What the OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car is Really About

It all began at the SEMA show in 2004 or 2005.  OPTIMA’s Director of Product Development and Marketing, Cam Douglass, was in awe of all of the pro-built cars being shown, and couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to these cars than just having brand name parts and looking cool.

It took him a few years of talking to people and a whole lot of planning, but then Douglass met Jimi Day, and the idea became a reality.  It went from the SEMA show floor to the nearby track, Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch.

As expected, Pro-Touring cars were all over the headlines.  I mean, how could they not be when iconic cars like RJ Gottlieb’s Big Red Camaro and Steven Rupp’s Bad Penny Camaro were competing?  In fact, they continued to grab headlines because Gottlieb and Rupp were more than willing to push both themselves and their cars to the absolute limit.

In the first year alone of OUSCI (OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational), there were some well-performing cars in the field.  There was a 2004 Porsche 911, a brand-new Pontiac G8, a Lincoln MKX of all things, a new Dodge Challenger, and several late-model Corvettes.

Why such a diverse field of cars?  Because otherwise, how would you determine what the “ultimate” street car really was?  The whole point of OUSCI is to see if SEMA show cars could perform as well on the track as they could look good at a show.  There never were, and never will be limitations on the year, make, model, or build style of the cars. Otherwise there would be no real valid way to determine whether the winner was the ultimate street car.

The OUSCI field is the most diverse it has ever been, with cars like Jonathan Ward’s 1948 Buick ICON Special to Dieter Heinz-Kijora’s 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, and more than 100 cars in between those extremes.  Yes, Pro-Touring cars are still a big part of the mix, but anybody who owns a street-legal car or truck has a chance at getting to the invitational.  Just ask Thomas Smith about his 120,000 mile daily-driven 2005 Subaru WRX STI.

If you’re interested in going to a qualifying event to just watch, or to try and get to the invitational, they happen all over the country.  I’ve attached a link for you, where you can register for a qualifying event if you’re interested at http://driveusca.com/events/

Every vehicle that makes the cut is placed on display at SEMA for a week, before heading out to the OUSCI at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

This is 2010 OUSCI competitor Mike Musto's 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona replica.  He's a host for the /DRIVE network on YouTube, which I highly recommend, and this is one of the coolest cars I've ever seen.
This is 2010 OUSCI competitor Mike Musto’s 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona replica. He’s a host for the /DRIVE network on YouTube, which I highly recommend, and this is one of the coolest cars I’ve ever seen.
This is just a beautiful picture from Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  It was taken at the end of the 2014 OUSCI.
This is just a beautiful picture from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was taken at the end of the 2014 OUSCI.
This is Bob Benson's totally cool 1972 De Tomaso Pantera from the  2013 OUSCI.  It's just epic looking, isn't it?
This is Bob Benson’s totally cool 1972 De Tomaso Pantera from the 2013 OUSCI. It’s just epic looking, isn’t it?

 

The Best Ads of 2013 (and 2014!)

2013 was a great year for many of us auto enthusiasts, and the automakers were great in their ads.  I’d like to share my favorite ads of 2013 with you.  I also found a couple of good ads during the Super Bowl, so those are included for your viewing enjoyment!  Enjoy!

Mercedes Benz Chicken Ad:  Mercedes-Benz is right up there with Volvo in terms of how amazing their safety tech, as well as other features is.  To demonstrate just how good the Magic Body Control (don’t ask, I don’t know the answer!) system is, Mercedes-Benz used a chicken.  Yes, a real, living chicken!  For those of you who don’t know what Magic Body Control is, Magic Body Control is a fancy name for a high-tech suspension system.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfgBA8Iw9C8

Jaguar Eats Chicken Jaguar USA Ad:  In an obvious thumbing of its nose to Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar shot a laugh-out-loud ad of a chicken being moved around by a Mercedes-Benz engineer dancing around to some groovy music.  The chicken gets eaten by a real-life Jaguar.  Not the car, mind you.  The Jaguar from the jungles of South America.  If that grosses you out, there’s no blood, just a LOT of feathers, and one really unhappy Mercedes-Benz engineer…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAgJVIC9QSw

I couldn’t find the Mercedes-Benz ad that made fun of Jaguar.  It’s a shame, because it was a very funny commercial.  It showed a 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 going along a dusty jungle road at night, when the S550 brakes to a stop.  As the S550 is stopping, the camera focuses on a jaguar (the jungle animal) running across the road, directly in front of the S550.  The S550 has a night-vision feature, which shows the jaguar bounding across the road…directly into a tree.  The Mercedes-Benz punchline?  Cat-like reflexes? We prefer Pre-Safe Braking.  If you can find this ad, please post the link to the commercial in the comments section so that other readers can enjoy it.

Kia Sorento How Babies are Born Ad:  This cute ad from Super Bowl XLVIII somehow showcases the Kia Sorento.  I don’t get how either.  But, it’s a cute commercial, and I think that you’ll enjoy it.  It shows a LOT of babies, and it’s got lots of clever CGI.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4uW4lNjW4g

Volkswagen How Volkswagen Engineers Get Their Wings Ad:  Volkswagen was pretty clever with this commercial.  It makes people laugh as Volkswagen engineers get wings.  Volkswagen used to be clever…and funny in the 1960s with their commercials, and it seems like they’ve found their clever and funny bones again.  Volkswagen engineers grow wings, and at the end, one farts a rainbow.  When you’re done laughing, watch the ad. This ad is from Super Bown XLVIIII…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns-p0BdUB5o

Chrysler 200 Bob Dylan Ad:  This ad from Super Bowl XLVIIII showcases Bob Dylan and the stylish 2015 Chrysler 200.  It has great footage, and some cool vintage footage of Dylan back in the day.  As Bob Dylan said in the commercial, “Let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland build your watches, let Asia assemble your phones.  We’ll build your cars.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlSn8Isv-3M

Hyundai Santa Fe Every Boy’s Dream Team Ad:  This commercial is a nice one.  It’s got boys of all sizes, ages, and races jammed into it, and I like the vibe of this commercial.  While I don’t get how it showcases the Santa Fe, I still like this commercial.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlSn8Isv-3M

That’s all that I have for you, but I think that this should be enough for you.  If you have any that you’d like to have others see, please post them in the comments section.  I’ll watch them!