All posts by ndubs77

A New Definition of “Sharp”: Driving My First Ferrari

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This was my first drive in a Ferrari, a 430 Scuderia. Right after my drive in the Lambo, I hopped into this Scud, the stripped-out track-focused version of the F430.

I was used to driving sports cars, my STI and my dad’s 911, and I had just driven the Gallardo, but I cannot emphasize enough how much sharper this Ferrari felt than the lot of them. It didn’t feel like a machine I was operating, but more like it connected right to my brain stem and became a part of me out on the track. I’d had my warm up in the Lambo, and with the deeper connection in the Ferrari, I really started to get in my groove.

I listened to the instructor and I wound up being able to enter corners at speeds I hadn’t thought possible. By the end, I was reaching around 125 on the main straight and entering the next corner at 90, where before I had only thought 60 or 70 was possible. It was an unbelievable rush, and the car gave me the confidence to really focus on learning.

Most Ferraris offer an amazing experience, but on track, a 430 Scuderia is more amazing than most of them. It was one hell of a hands-on introduction to the prancing horse.

Continue reading A New Definition of “Sharp”: Driving My First Ferrari

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What is the point of a Toyota with BMW reliability and running costs?

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That question has been on my mind all day, because looking at the new Supra, I see a lot of BMW parts where Toyota’s build quality really matters (engine, drivetrain, etc). If the Supra shares all of the BMW electronics as well, then this will likely be the most unreliable Toyota of all time. And it’s going to be built in Austria, so you know it will. That’s kinda shitty for a brand who is otherwise the benchmark of reliability and long term quality.

Don’t get me wrong, I love much of what they’ve done with this new Supra, and I’m sure they will deliver a brilliantly executed car on the front end. I like the look, I like its flavor, and I’m sure I’ll love the performance. I drove a BMW X3 M40i and loved it, the Supra has that engine with RWD and over 1,000lbs less weight. It will be fun, no doubt.

But how will these fair a decade or two from now? I’m not that confident.

The Supra’s other massive shortcoming is the lack of a manual transmission option. This is a small 2 seat sports car, not a supercar, not a GT car, not a sedan. It needs a manual to “be all it can be.” End of story. Toyota should at least fix that, and we can all find a way to live with the BMW issues underneath.

I just want to be clear, here. I don’t count myself as a Supra hater. I actually really like the car overall, but I have high standards in a world of increasing compromise. To me, the MKV Supra is a C+/B- as it sits. If they just add a crisp-shifting Japanese manual to the mix it would climb to a B+/A-. To get the full A+ it would need the full bulletproof Toyota build quality, but unfortunately, that just wasn’t feasible in the current market climate.

It’s a good effort, but there is some very clear room for improvement. For most driving enthusiasts, a small sports car with 2 pedals simply isn’t on the menu, especially not for $60 grand when you could have the manual Porsche 997 of your dreams instead.

-Nick

The Dream Realized: Driving My First Supercar

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This was the moment the dream was first realized. I was finally driving my first bonafide supercar! It was this bright orange Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, and I drove it on track at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas. This was also my first time on a proper race track too, so I had everything to learn.

I remember pulling out on the track. I just floored it in 1st and it broke all 4 tires loose, then chirped them again into 2nd. The ferocity of the acceleration and the roar of that V10 were unlike anything I could have imagined. Before that, I had only driven a few cars around 400hp, so this was by far the fastest car I’d experienced.

Being such a novice I did my best in the corners, TC saved me big time once, but I made full use of the short straight on all of my laps, clocking around 115 or so by the time I had to brake.

In hindsight, I was so sloppy, but I had a blast realizing my childhood dream of driving a supercar for the first time. A screaming Lamborghini is a great first experience to have.

-Nick

Driving my first exotic

We all have our firsts, and this was the first exotic car I ever drove, an ’02 Maserati Spyder like the one you see here (only a lot rougher around the edges).

I basically just bullshitted my way into a test drive at a used car lot down the shore. In true Italian style, the convertible top wouldn’t go down, but otherwise, it was in decent shape.

This was also my first experience with a proper paddle shift transmission. I found it shifted nicely at speed, but it was utter dog shit in traffic. I proceeded, enjoying the lovely Italian V8 engine, and I almost chirped the tires in front of a cop.

