The spectator’s reaction says it all.
The spectator’s reaction says it all.
The one thing that I really don’t like about the current generation of 4Runners is Toyota’s overwhelming use of tacky chrome trim. The crap is everywhere: on the grill, a strip along each bumper, light surrounds, door handles, roof rack, a strip on the rocker molding, and who knows where else. Not all models have it – the 4Runner Trail Edition never had it and Toyota removed a lot of it from the SR5 in the 2014 facelift, but the Limited got even more chrome in that remake. I don’t think there’s a person on earth who ever said “yea, that plastic chrome trim looks great!”
I decided to do something about it. I looked to have this done right, either by repainting it or vinyl wrap. Some body shops did not even want the job because that kind of work is a pain in the ass for them – little profit and high potential of messing up. Vinyl wrapping was a sound option but at $400-$600 it was not any cheaper or better than a paint job.
In the end I decided to get $10 worth of Plasti Dip from Home Depot and rattle can this myself. The money I saved will go toward other modifications.
Getting right to the point, there is one thing really wrong with this car – its name!
Eco. Eco means green, efficient, earth-loving, backpacking, aluminum water bottles, flowers, happy little trees, hikes, nature, and all things that are good for the environment, the earth, animals, grass, trees, and some people. Eco started as an acronym, turned into a prefix, and morphed into an adjective. And now it has become a noun, too.
In the automotive world, Eco conjures up images of hybrids, electric vehicles, batteries, solar, plug-in something or other, alternative energy, and economy. Eco cars are generally very boring, mostly driven by lousy drivers who are focused on discussing pollution reduction and greater use of bicycles while sipping on a skim soy latte and doing five under in the left lane on their way to a vegan restaurant. Generally.
It might be the monotony of my everyday life or the fact that I am very quickly approaching my magical forty year mark on this planet. Perhaps it’s being deeply envious of Zach Bowman’s odyssey or missing my own overland adventures. Whatever the reason, I often find myself dreaming of driving deep into the unknown, and sometimes the known. My choice of vehicles varies on the destination. The other day I wanted to drive a RAM Power Wagon from my home in Boston to Fairbanks, Alaska. My choice of a vehicle to drive from Amsterdam to Siena was a Porsche 911 Targa. And the list goes on.
It turns out that I’m not the only such dreamer – Land Rover people dream, too. This is probably why they hired some renowned photographer named Jonas Bendiksen, gave him a Range Rover Autobiography, and sent him on a road trip from Oslo to the Dovre Mountains and Geiranger fjords. The result is some amazing photography. What I want to point out is that Range Rover is only used as a tool here. The point of this was not to show the vehicle in some nice scenery but rather to show that a vehicle can take us to see such amazing scenery.
The cheeky segment of The Grand Tour called Conversation Street starts of with a cute little intro of the three hosts sitting on bar stools, waving their arms around, presumably conversing and making their own pointless points. That is all well and good except for one thing – Jeremy Clarkson’s shoes.
Jeremy, who is 6’5″ tall, is known for wearing flat shoes on the show. Flat shoes likely make driving exotic easier and reduce his height advantage over Hammond. But I can’t help notice that in this intro Clarkson is wearing what look like ladies’ fuck me pumps.
I am in the middle of preparing (I’m using that word loosely) my Lada 2107 for 24 Hours of Lemons race (I’m using that word loosely). For that reason I am doing a ton of research (I’m using that word loosely) on easy modifications and upgrades.
Today I found this video. It’s a Lada 2104, which is the wagon version of 2105. The difference between 2105 and a 2107, like my own, is the grill and some other interior bullshit. Essentially, these are the same vehicles. Except that this wagon has Nissan’s SR20DET swapped in. And then the engine is tuned to healthy 420 horsepower at the rear wheels. In a car that weights 2152 pounds, that a recipe for fun!
Pictured above are remains of a sixth generation (2005 – 2013) Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The vehicle was involved in what was described as a minor fender-bender on I-90, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike, in Newton, Massachusetts, on June 13, 2016. No one was hurt and the other car had trim damage and was drivable. Likewise, the Corvette seemed to have sustained just minor damage until its owner noticed an under-hood fire.
