Weekly Roundup: #TodaysOffice Edition

Hashtag #TodaysOffice. It’s what every dickweed autojourno or social-media-obsessed mid-tier racer uses to accompany a picture of a race car interior. Because this is their job, and the car is their office. Get it? Got it.

On Saturday I had a better #TodaysOffice than usual: the BMW M4 GT4.


You’ll be able to read about the car in R&T this week or next. TL;DR version: It’s pretty good. This is my vacation week, so I’ll keep this roundup short. For TTAC, I considered the future of the Jeep Liberty and tested the Nissan Maxima. At R&T, I offered some indoor karting tips.

Check back this week — I’ll be catching up on our backlog of outstanding guest posts and maybe writing a few things myself. Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

12 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: #TodaysOffice Edition”

  1. John C.

    On the Maxima, at least it is sticking with the big V6. The V6 is what always what set the car apart. Even when they were boxy and newly front drive. Wonder where the early ones could find a Japanese transaxle that could contain the torque. Back then only GM was doing it that way with any displacement and we see the troubles the automatics in later but still early Hondas, Mitsubishi, and Subaru FWD 6s had.

    Reply
    • Eric L.

      >On the Maxima, at least it is sticking with the big V6.
      Yes!

      And the 6th gen 6MT, bloated-looking as it is, was only 3400 lbs with its all-aluminum suspension (multi-link rear came back)–a scant 200 lbs more than the significantly smaller, Nipponsei 5.5th gen ’02-’03 drag-racing rocket they saddled with a twist-beam.

      Jack would have thoroughly enjoyed driving my ABS-less, open-diff ’05 6MT. Power-sunshade, 2+2 heated buckets, one-wheeled smokey burnouts, and 4-wheel skids… What’s not to love?

      It’s fascinating, seeing just how radically different my ’05 G35 6MT sedan is from the Maxima. The ’05 Maxima’s insides are a full generation ahead of the ’05 G’s, but the Skyline’s handling is next-level stuff. The FM platform provides a ludicrously snappy and flickable chassis.

      The only puzzling part is how the Maxima feels so much faster than the Skyline, though its FWD VQ is rated at “33” fewer HP. 400 lbs lighter with less drivetrain loss and more dramatic weight change combines for a more frantic experience. I just need to get a carbon-fiber driveshaft to make the Skyline more competitive…

      Reply
  2. Lucas

    The Liberty article had interesting timing, as I had been looking for a used Jeep 4×4 for awhile and was trying to decide between a Wrangler, an XJ Cherokee, and a Liberty. I ruled out the Wrangler even though I love them just because they are out of my budget… maybe next time. Next to be ruled out was the Liberty. I don’t think they are bad, they just lack a certain, “je ne sais quoi”. Like a Toyota 4Runner, with none of the benefits or reputation. I wound up buying a cherry 2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ 60 year limited edition. It drives terribly, like agricultural machinery. Like something from the 60s or 70s. The total opposite of what I look for in a car. And I absolutely love it. So much character. I plan to keep it for a long time. They really don’t make ’em like this anymore, and the world is a little darker place for it. In the meantime, I think I’m going to save my pennies for a JL Wrangler.

    Reply
    • -Nate

      _THIS_ .

      So many don’t get it, they want to be floated along in wheeled wombs .

      Those few who like this other way are having a hard time finding motoring nirvana unless you’re willing to accept the trade off of vintage machinery .

      -Nate

      ” It drives terribly, like agricultural machinery. Like something from the 60s or 70s. The total opposite of what I look for in a car. And I absolutely love it. So much character. I plan to keep it for a long time. They really don’t make ’em like this anymore, and the world is a little darker place for it.” .

      Reply
  3. tyates

    Enjoyed the articles, especially the go-karting one. As for the Maxima, sure you have to given them credit for making this car better than the last, but wow, what a hole that company has dug itself into with this mediocre cars for bad credit buyers strategy. And given that they are consistently profitable there’s little incentive to change their strategy. I can’t imagine a more depressing company to be associated with.

    Reply
  4. Dave L

    Very nice Black Bay Bronze. As much as I admire it, my sub 7 inch wrist could never pull it off. Love the shirt too- representing my hometown and its past greatness as the City of Firsts!

    Reply
  5. JustPassinThru

    As I’m having difficulties with TTAC’s website…I’ll comment here. Less flaming and more thought, anyway.

