The Shock of a Lifetime. 2015 Tesla Model S P85D


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Humans are creatures of habit, we do everything in our power to ensure normalcy in our daily lives. We monitor our phones weather apps closely and look for irregular forecasts. Same goes for food, if you find a restaurant you prefer more than the rest, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll return there time and time again. Living in your little bubble is easy, it’s less stressful, and you know most of the time exactly what’s to come. However, as one Greek philosopher put it a long time ago, the only constant is change. That type of revolutionary thinking is what helped developed the car that we will talk about today.

The road to make this vehicle into what it is today was far from stress-free, and it looks like the fight isn’t over yet. The Northern Virginia dealer that briefly lent us one of their cars today had their grand opening three days prior, and that’s after a prolonged legal battle with the state government, who reluctantly agreed to allow this single location to be erected in the entire state. Why the discrepancy? In short, change is scary, but the real reason is a bit more ridiculous. Virginia along with most other states have laws prohibiting sales of vehicles from manufacturer directly to the consumer. The middlemen who make their money from selling paint protector and lifetime tire rotations have been left out in the cold on this one, and they aren’t happy.  But enough of the politics for now, let’s get to the real point here.

2015 Tesla Model S P85D.

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I have to admit that “green” cars are not my cup of tea.  In fact my old car had a “Prius repellent” sticker above the tailpipe with down facing arrow. Now, I wasn’t out at night tipping hybrids over or egging Leafs, to me there was always a better alternative ie. Jetta TDI. When Tesla came out with the roadster, the scrutiny that car faced from Jeremy Clarkson  and many others only confirmed my doubts. However, a few years ago the Model S was launched, with it creating a lot of hype, Motor Trend even named it Car of The Year. My interest began to grow, and after a brief period and a bit of Googling, I began to see that this car was a bit special. So, when I got the opportunity to finally drive one, I was excited to say the least. As we pulled up to the dealership nestled between a McLaren and Audi dealer, it was clear how different it is than a regular set up. There was only two Model S’s parked out front, the lot was spacious and the building looked more like an architect’s office, than a conventional showroom. Marco, who is passionately knowledgeable about Tesla, greeted us and gave the wonderful news that a P85D was available to take out, after a brief walk round we took off.

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I was riding shot-gun for the first drive, which I didn’t mind at all, since I had the massive 17 inch screen to mess with. It looks a bit absurd in pictures but fits really well into the dash layout in person. There are an unlimited number of things you can do with this giant tablet, everything from opening the massive glass roof (biggest of any sedan), to browsing the web, to adjusting the height of the shocks, which as Marco pointed out is stored in your GPS location, so next time you come to that steep driveway it’ll adjust its self. Attention to small, but crucial details like that is evident throughout the cabin, like how the whole second row is heated so the kid in middle can be happily toasty as well.  My favorite adjustment within the screen was “Insane Mode” this allows you to let the car know you want all it’s got, it lives up to its name fully.  The most important part of the technology, is that your Model S will update automatically just like your phone, automatically and remotely, while you shop or sleep. Once Tesla gurus conjure up a better way for your car to work they send it directly to your car and next time you get into your Tesla it’s an improved car. Brought to our attention was an efficiency sub menu that was added in the past week and is now a permanent fixture in the car.

