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The Ultimate Drive? There’s An App For That 11
Aug
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Apps, Automotive, BMW, Find of the week, Kurt, The Ultimate Drive on 08 11th, 2011

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an app to tell you about great driving roads near you? One that rated them and gave details on why the road was so good? Better yet, what if the app allowed you to share routes on Facebook or via e-mail, and even upload them to a GPS device? Thanks to BMW Financial Services, there is, and the best part is that the app is free.

Available for both iPhone and Android platforms, The Ultimate Drive shows you scenic and entertaining roads all over the Untied States, and in 49 other countries. If you live in Colorado or Southern California, epic roads are a dime a dozen; living here in Florida, they’re a bit harder to come by. Sure enough, though, The Ultimate Drive gave me a few nearby roads that I didn’t even know about.

It’s an interactive app, so drivers can upload and save their favorite stretches of asphalt. In the future, the app will award you points based on the number of routes you’ve driven, and will rank drivers by their scores. If you’re awarded the “Mayor of Deal’s Gap” honor, I’m guessing you know your way through the Dragon well enough.

I haven’t had much time to play around with it, so I can’t give you an official review just yet. It’s a great concept, and it’s a whole lot easier than staring at Google Maps for hours on end. I’d say it’s worth a download.

Source: Left Lane News



Can’t Afford A Real Bugatti Veyron? How About A Copy? 18
Jul
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Bugatti, Bugatti Veyron, Find of the week, Kurt, Mercury Cougar, Replica on 07 18th, 2011

Image: ekim1331@gmail.com

Let’s face it: the list of people who can afford to buy a Bugatti Veyron is a short one, and the list of people who can afford to drive and maintain a real Veyron is even shorter. The annual major service runs around $20,000, and a set of Veyron-specific Michelin tires runs around $35,000. Every four sets of tires (roughly every 20,000 miles, since the tires only last 5,000 miles per set) the Veyron requires new wheels, too.

One Florida man who wanted a Veyron did the next best thing: he built his own, by hand, laying up fiberglass and composite over a steel tube frame. The underpinnings come from a 2002 Mercury Cougar, and unlike a real Veyron this example even has a functional back seat. Annual service will be quite a bit less, and I’d be willing to bet that tires last longer than 5,000 miles. I know for certain that they cost a lot less than $35,000 for a set of four.

Image: ekim1331@gmail.com

Downsides? Under the skin, it’s a stock 2002 Mercury Cougar, complete with a tired 2.5-liter V-6 and an automatic transmission. The car has over 120,000 miles on the clock, most of which was racked up with the Cougar’s original body in place. The interior was redone when the car was built, but I’d be willing to bet the engine and transmission could benefit from some serious attention. You could probably stuff an LS3 motor under the hood, or maybe even a Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V8, but neither engine swap would be easy or cheap to undertake.

Image: ekim1331@gmail.com

If you want the next best thing to your own Bugatti, this replica is currently for sale on eBay. The asking price is a rather ambitious $89,000, which undoubtedly reflects the amount of time and effort spent building the car. It looks like a nicely built replica, but I’d have a hard time coughing up Corvette Z06 money for a rebodied Mercury Cougar. The car may look like a Veyron, but it certainly won’t run with the big dogs, and getting walked by a stock Civic Si would be, um, embarrassing.

Source: Yahoo News



Bring A Trailer Find: Fiat X1/9 Survivor 9
Mar
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Bertone, classic cars, Fiat, Fiat X1/9, Find of the week, Vintage Cars on 03 9th, 2011

Image: Bring A Trailer

Fiat’s mid-engined, rear drive X1/9 sport coupe was one of the cars I lusted after in my newly-licensed years. Back then, they were cheap and they were plentiful, and they took to corners like Charlie Sheen takes to porn stars. On the down side, they were also about as reliable as Charlie Sheen, and just as prone to breakdowns. I hate to harp on Fiat, which is now born again in the United States with vastly improved products and quality control, but the old jokes about “Fix It Again, Tony” were pretty much on the money. That explained why so many relatively clean examples could be found for fire sale prices; most had a “minor electrical problem” or “needed a tune up”, which was really code for “this four-wheeled spawn of satan has drained my bank account, so it’s time to ruin someone else’s life”.

Image: Bring A Trailer

I’ve moved on to other cars, but this particular Fiat (actually, Bertone) X1/9, found on Bring A Trailer, really caught my eye. It’s only got 7,433 miles on the clock, and the reason why is what keeps us car guys combing through old barns, estate sales and even storage locker liquidations. The car was one of fifty 1987 X1/9s still in port storage when the importer (Malcolm Bricklin’s International Automobile Importers) closed its doors. The car then sat for over twenty years before being purchased by its current owner, who did a light restoration by changing all fluids, hoses, brake lines, reservoirs and brake pads. The single non-stock part is an upgraded stereo, since the original car probably came with an AM/FM/Cassette deck.

Image: Bring A Trailer

The price, at $12,750, is a bit steep for my own trip down memory lane. Sure, the cars handled well, but they lacked power and parts won’t be easy to find at Pep Boys (and trust me, sooner or later you’ll need parts). On the flip side, it’s probably the only affordable mid-engine Italian sports car you’ll ever find, and it is eligible for vintage road rallying. Sure, a Ferrari 308 makes a better sound, but they’re not exactly rare; Bertone X1/9s, on the other hand, now have an element of exclusivity about them. If you can’t live without this one, hit up Bring A Trailer.



1928 Ford Is The Coolest Rat Rod I’ve Ever Seen 20
Jan
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Find of the week, Ford, Hot Rods, Rat Rods on 01 20th, 2011

There are only two kinds of car guys: those who love rat rods and those who hate them. If they’re authentic, I’m a big fan, but nothing is cheesier than a fiberglass replica sprayed up to look like rusty metal. Ditto for “authentically distressed” parts; if you pulled it off a ’32 Ford in a junk yard, it’s cool. If you buried it in your back yard for a month to look old, it’s not so cool. When it comes to cool and authentic rat rods, this ’28 Ford Model A up for sale on Auto Trader Classics is as good as it gets.

First, that’s an authentic body, right down to the faded original paint and “W.M. Roe Post 99” lettering. Someone painted that by hand, back in the 1930s. The frame is from a Model A, but it’s been sectioned and reinforced, and the car rocks a 7” drop. Power comes from a moderately built Ford 302, with custom heads, a hot cam and dual Holley carbs. The transmission is from Speedway Motors, and the power gets to the ground via an 8” Ford rear with 3.80 gears. In other words, this thing would be a blast to launch off a stoplight.

As for the rest of the build, it’s chock full of good stuff. Aluminum was used in the bed and door panels to save weight, and the car sits on 24” Foose Nitrous wheels (although the owner will toss in the original steelies if you want them). The owner’s asking for a very reasonable $13,000, which seems like a hell of a deal for a turn-key rod. Even if you weren’t a fan of the whole rat-rod look, you could certainly dress it up and throw on a coat of paint (though please don’t) for less than it would cost you to build a ground up rod. I’m sure it’ll find a good home, and I doubt it will take very long to sell.

Source: Bang Shift







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