Posts in Cars

The Garage Toys Video

The weather on Saturday cleared up to become a perfect day in the afternoon, so Jason and I decided to take the Vipers out for a little drive around the town. I took some video so you can see how the new Viper looks. Interestingly enough I found the video got an honors on YouTube, as it was the #7 most popular video the day I posted it in the autos section. Somebody even noticed I was wearing my SmashMyViper.com t-shirt (that I haven’t worn in about a year).

Another part of the reason I wanted to make it was because John Chow was raving about his little Flip camera…and I just didn’t get it. While I realize it takes 2 gigs of video, basically everything digital camera takes good quality video as well. Why carry around two things, when you can do it in one? So just to prove it, I created this video using my Canon Powershot SD900 digital camera, and quickly editing it using Windows Movie Maker.

How To Drive Your Nice Car Long Distance With No Rock Chips

The Viper I just bought had literally NO paint chips or anything on the front bumper…I wanted to keep it like that. I learned a little trick when I was putting my 350Z in car shows. Cover the areas you want to protect with blue painters tape. The product works great because it doesn’t damage the paint, leaves no residue behind, and doesn’t cost much.

Dodge Viper GTS with painter??s tape on front bumper

Dodge Viper GTS with painter??s tape on front bumper

One thing to keep in mind is to try and put the end of the tape so they aren’t on the front end. This will help it go with the wind and not peel off at all when you’re driving.

Dodge Viper GTS Officially Mine

I’m now sitting here in Michigan, and the 97 Viper GTS I came here for is mine now. I can officially add it to my progression of vehicles post. The 97 Viper GTS in blue with white stripes is actually a personal dream car of mine. Even though I’ve had two other Vipers previously, they were earlier model convertibles in red. While nice because it was a Viper, this specific one is something I can actually cross of my things to get in life list. It feels good to be able to accomplish something that I can consider a big milestone.

The car looked better in person, compared to the pictures my friend took. The car is literally immaculate, the interior smells brand new. With only 6,300 miles on it, and completely stock, it’s really a collector car…I’ll still drive it though, and I am already getting the itch to start doing a few modifications. As soon as I get it back to Virginia later this week, I’ll do a complete detail of the car, and take some good pictures. In the meantime you can take a look at these:

My new 97 Dodge Viper GTS Blue with white stripes

My new 97 Dodge Viper GTS Blue with white stripes

High-End Car Shopping Weekend

One of my good friends is in a bit of a conundrum. He wants to spend around $70,000 on a new car, wants a higher-end luxury brand, and it has to be a convertible with back seats. I automatically thought…BMW 335i twin-turbo convertible. Done. He doesn’t want a BMW though! There really aren’t many choices, and it was narrowed down to these:

  • BMW 335i
  • Mercedes CLK550
  • Audi S4
  • Lexus SC430

Those were pretty much the only ones I could think of. The CLK550 was my friends top choice, so we decided to stop by the dealership on Saturday to give it a look. It turned out that he didn’t like it as much in person as he thought he would…back at square one. While wandering around, Smart opened a new dealership right next door…I’ve seen these in Europe years ago, but wow, they are so small:

Smart car

We then headed over to the Aston Martin dealership as I was trying to convince my friend to spend a bit more :) They had a ton of cars in stock, but here’s a couple from the showroom:

Aston Martin Vantage front

Aston Martin Vantage rear

One of the Vantage’s outside had Bamboo interior, it was very exotic looking…I wish I took a picture, but here’s one I found online:

Aston Martin bamboo interior

They also had a gorgeous Ferrari F360 Spyder (which is my first dream Ferrari) in the showroom:

Ferrari F360 Spyder

I convinced my buddy we should check out the Audi S4, as well as the RS4, so it was off to the Audi/Porsche dealership across the street. They had a beautiful RS4 convertible in the showroom:

