Monday, October 31, 2011

Garmin Nuvi 5" GPS (1490 LMT) Review

The price of quality, name brand GPS systems has been steadily decreasing over the past couple of years. This can mainly be attributed to the prevalence of GPS systems being included in new vehicles, as well as people using their smart phones for that same purpose.

A quick browse through any electronic store's inventory will reveal numerous good deals on GPS units, but there is one unit in particular that I would like to highlight - the Garmin Nuvi 5".

As a name brand product, the price definitely caught my eye. But as I read over the specs of this unit, I was surprised at how good of a deal this actually is. Equipped with Bluetooth hands-free calling and free lifetime updates, this unit contains most of the features you need, and leaves out the ones that you would probably never use. See the below chart for more details.
Bluetooth Handsfree Calling - Yes
Dimmable LCD - Yes
Keypad Interface - Yes
LCD Resolution - 480 x 272
LCD Screen Size - 5"
Touchscreen Interface- Yes
Vent Mount - No
Windshield Mount - Yes
Address Book - Yes
Audible Directions - Yes
DC Car Adapter - Yes
Distance Log - Yes
Downloadable Maps - Yes
Downloadable Voices - Yes
External Antenna - Not Applicable
GPS Chipset - Multiple
Includes Lifetime Map Updates - Yes
Includes Lifetime Traffic Updates - Yes
Integrated Antenna - Yes
Points of Interest Yes - 6 Million
Programmable Waypoints - Yes
Product Depth - 1.6 cm
Product Height - 8.6 cm
Product Width - 13.7 cm
Product Weight - 221 g
Remote Control - No
Warranty Labour - 1 Year(s)
Warranty Parts - 1 Year(s)

Garmin has always been known for standing behind their products, and creating quality technology to being with. In a store, you can expect to pay at least $200 plus tax. I did some searching around, and it seems that Amazon is the cheapest place to buy the Garmin Nuvi. Even with shipping, it still usually works out to be cheaper than buying it in store.
I recently ordered a couple of these units  that I intend on using as Christmas gifts this year. Why not shop early before the price goes up?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ferrari Gives the Finger to Electric Cars

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari's president, said his company will never make electric cars as he doesn't believe in them.
I agree with di Montezemolo's assessment of environmental alternatives, such as Hybrids, since they will be much more practical for Ferrari from a business perspective. Who in their right mind (and who isn't a celebrity) would actually purchase an electric Ferrari? A fully electric engine would detract from the rich engineering history that encompasses Ferrari's vehicle line-up.

"You will never see a Ferrari electric because I don’t believe in electric cars, because I don’t think they represent an important step forward for pollution or CO2 or the environment. But, we are working very, very hard on the hybrid Ferrari. This should be the future, and I hope in a couple of years you can see it."

The hybrid system that is alluded to in the above quote is rumored to be Ferrari's KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology which the company currently uses in its Formula 1 cars. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

60th Anniversary of the Unimog Prompts New Concept from Mercedes-Benz

The Unimog is certainly not a common discussion topic at the dinner table these days, so perhaps an introduction is in order for this vehicle.
The term "Unimog" technically represents a range of multi-purpose 4-wheel drive trucks made by Mercedes Benz. There's the medium 405 series, the heavy 437 series, and U20 which is the smallest available Unimog. Shortly after World War II, the first Unimog was designed to be used off-road, with farming in mind. Unimogs can be found anywhere that an off-road vehicle is required, such as in the jungle, on mountains, in the desert, and in towns and cities as municipal vehicles (such as snowplows).

To honor its multi-purpose design, Mercedes-Benz has created a concept based on the already-existing U5000 platform, featuring exposed underpinnings and brightly-detailed aluminum chassis rails. And of course, the aluminum five-spoke wheels add a certain personality to the truck.

Designers promise that certain aspects of this concept will manifest themselves in upcoming models of the Unimog.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Smaller, High-Revving Turbo V8 in the New Corvette C7?

If there's one thing I hate doing, it's jumping on the "rumor" bandwagon - but with the current C6 generation Corvette coming to an end soon, I'm finding it difficult not to partake in the speculation that GM may be substituting its large V8's for something smaller.
It's no news that basically all manufacturers are going the "forced induction" route when it comes to pushing their vehicles to their limits, but the Corvette is an icon of American muscle! Will it really be the same without a massive traditional V8? Well, as I was reading on The Detroit Bureau,  the new C7 will be targeted towards a completely different demographic. Corvette owners have typically been older American males, so GM wants to cater to a younger crowd with a European-styled V8 that could be as small as three liters, but still deliver around 400 horsepower! Some aesthetic rumors have implied that the C7 may bring back some historic features, such as the split window of the 1963 model - but that rumor is of course unconfirmed.

What I can confirm, however, is that GM’s global design chief Ed Welburn admits that the current interior of the C6 is a massive disappointment, and he is personally overseeing the design of the C7's interior. Since he considers himself a long-time fan of the Corvette, he promises the new design to be "world class," but I'll have to see it to believe it.
Back to the engine, is this a good change? I'm asking myself this very question right now. Since the Corvette's debut in 1953, it has always been stuck to the philosophy of "there's no replacement for displacement," indicating that this is a HUGE overhaul for this sports car. I really can't predict how the C7 will do on the market, but GM really has to make this a work of art in order for it to succeed. There's no word on price yet obviously (which should answer the majority of the comments on this post), but price is really irrelevant at this point anyways.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not One, Not Two, But Three Turbochargers on the Upcoming BMW X3 M?

