Monday, July 29, 2013

Old Flame

Think back and see if you can remember that special girl that you had a crush on……you chased her, dreamed of her, then one day you finally worked up the courage to take her out and the relationship began.  Then a strange transformation took place, your whole world revolved around her, she is all you thought about and you spent all your hard earned money on her.  Everything was working out great and you loved her so much, but as time went on your relationship grew farther apart and you didn’t seem to spend as much money on her and you began to see a few flaws in her and you even seemed to lose your desire to spend as much time with her.  Even if it lasted a long time, the relationship lost its spark and you sometimes found yourself looking around at other girls (note to self……this can lead to big trouble).

Okay, have you figured out that I’m not talking about a girl?  I’m talking about an old flame……your old car you used to have, she was your baby, but now somebody else is driving her??  You sold her, traded her, etc…….it doesn’t matter the reason, the fact is, she’s not yours anymore!  It’s a sad day after she is gone and you realize you wish you had her back.  I’m sure many of you can relate to this.

The O-Jays in 1978 had a song titled “Used to be my girl” and it had a few lyrics that will remind you of that old car you wish you had back!  I respect her, when she was mine, I used to neglect her, she wanted more than I could give……..And if I had the chance, I’d take her back, as a matter a fact, right away, like today…..She used to be my girl”. 

Yes, if we had the chance, many of us would love to take back our old car that was our pride and joy!  We would most likely treat her with more tender care this time.  Sometimes guys are able to track down their old rides and are able to restore them to the way they once were.  Maybe you would do things to it this time around that you did not have the time or funds to do when you owned her before.  Truth is that with the internet, car clubs, car forums, and databases, you may find that it is easier to find your old dream car.  If you are one of the lucky ones to get a second chance to own that “Old Flame”, make sure you treat her with more respect this time!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The new 2014 Jaguar it your type?

I had an opportunity to attend a launch party and unveiling of the all-new 2014 Jaguar F-TYPE.  You might ask why this is so special, well; this 2014 F-TYPE is the first new roadster from Jaguar in 40 years.   The historical E-Type debuted in 1961 and ended in 1974, so the gap will finally be bridged, and I can assure you that there are some major advances in style, technology, and performance.  I will get back to the features of the car shortly, but let me set the stage for this very special event first. 

Upon entering the dealership the lobby was flanked by two of the all new F-TYPE convertibles and also a 1970 E-Type 2+2 Coupe.  All guests were treated to food/drinks/music, and a wonderful atmosphere where you were encouraged to check out all the features of this new vehicle.  The showroom was filled with approximately 60-70 guests including several members from the North Alabama British Motoring Society.  Many of these car enthusiasts had driven their own classic/vintage British motorcars to the event.  One very special club member’s car was featured inside, a 1970 E-Type 2+2 coupe with a 4.2liter straight 6-cylinder.

Okay……now for the scoop on the new car that Jaguar is not referring to as a tribute, but flows with the classic E-Type’s DNA.  The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is available in three models; Base, S, and the V8 S. This two seat fabric top roadster sets itself apart as totally different looking from anything in Jaguars’ current family, and is described on the brochure as “Pure Driving Pleasure”.  Each model is equipped with a Roots-type twin vortex supercharger under the one piece stamped aluminum hood.  The Base has a 3.0 liter V6 engine with 340 HP, the S model has a 3.0 liter V6 with 380 HP, and the mighty V8 S has a 5.0 liter V8 with an incredible 495HP.   The supercharger is mounted in the “V” of the engine to keep the profile of the hood more compact which maintains the sleek look to the hood line. 

As I reflect for a moment, one of the more exciting thrills of the evening was when the sales manager unexpectedly fired the engine on the V8 S and blipped the throttle a few times……..I can assure you that the guests were awake and eager to hear more from the beast growling under the hood!  That leads me to tell you about the Active Sport Exhaust system Jaguar has made standard on the S and the V8 S models. It features active bypass valves which open during more spirited driving, allowing exhaust to exhale a bit more freely.  The result is quite frankly unlike anything I’ve heard before……..the best way I know to describe it was a deep American V8 rumble mixed with a healthy dose of Ferrari.  By the way, this system does has a manual switch so that you can take control of when and where you want to make a little music of your own.  When you decide to take part in a little of the spirited driving that I mentioned you can do so at a pace that will impress even the tougher car magazine editors.  The new F-Type’s V8 S will take you on a major head rush as it reaches the 60mph standard in a mere 4.2 seconds, and is reported to have a 186 mph top speed.  (I hope I’m invited back for one of those “spirited” test drives I keep referring to)  In case you are curious how that stacks up against some stiff competition, in a recent Automobile Magazine test drive the Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet was only able to reach 60 mph in 4.5 sec. and the “as tested” cost was $18,855 more than the Jaguar.

