1985 Pontiac Trans Am Kammback at the 2015 Concours of America

Trans Am Kammback Front

When I say Kammback, the Pontiac Firebird is not a car anyone thinks of. People will think of it if I say phrases like “Screaming Chicken”, “Mullet”, “Eighties”, and my personal favorite, “Drunk Teenager Crashed It Into a Telephone Pole”. Well, this one lacks the drunken teenager and the Screaming Chicken, but it makes up for it with much added Kammback style. Nick and Shane took one look at this thing and said “Albert, this one’s all yours.” I gladly obliged. Continue reading 1985 Pontiac Trans Am Kammback at the 2015 Concours of America

2016 Chevrolet Cruze SPIED in Birmingham, MI!

New Chevrolet Cruze Spied Front 2

As all of you know, Nick, Shane, and I were all out having a road trip through Detroit, MI this past weekend for the Concours of America at St. John’s. Before we did that, though, Nick saw the Cadillac CT6 pre-production car drive past our dinner spot at Duggan’s on Woodward Avenue. After checking out the car scene on Woodward later that evening, we drove over to Birmingham and looked for something to do. As it turned out, there was a camouflaged Chevrolet sitting on Martin Avenue, by the park. After shooting it, I took some time to figure out what it might be, and based on the size and shape of the windows, and the grille inserts, I’m pretty sure that this is the new Cruze. Considering GM’s headquarters is just less than 20 miles from where we were, it’s a safe bet that this is probably the Cruze. Continue reading 2016 Chevrolet Cruze SPIED in Birmingham, MI!

Preproduction Cadillac CT6 Spotted on Woodward Avenue

Cadillac CT6 Woodward Ave

We made the trip out to Detroit this weekend for the Concours of the Americas, and we made it a point to hit Woodward Avenue on Saturday night. We saw a bunch of awesome cars out and about, but specifically we saw a few pre-production GM cars running around, including some camo’d zebras. Of note, we saw this pre-production Cadillac CT6, a few of the new Chevy Volts, and a new Cadillac CT6 model with camo over each of its fenders…. presumably a higher performance model with fender flares.

We got a ton of great material this weekend, so stay tuned!

-Nick

My Subaru Scare, Something Many Enthusiasts Will Go Through

Subaru STI Glow

I just got my Subaru STI back from the shop last weekend, after spending $1,300 fixing a few parts that had worn out over the years… such is life when you drive a car with nearly 130,000 miles on it. It was running strong, and all seemed right in the world, until all of a sudden it lost all power during a light, half-throttle pull, and the dashboard lit up.

The motor began missfiring and the CEL was blinking. I got to a spot where I could pull over and I checked the code. It was a missfire on cylinder 4, specifically, often a death sentence for the EJ25 motor. I had heard nightmare after nightmare about it from other Subaru people and now it was happening to me!

A cloud of dread seemed to hang over my very existence, and I completed the drive home with a sort of “Well, I guess this is it” sort of gloom. My best mechanical friend in the world, and my most prized posession, was fatally stricken, and there wasn’t anything I could do but accept it.

Now, yes, a busted motor can be fixed, but it is pretty damn expensive, especially for a young fellow like me just starting out my career. Typically fixing an STI motor, with stock parts, will run you about $3-4,000, but it can be $6-8,000 or more with upgraded parts. Having just spent $1,300 on it, fixing it soon was out of the question, and financially it would have been stupid to even try that at this point.

My realistic course of action was to sell the car for what I could, and use that money to buy a Miata. Then I’d save up, pay off my Volkswagen CC in a year or two, and replace it with another fast car that would really be the STI’s successor…. first world problems, I know.

I literally felt the same way I had felt when my dog, Peaches, died a few years back. I know my Subaru is an “inanimate object”, but when you’re a car enthusiast, there are some cars that seem to take on a very real personality, a companion of sorts. My STI was my first car, back when I was 16, and I’ve owned it more than 8 years since. We’ve been through a lot together, and it is basically ingrained in my indentity at this point.

You can ask my girlfriend, on Wednesday night I was legitimately depressed, and obsessed with trying to figure out what to do.

But this story has a happy ending, and it boldly shows off one of my biggest personal flaws. I always seem to assume the absolute worst, and I put blinders on that  stop me from seeing other, less serious possibilities. It is a flaw that has caused me a lot of angst over the years, and surely something I need to continue to work on.

