Zoom-Zoom and the Ultimate Driving Machines

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, it has been a very busy 2 weeks to say the least.  Lots going on with my car, mixed in with some car shopping for my son, add in a few automotive reviews, all make for a very tired Perk.

After attending a Mazda drive demo at the Orange County International Auto Show, I received an email invite to attend their “Driving Matters Ride and Drive” track event at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.  I invited my buddy and my wife to the event so we can really see what the 2016 Mazda MX5 was all about.  But first up I used my Saturday to visit the happiest place on earth…Carmax!  I kid, but at Carmax you can browse and drive anything on the lot and there is no pressure from the blood thirsty greasy hair, sweaty chest hair and gold chain swinging salesmen you usually find at dealerships to worry about.

In their showroom I found what Santa needs to bring me this year, a 2016 Yas Marina Blue Metallic BMW M3 with the carbon fiber roof.

Isn’t it beautiful?  Santa I’ve been really good this year and Perks Garage needs a company car. ūüėÜ

On Sunday we made the drive out to the Speedway for the Mazda event and when we arrived I noticed that BMW was also there hosting their BMW Experience.  Hmmm, I don’t recall seeing an invite for that one.  Oh well, onto the Mazda event.  There were not a lot of people this day which helps so we didn’t have to wait in long lines to drive the cars.  Mazda had a slalom and a 0-60-0 braking section set-up.  The cherry on top was that they were also letting us get on the track to do a hot lap with one of their professional drivers.  Hot damn, after attending several motorcycle races and Porsche events over the years, I’ve longed for the day to drive on this track.  This was going to be FUN!

The Miata/MX5 has always had a Jekyll & Hyde complex.

I immediately started taking pictures and then we checked in at the registration table. Mazda has you take a Breathalyzer test…at 9 am?  I guess liability is liability.  Not to worry drinking doesn’t usually start until 9:30 am so we passed.  I’m kidding, we usually don’t hit the bar until 10 lol.

After getting our wristbands to drive, we hopped in the line to do the 0 to 60 braking test they had set up.  The objective is to floor the accelerator and then jam the brakes, stopping in a coned section.  This was to showcase the acceleration and braking capabilities of the lightweight Mazda.  On hand were both auto and manual transmissions for those who can drive them.  Apparently someone didn’t and burned up the clutch on one of the MX5’s by launching the car from 3rd gear rather than 1st.  Sadly this limited the number of available manual transmission cars.

wp-image-1510947626jpg.jpgwp-image-459282287jpg.jpgwp-image-1237134789jpg.jpgwp-image-805718838jpg.jpgwp-image-298388292jpg.jpgOn the Club version above, you can get the optional Brembo brakes with red calipers, 17″ BBS wheels, and Bilstein dampers.  I think they also mentioned a limited slip diff.

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The event was really fun and I was even able to talk my wife into doing the braking test and doing a slalom ride along with one of the Mazda reps.  You should have seen her smile.  The car is very comfortable, nimble and packs a lot more power than the 1991 BRG Miata I owned, so it took me by surprise when I did the slalom and broke the tail end out a bit.  Check out my runs.  We did back to back runs through the slalom.  So much fun!

The 0-60-0 braking challenge was fun as well.

My wife even took a chance and rode shotgun during a slalom run with one of the Mazda drivers.

The real fun was on the track where the car excels in its class.  It is a very playful chassis and pushing it to its limits is where the car comes alive.  It is easy to see why my neighbor has owned and races so many of them over the years.  This really makes me miss mine.

wp-1477338817750Hello sire!20161016_120001Getting ready to hit the track in the MX5.

After we did our lap on the track, my friend says that was way more fun than he expected.  That was cool since he was apprehensive about driving such a low powered hairdressers car.  A common term referencing the fact that its a top down roadster just like the TT.

Walking back  to our cars we said lets go “check out” the BMW event.  In other words, lets try to sneak in.  Sitting in front of their tent we were pleasantly greeted by a 2016 M4 in Austin Yellow Metallic…another color out of the BMW bag of skittles.  Flashy, but I dig it.wp-1477338671643.jpg

Upon entering the tent we approached the reception table…

BMW rep: “Did you register online?”

Me:”Uh, no!?”

BMW rep:”Thats ok, sign here and we will squeeze you in.”

