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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Do I Feel a Draft?

Any fan of racing knows what drafting is.  This most basic of techniques is used in everything from carts to Formula 1 to gain a speed advantage over the leading vehicle.  For the uninitiated or the less scientifically inclined, here's a quick explanation courtesy of Tom Cruise as Cole Trickle.  Even if you already know what drafting is, a 23 year old Nicole Kidman is always fun to watch.  Skip to 1:20 for the technical analysis of drafting. (Warning: NSFW)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Ferrari 250 LM

Penned by the late, great Battista Pininfarina, only the first Ferrari 250 LM was fitted with the 250 engine, while the rest of the 30 odd models were powered by the larger 330. In 1965, the North American Racing Team privately fielded a 250 LM, driven by Jochen Rindt and Maston Gregory, to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To date, it remains Ferrari's last overall victory at the world's most famous endurance race.

This one isn't it. But it's still damn sexy!

Ferrari 250 LM #6045 from GridStars on Vimeo.

Check out more videos from Gridstars.

Smoke em if Ya Got em

Drifting is a strange sport to me.  There are rules, a podium, trophies, and champions like any other form of motorsport but there is also an ambiguity that determines which champion stands on that podium with the trophy.  The points are given out subjectively based on style and there's no clear concise way to determine that style.  While I don't quite understand the sport as well as grip racing, I have to admit it's a superhuman display of car control that I can't help but be amazed at.  Here are some prime examples.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Flappy Aftermath

A big thank you to all that participated last night's first ever Flappy Paddle Heads GT5 Invitational. It was a great turn out and a supremely entertaining night.

Congratulations to racer Clint_Mills. Enjoy the Lotus Elise, you earned it!

Special thanks to the Swift brothers for their devastating pace and their lack of team orders, to Zeggawong's support all the way from Australia, to Omar and Chin's Lewis Hamilton/Felipe Massa antics, to W for flying back in time to make it for the tail end of the night, to Syed of IEDEI for joining us and adding a bit of class to the grid with his classic Alfa Romeo Giulia, and to many others that joined our lobby, albeit briefly.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Competition

For those of you competing in the GT5 Invitational tonight, here is your competition! Good luck and we will see you all in just over an hour.

Danny Choy A.K.A. Capn_Chimichanga

Danny Chin A.K.A. Anduril218

Kyle Swift A.K.A. ROADWARRIOR721

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Tribute To Sergio Scaglietti

May your soul love on forever within the greatest Italian sports cars the world has ever seen.

Sergio Scaglietti, standing 8th from the left, beige coat
It's a bit... okay it's not that great. But it's nice to just play Scaglietti for half an hour.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Flappy Paddle Head's Christmas List

But it's not even Thanksgiving, you say! Well, that's exactly the point. The only thing more American than consumerism is consumerism now. Chin started off with a number of presents suitable for children-- intending to infect the little ones with the love of cars at as early an age as possible.

However, when shopping for a car enthusiast that is already so hopelessly obsessed with automobiles that it's as essential as the air he/she breathes, I've made another Christmas guide to make your holiday shopping easy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"I was born to race and win." -- Lewis Hamilton

After the last grand prix at Abu Dhabi, there's no question our Lewis is back. Don't mess!
Credit to YouTube channel, 2011lewishamilton!

Kidding Around

Around my neck of the woods, the atmosphere of the holidays is slowly creeping in.  The leaves have already changed from their lively greens to their vibrant reds and yellows.  Chilled air revitalizes and energizes with the first step outside.  Pumpkin spice is the flavor of choice for everything from muffins to coffee.  And parents everywhere are worrying about that perfect gift for their children.  Hit the jump for FPH's thoughts on what should be under the tree on Christmas morning...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flappy Paddle Heads GT5 Invitational UPDATE: Prizes Betch!

click to enlarge

We saved the best for last. Announcing the prize given to the overall race winner of the upcoming Flappy Paddle Heads GT5 Invitational: the very car in the picture!

We may be getting a little ahead of ourselves here but we're so excited about this project that we're already making plans for our next GT5 invitational. Known for its laser sharp handling characteristics, we have chosen to feature the Lotus Elise as the "official car" for the next event.

