Family To 62-mph In 4.7 Seconds

Audi RS6

Audi RS6

We love estate cars at Gargling Gas because wagons are cool. They allow the working man to load up ladders and work benches, the family man to cram in children, flat pack furniture and bags of hedge trimmings, the psychopath the jam in chainsaws, axes and sacks of lime, all in the comfort of a car. These practical vehicles become even cooler when they possess 911 Turbo performance figures.

The inspiration for this post came from the car pictured above, the Audi RS6 Avant. It’s a great looking car, but it’s not exactly the sort of car you’d expect to have to move out of the way on the motorway. It’s also not the sort of car you’d expect to see pass you at the speed of light. Having moved over for one yesterday, I watched in awe as this silver estate streaked by, listened as its twin-turbo V10 throbbed and blatted and catapulted it into the horizon, just before I caught a glimpse of the badge: RS6.

Not being the world’s biggest Audi fan, I did a little homework on the RS badge. I knew it was Audi’s equivalent of the M and AMG divisions, and I’ve always known about the RS2 from being a sleeper nut.

In fact, after doing my homework on the current RS cars and their incredible figures, it only highlighted what an amazing feat of technology the RS2 was/is considering it was built over 20 years ago.

Audi RS6 C7 Avant

Audi RS6 C7 Avant

Despite knocking the previous model’s V10 on the head, Audi’s current RS6 C7 Avant pictured above (damn that Nardo grey looks good) produces a ridiculous 560-bhp and 516-lb-ft from a twin-turbo 4.0-L V8. That means you are able to whisk the kids out of the house and to 62-mph in 3.9 seconds – experts claim this is an over estimate by Audi, too. Considering these impressive figures, the 20-year-old RS2 hits 62-mph in 4.7 seconds, all from a considerably smaller single-turbo 2.2-L straight 5 engine.

Audi RS2 Avant

Audi RS2 Avant

Okay, so the RS2 is obviously lighter, but it offers better mileage and still provides the mod-cons such as Recaro racing seats, air-con and a decent sound system. The handling was well ahead of its time, too, the combination of AWD and its Porsche-designed braking and suspension systems making it more at home on the Nürburgring than the supermarket carpark.

In 1995 Autocar clocked the RS2 from 0 to 30 mph at just 1.5 seconds, a time quicker than the McLaren F1 road car, and amazingly Jacques Villeneuve’s Williams F1 car.

Because Audi’s styling was fairly subtle, the RS2 is the king of Sleepers, a car Gargling Gas has to adore. They are fairly hard to come by now as they are real classics, but offered the choice of an RS6 or an RS2, I’d have to take the latter.

Video

Screaming Bloody Murder

This article was inspired by a youtube video I watched on my phone in bed at 5am this morning. Unlike most guys who may start their day in an entirely different way, I usually spend an hour or two watching car clips and videos. Now, I’ve always been into evil cars, way before the ‘murdered out’ look took hold, and by ‘took hold’, I mean all the celebs and the whole car wrapping deal.

Because of the ‘murdered out’ tag and fad, it seems I’m among a minority who actually understand what a true ‘murdered out’ car is. There are certain esoteric rules that have to be adhered to if a car is to be accepted into the’murdered out’ gang. First off, if your name is David Beckham or Justin – I can’t even get a speeding ticket in a Lambo – Bieber, then kindly f**k off. If you are a fan and think Beckham’s Porcshe or Bieber’s Caddy are ‘murdered out’, then I implore you to do the same.

Never mind the Porsche, just take a look at the car above – it’s a Cadillac CTS-V. It’s Cadillac’s fast and expensive warrior sent to challenge zi German’s AMG and ///M badges. It’s supposed to be a shiny and luxurious car, a hi-tech machine that can be turned into a track car at a touch of a button. The Matte black wrap is hideous – it’s like handing James Bond a shovel and asking him to dig a grave for the last person he shot.

Before I waste your time by trying to explain what these esoteric rules include, please check out the video below.

Enjoy? I did, no matter how early it was, and despite what other manly activities take place at this time in the morning, I could’ve done the same over this car.