No, it's not a misprint! BMW's "M" Division in Munich is readying a brand new mid-sized SUV which will possibly be equipped with "tri-turbo" technology. I might add that it is scheduled for launch as early as 2012, which makes me hope they're not rushing this beast out the door to test the market.
The current straight six will apparently be tweaked to 3.2 Liters, up from 3.0L. Although I have no idea how valid this next statistic is, we can apparently expect horsepower somewhere around 450bhp, and can expect it to cost approximately $12,000 more than the current X3.

My guess is that the X3 M will be greeted with good sales figures - judging from the fact that that the current X3 is sold out in the UK until 2012. It`s absolutely astounding to see the advancements that automakers are making with forced-induction technology, and I for one will anxiously await this vehicle`s release... even though I won`t be buying one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is Lamborghini Planning a "Daily Driver"?

Currently, Lamborghini offers two super car models - the Gallardo and the Aventador- but this might soon change with another addition to its line-up.  
News has trickled from a press release that the automaker plans on releasing a third model that will be intended as an "every-day car" that would be designed for daily use.

Although details are sparse at the moment - and believe me; I've looked - there are quite a few theories about what this car will look like. It will most likely use a platform within the Volkswagen Group, and could take on a variety of forms.

For instance, Audi and Porsche (with their R8 and 911 respectively) have proved to their customers that a daily-driver supercar is not only possible, but it's an awesome idea.

I'm personally hoping that they don't design something like the Ferrari FF or the Porsche Panamera.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Worst Vehicles on the Road 2011 - According to Forbes

Forbes magazine recently released its "2011 Worst Cars on the Road" list, and while I wasn't surprised that American manufacturers got hated on substantially, but a couple others such as the Smart Fortwo made me laugh. Here is the full list:

  Cadillac Escalade
  Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  Dodge Nitro SLT
Chrysler Town & Country
  Mercedes Benz S550
Chevrolet Aveo
  Chevrolet Colorado
Nissan Titan
  Jeep Liberty
  Smart Fortwo

Whenever lists like this are compiled, its important to know the criteria. Forbes took many factors into consideration The Cadillac Escalade for example, although a symbol of wealth and class, topped the list because of its high cost of ownership, poor safety rating, and overall low value.

As I mentioned above, American vehicles are quite prominent on this list. Since Forbes derived its data from Consumer Reports, this is clearly because of low safety reports, low reliability, high maintenance costs, and bad fuel economy.

I can't say I agree implicitly with this list, but instead of ranting I'll just conclude by saying that Consumer Reports seems a bit biased. Luxury vehicles have an obviously higher cost of ownership, but that doesn't necessary make them "the worst vehicles on the road," does it? And not every manufacturer strives to make all of their vehicles the safest (substituting practicality and performance). So although I wasn't necessary looking to buy any of the vehicles on this list, the fact that Forbes proclaimed them the "worst vehicles on the road," does little to alter my thoughts towards them. If anything, I think less of Forbes for being a bunch of jackasses.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Electric Racing to Premiere in United States

Rather than in the UK as previously announced, the race for the EV cup will be occurring in the United States in this upcoming November. The EV cup is a race with exclusively-electric vehicles, and is apparently the first of its kind.
In my opinion, the EV cup is more for technology interest than for any other reason. Statistics show that the general public isn't keeping themselves too well-informed about electric vehicle technology, and probably won't be too interested in this type of competition.

Surprisingly, the US has shown more interest in the EV cup than the UK, which was the reason for the location change.

Expect races to begin in 2012, and expect them to be really quiet and lame.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are We Finally Going to See Some More Turbo-Diesels?

Since when I first began being interested in vehicles, I always wondered why North America wasn't taking the same initiative as Europe when it came to turbo-diesel technology. Turbo-diesel engines are fuel efficient, have tons of torque, and are being under-utilized by most manufacturers.

Luckily, this might soon change. I read an article on Left Lane News (source) about how Cummins is working together with Nissan and the Department of Energy to create a four-cylinder engine that just might change the North American pick-up industry forever.
Rumor has it that Nissan actually has a fully-functional prototype in a testing phase - boasting a 2.8 liter engine and 3.8 liter engine. But the important part of this post is how this will affect driver's wallet. Just how efficient is this damn engine in comparison to what's already on the market?

In comparison to the current Nissan Titan (which may soon have a turbo diesel) the increase in fuel efficiency is approximately double.

Although the new Nissan Titan isn't scheduled until 2016, other manufacturers are likely to follow suit, and you can bet your ass that I'll have a turbo-diesel pickup on my shopping list in a 5 or 6 years.

Friday, May 13, 2011

62MPG Fleet Average Not Likely

Unknown to most American citizens, 18 US Senators and a bunch of hippy environmentalists have been quietly pushing a bill that would require US automakers to have a fleet average of 62MPG by the year 2025. However, numerous letters including one from the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers has the Obama Administration reconsidering this proposal.
Obama, even though he has basically nothing to do with this post.
My opinion is that this proposal will interfere with the American dream of being a bad-ass motherfucker. You see, it is very difficult to be hardcore when your car gets 62MPG.

