2005 Honda S2000 – Daily Driver Dilemma

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With regards to building a Honda, sometimes the greatest decision revolves around whether to keep your car being a daily driver or subject it to weekend-only duty. Due to Honda’s legendary reliability, it’s not entirely uncommon to see a full-blown build used as an everyday commuter. And in some cases, the owner simply doesn’t have the luxury of owning two vehicles with specific purposes. One thing’s for certain: in most cases, those who use their cars for daily duties often shy away from heavy engine modifications to insure they don’t compromise the reliability factor too much. Travis Sewell, owner of this sleek back 2005 Honda S2000, isn’t one of those particularThe very first thing you probably notice about Sewell’s S2K, besides the immaculate black paint and hardtop, is the intercooler smiling behind a grill-less AP2 front bumper. That custom intercooler of course results inSewell wasn’t interested in settling on mid-200 horsepower numbers like countless before him, even though the F-series mill has proven it might hold up very well under mild boost. No, he was shooting for further like 400whp. With a roommate that operates a tuning shop, Sewell was able to install the kit at his roomie’s shop, and then apply his personal tuning touch and drive the Honda S2000 away with 440whp. To get the impressive number, ID1000 injectors, a J’s Racing header and T1R exhaust were combined within theJDP and hardtop Engineering rear diffuser matches the evil that lurks under the hood. In the wheel department, a pair of staggered CCW Classics were shoehorned within the completely reworked arches, permitting 10.5-inch running gear the rear to take advantage of the newfound power. The fender massaging, as well almost 10 years of wear and tear, took its toll and Sewell felt like it was time to re-spray the S2000. A few coats of Crystal Black Pearl from theThere’s certainly that you’re daydreaming about driving any project car during that daily commute if you have an additional car that you simply daily drive. For Travis Sewell, there’s no dreaming needed; he bangs gears in his 400-plus horsepower S2000 day in and day outstainless-steel lines

Wheels/Tires CCW Classic 18×9 34 front, 18×10.5 47 rear; Hankook 215/45/18 front, 245/35/18

Exterior Custom rolled and flared front fenders, rolled fenders and relocated rear bumper tabs, vented OEM hood; OEM Honda AP2 front lip; JDP rear diffuser; Seibon carbon fiber hard top; Downforce carbon fiber side diffusers; Veilside spoiler; APR carbon fiber mirrors; JDM OEM Honda red badges

http://www.santapaulachevy.com/

Non-Luxury Cars that Are Actually Luxuriously Luxurious

We simple folks love to taste luxury. It’s tough, we don’t always get to have the nice things that others have, others with money. It’s a tough life being poor or at least middle class. We’re always comparing ourselves to others, those with more, those who seem to have everything fed to them with a silver spoon. We can stick our thumbs in our mouths and cry about it, or we can find ways to taste luxury in ways that we might not think are obtainable but actually are. The best way to find luxury is in your vehicle, as a long of mid-level car companies are making cars that are actually quite nice inside and out, and still have the more reasonable price tag. Here are a few options of cars that may not seem luxurious but actually do feel fairly luxurious.

Nissan Altima

NissanMay2015-3-1

If you haven’t seen the Altima in a few years, you may think you’re going crazy seeing this car on this list. It used to be just a boring middle of the road sedan. But the good folks at Nissan have really turned the heat up in their designs lately and have made the Altima a car that should not be mocked. Check out the Altima at Nissan Ontario and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about. It’s got leather interior as an option, and it’s fast and smooth. it handles like a dream and is a real pleaser to the eye. Don’t think so? Look at metronissanredlands.com and you’ll see that the Altima looks more like some sort of Infiniti or other luxury car. You’ll impress your friends and your pocketbook.

Chrysler 300

NissanMay2015-3-2

The folks on the American side of automotive manufacturing are known for making clunkers that last a few years and then die in a sea of malfunctions and shoddy craftsmanship. It’s funny that Ford and other companies herald their cars as “built Ford tough” when everyone knows these american cars are a big fat joke with no punch line. But to every rule there is an exception, and the new 300 from the Chrysler line is actually a beautiful car that is very luxurious. You will never believe you’re in a car built on American soil as you spin around the curves in a beast so nice and lovely that you’ll think you’re dreaming. Take one for a spin and you’ll see.

Acura TSX

2013 Acura TSX SE.

2013 Acura TSX SE.

Acura is well-known as a more expensive Honda, with pretty much all the parts on the car being Honda parts, and they only think you’re paying for really is the A instead of the H on the emblem. Everyone knows you’re throwing your money away for nothing. That said, the TSX is a great car and actually feels luxurious in a way that other cars only try to match. It’s got a 201 HP engine and that kind of power will make you feel like the king you are not.

1000hp Subaru BRZ – Dai Yoshihara’s Evolution to LS

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It’s fun recounting all the countless stories We have of meeting the personalities who form our small but awesome tuner scene. My friendship with Dai (Daijiro Yoshihara) is one of my favorites. We both met while we were much younger and may barely communicate (language barrier)-and now, well, let’s just say we’ve already exchanged a couple of texts and possess liked one another’s photos on Instagram (we tight, aight) once I finished writing this sentence. Needless to say, I’ve watched him grow from an unknown to an American drifting sensation, regarded today as the very best of the best. A maverick in his own right, and deservedly so. He has since retired the S13 that is long synonymous with the Yoshihara name (also won the 2012 Formula D title) and is campaigning an all-new Subaru BRZ for 2014, one that has been outfitted with a turbocharged V8, nearly 1,000hp, and the fashion-forward Version 2 kit from Kei Miura’s Rocket Bunny label. This is basically the stuff hipster tuner kids and diehard drift fans would kill for, and is also the culmination of Dai’s American drifting career.

