1985 Toyota Corolla AE86 – Oh L’amour


So far as legendary chassis go, the AE86 is most definitely on the top 10 list of all time. In reality, one can argue that it should also be in the top 5. That chassis is so good from the factory that Toyota tried to replicate the feeling of driving an AE86 some 30 years later with the FR-S. With that said, it’s a no brainer that Hachi-Roku Toyota Corolla is such a hit one of the “Tuner” crowd. More often then not, the current day examples you see with this car on the road today, are at best, barely operational. The majority of them have cracked dashes, missing wires, cut up interiors, battle scars,dents and rust, as well as at least 20 other things wrong with them. There may be one however, that we have experienced our eyes on for a time that is almost museum quality perfect. Added to that, the owner happens to beto get the perfect “driver’s” AE86. Many of you may not know specifically what that statement means so allow us to explain. No big body flares, no crazy motor swap, no hacked up wiring, no roll cage, nothing but quality parts, and everything done to perfection. The entire point using this car is to get in, drive it, appreciate it, and keep it reliable all the time. Even the AC and Radio still works! Take a closer look in the next AE86 you see on your way, we’re prepared to bet there’s a hole where the radio employed to fit with a lot of loose wires, along with AC that probably hasn’t worked for the past twenty years, even though now that may seem like obvious features to obtain in any car.selecting the monster motor build of the century, he made a decision to improve and expand on what the first Toyota engineers had under consideration. He purchased a spare 4AGE from a crashed GT-S back when he was in high school and used that motor to offer him with any replacement parts he needed for his Hachi-Roku. The first thing he did was tear everything down and drop all the vitals off at Amazon Racing in Huntington beach CA. Everything was refreshed and dialed in: from a knife balanced crank, to a 5 angle valve job, to some ported and polished manifold and head to little things like balancing the flywheel around the crank John made sure everything rotated smoothly and efficiently. John wanted to create moderate power with improving the flow and enhancing the feel of the engine so the head was decked 2 Mil’s as well. When reassembling the motor, John also wanted to make sure that the engine bay retained its “stock” appearance, so everything that was original with the car was re-installed in the engine bay, essentially making the vehicle look like it just left the show room floor. When everything was reassembled, John mated the drivetrain to a custom clutch and flywheel and plumbed the motor with TRD headers as well as a New Old Stock HKS hi-power exhaust.


Cars You May Think Are Boring But Actually Make For An Impressive Ride

No one wants to drive a boring car. Think about it, you spend so much time in your car and not only that, there are so many people who judge others by what car they drive. Think you don’t do that? Yes you do, everyone does it. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you have no hope and are destined for destitudeness, but you judge others by their car. It’s just a fact. So when you’re in the market for a new car but don’t have an infinite budget to work with, it’s important to get a car that is practical and within your budget but won’t break the bank and still looks cool. Don’t worry, we got you covered. You won’t go wrong with these cars, even if you think they may be boring initially.

Subaru Outback


This is not a car for soccer moms anymore. The Outback is indeed a station wagon, normally a boring car meant for carrying a lot of Sunny D and sweaty children, but these cars are actually full of fun too. There are even a few heterosexual males in their 30’s who dare to own and operate Subaru Outbacks. It’s actually less courageous than you think because they are pretty good cars. They have power and versatility and can off roading. If you want some adventure with your car, the Subaru Outback is not a bad option and you will probably even enjoy spinning around the block and to the store and back. Sure it seems boring on the outside, but for the price, it’s actually a pretty fun car.

Nissan Xterra


Remember 10 or so years ago when having an SUV somehow seemed exciting and ballsy, and showed how cool and off the beaten path you were? And then everyone started getting them and every company started making them. I mean, Saturn even had an SUV before the company went under. That says something. Then came the era where if you got an SUV, it showed you were a narrow minded hater of the planet Earth. It because a social faux pax to have an SUV. Well, it’s becoming okay again to get a SUV, and the Xterra is why. Check them out at Ontario Nissan and you may be surprised to see that it’s a pretty cool ride, though a bit boring, and it’s okay to drive it again now that gas prices are coming back down to earth. Here, have a little look-see at them here: metronissanredlands.com.

Honda Odyssey


The Odyssey is the exception that proves the rule in terms of cool minivans that may seem boring because they’re minivans. If you just dismiss all minivans outright, you will be missing an opportunity to get a truly stylish and very versatile and reliable vehicle. The Odyssey, if well maintained, could easily last 200,000+ miles and be sporty and comfortable the whole time. Don’t let the social stigma of a minivan get you down, instead, let it keep your spirits up as you drive around in style.

1990 Volkswagen Corrado – AMU 1.8T Engine Swap


They said it couldn’t be done, it was impossible; thankfully, he didn’t listen. You see, Chris Cheeseman, like many determined individuals before him, simply wouldn’t take no for an answer and turned this 1990 Volkswagen Corrado in to ato some classic VW in Aviator Grey with pulled fenders over color-matched BBS wheels.

Was one of the nicest VWs I’d seen and was roughly 80 percent done; lots of untidy work needed to be re-done along with the beautiful paint had lots of blemishes that need considering a show car, Cheeseman explained, although It possessed a colorful past. But underneath the imperfection was really a diamond in the rough, he stated with a smile.

When he says the VW Corrado experienced a colorful history, he wasn’t kidding. The very first owner chosen toinside a shaved bay is a thing of beauty that provides sufficient power to keep your driver entertained.

he, the and Luckily car weren’t immediately annihilated; instead, the whole back end was a weenie roast. The subsequent damages were enough that Mr. Marlboro decided to part along with his charred Forest Green ’90 Corrado G60, rather than kick the ol’ habit.

Like many VW groups, cars tend to make their rounds among a small circle of friends. My good friend Brian Glogowski bought it, along with an Aviator Gray Audi TT donor car. Originally, he was going to swap the motor, but when he saw the two cars alongside one another, he realized an Aviator Grey Corrado was essential, Cheeseman said.to a different member inside the local VW scene. This marked your third owner in the local community. Denver Webb fixed some loose ends and got it running good enough for short drives, but the bad luck has never been far behind.

On the first drive with the new motor and fresh paint, it got a door ding, Cheeseman said. On the second drive, an axle came loose and broke the transmission. On the third, the rear bumper fell off in traffic, and the last straw was another fire-except this time, it was actuallyseats and door cards.

While the fire claimed the lifespan of an ultra-rare non-A/C heater core as well as other underdash parts, it didn’t toast the vehicle as badly as the first fire.

Fire has a knack of weeding out all but the most dedicated owners, and this one prompted Webb to sell it to another local, but not before he took a Sawzall to the heater core to remove the epicenter of the fire.The brand new buyer happened to be the dog owner of the shop where Cheeseman works. After months of relentless badgering, he would buy the Corrado from his boss, repair it, show it, and then sell it back to his boss. Confusing? Such is the life of a modified VW, even though you bet.

So, how did Cheeseman take a battered would-be show car and coax it into fruition? Simple: He’s a diehard VW guy with plenty of experience and patience, a virtue that’s essential when modifying classic VWs. I’ve owned lots of VWs, both water- and air-cooled. My first car was actually a Beetle, and every car after thatdoor and seats cards.

He also told us that although he’s always owned fast VWs, (his daily driver is his 15th Mk2 VR6-swap-a 400-whp Jetta VR6T, no less! ), none of them have been particularly clean, so getting a Corrado with this caliber was both a training in pride and patience. It takes a lot of work and dedication to obtain a car like this Corrado, he explained. You must spend days keeping everything clean, polishing the wheels, and a great deal of time making it look nice since it sticks out similar to a sore thumb when it’s anything lower than perfect.

Talking about less than perfect, when Cheeseman bought the Corrado, it had been far from complete. And So I even had more of the engine bay shaved because blemishes that go unnoticed on a daily driver draw massive attention on a car this clean, he said, I had every panel except for the hood resprayed.for the respray. He spent hours under the dash, tidying the wiring and repairing fire damage. Also, he resolved other issues like a broken turbo and reworked the cooling system to handle overheating issues.

The AMU 1.8T motor had 034 software, Kinetic intercooler, Techtonics 2.50-inch exhaust, custom downpipe, and turbo piping, Chris continued. Considering how nice it looked, the Rota wheels that came on it just didn’t fit the bill.””, although When housed in a lightweight Volkswagen Corrado chassis, it will make for a surprisingly quick car””So, he spun down the Patec Holeshot coilovers until the genuine BBS RM rims were tucked. The fronts measure 15×8 inches while the rears check in at 15×8.5 inches. The centers were color-matched, as the lips were polished and fortified with BFI gold bolts. The ensemble was then covered with Toyo rubber and fitted over Audi 90 two-piston front calipers and StopTech rotors, while theAs soon as the build was complete, Cheeseman wasted very little time reaping the rewards, showing up in the best 2013 East Coast shows like Dubs on SoWo, Dustoff, Defrost and Waterfest and H20. He drove the once-cursed Corrado thousands of miles without trouble and proved to himself, and the naysayers, that sometimes classic VWs just need a little TLC from the hands of an appreciative enthusiast.

I’m glad I was able to fix the remaining problems and get it running, he was quoted saying. It was nice to finish a project that many of my friends had started. I was merely the final piece of the puzzle.

Cheeseman is happy to report the vehicle belongs to his boss and therefore he actually gets to admire his Volkswagen Corrado every day at work. Well, he doesn’t miss that part at all, as for keeping it show-car clean!

2014 Mini Cooper S Review – Tested


The word mini is an adjective, a comparative word rather than a unit of measure. My colleagues in auto journalism always squeal in delight at any opportunity to point out that this Mini Cooper has grown substantially since its launch in 1959. Jokes of the Maxi Cooper instead of-So-Mini have dribbled off reviewers’ fingers onto keyboards since the relaunch of the brand under BMW ownership in 2001. The latest 2014 Mini Cooper S Hardtop is the largest yet, at nearly 152 inches long. That sounds pretty substantial compared to the original car’s 120-inch length. Or maybe not, considering it’s 30 inches shorter than a current BMW 3-series. It’s even 16 inches shorter compared to aright down to why we’re here. Mini sent over a Cooper S Hardtop for us to test and discover how this entirely new package performs. About the only carryover in the R56 for the F56 model is the capability to make you giggle in a way that hardly anything else on the road can. The bigger platform is stiffer and more refined. The 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder has given way to the two.-liter unit found under the hoods of several BMW models, just turned 90 degrees east/west in the Mini. Reworked to handle extra torque, even though the six-speed manual transmission is still from Getrag.

Our tester is equipped modestly and carries a sticker value of $27,595-just $3,200 more than the base price. It includes the panoramic sunroof (probably the one option we would avoid) but not Mini’s new Dynamic Damping Control System. If you don’t have plans for suspension modifications, even though the standard setup is pretty good, we would recommend spending the additional $500.is an additional good buy. Even if you intend on replacing them, you can sell them later and probably generate income on the deal. Sadly, the Cooper S doesn’t include a spare, meaning run-flat tires, and all-seasons in that. Past experience has shown thereEven though Mini’s engine has gained 25 percent more displacement within the older car, it only picks up 17 hp for a total of 189 ponies. The 207 lb-ft of torque, however, can be a bump of 30 lb-ft over the 1.6 liter. It seems like Mini has gone rather conservative using the boost. Low-down torque is easy and fat underfoot. At higher revs, it feels as though the boost disappears and the power curve flattens out. We’re anxious to see what a software change will work to the horsepower peak. The sound will be the familiar Mini growl and will make you desire to stay on the throttle more often than the EPA would like.

