The tradition of having a tuned Protoge 5 continues - this year with the same big sound system, but a better interior with 4 racing seats and a roll cage for four! Pontiac has a new trim level called the GXP now, and they had a Vibe with a turbocharged 1.8L I4, slotted rotors, big fat dual tips, and Bridgestone Potenza S-03s. That's a fast wagon for you. When I looked at the new Grand Prix, I noticed something about the 3800 engine - it has engine mounts at the top attached to the front! Wonder what the reasoning for that is.
Moving to the Nissan dispays, I got a closer look at the 350Z. Opening the rear hatch reveals a big fat bar hiding the rear strut tower brace, and the engine compartment has interesting big plastic labeled panels covering access to the brake fluid and battery. They are both behind the struts, btw, which definitely would help the balance of the car's weight. Air is taken in from the front, with a nice square intake. The interior is extremely impressive, with big air vents on the door of the car to make the dash very clean, and the 6-speed had a very smooth action. For Nissan fun with a back seat, the G35 coupe looked really nice too. The engine compartment had one interesting surprise - the air filter was completely exposed for maximum air flow, and it was labeled "power duct". Hmmmm...
Moving on to German cars, we have the nice A4, which looks and feels like a bigger car, which is good, because I'm beginning to wonder of the A6/Allroad is just too big a car for me to ever dream about owning. Now here's a thoughtful touch that everyone should learn from - the A4 has storage bins under the front seats! I put all sorts of stuff under my seats - and it'd be nice to have a bin there to organize it. I've been out of the loop on the Mercedes side for a while too - I didn't know they had an SLK270 with a 6-speed now - it seems to have nice action too.
Monday, 27th of January, 2003
Tuesday, 21st of January, 2003
The only other dealer that I felt really cared about selling me a car was the rep from Royal Gate Dodge. He was ready to make it happen, and he took the initiative to call me several times and didn't hesitate to spend lots of time on me.
The rest of the dealers were about the same - they were nice while I was there, and tried their best to find the car I wanted, but even after promising follow-up calls none of them ever called me. There was an interesting encounter with the Bommarito Suzuki sales rep, though, who apparantly made a mistake in giving me a price, and later had to make up excuses as to why that price is impossible.
Then there's Ford, the exception. The Ford dealers were all pretty cold - I even tried going to three different ones, thinking one might be different than another owned by someone else, but they were all consistently reluctant to do any sort of dealer-search outside what they had in their lot. One dealer didn't even have any stick shift Ford Focuses, period.
So yes, no surprises here, Saturn dealerships rock, and Royal Gate was a really good dealer, one of the largest in town, and for good reason.
Monday, 20th of January, 2003
Back on the South 40, this is not an uncommon picture of a Wash U student parking garage. See if you can figure out what I like most about this picture, other than the fact that my car is in it back there.
Tuesday, 14th of January, 2003
Monday, 13th of January, 2003
"JeyPing (17:58:05): Hangie-doodles will fly off and smack you in the face if your airbag goes off <g>
JeyPing (17:59:46): Course, then there's the Dodge Caravan
JeyPing (17:59:51): which has no little DOOR for the passenger airbag
JeyPing (17:59:55): it simply shatters the whole dashboard <g>
JoeyBear2518 (18:00:50): wiat.. does mine have a little door?
JoeyBear2518 (18:00:56): i cant' pictuire it, but something tells me there isn't a little door
JoeyBear2518 (18:06:33): hm..... i can't find a freaking picture of it
JeyPing (18:08:04): <LOL>
JeyPing (18:08:08): go look at it darn it <g>
JoeyBear2518 (18:08:19): oh right i have one... hold on
JoeyBear2518 (18:08:26): brb
JeyPing (18:08:38): <ROFL!> ...
JoeyBear2518 (18:11:21): so silly, to be googling for a picture of the dashboard when it's downstairs...."
Googling... that's great! Let's see... goo-gl-ing (gü/gôl-ing') adj. 1. To search the internet using google.com
Sunday, 12th of January, 2003
However, I fixed my Apple Personal Laserwriter 320, which has been out of service for 2 months. After one more attempt at cleaning it, I accidentally broke off this metal bar, and apparently, that metal bar was about to come off anyway, and had been blocking the laser mechanism. Well anyway, it all works just like it's suppose to again.