The official response from the AAM is that the cost increase would be too substantial, at approximately $10,000 per vehicle, and all manufacturers would likely see a significant decrease in sales. Job loss is predicted at 250,000 jobs if the 62MPG fleet average requirement were to take effect.

An official decision on this bill isn't expected to be delivered until next year, but until then Das Auto! says screw the hippies and their hippy agenda, and recommends that you buy a gas-guzzler while you still can.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hot Wheels to Comes to LIfe at Indy 500

Very few car-related things make me reminisce about my childhood more than Hot Wheels, so my eyes were immediately drawn to a news article today about a stunt being planned which will involve a real truck, and a massive ramp.
Over the course of three weeks, organizers planned to construct a 30 meter door with a huge orange ramp, and judging by the trial-run video I saw, they're nearly done. Their goal is to break the jump record for a four-wheel vehicle, and to be honest, I can't wait to see their attempt!

The stunt will take place in the fourth turn of Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the May 29 race begins. Company officials expect the driver, whose identity is being kept secret until after the stunt, to break Johnny Greaves’ current world record of 301 feet.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Finally Some Isuzu News!

Isuzu has almost become a forgotten brand these days in most of North America. Its GM partnership has been going roughly due to lack of interest, and lack of sales. But things might be looking up for the brand, based on reports that Volkswagen has expressed interest in purchasing Isuzu.

VW has stated that they won't be making any quick decisions, but if the purchase does go through, VW would only have indirect control considering that MAN SE, a truck maker that is 29.9 percent owned by VW, may be the entity to make the stake.

The reason I found it necessary to mention this possible purchase, is actually based upon the surge in Isuzu's stock of 9.6%. And this was purely on the "word" that the purchase may occur. I know I'll be keeping an eye on this!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Land Rover Defender Relaunch Planned for 2015

Although Land Rover has always catered its Defender to a very small client base (making it quite rare), Land Rover has announced that it has already begun the development process of the next-generation Defender. American readers probably aren't as familiar with this vehicle, considering it's been banned in the United States since the 1990's due to airbag regulations, but the next-generation Defender is sure to be in the public eye within the next few years.

The current model has retained its basic design for several decades, but expect this to change.

What does this mean exactly? Land Rover has indicated they are quite serious about the update, boasting a new production facility, brand new platform, and most importantly the backing of parent company Tata Motors.

Land Rover was kind enough to provide a time-frame for curious enthusiasts such as myself. We can expect a concept of the Defender in 2013, with the road-going version scheduled for its market introduction in 2015.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fuel Prices - Do I Have to Become a Prostitute to Pay for Gas?

After a brief hiatus of not giving a fuck, I am back and ready to provide the world with the automotive content that it craves and deserves. Along with my senior news correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, there is nothing that will stand in our way of providing car enthusiasts their daily medicine; so get ready.

I cannot fathom a more meaningful way of resuming my role than to bitch about today's gas prices, so that's exactly what I'll be doing! If you don`t like a man speakin`the trufs, please leave now.

Hopefully you guys and gals aren't surprised to learn that I've never worked at a gas station (because let's face it - only retards and immigrants work at gas stations), but our senior news correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, has obtained some interesting information about this industry, and has been kind enough to share:

1. Most gas stations set their prices not according to how much it costs them to replace the fuel, but in correlation with their closest competitors in the area

2. If one station ups their price per gallon, the rest will follow suit and vice-versa. That's because station owners typically only make two or three cents on every gallon of gasoline sold. Instead, they make their money off of the snacks and drinks inside.

So kids, if there's one thing to take from this lesson, it's that gas stations don't have much control over the price of their fuel, but they really jew you over (pardon my political incorrectness) on the food inside the store.

Hopefully you are all as fortunate as myself, and had the foresight to purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle. If not, and you are among the portion of the population who eats through their stress, DO NOT, I repeat: DO NOT, purchase your food from the gas stations. Why? 'Cause fuck 'em, that's why.

In all seriousness, however, the gas prices aren't going down anytime soon. If you're rich and don't care, I commend you on your success - but for the rest of us, public transit is becoming a more feasible option for daily commuting.

If you are planning on taking public transit to and from work, I must insist that you continue reading. People on buses staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnk, and you're going to want to get drunk before riding the bus to lower your olfactory sensitivity. Also, remember to bring your mp3 player because people on the bus tend to jibber-jabber, and it's very annoying. Last but not least, I feel inclined to recommend that bring your bike so you can minimize your time on the bus.

Obviously I'm not going to bother discussing specific gas prices, but you can check if you want to find the cheapest gas near you.

We at Das Auto! are interested in hearing how the current gas prices are affecting you! You won't win anything, but you will temporarily satisfy Yuri Bonergarden's curiosity! Have at 'er in the comments.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How Hard Does Your Suspension Have To Work?

The short answer is that it has to work pretty goddamn hard to keep your vehicle straight, and keep you comfortable during the ride.

Our Senior News Correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, was directed to the below video where a smart gentleman has attached a camera to his Mazda Miata to capture the suspension travel over a short distance. This resulted in some pretty awesome footage, and I recommend watching it even if you don't own a car or give a shit what I'm talking about.