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Within a straight line, the new F56 shows a modest improvement over the previous car, with to 60 mph coming up in 6.3 seconds, compared with 6.4 seconds. The quarter-mile shows off the F56’s legs a little better, with a time period of 14.7 seconds at 95.8 mph, as opposed to the R56’s 15. at 91.4 mph. The new car can brag about braking as well, stopping from 60 mph in 111 feet, which is a full 6 feet shorter in comparison to the, though minis have never been about stoplight performance You acquire a Mini because the narrow and straight is boring. In figure-8 testing, this Cooper S manages a respectable .86 g around the skidpad sections. Previous versions in the R56 Cooper S we tested had the ability to manage .83 g. But for comparison’s sake, the latest GTI was able to manage an impressive .96 g, proving there is really something to be said for a good summer tire. The latest Mini betters the older car again in total figure-8 time, putting in a 26.6-second lap, compared with the R56’s 27.2. If you’re wondering what it might do with some strategically chosen modifications, the 2013 John Cooper Works GP was able to fly by way of a lap within just 25.1 seconds, putting it into some rarefied company.

2014 mini cooper s controlsa regular Mini. Turn-in is as quick as anything on the road; the more time wheelbase hasn’t dulled reactions at all. The least twist of the steering wheel results in an immediate reaction from the front-end.

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And that front end does run the show. The rear axle follows quickly, but without having rapid yaw rotation. This is where the Mini really shows its magic. There may not be another car available for sale right now that may snap right into a corner like a Mini. If lane changing were an Olympic sport, the little bulldog would be with a cereal box. It is going to dart around like an athlete on shoot and tiptoe from direction to direction with a pinball’s ferocity. After you commit to a corner the tires sink into the pavement and the Mini hunkers down, unlike most cars that move using this urgency. It is possible to still dance the car around with a modulated throttle as well as a flick of your wheel, but stay in it and keep it smooth, and yes it feels like the wheelbase suddenly stretched a foot. This split personality means the Mini is just as enjoyable as a parking lot performer because it is for autocrossing, tearing up canyons as well asWith that said about performance and just how it still feels as though a Mini, some things have changed significantly. We can argue whether that’s for better or worse. The central speedometer is gone and the window switches have migrated towards the door panels. The dashboard is a big boost in terms of design and quality. All of those other interior, while immediately recognizable as a Mini, now feels more BMW-ish. You can read that as either classier or higher expensive. My 2-year-old, my wife and myself certainly didn’t have a bad thing to mention when we all fit comfortably on a weekend road trip with bags and associated child accessories, even though and complain concerning the bigger size all you want.the space is now greater. In terms of driving, the Mini still delivers everything you expect in terms of great turn-in, good power and driver confidence. As for the rest of the package, at this point you get a nicer environment for enjoying those traditional dynamics.

Cars You May Think Are Boring But Actually Make For An Impressive Ride

No one wants to drive a boring car. Think about it, you spend so much time in your car and not only that, there are so many people who judge others by what car they drive. Think you don’t do that? Yes you do, everyone does it. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you have no hope and are destined for destitudeness, but you judge others by their car. It’s just a fact. So when you’re in the market for a new car but don’t have an infinite budget to work with, it’s important to get a car that is practical and within your budget but won’t break the bank and still looks cool. Don’t worry, we got you covered. You won’t go wrong with these cars, even if you think they may be boring initially.

Subaru Outback


This is not a car for soccer moms anymore. The Outback is indeed a station wagon, normally a boring car meant for carrying a lot of Sunny D and sweaty children, but these cars are actually full of fun too. There are even a few heterosexual males in their 30’s who dare to own and operate Subaru Outbacks. It’s actually less courageous than you think because they are pretty good cars. They have power and versatility and can off roading. If you want some adventure with your car, the Subaru Outback is not a bad option and you will probably even enjoy spinning around the block and to the store and back. Sure it seems boring on the outside, but for the price, it’s actually a pretty fun car.

Nissan Xterra


Remember 10 or so years ago when having an SUV somehow seemed exciting and ballsy, and showed how cool and off the beaten path you were? And then everyone started getting them and every company started making them. I mean, Saturn even had an SUV before the company went under. That says something. Then came the era where if you got an SUV, it showed you were a narrow minded hater of the planet Earth. It because a social faux pax to have an SUV. Well, it’s becoming okay again to get a SUV, and the Xterra is why. Check them out at Ontario Nissan and you may be surprised to see that it’s a pretty cool ride, though a bit boring, and it’s okay to drive it again now that gas prices are coming back down to earth. Here, have a little look-see at them here: metronissanredlands.com.

Honda Odyssey


The Odyssey is the exception that proves the rule in terms of cool minivans that may seem boring because they’re minivans. If you just dismiss all minivans outright, you will be missing an opportunity to get a truly stylish and very versatile and reliable vehicle. The Odyssey, if well maintained, could easily last 200,000+ miles and be sporty and comfortable the whole time. Don’t let the social stigma of a minivan get you down, instead, let it keep your spirits up as you drive around in style.

2014 BMW 328i xDrive & 2007 BMW 328i – Wagon Brains


There’s a noble and long tradition of sport wagons in Europe that for some reason has never fully translated to this particular side of your Atlantic. The thought of moving more than two people plus cargo comfortably, with and efficiently agility seems like a no-brainer, nevertheless the glut of SUVs and minivans on the freeways suggests most Americans don’t share this view.a difficult-core group of Europhiles who be aware of the advantages and relish the cool factor of owning something unexpected. Audi and Mercedes currently offer some of the most desirable sport wagons on the planet, regardless of whether not all are available here (that means you, Audi RS4). And while BMW hasn’t had any such product to stir the emotions for a few years, it will at least acknowledge the existence of a small, loyal band of wagon aficionados and services them with a stylish 3 Series wagon.

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Two such BMW wagon fans will be the owners of the cars seen here. Circumstances led them down similar wagon trails, though have owned a number of performance cars in the past.

