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State of the Garage (and Car Vacations) Address

Jim Yu November 9, 2015 Formula 1, Hooniverse Goes To..., Museum Tour 11 Comments

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It has been a while since I posted on Hooniverse so I thought I would catch you up on what’s going on in the Yu garage. A couple of Germans may soon be added. Plus, I have photos to share from my recent trips to Seattle, Los Angeles, and Japan.

As you may recall, my beloved Volvo V50 T5 6M was totaled in a rear-end crash. I replaced it with a Saab 9-3 2.0T SportCombi. It has served me well. I love the exterior styling and the comfortable ride. I am not excited about the poor gas mileage (I have never achieved 26+ mpg in mixed driving) and the difficulty in finding parts (it took 3+ months to find and replace a broken LED taillight assembly). It barely has 50,000 miles, and I intend to keep it for at least five years.

My wife’s Civic has 120,000 miles. It has been incredibly reliable since we bought it new in 2004. In fact, it still drives like a new car. However, even my wife, a practical and frugal person, is getting sick and tired of driving an anonymous toaster with the personality of a wet paper towel. It is time for a change.


Last week, we test drove a BMW i3 with the range extender. It’s compact, has a commanding view of the traffic ahead, is eco-friendly, and is decidedly not plain looking. I am still researching tax credits on leases as well as getting a home charger installed, but it appears to be a pretty good deal. The Civic, sadly, will have to go.


In the medium-term future, I would like to fulfill my dream of owning a 993 Porsche. It looks like prices have finally plateaued. I just want a basic rear-wheel drive Carrera coupe with a manual transmission. Surprisingly, they are hard to find, even in California. We checked out this 993 last week. It has plenty of room in the back for our Cocker spaniel. Unfortunately, it has an automatic, was in a front end crash, and has been sitting on the showroom floor for a suspiciously long time.


As for trips since Paris, I went to Seattle’s Museum of Flight and Toyota USA’s museum in Torrance.


And most importantly, I visited Japan. On the first day, I took a morning walk looking at street parked cars, rode in my cousin’s 993, visited a Nissan engine factory, visited a Nissan showroom, rode in a new GT-R, and visited a model maker.


On the second day, I took the bullet train and visited the lesser known of Toyota’s two car museums in Nagoya.

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I then spent the weekend at the Grand Prix in Suzuka.


And I topped off the trip with a visit to Toyota’s Mega Web in Tokyo.


Images source: Copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Jim Yu

  • jeepjeff

    Front end damage and an automatic? Skip it. The right one is out there.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      The front end damage has been fixed but I looked at the crash photo and it was kinda gnarly.

      • jeepjeff

        My bigger problem with it is the automatic. If it were a manual, I’d say check it out carefully and test drive it. That could be a good deal. Salvage vehicles come with their own problems. The car is guaranteed to have had a rough history, and the insurance company is going to say dire things about only insuring to salvage value and so on. If it turns into a bit of trouble, it should be the one you feel is worth saving. So, if you’re entertaining automatic or salvage as possible compromises on the dream, I’d wait for a vehicle with only one of the two. Preferably the salvage title.

        (Says the guy with a project bike he’s trying to re-title.)

        • What bike are you project-ing?

          • jeepjeff

            You may remember I got pretty excited about the XSR700. If not, I did, and I still drool over that bike. Yamaha also built a DT-07 concept off the FZ-07 platform.

            Anyway, last month, Yamaha’s 2016 line-up announcement came. And went. No XSR700 for us. And about that time a wrecked FZ-07 in white popped up on Craigslist.

            It’s now sitting in my garage. I changed out the headlamp for a bucket light when I fixed up the rest of the broken lights (primarily the taillights, the original owner failed to land a wheelie). It needs a completely new set of fairings. So. I’ll have something XSR700ish eventually. In the meantime, my main goal for it right now is to convince the California DMV to give me a title for it.

  • Owl

    Can thoroughly recommend the i3 REX. Its utterly compelling when you get used to it being different and my wife loves it – when I let her anywhere near it!

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      The wood dash is straight outta Portlandia.

      • SlowJoeCrow

        My take is that the dash looks like a B&O stereo sitting on an Eames chair. I’d seriously consider one if you didn’t have to hold the throttle pedal to coast. I love the idea of having a car powered by a motorcycle engine (actually a scooter) but that lift off triggering regenerative braking is a deal killer for me.

        • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

          That gas pedal feeling is weird, but I think you get used to it.

  • Out of curiosity, I just looked for 993s locally in Houston. Holy cow, sellers must think oil money is still a thing. Prices seem more reasonable in other parts of the country, but still high for a 20-year-old German machine.

    • Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      Even the 964s are getting expensive now.