Anger: Doesn’t Mix Well With Automobiles and Dealerships

April 11, 2012

Details are understandably hazy with this eye-opening scenario, but the apparent story goes that this customer was rather annoyed with the Dealership’s impudence towards some suspension-related issues he was reporting with his new Suzuki Grand Vitara purchase. As a result, the internal rage switches were flicked on and, well… see for yourself.

Methinks his suspension queries are probably null and void now.

-Blake J.

Pic of the Day: Christy Carpenter flinging the S15 Silvia

October 19, 2011

Today’s POTD comes from the world of Drifting Motorsport and features a certain Christy Carpenter propelling a momentary 2-wheeled/Starboard drift. Other shots from this particular corner show the car dancing precariously on the front wheel alone but we prefer the near-balletic and aggressive stance of this pic just as the power is being re-applied mid-corner.

-Blake J.

Photo from

A.I. Drives It: The Nissan LEAF Electric Car

October 18, 2011

Last night I went for a moderately bundled-up walk in my sleepy neighborhood to take-in the crisp and cool Autumn air. Fair to say that (weather pending) it’s an almost nightly ritual of mine as I’m part-cat and part old-fart (yes, I even bring along a walking-stick that doubles as a defense mechanism against those imginary forces of evil…). And as is the norm with this time of year, variously coloured leaves are scattered about and blanketed underneath the trees as the looming Fall approaches…

Hello. I am the Future.

Now, I know what you may be thinking… that this ‘falling leaves’ nod is my cheesy segue/intro to the article itself (and you’d be right) but I’d be lying if I didn’t have a moment of reflection on the morning/afternoon I spent with the new Nissan ‘Zero Emissions’ Electric Leaf and how 99% of the vehicle is recycleable with 95% of it constructed from recycled materials. Very ‘green’… actually, very ‘leaf’… But more on that in a bit…

It’s hard to know where to start with the Nissan Leaf as the sheer amount of tech involved is somewhat overwhelming (especially to this un-tech head) and encapsulates paragraphs of stats and figures and eco-claims to comb through. And I really don’t think you want to read a book-report, do you…? No you don’t. The basic fundamentals of the car have long since made their way through the usual Press channels over the course of this past year, so in order to save this piece from being drowned in endless stats and numbers, I present you with the official Nissan Leaf Press Kit media site link to pore over… You’re very welcome.

That's some eco butt-funk goin' on there...

But chewing on the main bits of fat (can you be a ‘green’ carnivore..?) with this all-electric car, what we have here is a front motor/front wheel drive layout with a single speed gear reducer powered by a high-response 80 kW AC synchronous motor and an air-cooled 24 kWh Lithium-ion laminated battery (that is multi-moduled – can replace individual aging/dying/faulty modules) housed in the rear-centre of the car for ‘optimum vehicle packaging and weight distribution’. There’s also another 3.3 kWh motor onboard. The Leaf develops 107 bhp and 207 lb-ft of torque.

First impressions upon walking up the Leaf are, to be honest, not very inspiring nor exciting. The Leaf is based on the rather staid (yet versatile) Versa platform so the Leaf’s body shape itself looks like a bulkier Versa that’s been making regular visits to the insides of your iPod along with many obvious hours lounging inside the wind-tunnel. The headlights in particular are an area of contention – the sharp, protruding, almost-obtrusive size and scale of them (though an aerodynamic aid in decreasing wind-noise) overwhelm the front-end styling and a quick walk-around reveals similar traits within the sci-fi, enlarged boomerang-like tail-lights. Aside from that (and its rather rotundly shaped arse) it’s all pretty plain-Jane.

Impressive, high-quality interior here

The interior is a pleasant place to be. The ergonomics are decently laid out. The materials look and feel of high-quality – you even get a leather-lite steering wheel. You seem to sit ‘on’ the chair rather than ‘in’ it, but that’s a relatively minor quibble. Starting procedure involves pressing a button, listening to the lovely eco-chime (the only sounds you ever really hear), toggle the very computer mouse-ish feeling gear-selector over to ‘D’ (or ‘R’), let your foot off the brake and over to the accelerator and away you go… in complete silence. So far, a breeze to get accustomed to and settle into comfort.

