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Multi 2112

March 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm
These two men will not be sharing a Red Bull together anytime soon

These two men will not be sharing a Red Bull together anytime soon


“Multi 21”. The order that Sebastian Vettel chose not to obey by his Red Bull team when he was instructed to hold his position behind his teammate Mark Webber at the GP of Malaysia. Red Bull gave the order for their driver’s to hold their positions, instead Vetel passed Webber and took a very hollow win that brings back memories of when Didier Pironi went against orders to pass his teammate Gilles Villeneuve and take the win at Imola in 1982 (a move which many feel led to Gilles’ death at Zolder).

I don’t think Webber will be killed at the next Grand Prix, but Vettel,the once innocent smiling schoolboy has become the ruthless villain; this all sounds very like another multi time world champion from Germany, one M. Schumacher. This incident was so terrible that even Red Bull racing guru Helmut Marko, a man who sees the world through Vettel glasses hasn’t been as defensive as Vettel as he normally is.

The question, how does Red Bull handle this? They have created a monster in Vettel, allowing him get whatever he wants and not facing responsibility or consequences for his actions. What action do they take? It’s inconceivable that they would suspend their star driver and best chance at a title. Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz was not at all pleased with what happened and it’s supposedly been made clear to Sebastian that something like this won’t happen again.

But is it too little too late? Vettel has been groomed  by Red Bull since age 11, is 25, a three time world champion  and is rumored to have contract with Red Bull through 2016 while his teammate is 36 and on a one year deal.The team has been built around Vettel and he is their best chance of title so it’s possible that they may have to reap what they sow. How will the team react going forward? Will equal focus be placed on both cars now that they have much compassion for Webber? In regards to Red Bull team orders, are there any? Is it open warfare? Will one driver help the other late in the season if it came down to winning a title? If I were Webber I may think long and hard if Vettel needs help later in the season.

As for Webber, I’m saddened for him, there were rumors going around after what happened in Malaysia that was going to quit the team immediately but those have been denied by Webber’s father who has been vocal about the support his son has received from the team and from the entire F1 paddock. Let it be noted that Webber is one of the more beloved driver’s in the current crop while Vettel isn’t. Webber came up the hard way to F1 with stops at F3000, Sportscars and Minardi and has the image of being tough customer but also a team player. Perhaps Mark now regrets not signing with Ferrari and having Alonso as his teammate.

This brings up the question of team orders, which is a messy gray area. It’s something I’ve gone back and forth about. To me the one team order that should always apply is “Don’t crash your teammate” (something Vettel has done to Webber). I understand team orders late in the season when one driver is in contention for the championship while the other isn’t. The difference is that what happened took place at the second race of the season and isn’t the point of racing to win and beat the guy ahead of you?

A New Look for Buick

March 26, 2013 at 1:35 am

SOT Buick Regal                 It appears that the old man car of yesterday is now the hip, sporty car of today.  With in recent years, Buick has shifted their focus towards the younger generation with vehicles such as the Lacrosse, Lucerne, and now with the rebirth of the Regal.  Additionally, Buick also made the attempt at SUVs, such as the Rendezvous in 2001, which were not as successful as their sedans.  The only exception to this would be the Buick Enclave, a more luxurious SUV, similar to a GMC Arcadia.

Buick began this transformation to a younger audience in the spring of 2001, by introducing the 2002 Buick Rendezvous to their line up.  This was the first truck in Buick’s line up since 1923.  Comparable to the Pontiac Aztek, the Rendezvous was classified as a mid-sized crossover, which boosted Buick’s sales.  This was a great improvement in the Buick line up, lasting from 2002 up through 2007.  The Buick Rainier was the next SUV to be produced by Buick.  This full sized, luxury SUV was introduced in 2004 to replace the Oldsmobile Bravada.  The Rainier was the first rear wheel drive vehicle to be produced by Buick since the Roadmaster.  Both the Rendezvous and the Rainier were replaced in 2007 by the Buick Enclave.  In addition to these two vehicles, Buick also manufactured a minivan, the Terraza from 2005-2007.  The sale of this vehicle was quite poor in the U.S., which caused Buick to discontinue production of this model.  As previously mentioned, Buick then joined the full size luxury crossover competition, and released the Enclave in May of 2007, as a 2008 model.  This model was accepted with much praise, and similarly to the Rendezvous, has boosted Buick’s sales.

