One Car Apocalypse

Zombieland

Zombieland

As a fiction writer as well as an automotive scribbler, I’ve not only noticed the ubiquitous appearance of zombies, vampires and apocalyptic settings in film, TV and books over the past decade, I’ve had a few ideas myself.

Of course, cars always find themselves into the forefront of my imagination, which in turn led me here to Gargling Gas and an important question I’d like all you petrolheads to consider.

28 Days Later

If you were a character in film, TV or a novel set within the aforementioned genres, what would be your car of choice?

Would it be a car chosen for pragmatic reasons such as reliability, economy or its ability to traverse all terrains? Or would you throw caution to  the wind and go for something fast, aggressive and loud?

Mad Max

Mad Max

As the choice can be made within the realm of fiction and fantasy, where cars can miraculously jump like the General Lee and land with no mechanical issues, I’m going to go with something a little more interesting than the ‘real world’ solution to zombies and the apocalypse I penned a while back – Zombie Benz.

Bellflower

Bellflower

Bellflower isn’t strictly an apocalyptic film, although the car, Medusa is a creation built should the apocalypse ever occur. I think the protagonists had the right idea, though, a muscle car possessing flamethrowers.

My favourite protagonist in any story has to be “The Kid”, a twisted and psychotic greaser from Stephen King’s genius apocalyptic masterpiece, The Stand. He is short and boosts his height by six inches by means of a tall hairdo and high-heeled cowboy boots.

He drives a heavily customised 1932 Ford deuce coupe, which he drives dangerously fast, “speeds high enough to induce brain damage”, always with a beer or a whiskey chased with Pepsi in hand.

The Stand

The Stand

I think if I were to appear in film alongside the undead, bloodsuckers and a world ready to leave me alongside a handful of survivors, my main priority would be vanity – I’d need to look badass. People would need to hear me coming, fear me once they saw my ride, and either bow down or swoon as I rumbled by, slowing to throw a glance over my RayBans whilst flicking a cigarette butt out of the window.

A Prius? No. A Lamborghini? Hell no. What then?

Fast & Furious

Fast & Furious

If you follow Gargling Gas you’d expect me to say the Buick Grand National, but since it has made a fair amount of on-screen appearances, including Fast & Furious (2009), I’ll go for something nearly on par with its legendary sinister looks.

My car of choice has a good amount of power, killer looks, retro lines and nickname pertinent to the genres. It would look menacing from the front, great from the side, and simply amazing sliding around corners and splattered in buckets of blood and zombie brains.

BMW E24 635 CSi

BMW E24 635 CSi

Let me introduce The Shark-nose, the BMW E24  635 CSi. Oh yeah, it would without a doubt have to black, like my current Bimmer, HeLLga.

So what car would you choose to drive in a world void of life, a world wanting either your blood, your brains or ultimately your life?

 

 

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Buick, Please Don’t Taint The GNX Legend

When car companies decide to revive an old and popular model by building a ‘tribute’, they usually don’t do it any justice – it’s a bit like Hollywood rehashing a classic – think Gus Van Sant and his audacious yet appalling remake of Psycho.

One of my favourite cars (I’m going to own one to spank my midlife crisis into submission) is indeed the ’87 Buick GNX – I have professed my adoration for the Vader car in a previous post, Love At First Sight. The GNX is special in that is was unexpected and completely insane. Buicks weren’t and still aren’t known for power or outrageous styling; they were and still are comfortable and luxurious. When Buick released the Regal Grand National in 1982, the public took notice, and when Buick noticed the public taking notice, they upped the power almost every year until its final run in 1987 – the 87s are the most sought after because Buick wanted to bid the GNX farewell with a memorable send off, a special edition stroked by the McLaren brush and boasting a wildly underrated 245-bhp.

When Buick released the GNX, they gave birth to their black sheep of the fleet, a muscle car eater, a sinister machine fit for only Darth Vader, the choice of hitmen and serial killers.

Over the past year or so I’ve been following any news on the 2015 GNX, trying to find an accurate idea of what it’s going to look like – despite being released as a four door sedan and not like its coupe predecessor, I’d like to think it will resemble the picture above and the 2013 Regal GS below, because as far as modern designs are concerned, they looks pretty aggressive. Both the Grand National and GNX will be created on a RWD platform previously used by the sixth-generation Camaro and also the third-generation Cadillac CTS. Although concepts have varied, I know the figures are encouraging enough, but are they good enough to earn the GNX badge and status.