Audi RS4 Cabriolet

The Audi RS4 is a beast of a car. It has the same motor as the R8 supercar, pumping out 420hp on an AWD car. My buddy really liked it, and although it had a $85,000 price tag, I could still see him getting it. He wanted to compare to the slower S4 cabriolet, which they had back in the warehouse:

Audi S4 Cabriolet

On the walk to see the S4, I was talking to the salesperson about the R8…which I had yet to see in person. As we were walking back he asks me if I’d like to see an R8…”of course”. Then he brings us to a warehouse, all I can say is JACKPOT. The pictures will tell enough:

Supercar warehouse

Supercar warehouse

The warehouse was full of cars like Lamborghini’s, Aston Martin’s, Porsche’s, etc. Literally millions of dollars of inventory. I felt like it was something straight out of the “Gone In 60 Seconds” movie. This was also the first time I got a chance to see the R8 in person, and wow, what a great looking car:

Audi R8 rear

Audi R8 side

Audi R8 front

The Lamborghini Gallardo wasn’t too shabby either:

Lamborghini Gallardo Front

Lamborghini Gallardo Side

All in all, a great day to go car shopping :)

Leaving To Go Pick Up A GTS Viper Today

I’ll be leaving in about 15 minutes for a nice 9 hour drive to Ann Arbor, MI where I’ll be picking up my new GTS Viper. Luckily, I have a good friend that goes to law school out there, so I’ll be spending a few days with her while I’m out there. She drove home (to MD) for Easter, and I’ll just be hitching a ride back with her…which saves me the plane ticket money. She only lives about 20 minutes from where the Viper is located.

I’ll be posting some updates throughout the week on how everything goes with the sale. I’ve done as much checking out as possible, and I’m confident that the deal is legitimate, and not a scam. My only concern now is rain/snow. The car has never seen rain before, and the forecast is rain/snow all week…just my luck. Maybe the weather Gods will be on the lookout for me. Here’s a bad lighting picture of the car I’ll be picking up:

My new 97 GTS Viper

The Saleen S5S Raptor

Most people know Saleen for either their S7, or their special editions cars like the Saleen Mustang.

Saleen S7

At the New York Auto Show, they unveiled their latest supercar, the S5S Raptor:

Saleen S5S Raptor front quarter

Saleen S5S Raptorrear quarter

Saleen has done a great job with this car, I think it looks like a nice mix of a Lotus Elise, Tesla Roadster and Lamborghini Gallardo. I’d like to see it in person to see how small it really is…hopefully more like the Lambo over the Lotus (which the press release seems to say it is).

The Saleen S7 is priced well over $500,000, the new S5S Raptor is a much more reasonable $185,000. With a 5.0L 650hp 630 lb-ft of tq, the car is capable of doing 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds with a 200mph+ top speed…all while using E85 ethanol. It features 13″ rotors in the back, and massive 6-piston 15″ slotted rotors on the front:

Saleen S5S Raptor wheels and brakes

I need to see it in person, but looks alone, I think I’d rather have this over a Lamborghini Gallardo…which was my previous upper $100k range favorite.

[Source: Autoblog]

BMW Dealership Unethically Refuses eBay Price For New M3

2008 BMW M3 on eBayThere is a story going around about a guy under the alias of dooma350 at M3Post.com. He had given a deposit at his local BMW dealership (Husker BMW) for the sought after new 2008 M3, but decided to look and see what offerings he could find on eBay. He found one advertised as “LOWEST PRICE ON EBAY” that had a starting price of $60,000 with no reserve. The buy it now price was $66,926. Considering dealerships are marking these up as high as $100,000, they were probably under the impression that the eBay listing would generate a little hype and they wouldn’t have to be worried about the price staying at $60,000…which is exactly what happened when dooma350 won the auction.

15 minutes after winning the auction, he received a call from the BMW dealership in Nebraska saying that they would not honor the price due to it was a “mistake”. This was definitely a cop out, as the auction’s buy it now price was changed twice throughout the auction. This tells us that the auction was being watched by the dealership, and a “mistake” is pretty unlikely.

