[ originally published 06/30/10 | updated 02/15/18 ]
I’ve been driving slow cars slow long, now.
I might be dangerous if I got another fast car.
[ originally published 10/19/09 | updated 01/01/18]
Everyone you meet in Gearbox Magazine is cool. We don’t interview choads. We’ll interview assholes, but only those assholes who mean well and legitimately make the world a better place. [Read more…]
Continuing a brief series on change…
What does the future hold for gearheads? Two things immediately come to mind—EVs and self-driving technology. Both of which tend to rub gearheads like us the wrong way, but I worry some of us are at risk of missing out.
(That’s not a typo, by the way.)
December 28, 2017. Josh Mead, co-founder of Adventure Driven Design, becomes the first person interviewed for The Gearhead Project. The plan was simple. I wanted to find out more about how he and Adam went from being a couple Mitsubishi Montero-loving gearheads to gearhead entrepreneurs.
Did the idea just come to them? When? Where? How?
Did they take action immediately or take their time? Why?
Did they even take the idea seriously the first time? [Read more…]
[ Originally published 10/31/10 | republished 01/04/18 ]
If you really want to get to know someone, grab a couple-a cold beers and hike up a steep, deeply rutted, forest road crawling with scorpions in almost complete darkness and see what they have to say, isolated on the summit overlooking civilization—ideally after a long, hot drive up similar roads earlier in the day.
[ originally published 10/13/09 | updated 10/13/17 ]
#3: There will always be someone who has it better.
#4: For every smokin’ hot car you see, there’s a gearhead sick of its shit.
Number Four, there, is adapted from something Dino once told me. He was talking about girls.
(And that’s NOT the Number 3 we’re talking about today, by the way.) [Read more…]
[ originally published 10/12/09 | updated 10/12/17]
Sympathy for the devil.
Lemme tell you about my friend Dino, aka DarkOne.
When I launched Gearbox Magazine back in 2009, Dino was the first person I sought out for an interview. He ran the forum that taught me pretty much everything I know about cars and automotive performance—and became family over the years—2GNT.com. [Read more…]
First things first.
While DSMs are—absolutely—known for their turbocharged, all-wheel-drive reputation, that does NOT mean any Mitsubishi-made car from the 90s available turbocharged with all-wheel-drive is a DSM. [Read more…]
Introducing Bodo Engemann, his “Magic Team,” and what will be one hell of a Mitsubishi restoration—we guarantee.
Introducing Joshua Mead, Co-Founder: Adventure Driven Design
Arron Stump owns 316 Motor Works, Official GBXM Partner. [Read more…]
It used to be that there were one or two choices for gearboxes, also known as transmissions, consumers could purchase in their cars. Today, transmissions are not so simple as they were, but the choices remain largely the same.
The automatic transmission has transformed since its inception in horseless carriages of 1904 (by the Sturtevant Brothers of Boston, Mass.). Where once there was one or two forward gears (and no backwards gears) there’s now eight or more forward gears (and no less than, nor no more than, one reverse).
While technology may have increased the number of gears, the true-blue automatic takes all control out of the driver’s hands. However, there aren’t that many manufacturers doing dead-basic automatic transmissions anymore.
What manufacturers are now doing, is allowing the driver to input the gear selection for the automatic transmission. The new “Manumatic” transmissions can either be left in fully automatic mode or can be used in a pseudo-manual mode.
I say ‘psuedo’ because the driver isn’t actually selecting the gears, they are merely telling the car’s computer (and transmission) which gears they want the car to go into, the car still shifts the gears.
Manumatic gears can be changed either with the selector lever, usually by popping the selector left or right of drive mode and pushing up or down depending on needs, or by using the flappy paddles (selectors usually on the steering wheel) common on many current models.
Many auto manufacturers are including more of these transmissions under other names, such as Sportronic, Shiftronic, Geartronic and more. And, while flappy paddles aren’t the same as a proper manual, they can still be pretty fun.
The Acura TLX The Auto Reporter reviewed a few weeks back had a brilliant manumatic transmission and was paired with a dual-clutch transmission (DCT), making gear shifts blindly fast. A dual clutch transmission has two clutches, rather than one in normal transmissions, and is technology first used in automotive racing.
The (proper) manual
The manual is when the entirety of gear selection is left up to the driver, and is what many car enthusiasts go to when looking for transmissions.
Manual transmissions force drivers to pay attention, not just to the revolutions per minute (RPMs) of the car’s engine, but to driving as a whole; it makes people think about what they’re doing when behind the wheel.
Many vehicles now have hill assist, so Cherry Street in downtown Seattle won’t seem nearly as frightening as it once did. And, unlike even brilliant DCTs, a manual gearbox will give the driver the a feeling like nothing else – of being one with the car, of being man and machine.
The staff of The Auto Reporter prefers full manual transmissions, though the Acura TLX had a system that’s hard to say ‘no’ to.
To select the gearbox that’s right for you, think of how you drive. Are you the kind of driver that enjoys letting the car control the engine or do you want to be the one to have the horsepower under your control?
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We’d spent the morning driving back down into Sedona, Arizona, from the Flagstaff area, on Schnebly Hill Road. Until this point, our off-road adventure was merely off-tarmac.
Part 1 | Beyond creature comforts like air conditioning and cruise control, one of the biggest reasons I bought a larger truck was so my wife and daughter could join me on on off-tarmac adventures. Not long after finally getting Fezzik registered, I’m pleased to announce we’ve done a little four-wheeling – as a family!