As you can tell from the picture, I've taken the liberty to give this particular Elise some mods. No expenses (Gils) were spared. At first glance, you'll notice the Racing modification, which applies to everything including aero, maximum weight reduction and carbon fiber, fully adjustable suspension and titanium racing exhaust. What's more, I've thrown in an exhaust manifold, intake manifold, racing air filter, stage 2 engine tuning, ecu, chassis reinforcement, and a set of racing softs. Finally, I gave the Elise a layer of matte black paint to finish it off (a rare color to get a hold of in this game). The figures on this animal are 261-hp, 720-kg, and 549 PP. Be warned, this car has zero miles on the odo and that means no shakedown tests have been conducted. Colin Chapman would be proud.

Now that everyone knows what's at stake, here's a reminder of the race details:
  • The Flappy Paddle Heads GT5 Invitation will be held on November 26th, and will begin on EST 10:00pm until approximately 12:00am midnight or later. Our room will be conveniently named FLAPPY PADDLE HEADS. 
  • The Miata I will be using next week is the 1989 Eunos Roadster, tuned to 202-hp, 152 lb.-ft. of torque, 870kg, 437PP.  Tune your beast accordingly.
  • Circuits we'll be racing include Toyko R246, Suzuka, Laguna Seca, Trial Mountain, and Deep Forest.
  • Shit just got real.
Add us on PSN (Playstation Network) with "FPH" written on the body of the request. Find us at:
Danny Choy: capn_chimichanga
Danny Chin: Anduril218
Kyle Swift: ROADWARRIOR721
Dan Weimann: SaintMonday

I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful weekend. Good luck! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Now and Then

The other day Danny Choy posted about the Ferrari California from both past and present.  It got me thinking about what cars have endured over time or have spiritual successors in the market place now.  This inevitably led to a lot of Googling and drooling.  Sit back and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

California Dreaming

While many journalists from various blogs and publications are out covering the LA Auto Show, I'm cooped up in New York. I am not pleased.

But maybe I can one-up them anyway. After all, you don't have to be in Los Angeles to catch some California sunshine.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"The Way the Big Wheel Spins"

Take a minute and think back to your younger days before you were allowed to drive.  What was your first set of wheels?  For many, that first taste of the open road was embodied in the Big Wheel.  The Big Wheel was a sweet bike to start with.  A low center of gravity meant those three wheels stayed glued to the road as long as you didn't overpower the plastic front wheel.  The low slung cockpit made the sensation of speed feel illegal.  The child sized motor only needed to be fed with Kool-Aid and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  You could go anywhere on that thing, even to your friend Timmy's house down the end of the block.  That was the life... for awhile.

Inevitably, things like growing became an issue and the Big Wheel just didn't fit anymore but it was a great way to cut your teeth before your first real bike...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lancia Stratos HF In High Fidelity

This banshee needs no introduction. Check out these awesome videos of this mid-engine rear wheel drive Italian sports car that won three consecutive Rally Championships from 1974 to 1976. It's also the very first focus driven vehicle designed specifically to tackle the World Rally stages.

If you can't feel the endolymph vibrating within your eardrums, then you haven't turned the speakers up enough!

Flappy Paddle Heads GT5 Invitational UPDATE: Race Lobby & Time Confirmed

In T-Minus 2 weeks, you will be invited to participate in the most sensational GT5 racing event ever! This will be Flappy Paddle Head's first event and we look forward to elbowing other drivers right from turn 1 hosting a fun night of clean racing and good fun to thank our viewers and long supporters.

Our event will be held on November 26th, and will begin on EST 10:00pm until approximately 12:00am midnight. Rather than make the room private and have everyone scrambling to friend me on PSN network in order to join my lounge (although we'll all be BEST of friends by night's end), we will hold our room at the open lobby. Our room will be conveniently named FLAPPY PADDLE HEADS so none of you should have any trouble looking for us.

Till then, let us remind you to check out our last post regarding vehicle restrictions and track selections of the event. Also, keep a look-out for our next update as we will announce the prize for the winner of the night!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

eBay Finds: The Weird, The Wonderful, The WTF

eBay is a great place to research classic car prices, look for that next project, or just find something that is completely weird and foreign.  While all the above are easily found with a few mouse clicks, it seems the gathering of strange and obtuse are at an all time high this time of year.  Click ahead to see what was too weird for Halloween and had to be unloaded two weeks later.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's New to You

We've talked ad nauseum on here about other countries getting sweet cars while we're stuck here with the lame versions or no version at all.  So we won't get into that again.  BUT,  Now there's a way we can at the very least voice our opinion!  An online petition has been started to change the exemption from 25 to 15 years.  Sign it here.