In my head the Napoleon Dynamite ‘Yesssss’ was echoing.

Well it worked, we even saw some of the same people that were at the Mazda event.

BMW had a similar set up, only they had an autocross course set-up rather than taking the cars on the actual track.  The staff and pro drivers gave us a walk through of the events and were very helpful throughout the demos.  They gave a guided tour of the 0-60-0 braking, which we were passengers in the X5, as well as the autocross course. The X5 happened to be the only non M packaged  vehicle in their line up for the day but still drops anchor in the braking dept.   Like Mazda, this was a smash the go-fast pedal and then Fred Flinstone the brakes.  They were very encouraging on putting the cars in sport + mode and wreaking havoc on the M brakes.  I first took the reigns of the 340i sedan in Estoril Blue with M performance bits – body kit, brakes, suspension and M badges.  Hitting about 65mph on the straight and coming to an eye-bulging stop in a split second.  It lagged a bit off the line, but quickly got up to speed.  

Next was the 640i convertible, a very suitable upgrade to my TT, don’t you think?

You can hear my wife very clearly enjoying herself in each video, until she cried uncle and said enough is enough. 

Now for the serious weaponry…2016 Estoril Blue M235i with carbon fiber inlays and that Alcantara racing steering wheel with the built in shift lights…oh how I love thee! 

And the  2016 Sakhir Orange M3 in Beastmode!wp-1477338707840.jpg20161016_140716

Now both of these cars are serious on the playground and the smiles per horsepower are unmatched.  Real point and shoot driving machines.  0-70-0 comes REAL QUICK! And they sound amazing doing it.  Sadly there was some rubbing coming from the rear heat shield of the M3 that had to be massaged back into place.

Lastly, we hit the autocross and I jumped at the opportunity to bend some corners in the M3.  Get the tail end loose and with it’s precise steering I was able to get the beast safely through those tight turns while avoiding  hitting any of the cones.

Here I am doing a discovery lap in the 340i.  I was just warming up for my run in the M3.

I enjoyed some amazing cars, spent time with my good friend and my wife and even met some new friends that invited me out to autocross with them.  “What’s up isaac?”

This was the best automotive weekend ever!   Definitely looking forward to the next Perks Garage outing.

Enjoy the pics and videos, we had a blast taking and making them.  Excuse some of the camera movement, but the BMW M-Cars haul much a$$!

 

Oh yeah, and this also happened.  Story to follow…

All photos and videos courtesy of Perks Garage.

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2016 Orange County International Auto Show…Press Coverage

Well, it finally happened.  I was granted a media pass to cover the #Orangecountyinternationalautoshow.  This opportunity was a great way to get in and take pics and video before the little sticky hand kids were allowed to enter and muck up everything.  Perks Garage is very thankful for the access and looking forward to covering more events in the near future.

During my prep for the event, I have been working on setting up a YouTube channel to host the videos we take here at Perks Garage to provide a full in debt review of features and functionality of vehicles, both new and old.

It felt pretty good to arrive at the auto show and be asked for my confirmation letter as then granted access. ¬†I quickly parked the Audi, grabbed my gear and headed in for an unobstructed point of view of the cars on display, and the layout of the event. ¬†Once inside a greeting table confirmed my name was on the list and provided me with my pass. ¬†I was too late to receive a lanyard but I didn’t care…I have arrived. ¬†There were plenty of other people from various media outlets. ¬†Local News channels, fellow bloggers, YouTubers, and even some foreign independent channels roaming the floor. ¬†Everyone was taking pictures and videos and interviewing people spewing out vehicle specs. ¬†It is like a Hollywood gala for auto enthusiast…the bright lights and cameras minus the boogie attitudes. ¬†I was¬†not quiet ready to interview people, I just wanted to act as the cameraman/ videographer.

I had on hand my Canon, Galaxy Note 5 and a small handheld video recorder. ¬†I took loooootttttsss of pictures and quite a few videos. ¬†I took my time and was able to see every vehicle and even test drive a few that they made available for us. ¬†Mazda, Honda and Toyota to name a few were on hand to do test drive demos soI jumped at the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5. ¬†Disappointment quickly set in when I found out it was an automatic and the streets were pretty congested by that time. ¬†After the test drive and brief survey, I did receive¬†an email invite to attend a Mazda MX-5 track event, so that will make up for the weak test drive. ¬†Insert corny car nut verbiage riiight…here! ¬†“Yay Mazda…Zoom-Zoom!”

