Friday, August 30, 2013

San Francisco Bay ferry record will be set tomorrow

The eastern span of the Bay Bridge is being replaced this weekend, so it is closed to all traffic. In response, the ferry schedule has been boosted and I will be taking advantage of it.

I will attempt to visit all seven major* commuter stops in 10 hours and 5 minutes. I will start at 7:30 a.m. in Vallejo (top right). All of the stops end in San Francisco so I will be very familiar with the San Francisco Ferry Building complex. I will also visit both stops in Alameda, the stop in Oakland at Jack London Square, and in the afternoon after a jook lunch, I will visit Sausalito and Larkspur in Marin County (north of San Francisco). 

This will be a record because I am positive no one before has had the patience, tenacity, or courage to even attempt it!

*South San Francisco is technically a commuter stop but due to lack of ridership (even during weekdays), it will not be open this weekend.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nick Heidfeld on the streets of Sao Paulo this week

My Corolla review

is here.

Two red cars I'm watching on eBay

1. Red 2002 Mercedes C320 wagon.
Pros: Low miles (50,000); it's in RED; rear wheel drive.
Cons: It's in Oregon; priced a bit optimistically at $12,500; 2002 rather than more desirable 2003 model year; not a stick.

I'm holding off and waiting for it to be relisted with hopefully a more realistic starting price.

2. Red 2011 Saab 9-5.
Pros: Last of the Saabs; might get it for cheap (assuming reserve is reasonable).
Cons: Unknown reliability; no warranty.

I am actively bidding on this bad boy.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2014 Corolla ad

The embargo has been lifted, and the reviews overall have been mildly positive. My review will come out later this week.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Quick thoughts on Jaguar F-Type

I briefly drove the lower spec 3.0 liter supercharged F-Type. I think it is the most beautiful car since the Fisker Karma. The sounds it made were extraordinary. But it was utterly dull to drive.

Strangely, the sales rep told me that the 3 liter was supposed to compete with the Boxster and the 5 liter with the 911.

Legends of the Autobahn show

My post is up on Hooniverse.

Two unusual cars at Pebble Beach

These two cars were displayed at the Infiniti complex and the Range Rover complex, respectively.

You know, it's so much easier if you're a Vettel fan. Was the state of F1 competition worse during Schumacher's Ferrari years?

I forgot to note what year this RBR F1 car is. Help? Is this the RB9?

Does that really say Q100?

And here is something refreshing, an Evoque, split down the middle. The TV presenter had an NBC Sports mic, but I didn't recognize him.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Camaro 1LE owner interview

Thanks, F1O!

1. You have owned an RX-8 and a MazdaSpeed 6. Why a muscle car now?

Buying a muscle car is never a rational decision. But between the things I wanted the new Camaro was the most rational. The Mazdaspeed6 had been paid off and I was looking at buying a second car for weekend fun. But classic car prices are insane these days and add maintenance which is not something I'm able to do myself and the cost would've been a bit too much for me at this point in my life.

So the Camaro had the retro looks, performance and modern conveniences. The one car "to do it all" so to speak.

Plus I've always wanted a powerful V8 car.

2. What other muscle cars were you also considering? Why did you choose the Camaro?

It was between the Camaro and the Mustang. They were the only two I actually test drove.

I chose the Camaro over the Mustang because I didn't like the Mustang's solid rear axle and the clutch and shifter combination of the Camaro was much better.

3. Of all the packages, why the 1LE? What does it offer?

I didn't know about the 1LE package to be honest. I was on Chevy's website building the car to my preferences and I clicked on the 1LE wheels and that's when I figured out it was part of a package, not just a wheel option.

Then I read about 1LE and watched some youtube videos and became informed about how much better it handles over a regular SS and from there it became the only option I would go for.

It comes with the ZL1's wheels (different size tires), specific suspension dampening, larger front and rear roll-bars, ZL1 toe links, strut tower brace, ZL1 rear shocks, high capacity fuel pump and some other things I forget.

4. Was your car hard to find? Was there a dealer mark-up? How was the buying experience?

It was a bit hard to find as I would only have it in black and with the dual-mode exhaust. There were only two in Florida optioned that way.

The first dealer in Miami that had it wanted full MSRP for it so I walked away. The other dealer was an Autonation Chevrolet in Tampa which is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from here.

I went to my local Autonation Chevy dealer and they said they could bring it over on a flatbed the same day. We were able to make the deal for $6k below MSRP after GM incentives and negotiations. They paid me a bit less than I wanted for the trade-in but still more than the other dealer was offering and I got the interest rate I wanted so it was fair deal and I'd buy from them again.

5. What do you like about your car?

The number one thing I absolutely love about it is the exhaust note. It's deep and throaty and pops when you let off. It's simply amazing to hear.

It's also funny when it sets off the neighbor's car alarm in the morning.

6. What don't you like about your car?

I may still be in the honeymoon period so there's not much I don't like about it. There are a couple of things I think it should have as an option. 

It would be nice if the side mirrors pointed downwards for parking to help me keep from scratching the wheels on a curb (still haven't scratched them).

There are rear parking sensors which is great. Front parking sensors would also be a huge help as the front spoiler protrudes a little bit from the front bumper so I tend pull into spots backwards to keep from ripping off the spoiler.

