Okay, fine! The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ Are Mediocre

Subaru BRZ

Yea that’s right, people, I’m saying it! Toyota and Subaru’s supposed christchild of a sports car is actually pretty meh, and sales are dropping off. Here’s why…

So Much Hype

The GT86 may well be the most over-hyped car in recent memory. In reality, people liked the idea of the car more than the actual car itself. And because they wanted more companies to make cars like it, everyone raved about the GT86.

I really liked the manual FR-S when I drove it, and I hated the automatic. The reason comes down to the fact that all the FR-S really has going for it are its wonderful driving dynamics. In many respects it actually does feel like a Porsche Cayman, and that’s awesome! But when you remove the manual gearbox from the FR-S or BRZ, then you remove most of the driving engagement. That leaves the car’s more mediocre aspects completely exposed, and in my opinion, ruins it entirely.

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Edmunds Tests The Durability Of Ford’s Aluminum F-150

I’ll admit to being one of the skeptics of the new aluminum-bodied Ford F-150. I could just see them getting banged up real easily on worksites, and being extremely expensive to fix. This video shows some surprising resilience in the F-150’s aluminum body panels, even after being pounded with a sledgehammer. No word on the repair bill as of yet, so we’ll have to wait and see. But thus far, I’m definitely impressed.

UPDATE: They got the bill!

So the aluminum body panels are sturdier than many had thought, but you won’t want to have to fix them. They are quite expensive, more than double the cost of repairing steel body work. Aluminum costs substantially more to work on than steel, and it takes more hours to do the work.

In a nutshell, it’s a good thing that the F-150’s aluminum body panels are pretty robust because many customers may find it a better idea to just live with a few dings and dents than spend the big money on repairs.

-Nick


Hennessey Venom GT Spotted in Carmel, CA

Hennessey Venom GT Carmel 1

There are exotic cars, and then there are hyper-exotic cars. During Monterey Car Week, you get used to seeing the “normal” exotic cars, but seeing a hyper-exotic will still make you go absolutely crazy. Running recklessly through the street or parking in a tow-away zone, you are willing to take the risk just so you can get a photo of such a beast in the wild. The car we have here is just such a thing. It is a Hennessey Venom GT, for those of you unfamiliar at first sight.

It is a very special occasion seeing the fastest street-legal car on Earth out in contrast with the real, often mundane world. With minivans and pickup trucks all around, the 270mph-capable Venom GT looked totally evil and menacing. I mean think about that for a second. I generally consider a Porsche Cayman S to be a pretty fast car, and that has a top speed of around 170mph. This Hennessey will do an entire 100mph more than that!

The Venom GT draws a ton of attention to itself too. It is obscenely wide, so it pokes out past the line of other parked cars, and those huge rear tires leave no guesses as to the car’s high performance capabilities. Simply put, the Venom GT is one seriously bad Mo-Fo.

This was actually John Hennessey’s personal car, and it was parked outside the hotel he was staying at in Carmel, CA. Even among the other hyper-exotic cars we caught roaming the public streets this summer, this brutal Hennessey Venom GT left a lasting impression on us.

-Nick Walker

Hennessey Venom GT Carmel 2 Hennessey Venom GT Carmel 3 Hennessey Venom GT Carmel 4 Hennessey Venom GT Carmel 7 Hennessey Venom GT Carmel 5 Hennessey Venom GT Carmel 6


A Raspberry Mercedes 300SL Roadster at the Gooding & Company Auction

Mercedes Benz 300SL Roadster at Gooding & Company Pebble Beach

I’ve seen a fair number of Mercedes 300SLs in my time, but this one has to be my favorite, by far. It’s color is not red, it’s color is not pink, its color is raspberry! It also has a rich tan interior with a bright white steering wheel, in true 300SL form.

I walked into the Gooding & Company Auction display at Pebble Beach to this stunning automobile sitting right in front of me, and my jaw crashed through the floor. A car like a 300SL is supposed to make a statement, and this raspberry example is anything but subtle. It looks incredible today as a classic, but just imagine how it looked back in the 1950s. Back then the Mercedes 300SL was the fastest road car in the world, with a top speed cracking 150mph. The glamour is almost unfathomable!

The appeal of this magnificent 300SL Roadster has clearly only grown over the years. Looking at it that day, I would’ve considered bartering my very soul for it. But even so, I’m not sure that would’ve covered the $1.7 Million that this thing dropped the hammer at.

One more thing to dream about, I guess…

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1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 at the River Edge Car Show

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Front

While finishing up my stint at the River Edge Car Show, an aqua Ford Mustang Mach 1 showed up. While I’ve seen plenty of 1969s in my time, this one looked almost too familiar, and it hit me pretty fast. When I was 17 years old, a friend of mine asked me to help judge a classic car show in Parsippany NJ and this car was the Best of Show winner. Seven or so years later, and it was back–and I was more than happy to not only see it again, but to be armed with a camera to photograph it again.

This particular car is a single-owner vehicle. When we’re talking about a 1969 Mustang, that’s pretty special in its own right. The owner, Douglas Hakes, bought this car on a low-interest loan thanks to his stint in the Navy and he never looked back. More than 130,000 miles later, it’s been restored and has been a fixture at Mustang events and at North Jersey car shows (it’s based apparently out of Morris County) for some time now.

This one’s not your typical Mach 1–it’s not a big-block ground pounder with bright orange or white paint and psychedelic strobe stripes running down the sides. This one is Gulfstream Aqua, and it’s equipped with the 351 Windsor V8, a four-speed manual, and the Sportsroof body type (fastback body). It’s absolutely stunning, and although it came too late to this show to be judged, I would love to see it back next year to compete in its class and win a trophy to add to its rather large collection. Enjoy the photos. Read the rest of this entry »


Ford Fiesta ST Tuning And Modification Guide

Ford Fiesta ST Modification Guide

The Ford Fiesta ST is one of my favorite cars currently on sale in America. It’s just such a great package for a great price, and it puts most other cheap performance cars on sale in America to shame. If your budget is a strict $25,000 and you want a fun new car, you’d be a bit foolish to buy anything else.

Of course, with any performance-focused car, owners want to know how they can make their car faster with aftermarket parts and tuning. I thought the Ford Fiesta ST had pretty much everything going for it in stock form, but it’s only human nature to want to push things further.

A friend of mine just got himself a Ford Fiesta ST, and that has inspired me to write this overview on modifications and tuning for the car. Now, The Smoking Tire has already done some wonderful videos on upgrading their Fiesta ST. Because I want you, the reader, to have the best information available here, I will include those videos in this post. Also, see the table at the bottom for all the numbers in one place.

Let’s get to it!

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2016 Acura NSX, It All Comes Down To The Price

2016 Acura NSX

The 2016 Acura NSX finally made its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, and overall it looks pretty good. That said, it isn’t anything Earth-shatteringly special in supercar terms, and for that reason it does need to be a bit of a bargain. In direct terms, I think the Acura NSX needs to be a sub $150,000 car if it is to succeed.

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