My test-drive route was unfortunately all-too brief and rather short (I think we travelled 6 km’s…?) so I was trying to document as much hands-on/visceral information as possible throughout my limited time behind the wheel. Initial impressions were of the near-deafening  and somewhat spooky silence within the cabin. The Leaf impressively soaks up the landscape and road-noise with an eerie aplomb as you’d hope within an electric vehicle. The steering was a bit too light and completely devoid of any feel/feedback but I’m more than guessing that was intentional … After all, the Leaf has been extensively engineered to remove and filter-out all of those vibrations and sounds we usually hear and feel within a conventional car – again though, very strange in a glassy, floaty way… Kind of like driving a posh Float… away from the parade… but no one notices.

The least-sporting rear diffuser on the market...? It helps direct the air - that's it.

Despite the slight oddness of the driving experience itself, one aspect of the Leaf that I noticed was how it forces the driver to focus on his/her driving habits. Because every run is essentially an economy run where you’ll be pre-planning (especially on longer drives) your range vs. your route, the amount of on/off throttle-action and the speeds you carry will largely determine how you fare come journeys end. Maybe I’m a bit naive to assume that most Leaf/electric car owners will notice the re-tuning of their on-road driving habits but I applaud something new within the daily-driven vehicular sector that will (possibly) deter people from their usual scatterbrained, lead-foot/dangerous driving habits.

Like most modern-day battery-powered personal appliances and various online realms (mp3 players, iPpods, Facebook, cell-phones, etc.), the Leaf also invites you into its (eco) world. It’s a very personalised environment with loads of gadgets and apps and gimmicky online sharing/eco-driving comparisons (with other Leaf owners) to choose from within the onboard motherboard (ie: CARWINGS telematics system)… if that’s your thing. Get this – each time you set-out on a journey in the Leaf, you’re tasked with the digital ‘construction’ of an ‘eco tree’ that gradually builds itself up on the dashboard if you maintain eco-driving habits – the more trees you grow, the more ‘green’ you are seen to be within the online network of Leaf owners. That’s kinda weird… yet probably a potentially huge selling feature for the socialites of the New World.

Decently sized rear load-in area... check.

The Leaf can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in approx 26 minutes when equipped with a quick charge port utilising a DC ‘fast charger’. Charging from your home through a 240V outlet is estimated to take approximately 7 hours…. 11 hours through a conventional socket. The Lithium-ion battery pack carries a warranty of 8 years or 160,000 kilometres – not too shabby. A quick glance at the onboard computer currently shows only a few quick-charge areas within this particular region with Nissan Dealers being the obvious places for a quick (and free) top-up, but that network is expected to grow as sales/demand grows. Already, there are private companies gearing up to strategically place recharging stations throughout this sprawling region of ours.

Prices start at $38,395 for the SV base model and extend to $39,995 for the SL model which adds Auto On/Off Headlights, Rearview monitor, Fog lights, Rear Spoiler with Solar Panel Charger, Homelink transceiver (for garage door openers) and a Cargo cover An available option on the SL model is the Quick Charge Port ($900) and from what I’ve gathered, will be an essential ‘just in case’ proposition. So for the proper all-in Leaf ownership experience, the total will amount to $40,895 before taxes. Rebates..? Well, if you live in the Province of Ontario or Quebec the Government will reward your eco-wallet with an $8000 one… That’s substantial. Given time, I’m sure other Provinces/States will offer up similar eco-rebates.

Kinda cute how they gave the genrerator a ribbed valve cover... And yes, that's a regular car battery you see there

It’s tempting to go on and on about the Leaf’s (claimed) eco-credentials and it’s zero-emissions fanfare in this (rather sillily) Co2-obsessed world of-the-moment, but it would be wrong of me to exclude the one rather glaring elephant-in-the-corner question that, surprisingly, befuddled the responses from the assorted Leaf Eco Crew – When you plug-in your Leaf, you’re plugging into a socket… that derives its energy from a Co2-spewing source… So, how then, can the Leaf be rightly claimed as a Co2-saving, zero-emission vehicle… ? ?

I was given the answer – “Nissan has done their part, now its up to the Governments and Power Supply Companies within the various private-sectors to follow suit..” Hmm..

What we have here is a vastly impressive technological/automotive exercise that has obviously been well-thought out (it had better been, what with 2-Billion dollars invested), is user-friendly, well-made, a bit pig ugly and dull/boring to look at, drives like a posh, Premium Class parade float, will induce an all-new and inflated version of range-anxiety (your Leaf’s range drops by nearly 10 km’s if you simply turn on the climate-control..!), forces you to pay attention (a good thing) and is, at the moment, a bit pricey (yet prices are sure to come down when/if your local Gov pitches in with a special rebate incentive).