So even though your ride may still feel bumpy, or your suspension may be tuned stiff, you now have a general idea of how much vibration your suspension is absorbing. The suspension in the video was aftermarket sport suspension, meaning that it was designed for handling and actually absorbs less vibration than what you would get on a stock vehicle designed for comfort.

While I'm on the subject, if you're thinking about purchasing some coilovers for your vehicle, I highly recommend K-Sports. They'll cost you a pretty penny, but I threw a set of fully-adjustables on my 1992 VW Jetta GTX a couple years ago, and I have no regrets. They perform great, and I can raise my vehicle easily in the winter. This is a subject that I've researched extensively, so if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

FBI Sued for Crashing Ferrari

Catchy title, right? Well it's true, the FBI is being sued by a Detroit insurer after an agent crashed a $750,000 Ferrari F50 into a tree! The lawsuit alleges that he dun goofed, real bad.

As for the Ferrari itself, it began its life in a dealership in Pennsylvania where it was stolen in September of 2003. The dealer submitted a claim for the stolen vehicle to their insurance company, who paid them their claim. Five years later in 2008, the vehicle was found in Kentucky and was held by the FBI as they investigated the case.
While in FBI possession, two mechanically-retarded special agents decided to take it for a drive. The Ferrari vehicle "fishtailed and slid sideways" within only a few seconds of leaving the warehouse where the vehicle was being stored," according to the lawsuit. Some people just can't handle a supercar, apparently.

After the crash, the insurer submitted a claim to the FBI for the cost of the Ferrari, and was denied on two separate occasions, hence the lawsuit.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

330km/h Speed Record Set - On Ice!

Off the coast of Finland, on the frozen Baltic Sea, a pretty amazing feat has taken place recently. No, I'm not talking about ice fishermen having inappropriate relations with a whale; I'm talking about the new ice-speed record being set by Juha Kankkunen, a four-time world rally champion.

The supercar he was driving was the world's fastest convertible - the Bentley Continental GT - and as the title of this post suggests, 330km/h is the record that was set. 

As you might assume, certain necessary modifcations were done to the Bentley to make it suitable for the freezing conditions, which dipped as low as -30C. These included installing Pirelli winter tires, a rear parachute, and a roll-cage.

Only 4.8 km was needed before hitting the record speed on the 16.5 km course. A representative with Guiness World Records was on hand to verify the achievement.

For those interested in seeing the video, (which I think is pretty goddamn awesome) here it is:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rearview Advertising - Nissan's New Approach to Marketing their GT-R

It seems automotive companies are slowly beginning to realize that traditional advertising aggravates consumers and makes them feel stupid. If someone is genuinely interested in learning about a new car, they'll go online and do research - and it doesn't matter to them if someone (not to mention any names...*cough* Eminem) is driving a car in a commercial. A while back, I did a post about BMW's flash projection publicity stunt, and now Nissan is doing something interesting as well.

I'll let the video do the bulk of the explaining, but a couple ladies in a Nissan GT-R went driving around and slapping a film on Porsche owner's windshields to make it look like they're behind a GT-R. It looks like they're capitalizing off their Nürburgring lap time, which was faster than Porsche's.

Some people think that Nissan's actions border on vandalism, but I think it's clever marketing. Thoughts?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Insurance Company Forced to Pay Man for Marijuana

Whenever insurance companies are forced to court-ordered to pay out their policies, it is a victory for the consumer. However, one case specifically caught my eye the other day because of the judge's unique decision. Quebec’s auto insurance protection agency has been ordered to pay $5,000 to a man so that he can grow and smoke marijuana in his home, for medicinal reasons of course.

The man had initially requested insurance coverage for medicinal marijuana for his back spasms, claiming that traditional medicine didn't work, but he was obviously denied. He apparently used to smoke weed illegally, and was arrested and charged on numerous occasions for doing so.

The man (whose name wasn't included on the news report) appealed his case to tribunal officials in Quebec, and it was decided by two judges that the proper steps must be taken for rehabilitation for the car crash victim. This means that $5,000 must be paid for a hydroponic greenhouse in the man’s home, as well as covering water, electricity, plants and soil expenses.

I came up with this complicated algorithm for how this man achieved this court victory:

Now, of course the man had to prove with doctor testimony that prescribed pharmaceutical drugs didn't work to relieve his pain, but hopefully this sets some type of precedent for people who can benefit from cannabis... such as Das Auto!'s Senior News Correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Would You Buy a Car if a Sumo Wrestler has Sat on it?

For the competent consumer, the answer to this question doesn't require any consideration.

But for one gentleman on a local (Vancouver) Subaru forum, he found out after purchasing his new Subaru Forester that the vehicle had been used in a commercial - one which included having a Sumo Wrestler sprawled out on the hood.

