Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Filming At The DeLuxe

Radical 1950's Chinese Food Restaurant.

On Monday I took the opportunity to head over to the DeLuxe Restaurant, a local Chinese Food emporium which hasn't served any food in over 50 years - Chinese or otherwise. It is famous for being preserved in its 1950's-ness, and the fact that no one had set foot in it until about a year ago.

It was owned by a Chinese couple, and when the husband passed away prematurely in the late 1950s or so, his wife closed the doors forever, letting decades of dust settle upon everything inside.

The wife lived in an apartment above her husband's restaurant, shunning all requests for an interview about the status of the well-known restaurant. Her age eventually reached the triple digits and she passed away soon thereafter.

I don't recall her exact age, but it may have been 103. When she left this world, her time-capsule "air-conditioned" restaurant became available for film crews to use due to its incredibly preserved authenticity.

Coincidentally, the DeLuxe is the same restaurant where my pal Kev had a conversation with Robin Williams while he was filming there back in December.

And on Monday, in the staggering 32-33 degree heat (90-91 F), some more famous acting people filmed some scenes inside the place. I was able to stop in front of one of the trucks and snap a couple of pictures of the film crew packing everything up, but sadly, that is all I could get.

Unfortunately, the filming must have taken place earlier in the morning and I was too late to capture Neve Campbell, Richard Attenborough and Christopher Plummer on camera. The movie they were filming is called Closing the Ring and if you would like to know the premise, I can't help you.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Signs Of Summer

Hmmm, not as salty as toilet water.

When you think of summer, do you think of how the sweltering heat melts your favourite LPs and burns the backside of your thighs when you hop into your vinyl-upholstered Vista Cruiser station wagon?

Do you imagine lounging on your front lawn in a muskoka chair with a stubby in your hand while the neighbourhood rings with the sounds of the Dickie-Dee man?

Do you long for the days when somebody would crack open a fresh fire hydrant, showering the street with cold water to frolick in?

Yesterday, in our 32 degree neighbourhood, that is exactly what happened. I climbed out of my microwave, where I was keeping cool, to see the fire hydrant flooding my street with an icy lake that cooled our tootsies and provided a refreshing treat for some local doggies.

24 hours previously Suz and I were involved in an excruciating amount of gardening. Once finished, I took a bath. The yellow-brown water kinda grossed me out.

"I knew I was dirty." I thought. "But not that dirty!"

Later, I learned the true reason for the yellow-brown water. Apparently the abandoned diarrhea factory down the road exploded, contaminating our water supply, and causing the city to open up our hydrant to drain the icky water from our pipes.

(I don't know why we have such a factory in our city, but after this incident, I'm certain the city will properly demolish it.)

A city employee dressed in appropriate city employee attire monitored the gush of the hydrant and offered some friendly conversation to distract us while he flooded our basements. After he shut the water off, he scrambled away in his white city van while we all waved 'bye-bye'

I hope those 30,000 litres of wasted water don't show up on my water bill.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Flux Capacitor

My completed Flux Capacitor.In a moment of inspiration, I spent Thursday morning building myself a Flux Capacitor for the DeLorean. I followed Doc Brown's detailed blueprints as illustrated in the 1985 time travel documentary, Back To The Future. I'm not much of a scientist, but the design was simple to understand and I completed my flux capacitor in only a few short minutes.

The Flux Capacitor, according to Doc Brown, is what makes time travel possible. His invention was realized, almost subconsciously, after a clock-hanging accident in his bathroom left him with a bonked head. When he regained consciousness, he had a vision: A vision of the Flux Capacitor.

If you've seen the documentary I'm talking about, you might be familiar with the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity required to trigger the unit. The only problem I ran into was generating this precise amount of power.

I was actually producing 1.24 gigawatts of electricity during the testing phase. But I was able to divert the extra unwanted power away by turning on the high-beams.

Taping in the Flux Capacitor.The installation of the Flux Capacitor went fairly well. I determined that the best location for it was pretty much in the same location the Doc had used. I moved my Flux Capacitor slightly to the left, however, so that I could get a better view of the pretty flashing lights when turning in my seat.