The entire story can be read and followed over at the original post on M3Post.com. Many of the forum members are very helpful, offering advices, contacting media outlets, and more. One member by the alias of “Xcellere” even called the dealership and threatened legal action. Another member who is a licensed attorney in Texas that offered some legal advice…and was even willing to take action at no cost had he been licensed in Nebraska.

All sorts of advice was given in terms of whom to contact, from BMW North America to eBay to the BBB to local media outlets. I think between this story starting to spread (It was just covered on Autoblog), dooma350 will get his price…and maybe even more. This is horrible PR on the dealerships part, as well as BMW. The dealership has already offered the car up for $3,000 lower than the MSRP price, but at this point, it’s not enough. The dealership may have lost a few thousand dollars by doing the right thing, but there is a great potential of losing a lot more than that by not.

Do you think that the dealership should have done the right thing? If they were really this hard pressed about not giving the $60,000 price, they should have either set a reserve on the auction, set the starting price higher, or worse…cancel the auction before it ended. They could have even tried to offer something up when they first said the auction was a “mistake”, instead of just saying it and ending it like that.

Let’s hope that dooma350 gets his M3 at the price he deserves it for. For now you can Digg the original Autoblog article here so that the story can get spread around even more.

Test Driving The 3-Wheeled BRP Can-Am Spyder

A friend of mine told me about a demo day at Coleman Powersports to try out the 3-wheeled BRP Can-Am Spyder. For those that don’t know what it is, a picture tells all:

BRP Can-Am Spyder

BRP Can-Am Spyder

The Can-Am Spyder is like a mixture of a motorcycle, quad, and car…all in one. There is really nothing like it out there. The two wheels are in the front, allowing you to turn it without having to lean your body like a motorcycle. With a variety of stabilizers and traction controls and then some, it keeps the vehicle planted on the ground and giving it a surprising amount of traction. You could even consider it an all-weather motorcycle, as there are no traction issues with a wet road.

For the demo day, BRP brought over a bunch of the Spyders:

BRP Can-Am Spyder

After taking a short survey and watching a video, they took us out onto a small course setup with cones. They showed us the basics of using the Spyder, and we took it out for a couple laps to get the hang of it. There is only a brake on the right foot, and the clutch works the same way as a regular motorcycle. There is an optional automatic option which is about $1,500. There is also a reverse functionality that you obviously won’t find on a motorcycle. If you can ride a motorcycle, you’ll get the hang of this right away…it’s very easy to ride. Here’s a shot of me going through the course:

Me riding the BRP Can-Am Spyder

After going through the coned course, we took it out on the open road, driving it around for a few miles. It was a real blast, and I actually enjoyed riding it a lot more than I thought I would. Taking corners were fun as you could really feel it compensating the weight differential. It’s fairly quick as well…faster than I thought it would be. There is a 110mph limiter, so you can definitely get it up there if you wanted to.

The company who makes the Spyder is the same company behind Sea-Doo, the popular maker of jet skis. The Spyder MSRP’s for $15,499, but they may actually be going for higher as the ones I see on eBay are mostly going for closer to $20,000. Prior to the test drive I would have never thought that I would actually want one. While I wouldn’t personally spend $15,000 on one…if I had a bunch of expendable income, I wouldn’t mind having a few of these to have some fun with friends. If you’re just interested in getting into motorcycles, but may not be ready or comfortable getting on two wheels…check this out at your local dealer, it just may be for you.

The Viper Sold For Profit! GTS Coming Soon?

Back in May I wrote an article on how to get paid to drive a Dodge Viper for free for the summer. While I ended up having the car for quite a bit more time then just the summer, I still got paid to drive it :) I officially sold the car a few weeks ago (which is why I picked up the Corvette), and without getting into any actual numbers, I can say that after buying the car, paying all of the taxes registration, title, gas, insurance, etc…I ended up with about $1,000 profit. Who wouldn’t take a Dodge Viper supercar for 6 months or so, and get paid $1,000 to do so?

