2001 Acura Integra RS – Diehards


I don’t know why we work so well under pressure, we merely do. That’s an understatement coming from Jason Park, owner of Fluid Control Solutions of Porter Ranch, California. Jason with his fantastic driver, Chris Cook, are old hands at turning wrenches and had been running their original Integra, nicknamed Ghost Rider, until an untimely guide to a wall took it out of commission.

The passing of Ghost Rider (1.) left the FCS guys with a problem, a ton of sponsors for a car that was inoperable and eight weeks to acquire back about the track. After sourcing a stripped Integra from a good friend, the car was treated into a nice acid bath as well as a full stitch-welded chassis due to a pair of Harbor Freight engine stands plus some ingenious engineering. With the car cleaned and after aggressively stripping any signs of non-vital metal through the carcass, it weighed in at a svelte 600 pounds. The FCS guys were in a time crunch but wouldn’t cut corners. Jason adds, Nothing was ignored in this project. If time allowed, we went HAM on the fabrication side of things. That started having a customized 25.5 certified rollcage along with a modified lightweight Wilwood aluminum pedal assembly. The front end of the car was reengineered to incorporate a custom drag splitter along with a chromoly birdcage to add reinforcement; that matched the one-off bellypan and catch pan installed to reduce drag and increase the cutting negative effects of the aero.

01 2001 acura integra exospeed 3 piece front endwithin eight weeks is a tall order for anyone, so the FCS guys looked back. The drivetrain, suspension, and interior bits were all good, so we took what we could. The Integra was changing back into a genuine car, especially after being sprayed with a fresh coat of paint, although jason states, The back half of Ghost Rider 1. was shot. Furthermore, each of the chassis components were blasted with powder, but after laying across the color, it only left the FCS team with five days to build an entirely functioning race car. Jason recalls, We got it back from the painters and had to tap, align, fit, assemble, fix, redrill and upholster and start the auto when there wasn’t a bolt about this new canvas.

04 2001 acura integra RS exospeed forged star 8 wheel

05 2001 acura integra RS FCS fab battery box

06 2001 acura integra RS exhaust port

A week’s worth of sleepless nights and coffee runs later, the FCS guys piloted their miracle build to your 9-second pass in Vegas, which might have been a finale for some other shops. Like all hard-core drag enthusiast, Jason and Chris and all of those other team wanted more. Jason recalls, We contacted BorgWarner about attending races on the other side of the country for the first time. There was a catch, we had to convert our new outlaw-spec vehicle to a SFWD car to compete inside the Airwerks BorgWarner shootout at Englishtown, New Jersey, in 2 weeks! The guys were treading in unknown waters, so they hitched up and headed east to meet up with Chris Miller of New York-a big fish inside the competitive drag racing pool.

Jason said, We needed to change everything; the manifold, intercooler, the leading end-even put the interior way back in. After meeting up with Miller, and one a lot of energy drinks, the crew got the car prepped in record efforts and hit the asphalt at Englishtown where some mechanical problems resulted in a less-than-stellar performance. A quick jaunt returning to Cali got the FCS guys an entirely built GS-R cylinder head stuffed with Web cams and rockers and a Supertech valvetrain. The wiring harness and engineThe guys hit a rather large problem-a hurricane, although once back around the east coast, the FCS guys set their sights on the World Cup Finals in Maryland! Jason adds, Sandy hit. Battering the store like a tin can, blowing out the lights, tearing the compressor apart, and destroying everything in its path. Hurricane Sandy de-activate the northeast and left it with no power, no heat, without any gas. And where was the FCS crew? Sleeping in a dark shop using hand tools to finish prepping their race car. After three days for being elbow deep in the Integra, the crew emerged to utter disaster. New York, New Jersey, and most of the coast was in ruins, but that didn’t stop these diehards. After rummaging through debris looking for ramps, welders, and gasoline, they loaded the car and headed for Maryland, for one more race. Diehards? Yeah, you might say that.

Santa Paula Chevrolet

Can’t Miss Cars to Get If You’re A Musician

There are tons of stuff that go into becoming a professional musician. Let’s set aside the years of tedious practice, striving to be the best at an art form that so very few people appreciate. So many people who are inferior both musically and technically than you are at your very same instrument are making millions off it yet you might be struggling. It doesn’t seem fair. And it isn’t fair. But aside from all of that, what else goes into becoming a musician? You have the logistics side of things and when it comes to logistics, just about the most important things you can look at is how to get around town for your personal gigs, within town and out of town. You’ll need to have a car that is great for both. So, what’s the ideal cars to your musician way of life?

Honda Fit


The Honda Fit is one of the more versatile cars which we can think about that a busy gigging musician should consider. First, of all, it’s a hatch back so you can get your upright bass, or your drum kit, or maybe you 1000 pound guitar amp in there no issue. That alone makes it an incredible car for everyone and anyone. Add into that the fact that it’s a Honda, so it’s got reliability going for it as well. If you roll-up to the venue, no one’s going to mock you for having a gramma car or some sort of vehicle that will repel the ladies away, also, the Fit is a nice looking car, so. The Honda Fit is a fantastic choice and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Honda Odyssey


Then there’s the ladies favorite, the Honda Odyssey. What makes the Odyssey such a great car for the musician? It’s a cushy mini van for one therefore you know it’ll be able to hold all the gear you could ever want except if you have some sort of elaborate light show, but by then you’ll be on a fleet of buses anyway. If you’re gonna do some runs outside of town, the Odyssey can house all the gear and the band, and also not kill you at the fuel pumps, also. This is actually the best car for someone who is going to take this career seriously. , like the Fit, it’s a Honda, so you will know it’s gonna last and get you there without issue.again and in addition

Nissan Cube


I know what you’re thinking: you wouldn’t be caught dead inside a cube. And you’re not wrong, this stuff are top tier ugly. Also how well it handles on the road, though but when we first saw the Cube at Nissan Fontana after our initial laughing in hysterics, we took it for a drive and were pretty impressed with not just its comfort. It’s amazing that they would design this vehicle being so horrendously unattractive, but because of that, its cost is below what might otherwise be and so you will get those savings. Take a test drive today at Downtown Nissan.

