What Expensive Rides Do You See Around Town?

Even though the global economy is still in the toilet, those wealthy enough to buy expensive cars are certainly, er, flaunting their wealthiness (don’t you love it whenI make up new words?!).  What new big-buck cars have you seen down in your neck of the woods?  Let’s call “expensive” more than $50,000.

Up in my neck of the woods, our next-door neighbor has a brand-new Audi A6.  I’ve also seen a lot of heavy-duty pickups.  Our local fire station (make that two or three) recently took ownership of a Ford F250 (great use of tax dollars!) SuperCab with the diesel engine, four-wheel-drive, and a LEATHER interior!  Seriously, firefighters must have sensitive butts…

So while Europe is a worry, and while they say that the US economy is picking up, the wealthy are shopping.  What’s around in your neck of the woods (so to speak).  That’s it for me, but you might have better eyes than mine.

What’s Your Worst Driving Experience?

I know that I don’t have my learner’s permit yet, but our John Deere L110 tractor is a lot of fun to practice towing and mowing and driving with.  I’ve had a few, er, experiences that I hope other drivers (of cars and tractors) will take notice of:

One day, I was towing our trailer that we use for the tractor to haul firewood from our property to our house.  I didn’t realize that I’d need to cut a big hole in the fence to get through (oops!).  I decided to turn around.  I thought I’d make it (the tractor literally turns on a dime).  The trailer disagreed.  I was stuck against our gigantic rock pile and our fence.  I was jackknifed.  I got off the tractor and got my dad.  We ended up taking the tailgate off the trailer and literally picking it up and moving it!

Another time, I was mowing for our neighbors and they have a very large field in front of their house.  I didn’t see the ditch in between the driveway and the field.  I was going about six or seven miles an hour when I went down in the ditch and came flying out of it on one wheel (I thought that I was going to flip!).  I landed and almost fell off (I was sitting).  The tractor has a seat sensor that automatically turns off the engine if there is no pressure on the seat, or if there is too much pressure on the seat.  I came down onto the seat with so much force that the pin that disengages the drivetrain popped out.  The tractor stalled.  My butt hurt.  I then pushed the pin back in, restarted the tractor, and started mowing.  Ouch.  If you don’t believe me, ask the blown seat springs on the tractor…

Care to share your bad driving experience?  Don’t be shy, let it fly (almost literally!).

Out ‘N About!

As I promised, here are two classic rides from my neck of the woods:

I know that the Pontiac convertible is a 1962 Tempest Convertible.  It has the big ol’ 389 cubic-inch V8 and the automatic slushbox transmission.

I do not know what year the lovely Ford F1 is, but I do know that it is the first generation of the Ford F-Series.

Do You Ever Get Tired of the Car You Drive?

I don’t know if I’ll get tired of the car that I’ll be driving, but chances are extremely likely that I will.  Of course, the thrill of driving a new car, or a newly acquired used car will wear off over time.  Even if you drove a Porsche 911 every day, you’d eventually pine for something newer and more different to drive.  Do you have dreams of the isolation of a Cadillac Deville?  Do you wish for a big boy’s car like a Chevy Camaro ZL1?  Or, are you okay with what you drive?  It IS okay to drive whatever you drive, but have dreams of driving a Pagani Huayra through Argentina?  Tell me what your dream car is!

Guess what my dream car is.  It’s been featured on my blog.

Out N’ About

Sonoma County has a thriving community of people who like classic cars.  Here’s some lovely old iron:

I’m not sure what year the F250 is, but it looks like it still earns it’s keep.  The Plymouth Business Coupe sits there and collects stares.

Every Friday, I will put up Out N’ About pictures for you to gawk at.  I think this will be a fun series.

Ten Vehicles That You Should Find When the Apocalypse Happens

1:  2007 VW Touareg V10 TDI.  It may not be in production, but it IS still strong enough to pull a 747 out of the way!  That means it shouldn’t be TOO hard to tow that huge tank of diesel fuel back to your compound.  

2:  1959 Daimler “Ferret” Armored Car.  It’s list of “amenities” is kind of short:  A Brown “dummy” machine gun, smoke grenade launchers, periscopes, tents, canteens, and a 4.3 liter six-cylinder engine shared with various Rolls-Royce and Bentleys.  That should make your search for parts about as easy as finding a diamond in a pig trough!  Daimler Ferret Mk1 Liaison

3:  2007 Cool Amphibious Manufacturers Terra Wind RV.  Noah would be jealous of this monster.  At 43 feet long, parking this behemoth in the compound should be a bit more than exciting.  It also weighs almost 16 tons.  A massive 330 horsepower Caterpillar engine drives the rear two axles or the twin 19-inch bronze propellors.  You can catch fish from the roof, and eat in front of the 42 inch plasma TV while watching “Die Hard.”

4:  2007 Hummer H2.  Though it may weigh 6500 pounds and be clad in plastic, GM got the off-road formula pretty much perfect (for once).  If your compound happens to have a Chevron station and/or an oil well, you’ll be covered.

Hummer h2

5:  2012 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG.  The Gendelwagen is basically a gussied-up German Army scout vehicle.  Though it may have a leather interior, that doesn’t stop it from scaling hills up to 40 degrees.  That means you can scale the Great Pyramid…

2009 mercedes benz g55 amg 8

6:  2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser.  This is the last model year for the FJ, and the best year to get one.  Why?  A sturdy 258 horsepower 4.0 liter V6 will get better fuel economy than that G55 of yours, but will climb angles of up to 45 degrees.  Perfect for climbing over that Corolla in your way…Toyota FJ CRUISER Review-4

7:  E.V.A Track 800 CDi.  This is one AWESOME motorcycle.  It has a diesel engine borrowed from a Smart car.  While other post-apocalyptic survivors are killing each other over the Earth’s oil reserves, you can fill up from any McDonald’s.  With 20,000 (and counting) McDonald’s locations in North America, filling up shouldn’t be too hard.  Plus, you can achieve up to 100 mpg.

8:  DAF 95 Turbotwin X1.  This truck is just about the scariest truck to ever race the Paris-Dakar rally.  With two turbocharged 11.6 liter engines EACh producing 1200 horsepower and 3466 lb-ft of torque.  Add that together and you’ll have 2400 horsepower and nearly 7000 lb-ft of torque.  Plus, the body is a simple aluminum/carbon fiber spaceframe.  That will take you all the way to 150 mph.  I recommend going that fast when you are being chased by another survivor…This truck is about as diabolical a truck as you’ll ever see.

9:  1990 Bentley Turbo R (Armored, of course).  I know that when you start out, you’ll be speeding along over the decaying bodies of the former owner of your compound.  But, when you have your own Barterville, you will probably be known as “Machete the Terrible.”  You will need a car to take care of your opponents.  The Bentley Turbo R (armored version) will take care of most mines, light firearms, shotguns, grenades, and the like.  This means that you can be comforted in white Connolly leather, while mowing down your opponents.

a photo of this vehicle

10:  2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (four door).  Nobody can crawl over rocks like a Jeep.  Nobody.  The Jeep Rubicon has Chrysler’s new Pentastar V6 that cranks out 290 horsepower.  Since there are four doors in this monster, the Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited is perfect for a little “shopping run.”  Plus, it hasn’t changed very much since 1944.  That should be very helpful when scavenging for parts.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2011-6

I know that I promised to only blab on about ten vehicles, but the Oshkosh MRAP is the perfect post-apocalyptic survival vehicle.  Grenade launchers and machine guns can be attached.

MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV).  Photo:  Oshkosh Corporation

Also, the Critter Gitter is pretty nice for puttering around the compound.  With it’s massive 8.1 liter Vortec engine pumping out 300 horsepower, it’s more like FLYING around the compound…

For Those Who Don’t Want A Jeep…

The new Subaru Impreza XV Crosstrek is a very good car.  It has utility, looks, and a bit of power to match.  This car isn’t normal.  But then again, Subaru’s aren’t.  This Subie is no exception to the Subaru formula.

The XV stands out.  How?  The blacked-out 17-inch aluminum wheels look like the car just came out of an aftermarket wheel/tire shop.  The 8.7 inches of ground clearance scream “Don’t follow me!”  The glass is tinted a dark gray (screaming I just came out of a cheap aftermarket shop!), and the standard roof rack is a finishing touch.  This car is telling you that it is a fashion statement in the automotive world, and it REALLY loves dirt!  When you park it next to it’s barely older sibling, it makes its sibling look almost bland.  Even though they have the same transmission (a five-speed manual or a CVT) and the same engine (a 148 horsepower, 145 lb-ft 2.0 liter Boxer four cylinder), they are wholly different cars.

The XV isn’t all looks – it’s got capability to match.  Incline Start Assist is standard (for those of you who stop on hills), and Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive is also standard.  With Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive, the viscous-coupling locking center differential helps put the ponies in the right place.  One should know that getting everything out of the car does require you driving the car like you stole it.  Why?  The smallish Boxer engine barely gets the job done in the heavier XV, with a 0-60 time of 8.8 seconds (six ticks faster than the lighter Impreza 2.0i Premium).  Stopping from 60-0 mph takes a fair 122 feet (the 2.0i Premium does it in 120 feet).  Also, a larger 15.9 gallon gas tank helps take the car up to 350 miles before a fill up).  But, fuel economy drops down a bit to 23/30 city/highway.

Driving on paved areas yields a firm, yet extremely controllable ride.  It’s not at all uncomfortable though.  Even though the lifted independent suspension looks like the car would ride like a Jeep, bumps are soaked up surprisingly well.  However, don’t be surprised when going into a corner with some zoom – controllable body roll will happen!

Plus, the Subaru Impreza XV Crosstrek is cheap – it is a mere $22, 790.

The Best Advertisement on Paper!

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Scott Devon and his small company that made a few custom-built Dodge Vipers back in 2010.  Too bad if you didn’t hear of them.  They were awesome, truly. They don’t custom-build Vipers anymore, but they DO have a small store in Beverly Hills where they sell:  Devon leather jackets, jeans, eyewear, watches, scents, and other Devon apparel.  A motorcycle is out, but costs well above $100,000. But, I wanted to share with you the advertisement from 2010 of the Devon GTX.  Enjoy:

The Devon GTX: The Art of Speed

Behold the 2010 Devon GTX: boasting world-class performance prowess, it is an illustrious super car for the ages, an iconic modern classic in the making.  With a stiff, lightweight body utilizing a carbon fiber-based structure; the Devon GTX is where ultimate form meets ultimate function – a study in achieving power and prestige.

Conceived by the visionaries at Devon Motorworks, the GTX encapsulates the clarity and elegance of a Mies van der Rhoe architectural creation and the provocative lines of a Henry Moore sculpture-bodies of work that have profoundly influenced company founder and namesake Scott Devon.  “It’s a car everybody put talent and emotion behind to create – a modern classic that will stand the test of time,” says Devon.  An able-bodied automobile defined by an unparalleled  aesthetic has come to fruition in a record time – in a record time – in a mere 24 months of development, the next American supercar has evolved from concept to reality.

The Power of Precision

The numbers scream of the Devon GTX’s deft ability, further validated by its production car lap record at America’s Famed Laguna Seca Raceway.  With a V-10 engine that produces 650 horsepower at 6100 RPM, performance is ultimately enhanced by optimally refined airflow, exhaust and headers, massive 380-mm front and 355-mm rear rotors.  The GTX’s six-speed manual transmission engages prompt respons from the deep-skirted, 10-cylinder aluminum engine block.  The perfectly pitched exhaust note is low and smooth, symphonic music to the driver’s ear.

Design of Distinction

In form, the GTX is breathtaking – a balanced blend of sweeping architecture and seamless structure.  Each vehicle is coach-built to specification with meticulous attention to detail.  Superior materials define the content- the highest quality carbon fiber, chrome inlays and fine leather.  Yet, the strategic placement of metals is strictly guided by minimalist principles.  In the artistic tradition of Mondrian, what abounds is an efficient and exquisite balance of taste and sparse line work.  The front and rear overhangs subtly cling to the body.  Tactile elements represent a wholehearted strength that resonates with emotion.  Two-tone wheels speak visual volumes about the machine’s agility and are fitted against Michelin Sport Cup (R) tires.

A dual center rear exit chrome exhaust is a controlled study in perfect design and engineering application.  Sloping lines cue the romantic heritage of American motor sports. The GTX interior, a continuum of the exterior’s design lexicon, is framed by a jewel inspired dashboard and accentuated by the capable technology of McIntosh displays and surround-sound speakers, ampmeter and sub-woofers.  A white shifter knob reflects against the piano-black surface of the finished gearbox.  Carbon fiber-reinforced racing seats are lined with chrome trim, with the option of six-point racing harnesses, and are outfitted with stiff performance durometer seats and bolsters.  Dual-grained leather surfacing throughout and a leather-wrapped steering wheel create distinctive style ofest by polished aluminum parts.

Southern California, with its historical relevance to the golden years of American car culture, provides the perfect setting for Devon’s growing business.  Only 36 limited edition bespoke vehicles will be produced each year, making the GTX a truly unique collector’s item.  The company plans to introduce more cars, motorcycles, watches, and other enthusiast-related products that span across the spectrum of the elite to the accessible.  The GTX is the blueprint, establishing a benchmark for the Devon Motorworks brand.

And another startup pretty much bites the dust.  Just 30 Devon GTX’s were actually made, because the Dodge Viper took a two year nap.  What a lot of advertising noise.


Editorial Note: The writer of this blog (okay, Candler) had an entry ready for posting on Saturday.  Unfortunately, the top manager and editor (okay, mom) neglected her duties in proofreading.  Unfortunately, proofreading in a timely manner seems to be a skill she needs to address (along with sending birthday cards in a timely manner).  My humble and sincere apologies.