Not only has Buick transformed their appearance with the introduction of their SUVs, but also with the introduction of new sedan models from the Lacrosse and Lucerne to the Regal, Verano, and Encore.   The Lacrosse was introduced in late 2004 as a 2005 model to replace the Century and the Regal.  In Canada, the Lacrosse was originally sold as the “Allure”, since “la crosse” is translated from Quebec French as “self love”.  I have driven this vehicle before, and I can say that it is a very nice with respect to both the interior and exterior.  Additionally, it handled very well and I was very comfortable sitting in it.  The Buick Lucerne, introduced as a 2006 model, was another great product of Buick.  This vehicle replaced both the Park Avenue and LeSabre models.  It handles very well, and both its V6 and V8 version have excellent acceleration.  This luxury sedan could definitely be compared to a Cadillac in some aspects.  Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2011, making room for new and improved Buick models.

More recently, Buick has released the Regal, Verano, and the Encore models.  The Regal, which was discontinued in 2004, began production in the US for the latest model in 2011.  This model was both advertised and sold as an “upscale sport sedan”.  I have not personally driven this model, but I have yet to hear anything negative about it.  Buick also introduced its first compact sedan, a 2012 Verano, since the 1997 Skylark.  This vehicle appears to be very fuel efficient, as it is comparable to the Chevrolet Cruze. Finally, Buick has most recently added the Encore to their product line.  Unveiled in 2012, and sold in the U.S. beginning in January 2013, the Encore is the first subcompact crossover to be produced by Buick.  This crossover is comparable to Opel’s Mokka.

As you can see, Buick is no longer the old man, last ride car that we once knew it as.  With Buick’s improvements with in the past 10 years, I see big thing in their future, especially now that they have extended their customer range from young adults to older adults.

Lav’s $150K picks – non-beater edition

March 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm

This is not easy. $150K to spend on three vehicles when most of what I want to own can be found for $20K or less. But, like any addict, those afflicted with the disease of gearhead can always find new ways to enhance their addiction.

Everyday car – 1998 Porsche 911 C4S ($50,000 + $10,000 annual maintenance):

This, to me, is the epitome of the enthusiast car. Collectible for being the last of the air-cooled 911s; classic for its strict adherence to the original design; useful for its four-wheel drive configuration, aided by the rear-mounted engine for additional traction; and just plain awesome for numerous other reasons, from its classic interior to its performance to its (relative) reliability. To drive one of these every day is to have truly made it in life, and is deserving of respect from gearheads everywhere.


Utilitarian transport – Land Rover Defender 90 ($45,000 + $5,000 annual maintenance)

If the snowfall renders the 993 useless, this is the next best thing – a classic Defender 90. Anything that looks good wearing big, honkin’ Hella fog lamps is usually going to find a warm place in my heart, and the limited-production Defender 90 is the ultimate paradox of barely warmed over military-grade transport that you can still drive while wearing your best suit. Obviously, its off-road prowess precedes it, but the abstract qualities it possesses – looking as good parked on Newbury Street as it does up at Killington – make it a must-have for me.



Classic – E28 BMW M5 ($35,000 + $5,000 annual maintenance) 

Some might say this should be reversed, with the M5 taking the honors as the every day vehicle. But really, if this is a fantasy, I’d want to drive the 911 daily after so many years of using sedans for commuting purposes. The E28 is one of my favorite generations of the BMW family, and the legendary qualities of the M5, from its limited production to the Ronin-esque images it conjures every time you slip behind the wheel, deserves to be treated with classic status sooner than later. The 993 is not far behind in that department, but at this moment, the original Q-ship is already there.