A ‘murdered out’ car can’t be forced; it can’t be a new car wrapped in black. It has to have presence, a character, as though it could start up on its own and take a slow and ominous cruise around town – think Christine on fire and taking herself back to Darnell’s DIY garage, think of other movies such as, The Car, Duel and even Jeeper’s Creepers (notice the Caddy’s horn in the vid?). In fact, now I’ve mentioned Stephen King, I’ve just remembered a short story of his, Mile 81, a tale featuring a mud-covered station wagon (which was strange because there hadn’t been any rain in the area for over a week) that veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says “closed, no services.” The driver’s door opens but nobody gets out. This is the kind of eerie presence a true ‘murdered out’ car should possess.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a short clip that will give you another accurate idea of what a real murder car is all about – it’ll definitely put a smile on your face.

Video

What Car Would You Choose To Take On The Cannonball Run?

Lamborghini Countach LP400S

The Cannonball Run 1980 Lamborghini Countach LP400S

Also known as the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, the 2813-mile NYC to L.A. Speed Race has inspired movies and books, stories Gargling Gas finds most appetising and inspirational. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know the score, if you haven’t, here’s a brief history and current record holders.

1915 Erwin "Cannon Ball" Baker and his Stutz Bearcat

1915 Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker and his Stutz Bearcat

Cannonball Run History

The race as we now know it is a mere celebration and the recognition of a guy called Erwin G. “Cannon Ball” Baker. Although he set his first coast to coast record in 1914 on an Indian motorcycle, a year later saw Baker drive a Stutz from L.A. to NYC in 11 days, 7 hours and fifteen minutes. In 1916, “Cannon Ball” piloted a Cadillac 8 Roadster in a staggering seven days, eleven hours and fifty-two minutes – despite the modern era Cannonball Run taking longer than a whole day on the road, it’s a sprint in comparison.

Google maps states that New York City to Los Angeles should take you around 45 hours of driving. The current record is a staggering 28 hours and 50 minutes. That’s an average of 98-mph!

So what does it take to get near that benchmark time? Many have tried, many have fallen, few have succeeded. And vitally, what car would you need to keep the average speed high, reliability issues nil, and remaining as inconspicuous as a Cannonballers’ personality dares?

Cannonball Route

The route starts at NYC’s Red Ball Garage on East 31st Street, crossing many state lines, finishing at the Portofino Inn at Redondo Beach, California. No real rules, only a gentlemen’s agreement that the vehicle entered had to be driven the entire route, i.e. no identical sister vehicles waiting on standby. If you were caught speeding and fined, the ticket was the driver’s responsibility and the time taken to receive the citation counted on top of the overall time.

The route has seen minor changes over the years, which has ultimately led to a few discussions and debates on times vs mileage. The calculators have come out a few times to establish if times were legit in claiming the record.

Brock Yates and Dan Gurney and the 1971 Record Ferrari 365 GTB 4

Brock Yates and Dan Gurney and the 1971 Record Ferrari 365 GTB 4

Cannonball Royalty

In 1971, automotive journalists, Brock Yates and F1/Le Mans winner, Dan Gurney set a real precedence when they managed to smash 40 hours in a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 “Daytona”. They took the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash AKA the Cannonball Run in 35 hours and 54 minutes.

As the originator of the Cannonball Run, Yates doesn’t acknowledge any new records due to his concern that “somebody was going to get killed”.

Richard Rawlings & Dennis Collins With The 1979 Winning Jaguar XJ-S

Richard Rawlings & Dennis Collins With The 1979 Winning Jaguar XJ-S

Although the 1979 record stood for some time, I couldn’t find much image-wise as far as the car and drivers were concerned. However, I did find a few of the car discovered by the pair who eventually beat the record (see pic below).

1979 entrants, Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough shattered the old record with their Jaguar XJ-S. It was the last official Cannonball Rally and they set an amazing time of 32 hours and 51 minutes, at an average speed of 87 miles per hour (140 kph).

Richard Rawlings, Dennis Collins & the Record Ferrari F550

Richard Rawlings, Dennis Collins & Ferrari F550

Famed for their TV appearances in Discovery’s Fast N’ Loud programme, Richard Rawlings, owner of Gas Monkey Garage and his best friend, Dennis Collins, previously made a name for themselves when they broke the long-standing 1979 record in 2007 with a time of 31 hours and 59 minutes at an average speed of 87.6-mph.

The pair are also two-time winners of both the Bullrun and the Gumball Rally. The record car was a black Ferrari F550 with modified fuel cells to lower the amount of times needed to stop.

When you consider the modern technology and car used compared to the Jaguar XJ-S, although the Cannonball and Gumball veterans beat the record, it just highlighted the amazing achievement set 28 years earlier.

