It seems like a fine tradition here at TTAC for the contributors to look back on their work over the past year and actively seek feedback. The comments are my favorite part of this site, and it’s because of them that my work has shown up elsewhere. That’s a long way from the first contribution I emailed Bertel Schmitt from my Air Force computer.
While I may have dropped my contributions from a 2013 high of 43 posts, 2015 was better than my 2014 total of five. In fact, I think I posted enough this past year to warrant a list of my favorites and yours.
So, shall we?
One of the great secrets of TTAC is how little we, the writers, know each other.
I have met our fearless leader, Mark Stevenson, exactly once. I have met Sajeev exactly once — and he was wearing a judge’s robe and a headdress. I have met Murilee exactly once, and he was berating me for driving over the blend line at Carolina Motorsports Park. I’ve met Steve Lang once, and I was mostly drunk. I’ve never met Cameron, or Aaron, or Ronnie, or Tim, or several of the other contributors.
So when the opportunity arose to go karting with noted wheelman and TTAC author W. Christian “Mental” Ward this week in Atlanta, I eagerly accepted.
The best movie so far this summer is not really a film. Jaguar just revealed its new platform to promote the new Jaguar F Type. A 13-minute short film called Desire. It’s not original but it’s still better than GI Joe: Retaliation.
Should you see this new film? Hell yeah you should; it’s awesome. As if you were do something important today. HD version here. If you REALLY don’t know what to do today, here are a few more car movies worth watching.
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.
A few days ago, I was at the International Defense Expo here in Abu Dhabi. It prides itself as “the most strategically important tri-service defence exhibition in the world.” Many tanks were on display, among them an armored Audi A8. I wanted to inspect that car a bit closer, when a man approached the white-haired product specialist of Audi. The man had a gold lame jacket, and he needed a haircut. They gave away free parabolic mikes at the AVIC booth, but being Chinese, it would only pick up the voice of the salesman. Here is the transcript.
Product specialist: “Mr.Baruth! Welcome to Abu Dhabi! If you are tired of lightweight cars, you have come to the right place!”
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.
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.
Yesterday, we witnessed Sandy being picked up by Mental Ward. Today, we follow both on the roadtrip through America. Will they make it?
Just east of Philly, it had started snowing pretty well. During the first (of many) fuel stops, I pulled the light covers. At speed, the lights off the snowflakes resembled the cockpit view of the Millennium Falcon making the jump to light speed. It was simply awesome. Snow? HA! Disco Sandy positively yawned at the attempt and sped through the Pennsylvania night.
Comfortably perched in the high leather seat, I began to grasp the concept of “command seating” outside of marketing buzzwords. Sorry, you don’t have it. In fact nothing else outside of the starship Enterprise has command seating. The window frame is just above my hipbone with miles of headroom. The dash is low and the gauges succinct but informative. The seat is as comfortable as you expect British leather to be. There is an armrest, cup holders, dual sunroofs, suspension adjustments, and my favorite; a curry hook. 4,500 pounds of steel and three locking differentials certainly ads to your swagger. Exit the vehicle and hear air pumping the suspension level. You drive a sedan, you pilot a race car, but you command a Land Rover.
Unless you hate cars and live under a rock, you have undoubtedly seen the recent pictures of the Porsche 911 whose driver tried to take a shortcut through freshly poured concrete. It has been emailed, Facebook’d and even posted on my own message board with snarky comments about the arrogance and ignorance of Porsche owners.
With good reason, Porsche owners are jerks.
The 72 MG Midget beckoned to me from Craigslist like an opened pack of Oreos grinning from the cupboard. I ignored the wisdom of all my gearhead buddies, insisting the little yellow car would be different; it would not leak, not rust, and be as reliable as a nail.
Of course, it isn’t, it’s British. It stranded me six times, the lights don’t work and it usually requires help to start. That is life with an MG Midget.
But I was right. It is different.
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- Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
- Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
- Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
- Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
- Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )