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Friday, July 29, 2011

Iron Triangle

As much as we love to display the beauty and the glamour of cars, there's also the grit and struggle. One cannot be understood without the other, and such is this thing called life.

Willets Point: The Iron Triangle from Nicholas Weissman on Vimeo.

The area featured in Nicholas Weissman's short film "Willets Point: The Iron Triangle" is just by Shea Stadium's backyard (I'm still not used to calling it CitiField), near the heart of Queens borough, New York City. I'm familiar with this area actually, as my dad and I have made quite a number of trips there in our limping Camry through the years before we finally junked it.

And although this area would seem like an ideal locale if one were to scout a set for a gangland movie, the Iron Triangle is, in general, as honest a place as poverty and inequality can allow it to be. Within the weary eyes and the body language of just about every person in this film, there lies a strong feeling of anxiety from the uncertainties that lie ahead and the inability to fight change.

Not exactly Radiator Springs, but there is an ice cream truck.

The film is two years old now and the garages of Iron Triangle are still there. In an article from the local newspapers last month, the Iron Triangle and its 150 businesses will be condemned either to make way for a residential complex with apartment buildings and a bit of retail, or it may serve as a future campus for a university concentrating in technological research.

But in the meantime, I highly recommend a visit to the Triangle, if not to fix up your car for a bargain price then at least to experience a humble, yet uniquely fascinating, community within the vast world of automobiles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh the Humanity!

The other day, fellow contributor Pat Arrigo sent me a picture of a car he'd just seen in central New York.  This particular car (as seen below) was a beautiful Volvo P1800, a car which we both hold in high regard.  Upon closer inspection the license plate said "MILNMILR" and it just so happens that Pat had just seen one of the rarest cars on the planet - one with approximately 3 million miles on the odometer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Winds of Change

When the words "free energy" come up in automotive circles, there are two general responses.  They are either "turbos" or "hybrids."  Each of these fits the bill as a turbo uses exhaust gases to "create" more power from a motor that is smaller than its naturally aspirated counterpart and most hybrid systems capture heat from brakes which would otherwise be wasted.  The problem occurs when these circles of thought collide.  Turbos are generally regarded as go-fast hardware while hybrids are used by tree huggers and green peace activists.  However, I think I've found a solution!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Secret to Success

A couple of weeks ago, we wondered whether BMW's ever expanding line-up, from their efforts to fill niches created by their rivals to creating even more niches like the 5-series GT to answer questions that no one bothered to ask, were in fact sullying their core DNA.

To this, IEDEI reflected disappointment, "...a confused and uninspired marque that is trying way too many things at the same time----with different ideas and scattered attention span... I really miss the BMW that I grew up loving in the 80s and early 90s, I hope it comes back someday..."

Well this weekend, I've got another bone to pick. All this time, and I blame my ignorance, I believed that the Cygnet was only available to existing Aston owners who wishes to own another vehicle that would better suit day to day city driving. It isn't. I also believed that Aston Martin would never sell out their image as supreme builders of GT cars and that their position behind the Cygnet was simply a project used to curve their thirsty lineup just enough as to not offend Europe's CO2 regulations or our CAFE standards (2012 NHTSA: 31.7 mpg).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Family Affair

Something really pleasant, yet strange, happened to me a couple of days ago while my dad and I were taking a walk. On our way back to the parking lot from Five Guys, I spot an old yet charming E21 3 series and pointed it out.

My dad then makes a comment that I will remember for the rest of my life. When he was about my age, he wanted to own a BMW 2002 but he couldn't afford one. It really was one of those father and son moments for me as I now know my aspirations of owning a 2002tii one day is no longer something that would only be special to me, but something that would be special for my family.