    I think what Jack was commenting on, was the Golden Ager outlook, through the eyes of a car guy. There’s some of that in every field, from music to politics: The old days were just swell; and everything being done now is debased, deranged, damaged and garbage.

    It’s a view as old as Ned Ludd, the weaver who sought to stop progress by gathering fellow idiots to smash weaving frames, in England at the nascence of the Industrial Revolution.

    But while a lot of this perspective is selective memories – viewed through the mists of time…some things DO change for the better. As one example, Volkswagenwerk, AG – before its absorbing NSU, it appeared that the Wizards of Wolfsburg were genuinely interested in providing value to customers. And if the oil needed changing at 3000 miles, valves set at 5000, and plugs at 10,000…that was where the state of automotive engineering, generally, lies.

    Now, Jeep. I’m one of those who was impressed by the XJ. Not initially, of course – everyone **JUST KNOWS** that a unibody cannot tolerate the strain of off-roading. And coil springs…what the F IS this, anyway? What’s Renault DONE to this company?

    Time showed us otherwise. Now, I should note, I had exposure to Jeeps from the Kaiser, the AMC, and the Chrysler era. The Kaisers were parts-bin nightmares, slapped together with what was available. Old Henry J wanted the best parts, but what came of selective bidding, was a nightmare: Buick V8s, THC transmissions (in an era where Chevrolet used PowerGlide in their trucks) Willys F-head fours but Kaiser, nee Buick, V6s.

    AMC brought the parts sources all in-house, as much as it could…but this was the Era of Emissions, and AMC didn’t have the money or talent to get it right. Now, the SJs (which were originally the J-Series in Kaiser vernacular) are collectible – but only for what they stood for, an honest, timeless design that worked and took the world from the utility Willys wagons, to the SUV craze.

    Enter the XJ. Now, at the time, the Jeep line was as stagnant as the AMC car line. All they had were three flavors of the SJ, in pickup, two-door and four-door wagons. The engines were cripples, generating no power and lousy gas mileage. We forget, now – but what drove AMC into complete control by Renault (instead of a marketing agreement, as originally intended) was that the 1979 gas crisis dried up demand for Jeeps, the only thing AMC had been offering that made money.

    The XJ changed everything. Oddly successful out the gate – initial quality-control issues aside – it sold better than the S10 Blazer and the Bronco II because it WAS better. And the addition of fuel injection and the AMC four – far better than that misnamed Iron Duke – gave it momentum.

    It was this, the growing Jeep market, that brought Lido to buy it. And Chrysler money replaced the Renault FI systems with better electronic equipment. The then-20-year-old, 500-pound six, finally got muscle – and a following.

    The Chrysler products were Peak Jeep, in my experience. At different times I had a late-run YJ and a third-year TJ, both with AMC fours – and the thought put into those, impresses. For example, the engine bay, after AMC bought Jeep, was stretched on the CJs, and the YJ was just a carry-over, and the TJ just further evolution.

    With the four, that stretch wasn’t needed. But it was kept, and the four was shoved against the firewall – putting the whole of the engine several inches behind the front axle. Having driven a brother’s CJ-7 and my own two specimens, I hold, there’s a world of difference.

    This stopped with Daimler’s rejection of the evolutionary direction of Jeep. Chrysler had a V6 minivan engine? Shove it in there. Never mind that the torque curve is good for a road car, no good for off-roading – where you want tractorlike lugging at slow speeds.

    Never mind that the combination of a beam axle and coil springs brought together arguably the best of both world. Former AMC chassis engineer Evan Boberg detailed why the non-independent suspension was chosen, and then retained, until the arrival of the Germans, who knew everything.

    Is the Jeep Liberty a good car? Undoubtably it’s a better CAR. Better to commute. Better to ride the Mall Trail. But, is it a good SUV? I don’t think we can know, because so few owners have taken it out where the CJ and SJ once ruled, where the XJ had become a modern competitor.

    Did it drive like an agricultural implement? Compared to today’s offerings. So did a Toyota Tercel feel crude and unrefined. Engineering progress is always at hand.

    But, absent the fuel-economy standards that lightened the chassis and streamlined the modern Jeeps…I would say it’s a purpose-built rig, not perfect, but more aimed at buyers, and less aimed at regulatory compliance, or some German overmaster’s Not-Invented-Here prejudices.

    Reply

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