Trentor_drive

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Everything posted by Trentor_drive

  1. While this site has had very much a performance car focus, my love for traveling the country has roots back to childhood. And my love for adventure was instilled from an early age on mountain roads…albeit by van, motor home, … Continued View the full article
  2. I ashamedly have all but abandoned this site, so maybe it's time make an update. In the wake of the recent Dustball Rally, it's articles such as these which bring with them a longing for great roads along with motivation to work hard. View the full article
  3. Another DFW Auto Show is in the books, and thanks to Ford, I was able to attend media day again this year. Aside from hearing from many of the manufacturers about their latest vehicles and technology, I had the opportunity to take photos without the usual crowds in the way.This year's show vehicles were spectacular. In attendance was the all-new Ford Mustang, the uber-exotic Pagani Huayra, and tons more to drool over. Take a look... View the full article
  4. So this is very overdue, but here are all the Dustball Rally photos from this past August. They've been on my photo site, but in case you missed them, here you go.Click the photo to view the five galleries: View the full article
  5. This morning Team Apex Phantom and a few other Dustball Rally cars went to the Dallas Cars & Coffee. Wow that was early. We rolled in at just before 7am to a surprisingly, mostly full lot. We passed out flyers for the driver meeting and launch next week, Team Sports Car Hunter distributed Dustball koozies, and we annoyed the local Lotus owners by taking some of "their" spots. All in all, a success.Click the link below to check out the photos. This gallery will grow over the next 9 days, as I'll be using it for all Dustball Rally photos. View the full article
  6. Car prep is in full force! Dustball Rally stickers are on. Many thanks to help from my lovely wife. Now about those new tires, oil change, brake fluid flush, clutch fluid flush, and we'll be all set! View the full article
  7. Yes, Dustball Rally WILL be that much fun! Here is the latest list of cars, mine included! View the full article
  8. It's coming. It's like Christmas as a little kid. It can't get here soon enough.2000 miles.4 days of driving. Beautiful cars. Curvy roads. Dustball. Stay tuned here and on twitter. Team Apex Phantom@apexphantomMe@trentlandreth View the full article
  9. In conjunction with Deanslist.us, this will be the first of a few Breakfast and Beer tours which you won’t want to miss. Due to the nature of these, and that most brewery tours are around 11am or noon, the drives … Continue reading → View the full article
  10. Saturday morning was a bit of a crap-shoot as we left the house for the 45 mile trip to the 2nd Deanslist DFW drive. The fog was low, and the mist wouldn't relent. We were a few minutes early arriving, and it was a great sight to already see a few cars at the meeting point as I rolled by it to the coffee shop next door. Slowly others started arriving, and quite surprisingly, we had 14 cars ready to roll after our drivers' meeting. The mist continued, but luckily no fog, throughout most of the morning. A few sprinkles here and there kept the speeds at bay as well, but the roads were good, and as we approached lunch we even had some dry patches. The pace was decent, considering the conditions...enough to have fun yet stay safe. 150 miles or so later, we arrived at the Horny Toad, a biker bar with surprisingly good food. Afterward, we all cruised up to an old church/graveyard outside town for a quick photo of the group. Afterward, unfortunately, most decided to split and head straight home, but the three die-hard drivers remained and followed most of the planned route home...this time on dry roads. The others made a horrible mistake. It was a blast each and every turn. Turn in, maintain, adjust, power out, look in mirror, watch the C63 pop a wheelie and catch me in the blink of an eye. Over and over. Quite entertaining indeed.Those of you who haven't made it out to a Deanslist.us or DFW Auto Club drive, you're missing out. We hope to see you next time. Continue reading → View the full article
  11. Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Texas Rovers Club tech day hosted by North Texas British (formerly North Texas Rover). It was a great afternoon meeting new people, seeing some cool trucks, and eating hot dogs and hamburgers. The club members were hugely appreciative, as they had full access to the shop and lifts to work on any projects they needed done. The NTX British techs were there to put vehicles on the lifts and generally help out with some great advice. It was quite apparent this was a great shop with knowledgeable mechanics. If you have a Rover and live in the DFW area, this definitely should be your go-to shop of choice. Many thanks go to Laura (Roverette) and Allen at North Texas British for hosting a wonderful event. Continue reading → View the full article
