A Sons of Taki 2013 Year in Review

December 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Our first year was a fun and interesting one at Sons of Taki. On behalf of Jeff and Matt, thanks for reading, making comments and telling us we’re not complete idiots for doing this. 2014 is shaping up to be  an exciting one as well. We just won’t hype it up like Lotus and then fail to deliver the goods.

In the meantime, here’s some Sons of Taki Moments from 2013.

We Launch A Website

I remember siting with Jeff and Matt on a snowy winter late January Sunday at the Starbucks in Braintree brainstorming ideas for what would become Sons of Taki. We talked about what we wanted to be, what we wanted the site to look like and most importantly what did we want to call it. I forget how it came about but we pulled up the video of Taki Inoue getting hit by the medical car which got us rolling on the ground. From there it was easy coming up with the name. Then the night after the Daytona 500 we put our money where are mouth was and bought the domain.

The Sound of Metal In a Wood Chipper

Back in March while driving to Rhode Island to have dinner with Jeff, the CEL light came on in the Leggy. I didn’t think much of it as the car was prone to random misfires and light ups. As I was getting past the point of no return (where I was closer to Jeff’s house than my house) the car started making stranger noises, a crackle here and there. I made it to Jeff’s, had dinner with him and white knuckled it back the hour drive to my house with the car sounding worse and worse. I was dreading motor issues.

The next day Matt and I were off to world of wheels in Boston, Matt was going to meet me at our local repair shop so I could drop the Leggy off and then go with Matt. As you know by the now, the Leggy didn’t make it and got a ride from AAA.

One month later and finally being lucky that Subaru decided to be nice I had a new shortblock in the Leggy.

Alpine White BMW’s

Jeff’s obsession with Alpine White BMW’s reached a new level when he got rid of his pristine E46 ZHP and bought a 95 E36 M3 (Alpine White of course). A man who lives in a city in the Northeast must not be right trying to keep two white BMW’s semi clean and not dinged.

The Deal of Century

Everyone has a great buying a car story and dealing with salespeople who are close to Genghis Khan on the people you wouldn’t trust category. SOT took it to a whole new level when Matt bought a new GMC Terrain and the sales person was…Matt’s father. The memorable moment of these negotiation was when Matt’s father (FYI, Matt and I are brothers so he’s my dad as well) was caught in between being a father and being a salesperson when trying to answer Matt’s question of how much money should he put down as a down payment.

The Baltimore Grand Prix Trip

When Jeff decided to take the plunge and get married, he asked me to be his best man, which in turn means a motoring related bachelor party. The whole story can’t be told on this site but in short we got to see the best wreck at an ALMS race in a long time, had to send a search party out for someone at one point and things occurred that racing legends such as Innes Ireland and Gerry Marshall would be proud of.

We’re Surrounded By Rednecks

Sportscar racing wasn’t the only racing we took in live during 2013. Matt (being a trooper and coming off of a 24 hour shift at work )and I attended the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race was dominated by Matt Kenseth but what really stood out was the kid in front of us who decided to go full redneck and rock a mullet wig, daisy dukes and a plaid shirt to his waist.

Where the hell are they?

You know who your friends are when you go on a wild goose chase with them to find an automotive graveyard; end up wandering around a quarry in the Catskills for an entire afternoon and both of you come back alive and are still friends (I think). The chase doesn’t stop there as you search for answers, find people, get lied to and then get the real deal.

That’s as much as we can tell you for right now about the story. We’ll be rolling it out something during the first half of 2014.

Check back in 2014 as we’ll be posting more automotive ramblings, buying more Alpine White BMW’s, saving lives, and throwing more money at a Pig from Fuji. The first Sons of Taki Movie will be coming out and maybe a podcast or two. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and try to guess who is tweeting what.

Would I Buy Another? My Life with the Fuji Pig

December 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I just recently I received the title to my 2008 Subaru Legacy GT; it’s car I bought brand new on September 7, 2008 from Clay Subaru. It’s first car I bought brand new and I’m also proud to say I paid it off a few months early.

After five years of Leggy ownership I ask myself the question would I buy another? Leggy ownership has been an experience of highs and lows with the highs putting a big smile on my face and the lows putting me into tears. Let’s reflect on the good and bad so far.

The thing I love the most about the Leggy is that it’s the can do anything car, the three things that allow for this are size, power and all wheel drive. I can hoon it in all seasons, throw camera gear in it and take it to important meetings and it’s never out of place. It’s the WRX for those of us who have grown up, maybe settled down a little but still desire Subaru performance.