The 2014 F31 BMW 328i xDrive is owned by Stan events, motorsport and Chen manager at Toyo Tire USA. Long-standing European Car enthusiasts might remember him as being the founder of tuning shop DTM Autohaus, a businessThrough which time he drove a modified 5 Series, chen sold that business in 2004 before joining Toyo. His wife, Chelsea, was the main obstacle to this plan, even though he had hankered after a station wagon for a long time. The imminent birth with their firstValentina and child, tipped the balance in his favor.

The Mercedes E-Class wagon was eliminated because it wouldn’t fit their garage, since they live in one of the trendier aspects of Southern California. Therefore the choice narrowed down to the Audi allroad and the BMW, with the 328i xDrive having the nod because Mrs. Chen didn’t much like theHowever, that can be a benefit if it’s been on the lot for a few weeks. Snagging a good deal, Chen immediately set about sourcing parts and planning his SEMA 2014 build. If you’d like to view it in person, the auto will be shown on the Toyo Treadpath.


A veteran of the tuning industry, Chen mapped out a strategy. It involved a myriad of big names to ensure a top quality build, beginning with the M Performance online catalog at bmwusa.com. BMW’s entry into the aftermarket business provides a selection of high-quality parts that may be ordered from your BMW dealer and even included withThese parts were only designed for cars using the M Sport trim package, although in this instance, BMW was one of the few resources. Fortunately, the company gives an M Sport retrofit kit, allowing people who own lesser models to update their bumpers to the higher specification. Together with the new bumpers in place, Chen could fit the M Performance three-piece front splitter and rear diffuser. He also added along side it tailgate and bladestowards the white exterior-apart from the diffuser and splitter, that were painted from the same charcoal gray as being the HRE wheels. Before Porsche Irish Green was applied to strategic areas like the wheel rims and leading edges of the spoilers, along side it skirts also received a splash of gray.

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An identical green stripe was applied along the sides, which older enthusiasts might recognize being a tribute towards the AC Schnitzer ACS3 CSL II. The Coupe Lightweight Silhouette II was in line with the E36 M3 and caused a stir when it was unveiled inside the mid-’90s. Finished in a similar green, it had yellow highlights, which Chen has echoed with his Ferrari-yellow M Performance brake calipers-another official accessory which uses multi-piston Brembo brakes included in thewhite and green color scheme. This addition hasn’t won universal approval from his better half, but Chen rationalizes it by being able to keep his car care products separate from the baby formula. It’s also in the fine European tradition of packing everything you have into a small vehicle and traveling long distances, and this combination of wagon and roof box is a common sight throughout thethe household the chance to explore winter slopes. Ordinarily, this could be a fine option for the 328i xDrive, but Chen has extracted more horsepower using a piggyback control module from your ECU Tuning Group. We’re unable to verify any numbers, despite the fact that it’s claimed to provide a healthy power increase. It will suggest that some Toyo’s high-performance summer tires might be needed soon, however.

Chen ensured the wagon would sound more purposeful with a cat-back MXP exhaust (previously called Mevius) with four black chrome tips. Fortunately, the noise isn’t loud enough to disturb the sleeping offspring.

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The interior only has a collection of Recaro Sportster CS front seats, but such a well-equipped wagon needed little else. Chen did visit Alpine Coding to possess all the European options activated on the car, so it presently has emergency brake lights, an M Performance logo about the dash at start-up, the opportunity to turn off the daytime running lights and tire pressures displayed by the TPMS. With all the parts assembled and the car built in a fastpaced two days at The Shop in CulverCity and California, this F31 cuts through traffic with panache. It’s a modern car with retro accents and proves that it’s easy to stand out from the group without having to make sacrifices in designCanada and California, experienced a similar wish to create an interpretation of your ultimate 3 Series wagon. His starting place was the priorair and paint ride for extra attention.

Again, Camarador is a mainstay of the West Coast tuning community, previously known for a 2000 Honda Civic (EK) and later an E46 M3. His current fleet includes a modified 997.2 Porsche 911 GT3, Lexus lS 460, right-hand-drive S13 Nissan 240SX, Honda Element daily driver and thatWhen he bought his 2007 BMW 328i last year, he fully intended to modify it heavily, but took his time finding the right shop. Anyone who pays focus on the SoCal BMW tuning scene won’t be surprised to learn Camarador eventually arrived at the entrance of our good friend at LTMotorwerks. Long Tran and his crew had recently completed an M3 conversion on another E91. So, with all the research and development conducted on the first car, the 2nd would be a breeze, Tran assured him.an incredible choice, built-in custom sizes and finished in custom colors by James at his Floss Design business.

Creating a convincing M3 conversion is far from plain sailing, however. The very first task is sourcing the countless parts. This included the full M3 front-end: bumper, radiator support,hood and headlights, air ducts, fenders and bellypan. Everything fits fairly easily, but it has to be aligned properly, which takes usually.

The hardest aspect of the swap was the rear end. Although the E91 wagon is a lot like the E90 sedan, you can find differences, particularly around the lights and tailgate. As a result, fitting the rear bumper was actually a real challenge. And to make it harder, it must be aligned with the M3 rear quarter-panels, which also have to be grafted precisely into position. These then dictate the location of the side skirts. Oh, and all four M3 fender liners are needed toin all the right places. They then painted it within the E46 M3’s distinctive Laguna Seca Blue to ensure an eye-catching finish.

Beyond its M3 panels, the 328i also sports a GT4-style dry carbon-fiber front lip from Vollkommen Design in addition to M Performance black grilles. LTMW even carried out an LCI upgrade, using the later window trim and taillights. This sounds easy enough, but actually delayed the project for four weeks while awaiting delivery in the trim from Germany, since it wasn’t offered as an option in the United States.

