Weekly Roundup: Three Tone Ganja Edition


About five years ago, I finally had the chance to visit the famous Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard. It was there that I saw a James Trussart guitar in the metal for the first time. It would be an understatement to say that I was captivated by the thing. The idea of a steel-bodied guitar, polished and relic’ed and rusted… well, there was something just so Hollywood about it.

My friend Chuck met and interviewed Trussart a while back and his article is a very good introduction to the man and his philosophy. While I like pretty much all the Trussarts I’ve seen, my favorite is the “Three-Tone Ganja Steelcaster” that I saw two years ago at Chicago Music Exchange. Not that I’m the world’s biggest smoker, or even the biggest smoker in automotive journalism (I believe we all know that the trophy for that goes to a certain “smoker” of “tires”) but I like the Rasta imagery and the engraved leaves on the pickguard. It doesn’t hurt that I rode bikes with the Chris King Rasta headsets for a solid decade before I started writing about cars. Last but not least, Phil X did a bitchin video with one of the early Rasta Steelcasters, which were endorsed and played by Ziggy Marley.

The problem is that Trussarts are extremely expensive so I had to wait until I could make a deal on a used one. Which I’ve done, picking up the ’07 example above. It’s matte finish instead of the gloss I’d have ordered had I bought it new, but that’s something I could fix a dozen times over with the money I saved. I think it looks bad-ass and if you have a problem with a 44-year-old white guy playing the thing, you need to check your privilege, okay?

Let’s get to the roundup.

Before I begin with the things we actually wrote this week, I should mention that I had an advisory piece on snow driving published in WIRED recently. I’ve looked at snow driving from both sides now; from letter-perfect collision avoidance on a glare-ice-covered freeway to, you know, that one time where I caught a Sonata in the fucking B-pillar.

Today, Bark is asking TTAC readers about the future of the auto show. Speaking of car shows… Bark will be defending the honor of Jalopnik against seventy-two of its biggest fans at Kart2Kart tomorrow night. Go check him out. Incidentally, if you need a genuine idea of just how engaged Jalopnik is with its readers, consider the fact that the event sold out immediately and that there will likely be a few hundred spectators. That’s why I worked so hard to engage readers during my stint as EIC at TTAC, but most of the people out there who run car blogs are more worried about engaging with overseas press trips than they are interested in meeting and energizing the readers.

Speaking of TTAC… I wrote Redflex Under Fire about the bad-guy cash-camera firm, and The Dealership’s Greatest Hits about some of the most profitable car deals I’ve ever witnessed in person.

For R&T, I stirred some drama with a Setright tribute and obtained some sympathy for a tale of disintegrating bushings and shrinking wallets.

This weekend, Bark and I will be hitting the Detroit show and, luck permitting, recording the first episode of “The Bark-Cast”, a podcast dedicated to the wit, wisdom, and horrifying life stories of Bark Maruth himself. Keep an eye out for it! I’ll also be writing a show summary for Road&Track in case you’re interested in my reporting from the ground at Cobo Arena.

13 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Three Tone Ganja Edition”

  1. Pat

    I miss Setright, he was the reason I spent an unreasonable amount of money for Car subscriptions back in the day — well, him and the chance to look at unobtainable manual diesel wagons and GTI-class hot hatches.

    I couldn’t agree more about “the rubber”. I daily drive a now 15 year old e46 touring, and I’d say that (excepting a transmission repair) the vast majority of money I have spent on the car over those years has been on bushings, control arms, belts and hoses. That German rubber sure likes to disintegrate.

  2. Ryan

    A podcast? Our prayers have finally been answered.

    Good luck to Bark at K2K. It’s a great facility, but I couldn’t imagine being stuck with that many of the local “car” people in a confined space like that. I’m assuming that the same kids piss revving and hard parking their shitboxes along Woodward are the same ones who would attend a Jalopnik meet.

  3. Dan S

    The Setright dct/cvt article was certainly a bit thought provoking. I consider myself to be a pretty hardcore stickshift guy, but having spent the last week rocking a pretty well optioned out 8spd Audi, I can see the “less driver involvement” side has some merit.

    I posted in the other one, but I’ll reiterate here, I’ll be out at the Kart2Kart shitfest primarily to see Bark and/or you if you’re there, with the added side benefit of potentially being able to explain to David Tracy how totally fucked he is on automaker parking policy. Let me know if you guys are doing a meetup somewhere around town, would love to shoot the shit and buy you guys a beer or two. Failing that, I’ll be braving the jalopnik crowd at K2K.

    @Ryan, I see why you use quotes, it’s really not fair to the huge numbers of awesome auto enthusiasts in metro Detroit to group them with that crowd. The same guys you see out at Pasteiners on Friday nights (as opposed to saturday mornings)

    • Ryan

      Fair enough. Hence why I mentioned the piss revving and general stupid shit that normally goes on. I got tired of it after awhile.

