What I’ve Been Up to Lately

August 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

…clearly not posting, for sure.

Sorry to say, but life does occasionally get in the way. But I’m happy to report that in the time since I’ve last updated you, life has been pretty OK with the E36 M3.

What I enjoy most about this car is how it reflects the basic enhancements needed to make the E30 more modern without abandoning the simplicity that made the elder statesman so great. The E36 carries on the tradition of simple bolts and screws, halogen headlamps and bulbs,  manageable wheel and tire sizes, and so on.

Not to mention, prices for parts are fairly cheap – and in abundant supply. I’ve been amazed over the last few weeks seeing how inexpensive parts can be for the E36, now that it is at the absolute pit of its depreciation curve. $20 for a brake light switch, $190 for an OEM clutch kit, $50 for a replacement 17″ alloy wheel – the list goes on. People don’t love these cars at the moment and it shows, making it all the easier for me to fix the few ills it has and preserve it for the long haul.

That’s not to say the cream of the crop don’t command big money – upwards of $25K for low-mileage examples. But even for those investment grade automobiles, the simplicity of its operations remains the same and the cost of parts stays low. Although I am aware my clutch needs replacing and the driveshaft is starting to bind up, I’m undeterred by making those investments, given how low the projected cost of ownership looks to be.

The bottom line is this: in the weeks since I’ve last written, I’ve only grown fonder of the car. But the wife recently picked up a new Mazda CX-5, and that’s compelling for all sorts of new reasons – especially for the introduction to the new Mazda 6 I had while waiting at the dealer. Until next time, where I discuss the first Japanese vehicle in a while to give me pause.

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.

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