20th Jul2012

RIP Johnny Northrop

by Trent

johnny northropJohn (Mustang Johnny) Northrop passed away July 20, 2012 at the young age of 43 from pneumonia brought on by complications of sarcoma cancer. He was the life of any conversation and was never rude or unkind despite your automotive views. He was affectionately known as “Mustang Johnny”, but had a soft spot for Mercedes-Benz, particularly the V12 kind, Triumph Tr8’s, and 930 Porsche’s. Quite an eclectic mix. He respected all makes and models, but always kept a Mustang close at hand.

Mustangs are how I first came to meet John. I was at an autocross event for Mustangs and saw an immaculate 5.0 Saleen Mustang running the course and instantly loved the license plate, ‘3 OH 2’. It wasn’t until some time later that I would actually meet John, but I’d started to hear good things about him after that day.

I was fortunate enough to be able to work alongside him for a couple years at Dr. Gas Exhaust. We would spend most of our day, while working, talking about Family Guy quotes and dream car scenarios. I’d throw out some exotic car, and John would come back with something more realistic like a 2002 Mercedes-Benz C230 Coupe, modified of course.

John is the best story-teller I have ever met! Oftentimes, after John had moved to a job closer to his home, a co-worker and I would call John up and ask him to tell us a story. Sounds childish, but the stories he’d come up with were mesmerizing. It was this storytelling ability that led me to want to bring Johnny on board here at CAMautoMag. Mike and I founded it, but John was the first person we brought on outside of ourselves. His personality and love of all cars was the perfect compliment to us. We were fortunate enough a few weeks ago to have Johnny write one last story for us. He was in high spirits and doing well and wanting to write. He wrote the $30K Check article about the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, one I completely agree with. We were so lucky to have him on board with us at CAMautoMag, and he made a huge impact on the car community at large.

When John was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, he was in high spirits, he knew he was going to beat it. After the initial surgery, I brought him ice cream and a Porsche Excellence magazine. He even told me to not tell people, because he could look back at this later. We were at the time filming the video podcasts. We had stopped to re-tool, but when this happened, I knew I didn’t want to continue until Johnny was feeling better. He said by summer he’d be out at the track racing his Mustang Champ Car Pace Car. He did make it out to the track, but not to race.

I would text John to ask how he was doing, and he often wouldn’t respond. He didn’t want to dwell on that. However, if I text him a hypothetical car situation, he’d always respond. Cars were his passion and dream and I was fortunate enough to share in that with him. He was the one who suggested changing the ‘Letter from the Editor’ to ‘The CAM Journal’. A wise choice. The world has lost a local legend, and he will forever be missed!

John is survived by his wife and 4 children, parents, and 3 sisters.. In lieu of flowers, the family is taking donations to a memorial account in John’s name at any Mountain America Credit Union.

-Trent Bray

Here are the articles John contributed to the site, as well as the video podcasts he joined.










13th Dec2011

The CAM Journal: The Subaru BRZ is coming!

by Michael Chandler

Subaru BRZ CAMautoMag


With a scant five and a half-ish months until the release of the Subaru/Toyota lovechild, let us take a look at what I like about the BRZ: the one I’m signing up for.


Let’s start with the numbers we care about: the two-liter, direct-injection flat four will produce around 200hp and 170lb/ft of torque. It will be backed by either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto, but not a trick twin clutch unit. It’ll be the same trans that the IS350 has: conventional planetary automatic with paddles shifters on the steering wheel. More on that later… It also weighs around 2700lbs, which is 500lbs less than a WRX and 200lbs more than a Miata (which makes 30hp less).

The price isn’t too bad either, around $25,000. That’s right in line with the Miata Touring (middle of the range Miata). A 370Z starts at $31,000, as does a BMW 128i, and an IS250 is $35,000.

It’s been designed to be a true driver’s car. Low-slung boxer four, shoved as far back as they can, ABS and stability have been tuned to limit electronic intervention, and a power to weight ratio of 12.5 lbs per hp.  Hell, the press release is hitting the right notes.


Ok, 200hp is nice but Subaru has made a name by force feeding air down the gullet of their flat fours.  Where’s the turbo?  For a little over $22,000 I can have a Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T, which makes a little more power. For about $27,000 I can get a 300hp 3.8L Genesis Coupe. Not bad options…

The automatic transmission option is pretty weak. This is a sports car, why not give it a twin clutch unit?  Or how about making another transmission like the one in the LFA’s?

It looks good, but it’s not aggressive enough. Now this would be a problem, but thankfully Subaru is ahead of us and built a bad ass GT300 racer!



Yeah, I’m in. I’m in before the STI version comes out. It’s an affordable, naturally aspirated, rear wheel drive option in a segment where the Miata has been king for… Well, ever. Are there cheaper options available? Cheaper AND more powerful, but while I like the Genesis Coupe I don’t feel a connection to it.  I’ve got a Subaru now, and while it’s somewhat sketchy (worlds fastest massage chair!) it’s mine and I love driving the thing. I’m loyal to the stars. That might make me definitely makes me biased, but to hell with it. Sign me and my bias up!!!

-Michael Chandler

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com

04th Oct2011

The CAM Journal: Emotion

by Trent

I’ve written, and re-written this post numerous times, there’s just so much to convey, and I don’t know if I’ve done it any justice, but here it is anyway.