Recently, a friend (Harvey Sherman with the Aurora) informed me of a group of people who enjoy a good drive, the Northwest Drivers group on Meetup, regardless of what is driven. So I decided to check it out.
The founder of the Northwest Drivers group, Marko “Wolf” Wollschlaeger, has been part of the Jaguar and Porsche owners clubs in the area, but found that they weren’t too much into actual driving.
“So I was like, I’m going to found my own thing so that anybody can join. The main purpose was any brand or make, it doesn’t matter what you drive,” said Marko “Wolf” Wollschlaeger, owner of a 2014 Porsche Boxter S.
The drive started at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of a QFC in Redmond Ridge. So, I got up early (for me), put caffeine in my belly and headed out in the Acura TLX I’m reviewing (more on that in another article).
Arriving with several minutes to spare, I pull the TLX into a space next to a Porsche and, I’ll be honest, there seem to be doubters about my choice of car – me included. I hopped out of the sport sedan and started schmoozing with the owners of Nissan GTRs, Fiat 500 Abarths, a ’90 Miata from the Miata Club where I purchased my own MX-5, and more.
There was a car for everyone, or near enough that it makes no difference. One duo came from as far away as Port Angeles just to come and drive with other car enthusiasts on nice roads.
“We don’t really have too many people into car culture out there, so when I found this group online I thought it would be a fun trip out to Seattle,” said Dallas Derma, who drove his 1999 BMW 328i from Port Angeles. “I was pretty surprised. I was just really surprised how many cars there were.”
Derma came out with his car-loving buddy, Brandon Meyers; both are 16-year-old high school students.
“I’ve never seen this many cars like this in one area, usually the car shows in port Angeles have one or two really nice looking cars, but this is really good,” Meyers said.
What a great way to start the weekend.
After a quick drivers’ meeting, the group of around 40 split up into three driving classes: Cruise, Normal and Spirited groups. Now, that’s not by car, but by how a driver wishes to drive; cruisers were out for a leisurely drive, normal drivers were out for something quicker than leisurely, and spirited drivers were out to have a little bit of fun on the upcoming curves.
I stepped out on a limb and chose the spirited class. I figured, “Hey, I’ve got a V6 AWD Acura with ‘Sport+’ mode. Let’s do this!” complete with a mind-sized Joe Swanson from Family Guy.
I couldn’t have chosen better. Also in the Sport speed group was a Mitsubishi Lancer, a VW Golf R32, an Audi S5, the first Porsche, a Nissan GTR, two Honda S2000s, a Lotus Elise, another Porsche (targa), an Aston Martin Vantage, a Corvette, the Acura, and behind me a Porsche Cayman S.
What a train of cars to be among!
“I love to do the drives… I love meeting new people and driving my car,” said Joe Macri, 2009 Porsche Cayman S (driving behind me). “…A little spirited, [but] I’ll come back. I thought it was really fun and, going with a lot of people and meeting new people is really fun too.”
The drive was sporty and fun. I was the tallest car in the group and, between a Corvette and Macri’s Cayman S, I looked seriously out of place.
But, the dual-clutch transmission (DCT) manumatic in the Acura was responsive and clean in the corners and on acceleration, so I didn’t make Macri in the Cayman’s drive dull.
People were safe; not taking things too quickly, but still at a very nice pace.
“We’re a bunch of guys [and gals] trying to have a good time, trying to be safe,” Wolf said.
Brakes would be applied into the corners and then, upon exit, a chorus of climbing rpms rose to the sky. On the hairpin corners, taken at an unbelievably careful pace given the powerhouses under some hoods (complement, not complaint), the reward was a cacophony of engines as drivers stretched the cars-legs upon exit, the engine vocals resounding in my heart.
The Aston Martin Vantage’s belting out a monstrous growl, the Lotus Elise pouring a high-pitched scream into the air and the Acura TLX’s V6 gave me a smile at every gas pedal tap. It may not have had the same tone as those around it, but it was still a blast to hear (and drive).
It sounded glorious. The other cars sounded glorious. The roads were glorious. All around glorious.
So glorious, that I wished it was longer.
Luckily for me, and all the other enthusiasts out there, this wouldn’t be the only time they gathered. The Northwest Drivers group is open to all people with all makes of vehicles – cars, trucks, whatever your flavor of wheels – and only requires that one likes to drive.
“Join, by all means. We have been very lucky so far, we haven’t had any idiots or any people that are rude or unfriendly,” Wolf said. “There were a couple [of people] we had to say, ‘hey take it bit easy’ and they did and it was fine.”
The next event has an added bonus of starting at the end of the June 6 Exotics at Redmond Town Center and heads up into the Cascade Mountains for a bit of Bavarian fun at the end.
The Northwest Drivers group has also gone up north to Lummi Island, out west to Lake Crescent, down to Mount Saint Helens, held track days at local motorsports parks and more. Because: Why. Not.
“I’m tickled, obviously, it’s nice. The community aspect is a big part of it, for me, and I love all the cars,” Wolf said. “While I am biased toward German cars, being German, I love them all.”
So, until next time Northwest Drivers, thank you for the wonderful drive and the earful of fantastic car sounds.
Friday morning, I walk back out to Fezzik not really knowing what I’m going to do. I’ve exhausted every tip or trick suggested on a dozen websites and from half a dozen friends, most of whom are Montero owners themselves.