1971 Porsche 911 T-S/T – Agent Orange


Prior to the Panamera and Cayenne, it was widely acknowledged that Porsche aficionados fell into either the air-cooled or water-cooled camps. And now that’s further splintered into early- and late-model camps forming within the ranks of 911 enthusiasts.

The resurgence useful in the earlier cars caused values of machines just like the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 to soar a couple of years back. The unobtainable price prompted an explosion of replicas on this iconic lightweight homologation model, with mainly 911 SC and Carrera 3.2 models being utilized as donor cars because of their relatively low value and galvanized bodyshells.RSR and RS values have continued to skyrocket as people flee the banks like a place to park their cash, the RS mania has slowed down somewhat. Many enthusiasts, interested in the smaller and lighter early ’70s cars, have fixed their sights on earlier ‘long hood’ competition models like the 911 R, S/T and R/R for inspiration,. That’s part of the reason.

These late ’60s and early ’70s models are equally iconic thanks to competition glory. They made their mark in European rally and race events in the hands of drivers like Bjorn Waldegaard ahead of the 911 RS was even conceived.

One man inspired by the pre-RS competition 911 models is enthusiast Robert Abbott. He decided to build this stunning 911 S/T replica from the fourth of his seven-car early Porsche collection, that includes a 356 Speedster and ’68 911 S.

Originally a ’71 911 T that left the factory in the same Signal Orange it now wears, the auto wore four Cibie Pallas lamps as he acquired it. “”””I was after a mix of 911 R performance combined with street comfort,”””” Rob explained. With this thoughtwho was one of the original Mulholland racers and remains an encyclopedia of Porsche knowledge. He began by stripping the car to bare metal in Fall 2010 to assess its condition. The car was in good shape along with the pair agreed their goal would be to construct a car that could have been an interim competition model in between the 1971 and ’72 S/T.

Towards the expert, the visual distinction between this car and a genuine S/T is the lack of the front lip spoiler fitted to the seven factory-built cars in 1972. Apart from that, the external oil and fuel caps are an homage for the 911 R and ultralight ’70/71 factory-backed S/T cars that competed in the Tour de France.

The shell was shipped to Kundensport in Camarillo, CA where the original steel bumpers were reworked to S/T spec. They then fitted steel S/T flares, an aluminum engine lid and balsawood-reinforced clear-framed, fiberglass front lid, all supplied by TRE Motorsports.

Kundensport would modify the hood and gas tank for the race-style filler system with bladed gas cap from TRE. They also installed the ’72 oil tank supplied by the property owner, as well as the cap and filler neck from TRE.

The 911 was then painted by Kundensport and reassembled with TRE-sourced weather seal lenses, kit and lights, lightweight chrome door handles and a weld-in S/T-RSR front strut brace. TRE further provided competition-style front and rear lid hold-downs along with lightweight hinges, while the unusual Talbot 300 mirrors ended up being saved by Rob for just such a project.

The original 15″””” S/T forged factory Fuchs wheels are light, strong, extremely rare and hideously expensive. So a set of more available 15×8″””” Fuchs were sent to Harvey Weidman at Weidman’s Wheels inOroville and CA, being turned into 15×9 and x10″””” replicas.for the driver and navigator’s seat for the passenger

With the shell away, the team could target the motor. Whilst the original S/T was powered by a high-strung 2.5-liter flat-six, Rob chose the ’80s Carrera 3.2L engine instead. Having a swept capacity of 3164cc from a 95×74.4mm bore and stroke, the stock 3.2L has more inherent grunt and feels potent when asked to move a car almost 500 lb lighter than its original recipient.

Left internally stock, it received an aluminum flywheel and pressure plate, 2.7 RS distributor, re-jetted triple-throat 46mm PMO downdraft carburetors, SSI aluminum heat exchangers and a Dansk muffler that had been modified by TRE to make three outlets like the rally version.

While the 240hp on tap may not sound like a lot by modern standards, keep this in mind car weighs less than 2000 lb!

Once installed, the Carrera motor was visually complemented by TRE’s clear shroud that replaces the factory tinwork in the engine bay.

The transmission is really a period ’71 five-speed 911 gearbox with dogleg first, reworked to handle the output of the brand new motor.

The suspension was uprated with period-correct Koni struts and hydraulic dampers. Then 930 Turbo 26mm rear torsion bars were paired with the stock 18.8mm bars at the front.

This set-up was utilized by the heavier 930 Turbo, so fine-tuning was done with a 22mm Weltmeister adjustable anti-roll bar on each axle to balance the relative front/rear roll stiffness. Finally, the brakes were uprated using 911 S calipers.

When embarking on a retro project like this you will need to decide if the car is only going to look like an S/T from the outside or even be a near perfect replica inside also. As it happens, Rob chose a third way, that has been to build a custom interior. After discussions with Dave, they decided to fit custom door panels with aadd a vent to the main instrument move and panel the clock over to the left side. The tacho now incorporates the fuel meter, while oil temp, pressure and level are all in one large dial.