      Saturday mornings at Pasteiners is great, but I’d venture to guess that’s mainly because of the type of people that show up there. From what I’ve gathered, the Lingenfelter C&C is a pretty good time as well. Pasteiners always seems to draw a very eclectic group of cars.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met tons of great local people. The local GRM guys are great, the AutoX scene around here is healthy, the guys who run at Flat Rock Speedway are a lot of fun, I’ve even met some cool older guys hanging out local shows and cruise nights.

      I just try to stay as far away from anything associated with the Woodward Facebook Group anymore (or Facebook in general these days). Although I did enjoy watching the parking lot “drag races” and some kid understeer his Cobalt into a lamp post after Furious 7 let out. I have video of some kid in Southgate who actually rolled his car.

      • Dan S

        I didn’t even know there was a woodward facebook group. Definitely plenty of douchbaggery in the automotive enthusiast scene around here, but I like to think the pros outweigh the cons. There are all the guys with lifted diesels rolling coal, wannabe riceburners wondering how a c5z is faster than their focus ST/cobalt SS (S/C), dude who thinks dinan badges make his E36 a cool project car, etc

        There’s also folks like the guy with an AWD 4g63 sebring that runs 10s, or the dude with the custom quad cap pickup conversion he did on an old cummins firetruck, the guy I met at a party rocking a 700hp G8 he daily drives, etc. Or even at a smaller level, the guy I bought my E36 from about a mile from here (doesn’t work in automotive, but car guy, track rat, does his own wrenching, etc).

        I think it really comes down to knowing the right places to look for car guys/people around metro Detroit, but you’ll also find it can be a really small community.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I won’t make it to Detroit until Sunday afternoon… so look after my little brother, willya?

      • Dan S

        Will do my best on that count. Offer’s open all week if you’ve got time. If not, enjoy the auto show, I’ll likely be down in your neck of the woods/hocking hills in a couple months once it warms up.

  4. CGHill

    I remember Setright once saying that he occasionally drove a three-pedal car with his legs crossed, wanting to make sure that all his motions were thought out instead of instinctive. I wavered between being appalled at the possibility of Something Going Wrong and wondering if there was an actual female out there who could do that.

  5. SexCpotatoes

    In rare cases (especially with RWD panther cars) it makes sense to turn OFF the traction control at least temporarily. Nothing makes you pucker up faster than pulling out from a gas station exit onto a snow-covered road when traffic is coming and your car goes nowhere because the goddamn traction control is kicking in. I understand it’s there to–and does help when you’re in an unrecoverable-for-ordinary-human-event, but as someone who’s been driving RWD for almost two decades, I’d rather get moving and countersteer the skid before the people who hammered the throttle across the cleared intersection shorten my damned trunk.

    I learned to drive in snow without a traction-lok rear end, so any over-exertion of the go pedal in sloppy traction would immediately hang the ass of the car out to the right. It’s a lot better now that most of the cars I have will straighten themselves out on their own. I just bought my first set of snow tires late last year (General Altimax Arctic), and then I promptly hit a deer on the way to work with the car they were going on the night they were delivered. Had the tires put on some other rims anyway, and my uncle picked up the car to take it to his shop in WV to repair the damage (I knew that spare header panel would come in handy).

  6. jstyer

    So… What did you think of Hateful Eight? If Mad Max managed to elicit an article, I would think that “Eight” should get one as well!

  7. jz78817

    This weekend, Bark and I will be hitting the Detroit show and, luck permitting, recording the first episode of “The Bark-Cast”, a podcast dedicated to the wit, wisdom, and horrifying life stories of Bark Maruth himself. Keep an eye out for it! I’ll also be writing a show summary for Road&Track in case you’re interested in my reporting from the ground at Cobo Arena.

    Just in time for the shitty weather. everything’s ice out there now. ‘course I’ve got a 4×4 Ranger with winter tires, so I enjoy driving past those guys with their “LOL AWD” WRXs still shod with summer tires. Won’t be hitting NAIAS until the industry preview days, though.

  8. Jeff Zekas

    Hey Jack, my daughter has a 2004 Ford D350 Econoline with 80,000 miles. The motor just dropped a rod. According to the mechanic, “This happens with these motors… there’s a class action lawsuit.” Do you know anything about this? Is this situation similar to the Porsche IMS bearing failure scandal? Is there a coverup? Thank you for responding.

  9. Athos

    I went to R&T looking for NAIAS pictures of our cars (the Conti looks great, but is missing the awesomeness of the concept) and saw the CVT article You’re going to burn in interweb’s hell for that. But there’s something fundamentally true one friend has always told me here: the A/T car is always faster than the M/T. Well done!


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