Stop putting your goddamn license plates inside your cabin! Are you people insane? If you have your license plate inside your car and sitting on your dashboard, you’re asking to turn into diced human meat in the event of an accident or even a seriously sudden stop. Most of the times I see people with the plates on the dash, I try to see if there is anything holding the plate there other than some minor ‘wedging’ and a little bit of nothing else.
If you’re one of those guys that likes having his plate “mounted” on his dashboard, here’s a little adventure that will hopefully allow you to learn something as well. Go outside and touch the edges of your plate right now…that shit is sharp and jagged on the rim, right? Now pick up the plate and see how much it feels like it weighs. It’s not exactly heavy, but it’s got a decent amount of heft to it. Now if you’re feeling really daring, take the plate and throw it like a frisbee (gently) and see how well it flies. Not exactly the best frisbee, but it’ll go a surprising distance for something not designed to be thrown.
That little spinning and flying action is exactly what’s going to happen to you if you ever get into an accident with your plate “mounted” inside your cabin. Plates have more than enough mass and edges that are certainly sharp enough to unceremoniously remove that coconut filled with stupid juice that you’ve been going around telling people was your head.
Sure it looks a whole hell of a lot better than having your plate sticking out over your front bumper and blocking flow to your radiator or intercooler…but I personally think it’s worth the bad looks and air restriction for the “not getting a sharp chunk of metal lodged in my forehead” benefit I get. Go out and find a side-mount or low-mount bracket for your plate so you can save yourself from the embarrasment of explain to someone in the afterworld why you’re there for such an un-manly reason.
-Steve isn’t sure why he chose Vermont’s plate as a demo
Let me preface this posting by saying that I work for a direct competitor of Apple’s, but none of my opinion here has anything to do with that. I cheer for the underdog, and having an element of uniqueness is absolutely valuable to me. That being said, a lot of iPhone owners are cocks. That’s right. They are the same douchebags who buy BMWs only because of their name and reputation for being the ultimate driving whatever. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely can appreciate the attributes of both the iPhone and BMWs, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for their owners to think nothing else that exists is good enough and that they are somehow better than anyone else simply because of their purchase.
Let me explain with an example. I’m at a wedding reception and my wife is the bride’s Matron of Honor, so she’s off doing something probably important. I don’t really know anyone at the wedding, so I’m hanging out finishing up my dinner and I pull out my Palm Pre to check email. There must be some kind of iPhone Cock signal app that I downloaded, because one of the bride’s brothers sits down next to me and opens his argument with, “My phone is way better than that one.” Well, fuck you too. Of course, I didn’t say that. I don’t want to make a scene, after all (the bride’s mom was doing a good enough job of that herself). So I blow off the comment, but later make a quick jab at a sore spot for iPhone users: the lack of multitasking. He makes some kind of insecure excuse that you can only do one thing at a time or some nonsense, and then we both go on with our lives. But it gets better. I then run into my best friend, whom I’ve known since we were kids, and proceeded to tell him about my little encounter. Being an iPhone owner himself, but definitely not someone I would consider a cock, he immediately became defensive about my multitasking comment and said the same thing about humans only being able to do one thing anyway. Really? I think he’s drinking the Kool-Aid, too.
At the end of the day, the iPhone is a fantastic device, there’s no doubt about it. But why do good things have to bring out the inner insecure asshole in a lot of people? I think a lot of iPhone users are desperately trying to justify the dick that Apple and AT&T are giving them, especially the early iPhone adopters.
– Alex “I’ll take a Palm Pre and Toyota Prius any day of the week” Gregorio
That’s right, and I’m proud of it. Do you know what I sold in order to buy the Prius? A 2005 Mazda RX-8. Yep, I went from one of the most nimble and quickest sub-$30,000 cars on the road to definitely one of the slowest. You should have heard the bitching and moaning I heard from my car buddies when I proposed the plan. I distinctly remember hearing a lot of F-bombs and general red-in-the-face arguments. So before I go posting any more to Mediocre Motoring, I want to plea my case, in a sense, in order to show that I really do belong here.
(RX-8 to Prius)
I owned the RX-8 when I was 23 years old, fresh out of college and working for a software company making more money than my parents. So like any 23-year-old in my shoes would do, I went and bought a $30,000 sports car. It wasn’t until two years later than I realized that my $650/month payments, 17mpg average and ridiculous insurance costs were making me broke. Plus, I hated commuting with the RX-8. Its low torque engine was no fun in traffic, I hated shifting a manual gearbox in stop-and-go, its gas mileage was shitty, and trying to drive it fuel efficiently was causing excessive buildup of carbon in my motor even with a redline blast once or twice a day. So I made the decision to buy a commuter-mobile. It wasn’t easy, especially with all the pressure I got from my buddies. But it needed to be done.