The procedure was simple. After I had determined the ideal location for the unit, I secured it firmly in place with a narrow band of adhesive plastic-y material. I gave it a tug, and the 3M held fast. The installation was a success.

I didn't have a dog like Einstein to test out my time machine, so, having faith in my work, I bit the bullet and tested my time machine myself.

As you can see by the date on this post, it was a triumph, as I travelled 2 days into the future. And I can now tell you that the Doc's fears are unfounded. They do have cotton underwear in the future.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Was King Arthur a skaterboarder?

Suz and I are going to be famous! While digging in our backyard I unearthed an ancient treasure of lore and the key to Great Britain's sovereignty: the famed X-Caliber!

I was surprised, however, to discover that X-Caliber is not forged of metal like the legend says. Nor is it a sword. Nor was it stuck in a rock. X-Caliber was injection molded in plastic, which must have seemed like such a rare and magical material back in the day. That would explain some of the intrique behind this incredible object.

It also probably explains why no one could pull X-Caliber from the rock except King Arthur. It probably sat there in the blazing sun for days. I surmise that the plastic melted and stuck fast to the rock's tiny cracks, craters and crevaces making it nearly impossible to remove. Sheer force couldn't budge it, but as the sun set a little bit, the plastic cooled and cracked free of the rock, making it easy for Arthur to remove.

But it doesn't answer the question of why the story claims X-Caliber to be a sword, as this is clearly a boomerang. Is this Australia's version? Is there a similar story in Australian lore of another King who removed a plastic boomerang from Ayers rock?

We may never know.

And who knows how long X-Caliber lay hidden in the ground in a small dale in Canada? Nobody will ever know, as there is no date-stamp in the plastic. In fact, there are no markings at all, save for the name X-Caliber, and three holes.

Three holes?

Yes, three holes which look like they would accomodate 3 screws. Screws which may have held it in place on a piece of wood. Some sort of board. Like a skateboard.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Death Of The Insight

The noose is firmly around the Insight's neck.

Richard Colliver, vice-president of Honda USA has officially announced the end of the awesome Honda Insight hybrid due to its overwhelming awesomeness. Apparently nobody could handle the completely mind-blowing 2-seater because it was simply too awesome.

I know this news is coming a bit late, but I was sworn to secrecy when my friend, and ex-corporate Honda employee, Tonton told me about the demise of the Insight before Honda had officially announced it.

But last week Honda made the sad announcement which caused massive clinical depression among Insight-loving people in Canada, the United States and possibly Kazakhstan. Reports of Kazakhstanians jumping off bridges were falsely reported, but presumed to be true.

Right now, and for the rest of the summer, it will still be possible to order a sleek 2006 Honda Insight. But as of September the 2007 model year will commence - and, like a high school dance, the nerdy Insight will not be joining the party.

Hybrid fanatics are competing with one another in order to secure the last Insight ever produced. Like a game of chess, each potential buyer is carefully plotting their respective moves and waiting until the eleventh hour to place their order, hoping their Insight will have that final VIN number.

For the next 3 years Honda will only offer the Civic hybrid and Accord hybrid, with the possibility of converting the new and hideous Fit into a hybrid format, which is bound to cause mass vomiting in the streets.

In 2009 the replacement for the Insight should appear. But right now, spectators are gathering around the guillotine to watch Honda drop the blade on the Insight's neck.

If you'd like to read more about Honda's decision, check it out here.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Brains Behind Door Dings

Chevy's newest feature: pre-dinged doors.

I have a question. It's a question that I ask quite frequently, to friends, to family and to myself. It is a conundrum which causes bewilderment to those who ask it because it provokes thoughts of revenge and sympathy at the same time. It is a question that keeps me awake at night and is one to which I'ver never received a satisfactory answer.

What is wrong with people?

Over the past 3 years Suzy's vehicle has been the target for many a car-door, fired at close range, always in parking lots. This open-door action causes scratches and dings in our car and we can't seem to stop it from happening.

I've grown to accept that the world is inhabited by an almost uncountable number of inconsiderate and incompetent people who drive. I've learned to deal with this by parking at the farthest end of a parking lot, away from all those evil people whose only purpose in life seems to be smashing our car.