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The carbon lip must fear for its life because, thanks to the AirREX air suspension, Camarador may bring it into contact with terra firma on the touch of a button on the digital display. With AirREX bags at each corner, a five-gallon air tank plus a Viair compressor, Camarador will be able to set it low for show. He’s also able to increase the car and drive it home, however. Not that he does. He likes to get it slammed all the time, with his cruising setting below most people would dare.

The eagle-eyed can have noticed that furthermore the E91 wagon wear a set of highly desirable staggered BBS E88 wheels, but they’re an alternative color on either side. This might be partially our fault.

2007 BMW 328i m sport controlsan organization called Floss Design. He refinishes wheels or creates custom finishes to customers’ specifications. When he asked us what color we’d want to see the wheels, we couldn’t decide between silver or gold. So he gave us both options. No less than it supports our dilemma, because even now we can’t decide which we prefer.

Behind the wheels is a set of M Performance big brakes with the calipers painted yellow. There’s yet another BurgerTuning Juice Box piggyback ECU to deliver the straight-six with a little more pep. Why doesn’t the vehicle have a more potent powerplant? It’s also expensive, Camarador said, though The M3 bodywork represents the 1st stage of your comprehensive conversion. So while major engine work is planned, the car remains at stage one in the meantime. We hope to either fit the newAs it stands, Camarador loves cruising in his stanced 328i. He occasionally uses its cargo hold for business purposes, but mostly he enjoys people’s reactions when they first spot the Laguna Seca M3-a rare occurrence in its own right. Is the subsequent double take when they realize it’s a wagon, although what gives him one of the most satisfaction.

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C & 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT – Road Comparo (w/video)


It’s the same story at virtually every turnout on the streets that twists up Southern California’s Palomar Mountain. Motorists pass by slowly, then gawk out their windows. Sometimes they stop for a closer inspection. Sometimes they’ve already stopped and saunter over to ask questions, nearly always prefaced by, That’s a beautifulalong with a ’72 Ferrari Dino 246 GT, two cars that kids from 8 to 80 would agree epitomize excitement on wheels. Although a lot more than 40 years separate our subjects, they’re remarkably similar in concept.

The aesthetics strike most people first. Both are voluptuous, with short, low hoodlines and side-mounted scoops aft of the doors-dead giveaways on their mid-engined configurations. With spartan cabins and fixed-back race-inspired seats, each was designed to provide the basic elements ofBy the time development began on the Dino from the mid-1960s, Enzo Ferrari was certainly no stranger to mid-engined race machines. Ferrari Formula One cars had been mid-engined since 1960 and the marque had a succession of mid-engined sports racers under its belt. Still, was unwilling to build a street car by having an engine located behind the motorist, worried that its limits would come with too little warning for those whose last names weren’t Hill or Surtees. As the story goes, Sergio Pininfarina was instrumental in convincing Enzo otherwise, his studio producing the gorgeous concept for the 1965 Paris motor Sergio and show himself penning sketch after sketch for Enzo’s approval. Ultimately, the oldis claimed to have helped develop before his early death in 1956 of leukemia. This motor was already successful in F1-a 1.5L version propelled Mike Hawthorne to the 1958 world championship. A few years later, 2.0L and 2.4L versions made their distance to the 206SP and 246SP racers, respectively. Putting it within the Dino had another advantage: It willtrusted its fairly recent partnership with Fiat. If Fiat produced them at its Turin plant, it was free to use them in the vehicle of its own. So was born the front-engined Fiat Dino, but that’s a narrative for another time.from its all-alloy, transversely mounted 2.0L V-6. Construction changed to a mix of steel and alloy panels by late 1969 when the 246 GT debuted, though the cars themselves were entirely alloy-bodied as well. This latter model’s 2.4L engine produced a claimed 195 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque, but the power increase only just offset the excess weight.within both cars, with disc brakes at all four corners or even a limited-slip differential. As either a tribute to his son or perhaps a clever marketing move (maybe a little of both), no Ferrari badges adorned the outside of any Dino. Instead, the now-iconic blue Dino signature on a yellow background was located on the nose, steering wheel, and wheel caps, the Dino line essentially being a sub-brand. The only position the Ferrari name appeared was on the build tag inside the driver-side doorjamb, leading to decades of would it beThe Alfa was designed in the more corporate environment, nevertheless the goal was the same: alithe and small, somewhat affordable baby supercar. To that particular end, the Alfa is created around a hand-laid carbon-fiber tub, with what is essentially the same expensive process used by F1 manufacturers. It’s partly the reason that capacity is simply 1,000 units a year, and it’s unlikely the company will see much benefit fromas much as 1,750 for legacy’s sake) that produces 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. In the vehicle this pure, there will be cries for a traditional-fashioned manual gearbox, but those cries will more than likely go unassuaged, if not unnoticed. Instead, the only gearbox currently available is the six-speed dual-clutch unit that also serves duty in the (cough) Dodge Dart. You can substitute Alfa Giulietta for Dodge Dart if that causes you to feel any better.sports car, with a tubular control-arm suspension up front, a fairly technical strut setup within the rear, and Brembo brakes with drilled rotors all over. Our tester also has the optional so-called racing exhaust, which is just to say there isn’t a muffler, merely a straight pipe to the catalytic converter. The track package adds a stiffer suspension and quintessentially Alfa 18- and 19-inch wheels wrapped in exclusive Pirelli P Zero tires. With a few other extras, our 4C Launch Edition involves nearly $70,000. Which means you could buy five of them and have money left over from selling a primo Dino.

