Much like the BMW M235iR, this Ford Focus rally car looks equally great without graphics and sponsor stickers.
If you live within an hour’s drive of Boston you owe to yourself to come to the New England International Auto Show. It starts today and goes through January 16th. It’s the biggest show in New England and unlike other show it is actually represented by the automakers and not just local dealers.
If you remember the Boston auto show of many years ago, forget about it. New location, bigger floor, more of everything. It’s at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210. Adult tickets are $15.00, children 6-12 are $6.00 and children under six are free.
The BMW M235i is a fantastic little car. If you yearn for E36s and E46s, the F22 should be on your shopping list. I haven’t driven the M2 but the difference between it and M235i can probably be measured only at 10/10s.
Now Turner Motorsport has developed the M235iR, a race car version of the M235i. TMS posted the above picture on their twitter feed and I was instantly in love. There is something really attractive about a racecar free of its racing livery.
The best part is that TMS will sell you all the parts needed to turn your 228i or 235i into one of these cars. Heck, they can even do it for you. How much money do you have?
Well, it’s obviously not a Grand National but it is a 1983 Buick Regal Estate. The body has been tastefully modified to Grand National specs, while retaining its long roof. While the original engine has been replaced, it’s been replaced with a healthy V8 rather than a turbo V6.
But does any of that really matter? Just look at it…
Everyone loves the old hot rod theory of slapping a big engine into a small car. But is there is a fine point at which most of us would agree that too much power, is in fact too much. This Geo Metro, with a 450 horsepower Ecotec engine, might be approaching that too much line.
Save the manuals, they say! I’d buy it if it was stick, they scream! I would buy the stick model if it came with power blah and leather blah! I would buy it, but it doesn’t have a turbo! I would buy it, but the price is too damn high!
Well, Nissan just took all those excuses away from you. Here is a new Nissan with a manual transmission. It is available with the fancy stuff you want. There is even hair-dryer under the hood. The icing in the cake is a price of under $23,000.
So is this 2017 Sentra SR Turbo a worthy replacement to the Sentra SE-R from the 1990’s?
Winter months frequently send us north, into New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. A few hours of driving takes us from the hustle and bustle of Boston and into the serenity of wooded, snow covered, mountains. Two-lane roads meander between those mountains, following the paths of the rivers that shaped them. Covered bridges connect the old with the new. The fresh air is instantly rejuvenating, reminding us that we don’t spend enough time here.
Driving the main roads is not particularly challenging. The surfaces are well maintained and the snow is plowed often. But it’s the secondary roads that can get tricky and it happens quickly. Some are not paved and others infrequently plowed. The locals know how to get around but the fancy navigation systems used by the city slickers often send them down the wrong paths.
I find night driving to be particularly challenging. Factory low-beams on my 4Runner don’t illuminate far enough and high-beams point straight ahead in a narrow path. I needed to add secondary driving lights but I did not want to add any light bars to the front of my rig. I started searching…
SZ, or Sprint Zagato, was a sports car based on the Alfa Romeo 75, or Milano as it was known in the United States. Typical of Zagato, it was more of a redesign of an existing a vehicle, a coach build, if you will. The SZ, or its RZ roadster sibling, were never sold in the U.S. but through the magic or time and internet, you can not have one!
This is my grandfather and his 1930s BMW 315/1. The picture was taken around 1952, some years after World War II, in Radom, Poland.
My father told me that after the German Nazi invasion of Poland, the Nazis took away all private cars from Polish citizens. In order to avoid having his car taken away, my grandfather, a small business owner and a car nut, cleverly converted his roadster into a pickup truck and turned it into a commercial vehicle. As per their own rules, the Nazis did not take his car away and he was able to hold on to it throughout the war.
Good job, grandpa!
Grandpa converted it back into a proper roadster after the war. I was also told that grandpa had an affinity for convertibles and preferred the BMW brand. It’s funny how things happen – I owned seven BMWs in my lifetime without being aware of grandpa’s vehicular shenanigans. Although I don’t really like cabrios unless they’re Jeeps, which I’ve owned two of.
I should mention that there were not many cars in Poland before the war and certainly very few of them were BMWs. I don’t how and where he obtained his bimmer but he kept until the end of the 1950’s, when he traded it for a Czechoslovakian Aero, a two-stroke roadster.
This is the only picture of my grandfather and his BMW 315 roadster/pickup that exists. The car, the man, and the story is what make this my 2016 HCOTY nomination.
Regular cab pickup trucks aside (remember those?), three passenger cars are few and far between. I recently came up on a Matra Bagheera, which I never heard of before. It’s French, of course, mid-engined (!) sports car with three across seating. And a manual transmission!
But there’s more. Wikipedia says the following:
The Bagheera’s body was made of polyester.
Matra engineers believed the Bagheera could use more power, so they created a unique “U engine” out of two 1.3 L Simca straight-4 engines, joined side-by-side by a common pan unit, the two crankshafts being linked by chain. This resulted in a 2.6 L 8-cylinder unit, producing 168 bhp.
Very few Bagheeras survive today, as they suffered from poor build quality (the Bagheera won the ADAC Silberne Zitrone = “Silver Lemon” award in 1975 for the poorest quality car of that moment) and extensive body rot. Although the polyester body panels do not rust, the underlying steel chassis had almost no corrosion protection.
Holy smokes, so much French horrible awesomeness in one car! The Bagheera was able to go from 0 to 60mph in around 12 seconds, which sounds painful. But hey, how many other three across sports cars ever existed? And that is today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica question.
The Caveats (there are always caveats):
Difficulty: Climbing rope in seventh grade gym class.
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