Give ’em the bird

March 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm
Less twitter, more this

Less twitter, more this

Nascar was the first form of racing I fell in love with when I was four years old. As young child watching races on ESPN the colors and speed of the cars was my first step into loving motorsport. However, over the past few years I’ve become a bit discouraged with the sport I grew up loving. A majority of the races are 50-100 laps too long, the tracks are cookie cutter and many of the driver’s have become whinny babies.

My major annoyance with Nascar has been the passive aggressive nature of drivers and the use of twitter in their feuds. The latest example has been the Denny Hamlin/Joey Logano feud where the two have decided to feud less in person and on the track but more on twitter. Hamlin recently tweeted a remark about if Logano had an issue with him he has his “DM” and other social media/texting info.

I’m terribly sorry, but I can’t picture Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace or Cale Yarborough and the Allison brother’s stooping to such passive aggressive levels in their feuds back in the day. Driver’s tweeting feuds doesn’t excite fans; two driver’s running into each other during a race and having words after the race with a little pushing and shoving does. Then to really get the blood flowing, after the words and pushing, blasting each other on the track PA, to the TV cameras and to the media so it’s in the Monday morning sports section.

Remember this is a sport that many would say made it to the mainstream when Cale Yarborough fought the Allison brothers on live national TV during the 1979 Daytona 500. Hardly anyone remembers who won the race  but everyone remembers the fight.

Over the past few years there has been a decline in attendance and sponsorship dollars in Nascar. My solution is simple: ban the driver’s from twitter except for news related items, fan interaction and sponsor promotion. Have driver’s feud the way the legends of the sport did who allow the current breed of drivers to have multi-million dollar salaries and private jets.

SouthEastern Mass. Find

March 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm


I found this while cruising the streets SouthEastern Massachusetts, more specifically in the Brockton area.  Does anyone know what this is? Looks like it’s seen better day, ever since it became the base of a wood pile.


$150K Fantasy Garage- Matt’s Picks

March 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Everyday Car: 2005 GMC Envoy XUV: $29,780


I’m very disappointed that this SUV was discontinued.  The GMC Envoy XUV was not just an SUV; it could be transformed into a small pickup truck with a few pushes of a button.  This allowed for the rear roof to retract and a small divider window to rise up behind the second row of seats.  This vehicle would be ideal  to transport my drums instead of a truck. Where I would be able to protect them from the weather and other elements?  There’s also plenty of room for me to store my  EMS equipment, along with yardwork tools and materials when the weather is right.  The 4 wheel drive would allow me to get to work during all times, including during state of emergencies. Now, if I had to chose a vehicle still in production for my everyday vehicle, it would either be a GMC Terrain or a Chevrolet Avalanche.


Work/Rescue Vehicle: 2009 (or newer) Hummer H2: $63,090



As an EMT, I need to be able to get to work despite the weather.  When I’m at work, that doesn’t change.  Granted, at work, we use Ford F350s, F450s, and Chevrolet 4500s, but since this is Fantasy Garage, I wouldn’t mind cruising the streets of Boston in a Hummer H2 fully loaded.  Maybe motorists and pedestrians would make a better attempt to get out of our way if this was behind them laying on the airhorn.  Disclaimer: The listed price does not reflect aftermarket/equipment prices.  If it were, this would be closer to $150,000.  The above price is the average MSRP for 2009 Hummer H2s.


Classic Car: 1975 Pontiac Trans AM: $30,000


This was the toughest decision.  It came down to a Pontiac Trans AM or a Chevy Corvette. I’m a fan of the looks of the older Trans Am, so I went with this.  Also, it’s cameo in Smokey and the Bandit definitely helped out with the decision.  I’ve driven a few of these when I used to work at a GM dealership.  They handle well and it’s easy to see out the windshield (I’m a vertically challenged guy). Not to mention, they’re fun to drive!