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But enough quibbling over price-these cars were designed to drive. Jon Gunderson, the person who has not just graciously brought along the Dino but finished its rotisserie restoration only the evening before, throws over his keys and tells me to possess fun. The Dino’s door opens by pulling a fragile-looking chrome lever just below your window on the trailing edge. A click later and I’m dropping intoto the surprisingly roomy and comfortable cabin. The long, chrome shift lever sprouts from traditional Ferrari gates. The half-moon-shaped dashboard is correctly covered within the period mouse fur material, with a few switches that look vaguely like ventilation controls and an aluminum-trimmed instrument panel with jewel-like Veglia Borletti gauges wearing the Dino logo. Turn the Dino’s unassuming key to the 1st position along with the electric fuel pump starts whirring out back. Twist the key all the way up and the high-pitched starter spins, followed a moment later from a metallic bark as it fires up. Slot the lever down and left in to theto obtain moving smoothly, despite heavy steering at parking speeds and a typically Italian driving position, by using a fairly flat dish for the steering wheel which is a bit past the boundary away (or conversely, the pedals are far too close). Never mind, I’m quickly becoming accustomed to the car and our mountain road is beginning to feel as if a hillclimb stage. The Dino engine is an utter joy, by using a torquey, silky character which make itwhen I’ve passed 4,500 rpm, the engine absolutely yowls on its way toward the 7,800-rpm redline, the triple Webers lending a throaty induction overtone. Truth is, a well-driven Golf TSI will outrun a Dino any day each week. Still, there’s such a sensation of speed with the low seating position, the view out your wraparound windshield, and the noise of that glorious popping and spitting between rev-matched downshifts in to the next hairpin. The car corners nearly flat and the ride quality is shockingly good. It’s an incredibly visceral experience that cements the Dino’s place for an extremely special car. I was able to keep driving this same stretch of road for hours on end, frankly, but there’s an Alfa Romeo to get back to.from the 4C’s cabin. There’s little in the cabin, period. No armrests, no glovebox, no nifty trim details. Just a pouch within the dashboard for insurance and registration papers, two plastic cupholders mounted as non-ergonomically as possible in the center console, a drive mode toggle switch, and numerous buttons to set the car in gear. With all the Alfa’s wide carbon sills, it’s even more of a challenge to acquire inside. But it’s not too bad once you’re there, unless you’re the passenger. In which case the center stack intrudes about the legs somewhatthumb and door the start button. Wait a moment, the starter motor engages and sets the engine right into a loud thrumming sound. Foot on the brake, push the 1 button for First gear, the A/M button to select manual mode, gas it, and go. The steering feels even heavier than the Dino’s moving away; no power assist here. And the cacophony of noises on the other side in the glass behind my head is in full swing. Any brief stab on the throttle has the turbocharger whistling and whooshing, whilst the engine starts revving with a gravelly bellow. The steering starts to lighten a little along with the thick rim of the wheel starts to come alive, following little seams within the road as though laser guided.the 4C is little fun at low speed. It’s noisy, rough-riding, and every little sound has a tendency to get thrown and amplified round the hard-trimmed cabin. A daily driver the Alfa is not. But as speed increases, so does my interest. Acceleration is a rush, especially following the Dino, and also the car is really pure, so precise. The brake pedal is firm and there’s not much travel. Like a race car, you push the pedal harder, not farther to stop faster. There’s a hint of initial understeer at most corner entries, easily rectified with a little trail braking or, more entertainingly, a stab in the throttle mid-turn, which brings the back around soelegance and passion, and performance-basically, a baby Ferrari 458-will probably be disappointed. There’s no such grace from the 4C’s driving experience. It’s just full-bore madness at all times. It’s an Italian-made Radical racer for your street. You will find, your wife will absolutely hate it. The Dino-on the other hand, and despite being 42 years old-almost seems like it could be driven every day. It has that magical Ferrari ride quality that somehow seems to make the car feel substantial, stiff and light and compliant all at the same time. And it’s an authentic rolling sculpture on the road, making great noises to boot. Given a sunny morning without any particular spot to be, I’d gladly take either.

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The Dino King

Jon Gunderson restored the silver ’72 Dino 246 GT shown in this story at his shop in Escondido, California. Gunderson caught the Dino bug as a young American traveling abroad, going on to own several examples. After retiring, he began tearing down a Dino to satiate his workaholic tendencies. Without having previous experience, he went on to restore that car before setting up shop in a local warehouse to regenerate them for customers. He currently has nearly ten years of experience and multiple restorations completed, with several more in progress. For more information, or even to see his current projects, visit dinorestoration.com.

Are Women Better Drivers Than Men

Controversial I know but it doesn’t harm to mix things up a little bit every now and then does it? There have been plenty of jokes flying around for years . . . well, since the arrival of the motor car actually, about women drivers but women have traditionally enjoyed cheaper car insurance rates which would indicate that insurance companies consider them to be a much safer alternative.


Let’s take a sneaky peak at a few facts.
The reality is that women drivers are involved in fewer accidents than men, and if they are involved in an accident it will usually be at a lower speed which creates less damage.
Some men will hardly be able to disguise their disbelief in that fact that women are considered to better drivers than them, and there’s lots of evidence to support it. Women are less likely to be pulled over by the traffic cops for speeding offences, less likely to be involved in collisions and accidents and generally make fewer insurance claims than their male counterparts.
Okay, but surely there could be some other circumstances which support the facts. According to one study women drivers are 28% less likely to drive in the dark than men; this is a time when there is a much higher risk of being involved in an accident. Women are also around 12% less likely to break the speed limits than men and 11% less likely to stamp on the brakes which would, I’m sorry to say suggest that they are in fact the better drivers.


One of the main bones of contention which men say about women drivers is their lack of parking skills. Studies have found however, that although many women may take just a few more seconds to completely their parking maneuvers than men, the end result is often much better. Women are more likely to leave their vehicle in a central parking position unlike men who tend to rush things and worry less about straying into the next parking area.
Take a look at the majority of couples driving along the road and the man will be behind the wheel… unless they are returning home from a party where copious amounts of alcohol have been involved in which case it is somehow the ladies turn to drive.
So what makes women better drivers than men?
In general terms men are more aggressive, competitive creatures and therefore inclined to drive faster and push their vehicles closer to the limits. This is particularly evident in young men up to the age of around 25 years who are by far the highest accident risk group of all. Women are also more likely to drive with children on the school run which is another reason that they may be more careful and protective.
I can hear what’s coming next – if women are so good at driving why are there not more of them in motorsport?
Well, it’s true that women in motor sport are few and far between but the traits which make them better drivers on the road are not traditionally the qualities which make a world class race car driver.