7. Do you plan to make any modifications? Will you be taking it to the track?

No modifications for now. 

The only thing I did was remove the fuse for the dual-mode exhaust... It now keeps all 4 exhaust tips open at all times... More noise!!

I had planned on tracking it but after I saw how much it actually costs (tires, track fees, track insurance, etc.) I've decided to put that off for now as I could literally take a short vacation overseas for the same price and traveling is my other passion.

8. How is it as a commuter car? Is the visibility awful?

With the side and rear-view mirrors properly adjusted I've had no problems whatsoever switching in-and-out-of lanes during rush hour.

The rear parking sensors and backup camera make it a breeze to back-up into parking spots.

Parallel parking is a bit more challenging to keep the wheels from getting scratched because of the high shoulder lines but there're hardly any places here in FL where you have to parallel park.

9. What has been the reaction of your wife, co-workers, friends, and strangers to your car?

My wife loves the car and was pushing me to buy it... We've named her Becky.

Co-workers and friends that I hang out with are car guys so they loved it and it was great fun discussing Camaro vs. Mustang with them in the lead-up to buying the car.

I've had a few strangers talk to me about it at gas stations and they give positive comments.

It's definitely not a sleeper like the Mazdaspeed6 was.

10. Any predictions for the second half of the F1 season? Can anyone beat Vettel in points?

It's going to be Vettel again this year. I'm a bit bored with it to be honest. At this point I'm just hoping for something different next year.

AutoTrader's "review" of new Corolla

Very positive review. Sounds like the perfect car.

Edvin's 996 in the countryside

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Magnus Walker and Porsche

I spotted two celebrities in Monterey this year. I saw Bob Varsha, American F1 announcer, in Carmel. And while waiting for my turn behind the wheel of a Porsche Panamera GTS, this tall, lanky, punk rocker-type with dreads entered the Porsche display and was promptly greeted by the staff. I am 85% sure that's Magnus Walker. I had never heard of him until Peter S. brought him up recently. Apparently, he's quite a wizard with old 911s.

The Gatekeepers

I just finished watching this extraordinarily insightful documentary about Israel.

Despite having Israeli friends and no Palestinian friends, I am squarely on Team Palestine. But after watching this film, I am reminded that when your people were almost completely wiped out less than a century ago, and every country around you wants you dead, you have to react and defend yourself and your family.

The retired intelligence chiefs are incredibly candid. They talk about morality and the use of extralegal force in fighting terrorists. 

I learned that under Ehud Barak's tenure (a PM I had a soft spot for), more settlements were built in the Occupied Territories than any other PM. 

I also learned that under Ariel Sharon (whom I despise), a dozen top Hamas leaders were meeting in a house. He ordered that a 1/4 ton bomb be used instead of a one-ton bomb because he didn't want innocents killed in the collateral damage. All of the Hamas leaders walked out of the building alive.

Finally, there was a plot by right-wing settlers to blow up the Dome of the Rock. That would have changed history, had they succeeded.

Niles Car Show

Last Saturday, during Monterey Auto Week, I had to work. While driving to my meeting, I came upon a street closure. And guess what, it was another car show!

The Niles Car Show is an annual August event in the Niles section of Fremont. It's an interesting enclave of antique stores, old train cars, and nostalgia. For you Bay Area people, Niles Canyon Road meets 680 in Sunol.

The vast majority of the cars were American muscle, but there were a few oddballs thrown in.

First, we have this one-owner Pontiac Fiero.

Corvair Rampside. Attention, rchen!

Volvo 122. Attention, zack!

Looking at this Ranchero straight-on from the front, I had no idea what it was. I thought it was an Australian import.


Again, I had an unnatural yearning for old Camaros as a teenager.

49ers fan. I knew a guy with one of these Lincolns and his plate read "096 XXX".

According to S., the fine gentleman who bought my Phaeton, this Cadillac wagon conversion was done when it was new. S, by the way, is a classic Cadillac expert. Plus, he is getting a special tour of the Phaeton's Transparent Factory in Dresden next month! Send us pictures, man!


I think this Superbird is a clone/replica, because it was for sale for just a bit over $100,000, IIRC.

This quaint old truck was parked next to me.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Let's go Ferrari!

Via Flavio Gomes.

San Diego Trip, Part 2: Fellow Bloggers

Another highlight of the trip was meeting people I've read online. I present Alan (of AutoNeurotic and Petrolicious fame), Raphael Orlove (of Jalopnik fame), and Alan's bro-in-law Gil.

We met over doner kebabs and Turkish and Lebanese beers. Gil wanted to show me his pride and joy, a Mark II Jetta coupe. He is the third owner (his dad was the second) and this machine brought back a lot of high school memories. It has a recent Tijuana front yard paint job, which looks immaculate.

After lunch, we took a trip up to La Jolla to Symbolic Motors to look at used supercars.

I think this is the first McLaren SLR I have ever seen up close.

Here are a Maserati MC12 and a 3500 GT.

Here is a latch for the MC12.

And a Ferrari F50.

BTW, Alan and Gil recommend this video:

I had a great time. Thanks, guys!