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Sleeping On The Job

1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit - The Driver

1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit – The Driver

In the world of crime, getaway cars are more important than the heat you are packing, for a whilst a BB gun would fool the general public and the entire staff of a bank, a useless engine will have you worrying about showers and soap before you’ve shouted, “Drive!”

Kray Twins Ronald and Reginald

Kray Twins Ronald and Reginald

If I think “getaway car” my mind always goes to the days of 60s London, the Kray Twins, “Mad” Frankie Frazer and the other real life gangsters who paired Savile Row suits with brass knuckle dusters. British cars of the era weren’t particularly fast, including those of the Police, so when gangsters starting using the power and might from the 3.8-L Jaguar Mk 2, the Old Bill didn’t stand a chance… until they started using them as motorway cars.

Jaguar Mk2

Jaguar Mk2

The Mk 2 gained a reputation as a fast car among criminals and the police because of its 220-bhp straight-six engine. In its day, 0-60-mph in 8.5-seconds was pretty impressive for a big car, another reason criminals used them – along with the getaway driver and four gunmen, you still had room for the all-important SWAG and perhaps a few body parts. Although it wasn’t entirely inconspicuous because of its grandeur, it was a sleeper in its own right because you wouldn’t exactly expect it to burn rubber.

’67 Shelby GT500 “Eleanor”

In the movies we’ve seen all types of getaway car, from the Pontic Firebird in The Driver (1977) to the Minis from the Italian Job. A lot of movies show the bank job getaway cars as monstrous black muscle cars or vehicles like the Ford GT500 Mustang, Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds… which is cool in fantasy but…

Whilst these fantasy cars look great on film, I suspect in real life they’d get you caught pretty quick – not only would you stick out like a sore thumb, modern police cars wouldn’t struggle too much to keep up.

This leads me onto wolf in sheep’s clothing cars, Q cars, and the 2011 movie, Drive. In this brilliant crime movie (derived from the James Sallis novel of the same name), a stuntman (Ryan Gosling) uses a bland and boring silver Chevrolet Impala (the most popular car purchased in California at the time) as a getaway car. The Impala looks like any other car on the street, only under it harnesses extra power (300-bhp).

In the clip below, a mechanic tells the driver, “Plain Jane and boring; just like you asked for,” exactly what makes a sleeper so cool. Inconspicuous and fast without anything giving the game away – these assets are what the ultimate sleeper and getaway car are all about.

Check out the opening movie scene below, probably my favourite intro into any film – in fact, this clip almost plays out like a mini-movie in its own right.

If you like the concept of the sleeper car, check out our sister Sleeper Cars site on G+.

What Car Would You Drive To Woo?

Couple Kissing in Car

I’ve started many posts with a “what car would you” title, and being Gargling Gas, they usually run along the lines of something dark, sinister, destructive, or worse…

This time out I am really interested in understanding what cars you would choose to woo and romance a date. Car designs and tastes are extremely subjective and we never discriminate against ‘scenes’ within car cultures, but when it comes to romance and setting the tone for a romantic drive/date, a lot of cars can be eliminated, especially tuner and super-cars.

This may sound odd but a super-car just isn’t the right car for a romantic drive – they are loud, shouty, you are bound by racing seats, and causing a scene everywhere you go just dampens the mood for romance. If your date is classy, she/he may even feel embarrassed having to clamber out of the likes of a Ford GT or Lamborghini – if you are dressed to impress, having to play twister just to exit a car eradicates any iota of dignity.

Lamborghini Countach

Lamborghini Countach

Supercars certainly look the part, but when you are trying to impress a date, having members of the public offer you masturbatory gesticulations is without a doubt a passion-killer. On a romantic date you hope to be swapping spit with your sweetheart, not finding it in/on your car when you return.

1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta

1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta

I’ll jump right in and offer up the car I’d use on a date; whether it’s a country drive and pub lunch or a classy London restaurant, my choice more than finds itself at home.

Behold the 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce.

This quaint little red sports car oozes Italian flare without screaming sharp lines, carbon fibre and 700-bhp of noise. It’s timeless in design and so classy it would happily roll with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren should they happen to meet on a high street.

1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce

1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce

Okay, so if things heated up and more space was required, this car might not be practical, but if your date is the sort of person to appreciate a classic and a gentleman’s car, chances they’ll settle for nothing less than a four poster bed.

So what car would you choose as your metaphorical and mechanical oyster?

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What Oddball Car Would You Own?

Nissan March Super Turbo

Nissan March Super Turbo

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll have seen this little car before, an oddball of its generation for both technical and aesthetic reasons. It’s a little shopping cart capable of embarrassing all of the boy-racer hot-hatches of its time.