Sorry guys, you might think that the road is predominantly a male domain but women are the better drivers. They may not get there quicker, they may take a little more time and a little more care but they are much more likely to arrive at their destination in one piece . . . and isn’t that what being “good” is all about?
At fiat riverside they’ve got a super selection of cars which are perfect for both men and women drivers. See for yourself at www.ocfiat.com.

LTMW BMW M3 E36 or E92 – Which Grabs You (w/video)


2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 & GLA45 AMG Highlights

Fine blend of talents in the GLA250
Excellent steering feel
Power lift gate is standard
Charming styling
The AMG version is quick

Mercedes benz GLA class dashboard 02 Photo 2/10 | 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 & GLA45 AMG – First Drive Review

Mercedes-Benz vehicles exhibit many virtues. Build quality, intense attention to the tiniest details, engineering depth, and great design among them. In the 2015 GLA250 compact crossover, there’s an accumulation of subtle pleasures that makes it a perfect vehicle to own, from handling the grind of the commute to setting off on a road trip.

It’s not a car that tries to overstate its case and is all the more agreeable because of it. There are times when we might not want to be super-involved in driving, in which case we can enjoy the Mercedes-Benz GLA’s tranquil yet stylish cabin, the comfortable but supportive seats, and take for granted the easy ride quality, the engine’s more-than-adequate punch, and the brakes’ reassuring abilities.
Mercedes benz GLA class driver side front view 03 Photo 3/10 | 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 & GLA45 AMG – First Drive Review

For other occasions when devilish moods and interesting roads coincide, drivers can recalibrate their senses to tune in more to the GLA’s well-sorted chassis, put the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission into sport mode, and have a little tarmac-based adventure.

Believe or not, steering feel is excellent. This might just be the fortunate upshot of optional 19-inch wheels wearing 235/40 tires in the Edition 1 package, but the balance of weight and precision ties in with a satisfying directness. There’s no need for constant correction. Turn the wheel the desired amount and the GLA responds accordingly. Even rough road surfaces can’t deflect it from its course.
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Built on the same platform as the CLA compact sedan that offers front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the GLA brings an elevated driving position so beloved by a large section of the motoring public along with rear passenger space that will accommodate an average-sized adult, plus cargo capacity that goes from 11.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up (they split and fold in 60/40 fashion) to 42 cubes with them folded down flat. For comparison’s sake, BMW’s X1 runs to 14.8/47.7 cubic feet. The GLA’s power lift gate is standard, by the way.

Factor in standard safety equipment like eight airbags, attention assist, and collision prevention assist with autonomous braking, and that all adds up to a lot of attributes delivered with typical Mercedes-Benz efficiency and style. From a relatively affordable starting price, the GLA250 is a well-rounded package.

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So it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the high-performance variant, the ’15 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG 4Matic, is just as good, only firmer and faster. Well, yes. And no.

Yes because of its engine. In the usual AMG way, this is hand-assembled by one technician who affixes a personalized plaque as a final task. Although it’s an aluminum, twin-scroll turbo, 2.0L four-potter like its regular counterpart, Mercedes-Benz says this is essentially one half of the new V-8 going into AMG’s second sports car, the ’16 GT and the upcoming C63.
Mercedes benz GLA class passenger side front view 05 Photo 8/10 | 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 & GLA45 AMG – First Drive Review

The company claims it’s the most powerful series-production turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the world. It makes 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, propels the GLA45 from standstill to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and runs through the quarter-mile in just 12.7 seconds at 108.3 mph.

Also yes because all-wheel drive is standard in the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 and can put that power to the pavement without any kind of slip. The electronic stability program (ESP) has been tweaked to enhance dynamics. Its torque vectoring function brakes single wheels to help rotate the car through quick corners, with an emphasis on handling before letting the safety aspect take over.
Mercedes benz GLA class shifter 06 Photo 9/10 | 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 & GLA45 AMG – First Drive Review

Ride height has been dropped by 1.8 inches compared with the regular model. The front seats are more bucket-like with plenty of lateral support, and the almost-obligatory flat-bottomed steering wheel has sections of Alcantara wrap at the quarter-to-three position for extra sportiness.

And maybe no because that delicate balance of complementary talents is now upset by the drumming of the tires on the road. It might seem odd, even heretical, to criticize something with more power and greater agility, but the GLA stops being a multitasker and becomes a fast car with a hatchback, stiff suspension, larger antiroll bars, and a noisier cabin. It’s like taking a Willie Nelson tune and giving it the AC/DC treatment. Sure, it rocks, but a degree of charm has been lost in the process. Even more so with the gruff-sounding performance exhaust option.

A sporty machine feels right when it has optimum aerodynamics and a low center of gravity, like the CLA45 AMG, which is undoubtedly the driver’s choice in that range. But in this case, the AMG formula is compromised. Mercedes has the wonderful A-Class in other markets but has determined the only way to be successful selling a hot-hatch to Americans is under the pretense of a crossover. It’s good, but not as great as it could be. If (or, more probably, when) BMW decides to make an M version of its X1 compact crossover, it would be fascinating to see how the two compare.

LTMW BMW M3 E36 or E92 – Which Grabs You (w/video)

It’s impossible to ignore the presence of Liberty Walk and Rocket Bunny. With their uncanny rebel spirit, Wataru Kato and Kei Miura effortlessly catapulted themselves as the hottest trendsetters all over the world. Becoming Internet sensations is one thing, but continually claiming magazine features is another. The formula may seem as simple as slapping on fender flares, but it takes a great amount of passion, creativity, and perfectionism you’ll only find in Japan. While you might think these two would primarily design body kits for the cars from their respected country, their inspiration extends into the Euro community, where we found Justin Gomba’s knockout duo of supercharged LTMW BMW M3 E36 and E92 builds.
1998 BMW M3 active autowerke stage 1 supercharger 04 Photo 2/24 | Custom wire tuck by Gearheinz.