Although the BRZ (after the day) is just a car, and ultimately why is Dai so popular is that he’s approachable all while being that totally cool JDM guy. Without him in the helm, the cars remain as lifeless as may be-but he presents them purpose. Dai, as a driver, also has a purpose-to continue driving as he has, since he was a teen, to become the most effective he can be. I wanted to get into Dai’s mind to find out where he originated, where he’s at, and where he wants to be. I can tell you with confidence that he’ll always want to be driving something…it’s his driving force, so to speak.

SS: What was your life like when you first started driving?

DY: I found myself 18 initially when i first got my license. I was already riding motorcycles with all of of my girlfriends because you can get a motorcycle license when you turn 16; you can not get a driver’s license (for cars) before you turn 18. But even if we could obtain one, not all of my friends went to hashiriya (street racing)-a lot of them went VIP or low riders, simply to party. I used to be the only guy who increased into the mountains to go racing. I always wanted to drive something, before I rode motorcycles.

SS: Where did that interest in driving come from?

DY: Well, my father used to work on a car dealership that my uncle owned. Growing up, I found myself always flanked by cars. I believe everyone has that dream to become a race car driver. It was actually never too hardcore, though i didn’t have any heroes; I watched Senna casually.That which was street racing like to suit your needs growing up in Japan?

DY: It was fun. I know I shouldn’t say that, but it really was. I would go with my senpais (mentors), who weren’t very buddies of mine, but they were really into drifting. This became kind of a secret life that I led (being a drifter); most those people who are into drifting, their life revolves around drifting-not me. I had a separate life outside of it. Back then (late ’90s to 2000), drifting wasn’t cool, and it was considered sort of nerdy. The culture was very different. Hashiriya/street racers…girls weren’t involved with it. For example: Miura-san’s generation-the bosozoku-they transitioned into street racing. For my generation, it had been lowriders, hip-hop, and American culture which were coming up. People wanted to go clubbing or were interested in following other trends besides touge or drifting.

SS: What was the first car?

DY: A Corolla, AE86. The identical year I began drifting (’95) is when Initial D arrived. It wasn’t even popular, but I was reading it. It absolutely was a fun comic but didn’t really influence me in any way.

SS: So there’s no story people driving around with a cup of water, ensuring that it won’t spill?

DY: That’s actually not possible (laughs).

SS: How did you practice?

DY: First, i did so donuts and figure eights like everybody else. I used to practice at these public bus stations; during the night, they’re empty so they transform into big parking lots. Each night I went and practiced.

SS: Was there ever a time when you thought, I’m not efficient at this; I ought to stop or did it just come simple to you?

DY: It wasn’t easy, and I spent lots of time working on perfecting my skills. But I didn’t suck. I found myself pretty good compared to a lot of people. After a few months, I was already better than people who had been carrying it outMuch better than your senpais?

DY: Yeah, they were like, WTF?

SS: How difficult is it for someone to become a pro drifter in Japan?

DY: It’s not easy at all, and the bottom line is, at the time, even someone like Taniguchi was still a touge driver. There was no D1 yet. In thatpoint and nobody, not even one individual, except maybe Keiichi Tsuchiya, thought there would be such a thing as professional drifting. It was just kids messing around type stuff.

SS: When do you discover you really had a talent for drifting?

DY: Around ’96-’97. D1 Japan were only available in 2000 and i also didn’t go to the United states until 2003. In between those years, I found myself a weekend street racer. I did the exact same thing over and overpractice, practice and also over and never thought anything would come of it. I went through five more cars after that AE86: a Nissan Laurel, 180SX and Cefiro R32 Skyline four-door, as well as an S14.

SS: What was your favorite car from those?

DY: I’ve always loved the AE86, to this day. I want to own another one in the future. I didn’t really repair my cars, though. That’s probably why I never had any problems. Just a simple set of coilovers and an LSD, change the tires, and put gas in. I really like to drive an auto as it comes naturally, more or less.

SS: And after that comes the infamous story about how you linked up with Ken Miyoshi (founder of Import Showoff) and exactly how he wanted a driver to come drive in one of the first U.S. drifting events…

DY: He was quoted saying if I wanted the opportunity to come and drive, he is needed bring me over and offer me accommodations, although yes, I associated with Miyoshi through a couple different acquaintances, and it wasn’t necessarily that he was looking for a driver. D1 would have a driver’s search, and then he recommended I try it out. I said, Naturally! and I wound up becoming the driver for Jerry Tsai and the Pacific Rim drift team. I always wanted to visit the Usa to do some thing-not just drifting but anything-so it was very exciting in my opinion. Right before this, I even applied to work towards the United states naval base in Yokosuka because I had this want to do something that will hopefully get me to the States.

SS: You could’ve become Tetsu’s coworker. [Ed note: For people who don’t know, our man Tetsuya Ogushi is a driver for the United states Embassy in Tokyo.]

DY: (laughs) Yes, basically Tetsu’s job-which was my goal. I didn’t think to become a pro drifter. When I found out I could check out the U.S., I finally thought, Damn, I’m one step even closer to achieving my dream.

SS: Then you get suddenly and here you realize drifting is a lot bigger in the U.S. than you think. Were you surprised or nervous?

DY: It was crazy at that first D1 event, and I had never driven in front of a team as large as that in my life. It went well, although i used to be nervous. I lost against (Katsuhiro) Ueo in the Top 16, thus i thought that was pretty good. Also i thought that was it as far as any big drifting event I’d compete in-go back to Japan and my well being would resume normal. Generally If I would be interested in driving in the new series they would be starting the subsequent year, but that quick, Jim Liaw and Ryan Sage-who were helping D1 then and would eventually start Formula D-stumbled on me and asked. I agreed since Jerry was interested. I even quit my job so I could drive. I didn’t determine if it would work or how I was going to make money, however i wanted to try the Formula D series. That had been my life-changing moment.