Obviously not these, but it would be kinda cool if Nissan offered a variety of old-school sticker-decal packages as options... yes?

Locally speaking, it makes loads of sense… what with the hill-laden landscape out here (supremely adequate for the regenerative-braking/re-charging attributes of the Leaf) that is unendingly adorned with a yawn-inducing, grid-patterned road-network splayed out upon it (we don’t have very many exciting/fun roads… we have straight-lines and 90-degree turns).

And so I’ll end this off with where I started; on my beautiful Autumnal walk last night… As I stared out at all of the leaves that have started to fall to the ground, I was reminded of how the plants and trees recycle themselves back into the earth… And then I thought about the Nissan Leaf itself, and how 99% of it will be recycled… But then I reminded myself of the sobering fact that we live in a world where cars (and almost all modern gadgetry) are increasingly being viewed upon as disposable ‘appliances’… and (usually) funded and built accordingly.

The face only a mother (board) could love...

Right now, electric cars are in the spotlight and induce a quirkily exotic and intriguingly curious response from the public. They are being properly built to showcase the developing technologies within our eco (and ego)-laden landscape in the hopes of selling this ‘Big Picture’ idea to the salivating public… But when/if electric cars become viable on a larger scale with a broader range of variants to choose from, it will be interesting to notice the inevitable decline in quality… though, like 90%+ of the consumer-based public nowadays, people won’t even notice nor care. Sad, that.

-Blake J.

Pic of the Day: McG’s Sexy 300ZX TwinTurbo

October 18, 2011

You know how there are certain cars within our vehicular landscape (or in this case, circle of friends) that seem to emanate an indescribably powerful presence and pull at your attention-strings with the greatest of ease…? An object of someone’s obvious love, care, childhood dreams and persistent dedication that has been meticulously explored, researched and respected…? Where trial and error intermingle with the bonds formed from explosive success and DIY pride… But over a 10-year period…? And with the same car…?

The gorgeous 1992 Nissan 300zx TwinTurbo you see here on this page is a byproduct of those exact, time-honoured ingredients. One that retains an almost mythical stature for yours-truly, as for as long as I’ve known our own McG (7+ years..?) somehow I’ve never driven, let alone even ridden in it…

For me, it’s almost the equivalent of a real-life pin-up that you gaze at with monumental respect and endlessly ponder over the tasty plethora of details. I’ve seen what it can do on the road (which is quite frankly, shocking… in the most jaw-dropping sense of the word) so I can only imagine what it must be like to be buckled-in, riding shotgun within the beast itself (‘incredibly terrifying, immensely visceral and massive fun’ – as informed to me by le-girlfriend from le past).

Our McG was but a wee 15 year-old sprout (can I call you that..?) when he first received a ride in a 300zxTT. Needless to say, he was hooked after that first proper on-board exposure. Fast-forward approx 10 years later and McG finds this exquisite, 100% bone-stock ZX with 125K km’s on the clock.

From there… well, as has always been the case with the vast array of tuning potentiality and significant upgrades available (and open) for Nissan’s near-bulletproof TT V6, the depth of possibilities for unleashing the car’s true spirit and abilities becomes a near-essential craft in itself. I mean c’mon, it’s like the production-car version was designed to be fettled with in the most-applicable of manners after leaving the factory. Anyone who’s owned a Skyline GT-S/R will know what I’m on about… The potential for improved power/suspension/braking/etc. upgrades was vast and almost a given.

And McG’s Z hasn’t been spared in this ever-evolving department either – the sheer list alone of all-around performance upgrades during his 10-year ownership is quite staggering, yet completely beneficial towards the intimacy of the driving experience and its outwardly expression. Only the best performance upgrade products have adorned this Z. So how about just the basics then: Original stock engine (now with 240K km’s) pumping out a useable 525 rwhp and 510 lbs/ft of torque on race fuel… (475 bhp/475 lbs/ft on the regular pump juice)… Insane.

One day, I know the stars will align in such a way to allow a passenger-ride (or drive..?!) in McG’s beautiful TT Zed, but until that day comes, I’ll be content to bask in the anticipation that’s been brewing and nurturing for the past 7 years or so… His Z is a glowing (literally) testament to the uniquely rare relationships we build, form and bond with our vehicular dreams and engineering passions… and I respect and admire that to an infinte end.