Well, those are my Fantasy Garage Choices.  Keep checking back for other Fantasy Garage Challenges, along with other posts!


Furious Memories

March 22, 2013 at 12:50 am

I saw the first of what will surely be several previews for the upcoming Fast and the Furious movie, number six or seven in the popular franchise. It immediately conjured up memories of the very first film, which came out around my junior or senior year of high school. Although somewhat laughingstock today with its stereotypical bad boys and street racers who make up for their lack of intelligence and driving ability with loud cars and louder body graphics (tattoos on both the car and the driver for the uninformed), the original film left a lasting impression on me.

As a student split between accelerated and standard classes, I oftentimes walked the line between the kids going to Harvard and the ones who barely cared enough to graduate. It’s an expansive gulf between the two, and one I was able to bridge by way of my interest in modifying a third-generation Jetta. With this car, I gained some sort of quasi-acceptance from a crowd that I held about as much in common as an inmate does with a librarian. They were the ones who owned the Hondas with motor swaps, the Mustang 5.0’s with deleted catalytic converters, or even an old land barge like a Q45 that looked – and sounded – the business with tinted windows and a system. They were the ones whose fathers owned collision repair shops and had more interest in hitting the marijuana pipe than the books.


So, where did that leave me? With a Jetta that slowly transformed with the right modifications, and had just enough kit on it to at least earn a subtle nod and permission to park in the back of the lot with the other tricked-out rides. To this day, it’s an accomplishment that I hold as high as anything else memorable I did in high school.

What I remember most about opening night for Fast and the Furious was how overwhelmingly united I felt with every other guy who loved his car more than life itself. Who wanted it to be fast enough to race stoplight to stoplight but also knew the paint had to be perfect for catching eyes when idling in the school parking lot. The first movie to define a generation of car enthusiasts wasn’t memorable for its poor story lines, horrible casting and God-awful CGI; no, it was, for better or worse, the American Graffiti for Generation Y, and the only franchise to bring to life a new story every other year featuring cars representing a wider and more varied audience of enthusiasts.

While I will never tell my offspring that Vin Diesel was an actor of any merit, I will relay to them how that night in the theater, surrounded by friends of all backgrounds and the evening of cruising that followed, was one of the fondest memories of my youth. And I hope  that some day, there is still a director out there who realizes how much it means to be young and to love cars.

The Butterfly Throttle Collector

March 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm


“And the small fame that you acquired. Has brought you into cult status but me you’re still a collector” – The Butterfly Collector by The Jam

What exactly defines a cult classic or cult status with a car? We all can throw out the names of several vehicles when asked the question but there isn’t a true definition of the phrase.

To me a cult classic at it’s basic is a unique car that has a religious following for one reason or another and can be  purchased (new or used) by a reasonable amount of members of the cult. Ferrari’s, Zonda’s are not cult classics; 1st generation VW GTI’s, E30’s and WRX’s are cult vehicles. These cars aren’t the fastest, the best handling or the magazine darlings but they earn their places because they offer something unique and special to the common man who is an auto enthusiast.

Part of the definition for me requires the car in question to be something not mainstream beloved and possibly be ultimate spec of the car anyone would buy. Look at cars such as Civic Si’s, the original SHO’s, 850R’s and Galant VR4’s. Their base models were everywhere and blindly bought by the masses with the purpose of just getting from point a to point b.

I look at my current car as being/with the potential to be a cult classic: the 4th Generation Legacy GT (The wagon has already achieved that status). The 4th generation Leggy GT offered an alternative to those wanting to be a bit different than everyone else who had a WRX or STI. The 4th generation allowed the driver to get the benefits of  it’s younger, wilder looking brother but without cops, thieves and the insurance companies breathing down our necks.Subaru has lost of the plot with the 5th generation Legacy making it a bloated four wheel drive Camry alternative. The new car may have more power and options but it lacks the soul of the previous generation.