But what happens when they follow you? What happens when you can't get away from them? What do you do?

On the weekend we took our battered yellow car to the grocery store and, as always, parked at the back of the parking lot away from the other shoppers.

Due to my foot problem, I returned to the car while Suz waited in line with our cart-full of edibles.

As I approached our car, a woman pulled up beside my driver's door. This was enough to anger me, as the rest of the parking lot was relatively empty and she could have parked anywhere else. However, her peanut-sized brain decided that the best place to park was 4 and half inches from my door.

She watched me intently as I carefully slid my skinny frame through the opening and settled into my seat.

She finished her cigarette. With the nicotine coursing through her useless body, she proceeded to kick her door open. Okay, I can't be sure she actually used her foot to blast her door open, but it hit our car with such force that I actually felt it rocking back and forth from the impact.

From inside our car I stared at her face while she stood in front of me and exclaimed, "shit."

"What do I do?" I thought to myself. Do I get angry and give her hell for being such a crusty, inconsiderate moron? Or do I give her a break, because I know there are already 3 other door-dings in that door?

I got out and inspected the door. Not only had her door chipped the paint on the trim panel, but it had gouged out a small chunk of plastic as well.

"Did it leave a mark?" she asked. I felt like punching her in the nose, watching the blood trickle down and then asking her that exact same stupid question.

"Yes it did." I answered.

"Sorry." she mumbled.

"Just another to add to the collection." I said. And I watched her walk away, into the grocery store to buy her food. Food that clearly does not nourish her sad excuse for a brain.

Friday, May 19, 2006


'Blind Jenga' proves to be very difficult.

I can't even begin to imagine how stupendously boring regular Jenga must be, despite the thoroughly amusing Jenga theme song, "You take a block from the bottom and you put it on top..."

We celebrated Kar-a-mo's birthday a little late this year with quesadillas, tasty alcoholic beverages and Truth or Dare Jenga.

I don't know how many Jenga blocks are used to complete the tower, but I am going to estimate 51.

Red and Black Jenga blocks were preprinted with dares and requests to tell the truth. The natural coloured blocks are free for wild imaginations to write (with a pencil) anything as X-rated or as goofy as the players want.

During game play there was some kissing action, a cheeseball cheerleader-style cheer, and other greasy activities. We learned secrets about each other that should not necessarily have been revealed.

But they were. And I haven't slept since.

Unfortunately, nobody used their skills to pull out such awesome dare blocks as "Pick your nose. Your finger must penetrate past the first knuckle" while players continuously pulled out "What is the most fun you've had in a car?"

There were two distinctly different and equally memorable answers to that question. Mr. Industries enjoyed some female action, while yours truly raced my Talon against a friend, achieving speeds in excess of 220 kph (137 mph for my American readers), but sadly, still not reaching maximum velocity.

I've decided that in order to stay new and fresh, those Jenga people must come up with yet another iteration of their tower game. Kind of a combination of Jenga and Perfection, and with shield protection for each player.

Each Jenga block is hollowed out and tiny Black Cat firecrackers are placed inside. A 5 minute wick (give or take a minute) is attached to all the firecracker blocks and lit.

Players must quickly slide the Jenga blocks out and stack them on top. Only then can they retreat to the safety of their Jenga shield. When five minutes is up, BOOM! The tower comes crashing down, in a different kind of way.

I call it Urban Demolition Specialist Jenga.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Newspaper Article of Awesomeness

My ability to hold a newspaper is unparalleled.

Yay me! About six weeks ago I submitted an article to our local, 100,000+ circulation newspaper. The publisher himself called me to tell me that he really liked what I had written, and he would decide shortly if they were going to run it.

Well, they decided. And today, on page 12 of the Wheels section, it ran.

I've slowly made my way into the freelance writing world with an article published in the ultra-glossy DeLorean World Magazine along with some photos, but this is the first newspaper article I've had published, so I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

So here I am, holding this morning's newspaper in my sunroom. The green arrow points to my near-quarter-page article, while the orange arrow points to a massive splatter of bird shit.