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Driving this thing is an occasion. The P85D is the top of the line version of the Model S, it generates 691hp, which a modest figure. Independent owners reported dyno results of close to 900 hp. Nonetheless, back to the drive, there is no ignition, to start the car all you do is put your foot on the brake pedal. The skinny turn signal like selector, to the right of the steering wheel allows you to select R, N and D like in an older 7 series, and then you’re off. The initial lack of engine noise is but unusual, but quickly forgotten. What helps forget is the immediate response from the throttle. The instantaneous acceleration is incomparable; the closest thing I could relate it to is a sports bike 1000cc one at that.  I’ve experienced acceleration of a boosted Cobra, a Srt10 Viper, and such, but this thing was on a completely other level. That’s because there is no lag of any kind that. For instance when you floor a regular gas-powered car there is series of things that need to happen before you set off,  the computer has to tell the transmission and the engine to work out a plan who’s doing what, then the fuel has to be mixed with air and then supplied to the injectors, which will send fuel to the cylinders, the cylinders will ignite the mixture etc… In the Model S the only lag is between your brain on your foot, because the 687lb of torque is available from the instant you touch the accelerator, and the results are incredible. How incredible? The Ferrari Enzo, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, even the Pagani Zonda F are all slower to 60 from a stand still. Better yet, the Model S has the option of rear facing child seats behind the second row, so your kids can wave good- bye to Mr. Ferrari on the way to soccer practice. I’ll be first to admit that type of power is addicting, every stop I came to I accelerated from at is though we were being chased. During the power surge I often times noticed the digital speedometer having trouble keeping up, it went something like this, 5-27-4567123-75, sort of felt bad for it. Almost as bad for the poor salesmen who was demonstrating a new E Class to a couple in the same empty parking lot we were doing out launches in, all their attention was diverted to the Tesla.  On the road the main difference between this and a regular car, is the regenerative breaking, think of it as engine braking with a manual gearbox, or a bumper car, as soon as you remove your foot off the skinny pedal the car begins to slow, it might seem like an annoyance, but it’s a huge help when slowing, and it helps recharge the batteries. The adaptive cruise control also helps with this, the setting allows the driver to select the following distance in car lengths in the center screen prior to setting of and the car will do all the breaking and accelerating on its own. The sensation is a bit frightening at first but it’s a feature that anyone who’s ever driven in traffic jam would quickly learn to love.

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Back to the batteries, all 7,104 of them in 16 separate modules reside between the actual chassis; this helps the center of gravity remain low, thus aiding handling, and especially safety. The P85D comes with two electric motors each one providing power to the front and rear axle, making it an all-weather type of vehicle, and giving it a driving range of 253 miles, with the equivalent of about 98MPGe and a savings of about $700 annually in fuel costs. During the drive we were informed that Elon Tusk, the CEO tweeted that later on this week there will be an update to “end range anxiety” so those number might be even higher. With those types of savings, and a vast and intricate web of charging stations across the Nation that’s expanding by the minute, the Model S is the ideal road trip vehicle. Thirty minutes on the charger gives you 200 miles of driving, and that time is expected to decrease dramatically in the future.

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The Tesla Model S won me over copiously. The notion that a car that isn’t powered by a massive gas engine is slow and lifeless is completely debunked. This new way of thought is scary for an auto enthusiast. However, I’m here to proclaim that there is nothing to fear. The Model S ensures that handling, acceleration, and efficiency can coexist in one attractive comfortable package. A package that shatters all preconceived notions of what an electric car is and should be. It is with honor that I make this Model S my dream car of the day.

* Big thanks to Mr. Allen for the hat tip, and Marco from Tesla for providing the car. Also, I know today is Monday but I wanted to share my experience in this special machine regardless of order.


How much Car can you get for $2,000?


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First, I would like to apologize about my absence, normal blogging duties will resume the next week. In the mean time, I have 5 examples that prove you don’t need to buy lifeless cars if you are on a tight budget. Enjoy!

1. 1995 Ford Taurus SHO


With 250hp coming from the beautifully designed/built Yamaha V6. Yes the same Yamaha that builds the R1 Superbike. In the 90’s the car was the ultimate sleeper and the working mans M5.

2. 1997 Saab Convertible TURBO


Yea the interior is a bit rough, but look at that mileage! And you can have top down motoring with the turbo singing along in the wind.

3. 1999 Lincoln Town Car Executive


One of the last body on frame cars of our time, this timeless symbol of luxury aims to please.  The engine is barely broken in with 140k miles, and with the Executive version you get dual climate control and alloy wheels, to set yourself apart from the peasants.

4. 1988 Audi 5000 CS Wagon Quattro


2.2L 2226CC l5 GAS SOHC Turbocharged need I say more? No, but I shall. It’s a wagon, it has Quattro and less than 135k miles on the dash. I might buy this one myself.

5. 1997 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport.


The younger brother to the WRX, this Impreza has no turbo, but it does have a third pedal and AWD. It’s thrifty, dependable, and mighty capable all for under $2k

The Underdog. 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray


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Everyone loves a good underdog story, but why, what drives us to root for the lesser opponent, who on paper has no chance in hell of being victorious? This infatuation stems from the idea that certainty is boring. For instance, when the same team wins time and time again, soon enough interests in the team will decrease dramatically and people will stop caring all together. However, there is another reason why the underdog is so beloved, and it has to do with the resilience of his character, doing the best with what you got, playing the hand you’re dealt and walking away with all the chips. This is where the story of today’s dream car takes form.