Alexander Roy

Alexander Roy

Taking technology to another level, Alexander Roy went to great lengths to minimise potential stoppages, including a “spotter” helicopter. No stranger to the Gumball and Bullrun rallies, Roy and his co-driver David Maher eventually beat the record in 2006. They managed 2800 miles in 31 hours and 4 minutes, at an average of 90.1-mph.

Richard Rawlings and Dennis Collins claimed, although Roy beat their previous record, he did not “stick to the route” of the original Cannonball Run. Roy counter-claimed that the route changed and varied slightly every year, and that the only rule was total A-B time. As the 31:04 was nearly an hour faster than the previous record, it was agreed it was also a sufficient margin to make up the 11-mile difference. 

Alexander Roy's BMW M5

Alexander Roy’s BMW M5

Alexander Roy published a book on his racing career, The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth, a book I’m halfway through, a book keeping me from my much-need beauty sleep.

As you can see in the picture above, Roy likes the interior of his BMW M5 to look like a flight simulator. From GPS to police scanners, Roy uses everything, but rather than make a tedious list, watch the video below and hear about them from the man himself.

Ed Bolian and His Mercedes Benz CL55 AMG

Ed Bolian and His Mercedes Benz CL55 AMG

Alexander Roy’s record fell in 2013 to Lamborghini dealer, Ed Bolian. After four years of preparation, including the installation of a second 22-gallon fuel tank to his 115,000-mile Mercedes CL55 AMG, he ate up the 2,813 miles in 28 hours, 50 minutes and 26 seconds. This meant the spare tyre had to share the backseat with his spotter, Dan Huang. The extra fuel tank was also the reason Bolian chose the Mercedes, as the CL55 possessed the suspension to take the extra weight of fuel.

Like Roy, Bolian relied on laser jammers radar detectors and even a rear-light kill switch. Along with two GPS units, all important space and tech had to be considered for smartphone and tablet chargers. Throw in food, drink and bedpan, you start to understand just what is required in remaining in a car for over 24-hours.

Although many records were set before him, Bolian’s inspiration fell at the hands of the legend, none other than Edwin “Cannonball” Baker, the guy who started it all.

This seems like a good place to finish and ask you, the Reader, “what car would you choose to take on the Cannonball Run”?

VW-Phaeton-6-0-W12-4MOTION

VW-Phaeton-6-0-W12-4MOTION

Me?

I’d opt for one of my favourite sleepers, the VW Phaeton W16, complete with extra fuel cells, ABBA on shuffle to inspire a quicker journey to end the suffering, and water-proofed seats for the inevitable accidents.

Riding Shotgun: What Gun Would Your Car Choose?

gun

At Gargling Gas we believe cars possess character and personality just like us. You associate certain cars with certain things, just like we stereotype a person for driving a certain car i.e. BMW/Estate Agent or Audi TT/Hairdresser.

So with this in mind, I pondered on these mechanical characters and personalities, eventually imagining cars selecting weapons from a gun rack. Within minutes I had a whole fleet of cars and an arsenal large enough to pull off a small heist.

I’ll start with the first car/gun that sprung to mind as I have owned one (the car, that is) and loved every minute of driving her.

AK-47 (Kalashnikov)


Probably one of the most famous guns in the world, the AK-47 is a reliable and powerful assault rifle. Although rather dated now, it is a particular favourite with terrorists.

I associate the AK-47 with the middle east and places such as Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here we have the W126 Mercedes-Benz S Class, a car I also associate with these places, especially the corrupt leaders and dictators. The Merc is a classy and smooth ride, renowned for its German reliability and build quality. If you need transporting across a country to execute a few people in comfort and style, this is the ride for you.

Mini Sub Machine Guns: Mac-10, Tec-9, Micro Uzi

These mini machine guns are great for those moments when you need to aim and spray. Because of their compact size, they are light and easier to conceal.

Whenever I see these cute little guns, the first image to hit me is South Central L.A. and a gang pulling off a ‘drive by’. The car of choice in these parts is always the ’64 Chevrolet Impala, its suspension modified to transform it into a low rider.

Sniper Rifle

I envisage the movies when it comes to the sniper rifle, a cool and calm hitman carrying his trusty briefcase containing a Meccano set of gun components. He’ll find a room, quickly and efficiently assemble his rifle and centre the cross hairs onto his mark.