-Blake J.

Photo by:

*** Link to various high-res versions! *** >>> Here

Top Gear has something to say about the 2012 Nissan GT-R

July 18, 2011

Top Gear UK reviewed the 2012 Nissan GT-R on last night’s episode, and I think it’s fair to say that they liked it.  A car that both James & Jeremy want to own?  That’s got to be a first!

As you’ll see in the episode, Jeremy uses his face to measure the g-forces in the GT-R, and runs a little drag race against the fastest Jaguar, the XFR-S.

Jeremy Clarkson driving the 2012 Nissan GT-R

Jeremy Clarkson driving the 2012 Nissan GT-R

Video: Top Gear Season 17, Episode 4 (Note: the following video plays in 10-minute segments)

To give you an idea of just how good the 2012 GT-R is, here’s a list of the fastest 20 cars around the Top Gear test track.
p Time

1:15.1 – Ariel Atom 500 V8
1:16.2 – McLaren MP4-12C
1:16.8 – Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
1:17.1 – Gumpert Apollo S
1:17.3 – Ascari A10
1:17.6 – Koenigsegg CCX (with Top Gear Wing)
1:17.7 – Noble M600 (cold)
1:17.8 – Nissan GTR (MY2011)
1:17.8 – Pagani Zonda Roadster F
1:17.9 – Caterham Seven Superlight R500 (cold)
1:18.3 – Bugatti Veyron 16.4
1:18.4 – Pagani Zonda F
1:18.9 – Maserati MC12
1:19.0 – Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce
1:19.0 – Enzo Ferrari
1:19.1 – Ferrari 458 Italia
1:19.5 – Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
1:19.5 – Porsche 997 GT2
1:19.5 – Ariel Atom 2 300
1:19.7 – Nissan GT-R
1:19.7 – Ferrari 430 Scuderia

Now, let’s see how these cars compare on price…

$230,000 1:15.1 – Ariel Atom 500 V8
$229,000 1:16.2 – McLaren MP4-12C
$2,400,000 1:16.8 – Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
$500,000 1:17.1 – Gumpert Apollo S
$650,000 1:17.3 – Ascari A10
$650,000 1:17.6 – Koenigsegg CCX (with Top Gear Wing)
$330,000 1:17.7 – Noble M600 (cold)
$89,950 1:17.8 – Nissan GTR (MY2011)
$660,000 1:17.8 – Pagani Zonda Roadster F
$67,000 1:17.9 – Caterham Seven Superlight R500 (cold)
$1,200,000 1:18.3 – Bugatti Veyron 16.4
$660,000 1:18.4 – Pagani Zonda F
$770,000 1:18.9 – Maserati MC12
$455,000 1:19.0 – Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce
$670,000 1:19.0 – Enzo Ferrari
$225,000 1:19.1 – Ferrari 458 Italia
$205,000 1:19.5 – Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
$191,700 1:19.5 – Porsche 997 GT2
$50,000 1:19.5 – Ariel Atom 2 300
$69,850 1:19.7 – Nissan GT-R
$300,000 1:19.7 – Ferrari 430 Scuderia

For the price, Nissan has come up with a car that is ahead of it’s time, and is a pure technical masterpiece.  The 2012 Nissan GT-R is definately a worthy successor to the GT-R badge.

Take a peak at this behind the scenes video where Captain Slow, James May, takes the 2012 Nissan GT-R out to test the launch control.

Video: Behind the Scenes with James May and the 2012 Nissan GT-R


DRIFT Video Contest!

June 17, 2011

Earlier this week I asked people on twitter to send me a drifting video that they thought was cool. Here they are! I will be announcing the winner on Monday and the winner will be receiving an AutoInjected T-Shirt and stickers!

Drift Video Entries

Mike Kwon [youtube:
Lesley Wimbus [youtube:
Mark Stevenson [youtube:
Andy Lambert [youtube:

LFA vs. GT-R vs. ZR1 vs. 911 GT2 RS vs. F430 GT3. GO!

May 18, 2011

Japan’s Best Motoring pits the Lexus LFA against the Nissan GT-R, Corvette ZR1, Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Ferrari F430 GT3 in a 3 lap angry full-out battle!

The Vid:

This is unfortunately the last episode of Japan’s Best Motoring.

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