Autos

I’ve been wanting to write this one for a few years now. The one about cars. Because I love cars. But do The People care about cars? Usually, no.

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I like Ferraris. This one is my favorite. The 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO- quite possibly my favorite car of all time.

The 288 GTO, a product of the 80’s, might not be quite as beautiful as the original, but it’s the one that just does it for me.

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The original GTO pictured here might be prettier.

The 288, (how about those gills at the rear?) has essentially the same drivetrain as the Ferrari F40. That is to say they share twin Turbo V8’s mounted at the rear and that prime, gated Ferrari shifter connected to a five speed. I think the F40, (admittedly a fantastic and highly revered car in the auto world- a car I’d kill to drive) bows to the 288’s beautiful styling.

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The 288, I think, is 90% Ferrari and 10% Chevy Camaro. And I mean that in the best way. So I’ll take the 288, even if it’s not quite as powerful as the F40 or quite as gorgeous as the original.
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I do love the F40 but the slanted nose and rear wing  notch it underneath the 288 for me.
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Honorable mention goes to the Ferrari 308/328’s from the 80’s. The Magnum PI Ferrari is an icon, and very similar to the beefier 288GTO.
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The 456 GT from the 90’s is one of the more attainable Italian beauties. If I had the money, I’d gobble one up as I don’t anticipate values dropping. Quite a departure from the guady 80’s.
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Everyone knows and loves the Ferris Bueller Ferrari- the 1961 250 GT California. A beautiful car, about as fast as a modern Honda Civic actually.
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This is the Ferrari F12. I think it’s the best looking Ferrari currently produced, but the LaFerrari is getting all the attention.
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The McLaren F1, from the early 90’s reigned supreme statistically for about a decade. It is a legend in the automotive world and still fast enough to get killed in. It features three seats. The driver is positioned front and center with two passenger seats flanking and slightly rearward. These days I think they go for about 10 million. Initially they sold for one million.
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The current “Holy Trinity.” That’s the Porsche in front and the Mclaren in the rear. The Ferrari TheFerrari is in the middle. It’s auto-journalistic routine to make fun of the Ferrari’s name, which isn’t really that bad, it just loses something in translation. It’s supposed to mean that the LaFerrari is the embodiment of Ferrari. I think.

Currently the Mclaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 are all battling it out for supercar supremacy. Their performance numbers and reviews haven’t really determined a clear winner- one review might barely put the Porsche in front while the LaFerrari ekes out the fastest time at such and such a track and the Mclaren was best at another. All this means that the real winners are the wealthy enthusiasts who can afford to take advantage of the fierce competition, and to a lesser extent the auto enthusiast world at large. Most car folks are easy to please and are happy just knowing the cars exist. This is really a golden era for the automobile. If we move on to high-speed trains, self-driving pods, or other modes of transport, automakers are writing quite the swan song these days. If I had to pick a winner, I’d say the P1 is the King. If you can access the Amazon show, The Grand Tour, you can watch as Hammond, Clarkson, and May drive all three cars.

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This little red thing is one of the most exquisitely engineered and beautifully designed cars ever. The Porsche 356. The perfect date car, if you ask me. Take a nice girl up the coast, know what I mean? They made drop-top versions of course. Take your pick. This car is most definitely rocking a patina, a word and style that is gaining momentum in the enthusiast world. I chatted with the owner of this car, a man in his forties wearing shorts and a UCLA sweatshirt, because that’s what I do nowadays I guess.
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I was born to love Honda because the brand represents everything I lack- restraint and reliability. My greatest memories are driving my ’87 Prelude up the coast to Seattle or to visit my girlfriend on the Central Coast. Freedom.
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The first generation Accord hatchback. I never owned this car.
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Best car of all time.

The S600 (or S800- there are a few, the number indicates motor size, which varied) was the first road car built by Honda. I think. Prior to cars, Honda built motorcycles. (They still build brilliant motorcycles of course.) Anyway, the early S cars were powered by a little motorcycle engine that revved to about 9000 rpm, which was crazy for the 60’s. It was chain driven as opposed to belt-driven. It weighs about 7-800 pounds less than a modern Mazda Miata (1700 pounds versus about 2400 for the Miata.) It’s like driving a go-cart on the street, but instead the guys at the track took the governor off the motor so you’re capable of freeway speeds. Seriously this car is fun times a billion. Here is the perfect interior: Pretty sure the speed is in Kilometers and pretty sure it can’t even go 200 KPH:

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I began writing this thing a month or so ago. Then I found out about the San Diego International Auto Show so I went on Friday December 29th and took some pictures. It was a nice opportunity because I’ve flirted with the idea of having this blog be made up of 100% media from my equipment. Well I’m a spirit-of-the-law guy so I made some allowances for this post, but the rest of the photos are from the car show.

The show was handy because copying and pasting is a pain in the ass and you can only do it with like one-in-ten photos. The $12 admission fee was worth the pictures that won’t disappear when some server goes down somewhere. But to be honest, the SD car show is pretty ho-hum, as the premier auto makers like Porsche and above weren’t officially represented. So no LaFerraris or Porsche 918s.

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Old and or custom stuff was really the minority as the car show was mostly a mainstream commercial operation.