I'm Not Drinking Nissan's Kool-Aid

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Automotive Coelacanths

Human beings have been on this planet for a very small part of its existence.  As a result, there are still millions if not billions of species that have come and gone without man having ever seen it living.  Once in awhile, nature throws a curveball and creatures who have no right to still exist are found in the oddest places.  Like a the lobe-finned coelacanth fish that was found in a fisherman's net in 1938, there are still automotive technologies out there that are being served up way past their due date.

Rotary Engines

Rotary, or Wankel, engines have been around for less than a hundred years but have garnered the attention of almost every major manufacturer.  Used in many types of cars, motorcycles, boats, and even airplanes, the incredibly smooth power unit built a reputation for its compact size, simplicity of design, few moving parts, and high power to size ratio.  Unfortunately, the Wankel never won any popularity contests in the US, a country that prides itself on copious amounts of torque and happens to be the biggest consumer of the car until recent years.  However, Mazda, a company that never made anything that resembles a muscle car, stuck with the Rotary first in its Cosmos then RX series of sports cars.  It also won the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

Like anything that doesn't have a large gene pool to choose from, the Wankel is a shadow of its former self.  With CAFE laws constantly increasing the efficiency of motors, there's no place for this relic which uses oil as a seal.  Hopefully, Mazda can evolve the design and show everyone the second Loch Ness monster.

Four-Wheel Steering

Back in the 90s, money was flowing, turbos were spooling, and the Japanese R&D machine was churning out cars with four-wheel steering.  Nissan had its 300ZX twin turbo.  Mitsubishi countered with its 3000GT VR4.  And Honda said,"Sure, why not" with its Prelude.  In theory, these systems were glorious inventions.  Low speed maneuverability and high speed handling were both enhanced with the penalty of a little added weight for the system.  However, these steering systems were not consistently used by all manufacturers.  Additionally, some systems only aided in low speed maneuvers while others catered to high speed driving.  These inconsistencies would leave drivers wondering how they ended up rolling down a mountainside instead of sticking to the apex as if it were a tar pit.  Some manufacturers like BMW and Nissan still offer this technology as an option but it will most likely end up on the endangered species list.

Continuously Variable Transmissions

Invented by Leonardo da Vinci in the 1400s, patented by Mercedes Benz in the 1800s, driven by the apathetic in the 2000s.  At inception, the continuously variable transmission seemed to be the perfect transmission for the foreseeable, miserly, fuel starved future.  Its variable gear ratios allow a motor to work at its optimum rpm for max torque and therefore max mpg.  It's just too bad that an engine operating in one part of the rpm range sounds AWFUL!  Oh yeah, it wasn't mainstream until the 90s and everyone is accustomed to the feeling of normal cogs.  Yet, Nissan has kept with this technology and it would seem that CAFE laws and the need for ever increasing fuel efficiency are helping this rare transmission survive.  It may end up being the cockroach of the automotive world.  It's not the sexiest thing but may outlive us all.

Rear Engines

Nothing really needs to be said about this.  Porsche has been the most stubborn car company and kept the motor aft of the rear axle since primordial times.  That being said, the 911 has been around for over 50 years and has won races that whole time.  Yes, it's bizarre and doesn't make sense but the same can be said about the platypus and it's still around.

Live Rear Axles

When thinking of live rear axles, two really sweet rides come to mind.  No, one of them is not a Conestoga wagon.  In no particular order, they are the Roman chariot and the Ford Mustang.  While the chariot helped the all conquering military defeat barbarian hordes all over Europe, the live rear axled Mustang is proving a worthy adversary for the best European muscle including the M3.  Tuned to perfection over the course of a few millennium, the solid axle can duel at the dragstrip as well as the road course barring any alligator-like ripples in the pavement.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Check Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self

Halloween weekend I found myself in the middle of a Nor’easter in western Massachusetts.  Luckily, my car was up on its maintenance and handled the snow without a problem.  Looking ahead, we’re approaching the Holiday Season which means a lot of traveling through less than perfect weather conditions.  Here are a few easy things that you can do to ensure your safety on the roads this winter.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Isle Of Man: Talking Heads

For a race with so much history, I think this is the first time I've got to experience the voices from all the people of the Isle of Man-- the riders, the race marshals, and the residents.

