Mental's Abu Dhabi Dispatches

Capsule Review – 2011 Holden Commodore, Pontiac G8, Chevy SS, Chevrolet Caprice

Courtesy of GM Middle East

My boss and I drive the same style rental slug Toyota over here, but when his was due for service, instead of a replacement Fortuner, I spotted a 2011 Chevy Caprice in his parking spot. Having spent almost a year without a proper V-8 under my foot, I convinced him we needed to take that one out.

I also introduced him to a new term…hooning.

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Mental At The Money Circus – Race Day

Leave me here

Race Day.

The day prior, we had traded Chad for Susan, today we traded Susan for Joe. Clearly we are trading down; hopefully Sian would be there and brighten the day. The gates don’t open until 11, and after the last three late nights and (relatively) early mornings, we can use the rest.

The opening event is the 2nd GP2 Race. It’s the same as the last three days, the sights the sounds and the smells are getting routine.

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Abu Dhabi Dispatches: Porsche Track Nights

Ever since the TTAC Corporate jet dropped me off in Abu Dhabi, a reoccurring criticism has been “Who cares about Abu Dhabi?” Is Abu Dhabi a center of automotive design? Renowned for its automotive innovation? A world class automotive manufacturer? A breeding ground for world class drivers? Not yet, but it has a race track.

Actually, there are two racetracks in the United Arab Emirates; the Autodrome in Dubai and Yas Island just outside of Abu Dhabi. The Porsche Club of the UAE let me to tag along at their Yas Island track event.

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Abu Dhabi Dispatches: How to Get Your 2013 Hummer (wait..what?)
Yes, the death of the Hummer brand is old news and was long overdue. But in the vein of Tom Cruise, when your public image goes bust, go back to what you do best: GI Joe. I kit you not.
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Abu Dhabi Dispatches: How Cadillac Markets To The Truly Affluent

I got to attend the 2013 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship two weeks ago. Let me be blunt, I hate Golf. I don’t know if I hate because I am no good or I am no good because I hate it, but I do know it is slow, so I don’t play, and I certainly don’t watch it on TV. I would rather watch fishing. I watched McIlroy and Tiger not make the cut for a few holes and then headed to the vendors village to watch Cadillac sell cars to the Arabs.

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TTAC Has A Correspondent In Abu Dhabi, And He's Mental
Abandon all hope: Mental Ward is now TTAC’s man in Abu Dhabi and surrounding sheikdoms For the next year, or until they kick him out, Mental will deliver a sandstorm of desert dispatches. Here is the first.

There are more than a few web sites dedicated to abandoned exotics in the Middle East.

They – cars and websites – are everywhere. What you don’t expect here is an abandoned hoopty. Last week I was getting my race bib for the Dubai marathon and I saw this beauty. When I returned on the day of the race, I got pictures. You have to hand it to the Sheikhs: Even their hoopties are classy – in a way.

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  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).
  • AZFelix This article takes me back to racing electric slot cars with friends on tracks laid out in the basement. Periodically your car would stop due to lost connections or from flying off the track and you would have to dash over to it and set it right. In the mean time your competitor would race ahead until faced with a similar problem. It seemed like you were struggling harder to keep from losing than trying to win. Fun times.“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” Mark Twain
  • MaintenanceCosts What Americans get told (a) vs. actual EV ownership experience (b)(and, yes, I am an actual EV owner)a. You'll be waiting indefinitely for slow chargersb. Nearly all of your charging happens while you're at your housea. EVs are prohibitively expensive toys for the richb. Fuel cost is 1/4 that of gas and maintenance about the same, with purchase price differences falling quicklya. EVs catch fire all the timeb. Rates of ICE vehicles catching fire are much higher, although the few EV fires can be harder to extinguisha. You can't take a road tripb. Road trips are a bit slower, but entirely possible as an occasional thinga. iTz A gOlF cArT!!1b. Like a normal car, but with nicer power delivery and less noise
  • Pete Skimmel We bought a last year 2015 model XB as a leftover new car at our local Toyota dealer in early 2016. Stupidly cheap at about $18,500 out the door (no sales tax in Oregon), it has an automatic and the usual amenities. It's been a great around town car that my wife hopes to keep until they pry her cold senile hands from the steering wheel in about 20 years. When we occasionally carry adult passengers in the back seat they are always in awe at the space in this smaller vehicle. Now approaching 49k miles on the clock, our out of pocket costs have been wiper blades, a set of decent tires and routine oil changes that I do in the garage. It consumes zero oil between changes. Yes, it's an appliance, but a very serviceable one.
  • Slavuta "The 4,861-pound curb weight" -- poor tires"on track, this application sounded pretty good" -- can they make it sound like Hemi?