Classy, robust, extremely powerful yet tastefully understated, the Audi A8 (the car from Ronin) is the perfect choice of car for a hitman.

The infamous sawn-off pump action shotgun

saw2

The sawn-off is an old concept used by many a gangster, although I always picture the cockney London gangsters/cocaine dealers using them.

sawnoff

And what motors are synonymous with Saaff Laandan gangsters? The Ranger Rover Sport, of course.

The Magnum .44 (Dirty Harry)

Described as the most powerful revolver in the world (The Smith & Wesson Model 500 has since taken that title), the .44 is a head removing revolver with one hell of recoil kick. This gun is also a favourite in movies, particularly Dirty Harry, “You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”


I think someone who buys a .44 Magnum is proud to be American, and this would come into play when choosing a car. That would mean a Cadillac – because this vehicle was ubiquitous throughout all three Dirty Harry movies, this ’76 Eldorado fits the bill perfectly.

Glock

When it comes to this piece of engineering excellence, I can think only of the F.B.I and authority. The reason they prefer this Austrian 9mm semi-automatic is for its reliability.

Compared to the cops and their Crown Vics, the F.B.I. would select something a little more exciting, a car relecting their bigger egos. They are known to go for black, and this understated Charger R/T speaks nothing but F.B.I.

Snub Nose .38 Police Special

snub

This cute little fella is the preferred weapon of choice by detectives and private eyes. The snub nose allows for easy concealment and the gun itself offers a decent amount of close range stopping power.

snubnose

Any undercover agent or private eye would choose a boring but popular car, something that blends in to its surroundings no matter it goes. There is nothing more boring than a grey Honda Accord – popular, featureless, the car equivalent of a chameleon.

So what gun would you choose, and does it reflect your choice of car?

A Good Year: Do You Conform With These Rules?

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Like fine wines and their ‘good years’, a car’s desirability can also be signified by its year of manufacture. Just as a season of perfect weather conditions grace the land, producing palate-tantalising grape nectar, car designers manage to merge the combination of curves, lines and technological advancements to create an automotive ‘good’ year.

One of the finest years has to be 1957, a year Chevrolet nailed the Bel Air pictured above. Out of all the automotive TV programs I watch, “57” comes up the most. It’s not surprising, either; just look at the combination of curves and lines and the way it’s a fairly compact car but features those glorious fins.

This article features American cars because, although Euro and Japanese cars have their ‘good’ modes, they are defined more by their chassis number, spec and ‘facelift’ improvements.

1962 Ford Thunderbird

1962 Ford Thunderbird

Take the Ford Thunderbird above, for example, one of my favourite looking cars. Despite it being in my top 5 garage, I could only have one from 1961-63 because of those rear afterburner tail lights. American cars seemed to change their looks considerably over a short period of time, whereas the rest of the world hang on to their chassis number longer and work on technology and subtle design improvements.

1963 Corvette

1963 Corvette

Another extremely desirable car is the 1963 Corvette Stingray for the simple reason ’63 was the only year Chevrolet produced the rear split-screen.

1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

In 1970, after Plymouth had a redesign on their Barracuda, shifting it away from resembling their Valiant design, they built a limited number Hemi ‘Cudas, a car now highly sought after because of its place and heritage in the 1970s muscle car story.

Last but not least… 1987… the Buick GNX. How could Gargling Gas not feature its all time favourite car? After Buick transformed their rather bland Regal into a turbocharged monster in 1984, calling it the Grand National, just three years on saw a farewell with their GNX, the X standing for ‘experimental’. This X meant 275-hp, a massively understated figure that left the GNX a must for the serious collector.

1987 Buick GNX

1987 Buick GNX

Of course, there are many more cars I could list, so forgive me for not listing them, but I’d be getting away from the point of my article:

So with my long-winded explanation that cars have their good years and all this talk of desirable models, do you conform to prescribed? Do you go along with these ‘good’ years, or do you like the ‘undesirables’, the ‘ugly ducklings’ you find alluring, looks that appeal to you simply because they tick all your personal boxes?

 

The Dodge SRT Hellcat’s Roar Reaches The UK

hellcat1

As an automotive writer, blogger, and owner of Gargling Gas – a site dedicated to the more aggressive cars and cultures – my ears obviously pricked up when I heard rumour of a 707-hp muscle car being given the nod. In an age of whining eco-warriors, eco-boxes and strict emission control, this was music to my ears, especially as all this horsepower was being hammered out by a giant supercharged 6.2-L V8 Hemi.