On the subject of performance, the Leggy offers perfect performance for the daily driver with 240 horsepower on tap with three levels of throttle response; sport being the happy medium of power and not hitting hyperdrive every time you step on the loud pedal. A solid performer stock, I’ve added a Cobb catback exhaust, Cobb sport springs and Ralitek front and rear sways. The Cobb catback offers a perfect level of sound and adds a few extra horses. The sport springs have diminished the hideous stock wheel gap and the sways have improved the understeery nature of the car.

Add this all up and it’s a car I always enjoy driving no matter the situation, sure there are cars more involving or analogue but for the me the Leggy GT checks all the buttons.

Now comes the bad, it was a thirty thousand dollar car new and that doesn’t include navigation and there’s no option of cloth seats. In addition, the car came with infamous Bridgestone RE92 tires, the tires referred many GT owners as “joykillers”. Due to the fact it has a turbo it’s pricer to service than a normal Subaru and if you get your service done at a dealership prepare to pay an arm for an oil change and rotation and throw in a leg or two when it’s time for a major service such as the 60K.

Reliability wise the car has been quirky, in the early days there was a water leak in the front passenger side, the radio had to be replaced and during cold weather months the car would almost stall out at stop lights and throw codes for misfires. The biggest disaster was in March of 2013 when the turbo decided to eat itself due to oil starvation; it sounded as if someone was putting metal into a wood chipper. Thankfully, due to a somewhat friendly relationship with the Service Manager of Planet Subaru and the fact that all of the car’s major services had been done there, Subaru of America decided to cover the cost of my just out of warranty car and replace the shortblock. The kindness of SOA saved me either ten thousand dollars or the cost of a new car. The Leggy spent a little over a month at Planet Subaru getting a new shortblock.

The turbo eating itself is something fairly common in the Subaru world with cause thought to be the Banjo bolt (a theory which the Planet Subaru Service Manager claims is “an urban legend”. Since I took return of the car in late April, things have been fine, however there will always be a fear in the back of my mind as what will be the next thing to go (The car has 93K miles) or when will the turbo lurch itself again? Recently the fuel lines had to be replaced to the cost of $1,200. Thanks Planet Subaru

Would I buy it again? I’m not sure, the pleasure of driving the car I’m not sure is above the stress and money I’ve dumped into it to keep it straight. Would I buy a new Legacy today? Not at all; many consider my 08 Legacy GT to be the end of an era in which the Legacy was a unique sport sedan and isn’t what it is today, an all wheel drive Toyota Camry. If I had to pull the trigger today my shortlist would include Cooper Clubman, GTI, and AWD Buick Turbos.


What We Are Thankful For

November 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

Happy Thanksgiving From Sons of Taki, here’s a few things we are thankful for:

– The fact we live in an age where cars are faster, handle better, safer and offer more features than ever before.

– That there are cars new and used that are rewarding to drive.

– Shipping companies that can get a 95 M3 across the country safely.

– All the great repair and bodyshops we use

– Understanding parents, friends, wives, etc who accept our love of cars

– Salespeople we can trust

– All the great magazines, books, tv shows, websites that are car related

Fear and Loathing about Fuji

November 13, 2013 at 11:48 am
Just give us a modern version of this and all will be forgiven

Just give us a modern version of this and all will be forgiven

The debut of the new Subaru WRX scares me, I am preparing myself for the disappointment of a bloated Impreza with a hood scoop. But wait, wasn’t the original Subaru Impreza Turbo’s and WRX’s fast cars that weren’t lookers that flew under the radar? That’s true but they weren’t unattractive cars at their core and the addition of  the wing and rally fogs made them more appealing. We were all impressed by the Concept Subaru has shown us of a potential new WRX but the spy shots and renders failed to impress.

What really scares me is where this car will be priced? The current WRX starts at around 26K; will the new WRX be priced higher? If it’s priced higher or even starts around the same price, Subaru has missed the mark. In the  performance Impreza chain, the WRX replaced the Impreza Turbo as the entrance into Subaru performance starting with GD generation which was also the start of Subaru pricing itself out its market with a car that starts in the mid 20’s in it’s base WRX form instead of having a turbo motored Impreza that starts at 20K. The target market for cars like Turbo Subarus and Evo’s is people in their twenties who want a fast car that costs under 25K, not many in this market can afford WRX’s and Evo’s in the current price range.

So Subaru, in order to make the WRX the car it can be, it doesn’t need to be flash but it can’t be bloated and most importantly make affordable so the people that would want to buy it can afford it.