Enjoy my article on car modifications:

Turbo or body kit? Performance exhaust or lowering springs? Nitrous or cross-drilled rotors? For those looking to modify their rides, the choices are nearly endless. But even if you want it all, you have to start somewhere.

If you think a set of 18 or 20 inch rims is a good place to start, you'd be right on the money.

A sweet set of summer wheels not only makes your car stand out in a crowd, but it's also a wise investment.Although $3,000 might seem like a lot to spend on a wheel and tire package, with two sets of wheels and tires swapping places every six months, your rubber will last twice as long as a single set of all-season radials.

Mounting snow tires to the OEM wheels will allow your car to maintain factory good looks through the winter months. When summer rolls around, it's time to bolt on those summer rims, which never saw the harsh winter salt.

But it doesn't stop there. For show or go, lowering springs, starting around $300, offer the best of both worlds. In only a couple of hours, even those with little or no experience can drop their cars 2 inches, increasing cornering speeds and eliminating that unsightly fender gap.

Other aftermarket products range from simple bolt-on applications such as strut tower braces, to complicated sequential turbo systems that require serious tuning. That's when it's time to turn to the experts, like Mike Diell of D.L. Motorsports in Burlington.

Since first opening his performance shop in 1997 Diell has worked on everything from Dodge Caravans to DeLoreans. He has also spent some time fine tuning a twin-turbo Ferrari Testarossa. But in the last five or six years, he has noticed some changes. “I used to do a lot of lowering jobs, but people tend to do that themselves."

"Now I focus more on the tuning aspect."

For huge boosts in power, turbos are becoming one of the most popular upgrades. Walking around his shop, I was impressed by an MR2 that was running 1,000cc injectors. To understand just how big 1,000cc's is, in the late 90s a twin turbo Toyota Supra rolled out of the factory with huge 550cc injectors.

When I asked him about the car, Diell said that in order to meet the turbo's fuel demands many of his customers have begun swapping their factory injectors for larger ones, and using piggyback fuel computers to control them, such as the new e-manage system from GReddy.

It's one of the least complicated fuel management systems available, and allows the user to compensate for larger injectors, turbos, and camshaft changes.

As more and more DIYers start taking on the work themselves, Diell has found a niche tuning their engines, ensuring they run strong and don't grenade. And, with one of the only dynos around, tuning highly modified cars is a major part of his business.

Whether you do the work yourself, or find a capable mechanic you trust, one thing is clear: horsepower is not the only thing that's addictive. Transform your ride into something unique and heads will definitely turn, whether its at the dragstrip, or in a parking lot.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lawn-Mowing War

No, it wasn't that windy out. Just doing an oil change.

You know that horrible noise you heard yesterday? No, it wasn't a prehistoric monster screaming in anger. No, it wasn't metal fatigue followed by the wings tearing off a plane that was diving uncontrollably into the earth's upper mantle. No, it wasn't Steven Page from the Barenaked Ladies attempting to sing well.

That was me, trying to push my lawn-mower.

When I finished mowing my lawn for the 3rd time I carefully followed the instructions of the manual. I'm a by-the-book kind of guy. I enjoy keeping records and making lists and that sort of thing.

So, after a total of 2 hours of mow-time, I did my first scheduled oil change on the new Lawn-Boy.

The 70 pound behemoth is really giving me a workout as I compete with my 87-year-old retired army neighbour for the best-looking lawn.

Did I mention my retired neighbour is a woman? And she's winning?

But I know she's cheating due to her retirement status. Being retired results in many hours of available mowing time, while I'm trying to find ways to sneak out of work early so I can get home and play catch-up.

However, my efforts seem to be in vain as my lawn is growing at an astronomical rate and hers resembles a golf-course green. I don't know how she does it.

I won't lie. I admit that sabotage has crossed my mind. But then my senses get a hold of me and shake me back to reality.

And the reality is, at 87, sadly, she doesn't have many mowing days left.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bird Sex

Wocka wocka.

Ahh, springtime. Flowers exploding with pollen, trees exploding with buds, and birds exploding with lust.