SS: Fast-forward another number of years and U.S. drifting is becoming more serious. What was your mind-set then?

DY: I started to get sponsors and was earning more pay, so it was becoming more of any professional thing, and that’s when I thought maybe I will take this more seriously. As FD continued to develop as a series, I also grew as a driver. But I’m always thinking about the future and the way I’m gonna sustain a living. It’s important, just like making a living should be, although i realize it shouldn’t be about the cash. It’s stressful and tough, and who knows if I’ll be driving the next year? I don’t want to depend upon drifting a great dealThe most exciting thing is to win. The fact that I even have a possiblity to win a gathering is very exciting as well. I’m scared of failing, and it sucks when I don’t do well.

SS: What does Dai ultimately want to do? If you can have it the right path…

DY: I’m studying to complete more forms of driving and I also have a couple of product lines out there, like Yoshihara Design wheels and 8 PRINCE wheel spacers. That’s tough, though i’ve taught as a driving instructor, too. I guess you could say I’m still finding my way.

SS: Leading approximately the present, is really because I view a strong correlation between you and the competition vehicles, the reason why I’ve asked countless questions about your past. When I first met you, you didn’t speak any English and drove an S13 having an SR20DET-very Japanese. Slowly, your cars have become more American, just like you. I am aware you don’t get a choice when it comes to car selection, but I’m visiting a nice evolution of Dai here. Do you get to inject a little bit of your personality into every car you contest with?

DY: I’ve never owned any of these cars; luckily, I really happen to drive for someone. More often than not, the car selection or engine isn’t my choice. They build it; I just get in and drive. I’m not car crazy; however, that being said, I am into the driving aspect far more. Like I said before, when I is at Japan, I would personally spend less time on buying parts and focused much more on becoming a better driver. I care more details on being competitive; the way a vehicle looks is not important-that’s someone else’s job. And you’re right-before it was just a 240SX with the SR20 and from now on I have a BRZ that’s pushing almost 1,000hp with a V8. The game has changed in around I’ve adjusted to life in the us, even though maybe it’s a coincidence. And in the process, my cars are getting to be more competitive with the rest of the field in Formula D. The fact that people use V8 here isn’t because it’s better than a great deal of other engines but because it’s a domestic product-it’s much more reliable and easier to source parts affordably because it’s an American engine platform. However I see 2JZs coming up recently; they’ve always made crazy power and I’m seeing them more now, like in Daigo Saito’s car. Again, it’s not my decision which engine goes into the vehicle-if they want to put a 2JZ in, I’m down.

SS: How do you wind up together with thecame about for a replacement. Your next car, you always would like it to be brand-new. From a sponsorship standpoint, it’s better once you have a newer platform to work with. The S13 is much more like a classic now; if you want to build one now, it’s a little bit more difficult. Above all, I wanted an FR (front-engine, rear-wheel-drive), and the only one that appeals is now the ZN6, or FR-S/BRZ chassis. We thought about a 370Z, however the BRZ is more popular. We almost went having a Cadillac CTS-V, but the wheelbase is too long. Basically If I had gotten the CTS-V, then for certain we could say my car evolution became more American!

SS: What keeps you motivated to do your best?

DY: Myself-I only want to do well. It’s my career. Before it absolutely was a hobby, however it’s my life. I need to pay my bills. Ten years ago, I wasn’t making money by drifting-but ten years ago life was a lot different. I wish to be more realistic about [the way I carry on]. Doing well now only helps to secure more for my future. I would like to be the top drifter, and it’s been a while since i have won a championship, so I definitely wish to be back on top. I never want to say, forget it and go do something else; I have nothing else. I’m fortunate enough to have a whole lot support. There are plenty of drivers who put in their own money without any major backing; I don’t determine what I would do if I found myself for the reason that situation. I just want to drive. I’m one of several few drivers who earn a living by drifting, which is good. But concurrently, it’s a lot of pressure. If I could drift competitively without worrying about the stress and just take advantage of the driving, i suppose it would be ideal.

SS: Do you think your reason for being is because of drifting?

DY: Yes, I think so. I always think things happen for a reason, even though i haven’t been doing well recently. I think I can overcome it-and without drifting, I wouldn’t have the life I have now, though i’m having a difficult time. I get to live in the United States, and i also have lots of friends because of my drifting career. When it wasn’t for drifting, i wouldn’t maintain Super Street. So yes, it was meant to be.

Tuning Menu

2013 Subaru BRZ

Owner Dai Yoshihara for Falken Tire

Hometown Los Angeles, CA

Occupation Professional race car driver

Instagram @daiyoshihara

Power 962hp at 6,800 rpm; 832 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm (est)

Engine 7.-liter Chevy LS motor; All Pro Heads head porting/machining; custom Brian Crower cams, cam gears and crankshaft; REV valves; Manley valvesprings and retainers; ARP head studs; FelPro MLS head gasket; Cloyes timing chain; RHS block machining; JE 10: 1 pistons, piston rings; Callies connecting rods; ATI pulleys; custom SPD Motorsports 5 oval exhaust piping, up-pipe, downpipe, intercooler piping, motor plate, oil filter relocation kit and intake piping; GM Performance 90mm throttle body; Wilson Manifolds prototype intake manifold; Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator; Wilson fuel rail; Bosch 1300cc fuel injectors; custom JSP Fab turbo manifolds, turbo elbow; Garrett GTX5008R turbo and intercooler; Turbosmart USA blow-off valve and intercooler wastegate; Dailey Engineering dry sump pan and oil pump; Setrab oil cooler; K&N HP3001 oil filter; Griffin dual pass radiator; HPS silicon hosing; Derale radiator fans; custom wiring harness by James Lin Motorsports; modified GM Performance valve covers with oil squirters

