Tag Archives: Japanese Cars

Thoughts from the A90 Supra

I spent a little time driving the new A90 Supra for the second time today. I’ve had some time to collect my thoughts now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I really enjoy this car a lot.

Continue reading Thoughts from the A90 Supra

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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

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

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

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

Plymouth Sapporo Technica at Radwood Philly

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Once upon a time, Dodge made a great car called the Challenger. Then, in the late 1970s, they had their first stab at bringing the great name back. But, reality was hard on the new Challenger. It was based on a dowdy Mitsubishi Galant Lambda, and its Plymouth counterpart shown here, the Sapporo, wasn’t exactly a paragon of technology, speed, or style. But, someone brought this example to Radwood, and I had to say I was impressed. It’s not perfect, but Plymouth’s desire to bring a small, sporty coupe with Japanese dynamics and American style (or some of it) to the market is clear through this black-and-silver Technica. I don’t think I’ll see another one of these anytime soon, so I took in as much as I could. Enjoy the photos. Continue reading Plymouth Sapporo Technica at Radwood Philly

A Fall Drive in the STI

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I don’t have much to say, mostly just the photos I shot. But the STI was finally running well again, so I took it out for a Fall drive on Sunday. It was like spending time with an old friend after a long time apart.

Continue reading A Fall Drive in the STI

Ferrari F12 next to a Prius in Greenwich, CT

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Like Yin and Yang in perfect harmony, the fast and ostentatious Ferrari F12 sat side by side with the slow and humble Toyota Prius. Two very different lifestyles met to attend the same festival of Automobillia, the Greenwich Concours.

It’s a lovely place.

-Nick