In a previous post, I detailed specifications on the Nissan March Super Turbo should you want to geek out of them like me. I praised the little March Super Turbo for its use of both a supercharger and turbocharger, but as this post isn’t about power, I’ll continue to give my other reasons as to why I would more than happily clear a space for this in my garage.

Nissan March Super Turbo

Nissan March Super Turbo

I love this quirky car because, despite its tiny supercharged and turbocharged 930cc engine and the fact its relatively quick, it isn’t shouting about it. Essentially, it’s the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing, a vehicle usually purchased by the blue-rinse brigade to pick up their shopping – at this point you should also know Gargling Gas’ sister page is devoted to Sleeper Cars . Aside from the rally-style fogs and small hood vent, the March’s boxy – and let’s face it, un-sexy – body help it pull on its deceiving wooly pull-over.

The guys from Mighty Car Mods featured it on one of their YouTube episodes, a great little snippet if you’re digging my choice of oddball car.

The Nissan March Super Turbo is my ‘oddball’ car, but what’s yours and why?

Top 10 Stock & Sinister Cars

There are loads of Top 10 posts on sinister cars floating around the web, but most of them don’t consider the term “sinister” beyond looks. Like millions of other subjects regarding aesthetic design, I fully understand this is highly subjective, it’s just Gargling Gas thinks when the term “sinister” is applied to cars, it should also include “presence”.

Below, I’ve listed my personal Top 10 Stock & Sinister cars.

Mitsubishi EVO VIII FQ-400

10. Mitsubishi EVO VIII FQ-400

10. Mitsubishi EVO VIII FQ-400

This is an angry car with lots of sharp lines and dark orifices I daren’t insert a finger. This hooligan both “talks the talk” and “walks the walk”… in fact, the FQ-400 decimates the walk.

1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville Series 62

9. 1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville Series 62

9. 1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville Series 62

The Series 62 Deville is a two-and-half ton monster with staring eyes and a menacing grin. Should Satan ever find himself in a car showroom with some cash to burn, only a black Deville will suffice. Despite resembling a mechanical bat ready to spread its acres of folded wings, this Caddy would leave Batman trembling and sobbing in the arms of Robin.

1982 BMW E24 635 CSi

8. 1982 BMW E24 635 CSi

8. 1982 BMW E24 635 CSi

This car has the nickname, “Sharknose” due to its front end. Although the grille is certainly imposing, it’s all about those eyes.

If the saying “Your eyes are the windows to your soul” holds true, I don’t want anything to do with this beast.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T

7. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

7. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

The sinister for me in the Charger comes from the hidden lights/grille; as a kid I loved the front end appeared as a gaping black intake – no British cars had or do feature this headlight flap.

The Mercedes-Benz 600

6. The Mercedes-Benz 600

6. The Mercedes-Benz 600

The 600 is four tons of German engineering that only understands police and army escorts and cheering crowds. This car possesses serious presence and an air of superiority only matched by its occupant sitting in the back. Psychopaths such as Saddam Hussain, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and Ferdinand Marcos have glided among their minions in the Mercedes 600.

Marussia B2

Marussia B2

5. Marussia B2

Their F1 cars aren’t anything to shout about, but just look at this insectile machine above. This Russian car’s turbo-charged 2.8-L engine rockets it to 60-mph in 3.8-seconds. This post isn’t really about performance, but considering the Marussia B2 reminds me of those trap-door spiders, both its looks and speed send shivers up my spine.

1971 Lincoln Continental

1971 Lincoln Continental

4. 1971 Lincoln Continental

Up until the 80s, Lincoln Continentals were heavy and luxurious cars, well-equipped and boasting excessive styling. They are long, sleek, best in black, and during the its 60’s “slab-side” design and suicide doors they are now affectionately called “suicide-slabs”.

It could have something to do with the horror movie, The Car (1977), although I think the stock version above is more sinister, despite famed Hollywood car designer, George Barris’ evil slant on the design.

1958 Plymouth Fury

1958 Plymouth Fury

3. 1958 Plymouth Fury

The next car is my personal favourite novel/movie car. She’s a jealous and possessive car, one with a penchant for 60s music and killing.

The ’58 Fury is called Christine and comes from the mind of writer, Stephen King. Although he made a few technical errors when he penned the novel, one about the transmission and the other the fact Plymouth’s coupe in ’58 was in fact the Belvedere (this causes much debate in social media threads from people who haven’t read the book or watched the movie), King nailed one hell of a novel.

Bone stock (apart from her owner requesting a special red for the year), Christine rolled off the production line looking poisonous. Like the aforementioned Caddy, Christine’s fins, lines and menacing grille, give the car a truly insidious and sinister presence.

