Bird's Eye: New York City by helicopter
I love New York City — been here for 15 years — but getting OUT of the city is a nightmare. Usually I leave hours before a scheduled flight, headed to Newark or JFK. Usually I’m also hours early, sitting around the airport. But once in a while, I still make it by only a few minutes. The issue? The Van Wyck. Or the Cross Bronx. Or getting crosstown. Or…or…or. Traffic sucks and there’s NEVER any guessing just how busy it will be. I recently sat in a traffic jam on my way back from JFK to the city at 1 am.
Which brings me to a recent “trip.”
Porsche invited me to test drive their new Boxster Spyder, a hot little roaster, at Monticello Motor Club, in the Catskills. It’s a great facility with a private membership, costing around $100K. No worries of me joining anytime soon. Anyhow, it usually takes about two hours, without bad traffic.
Heli Hawyood: Porsche driving legend Hurley Haywood, on his way out of NYC
But since Hurley Haywood, the famous Porsche endurace driver, was also attending, and had to catch a flight back out… the company procured a couple of choppers. I hopped a ride. (more…)
(Bloomberg) By Jason H. Harper – Jun 10, 2010
This is a love letter to the manual transmission. Or perhaps its obituary.
Still ballin': The Ford Mustang still has a six-speed manual... for now.
I understand the emotion that a stick and clutch engenders. Passionate drivers often feel they’re better connected to a car which can be shifted manually. Others go even further. A fellow once told me, “I’ll let go of my stick when you pry it out of my dead, cold hand.” (more…)
These are the problems I like to have. I’ve got the 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet in my garage right now, sitting next to the 2011 Mustang GT with the big new 5.0-liter V-8. Good stuff.
But it looks like a Maserati GranTurismo convertible is also on the way. So many gas pedals, so little time. If only the damn sun would come out.
Super-car: Or, at least, BuckSnort Racing's weapon of choice
(This is a behind the scenes look at my recent race at LeMons. The full story is on Bloomberg News, titled “Clash of Clunkers Puts Speed Freaks on Racetrack in $500 Cars.”)
When I first contacted Jay Lamm, the “brains” behind 24 Hours Of LeMons — a race where no car can cost more than $500 — I asked if he could put me on a team. “Civilian or journalist?” he asked. I know how other car journalists tend to drive, so I quickly asked for the civie team.
Soon he linked me up with BuckSnort Racing, a family affair out of Michigan, who are hands down the nicest people I’ve ever met. I had about a five minute conversation with Tim Horbal, a 20-something who’s also an engineer at Toyota, before he’d invited me onto the team. No vetting, no wondering about my own credentials (ie, ability to drive). And little concern, seemingly, that all the hours of work, all the money and care put into their quite cherry 1987 BMW 325e could vanish under the hands of someone they’d never even met. I could crash into the wall on the first lap, after all.
All the peeps: BuckSnort Racing and our finery (though missing Jen Machnee for some reason)
My buddy and colleague Joshua Paul accompanied me out to Detroit, where we then made the two-hour drive toward Lake Michigan, where Gingerman Raceway is located. (I thought it was right outside of Detroit… um, research much Jason?)
Minutes upon arriving, I was buckled into the very clean, very well-taken-care of BMW, and was out doing practice laps. Minutes after that I was back on solid ground, confident in both the car and having an idea of the racetrack, and enjoying myself talking to parents Richard and Linda; nephew and his wife Ben and Jen Machnee (Ben is a genius mechanic) and their Austrian friends, the Scherzers. Five of us would be driving 15 hours over the weekend. (more…)