Tag Archives: Japanese Cars

The Adorable Honda Beat at the Lane Motor Museum

Honda Beat Lane Motor Museum 4

What if someone told you they were gonna pick you up in a bright red mid-engine convertible sports car with Italian styling by Pininfarina and an engine that screams past 8,000 rpm. You would expect it to be something very impressive, a V8 Ferrari 458? a V10 Lamborghini Huracan? a V12 Pagani Zonda?

… and then this pulls up, the minuscule 3 cylinder Honda Beat!

I don’t know about you, but I’d be just as excited. I would insist on driving, though, because that’s where the fun is at. A car this light with a revvy engine and total connection with the road, I promise it’s just as much fun to drive in the real world as any Ferrari.

The Honda Beat is one of the Kei sports cars of the early 1990s. It went up against the Autozam AZ1 and the Suzuki Cappuccino. I love this genre of sports cars!

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Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition at the Lane Motor Museum

Lancer Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition Lane Museum 1

Rally driver Tommi Makinen won the World Rally Championship four years in a row between 1996 and 1999. For 2001, Mitsubishi made a special Tommi Makinen Edition Evo to commemorate his victories.

The Evo VI was never sold in the US, so this is a very rare car to see stateside. The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN has this and a bunch of other rare cars on display, many of which were also not sold here.

I do have a soft spot for these road-going rally specials. Enjoy!

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Infiniti Q70: Luxurious and Sporty with a touch of Amnesia

Infiniti Q70 13

I spent a weekend with this Infiniti Q70 while visiting my family in Minnesota. I decided to splurge on the rental because I knew the trip would have a lot of long drives in only a few short days. My Uncle George’s house on the lake is around 3 hours away from Minneapolis, so the drive actually takes longer than the flight from Philly. We were also planning to visit my Great Uncle Bill, who lives about an hour and a half away from my Uncle. So we were guaranteed at least 9 hours of continuous driving on big open roads during this trip, might as well have a car that would make it a pleasure!

I had originally booked a “Q50 or similar” but the Q70 is what they had available. It’s a car I’ve always managed to forget about, but I knew it would be nice for the drive. By the end of the trip, the Q70 had made me a big fan. It went from fairly anonymous in my mind to a practical favorite… and I had just recently driven the all-new BMW 540i.

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Miata: The Snow Review

Miata Club Ace Snow 13

When it comes to sports cars there are so many fair weather fans, people who will question driving their car if there is even one cloud in the sky. I am definitely not one of them, and those people make me laugh. I once heard a man with a base Porsche Cayman brag about how his car had never seen rain, and I had to walk away so I wouldn’t crack up in his face.

The thing is, fair weather drivers are missing out on one of the most fun driving experiences there is. I’m talking about snow, yes, white, fluffy, salt-laden snow. It comes with some risks, but the rewards are truly special. At the end of the day, a sports car is all about having fun, so why not experience it to the absolute fullest?

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$25K Used Car Shootout: Audi B8 S4 vs Lexus IS F

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For $25K you have many great options for a high-performance daily driver. If you want a brand new car you can get a Honda Civic Si or a Volkswagen GTI, both great “hot hatches” with amazing handling and turbocharged power. Looking a couple years used, you can find a current-gen Subaru WRX, or variants of the Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro. But what if you want something even more serious with more emphasis on luxury and even higher performance? For $25K, the cars will be a few years older, 8-10 years old in this case, but you are getting $60K worth of car for less than half the price.

I’m starting to look around in this general price range for my next step, and I have various options depending on what I decide to do with my current stable of cars. I decided to go have a drive in some of the cars I’ve been looking at to see what they’re really like from behind the wheel.

I went to a local dealer to check out two Audi B8 S4s, and low and behold, they had a Lexus IS F on the lot as well – it hadn’t been listed online yet. IS Fs are pretty rare, and this one was in my range, so I added it to my list to drive.

The S4 and IS F are a somewhat strange comparison, the Audi is AWD with a supercharged V6, and the Lexus is RWD with a 5.0L V8. When it comes to driving in bad weather, they don’t really do the same things. That said, both are midsize sedans that offer high performance with a lot of polish. Overall, they serve the same basic function for the same basic price, so, despite their vast differences in many areas, that means they compete.

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Toyota 200GT at The Elegance at Hershey

Toyota 2000GT Hershey 1

This legendary Japanese sports car, the Toyota 200GT, was one of the stars of The Elegance at Hershey. Its sleek sports car shape is timeless, and its classic reputation will endure as a part of the history of the automobile. It’s always awesome to see this car in person. Enjoy!

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Boba Fett takes Slave 0.5 out for a spin. Happy Halloween!

Miata Club Edition Boba Fett 4

Saturday was an unbelievably gorgeous day, and there was the promise of a torrential downpour on sunday. What better day to go for a drive?!

Being that it was also Halloweekend, I decided to wear my costume for the drive and have my buddy, Pat, shoot some photos. Boba Fett was going to take Slave 0.5 out for a nice spin, and confuse a lot of other motorists in the process!

For those of you wondering, yes, I could see just fine out of the zip-up hoodie.

We had a great drive, and I’m really happy with how the photos turned out. It’s always fun getting some action shots.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Stay safe and enjoy!

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Honda S2000 CR in the parking lot at Radnor Hunt

Honda S2000 CR at Radnor

Taking a break from the barrage of exotics we’ve had lately, this Honda S2000 CR caught our eye in the parking lot at the Radnor Hunt Concours. This is the ultimate version of the Honda S2000, built in the final stage of production. As GT3 is to Porsche 911, Club Racer is to Honda S2000. Anyone who got in on one of these is probably doing pretty well.

-Nick

Acura NSX Convertible Conversion by Newport at Driven By Purpose

Acura NSX Convertible Newport Conversion 1

I haven’t seen too many of these NSX Convertible conversions around, and this is the first time I’ve actually stopped to really take a look at one. It looks pretty much factory in most respects, and that’s about the biggest compliment one can give. The NSX definitely looks good as a roadster.

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Acura NSX Review: Can an Acura be a “full” supercar?

Acura NSX Hybrid 12

Sometimes great things do fall right in your lap. The other day I went to work and was having a pretty normal day. As I went to leave for lunch, I noticed this striking silver Acura NSX parked in front of our building. I had no idea why it was there, but where I work, at AWE Tuning, we get cool cars stopping by all the time. I checked out the NSX with my coworkers, and spoke with the driver, who I found out worked for Acura corporate. I knew my boss was going to take the car for a spin, but as we talked, he told me I could sign a release and drive the car too. Say no more, I signed the papers. It was going to be a fun lunch break…

This was crazy, a supercar drive had fallen in my lap on a random Monday afternoon. I didn’t have my proper camera on me, and the roads near work aren’t the best for testing out handling, but hey, I figured I’d make the absolute most of it. I only had about 10 minutes in the NSX, so it was just a taste, but it gave me a solid impression of what Acura’s new supercar is all about.

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