All in all the event was great.  Free access, free snacks and drinks, unobstructed views and full access to some very nice vehicles.  Thank you Orange County International Auto Show for the media pass.

Now on to some pics…A LOT OF THEM! ¬†Scroll down to check out some video footage.

#orangecountyinternationalautoshow

Don’t forget to Like¬†us out on Facebook¬†.

Also check out our new Perks Garage YouTube channel for more coverage.

Here are a couple of the videos available on the channel.

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All images and videos property of Perks Garage 2016!

 

Zoom~Zoom Mazda RX3

I have been saying for some time that I want a car that was manufactured the year that I was born. Something sporty and cool that I could play around with by customizing, somewhat of a never ending project. After visiting a few JCCS (Japanese Classic Car Shows) and digging thru the Internet I came up with a couple of choices that fit my personality, style and taste and started putting together a list. One day I will get it narrowed down and pick something up to start working on.

Now a close friend of mine (I use that term lightly as we have never met) is a host an automotive YouTube channel packed with a lot of cool cars and bikes, technical info and humor.  You may have heard of him…Jay Leno, the greatest late night talk show host and a true car guy. Any person that uses an airport hangar to house his collection of daily driven automobiles is truly a legend worthy of a mention in mostly every car discussion. Scrolling thru his channel the other day I came across one of those cars on my list of possible project cars.

The great thing about having a passion for cars is that there are so many styles, makes and models to appreciate so you can’t really get bored. There is always something to get your pulse rate up and the little Mazda in the video below is definitely no exception.  It’s a 1973 Mazda RX3 with lots of custom touches. Not only does it have a heart transplant from its biological grandson the RX-7, but it’s turbo charged pushing out around 400hp.  The Mustang GT cranks out 435, but weighs over 1000 pounds more.  According to the owner of this lil 3 the car is fast enough to take a Porsche off the line in a race. With 400hp on tap and weighing less than 2200 pounds, its not surprising that it has an incredible power to weight ratio.

These are very sought after cars with tuners, racers and JDM aficionados, so even a stripped down version will command some dollars in the used car market. I have seen a few of these driving around SoCal and the sound of those rotary engines is very exhilarating and distinct compared to your standard 4, 6 and 8 cylinder enigines. To paint the picture, the sound is kinda like a chainsaw mixed with a finely tuned Subaru boxer motor…a lot of burbling and popping. The sound is very intimidating in street races! Now the rotary engines in Mazda’s are known for being somewhat unreliable. They are difficult to tune properly and crap on fuel economy, but when done right it’s like hearing your favorite song that used to get you hyped up in the club. Cue up the 50-Cent “Go shawty, it’s ya birthday!”

Now check out the Internet pics I borrowed and the video from Jay Leno’s Garage I posted below. With time and money you too can be broke like the rest of us with fun cars ūüôā

Enjoy!
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A Love Story

The year was 1993 and I was rolling a frost white 88 Toyota Tercel EZ,
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the EZ stood for BASIC!!!¬† I mean a passenger sun visor or side mirror was not included on this car.¬† It had gray vinyl seats with a 4 speed stick shift and crank windows, but it was my baby‚Ķwith all its 78hp glory.¬† From senior year in high school, racing up and down the 110 fwy, back and forth from CA to San Antonio, Texas. ¬†For my high school friends, my Texas fam and my wife, you know this car put in work!¬† But this entry is not about my baby, but rather the one that stole my heart. ¬†Folks this is simply a love 💓 story. ¬†A story about how I fell in love, with a little roadster from Japan.