Here is his original post quoted from

So I picked up my new 2011 Subaru Forester last weekend. Drove it home, parked in the sun to get a good look, and much to my dismay, noticed small imperfections in the hood... as if someone placed something heavy on the hood. Not really dents... just areas where the light reflections show up shallow imperfections.
At first I wasn't going to complain, thinking "it's not noticeable unless you really look..." but every time I looked
Drove back to the dealer (Don Docksteader in Vancouver), and they said "no problem, we will take care of that for you... must have happened when we shot the latest Sumo Wrestler Add!! Google "Sexy Sumo 2011 Forester"
At the end of the add, you can see a bunch of Sumo Wrestlers lounging on Forester hoods outside the dealership.... I guess this is where the damage happened.
Tomorrow the manager is supposed to phone me, and I am wondering what I should ask for:
1. replace with a new Forester that hasn't been sat on by a huge Japanese man. I can guess that would be a difficult discussion.
2. replace the hood with a new Factory painted hood... not sure this is even possible?
3. repair the hood and re-paint it... I am really not in favor of this option, but that is likely what the dealer will offer. Kind of like paying full price for a new car after it has been in an accident and repaired.
4. ask for money back to compensate for the damage.
Any thoughts / suggestions?
I guess the only good thing is knowing the Forester can actually take the weight of a Sumo Wrestler without too much damage... I would have thought sitting on the hood of a new vehicle these days would have definitely left a large impression.  

Here is the ad that he is referring to in his post:

Now although instances of this magnitude would be few and far between, it just goes to show you that even if you purchase your vehicle brand new, from the dealership, you still don't know exactly what they've done with it before selling it to you.

I think it was fairly irresponsible of this dealership to sell the Forrester to this guy without properly inspecting it after the commercial was filmed, because surely they could have anticipated that SOME damage might occur. However, this just perpetrates my theory that you should never buy a car from a dealership.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Happens If You Don't Change Your Oil?

Even people who aren't mechanically-inclined know that only a retard doesn't change his oil. But what actually happens if you neglect to perform regular oil changes on your vehicle? I sent Das Auto`s senior news correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, to find out the answer to this question.

Yuri was able to contact one unfortunate gentleman who literally ran his BMW 60,000KM without an oil change, and this gentleman shared pictures of his engine with Das Auto. 

First, we'll have a look at the oil pan. Nasty! It's amazing the engine could still run!

Next, the car's owner (who shall remain nameless) showed us the backside of the cover.

To get technical, your engine will be filled with sludge. Your engine simply can't run properly with all this crap. The owner of this particular car will be cleaning his engine for a while, and even after rigorous cleaning, it's not certain that it can ever function at optimum efficiency ever again.

Kids, our senior news correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, says "NO" to improper engine care.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Detroit's RoboCop Statue Is Funded!

I know I'm not the only person been thinking that a statue of RoboCop would look great in Detroit, so I was glad to hear this piece of news today. In fact, I sent our senior news correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, to Detroit get the scoop!
On the plane to Detroit, Yuri was pleased to read that donations were raised to put this project together, with a final donation of $25,000 from a company called Omni Consumer products.

Now when Yuri first arrived in Detroit and met with the Mayor, he was surprised to learn that there was no immediate plan to put a fur hat on RoboCop upon the statue's completion. This concerned him greatly, and he expressed this concern with extreme gusto - an action to which the Mayor replied, "Men, get RoboCop a fur hat!"
As you can imagine, the Mayor is a very influential man, and when he requests a fur hat, one is fetched for him immediately. He put this task on top priority, and his men came back with a high-quality, no-expenses-spared red tail fox hat. Yuri and the Mayer of Detroit shook hands, knowing that RoboCop's statue will be erected in style! Above is an artist's rendering of what the statue will look like upon completion.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Turbo Minivans - "I gotta get me one of these!"

Call me crazy, but turbo minivans have been an interest of mine ever since I was a kid. My parents had a minivan, and the thought of making one really fucking fast by either upgrading the naturally aspirated engine, or adding a turbocharger sounded really cool. As I grew up, I realized that these things are all over the place.

Obviously at the age of 20, I have better things to spend my money on (i.e. rent, food, and beer) but I've been reading stories over at that seriously make me want to pick up a minivan at some point in my life, and slap a turbo on it. Can you imagine the look on someone's face when they hear your minivan's engine screaming with 15 psi of boost? I can.

Still thinking turbo minivans are a joke? Well, they're not. Here's a video of a Plymouth Voyager absolutely smashing a Firebird on the track:

And here's a video of a turbo Plymouth Voyager (possibly the same one?) just barely losing to a Subaru WRX:

So in conclusion, if you pull up to a red light and there's a dude in a minivan beside you, you don't know what he's got under the hood! And to all the haters who are saying "yeah, but it's an ugly-ass minivan," I say shame on you all. It's the ultimate sleeper, and I'd totally like to own one (not as my daily driver, of course).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ford Five Hundred - Good in Theory, Lacking in Quality

A car purchase is obviously among the most important large purchases a person can make, and purchasing a poor-quality vehicle will come back and bite you in the ass. It is for this reason that when I come across a vehicle of aforementioned indecent quality, I make sure to spread the word.

Things brings us to the Ford Five Hundred. In essence, it is an front or all-wheel-drive sedan (separate models) which was manufactured between 2005 and 2007. Under the hood you will find the 3.0 liter Duratec 30 V6 wihch produces well over 200 horsepower, and 200 lbs/ft of torque. You can get the Ford Five Hundred with either a CVT transmission or a 6-speed automatic. Sounds pretty good, right? What negative things could this jackass (me) possibly have to say about it?
Well, regardless of impressive stats, I always read reviews to determine a vehicle's reliability, cost of ownership, build quality, and what type of maintenance it will require as the years progress. In the case of the Ford Five Hundred, the negative reviews that I read were plenty enough to discourage me from entering into ownership of one of these cars.

