Posts By: Mike Solowiow

By on May 31, 2013

“Have you driven the new Jetta Hybrid?” popped up in my Faceache message box. It came from Captain Leslie, an E-3 Sentry driver, consummate professional, a current Jetta TDI pilot (with a manual), and friend from a tour in the Middle East and Oklahoma City. Unable to resist her profile smile, I went in search […]

By on May 9, 2013


According to the “Infinite Monkey Theorem”, if you lock three monkeys in a room with typewriters for infinity, eventually they will produce Hamlet. By the same measure, should you lock three engineers in a room for infinity, eventually they will produce the perfect car. Ford has seemingly absorbed this philosophy through their European division, however, as most theorems go, instead of a the perfect car, they produced “Aston Martin Rapide part Deux, the Budget Restrained Sequel”.

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By on May 2, 2013

Do not adjust your screen, Solo is back. (photo courtesy: Mike Solo)

Hello TTAC! For those who wondered where I went, I’m back from my global tour with the USAF. I am back in my native West Texas, attending Texas Tech University in pursuit of a Mechanical Engineering degree. As a break from finals, I test drove the best selling car in the US, with a decidedly continental Captain Solo slant. Thus far, I have consumed two overpriced lattes and wandered around Lubbock for 45 minutes in an attempt to organize my thoughts and come towards an unbiased conclusion about the baffling Toyota Camry.

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By on March 30, 2011

Coming home from work, I tend to get used to seeing various prototypes driving around, and cutting me off, after all, I’m only in a little white Peugeot 205 GTI, barely worth mentioning when it comes to the sheer amount of exclusive metal running around the Nurburgring. However, today, I spied some prototypes that you never see during the day running freely around city streets, namely, the testers from BMW and Porsche. Reclusive beasts they are, Dale Lomas from Bridge-to-Gantry, and my friend was able to nab several shots of the latest salvos from southern Germany while I only managed one hazy shot from an iPhone while trying not to pilot my little Pug into a lightpole.

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By on March 4, 2011

The glare I received from the 997 GT3 RS driver was classical mix of shock and anger. His confused facial expression was not the result of me cutting him off, blocking his driving line, or any other error of vehicular piloting. I simply rocketed past him upon the exit of Aremberg on the Nurburgring due to two factors: I knew the track better, and I was behind the wheel of the second most impressive offering from Renaultsport, the Clio 200 Cup. (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2011

I discovered the French sense of humor piloting the new Renault Megane 250 Cup through the Scottish Highlands. When I inadvertently induced a lift-off oversteer situation, I found myself staring at an oncoming tractor through a strategically placed EuroNCAP 5-star crash rating sticker on the windscreen. The team at Renaultsport might have made one of […]

By on January 5, 2011

Dave Garrad personifies the word “hoon”. When I first met him in the smoke and beer filled haze of the Gemutliche Ecke (Translation: Comfy Corner) in Adenau, Germany, he was attempting a maneuver called The Lunge. There’s never a dull moment around Dave. Naturally, I immediately considered him for the last English caretaker of TTAC’s Ford Sierra project, before its journey to Germany and (ultimately) Houston. Upon our (Panther-lovin’) man Dereck’s delivery of the Sierra to his abode northeast of London, Dave remarked at how glorious the brown upon brown scheme truly was. His wife Helen refuses to ride in the chocolate-toned thing, lest her unborn baby develop unnatural tendencies.

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By on November 1, 2010

No story should ever start, as this one does, with “my First Rover Metro.” The implication that there are more Metros to come is all too obvious, and could probably be best categorized as a “cry for help.” In any case, my first Rover Metro was a teal 1995 1.1L Kensington edition, purchased for £60 from a friend in Bishop-Stortford. The Kensington edition meant I got shards of carpet over the door panels, and the kind of pizzazz that only an engineer from Coventry would be able to come up with. The Metro lasted only 19 hours in my hands before a brake failure led to its demise into the back of a yellow Hyundai. My second Rover Metro was a 1997 Tahiti Blue 1.1L Ascot edition*, which meant I got full wheel covers and blue piping in the velour. This only accelerated my descent into the world of English motoring, where I found joy and fulfillment in the death rattle of a Rover K-series engine.

*astute readers will recall that both vehicles are technically Rover 100’s, but are always remembered in pop culture as the Metro.

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By on October 30, 2010

I’m going drifting. I’m going drifting dressed in the finest English brown velour ever to roll out of Dagenham, England. I’m going drifting in what this week’s Curbside Classic should have been, a 1983 Ford Sierra. And with that, I rejoin TTAC after a long hiatus due to our wonderful country sending me to various deserts to hunt for Osama bin Laden.

I have survived, although my Hilux did not after one ill-placed Taliban rocket sent shrapnel through the radiator. I also relish returning to write for one of the finest audiences I know, the Best and Brightest.

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By on September 16, 2009

The Porsche GT3 RS with its wildly painted orange wheels was not going to let me past, despite my flashing headlights of protest. Why should he? I was in a mild-mannered Carrera S, devoid of any go fast wings or air ducts. I resigned myself to trying to gain momentum over him before we entered the Flugpatz, where the wider bit of road would provide a much safer passing zone and keep me from joining the purple Peugeot 206 we had just passed at Hatzenbach in the Armco barriers. I needn’t wait so long, as in my mirror, four “angel-eye” rings glared at me from the nefarious BMW M5 ‘Ring Taxi. I put on my right-turn signal, let her pass, and then squeezed the accelerator in order to whip past the Orange Swedish Porker. Let the games begin, for I was on my 100th lap, and it was time for a joust with Sabine Schmitt in our Deutsche Chariots of Terror.

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