I will say this though, I only put about 1,500 miles on the car, but it was a blast! Even though I made $1,000, the new owner still got a decent deal on a pristine 94 Viper with only 16,300 miles on it. If you play your cards right, you could technically do this with any car (although it is a lot of work sometimes).

Now that I’ve had some time with the Vette, I’m actually starting to miss the Viper. While the Viper was on my list of dream cars to own one day, my actual dream Viper is a 96-97 blue GTS (hard-top) with white stripes. I’ve recently put the Corvette up for sale (no hardcore selling, but if it sells, I’ll sell it), and hope to profit about $1,000-$3,000 on it. For a 97 with only 36,000 miles on it, I should have no problem getting $500-$1,000 more than I paid at the minimum. Once that’s sold, I think I will start to seriously look for my dream Viper (They normally range in the $40,000-$50,000 range), and hopefully pick one up. I’ve already starting my search, but I don’t want to jump on anything until the Vette is gone.

The main differences between the Viper I had an the GTS I want are the following:

  • The color/stripes! This is my dream Viper combo
  • 450hp compared the 94 which had 400hp
  • Much nicer/updated interior. Let’s just say the 94 Viper interior needs some work…although it was cool back in 94
  • Much more practical. With actual windows and a button for the doors, it’s a much more practical car. Although who cares about practicality with a Viper? ;)
  • The hood scoops! This 2nd generation Viper has a hood scoop and two gills on the hood. It makes it look much more aggressive in my opinion.
  • The back of the GTS is just way sexier. I love the way everything is molded into the back, and am actually not too big of a fan of the rear of the RT/10.
  • The RT/10 I had was convertible, which I will definitely miss :(
  • The 1st generation Viper that I had, had side pipes. This means that the exhaust pipes came out of the side of the car…a very exotic thing. The GTS has the exhaust come out of the middle of the back of the car. While it still looks cool, side pipes were neat.
  • There are a bunch of other differences, but the above are the major ones that affect me

1996 Dodge Viper GTS blue with white stripes

A used 1st generation/2nd generation Viper is a great supercar to get if you can afford it. The car does not depreciate very much at this point in time. So if you want to drive a car that turns every head, and is a blast to drive, but don’t want to spend too much money over time…the Viper is your answer. There are a couple new reasons why the value of the Viper will either depreciate at an even slower rate, or may even go up.

There is a very good chance the 2011 will be the last year that Dodge makes a Viper. Dodge has already stopped making a lot of the parts for older Vipers, and there is some word that they will stop all together in 2011. My thoughts are that this should help out the value of Vipers already out there. That and the fact that they are so rare already will help out with keeping the price you paid up there. Remember, there are more Corvettes made and sold in one year than Vipers have ever been made since they started in 1993.

A Nissan Is As Good As The Best 911 Porsche Ever Made

For those of you that have not yet heard of the new Nissan GT-R, it’s time to take a look:

Nissan R35 GT-R front quarter panel

Nissan R35 GT-R rear quarter panel

This is the first time that the GT-R has ever been brought to the US, and there are a lot of enthusiasts that are unbelievably excited about it. Only 2,500 will be brought in the first year (2009), and with a base price of only $69,850, you can bet that dealers will be marking them up beyond belief. What is there to get so excited about? The $70,000 Nissan will beat a Porsche 911 on the track. A 911 can easily cost of 2-3 times the price of the GT-R!

The GT-R has a 3.8L V6 with a pair of turbos boosting the car to 473hp and 433 ft-lb tq. Did I mention it is all wheel drive, does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, runs the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds and gets 21mpg? That’s something to get excited about.

Autocar did a comparison video between the new e92 BMW m3, the Porsche 911 GT3 (which they believe is the best Porsche 911 ever made), and the 2009 Nissan GT-R. What did they find? I think the title to this post gives it away. Check out the videos:

I have two good friends that are planning to pick up 1 of the 1600 being brought to the US…I’m crossing my fingers that they get one so I can get a test drive. You can bet I’ll make a post on that if they do!