My Next Whip: Evo Or Not To Evo

Now I will begin by saying that I adore Subaru and their WRX. I’ve owned a wagon and currently own a Prodrive 245-bhp WRX. They sound nice, handle really well, and considering they are performance cars, they are fairly economical in parts and fuel.

The problem is I like to try new brands. I’ve done everything from Citroen to Mercedes, Alfa to Maserati. The most satisfying car apart from my current ride was the e46 BMW M3. That thing was angry and sounded pissed too. It spat out automotive cuss words when you floored it, rather than rumble or burble. You could lose the rear slightly and know it wasn’t going to come around on you. Some people didn’t like the SMG paddles, but I loved them straight away and liked the settings option.

So if I don’t buy a Subaru Hawkeye STI, I’m torn between another M3 or… the EVO.

The EVO VI to be precise. I don’t like any of the others – if you were to offer me a brad new EVO X or a mint VI or the TME (Tommi Makkinen edition), I’d take the VI hands down. It doesn’t have loads of numbers after its name or come in different specs. The EVO VI was a 0-60 in 4.4 seconds straight out of the box rally car.

I’m totally torn. The EVO involves many oil changes and the AYC (Active Yule Control) needs a lot of servicing. But them every time you change the M3′s boots, you’re looking at a grand, and should the SMG system go wrong, well, you could probably buy another EVO for the cost of repair.

So the EVO then? Well yes, but I don’t want to be that guy in town who has the EVO. They are fantastic machines and offer optimum driver satisfaction, but they do look a little OTT with it’s serial killer face and giant rear wing.

The M3? It’s looking likely. It looks amazing (known as the last true M car) and it wouldn’t look out of place whether you’re thundering around a track or pulling up to a restaurant.

Bugger, I don’t know. Do I try something new, or do I settle for one of the best cars ever made?

What do you petrolheads think?


Gas Monkey Garage And The Lotus Cortina

lotusAnyone who watches Fast N’ Loud almost certainly tunes in every week, as a lot of the cars shown are either rare or unusual. I like how these guys operate – Rawlings throws his beloved cash at A-Ron in the hope the bearded master can incorporate his vision within cash-hungry Rawlings’ budget.

I’ve written about this show before but this episode in particular caused me much excitement, and I had to include them again due to a little piece of British automotive history that is the Lotus Cortina.

Richard Rawlings stumbled across this stunning example and a beaten up but rare Amphicar sitting in a garage together. Forget the latter, as although fairly rare, it was a POS and needed a ton of work.

The Lotus, however, was in great condition under all that dust. It was a real hidden gem, with low miles, good paint and a great interior. Originally purchased in 1967 by a racer called Charlie Barns, it was driven as a road car until 1973. The great part is the fact it was then put into storage with only 18000 miles on the clock.

I adore this car, both as a classic, but also because it was an early example of a tuner company tinkering with a simple shopping run car. The Ford Cortina has always been a very standard and ordinary car, so when Lotus stamped their mark on it with their 1.6-L 2 Overhead Cam engine and close ratio gearbox, it set the standard of what could be created within the low end of the showroom spectrum cars. It created a modest 105-bhp, but considering the size of the car and it was built 40 years ago, it was a great early performance car.

Richard Rawlings managed to buy this beauty for just $65,000 – a real bargain. I think he advertised it for $115,000. Not bad considering it only needed a few small dents attending to and a thorough service.

This is my favourite view of the car, showing the cool rear cluster, Lotus badge and subtle fin. I also love the paint scheme with the grooved part of the panels filled in with Lotus green.

I’m not too sure how popular the Cortina was in the States in the 60s and 70s or even if it existed at all, but I was really happy to see the Lotus edition received a good amount of recognition when then the Gas Monkeys stumbled across it.

If I had the cash I would have definitely considered it and, after a little fun, keeping it in storage until a museum offered a significant sum in about 20 years time. But I may be buying another car in the not too distant future, but that’s for another time and another post.


Paul Walker Really Loved His Cars

Every car site has reiterated the terribly sad news about the death of Paul Walker, but I want to steer clear of all the tragedy and touch upon his genuine love of cars.

Thanks to the Fast & Furious franchise, the world of Japanese tuner cars opened up to the globe, where kids idolised the movie’s characters and started modding their own cars (mainly Hondas). The Tokyo Drift instalment revealed how the kids in Japan drive, and with the help from a certain Ken Block, drifting exploded in the States.

To a lot of people the Fast & Furious scene spells trouble, hooligans that drone around the streets with their big exhausts looking for races. In reality, this is an entirely false perception as kids who modify their rides usually have to work hard for the parts and then labour over them in their spare time. It brings people together who have a common interest and gives enthusiasts something creative and positive to do.

Paul Walker was a main character in the Fast & Furious movies, a chiselled and good looking man who could drive like a rally champion.

Like his character on screen, Walker loved cars off screen. He had an impressive collection and knew what he had tucked away. Not only knowledgeable about his cars, he also drove them… hard.

Take a look at this article I wrote for Motor Ward after Fast & Furious 6 and see just what Paul Walker had tucked in his garage.