It’s a bit difficult to look at a car designed and built by one of the worlds largest automotive companies (GM) as the underdog, but allow me to explain. The year was 1953, WW2 was in the rearview and the future was bright. Chevy needed a vehicle that would wow the public at the Motorama auto show in New York. It had to show it was a serious contender with the forward thinking crowd and introduced the Harley Earl designed concept car the Corvette. The response from the general public was overwhelmingly positive in fact, the demand was so great Chevy began production only a few months later. Almost simultaneously another car company, across the pond was also having its own success. The son of Porsche developed, and after the demand rose began building his own version of a sports car, also creating one of the longest automotive rivalries in history. Ever since the late 50’s and early 60’s the Porsche 911 and the Chevy Corvette have been weighed against one another, and because of the tremendous engineering and sophistication  Porsche always took the honors away from the Vette. The Chevy might be as fast, but it always lacked refinement, it was a bit messy, and it was always the underdog. Well, time has come for the underdog to rise up and shine, and with the latest ’15 model the Corvette does exactly that, surpassing the Porsche and everything else in the process.


2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray


The Stingray name has been resurrected for the new model, and I couldn’t be happier. The nomenclature originated back in the 60’s with second gen or C2 Vette in rather an unusual fashion. The designers of that car were looking for inspiration and during a fishing trip, after reeling in a stingray out of the sea they found it. The new car pays homage in design to the original stingray the two share the iconic tear drop shape. The taillights on the new car have been the center point of some controversy from the Corvette faithful because they aren’t round but rather square, just like those naysayers. I dig the lights and just the overall shape of the car, especially the quad exhaust which, by the way make a glorious noise when you poke the throttle. The car looks matured and grown up, yet undoubtedly Corvette like.


The biggest news is on the inside. A sore subject for the Corvettes of yesteryear it’s now a major talking point. Everything is upgraded and more upscale than before. The leather feels softer and plusher, and there is extensive use of actual carbon fiber throughout the cabin. However, what sets this interior far apart from the old car and the competition is what Chevy calls Driver Mode Selector, not a highly creative label but I digress. What this system allows you to do is exactly what the name suggests; it allows drivers to optimize the car for their driving preference and road conditions via five settings: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. Each option changes all sorts of setting within the car to prep it for your specified driving experience. Select Eco mode and the big V8 will ask 4 of its cylinders to take a knee unless the throttle is fully mashed to the floor. Select Track mode and the magnetic shocks; stiffen up, the display changes to show only what’s important such as shift points and g forces, which can be viewed either in the cluster or on the heads up display. Also, the butterfly valves open fully in the exhaust and allow the Vette to sing the song of its people at full-bore. As far as tech features go, this Corvette is loaded to the teeth. For instance an available valet mode restricts speed, rpm’s and radio volume and activates a front faced camera, so you can enjoy your appetizers with a peace of mind. The same camera is also used in Track mode to record “laps” this allows the driver to assess and make corrections on their next pass, incredible cleverness.


In previous generations when a Corvette would be mentioned the first subject point would be the engine and the power. It’s clear that the Stingray is so much more than just brute force, because we’ve haven’t mentioned the 460hp 6.2L LT1 V8 at all really. That’s not to say they engine isn’t worth the praise. Sixty from a standstill happens in only 3.8 seconds and the ¼ mile at 12 and its also clever, with careful driving it will do 29 miles per gallon on the highway. The seven 7 speed manual is also a treat and is the first of its kind, it’s great that Chevy still offers a third peddle when most others have forgotten it.


The underdog is no longer. This C7 Stingray offers abundant levels performance, technology and luxury. What makes it superior than the Porsche and other rivals is that it does so in a package that cost thousand less. The Corvette is a dream car that can easily become a reality. It’s a legend, and an icon and it is my dream car of the day.


First Official Review. 2015 Ford F-150 Ecoboost


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This is a special day for more than one reason. It is Truck Tuesday and the truck I have lined up is the best selling truck, ever. Also, this would be my first official review, since I was able to get my paws on the actual vehicle that we will be talking about today. I’m going to try this on a weekly basis, but enough about me. Let’s introduce the truck in question. How was you January? Because Ford sold 54,370 F-150s in January alone, that’s more than all the minivan and SUV sales combined. This is a very serious truck for Ford and they have made it clear just how serious in the 2015 model.