When I got the call from the mechanic yesterday, I was overjoyed to hear that it was only a bad coil pack, an easy fix. He said the spark plug from cylinder 4 looked good and that cylinder 3 had missfired when he switched the coil pack. Relieved does not even begin to describe my mood after that call.

So this story was just one big false alarm, but it is a scenario that many other car enthusiasts will identify with. Like anything else you can love, cars will often bring as much angst as they bring joy. There is much I can learn from what happened this week, but the biggest thing I learned was how much I really do love my Subaru STI, even after 8 years with it. That is why we enthusiasts buy the cars we buy, and spend the obscene money we do to keep them going. Our cars are like our close friends/companions, much in the same way as a dog or a horse.

Obviously I would’ve just gotten another fun car, but it felt more like losing a friend at the time, rather than some cold piece of property. If anything, I got to realize my deep passion for cars this week. And it came at a time when I really needed such a reminder in the midst of the chaos of everyday life.

To anyone else who finds themselves in a situation like this, just stay calm, don’t assume things, and do some research. Begin with the simplest explanations first, before considering the more serious problems. Also be open-minded, because you will learn a lot more from dealing with the situation, rather than obsessing over how screwed you are. That’s something I clearly needed to learn again, hopefully this time it’ll stick.

-Nick Walker

2015 Subaru Forester Reviewed (Grade: B)

2015 Subaru Forester Front Angle

Monday morning, I go out to start the Subaru Legacy GT, back in early December 2014. It’s cold outside and I’m in no mood to deal with things going wrong. I’m greeted by an angry-looking little red light on the dashboard shaped like a battery. When it’s getting colder outside, this is the one light I wish didn’t exist. Too bad. My alternator had started to fail, and fail it did, just 12 hours later. I got a tan Forester as a loaner, which was miles better than calling a cab that smelled like pee for five days. Continue reading 2015 Subaru Forester Reviewed (Grade: B)

Ferrari LaFerrari In The Paddock At Laguna Seca

LaFerrari at Laguna Seca 1

This was the first LaFerrari I ever laid eyes on. Tucked away under some stairs in the paddock at Laguna, it was actually pretty easy to miss, save for the crowds of people that it drew. The ultimate Ferrari hypercar will always cause a scene, even if it is a more subtle color like metallic gray.

We probably saw 10 different McLaren P1s and 5 different Porsche 918s out in Monterey last year, but this was the only LaFerrari we saw. It’s quite a sight to be seen!

Enjoy the pics.

Continue reading Ferrari LaFerrari In The Paddock At Laguna Seca

1969 Lamborghini Miura P400S at the Elegance at Hershey, 2015

Lamborghini Miura P400S Front 1

Miuras are gorgeous cars. When it launched, nothing else on the road could possibly hope to catch it on a top-speed run. This was a car capable of over 180MPH in 1968, which no other car came close to at the time. This 1969 model was here in all its Bertone-bodied glory at Hershey last month. Continue reading 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400S at the Elegance at Hershey, 2015

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona at Hopewell Cruise Night

Ferrari 365 Daytona Hopewell

This striking yellow Ferrari Daytona is somewhat of a regular at shows in Hopewell, and it’s a real driver. The owner is always very nice to everyone, and he actually still uses this magnificent Ferrari grand tourer the way it was meant to be used.

It’s always fantastic to see a stallion like this that actually gets to stretch its legs!

-Nick

BMW 507 at The Elegance at Hershey

Hershey Elegance BMW 507

This 1957 BMW 507 roadster stood out starkly for me at The Elegance at Hershey this year. I always love seeing BMW 507s, but this one, glistening in luscious red paint, took hold of my attention and would not let go.

With just 253 examples built, the BMW 507 was a product of 1950s, post-war Germany, commissioned by US importer Max Hoffman along side the likes of the Mercedes 300SL and Porsche 356. The 507 was a new league of sports car for BMW, and helped to really set the foundation for the exotic automobiles we love today. The 507 cost an outrageous $9,000-$11,000 brand new back in the mid-late ’50s, making it quite similar to modern supercars today in adjusted cost.

The BMW 507 packed a 3.2L V8 under its hood with around 150hp. Not much over a Miata today, but back then its performance was very solid, and it could reach 124 mph (200kph) flat-out.

Today the BMW 507 is a rare collectable piece that demands a huge amount of money. Values today easily top $1,000,000, and a perfect one will fetch over $2,000,000.

Enjoy the photos of this stunner!

-Nick

Continue reading BMW 507 at The Elegance at Hershey

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