The carpet is mostly original, apart from new sections replacing worn areas. A reproduction competition footrest was also fitted.

TRE supplied early Recaro-style race seats, with a deep bucket to the driver and with a less contoured navigator-style seat for the passenger.

The steering wheel can be a vintage Abarth piece, again kept from the owner and more ergonomic the skinny rim the factory supplied. Gear selection is via a Wevo classic short shifter, mounted on a black anodized 915 tower.

On the rally stage, the passenger’s job will be to read pace notes and work the chronometers that sit where the stereo would normally be. The radio head unit is now hidden, as well as speakers behind the back side panels with the basketweave perforated to allow the sound to travel.

Seatbelts were a brand new fad in the ’70s but this car has modern inertia reel belts and a aluminum TRE roll-bar behind the seats. Auto Foreign Services supplied the reproduction rear-seat delete and storage box kit.

12 1971 porsche 911 TST cibie pallas rally lamps

09 1971 porsche 911 TST fuchs wheel

05 1971 porsche 911 TST side view

Behind The Wheel

The advantage of fuel injection is the lack of carburetor jets that require constant adjustment. the, However and Dave team at TRE Motorsports are among a small group of 911 maestros who practically wrote it on tuning carb-equipped cars like this. So it was no great surprise when the flat-six burst into life and idled smoothly, its two triple-throat PMO carbs reminding me how sharp throttle response was be before single throat, plenum-based fuel injection.

A couple of blips to enjoy the induction noises and that itheir particular on canyon roads

The suspension, its low weight and small physical size made the 911 a genuine weapon on-track and out and about. The power and size allowed you to slip through gaps in traffic with an agility many modern cars simply don’t possess.

The engine torque was immediately evident and meant you could drive in a higher gear than instinct tells you. And as you gain speed, the ride becomes smoother, getting into its own on fast canyon roads. Which was always its intended purpose. If you were able to take a crack at Mulholland, away from traffic and cops, Rob’s TRE 911 S/T would be a real blast.

However, it’s unlikely you’ll see this Signal Orange 911 anywhere near Mulholland because it’s now in your house with its owner in Maryland. But if you live on the East Coast, stay alert for sightings of this rapid 911. It sounds as good as it seems.

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series & SLS AMG Electric Drive – First Drive


Who will have thought so many variants could spin off from the SLS AMG? Just 3 years down the line looking at the launch, the SLS family now has five models to pick from.

If the new Black Series is the Evil Twin, then the Electric Drive is its green conscience. The fastest and first all-electric supercar will go into production in May, hitting European showrooms in July but with a whopping 416,000-euro (about $540,000) price.

2014 mercedes benz SLS AMG electric drive status display

2014 mercedes benz SLS AMG electric drive display

2014 mercedes benz SLS AMG electric drive battery meter

Until you acquaint yourself together with the terminology of electric cars, the specification can be baffling – battery content of 60kwh and a maximum charging load of 600kw seems like the specification of your local power station rather than transportation.

Do the math, however, and also you discover this battery capacity equates to the equivalent of 730hp and 738 lb-ft to all four wheels. Thus, despite its hefty 4850 lb curb weight, the Electric Drive launches to 60mph in 3.9sec, just .2sec behind the 563bhp gasoline-powered Mercedes-Benz SLS.

Stopping Distances Explained

Everybody has to learn about stopping distances before they take their drivers test to get their license?

Stopping distances are a mix of two things:

• The thinking distance – the length of road travelled from when you see something which will need you to stop and in reality hitting the brake pedal

• The braking distance – the amount of road travelled from first using the brakes to actually coming to a stop


Both of these things can be influenced by a variety of outside influences and circumstances, all of which have to be taken into consideration when calculating the safest stopping distance and for that reason the space you must leave in between your vehicle and also the vehicle in front of you.

Thinking Distance

Many factors can affect this, not just the speed at which the vehicle is travelling.

• Tiredness / alertness

• Alcohol

• Drugs – illegal and legal drugs can have an influence

• Age – older drivers may have slower reactions which implies a longer thinking distance is needed

• Distractions – like switching channels on the radio or fiddling with a mobile phone

• Impaired vision – this can increase the reaction distance needed

Braking Distance

This can also be influenced by many different factors, as well naturally as the speed at which the auto is travelling.

• The body weight of the car

• The condition of the tires – the braking distance will be increased when tires are worn, particularly in wet weather

• The brakes – the condition of the brakes obviously includes a big impact on the amount of stopping distance needed. Worn brake discs and pads will both mean that the vehicle will need longer to stop

• Road conditions – it can always take longer to stop once the roads are icy or wet . . . so remember to take this under consideration when driving

• Road surface – the condition of the surface of the road and the grade of the road maintenance can also affect stopping distances. If a road is covered with gravel, mud or dirt the stopping distance will likely be increased


So how far does it get you to stop, what distance should you really allow when driving down the road at different speeds?

Here’s a listing to give you an idea, notice just how much the stopping distances increase as you drive faster, it can be quite surprising. If any of these factors are to be considered, you should also remember that these distances are calculated for driving along in the well maintained car in good weather and road conditions so need to be increased.

20 mph – The thinking distance when driving at 20 mph is 20 feet, the braking distance is about the same which supplies a grand total of 40 feet stopping distance.

30 mph – When driving at 30 mph you will need 30 feet worth of thinking distance but 45 feet of braking distance, a sharp rise to 75 feet stopping distance.

50 mph – The faster you drive the better the stopping distances rise. When travelling at 50 mph you need 50 feet of thinking distance yet 125 feet of braking distance . . . an overall of 175 feet.

70 mph – Although the thinking distance remains pretty constant (you will need 70 feet of thinking distance at 70 mph) the braking distance increases to your whopping 245 feet . . . 315 feet as a whole.


You will still need to heed the stopping distances, though it is essential which you give yourself the appropriate amount of stopping distance towards the speed at which you are travelling. At Nissan Montclair they’ve got a bit of great cars with superb brakes. Browse the choices at Metro Nissan Redlands.

1997 Honda Civic Type R – Arcade To CTR


It’s safe to say that the majority of us spent a good slice of our childhoods glued to some PlayStation controller, pretending to jump behind the wheel of our favorite Japanese dream machines. Though we always wanted to experience that one awesome car in real life, there appeared to be a never-ending list of reasons why we would never get that opportunity-an absence of funds, strict U.S. importation laws, and maybe the fact that we weren’t even old enough to operate legally. Whatever the reason, most of us stumbled on accept that we would probably never get the chance to own or drive one of these cars.

For Chris Parker, that digital dream ride was the EK9 Honda Civic Type R. No matter how a lot of time he spent playing Gran Turismo, he never seemed to grow tired with the wail of the B16 screaming through his television speakers. While it seemed impossible, Chris continued to desire someday owning and building his very own Championship White CTR.

The journey began when Chris turned 16 and got his license, as it often does. By using his close friends James and Mike, Chris managed to buy, sell, and trade his way up the Honda food chain. What followed was a natural progression that takes place among many diehard Honda-heads: a slew of numerous U.S. market Civics, an Integra Type R, and even an RHD-converted EG hatchback.

1997 honda civic type r mr alex wing brackets

1997 honda civic type r ARC magic front splitters

1997 honda civic type r shine rear diffuser

After owning and working on several different platforms, Chris begun to think he would never locate a genuine CTR stateside. He settled for an EG coupe and began to get pretty serious about a much more involved build. Unfortunately, after taking his coupe to only two car shows, he was caught up in a bad accident that totaled the EG. It was at this time that Chris contemplated quitting on the car scene altogether.

As fate would have it, the car bug came to bite even harder than it had before. Chris begun to search again for a mint condition Honda canvas to develop from. Much to his surprise, the very car he had piloted countless times before in video gaming was on the market: a genuine Championship White ’97 Honda Civic Type R. Less than twenty four hours later, Chris came home with the Honda he have been dreaming of for many years.

Unfortunately, turning a 14-year-old chassis to the high-quality car you see before you decide to isn’t as easy as tapping the X button a few times within the virtual tuning shop. Once the car arrived at its new house in Virginia, it was in pretty rough shape. The outside of the aging hatchback was riddled with dents and dings. The once sparkling Championship White paint was yellow and dingy.

Eventually, all the basics were covered. The CTR was a decent street performer and was presentable enough to make an appearance at a car show or two during the summer months. Even though it wasn’t perfect, Chris was more or less satisfied with the mildly modified state of the car. But as we know, most of us is only able to be content for so long.

1997 honda civic type r MOMO mod 8 suede steering wheelSome day, while his Type R was parked at work, a contractor backed into the front end with his truck, damaging the top bumper and lip. Chris was beyond bummed, just days before a serious local car meet. He decided it was time to completely build the car from the ground up just how he had envisioned it from the start.

In November 2011, Chris stripped and gutted the Civic down to a totally bare shell. Nearly all of his aftermarket parts were sold to ensure a brand new, clean start from scratch. The very first item that needed to be addressed was the paint. The automobile was trailered to Four Seasons Auto Body to achieve the engine bay and exterior completely reconditioned. A fresh coat of paint was sprayed in the engine bay to freshen things up and take off years of grime. But being the purist that he is, Chris planned to maintain the OEM original exterior paint. Your body was treated to a full restoration to remove the dings and bring back the snow-white appearance and shine it had in the event it rolled off of the assembly line in Japan.

With the car back home, the time had come to drop the engine to the freshly painted bay. It absolutely was around this period that the this item happens to be on back order emails began to flood Chris’ inbox. His dedication to building a true CTR just like one you might see lapping Tsukuba Circuit in Japan meant he would strive to only install parts from the best Japanese manufacturers, hence enduring long wait times to find the quality pieces he wanted.

No Honda build could be complete with out a spotless engine bay, by today’s standards. Chris spared no expense to ensure his Civic’s bay was just as spotless as his exterior. The first thing you’ll notice once you pop the hood is a burning sensation in your retinas. This bay is shiny! More than a dozen different OEM and aftermarket components inside the bay have been polished, such as the valve cover and custom intake manifold. This Civic is still packing plenty of scoot, although don’t be fooled through the bling-bling appearance. A genuine Feels header is mated to your Buddy Club Spec II straight pipe exhaust for many good flow and a rather menacing exhaust note. Inside the B16, Eagle connecting rods and pistons ensure that the internals are around the task of cranking out a few more ponies than as soon as theinto the infamous black and red CTR interior with a polished Circuit Hero shifter extender and shift knob. Though the standard Type R interior is really a masterpiece by itself, Chris took things one step further with the addition of a couple of classy ultrasuede Status Hockenheim bucket seats and a Status four-point cam-lock harness. The factory controls has been substituted with something even more comfortable than a PS2 controller: a MOMO Mod 8 suede steering wheel.

This CTR’s aggressive stance is made possible by a pair of Function and Form Type 1 coilovers. A host of both functional and blinged out braces are already added to the chassis to stiffen things up a bit. Once again, Chris’ love of polished parts shines through in their choice of rolling stock for his Civic. A set of Work Meister S1 16×7 wheels wrapped in Falken Ziex 912 rubber make for a great combo and provide the CTR by using a unique look.

Because they build every aspect of it to the highest standards, though chris Parker has been able to do something few car enthusiasts will ever get the chance to accomplish by not only purchasing his go-to JDM video-game car of preference. Though it took him years of searching plus some different iterations to reach the state it’s in now, Chris has built himself something not $1M credits in Gran Turismo can buy.

1997 honda civic type r hasport engine mount

1997 honda civic type r custom intake

1997 honda civic type r rook industries m brace

Specs & Details

’97 Honda Civic Type R

Engine Honda B16B 1.8L I4

Engine Modifications Eagle connecting rods, pistons; Wire-Worx Raychem engine harness; Mishimoto hoses, slim fan, fan shroud; Feels header, radiator, radiator cap; Buddy Club Spec II exhaust; K-Tuned fuel fittings, water-filled fuel gauge, fuel lines, inline fuel filter; Spoon oilcap and thermostatsteel brake lines

If this weren’t for him I wouldn’t even know how to focus on Hondas; and most of all, my loving fiancee, who always hops in the vehicle to ride for hours just to sit around at car meet, special Thanks Justin Nunnally; Forbes Auto Body; Mike Young aka @the_detailer; Chris at DressUpBolts.com; Wire-worx.com; my neighbors for never calling the cops and instead lending us a hand in the process; my best friend, James Braner, who is not really with us-s.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Sport – First Drive


The all-new entry-level Mercedes CLA sedan could be regarded as the spiritual successor for the legendary 190E from 1983. And when it reaches showrooms later this coming year, it will be the very first front-wheel drive Mercedes to ever be sold in the US.

Depending on the European A-Class hatchback platform, the CLA will also arrive with a world record. Putting a trunk about thethis can be for the CLA180 Blue Efficiency – an economy model sold only in Europe – although the .23 Cd of the CLA250 Sport that can be sold is still ground-breaking, beating the .25 Cd of the Toyota Prius.

Just like all hatchbacks converted into sedans, the styling is awkward but still successful. They have an angular front-end, with all the aggressive grille seemingly at odds using the elegant rear-end.

In practical terms, the generous trunk volume of 12.4cuft is nearly identical to the C-Class sedan, while the split rear seats give you a good amount of versatility.

The front side cabin is identical to the A-Class, with the adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel which makes it easy to find a cushy position. Rear passenger space is again more generous than you’d expect, given its swooping roofline that hints on the CLS, yet a 6’1 frame fits easily.

Inevitably, the CLA is less capacious compared to the C-Class, though it’s actually 1.5 fractionally and longer wider: the 2.4 shorter wheelbase and lower roofline having fun withthrough the largest and strongest of the three turbocharged, four-cylinder direct injection motors in the Mercedes M270 engine family. Unlike European buyers, who will get a plethora or gasoline and diesel engines, US buyers only get the CLA250 Sport.

Using the turbo boosting at 14.5psi, the motor makes 208bhp at 5500rpm, having a generous 258 lb-ft of torque at 1200-4000rpm. A brief over-boost facility provides an additional 15 and 13hp lb-ft when kick-down is summoned for overtaking.

The US version is only going to come with the 7G-Tronic dual-clutch seven-speed auto, with paddle shifters. The system functions well but had some software issues in Sport and Manual modes in comparison to the equivalent from Audi or BMW. The outcomewill be dynamic and young, we were told MBUSA has biased its suspension towards sporty. Having driven both the sport and comfort models on 18 wheels, they might want to reconsider this, with all the lower, stiffer suspension making the car restless on bumpy roads. Although we can probably assume it will probably be re-tuned for American tastes.

With a base sticker price expected to be $29900 (plus 925 D&D) for the FWD model, the CLA250 should offer good value for any car with this level of brand equity, versatility and dynamic ability. We can’t wait to see the way it shakes the compact car market when it arrives in September, with theexplained by the car company as “The most important Jaguar in the last fifty years.” So, no pressure at all…

To sample the new sports vehicle in the best possible surroundings, free of the vagaries of winter weather, we were sent to the Navarra region of Spain to explore the 3 F-Type variants in the land of bull-running and Jambón.

The goal using this sultry drop-top is clear: lure buyers from the German establishment and return Jaguar to its sporting heritage. To get blunt, Jaguar has specifically focused on competitors like the mighty Porsche 911 and Audi R8.

From sex appeal to road track, presence and technology prowess, these aren’t necessarily the cars to overcome, but rather to fit. The question remains, may be the F-Type that car?

On first sight, you salivate in its presence. Your right foot twitches at the thought of mashing the throttle with an open stretch of Spanish tarmac using the top down. It’s this; the emotion the F-Type exudes – even when stationary – that can bring new buyers to your Jaguar showroom. And that’s exactly what they desire. Jaguar estimated 90% of buyers won’t be existing customers.

You’ve got three choices: the F-Type, F-Type S and F-Type V8 S. The base model turns into a 340hp 3.-liter supercharged V6 and is priced at $69895. Stepping into the F-Type S will give you a 40hp bump to 380 through the same motor, along with a price jump to $81895. And finally the V8 S sits atop the fleet with a 495hp 5.-liter supercharged V8 which willtimes of 5.1, 4.8 and 4.2sec respectively for the three models, and also incremental top speeds of 161, 186mph and 171.

In case the appearance and specification doesn’t tempt you, then Jaguar has priced each configuration 25% below the cost of the equivalent 911. Obviously Jaguar has a soft spot for Porsche, and we can’t blame them.

Driving around Pamplona, we weren’t expecting to be blown away on the country roads in the V6. The frequency of which does a base model make you grinning? However the supercharged V6 engine has great power, plenty of torque (332 lb-ft to be exact) and an exhaust note that delights you because of the Active Exhaust option on our test car.

The steering is 10% quicker than any Jag before it, and it’s noticeable. The entire body structure is also lighter and stiffer than any previous Jaguar, and the Adaptive Dynamics damping system we sampled inside the V6 S was more aggressive than before.

And although 340hp isn’t much by today’s standards, the F-Type’s eagerness is helped with the excellent eight-speed ZF transmission with what Jaguar calls Quickshift.

Don’t get your briefs in the bunch, there isn’t a manual offering. That doesn’t surprise us any more. And the number of F-Type buyers who’d opt for such a thing is undoubtedly small. However, Quickshift lives around its name, proving you don’t need a dual-clutch system to shift rapidly or smoothly. In either full auto or manual mode (we preferred the paddles to theis an additional sweet ride. The 3.-liter is sharply responsive due to the roots-style blower providing instant boost if you hit the gas. Bigger brakes were another welcome addition on this model.

In reality, the V6 S was an amazing package. On the Circuito de Navarra, flying on the main straight at 140mph was effortless; a dab of the stoppers set you up for a little right into a strict second-gear hairpin; the F-Type responding precisely to your commands. This car fits you like a Speedo.

The Jaguar engineering team continually emphasized the F-Type’s “Connected Feel.” It’s about “immediate, proportional and precise response to driver inputs.” And throwing the V6 S around the technical Navarra Circuit, their vision was undeniably evident.

The V6 S also gets a mechanical limited-slip diff. So, whether power-on or in transition, this is one Cat that’s happy to shake its tail, thanks in part to the 50/50 weight distribution.

This was the F-Type you can compare directly to the 911 Carrera. Without driving them together, the F-Type certainly holds its own, but is probably more of a road car by nature.

2014 jaguar f type v8 s quad tip exhaust

2014 jaguar f type v8 s front end

2014 jaguar f type v8 s side view top down

It’s not light, tipping the scales at 3521 lb for the V6 and 3671 lb for the V8 S, despite its aluminum construction. So while acceleration was awesome in each model, tossing that much weight around will never feel ideal when compared to the 3274 lb Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet PDK.

Yet Jaguar went to great lengths to produce a lightweight convertible, while seemingly sacrificing nothing in terms of overall structural rigidity or style. The fabric roof can be opened or closed at speeds up to 30mph, taking just 12sec in both direction.

Much like the XK and XJ, the F-Type has a bonded-and-riveted aluminum body and structure panels, although the trunk is composite.

The car houses 141 aluminum pressings, 18 high-pressure die-castings and 24 extrusions, saving roughly 77 lb spanning a comparable steel structure. Jaguar even made a new alloy called AC170 to form the wonderful clamshell hood. It’s pressed many times and can withstand more shaping and sharper angles than regular aluminum.

While the F-Type and F-Type S were impressive packages, we yearned for time with the V8 S. And whenever it happened, the chassis immediately felt up to the process of a 115hp boost through thefrom the 19 located on the V6 S, and an even larger brakes with 15 front rotors and 14.8 rears, this is actually the top dog.

Quad exhaust tips spit, burble and pop like a Le Mans car, and through the quiet streets of Pamplona we were tempted to hold first gear in the slow sections to scare the wake and birds the residents with what may be one of the most sensual but violent factory exhaust notes we’ve had the pleasure of hearing.

Through all the models, the interior remains consistently sophisticated yet simple. The seats were taken for the XKR-S and we’d recommend the power controls, but they’re supportive for every type of driving.

The central air vents rise when needed, keeping visibility ahead as clear as possible. Finally, Jaguar abandoned its rotary gear selection knob to opt for a more traditional lever that’s predictably simple to use.

While it’s undoubtedly a small car with a compact interior, the F-Type is a fine place to spend 30 laps or 300 miles.

The wonderful F-Type marks a truly exciting time to the British brand. Jaguar expects a 33% split between the three models but, as you might imagine, the V8 S gets our vote when it continues on sale this summer. There is also a great deal of personalization options when choosing a vehicle, allowing you to alter interior and exterior finishes and colors, etc. However, each model is well equipped as standard and all have got a premium feel, with the F-Type V6 not sacrificing anything compared to the V8 S, except in terms of mechanical ability. The business.

The Unlikely Love Affair Between Americans and the Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 . . . loved by many Americans although many more wonder why is definitely still our favorite miniature Italian. Perhaps it’s because it shares the same birthday as the United States . . . 4th July . . . or perhaps it’s because it’s just a great little car which oozes with charm and personality.

The Fiat 500 Topolino was first unveiled in 1936 and to be honest looked nothing like the range of Fiat 500’s you’ll see from the showrooms at fiat santa ana nowadays. It was much bigger and uglier compared to the compact pocket rocket today but nevertheless turned out to be a great success selling more than 500,000 models.


If you will , fiat made the decision to ditch the bulky appearance of the motor in 1955 and select something which was altogether more stylish and sophisticated, more Italian. . . enter the Fiat more, smaller and 600 attractive than the Topolino. It had smooth lines, round headlights and a quirky body and proved to be incredibly popular until it was finally removed from the market place in 1969. Even the best things go and come throughout history.