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2013 BMW M3 ESS tuning supercharger 12 Photo 6/24 | 600 ponies courtesy of an ESS Tuning supercharger.

Justin is quite the character—a friendly, humble, and at times very amusing Filipino. The only time you’ll ever find him silent is when there are copious amounts of pork sisig stuffed in his mouth. A man with great taste to say the least, he chose a pair of project cars that are regarded as the ultimate driving machines.
2013 BMW M3 liberty walk body kit 07 Photo 7/24 | LTMW BMW M3 E36 or E92 – Which Grabs You (w/video)

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He started with the E36, which is also the first M3 that rocked an inline-six motor. In the pursuit of more power, Justin jumped into the force induction realm with a stage one Active Autowerke supercharger. Keeping things tidy, the bay received a complete wire tuck courtesy of Gearheinz. The exterior was given the Kei Miura treatment with the widebody kit he designed for Sarto Racing. Justin told us, “”The over fender game is being done by everyone, but I knew I could put my own little twist to it.”” So to make it more unique, Justin had Aeroflow Dynamics design a custom front lip and splitter combo. The perfect stance is achieved with an AirREX suspension kit that’s complemented with a set of staggered BBS RS wheels polished by Floss Design. Justin added, “My favorite part is the wheels. I have always been a sucker for the BBS RS, especially on this car. It gives it a very classic look, despite all the heavy modifications.” With the exterior on point, Justin turned to the cockpit of the car. The OEM seats and headliner were reupholstered while a yellow-stitched Personal steering wheel added a nice subtle touch.
LTMW BMW M3 9 Photo 11/24 | LTMW BMW M3 9

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Sitting next to Justin’s E36 is the E92, a car with a price tag Sam Du and I can’t afford with our meager salaries combined. To top it all off, it’s rockin’ an exquisite Liberty Walk widebody kit that is on another level from your Duraflex Spyder kit, if those still exist. Justin uses similar blueprints for the younger E92, painting the exterior the same Dakar yellow color. Instead of going air, he’s fully static on KW Clubsport coilovers. Like father like son, the E92 is rolling on BBS as well, but instead of the classic RS design, Justin opted for LM-Rs. The interior gets a touch of elegance and class with diamond-stitched Recaro Sportsters while everything else was wrapped in matching alcantara suede. Under the hood is where things get a bit interesting as the S65 V-8 is blown via an ESS Tuning supercharger to produce a healthy 625 hp. An iPE exhaust gives Justin the ability to make his E92 purr. Of course, with any sort of power upgrades, it’s imperative to address stopping capabilities. Justin favored StopTech’s Trophy big brake kit. He concluded, “I have always loved Euro cars. Don’t get me wrong—I’m always amazed and respect JDM builds. I just never really had the guts to build a JDM car because the standards are so high when building these cars. So I did the best thing anybody could do. Build a Euro car with some JDM flavor in it!”

Boost controllers to maximise smooth power delivery.


What do we want BOOST and when do we want to buy NOW!

Boost controllers

The turbo is driven by the exhaust gases and the faster the exhaust flows the quicker the turbo spins and more air gets forced in to the engine.

If an excessive amount of air needs into the engine then it will run lean. This causes an intermittent loss of power and you also risk putting an excessive amount of pressure on the engine with a surge of power.

Additionally you risk detonation or knock and the car would be undrivable and unreliable. TorqueCars recommend getting a boost controller setup with a custom remap for reliable power especially on twin turbo engines.

An effective boost controller adds an electronic brain & allows far better control of the boost

To get around this the makers have fitted a spring valve (the wastegate actuator) to shut down the flow of exhaust on the the turbo which regulates the pressure. By way of example to get 1 bar of pressure the valve might fully open when 1.3 is achieved.

Then it starts to close again, and when we are back down to .7 bar of boost it closes completely. The wastegate actuator is additionally very gradual in its operation being partially open or closed more often than not effectively restricting the power on offer.

This closing and opening wastegate actuator helps keep a standard pressure at 1 bar. But it implies that power can be purchased in unsteady peaks, especially on highly tuned engines.

We need to look at the fact that if the foot is lifted off the accelerator the environment that the turbo sucks in cannot be burned and would likely fill the engine until something bursts so this pressure is released – see dump valve or blow off valve for a description of this in greater detail.

This means that the turbo effectively spins down because the 1 bar pressure will increase instantly mainly because that there is nowhere for that air to look, while the engine is at closed throttle (when you lift away from the accelerator) and so the spring valve driving it is closed.

If you re-apply the throttle and the engine starts burning air sucked in again the turbo spins up again when the exhaust gases are moving fast enough typically at 2500 rpm or greater – this delay is called turbo lag and can be quite annoying.

A good boost controller adds an electronic brain to the valve that controls the flow through the turbo and allows much better power over the boost. Instead of peaking at 1.3 and dipping to .7 and merely allowing full turbo flow at its its peak you can have a full boost of 1.3 at wide open throttle.

This means you have a much quicker response when the throttle is applied and the wastegate actuator will match the throttle position with the amount of boost given as opposed to just averaging around a safe setting.

Some boost controllers can effectively double the amount of boost at full throttle and give more power throughout the rev range.

Mechanical boost controllers are clunky things that do little more than allow a bit of tweaking to the threshold at which the wastegate is fully open and a switch can be added that allows you to affect the setting from inside the car but these will still be subject to fluctuation and are quite different from a fully mapped electronic boost controller.

Boost controllers will increase the power gains in the turbo however it is upto the engine management to set the fueling. It would use readings from the AFM, MAP or MAF and Lambda sensor to determine this. If these sensors are faulty the car will come across limp home mode at relatively low boost pressures.