Wednesday, May 31, 2006

2 Fast, 2 Stupid

I'm really getting pissed. I mean, really, really, really pissed.

This is ridiculous. I mean, I'd be laughing if it wasn't so dangerous. They're making another Fast and the Furious movie, this time subtitling it Tokyo Drift. There are so many things wrong with it it's embarassing.

First, they shot the scenes of Tokyo at--get this--Wilshire and Sunset Boulevard in LA. I can look at stills from the movie and pick out places I've gotten a lapdance or had dinner. Understandable, you can't shoot a movie in Tokyo because the damn place is never quiet, but come on.

Second, they've got a Lotus Elise drifting. Look, you all know how I love the Elise. For the price of a Corvette, you get out-of-this-world handling, perfect balance, and the ability to just not care how hard you're turning. But you don't drift with them--they grip too much to be silly.

Third, the main character chucks an RB26DETT from a Nissan into a 60s Ford Mustang fastback, along with the drivetrain, thus creating "the ultimate drift machine". For one thing, that's not bloody likely. For another, he ain't gonna do that overnight, alone, in his garage. That's some serious custom machining right there. I know they built one RB26DETT-powered Mustang for the movie, but that took them a few months, a lot of help, and a boatload of cash.

Fourth, all that this movie is going to do is encourage more young drivers to go out and drive irresponsibly on the street. Let me be perfectly clear...it's going to kill people. I'm not removing responsibility from the ones that are going to do it. You're always responsible for the way you drive on the street. Always. But I don't pass out loaded guns to random people on the street, either. To my mind, the people that made this movie--producers, director, studio, and actors--should be required to give a percentage of their profits to RaceLegal programs nationwide. They wanna make a mess, they should be required to clean it up.

Last, it mocks car culture. And it mocks street racing culture. I know I maintain that street racing isn't anywhere near as prolific as people think it is, but it's out there in some places. And it's a very vibrant, amazing culture with its own social codes, formalities, hierarchy, even music and clothes. And it didn't just appear overnight. It took a good sixty years to get to where it is today. Along the way, people dedicated their lives to it. This is something that consumes people as much as religion or anything else. And for Chrissake, I know people who died making it is what it is. If you're going to make a movie about it, you should at least be respectful of it. It's not glamorous. There's no money. There's not even very many women in bikinis or schoolgirl outfits hanging around. It's dirty, hard, dangerous, and everyone is always looking over their shoulder for the cops. Portray that side...it's just as compelling, believe me.

So what the hell?

In other news, I'm starting a RaceLegal program over here. I got a couple dealerships to supply various cars. No specifics on models yet, but semi-sporty econoboxes abound, nothing more expensive than a high school kid with a decent job and a passion for autosport couldn't save up and buy. Prices will be kept below $30k. It should be fun. And in a way, I owe it to the world. I made money being part of an industry that makes some of its living off of illegal street racing, so it's only right that I try to do my part. Street racing exists only because people have no legitimate place to race.

Friday, May 26, 2006

New Car!

Just thought I'd pop in and make everyone envious. I know, I haven't been on in a while, it's summer, and I'm off from school. But anyways...

...the R34 GTR is gone. So long, good-bye. It was a nice car, but, well...I'm getting old. The new car is...drum roll please...

...a Nissan Skyline R34 M-spec Nur.

Subtle differences. The M-spec Nur is the baddest of all Skylines, short of the remarkable and semi-stupid Z-tune, which is just a used base R34 GTR made into a supercar by Nismo. The M/Nur, on the other hand, is just bad. The car oversteers and slides ridiculously easy. AWD? You bet, it's got the same ATTESA system as every other Skyline.

I considered leaving it stock. And then my bad judgement got the best of me. So I'm going to a truly bad-ass suspension, superlight flywheel, twin-plate clutch, slightly shorter final drive gear, race-type silencer and straight-line exhaust, a relatively small air-to-air aluminum intercooler, and a massively upgrades fuel system to keep the stock turbo happy while letting me turn up the maximum boost levels. I know I should probably bore out the cylinders for a little extra displacement, but that would reduce the responsivenes of the engine, which is the whole point of the build. Not so much to make boatloads more power (just a little extra torque), but to make an amazingly responsive engine and connect it to a serious street drift machine. Power-wise, with a little carbon-fiber and some "interior redecoration", I can easily compete with the fastest cars on the street around here so long as I have a highly motivated, pick-up-and-go engine and drivetrain.

The only thing I don't like about the car now is its tendency to dive and squat. Hence, the uber-suspension. I'll be dialing in some anti-dive and anti-squat, relocating some of the pickup points, and retaining relatively soft spring rates and dampers to maintain control, and to make a point: Ya'll solved your dive and squat issues with really stiff springs and dampers. I solved mine with a little geometry.