1998 Subaru Impreza RS – The Champion

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During the summer time of 1991, Ivo Mitkov made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. He was preparing for an important rallycross event, a pivotal race for the 20-year-old Bulgarian driver, when he received the phone call. It was his girlfriend on the other side, and though he was thrilled to hear from her, Ivo instantly acquired that something was wrong. Perhaps there seemed to be a hesitation in her voice, the initial pleasantries burdened with the possible presence of a more important topic of conversation, likely something unpleasant. She was on vacation with her parents in the usa. This vacation was a particularly long one, and naturally, they missed each other. His mind raced with possibilities: Was somebody ill? Had the vacation been extended yet again? What may possibly be troubling her? If there seemed to be something wrong, expecting the worst, cautiously, he asked. The text he heard following the silence tuned his world upside-down. Her parents had decided to stay in America permanently; they might not be going back toGrowing up, Ivo was surrounded by cars and racing-as the child of two professional drivers, there was simply no escaping it. Previous to his birth, Ivo’s parents raced together in Group N rally, as driver and navigator. When Ivo came into this world, Bulgarian law required his parents to race separately. In such a dangerous profession, it had been understandable for your child’s best interest of course. So when Ivo explained it, Their state didn’t want to take care of more orphans compared to they had to. Ivo started racing karts at the very young age, and his first notable accomplishment was second place in the 100cc national championship at the age of eight, followed immediately the next year with first place. The trajectory of his racing career continued its upward trend, as he grew older. He started being employed as a mechanic on his mother’s team-staying true towards the belief that in order to be successful as a driver, you must first completely comprehend the car, since he grew into a teenager.

Ivo experienced little difficulty adapting to the cockpit of a rally car, transitioning from the open wheel karts he had grown up driving. He started taking his mother’s competition cars on test drives to fulfill his duties like a mechanic, so that as he grew more accustomed to the dynamics of the vehicles, he took them to open track days. He was competing with their own cars, racing for his mother’s team, and found which he was not only competitive, by the age of 19. He continued to win numerous hillclimb events and native rallycrosses. Having competed at the professional level for a year, the national championship had not been an impossible dream for Ivo, and he was determined to claim his rightful place on the podium that season. In that very moment, however, all thoughts of racing had been pushed to the rear ofAs Ivo held the receiver to his ear, his mind raced-his thoughts struggled to comprehend onto reality. Becoming successful by pursuing a passion is what many consider to become the ideal life, and Ivo was definitely on his way to doing just that. He had some important races coming up and needed to keep his mind clear. He acknowledged the alteration of plans to his girlfriend and hung up the phone. This was bound to require some digestion. He instinctively grabbed the secrets of his car, as he walked away from the phone. He drove aimlessly, organizing his thoughts. As he drove, all possible scenarios were considered, priorities checked, and decisions set. In 1991 at the age of 20, Ivo emigrated to thefrom the States, Ivo immediately found himself in a fast car, this time a Volkswagen. He knew not many people in this strange new country, but he quickly found that even here, individuals with similar interests tend to enjoy each other’s company. Very quickly, he was part of an arranged automotive enthusiasts collective that called itself the Renner Performance Group. Through this alliance of automotive enthusiasts Ivo met a certain man, a man with slightly more disposable income than he had. This man had just purchased a brand-new Subaru. It was a new model for 1998-or rather a whole new trim measure of the familiar Impreza model, but something about the 2.5 RS made it much more appealing compared to typical Impreza. Ivo saw this car frequently and planned to purchase one for himself-until his friend blew the engine just four years later. Without a destination to store the car, Ivo’s friend was made to sell it. Naturally, Ivo jumped on a chance to own the chassis he had imaginedwhere time Ivo considered many powerplant options. He had no goal of installing anything naturally aspirated into the car, and at the moment the only viable option was the turbocharged EJ20 of your new bugeye WRX. Ivo decided to see what Subaru would have to offer in the future years. In 2004, Subaru introduced the STI model to North America and Ivo opened a savings account. One year later, Subaru crafted a few minor changes towards the STI and Ivo got a new brand-new ’05 WRX STI, a formidable car in it’s own right-but Ivo did the unthinkable. He drove the auto to his shop and tore it apart, piece by piece. The new car he had just purchased was destined to be no more thanobserved in quite a while!