Our backyard has turned into an outdoor porn studio - for the animal kingdom. Squirrels, hummingbirds and neighbourhood bunnies all gather round to watch the free show as the birds in our yard practice their baby-making abilities over and over and over.

Birds do things a little differently than, well, just about any other creature. Once the boy bird has the girl in his sights, he attacks. In mid-flight, he bites her tail and stops flapping. They begin to fall. The girl bird flaps her wings furiously, but the pull of gravity is inevitable.

Realizing they are a quick meal for a playful cat on the ground, or a target for a worm's revenge, they escape to higher ground.

That's called safe sex.

The boy bird, who is nearly twice the size of the girl bird, jumps on her back and sit there. Sometimes he sits there for a few seconds. Other times he flaps his wings erratically. And other times he pecks her in the back of the head.

Strangely, she enjoys all of this, including the beak-induced concussion.

From all this jumping, flapping and pecking comes a fertilized egg. Unfortunately, the eggs in our backyard have thus far had much misfortune. The birds' nest has fallen apart twice, and I've had the sad duty of burying their first-born.

From tragedies like this are born words of wisdom. Stay in school, and learn a skilled trade. I don't want to bury another birdling.

Friday's poll results:
People are most afraid of: Cockroaches
People are least afraid of: Flies

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Centipede Terrors

...add 3 cans of cold water and stir vigorously. Mmm! McCain Centijuice.

As frightening as they appear, house centipedes, like the one I captured above, are just about the most beneficial icky thing that can possibly live in one's house.

Because it's spring, they're are out in full force, looking for adventure. They originally came from more southerly tropical climates, but by the late 1800's they made their way to Canada and now are fairly common, especially in older homes.

These creepy dudes can run alarmingly fast, which adds to their already staggering scariness. I have seen grown men break down in tears, and babbling, incoherent women carried off in straight jackets at the sight of one.

If you are one of the exceptions who love these crawly creatures, you could choose to keep one as a pet, as they live as long as ferrets.

That's right. Seven years.

But do not fear the colassally creepy centipede, for it is a most righteous creature. Ask yourself what you fear more: spiders, silverfish, cockroaches and termites..... or centipedes.

Hungry arthropods feed on all of the above-mentioned horrors that inhabit your homes. As long as centipedes are around, your spider population will be kept under control. Eliminate the centipedes with a KED, and you can expect to have an explosion of 8-legged creatures threatening your sanity instead of 30-legged ones.

Most websites I've visited claim that the maximum length of a centipede is 1 to 1.5 inches. The one I captured was 1.5 inches long and was nowhere near the largest I've ever caught, at over 2 inches.

I don't know what those 2-inchers are eating, but we used to have 3 cats.

What do you hate more? Take my poll! As with all my links, it opens in new window.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Halloween In May

Freddy says 'C'mere Piggy!'

My Halloween lusts were temporarily satisfied yesterday when Suz and I converted our Morgue into a haunted morgue known, quite appropriately as "The Morgue".

Unpacking my closetful of Halloween paraphernalia, then trucking the Rubbermaid containers into work, setting everything up, and leaving it all unguarded overnight was not really something I was looking forward to. However, the spooky event was preplanned, and a required workplace event, and I was the only one in my building who could have made it successful.

And successful it was, as numerous coworkers trembled uncontrollably as they entered the dark and gloomy Morgue, knowing full well they might never return.

Enter at your own risk.Everyone waited nervously in the hall as I, the Gatekeeper, allowed one participant at a time to enter. Everyone in the hall passed the time by staring at the foreboding posters that taunted them and dared them to enter. As I closed the door behind one of the first victims I heard her whimper, "I have a heart condition! Don't scare me!"

She perished. It was sad, but could not be prevented.

Subsequently, each person followed a path of Werewolf paw prints through a graveyard, towards a dismembered body guarded by crows, and directly into the path of my 6 foot tall Freddy Krueger, who scared the bejezus out of nearly everyone.

Suz, the witch that dwelled within, then instructed each person to reach blindly into a wall of webs and darkness. For their brave efforts most were rewarded with various spooky and non-spooky prizes such as a Sunbeam juicer, The Mothman Prophecies DVD, gift certificates and King-Sized Smarties.