It was a fun test drive in a car which at the time was quite special in the eyes of 20 year old me…. if I only knew what was to come 😂👍

-Nick

Enter the Miata

The Miata embodies the balance I was seeking in life, both as a car enthusiast as well as in my own mindset. At a time when I was about to go full ego with a big turbo on my Subaru, one of my buddies bought this little black 93 and offered to sell it to me at the end of summer. I sold my turbo and accompanying parts and made it happen.

EVO Magazine said the Miata has the same sort of experience as other sports cars, but in the Miata everything happens in slow motion so there’s more time to savor it. That piqued my interest big time, and as a bonus, driving the Miata also made my Subaru feel fast again, and I came to realize that having multiple complementary cars beats having one crazy car every time.

I came to love the Miata’s total lack of ego, and the strategy involved in driving a momentum car fast. It’s really all about blissfully enjoying life, and it has no greater purpose than that.

I call this photo the Miata Yin Yang ☯️ and it was taken by my buddy @danvphotos who had the white Miata. We had some great drives in these cars, neither of which we have anymore, but they set the stage for the future.

-Nick

The Car I Know 2nd Best: My Dad’s Porsche 996

I’ve got a secret to tell you, the Porsche 996 is a ton of fun, despite the hate it gets from Porsche “purists.” It’s surely not the last word in Porsche perfection, but it is a really satisfying sports car experience, especially when you consider the money. Sure a 997 is better, but you’ll spend more than double for it.

My dad traded his 944 for this 996 a few months after I got my Subaru, and it’s the car I know second best in this world.

300hp in a 2900lb car, RWD with an LSD, and a 6 speed manual transmission with perfect gearing. The handling is sharp and nimble and the flat 6 engine howls with fury as the revs climb. It puts most other sports cars in its price range to shame, and there is nothing missing from the experience.

My dad still enjoys it, and I’ve been thankful he’s let me enjoy it over the years as well. It’s a Porsche you can really get out and drive because it has nothing to prove. I love that.

-Nick

I was “that kid” in the STi in 2006

My first car, a 2004 Subaru WRX STi, which I still have 12 years later.

Yes, my dad bought it for me, and yes I was the stereotype kid with the STi in 2006. I did lots of really dumb things, insane 100+ speeds on roads definitely not meant for that. I embarrassed many Mustangs and even a few M3s and Porsches, and I somehow managed not to crash it along the way. I was always “smart” about being stupid, I guess.

I had the STI at the best time to have an STi, in high school 😂👍and it was fucking awesome. I enjoyed the hell out of it during my young and reckless years. It could’ve gotten me in a hell of a lot of trouble, both legally and physically, but it also proved good enough to get me out of any such trouble, either by way of slowing down or speeding up (if you catch my drift 😉🏎💨🚓).

I continue to hold onto it because I still really love it when it’s running right. It’s a nostalgic relic of my 19 year old self, and it brings me back every time I drive it.

-Nick

For me, as a driver, this is Genesis

Porsche_944_Turbo_Red_4New year, new beginning, and it’s making me think back on my journey as a driver and car enthusiast as I consider where I want to go from here.

My car obsession began as a kid, but my enthusiast driving really began with this, a 1990 Porsche 944 S2 just like the one shown here (not my photo). My Dad wanted to teach me to drive stick and he also wanted a sports car for some fun, so we found this 944 with 142k miles for around $9 grand and it was absolutely perfect. I first went over 100mph in this car, and my dad was very cool about it. I also learned to “drift” by sliding this car with it’s perfect 50/50 weight distribution (not sure if Dad knows that).

This car opened my eyes to the world of sports cars from the time I was 16 on a learner’s permit and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the 944. For me as a driver, this is Genesis.

-Nick Walker

Ford GTs at the Scarsdale Concours

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Inspired by the Le Mans decimating Ford GT40 of the 1960s, the Ford GT is a unique American supercar that has taken on the Europeans for two generations now. The older Gord GT from the mid-2000s is among the pinnacle analog supercars that will ever be made. The new Ford GT takes modern supercar design and technology to the next level, a truly unique offering on supercar menu of 2018-19.

Someone brought both GTs to the Scarsdale Concours this year and it was quite a sight to see them together. I got to sit in the new GT, and my God does it feel like the cockpit of a spaceship inside. Such a special machine.

Enjoy the gallery!

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