“Don’t talk about my car; she’s real sensitive.” ~ Arnie Cunninham (owner).

Buick GNX

Buick GNX

2. Buick GNX

The Buick GNX is my personal favourite “real” car. I have probably over-blogged about the Buick GNX and the only reason its not on my top spot is because I want this article true and in no way biased, and when you see the following car you’ll understand why I couldn’t possibly usurp the queen of sinister.

Despite all this, the GNX is one evil automobile. The “GN” stands for “Grand National”, a turbo-charged and revolutionary kick-in-the-pants Buick Regal that only came in black. The “X” stands for “Experimental”, Buick’s farewell to the Grand National. In 1987 the Grand National received more horsepower (around 250-275), although the exact figure is debatable due to Buick playing down the engine’s total output.

What we are left with is a turbo-charged V6 car capable of hitting 60-mph in 4.8-seconds – at the time this was simply staggering. With its glossy and impossibly deep black paint, black wheels, tinted windows and all of those sharp angles, the GNX is almost the true epitome of sinister.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

1. Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

I really wanted either Christine or the Buick GNX to take top spot, but I think you’ll agree the car above wins it hands down. The Jonckheere Coupe is the epitome of sinister and evil – even the sound of the word, “Jonckheere” adds chills to the already sinister, “Phantom”.

In 1925 Rolls Royce created this simply beautiful yet sinister car, the equivalent of Cruella De Vil or the evil Queen from Snow White.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

Just take in her gloriously long rear, her seductive curves and a fin that would give Jaws nightmares. For me it’s the ultimate in opulence and decadence, a car even too sinister for the Devil himself.

I hope you liked my choices, and remember, I understand the topic is subjective and you may switch some of the cars around – if you have your own choices, please comment and let me know.

Video

Drifting Explained in 11 Minutes

Chris Harris On Drifting

Chris Harris On Drifting

If you’ve heard of British Hoonigan, Chris Harris you’ll know he likes to give a car a damn good spanking, particularly Ferraris and BMWs. Apart from acquiring the legendary E30 Sport EVO M3 last year, Harris has also posted a rather emotional and fantastic BMW E28 M5 video on YouTube.

Chris Harris - BMW E30 M3 EVO

Chris Harris – BMW E30 M3 EVO

So whilst Chris Harris likes to get to grips with a car, pushing it to its limits on track, the man also known as “Monkey” loves nothing more than going sideways, too.

I love drifting, and those unfamiliar with what it takes to initiate and hold a decent slide would do well to watch this excellent 11 minute tutorial. In fact, although I knew how to initiate a drift in various other ways, I did take away one golden piece of advice concerning seating/steering wheel position that I use in everyday driving.

If you haven’t got 11 minutes, try his older 7 minute drifting an E39 M5 instead. I promise you the next time a little rain falls, you’ll be tempted to try some of these manoeuvres – on a private piece of land, of course 😉

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No Sensationalistic Title Needed: 628-BHP Franken E30 M3

BMW Franken M3

BMW Franken M3

The Franken M3

Gargling Gas loves old school BMWs, particularly Pre 2000 M cars. The E30 M3 above is a very special classic indeed. Despite a V10 engine transplant, this ‘Franken M3’ only weighs in 150-lbs heavier than when it left the factory stock, around 3K-lbs.

BMW Franken M3 V10

BMW Franken M3 V10

Franken M3’s Heart

This monster’s modest 4-pot heart was ripped out and a 5.7-L V10 forced in its place. It wasn’t just any heart, either; the stroker unit came from BMW’s performance specialists, Dinan. Along with the massive power comes a tarmac creasing 480 lb-ft of torque, the same as Dinan’s heavier M6 S3.

Of course, the power mongers had to do some serious fettling to allow for a 6-speed transmission, V10 headers and E90 subframes and suspension, but considering all of this only added an extra 150-lbs to its stock weight, I still consider Franken M3 a seriously lightweight E30.

Cost?

Only $224,500.

I usually refer to cars as “her” or “she”, but I’ll end this post by signing off with: Check out the video below and watch this THING in action.

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/Drive: The Escort Goes to Rally

MK1 Ford Escort Rally Car

MK1 Ford Escort Rally Car

With all this talk of old school and retro cars, including my previous post on Ken Block hooning a MK2 Ford Escort, I couldn’t help but notice an upcoming feature on /Drive. My favourite Youtube channel announced a two-part episode where the MK1 Ford Escort’s Aussie owner, Sandy takes his beloved car back into rallying. If you love rallying this should be an interesting feature as they’ll show exactly how they set up the car for rally and how they ran.

Check out their preview below.