2015 F-150 4×4 Supercab Ecoboost XLT

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The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the past 32 years, and the best-selling pick-up for 43 years, and the best selling vehicle in Canada ever. Needless to say Ford knows a thing or two about trucks, and like Dennis Leary likes to remind us in the commercials, look over the fence at any job site and tell me what you see. The answer will always be Ford. Others have tried and many on multiple occasions have come very close, but I has never happen Ford has never been dethroned and never will, and I’ll tell you why, in a bit. Meanwhile, let’s take a closer look at this veteran and see if there is any fight left.


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Unlike Chevy who went with a more grown up look, or Dodge who has the dated tough guy look, Ford went back to the Tonka Truck. The face has a meaner and stronger look, yet its instantly recognizable F-150. Overall the appearance and stance of the truck is a bit more purposeful, it looks ready to go, and ready to work. I shared my pictures with a friend who swore this was an F-250, meaning the toughness of the truck is apparent. Ford deserves kudos for making the F-150 look like an actual truck, not like a convertible Suburban. Work well done here.


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Ford sent its truck to the gym, and then weight watchers, the 2015 2.7 Ecoboost model weighs just 4,900 lbs. To put that into perspective the 2014 V8 model is 732 pounds heavier. The reason for the drastic weight loss isn’t Hydroxycut, it’s the use of aluminum. Ford has been messing around with the steel alterative since 1993, it made secret Mercury Sables with aluminum frames, and they help up exceptionally well. With the F-150 however there was no messing around, because this truck is the one of the highest selling vehicles ever. So Ford had to make sure nothing was overlooked. The 2015 F-150 is constructed mainly of aluminum; the use of steel is still very much present, in such places as the door beams and frame reinforcements. This is a big step for the auto giant, but judging by the recent sale figures, the Ford faithful seem open to change. Speaking of change, the F-150 will be offered with a 2.7 V6 EcoBoost rated at 325HP, as opposed to a big block V8. The one we have today is the 3.5L EcoBoost with 420lbs/tq and 365HP. The response from the engine is exceptional, it feels just as strong as any V8 pick up I’ve driven, there is a slight and I mean extremely slight hint of lag in the middle of the power band but it’s very hard to notice. I had the truck at 90mph before I realized wed already gotten to those types of speeds. The 6 speed auto is a gem and is pre tuned for towing capabilities as well, shifts were apparent, yet smooth and precise. In 6th gear, at 70mph the truck was holding just above 2k RPM. The really cool part is that you can tell what gear the transmission is in even if you’re in full auto mode. The new components all come together quite well, the engine is a compelling argument to the traditional V8, power and economy wise. The V8 5.0 that Ford offers in the F-150 has 20 more HP than this boosted V6 but a 33lbs/tq deficit. So I see no reason why anyone would chose the V8, and that’s progress in its self for Ford, and the whole pick up truck class in general.



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The interior of the F-150 is a good place to be. The moment you climb aboard you are greeted with upscale materials. The model I drove had cloth seats, so it was far away from being fully loaded, it made no difference however. The dash, cluster, and console touch and feel were luxurious, defiantly Lincoln quality, and far better than the previous model. The Microsoft Sync touch screen dominates the dash and provides audio/phone/NAV controls. Huge praise to Ford for leaving HVAC and volume controls the button veriaty. Not only is it safer to adjust on the move, they respond much better when wearing gloves, which people who work with this truck do a lot of. Also, a big plus of the interior is a 3 prong outlet on the dash that would make charging power tool batteries much easier. The highlight of the interior is without a doubt the gauge cluster. The blue lighting is a bit techno for my taste but the functionality, layout, and the amount of info you get is pure tech genius. It will even tell you the truck balance level for towing/loading and off roading, to easily gage angles of approach and departure.  The center screen also has the rear camera display and laser guided 360 view. Again, this F-150 had very few options, but they were more than enough,= to be able to fully use this truck for work and play.

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The bed now has LED lighting, which makes working under poor light easier. Also, the seat warmers work so quickly and affectively I had to turn my off because I was beginning to smell BBQ. The feel of the frame under acceleration or during a sharp turn is exceptional, it feels more like a RWD sedan than a truck. The one thing, I still think is a bit ridiculous is the man step. Now I am a big guy, so I can easily climb in and out of the bed of a truck so maybe that’s why I am biased against it, but I just find it more amusing than practical. The remote start and gate release however are exactly the opposite and are must haves.