Owning a 2015 GNX doesn’t need to be the stuff of midlife crisis dreams either – the performance and looks will come cheaper than the 40s fantasy Porsche 911. Even if this is just out of reach, securing a car loan from a good bank will ensure the legendary GNX badge sits in your garage.

Casting the smaller engine options and models aside, the daddy GNX will have a twin-turbo 3.6-L V6. Phew, thank god they stuck with the V6 instead of using a V8. Twin-turbo is also good because it remains true to the original in that instead of using V8s like all the other muscle cars of its era, Buick decided to go with a V6 and a big turbo. The new model will possess around 400-bhp, but is this enough to challenge the likes of the Cadillac CTS, something Buick intended?

I personally don’t think it will live up to the GNX name in ground-breaking performance, but I do think Buick will create a great looking and fast sedan. The GNX will only come in black, just like its 80s daddy, so at least they’ve got that right. Perhaps if Buick found a few more horses and stripped away some of the weight using exotic materials (think BMW CSL), the GNX will be another Buick to remember. Okay, so it will push the prices up shedding weight, but it’s not like there’s going to be a shortage of people lining up to buy the new GNX.

 

CoPo Muscle Vs Evil Legend GNX

 

If you follow my blog, it’s fairly obvious which car wins it for Gargling Gas. The Buick GNX is my idea of heaven, both mentally, physically and even sexually.

Motor Trend  is a very good YouTube channel, the cars fantastic and the presenters knowledgeable and fair. I agreed the outcome was close on the two cars featured, especially as the 69 Chevelle was a CoPo boasting widow-making horsepower.

The match up was hardly old vs new, but the generation gap showed what a turbocharged V6 could produce. Don’t get me wrong, as I adore all muscle cars, it’s just the GNX was one of those bizarre releases from a company known for tame machines. If you lined up a bunch of muscle cars and suinted your eyes, the Chevelle wouldn’t stand out – the GNX, however, would be that streak of black, the Grim Reaper lurking in your peripheral vision.

Watch and enjoy the entertainment and great reviews.

Link

Why GM Need The Buick GNX Revived

If you follow Gargling Gas or you’ve skipped through some posts, you’ll know I love the Buick GNX from the various posts on it. In fact, “love” doesn’t even come close; the Buick GNX to me represents everything I adore about the automobile, a car possessing an aura that IS the spirit of Gargling Gas.

The Darth Vader car is unique in the fact it managed to eat muscle cars whilst bearing the badge of blue rinse and comfortable slippers. The GNX is all black and very sinister, its owners probably best left alone. It was a murder car before the term “murdered-out” was coined.  In the late 80s and early 90s (and even today), a GNX pulling up next to your Corvette or BMW M3 at a stop light would be a daunting experience – its unnerving presence is also backed up by a performance that’ll frighten a E46 M3 and terrify a Porsche Boxster S.

Anyway, here is yet another post I wrote on the GNX, a guest post for WhyDoes.com  – Why Does Luxury Marque Buick Plan To Re-release Its Black Sheep?

More GNX reading:

A GNX Dragged Back From The Dead

Buick Please Don’t Taint A Legend

 

 

The Creation Of Something Special In 1160 Pictures…

… special to me anyway. Search Gargling Gas for the Buick Grand National and you’ll find a fair few posts on my infatuation with it.

It’s not totally unrealistic to find a solid example and have it shipped over from the States for a reasonable price (£10-15K). Most sensible, and let’s face it, boring non-car people will probably cry, “An American muscle car in the UK? Are you mad?” Yes, probably, but then I could counter the remark with something like, “Wow, £5K on touching up the woodwork on your stairs”, or, “£25K for a small soundproof recording studio?” Each to their own and all that…

People spend out on the things that make them tick, whether it’s a giant train-set or a set of rare stamps, and everyone knows and accepts this. Except when it comes to cars (I’ve found) people are quick to comment, frown, stroke their metaphorical beard – or in the case of my mother-in-law, her beard. Non-car people suddenly turn into Jeremy Clarkson and offer advice based on a one car experience, whether it was their own, a family member’s or even a friend’s.

“Oh, you wanna steer clear of Fiats, mate. My sister’s cousin had one… nothing but trouble.”

“No, no no… I’d go with a turbo diesel. Reliable and just as fast as petrol engines. They’ve come a long way with those diesels, y’know.” Etc…

Now I’ve gone off on a tangent and will swiftly get back to what this post is about.

