Weekly Roundup: Enter The Fazer Edition


Some machines are born great, some achieve greatness, and some of them have greatness thrust upon them. The Yamaha FZ1 falls into the first category, having been a simply brilliant motorcycle from the moment it was introduced. And now I have one — or at least I have half of one. Even after fifteen years, this old mongrel still runs faster than my VFR800. What it needs is some freshening of all the things that stick, wear, corrode, or crumble. So that’s what it’s going to get.

This was an unusually busy week for me, but next week I’m going to take a vacation. Oh, who am I kidding? My “vacation” involves both coasts, two racetracks, five different cars, about seven thousand air miles, and almost no sleep. Sure will be nice when I can get back home and rest.

Okay, let’s see what we got done this week.

Bark talked about the reliability aspects of old technology vs. new. I should point out that the “old tech” car discussed in the article was introduced well after I became old enough to vote. He then suggested that people should drive cars before forming an opinion on them. Luckily for me and every other journosaur, that advice was rejected by the B&B, with vigor. Not with an Acura Vigor, mind you. That was a great car. I never drove one, but I know.

At Road&Track this week, I discussed the classic-car bubble and considered the pros and cons of autocross vs. HPDE.

For TTAC, I channeled my inner Curtis Mayfield, described how my pal Sidney and I bought a Yamaha FZ1 for $1,800, and offered a modest propsal concerning diesel trucks.

I also wrote the “Helmets” article on page 104 of this month’s R&T, print issue. Last but not least, I provided an event wrap-up for the Western Ohio Region of the SCCA.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to coach some drivers and enjoy nine hundred miles with a Mark Levinson-audio-equipped Lexus coupe. Which Lexus coupe? The most Baruthian of all, of course. But after the FZ1, it still feels a little poky in a straight line…

23 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Enter The Fazer Edition”

  1. Avatarjz78817

    Reading the “bubble” piece at R&T made me wonder why everyone (including Ferrari themselves!) called the 356 the “Berlinetta Boxer.” The Ferrari flat 12 isn’t a boxer, it’s a flat/180° vee.

    • AvatarKevin Jaeger

      Do you mean it’s a great article, with well-argued content proposing sensible reforms. Or do you mean it’s a clever piece of satire that does a fine job of illustrating just how willing our betters are to resort to coercive regulations as long as the targets are deemed unpopular losers in flyover country? Just curious.

  2. AvatarDisinterested-Observer

    re the Vigor, I have driven one, it was great. Can I get my trip to wine country to test the new Acura MDXRDTGCZX please?

    • AvatarHank Chinaski

      I hooned one in my day. More fun it its own way than the notably faster 2nd gen Legend.

      Great week, Jack.

      I would hazard to guess that accordions got fewer guys laid than did 308’s. More even than rolling coal, but fewer than thumping 15″ subs.

  3. AvatarRobert

    Enjoyed the Motorsports on a Budget piece! I could easily do both track days and SCCA Solo in Houston, but my one and only car (Ford Flex) is not suitable for either. Well, that’s what they say. I would totally rock “The Brick” at MSR Houston if they would let me on the track.

    Anyway…I window shop for track day beaters all the time, but honestly there isn’t going to be room in my driveway or garage for any more cars soon (operation Brady Bunch is in full swing). What do you think about renting cars for autocross and track days?


    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      The comments were via Facebook… I think they decided it was best to just have discussions on the facebook page for R&T. Nobody asked me, but nobody ever does 🙂

  4. Avatararbuckle

    “… and offered a modest proposal concerning diesel trucks.”

    Yea, thanks for triggering my spectrum disorder.

  5. AvatarBaconator

    I’m one of the Gen Xers who had that poster on the wall. I can’t say I’m immune to its motivating influence even as an adult. I was surprised that the 365BB/512BBi appreciated from “expensive but maybe possible someday” into “even if I *could* afford it I would never” territory.. Also, recently saddened to see good manual-transmission 928s go parabolic.

    At least W126 Mercedes are still affordable, and if I’m honest, that’s probably the only one in that lineup that would be great to drive every single day.

  6. AvatarWidgetsltd

    In my brief period as an Acura & Isuzu salesman, in 1992-93 at the ill-fated Eastgate Acura & Isuzu in Cincinnati, I drove not only the Vigor but also a couple of manual transmission Vigors. One of the used car salesmen, a black dude named Jerome, told me that he was not at all comfortable with the name “Vigor.”

  7. AvatarZG

    I enjoyed reading both your diesel article and Mark (Stevenson)’s response. My default response is to oppose government intervention in things like this, but in this case it really does seem like a situation where the market won’t provide a solution due to lack of consumer incentives. Is there any valid (i.e. non-political/lobbying) reason that the EPA can’t hold non-commercial diesels to the same particulate emissions standards as gasoline engines? It seems like that would be a reasonably straightforward solution and would let non-commercial diesel pickups live or die by the ability of the OEMs to create a cleaner solution.

  8. AvatarOrenwolf

    I think it was a great thought piece about alternative means of regulation vs outright banning. Where other countries are outright banning the use of diesel vehicles in cities, Jack suggests a way to change social customs through deterrents, much as drastically increased cigarette taxes were used here in Canada to both 1) make it much more burdensome for children to buy them and 2) account for their increased burden on our healthcare system.

    Does *this specific* proposal have merit? Possibly, but I don’t personally know enough to judge. Does the idea of alternatives to banning for those who really, really want something despite negative impact have merit? Absolutely!

    So, I congratulate Jack on a well-written thought piece.

  9. AvatarE. Bryant

    I’d be more inclined to support the idea of stricter licensing for privately-owned/-operated diesel Class 2/3/4 pickups if we could also mandate stricter licensing for every mouthbreather that seems to regard a 20,000+ lb truck/trailer combination as an invitation to do stupid things in defiance of physics. My ability to stop at any given moment hinges upon a very delicate combination of buggy axles, electric brakes, and woefully inadequate tires; is it a great idea to cut me off as we roll up to a red light? Oh, and if you’re going to do that, then please make sure that you are willing to actually out-accelerate me as we pull away from a stop.

    • Avatar-Nate

      Sorry E.B. ;

      Inbreds and pinheads , like the haters , are every where and simply not intelligent enough to think about what you’re asking them to think about .


  10. Avatar-Nate

    I’m a week or so behind on E-Mails , where was the Diesel Truck article ? .
    I’m in Sunny Southern California with three old Mercedes Diesels and a few years back Diesel spiked at $5.00 + , even for my 32 ~ 36 MPG four cylinder econobuster Sedan that was a tough pill to swallow so i’d like to hear jack’s thoughts .

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