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The Ford F Series can be credited as the original pick up truck. The formula that allowed farmers to use a vehicle all week and then drive to church on Sunday has been endorsed by them for many years. With the latest F-150 model it’s more evident than ever that Ford is standing by this very formula. However, now it is doing so with a revolutionary aluminum frame and a twin turbo V6. Putting all these elements together make certain that the worlds best selling truck remains exactly that.

Big Thanks to Berry Jones at Apple Ford in Columbia for allowing me to waste his time. If anyone is in the market for a new vehicle in the DMV area make sure you see him!

Parting Ways. 2001 Nissan Maxima “SE”


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Recently I had to say goodbye to an old friend. It’s never easy doing this, especially when it’s someone you love and cherish. That got me thinking, people love and cherish many things and sometimes even saying bye to a cell phone or even a couch is hard. Well, in that case that goes double for cars. The reason being of course is that cars tend to be with us for much longer. Most cars for example outlive the average house pet. We spend so much time in our cars, and crate many memories. So its only right that I’ll tell you how I recently, after being together for 4 years, said goodbye to a loyal friend.

2001 Nissan Maxima SE


It all started in 2011, at that time I was driving ironically enough a 98 Maxima SE. So when my cousin asked my advice on what car he should get I quickly recommended Nissan. A month or so and $2,500 later he was the proud owner of a standard Maxima 5 speed. After, taking care of all the issues the car had prior to him, like the clutch, exhaust, breaks, he sold it to me, because he needed money for his wedding. And the rest as they say is history.


Five days ago and four years later, I sold the car for $2,500, but there is also quite a lot that happened in between. This was the longest I’ve ever owned a car. The reason why this one stuck around was its resilience. The Max never let me down, not once. There was never a moment in its tenure that I thought it wasn’t going to start, or break down while on the road, it was just that solid. The VQ V6 is a gem of an engine, I changed its oil and it never asked for anything else, same goes for the entire car really. Through all my different “improvements” it soldiered on unfazed. I had 18-inch wheels on it, 15-inch stellies, and 16-inch alloys, I replaced the lights and the trunk lid, I fitted it with massive speaker, and it always worked. There were of course a few, lets say incidences that occurred as well, like taking a turn entirely to fast and taking out both wheels, or spotting a buck a few feet away while going 90mph, but again nothing ever broke or quit.


The ownership experience had been extremely pleasant. I loved how the car looked, although I like the previous gen a bit more, the driving and performance of the car was more than decent. The 3.0 V6 made around 200hp and the 5 speed was geared more for performance than fuel economy, so I was easily able to maintain pace with riced out civics.

Maxima 1

Also, the interior of the car was exceptional, just like Will Smith it didn’t age one bit. The seats were supportive and comfortable the greenhouse was big and visibility was never an issue. For my size (6’5) the car was perfectly accommodating, no complaints here whatsoever. If I did have to find something to cry about it would be the power window motors started working in slow motion and I sometimes would have to help them come up, and the was a little power steering leak that was fixed with a can of Lucas stop leak. The Maxima was easy to drive, cheap to insure and extremely cost efficient.


That brings me back to the beginning, and the whole parting ways thing. It doesn’t matter what you’re saying goodbye to, if you loved that thing it’s never easy to let go. So, instead of ending this  My Car Monday in sadness, I’d rather look at it this way. The cars we love and cherish seem to always return the favor, they seem to always handle better, be extremely dependable and fun to own. With that being said, respect your ride and it will respect you back, in its unquestionable dependability and loyalty. I know mine did.


Unprecedented. The Bugatti Veyron


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Go big or go home. It’s something you overhear a coach yelling at his players, or something Billy Bob says right before he tires to jump a lawn mower over his El Camino. In any case, the saying holds value. I look at it as this. Do absolutely what ever you can, to the utmost highest level of your abilities. Leave nothing on the table, be supreme. Now, the way that you chose to display that absoluteness is of course up to you. Fortunately, the automobile we will be admiring today did so in unprecedented manner, no one else has even come close, there is no competition, and frankly I’m mad at myself that I haven’t talked about this car sooner, because without a shadow of a doubt this is the greatest car in the world.

