New Car

For reasons related to my life, I am not permitted to call my car “my other love”. So, I will just say that last week I said goodbye to my Lancer Evo VIII, and picked up a Lancer Evo X MR. Goodbye, faithful old car!

Hello, new:

The new car has a 6-speed sequential gearbox, which is technically a manual, but it has three automatic modes. In sport and s-sport, the car will downshift in anticipation of a corner and blip the throttle, similar to how racing drivers do heel-toe braking (that is, pressing the clutch and brake with the same foot). It also has S-AWC (super all-wheel-control), which is an evolution of the previous stability enhancement device that has been a part of the non-US Evos for a number of years. This version will actually kick out the back end of the car during a turn if understeer is detected in order to push the car to the centre of the corner!

Edmunds recently reviewed the Evo against the Nissan GT-R, Audi R8, new Porsche 911, new Elise and 2008 STi, and the Evo surprisingly flattened the $80,000 911 around a test track and mountain road. Only 2 seconds behind the R8, with some minor performance upgrades it would beat all of the cars in the test.

The car also has an altimeter, for when it is flying.

Stupidly Expensive Crap

Following on from my rant about Monster Cables, here is the latest plight in my life. I got a satellite radio for my car in 2002 back when they were still pretty expensive, and I still have it now. It works, but the volume knob broke off. I glued it back on in only the special way I can, and now it is wonky (bent, for you US readers out there). So I called up Pioneer to get a replacement, and they sell one – for $35! This is for a piece of plastic – it doesn’t have the actual volume control included, just the little piece of plastic that you turn! They know you are not going to buy a whole new stereo over a matter of $35, so they can charge what they want.

Incidentally, I bought it.

This gets worse though. The radio comes with a little remote control for the most lazy driver who can’t even reach 24 inches over to the front panel to change the track. It takes one of those button batteries, and it has a small latch to keep the battery in. Note exhibit A:

This is a piece of plastic about 25mm across (an inch), and they charge $11.77 for it! It’s smaller than a freaking Lego brick! Hello people! You can hold the battery inside with a piece of tape!!

New Knight Rider

New Knight Rider

I am going to be one of those nerds who watches a new SciFi TV show and then posts on his blog a day later poking holes in the plot. Their first mistake: they picked the Mustang GT500 as the new car (the original was the Pontiac TransAm). It is a slow, boat-like wannabe race car that cannot turn corners without flipping on its back faster than Paris Hilton. It evokes none of the “wow” response that the original car did in the early 80s to impressionable young boys. Why didn’t they pick a decent car, like the Koenigsegg CCR (below)? Probably because this show is just a marketing machine for Ford.

Koenigsegg CCR

In the original TV series, Pontiac refused to let the writers mention the brand of the car on air because they were getting so many requests for the car, which they didn’t actually sell. I thought Ford made a good decision when they announced they were selling the special Knight Rider edition of this vehicle, but then again, I discovered that the sheer amount of advertising for this car during the commercial breaks meant that the 2-hour slot had more commercials than actual show. So what did this spectacular car do during this 2 1 hour show? Well, it’s bullet-proof, like the old car, but only if it is switched on! In one scene, the computer was switched off, and one of the windows broke with glass falling all over the street during a chase. In the next instant, the computer was turned on, and the glass magically reappeared! So, the car has a reservoir of liquid glass that it can use to fashion new window panes at will? Excellent.

Also, in one chase scene, the car was driving up a mountain pass whilst being pursued by a Ford SUV. It was only barely managing to keep ahead of the SUV. For a moment I thought this was silly: an SUV should never be able to keep up with even an average car around such tight corners, but then I remembered the reason: this is a Mustang. In terms of gadgetry, what did the car have inside? We saw two things: an LCD screen (my wife’s car has one) and a pop-up gear shifter (the Jaguar XF already has one, see 1:55 in the linked video). Wow. “Back in the day”, the original Knight Rider had things that were never seen in cars before – tiny TV screens, GPS-like tracking and more buttons and lights than a 747.

Worst of all: William Daniels, the original voice of KITT, is still alive – so why use Val Kilmer?

Car Audio Upgrade

It’s about time I upgraded my car’s speakers. I have a very nice head unit (CD player), but the speakers in my current car are the worst out of every car I have ever owned (except for my 1978 Mini Mayfair, which didn’t have any). They distort with bass and the front doors vibrate like crazy. I bought two pairs of Polk DB6501 component speakers on eBay, and they finally came after 3 weeks of anxious waiting. Component speakers consist of separate woofer and tweeter speakers for each channel, and a crossover is used to separate out the signals for each. Here’s one of the woofers:

Polk DB6501 loudspeaker

Pretty. 😉

I mounted two woofers on the rear shelf (parcel shelf, as we say in England), without tweeters. Putting tweeters there would only serve to pull the soundstage further behind the listener, and this is a bad thing, according everything I have read. Here’s one of the crossovers dangling loosely in the boot. Note to self: JPEG compression doesn’t work too well with images that consist mainly of noise-like areas.

Polk crossover

I bought some Dynamat squares for the front door speakers in order to reduce any rattling. Dynamat is a strange product that consists of black sludge that feels a bit like Silly Putty sandwiched between a piece of wax paper and foil. You pull the wax paper off and stick it on the surface you are going to mount the speaker on. You then screw the speaker into place with the Dynamat sandwiched between them. It’s stupidly expensive – $25 for two 10×10 inch squares – and I bet it costs them pennies to manufacture that amount. It really worked though! Literally all the unwanted vibration in the front doors is gone! Here is a speaker mounted to the rear deck:

Polk DB6501 in rear shelf

When all six speakers (counting tweeters) were installed, the results were impressive! I get more sound at the same amplification levels due to the higher sensitivity and the bass distortion is gone! On some songs it sounds like I have a subwoofer in the boot, which is what I was aiming for, because I don’t really like them. Bad news though – thanks to all the fiddling with settings I did, one of the knobs snapped off the stereo and I can’t find a replacement anywhere. 🙁

Cunts

Driving along I-25 and a pick-up’s tyre burst (it looked like a retread) and a piece landed really close to my car. On further inpection when I got home, the side of the car is scratched really badly through to the primer. Can I just say that you people who use retreads to save yourself a few $$ are a bunch of cunts.

Faster Than Your Mum’s Car

What did I blow my money on this weekend? A new Mitsubishi Evolution VIII!

Evo VIII

I got a great deal after talking the garage down $6000 on the price and giving me $100 above the trade-in value for my old Focus. Specs are 0-60 in 4.8s, 1/4 mile in 13.4s at 104mph! I got it in black, of course, and it comes as standard with Recaro racing seats, Brembos all round, all-wheel-drive and 17″ rims. Here are some more pictures.