So what’s a 23-year-old working at a high tech company driving a sports car going to buy as a commuter-mobile? A high tech car, of course! Did I buy the Prius because I think I’m doing my part to save the world? Hah, fuck no. Although I’m not convinced of the argument that the Prius is worse for the world than a standard shitty-mobile, I’m also not buying that its high gas mileage is saving fluffy bunnies and oil-covered seals. No, I bought it because I wanted toys. I picked up the top-of-the-line model for all of its goodies, and they don’t disappoint. Leather, auto-dimming rear view mirror, Bluetooth connectivity, GPS navigation system, smart key, backup camera, and let’s not forget Toyota’s Synergy Drive (their hybrid system that, when it was new, really was a work of art.) I looked at a lot of different cars with similar options, but the Prius gave me all the toys I wanted for the lowest total cost of ownership. (And for the record, I would have seriously considered a Golf/Rabbit TDI had VW been selling them in 2007 when I bought the Prius.) I traded in a sports car that was fun to drive for a fuel efficient car that was fun to be in while I was driving.
Does that mean, as my classy friend Manuel put it, that I “traded in my balls?” Arguably yes, but I always had the intention of buying a second, high performance car that I could drive on the weekends and tinker with. After two years of owning the Prius, the opportunity arose when I bought the 3000GT VR-4. So now I can have my balls and eat them, too. Er… nah, let’s go with that.
(Back to the land of performance cars. 3000GT)
– Alex “America, Fuck Yea!” Gregorio
Do you know who Tony Jaa is? If you don’t, stop reading right now and go watch “The Protector” or as I like to call it “Tony Jaa breaks every bone in Australia because someone stole his mother-fucking elephant.” Well, I kind of ruined the whole plot (Yes…that is actually the whole plot), but honestly, the movie is completely worth watching for the absolutely brutal and insane kick boxing/martial arts that the movie executes. Oh, and when I said “every bone in Australia”…I fucking meant it. For about 4 and a half solid minutes all you hear are bones snapping and me giggling in glee.
Regardless of if you’ve seen it or not (you should’ve followed my directions and have watched it by now) he has his hand in pretty much everything that leaves Thailand and goes global if it’s about ridiculous Kung-Fu movies. I’m right now in the middle of watching his company’s latest flick called “Chocolate” on Netflix via my Xbox 360 (pretty much the best effin’ pair up EVAR!) and I immediately paused the movie to come post here because I was so excited.
WATCH. THIS. MOVIE. If you like kung-fu at all, this is your type of shit. Basic premise…retarded girl is born of Romeo/Juliet type parents and proceeds to learn kung-fu by virtue of being retarded and watching a shitload of Tony Jaa (and other kung-fu) movies . Bones breaking, retards fighting retards, what looks to be a gang comprised only of over-the-top drag queens, this movie has the complete gambit of all things hilarious and awesome.
I’m drinking St. Pauli Girl, sitting in my Charge Speed fiberglass seat (mounted to my couch, because the brackets haven’t arrived yet and I’m a car-nerd), and sweating to death, but goddamnit I’m having fun. Get off my website and go watch a retarded girl beat up some Thai gangsters! GO! DO IT!
– Steve swears a lot when he drinks and watches Thai Kung-fu
Horsepower from bolt ons doesn’t typically stack. Meaning that if a manufacturer says their exhaust will provide a +10 hp boost, and their intake will provide a +10 hp boost, they are rating those number gains as stand alone upgrades over their stock baseline. So while you got a +10 exhaust and a +10 intake, you will likely only see gains of about +12 or so. The reason for this is that you’re effectively modifying the same thing twice and not neccesarily improving it both times. Either upgrade alone is likely an upgrade, but they change different parts of the same system. A small gain here at the cost of something else, will not always be complimented by the antithesis item.
Another thing to be aware of is the concept that power is not always gained in the same way nor in the same area of your potential power curve (visible in the different parts of your dyno curve). When you see the gains over a dyno curve presented to you by the manufacturer you’re only looking at the gains for that specific part in a vaccuum and there is no guarantee that the gains will remain if you change the system in the future. Essentially what I’m saying here is, just because you gained horsepower with one mod, it doesn’t mean that the horsepower is locked in and permanent if you start changing other parts.
Video games definitely don’t help this misconception. Fire up any racing sim (Forza, Gran Tourismo, etc) and try to upgrade your car. It’s all very nice and simple and everything just sort of linearly improves your power without much regard to the
Things like this aren’t always readily understood, especially by people who haven’t had a lot of actual touch experience to upgrading cars. Reading things online and getting as much information as possible before you do something is always a good idea, but you need to take things (especially stuff you see on the internet) with a grain of salt. There is no regulation or filter to make sure the information you’re getting is actually information that is true or information that is relevant to you.
