Hawaii Automotive Trend Setter

Gargling Gas loves the Motor Trend YouTube channel for many reasons, chief among them the vastly diverse content they produce. Along with their spin-off channel, Roadkill, Motor Trend pretty much cover aspect of the automotive universe.

Whilst Roadkill cover the badass muscle cars, the ugly – yet beautiful – rat rods, and the on-road chaos and fireworks, Motor Trend present the sophisticated and elegant, the slipstream and sexy.

Take the video below, for example, a film stuffed with all the right ingredients. Take one V12 Ferrari, one sexy Scandinavian girl, and the wonderful backdrop of Hawaii, and you have superb visuals and a glorious soundtrack.

I selected this video, not only because it’s a great film, but because Motor Trend are holding one of their legendary shows in Hawaii for the first time next year.

For nearly six decades the Motor Trend brand has been recognised the globe over as one of the leading automotive hubs, their Auto Shows LLC, America’s biggest auto production company. I guess this is the States’ version of our UK Topgear Live, a show I have yet to attend. 

Hawaii is a place I’d love to visit, not just for the beaches, babes and surf (I can’t surf), I’ve heard news of drifting events there. The scene is pretty big in Hawaii, however, the authorities have added special grippy surfaces to many of its streets’ corners to prevent illegal drifting .

So if you head to Hawaii for drifting or to visit the Motor Trend LLC show, I’d look into Hawaii car rentals . The event will be held at the address below on March 13, 14, 15 next year.

Hawaii Convention Center

1801 Kalakaua Ave.

Honolulu, HI 96815808.943.3500

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BMWs & Preparing Lithuanian Sledges

Owning a BMW E36 325i (HeLLga) and possessing a passion for sideways action, it was only a matter of time before I’d stumble across the ‘The Ugly Duckling’, the incongruously placed BMW above. Its owner hails from a part of Europe boasting scented forests and pristine lakes, a seemingly serene and peaceful place… until you look a little closer.

There are some pretty cool goings-on taking place in Lithuania at the moment, a combination of old school BMWs, mad driving skills, and a creativity and enthusiasm captured in a series of short films.

Norbertas Daunoravičius (pictured above) is the brains behind Norbe Films, a vision shared through his website and YouTube channel. Here he reveals both his love of retro Bimmers and his ability to make them slide. Referring to what is commonly known as the ‘Drift Missile’, Norbertas prefers the name ‘Sledge’, a term coined from the current Lithuanian car culture. 

Norbe Films presents useful videos on Sledge preparation, primarily involving an old BMW and wrenching on it until it will drift. The film below is the longest – and perhaps considered his feature piece – The Ugly Duckling. Although the 15 minutes of footage features hardcore Hooning and antisocial driving, Norbetas manages to convey intelligence, humour and a real passion for cars. The Ugly Duckling also captures the spirit and culture of Lithuania, its people strong-willed, inventive and industrious.

If you haven’t got 15 minutes to spare, check out the excerpt above, a little taster, a lesson in Lithuanian parking.

Link

Driving Slow Cars Fast

Whilst the title is a little ambiguous, it holds the key to the ultimate driving experience and will make sense once you watched the following video.

I fervently follow Jalopnik and their YouTube /DRIVE channel, knowing my automotive needs will be satiated with either interesting news or all-out mayhem.

It obviously comes down to personal taste in what you look for in a car’s chassis, but I have to go with the Toyota MR2 or the Mazda MX-5 (Miata) for slow(ish) cars you know you can throw around and experience that feeling of speed due to the car’s compact size and the minuscule gap between you and the tarmac.

Whilst both of these cars are RWD and excellent for kicking out the rear (the MR2 perhaps too easy due to its mid-mounted engine), you may prefer FWD or AWD, the ability to attack corners without the risk of spinning or ending up in a ditch more suited to your style.

Check out the video below and tell me your favourite slow car you know feels fast when it is either sideways or zipping along bendy country lanes.

Video

My Swan Vs The Ugly Duckling

 

If you’ve read the previous post about my latest acquirement you’ll know I purchased a mint BMW E36 325i coupe that left me a little confused. Having wanted a potential drift missile to stamp my mark upon, the words “strip”, “gut” and “hoon” all circulated my mind as I drove HeLLga (yeah, yeah, yeah, I named her) home. I knew from the pictures and paperwork she was a great example, but I had to keep reminding myself she was a 19 year-old car as I looked around at the pristine leather and marvelled at the familiar raucous engine note (I owned an E46 M3) and the solid ride.

