Times have changed. Five years ago the war in Iraq was supposed to be already over, Time.com  claimed that the internet was too crowded (no, really?), and above all, gas prices were nearing an all time high at an outrageous $1.72 per gallon. So you could imagine how the garage wars around your neighborhoods were going, with one guy whipping out his 2003 Acura NSX, which (at the time) was one of the fastest cars in the world, and bragging about his 5.2 0-60 time. 

But sadly, times like that are far away from us now. The cars have gotten better and more expensive, and in a sense so has the oil. Ok, maybe not better, but you get the point. The grass will always be greener on the other side — like always — and now everyone wishes instead of buying that flashy Corvette, maybe they should have hung onto their good old 50 MPG VW Rabbit. 

Enter the hybrids. Victor Wouk’s genius creation turned hybrids and other green cars away from their hippie image, and suddenly they were as popular as bell bottoms in the late sixties. With streets flooded with brand new Prius’s, and a new EcoGeek community rapidly forming, it was suddenly cool to be an environmentalist again. 

Meanwhile, truck and performance companies like GM started their downfall. No one wanted a new Chevy Tahoe anymore, and despite valiant efforts to “green-a-tize” these gas-chugging trucks, GM’s popularity and credibility took a giant blow. Toyota and their squeaky clean factories dangled Detroit’s credibility right in front of them, mass producing their trademark cars at a fraction of the price it took Ford and GM to. So GM rallied back, trying the most sensible thing to do — fighting fire with fire — and creating a green car of their own. But what they came out with? It makes me think to myself: “What the are these idiots thinking?!” 

As you can see in the pictures, what GM failed to do here was make a car that could sell. In short, they sent Chuck Norris to a black-tie formal. What I mean by that is they planted themselves in a market that they had never experimented in, and because of that they couldn’t hold back, planting a sports car with gigantic shiny rims and a futuristic muscle tone to compete with a Prius. And that’s not going to sell. Sorry for offending anyone, but the average tree-hugging Prius driver would not exactly fair well with a high-performance electric sports car with bigger rims than Ice-Cube could ever dream of.

So its not going to sell. Plain and simple. GM went way too far with a good idea and tried for something new, inventive and sportsy for a car that is their future’s last ray of hope. So would I drive it? Well, first of all I can’t drive, but if I had a choice between a Prius and the Volt when I turn 16 in a world of horribly high gas prices, I would take the Chevy in a heartbeat. But I’m afraid that this wouldn’t be the choice of the average middle aged driver looking for a fuel-efficient car. So what do I think? GM just made a big mistake.

The New Camaro

July 31, 2008

After sifting my way through all the hype about the Chevy’s new bad boy Camaro, I’m not as excited about everyone else. Sure — the thing has performance, with a 6.2 Lt. V8 and a furious 422 brake horse power. But as far as everything else, its just your average fast Chevy — a roadster’s guns with a muscle car’s looks. I’m not saying the car is ugly — but it just doesn’t deserve all the hype, or its huge price tag. Please — just get a Challenger.

With today’s economy problems, many sports car enthusiasts have already given up their golden dream of once owning a 200+ Ferrari, rolling down Beverly Hills while blinded by cell phone camera flashes by awestruck, sidelined civilians that own beat-up Honda Civics. And now, they themselves have become part of the crowd, the daring ones maybe getting a hold of a Nissan 350Z or a low-end Mustang. But when they are standing on the sidewalk with their buddies, staring at a beautiful red Corvette cruising by, they would just laugh and imagine the driver’s face after filling up day after day. But little do they know that the driver of that supercar won’t be pulling in for gas anytime soon, for their 430 brake horsepower beast gets 27 to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. No joke. That’s why I’m calling the Corvette Z51 the ultimate car. There is no other car in the world today that has the satisfaction and looks of a supercar, the performance (ziltch to 60 in 4.25 seconds), outstanding efficiency, and above all – a price that won’t make you keel over. The Z51 packs a better punch as cars twice its price ($56,185 as tested). So why haven’t people taken the bait yet? I don’t know. With a car so good looking you’d swear its Italian, performance so good you’d swear it was Italian, and a price tag that is everything but Italian, you’ve got one thing for sure – I’m saving up for my 16th birthday already. 

The Stunning M1

July 19, 2008

BMW has officially made a supercar. Their new brilliant M1 concept has been announced, due to come out in 2011. It’s mistakable for a Ferrari but has the signature dual BMW grill in front which makes it very unique. It’s beautiful exterior shines in the day and glistens by night, but it’s no match in my view for its interior. Normally, the interior for supercars like Lamborghini and Ferrari are very limited, but this is one of the few exceptions. It’s only weakness is its performance, which is a sort of fast 451 brake horse power, and an ok 201 top speed. These are amazing for a car, but in the world of supercars, BMW could certainly do better. In fact, the M1 is slower in all ways compared to the ugly Nissan GTR. If only someone made a car with the looks of an M1 with the black hole of an engine that they stick into the Bugatti (I’m not saying the Veyron isn’t beautiful, but not as nice as the new M1). Well, until then, I will still be on the search for the ultimate car, and when it comes, someone please tell me…

Right after reading a four car performance test on Car and Driver including the Nissan GTR, a Corvette Z06, a Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR, and a Porsche 911 GT2, I was continually flattered by the outstanding performance the GTR offered at such a low price. In fact, it costs over $126,000 less than the Porsche, which by the way I am not a fan of. Out of those four cars, it scored the highest final performance score. But, sadly, leave it to Nissan to make a really powerful car as ugly as they possibly can. Its silver makes me cringe while the black grill saved the car from sitting next to VW mini-van in beauty rankings. To blame Nissan even more, it looks like they had one of their designers try draw an Audi blindfolded.

            Even with all this performance for such a low price, I just wouldn’t buy it. Why? If you saw it pass you on the freeway, would you turn your head? No, you wouldn’t. But what if you saw the tricked out Dodge Viper ACR zooming past you on a freeway? Well, that Viper got about 20 less performance points than a GTR while tested at over fifty thousand bucks more. But the worst problem with pricing that I have ever seen is the Porsche. Some people call it the poor man’s Lamborghini, but in this case, it more expensive than a base Gallardo. Well, I guess that’s the buyer’s decision which one to get…

            As most may have guessed the most popular car with the candidates today is a hybrid, but its not a Prius (maybe they read my article). Its actually a Ford Escape hybrid, which is the car of Obama, Clinton and Christopher Dodd.

 But something I got a kick out of were the cars that Romney and McCain drive. They seemed to have taken the republican spirit and sacrifice MPG and global warming hecklers for the good stuff. Romney’s toy is a 1962 Ford GT Convertible Mustang with over 400 horses. But McCain may just have topped it with a 3.6 Liter Cadillac CTS V-6. Good stuff. Maybe he has his employees drive a fleet of Prius’s or something to make it up to America.