Friday, May 31, 2013

The Chase is on!!

Face the facts……we all love seeing our favorite movie star give us a thrill ride during a high speed car chase scene.  There are a few must have’s in any great action film that are required.  It must have today’s biggest Hollywood Stars in it; it must have a great car chase scene and of course it needs to have some crazy stunts and a few explosions!

Let’s look at what is needed to make a great car chase; first we need to establish what vehicle we will use in our chase, should it be today’s hottest new ride or shall it be a classic muscle car?  One of my favorites is when the movie producers put the star in a car that is not known for its ability to evade the bad guys or the police. (Like the little mini cooper that Jason Bourne used in the first Bourne Identity movie).  Second, we need to decide where our hero (or bad guy) will drive, will it be in the city where he has to use his lightening quick moves to maneuver through the daily traffic during rush hour or will he be out in a remote location where he can take his car to the limits of speed?  The driver must have mad skills that would make a race car driver take notice and he must be able to drive the car at its limits and beyond. 

Joseph’s Top 5 Movie Chase Scenes:

  1. Bullitt (1968) Starring Steve McQueen……..It features two muscle cars of the day (1968 Fastback Mustang and a 1968 Dodge Charger) and they chased each other through the streets of San Francisco for over nine minutes in one of the most epic chases ever filmed.
  2. French Connection (1971) Starring Gene Hackman………This Oscar winning film featured a Pontiac LeMans chasing the bad guy on an elevated train track through the crowded streets of Brooklyn, NY.
  3. Cannonball I. (1981) Starring Burt Reynolds and an all-star cast…….This movie was basically one big car chase from start to finish, but the opening scene with the police chasing the girls driving the black Lamborghini is a must see. (Can you say 200 mph?)
  4. Ronin (1998) Starring Robert De Niro……You might not be a familiar with this one, but trust me it may be one of the best!  It is set on the narrow streets of Paris and features a BMW M5 and a Peugeot 306.  This fast paced chase was filmed using Formula 1 drivers of the day and actually had the real actors in the cars pretending to drive.  It’s been said that the actors did not have any trouble with showing “Real” emotions during these scenes!
  5. Smokey and the Bandit I. (1977) Starring Burt Reynolds……This one is on my list because seeing it for the first time when I was 10 yrs. old and seeing the Black Trans Am running from the Sheriff and even jumping a washed out bridge will forever be etched in my mind as a classic.

Whatever your favorite is, I’m sure it contains the same action packed qualities that mine did, so break out the DVD player and queue one up. (Don’t forget to turn up the volume!!)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Car Forums.........are you hooked?

If you are “Old School” you might be asking what a car forum is, but if you are from the younger crowd, most likely you already know what they are and how addictive they can be! 
I’m not sure of the age or origin of the car forums, but they have become very popular among the tech savvy and car crazy groups and to be honest they can be extremely useful.  I imagine there are thousands of active forums on the internet dedicated to automotive endeavors, it does not matter if you are into Jeeps, VW’s, Mustangs, Trucks, or even vintage race cars, there is a forum for you out there.  Here is the crazy thing, not only is there a forum out there for you, but it’s full of other folks chatting and talking it up about the same stuff you love! 
I must admit that the first forum I got involved with ended up costing me a bunch of money……  Well, it ignited a spark that fueled my passion for the Ford Mustang and after hanging out on that particular forum, I began my quest to own one and approximately 3 Months later, I purchased my first new car and yes it was a Mustang.  As time rolls on you surf the multiple topics and threads (as they are called) and see hundreds of photos of folks just like you who have begun to upgrade and modify their rides and guess what happens………you get bit by the modifying bug.  Now don’t let this scare you away from the forums because another great fact about forums is most of them have some type of tech section where you can get help from people who can help you with issues (troubleshooting) that arise with your vehicle.  Best part is they have already “Been there, done that” and can advise you what your problem is and how to fix it.  Trust me the tech section of the various forums have already saved me many times and saved money in the process. (Note……this money saved can be put back into your upgrade account!)  And speaking of money, another great thing about these sites and the forum section, its free to sign up and get a username/password.  I use to just lurk on these sites, but quickly learned it was way more fun to register and get in on the small talk of my favorite subjects.
I wanted to share a few of my favorites (not in any order):  (this is the site that got me hooked) (this is the site in my area that keeps me informed of car shows/cruise-ins/etc…) I bet your local car guys have one…..find it! (recently found this site and the forum section is packed with ALL [Foreign and Domestic] car stuff!) Lots of Formula 1 and vintage racing stuff on here to! (This site is one of the best for custom/resto-mod stuff) (another great site for the custom/street machines)
I hope you get time to get involved in the forum scene and don’t just be a “lurker”……register and get involved (Warning…….it is addictive!!).

