Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Here contributing editor Paul Daniel blogs about just anything that’s on his mind about cars or maybe something else. Fun Stuff.

Drone races an F1 car

Drones are everywhere

droneThat segment of radio control flight has gone sky high compared to the planes and jets that I fly. They are so affordable and do so much more than the early models that I flew. I love reading and seeing new types of photography utilizing drones but this one looked like great fun.

As a rule, drones are not particularly fast unless it’s a racing drone. Those really rip and can go up to 130 mph. Pretty quick but not fast enough to chase an F1 racing car. Great effort though as you will see in this video.red bull f1 car

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The perfect surprise gift for a car lover

From a giver who has lots of money to burn

How many times have you imagined what it would be like to win the Powerball? I known I have and I buy tickets when the jackpot is really big. I’m talking big six figure big! Of course I’d quit my job, or maybe buy the place. I’d buy some of the cars I’ve always lusted over, buy a home on a lake and another one someplace warm so I wouldn’t have to put up with the cold winters here in Wisconsin. Then it’s time to start giving away some of my new found fortune. Cash is good but I think a thoughtful gift is more fun.

The Submarine Sports Car

I have these two friends that taught me how to fly, Dave and Tim. These guys are over the top fun and love stuff out of the ordinary. Tim likes cars and currently owns a Triumph TR6. They both love the water which is why I would get them this gift.

Photos: Hammacher Schlemmer

I found this on Hammacher Schlemmer who are known for their unusual stuff. If you’re a James Bond fan you will recognize this as Continue reading The perfect surprise gift for a car lover

So that’s a Matador! And an expensive one!

Print ad from my collection

A line used by American Motors in marketing the Matador. AMC introduced a newly designed two-door coupe in 1974 as a luxury coupe. Members of the automotive press pretty much loved it. Car and Driver said, “There’s an undeniable smuggnes stamped on the fenders of AMC’s new Matador X. And each arrogant crease is integral to an overall air of confidence.” The X package, the sportiest, was one of three offered, the other two being the Broughram, and upscale Oleg Cassini.

For 74, production totaled 62,269, 31,169 base coupes, 21,026 Brougham coupes (including 6,165 in Cassini trim) and 10,074 of the X. That was a huge jump from the previous year’s boxy design when 7,067 went down the line in Kenosha. It was a Matador coupe that reached a production milestone for AMC becoming the six millionth car they produced since its founding in 1954. Its competition was the Chevy Chevelle Coupe, Ford Torino Coupe, and Plymouth Satellite Sebring. Base price was $3,699, with a loaded one at $4,350. Engine choices were the 232 and 258 6-cyl along with three V-8’s, 304, 360, and 401. Continue reading So that’s a Matador! And an expensive one!

MAMA 2019 Spring Rally: Car heaven for auto journalist

So many cars to choose from

Mark and I love this event. We get to hang out at our favorite race track, Road America, that’s practically in our backyards. For two days, May 22-23, we attended The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) annual Spring Rally.

We joined about 100 other automotive journalists from all over the country driving the latests from the automotive manufacturers on the track, on the streets of Elkhart Lake, off-road and even some autocross. The manufacturers tell us they love this event because of the quality time they get to spend with all of us and receive lots of feedback on their vehicles. So, what to hop in first? Hop in and go for a ride.

There were some other fun cars that we took for a spin that we did not capture on tape like the Ford Mustang GT 350 that had the best growl of any of the cars. The color kind of reminds me of the Mustang that Parnelli Jones drove in the Trans-Am series during the late 60’s.

Dodge had two of their Challengers, the Redeye and this Hellcat Scat Pack. The Redeye was pulled from the track because of the slick conditions that morning so we hopped in the Scat Pack. I’ve driven one before but not at Road America. The 485 hp Hemi did not disappoint and even though they did their best to keep our speeds down at Kettle Bottoms I was able to get the Challenger up to 127 mph.

We closed out the afternoon both with an opportunity to drive this brand new Acura NSX. If the other cars we drove were cuts of meat, this was the prime rib. So smooth to drive. We both decided to start saving up to buy one but at $199,000, it’s going to be a while.

By far the best paint job of any vehicle at Road America. It takes the factory 5 days to paint this Acura TLX PMC edition. It was almost like you could put your hand in, it was so deep.

Time to do some off-roading

Mark and I split up in Thursday morning with him going to do so auto cross on Road America’s go kart track while I headed for some good muddy fun at the off road course. There, I got my second chance to drive the new Jeep Gladiator.

Related: Read about my first drive of the Gladiator.

This Rubicon edition was the most capable of the test vehicles in its class, which included the Chevy Bison and Ford Ranger. While the course wasn’t as large as the one I drove on in California, it had a good mix of mud ruts and hills. It’s not just me that has this love fest going on with the Gladiator, my fellow automotive journalists liked it as well as it was one of three nominated for MAMA’s Family Vehicle of the Year. There was also a Gladiator Overland Edition (MSRP* Starting at $40,395) went for a spin in enjoying the twisty roads around Elkhart Lake along with the sunny day topless. Good windy fun especially remembering how Wednesday morning was so damp and cold.