Let’s fast-forward to March 2014, when I had the pleasure of meeting Ivo personally. We were both competing at Chuckwalla Raceway for the second round of Redline Time Attack, in very different classes, of course. Within the company of several cars which were built purely for function with limited aesthetic qualities, this Impreza definitely separated itself. Now, this comparison shouldn’t be interpreted as something negative-many really good-looking cars compete in the series-but it’s a testament to how complete this particular car is. Everything from the broad shoulder lines thanks to the Aerosim widebody kit slathered in WRC Blue to the Advan RS wheels wrapped in Nitto NT01s to the slender spokes framing AP Racing brakes reminds you of the reality that this car is a full build in every single possible way. The suspension is effective and simple, built around Stance coilovers, fortified by Whiteline sway bars-efficiently keeping all four wheels firmly pressed up against the pavement, despite 568 all-wheel horsepower instantly available. The engine can hardly be looked atI had the opportunity to catch a peek at the man within the helmet and racing suit, as the competition day ended and Ivo sat in the trailer. The man who essentially traded his racing career at its prime for something intangible-something many people never experience and that none can prove the existence of. The up-and-coming rally driver, the hillclimb racer with a winning streak left all of it for the company of a solitary person in another country. This man was born to get the Bulgarian national champion, following within the footsteps of his parents-but rather he decide to become the champion of his home, a hero to his (now) wife as well as two sons. As being a fellow racing enthusiast, I needed to ask him if he could do all of it again, if he could return to being 20 years old, preparing for his next race as a prodigy-knowing what he knows now, 24 years later with literally another lifetime under his belt-would I be having this conversation with the 1991 Bulgarian national champion? He responded by using a resounding No, paused for just a moment, and elaborated that he has absolutely no regrets. By doing what he loves, he married the girl of his dreams with her he started children and provides for them. He then tilted his head toward the rear of the trailer where the Impreza was strapped down and cracked a grin, And I got my race car.

Non-Luxury Cars that Are Actually Luxuriously Luxurious

We simple folks love to taste luxury. It’s tough, we don’t always get to have the nice things that others have, others with money. It’s a tough life being poor or at least middle class. We’re always comparing ourselves to others, those with more, those who seem to have everything fed to them with a silver spoon. We can stick our thumbs in our mouths and cry about it, or we can find ways to taste luxury in ways that we might not think are obtainable but actually are. The best way to find luxury is in your vehicle, as a long of mid-level car companies are making cars that are actually quite nice inside and out, and still have the more reasonable price tag. Here are a few options of cars that may not seem luxurious but actually do feel fairly luxurious.

Nissan Altima

NissanMay2015-3-1

If you haven’t seen the Altima in a few years, you may think you’re going crazy seeing this car on this list. It used to be just a boring middle of the road sedan. But the good folks at Nissan have really turned the heat up in their designs lately and have made the Altima a car that should not be mocked. Check out the Altima at Nissan Ontario and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about. It’s got leather interior as an option, and it’s fast and smooth. it handles like a dream and is a real pleaser to the eye. Don’t think so? Look at metronissanredlands.com and you’ll see that the Altima looks more like some sort of Infiniti or other luxury car. You’ll impress your friends and your pocketbook.

Chrysler 300

NissanMay2015-3-2

The folks on the American side of automotive manufacturing are known for making clunkers that last a few years and then die in a sea of malfunctions and shoddy craftsmanship. It’s funny that Ford and other companies herald their cars as “”built Ford tough”” when everyone knows these american cars are a big fat joke with no punch line. But to every rule there is an exception, and the new 300 from the Chrysler line is actually a beautiful car that is very luxurious. You will never believe you’re in a car built on American soil as you spin around the curves in a beast so nice and lovely that you’ll think you’re dreaming. Take one for a spin and you’ll see.

Acura TSX

2013 Acura TSX SE.

2013 Acura TSX SE.

Acura is well-known as a more expensive Honda, with pretty much all the parts on the car being Honda parts, and they only think you’re paying for really is the A instead of the H on the emblem. Everyone knows you’re throwing your money away for nothing. That said, the TSX is a great car and actually feels luxurious in a way that other cars only try to match. It’s got a 201 HP engine and that kind of power will make you feel like the king you are not.

2015 VW Golf R Euro-spec – Tested

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In 1989, Volkswagen built 71 types of the Golf Limited. It was the most powerful Golf until the MkIV R32 twelve years later. It was powered by a supercharged, 2.-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder and put 207 hp to the ground with the same all-wheel-drive system applied to the legendary Rallye Golf. It had all the high-end features during the day: power sunroof and windows, leather interior, even heated seats. On the outside, these wereThe latest MkVII Golf R is similar in mission. It is the fastest Golf ever, even though it doesn’t forego luxury for the sake of performance. Although those in the know will recognize it as a performance car, it could not be considered flashy. The biggest difference between now and then would be that the Golf R is actually sold in the United States.

We got our hands on a European-spec version VW brought over for testing and marketing, though we won’t see it Stateside until early next year. Although it isn’t the innocuous dark gray in the Limited, it doesn’t check out the top or too boy-racer even in Lapiz Blue. The front and rear bumpers, plus the 19-inch wheels, are definitely thewas only offered with DSG when everyone still wanted manuals. The MkVI R was just offered in manual, when enthusiasts had since realized the value of computerized shifting. The MkVII Golf R will include either transmission. Ours has a good old-fashioned three-pedal manual, that makes it an apples-to-apples comparison with theThe MkVII steps up with 290 hp and 280 lb-ft, even though not bad numbers. If that number is on the conservative side, although 290 sounds pretty impressive, I wouldn’t be surprised. The MkVI R sprinted from standstill to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds-fairly impressive. The new R does exactly the same nearly a tick faster, at 4.9 seconds. Keep in mind that DSG-equipped cars will probably be even quicker. In the quarter-mile sprint, the VI ran a 14.2-second time but couldn’t quite break the century mark at 97.9 mph. The VII takes just 13.5 traps and seconds at 101.3 mph. Those of us who have been popular for a while remember when anything under just a few secondsBesides accelerating, the R has also learned a thing or two about stopping. The VI needed 128 feet to stop from 60 mph. The VII shows a tremendous improvement, needing just 104 feet to hit halt, as a result of 13.4-inch rotors up front and 12.2-inch rotors at the rear. The only problem using the brakes may be the pedal itself. While actuation is good, placement could be improved. I want to be able to heel-toe my downshifts if I’m buying a manual. There is a bit too much distance between the gas and brake pedal, making it pretty difficult to blip between gears. Maybe some inventive aftermarket company can come up with a slightly wider brake pedal cover; those purchasing thewith the steering. The newest Golf R is blessed with an extra-responsive, variable-rack system that’s go-kart quick for turn-in. Steering assist, together with damping rates and exhaust sound, are variable at the push of the mouse with VW’s Driving Profile Control and Dynamic Chassis Control. Besides that (cue ’80s teen-movie building applause), stability control is now able to completely deactivated-the individuals rejoice. As the final icing about the proverbial performance cake, the Golf R receives brake-based torque-vectoring. In conjunction with the latest Haldex 5 system for all-wheel drive, light brake pressure pushes the abilityAll these things amount to a Golf R that may play with the major boys around our figure-8 test. The MkVI Golf R needed 26.5 seconds to lap the twisted oval; the VII requires just 25 seconds. It’s .6 of your second faster than the F30 BMW 335i x Drive we tested not too long ago if you’re wondering how quick that is with the grand scheme of things. The Golf R puts in these numbers exhibiting some understeer in steady state cornering that’s easily controlled with a bit of throttle lift.