It was around 4:30 am and I‚Äôm heading to work at the Aerospace Corp in my white 88 Tercel hatchback.¬† Cruising westbound on the 105 fwy bumping that new Lethal Injection from Ice Cube, because that‚Äôs just how I roll.¬† It was dark and there were only about 5 cars on the fwy because no one gets up that early.¬† I was crossing the 405 and nearing my exit on Sepulveda when I saw a little red convertible sports car zipping by me.¬† ‚ÄúIs this guy‚Äôs top down at 4:30 am?¬† What a nut!‚Ä̬† As I neared the Sepulveda exit, drops of water began falling from the sky and my thought was, ‚Äúthis guy is about to get soaked.‚Ä̬† He takes the exit ramp in front of me, and as he was pulling up to the red light the rain is starting to come down.¬† He reached back with his right hand and with one motion pulled the convertible top up over his head and latched it closed just as the red light changed to green.¬† I mean, he never even stopped the car!¬† It was a flawless execution.¬† Was he doing a commercial for Mazda?¬† My eyes lit up just like that kid Ralph in ‚ÄúA Christmas Story‚ÄĚ whenever he described the ‚Äúofficial carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle…ooooh!‚Ä̬† I was blown away!¬† I thought to myself that I had to have one! ¬†It was at that exact moment a new love had been born…Miata!
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Fast forward some 20 years and who knows how many cars later and I finally get up close and personal with the infamous well-balanced Miata rosdster.¬† One day the guy at the end of my block had his garage open. He had an Orange Lotus parked in front of his house and was working on a Miata in the garage with another guy that looked to be his twin.¬† Me being nosey me, I decided to walk my dog down there to see what was going on in my neighborhood.¬† Now usually in Corona you don‚Äôt hear Too Short playing in a garage, especially from the garage of a white guy that drives a Miata, but this was my introduction to the infamous Brothers Wilde.¬† I introduced myself and my interest in their cars while trying to remain calm and nonchalant, but good old Christmas Story Ralph was inside me just as giddy as a Christmas day.¬† After a bit of conversation I was invited to come check out¬†Adams Motorsports park, an outdoor go-karting track, from these guys I just met, to experience some Time Attack and drifting that goes on out there. ¬†Now between the two of them, they have probably bought and sold more Miatas, than you could count on all your little fingers on both hands, so the title Miata experts¬†guru’s seems rather adequate. Well being the enthusiast I am I showed up at Adam’s that Friday night with my helmet in the off chance that I was courageous enough to go for ride along with someone.¬† That night I got to witness some high powered cars racing and some amateur drifters sliding all over the course.¬† There was some track mishaps with cars driving off the course up the hill and hoods popping up and spin outs galore! This was exciting but I then I saw it!¬† I watched in amazement as a little red blur and a silver blur sped around the course Time Attack style and I got the warm and fuzzies in my gentlemen parts. It was my neighbor aka mx5msm and his brother riding shotgun and their buddy aleks024 in the other car…WOW! ¬†After their run, the invitation to ride along was presented to me and I jumped at it. ¬†Now putting my life in someone else‚Äôs hand is not the norm for me, but the life insurance policy is paid, so eh, what the hell! I strapped on my helmet, said a quick prayer and let the fun began. With a death grip on the door handle and me wearing out my imaginary passenger side foot-brake, I was blown away and the handling capabilities and balance of these little cars in semi stock form.¬† The only thing he had at that time was suspension, a rollbar and an intake‚Ķthats pretty much it. ¬†100hp never felt so exhilarating. Now throughout my driving years I had been use to piloting and rolling in much higher horsepower cars, Evo’s, Subies, TL’s and what not, so I was blown away to say the least at what I was experiencing. Turn after turn after turn, tires screeching with only the light from the Miata’s signature pop-up headlights illuminating the track as my neighbor and I were being run down by who I suspected to be Lewis Hamilton‘s driving instructor…aleks024! My grin only got bigger. ¬†My helmet tapping against the rollbar as we slalomed thru the tire section and the hairpin turns. ¬†This car was amazing! ¬†Truth be told, I may have soiled his seat a little bit, but that was his fault. ¬†This ride was life changing, I mean I felt…ALIVE.¬† I know I‚Äôm rambling on, but all in all I HAD A BLAST and obviously survived to write about it lol. ¬†Anyway I was more motivated than ever to stack some cash to make a purchase of one of these little wonders. ¬†Thanks the Brothers Wilde for the invite and ride!

So with that flame fueled and the search began.  I joined a forum or two and after researching these cars and combing the internet for a while.  I grabbed my cash and went shopping.  A few test drives later, I ended up with a stock 91 NA BRG (British Racing Green) Special Edition Miata.  I added a few parts to give it the Mike touch. So now without further ado, I present to you…BUBBA #741 of 4000.

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Bubba’s photos by M Perkins