In design of the C6 Z06 several weight saving measures were taken to lower its curb weight, most significantly a switch to an aluminum frame. Floors were made of balsa wood and carbon-fiber composite. Under the hood, the Z06 had a huge 7.0-liter LS7 engine with a dry-sump oiling system. To lower the weight in the front of the vehicle, under the engine, the front sub-frame was made out of magnesium.
A number of auto repair videos like this one have recently gone viral. They’re made by man in Eastern Europe, I assume Lithuania but I could be wrong. He seems to be able to pull off all kinds of auto body repair miracles. The videos are really interesting and some of the before and after transformations are truly amazing.
Many of the cars seen in these videos seem to be purchased in North America and send to eastern Europe for repairs and eventual sale. This is fairly common in Poland, too. American dealers buy wrecked, salvaged titled, cars in the U.S. and then ship them for repairs and sale in eastern Europe. The cars come out looking really good and most buyers wouldn’t know that they were wrecked if they’re not told so. Given the fact that the repaired cars sell for much less money that their domestic market never-wrecked counterparts, it makes financial sense that a lot of people buy them.
But there is a major problem here. The video shows clear damage of many integral parts: floor, sub-frames, firewall, rocker panels, sub-frame, roof, and roof pillars. The front right impact transferred the energy throughout the vehicle, all the way to left rear, via the floor and the roof. Because of that, the whole chassis is twisted as the repair video shows. In other words, this car was fucked and should have been scrapped.
The repair video shows how all of the chassis parts were pulled, straightened, and re-welded. The passenger-side shock tower and the lower portion of the A-pillar came from a donor vehicle, which itself was wrecked but presumably beyond repair. The floor and the roof are hammered out flat. In the end, body panels off another wrecked 2-series are installed. The video concludes by saying that all panels are installed and properly aligned. The vehicle is in clear need of an engine, interior, and a ton of trim.
Automakers design their vehicles to absorb and dissipate the energy from an impact. This is why there are so many parts on this car that were bent and twisted. The problem here is that this vehicle will never again have that the same strength and ability to absorb this energy again. Automakers design their vehicle for a single impact, with all priority going to protect the occupants. Pulling bent steel parts to their original shape greatly reduces their strength. Adding on new material or welding it in the wrong places may cause other issues.
In North America and in western Europe, a vehicle wrecked like this would never be allowed back on the road and with good reason. It is simply wrecked beyond the point of a safe and proper repair. The cars being sold in the U.S. with a salvage titles are probably marked that way with a good reason, and yes, there are many exceptions. But this bimmer? Well, would you put your family in it?
When the small, three-cylinder, Mitsubishi Mirage was introduced in 2014 it got mixed reviews. Some hated it, others said that it was exactly what was expected – a basic, low priced, and fuel efficient automobile. The biggest thing the Mirage had going for it was the fact that it was a brand new car, with warranty, priced under $13,000 and actually selling for a lot less than that.
For reasons unknown, the Mirage took model year 2016 off – it simply was not available. Despite that, its sales have remained steady, which is shocking. The vehicle underwent some surgery and came back refreshed for 2017 with new trims and a sedan brother known as Mirage G4.
The day has come, and for reasons we cannot possibly comprehend, it came one day early. Tonight at 7:00pm eastern time and even earlier on the west coast, at 4:00pm pacific time, The Grand Tour premiers on Amazon Prime Video, as reported by Jalopnik. Clarkson, May, and Hammond are back!
It was March 8th, 2015 that we last saw these three idiots together. Following much drama and speculation, the trio reunited with their producer from Top Gear, Andy Wilman. Given what seems line an unlimited budget and a comfortable schedule, the show is sure to be good and not at all like Top Gear.
Last night I made sure that I was properly logged into my Amazon Prime Video account on my smart-ish TV. By coincidence the cable guy was over to upgrade my cable box and modem and check all the connections. I informed my wife that right after the kids go to bed, around 8:30pm, I need an hour free of any interruptions. No conversations, no discussions, no planning, no cleaning, no laundry, no budgeting, no nothing, not even sweet sexy time. NOTHING! All I asked for was fucking hour! In fact I told her that it would be best if she wasn’t home.
Knowing life I’ll get to watch this show around midnight, but damn it, it will be just me, a cold beverage, and some snacks.
So, how are you going to watch it?