Cheap Thrills: Valentine 1 Radar-Laser Detector



Okay, perhaps the word “cheap” doesn’t necessarily apply to the Valentine 1 radar & laser detector from the get go. At $399, it’s certainly not cheap and many of you may ask, “Why should I spend $400 for a radar detector?” Sure, there are cheaper alternatives available on the market. Sure, you could spend those 400 George Washingtons elsewhere. Personally speaking, I discovered the Valentine 1 literally paid for itself on our recent trip to Sonoma with the 2010 Nissan GT-R – yes, there really couldn’t have been a better vehicle with which to test the V1.

As with all radar / laser detectors, you want to be alerted as early as possible so that you have sufficient time to slow down and avoid getting ticketed. The Valentine passes this test with all A’s. On one particular flat stretch of the 5 freeway from LA to SF, it started buzzing with a specific tone alerting us to the presence of a radar gun. With only 1 light lit up on the strength meter, we knew the California Highway Police officer was a distance away, but slowed down to a manageable 70mph. As more lights on the strength meter lit up, we knew we getting closer. Sure enough, about 2 miles down the road from where the V1 initially set off, there was  a CHP squad car by the side of the road, already having pulled someone over for speeding. The same type of scenario played itself out 6 additional times during our trip to the Sonoma Indy race. Each time, the Valentine V1 alerted us ahead of time of an impending speeding ticket and saved us from some costly financial penalties as well as potential points on our driving records.

Okay, you are probably asking yourself yet another question – “Sure, the V1 is great but other radar detectors can probably save me from tickets as well without spending $400.” Yes, that’s a fair question to ask on the surface, but another awesome feature of the V1 is the set of directional arrows that provides what Valentine calls “situational awareness.” The directional arrows tell you exactly where the radar / laser source is located so that you can react accordingly. No other radar / laser detector offers this functionality – since it’s patented by Valentine – and it’s well worth the price premium you pay over its competitors.

Combining effective functionality, clean design and “situational awareness” directional arrows, the Valentine V1 is a great safeguard against costly speeding tickets. Simply put, it just plain works and anything that sheds marketing BS and delivers 100% of its promises is a must in our book.


Valentine Research
Customer Service
10280 Alliance Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242
(800) 331-3030

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Detours of the Week – September 25, 2009

Daniel Lewis

From the BBC – Renault received thier sentencing for being involved with fixing last year’s F1 race in Singapore. Thier sentence was a two year suspension, as well as Flavio Briatore, the now former team principal (boss), being banned for life from all FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) events. During an interview with Fernando Alonso (who finished 3rd at this past weekend’s race), Fernando announced that his victory was for Flavio Briatore. I wonder how many more times Briatore’s name will come up in the last three races of the season. 

From – This week I found out that there will be an A-Team movie coming out one June 11th, 2010. I originally found out about this when I heard that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson removed himself from a contracted UFC fight because it conflicted with filming for the movie The A-Team. A-Team fans will be happy to know that the van will remain the same. Will this increase GM sales?

From Acura – Acura announces that they will now offer a six-speed manual transmission for the 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD (starts at $42,385). It seems to me that Acura has finally listened to some of the cries from its performance-minded owners. For the 2010 model year, Acura introduced a V6 version of the TSX, and now a manual transmission for their TL. Lets hope that Acura stays on this route.

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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same


US car makers are reinventing themselves in this era of bailout money, bankruptcy and “cash for clunkers.” It’s a stark flashback to the early 1980’s when Chrysler received a government bailout – Chrysler is a repeat offender in this regard. Lee Iacocca came over to the struggling auto maker, leading the charge to turn things around. Turn things around they did, in terms of sales, but turn things around they did not do in terms of product. The entire Chrysler recovery was based on K. The K platform. Virtually every car they produced was based on a single platform. The LeBaron. Dodge Voyager minivan. You name it, it was based on the same old thing. Mr. Iacocca even went on television, in commercials espousing the “new” Chysler. Hard to believe it has been 25 years since this commercial aired on national television. Does it not remind you of a new set of commercials from yet another Detroit automaker that’s hitting the airwaves as we speak?

Want to know? Click on to find out.

Continue reading “The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same”

2010 Nissan GT-R Aftermarket Parts Guide



A couple of weeks ago, we took a 2010 Nissan GT-R on a quick blast to the Indy race at Sonoma to see how the vehicle performs not on a track, but as a supercar driven on freeways, with bags in the trunk and fighting traffic during rush hour. We have lots of feedback and information we’ll post in a review in the near future, but keep yourself busy by checking out all the aftermarket has to offer. Yes, parts for the GT-R are rather expensive, but we wouldn’t expect anything less.

Some of the parts listed below have been introduced / launched in Japan, but not in the States. Please verify compatibility and availability with each brand’s respective distributor in the US.

**Brake pads listed below are designated for the standard Brembo brake system**

Brake Pads (OE Replacement; F/R) – Street

  • Endless NS97 / Part #RCP117 NS97 (F) – RCP118 NS97(R) / $440 (F) – $305 (R)
  • Endless SS-M / Part #RCP117 SS-M (F) – RCP118 SS-M (R) / $440 (F) – $305 (R)
  • Project Mu B Force / Part #PBF261 (F) – PBR261 (R) / $345 (F) – $235 (R)
  • Project Mu HC+ / Part #PHF261 (F) -PHR261 (R) / $425 (F) – /$305 (R)

Brake Pads (OE Replacement; F/R) – Street & Track

  • Endless MX72 / Part #RCP117 MX72 (F) – RCP118 MX72 (R) / $440 (F) – $305 (R)
  • Project Mu Max 900i / Part #PL9F261 (F) – PL9R261 (R) / $520 (F) – $400 (R)

