Category Archives: Automotive Lifestyle

What does a car-enthused lifestyle look like?

Nostalgia Time

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This is my favorite photo of my STI, capturing it at its peak. This car is so satisfying on so many levels and, being my first car, it has a ton of sentimental value for me.

I think I still see it for what it was during my high school and college years. It was a helluva car to have during my youth, and I literally got to live out that dream of being the young guy with the fast car. And quite fast it was in the era before most cars had turbos, say 2006-2012ish.

My car with light mods and tuning had around 400hp, and performed a little better than an Audi RS4 at the time (lighter, better handling, more torque, more usable power). Sure there were plenty of faster cars out there, but I was faster than most of the common stuff, 4.6 Mustangs, 4.2 S4s, 350/370Zs, GTOs, and E46 M3s were not fucking with me. Even lightly modded Evos would fall back on a top end pull. And the races I lost, I usually hung on to some respectable stuff. I was only 1-2 car lengths behind a CTS-V Coupe at 130mph. It was real world fast, and fast enough to scare people in some pretty serious cars, Ferrari 360s, Porsche 911s, etc.

It was a crazy car in a relatively much simpler time, back when horsepower figures were only just starting to jump. Now many cars are easily this fast, either stock or with light mods. The bar has now been raised, but for six years of my youth, I was dangerous on the streets. I’m lucky and thankful that I experienced that back when I was young and dumb enough to really enjoy it. And as a bonus, I managed not to hurt anything but a few feelings along the way (especially the Mustang guys, their tears were always the sweetest 😂). Call that a win!

-Nick

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My Biggest Surprise in the Ferrari 612

Driving a Ferrari 612 on such a tight track was an eye-opening experience for me. This is a big V12 GT car meant for the open road, how on Earth did Ferrari make it handle so light and nimbly on a small track with some areas only a little bigger than an autocross? And how did the car give me so much confidence after just getting to know it that I was comfortable taking the chicane that splits up the main straight flat, reaching 200kph (124mph) on the back straight before diving into the hairpin?

Looking at this track, you wouldn’t think that sort of speed would be possible from a big car like this. The 612 should have been totally out of its element here, but it was so willing the change direction, and so nicely balanced, that it actually felt right at home. I was enthralled by Ferrari when I first drove the 430 Scuderia on track, but this 612 sold me for good on their ability to make any car drive as it should. Just as the Scuderia did, the 612 seemed to connect right to my brain stem, and driving it felt more telepathic than artificial. The fact that they could do that with a big 2 ton GT car is unbelievable. Most big GTs I’ve driven don’t really get past being merely competent in tight corners, but this 612 was genuinely playful. I remain blown away by it. And that V12!! 🎶🎶🎶

-Nick

The BMW i8 is basically what the DeLorean would’ve been

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The BMW i8 is today a lot like the DeLorean was in the early 80s.

While not nearly the political phenomenon the DeLorean was, in the market it occupies the exact same slot: a spaceship-looking car with epic doors that doesn’t perform nearly as good as it looks. In fact, the ratio of the i8’s power compared to the Ferrari 488’s is nearly identical to that of the DeLorean compared to a Ferrari 308.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love the i8 for what it is, and I enjoyed cruising around in the sapphire blue one you see above. But the i8’s party piece is its appearance rather than its performance. It’s only about as fast as a stage 2 Subaru, but it will turn as many heads in town as a Koenigsegg, especially in an insane color like this. We actually had a guy push his stroller into a curb because he was so fixated on our i8 just sitting at a red light.

The i8 is really is a concept car you can buy, but it’s more for casual drivers than enthusiasts in terms of the driving experience it offers. Also just like the DeLorean ⛄️

-Nick

Highlights from the 2019 Philadelphia Auto Show

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The Philly Auto Show was great this year. We got to see some of the hottest new industry offerings, and the CF Charities hypercar exhibit was better than ever this year. It’s always a bright spot for us Northeastern car folks in the dead of Winter. Enjoy!

Continue reading Highlights from the 2019 Philadelphia Auto Show

Maybach in its last days

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I was lucky enough to take this 57S out for a spin just a few months before Maybach folded. It was always my preference to a Rolls Phantom as a kid looking through DuPont Registry, but on my 2011 trip to Pebble Beach I drove this Maybach back to back with two Rolls Royce’s and my opinion totally changed.

The Maybach was awesome in so many ways, but it never really shakes it’s S-Class roots. But behind the wheel it drove exactly like a W220 S Class, just a little bigger and with a lot more power. It was nowhere near the unique driving experience you get in a Rolls. After driving this car, I understood why the brand was folding. It just wasn’t quite distinctive enough for those who want the opposite of a regular experience.

-Nick

Driving my first modern Jag

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The first modern Jag I ever drove was this mental XKR-S. One of just 300, it also remains one of the rarest cars I’ve driven.

I knew it would be fast with its 550hp supercharged V8, but at the time, I hadn’t expected it to be so hardcore in terms of ride and handling. This is very much on the sport end of the GT range. And the sound this thing made was unreal, a genuinely savage roar.

This was quite a car to experience back in 2011, and these are actually quite a deal today considering their rarity and performance. Just be ready to handle the obvious Jag issues. Also, as I’ve been posting all this stuff from the past, I’m starting to realize I had quite a burgundy thing going on.

-Nick

Our Proof of Concept was this Rolls Royce Phantom

We were 21 and they threw us the keys to this $500,000 Rolls Royce. That was the moment we knew our idea had worked. We started Mind Over Motor largely as a way to get access in the automotive world, and just 2 months after we launched the site, we somehow landed press passes to Pebble Beach.

A few weeks later we were doing 100mph up a beautiful stretch of coastline on 17 Mile Drive in this Phantom Drophead Coupe with the wind in our hair and huge grins on our faces.

My own mindset at the time was far too juvenile for a Rolls, but there I was with my right foot connected to a V12 and I wanted to see what it could do. Obviously, I realized the Phantom wasn’t a sports car at all, more a luxury super-yacht for the road. But it was capable, and the whole experience was immensely satisfying.

We knew we had a very ambitious idea going in, and as we pulled out past the gate in this Rolls, it hit us, this was reality. 🤘😎

-Nick Walker

Is it a Ford? Or is it a Mercedes? That infamous advertisement, 40 years on.

Back in the Seventies, Ford boldy advertised a number of self-determined similarities between the Mercedes W124 E-Class sedan with their newly-launched Granada sedan. While it didn’t exactly draw buyers to the showrooms away from the three-pointed star to the Blue Oval, it certainly got people talking at the time and was unconventional for the time. 40 years later though, I think Mercedes may have won the war. Take a look and tell me–do you see a difference? I can see it, but after a few whiskey sours, maybe I can be convinced that the Granada and the 230-E are the same car. Continue reading Is it a Ford? Or is it a Mercedes? That infamous advertisement, 40 years on.

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

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