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On power is where the Golf R really shines, using all wheels to obtain off the corners without drama. After driving the MkVII GTI with all the Performance Pack’s limited-slip differential, I wondered if there was clearly even a requirement for all-wheel drive in a Golf. I’m not any longer wondering. Even though the limited-slip diff is great (as well as theDuring the time of writing, Volkswagen didn’t have official pricing on the MkVII Golf R. I guess it will probably be slightly north of $35,000, and we will have where that heads if VW decides to make stuff like active cruise control as well as perhaps even parking assist available. Each member of the Golf family is as premium as ever and represents an amazing value in its category. The Golf R is not any different. It won’t be nearly as exclusive as the Limited, but no less than you’ll have the capacity to park one in your driveway.

Ariel Nomad is a Rally-Style Atom

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The Ariel Atom is renowned for its minimalistic approach to a street-legal track car, now the automaker has released details of its off-road-oriented rig: the Ariel Nomad. The Nomad is of a minimalistic design, but upgraded to get more rugged environments, as with the Atom. The automaker claims, “Where the Atom would be to road and track, the Nomad would be towhich has been upgraded with the addition of an extended-travel suspension and higher ground clearance. Thesteering and suspension, and wheels and tires are also upgraded for off-road duty. Ariel says the brand new Nomad is as at home on a grassy field or gravel road because it isoriginates from a mid-mounted, Honda-supplied 235-hp 2.4-liter K24 four-cylinder mated to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. An ITG foam air filter is used, while fuel comes from the 13.2-gallon gas tank by a Marwal electric fuel pump. The setup is controlled with a Hondata engine management system. As with most of the Nomad, the radiator and exhaust is custom-fabricated by Ariel. The exhaust features a stainless silencer.

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The chassis is made up of bronze-welded and powder-coated round steel tubing in different diameters, and aluminum bulkheads. Suspension bits consist of double unequal length wishbones at both ends, high-rotation metallastic bushings, outboard Bilstein dampers, and Eibach coil springs. The steering system is of the rack and pinion design made from cast features and alloy 1.7 turns lock-to-lock as well as a collapsible steering column for safety. Other steering features include adjustable inboard joint and outboardtwin and rear master cylinders with adjustable front/rear brake bias. A Tilton aluminum racing pedal box is also included. The brakes peek out from behind a set of 15×7-inch wheels covered withthe protection cage is exposed, the Nomad includes a nose cone, engine cover, damper covers, and mudguards made from non-structural rotationally moulded polyethylene. Additionally there is a compositescreen and bonnet, and engine access cover. Inside, the Nomad can be had in left- or right-hand drive with seating for two in cloth seats with five-way manual adjustment. Two-inch-wide four-point quick release harnesses are standard. An LCD digital display features speedometer, tachometer, water temperature, fuel level, odometer, and trip odometer information. There are also the regular warning lights including ignition, lights on, handbrake/low brake fluid, low oil pressure, highbeam and indicatorsincludes a relatively small footprint. At merely 126.6 inches long, the Nomad rides on the 92.4-inch wheelbase having a 62.4-inch track front and back. Overall width is 72.8 inches and overall height is 56.1 inches. Approach angle measures 71 degrees, while the departure angle is 82 degrees. Weight shows up at a bantamweight 1474 pounds. Ariel claims the Nomad can hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and has a high speed of 125 mph.

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Ariel Nomad interior seats

For street use, the road package includes the necessary lighting, exterior mirrors, parking brake, horn, electric fan, mudguards, catalytic converter, and rear engine cover.

The Ariel Nomad is highly customizable. Optional equipment includes an aluminum radiator, oil cooler, cat delete pipe, exhaust guards, plus a polished muffler and manifold. An Alcon brake upgrade includes four-piston calipers with an 11.4-inch mechanical or hydraulic handbrake and cockpit brake bias adjustment. Suspension and steering options include adjustable Bilstein dampers, Ohlins adjustable dampers, negative camber wishbone set, competition steering rack, as well as a quick-release steering wheel.

Track options include an FIA battery master switch, fire extinguisher systems, GPS datalogger system, additional lighting, three-inch wide harnesses, and a rear tow strap. Rally-spec high-strength wheels might be specified, while tires may also be upgraded to any or all-terrain tires, road tires, mud tires, or competition rally tires. An 18-inch wheel with road tires or all-terrain tires is also available. A spare carrier and tire is likewise available.

Other options include a heated front windscreen, aero screens, carbon fiber seats, a locking fuel cap, 12-volt sockets, Bluetooth intercom system, passenger and driver footrests, a painted or carbon fiber engine cover, underbody and suspension front, rear and guards recovery bars, plus a Warn winch.