Okay, so the Dodge Hellcat’s monstrous power plant had to adhere to emissions, but as someone who fears the days of massive horse power generated by massive engines are quickly being replaced by smaller hybrid/turbo technology, it’s refreshing to hear an American legend has stepped up and injected their current SRT8 muscle with something a little more potent than those cliché steroids.

 

The first pictures I witnessed of Dodge’s monster showed it in an aptly bright green. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat was the same as its little SRT8 brother in the same way a Big Mac tastes the same as a lightly seasoned and seared fillet steak. It is worth noting that The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is now easily available with sites such as 51st State opening the gates to import the model.

From a distance, the SRT Hellcat could be mistaken for the SRT8 model, as the Richter-scale damaging power is hidden within the belly of the beast. The one fantastic and obvious giveaway to a Hellcat (apart from the noise it creates if running) is the RAM air hole neatly positioned within the Challenger’s front lights. Using “angel eye” lights made popular by BMW, the Hellcat still retains its sidelights as air is helplessly gulped into its supercharger.

As for the Lambo green… were they taunting the Italians over the fact their muscle car boasted more horses than their Aventador? Were they having a dig at the eco-warriors painting such a mechanical behemoth green? I’d like to think so.

The Hellcat also comes in red, but I think the green is perfect and hails back to 70s and the days muscle cars ruled supreme.

I haven’t mentioned I’m a UK-based writer yet as all this talk of muscle and horsepower would seem ludicrous and incongruously placed on our small and winding country roads.

After a little research and interest (obsession) on the Hellcat it seems the UK petrolheads are all falling for its looks and are pining to experience the Jolly Green Giant’s punch.

When I hear people laugh at UK muscle car owners, always dropping the “mpg” debate, I do wonder if they include the Chelsea tractor owners, the supercharged Range Rovers, Porsche Cayennes and other heavy and petrol-guzzling 4x4s families buy to carry their 2.4 children – obesity in children is on the rise, but this is ridiculous.

With petrol prices tumbling in the UK and a machine available with 707-hp whilst offering similar mpg (22) as a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, why wouldn’t a serious petrolhead put in an order? What other car offers this much power for such a low price compared to its supercar rivals?

Even the infamous Ram 1500/2500 pickups are finding themselves in colder and damper climes. Thanks to Chrysler’s diesel Pentastar V6 power plants and 8-speed transmissions, the efficient torque and solid mpg figures are attracting customers across the pond.

No more massive V8s and leaf spring suspension; the current Ram 1500/2500s boast adjustable air suspension, touch screen technology and stylish interiors, workhorses going under the guise of a luxury hauler.

So is big always better?

Of course it is.

 

Resto-modding: Saving The Underdogs Of Yesteryear

Ford Escort Mk1

To some people, resto-modding is nothing more than stripping a car of all its originality. This group of people are called ‘Purists’, a breed I totally respect and fully understand their views on maintaining originality, but there are some cars that just don’t warrant the expense of sourcing original parts, whether resto-modded or not.

Take the Mk1 Ford Escort above, for example, the base for a potential resto-mod project that could end up resembling the rally legend featured in Fast N Furious 6.

Paul Walker Ford Escort Fast N Furious

The Ford driven by the late Paul Walker in the Fast N Furious 6 was the legendary Escort Mexico, a car still used today for amateur rally because of its superb yet simple layout and chassis.

To find an original Mk1 Mexico in good condition today will set you back around £25,000, a car I’d personally like to see kept 100% original because of its adequate power and sufficient brakes. However, the Ford pictured at the beginning and below is just the 1.1-L Popular base model.

A half decent 2 door example can be sourced for around the £3-5K mark. Now instead of scrapping the poor car or parting it out, how about giving it a big heart transplant, disc brakes and a cool paint job?

 

Mk1 Ford Escort

Keeping a classic on the road with modern parts and technology is surely a good thing? Whether it’s an original Mexico or not, the finished project could still look like the car below. I’m all for keeping cars original, but when you can take a base model and inject it with fire breathing technology, I’m all for saving the underdogs of yesteryear.

Mk1 Ford Escort Mexico

As a side note, Paul Walker was a real petrolhead, a Gas Gargler like myself. He had a great ‘car guy’ collection. Check out my Fast N Furious personal rides piece  here and see for yourself.