The Bugatti Veyron


There is a lot to talk about here, so I’ll keep the history lesson short. Bugatti, a French man built and sold great racing cars, he died and the company was sold to a Spaniard, who made great luxurious cars with massive engines, then an Italian man bought it and made the EB110, and then, Volkswagen in 98, and that’s who is in charge today. Now that’s done with, let’s take a look at the actual car itself and all of it glory.

The Engine


A good place to start as any, the heart of this car is revolutionary in its own respect. The 16 cylinder engine isn’t something new, in fact the first V16 was built in 1927, however the w16 is. VW mated two W8 engines together which are two VR4 engines mated together, it all sound complicated but it isn’t, it’s massively complicated. For example the valves on top of each cylinder open and close during specific times no in unison like normal engines to help aid performance, and there are four on each cylinder. The specifically designed 4 stage oil pump had to be gravity tested because of the brutal centrifugal force it faces during hard acceleration, only than it can produce adequate lubrication to the entire engine, even on the moon. And if the engine isn’t self with its W16 design isn’t mad enough, they added 4 turbos, reason why is to reduce lag, which no turbo can be cured of. The four blowers used here are best friends. Each one knows when the other is about to get tired and picks up the slack, so they never rest at the same time, meaning no lag at all. As you can imagine all of this mechanical gadgetry produces a lot of heat and you’d be right, but worry not. There are 10 radiators on board to handle and disperse the higher temperatures. One for the engine oil, transmission oil, differential oil, and even one of the hydraulic oil used to operate the massive spoiler. To handle the amount of power that this magical engine produces which in the newest and latest model is 1,200hp, the car is equipped with all wheel drive. So, you can actually use the power of the Veyron relatively safely.

The Marvel


JC sums it up best “It was a car that just rewrote the rule book really, an amazing piece of engineering, a genuine Concorde moment” Only a handful of cars rarely ever make history, not just automotive history. Walk up to a random person on the street and ask them what the fastest car in the world is, I assure you that Veyron is going to be the answer 90% of the time. That’s were this car runs away from the rest. The rest being Hennessey Venom and a few other that claim they’ve trumped the Bugatti in top speed. These claims have been coming forth since the day the Veyron was introduced, and its only right, because the Veyron is the measuring stick, the standard. From now on any car produced to go really fast will be compared against the Veyron, will there be faster cars? No question. There might be faster cars out now, but that makes little difference. The Veyron brings you that speed on a silver platter and serves it with a fine glass of wine. It’s with extreme comfort and luxury. When May tested it on TG, he looked like he was lounging in his living room while going 250mph+, completely worry free. Unlike the others that need ear protection, a fireproof suit, and a 4 day training course the Veyron just needs an open road. And it can be done repeatedly, on a day-to-day basis. During production they took a few Veyrons across Africa and clocked close to 70k miles before any serious maintenance had to be done. No one else can do that, no one can claim that. There is simply no equal.


La Finale


VW lost about 4 million dollars on every Bugatti Veyron they sold. Yet, they made 450 of them and sold everyone single one. Money, seems like wasn’t the priority here, VW wanted to show the world what’s possible if you go big. The Veyron is a masterpiece of mind-blowing figures, and defined engineering; it will forever be one of a kind. With car manufactures now restricted by fuel regulations the engines are getting smaller everyday, its unlikely that we will ever see a car such as this ever again. Especially since the 450th final car was sold four days ago, and was labeled La Finale. The Bugatti Veyron, after a decade will be no longer produced. However, its legacy will always live on. It is and will always be the ultimate dream car. My Dream Car


Eighty Two and Counting. 2015 Chevy Suburban


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Let me preface by saying this. I love Top Gear UK. The show always puts me in a better mood the chemistry between the guys has been unmatched by any other TG around the world. I also know that the show is much more entertainment influenced than by journalism, so I’m not going to dispute a point that Hammond made recently when honoring the Land Rover Defender. Again, not to take anything from Hammond or the Defender both deserve credit and I give them exactly that. What I’m referring to is when they brought up the age of the Defender and how great that its been round for 67 years, that is truly an accomplishment, but it’s not as good as our truck of today. I’m talking Franklin D Roosevelt old, the great depression old, almost as old as dirt.

