09th Oct2017

Euro Brews: Cars and Doggos

by Michael Chandler

I started this past weekend off by not really sleeping in, and going to Euro Brews for the first time in a while.  I managed to show up before everyone (hooray poor time management!), and watch a bit of Petit Le Mans.  Then everyone showed up, and conversations were had.  

There was also a very good doggo who showed up in a 2002.  Good dog!  

Also this fancy lookin hybrid sports coupe made an appearance.  A decent amount of people came out, so here’s a gallery of that.

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18th Apr2017

Audi A3 Prestige: The Little Sedan That Can

by Michael Chandler

If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that the GTI threw a Check Engine Light.  Such a wonderful moment.  After posting about the momentous occasion, and subsequently being told I don’t know anything about cars because I didn’t magically make O’Reilly Auto Parts open at 10pm and have them scan it, Toby from Makes & Models got a hold of me and told me they could fit me into their schedule the following day.  And they did.  Turns out a previous owner decided to spice things up, and cut out the screen protecting the sensor part of a MAF sensor.  They didn’t have a MAF on hand, but they could get one in the morning.  Not wanting me to limp my wounded car back to Salt Lake, Toby set me up with a loaner: a 2015 A3 Prestige sedan.  After many thank yous, I hopped on the freeway and began forming opinions and feelings about the car.

Toby told me to leave it in Dynamic, because it would be more fun.  And when I got to hustle it through some twisty backroads, it was.  Around town, going to work and to see my girlfriend, it wasn’t any more fun than Comfort or Normal.  In Dynamic, the DSG transmission wanted to hang on to gears JUST a little too long, like a dog tugging at a leash because it wants to run like its wolf like ancestors!  LET ME BE FREE MAN-BEAST!!!

Ahem.

In Comfort mode the opposite was happening.  It really, REALLY wanted to get into the higher gears and stay there.  I’m assuming this was to achieve bonkers fuel economy numbers, which the real-time readout in the gauge cluster was telling me it was hitting.  Otherwise, it didn’t want to kick down unless I really got on the throttle.  A little annoying, but that’s the mode I’d choose for a long drive.  Say to Vegas or L.A.  For a normal, boring commute like mine (fifteen minutes, mostly freeway, not a twisty road in sight), I’d leave it in Normal.  Save Dynamic for the fun roads, or if you have a more exciting commute than mine.

Take all that transmission talk with a grain of salt.  If I could, I’d shove it into the GTI in a heartbeat.  Another thing I’d shove into my car is the engine.  It’s a lot the same as the power plant in my Mk6, but also different.  The engine and brakes never left me feeling doubtful.  I had the power to pass people when I needed to, and enough brakes to reel the car in before things got scary.  The brakes were a little grabby, but I’ll chock that up to how cold it was when I had the car.  (The GTI’s brakes are the exact same kind of grabby until they get some heat in them, I’m going to say this is a VAG thing) And despite being all wheel drive, the car never felt like it was pushing.  You could tell it was a front wheel drive based car, but the understeer was very mild.  

This is a handsome little car, inside and out.  While some people would call the black on black interior “boring”, I would call it understated.  Nothing seemed crammed in, there wasn’t anything shouting “LOOK AT ME!  I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN HERE!”  Everything was very German: purposefully placed, and simply designed.  And everything was easy to use.  The most difficult thing I encountered was turning the infotainment system on and off, and that took all of three minutes.

I didn’t spend any time sitting in the back, but they’re leather clad just like the front.  They look comfy…  The front seats were very nice.  Held you snugly, without making you feel like your kidneys were going to be turned into a delightful mush.  And they were heated, which made the cold days much easier to deal with.  Finding a good driving position took me a minute, but I found it.  And after that I drove it to work, then to take these pictures, and then on a fun drive back to my house.

I made sure everything had heat before I got on with the fun, and when I did I wasn’t disappointed.  The shifts were crisp, with or without use of the paddle shifters.  The steering was communicative and pretty sharp.  If you’re looking for second to none road feel, you’re looking at the wrong car.  However, if you’re looking to hustle about and want to know what’s going on with the road so you can make informed decisions: bingo, here’s your car.  The two liter engine pulls hard, surprisingly hard for a small luxury sport sedan.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, it reminded my of Ronda the Supra.  The brakes, once warm, were smooth and bit nicely.  The suspension soaked up the rough road, and didn’t leave me regretting my decision to drive it.  Definitely on the stiffer side, but not off-puttingly so.  