All was not lost because somewhere along the line the fabulous Fiat 500 was born, first hitting the roads on 4th July 1957 anyway. . . okay, do the math, 58 years ago. Out of the ashes of the 600 chassis they developed this brand new car – it wasn’t a variant but an entirely new concept. It had a two cylinder engine and a cloth roof . . . well, I did point out that it was greater than a little bit different.


The car became an instant success and quickly established itself as one of the most popular little cars in Europe but, by 1975 it’s popularity was usurped by the up and coming Fiat 126 as well as the 500 nameplate was put into retirement. How could they are doing such a thing? Whose idea was it to replace the splendid Fiat 500 with the 126.

All was not lost though and, in 2007 almost 50 years after hitting the original market set the Fiat 500 was once again hitting the streets of Italy and the remainder of Europe, finally making its way throughout the pond in the year 2011 thanks to the new alliance between Chrysler and Fiat . . . the brainchild of Sergio Marchionne.


Not every one of them will readily admit to it, though modern Americans do enjoy a love affair with this little Italian motor. You can’t imagine a vehicle which is much further away from the generalized take a look at American motors – the American muscle – gas guzzling super cars and an important part from the All American Dream along with the history of motoring in America.

This iconic little motor is definitely the exact opposite – it’s small, it’s nippy, it’s very economical to run, it’s extremely economical to buy and you will even park it inside the smallest of spaces. What’s not to love by the newer breed of environmentally aware Americans . . . along with the financial benefits.

At OC Fiat they’ve got a great range of Fiat cars, none Fiat cars, new cars and pre-owned cars . . . with a whole lot on the iconic Fiat 500. These cars put the fun back into driving, they really are definitely the ultimate “pocket rocket” and ooze Italian style, sophistication and class . . . albeit inside a smaller package than we may be used to.

2003 Volkswagen GTI – Andy Crutcher


In recent years we’ve seen more instances of neon colors utilized to bring a splash of fun to otherwise sober European cars. And Andy Crutcher is just one of the latest Dub devotees who broke up his silver sled with a tinge of lime green, ensuring the appearance didn’t sour the performance.

When Andy took ownership of your GTI he began to modify it quickly. And while he appreciated the effectiveness of its stock 1.8T motor, he yearned for further and swapped in an R32 VR6 which had been bored to 3.3L. And what’s more: Everything done to the automobilemade out of forged JE pistons, Integrated Engineering rods, plus a ported and polished head. Timing on this powerful motor is handled by stage 2 GIAC programming, ensuring the engine delivers without interruption to the swapped six-speed transmission with its Peloquin LSD.

During the time of writing, Andy didn’t possess dyno figures but showed impressive acceleration during our photo shoot. And as a bonus, the tunnel we were shooting in enable the GTI slice its way through traffic while the 2.5 pipe rang gloriously in our ears.

Once he’d gone ahead with the engine work its was reined in by an OEM big-brake conversion. Eibach Pro-Street coilovers and sway bars kept the auto flat through the kink after the tunnel. The Falken rubber wrapped around 18 Schmidt Revolution Space Line rims brought poise and style as being the GTI.

2003 volkswagen GTI euro 25th anniversary front lip 03

2003 volkswagen GTI euro 25th anniversary front lip 04

2003 volkswagen GTI euro rear bumper 05

Even with its bright green wheels, the VW was more memorable thanks to its color-matched Weicher’s four-point rollcage. It contrasts the bamboo floors, trunk and dash that give an appealing counterpoint. On the outside, Andy deleted the hood and bumper notch, rear wiper and emblem. He then added Euro bumpers, Hofele R32 side skirts and OEM Euro front lip.

Despite its look-at-me highlights, this GTI has some authentic engine mods and exterior enhancements that raise it above most cars that choose simple wheel and suspension upgrades. And with a lot done in his home garage, you have to respect Andy’s ability to create something he can be proud of.

Tech Spec

Andy Crutcher

2003 VW GTI


3.2L VR6 24v, bored to 3.3L with 84.5mm, 8.4: 1 forged JE pistons, Integrated Engineering rods, ARP head, main, rod bolts and ported, studs and polishedfront and back bumpers, Euro 25th Anniversary front lip and rear valance, JOM badgeless grille, shaved bumper and notch notch, Hofele R32 side skirts, shaved VW emblem, deleted rear wiper, Euro headlights, Hella R32 tail lights, smoked Hella side markers


custom carbon fiber seats, Sparco four-point harnesses with Schroth pads, 25th Anniversary shift knob, e and boot-brake, GLI gauge cluster, bamboo florin, trunk paneling and dashboard, suede covering pillars and headliner, painted trim pieces and Weichers four-point roll-bar


Alpine DH900 head unit with 500GB hard-drive, 12 Boston Acoustics sub, clarion amp

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S – First Drive


Herman Tike, you’re one mad bastard. If you were seeking to punish somebody, maybe a divorce lawyer or something that is, that two-mile stretch of pavement called Atlanta Motorsports Park you designed constitutes a guy wonder?

Never in 24 many years of racing, have I been assaulted by more blind rises, high-speed, off-camber curves, double apexes, dizzying elevation changes and genuine bowel-loosening fear. Good job, man!

Formula One fans will recognize Tike as among the foremost architects of F1 circuits. Why the good old boys in Georgia made a decision to hire this guy is puzzling, but there it sits. And also the crew from Aston Martin took across the facility for a couple of weeks, bringing a bunch of snarky Rapide S cars together.

The Rapide S possesses a profile that appears more fitted to the Autobahn or Bonneville Salt Flats. Considering its 190mph top speed (yes, faster compared to the Vanquish), it wouldn’t be out of place at either. Moreover, you could carry your family with youThe thought of adding extra doors was actually a solid move, which fleshed out the company’s product roster very well. Here was the quintessential British sports car with room for yourself and three close friends.