1936 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall

Eighty two years. That’s how long Chevy has been selling the suburban, eighty-two! That’s an amazing accomplishment, and no other single model has sold for a longer period of time, not the Corolla, not the Beetle, not the F-150, no one. Yet, somehow its been flying under the radar for its entire life span, there was no big party when it turned 80, no Top Gear dedicated to it, not even an anniversary model by Chevy, and that’s just not right, considering just how important this vehicle is to our everyday lives. This was the original SUV, all the crossovers, all the compact crossovers, even all the wagons have the Suburban to thank for their existence. Like the Defender the Chevy serves many purposes, Uber drivers use them as limos, police use them as K-9 trucks, railway systems use them as trains, secret service uses them as armored escort and transport vehicles, and Obama’s Cadillac limo is actually a Suburban underneath, I could go on and on, but the most important use of all is by the average consumer. Say, you have 4 kids, two dogs, and a boat, there is no other vehicle that can handle your daily duties better. Some will quickly point to Ford, and yes that maybe true with the latest long wheel base Expedition, but the once great Excursion is extinct along with the Dodge Suburban, International Harvester and Jeep Wagoneer. All who put up a great fight but eventually succumbed to the Suburban.

2015 Chevrolet Suburban


As you’d expect the 2015 model is the best rendition yet. It’s retained all of the charm that made this truck great and gained more intelligence. Basically Chevy sent the old fellow to college and then the gym, and the results are noticeable in both aspects. The doors on the new model tuck into the sills instead of over them to reduce cabin noise while  improving aerodynamics. The hood, the liftgate and some panels are now aluminum to reduce weight and aid in fuel economy, and while were on the subject the new 5.3 V8 Ecotech with cylinder deactivation, mated to the first ever  eight-speed automatic transmission will allow 25mpg on the highway, or 3 more than I get in my G37 sedan, for a truck this size that’s an accomplishment within itself. The new age trend continues inside the cabin as well, all but the very basic models now offer 4G LTE WiFi and Siri as standard equipment, as well as SIX USB ports and a traditional three prong power outlet, dual screen blue-ray player is an option but one that should be checked if you want to rear seat passengers to remain quiet during those long trips to grandmas house. This latest  truck proves that some old dogs can in fact learn new tricks.


The Chevrolet Suburban is one of the greatest names in the automotive world. It’s unmatched accomplishments and ability to evolve with the times have allowed it to live long and prosper, and I for one am very pleased. However, it looks like I’m not the only one, sales for the new model have increased overall by 109% over the previous gen. Meaning that the longest selling model in the automotive history shows no signs of dwindling, and who knows maybe in another 18 years I’ll be wishing a happy 100th birthday. Fingers crossed!


The Grand Departure. 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix


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Grand Prix. Close your eyes and say it out loud, slowly, and keep track of the images that your mind cooks up. I automatically think of Formula One racing. Engines screaming, cars flying by at insane speeds, only a few feet away from the spectators, the sights and sounds from a Grand Prix Formula One race are spectacular, and its one of the many great things that is associated with the name Grand Prix, and its to no surprise. When you have grand in the first part of the name you expect everything it’s associated with to be exactly that. That’s exactly what John DeLorean was thinking back in 1963 when he was an assistant to the chief engineer at Pontiac Motor Company; he was a major reason why this My Car Monday was even possible. If you’re thinking you’d heard the name DeLorean before, think no further, this is the same guy that went on to develop, build, and sell one of the most iconic cars in history, the gull-winged, back to the Future, DeLorean DMC-12. With that type of pedigree added to the equation you’d expect the car to be discussed here today to be extraordinary, and it certainly was.

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix SE


My parents needed a different vehicle, the one (it shall remain nameless for now) that they owned at the time was not living up to the duties. My mom though it was cramped and my dad thought it was underpowered, so that meant it was time for change. We looked at various different used sedan offerings available at the time, and concluded that for the size that we wanted, which was full/mid size the most cost-effective option during that time was to buy American. This was 2002, meaning the Japanese models like the Avalon and Acura RL were way out of budget and the Koreans were basically non-existent, or rather irrelevant. On one sunny Saturday afternoon the search came to an abrupt end, when the salesmen at our local Carmax uttered the words “I think you guys will love this Grand Prix” I knew at that moment I was going to do all I can to try to convince my dad to buy this car. It’s a Grand Prix, I thought to myself, what an unbelievably cool name for a family sedan. It fit perfectly into our search criteria. It was relatively well equipped, it was large, and it was fast. We took delivery later that afternoon.