The first major complaint was the build quality. People have been complaining about the car shaking violently when braking, the dash bubbling, engine making knocking noises, carpet tearing easily, and the list goes on. Most of the reviewed vehicles had under 50,000km. If anyone is considering purchasing a Ford Five Hundred, I highly recommend reading the extensive reviews over at For a more reliable alternative to teh Ford Five Hundred, a Subaru Impreza can be picked up for around the same price.

Friday, February 11, 2011

2012 Acura TL - It's here and it's queer; get used to it

In the ever-expanding and fast-paced auto industry, Das Auto! always tries its darnedest to provide its readers with pure, unadulterated news from the forefront of wherever the f&ck news happens these days.  Our senior news correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, embodies himself in his work and has brought us the low-down on the new 2012 Acura TL! We at Das Auto! found his information to be worthy of a post, hence today's topic.
The first thing our news correspondent, Yuri Bonergarden, thought when he set his eyes on the 2012 model was "is this f&cking car smiling at me?"

He conveys an extremely valid point. This car looks incredibly gay, or homosexual to be more politically-acceptable. Very rarely does a car give off a "stick-your-dick-in-my-tailpipe" vibe, but the 2012 Acura TL seems to have pulled it off successfully.

With the TL's faggot-appearance sufficiently criticized, let's talk transmissions. Surprisingly, this is the only aspect of the car that Yuri found to be acceptable. He liked the fact that the six-speed automatic transmission allows "double kickdowns". I asked Yuri what this meant, and he was happy to explain it to me in his ever-professional manner. He calmly explained that a "double kickdown" is where the transmission can skip from 5th to 3rd (for example) without ever touching fourth. As he caressed the TL gently with his right hand (while playing with his nipple with his free hand), he whispered in a deep, sensual growl to me that he really liked the double kickdown feature. Needless to say, the Acura representatives wouldn't let him touch the TL after that.

Yuri guffawed at me when I asked about the TL's engine. He told me it's the same 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 as last year's model, and that I should shut the f&ck up and wrap up this post because I'm rambling. 

In conclusion, I have a subconscious prejudice against Honda's and Acura's when I've been drinking, and I blame said prejudices on a third party, Yuri Bonergarden (AKA the "Traveling Businessman"), who may or may not be a figment of my delusional, drunken imagination. If any Acura-lovers or homosexuals were offended by this post, feel free to sue me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ford Beats Ferrari - But Not on the Track

Those who keep up with auto industry news may know that Ferrari wanted to name their F1 car the "F150" and announced their intentions to do so a while back. Ford, however, had an issue with this and took legal action to protect their trademark "F150".
Here's where I disagree with Ford's actions. They claimed that Ferrari had misappropriated the F150 trademark in naming its new racing vehicle the "F150" in order to capitalize on and profit. For starters, how can you compare a truck to a formula one race car?  The only reason Ferrari wanted the "F150" name for their F1 car is to celebrate 150 years of Italian unity, and they understandably don't understand Ford's intentions behind this legal action. Personally, I've gotta say that Ford is just flexing their muscles unnecessarily, simply because they can.
Ford also wanted damages for "cybersquatting" but I couldn't find out whether they are pursuing that since Ferrari has already withdrawn their proposal to use "F150" for their F1 car.

In conclusion, I gotta say that Ford done goofed on this one. Allowing Ferrari to use the "F150" name on their formula one car would not affect their business in any way, and it almost seems like bad publicity for them to pursue legal action.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Terrafugia - Not Just a Car, and Not Just a Plane.. It's Both!

Yesterday's post showcased a rather unusual car - one that could drive underwater - and I was subsequently left wondering what other odd vehicles have been built. Therefore, I thought it was only fitting to post a concept car  which is the exact opposite of the underwater car. Meet the Terrafugia, a car that transforms into a plane, and actually flies!

Although it is marketed more-so as a plane that can transport itself and store easily, the Terrafugia is fully functional on the roadway. The theory is that the average pilot will want to cut his or her expenses, and will appreciate a lightweight aircraft that you can store at home, and literally drive to and from the runway. I really like this concept because it makes aircraft ownership much more practical for the average person, and I would consider purchasing one of these if I won the lottery.

The specs from the company's website, which can be viewed HERE are as follows:
Max, Vh:
Cruise, Vc:
Stall, Vs:

100 kts (115 mph, 185 km/h)
93 kts (105 mph, 172 km/h)
45 kts (51 mph, 83 km/h)
425 nmi (490 mi, 787 km)
1700' (518 m) over 50' obstacle
Gross Takeoff Weight:
Empty Weight:
Useful Load:

1430 lbs (650 kg)
970 lbs (440 kg)
460 lbs (210 kg)
Fuel burn at cruise:
Useable Fuel:
Milage on road:

5 gph (18.9 L/h)
23 gal (87L)
35 mpg (14.9 km/L)

I especially like how the wings are mechanical and fully automatic, and how you enter and exit the aircraft as you would a car. The convenience of this vehicle also got me thinking... who else could benefit from this technology? And then it dawned on me! The most refined gentleman on this planet, the Traveling Businessman, could put this vehicle to use. The sky is the limit for he who wears the skunk hat. Fly on, Traveling Businessman, fly on.
In all seriousness, however, I believe the Terrafugia to be an excellent fusion of car and plane. This vehicle is actually available for purchase from the manufacturer, so it's not some far-off future concept. The website doesn't specify a price, leading me to believe that it's quite expensive.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Underwater Car - Completely Useless, But Worth a Look

Not to be mistaken with the numerous ridiculous car-boat hybrids that have been created for no apparent reason, this innovation exhibits an even greater level of ridiculousness. Now keep in mind, I like ridiculousness because it provides comedic relief from logic and reason, but sometimes you just come across something which makes no sense. With that being said, let's take a look at Rinspeed's underwater car.