  12. I apologize for such a long down time with no new posts. I plan to remedy that soon. Stay tuned. Edit: And by soon, does a couple months qualify? View the full article
  13. This past Sunday, the DFW Auto Club (DFWAC) had one of our Sunday morning drives. Instead of the usual out and back loop of fun roads and amazing machines, this Sunday was out to Bridgeport, TX for lunch at Yesterday’s … Continue reading → View the full article
  14. The last time I made the trip from the suburbs to Hotel ZaZa down in Dallas was over a year and a half ago to photograph the Infiniti Essence Concept car. Last week I received a message saying I should come to Hotel ZaZa again and take a look at the new Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. Since I had only seen pictures, I made sure to carve out some time to head down there. I arrived at Hotel ZaZa and almost immediately hopped in the CrossCabriolet for a drive around uptown Dallas. It was a quick drive, but I did get to experience a healthy mixture of road surfaces and speeds. The CVT transmission took a bit of getting used to at first, as it didn’t seem to have much power from a stoplight. However, the eight or so seconds to sixty miles per hour should be sufficient for the sunny day cruiser audience to whom this vehicle is aimed. The suspension soaked up bumps and kept the 4400 lb. convertible CUV relatively flat around corners at moderate speeds. My only concern was a good bit of chassis vibration causing flex in the A-pillars and windshield. This couldn’t be felt much at all, however, it was quite visible when traversing rough pavement like the brick surface of McKinney Avenue. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to gauge the AWD system, but historically, the Nissan systems work very well. Overall, the driving experience was pleasing, uneventful, and lived up to precisely what the average buyer will expect. Driving the CrossCabriolet provided a bit more attention than I like to receive. It was quickly apparent that people are not only curious, but really like CrossCabriolet’s styling. I lost count of how many people literally stopped and stared, smiled, pointed, and even prodded their significant other to take a look. It was surprising, really. I took that time to act like I didn’t notice and explored the cabin a bit. The CrossCabriolet interior was a pleasant place to spend a day of top-down cruising. I only spent about 30 seconds at highway speeds, but the wind and noise levels seemed low enough to easily hold a conversation without raising your voice. Whether back seat passengers would have the same experience remains to be seen, but at least the back seat had ample room for even tall adults. The materials were of mixed quality. It was certainly a step above most of the Nissan line but short of making Infiniti nervous. There is no question the Murano CrossCabriolet is a bit of a different breed. I‘m not sure many CUV owners have ever wished they could chop off the roof, but the CrossCabriolet has now provided this option. Nissan seems to be forging a road full of risks lately, several of which appear to be paying off. While I am not particularly a fan of the CrossCabriolet styling, I think this is one of those beneficial risks. My quick drive may have even proven that to be true. The Nissan CrossCabriolet may not be for everyone, but it is apparent many already love it. Click here for the 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Photo Gallery . View the full article
  15. I was privileged to be able to attend the media day for the Dallas Auto Show and hear from the manufacturers on all their new offerings. Naturally, I took a few photos. I also, thanks to GM, was able to … Continue reading → View the full article
  16. March 31 is the date. It’s open to all cars, so don’t feel like you have to own an S2000. Afterall, I take a family car each year! If Arkansas can do anything tremendously well, it’s build mountain roads seemingly … Continue reading → View the full article
  17. It was a bit cold yesterday at the first Dallas Cars and Coffee of 2012, but it was a good one. Check out the gallery below for some photos I took. View the full article
  18. A couple weekends ago I was able to visit the garage of Dallas motoring legend Jack Griffin. Jack is a fellow DFW Auto Club member, Porsche collector, ex-pro racer (Le Mans!), and an all-around great guy. Conveniently enough, that weekend … Continue reading → View the full article
  19. It's that time again. If you love to drive and especially love a good curvy road, join us for the 10th semi-annual S2000 Arkansas Boston Mountains Tour.Details and registration can be found at http://www.s2ki.com/s2000/topic/899910-bmt-fall-2011-11511/ Continue reading → View the full article
  20. It was a really hot day with some really hot cars. The Autos in the Park car show at Cooper Aerobics Center is always one of the best shows in the area. I was a little preoccupied and didn’t take a lot of photos, but here are a few. You can click a thumbnail to view the entire gallery. Autos in the Park 2011 View photos at SmugMug View the full article
  21. NISMO. It is a word that is respected by many. It is also a word associated by others to racing decals on a bone stock Altima with a giant carbon fiber wing. Regardless of pre-conceived notions, the NISMO 370Z is a force to be reckoned with that’s not for everyone. My only knowledge of the NISMO Z, aside from statistics, is that I watched one lose it in the rain on turn seven at H2R, and sink itself in the mud, and that everyone I know who has driven it complained of the back-jarring ride. Yet, I was quite excited to experience the car, being a two-time VQ owner myself. Upon first driving the car, yes, the ride quality seemed quite harsh. However, after driving it for a day or two, I quickly determined the detractors were wimps. Everything about the NISMO suspension is beefier than the standard Z, and that is a great thing. I quickly adjusted to the ride, and knowing the NISMO was designed for the track, I came to the conclusion that the suspension was very well tuned for a street-able track car. This was, of course, all after I re-taught myself how to drive, as the steering responsiveness made my personal car feel like a truck. It seems that what I thought was a fairly relaxed grip on the wheel in my car is not really so and results in the NISMO being quite twitchy in bumpy cornering. After I learned to ease my grip and let the car do its thing, the NISMO was almost perfectly balanced and easy to predict at or near the limits of adhesion. The NISMO interior is a bit, well, simple. Some may be turned away by it, but somehow Nissan was able to still pull off a high quality interior given the simplicity. The simplicity really equates to weight savings. There is no leather seat option. There isn’t even a power seat option. The bonus here is the cloth seats are tremendously grippy and, along with the seat bolstering, hold you in place really well when the lateral Gs begin to build. The dash and controls (no GPS unit weighing you down here) are standard fare from the 370Z, which look and feel great. The gauge cluster and steering wheel tilt together, a genius design feature in many Nissans. One of my only complaints is the lack of a telescopic steering wheel. Finding the perfect distance from the wheel and the pedals was slightly difficult. On the flip side, the giant NISMO-specific tachometer staring at you straight in the face is a beautiful sight. There are a few other places which remind you that you’re in a NISMO as well. One of my favorites is the small, engraved plaque of authenticity between the seats which displays the model year and serial number of your particular car. A note to Nissan: Bring back the individual tire-pressure readings in the pod cluster. ALL performance cars should have this. I loved it in my 350Z, miss it in my G35, and you should be flogged for removing the feature. Now about the exterior styling. You will likely either find the NISMO looks awesome, aggressive, and personifies the Z, or you’ll feel it looks like it should be annoying big rigs in a Paul Walker film. It’s not hard to find argumentative people on either side of the fence. I lean toward the former description. While it may be a bit over the top, as you’ll see in the gallery, it fit in pretty well with cars costing many times as much. One thing is for certain. All those angles and curves are functional, and one glance at the NISMO is all it takes to know that it means business. Power. You get more in the NISMO, and it. is. wonderful. The standard 370Z shoves around 9.73 pounds per horsepower. The NISMO ups the power by 28 hp (totaling 350 hp) and surprisingly is a bit heavier (up 68lbs to 3300). Yet the extra power conquers the extra weight and the power to weight ratio drops to 9.43. Are these numbers boring you? How is this? If you drop to 3rd gear on the highway (60-70mph) and stand on the skinny pedal to pass someone, Nissan’s VDC (linked stability and traction control) light will flicker and the giant 285/35/19s in back will wiggle underneath you. You will giggle…like a little girl. Needless to say, the power is sufficient. More on this later. Can you say dyno? Now comes the part about the most controversial technology put into a sports car since the automatic transmission. SynchroRev Match. I must admit I was quite skeptical of this “gimmick,†but first allow me to describe what it does for those unfamiliar with it. Race car drivers, and wannabes like me, do something called heel-toe shifting. The driver literally uses all three pedals at the same time with only two feet in order to simultaneously brake, press the clutch, and blip the throttle to match revs for the lower gear upon releasing the clutch. This allows the engine to be at just the right rpm upon clutch engagement, and there’s no jerky, massive oversteer right off the road or track. Nissan’s SynchroRev Match does the throttle blip for you. You just hit the brakes, depress the clutch, shift to a lower gear, and by the time you release the clutch, the rpms have jumped to precisely where they need to be for a smooth downshift. I really figured I’d toy with the feature and then promptly turn it off for most of the week. Surprise, surprise! I absolutely love (adore, really) this feature. SynchroRev Match absolutely, with no argument, just makes you look like a pro at every downshift. Just don’t shift out of gear and into neutral to coast. The system freaks out a bit and sometimes revs unnecessarily. The rev-matching sounds sublime as well. (Side note to Nissan: This is a focused performance car. I should hear more exhaust note.) So I once denounced SynchroRev Match, but now I will forever defend it. Maybe this is what those dual-clutch, automated manual, paddle shifting weirdos feel like. A few friends and I stumbled across a dyno day, so I was able to test whether you get your money’s worth out of the carbon fiber drive shaft and how much power is lost along the way from the VQ engine to the wheels. I wasn’t aware of which shop we were headed to, but as we neared it, I quickly realized we were headed to my neighbor’s new tuning shop. Clint Davis, the owner, is truly a great guy, and his team at True Street Motorsports in McKinney, TX does great work on anything needing more power. I’m sure they’ll do other work too, but what’s the point if you don’t gain some horsepower, right? Clint’s shop is primarily focused toward American muscle. Luckily when the five of us arrived, there was a new Mustang 5.0 with us to offset the four imports. We didn’t intend to put the cars on the dyno, but peer pressure generally wins in this situation. An American muscle shop doesn’t have much need for an AWD dyno, so the WRX STi in the group had to sit this one out. Here are the results for the NISMO and the other party crashers. 2011 NISMO 370Z (stock) – 303 hp / 252 tq 2007 Porsche GT3 (resonator delete) – 354 hp / 269 tq 2010 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster (stock) – 379 hp / 314 tq 2011 Ford Mustang 5.0 (intake & out-of-box tune) – 399.93 hp / 378 tq THE RUNDOWN: Rush-hour commuter: Many would laugh at the notion of the NISMO playing this role. I commuted four days in a row, 90 miles each day, through Dallas/Fort Worth traffic. The roads are good, and I quite enjoyed my commute each day. If your roads aren’t the best, this definitely isn’t your car. Regardless, the SynchroRev system made bumper to bumper traffic much more pleasant. Highway cruiser: For short jaunts, the NISMO isn’t bad on the highway. Just leave it at home for a cross-country trek. You’ll tire of the stiff suspension bouncing you around. However, if you’re driving across much of the country for something like the Dustball Rally, this is your car. You won’t have time, nor will you care, to think about the harsh ride. Grocery getter: It’s a hatchback, so yeah, I guess you can get groceries in it. There is even a decent amount of space back there. Family & friends hauler: I laugh in your general direction. I will say though, I managed to mount my son’s child seat in the NISMO for a quick little drive. While my wife scowled in disapproval, my son smiled with every SynchroRev-matched downshift and cheered “Fast caw! Fast caw!†Occasional hoon-mobile: Hoon. Hooligan. These are good words which play well with the NISMO. The car begs to be driven hard, and the limits are so high, hooning it can get you in some serious trouble with the Hamthrax. Track toy: Ahh…here we really enter into where the NISMO thrives. This car is built for the track, and you will hear the track whispering to you upon purchase of a NISMO. The brakes are huge and haul down the Z quickly. The car communicates steering and suspension actions to the driver quite well. Just don’t forget to install an oil cooler if you frequent the track. Unfortunately at this , Nissan has chosen not to fully address the issue of high oil temperatures in the 370Z. Dragster: While the NISMO isn’t exactly the fastest car out there, it is quite fun to launch and row through the gears. I would imagine a NISMO or two will be seen occasionally at your local dragstrip. 2011 NISMO 370Z Gallery View photos at SmugMug [Many thanks to Nissan for providing the 2011 NISMO 370Z for the purposes of this review.] View the full article
  22. I stumbled across this group when visiting my parents while they were at their place in Buena Vista, CO for the summer last year. The Automobili Exotica was hosted by 3ZERO3 Motorsports in Denver and the Lamborghini Club of America. The group started in Denver, drove to Buena Vista for lunch, where I was waiting for them, and then went on to Snowmass for the weekend. The next day, I borrowed my dad’s motorcycle, grabbed my camera, and headed over Independence Pass to meet them at the track. Needless to say, all weekend I was quite bummed I didn’t have my car there to join in on the fun. Here are the photos I took. Click one to get to the gallery with likely way too many photos. Check out the 3ZERO3 site for a great summary of the weekend and more photos which made me hesitate posting mine at all. : ) http://www.3zero3motorsports.com/blog/2010/08/03/snowmass-automobili-exotica-day-one/ – (Yes, it took me way too long to post this.) View the full article
  23. Infiniti has been on a quest to be globally competitive. I believe the Infiniti Performance Line (IPL) is a key factor in that quest. Much anticipation revolved around the IPL, and many hoped for a true BMW ///M and Mercedes AMG competitor. Infiniti says that is not the goal of the IPL. After a week driving the IPL G Coupe, I can reinforce the truthfulness of that statement. But does that make it a bad car? Is Infiniti wasting its time? Let’s find out. The 2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe, for all practical purposes, begins as a G37 Coupe Sport. For the most part, here is a quick rundown of the bigger changes from the Sport model to an IPL. • Suspension tuned to higher spring rates (20% front/10% rear) • IPL-specific high-flow exhaust system, more growl, and bigger exhaust tips • Engine tuned with an extra 18 horsepower and a higher redline (348 hp @ 7400 rpm) • Aggressive front and rear bumpers and side skirts • IPL-specific 19-inch wheels painted graphite in color The IPL is a wonderful mixture of personalities. Once you get past the disappointment of the IPL not being nearly as fast as a BMW M3, you’ll begin to enjoy it. The IPL engine tune is very responsive at virtually any rpm. From 2500rpm, it pulls strong and consistently on up to redline. The only downfall is the transmission. At this price point, being Infiniti’s halo performance car, the 7-speed just doesn’t match the feel of the suspension tuning. The average Infiniti buyer may not notice the shift lag, but then the average buyer will stick with a normal G37 instead of an IPL. To stay true to the P in IPL, Infiniti really needs to step it up to a dual-clutch or similar automated manual gearbox. However, to give Infiniti some credit, the paddle shifters themselves are perfectly positioned, sized, and weighted. Additionally, the transmission does nothing until you tell it to, which is a very good thing. The suspension may have been my favorite aspect of the IPL. While some may find it a bit on the harsh side, it’s not excessively so. For daily driving mixed in with some spirited jaunts, as well as the occasional high-speed performance driving event, I think Infiniti found a good balance. However, many will prefer a bit of a lower stance. The wheel/fender gap seems a bit much. While many would argue a lower stance reduces daily drivability with the lower ground clearance, I believe my point about the gearbox holds true. This is a car for enthusiasts, not your average Prius owner. The IPL comes in your choice of only two exterior colors, and even more limitations on interior color. Infiniti seems sure that IPL buyers will love a Graphite leather interior, as it’s your only choice unless you buy the 7-spd automatic IPL with a Malbec Black exterior. If you do opt for the 7-spd and Malbec Black, then your only interior option is Monaco Red leather. This was the combination of my test car provided by Infiniti. The red is darker than it seems in photos and quite appealing. If you want to row your own gears or prefer the Graphite paint, you better like a gray interior. The interior is stellar, as Infiniti has come a long way in the past few years. Fit and finish is superb, and you’ll be hard pressed to find something inside the IPL that doesn’t exude luxury. I did find it odd, however, to not see any IPL branding inside. In fact, the only mention of IPL anywhere is outside on the trunk lid and under the hood. The Bose audio system is good, but not great. This seems to be a common theme for quite a few years now in Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. The seats seem infinitely adjustable (10-way), making it quite easy to find a comfortable driving position. Interestingly enough, the easily accessible seat memory buttons on the door don’t do a thing unless the car is on. So don’t go expecting use a preset before getting inside. Luckily Infiniti does allow the option of linking a memory preset to a specific key fob. I’d recommend doing so. The Bluetooth speaker phone works well at highway speeds. The system even downloads your phonebook. Just don’t expect to access your phonebook or enter a GPS destination while driving. You can thank the lawsuit-fearing safety engineers for that. Also in typical Infiniti fashion, don’t expect to put metal-rimmed sunglasses in the holder without hearing them rattle. A little extra felt in there (and in my 2005 G35), would be much appreciated Infiniti. The exterior styling of the IPL G Coupe seems to be up for a bit of debate. Overall, most agree the G37 Sport Coupe is an attractive car. As with most brand-topping performance coupes, the IPL has a little something extra on the exterior which also is functional for providing extra downforce. The issue for some seems to lie with whether that little something extra actually blends in with the car. While a few I spoke with thought the IPL bumpers, side skirts, and massive tail pipes looked great, most feedback I received was that depending on the vantage point, it looked like a poor choice in aftermarket parts. Whether you like them or not, it all is functional from an aerodynamic standpoint. The IPL was quite stable at high speeds. So is Infiniti wasting its time with the IPL? While it may not have the power of an M3, like many were expecting, the IPL starts at ten grand less with very few option boxes left to tick. To option out an M3 to similar spec, you’re pushing $70,000. Even if the IPL isn’t fully what many expected, it’s one heck of a good car leading Infiniti into the higher performance coupe realm. So my answer is no. The 2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe is just the beginning. You will see more of the IPL line, and Infiniti will continue to improve on it. I’m looking forward to it. THE RUNDOWN: Rush-hour commuter: With all the performance goodies on this IPL, Infiniti has done a great job preserving the luxury side. You’ll be coddled by the absolutely wonderful interior. Plug in your iPhone to the USB port and enjoy your own playlists, leave it in “Dâ€, and aside from the obviously sport-tuned suspension, you’ll be coddled in luxury all the way to work. Find yourself in bumper-to-bumper traffic and are tired of using the brakes? Here’s your chance to use the paddle shifters. Click the left paddle to downshift and slow the car. As soon as you press the gas pedal and hold speed for a moment, the IPL will drop right back into “Dâ€. Highway cruiser: While the IPL wouldn’t be your first choice for frequent cross-country trips, it is quiet and comfortable on the highway. There is plenty of passing power even without having to downshift, and if you do downshift, passing is effortless. Grocery getter: The great thing about an IPL G coupe…it’s still a G37. You have all the functionality of the back seat and a moderately sized trunk. The IPL isn’t a large car, and it has great visibility from inside. And if you need a little extra help backing out of your Whole Foods spot, the standard rear-view camera will help you out. Family & friends hauler: Hauling around family and friends is something you want to do in the IPL. They will ask to be hauled around. As long as your rear seat passengers aren’t over 5’ 8†or so, you won’t hear too much screaming from back there. Kids will love it, and a lightweight forward-facing child safety seat is pretty easy to get in and install. One hand can flip the seatback forward and then slide then entire chair to its most forward position with the touch of a button. My only complaint is the seatback doesn’t remember its position when you put it back upright. Another press of the button on top of the seatback does, however, slide the seat back again. I wouldn’t even think about trying a rear-facing child seat, unless you have no plans for a front seat passenger. Occasional hoon-mobile: My guess is this category is why most owners will buy the IPL. It’s a good thing too, as Infiniti has made a car quite capable of hooning. The chassis is stiff and the suspension is well tuned for both smooth and rough surfaces. At higher speeds in a straight line, I did wish for a little more weight to the steering though. The steering ratio is quite responsive, and the car can become twitchy on bumpy roads unless engine rpms are above 5,000 or so, which weights up the steering a bit more. The body roll is minimal and only noticed upon initial turn-in. The massive 14.1 inch brake rotors have absolutely no issue in hauling down the IPL from any speed and give great feedback in the process as well. All in all, the IPL responds well and is rewarding to drive when pushed moderately. And if you push too hard, Infiniti’s Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) will smoothly bring you back in line. Track toy: I would be surprised if too many IPLs make it to the track regularly, at least not for a few years after being on the used market for a while. While it’s not the perfect track car, it should be quite capable. The IPL comes standard with a limited-slip rear differential. Couple the big brakes with the optional R-Spec High Friction brake pads, and you should have fade-free braking lap after lap with great pedal feel. As usual with almost all modern cars, there is some understeer if you come in too hot for a turn. Unfortunately it is not that easy to muscle through to oversteer. From my experience in the Z/G line, upping the width of the front tires to match the rear 245s will do wonders in reducing all that understeer. For the more serious track junkie without a dedicated track car, a few hundred bucks for some bigger sway bars will take care of the rest as well as rid you of the initial body roll. Take your pick on using the transmission’s Sport mode, which works amazingly well, or paddle clicking your way around the racetrack. Now you’ve got yourself a worthy track car which will get you home reliably, in style, and in luxury. Dragster: If you take an IPL to the dragstrip more than a couple times out of curiosity, you bought the wrong car. 2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe Gallery View photos at SmugMug [Many thanks to Infiniti for providing the IPL G Coupe for the purposes of this review.] View the full article
