Class: Of Course! Custom 1985 Pontiac Parisienne at the 2014 River Edge Car Show

1985 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham Front

Barry Levy is the sort of guy who thinks differently from the rest of us car guys.  When we zig, he zags.  When we tell him that a mid-Eighties Pontiac isn’t a car we want in a collection, he begs to differ, then goes the extra mile.  This is a 1985 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham, a car from the mid-Eighties automotive toss-up that was General Motors’ full-size cars.  1985 was the final year for Pontiac to sell a big sedan on this platform (from here on out, it was just wagons, and only through 1990).  The Parisienne was pretty much identical in almost every way to the Chevy Caprice of the era, except that it was a Pontiac product.  Barry, however, has other ideas.  He took this Parisienne and made it his own, by making a number of changes.  The badges have been Frenched in (made flush to the bodywork), and the paint, despite being the right colors of the car from the factory, were redone in a matte finish, not metallic like the original.  The interior is still pretty much stock, but the Grey Poupon in the center console indicates that we’re not talking about a normal set of tastes.  Under the skin, he’s added sequential turn signals (a la the current Mustangs), a train horn, and even a shovel and tarp in the trunk–for those of you who owe him money.   It’s currently running a 305, but he did mention plans to put a 350 in it soon.  He’s painted the wire wheel covers to hide the center of the spokes, making a “floating” effect appear between the trim rings and the center caps.  However, the best modification to this Parisienne has to be the suicide doors–this was the one modification that was making everyone do a double-take, including me.  It’s done so well, it looks like the factory should have done it in the first place.  This is no Rolls-Royce, and it’s not a pimpmobile.  It’s a “class-mobile”, and I absolutely love the uniqueness of this car.  I enjoyed seeing this car in River Edge last week, and I’m sure you will all enjoy it as well.  Enjoy the photos.  Great car, Barry!

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Waterfest 20 Highlights

Waterfest 20 Beetle with Bentley Wheels

The thunder of revving engines mixes with pounding dubstep to create an unexpected aural harmony, while exhaust fumes mingle with the pungent aroma of burning cannabis inside your nostrils… this is Waterfest, and it is wonderful!

We’ve gone to Waterfest pretty regularly over the past few years because it is one of the Mecca events for european car enthusiasts. It’s all about Volkswagen Group and their products, but they own many different companies, so you never know what you will see there. Obviously, it is predominantly a slammed car show, and stanceheads from all over flock to Englishtown, NJ so they can judge the “lowness” of everyone’s cars.

While I do like to poke fun at the stance car culture, I must say that I love going to these events because they are always very interesting. Sure many people have the same types of cars, but very few are alike. The stance culture is creative for sure, and it’s always awesome to to see how people deck out their rides. It’s mostly younger people too, members of the individualistic “millennial” generation.

This young demographic is coveted by many automotive marketers, especially GM, but Volkswagen seems to have it down to a tee. VW supports the event, and utilizes it to further build brand loyalty. They are fortunate enough to be at the center of a major automotive trend, and they have whole-heartedly embraced it.

Customization, both in terms of looks and performance, is at the center of this car culture, and Waterfest is as much a marketing bonanza as it is a car show or drag racing competition. Overall, it is one of the most complete events out there, and that is what sets it apart. Heck, Volkswagen even had an autocross course set up this year, and they were letting everyone run the new 2015 GTI through its paces… it was a blast.

So with that, enjoy the photo gallery of all of these fun and interesting cars!

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4MATIC, Reviewed (Grade: B)

Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Front

Mercedes-Benz has made a jump into the entry-level luxury market that exists below the C-Class, in order to grab younger, affluent buyers who want to move up in the world from Camrys and Accords that scatter the landscape. As this is the cheapest Benz money can buy new, I felt compelled to drive one, and on Memorial Day Weekend this year, I finally had some time on my hands to go take one for a drive. Luckily for me, my local dealership had a very clean looking AWD example with almost every option available for a spin around the block. As I strapped in, I asked myself one big question: “Can Mercedes-Benz draw as much appeal in this market as they normally do at the top of the market?” I got my answer–and a bit more than that. Read the rest of this entry »


Petrolicious’ piece on the Ferrari 330 P4 gives life a new meaning

I had goosebumps the whole time when I saw this video. The Ferrari 330 P4 is one of the most significant sports racing cars of all time, and this is the only remaining true P4 in existence. The other P4s were turned into Can Am cars, and Jim Glickenhaus owns the Ferrari 330 P3/4, the P3 that made the jump to P4 spec. So this thing is precious beyond belief.

This Petrolicious video will make your lust for the P4 almost agonizing in severity, because in addition to hearing its godly V12 howl, and seeing its timeless sexy looks, the owner tells us just how great it is to drive. Oh how I’d love for even just one lap in this car someday. Here’s to hoping…..


The Price Game: $150K in Miami, FL. Go!

The Price Game Miami Edition

Let’s start off using the example scenario from the series introduction

So you’ve just taken a new job in Miami that pays a whole lot more than your old job. Congratulations, you have finally made it! You’ve got yourself a really nice apartment with a view of the city, and it came with 3 parking spots in the building’s parking garage. You figure you can afford to spend $150,000 to get your car game up to par for your new job in this iconic town, where standing out can be quite a challenge. 

You see many nice cars around Miami, but its mostly just beach cruising since the land is quite flat and the urban sprawl extends quite far out. There are a few racing circuits around for track days, but public roads are mostly straight and cornering fun will be mostly limited to highway on/off ramps.

As for places to go, you have the Florida Keys to the south, and the west coast of Florida to the north with destinations like Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach. Miami is way down at the tip of the Florida Peninsula, so any drive out of state destination will be a long one.

Weather in Miami is nice for much of the year, but also can get quite hot, being in the tropics. A convertible is always a good idea, but remember that there may be some days when you’ll want frigid A/C to escape the heat. 

So with all this in mind, what vehicles would you have in your garage?

Let us know in the comments, and see our choices below.

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The Price Game Intro

The Price Game

As car people, we’ve all played this at some point: You pick some amount of money, and maybe a scenario, and then you and your friends come up with what you’d buy within the given budget. You then  compare and criticize each other’s choices, and debate ensues.

It’s a lot of fun to imagine both realistic and fantastical situations to fill your garage in, so we figured we’d bring you the Mind Over Motor Price Game, our own version of the game that all car-lovers like to play. In addition to a given budget, we’re also going to set some situational context and some basic rules to consider when making your choices to keep things interesting.

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Highlights from the 2014 River Edge Car Show

1965 Pontiac GTO Front Side

On Sunday, I attended the River Edge Classic Car Show in River Edge, NJ thanks to a tip from my aunt, who happens to live there.  I was expecting this show to be another small neighborhood car show in a small town in Bergen County.  To say the very least, I was completely and utterly wrong. Despite the rain all over New Jersey and the threatening, humid air hovering over the city park, the show went on and was a runaway success.  Admission was free, food was reasonably priced, and the atmosphere was friendly and full of good vibes.  All sorts of cars were welcome, from a gorgeous early 1930s Chevrolet sedan all the way up to a restored 1970 Plymouth AAR Cuda, among many other fantastic cars.  There were muscle cars, hot rods, offbeat classics, Mustangs, and even a Lotus Esprit V8.  I was incredibly impressed at the variety and the caliber of cars on display out on the street on Sunday afternoon.  The weather held up, everyone had a great time, and I even saw a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 that I’d judged in 2007 (more on that car in a future post).  A great day was had.  Enjoy the photos, everyone!

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