Okay, so if you watched the video, you're probably wondering who/what/why/where/how? Very good questions, and I'd like to answer them. The "who?" and "what?" questions are rather self-explanatory. Rinspeed, one of those "future development companies" created a zero-emissions sports car that can go underwater to a depth of ten meters. As for why they did this, it would appear that no one else had attempted to build one and they saw the opportunity. As for where it was built, how the f&ck should I know? It was shown at the Geneva motor show a couple years ago, if that helps satisfy that question.

Rinspeed's boss, an acknowledged James Bond enthusiast, had apparently wanted to build this vehicle for around 30 years. There's a whole whackload of information about this vehicle HERE for those who wish to educate themselves on this crazy automobile. 

Just for entertainment purposes, let's pretend this vehicle actually went into production. What type of person would purchase it? The average doctor, lawyer, plumber, garbageman, dentist, district attorney and cashier would have no use for a vehicle with underwater capabilities, but I'll tell you who would use it - the Traveling Businessman. He is forever conquering new territory, and making new business deals. Could the sea be his final frontier?


Monday, February 7, 2011

2012 Nissan GT-R

Hopefully you guys aren't sick of hearing about the new Nissan GT-R yet, because I'm just getting around to writing about it now! The 2012 model is seeing some overall upgrades, specification-wise, and they're worthy of your attention.

I'll start off with the good stuff, the real nitty gritty. Kazutoshi Mizuno of Nissan claims a 45 horsepower increase, bringing the total to 530, and a slight torque increase. Upgraded boost ensures that the new GT-R can hit 60mph from 0 in 2.83 seconds.

Other changes (or upgrades) come in more subtle forms. Nissan has created better sound deadening, more suspension tuning has taken place to help reduce under-steer, and some more detailed computer tuning which I won't get into.

The GT-R has become a prominent supercar, most comparable to the Porsche 911 turbo (though far less tame), and with a price tag of around $100,000 it's interesting why people buy vehicles twice its price.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buying a Ford Crown Victoria Ex-Police Interceptor

If you browse your local Craigslist as much as I browse mine, you undoubtedly come across many Crown Victoria ex-police interceptors at seemingly fantastic prices. Some people, however, are skeptical of the deals and just assume there's something wrong with the vehicle. I wanted to throw a small guide together for anyone considering purchasing one of these cars, to ensure that a good deal is what you get (instead of a lemon).
First of all, you'd be surprised at how much documentation is available for these cars. Ex-police interceptors were maintained meticulously because they had to operate at peak efficiency, so you'll find detailed service records. The main thing you'll want to check for is where the vehicle was used. The reason for this? If it was driven primarily in the city, it will have a high number of idle hours, and driven harder than a car that was used in the country. The best-case scenario is to find an ex-detective car.

Police cars also are notorious for being in small accidents such as fender benders, so you will want to contact the seller and find out if any serious damage was done in the course of duty. Also be sure to find out who removed the electronics, because this will give you a general idea of the wiring condition and if you'll have to do any work.

The reason the police interceptor models are sought after by the public is because they have upgrades, such as better brakes, heavy-duty transmission, and drive-train. The interior is also quite nice, from what I could see while in the back seat.

Not all police cars are good buys, so you definitely have to do some work to make sure you're getting a good deal.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Will the Ford GT be Reborn as a Hybrid?

If the rumors in the auto industry are accurate, the Ford GT might re-introduced as a retro-styled, modern Hybrid. What does this mean exactly? Well, it would essentially be a purely electric supercar much like the Mercedes Benz SLS E-Cell. I for one think the Ford GT Hybrid would be a welcome addition to the road.

In order to keep up with the competition, stop/start ability coupled with an electric assist engine will keep the car relatively "green" which is obviously a requirement of a hybrid, but targets are still set at approximately 600 horsepower!

Ford will likely achieve its goal with the help of a turbocharger (or two?) and a lightweight aluminum chassis. I'll be keeping my eye on this one!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Thought The Cadillac CTS-V Couldn't Get Better...