  24. A weekend of bliss. There is no better way to describe S2KI.com’s Boston Mountain Tour (BMT) to a gearhead/twisty road addict. The BMT is not for the faint of heart, nor for the quarter mile at a time crowd. It’s a full day of driving an impeccably planned route throughout Northwest Arkansas on roads seemingly purpose-built for sports cars. Arkansas may get a lot of flack for missing teeth and moonshine, but it sure knows how to build a good road. The BMT is a semiannual event held in the spring and again in the fall. The organizers surprisingly don’t charge a registration fee, so your only costs are for gas, hotel, and meals. While the BMT may only be a one day event, it is the entire day, so most stay the night before and after the tour. While a few participants may actually live in that area, the vast majority drive in from Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, with a good showing from North Texas as well. Many have taken it upon themselves to turn the travel days into an extension of the BMT. What would be the fun of taking the highway(s) to get there? Many a twisty road has been discovered between various states and Eureka Springs, Arkansas on the way to the BMT. Not surprisingly, many of these routes converge on the “Pig Trailâ€, a scenic byway which makes “Tail of the Dragon†less of a worthwhile trip for those of us west of the Mississippi. Participants arrive throughout Friday. That evening many end up gathering at the hotel and hitting up a local restaurant and/or bar. New friends are made, old friends reconnect, a whole lot of bench racing takes place, and many jokes are made about the Rowdy Beaver, which has become almost as much a part of the tour as the driving itself. For each BMT, Saturday morning comes early, with a distinct air of anticipation as everyone checks in at the registration table, receives the route maps, eats breakfast, and makes last minute tire pressure adjustments. Everyone is assigned to one of three groups, each with a lead car and tail car; both volunteering to ensure the group stays on the route. Soon the groups begin to form their lines. Honda S2000s naturally are the majority, but there is a splattering of R32, Corvette, 3-Series, G35, Viper, WRX, and others which vary from tour to tour. A few minutes apart, each group rolls out of the hotel parking lot, out of town, and into the mountains eagerly awaiting some heat to get into their tires. The real fun begins. I really can’t stress enough how great the roads are in the area. I also cannot stress enough how beautifully well planned the route is for the day. The combination of roads, some revisited and some new, seems to get better with each tour. The day of driving is perfectly broken up by a mid-morning break, a lunch spot, and then a mid-afternoon break. The organizers do an impressive job in finding interesting and/or scenic stopping points. Generally all three groups briefly overlap at one of the stops for a group photo. Considering this is often 40+ cars, it is no easy task to find a photogenic scene to stage everyone. However those planning the BMT seem to do it flawlessly twice a year. The driving portion of the tour draws to a close around nightfall back in Eureka Springs as the group descends on a local restaurant. While 50+ people at once is a bit much for most small town restaurants to handle efficiently, somehow it always works out well. The conversation inevitably revolves around favorite sections of road, close calls, heel-toeing, and epic saves. Some head back to the hotel, and others make their way to a local pub to continue recapping the day. Sunday may be just another day for those who live in the area, but for BMT participants, it’s another chance to enjoy their cars. Some sleep in that morning, and others wake and gather for breakfast in the hotel. For most, the fun then continues as various groups revisit a few of Saturday’s roads on their way out of the Boston Mountains. Some even retrace Friday’s route, completing three full days of driving excitement. While the fun factor may lessen with more distance from the mountains, the eagerness for the next BMT builds. The six month wait for the next Boston Mountain Tour feels entirely too long. For more BMT photos, visit www.landrethphotography.com. View the full article
  25. Snowpocalypse, snowmagedden, snowcain infiltration, or whatever you want to call it, we’ve had quite the winter this year in North Texas. With only one set of tires on my Infiniti G35 and those being fairly sticky, summer tires, you might imagine my hesitation to drive it in the snow and ice. So while it has been at or near single digit temperatures, she stayed in the garage at a pleasant fifty or sixty degrees. The Explorer has served us well in the snow when we needed out. However, I couldn’t help but think how pretty the Twilight Blue paint would look in the snow. So she rolled out one afternoon, and now I know. Take a look. Click for the full gallery. View the full article