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fast and Furious...what's the big deal?

What’s the big deal about the Fast and Furious movies and why do they grab so much attention?? The 6th installment of the Fast and Furious movies is set to open on Friday May 24th across the nation and car guys will race to see it! (Pun intended) If you have to ask why, you most likely don’t get it. The current episode stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel, and Paul Walker and many of the other regular cast from the other five movies.

For those who may not understand the craze for these movies, lets go down the list of reasons why they are so popular; Fast cars, Hot Girls, Street Racing, Car Chases, and Big name stars………ready to go see it yet?
To me the reason that these movies have been so cool for the car guy is that the ordinary car enthusiast can escape into a dream world of underground street racing and car modifying that is so addictive. Having an unlimited budget for upgrades/mods on your daily driver would be awesome, but how many of us can realistically do that?? (That’s what makes it fun to watch and play the “what if” game)

Have you noticed how the cars that are featured in each of the movies have instantly become “sought after” rides?? I mean just go back and look at the early movies and the cars; they made every young man want to go get a 1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse RS or a 1994 Toyota Supra because those were the rides they drove in the 1st Fast and Furious movie. These cars even have a title that seems to define what they are and just how much they mean to the owners. The buzz word for these cars or the guys themselves is “Tuner”. This term seems to define the younger generation that is so serious about their cars and love to show them off.

The term “Tuner” as defined by urban Dictionary: “A small/small medium car of the compact/compact sedan/compact sports breed, i.e. foreign makes such as but not limited to Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi vehicles, that have been modified with various after-market parts in an attempt to make them better, faster, and more appealing to other owners of cars of the same type and style”.

I must admit that the Tuners these days have taken modifying to the next level……..I seriously enjoy seeing them and the ingenious ideas they come up with and those candy coated paintjobs they have on their cars will make you drool.

Another car featured in these movies is the 1970 Dodge Charger that is driven by “Dominic” (played by the actor Vin Diesel), and yes, it is a Man’s Man car!!
It has everything the true muscle car guy wants; Black paint, Big tires out back, and a Blower sticking out of the hood! This car is a throwback to the Muscle Car era of the 1960 & 70’s and appeals to the older guys who are watching these movies.

I’m not sure what new “Hot” cars will be featured in this latest movie, but I can guarantee you this, they will be copied and cloned just like all the other rides from the past few movies and sales for these cars will skyrocket!

So there you have it, the Fast and Furious movies have all the bases covered if you are even remotely into car stuff. And if you love cars/car shows/cruise-ins/etc……Huntsville, AL is a hub for these car guy activities. During the spring there is always somewhere to go and hang out with other folks who share in the same passion you do...... (No matter what brand or how many mods)!

In fact plans are in the works to have some cars featured/showcased during opening night of the Fast and Furious 6 at a couple of the local Huntsville movie theaters…….I can’t confirm what cars will be there, but I bet they will draw a crowd!

Enjoy the movie……..Joseph

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When Cars were the Stars!