Seeing fear, terror, hopelessness and that odd look one gets when they gamble and lose, in the faces of my coworkers was definitely worth the five hours of volunteer-work Suz and I put into this effort.

Want more? Read about our incredible Zombie Halloween adventure here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Grass Trimmer

Martini's Tip o' The Day: To remove the spool, twist the cap off counterclockwise!

This is our new grass trimmer, a super-awesome Toro model. It's not biodegradable, like our old grass trimmer, but that's a small price to pay for efficiency.

This 15" trimmer & edger is Toro's most powerful model. The full force of the 4.4 amp motor tries to twist the electric trimmer out of my hands like some kind of plastic Tazmanian Devil. Luckily, this trimmer was designed by aeronautical engineers in much the same fashion as helicopters.

As the cutting line spins ferociously, the shaft of the trimmer counterbalances the rotation, preventing the trimmer from spiraling up into the stratosphere. It must be handled properly, by an adult. Many a child has been lost to the clouds through careless use of the electric trimmer/helicopter.

The swirling motion of the cutting line creates an energy vortex that swallows weeds and blades of grass. Nobody knows where the vortex leads. Don't tell me you know - because you don't.

The downside to this trimmer is the massive amounts of pollution it creates. Since it's electric, I had to sign a 2-year deal with a Coal-fired power plant just west of Toronto. Each time I trim my patio or driveway, the coal plant fires up its furnaces and blasts dark clouds of doom into the sky.

If anyone knows how to convert the trimmer to solar power, or has a spare Mr. Fusion lying around, please drop me a line.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Old Grass Trimmer

Roner - Chew & Spew.

Here is our old edging trimmer: Roner, the Chew 'n Spew model.

Roner has been our grass trimmer/weed wacker for approximately 10 years and we've been relatively happy with her performance. Maintenance was pretty easy. Fuel was simply cat food and water. Exhaust fumes were minimal, and didn't cause cancer.

She was a quiet trimmer, extremely environmentally friendly, and didn't disturb any of our neighbours.

Despite her strong points, she did have some major drawbacks. First, she was painfully slow. The grass would often grow much faster than she could eat it. By the time she finished edging the patio, she would have to start all over again.

Second, Roner has a short attention span and only performed well for about an hour, which was not enough time to complete any one job. She was often distracted by birds that wandered too close, or a patch of warm sunshine that desperately needed to be rolled in.

Thirdly, grass would sometimes clog up the intake. When this happened, Roner's self-diagnostic tool would determine the location and size of the clog and trigger her barf mechanism to remove the clog. This usually occured inside the house, as Murphy's Law insists. Grass clogs were slimy and unpleasant to clean up.

As a result, we've replaced our old Roner model with a newer one. It's essentially the same as Roner, except that it works faster and creates awesome amounts of pollution. Read about the details tomorrow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The DeLorean Turns 25

Me and my DMC, on 'Delivery Day' 2004.

Today is a very special day as I'm celebrating two things. Thing #1: Exactly two years ago my 1981 DeLorean was delivered to my front door after being shipped from Sechelt, British Columbia. Exactly two years ago I sat in it for the very first time.

My stainless beauty was shipped by rail to Toronto, then loaded onto a specialized car-carrier and driven, in slow motion, into my waiting arms while the "Chariots of Fire" theme played in the background.

The shipping company I used was Hansen's. Their prices were awesome, and their care in protecting my new toy was even awesomer. Yes, awesomer is a word. You don't need to look it up.

The 'scientist' drove a Dodge.A guy who looked a lot like a mad scientist in a white smock unloaded an Audi A6, then drove my D off the truck and up the driveway. I placed all the paperwork on the shining bonnet and signed with a jittery hand.

I owned my dream car.

Thing #2: It is May. My DeLorean has reached a milestone. If I had a cake for it, I would jam 25 candles into it. Now, at 25 years old, my DeLorean has officially gained the title of Classic Car. All those suckers with 1982 DeLoreans have to jealously suffer with a 24-year-old "Special Interest" car. Ha! Ha, I say.

