Category Archives: CARS 101

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Perpendicular Parking

Well, I’m no good at parallel parking, and if you are reading this, maybe you share the same problem. Thank our lucky stars, thougb, because Red/Green is here to help us out a bit–they’ve invented Perpendicular Parking. Watch this, and let’s try to build it ourselves.

-Albert S. Davis

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Ford Focus RS Power Modifications and Tuning

2016-ford-focus-rs-41

The Ford Focus RS is the hottest $40,000 car around right now. A new addition to the rally car segment in the US, it takes on the STI, the Golf R, and the echoes of Evos past. All things stock, the Focus RS seems to have them all beat, outgunning them by around 40 or 50hp, but what happens when aftermarket mods and tuning come into play?

The simple fact is the Focus RS’s stock turbo is out of breath around 380-400 crank horsepower on pump gas. Ford doesn’t use way oversized turbos in their cars, and as a result its basic tuning potential may seem a little lacking compared to, say, the Golf R or the Evo.

Having said that, fear not, because peak horsepower numbers are only a small portion of the story, especially for a street-driven car. So let’s have a look…

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Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S, and Toyota GT86 FA20 Tuning and Modification Guide

Stanced Scion FRS First Class FitmentThe Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S, and Toyota GT86 are all basically the same car underneath. A popular fun machine at an affordable price is an appealing thing, and they’ve sold pretty well.

Most car enthusiasts will wind up wanting to modify and upgrade their cars, tailoring its experience for their own personal tastes. There are many ways to go about modifying a Toyobaru 86 variant. This is my own take and advice on the best way to go about modifying the car intelligently and cost-effectively.

Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments…

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Vintage Electric Bicycles: One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen

I know, I know, this isn’t cars, or even really motorcycles. But it’s damn cool!

Vintage Electric Bicycles makes exactly what their name says, and I was captivated by their creations when I saw this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.

Essentially it’s an electric bicycle that goes 20-36 mph, but the company has given their products an unbelievable sense of style. Also, 36 mph is only do-able in “race mode” which “isn’t street legal”, but like all fun things, just get that option and run it on the road anyway.

I guarantee you’ll want one of these sweet bikes after you watch this video. And if you’ve got an extra $5,000 laying around, I’d say go for it.

Enjoy!

-Nick

Lexus IS-F Modification and Tuning Guide (UPDATED)

lexus-isf-wallpaper-modified

So I’m considering the possibility of purchasing a Lexus IS-F in the next few months, and I’ve been doing a lot of research. (I guess I was just inspired by the Lexus RC-F I recently reviewed) In addition to looking into the car’s seemingly stellar long term quality and reliability, I’ve been checking out what sort of extra performance can be extracted from it with upgrades.

Now, the stock IS-F may well be enough for me, but it’s always nice to know how much more power I could have should I want it. So here’s what I’ve found…

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Don’t Let The Dieselgate Recall Ruin Your VW TDI Experience

Volkswagen TDI Dieselgate

Volkswagen TDIs are incredible vehicles, despite much of the public sentiment right now, propagated by the whole Dieselgate debacle. 

Disagree? Then try achieving over 50 MPG while cruising at 90mph in any other car… a Pruis will barely even go that fast, let alone be efficient there.

Many Volkswagen TDI owners are very worried about the Dieselgate recall ruining their car’s performance, fuel mileage, and resale value — more so than the possibility of their car killing a few extra birds.

This article is for the informed diesel buyers, and probably not the those who bought their cars based on some vast “green” marketing fantasy. Everyone who knows diesel, knows it’s not the cleanest option, but they also know that its durabiltiy and efficiency makes up for that.

So if you’re starting to feel angry about the bird comment, then I suggest you stop reading here because the rest of this article will only piss you off even more.

For the rest of you, I want to discuss the best course of action for TDI owners who want to keep their diesels running solid after the recall is implemented. And yes, that means running a bit dirty to retain the outstanding performance and fuel economy, which are likely the main reasons you purchased a TDI. I will also discuss my take on what will most likely happen with the value of TDIs in the coming years (utilizing my degree in economics!).

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Why Is Paddle Shift Killing the Manual Transmission, and is it a good thing?

Paddle Shift vs Manual 2015

I am someone who has publicly lamented the decline of the manual transmission. But I’m also someone who has enjoyed the merits of modern paddle shift gearboxes in many different cars.

I find myself very much split on this issue.  So lets take a look at the various reasons why shifter paddles are replacing a gear lever and a third pedal in some of our favorite cars, and consider if it really is a good thing or not.

Note: To clear this up right away, by “paddle shift” I mean cars with automated manual gearboxes, either dual-clutch or single-clutch. I am in no way talking about anything like a Toyota Camry with the “sport package”, which has paddle shifters as a marketing gimmick.

1. More versatile on the road. (Having your cake and eating it too)

If you had something like a Lamborghini Diablo back in the mid 1990s chances are you had a lot of fun out on the open road. However, when you got into town and hit traffic, the heavy clutch made driving the car more of a $250,000 chore than an enjoyable way to spend a weekend afternoon. Considering the average speed of traffic on most roads is around 25-30mph, you’d be spending far more time putting along slowly than stretching the car’s legs. It’s a wonder why most owners hardly ever drove their exotic cars.

Today, Lamborghini only offers their cars with a paddle shift transmission. The sales numbers spoke for themselves. Once paddle shift was offered back around 2004, demand for manual Lambos simply fell off.

Paddle shift basically solved all the issues described above with the Diablo. Now, in an Aventador, you can rip your way into town and then just put the car in automatic mode when you hit traffic. You have a car that is a ferocious supercar when you want one, but is also just as easy to drive as a Toyota Camry when you don’t. You are no longer writing a six-figure check to put yourself through misery. And I agree, that is a major plus, especially in cars that had very difficult manual gearboxes like most supercars did.

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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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