Salvage Title Cars – Are They Worth The Trouble

Picture the scene – you’ve just discovered the car of your dreams at a price you can actually afford. The latest model BMW is for sale at thousands of bucks lower than all the rest. It’s got low mileage and a spotless interior – is this your lucky day or what?
Only one small detail can possibly put a damper on things – an asterisk which indicates that it has a salvage title. The seller does his best to assure you that it’s just cosmetic damage and nothing structurally wrong with the car. The car is by far cheaper than anything else you’ve seen so what do you do? Should you take your chances or walk away?

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It may seem like a good deal to get your hands on a car which is priced substantially lower than all the rest, but what does it actually mean?
Salvage Title Cars
What are salvage title cars – what does it actually mean? If a car has been involved in an accident, weather damaged or stolen and the repairs on the car would cost more than the motor is worth then the insurance company will consider it to be written off and take possession of it. Insurance companies then sell on these cars to salvage yards / rebuilders. The salvage title is a warning to any future buyers that the car has been declared a total loss by an insurance company. But what does it matter? Of approximately 2.5 million cars which are salvage titled every year around 1.5 million of them end up back on the roads, a number which has grown dramatically over the last few years. But it may not be quite as simple as you first thought.

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Finance and Insurance Problems
You may find that you cannot find any finance deals on a salvage title car or be able to fully insure it either. There are very few motor insurance companies which are willing to give full comprehensive and collision cover for a car which has had a salvage title. One problem is that it’s so difficult to put a value on them. For this reason it can also be very difficult to secure a finance package on a salvage title car. If you want to buy one you will probably need to pay cash for it.
Safety Matters
This is probably the best reason of all to avoid a salvage damaged car. Some of these cars are nothing short of dangerous. Many vehicle rebuilders are tempted to cut corners skimping on airbags, alignment and structural issues.
Resale Value
A salvage title car will always be worth considerably less than a “normal” car which has not been involved in an accident. This makes them incredibly difficult to value and can be very difficult to sell on afterwards. There is a very small pool of potential buyers who are willing to take a risk on a salvage title car.
There are also many problems with fraud when it comes to unscrupulous sellers selling on salvage cars without the knowledge of the buyer. There are loop holes in the law from state to state which means that a car which has salvage title in one state may not be the same in another.

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The Bottom Line
If you plan on owning a salvage car and driving it until the wheels fall off (which may not be very long) then it may be a way of saving a little money. If not you are well advised to use reputable dealers like www.ocfiat.com so you know exactly what you are buying. Check out the offers at fiat dealership Los Angeles for a great start.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 & GLA45 AMG – First Drive Review

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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 & GLA45 AMG Highlights

Fine blend of talents in the GLA250
Excellent steering feel
Power lift gate is standard
Charming styling
The AMG version is quick

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Mercedes-Benz vehicles exhibit many virtues. Build quality, intense attention to the tiniest details, engineering depth, and great design among them. In the 2015 GLA250 compact crossover, there’s an accumulation of subtle pleasures that makes it a perfect vehicle to own, from handling the grind of the commute to setting off on a road trip.

It’s not a car that tries to overstate its case and is all the more agreeable because of it. There are times when we might not want to be super-involved in driving, in which case we can enjoy the Mercedes-Benz GLA’s tranquil yet stylish cabin, the comfortable but supportive seats, and take for granted the easy ride quality, the engine’s more-than-adequate punch, and the brakes’ reassuring abilities.
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For other occasions when devilish moods and interesting roads coincide, drivers can recalibrate their senses to tune in more to the GLA’s well-sorted chassis, put the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission into sport mode, and have a little tarmac-based adventure.

Believe or not, steering feel is excellent. This might just be the fortunate upshot of optional 19-inch wheels wearing 235/40 tires in the Edition 1 package, but the balance of weight and precision ties in with a satisfying directness. There’s no need for constant correction. Turn the wheel the desired amount and the GLA responds accordingly. Even rough road surfaces can’t deflect it from its course.
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Built on the same platform as the CLA compact sedan that offers front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the GLA brings an elevated driving position so beloved by a large section of the motoring public along with rear passenger space that will accommodate an average-sized adult, plus cargo capacity that goes from 11.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up (they split and fold in 60/40 fashion) to 42 cubes with them folded down flat. For comparison’s sake, BMW’s X1 runs to 14.8/47.7 cubic feet. The GLA’s power lift gate is standard, by the way.

Factor in standard safety equipment like eight airbags, attention assist, and collision prevention assist with autonomous braking, and that all adds up to a lot of attributes delivered with typical Mercedes-Benz efficiency and style. From a relatively affordable starting price, the GLA250 is a well-rounded package.

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So it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the high-performance variant, the ’15 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG 4Matic, is just as good, only firmer and faster. Well, yes. And no.

Yes because of its engine. In the usual AMG way, this is hand-assembled by one technician who affixes a personalized plaque as a final task. Although it’s an aluminum, twin-scroll turbo, 2.0L four-potter like its regular counterpart, Mercedes-Benz says this is essentially one half of the new V-8 going into AMG’s second sports car, the ’16 GT and the upcoming C63.
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The company claims it’s the most powerful series-production turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the world. It makes 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, propels the GLA45 from standstill to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and runs through the quarter-mile in just 12.7 seconds at 108.3 mph.