Next I grabbed the Gladiator’s little brother, the Renegade, to get dirty. I have been really sceptical of this Jeep since it’s based on the Fiat 500 L which has a choppy ride and interior that looks like it assembled with a bunch of cheap plastics found in a dumpster. Not so with the Renegade. This Trailhawk edition came with the 177 hp, 1.3L turbo mated to a nine-speed automatic. Other features included, all-speed traction control, electronic stability control, Select-Terrain System with rock mode, and 17 inch wheels among other goodies. With the Trailhawk package, a running ground clearance of 8.7 inches, approach angle of 30.5 degrees, break over angle of 25.7 degrees, and departure angle of 34.3 degrees, it’s clearly the most off-road capable against its competitive set which includes the Mazda CX3, Chevy Tracy, its cousin the 500L, Honda HRV, and Kia Soul. It’s optional My Sky Power Retractable/Removable Panels added $1,595 to the $27,290 base.

The beast of the group, and by far muddiest, at the event was the Ram Power Wagon. There was no mud hole or hill that challenged this bad boy. I even had a couple off opportunities to goose it and heard its 6.4L, 410 hp Hemi growl.

While the Ford Raptor is built for speed, the Power Wagon is built for rock crawling. Its approach, departure, and breakover angles are big, 33.6, 26.2, and 23.5 degrees. It has 14.3 inches of ground clearance and can ford up to 30 inches of water. Oh, in case you were to get stuck, it comes with a Warn winch that can pull 12,000 lbs, almost a third more than the truck weighs. If you’re into rock crawling, at $53,015, it’s a good deal.

Mark and I both had a chance to take the Kia Telluride out for a spin. I was impressed with Kia’s biggest SUV yet. It reminded me of my 2017 Dodge Durango but I think the interior in the Telluride is nicer. Its 291 hp V6 was very responsive, it had a really quiet ride, and the latest tech. Pricing ranges from $31,690 all the way up to $43,490. If you’re in the market for an SUV, the Telluride is for sure a consideration.

It’s hard to say goodby

So Mark and I were done for the day but took one last look at some of the cars that were in the paddock area taking a break from the racing event going on Thursday. We saw this Corvette that looked as if someone had lobbed paintballs at it. I kind of liked it. Then there was this cherry Mustang, and finally the official car of Road America, the Corvette in Elkhart Lake blue.

Missing my car guy on Father’s Day

My dad made me the car freak I am today

This coming Father’s Day will be my first without my dad as he passed away February 14th. At his funeral, I did the eulogy, and after rewriting it a couple of times, decided to go with a car theme comparing his qualities to the window sticker on a car, one produced by American Motors where he worked for 27 years.

While going through pictures to display at his funeral, I found a bunch with the cars that were part of growing up. It also jogged my memory of things we did, or places we went over the years that I will fondly remember like the following.

Traveling to Kenosha for the American Motors Owners Association homecoming event where there were hundreds of Nash, Rambler, and AMC cars that were built there over the years. We never did buy a car but did purchase rare promotional model cars we were missing from our collections.

Photo: Kenosha News

When I was in high school nearby the AMC National Parts Distribution Center, I would come and meet dad for my ride home. Many times he was tied up in some meeting so I would head down to the Tech Center and see what cars they had in torn apart, many times seeing AMC cars that were a year or so from production. It was the tech service guys that gave me a manual to help me figure out how to install an engine in my 1970 AMX after blowing up the 390 that came with it. Those tech guys were great!

Dad was also there when i decided to hop up my 1972 Gremlin by replacing the exhaust manifold with high performance headers. How’d that work out? Not so good.

Photo: FCA archives

When AMC sponsored Mark Donahue’s Trans-Am Javelin and raced at Road America in the early 70’s, the Chicago Zone Office chartered busses for employees and set up a tent by turn 14. We always made the trip. It was so much fun. We’d get a ride on the track in a Javelin and Roger Penske and Donahue would swing by the tent to sign autographs. I grabbed this flag from the event one year and today display it on my slot car track which is a replica of Road America.

Related: Read about my blogging partner, Mark Savage, and our recent trip to Road America.

Until dad had problems getting around, we would spend a day up in Oshkosh at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture event. He loved seeing the WWII vintage aircraft he was familiar with having served in the army during that time.

Fond memories. Happy Father’s Day dad. I be thinking about you.

Lights at night

How good are you at car spotting?

I grew up with a kid in my neighborhood who could tell you what kind of car had just driven by listening to the engine. Yup, he was good. I love doing this, especially when the new cars come out. But when I was driving during the evening rush here in Milwaukee I tried identifying cars by just their tail lights. Relax, we were stopped most of the time. I grabbed ten images of 2018-19 vehicles’ tail lights. See how good you are. To make it tougher, I photoshopped out any logos if they were in the shot. If you choose the wrong answer it will appear red while the right one turns green. Good Luck. BTW, using Google Image Search is cheating and participants will be flogged. Also, right-clicking on the image will not give you the correct answer. I couldn’t make it that easy.

Continue reading Lights at night

Electrifying Summer Trip

A shiny bright object

My friends would tell you that I’m easily distracted by new shiny bright objects. Don’t know why, I’m a guy and love seeing things out of the ordinary. Especially on four wheels.

My wife and I were getting our daughter Meg settled in school at
Western Michigan University where she is in their College of Aviation.  With the parking lot, jammed with cars, I spotted my shiny bright object. It had four wheels, it was yellow, and low to the ground. Like a dog with a bone, I was a man on a mission to find out more about this vehicle. Continue reading Electrifying Summer Trip