Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Grand Tour: What We Know So Far

Image credit: Amazon.
On Friday November 18, the whole world will be tuned to watch the debut of The Grand Tour -- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May's post-Top Gear project following a major fracas that really went on for way too long. Following almost a year of speculation, the beloved trio is finally coming out with a new car show on -- surprise surprise -- Amazon Prime.

Oh, when I said "the whole world", I actually meant the UK, the US, Japan, and Germany. You live somewhere else other than these four countries? Well, too bad. You won't be watching with the rest of us in the developed world.

Don't fret, however. Amazon has just announced yesterday that Amazon Prime streaming will be available in over 200 countries starting December this year. Unless you are HoldenMan3000. In which case, I am afraid you are stuck with... Whatever it is that you watch over there.

So, what can we expect from this brand-sparkling-new motoring show that is not Top Gear, but featuring a transferred-from-Top-Gear cast and Andy Wilman, the executive producer who made the old Top Gear one of the best TV programs at not only the BBC, but -- insert Clarkson voice -- in the world?

In this blog, we will look back and try to dissect what GT will actually be like.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

#SharkNoseDiary: Hibernation and Repair

Mileage: 40 miles.
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg.
Expense: $195 (brake service, reservoir sensor reset).

Winter is here, and unfortunately being in the Pacific Northwest, it only means that people are only thinking about two things: 1. Boy, it is really starting to rain now; and 2. Honey, let's start packing for the emergency ark we have on our backyard. 

Normal winter day in the Pacific Northwest. Surf's up!
Unfortunately for me, it also means that I am going to stash my 6 series for until next year when the sky clears up. Not so easy though...

[Previously on #SharkNoseDiary: After displaying my $2100 classic BMW alongside $2-million hypercars, it is time to activate the Anti-Rust Protection Plan -- storing the car for the Winter]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5-Car Dream Garage Challenge: My Picks

Image credit: Top Gear
This challenge has been making the rounds on social media of late in enthusiast circles. Being car enthusiasts ourselves, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to argue amongst ourselves, draw up PowerPoint presentations, fill out Excel tables, call each other stupid, and just generally spending half the day at the office not doing the work that we are supposed to.

So, needless to say, we have taken the liberty of drafting out a list of 5 cars that we wouldn't mind having in our dream car garage.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#SharkNoseDiary: Road Trip!

Mileage: Approx. 100 miles.
Fuel Economy: 14 mpg (it's improved by a staggering 1 mpg!)
Expense: 1 tank of gas = $60

It's road trip season, so I figured that I might as well take the old girl out for a cruise. And what a cruise we had.

[Previously on #SharkNoseDiary: I bought a 1987 BMW 635CSi for $2100 and figured, eh, might as well take the car up and down a mountain pass for a full day to see if anything falls out of the car.]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

15 Underrated Road Trip Songs that You Need in Your Library

Your friends would be happy like the people in this stock photo if you have some good tunes on the road. 
It is well-documented that we here are huge advocates of classic rock as driving anthems -- for very good reason. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't anything good from other genres and eras either, as there are hidden gems everywhere that are often overlooked by many driving enthusiasts out there who'd like to listen to some good tunes while shiftin' gears.

So, as a public service, here is a list of 15 songs often overlooked by people while they are looking for a good road trip playlist. Don't leave home and go on the roads without these songs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

#SharkNoseDiary 4: Owner's Report

Price (when new): $46,965 ($98,449 adjusted for inflation).
Price (as purchased): $2,100.
Mileage: Approximately 1400 miles since purchased.
Fuel Economy: 16.5 mpg.
Expense: $145 (oil change, reservoir patch, and a failed radio installation) + $50 (parts) = $205
Getting waves from classic BMW owners: Priceless.

It's been a little over a month since I bought my BMW 635CSi. It's been quite an experience. This is a quick summary of my first month of owning a 29-year-old European sports car at the cost of a 2-year cable subscription.

[Previously on #SharkNoseDiary: I bought a 1987 BMW 635CSi for $2100. I have since put in another 200 bucks to show how much I don't care about my hard-earned money.]

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#SharkNoseDiary 3: Paul the Parts Guy.

Service: $95 (oil change, coolant reservoir patch, trunk liner fix).
Parts: $50 (original BMW cassette stereo, '87 7 series original instrument panel, extra indicator stalks, original BMW floor mats, on-board diagnostic computer)
Chatting to a stranger for 2 hours about BMWs: Priceless.

Every car should have a name. A couple years back, I had a Volkswagen Passat which I named after Sir Alan Rickman's most beloved character -- no, not him -- Hans.

It's been almost a month since I bought my nameless 1987 BMW 635CSi -- it's about time to name it

Growing up with 90s action movies, I follow this odd tradition of naming my cars after movie villains -- hence Hans, my previous car. This car is German, so it has to have a German-sounding name. Beyond Hans though, it gets surprisingly hard, because there aren't a lot of good German movie villains outside the Die Hard universe.

[Previously on #SharkNoseDiary: I bought a 30-year-old BMW, which is yet to be named. Until now.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#SharkNoseDiary 2: Some Issues.

Two 80's icons. 
In case if you have missed the last #SharkNoseDiary, I have purchased a 1987 BMW 635CSi as my summer / weekend car. I guess you could classify this as an impulse purchase, partly fueled by my love of old BMWs and partly due to my lack of sound financial sense.

I have been living with the car for over two weeks now, and I have already done about 800 miles -- no small feat considering that it is a 30-year-old BMW that I bought at the price of a Smart TV.

[Previously on #SharkNoseDiary: I bought a 30-year-old BMW at the price of a Smart TV. It could turn out to be a mistake.]

First two weeks of my ownership was utterly joyous. The drive is a blast, as the straight six engine absolutely sings, albeit at the cost of 15 miles per gallon. People also love seeing it on the roads -- I have gotten approval nods and thumbs up from Porsche owners, BMW owners, to a guy who drives a Hyundai Pony with a broken exhaust. Although, I must say, the people who tend to recognize the car are usually of, um, retirement age.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#SharkNoseDiary: Goodness, I Must Be Crazy.

Last week, I bought a 30-year-old BMW.

Actually, let me rephrase that. Last week, I bought a 1987 BMW 635CSi luxury sports coupe. For $2100. To those of you who know BMWs very well will know it affectionately as the "shark-nose" E24 -- one of the most iconic and strikingly beautiful sports coupe to come out from Bavaria.

To those of you who doesn't know much about cars... Well, I bought a slightly rusted European car at roughly the same cost as what people would spend on a beginner's golf set. Oh, and the car was made in West Germany, because well, West Germany was a thing back then.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Driving to the Southernmost Point in the United States in One Day

Ahhh, Florida: A dash cam company's paradise purely because of everything that goes on over there on the roads. Earlier in the year, I went down to South Florida for a short trip -- no, not because I wanted to have my own Florida Man sighting. Instead, I was in Miami to attend a family wedding.

More importantly however (cousin, if you are reading this: your wedding was pretty good too), I was here in hopes of taking the famous drive from Miami to Key West -- a 4-hour drive over the Atlantic Ocean, featuring one of the best scenic views in North America as you head south straight for the southernmost point in the lower 48 states.

This should be a good one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Top Gear: Who Are The New Guys?

"It's like you're always stuck in second gear..."

If you are a car guy (and gal), chances are by now you will have May 29th circled on your calendar in anticipation of the Top Gear... Er, reboot? Instead of Clarkson & Co who are on to Amazon for greener pastures, the new show will feature six new hosts and the Stig, ranging from famous British personalities, an American (gasp!), to a number of other guys that nobody else but car enthusiasts seem to know.

For people state-side, it would be understandable if most people take the new Top Gear as Joey Tribbiani's actual big break since... Whatever that was.

So on this weekend, before you sit in front of your telly (if you are in the UK) or in front of your computer (if you are basically everywhere else) furiously refreshing the BitTorrent page looking for the new episode, here's a little handy who's who guide for your reference:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Dash Cam Captured My At-Fault Accident

As a guy who does a lot with dash cams, there is one question I do get asked a lot: "what if my dash cam caught an accident and I was in the wrong?"

Well, I had a first-hand experience of that happening last month with my very own F750.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The 70s Made the Best Driving Music, and It Makes No Sense

The Greatest Hits of horrible hairstyles... And driving music? 
Just this past weekend, I had the opportunity to go on a road trip out of state. Just like what anyone else would do in this situation, I checked my music library to see if I needed to load up on driving songs for me to survive being tailgated on the Interstate by the one Honda CRX driver with a cracked muffler that's also missing a front wheel.

So for a couple hours on a Friday night, I went through a mental checklist of all the road trip essentials, which about consists of all the usuals.

And then it dawned on me: almost 80% of the songs in my driving playlist consist of bands from a particular era. More specifically, the 1970s -- the era of the Apple II and Ford Pinto.

I strongly believe that the 70s was the Golden Period for driving songs -- which really makes no sense, for the reasons I'll explain below.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Driving Bad: A Journey to New Mexico

After the sheer madness that was CES, I decided that it was a good time to drag my tired corpse of a body away from work for a little while.

I was already in Las Vegas -- a city which seems to be right in the center of every tourist attraction possible. So, a road trip is in order. Where to?

Being from the West Coast, I'd like to stay away from California this time around (although if you do have the chance, do the Pacific Coast Highway -- you'll thank me later). I have also done the Grand Canyon tour as well, which leaves out Arizona. My first choice then, was originally Denver, Colorado -- Mile-High City, beautiful Rockies, maybe catch a Broncos game, why not?

Except, I then remembered, that it was mid-January. Driving to Colorado at this time of year would probably have a similar difficulty curve as learning how to play Dodgeball with Patches.

So, Colorado is out. But I do like the idea of staying down South on the virtue that it should be warmer (as it turns out, it isn't). But if I were to stay down South, then I'd rather go further out. No half measures.

And so, I tread lightly and found myself knocking on the doors of New Mexico -- more specifically, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the famed city that provided the setting for AMC's Breaking Bad.

This should be fun.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 in Headlines.

Happy New Year, you filthy animals.