I’ve oft lamented the complete appliance-like nature of Toyota’s. Their cars are boring and not fun to drive. The recent recalls and problems are highlighting the dumbing-down of Toyota drivers all over country.
People who don’t understand to use the emergency brakes. People who don’t think to turn off the ignition because the car is accelerating to high double digit speeds. People who never realized that moving the transmission to neutral would let the car decelerate and the brakes to work again.
The guys at Jalopnik have summarized this nicely as “Beige Bites Back”.
It is such a great write up that I had to bring my blog out of retirement to share this bit of insight into the problems of bland cars and the blander drivers it creates.
October 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment
This fall I took the plunge and supercharged my GTO. It is incredible!
Here’s the video of the car.
A big thanks to East Texas Muscle Cars for the great build.
The car now has 620hp measured at the crank if you factor in a 15% drivetrain loss.
Tags: Cars · Supercharger
East Texas Muscle Cars one of Texas’s premier GTO tuning shops has raised a bit of ruckus in the automotive world. ETMC has decided to a V6 Camaro and challenge the almighty Nissan GT-R’s Nurburgring record.
Good luck to Steve and the crew at East Texas Muscle Cars on taking down Godzilla.
Read the full article at Autoblog here.
This is an important development in the world of muscle cars. With new MPG standards coming from the new government all the speed freaks out there are going to need to find ways to squeeze more power out of less engine. The Japanese and the Europeans are used to this mentality, its good to see that there is an American Muscle car future post V8 popularity. There will still be V8s, just a lot less of them. ETMC is bringing back the tradition of Buick GNX. A hi-powered, turbo-charged, RWD muscle car is just what we need.
Tags: AMG · Cars · Mercedes
First let me apologize to any readers of COTD there may have been, it has been nearly 6 months since my last post and I don’t see a lot more posts in my future.
“Car of the Day” has been a problem I have had for years. A problem that caused me to obsess over cars. Obsess over all kinds of cars. Last year I purchased one of my frequent obsessions.
The car was a 2006 Pontiac GTO. The GTO really embodies everything I was looking for in my next car. I wanted power. The 400hp LS2 V8 meets that requirement easily. Comfort and style were some other requirements. While the 2006 GTO may not be quite the looker of the new Camaro, I do like the exterior upgrades made to the LS2 GTOs. The other key trait of the GTO is value. If you want power and value do some searching on Autotrader.com and you won’t be disappointed with the bang to value that the GTO can give you.
However, one car can’t cure a real case of COTD syndrome. A syndrome where you obsess over the entirety of automobiledom. The trick for me has been to have a daily driver. The trick is to keep the GTO as the fun car. I only the drive the GTO when I want to really “drive” a car. I don’t sludge through my daily commute in my dream car. My dream car can sit in the garage on the days I’m just “going through the motions.”
This keeps the miles off my GTO and more importantly it keeps me from taking the GTO for granted. Driving a car every day takes the magic away, it causes one to become too familiar with all the great traits that made one want the car in the first place.
So if you are looking for a cure for COTD syndrome, it’s not easy. First you have to find the right car and second you need a daily driver to get you from place to place, day in and day out.
By parking my GTO in the garage I will be a satisfied GTO owner for a much longer period of time than I originally thought. So while Pontiac may be done, they’ve built some great cars and I’m planning on enjoying my GTO for a long time.
Regular readers of Car of the Day know that we at COTD are great fans of the new Pontiac GTO. I’ve written plenty of info on the GTO. One of the great things about the GTO was the amount of performance and quality that you get for the price.
Nissan has done a pretty impressive job of combining these same factors with their new 370Z.
The new 370Z can be had for less than $30k. For your 30 grand you get a stylish 2 seater with 332hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. That much horsepower in a 3,359 lb car gets you 60mph in 5 seconds and a 13.4 quarter mile.
Those numbers are very similar to stats the magazines were reporting on the 400hp GTO. The 350Z that was being sold at the same time as the GTO wasn’t really competitive with GTO in terms of straight-line performance. In fact, in GTO circles there is a saying that goes something like this — “350Z kills are kinda like belly buttons, everybody’s got one.” That won’t be true for the 370Z.
If you only need 2 seats and you want a new car and you don’t care for the “Bland Am” styling of the GTO check out the 370Z. You can read more and watch some videos at Inside Line.
November 16th, 2008 · 1 Comment
In 2004 GM imported an Australian muscle car and sold it to the US as the Pontiac GTO. It was 40 years after the original GTO was first introduced to the world. The GTO may not have been the retro-mobile along the lines of the upcoming Camaro or the new Challenger, but it was true to the GTO formula. Take a small coupe, stuff the biggest engine in it and let the tires smoke!