Now tonight, as luck would have it, I stumbled across another one of Josh Clason's works. This time, BMW 2002 owner Sky Lund talked about how his father told him about the 2002 when he was younger, and how he plans to drive his car for the rest of his life. Honestly, if the timing were anymore perfect, it'd be sorcery!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Car Show

For those of you that don't have Speed Channel, can't stay up at night, or were out drinking/drunk on a Wednesday night, here's the premiere episode of "The Car Show."  With personalities like Adam Corolla and Matt Farah, I am expecting to be entertained by this show.  I won't give away any spoilers because I didn't catch the episode the first time around either.  I'll let you debate what my reason was.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ALMS at Lime Rock Park: FPH wrap-up 2011

On Friday, Danny Chin shared about his first experiences at Lime Rock Park a couple years ago and his affections for the scenic racetrack.

Although I have been an avid fan of motorsports for many years now, I never had the opportunity to attend a live race. Yet since I was armed with a camera and a media pass, I somehow believed there will be no surprises. I was in for a big surprise.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lime Rock Park and ALMS

Ever since I got into racing, I promised myself that I would make it to at least one race every summer.  It didn't really matter what cars were racing either.  I just wanted to experience anything and everything that I could afford and/or could actually find time to get away for.  For the most part, the promise has been kept.  There have been some memorable international series like MotoGP at Laguna Seca and Indy along with some homegrown racing such as Nascar up in Loudon and IRL at Watkin's Glen.  However, there is one particular Sunday from a few years back where I remember the track more than the racing.  That track was Lime Rock.

So with an engineering degree, a bad job market, and a lack of funds, I've decided to forgo the plane tickets, get back to basics, and return to what was such an inspirational place.  And what a return this event will be.  Since the serene beauty of the track is expected and won't broadside me like last time, I will be able to focus on the actual racing, a series that I have never seen before but I hope will be a precursor to many future adventures.  The American Le Mans Series, what some people say is the pinnacle of relevancy to street cars in motorsports, will hold its third race of the season at Lime Rock Park.

The meandering 1.5 mile track will play host to about twenty ALMS cars in both Prototype and GT classes including Aston Martin powered Lolas, Mazda powered Lolas, Ferrari 458s, Corvettes, GT3s, and XKRs.  Additionally, there will be a Porsche GT3 Cup race and a Prototypes Lite race. With no monolithic structure containing the racetrack, it should prove to be an amazing juxtaposition of nature and technology existing in harmony while we, the viewers, benefit with amazing racing set against a striking backdrop.

Here are the highlights from last year:

I along with Danny Choy will be at the races on Saturday.  They start bright and early at 9am.  Please feel free to seek us out and chat.  My phone will be on and receiving e-mails for the address listed on my profile.  More information can be found below.  We hope to see you there!

Lime Rock Park
American Le Mans Series

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Life Imitates Art

A new track for Gran Turismo 4, the addition of Tokyo Route 246 was an instant hit for many racing fans. However, only recently did I discover that Route 246 is a real road!

Even at a bird's eye view, it's just vicious. The last turn before the straight is even trickier than turn 11 at Laguna Seca and if you're neck to neck on the straight, you better be on your A game for that braking point coming up at turn 1.

What's more, the track comes full circle as we get to show the Stig having a weekend drive in a Caterham around Route 246 in real life! We've featured Remi Schouten's work in the past (Ebisu keeps it real) and we're a fan of his playful, artistic, yet straightforward style. Thanks Remi, keep it up!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

eBay Finds: A Purist's Porsche

For many enthusiasts, a proper Porsche has its engine in the back right over its drive wheels.  Newer participants in the world of Porsche argue that the best Porsches to drive are the ones with the engine in the middle driving the rear wheels.  Still, others couldn't care less about this and buy Cayennes and Panameras to whisk them about in speedy luxury.  Well today we will settle what is truly the Porsche for the purist.

Long before the 356, there were Porsche tractors.  That's right!  A purist's Porsche is front engined and made for off-roading!  Luckily you can buy one on eBay right now and be able to gloat about it to all your 550 Spyder and Speedster owning friends.  Click here to view the listing with its period correct patina.