Saturday, 11th of January, 2003
Friday, 10th of January, 2003
Thursday, 9th of January, 2003
"Malcolm Bricklin, most recently of the Electric Bicycle Company and most notable for the failed Bricklin sporty car, says he will import cars built by Zastava in Serbia. This is the same automaker that gave us the Yugo. The plant is still getting back on its feet after being bombed by NATO forces in 1999. Bricklin, 63, says he will call his new venture Zastava Motor Works USA, or ZMW for short. This should thrill BMW. According to one report, the cars will carry stickers in the $5000-to-$10,000 range. Possibly you can buy two and get one free."
Malcolm Bricklin should go back to doing good things like bringing over Subarus back in 1967.
Wednesday, 8th of January, 2003
Course, the first crazy thing I notice when I open the hood is that the spare tire it sitting right there! It sits on top of the transmission between the strut towers, and the cylinders are crammed in front of the struts and angled slightly downward - quite a unique layout! Otherwise, the engine is just the same as all Subaru boxers - 1.8L and beautiful.
As for creature comforts, it's a 1992, but it's all familiar Subaru stuff. The dashboard has a cool which-door-is-open indicator like my Legacy, and I can even see the familiarity in the stereo system and armrests - it's quite amazing seeing the earlier versions of the cars that I'm fanatic about. Of course, being an early 90s Japanese car, it has the automatic seat belts. The rear seat is surprisingly very very comfortable, with the cushion tilted upward for maximum leg comfort. Driving it is very nice - the clutch has short movement and the shifter throws are short - it's a fun little car.
Though there's definitely one thing that needs help on this car - the brake system needs to be flushed. But that's a $50 job at Autotire. Tyres look like they've got only about 10k worth of tread left on them too...
Monday, 6th of January, 2003
Sunday, 5th of January, 2003
Saturday, 4th of January, 2003
Friday, 3rd of January, 2003
Thursday, 2nd of January, 2003
Now the Legacy is great - I'm getting the big car complex, but the only thing I've really been able to compare this to in size is the Impreza. Otherwise, it's got a lot of low-end grunt, something that the Impreza really should have with the 2.2L engine, but I think was lost in some intake work that gives it the 142hp versus the Legacy's 137. 5th gear in the Legacy is actually useful for acceleration on the Interstates, and a downshift to 4th does amazing things. The Impreza's 4th gear is useless for accelerating, and 5th just bogs at anything more than cruising. The Legacy's 5th gear is also shorter, but only by 200 rpm or so at any given speed, but obviously enough to make a difference.
On the interior, I've come to realize that together with the location of the hazard lights and HVAC controls, it's such a typical 90s Japanese interior. It's functional and great - with a big tach to practice rev matching with :) Speaking of HVAC, the owner's manual for the Legacy is impressive - it explains more about cars and driving I've ever seen in one book. I think I finally understand what bi-level means when it comes to the car's heater. Other useful information like how the outside air vent automatically opens when you put on the defroster is great info.
It has a hill holder clutch! I didn't know Subaru put it in cars as late as 98, but I know they stopped putting it in their cars and only recently brought it back in the 2003 Forrester. It's pretty nifty, not something that is a real big deal but it made parking up our driveway much easier.
And finally, I love the sound of the boxer engine! Cruising on the highway gives a rather gratifying sound, and when it accelerates it sings a nice song.
Monday, 30th of December, 2002
It's a nice little car, the 2.2L boxer-4 sounds lovely and someone appeared to have cleaned it really well. It drives really nicely, and softer engine mounts or something really isolates the cabin from the engine sounds much better than the 2000 Impreza does - revving up to 3000 rpm was hardly audible. The transmission is not even as notchy as the Impreza, and throws are about the same, if not shorter.
Comfort-wise, it's got the same stuff as most normally loaded Subarus do - power everything, CD player, 6-speaker stereo with the tweeters mounted at the corner where the mirrors are, which is better than the door handle setup of the Impreza. The cup holder count about the HVAC controls is upped to 2 from the Impreza, though the spring on one side of it is kinda broken - either way, it's the usual horrible location where I would never use for fear of spilling on the head unit.
Other surprising details include dual map lights for the front and a light for the trunk too. There's even a 110V outlet on the center console - something that I didn't even know existed standard on a car except the 2003 Toyota Matrix. Something cool on the dashboard is a little diagram of the car and red lights for all the doors that are open - a silly thing but something that I associate with luxury cars.
Well anyway, the price was right, and it only had 53000 miles, so we're taking it. Going back up to pick it up Thursday or so.