The 2004 GTO was powered by the infamous LS1 and was putting out 350hp and 365lb-ft of torque. The 2004 received high marks for speed and comfort, but was much aligned for being a “Bland Am”. In 2005 and 2006 the GTO was updated with 50 more horsepower and 35lb-ft of torque. The newer GTOs also got a little more physical appearance improvements with some hood scoops and split dual exhaust.
In the GTO community what really separates the 2004 vs the 2005/6 GTOs is simply the engine. Under the plain hood of the 2004 pumps the 350hp LS1 and beneath the hood scoops of the newer models is the 400hp LS2.
Both versions of the GTO enjoy a large aftermarket of go-fast goodies and tuning opportunities for the GTO driver who wants to go faster. An interesting tidbit about the LS1 is that given the same mods it tends to respond with more horsepower.
SLP makes a “421HP Bobcat” package for the 2004 GTO that gives the LS1 a 71hp boost for $3405. SLP makes an identical Performance Pac for the 2005/6 GTO called the “455HP Bobcat” sold for $3868. That gives the 2005/6 GTOs merely a 55hp gain.
If you study those numbers you wil realize that LS1 produces 16 more hp for 463 less dollars. Of course if an ‘04 GTO owner and an ‘06 GTO owner were to both purchase the same Performance Pacs the ‘06 GTO would still have 34 more horsepower.
All these factors have made the 2005/6 GTOs slightly more desirable than the 2004 GTOs. For the thinking muscle car fan, a good case can be made for the rarer slightly less powerful 2004 GTO. However, a slightly less powerful 2004 GTO is just a few mods away from being faster than a stock LS2 GTO.
Oh and you should have some money left over for mods because the 2004 GTOs are being sold less than $15k.
So is it the 2004 the “Lesser GTO”? Well it has less horsepower, less appearance modifications, mods cost less and the selling price is less. So yes the LS1 GTO is the lesser GTO, but sometimes less is more.
Tags: Cars · GTO
November 14th, 2008 · 2 Comments
Today, Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond film is released. With the rebooting of the 007 franchise, Bond is back in a car from Britain, the way it is supposed to be. Ian Flemming meant for his English secret agent to drive English cars. For most of the franchise James Bond drove Aston Martins and Lotuses. There was an occasional deviation, but that was sometimes a result of the location and the story. Bond’s official car has been from the UK.
In the 90s there was major automotive news and 007 news when James Bond drove several BMWs in multiple movies. The cars made by Q for Bond were from Germany. To some it was blasphemy to others it was a major marketing coup for BMW.
With the recent reboot of the Bond franchise my favorite secret agent is back in an Aston Martin.
The guys at Inside Line have a great write up about driving the car Bond drove in the newest movie, Quantum of Solace.
October 31st, 2008 · 2 Comments
If you want nearly 400hp. If you want 4 doors. If you want it all for less than $20k, then the Trailblazer SS is for you.
With the bottom falling out of the SUV and truck market the Trailblazer SS has become the cheapest way to your hands on a LS2 powered vehicle.
These SUVs are only a cold-air intake and a tune away from running in the mid 8s in the 1/8th of a mile, which is good enough for a sub 5 second 0-60 run.
The Trailblazer SS also is the most configurable transport option with a Corvette engine under the hood. You can get your Trailblazer however you want it. You can go fully loaded with all the normal luxury SUV options, including power everything, 4WD, leather everything, dual zone climate control, and all the other goodies. And if you want the cheapest, lightest option for your Trailblazer SS then you can pick up a 2WD SS with cloth seats.
2WD vs 4WD is an interesting choice, because with the 4WD you can kiss good-bye to wheel-spin and problems launching. With 2WD you get the lighter vehicle that allows for some tail out fun and with the right tires superior 1/4 mile times.
Either way you up with one very well rounded SUV: fast, practical, spacious and economical.
Well it should be no surprise that lame cars come with lame names. I’ve documented on this site before the lame-ness of the Camry and even pointed you to the great Anti-Camry Blog.
Autoblog has taken a little bit of time to produce the Top Ten Gibberish Car Names and I’m happy to report that the Camry has made the list.
The list would be perfect if the included the Solara.
Tags: Camry · Cars · Toyota
October 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment
This October 23rd was another trip to the strip for the GTO. The location for tonight’s racing was the Texas Raceway in Kennedale and is billed as “the FASTEST little racetrack in Texas“.
It was a cool autum evening with temperatures dipping into the 50s at race time. Thursday nights at the Texas Raceway are their “Street Legal” race nights. You get to see all the street racers come out and compete. The racers vary from, I kid you not, a 1998 Chrysler Grand Caravan to Ford Super Duty Diesels and all the regular cars one would expect like Mustangs, Civics, Camaros, Firebirds, Lightnings, SRT-4 and myriad cast of others.