Perhaps it’s the Rapide’s practicality that made Aston Martin nervous, though. Maybe people would assume the Rapide S compromised the awesomeness carefully cultured over the past 100 years. Never mind that the new-n-improved Rapide S boasts 550hp, can breach 60mph in 4.7sec and features active suspension smarter than HAL, you have to show people it’s still an Aston. So here we were, during moonshine central, on this twisted piece of tarmac with orders to “go at it.” Helmets on, strapped in, we did that!

Although we’ve covered the basic technical areas of the Rapide in a former issue, here’s a brief summary: The new S model is actually a Limey hot rod. I visited the Gaydon factory where Dr Bez and his awesome team do crazy shit like stuffing V12s into Cignets or building supercars like the One-77. They’re making more of those, although the Rapide S is much the same.

Sporting a revamped (AM11) V12 engine, the newest car lends another 80hp and 30 lb-ft of twist towards the equation, bringing its total to an impressive 550hp at 6750rpm and 457 lb-ft, respectively.

Nifty tech like hollow, variable profile cams, and CNC’ed combustion chambers provide the lion’s share of your new found ponies.

The primary differences in the ‘AM11’ engine are a revised block, new head with dual variable valve timing (first seen on Vanquish), new crankshaft, thermostat and camshafts uprated fuel pump, enlarged throttle bodies ( 6mm), a revised ‘big’ wing intake manifold, and machined combustion chambers. The latter increases airflow inside the chamber, enhancing the compression ratio and providing more consistent output from each cylinder. Knock sensing allows air/fuel mixture detection to extract maximum fuel and power economy.

As a result of the latest parts, the engine is 22 lb lighter than its predecessor in the original Rapide. And, as much fun as it is to speak about the magnificent V12 motor from a technological standpoint, it gets irrelevant as soon as theThe sound from your naturally aspirated powerplant is reminiscent of the low-frequency growl of your tiger just before it rips your face off. You just sorta sit behind the wheel, paralyzed because this gorgeous machine comes to life.

Aston Martin’s David Harington shot me a glance. “Are you feeling alright, then? ” Apparently I’m sweating despite the fact the cabin is at 72? F. I pretend to take a mobile phone call. Never mind, I’m wearing a helmet…

Within two turns I’m lost. David suggests I’d like to use the navigation system. He’s only half joking. After ten laps I’ve was able to remember seven of the corners. I’m improving and the Rapide S has forgiven my transgressions, it’s working with me.

I’ve got the back straight wired. Once we hit the first kink, the Rapide S is tickling 132mph. I barely nick the inside line and allow the Aston drift to the next apex. It’s beautiful.

At this speed, barely perceptible rises become daunting ramps; I start wondering just what the car will feel like airborne. It never happens. The newest Gen4 of Aston Martin’s Adaptive Damping System (ADS) offers three settings: Sport, Normal and Track. Obviously, we’re from the latter along with the ride is incredibly firm, almost hard. Yet the Rapide feels stuck to the pavement by gigantic magnets, body roll is minimal. Dropping the engine another 19mm undoubtedly helped with the center of gravity a good deal.

Whatever code the Aston propeller-heads programmed into the Rapide’s Dynamic Stability Control, it seems to be the least intrusive system I’ve ever driven. If it’s even on, i wonder. I make David switch it off and locateWho cares, although i still miss an apex or two? I’m having fun. Then David suggests I temper my throttle inputs. “Why the hell would I want to achieve that? ” “Because you’ll go faster and save the tires! ” he replied. Grudgingly I respond and it also rewards me with 139mph on the back straight.

I’m using a lot more braking now but they don’t seem to care. Bearing six-piston calipers and gigantic 15.6 rotors, the Rapide S sheds speed well, like “crashing into a mountain of Silly Putty.” This particular car wears 20 alloys shod with 245/35 front and 295/30 rear Bridgestones.

In less than two hours I’ve reduced the Rapide S to something just north of a BTCC ride. Unsure that’s what Aston intended, but that’s how I used it.

I don’t think I even looked at the cabin except to push the big “D” button on the dashboard to engage the transmission.

The cockpit is nice… very nice, a mixture of old world craftsmanship combined with a tasteful mixture of organic and synthetic materials. This particular car was trimmed in a full-grain leather with alcantara headliner, navigation, 1000W B&O sound system with pop-up tweeters, electroluminescent displays along with a pop-up LCD screen with back-up camera. And, wow, look at that – paddle shifters! I didn’t realize they were there.

David tells me I’m in a “red it’s and haze” time to cool down. He puts the Rapide S into “Normal” mode and the car instantly relaxes; I follow suit.

2014 aston martin rapide s front center console

2014 aston martin rapide s rear center console

2014 aston martin rapide s cargo space

I’d been dancing in the edge for quite a while, so the change of pace was actually a relief. Plus, I get to get rid of my helmet and enjoy the noise from the magnificent V12 again.

Once outside, the Rapide’s impossibly handsome face is worth crawling across broken glass to experience. Aston’s cosmetic overhaul includes a striking new grille, rear deck profile and petulant trunk flip.

While I’ve been fortunate to operate a vehicle a great many luxury grand touring cars, I can’t remember one as engaging because the Rapide S. While the current crop of high-end Euros is impressive, they can create the driver feel as though he was an afterthought. The Rapide isn’t like that. For over two hours I felt similar to a king behind the wheel, an integral part of a lovely machine.