The wide bodied, all white sedan with 16 inch alloy wheels was magnificent. This particular SE model had an optional 3.8 L V6 (3800 Series II) rated at 195 HP. I won’t bore you with the details of the engine but, it was defiantly the best part of the car. It was simple, powerful, and yet ingenious. General Motors offered this engine in what seemed like their entire lineup, and for good reason. It was voted by Wards to be one of the 10 best engines available, alongside other much more prestigious offerings like BMW’s 4.4 V8 and the intelligent 2.3 inline 4 Turbo from Saab. However, to a kid who was turning 16 and was about to get access to his dad’s Grand Prix, that meant very little. All I knew and cared about at the time was how fast the car hurled itself down the road when the skinny pedal on the right was flat on the floor. You have to remember that a year prior the original Fast and Furious came out, and everyone was suddenly a street racer. However, all those hopes and dreams of becoming the next Vin Diesel were quickly shattered when time came to lineup against the mighty Grand Prix, the Pontiac wasn’t tremendously quick but it was certainly quick enough to outgun the imports, and that’s what it did, on a repeated basis. The only drawback of the speed was that it was limited to 108mph and looking back now, I’m glad it was.


As with any first car story there are plenty of close calls and other adventures, if you want to call it that and this instance is no different. I’ll list a few that are most memorable. I’m driving, my best friend in the passenger seat, a mid summer shower a moment ago watered the highways and washed all the gunk to the surface, no matter, I take a sweeping left hander on the highway way to fast, we do two 360’s and end up only grazing the dividing wall. Another time I wasn’t as lucky. Coming home from a gathering, rather late, I began to get extremely lethargic, so my intelligent teenage brain suggested I rest my eyes just a bit, for short bursts of time. Well, needles to say it could’ve been much worse, I woke up when the left front wheel made abrupt contact with the highway divider, in the process breaking all the links and other various little parts in the front suspension and bending the sub-frame considerably. Fortunately, the car was resorted to perfect working order, and this vicious cycle happened time and time again, a curb here and snow bank there. I’m lucky to have such patient parents, because I would’ve have grounded myself until I was 35. The thing was, throughout all of the little incidences the car just kept going, until one day, at almost 200k miles, and many accidents later the transmission called it quits.  The cost of repair outweighed the cost of the car, and on a cold, grey, sad day the Grand Prix was hauled away to its fate.


The very first car I called my own was no longer in my life, it’s as if I lost apart of me. I experienced a void, which I thought nothing would ever fill. Needless to say, I had to experience this more than once. Five years later in 2010 General Motors decided to abolish the Pontiac brand. When I heard the news, it’s as if someone had told me that one of my relatives passed away. This was the company that was responsible for the birth of the muscle car era, the company that was responsible for cars like the Trans Am/Firebird, GTO, G8, Grand Prix/Bonneville,  GXP, and more recently the Solstice GXP and but most importantly, one that made my very first car. With that being said the message I want to convey here, other that the greatness of Pontiac and the Grandest of Prix is this. Love and cherish your first car, because the day will come when they only thing that you will love and cherish are the fond memories that is has left behind.

Can men go topless?


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All this nasty winter weather has got me thinking of much better days. When its about 76F degrees, the sun is starting to set and the top in your favorite convertible is down, the music is up and the road is open. It’s an amazing feeling this, I’ve driven a convertible before and can attest.


However, the one I drove is undoubtedly one of the worst droptops ever made, a 96 Chrysler Sebring JX, I can go on for days listing faults that this car posses but I’d rather not. I do, however, want to talk about something else. The whole time I spent behind the driver seat with the top down, I was a bit uneasy. Allow me to explain. When you seen a super hero in a movie, like say Jason Statham driving a car, it’s never a drop mid size convertible, is it? Yes, he has been seen in the Murcielago spider, and in the Continental GT but those aren’t exactly mid size convertibles, and he had J Lo with him in the Bentley. What I’m trying to say is that, its really difficult to look manly in a drop top convertible. Other than super/hyper cars, a convertible is something that should be left exclusively for the ladies. There is no way you can keep your mancard in a Lexus SC430 or V6 Mustang, it just looks a bit odd.


Now, I’m all for motoring equality so feel free to drive what you like, I’m just sharing my very unimportant opinion.