Soul, that’s it, cult cars must be cars that most can afford but have soul.

Attracted to All-Trac

March 20, 2013 at 12:02 am

So, my daily finds for project cars have little rhyme or reason to them; really, it’s about what I find within a few minutes of searching that strikes me as the perfect project at that moment in time. Today we have Japan’s answer to Subarus with a snail; none other, of course, than the Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo.

I know, I know – a Japanese car? A dreaded appliance??! But really, I don’t consider this what one might label today’s bread-and-butter people haulers that have about as much character as a cup of Earl Grey tea paired with a piece of rye bread and lukewarm butter. Or something. So please, leave your Avalon references at home – this car comes from an era when the tiny country that is today known for global dominance of all things green and economical actually gave a damn about performance.


There’s a lot I love about this Craigslist listing for what appears to be an ’86-’87 Celica All-Trac Turbo. The seller says don’t bother asking what’s wrong with it, because there’s nothing to tell! A few bumps to the bumpers and nothing a bit of spit and polish can’t fix. JUST DON’T BOTHER HIM WITH YOUR SILLY QUESTIONS ABOUT MECHANICAL INTEGRITY. Harumph.

The seller might consider trades. In fact, he even lives in a town from Connecticut that is famous for accepting swaps (at least according to his information under ‘Location’). And don’t worry – although this is described as a project car, it can be daily driven with ease! Don’t ask its current owner if there’s anything stopping you from driving it anywhere, ’cause there ain’t. So quit the interrogation – can’t you see men are working here, trying to buy his All-Trac?


I don’t mean to chastise the guy, but since when does 1980s + turbocharged + all wheel drive + manual transmission + pop-up headlights + an actual professional rally driver who drove a near-identical car on the world’s greatest stages (in other words, hoon impressions likely) = Camry reliability? I think not. But I still want it.

Hell, according to Mr. All-Trac, all I need to worry about is a cracked mirror.

Fuel for your thoughts

March 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Originally I was planning on talking about what occurred between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano this weekend at the Sprint Cup race at Bristol and their lame twitter war. I was going to write a post explaining how lame it is for these guys to basically give each other the modern day glove slap with no real venom and substance. When thinking about it, I realized my post would come off sounding like the transcript of a Ward Burton interview while on a Red Bull binge, so I saved it for later this week.

Instead I decided to post some of my favorite bench racing “what if” questions.

– What if Senna isn’t killed at Imola, how do the next few seasons shape up? Does Schumacher go to Ferrari in 1996? It was always believed that Senna would drive for Ferrari at some point.

-What if Henri Toivonen isn’t killed at the 1986 Tour de Course? Does he go on to be one of the all time greats? A multi time World Championship or the pre-McRae McRae? Does Group B continue and what happens to the proposed Group S?

-What if Al Holbert isn’t killed? Does his proposed open top Porsche GTP car get built and do Nissan and Toyota enjoy their dominance? Do we see the 959 in the US as a legal production car? How does the Porsche Indy Car program turn out?

-What if Tim Richmond doesn’t die of AIDS? How many championships does he win? Does he become Nascar’s first real mainstream star?

-What if Dale Earnhardt isn’t killed at the 2001 Daytona 500? How many more years does he continue to race? Does the “3” remain in Cup today? Does Dale Jr. ever leave DEI and would he be a champion by now?

– What if Indy Car owners didn’t stop caring about the talent in Sprint Cars? Would Jeff Gordon be a multi time Indy 500 champion? Would Nascar be as big as it is if the 24 was still racing open wheel cars?

-Speaking of Open Wheel cars, what if greedy owners and Tony George didn’t destroy what was the best racing series in the world in the 1990’s? Would CART be bigger than Nascar?

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