Today I found a great piece featuring a Buick GNX on the American Resto Mods website. Pictured above is a very tired 1987 Buick GNX exhumed from a Louisiana bog in 2011. The poor thing was left parked in the mud since 1991 – 20 years! Who would leave a four-year-old GNX – any car, for that matter – in the mud for two decades?

Thankfully, the mud being situated along the gulf meant enough oil content to prevent any serious rust. In fact, the important and structural parts of the car were solid, and apart from having to evict insects and mice from their cosy home, the Buick was great restoration material.

Click the link below, and in 1160 pictures, witness the love and dedication that transformed the above into the stunning example below.

1987 Buick Grand National Restoration

A few Gargling Gas Grand National posts:

Love At First Sight

Buick, Please Don’t Taint A Legend

 

 

Link

45 Minutes Of Dirty Rats

It’s Saturday afternoon, my wife is out and my dogs are asleep. This means trawling the web for cool car videos, cranking up the volume and kicking back without any requests to fix things or throw tennis balls.

If you’re a car guy, whether you like tuner imports, American muscle or the latest supercars, a part of you has to respect the Rat Rod. They are ugly, noisy and uncomfortable, but they look amazing and are usually pretty damn fast. Its rising popularity has spawned the TV show, Vegas Rat Rods (Sin City Motors in the UK), a series showing there’s a lot more than just rusted old parts that go into a build. Oh yeah, and there’s the junkyard diva, Twiggy lending a helping hand.

The Rat Rod was what you once considered a vehicle pieced (botched) together out of any parts that would make it function until the inevitability of an other component failure. If it received bumps, scratches and the exposed metal rusted, who cares? It was just a machine that carried stuff from A – B; it got the job done.

Over the past decade, these classic rust buckets have merged with the resto-mod scene, scrap-worthy vintage shells now fetching silly money so they can be kitted out with new drive trains, suspensions, and even turbo chargers. You’ll hear the word “Patina” used a lot within the Rat community, as a true Rat needs to possess a layer of corrosion. Some builders may simply coat their vehicle in matt black paint, whilst the majority leave the areas of patina on show and treat the entire shell with a clear coat, protecting it from further corrosion.

As you can imagine, the sky’s the limit with these builds – literally anything can be added for originality or personal expression. The Ford Model A is the granddaddy of the Rat Rod basis, a foundation onto which anything can happen…

…which leads seamlessly onto the video below.

Will the dogs wake up? Will my better half return? 45 minutes is all I ask… Are you with me?

Little Red Corvette

The Corvette is to America what the Aston Martin is to England. It doesn’t need any introduction, and since the majority of my readers are from the States, I don’t need to waffle on about heritage or what it means to the U.S. However, I will say that the word ‘Corvette’ – in my mind – evokes images of those signature rear lights, Face from the A-Team, and the crossed flags badge. The Corvette is light and slender and designed to cut the air like a bullet. The horsepower is always massive and models of past were loud widow-making maniacs… which is why I’ve always fancied one.

Over here in the UK you can pick up a 2008 car with low miles for under £30,000. The C6 is a great-looking car, and I found an eBay example for £28,000 that possesses a massive 6.2-L V8. Because the Corvette is light compared to the European cars, and the fact it pumps out 440-bhp, it is fast… very fast. You get the looks, a wonderful sound track that can crumble buildings, and enough power to lay thick elevens every time you even glance at the accelerator.

Although Jeremy Clarkson contradicts himself a lot when it comes to the Corvette (most cars come to think of it) – he loves it, he hates it, it’s too flimsy, it’s the most uncomfortable ride in the world, you can’t have one in Britain etc – I don’t think it’s too out of place in the UK. We are a nation of people who need big 4X4s just to pop to the Post Office. Certain parts of the UK you’ll only find Range Rover Sports and Mercedes G Wagons, all driven by mums who need to fit in two children and a handbag. Why would the Corvette be out of place? It’s not massive compared to these 4X4s, it’ probably more economic than the supercharged Range Rover, and it’s no bigger than an Aston Martin or Ferrari 599.

If you want that car with savage acceleration and a gut-rumbling sound track, the Corvette is the one for the job. It may be a little flimsy, but it is light and will keep you on your toes when the road turns bendy. If I suffer a midlife crisis, I’ll take a red Corvette over the 911 any day.