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My R56 Mini Gets a Much Needed Upgrade

April 14th, 2010

I’ll try and remember to get some pictures, but she needs a bath first.  My Mini Cooper S just got a much needed upgrade.  Rather than the John Cooper Works 205 18×7 Rims with a 35 tire on them, I upgraded to a set of 215s at 18x8x40 this makes the tire a bit thicker which took a lot of the “ox cart” feel that Diz hated (I just disliked) and gives the car a much smoother ride.  The wider tires grip like nothing I can explain.  I wend from GoKart handling to F1 handling.  The car just grips curves to the point I could put Diz in my lap going around a corner.

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I’m really happy with the setup, and TireRack.com was very helpful with helping me pick out the rim and tire combination. I ended up with MOTEGI RACING SP10 and the Continental Xtreme All Weather.   Yeah I know I was running a racing compound before, but you know what I have more grip and I won’t go through tires as fast, and when I hit snow in Tahoe I won’t fear for my life.  That is all worth something to me.

Oh and Diz’s new complaint. The ride is too quiet she can hear the “whoosh of the turbo”.   We just do the car talk thing and turn the radio up.

Cars

My Next Car Might Be a 2011 Lexus LFA

November 7th, 2009

Diz and I hit the Tokyo Auto show, and while for the most part being from Michigan I prefer the Detroit Motor Show, but you take what you can get.  At the Tokyo Show most of what you get is cars for midgets (Diz felt right at home) {I love you}.

Diz has been much more of a Lexus fan than I have over the years, and I didn’t think I’d ever think they were more than prettied up Toyotas.  Then this.

2011 Lexus LFA2011 Lexus LFA by Toyota

The Lexus LFA is not just a "Prettied up Toyota" it is a race car built buy Toyota with enough safety equipment to be street legal, and enough luxury to to be a Lexus.

Price: About $400,000
Drivetrain: 4.8-liter, 554-hp, 354-lb-ft, normally aspirated V10; RWD, six-speed automatic
Curb Weight: 3,256 lb
0-62 mph: 3.7 sec

As Diz Pointed out that is only 1.5 seconds faster to 60 than the Mini I drive around the track now. Or as I pointed out 30% faster.  (that resonated a bit better).

The Lexus LFA doesn’t really have a Super Car Sound, which I could go either way on. Oddly Lexus didn’t give me a test drive, but if some one in Toyota Marketing reads this, Diz and I would love to take this car for a spin.

Cars

Considering Driving Ferrari 430 Scuderia in the 2009 Gumball 3000

April 11th, 2009

So my good friend Chris hears I’m shopping Ferrari’s and says… How do you feel about one with a few miles on it?  I’m like Really? You think I should get a used Ferrari? Chris is doing ok, but he is cheap, as demonstrated by his shack near Pizmo Beach.  He says “It will be new when you first drive it”.

After dancing me around for a while he finally the other day told me what the deal is.  He is working on a Charity Auction to be Co-driver in the Gumball 3000. The starting bid is $400k Which is about $120k over list for this 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia, and I was really thinking about getting one in White to Cut down on the Cop Stops… But you get to drive in the race, and the notoriety that comes with having had it in the Gumball 3000 is worth something. And this 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia is a tuned model done by Risi Competizione which adds to the value, and spending time beside Mika Salo would be awesome.

And according to the Auction site you also get:

  • Two seats at either their US Tour or Road and Racing events

  • Honorary membership with Risi Competizione

  • A complete set of racing gear (helmet, driving suit, gloves, shoes, etc.)

I did stop at the Seattle Ferrari dealer and look at this one.

2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia similar to the one I might race in Gumball 3000

Which weighs in at $302k so I’m doing the qualification for the E-bay auction, we’ll see what portion of the donation is tax deductible and if I can come out a head or close on this deal.

Oddly Diz is ok with this, I thought I’d get an earful of “don’t do that you’ll die”  Maybe she thinks she is on my life insurance policy…

I am also a supporter of Hole in the Wall Camps, as many of you know.

But if you don’t… Here is a bit about Hole in the Wall Camps.

The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps is a not for profit umbrella organization set up to serve existing Hole in the Wall Camps as well as camps in formation. Our mission is to extend the magical Hole in the Wall Camps experience to as many children with serious illnesses and life-threatening conditions as possible. www.holeinthewallcamps.org

Cars

Test Drive of the Yet to be Released Tesla

February 17th, 2009

I was in the neighborhood, and am looking to possibly burn some money, so I decided to check out the Tesla dealer on Santa Monica Blvd.  Having owned Lotus Elise, I expected that I was not going to be impressed.  I was however pleasantly surprised.  The Tesla is a bigger car, I didn’t feel squeezed into it.  I’m not saying I’d want to try getting in and out in a tux, and there is no way Diz or JJ would be able to get out of it in their Red Carpet gowns.  Kyrstin however knew how to make it look graceful.  She clearly had practiced a move by which she pulled her foot close to the seat, placed her hand on the door, and stood up with an almost balerina-esque movement.

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The Tesla has a suspension that doesn’t shake you near as much as the Lotus, and the position of my head was such that I was in the car, rather than in my lotus where my head was above the roll bar.  The Tesla’s styling is less aggressive than the Lotus, but also less kiddie.  The lotus looks like a hot wheels car.  The Tesla looks like it was designed by someone with refinement.

Tesla Electric Car

For as many high points as the vehicle has it does lack some refinements I would expect in such a “high end” car.  The JVC audio system looks stuck in.  Like if you replaced the beautifully integrated sound system and computer from my Mini with one from Walmart, and did the install yourself.  There is also the lack luster suede seats.  They just look and feel Mazda Rx7, not Porsche or BMW.  Interestingly some features which are not on a Lotus because they add to the weight, like power windows and air conditioning are included on the Tesla.

Tesla Motors

The “fast” 0-60 in 4.7 seconds is faster than my Mini (5.6), but the 125 mph top speed is well short of the 146 which I have been clocked at in My R53 Mini JCW.  The price of fuel per mile on the Tesla works out to a 70 mpg equivalent versus the 32mpg that the Mini gets.  But I would have to put 500k miles on the car to recoup the difference between the sticker price and the price of gas.

Tesla Sports Car Zero Emissions Vehicle

I asked about track days, something that I really think justifies the extra money of a sports car.  Taking the Tesla to the track is discouraged.  While the Tesla is fast, and sporty, it just isn’t designed to run all out for long periods of time.  The motors, the power cells, and the cooling just aren’t adequate to running 30 laps at Laguna Seca, something my Mini does several times a year, and which any of my other cars can do when I’m not worried about the rice rockets putting scratches in my paint.

Cars