Brake Pads (OE Replacement; F/R) – Track

Brake Kits

Engine – Blow Off Valve

Engine – Intercooler

Engine – ECU Tuning

Engine – Exhaust

Engine – Ignition

Engine – Intercooler

Engine – Intake


Power Upgrade Package

Suspension / Chassis

Wheels – wheels listed are direct replacements for the OE wheels


Endless / Zeal USA
18376 Gothard St.
Huntington Beach, CA. 92648
(714) 847-0694

13401 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90061
(310) 491-3300

Mackin Industries (ARC / MXP / Project µ / Volk Racing / AVS / Advan)
9921 Jordan Circle
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
(562) 946-6820

Tein USA (Tein / Fujitsubo)
9798 Firestone Blvd.
Downey, CA 90241
(562) 861-9161

Tomax America / Mine’s Liaison Office
2750 Oregon Court, Unit M-1
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 320-0570

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Joyride: 2009 Nissan Versa SL Hatchback




With so much talk about the environment, the recent “cash for clunkers” program and the health of the car industry in general, the products themselves get lost in the brouhaha. The focus on function and overall value for money is getting lost in the flood of talk about prices and rebates. With that being said, some cars are worth a deeper look for their intended purposes. The Nissan Versa happens to be such a vehicle.

Let’s just get this out of the way. The Versa isn’t going to win any beauty contests and it isn’t going to set hearts aflutter with excitement. Rest assured, however, that Nissan offers other models which will do exactly that – the 370Z and GT-R, to name a couple. But what may be lacking in the excitement department is made up for in the utility department, with a deceptively spacious cabin and a hard-working 1.8L 4-cylinder engine that delivers good fuel economy.



  • The CVT (constantly variable transmission) works well and always seems to be in the right gear at the right time
  • Although the 4-banger produces only 122bhp & 127lb-ft of torque, it FELT faster on freeway on-ramps and getting away from stoplights than vehicles with more power


  • The interior is spacious, able to hold four 6′ adults with ease
  • Options added to our tester included XM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free calling and keyless entry / ignition; all added up to a level of civility that we normally expect from higher priced vehicles
  • Crash safety is addressed through airbags all around, including side curtain airbags for rear passengers
  • Standard tire pressure monitoring system takes all the guesswork out of wondering if the tires are up to proper pressure
  • EPA fuel economy is stated at 27mpg city / 33mgh highway, we achieved a solid 29mpg with lots of stop-and-go city driving thrown in for good measure


  • Under full throttle, the engine and tranny seemed to groan & strain, with an accompanying level of noise; the Honda Fit’s engine / tranny combination feels smoother and quieter in comparison
  • Our SL trim level tester starts off at $16,333 and comes in at $19,110 as equipped, including destination & handling charges, which is higher than what we’d normally pay for a vehicle in this class
  • Fit and finish compared to the Honda counterpart doesn’t seem up to par
  • Yes, there is a trunk / cargo area but it’s not really big enough to hold a week’s worth of groceries
  • There’s decent on-center feel in the steering but overall steering feel is a bit lazy

Overall, we feel the Nissan Versa makes a good commuter or a first time car. We must point out, however, the premium one must pay for the SL trim seems high, especially when comparing it to a comparably equipped Honda Fit – and at $18,000, the Honda comes equipped with a navigation system. If you opt to take a look at the Versa, we recommend the S trim level. Sure, it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of its more expensive brother – the 15″ alloy wheels, for example – but it comes with the same 1.8L engine, same 6 airbag safety system and a 6-speed manual transmission (the 4-speed automatic is optional) for $13,110. If you want an even  more economical alternative, then the Versa sedan is worth a look (starts at $9,910), although we feel the price premium for the hatchback is well worth it from an aesthetic standpoint.


Nissan North America
P.O. Box 685003
Franklin TN 37068-5003
(800) NISSAN-1

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2010 Acura ZDX



It’s coming. What we can only surmise as Honda / Acura’s foray into an unestablished product category, the crossover sedan, is coming to Acura dealer showrooms this winter. If someone can identify a clear competitor to this new model, we’d love to hear from you because we’re scratching our heads trying to figure it out ourselves.


Regardless, the vehicle sounds pretty good on paper. We’ll be testing the new Acura TSX V6 in a short while so getting into the ZDX will be a good follow up. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the ZDX will offer a fun driving experience and value regardless of polarizing opinions on its looks.

Click on for all the technical details on this new Acura offering.

Continue reading “2010 Acura ZDX”

You Know You’re in America If…

Daniel Lewis

Driving in the US

“Blue Collar” comedian Jeff Foxworthy made his name with the schtick , “You know you’re a redneck…” Carrying on in the same theme, we present… You know you’re in America if…:

  1. Two cars get into an accident and the drivers leave their cars exactly where the crash occurred. They then step out to discuss the accident, creating a traffic nightmare while they discuss the merits of their driving skills and how they didn’t cause the accident
  2. Driving on the left and passing on the right is the norm – we’ve pointed out this painful and excruciating phenomenon in past posts
  3. Everyone slows down for warning lights, even when such action is not warranted
  4. Using your turn signal is completely optional
  5. The car behind you has his highbeams on for no reason
  6. The car in front signals left, yet turns right – or vice versa as the case may be
  7. You see that car by the side of the road, getting a tank of gas from a tow truck – yes, when the fuel gauge lights up it is a wise idea to find a gas station and fill up
  8. You see that jackass driving in darkness without turning on any of his lights
  9. You see a “baby on board” placard in the rear window – what this is supposed to accomplish is anybody’s guess
  10. The biggest heap of junk is being driven as if it’s a Ferrari FXX

Fortunately, the rest of the world isn’t as stupid, oblivious or clueless as we are.

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