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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+.

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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?

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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.

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DC Shoes Presents Ken Block Ragging A MK2 Ford Escort

Ken Block - 1978 MK2 Ford Escort

Ken Block – 1978 MK2 Ford Escort

Gargling Gas loves Ken Block’s hooning abilities, especially his Hoonicorn ’65 Mustang. Yesterday’s post involved a nostalgic reflection on the tin boxes my Grandfather drove me around in, one being an Austin Metro, the other a MK2 Ford Escort. I recalled a video of Ken Block hooning a MK2, which led to a rather silly mind’s eye image of my Grandfather ragging his sandy coloured MK2 like Block style.

30 years on, the legendary MK1 and MK2 Escorts’ prices are soaring, and the simplistic and lightweight, RWD car is still the preferred choice of chassis to learn the art of rally in.

Check out Block and the 1978 MK2 Ford Escort rally car – I can’t remember where I read it, but I’m sure Block does this from time to time, man and machine stripped of computer aids, a pure way of honing reflexes and skills.

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Mini Monster Metro

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

The car pictured above is everything Gargling Gas isn’t – pathetic, weak and helplessly slow. However, this post came to be (or will come to be) out of a combination of nostalgia hailing back to when I was around four-years-old, and one of my favourite rally cars.

Aside from the colour, the cute little gold car above is identical to the one my Grandfather owned, the fifth Metro to leave the production line and the first painted bronze. He owned a MK 2 Ford Escort before it, and even though I was still learning to tie my shoelaces at the time, I understood this Metro car wasn’t as cool.

However, it was – much to my delight – the first car I managed to sit in the front of whilst moving, a memory I still cherish. I think it was around the time seatbelt laws were introduced as my parents never let me sit up front, but my Grandfather, well he was easy to manipulate. I begged and begged and eventually I broke the old man, and before he’d even walked around to open his door, I was all strapped in. I marvelled at the open space and the fact I was so close to the controls.

“Don’t tell your mum and dad,” he said.

“I won’t,” I replied.

And I didn’t.

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

So what about the rally car? How could this little tin box ever hope to race, let alone compete with the likes of Audi, Lancia and Peugeot on the world stage of Group B?

1985 MG Metro 6R4

1985 MG Metro 6R4

The monster above is the mighty 1985 6R4, a compact weapon of mass destruction. Whilst the family runaround possessed around 60-bhp depending on engine choice, the 6R4’s 3.0-L V6 delivers over 400-bhp.

The 6R4 started off well, only Lancia bettering them, but after mechanical gremlins throughout 1986 and the fact Group B rally was banned due to a series of accidents and spectator deaths, the lunatic Metro ended up competing in rally cross at the hands of privateers.

MG Metro 6R4

MG Metro 6R4

Another interesting fact about the little boxy car is its link to Jaguar – the 3.0-L V6 found in the 6R4 was given two turbochargers and put into the XJ220 supercar.

I think the fact my Grandfather owned and ferried me around in a Metro is the reason I love the 6R4. They took a popular British runaround loved by the blue-rinse brigade and turned it into something capable of messing the overalls of a seasoned racer.

Just listen to how furiously angry this little Metro is once it’s in full race mode…

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Two Legends, But Who’s God? E30 M3 vs 190E Cosworth

Mercedes 190E Cosworth vs BMW E30 M3

Mercedes 190E Cosworth vs BMW E30 M3

Before you roll your eyes and yawn at yet another BMW E30 M3 vs 190E Cosworth article, consider the prospect of the latter catching up (and dare I say it, surpassing) the BMW in “want” factor. Thanks to the perpetually changing ‘what’s hot”, “what’s not” nature of the automotive world, factoring in the whole Drift/Hipster/Retro movements, could the old Merc capture a little more cool factor and equal that of the Ultimate Driving Machine?

Again, before you write this obvious contender off, a car well known for its performance and constantly compared to the E30, the Mercedes 190E Cosworth boasts both a great back story and amazing racing heritage – the Merc also features the uber cool dog-leg gearing.

Although both cars are luxury German sedans, both powered by a naturally-aspirated in-line 4 engines, both RWD, both punching out around 190-bhp with 170+ft.lbs of torque, their prices differ rather dramatically.

BMW E30 M3  King of Europe ProSeries Drift Competition

BMW E30 M3 King of Europe ProSeries Drift Competition

A decent BMW E30 M3 will start at around £25K, where a mint 190E Cosworth will set you back only £12-15K. I’ve seen mint E30 M3s go for as much as £40K, with track-spec examples hitting £100K.

Another factor to consider in is how good a car looks drifting. Obviously the E30s look incredible, both agile and sinister, and because of its perfect balancing, fantastic impersonating a crab. I think the E30 looks more like a racecar than the Mercedes, the latter thought more as a businessman’s chariot.

Mercedes 190E Cosworth Drift Car

Mercedes 190E Cosworth Drift Car

What some may forget are the glory days when Mercedes and BMW duked it out in European Touring Cars – the 190E Cosworth was a winning car, a force that drove BMW to create the M3 in the first place. In fact, the Merc was so good, Ayrton Senna bought one after winning a 1984 Nurburgring race – check out the 190E in action in the video below.

So with its boxy retro looks, its track abilities, its ability to drift and perform on track, could the 190E see its desirability and value increase?

If you’re still not convinced or sure, Motor Trend did an in depth video on the Germans, so take a look and let me know what car you’d rather see in your garage.