Someone please hand me that towel over there, because I need to wipe my drool off the goddamn floor! GM recently announced its new styling for the CTS-V - the Black Diamond Edition. Now I'm a guy who has numerous reservations about American vehicles, yet I cannot contain my desire to have one of these in my garage.
Now before anyone judges my attraction to this seemingly inanimate object, let me make something abundantly clear. This CTS-V isn't something to be left out in the rain, or to be parked near shopping carts at the neighborhood grocery. Why? Well, I'll gladly tell you why.  The painting process uses something called SpectraFlair paint, which entails a process of three layers of paint and flakes of aluminum encapsulated in magnesium fluoride for a sparkling finish. Needless to say, you're an idiot if you scratch the paint because it will be literally impossible to seamlessly repair it.
Aside from the paint, the Black Diamond CTS-V is said (by GM themselves) to emulate a well-tailored tuxedo. Prices start at $69,190 for manual transmission models and $70,490 for the automatic, which is a pretty penny for most onlookers (myself obviously included), but well worth the money.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Backwards Vehicles - They Really Mess With Your Head

People have been Photoshopping vehicles for years to make them look faster, lower, larger and for reasons unknown. However, today I found a collection of vehicles over at Final Gear forums where someone has chopped the roof off a vehicle, flipped it, and put it back. A rather simple concept, but with pretty awesome results...

I wanted to try this on my 1992 Volkswagen Jetta, but I couldn't find a side profile picture, and it's too dark outside to go take one.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition

Those of you who play Call of Duty: Black Ops may have noticed how Jeep was featured in the game, but what most people don't know is that Jeep actually created a special edition Wrangler entitled the Black Ops edition... (Yes, I'm serious.)
The special edition Jeep Wrangler hit dealerships back in December to seemingly little fanfare. What is the difference between this edition and a regular Wrangler, you ask? If you overlook the 32-inch off-road tires, Mopar tail lamp guards, a Mopar fuel door, Black Ops logos, and an entirely blacked-out exterior, then there's not really much difference. Oh, except for that it costs about $5,000 more than a base model.
So in conclusion, I enjoy playing COD: Black Ops just as much as the next gamer, but there's no way I'd make a vehicle purchase partially based upon their marketing partnership with Jeep. Is there anyone die-hard enough to buy one of these?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The "Chocolate Box Smart Car" - F&ck Off, Seriously

Valentines day is coming up, so Japanese luxury jeweler/chocolatier Q-Pot decided to design the following monstrosity...
When I first saw this picture, I hoped it was fake and photo-shopped, but such was not the case. See the original website here. In addition to this special edition Smart car looking like a giant piece of crap, it costs $28,000. I genuinely hope that anyone who is financially capable of spending that kind of money on a valentines-day gift will spend their money more wisely.

My dislike for Smart cars has amazingly become intensified. Whoever came up with this idea should be fired.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Noble M600 Supercar - They Finally Built One

Those who read my posts will know that I generally despise featuring "supercars" of any type, but hey, it's Saturday, and if any day was designed for people to forget they're not millionaires, it's today.
Top Gear fans may vaguely remember the M600 being tested in the fourth quarter of 2009 (to the best of my recollection), but the concept seemed to disappear after that. What happened?

Noble has announced - perhaps unintentionally - that an M600 has come off the production line recently. Under the circumstances, I believe a brief overview of the specifications is in order. First of all, this British supercar (yuck, but let's get past it together) has a twin-turbo 4.4 liter Yamaha engine. This engine can be used in three different power levels, thanks to the Adaptable Performance Control switch, and those levels are Road, Track, and Race. The horsepower levels for each are 450, 550, and 650 brake horsepower respectively. The curb weight is 2,775 pounds and the M600 hauls ass off the line with its 0-60 timed at under 3 seconds. Top speed is reportedly 225mph.
The price for an M600 is approximately $XXX,XXX. And yes, I realize those are X's. Just pretend you can afford it, sit back, and have a beer. That's what I do.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Dumbest Method of Running Drugs Across the Border

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a bag of pot flying into the United States!

I nearly spit my coffee out in laughter yesterday when I read a newspaper article detailing how Mexican drug smugglers were caught using a catapult to launch drugs (namely pot) into the United States.
Drug runners normally try to get narcotics across the border in vehicles, or on foot depending on their location. I live in British Columbia, so runners here usually just go through the woods into the U.S. with pounds of pot in a duffel bag. I personally have walked across the border (without drugs) without any problem at the Peace Arch crossing, without going through customs. It's ridiculously easy, and a good way to make some cash - not that I condone such activities...

Apparently the National Guard notified authorities after taking video footage of the catapult in action. The operation was shut down, and some Mexicans were charged.

For those interested in seeing the footage, here's a video...

Am I the only person who immediately thought of Angry Birds when I saw the catapult?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 CTS-V Coupe Race Car - Cadillac is Back in the Game!

That's right, this race-pepped CTS-V marks Cadillac's return to the Sports Car Club of America World Challenge!

For those who aren't acquainted with the SCCA World Challenge series, the contending sports cars must be very close to stock specifications, and the challenge only consists of racing versions of road cars able to be purchased by the general public. This type of manufacturer competition appeals to me the most, because winning doesn't only depend on the manufacturer, but also the shops they work with to upgrade the sports cars. 

Back to the CTS-V, GM is using Pratt & Miller, an engineering firm in Michigan that has also been responsible for Chevrolet's  C5.R and C6.R race cars, along with the new Corvette GT2 class American Le Mans Series racers. GM hopes the series will become a key test-bed for Cadillac. They anticipate using what they learn on the racetrack will ensure the V-Series stays on the cutting edge of performance.

For those interested, the 2011 SCCA World Challenge series opens March 25-27 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Images source: Motortrend