There isn’t a single car that I’ve owned that I haven’t had some form of emotional attachment to, some more than others. I don’t think of cars as ‘things’. It’s the reason my wife never wants to drive my cars, she knows if she damages it, she’s not hurting an item, she’s hurting a member of the family. Yes, I know, at the end of the day, it’s just a car, and human lives are more important, but there is such strong emotion that runs through car-guy(or girl) blood.

How else do you explain someone lovingly babying and modifying a car that most others would consider junk? Why are muscle car’s so popular now? Why spend $30K on a $5K car? It’s all about emotion.

Most often, it is best to think rationally, however with cars, it is near impossible. New brakes, but doesn’t your car already stop? Your car already has wheels, why on earth does it need a different set of wheels? Believe me, I’ve heard that one before. You can’t justify emotions sometimes, you have a burning desire, a need for a car you’ve lost that left you stranded many times. Just yesterday, I was out driving and my car left me stopped in a busy intersection. Yes, it sucked, but for some reason, I loved it more when I got it fired up again and it got me home.

Explanations aren’t necessary to car guys and girls, but to the average person, they deem you crazy for pouring sweat and blood into your vehicle, new or old. Some people throw wheels on their car and then want to join the group, but it is about more than that. If you sold that car tomorrow, would you regret it? Would you do anything to get it back? More times than I can remember, I see posts on forums of people trying to track down a car they sold long ago. They want it back, they want that emotional connection again.

This is the reason car meets work so well, we all have a common theme, an emotional attachment to the hunk of metal we drive, push, or look at on jack stands. This is also the reason I’m proud to call myself a “car guy”.

-Trent Bray

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com

20th Jun2011

The CAM Journal: About Face

by Trent

Beetle RS VW VortexI’ll admit, the first generation New Beetle had me laughing when I saw a guy driving one. Sure, I respect that the 1.8T has a lot of potential, the TDI is great for gas mileage, and even the Turbo S model had me looking at them through my peripheral vision, but generally, I didn’t like them. My friend’s ex-girlfriend had one, I couldn’t stand being in the back seat of that thing. Recently though, VW introduced something new…a new New Beetle, now just called Beetle. (more…)

13th Jun2011

The CAM Journal – Wipeout!

by Mustangjohnny

Hello CAM heads! For this month’s article, I have decided to talk about something that we as auto enthusiasts often do not like to talk about…car crashes! Sure it is what most people tune into NASCAR races to see, but in the end, it means the one thing. To us as car lovers, a car is going to be damaged. We at CAM are all about modifying, so this goes directly against our mission statement.

31st May2011

The CAM Journal: Passion

by Trent

Honda S2000 Standing outI’ve liked cars, the idea of cars, the design of cars, and the freedom of cars from my first memory in life on. When I’ve had a rough day, I want to go take the car out for a drive. There’s something that unites car lovers from all ends of the Earth, passion. (more…)

15th Apr2011

The CAM Journal: BWG – 4 minutes with Ken Block

by Trent

The year was 2006. I was a fresh faced 20 year old heading to SEMA for the first time, and staying with what would later become some of my best friends for the first time. It was a new, weird, and scary experience that would only get weirder and more surreal as my week went on. Little things like one of my roommates speed reading the Bible to another, then losing said roommate later in the week. It was all really new to me, but I fell into my comfort zone while at the show. All I did was shoot pictures, grab free stuff, and bother pretty women; all things I was quite used to. Another thing I was used to was talking cars with random strangers; however, there was one random stranger I had not counted on running into, let alone actually talking to. (more…)

02nd Mar2011

The CAM Journal – B.W.G. – Brushes with Greatness

by Mustangjohnny

I seem to have always been lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Even if I do not realize it at that time. I have been to many Champ Car races, ALMS, Trans Am, SCCA, Grand Am, NHRA, SEMA, and many other opportunities to meet great people. With this series of articles, I will not bore you with stories of standing in a long line to shake Chip Foose’s hand and click a picture, yet I will entertain you with amusing stories of funny encounters with famous race drivers and Automotive Pioneers. For the first edition of B.W.G. (Brushes With Greatness) I will spin the tale of a impromptu lunch I had at SEMA several years ago. (more…)

21st Feb2011

The CAM Journal: Really Honda?

by Trent

2012 Honda Civic Si

There it is, the 2012 Honda Civic Si. Does it have a bunch of horsepower to match its dumbed down looks? Nope, only 3 more than the outgoing Civic Si. And now, it is official, Honda has lost any semblance of the soul it once had. (more…)

24th Jan2011

The CAM Journal: Lexus LFA vs. Wheel of Cheese

by Trent

Lexus LFA

I work at a grocery store. In the service deli to be exact, and it sucks. However it does allow me to learn random things and drop these rabbit turds of knowledge onto any customer who wanders within earshot. I had one customer ask me about the big blocks of cheese; how much they weigh and how much they cost. I told him they weren’t that bad compared to the big ass wheels of Parmesan and Romano. Those cost upwards of $160 and are really useless because #1 they cost too much and #2 they’re too big for a normal person to use. Then I said maybe the greatest thing I’ve said this week: (more…)