2009 Tokyo Motor Show
From an enthusiast's point of view, perusing the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show was about as exciting as shopping for a new washer and dryer. Sure, there were lots of new technology floating about, but instead of hp and zero-to-sixty times, it was all about mpg and zero emissions, equating to a future crop of cars less about fun times. But amongst all the dark, green-colored muck, a few OEs understood that not all consumers want their cars to have the soul of an appliance.
The Shogun of AWD, Subaru introduced the STI Carbon and Exiga 2.0GT, tuned by STI. No overly ambitious eco-technology masked as marketing statements here, just plain ol' turbocharged goodness, wrapped with a healthy dose of sportiness. And if that wasn't counter-establishment enough, Subaru proudly displayed the Legacy B4 GT300 racecar and Hybrid Tourer concept-bless their flat hearts. In a not-so-shocking revelation, Lexus debuted the long-overdue LFA, along with the very shocking news of its near-$400k sticker price. Lexus' more practical brother showed the eagerly anticipated Hachi-Roku heir with the FT-86, and Honda the CR-X's offspring: the CR-Z.
Japanese Classic Car Show
For the fifth time in as many years, the Japanese Classic Car Show recently took to the grassy knolls of Irvine, CA's Hidden Valley park for one of the largest gatherings of pre-'86-model Japanese autos, and proved itself as a show where anything goes. Showroom-stock restored rides shared ground with swapped and flared utilitarian roadsters and drift machines; owners of 86hp, three-cylinder vintage Hondas mingled with those of 1UZ-swapped Corollas; and twin-turbocharged, 2.6L fuel-injected 240Zs could be found next to their RHD, carbureted, L28-powered brethren. Awards were handed out in too many categories to count, but our picks were Robert Gallagher who traveled the farthest to the show from Mechanicsburg, PA, Frenchy Dehoux's Oldest in Show 1958 Crown 3RC, and Mark Still for his ladder-frame, V-8-swapped, flared and generally ratted-out '75 Corolla. That last one won no awards-we just think it's badass that it was driven to the show, wooden firewall and all!
Travis Pastrana Is Gonna Do What?!
As if attempting-and landing-the world's first freestyle motocross double backflip in competition as the entire world watched, winning nine X Games gold medals and jumping out of a plane without a parachute weren't thrill enough for Adrenaline-Junky-of-the-Century Travis Pastrana, he's got a new challenge: breaking the 171-foot record for the world's longest car jump. And he's planning to do it by driving his Subaru STI rally car (Sept. '09 2NR) off Long Beach, CA's Pine Street Pier, landing onto a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean, on New Year's Eve, live on ESPN/ESPN HD. Come hang out with us at Shoreline Village if you're in town, or tune in to Red Bull: New Year, No Limits on December 31st for live coverage, beginning at 11 p.m. PST. Use those wings, homie!
Tricks Of The Trade Helping You Wrench
DIY Coolant System Flush
Lime and mineral deposits can build up over time inside a radiator, clogging a vehicle's cooling system and causing its engine to overheat. But there's a quick and cost-effective way to flush your radiator by using white vinegar sold at any grocery store. Begin by draining the car's entire cooling system, then refill the radiator with a gallon of white distilled vinegar, making sure to top off the remaining cooling system with water, then idle the engine until it reaches normal operating temperatures. Turn the engine off and let the car cool for no more than three hours before thoroughly flushing the cooling system with water. Vinegar is a mild acid that's safe for human consumption, but strong enough to dissolve those white deposits you can see floating around in your coolant. Vinegar is environmentally safe, so you don't have to be too cautious when draining, but please, make sure to dispose of used coolant responsibly.
Scion Night @ Knott's
For the sixth consecutive year, Scion enthusiasts gathered at Buena Park, CA's Knott's Berry farm, forming the single largest gathering of Scion owners in the country. Which, by default, also makes it the largest in the world. This year, Knott's and Scion paired up to close the park to everyone but Scion owners, and admission was free with the donation of one $10 toy to Toys for Tots. Of the nearly 12,000 enthusiasts in attendance, we managed to catch up with Mike Ma and his 3S-swapped xD, Mattyrattypoo and his boosted orange xB with matching fixie, a party sporting Jeri Lee and friends, and a few thus-far unseen rides we're keeping tabs on. Special shouts go to Team Fuscion for the carney antics, Scion Evolution for the girls, and of course, Scion, for putting the whole thing together.
In hybrid news, plug-in hybrid slingers Fisker Automotive recently came up on more than half a billion dollars, courtesy of the US Department of Energy, to help create what the company is hailing as "affordable, fuel-efficient, plug-in hybrid electric cars," slated to retail to the general public as early as the '12 model year with 100 mpg efficiency and MSRPs competitive with traditional gasoline-powered alternatives. The $528.7 million loan is part of the DOE's $25 billion Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, penned by Congress late last year to help promote development of energy-efficient vehicles-a pie of which long-time electric car maker Zap is rumored to also have gotten a substantial piece. What we want to know: who's going to be the first to make one run 10s, drift the bank at Irwindale, or lap Buttonwillow in under 1:50?
Mobile Electronics Training
Does it seem like, despite the rough economic climate, the rich just continue to get richer while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet? Looking for a way to use your talents to turn the tables and get your just dues? Look no further than mobile electronics, a purportedly recession-proof industry in need of manpower. Metro Auto Electronics Training Institute can give you the training you're looking for, and even offers federal financial aid, government assistance, Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and more, for the talented yet particularly cash-strapped among us.
Team Hybrid Turns 15
California's most predominant import car club celebrates 15 years atop the show tier this year, on the heels of its recent Best Team Overall win at the past Nisei Showoff. January 7th, 2010 will mark the date when, a decade and a half earlier, president James Lin founded the club among friends in his local Oxnard, CA, import car scene. Think about what you were doing to your ride back in '95 (if you were old enough to drive then)-we're going to venture a guess that whatever it was, it wasn't as cutting edge as what James and co. were doing to theirs. Not that we doubt the legit status of any 2NR reader . . . we just know you wouldn't dare call James any less than a true O.G. to his face! It was an honor to have them rep our 10-year party last year; hey James, our invites to yours are in the mail, right?
By The Numbers
The total amount of miles traveled by cover car owner Alex Witkin, while showing his WRX during the '07-'08 seasons.