I’m in Texas for a conference right now so this post will likely be not as coherent as my usual ones and will not have any pretty pictures until I return. I might not actually get pictures, but I’ll try to go back through and make it more coherent. We’ll see how I feel when I get home again.
Christian Rado is pretty much the top dog when it comes to racing some completely mental Scions. He has a blisteringly fast tC drag car that I believe is over 1khp as well as a 700+ hp tC road racing car that has an awesome front wing on it (proving his camp knows a thing or two about Function>Form). Most people look at his front-winged time attack car and comment only on how stupid it looks or other boring aesthetic comments that prove only that they don’t understand (or care about) physics. Jalopnik (www.jalopnik.com) even commented on it aesthetically in the same breath that they mentioned its record breaking prowess. (http://jalopnik.com/5278644/front-wing+equipped-scion-tc-looks-dumb-sets-record)
Owning some completely ridiculous high horsepower cars isn’t enough to make you my online boyfriend though. Getting to that highly sought after position takes something a little deeper and more personal. You need to prove to me that you’re worthy of being elevated. You can’t be a douche, can’t be too up on yourself, have to show that you respect the sport, can’t be doing it for the money (JUST for the money), and a whole slew of other things. Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand jerk-off goody two shoes who are the perfect embodiment of human class. I like people who will get in there, get dirty, and then do it all over again the next week just because they love it. Chris Rado seems like that kind of guy to me. He’ll put a stupid looking wing on the front…if it helps him win. He’ll give a front wheel drive car 700+ horsepower…if it’ll give him the power he needs to keep up with “better” driveline layouts. He’ll shave a sweet beard…if it’ll…no wait, I just like his beard.
Anyway, here’s a little video that I stumbled across that spawned this whole man-crush post. It’s an advert for some Need For Speed game that I am entirely uninterested in, but it shows Chris talking and driving and it’s definitely worth the watch. Understand what a racer feels and experiences.
I plan a lot of things out. As you’ve read in one of my very early posts on this site, I have a very strict project plan for how I plan on building my car out. This plan includes a list of parts that I know I want, how much I think I should be paying for each part, and a schedule of when I think I can afford said part. Following this project plan has kept me sane, given me an outlet to pour my energy into, and saved me lots of money by protecting me from impulse buys.
My plan, however, doesn’t include any of the human element and more worryingly it doesn’t have any regard for the booze element. I have now stepped out of my project plan twice over the course of my build and each time that I’ve gone outside of the nice and safe lines it’s been at the end of a serious drinkin’ night.
St. Patty’s day 2009: I’m half-Irish, and I’m from Boston so St Patricks day is pretty much bigger than Christmas for me. I drink until I can’t feel feelings and then I drink more. At the end of the night I’ve either: made a bad decision, lost a girlfriend, or I’ve met a new girlfriend. Typically all three of them happen at the same time, but this year was different. I made an AWESOME decision, kept my current girlfriend, and ended up with a kick-ass set of custom width Enkei RPF1 wheels on order.
Dezod Motorsports based in NY state (www.dezod.com) is an awesome supporter of the Scion community and they are in cahoots with Dan Gardner, a pro-level driver currently campaigning a Scion tC in the NASA leagues. (I believe he actually came in 1st or 2nd for his debut year in the car…but don’t quote me on that.) The two of them teamed up and put an order in to Enkei Japan to get a production run of Enkei’s RPF1 wheel with black finish in a 17×8.5 with either a +30 or +40 offset available. 8.5 inches is (from what I’ve found) the largest width out there for a 17 inch rim. Plus, the RPF1 is legendary for its light weight (only 16lbs per wheel if I recall correctly), AND being a decently priced wheel for it’s size and weight. Double, triple bonus!
(I got the black wheel without the decals and without the center cap)
Friday July 31st, 2009: There was no real celebration going on, just a barbeque at a friend’s house. We had a great time with some great food and then we went home. As soon as I planted my magnificently sculpted posterier into my IKEA computer chair, I logged onto www.more-japan.com and lucky for me, they were having a “3 day Summer Special” sale on a bunch of stuff. Perfect! Fully backed non-reclining race seats from the Japanese company Charge Speed for 40% off!? SOLD! I ended up getting one Black Fiberglass bucket and one Black Carbon Kevlar seat. (I would’ve gotten both in Fiberglass, but they only had one left)
(Again, went with the black seats)
Well, neither of those purchases could really be considered “impulse” buys because I’ve researched everything that I want for the car, and I wanted/needed both of those parts. The beer just made it really really easy to not worry about my bank account and jump on some awesome parts. The More-Japan sale was only for three days and limited quantities and the Enkei wheels were only made in a production run of 40 sets of wheels!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cook up some ramen for the next two months of my life until I can afford solid food again.
– Steve is a shopaholic (or is it spelled “alcoholic?”)