the extra space for all your girlfriend’s suitcases. I use the term “luxury” because VW isn’t really a company portraying itself as a luxury car. But the VW Touareg has come a long way since it was first introduced and is actually built on the same chassis as the Porsche Cayenne (right, because VW owns Porsche).

Anyway, although it’s built on the same chassis as the Porsche, it has been tweaked to be a more comfortable for long cruises rather than lap times. The interior is also pretty lavish.

2. Mercedes-Benz S550

Well, the price tag goes a little bit here. But so does the comfort level. The Merc’s suspension is one of the most comfortable you will find on the market today. Afterall, Mercedes caters to people whose bones are crumbling right?

But you also get some power with a 380hp engine. So you won’t be late for your mother’s chicken pot pie you fat bastard! Sorry.

However, be ready to shell out some cash for this sucker. The 2015 models are going for about $120,000. That’s a lot of cheese… You can however pickup a model a few years older, say a 2011 or 2012 with low mileage for about $50-60k. Still a lot, but a huge discount.

1. Audi A6

This really is a beauty of a car. Audi has consistently churned out interiors that are top of the line and this one takes it to the next level with tons of tech toys and incredible sound and entertainment at your fingertips. It come standard with a 2.0 turbocharged engine or an optional 3.0 with an 8 speed automatic. Dropping yourself into this car is about the next best thing to putting your bed in the back of a truck and sleeping the whole way.

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