Below are some Ford Trucks. Full-size trucks have gotten ludicrously big. To be truthful the trucks pictured below are heavy-duty Ford F250’s and 350’s. But the F150’s, (the big sellers) have still gotten pretty huge and I wouldn’t recommend buying one unless you need to really use something that enormous, and or have plenty of land and money, because in actuality they should be treated as what they are- luxurious, gaudy cartoons of American masculinity. They are capable when utilized, but even if you need to tow a heavy boat or something, I’d consider getting a used Heavy duty truck from 10 or 15 years ago, (like a Ford f250 diesel or something like that.) Personally I’m not into the 4 doors. I’d trade the cab room for a longer bed. Driving a beast like this in town is like doing laps around the anxiety pool.

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This is the rear of a new Honda Ridgeline. I'd get this for light to medium duty truck use. The Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma are also better alternatives to the big boys in my opinion. But of course the Honda Ridgeline would be my first pick.
This is the rear of a new Honda Ridgeline. I’d get this for light-to-medium duty truck use. The Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma are also better alternatives to the big boys in my opinion. But of course the Honda Ridgeline would be my first pick.
See how big the full-size trucks are getting? They don't even fit in the pictures.
See how big the full-size trucks are getting? They don’t even fit in the pictures.
Mercedes is making pretty cars these days.
Mercedes is making pretty cars these days. This is a gargantuan S-class convertible.

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This is a nice little C class Benz. I think it's prerr ygood-looking. Not to be confused with the CLA class, which is a front-wheel-drive phone in. In reality Mercedes begins with the more restrained and in my opinion, gorgeous C class.
Here we have a nice little C-class Benz. I think it’s pretty good-looking. I’d recommend this if you can afford to pay cash for it. I don’t like the idea of making phat payments on something that will cost me an extra $2000 when a light on the dash goes on. The C-class should not to be confused with the CLA class, which is a front-wheel-drive phone-in sell-out of a car. In reality Mercedes begins with the more restrained and in my opinion, gorgeous C class.

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This is a new E class. Also a looker.
This is a new E class. Also a looker.
The Civic Type R. I'm waiting for the more practical and modet but slightly sporty Civic Si, which has yet to be unveiled. II'm pretty sure it will be released next month at the Detroit auto show.
The Honda Civic Type R. I’m waiting for the more practical and modest but still sporty Civic Si, which has yet to be unveiled. I’m pretty sure it will be released next month at the Detroit auto show.
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The Type R is more of a second car thing. Or the primary car of a person not living within his means

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The Acura NSX. (Acura is Honda's luxury brand.)
The Acura NSX. (Acura is Honda’s luxury brand.)

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This is a new Ford GT. It’s pretty good-looking and got some of the most attention at the lite version of an International Car show.
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This retractable hard top is a Mazda Miata RF. Mazda is making some of the best cars these days. The Mazda 3 behind and to the left is generally reviewed as the best driving of all the modern compacts. More subjectively, it’s also regarded as the best looking. I agree. Mazda is on point and if I didn’t have a loyalty to Honda, I could more easily admit that it’s probably making the best cars for the money right now.
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Toyota doesn’t know how to make affordable competitive cars these days so they contract out to others. This here is a Toyota 86, which is essentially a Subaru BRZ. Whatever it is, it’s generally viewed as a fun, supremely balanced car.
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Toyota “collaborated” with Subaru, meaning Subaru brought the brains and Toyota brought the money. Toyota makes good cars through its luxury brand, Lexus, but they don’t make good affordable cars. I wouldn’t recommend a Toyota Corolla. Ford, Chevy- pretty much everyone else does a better job these days, which is a pretty wild turnaround.
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This Toyota Yaris iA is a good car because it’s actually a “collaboration” with Mazda. In Japan, this is a Mazda 2. I’d recommend this if you live in a city. I’d also recommend it to parents who want to spoil their kids with a brand new car as it is available with a manual transmission. The 110 horsepower motor is pretty slow even for today’s compact cars. I think the combo of an involving transmission and an underpowered motor makes for a safe beginner’s car. Because youngsters really do suck at driving. No offense, it’s just an experience thing.
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The Civic coupe is the closest thing to a modern-day interpretation of a Honda Prelude or an old Accord coupe.
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The Nissan GT-R, aka Godzilla.
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Some 3-wheeled stuff.
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Some gimmicky stuff.
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Ferrari wasn’t properly represented here and this F-12’s paint job was too complex for my iphone camera. It was a better-looking less-orange red in person.
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The 993 chassis version of the 911 is my favorite. Car guys like to use chassis codes. It is admittedly convenient when you’re trying to absorb all available car data in the universe, as car guys are prone to do.
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A racy 2-series BMW.
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Couple of Mclarens

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Alright, that’s about it. I like cars, and I think I’ll prefer internal combustion to electric cars for the remainder of my life. What car guys realize though, is that we’re in the minority. I think electric cars are the future. What most of us are driving these days certainly aren’t the future- even the hybrids. In a bright future, we reduce the space our cars take up by about half and replace it with trees and stuff. I don’t see why we can’t have a high-speed train grid as good as Japan’s. The future of transportation is wide open. Personally, I think bicycles should really be promoted as an alternative commute to the car. I know this might seem silly, but I recall Dave, owner of the ravioli place I used to work at. He rode his bike about 10 miles to work at age 50. If we add better bikeways, to the point where most cyclists can get to work with little or no sharing roads with cars, and really promote it, I think we can make something like that happen, and convince a serious fraction of drivers to trade in their car for a bike. Vast improvements in battery technology also make this future more possible as electric-assist bikes, available for sale today (and quickly improving) basically eliminate the torture of a killer hill. I think the idea of a no-hill commute could possibly convince people to turn the corner. We just have to show the world photos of Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio riding their bikes to work, and wah la, we’re saved.

Anyway, that’s that. Listen the latest podcast if you haven’t already.

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