I almost forgot to mention that it delivers a whopping 460 lb. ft. of torque through the 8-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox.  If you are feeling the need for speed and decide to flip the switch on the dynamic mode to the left of the joystick looking shift lever, the F-Type will reward the driver with a host of race inspired goodies--quicker throttle response, quicker steering, and the adjustable shocks become more firm to plant this roaster into the turns with a more race inspired feel.  The action heats up even more if you decide to take measures literally into your own hands by switching to sport mode on the shifter knob--you can change gears when you want to and then if that wasn’t enough go for it by flipping the paddle shifters from behind the wheel and never take your hands from the wheel.  If this type of driving excites you then choose the Performance Pack option and enjoy the 8inch touch screen in the dash as it displays the G-Force meter, lap times, and other “go fast” info you race junkies are looking for from a rear wheel drive sports car.

My favorite part of the car was the sexy hips that the roadster was sporting in the rear--the side profile of the car rolled over and into a point near the back of this car reminded me of the classic look of its older brother in the showroom…..the E-Type but with a more refined and glamorous look.  It’s hard to imagine using the two terms racy and glamorous in the description of this car, but trust me that’s how I felt about it.  I overheard one guest say that the car “looks fast even when parked”.   And even though I’ve heard that term used before, it certainly rings true with this ride.
There are so many more features of this all new car that I don’t have time to cover, I could go on for hours.  But the best thing you can do is go see it and decide if this sleek new roadster is just what you’ve been missing in your garage!  The new 2014 Jaguar F-Type is most defiantly my “Type”.  The hardest part of your visit to the showroom will be……what color do you want?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Boys to Men!

I reached another milestone this week……..I began helping my son learn to drive a 5 speed manual shift car.  I must admit that he did great, much better than I did my first time trying to drive a manual shift car.  He picked up on the function of the clutch quicker than I expected and I think by the end of the summer he will have mastered it pretty well.  He seemed to be excited and nervous and the same time and surprisingly I was calmer with him than I thought I would be.  Dads can get a little nervous also during these early driving lessons and that may be why I learned to drive a stick shift car with lessons from my mom. 

As I reflected on our successful first driving lesson, I began to think about at what age a boy truly begins to develop his passion for cars.  Boys play with hot-wheels and model car when they are little, but at what point does the spark light their true excitement for wanting their first car?  I guess it depends on the boy; some kids may get into computers/girls/sports/etc…..but if they are destined to be a “Car Guy” at some time in their early teen years they begin to take more notice of cool cars.  They start asking questions about the make or model and the specifics of the engine size or horsepower.  If the dad is a car guy this development will usually be quicker than if the dad or grand dad is not into cars or hot rods himself.  No matter what age it happens, this can be a wonderful time for some father / son bonding as they share in the love of all things cars!  I tell people all the time that you are NEVER too old to play with cars!

(This photo is my son at a one of many car shows we enjoyed together when he was younger)
That leads me to another related topic… shows; taking a kid to a car show is so much fun and can be a great event that you share with the whole family.  Most car shows and cruise-ins are very family friendly and have something for all ages like face painting, games, contest, or even a kid’s choice award where the kids under a certain age get to vote for their favorite car/truck at the show.  Don't miss a great opportunity to share in this great past time event with your family and you can even relive a little of your youth as you tell them some stories of the "Good Ol Days"!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Now it’s time to wax!

After giving you tips last time on how to wash your ride, now it’s time to wax it.  Most folks forget that waxing a car not only makes it shine, but it protects the paint and if have not priced a paint job lately, trust me you want to do all you can to protect and prolong the finish on your ride.  Waxing the paint on your vehicle can help protect it from contaminates like tree sap, bird droppings, road grit/grime, acid rain, dirt, smoke, and even small rocks.  Most small scratches can also be removed from the paint surface if you wash and wax your ride correctly.
The first step is to make sure that your car or truck has been washed and dried completely (hopefully following instructions from my last article).  You should never wax a vehicle while the surface is hot; always allow time in the shade for your ride to cool.  The brand of wax is up to you, but I do recommend that you read the instructions on the bottle carefully because the manufacturer sometime gives specific tips that are to be followed.  There are two main types of wax or polish to use on your vehicle; carnauba based wax is derived from tree leaves and provides the best deep “wet-look” to your paint finish, and the newer polymer waxes or sealants do a better job of bonding to the paint.  The polymer products offer longer protection of your vehicles finish; however, they don’t always give the impressive “glossy” look that the carnauba products will.  When it comes to applying the wax you want to get some of the waxing pads, they are small round (approx... 6 inch) terry cloth type pads.  These pads make it easy to apply the paste or liquid wax onto the vehicle.  I always put my wax on the pad then rub onto the surface in small swirling motions and only do small sections of the car a time.  Another excellent way to apply the wax to your ride is by using an orbital buffer.  These buffers are relatively inexpensive and can make the task simpler than the old fashion hand polishing.

(I took this photo in Somerset, KY at a car show…….look at that shine!)
Make sure that after each section of the wax has dried (formed a white haze), then remove it with a clean/dry cloth.  I always use the new “micro fiber” rags to wipe off all of the wax and then a second one to polish the paint.  If you use this technique, I promise you that your ride can also have that awesome deep “Glossy” look! Now you have no excuses not to wash and wax your ride this winter and get it ready for the Car Show and Cruise-in season!