Weekly Roundup: You Should See The Other Guy Edition

About twelve hours after you are the not-at-fault party in a car crash, no matter how minor, you will start getting calls from attorneys, body shops, and “official accident centers” that just happen to be affiliated with a local chiropractor. About thirty-six hours after the fact, you’ll start getting mail from various interested parties.

Ten days after a cheerful harmonica player and recreational marijuana enthusiast bopped his Mazda2 into my Accord, I’ve yet to hear from Liberty Mutual, the insurance company of said fellow. Well, that’s the way of the free market, ain’t it?

This was a busy week for me in all respects. Click the jump for the six — count ’em! — articles that I published since coming home from Sebring on Monday night.

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1976 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency – Lansing Luxury

Remember Oldsmobile? Sure you do. Well, most people born before 1990 do at any rate. As a kid in 1980s Illinois, my neighborhood was full of them. There was the next door neighbor’s daughter’s beige Cutlass Cruiser station wagon, with wire wheel covers. Her husband had a metallic root-beer brown Custom Cruiser. Across the street and two doors down lived a cedar metallic 1982 Cutlass Ciera Brougham. About a block away, a friend’s mom had a white FWD Firenza hatchback. Expanding further outward, one of my classmate’s parents had a triple burgundy Cutlass Supreme coupe, and both my aunt and a cousin had a 1976 Cutlass Supreme Brougham and ’77 Cutlass Supreme coupe, respectively. So yes, I am familiar with the make, even now, over a dozen years after the marque’s demise. But what I remember best are not the Aleros, Auroras and Bravadas seen in the make’s final years, but the plush, velour- and leather-lined gunboats of the ’70s. Like the Ninety-Eight Regency. Continue Reading →

Nicholas Michael Pearson, 1969-2017

I came back from Sebring on Monday night, set my phone down, and started writing a few things for the upcoming week. When I looked at my phone again it was blinking furiously with messages from people trying to reach me: via Instagram, through my brother, through mutual friends. I called one of them back. “There’s no easy way to say it,” he told me. “We lost Nick tonight.”

My God, I thought, some idiot killed him in his own car. Nick was in the process of trying to sell his one-owner 2004 SRT-4. Since he’d never harbored any ill will towards anyone, Nick always assumed the same of others. He must have let some kid test-drive the 400-horsepower Neon on those Kentucky backroads. Must have gone with him to explain how the car worked. Things must have gone wrong. For a moment, I fervently hoped that the driver had suffered unimaginable pain before dying himself.

But it wasn’t so. Nick had been training for the next BMX race on his rollers, right next to his wife on her elliptical machine, when the heart attack happened. He didn’t make it to the hospital.

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Guest Post: RX-8 Rental Review!

Everybody give a big hand to “VTNoah”. He’s got a Guest Post for us. You could be next! Send ’em in! — JB

For those who are paying attention, the title of this article may have raised a red flag. “How can anyone rent a ten year old, manual transmission, rotary powered sportscar?” Well my friends, the answer is Turo. They are attempting to create the Uber of rental agencies by allowing everyday people to rent their cars to total strangers. I learned about the company via Matt Farah’s Smoking Tire podcast. Farah and his crew talk about Turo regularly so when I found out I would be spending a week in the Dallas Fort Worth Area, I decided to give it a shot.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: My Way Or The… Okay, Just My Way Then Edition

I suppose it’s true that all Ohioans eventually become snowbirds. How else to explain the fact that I was at Road Atlanta last weekend and Sebring this weekend? Naturally, temperatures back in Powell have hovered around sixty-five degrees for the whole time I’ve been gone. They’re scheduled to drop back down into the cellar right around the time my plane has to land.

This was a brilliant weekend with a spectacular pair of cars from McLaren. Can’t wait to tell you all about it. In the meantime, here are a few things I wrote earlier:

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Didn’t We Almost Have It All Edition

Well, we could have won the race. Our MX-5 Cup car, “Marilyn”, wasn’t perfectly cooperative — we lost an axle seal on Thursday and the ABS block/pump went AWOL on Friday — but we took the lead in AER’s Class 1 on Saturday anyway. In the end, it was a combination of horrible pitstops and fuel miscalculations that did us in. Still, we finished 21st out of 43 racers, 6th in class. Then we discovered that the left rear shock had given up its seal. Marilyn uses Penske 8300 shocks, and we couldn’t get a replacement seal in time to start in Sunday.

All of our problems will be fixed by the AER race at Watkins Glen in April. The only question is: How much will it all cost? And what will go wrong next?

While I look at my five-figure credit-card balance and weep softly, the rest of you can read last week’s articles!

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Resist! For #laborsavings

The e-mail said,

Meetup has always served as an organizing platform for a wide range of political views, welcoming everyone from the Howard Deaniacs to the Tea Party. Meetup will always welcome people with different beliefs.
.
But after the recent executive order aimed to block people on the
basis of nationality and religion, a line was crossed. At a time when core democratic ideals feel under attack, we feel a duty to spark more civic participation.
.
Last week, we created 1,000+ #Resist Meetup Groups to act as local hubs for actions on behalf of democracy, equality, human rights, social justice, and sustainability. Already 50,000+ people have joined.

I trust that most of my readers are too intelligent, or at least too cynical, to swallow that tripe at face value. What’s really going on?

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1969 Plymouth Fury III – Furious Fuselage

It’s funny, ever since I stopped regularly writing two years or so ago, I keep stumbling on old photo files and finding cars shot years ago that I totally forgot about. Whenever I see an interesting old car, I get all excited and think “I will write this up tonight! It’s so cool!” Then three or four years go by. Such is the case with this 1969 full-size Plymouth. Continue Reading →