Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Listen to the new 2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

You all know I love Porsches. But I do not limit my love of all things automotive to just P-Cars. I love Mustangs and new Vette too. I might just buy a Z06 when the boys graduate from college. Imagine, a 650HP supercar for less than $80K? Yeah, sign me up.

But I love me some Mustang Shelby's! All of them. So when Ford showed a video of the new 2015 version, I took notice. You can too. Check this out! 500HP, 6-Sp manual, independent suspension, it has the ingredients to make your pulse quicken. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

FREE download on Amazon this weekend - The Driver Book I and Book II - go download them...they are free after all

Hey everyone, my new book The Driver Book II – Training is FREE on Amazon Kindle this weekend. The promo starts Friday Nov 14 through Sunday Nov 16. The URL is:

OK, if you got past that bombshell, let’s get down to business. Fact is; it’s hard to publish a book. Let me restate that. It’s easy to publish a book, anybody can write one and set it up to publish on Amazon. And to be frank, there is a lot of garbage out there in Kindle land. But there is good stuff too, superbly written stuff, amazing reads from authors that will never be discovered. Pity.

But The Driver series is different. It is aimed at you dear reader - someone that cares about all things automotive. After all, why are you here to begin with? You have a Cayman or Boxster or Carrera or Cayenne or Panamera or Macan or maybe a combination of all of these, plus a whole bunch of old Porsches lurking in your garage. You are a Porschephile. It’s OK to admit it. I am, I do.

So why write a book about a racer, a guy living so close to the edge, the analogy of the balancing on the razorblade seems a bit…well dull. A guy that takes a leap into the underworld of being a Driver. Someone that plies their trade off the grid, under the radar, but with one big difference – they could be driving right into the arms of danger. You see these Drivers take people or things (or people and things) from Point A to Point B, but with one important distinction. They never really know what they are carrying. And that one fact means they are constantly living in a world of gray. Gray, the color of ambiguity, the shade of the shadows, that’s where a Driver lives.

The central character, Marc Lange is a good guy in his core. After all he’s a dedicated Porsche GT3 racer. It’s just that the team is almost broke. The Driver Book I is all about Marc decision, should he go against his better instincts and join the shadowy brotherhood of Drivers? Or not? Book II – Training picks right up where the action of Book I leaves off. And for this weekend you dear Planet 9 reader can download Book I and II for free from Amazon. You read that right; I am throwing in Book I as a free down load too. Here is the URL:

OK enough of plugging my books, back to Porsche stuff. I have to tell you all, I sure do miss hanging around all the Porsche forums. I really miss my Cayman S. I have owned eleven Porsches and that includes the mighty 930 Turbo, but I miss my Cayman S the most. The guy that bought it got a deal. A nicely set up road and track car with all the right options. I did buy another Porsche since I sold the Cayman. Actually come to think of it, I bought two. I purchased a very heavily modified 944 Turbo track car, but it was really too much. It needs more (meaning $$$) then I could give. It five hundred dollar’ed me to death. I only owned it about a year before I sold it. With the proceeds I was able to buy a 2001 Boxster S. It is a decent car, but it ain’t no Cayman S. And on a side note, I am doing my first track event with this weekend, so I have that to look forward to as you are downloading my book.

Oh did I mention download? Funny how I sneakily came back around to the fact that you can download The Driver Book I – Decision and The Driver Book II - Training this weekend. Take them for a test drive. If you do not like it, you can always return it. Oh wait, it’s free. Well you get the idea. But do me a favor – if you like it (and I think you will), leave a review up on Amazon. I would really appreciate it. Consider it the pay back for me giving you the book to begin with.

And on that exhaust note, see you all around!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Top 10 Worst Cars Ever (sold in the USA)

Cars are for the most part pretty good these days. Yeah, there are a few duds (like anything built by Ssangyong Motors) but for the most part cars will get you from Point A to Point B without too much drama. The list below? These were some pretty crappy cars fostered on the American car buying public. Have fun reading and let me know if you agree. OH and buy my books (The Driver Book I and Book II) : it's a fun read and I promise none of the cars listed below and in the book. Hmmm, but then again, maybe they would make for a great crash scene. Anyway, here is the link:

10. Tie: Ferrari Mondial / Lamborghini Uracco: gorgeous buy useless. How could something so right be so wrong? Easy – late 70’s / Early 80’s emissions and safety had conspired to hamstring all the Italian stallions. The Mondial was not well thought out. Ferrari wanted a mid-engined car that be the stop gap between the big 12-cylinder mid-engined supercar (Testarossa) and the lithe 328i.  The Lambo? Well they were underfunded and in between owners…for a change. It was a beautiful car that really sucked (and don’t get me started on the Jalpa…).