Looking At Your Sport Through Autosport – August 10, 1995

November 12, 2013 at 10:50 am
JV coming to an F1 track near you

JV coming to an F1 track near you

Villeneuve in F1 next year? Yes you are correct Autosport. The top story is Jacques Villeneuve’s test with Williams and the possibility of him joining the team for the 1996 season. It’s believed that Williams has a right of first refusal on Villeneuve in F1 for the next three seasons. In addition, it’s reported that if he was join Williams he would be taking a paycut from his six million dollar Indycar salary. Can you believe that today, a top Indycar driver taking a paycut to go to F1 and a current Indycar driver making six million a season.?

In other F1 news, Mika Salo is confirmed for Tyrrell for the 1996 season and Michael Schumacher gets married. In touring car news, recently crowned South African touring car champion Mike Briggs is announced to sub for James Thompson in the Vauxhall team at Brands Hatch in support of John Cleland’s title bid, Thompson was injured in a testing accident two weeks earlier at Knockhill.

In this edition of the Fifth Column Nigel Roebuck reflects on seeing the son of his late good friend Gilles Villeneuve test an F1 car for the first time. Roebuck talks with Jacques about his first impressions of driving an F1 car after driving an Indycar. Jacques describes the car as “more nimble” and “much lighter”. Jacques says that the Indycar would not be much slower than the Williams at Silverstone as “it would be slower in the corners, yes but it would probably make up time on the straights”.  This was in the era when CART cars were rocketships and provided possibly the best racing on earth.

Nigel also gets a comment from Bernie Ecclestone after having dinner with Jacques saying “It was almost like talking with Senna again”.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is previewed with Mark Blundell calling it an important race for Damon Hill and Simon Taylor predicting a Schumacher win. In the end Hill will go on to dominate the weekend winning the pole, setting fastest lap and winning the race.

It should also be mention that this was the race when Taki Inoue was hit by a marshal’s car when attempting to put the fire out of the Footwork.

Formula 3’s best were at Zandvoort to see who was the best at the Marlboro Masters. It was a familiar sight as the stars of the German F3 series dominated the occasion with Norberto Fontana and Ralf Schumacher going 1 and 2. Rounding out the podium was current Indycar star Helio Castro Neves (listed as Helio Castrol Neves). Other familiar names down the result sheet were Ollie Gavin in 4th, Max “The Axe” Angelli in 6th and future F1 driver Alex Wurz being caught up in a 2nd lap accident.

Fontana was dominate in German F3 this year and many expected him to be a star in the making, however his F1 career didn’t pan out and only started four races in 1997 and is mostly known for blocking Jacques Villeneuve during the title decider at Jerez that year.

At rounds six and seven of the ITC series at Estoril, Bernd Schnieder all but clinches the title by winning the first race and finishing second to teammate Jan Magnussen in the second race. Dario Franchitti, who is second in points plans to stop his AMG Mercedes team from winning the title by kidnapping Schnedier, locking him away and paying all the drivers to let him win.

In the World of Sport section, Dale Earnhardt wins the second running of the Brickyard 400 and Richie Hearn closes in on Toyota Atlantic points leader David Empringham after a win in race two at Trois Rivieres,. Empringham is one of the guys when looking back saying “why didn’t he get a good CART ride, he won in Atlantics and in Indy Lights?” After Empringham won the Indy Lights title he never really made it to CART.


Looking at your sport through Autosport – July 27, 1995

October 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Autosport 7/27/95

The July 27, 1995 edition of Autosport focuses on the preview for the German Grand Prix. The clash between Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill at the previous round at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is still on the mind of everyone with predictions being the German GP would be a fight between these two. The Hill/Schumacher battle is topic Nigel Roebuck brings up in his edition of the Fifth Column. Roebuck talks about how the Silverstone incident is another example of how in current times, the trivial is emphasized and everything is analyzed to the oblivion. Roebuck states “…it seems to me sometimes that we journalists are writing more and more about less and less”. Little could Nigel imagine today’s society with blogs, social media, etc.

On the topic of Nigel Roebuck, this issue of Autosport also features Nigel talking with Bernie Ecclestone about Bernie turning Grand Prix racing into what is, enemies he’s made and the people that are greatfull to him, including Michael Schumacher. It’s typical honest, making deals Bernie in the interview with Bernie telling the story as to how he made Schumacher a Benetton driver. He says that Schumacher is worth close to a second a lap comapred to anyone else. With death of Senna the year before at Imola still a hot topic Bernie addresses those who thought the race should have been stopped by saying, “Senna was dead, clinically but he was alive. And why should the race have been stopped?” Bernie also talks about long term planning in F1 calling anyone who starts talking about four years time “an idiot” due to the fast changing world.