After my jaunt, I pulled into Rich’s Bagels.  I ordered a couple of bagels, and a cup of coffee and sat down to compile some thoughts.  After that Brendon told me that my car was ready to pick up, so I made my way to Layton.  Upon arriving Brendon and Toby asked me the same question: what did I think of the car?  WELL…

It’s a great little car.  If I could, I’d trade the GTI for it.  UNFORTUNATELY the A3 is a bit out of my humble price range, but my situation is probably different than yours.  If you’re looking for a small, luxury sport sedan I’d put this atop the list.  BMW has nothing for you in this segment (yet!), and the Mercedes CLA just isn’t as good.  It looks frumpy, and while the interior is a thing of beauty you still have to look at the iPad like infotainment screen perched atop the dash.  I know that makes it easier to replace if need be, but it looks so out of place!  Meanwhile, the screen in the A3 rises and disappears into the dash.

TL;DR- not the sportiest small German car you can buy, but the best small sedan.  Sporty when it needs to be, everyday transport all the time.  7.5/10, would go deeper into debt to pick one up.

Got a decent sized trunk too!  If you want to buy the car, go to here.

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14th Mar2017

80eighty Scrapefest Premeet

by Michael Chandler

While technically true, the 80eighty Scrapefest premeet was a full eight days before Scrapefest.  Weird?  YOU BET!  Well attended?  DAMN STRAIGHT!  There were a ton of cars in attendance, so many that some resorted to parking in the undeveloped lots near the 80eighty building.

There was a wide variety of cars in attendance.  Everything from clean, modern builds

To some classics

A pretty cool rat rod was there

And that was spitting distance from the R8 that Envision wrapped at Autorama.  Not for, AT.  While the show was going on.  Looks good.

And then there was this guy, who kept staring at me while I was taking pictures of his edgy-ass xB.

So kawaii it causes me physical pain…

Anyway, here’s a big gallery of some of the other cars that were there.  Saturday we’ll be at the track for the first NASA Utah event of the season, then up at Scrapefest on Sunday.

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07th Feb2017

The Relevant Super Bowl Commercials

by Michael Chandler

Like most people, I spent my Sunday evening at a Super Bowl party.  Gorging myself on wings and cocktail shrimp, and half-watching the game.  I also managed to half-watch the commercials, and since this is an automotive enthusiast site, we’re gonna take a look at the eight automotive commercials that aired.  Let’s start with Audi.

Audi

It’s called “Daughter”.  The daughter is in a soapbox derby, and she’s the only girl in the field.  The voice-over is the father asking himself what he is going to tell his daughter about her value, because she (and the rest of us) live in a world where women, on average, make less than men.  It’s not selling a car, although they show an S5 sedan at the end.  It’s promoting them being committed to equal pay for equal work, which is a very noble thing.  As a car ad, it’s not that great.  Considering that they showed off a sedan version of one of their coupes, which means that they’ll be making sedan versions of their coupes, which makes me irrationally angry.  As a PR piece, it was ok.

Buick

Buick is still trying to convince people that they’re not building transportation for the elderly.  An admirable goal, but Buick is always gonna have that stigma.  The ad is funny: Cam Newton destroys pee-wee football players, and Miranda Kerr shows up.  I still think Buicks are sleds for the elderly, and this ad doesn’t really change that.

FCA

They came out with two 1 minute spots, and a 30 second spot for the Alfa Romeo Giulia.  One is about returning to greatness, Riding On The Backs of Dragons, another is about predictability, Dear Predictable, and the last one is all of the cliches you could want when talking about an Alfa, Mozzafiato.  It’s pretty hard to make the Giulia look bad, and it’s a trick to make the Quadrifoglio sound bad.  Thankfully the car looks and sounds amazing in the spots, and I want one even more now.  The spots show off the car really well, and hopefully this means we’ll see more of them running around in the wild.