My DeLorean rolled out of the Dunmurry, Ireland factory in May 1981, the 751st car produced out of approximately 9,000 DMC-12's. It was purchased at Towne Ford/DMC in Redwood City, California.

The original price was $29,825 U.S., which was a hefty sum for a car back in 1981 considering the base price of a 1981 Corvette was $16,258, a Datsun 280 ZX turbo was about $17,500 and the '81 Porsche 911SC started at $28,365.

But, in its defense, can you put a price on sex appeal?


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Acura NSX Is Extreme

Like, WOW dude.

The Acura NSX, Japan's self-proclaimed aluminum-chassis "supercar" has been around for 16 years. In 2002 it received its biggest change: an updated exterior. The 290 horsepower 3.2 litre V6, with its six sweet titanium connecting rods, remained the same.

My friend Tonton, who used to be a product planner for Honda Canada, was lucky enough to acquire this orange 2002 Acura NSX as his company car for a short period of time. This particular NSX with targa roof was the display car at the 2002 Canadian International Auto Show, so the hood was adorned with lovely racing decals.

As was the custom back then, Tonton would come for a visit and we'd take his company car for a spin. We zipped around in the Acura TSX, the RSX, and others. We pretended to be lost and used the TL's nav system to find ourselves again. We blasted past my annoyed neighbours in the convertible S2000, at 8,000 rpm.

We had hybrid adventures too. We cried at the Civic's super-creepy CVT transmission, and we consumed extremely small amounts of dead dinosaurs in the Insight.

Although the S2000 and Insight were rare and awesome to drive, the car that garnered the most hoots, hollers and yelps was the NSX. With a list price of $145,000 Canadian, the NSX cost slightly more than my house the day Tonton showed up with it. Honda's rules for driving this "company" car were specific.

No crashing.

Tonton and I had a great deal of fun as we tested the limits of the super-cool aluminum suspension. It wasn't as fast as my 400 hp*Talon, but it sat 2.5 inches lower, so the fun was in the twisties.

(*Edit note: added '400 hp' in BOLD to clear things up)

Unfortunately, Honda (Acura) has discontinued the NSX, a technological wonder that brought VTEC to the masses of teenagers who think stickers make you faster.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Honda Insight

Extremely tiny tires. Extremely good fuel consumption. Extremely radical.

The last time I drove a Honda Insight, I was laughing all the way. Not because the car is comical, but because it - in a word - rules.

So, on the weekend we decided to go into a local Honda dealership and order a new 2006 Insight. They list for $26,000, which, according to the sales guy, is a few thousand less than what it costs Honda to build one.

But that is what's so great about the Honda company. They want the title of the most fuel efficient car in the world, or at least North America. And they're so committed that they are willing to build the Insight at a loss.

How awesome is that?

During the buying process we learned one thing we were not expecting. The Insight, in Canada, is only available as a 5-speed. Had we gone through with it, our 2006 Insight would have been partially hand-built in Japan in the same plant that builds the NSX supercar. But Suz wasn't sure she could drive a standard, so we postponed the special order.

2 days later we found a used Insight at a distant Honda dealership. With only 58,000 kms, it was a steal at $12,950. We immediately took the 90-minute drive to the dealer to test the aluminum wonder.

We hopped into the immaculate silver hybrid and were impressed with it's cleanliness. It appeared as though it was pampered. However, a minute into the test drive we were overcome by an intense, grey, prickly cigarette smell.

I drove down the country road with the digital speedometer displaying 100 kph until I noticed I was still in 3rd gear. A quick jab into 5th shut off the "shift up" light.

Yes, the Insight tells you when you're being bad.

Suz and I took turns driving it around a tiny residential neighbourhood. I paid attention to our fuel consumption gauge the entire time, recognizing an average of 3.9 litres per 100 km. With a 40 litre tank, we could travel 1,025 kms (or 636 miles). Yet even with my right foot straight to the floor, and tires squealing, we never exceeded 5 and a half litres per 100 km.

In the end, Suz didn't feel comfortable driving standard so we decided not to buy one.

We drove 220 kms round trip, and burned about $25 worth of gas, to test-drive one of the rarest cars around (Only 344 in Canada). And it was worth it, even if we didn't buy it.

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