The aforementioned words circulating my mind seemingly matching the engine revs and picked up speed, a full-on whirlwind reminding me why I bought the car – “I’ve bought the wrong car,” I countered, knowing my appreciation of well-maintained and non-molested cars wouldn’t allow any of these words to be directed at my Bavarian beauty.

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I have, however, installed a K&N panel filter and bought a straight through back box with DTM tips for both aesthetics and to enhance HeLLga’s fantastic vocal range. Although the straight-pipe on the M50 engine is a symphony of spitting, crackling and popping, going down this route seemed a little undignified for my clean E36 – imagine Mariah Carey singing vocals for Slipknot – entertaining for a few songs but a bloody headache after an entire album.

So whilst I will try my best at maintaining HeLLga’s stock appearance and refraining from any more sideways action when it’s a little damp (on quiet and empty roads), I’ll have to make do with videos until I find a suitable E36 beater missile. Check out The Ugly Ducking below, what a beauty… hang on, that didn’t make sense. Ah well, you know what I mean.

My New Girl, HeLLga

Hellga

I’ve been very busy of late. My mind has been 24/7 on cars… mine in particular. The picture above is my latest affair, a German coupe that took a lot of searching for and a lot of changing of minds. Up until purchasing her I’ve also been very confused, and now she’s mine, I still am. You see, it’s all to do with drifting…

HeLLga takes the place of my Subaru WRX. I loved my Scooby and it’s surge of turbo but the AWD didn’t allow for drifting unless you entered at high speed, murdered the engine and felt the horrible resistance of Jap technology – a lot of noise and unsettling vibrations – reminding you a trip to the bank was imminent. As we all know, RWD is the only way to go if sliding is your game, so I watched more videos, read more articles and had my mind on something a little different. However, HeLLga wasn’t on the list at the beginning.

I ended up dismissing the RX-8 and S2000 because of their low torque compared to other rivals. The RX-7 and Nissan 240ZX were out of the question, as were the Skyline R32 & 33 because I simply couldn’t bring myself to butcher and abuse such great classics. As for the Silvias, meh, they just don’t do anything for me. Although the S13 could’ve been a possibility, finding a solid example that wasn’t automatic and painted gold was impossible – they’ve all been snapped up, slammed, and had their innards ripped out by hardcore drifters.

So I was 100% sure I wanted an MR2 Turbo, the mid-engined lunatic above I knew could be drifted (albeit with some different approaches and methods). Yeah, I was going to be a little different and the MR2 Turbo was going to be my daily/drift missile…

…until I remembered the late Giorgi Tavzadze and his BMW E34 M5. I then found myself re-watching the E34 325i chase scene in Ronin. I’d seen some mean-looking old-school Bimmers as drift missiles before, and the decision was finally made after witnessing The Ugly Duckling, a stock-engined E36 325i climb a carpark sideways.

Having owned an E46 M3 and remembering how powerful yet planted it was, I did a little research into why the former E36 M3 and 325i models were so popular as drifters. Because they are lighter, have a 50/50 weight ratio and good torque, the E36 chassis was perfect for the job. The 325i seemed the most popular because of its bombproof and revvy 2.5-L inline 6, plus its cheaper repair and maintenance bills over the M3. Many welded the diff, too, something I was thinking of getting done. Although turbos were a popular add-on to the 325i, I’ve seen enough videos to know they can be drifted with the right set-up.

However, after I handed over the cash and sunk into HeLLga’s leather embrace, I realised what a beauty I had aquired. Spotless, 62K miles all accounted for with 8 BMW stamps in the service book. The small white torch, tool kit and first aid kit were all present, and as for the interior, well, I knew I wouldn’t be ripping it out any time soon. I realised all of this whilst driving her home, a car I couldn’t believe was 19-years-old. She was solid, taut and her 6-cylinders hummed and let out that familiar hiss and BMW rasp at high revs.

So what do I do now?

After a rather reserved effort but enough to maintain a slide (this was on a quiet road in the evening with no traffic whatsoever), I came to only one conclusion: Buy a high mileage 325i beater, of course.

 

Ed: If you enjoyed this post or love old school Bimmers, check out the 2nd part with HeLLga.

Don’t Wake The Sleeping Wagons

sleeper

Gargling Gas adores the wagon/estate cars and gets all excited and squirmy over sleepers – because these two trends have been red hot for a few years now, you only have to take a short trip from your front door to stumble across a project or two.

I stumbled across an Audi estate today, the reason for this post and also to touch on a prospect wagon/sleeper build I’ve been thinking of taking on since I saw an old twin-turbo Mitsubishi for sale at the side of a road for peanuts. The Audi wasn’t anything special, a late 90s silver estate, sitting slightly low. I wasn’t sure if the suspension was worn or the owner intended the slight drop, but judging by the reconditioned and freshly painted rims, I guess the former. Simply adding dark metallic grey rims to a retro estate suddenly gave it bags of character and instantly erased any preconceptions about “family runs”, “another baby on the way” and practicality.

Over the past few years, Wagons have gained popularity, partly thanks to the Hipster trend and their penchant for 80s euro estates like the Volvos and BMWs, and partly (I think) because the boxy and retro cars are fast becoming the cool ride to customise. Whether it’s a Volvo drift missile, a GM dragster, or even a Japanese sleeper, the need for angles and sharp lines, simplicity and easy tuning means anyone can stamp their mark on a cool car without breaking the bank.

Despite its spike in popularity, compared to the much sought after 80s Jap hot-hatch turbos such as the Honda City Turbo, the Nissan March (turbo and supercharged) and the Toyota GTI-R Pulsar, the wagon is still a cheaper option. Same goes if you were to compare the wagon to the Nissan Silvia, predominately the S13, as it’s the ultimate choice for drift builds and fast becoming hard to find unmolested and in manual.

However, there were a few desirable wagons before the likes of the AMGs and the Ms took over, cars built for the family man refusing to compromise on power. The BMW 325i Touring (below) and the Audi RS2 Avant (above) are great examples of German engineering, cars designed to transport family and furniture comfortably and at speed – solid examples are few and far between.

The great thing about the retro Wagon is you’re bring something different to the table, its versatility shrugging off any of the labels that automatically come with the hot hatch and drift missile. The fact they mostly come as RWD means they can be adapted for drifting; if you require the stealthy sheep-in-wolf’s-clothing mobile, the wagon is the master of deception, especially if it has a roof rack.

Back to the Mitsubishi. If I remember correctly, it was the twin-turbo Galant VR4 Estate with tinted glass, after-market rims and bonnet vents, very much like the picture above. The thing was dusty but looked menacing, as though abandoned. It’s twin-turbo 2.5-L V6  had covered 89,000 miles and it was up for £2750, but I already had a WRX wagon I was having fun in at the time.

The VR4 produces 280-bhp, and with some tuning and light modification, it could pump out 320-bhp, something easily obtainable with a twin-turbo V6. The one I saw for sale wasn’t exactly a sleeper because it suggested power and menace, but imagine sourcing a clean example with original rims and a ventless bonnet. Picture it, having had a full engine service, a slight boost increase and a re-map, up on a dyno, the readout topping 320-bhp. You could get away with stripping out the interior because tinted rear glass isn’t uncommon with estates. You’d be left with a considerably lighter, 320+bhp twin-turbo family wagon, an ostensibly unthreatening car… until you cut it up on the motorway.

For a third of the price of decent Nissan S13 or a rare Jap hot-hatch turbo you can pick up a car with so much tuning potential and areas of weight reduction, it will come an obsession until you finally hit its sweet spot and see your reflection grinning back at you in the rearview as you glide past a 911 turbo.

Drift Garage, Forsberg & Tuerck

If you are even remotely interested in the drift scene, whether you follow Formula Drift or you prefer mixing it up on the streets with your friends and your zip-tied missiles, you’ll have heard of the names Ryan Tuerck and Chris Forsberg. Not only are they Formula Drift pros, but they also spend time wrenching and hooning in their garage.

Drift Garage is a youtube venture featured on the Network @ channel. They promote all things cool and street like skating, BMX and Drifting. Should you want to delve further into what serious drifters do in their garages to push the sliding boundaries, the series of videos below will leave you wanting to rush out and find a cheap Nissan you can wrench on.

I especially liked the episode where they build a drift missile for $5000. Forsberg and Tuerck are both informative and amusing and it’s great to see two pros messing with relatively cheap cars – just look at the drift warrior above, for example, a car build purely for function and not form.

Check Drift Garage out if you are looking to satiate that need to slide and do something a little different.