9. Ford Pinto: What!? besides the concrete fact that ANY rear end accident resulted in an EXPLOSION? Well the Pinto was just wrong on so many levels. It was what a shameful FoMoCo fosters on an unsuspecting American public when the middle-east turned off the oil tap. Shameful.

8. Fiat Strada: Fiat’s were terrible in the US, but the Strada was the terribleist (is that evan a word?). It was plasticky, flimsy, had AC what was marginal at best (and at worst blew really hot air) and had HUGE ugly bumpers that hung off the front AND rear. Oh and it stranded me constantly when the clutch cable broke. I took to keeping an extra one if the trunk.

7. Chevy Vega: See Ford Pinto above, but the GM version. They did have the Cosworth Vega, but that hardly counts.

6. Cadillac Catera: The Caddy that Zings. Yes that was what their clever advertising said about this turd. It was a rebadged Opel when Opel’s were really bad. Sucks for the 6 people that bought one. I laugh at them (and whoever is driving it) when I see them on the road.

5. Chevy SSR: It’s a truck, but not really. It’s a sports car...maybe not so much. Or is it a clever convertible with a very large pickup shaped trunk? I hope not! What it really is…a piece of sh$t. Yet another terrible vehicle (cannot call it either a car or truck or convertible) that GM has fostered on the automotive buying public.

4. Bricklin SV1: Well it did have cool powered gull wing doors (the DeLorean had manual doors). Malcolm Bricklin tried to make a cool sports car, a safe one too (hence the name S-Safe, V-Vehicle, 1-well one...). Too bad it weighed more than it’s Ford motor could handle. It was slow, it overheated and cost $16,000 to build (but was sold to dealers for $5000). Hmmm, based on the economic model, was this maybe a Soviet car? No, just a bad one. Too bad Canada gets the bum rap on this one.

3. AMC Gremlin: See Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega above. AMC was slowly (or maybe not so slowly) going broke. Their answer to the fuel crisis of 1973 – the Gremlin. No wonder they went out of business.

2. Yugo GV: This was maybe the worst car to ever be sold in the US. Motors would fall out, doors would fall off, handles would snap off. And what was when the car was sitting still. Or as the guys building them at the factory called it – Monday.

1. Pontiac Aztek: Pontiac is no longer with us. This is the reason why. All those great cars of the 50’s and 60’s came to naught because of this crapper. GTO’s, Grand Prix’s, Bonneville’s – all reduced to a footnote in history. Why? Tom Peters designed it saying it was to point to the future direction of GM’s styling. Thank GOD that did not happen. But this did and I am sorry and try to avert my eyes every time I see one on the road. I know that some folks think it is cool because it was on Breaking Bad. Sorry but Walter White will never make this cool, forget revisionist history, this thing should remain in the scrap heap of history.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Top 10 Restaurants in Austin for F1 @COTA

Hungry? You are visiting Austin for the F1 weekend...of course you are. So here is my own personal list of places you should check out. Some are classics, some are funky and some are just great. Have a great time at COTA and GO LH!!

10. Chuy's (the original on Barton Springs) - The Elvis statue and hubcap ceiling are pretty much a part of Austin history. Plus their top shelf frozen Marg is awesome. 

9. Fung Fu Saloon - you might need an adult beverage or two...and some classic video games (like Galaga).

8. Moonshine Patio and Bar - huge place with indoor and outdoor seating. The popcorn they serve when you sit down will make you happy. Food ain't bad either. 

7. Second Bar+Kitchen - great people watching place. Food was fantastic.

6. Enoteca Vespaio / Vespaio Restaurante - One high end Italian, the other a neighborhood hangout. They are next door to each other, so that makes it pretty easy.

5. Hoovers Cooking - if you happen to meet the Hoov, please tell him I said hi. Home cooking taken to another level.

4. Jeffrey's - because sometime you have to impress somebody- like your agent or a famous race driver, some Hollywood type or a supermodel.

3. Austin Java (Lamar Location) - GREAT breakfast and coffee place. Try the gingerbread pancakes or breakfast tacos.

2. Barley Swine - tiny bit sized works of food art. Plus I got to eat with and meet Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef.