Top story in this issue is the Simek team being sold for 250,00 pounds at auction. Some of things that went under the hammer were Jos “The Boss” Verstappen’s S951/001 minus Cosworth engine and gearbox going for 18,000 pounds and Mimmo Schiattarella’s pitboard going for 70 pounds. News also included  recent Clevland Indycar winner Jacques Villeneuve being close to a test with the Williams team and 20 year old Canadian Greg Moore wrapping up the Indy Lights title with three rounds still to run.

One of the great racing series in the world in the 90’s was the DTM/ITC with the likes of Opel, Mercedes and Alfa battling it out in high tech touring cars. This issue covers the DTM round from Diepholz with Michael Bartels sweeping both races in the beautiful orange Jagermeister Alfa. In second in race one was AMG’s young Scottish gun Dario Franchitti.

Two racing Scot’s were featured in back to back articles. Colin McRae and his toys such as his Honda Fireblade and his Monaco apartment were in one story and British Tourning Car star John Cleland talks about going for his second title and his refusal to let his young hotshot teammate James Thompson get in his way.

In the World of Sport section, German Forumla 3 is at Deipholz with Ralf Schumacher sweeping both races and in Club Autosport, hillclimber (and future BMW touring car ace) Andy Priaulx wins his home hillclimb in Guernesy and closes in a RAC title.

The Last Lap column is by the great Denis Jenkinson reflecting on the great Juan Manuel Fangio who had passed away the week before. Jenks calls Fangio gentle and very  human being until he climbed into a racing car, at that point he became in Jenks words “a tiger”. He also talks about the respect Fangio commanded even years after his racing career.

When a man loves a woman…

September 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

… he asks for her hand in marriage and hopefully she says yes.

When she says yes, that man asks another man to be his best man

That best man then plans a bachelor party.

If the two men involved are Sons of Taki, the bachelor party is automotive related.

Enjoy some photos from Sons of Taki’s trip to the Baltimore Grand Prix for Jeff’s Bachelor Party

2013 Baltimore Grand Prix

Is This Thing On?

August 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm


For almost twenty years, Speedvision/SpeedChannel/Speed was the channel that gearheads turned to get their automotive and motorcyle fix. To many of us, Speed was where we tuned in to see great programming and racing. The original Speedvision to me was brilliant as it offered documentary style programming along with racing coverage that didn’t force us to stay up to watch ESPN at 3 AM. In a way, it was if Roger Wheeler found this hidden gem niche of people and brought it to the forefront without it losing it’s coolness.

However, just like most underground cool things, the general public takes gets a hold of it, consumes it and it becomes uncool. The general public in this case being Fox which began throwing the niche racing series to the side and making Nascar the focal point. Great programs like Legends of Motorsport and Victory by Design were replaced by rubbish like Unique Whips and R U Faster than a Redneck. Despite the increase in crap programming, we thankfully still had Wind Tunnel with the great Dave Despain. With Speed becoming Fox Sports 1, we’ll no longer be able to turn on the channel Sunday nights for nine months of the year and watching the self described “Old TV Windbag” and his wide variety of guest.

Despite the downgrade in content since Fox took over, one of the gems of Speed was their website. An informative collection of new stories, opinion pieces in features. No where else could you get icons such as Robin Miller and Dennis Noyes sharing their passion. Speed was a key factor in the development of Marshal Pruitt and the man who would be next dean of Sportscar journalism, John Dagys.

Where will we go to get our fix. Luckily we live in an era where there are more channels than ever and if we can’t get it on our TV’s we can watch it online; but instead of having one hub we are now spread out between Fox Sports, ESPN, Velocity, BeIn Sports, etc.

Will there be another Speed? I’m sure someone has enough cash to make it happen, but most importantly do they understand there is more to racing than Nascar and viewers want programs of substance and not style.

The new “2” in Multi 12

July 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Daniel Ricciardo

With Mark Webber leaving the F1 paddock and joining Porsche’s return to top level sportscar racing; the question remains who will join Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull for 2014? The shortlist points to three men: Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne with Ricciardo appearing to be the front runner for the seat.

After the Multi 21 incident and with Webber’s announcement to join Porsche, many had Kimi as the frontrunner for the 2014 seat. He’s a free agent after ’13, has had Red Bull sponsorship during his Rallying sabbatical. In addition to the Red Bull connection, he is one of the most talented driver’s in the paddock and seems the most likely to not give “a hoot” about who his teammate is.