So what is the measure of speed for a car? is it the 1/4 mile or 0-60 times? The 1/8th mile doesn’t get a lot of consideration in this argument, but with a decent racing simulator you can calculate your 0-60 and 1/4 mile times from an 1/8 mile run.
Tonight the GTO hit a new personal fastest time of 8.22 in the 1/8th mile, that would be good enough for a 12.6 in the 1/4 mile and a trip to 60mph in 4.1 seconds.
The measure of speed in a lot of cars is very simply a stop light drag. A street light drag can be legally performed at your local 1/8 mile strip. Most street cars will cross the finish line at a short track going only 70-90mph. It is very similar to going from a dead stop to highway speeds.
So once again the GTO proves itself as a very fast street car. My GTO is slight modded with 160 degree thermostat, a dyno tune, CAI and drag radials.
Tags: Drag Racing · GTO · Racing
The LS6 was the first mainstream LSX engine to cross into the 400hp territory. It was originally the engine for the C5 Corvette Z06 and was rated for 405hp.
In 2004 and 2005 General Motors took their top of the line V8 and slammed it into their smallest Cadillac and thus the CTS-V was born.
Today it is not uncommon to find a gently used CTS-V from 2004 or 2005 for less than $25k. Making it a great deal for people looking for a mix of luxury, sport, power and a relative deal. You won’t find a cheaper 400hp sedan on the market today.
In 2006 and 2007 the CTS-V ended up with LS2 from the new Corvette. It also puts out 400hp, however, it is thought that the LS2 platform is a more reliably built platform and will readily handle more mods for a higher increased output.
The 2nd generation CTS-V is making news as it gets the supercharged V8 from the Corvette ZR1 and a major hp upgrade to 556hp.
But for those sports car fans who need more power than a G35 or an Audi S4 and wanting to get a good deal the CTS-V is great option.
Not to toot my horn but…..
On October 22nd, 2008 “Car Of The Day” has won the much-sought-after and higly-coveted internet award of BLOG OF THE DAY!!! That’s right, it is so important it needs all caps. So, it’s not a Nobel Prize, but it is our first award so that’s something.
I’d like to thank all the people that made this possible and thank you for reading the award-winning website www.caroftheday.org.
Tags: Cars · Miscellaneous · awards
October 21st, 2008 · 1 Comment
Ever want to get away? I’m talking about getting so far away that there are no roads, no hotels, no restaurants and no people. As a self admitted car nut, I’d like a cool vehicle to help me accomplish that goal.
Well EarthRoamer has created such a vehicle. It is called the EarthRoamer XV-JP and it is built on the trail-rated Jeep Wranger. They start with a a top-of-the-line Jeep Wranger Unlimited Rubicon and convert it into a mobile pop-up camper. It is powered by a 3.8 liter V6 with 202hp and 237lb-ft of torque. That is engine that comes with every Rubicon Jeep.
EarthRoamer does thorough job of transforming a simple Wrangler into the XV-JP, including such features as:
- Heavy duty coil springs (three-inch lift)
- Bilstein gas shocks
- Aggressive tread pattern, 8-ply light truck off-road tires
- 4 CFM at 90psi engine driven air compressor with air tank
Recovery and Protection
- Heavy Duty steel front bumper with integrated winch mount a
- Warn 9.0 RC front winch with 50′ of 3/8″ diameter synthetic rope
- Heavy Duty steel rear bumper with swing-out tire carrier
- EarthRoamer transfer case/camper battery/exhaust skid plate
- Strong, lightweight, balsa core composite laminate body permanently mounted to Jeep chassis
- Camper over-cab area provides for interior storage
- Camper body painted to match Jeep body color
- Lockable billet fuel and water doors
- Electric winch operated Loftop™ opens to provide almost 9 feet of stand-up height
- Queen size bed (58 inches by 77 inches)
- European-designed, plastic spring sleep system with foam mattress
- Additional tent/screen room deploys under the opened Loftop™
- Seating/sleeping capacity for 2
- Lightweight composite camper cabinet with, collapsible storage bins (approximately 6 cubic feet)
- Over-cab storage area with integrated counter and custom fit storage containers
- Hinged access panel in floor opens to reveal a recessed shower pan
- Two LED reading/tasks lights located at bench seat
- 3 cubic foot chest refrigerator/freezer with advanced “cold plate” technology
This is a very well engineered camper/Jeep that can take you anywhere. The only negative is its 6 figure price tag, so you would need make sure you would be using what makes the EarthRoamer special to justify the cost of admission.
Tags: Cars · EarthRoamer · Jeep · Miscellaneous
Here is another round-up of some of my favorite articles from last week:
And a classic bonus from COTD
Tags: Cars · Fav 5 · Miscellaneous