Tourist Trophy, Isle of Man from Carwell Casswell on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Flappy Paddle Heads GT5 Invitational UPDATE: Car (hp/kg/pp) and Tracks Announced

Buenos noches, amigos!

Here's an update to our November 26th Gran Turismo 5 invitational. After a couple of trial races online, we've found the Mazda Miatas the most fun and most exciting. We find ourselves racing harder while the grid can remain closely bunched. In karting, if a driver makes a slight mistake, he'll find the rest of the pack disappearing into the horizon.

As a benchmark, the Miata I will be using is the 1989 Eunos Roadster, tuned to 202-hp, 152 lb.-ft. of torque, 870kg, 437PP.  Tune your beast accordingly. If folks wish to choose something different but comparable, that should be fine. But keep in mind, if I see any of you sailing away in your tuned R34 GTR, you won't be eligible to win the prize. So be a good sport!

As for tracks, we'll be choosing familiar and fundamental staples to ensure everyone can acclimate quickly to the changing tracks throughout the event. Notable circuits we'll race include Toyko R246, Suzuka, Laguna Seca, Trial Mountain, and Deep Forest.

That's our update for now. We'll announce the exact time and duration of the event, the name of the race lobby, and will reveal the prizes in our next series of updates. Also, feel free to let us know what additional info you would like us to provide.

Hope everyone's having a pleasant weekend so far!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Harlem Shakes


Take a step back, and you'll realize that Hip Hop has had quite a long love affair with cars. Pathfinders sitting on Lorenzos, boomin' 1000 jigga-watt sound systems in Flo-Benzies, hydraulic lowrider '64 Impalas, lifted Chevy Caprices, Escalades on Dubs, what have you.

Hell, CarEnvy did a whole Fiesta-VS.-Countryman review in G-speak. I dare anyone to try to write a review in the tongue of any other sort of subculture. Punk Rockers from Liverpool? Please, it just isn't the same.

But let's face it. To us, an Olds Cutlass on spinners is a subject of ridicule. We hate Dubs. Tweeters and Subwoofers are tossed in the name of adding lightness. Hip Hop and whatever the mainstream media enjoys putting on display doesn't represent us. Real car enthusiasts never TiVo "Pimp My Ride." We're not even disappointed because we expect it all to have little-to-no contribution anyway.

But we're wrong. I am wrong. From Vimeo, I came upon some footage posted by Henry Rojas' of a VRaceWorks' Harlem Meet (yes, that Harlem), chock full of clean JDM tuners from a Civic Si-R fitted with a Garret turbo, rare and tidy Integra Type-R's, S2k's, to even a silver MK IV Toyota Supra and a Nissan GTR. Not a single whistle tip. More than that, the whole event just looks so well organized. The cars are well prepped for photoshoots, the attendees and photographers are all genuinely supportive and respectful to the cars and its owners. I've never been more pleased about being wrong!

TGIF, everybody!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teutonic Tuesday

Welcome to the first and possibly the only Teutonic Tuesday!  We've scoured the internet... ok, we've scoured about 100 pages of Vimeo for the best videos of German cars.  We've taken a more artsy route with our video choices and decided to showcase very well executed films instead of straight car porn.  Without further ado, here are the films:

MRC WIDEBODY S4 from MRC Tuning on Vimeo.

Ben Thomas' B5 Wagon from Speedline Film Werks on Vimeo.

Tribute to BMW e30 M3 EVO II by sixrun from SixrunDIGITAL on Vimeo.

The SLS Experience from Clashproduction on Vimeo.

Summer should get a speeding ticket.

It's officially over! All the snow that has fallen this past weekend made me realize that I won't have a chance to wear chino shorts, boat shoes and panama hats until next year. Why did summer have to go so soon?!

Yet, all the same, it's always nice to reflect on good times. Without further ado, here's my summer grab bag, a combination of DSLR and camera phone, MCB style: