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Categories: Car Reviews

Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 2

On: Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 10:30AM | By: John Welch


Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 2 test 1-1

Wet, thirsty, and brimming with manic excitement, I took stock of my current situation. The race (after thirty laps) had calmed into a steady ebb and flow that saw both the Daytona Protoype and GT lead change hands two or three times. It would be a while before the strongest competitors separated themselves from the field. The Ford contingent (Mike Shank Racing, Suntrust/Wayne Taylor Racing) were hanging close to the top four, but it was becoming apparent that the Ganassi BMW/Rileys and the two Porsche flat-six powered prototypes were the class of the field.

Th rain had lessened slightly, and the cold was begininng to set in. We decided it might be a good time to visit the dark green Subaru we had left in the parking lot two hours prior. After assessing what items other people were able to get into the grandstands (backpacks, entire 18 packs of Busch, massive camera equipment) we had a decent idea of what we needed to retrieve from the lowly Legacy. It was time to accessorize, strap loose beers, and a Canon D5 to our chests, and brave the coming night . . .


Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 1

On: Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 6:02PM | By: John Welch


Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 1 test 1-1

Oh muthereffer, did I really name this article in the most cliched, laziest fashion possible? Well, sure I did, but I have my reasons. Namely, "Fear and Loathing at the Rolex 24" is the best possible way to describe the end of my January. It was insane. Period.

First, a little background. The 'Shopper Blog has been around only since September of 2009. Grand-Am (the sanctioning body that plans and executes the Rolex 24) is owned by NASCAR. Combine those two factors and you can imagine how far I got in my quest to acquire Press Accreditation. Not far. It took five calls to Daytona International Speedway just to get somebody to tell me "No!" More on the ridiculously incompetent DIS staff later . . .

So, no credentials available, I figured I would have to wait until Sebring to cut my "endurance race journalism" teeth. Enter: Jane. My better half . . .

Google Chat Transcript:

Jane: "What is that thing you wanted to go to this weekend? I can't remember what it's called"

JD: "The Rolex 24 at Daytona. SIGH."

Jane: "What exactly was 'The Rolex 24' again?"

JD: "A sports car race that runs from 3:30 in the afternoon Saturday until 3:30 Sunday."

Jane: "And you couldn't get tickets?"

JD: "Naw, stupid NASCAR doesn't believe that we are an actual 'media outlet', and the tickets I need are too expensive for the 'Shopper's budget . . ."

JD: "<<--- DEPRESSED"

Jane: "Well, don't be depressed,"

JD (whining like a two year old): "How could I not be depressed?! I wanna goooooo"

Jane: "Because I just bought us tickets . . . "

About a nanosecond after reading that statement, my brain imploded. I couldn't believe it. This is easily the kewlest grrl on the planet, and she gets me! She really gets me! Sneaky effer that I am, I neglected to mention the lack of showers, electrical outlets, and general comfort that are associated with this undertaking. Thankfully, Jane is way tougher than I am and none of that stuff bothered her.

So, got tickets, got coffee, got cigarettes, got a good night's sleep, time to brave I-4, and witness the first serious Sports Car race of the year . . .

 

UPDATE: "PorscheStag" video added at the end of the post . . .


The Best Cruiser Never Built

On: Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 6:57PM | By: Clay Ritchings


Vincent Black Eagle test 2

No one can argue the significant history of the prized Vincent Motorcycles, if fact all modern super bikes can trace their roots to the Vincent Black Shadow. The Vincents history is long and well documented in books and all over the internet. If it’s a history lesson you are looking for, well just click away now for there are far more qualified writers to cover that all over the web including many owners clubs across the globe. In fact the Vincent Owners Club is the largest single-brand motorcycle club in the world. Vincent’s are among the most desirable of motorcycling classics. A Black Lightning, in immaculate condition, can bring $125,000. What you will find here is the brief story of the rebirth of a modern legend.


NAIAS, New Models, And A Rant On Acronyms Used As Words: Ford Edition

On: Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 1:42PM | By: John Welch


NAIAS, New Models, And A Rant On Acronyms Used As Words: Ford Edition test 1-1

Ford has been on a surprising roll lately. Anyone who has spent time in a Five Hundred or Ranger recently could safely assume that the FoMoCo is dead in the water. Not the case, not even close. Allan Mullaly, Boeing-Mender extraordinaire, has lent his cost-cutting, product-consolidating skills to the Blue Oval, and in three years they have gone from also-ran to a recurring nightmare in the Toyoda house hold. (Using Toyota's proprietary hybrid technology against them; brilliant!).

So, along comes 2010 and with it the most exciting new product from Ford in a long time. A new 5.0 liter V8 (now with four-lobed bang-sticks riding in it's aluminum heads) for the Mustang, a new 6.2 for the SVT Raptor, and, most importantly (volume-wise), a new Euro-centric Focus . . . not to mention Lincoln updates and the frighteningly kewl Scorpion diesel. Mosey inside the post for all the gory details . . .


 

NAIAS, New Models, And A Rant On Grammar, GM Edition

On: Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 12:46PM | By: John Welch


NAIAS, New Models, And A Rant On Grammar, GM Edition test 1-1

America has been throwing around the word "Reveals" as if, well, it were an actual word. It isn't; stop that. There aren't any "Hawt New Reveals" coming from the North American International Auto Show, namely because there is no such thing as a "reveals". My ass is puckering just thinking about the first guy who was trying to put together a montage for a LOST commercial and decided the voice-over would include the phrase "Stay tuned this season for shocking reveals" . .. he should be shot, whoever he is. I thought "Newspeak" was the silliest concept ever, the first time I read 1984. Then I watched American televison. And I heard "melty". And I heard "reveals". And now I'm wondering if my TV is watching me while I sleep . . .

Enough of that! There are cerraazzzeee new cars coming to market, and the 'Shopper has your short list of vehicles to watch in 2010 and beyond. First up, the mighty (sic) General Motors . . .


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

On: Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 5:43PM | By: John Welch


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly test 1-1

The Buick Regal GS is as exciting as a Buick could possibly be;

Chevy Aveo RS is . . . interesting .. .

and the numbers are in: 2009 SUCKED!


Top Gear Tests The LFA; JD Installs Drool-Bucket In Cubicle

On: Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 5:54PM | By: John Welch


Top Gear Tests The LFA; JD Installs Drool-Bucket In Cubicle test 1-1

I like fast cars and I like comic strips. Combine the two and you've got me pretty smitten. Cell-shading has been used in many video games and movies to create an 'illustrated' feeling for real-life video. Top Gear has taken the idea to new heights with its review of the Lexus LFA.


BBS A Fixture At American Race Tracks

On: Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 5:06PM | By: John Welch


BBS Race Wheels test 2

Most casual fans may not think to deeply about the wheels underpinning most sports car racers. Could the fact that ninety percent of the IMSA GTP and GTO cars ran BBS wheels have anything to do with it? A casual fan couldn't tell them apart; they were all gold. In the Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties BBS dominated the European and American sports car scenes, not because their rims are prettier, but because they worked. In fact, they were, and still are, the best.


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

On: Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 3:47PM | By: John Welch


2011 Toyota Sienna test 2

Mulally and Whitacre make nice-nice;

Whitacre does not extend nice-nice to schleps within his own company;

and the new Toyota Sienna debuts, renders Venza pointless . . . or was it the other way around?


Fiesta Pricing Announced, The 'Shopper Prices Our Own

On: Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 4:41PM | By: John Welch


Ford Fiesta test 2

Aww geez, Ford went and screwed up the Fiesta. Who knows why; US crash regulations, marketing fluffery regarding fake chrome, needing to save a few pennies with a cheaper grile. Whatever the reason, Ford went and uglified the new Fiesta but-good for our (American) consumption. What was once an attractive, almost angry looking small car now has that unpleasant small-car cheapness to the front end that none of us particularly like . . . Here at the 'Shopper anyway. You might like it, but you also might be a total jerk.

So it got all goofy/cheap looking; it's still a fantastic amount of car for a (comparable) pittance. Certainly worth pricing, as it will probably occupy more than a spot or two behind the gates of the 'Shopper parking lot in years to come. Served on a platter: all the steps needed to reserve a $13 grand Fiesta for yourself, thoughtfully scewed to keep that "13" from swelling much past "17" . . .


Tampa International Auto Show Pt.2; American Companies Still Need to Execute Bean Counters

On: Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 12:41PM | By: John Welch


Tampa International Auto Show Pt.2; American Companies Still Need to Execute Bean Counters test 1-1

The first floor of the multi-tiered Tampa International Auto Show was used to showcase high-end autos and customs. Audis, Aston Martins, GLK-Convertible abortions, and so on. The real war was going on upstairs, where Chevrolet, Buick, Ford, Lincoln, Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, and several others were all positioned uncomfortably close to each other. Why uncomfortably close? Because the AutoShopper was able to compare Kia and Buick directly . . . not a good thing for Buick.

To follow, the vicious bar fight and it's grisly aftermath.