Ford

Like Audi, Ford didn’t show off any particular vehicle.  This was them showing off how they’ll help you (or whoever) get around in the future.  Bike sharing, Transit vans on call, vehicles that can hard park themselves.  The future is looking bright for the Blue Oval!  Or whatever.  All I know is that they’ll be pounding out F-Series trucks until the sun expands and engulfs our little, blue marble.  Did anyone else relate to some of those bad luck scenarios in the first half of that commercial?  A few of those hit too close to home for me…

Honda

The Honda ad, which was slinging the new CRV, was inspiring and creepy.  Using technology, they animated various celebrities’ year book photos.  That was the creepy part.  The inspiring part was what the celebrities were saying.  And I’m not sure the CRV, while a decent little crossover, is not the most aspirational vehicle they could be pitching…  Meh, it still works.

Kia

Melissa McCarthy, a treasure, keeps trying to defend nature.  And nature absolutely wrecks here.  Up to this point, this is the ad that is the most cohesive.  It’s pitching the Niro (pronounced Nee-ro), which is apparently the most fuel efficient crossover.  It fits with Mrs. McCarthy trying to be an eco-warrior, although hopefully it doesn’t fail like she did.  The Niro looks pretty good, and I’m curious to see what the interior looks like.

Lexus

Lexus showed off the LC500, a damn fine looking vehicle.  There was something about emotion in there, but all I remember is hearing the glorious engine noise.  And the dancing, but mostly the engine noise.  Again, damn fine looking vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz knows that your dad and his golf buddies are probably going to buy the new AMG GT Roadster, so they got Peter Fonda to reprise his role from Easy Rider for their ad.  They also know that you’ll be watching this along side them, so the tapped the Coen brothers to direct it.  It’s not a bad ad, has some humor, and Peter Fonda is still pretty bad ass.  And odds are that if you were on board for the AMG GT, then you’re on board for an al fresco version.  

And that’s the lot of them.  Let us know which was your favorite, which you hated (I’ve got an idea where some of you will go with this), and if you’ve made it this far you deserve a treat.  So, here’s the Logan ad:

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16th Jan2017

Some World Challenge News

by Michael Chandler

It’s the off season for the Pirelli World Challenge, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.  Far from it!  You know that, but you might not know the details.  So, to that end, I’m gonna bring you a few news items of note.  Things to look for when the series comes through in August.  

Thing The First: DXDT Racing’s New Car

DXDT will be running a new Mercedes AMG GT3 in five Sprint-X and three regular sprint races this season.  Hooray shiny new car!  They’ll start the season at Virginia International Raceway April 28-30, then they run the rest of the schedule.  That’s definitely something to keep an eye on.  They’ve done great in the Super Trofeo series, and last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca they went 1-2 in the GT Cup class in Sprint X.  To be honest, I’m more interested in hearing this thing at full tile than I am in seeing it.  Why? Have you heard the AMG V8’s?  There you go.

Thing the Second: Panoz Has a GTS Program

Yeah, Panoz is back in GT racing.  With Tommy Milner at the helm, Panoz will have a two car, full season GTS effort.  The car will be the Avezzano GT4, pictured above.  What the hell is an Avezzano?  It’s… It’s that blue car up there.  Details of the street car include a 450 horsepower, 6.2 liter V8, a six speed manual.  Not sure how those will change when it enter the series, but it will enter with full carbon fiber widebody, splitter, sideskirts, and rear diffuser.  The only announced driver is Ian James, who has A LOT of experience in many different types of cars (including previous stints with Panoz).  In addition to running the PWC effort, Milner is on hand to develop the car into a proper GT4 car; although, Panoz hasn’t made a homologation request to the GT4 geverning body: the SRO.

Thing the Third: Magnus Joins PWC

YES, Magnus is leaving the IMSA WeatherTech series and will be running a TWO car effort in PWC.  Formerly Twitterless and current team owner John Potter will drive one of the Audi Sport customer racing R8’s, and an as of yet unnamed Audi Sport customer racing supplied driver will be in the other.  They’ve won Rolex 24 races (one in a Porsche and one in an Audi), Sebring, and a couple of Tequila Patron North American Endurance championships, along with plenty of class wins.  They’ll be running the regular sprint races, along with the SprintX races.  More importantly, a fan favorite joins an incredibly fan friendly series, which means we all win.