 If I ask you what Eleanor and General Lee had in common what would you say?  Well General Robert E. Lee’s mother was not named Eleanor, but those two names do share something……they were stars of the TV Show Dukes of Hazard and the Movie Gone in 60 Seconds.  Bo and Luke Duke ran from Sheriff Roscoe and Boss Hogg each week as they tried to stay out of trouble in their 1969 Dodge Charger R/T named General Lee.  They jumped every washed out bridge in Hazard County and slid that car around every corner with dust just a flying! 

Eleanor was the name of the car in both Gone in 60 Seconds movies, the 1974 edition and the more popular version from the year 2000.  The 1974 movie featured a yellow and black 1973 Mustang Mach-1, but most folks remember the silver and black 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang that was stolen by movie star Nicolas Cage.  Maybe that’s where the phrase “drive it like you stole it” comes from.

Back in the 70’s a couple of guys named Starsky and Hutch could be seen each week in prime time TV as they chased the bad guys in their wicked looking 1976 Gran Torino.  Starsky nicknamed the car the “Striped Tomato” in one of the episodes and I guess if it had not been for the show, this car would not be very high on the “Cool Car” list, but trust me the red Torino with that famous white stripe down the side will always be associated with a couple of tough cops from California.
There were so many more cars that I could have talked about and I’m sure you are screaming the name of as you read this, but I wanted to mention one more that is my most memorable star car.

Burt Reynolds, better known as “The Bandit” almost drove right out of the screen in the blockbuster movie from 1977 called Smokey and the Bandit.  He burned rubber and jumped a bridge of his own in his black and gold 77 Bandit Trans-Am.  I was only 8 years old when I went to the theater with my parents to see it the 1st time and it forever changed the way I felt about cars and may have been what lit my spark for being so passionate about cars today.  I’m not going to lie, even when I see a nice looking Bandit Edition Trans-Am today, it gets my blood pumping and it makes me want to grab for my old CB and give a shout out for the Snowman and ask what’s your 20?  If you were a child of the 80’s you know what I’m talking about!! 
It does seem that in many movies we have watch through the years that the cars were the real stars of the movie and I’m sure the Hollywood will thrill us with again with the next big car chase scene.
Thanks, Joseph

Monday, May 6, 2013

Why don’t we have flying cars by now??

When we were young it was believed that in the future we would have cars that can fly and there would be no worries about traffic jams or congested highways!  It seemed like all the futuristic movies and cartoons always showed folks traveling around in flying cars that hovered over the road and we all imagined that by the year 2000 or so, we would all be travelling around like this with no issues.  Well, I hate to break this to you but I don’t think we are any closer now to a flying automobile as a daily commuter than we were when I was a kid. 

1959 Cadillac Cyclone Concept
Now we have made tons of highly advanced and technological steps toward making the cars we drive handle better and go faster.....…have you been keeping up with where we are now as far as horsepower and handling is concerned??   If not, let me tell you about a few stats that will get your blood pumping if you are a car guy or girl.
The 2013 Porsche 911Carrera S has a listed 0-60 mph time of 3.7 sec., runs the quarter mile in 12.1 sec at 116 mph, and recorded an average lateral acceleration of 1.03 G’s.  Even though this car has a price tag of $123,840….....Those are race car stats from just a few short years ago.  (Courtesy of Motor Trend)

(Photo Courtesy of Motor Trend)
The 2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 has an estimated 580 HP, runs 0-60 mph in 3.8 sec. and boasts a top speed in the quarter mile of 117 mph all while being priced at only $57, 265   (Courtesy of Motor Trend)

(Photo Courtesy of Car and Driver)
I remember when I was younger the first thing I did when I opened a copy of Car and Driver or Motor Trend Magazine was to flip to the back and check out the list of new cars and the stats they listed.  I always scanned that list for the fastest car from 0-60 mph or top speed and that was the car I wanted!  Hey, it never hurts or cost anything to dream right??
Okay maybe the cars we drive in 2013, or at least have the opportunity to drive, might not be propelled through the air, but trust me they are “Flying” down the highway!
Thanks, Joseph