The negatives are the first being it’s Kimi Raikkonen. As we’ve seen, Kimi is either on or off, if the car is on, Kimi can win. If the car is off, Kimi will float the bottom half of the points table, unlike Alonso who has the ability to be championship contender in a horrible car. Kimi will also want to cash in; is Red Bull willing to deliver the Brinks truck to Kimi? It’s been stated that Kimi is on a bonus heavy contract at Lotus. Could Red Bull handle having “two bulls in one field”? How would their poster child Vettel react to a driver who could possibly be his equal more than Webber and who wouldn’t be phased by the Vettel/Marko machine in a bit. Also, how would the PR machine of Red Bull and Kimi work together?

If we were ranking the three drivers from most likely to least likely Jean Eric Vergne is the least likely of the three to be in the Red Bull in 2014. While Vergne has done a workman like job for Toro Rosso, he hasn’t had spectacular performances bar the Canadian GP. In all likelihood, I expect Vergne to be back at Toro Rosso at 2014, loaned to another team or be Red Bull’s full time Test Driver.

Out of the three, Daniel Ricciardo appears to be the most likely to be at Red Bull for 2014. Ricciardo has been fairly impressive for Toro Rosso with an uptick in his performance since the announcement of Webber’s departure. Ricciardo has been impressive in testing with Red Bull with even his teammate Vergne saying that Ricciardo deserves the seat at Red Bull.

What helps Ricciardo’s case besides his performance has been it appears that Red Bull has an interest in Austrailia. Red Bull sponsors a V8 Supercar series, has sponsored former Moto GP champ Casey Stoner and currently has an Aussie in Mark Webber in the team. Replace an Aussie with an Aussie? Ricciardo would also help Red Bull’s driver program. It hasn’t been since Vettel that Red Bull has fully produced a young developed driver with all other young drivers being cast off after a year or two at Toro Rosso. Also, unlike Raikkonen, Ricciardo would not cost an arm and a leg.

So, my money is on Ricciardo to be the new “2” in Multi 12. However, as a long run prediction, isn’t whoever gets the driver is just keeping the seat warm until Antonio Felix de Costa?

SeBESTien – The World’s Greatest

July 8, 2013 at 9:08 pm

The best in the world?

Sebastien Loeb is the best driver in the world today, there I said it. There is no one driving a car in the world today (and yes I’m including Lewis, Fernando and that other Sebastian) that has the overall ability to do what the man from Alsace can; to be so successful in various disciplines in a wide range of cars.

Look at the facts, Loeb holds all the important records in world rallying (championships, wins, points and podium finishes). I know critics will say maybe the competition in world rallying was somewhat weak during the Loeb era but he was so dominant that in 2006 Loeb missed rounds due to a mountain biking accident and he still on won the title on his dominance when he was on the road.

In addition to rallying, Loeb has finished second at LeMans, has tested F3000 and Formula 1 cars (almost competing for the Toro Rosso team), has won X-Games rallycross, and  has been victorious in sportscar racing. In 2014, Loeb will be leading Citroen’s attack on the World Touring Car Championship.

Recently, Loeb took part in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Loeb didn’t just win, he dominated; breaking the course record by a minute and a half and 49 seconds faster than his closest competitor.

Loeb, didn’t retire from rallying because of a lack of form, old age or a Citroen pull out; it was due to accomplishing all that could be accomplished. Loeb has been making cameo appearances in the WRC this year and out of his three starts his results have been two wins and a second.

So what makes this tick and allows him to be able to to be successful in multiple disciplines? First start by looking at his background. Growing up Loeb was a gymnast at a high level finishing fifth in the French championship. After his gymnastics career, Loeb trained as an electrical engineer in his late teens and early twenties. Both disciplines require focus, large amounts of concentration and the ability to adapt. The gymnast must be skilled in various things such as the floor exercise, the parallel bars and rings. The electrician works with live wires and various codes knowing a false move could injure himself and others.

When Loeb appeared on the world stage he was viewed as a tarmac specialist, someone who could challenge for wins on sealed surfaces but an also ran on rallies that were featured on gravel and snow. Loeb developed into in all rounder, he was dominate on tarmac but won rallies such as Cyprus and Australia and became the first non scandinavian driver to win Rally Sweden.

Is there anyone out there as talented as Loeb? Sure there are others who are/would be faster in a Sportscar or an Open Wheel race car, but is there anyone out there could be as competitive as Loeb has been jumping from discipline to discipline? Loeb is a throw back to an earlier day when the racing world consisted of men like Elford, Gurney, Jones, and Hill. Perhaps it’s because of contract restrictive specialist era we live in, we truly don’t appreciate Loeb’s talent.

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