Toyota’s TRD Pro Challenge

Kudos to the marketing and PR folks at Toyota USA for creating this cool ad series for their TRD models. The most recent episode sees Canadian veteran off-road racer Andy Bell take his two famous motorcycling friends Jamie Bestwick and Roland Sands across Vietnam behind the wheels of three beautiful Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra and Toyota 4Runner models. Having traveled to Vietnam myself, I can attest that it truly is one of the most beautiful and rugged countries in the world. Vietnam’s back-country really is the perfect test ground for Toyota’s incredible off-road TRD models.

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The Great Gatsby and America’s fascination with the automobile

I first learned about America’s fascination with the automobile from the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Set in the Roaring 20’s, the great American novel explores the decadence, idealism and social upheaval of the decade and has been described as the cautionary tale of the American Dream.  Cars play a key role in the novel’s plot and are intrinsic as symbols of the wealthy elite of the day. You only have to watch this clip from the 2013 film to get an idea of what types of cars the stars of the day drove.

 

 

Rush song called Red Barchetta

As a Canadian, I know a bit about the band Rush – that they sold over 40 million records, and that they continue to sell out shows across the world 30 plus years after their peak fame.  But to be honest, I wasn’t familiar with their song catalogue – I really only knew their smash hits Tom Sawyer and Closer to the Heart.  Recently however, I stumbled upon Red Barchetta, a cool song from their massive album, Moving Pictures.

Red Barchetta

Red Barchetta

The song’s lyrics tell a futuristic story where traditional combustion vehicles have been banned by “the Motor Law”. The singer’s uncle has one of these illegal vehicles, a “Red Barchetta” sports car which has been secretly kept in pristine condition for 50+ years. The uncle keeps it hidden at his secret country home which was a former farm. Every Sunday, the nephew sneaks out to this location and goes for a drive in the countryside.

“Before the Motor Law…My uncle preserved for me an old machine..For 50-odd years…To keep it as new has been his dearest dream…A brilliant red Barchetta…And on Sundays I elude the eyes…Tires spitting gravel. I commit my weekly crime.”

Very interesting lyrics for 1981 and a little apropos in 2017 with the manual transmission essentially dead and all the buzz of self driving cars.  Rush definitely was forward thinking when they came up with this hit.

Ken Block’s GYMKHANA NINE: Raw Industrial Playground

Over the years, we have written many times about the infamous Gymkhana series, so it should come as no surprise we are writing about the latest installment. All of the earlier videos have become viral sensations, because the King of “Hoon”, Ken Block continues to push the boundaries behind the wheel.  The new and ninth version likely will too, as it captures the epic “Hooning” tradition of the rally star and his drifting genius.

While it was originally scheduled to be filmed in Sydney to tie in with the Australian Forza Horizon 3 video game, authorities said Block was too much of a “Hoon” for the Land Down Under and would only allow him to make the video on private property.  Instead, Block chose to film in an abandoned industrial area in New York state. Yeah Buffalo!

With so many global corporations shying away from the single big endorsement deal as a result of today’s fragmented online world we do appreciate Ford’s decision to buck the trend.  The combination of a significant amount of both resources and dollars enables the team to create a world-class product in the Gymkhana video series.

As part of Block’s deal with Ford Performance that sees him compete in the FIA World Rallycross championship, these videos feature him driving the custom-built 600 horsepower Ford Focus RS rally machine.  I’m sure the real ROI isn’t great, but it does make you want to take a Ford Focus for a test drive.

Who says we need to make America Great again?

With all this seriously negative Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump election coverage we thought it was time to post something on the lighter side.  Heck, I live in Canada and have started to avoid the news channels all together and there are still 5 weeks to go to election day.

We want to share this insane video we found on the Internet today.  It comes from the 2012 Corvettes in Carlisle burnout competition. And if you call yourself a gear head this insane video has got to bring a smile to your face.

Yes I know, some people may say this type of thing personifies what is wrong with America but you know what I’d say to those folks? The people in the grandstands are enjoying themselves and the Corvette owner looks to be one heck of a nice guy.

Personally, I can’t imagine doing this to a classic car and I would not want to buy new shoes for my roadster but yeah, the guy is not me.  To each his own, and that is what makes America so great!

Seriously, who says we need to make America great again?

Awesome Track Driving in a BMW E46 M3

For anyone that has had the opportunity to experience Laguna Seca in person knows how challenging of a track it is to drive so it is no wonder this video is getting lots of traction online.  Posted recently, by our friends over at Jalopnik, the video is from this past weekend’s BMW CCA Club Racing Oktoberfest event at the Northern California track. It was shot from behind the wheel of an E46 M3 race car driven by the talented driver and coach Anthony Magagnoli of DriveFasterNow.com.

Turn up the volume and watch in awe as Anthony drives his M3 from last to first in just three laps, despite a failing ABS system and a very loud sound that later turned out to be the exhaust mid-pipe falling off the header.  Bravo Anthony! Bravo!

Only in Japan…..

Petrolicious has published a cool story about Nissan’s creative advertising style in the early days around its flagship sport coupe the Nissan Skyline.  It all began in the 1970s with a young and “in love” caucasian couple exploring Japan in their new coupe. Honestly, you watch this ad now and it’s hard to believe this was ever popular anywhere but having lived in Japan at one time I understand their affinity to anything Western.

Nissan built on this 70s love theme and in the 80s embraced Paul Newman as he became the new face of the Skyline brand as a result of his racing exploits with Nissan US.

I had no idea Paul Newman hustled Skylines and I bet not many people in North America know either.  I always thought Paul Walker was the first Hollywood actor to love the Skyline. Well, you really do learn something new everyday.

Paul Walker Skyline

15 Best Sounding V8 Engines

Although it has been a much tamer winter here in Toronto compared to last year, Spring can’t come soon enough. Here’s a little cacophony of sounds to get you all over this final hump.  Make sure to crank up the volume on this insane video from the folks at VisoRacer.

Nothing beats the sound of a powerful V8 engine…..Nothing!

What’s your favourite engine?