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Sep 272009
 

feature_by_johnchoi

newV1photo300dpi

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.

Sourcebox

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

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Sep 182009
 

feature_by_johnchoi

GTR_trip01

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

Miscellaneous

Power Upgrade Package

Suspension / Chassis

Wheels – wheels listed are direct replacements for the OE wheels

Sourcebox

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

HKS USA
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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May 262009
 

Daniel Lewis

I think this is the sweetest wine bottle I’ve ever seen. I don’t really care what it tastes like. What I do know is that I want a bottle of this in my house. After searching through Google, it was pretty hard for me to find a price (~$70), and I still haven’t found a place where I could buy this bad boy.

Neil Ashmead GTS

Neil Ashmead GTS
bottle3

“Elderton’s Neil Ashmead GTS 2008 Grand Tourer Shiraz is a tribute wine who’s packaging celebrates the life and loves of the late Neil Ashmead, a passionate South Australian wine man who had a lust for life and a love of fast cars.

Playing on Neil’s passions and reflecting his outgoing personality, the design pays homage to the Holden GTS – complete with go-fast stripes, shark gills and topped with a 6-speed gear stick. A winner’s wreath neck-label completes the package.” TheDieline.com

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May 182009
 

turtle_wax_ice_wheel_cleaner
I have to admit that one of the biggest reasons why I hold off washing my car is cleaning the wheels. As I am sure many of you will agree, it really is a pain in the butt, especially if the wheels have an intricate design with all those nooks and crannies that hide / hold brake dust and grime like no other. And when they are some pricey wheels like the Volk CE-28N wheels on the in-house Evo IX MR, you don’t want to use a cheap product that may scratch or damage such expensive wheels.

While visiting the local Pep Boys, I noticed a new wheel cleaning product from Turtle Wax – ICE Wheel & Tire Cleaner. With a solution in a spray bottle and a detachable wheel brush, it looked like a worthy product to check out. I had been looking for a soft wheel brush that could fit within and between the spokes of the CE-28Ns without banging things up. Of special concern was finding a brush that could fit into the center section of the wheel, where the Rays lugnuts are quite recessed for any ordinary wheel brush to fit. The ICE brushhead looked like it could do the job.

In practice, the product works really well. Pulling the trigger produces a foamy spray, which do a great job of clinging to the wheel surface, pulling off much of the brake dust and grime. And the brushhead is very effective in doing final clean up duties on the wheels, especially handy for the tight confines at the center of the wheels, where lugnuts tend to hide / mask surrounding contamination. Compared to the old way of cleaning wheels – with a microfiber towel and solution – using the ICE system definitely cut down on wheel cleaning time. So much so that I may actually clean them on a regular basis rather than waiting for the wheels become so dirty that they look like bronze anodized wheels from all the accumulated dirt and brake dust!

I do have a question and a comment for the folks at Turtle Wax, however. How safe is the solution for the sensitive clearcoats on aftermarket wheels? And I would recommend coating the brush handle area with a thin layer of rubber so that the plastic handle that could mar or scratch the wheel being cleaned. Will have to wait to see what the folks at Turtle Wax have to say.

P.S. – all of our “Cheap Thrills’ product reviews are unendorsed, honest-to-goodness evaluations; we pay for the product ourselves and try it out; whether it’s stellar or just plain sucks, we’ll definitely you know!

Sourcebox

Turtle Wax, Inc.
P.O. Box 247
Westmont, IL 60559-0247
1-800-Turtle Wax

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May 122009
 

Daniel Lewis

As American Express would say, “Membership has its privileges.” And that’s certainly the case with membership in the Motor Press Guild.

At their latest Power Tour event, one designed to “open the doors” to some of the best private automotive collections around, we were treated to three stops. Starting with an immaculate collection of hot rods and customs, then a collection of race cars that competed in some of the hallmark open wheel events in the US, and a final stop at the newly opened Honda Museum, we were treated to sights that are not open to the public.

But that doesn’t mean we can share our experience with you. Check out the following photos of some of the baddest cars & race cars in Southern California and make sure you have a napkin on hand to wipe the drool from your face!

 

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May 082009
 

Check out this awesome video of Lamborghini’s Super Trofeo GTR at Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy. Here are some quick facts about this Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 modified for the track:

Cost: ~$260,000.00 USD
Weight: ~2800 lbs.
Engine: 5.2 Liter V10
Horsepower: 570

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May 052009
 

Daniel Lewis

Scuderia Ferrari, which means Ferrari Stable, is one of my favorite stables to stay up to date with. While everyone may have been talking about “Mine That Bird” from the Kentucky Derby this past weekend, the pony that I was watching was the Ferrari 599XX. Here is Ferrari’s take on the newest speed demon to come out from its stables:

While based on the 599 GTB Fiorano ,with the same transaxle layout and engine type, this prototype is an extreme track car. Ferrari’s engineers have carried out extensive work on the engine’s combustion chambers and inlet and exhaust tracts. These modifications, combined with the fact that internal attrition has been reduced and the maximum revs have been boosted to 9,000 rpm, helped achieve the target power output of 700 hp at 9,000 rpm. Particular attention was also paid to cutting the weight of the engine unit components. This was achieved both by optimising forms – as in the new crankshaft – and adopting exclusive materials, as in the carbon-fibre used for the intake plenums. A new gearbox shift strategy cuts overall gear-change times to 60 ms.

The 599XX is characterised by an innovative electronic concept called the ‘High Performance Dynamic Concept’, which has been designed to get maximum performance from the car by managing the combination of the car’s mechanical limits with the potential of its electronic controls. The mechanical and electronic systems work together to get the maximum performance from the car under extreme high performance driving, for consistent lap times. The sporty handling has been improved thanks to the adoption of second generation SCM suspension system. Track usage is also made easier thanks to the new ‘virtual car engineer’, a screen in the car that provides a real-time indication of the vehicle’s efficiency.

The 599XX’s aerodynamics were honed in numerous Wind Tunnel test sessions with the result that the car now boasts 280 kg of down-force at 200 km/h (630 kg at 300 km/h). The front underside of the body is completely faired-in and the vents that channel hot air from the engine bay have been moved to the bonnet.

The ‘Actiflow™’ system increases down-force and/or cuts drag, depending on the car’s trim cornering conditions, courtesy of the use of a porous material in the diffuser and two fans in the boot, which channel the air flow from under the car out through two grilles next to the tail lights. Winglets have been added to the rear buttresses to increase downf-orce, while synthetic jets have also been incorporated into the rear of the car to control and smooth the air flow and to reduce drag. Ferrari’s engineers have also used F1-derived ‘doughnuts’, which partly cover the brake discs and wheel rim. These have the dual functions of improving aerodynamics and cooling the brakes.

In terms of the bodywork, composites and carbon-fibre have been widely used and the engineers drew on their experience in working with aluminium to reach the weight target. The development of increasingly high-performance materials has also benefited the carbon-ceramic braking system. The brake pads are now made from carbon-fibre, which means the callipers are smaller while guaranteeing the same efficiency. The new racing carbon-ceramic braking system also delivers shorter braking distances and is generally more efficient due to the weight saving.

The 599XX comes with slick tyres (29/67 R19 front and 31/71 R19 rear), specifically developed to maximise stability in cornering and increase lateral acceleration. They are fitted to 19 x 11J wheel rims at the front and 19 x 12J at the rear. Ferrari.com

These pictures of the new 599XX have just been released for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!!

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