Also yes because all-wheel drive is standard in the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 and can put that power to the pavement without any kind of slip. The electronic stability program (ESP) has been tweaked to enhance dynamics. Its torque vectoring function brakes single wheels to help rotate the car through quick corners, with an emphasis on handling before letting the safety aspect take over.
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Ride height has been dropped by 1.8 inches compared with the regular model. The front seats are more bucket-like with plenty of lateral support, and the almost-obligatory flat-bottomed steering wheel has sections of Alcantara wrap at the quarter-to-three position for extra sportiness.

And maybe no because that delicate balance of complementary talents is now upset by the drumming of the tires on the road. It might seem odd, even heretical, to criticize something with more power and greater agility, but the GLA stops being a multitasker and becomes a fast car with a hatchback, stiff suspension, larger antiroll bars, and a noisier cabin. It’s like taking a Willie Nelson tune and giving it the AC/DC treatment. Sure, it rocks, but a degree of charm has been lost in the process. Even more so with the gruff-sounding performance exhaust option.

A sporty machine feels right when it has optimum aerodynamics and a low center of gravity, like the CLA45 AMG, which is undoubtedly the driver’s choice in that range. But in this case, the AMG formula is compromised. Mercedes has the wonderful A-Class in other markets but has determined the only way to be successful selling a hot-hatch to Americans is under the pretense of a crossover. It’s good, but not as great as it could be. If (or, more probably, when) BMW decides to make an M version of its X1 compact crossover, it would be fascinating to see how the two compare.

300zx Tuning

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The Fairlady should really be called the Fast lady!

The 300zx is often overlooked by a lot of as a true sports car.

The reality is that the engine is able to handle a great deal more power without having internal modifications.

There are a a lot of 300zx enthusiasts around and despite the rarity of the cars there are still a good number of in concourse condition.

When selecting a 300zx look for a full service background and a book of receipts.

Thankfully the 300zx is reliable, at least compared to other similarly powerful cars and there is little to go wrong. It would appear that Nissan have substantially over machined the engine (particularly the twin turbo VG30DETT). Our 300zx owners did some fairly extensive modifications ranging from major engine try to complete styling overhauls.

Tuning tips and articles

Lets get an overview of the tuning options open to you to the 300zx.

The 300zx is sadly overlooked because of its scarcity. It has a bullet proof engine and is just begging to be tuned up.

The engine choices are derived from the 3. V6 block with a NASP engine outputting 220bhp, a turbo version of the VG30 with revised head and manifold was never put into the 300zx (which increases power to 255bhp) but the 300ZX did come with the amazing twin turbo engine with a massive 300bhp output around the 5 speed version.

(Interestingly the automatic transmission had power limited to 279bhp.) The Twin Turbo VG30DETT engine is TorqueCars tuners choice and provide plenty of scope for power gains.

We have seen race prepared 300 ZX twin turbos hit power figures of upto 600bhp but this takes a major rebore and rebuild of the engine and plenty of internal strengthening! A good target for the home 300zx TT tuner is the 400bhp mark.

The following mods are usually performed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you begin.

Stage 1 mods: Exhaust, Panel air filter, Remap, lighter flywheel

Stage 2 mods: Fast road polished, cam and ported head, fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,

Stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), competition cam.

Handling modifications tend to be your first port of require the 300zx. We suggest that you simply fit uprated suspension and minimize the car by 30-35mm (top quality coilovers work most effectively choice). Larger drops require arch work – especially on models fitted with oversized alloy wheels.

Nissan 300zx Tuning modifications.

A speedy road cam will be one of the best power mod you can do mechanically to your engine particulalrly on the NASP VG30DE. When pushing up the power you will need to pay careful awareness of the fueling. Quite simply put, more power needs more fuel and air.

When raising power by 50% you should consider the fueling. To get sufficient fuel you might need to uprate the injectors on your own engine. When increasing your fueling you will also have to get a bigger fuel pump to deliver it.You can improve the 300ZX response to the throttle with a Fuel pressure boost valve. A revised intake plenum was on the NASP version of the engine employed in the Maxima and this could be an easy mod for the VG30E giving another 5-7bhp.

In case you are lucky enough to use a perfect block this can be increased to a maximum of 89mm which will take your cc to 3148cc, in the VG30DETT the standard bore size is 87mm and. When you go for a big overbore you ought to get the block strengthened by cryogenic treatment. (Many blocks will have imperfections and stress areas which would restrict the amount of cylinder enlargement.)

The twin turbo engines respond really well to some custom remap and you can get another 20-40% of a power gain. Adding a variable boost controller enables in car adjustments to the power but for higher boost you have to get a remap. Your biggest problem with improving the boost is engine knock. If you add water use and injection a high octane fuel it is possible to up the boost further and see even larger power gains.

Nissan 300zx Intake and Exhaust.

The next area for modification is the exhaust and intake. The standard exhaust fitted by Nissan is actually a excellent setup but power gains of around 5-9% continue to be possible using a full sports exhaust system. Most 300 ZX owners go with a sports exhaust purely for that sound.

An induction kit will help increase power by around 10bhp (a little more around the Turbo engines) – providing you remember to get a cold air intake fitted as well. Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow through the engine but tend not to go too big. Stick to 2 to 2.5 inches for best results on the turbo engines and 2 inches on the NASP versions.

When you start tuning your 300zx you will find that the standard clutch actually starts to complain around the 400bhp mark so get an uprated clutch whilst there is the engine work carried out.

Nissan 300zx Wheel modifications.

Because alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. It can be worth noting that although they can look cool on the 300zx big alloy wheels will in fact decrease your performance.

The larger you go the lower you top speed will be due to the change in your effective final drive ratio. Aim to maintain the overall rolling diameter of your wheel similar to supplied from the factory. In every case we do not recommend going above 18 inches and suggest that (depending on your suspension setup) keep with 17’s.