The Bentley Continental GT3-R is the Car that Embodies the Bentley Spirit

The Bentley brothers envisioned a grand touring car that had all of the bells and whistles, yet could pack a walloping punch against any other car on the road. The 2015 Bentley Continental GT3-R checks each and every one of those boxes. Here’s why:

The car is big, luxurious, powerful, and faster than a car it’s size should be. It’s a bit like watching a Clydesdale winning the Kentucky Derby. It’s big and ungainly, but it gets the job done quickly. It’s insanely loud. It will shame most cars on just about any paved road. It’s also incredibly comfortable.

The car is so loud that Motor Trend got in trouble at two race tracks when they tested it. Yes, two race tracks. In a Bentley. But the exhaust note is addictive.

The Bentley brothers envisioned a car that could cover vast amounts of land at high speeds, but keeping the occupants in the lap of luxury. The Continental GT3-R is the perfect embodiment of that vision.

It’s a very large car, but the way it drives, you wouldn’t think it would. I’m going to drop a video that Motor Trend did on it a while back for you.

The Best Supercars of the 1990s!

The 1990s was the time when performance cars really started to get that oomph back. The supercars of that era still have jaw-dropping performance, and their designs are some of the most beautiful to ever howl and thunder their way down our roads.

They had no environmental restrictions, and they were the pure intent of the designer and engineers. These are the ones I view as the best.

  • 1993 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport: The predecessor to the legendary Bugatti Veyron, the EB110 Super Sport was capable of 216 mph, which is still a blistering speed. Yet, it had a comfortable and luxurious interior. Oh, and it had a quad-turbo V12.
  • 1998 Dodge Viper: Dodge’s Viper was a formidable car to begin with. However, it didn’t really compete with any of the European supercars. That changed pretty quickly when Dodge shoehorned a massive 8.0-liter V10 under the hood. It made 450 horsepower and topped out at 180 mph. It wasn’t as fast as the EB110 Super Sport, but it was much faster on a race track or winding road.
  • 1995 Ferrari F50: The F50 was slower than the legendary F40. It was the successor to the F40 and the predecessor to the Enzo. However, it was still incredibly fast and rare, with only 349 built.
  • 1990 Jaguar XJR-15: This was the world’s first completely carbon-fiber car. Jaguar only built 53 examples of this car. It had a 450 horsepower V12.
  • 1992 Jaguar XJ220: This Jaguar was one wild child. It had a 540 horsepower twin-turbo V6. It was the fastest car in the world in 1992, topping out at 212 mph. The McLaren F1 beat it in 1993.
  • 1993 Lamborghini Diablo VT: The Diablo VT could reach speeds over 200 mph. It was the first AWD halo Lamborghini. It’s also a car that many people have as their screen savers!
  • 1996 Lotus Esprit V8: The Esprit V8 was in that weird space between high-end sports car and supercar. It had a twin-turbo V8 that made 350 horsepower. It put the power to the ground via a five-speed manual. It was also the first all-aluminum Lotus design. Oh, and you can look like James Bond (providing the car runs)!
  • 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR: This was more race car than street car. It made 604 horsepower out of a V12. Does it look expensive to you? It should. The Guinness Book of World Records pegged it as the most expensive car in the world in 1999, at a cool $1,547,620.
  • 1993 McLaren F1: The world’s only three seat supercar, the McLaren F1. It made 627 horsepower out of a BMW V12. It was the fastest car in the world from 1993-2005. It’s top speed is a crazy 240.1 mph. The car that beat it was the Bugatti Veyron, which just so happened to beat it’s own record a few years ago.
  • 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion: “Strassenversion” means “street version” in German. This Porsche made 537 horsepower from a 3.2-liter twin turbo flat six cylinder engine. There are about 25 that exist worldwide. Do the math. You’ll likely never see one. You’ve also probably never heard of it.

Well, those are what I think are the best supercars of the 1990s. Tell me what you think!

I’m having technical difficulties with WordPress and photos. I will resolve the problem as soon as I can, but you are going to be without pictures until then.

The Horrible Car TV Formula

I can easily say that I’m a very car-obsessed 17-year-old. I’m usually found drooling over pictures of cars I can only dream of affording or watching video reviews of said cars. Like most of my peers, I find fart jokes quite refreshing, pun intended. I’m in that demographic that networks really desire when they launch a new automotive show. Why is it, then, that I’d rather sit down and watch NCIS?

The phrase that really describes the ability to capture something truly unique is “lightning in a bottle.” It also means that the person who captures that magic has no idea how to do it again.

This is the inherent problem with network executives. They could take chances and introduce new genres, take chances that pop up out of the blue, but no. They know that we as a public are creatures of habit that will binge-watch something that barely hits a few pleasure centers.

If you remember “Survivor,” then you know what I’m talking about. The network executives went out on a limb. It turned out to be a smashing success.

Want to know why TMZ exists? Watch an episode of “My 600-lb Life.” But seriously, don’t. The ability to derive pleasure from others’ misfortune is the sole reason that we turn on the TV and watch stupid shows like that. Shows like “WorldStarHipHop” make money rain like tequila in a Mexican bar.

The horrible part about all of this is that it’s migrated to car shows. Oh, joy of joys. If you have ever watched an episode of the Discovery channel smash hit “Fast N Loud,” you’re a glutton for punishment. You’ll notice several things first and foremost:

  • To introduce each and every character that portrays a one-dimensional stereotype.
  • Manufacture as much drama as possible.

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, this is a synopsis of EVERY episode:

  • Richard Rawlings, the owner of Gas Monkey Garage, gets a tip about some car worth $25,000 that’s been sitting in a field for the past 20 years. He goes to check out the car.
  • Quickly cut to an interview with Rawlings in the studio, where he recalls what he’s doing in real time just so we can’t possibly get confused.
  • Rawlings arrives at the property where the car is. Makes a fuss about the price of said car. Buys the car for $1,500 plus Gas Monkey Garage t-shirts and Gas Monkey Garage tequila (yeah!).
  • Cut again to Rawlings in the studio, where he recalls what we’ve just seen in case we got confused.
  • Some filthy rich college buddy of Richard’s makes an arbitrary $500,000 bet to make said $1,500 car a clone of the car that was in a movie in which all of the actors are dead of drugs, alcohol, old age, or some combination of those.
  • Richard has 24 hours to build the car, and that includes delivering it to the middle of nowhere Australia along with American moonshine.
  • Cut to Rawlings in the studio recapping that.
  • Richard gathers the crew and gives a pep talk about how he will sell his body to science if this build isn’t on budget and on time. THEY MUST NOT SCREW UP!
  • Parts don’t fit, one of the mechanics quits, the car won’t start, everyone at the shop takes the day off for no apparent reason, all of the above.
  • 10 minute commercial break.
  • Five minute commercial break sponsored by Dodge!
  • Remember all of that drama in the third act of the show? Forget it. The car is done, the crew has practiced a skit, but there are no actors, just Gas Monkey Garage employees.
  • Richard meets with rich college buddy. They both get immeasurably drunk, yet Rawlings is still all there.
  • Richard receives the $500,000 in cash. The car is visibly rough and thrown together to anybody who knows anything about cars. Rawlings does a burnout because burnouts equal equality. They celebrate at Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, brought to you by Dodge!
  • Cut to interview with Rawlings in the studio, recalling what we’ve just seen in real time in case we get confused.
  • Repeat for next episode.

“Mobsteel” is an unabashed clone of “Gas Monkey Garage.” It’s relegated to the Velocity network, which tries it’s worst to make the joy of car ownership as exciting as getting an endoscopy.

It prides itself on the “scripted reality first” bandwagon by introducing each and every character first. This feat takes a monumental 13 minutes. That’s right. No car work is mentioned for the first 13 minutes of a 45 minute show! Yeah, that makes perfect sense, right?

Allow me to tell you what’s in those first 13 minutes: the company’s hierarchy. It’s comprised of the wide-eyed owner, his stern wife who deals with the finances, the mechanics who all have one specific task to do, and the customers who have the appeal of a rotting eggplant.

The sole reason that shows like this exist is that they appeal to people who think that custom cars are just another toy for the wealthy. However, the truth is, you don’t need a big budget to make a cool custom car. You can build one for under $15,000 if you are a careful Craigslist and eBay bidder and buyer.

Those same people would also experience a guilty thrill watching the shop literally and metaphorically crash and burn for missing a deadline or producing a sub-par car. They stick around to the end of the show because that’s when the big suspenseful reveal happens.

I will freely admit that those shows do have entertainment value for those who know nothing about cars, it comes at the cost of the often very, uh, interesting vehicle choices that these shops build. Instead, we get great slow motion shots of the mechanics grinding down metal stock for no reason. Oh goodie!

NBCSN, the parent company of Velocity, said that nearly one million folks tuned into the first episode of Mobsteel. It’s certainly a ringing endorsement for this formula, even if it does fall short of “Survivor” and “Glee.”

Why is it then, that I feel like there’s no appeal for automotive enthusiasts on these shows? How can we solve this problem? I can answer the second question easily: go onto YouTube and look up “Roadkill” and “Hot Rod Garage.” They are both entertaining, and are meant to fill that gap. They do that well.

How do I answer the first question? The shows that truly cater to automotive enthusiasts are far and few between, and many are discontinued. “Top Gear” worked solely because of the chemistry between the hosts. NOT the chemistry between the hosts and producers, as evidenced by Jeremy Clarkson’s insane attack on an elderly producer over a hamburger. Yes, a hamburger. It held a special place in my heart because it maintained an emphasis on the love of cars. The cars chosen in each episode told a necessary story, and were just as legendary as their drivers. That’s what Mobsteel and Gas Monkey Garage are sorely lacking.

I’ll hedge a bet that other car nuts like myself echo this sentiment. The shows – the really GOOD shows – are far and few between. They show the love and passion for the automobile, not the love and passion for money like Gas Monkey Garage.

What is the reason that “Wheeler Dealers” is so popular then? It’s only got a modicum of success, but it’s got a massive repeat viewership rate. I really don’t know why. Edd China is about as exciting as that third grade teacher you liked and then met 20 years later.

“Jay Leno’s Garage” is made on a very small budget relative to it’s network counterparts. The show was a YouTube special for several years. Leno recently landed it a spot on CNBC. I’ll update you on that another time. Despite his relatively small budget, Leno pulls in far more viewers than Gas Monkey Garage and Mobsteel.

Shows like Jay Leno’s Garage focus on the love and passion for the automobile, and the smoke and mirrors treated as such. Leno regularly has Hollywood stars as guests on his show, but it’s always eminently clear that they are automotive enthusiasts. In all of the years that I’ve watched his show, I can’t ever remember an episode where there was somebody completely oblivious to the car featured. There are no deadlines, no constant fighting, no manufactured drama or controversy, even though I’d love to see a slap fight between Jay Leno and Richard Rawlings.

Marty and Moog from “Mighty Car Mods” are YouTube giants. Wanna know why? Because they do DIY content and automotive builds with a million-strong audience. It’s organically grown. Any drama you see is because somebody done and screwed up.

We, as generations of automotive enthusiasts, owe it to ourselves to support the indie shows. The entertaining, somewhat educational shows. They open up new automotive experiences and viewpoints to us, but more importantly, they give us more of the automotive content we want, more of the time. How can you not like that?

Otherwise, we’ll all be watching Richard Rawlings screaming at a mechanic of his for no apparent reason other than to get more viewers. Oh, and we’ll all be wearing Gas Monkey Garage t-shirts.

Why Racing is So Dangerous

Racing is inherently dangerous. It always has been. Deaths happen. The racing community is sad for a while, but they move on after a year or so.

The tragic death of Justin Wilson, a driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series, shook the racing community. Justin used social media religiously, and many of his fans felt like family.

Social media creates an artifice of closeness. People feel like they are part of the lives of that particular driver. This makes it harder for some people to process the death of someone they felt close to. Fatalities are still very common in the racing world. It’s sad, but it’s true.

Justin Wilson was an incredibly kind, good-hearted person who deserved only the best things in life. However, every race car driver makes a deal with the devil. That deal is that you can get killed, but you’ll die doing what you love. Racing might be safer now than it was five years ago, but it’s still incredibly risky.

The recent deaths of Jules Bianchi, a young French Formula 1 driver, and Justin Wilson, the caring, charismatic British IndyCar driver, have left me wondering if the danger that served as motorsports’ earliest appeal has run its course. Do we, as an automotive enthusiast community, have the gall to handle even more deaths?

Race car drivers in the 1950s through 1970s were modern day gladiators. Part of the reason that people flocked to the races was because of the danger element. The living legends of that era are the ones that survived. Surviving might be a greater accomplishment than any of the wins or championships that they hold. People don’t seem to accept the risks of their sport like they used to. A football player in the 1950s knew that he was going to have a traumatic injury because of the lack of safety equipment.

When Dan Wheldon died in 2011, people walked around the paddock like zombies. People seem to forget that these cars are 200-plus mph death traps that can kill you at any time. People just don’t seem to comprehend it. These cars have become so safe that people have become desensitized to death, and for older race fans (baby boomer age), it’s just part of the racing routine.

Many race car drivers in the 1950s through 1970s didn’t start a family because they didn’t want to leave behind a widow or young children. If you made it to 30 as an IndyCar driver back then, it’s the equivalent of being a front-line soldier who’s been there for 20 years. It doesn’t make what happened to Justin or Jules any less painful, but I think what has happened is that the sport has become so safe that people forget how far the sport has come.

It boils down to this: the marriage of speed, humans, physics, and competition will always produce tragedies. It doesn’t matter what motorsport you compete in. It happens in every sport. Some are just very well publicized. The percentages of deaths in various motorsports may have decreased dramatically since the 1950s through 1970s, but we can’t ignore the fact that death is a foreboding cloud that follows each and every driver. It’s never accepted nor welcomed, but it’s never outside the realm of possibilities.

It’s quite possible that the worst cliche in the world is that a driver died doing something they loved. Duh. If they didn’t love it, they would be doing something else. Nobody holds a gun to their head and tells them to go drive a race car. It doesn’t work that way. They’d much rather die in bed with the spouse of their dreams, not hit a wall at 200 mph or get hit by a flying piece of debris. These drivers don’t have desk jobs.

Being a race car driver is one of the most dangerous jobs one can ask for. Yet, these drivers are at peace with the danger. If they are comfortable with it, then we should too. There’s a racer’s mentality: Racers race, then they mourn.

Yes, we all mourn the losses of Justin and Jules, and I especially mourn the tremendous losses to their families. Jules was just 25, and Justin was 37. Justin left behind a young family. That’s the thing every married racer fears: leaving behind a family.

We would be kidding ourselves if we think that motorsports will ever be 100 percent safe. It has the capability to, but it’s just like being a soldier: you willingly accept the risks associated with your job. You don’t need to fear the reaper if you become a race car driver. Just keep it in the back of your mind.

The Essential 4X4’s You Need to Own!

I could fill this list with military surplus vehicles…quite easily. Or, I could fill it with cool old dirt bikes and ATVs. However, I think these are the best 4X4’s to own before you die. They have that free range spirit, but they make your neck snap when they go by.

  • 1966-1977 Ford Bronco: I could have easily made a list of 4X4’s just in the vintage short wheelbase category. Chevy Blazers are amazing. International Scouts are awesome. Toyota Land Cruisers are a must-have. I think that the Bronco gets the nod. It has front coil suspension, optional V8, and sturdy axles. Plus, it has a lot of aftermarket support, and it is truly a great off-roader. 1966fordbroncooffroad
  • 1981-1998 Suzuki Samurai: If you are afraid to dent your early Ford Bronco, which would devastate the resale value of it, then you should get a Suzuki Samurai. Granted, some of us might not be able to fit behind the wheel of one, but if you can, you owe it to yourself to bash it. They are very inexpensive, incredibly easy to modify, and far more capable than you would think. Plus, they provide many smiles per gallon. 1981suzukisamuraioffroad
  • Deuce and a Half: No, this isn’t one and a half 1932 Fords. Rather, it’s a 2 1/2 ton military transport truck. It’s overbuilt and completely underpowered. It can also handle whatever you throw at it. The M35 Deuce and a Half is so big that it won’t fit in your driveway in the city!m35deuceandahalfoffroad
  • 12-Valve Dodge Ram: While modern diesel pickup trucks have a lot of power, and are relatively quiet, they don’t have the simplistic clatter of old diesels. The engine that started the modern diesel revolution is the Cummins 6BT. You can more than triple the power output without having to take the valve cover off! While the transmissions don’t like the sudden jump in power output, the rest of the drivetrain is stout.12valvecummins6btoffroad
  • Mercedes-Benz Unimog: The Mercedes-Benz Unimog is one of the most capable vehicles ever to head out on any trail. Why? Because it has portal axles, which move the centerline of the axlehousing higher, and have reduction boxes at both ends for even more ground clearance. Plus, they come with crawl ratios that make Toyota pickups cringe with jealousy. Another neat feature is the factory selectable locking differentials.2014mercedesbenzunimogoffroad
  • Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80: It seems that overland travel is the hot new thing nowadays. Even though it appears that it’s just accessories bolted to your vehicle and going camping, that’s not quite it. A good expedition vehicle is comfortable enough for you to drive all day, and capable enough to get over any obstacle that comes your way. The coil suspension, ladder frame and solid axles make the Land Cruiser FZJ80 my choice. Like just about every Toyota off-roader, this rig is seriously overbuilt.1995toyotalandcruiserfzj80offroad
  • Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Most of us who want a truck would probably like it to be brand new. There’s something to be said about a truck that you can finance at the dealer, is covered under warranty, and can still hit most trails. The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is probably the best vehicle for dirt-roading, and some light trail crawling. It’s a truly incredible truck. It’s got a powerful V8, Fox bypass shocks, and 35-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. There’s a thriving aftermarket for these trucks. It’s also docile enough to drive around town. It’ll be tricky in parking lots, as it’s almost as wide as a dually, but you can still park in an average parking spot. Backup cameras do wonders. 2011fordf150svtraptoroffroad
  • Chevy K1500: Any Stepside pickup from the 1970s is cool. Chevy takes the cake, and eats it too, thanks to the legendary small-block V8, beefy transmission options, and the ability to bolt in K3500 parts. Just do me a favor, and avoid modern paint jobs and big wheels. chevyk10offroad
  • Any Rock Buggy: I still haven’t driven a legitimate rock buggy, but I really want to! Many of these rock buggies are well-engineered vehicles that are years in the making. They can go over any terrain with ease.rockbuggyoffroad
  • Baja Bug: While these little VW Beetles aren’t 4WD, they have cheap thrills. They rival the Suzuki Samurai in the smiles-per-gallon department. Despite the obvious lack of power to the Ford Raptor, they can keep up with Ford’s best in the desert. Plus, they are a fraction of the price. If you want more power, you can easily bolt on a turbocharger, fuel injection, or simply do a stroke kit. bajabugoffroad
  • Land Rover Defender 110: This is proof that the grass is always greener on the other side. Make it diesel with an air of luxury, and a storied history,and we only want it more. This is why I would choose the long-wheelbase Land Rover Defender gets my nod over the Toyota Land Cruiser as a desirable import. It’s got a lot of space in it, great fuel economy, and the legendary British electrical reliability. To address that problem, you can go onto Ebay and buy a new electrical harness that simply bolts in. landroverdefender110offroad
  • Jeep CJ: If you can only get one of the vehicles on this list, get a flatfender Jeep! In fact, you should buy as many as you can. That way, you can build them in every way possible. They are truly the blank canvas of the 4WD world. You can fully restore one, make it a rockcrawler, a sand drag racer, an ice racer, a hot rod, a road racer, or a rat rod. There are never too many ways to build one. Just be careful when you build one, as there are as many ways to build one wrong as there are to build one right!1951jeepcj3aoffroad

That sums up my list of dream off-roaders. I think I should start a Kickstarter to buy all of my dream cars! What do you think Zayzee?

The Most Unlikely Off-Road Cars Ever!

Why should you buy a Jeep, a Toyota Land Cruiser, or a Subaru for off-roading pleasures when you could have one of these machines?

  1. Rolls-Royce Corniche: This car competed and finished the 1981 Paris-Dakar Rally! While it wasn’t exactly stock, it was still cool. It had a custom tube frame, a GM small-block V8, a Toyota Land Cruiser 4WD system and an 87-gallon fuel tank. It’s quite possibly the coolest Rolls-Royce ever.rollsroycecornicherallycar
  2. Bentley Continental GT Speed: This car might handle itself like a proper British touring car when celebrities and the upper elite drive it around, but when Top Gear” got their mitts on it, everything changed. They put rally driver Kris Meeke in the driver’s seat and Captain Slow (or James May) in the passenger seat. This meant that the car’s full potential was finally untapped.
  3. Aixam Mega Track: Yeah, the name is weird. They probably could have thought of a better one. Aixam built “world-famous” economy cars. Out of the blue came this monster. It was a 400 horsepower, four-seat rally/supercar/absolute beast of a car. Yes, it was unexpected, but it was a gift from God.aixammegatrack
  4. Ferrari 308 GTB: Yeah, you heard me. A Ferrari was a rally car. A very successful one at that. It made the podium 20 times at rallies across Europe in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, Ferrari’s rallying and winning shenanigans were put to an end when the FIA dissolved the legendary Group B batch of rally cars.ferrari308gtbrallycar
  5. Ford Galaxie: Anybody who has bombed down a dirt road in an old muscle car knows that they make the best rally cars. This Ford Galaxie races alongside other intensely cool old cars in the Baja peninsula. The governing body is called the National Off Road Racing Association, or NORRA. This heavily modified Ford Galaxie shows us how it does business, in a very good scary way!fordgalaxienorraracer
  6. Lotus Esprite: Yes, really. The classically-unreliable British sports car actually did a very good job off road. After watching the “Top Gear” episode where they took this car off road, I am still in awe of how well this car performs off road!lotusesprittopgear
  7. Geo Metro: Yeah, you heard me. The tiny, crappy economy car actually performs well off road. There’s a guy who actually LIVES out of the thing! Well, not living IN it, but he’s gone a lot of places in the tiny little car!geometrocampingguy
  8. Ducati 1199 Panigale TerraCorse: This motorcycle is already a great track bike, but a Ducati dealer wanted to take it a step further. He simply adjusted the stock suspension parts, swapped the tires and brakes out, gave it an amazing paint job, and fabricated a skid plate. This bike turned into a holy terror on dirt roads. Watch out BMX bikes!ducati1199panigaleterracorsa

Of course, there are many more that I could mention. However, these are some really cool unlikely off-roaders. If you’ve ever owned an unlikely off-roader that I didn’t mention, let me know in the comments section!