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30th Nov2016

CAMcast Weekly November 29

by Michael Chandler

We’re back!  And we’re weekly (probably), until the race season starts!  In this episode Michael ,and co-hosts Brandon Christiansen and Dave Rawley, talk about Audi leaving the WEC, the new 911 RSR’s lack of forced induction, fashion, and the Taurus Challenge.  Give it a listen, and subscribe via RSS until I can get this thing on iTunes and Stitcher.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
19th Aug2016

Weekend Wallpaper August 18

by Michael Chandler

PWC at GP of Utah GT wallpaper Sunday Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

It’s the weekend, all weekend long! And in honor of that, have yourself a brand-spankin-new wallpaper for your desk OR laptop.

But Mike!  What about my phone???  I need to have an awesome wallpaper for it!

Well guy, guess what?

PWC at GP of Utah Sprint X mobile wallpaper Sunday Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

BAM!  You know the deal, right click, save as, set as background, make co-workers (or employees at Best Buy or the Apple Store) weep with jealousy.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
15th Jun2016

THUNDA! NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder cover Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

The rain stayed away for the qualifying AND race for the Thunder group.  It was an incredible turn of luck, and something some of the drivers didn’t see coming.  We aren’t used to luck when it comes to weather!  Because of the poor weather, some of the drivers packed up and called it a day.  In my opinion, they missed out on one hell of a race.

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

Darrell Troester took home yet another GTS 4 win.  He valiantly battled himself, and through sheer grit and determination he defeated himself to take home the win.

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-5

I had to ask myself several questions during the race, but the only one that really is relevant right now is “When did they start running GTS3 cars in Thunder?”  I asked myself that, because Jeff Burton was out in his Cayman S, a GTS3 car, with the Thunder Group.  I let it go rather quickly, which was good because I watched Jeff drive a solid race, and take home the win.

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2

ST3 was a quartet of Ford Performance Racing School Mustangs, and Todd Ainsworth in the Us Against One M3.  Not good odds for the banana mobile, and things shook out accordingly.  A Mustang did win, and it was driven by a repeat winner, but it wasn’t Frank Gannett.  It was Dan McKeever, in the most evil looking BOSS at the school.

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

Out of nowhere (maybe Colorado?  I have no idea) came a man in a small British car with a Toyota engine.  Bob Schader, said man in tiny car, managed to harass some of the ST3 field during the race.  Why would he do such a thing?  Because he was the only guy in ST2.  Thanks for coming out Bob, and for putting on a show.

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

Sorry Bob, and occasionally George, but my favorite ST1 car was BACK!  Dan Worley and his glorious Porsche were out and running!  He was alone in ST1, but he was out there!  Man, I love that car.

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-3

If I tell you that a 996 GT3 Cup car beat a 911 GT3R, you’d call me crazy.  And for good reason.  The old Cup cars are still great, but the GT3R is a different beast altogether.  That first statement would be crazy, but it happened!  Or so says My Laps!  Listed as the class winner in GTSU is Mark Brouse, driver of the above pictured 996 GT3 Cup car.  How did he do that?  He ran the full race, and the Air Power GT3R didn’t.

NASA Utah Round 4 Thunder Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

SU was a four way deathmatch.  The R8 LMS Ultra driven by Kristian Boodoosingh faced off against Les Long and his 997 Pirate mobile, and a pair of E92 M3’s.  This was the Euro fan boy race of the day!  The only thing missing from the German fight was a Mercedes.  In the end Kristian in the R8 took home the win, after battling to get around Les.  Can we do that again next month?  Please?

Speaking of next month, there’s a race weekend next month!  It’s taking place on July 15th, 16th, and 17th on the East track.  Join us, won’t you?

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Mar2016

Pull It Together!

by Michael Chandler

352A0707 (Medium)

Stay strong, it’s almost the weekend!

Photo by Michael Wells!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Mar2016

Round 1 Bonus Gallery from Gavin Pouquette

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah2016 Round 1 Gavin Pouquette Photography CAMautoMag -9

By now you know I can’t cover an event like this alone.  I had help from Gavin Pouquette and Michael Wells.  Today we’re going to take a look at a gallery from Gavin, who had some camera issues that wound up producing some killer photos.  Also his talent probably had something to do with it, but there were camera issues.  Anyway, here’s what he got!

You can find Gavin on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Everyday Driver

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