1. Franklin BBQ - need I say more...expect a long chill Austin line.

Yes there will be crowds, and frankly you should probably try to make reservations at some of them (Second, Veapaio, Jeffreys, Barley Swine), the rest...just be ready to wait a bit. But it will be worth it. Now I also suspect if you hit several of these you may need to try to match Jenson Button's cardio routine to shed the pounds or you can just hit a hot club in the warehouse districts and dance the food baby away. Have fun!!

Oh and if you are just too full to move, buy my book. It will keep you engaged while your body processes that food baby:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FI @ COTA is coming

November Sunday November 2 at 2 PM CST

Here are some links that can help get you ready for the big race:

Lewis Hamilton's Blog

F1's Main site

Circuit of the America's Site (with lots of tips of how to navigate the race weekend)

Jenson Button's Blog

I'll post some more stuff up as we get closer....I can't wait!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Finally! THE DRIVER BOOK II-Training is now available on Amazon

Your patience has been rewarded! The second book in The Driver series is now available on Amazon. You can still buy Book I (and please do), just click the link and buy my book!

Marc Lange knows how to drive a race-car at the edge—that fine line between victory and catastrophe. But his team is only one blown engine away from shuttering the doors and his dreams of championships hang in that precarious balance. But then, at the last possible second, Rene Dufour slides into his life in a crazy four-wheel drift.

Rene made a deal with Marc. He would fund the team if Marc did something for him in return. Rene showed him his world, the world of a Driver, a shadowy group of paid mercenaries that take people or things from point A to point B. Off the grid, off the radar, but with one important distinction: no questions asked. 

The deal with Rene almost got Marc killed. He barely survived, but when he counted up the piles of Euros stacked in front of him he knew his fate was sealed. “The Driver - Book II” picks up on the action right where “Book I” leaves off. Now Marc is in training to be a Driver. Training that will save his life. But is he ready?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcome Mini

Well Momma did get some new wheels. It just so happened that the purchase of the new car did not quite coincide with my post back in December. A lot can happen in that of time...

We tested a lot of cars back in the December / January timeframe. The new Jeep Cherokee was great. We liked it a lot. But to get one equipped properly was likely to cost close to $40K. Ouch! We looked at the Hyundai Sante Fe and it was pretty nice too. It just did not hit all the right notes. Then we looked at the Ford Escape. Well we did sit in it. But that was as far as we got, Momma did not like it.

You know it was kind of funny. We went to a nearby Ford dealer and they were very busy, so we waited until a sales guy got free. I told him what I was looking for and he pulled one from the back and brought it up to the front. Momma got in it and sat there for a minute and then she got out, she was done. I turned to the sales guy and thanked him and said she did not like it, so we would not be testing it. We were in fact going to leave.

He could not believe it, he stood there with his mouth open asking if we were going to test drive it and once again I said no. He did not know what to do. So he asked us to wait a second so he could get his manager. I decided to be nice and let him do his due diligence. He grabbed his manager and spoke to him, the manager kept on looking over at me and shaking his head. He finally came over and introduced himself. He wanted to know if we were going to test the car. I said no, my wife did not like it. He said they have other cars to test, I replied that we had only come to look at that one and my wife simply did not like it. He mentioned again that they had other cars to drive.

I could see this was getting nowhere. So I had to pull out my "Car Guy" credentials. I said that I was an instructor for this particular dealers track days and that we were done with looking at the car. And if he had a problem, he could talk to the guy that puts on the track events, he would vouch for me. He seemed confused. We left that day and we decided we were finished looking for new cars too. Nothing really fit out needs. Usually when we are shopping for a new car, we act fast. We decide we will get a car, swoop in and buy something that day. This time it did not happen. It was kind of weird, against our normal grain of the way we do things. But the timing was not quite right.

Anyway, fast forward four months and we had decided to sell our house and downsize. Not in the quantity of garages mind you (we would stay at three cars), but it turns out that downsized means the size of the garage too. One of them was truly a mini garage. Did I say mini, no I mean it is tiny. So I did my home work and it turns out that a hand full of cars would fit: Smart Car (Yuck), Fiat 500 (too small and our 90lb dog would not fit), Mini Cooper (hard for said dog to get into and no roll down back windows, a must for a big slobbering dog). So that left one obvious choice. It has four doors, a hatch and fits in the very small place of our new garage. It is a...wait for it...Mini Cooper Countryman. Here is a picture, fitting tightly.

You know after all this time, it fells right. And Momma loves it. It is the perfect car for her personality. So welcome Mini. Hope you decide to stay for a while. And to be frank, as long as we need a car for this tiny third garage, it pretty much means you.

And on that exhaust note, see you all next time.