We’ve Moved

After 6 years in sunny and warm Phoenix we decided to move to cloudy and cool Seattle.  The Pacific Northwest is a great place with seasons, rain and cool days.  Of course, we moved here and the area promptly had the longest hottest dry spell in almost 100 years.

Everyone knows Seattle’s most iconic landmarks, the Space Needle and Pike’s Place, but a little known fact is how intense the car culture is here.

Seattle Space Needle

One of the first weekends I spent in Seattle I was able to catch the annual Puget Sound BMWCCA’s Concours event.  This event featured numerous classic BMWs all in incredible shape (look for a post in the near future).  The classic 3.0CSL below was one of just eight in the show.  Yes, eight 3.0 CSLs in one location–a first for me in all of the years of doing car shows.

Seattle Space Needle

Many other older classic BMWs were in attendance at this amazing show.  Have I wet your interest in that future post and photo gallery yet?

Seattle Space Needle

Another popular car spot in our area is the Triple XXX Drive-In.  Every single weekend this place has a car show almost all year.  Every visit was filled with new and different cars from Mini Coopers to 1960/1970 muscle cars and rat rods to choppers.  This custom rat rod below was one of the most impressive.  I also plan on a few posts and photo galleries from this car hangout also.

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle  car culture also includes hot spots like  Griots Garage, LeMay Museum and various motorcycle museums.  Look for lots of new material and photos as we learn the area and see the sites.

On a side note, we are thinking about getting another BMW after 13 years.   Yes, Mini’s are technically BMWs but they don’t wear the Roundel. Stay Tuned to see if Seattle area dealers can come through…

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Confession of a Ferrari Driver

Groupon featured a deal last fall that allowed you to buy a discounted driving experience with Motorsports Lab here in Phoenix.  My wife grabbed up the deal for $89 vs. the normal $499 rate and surprised me.   It took me some time to work out the details around clearing the schedule and arranging the drive. Phoenix gets busy in the spring with Barrett Jackson, PGA golf and Spring Training.

I sat in my BMW M3 waiting for my ride to show up early one morning. Within a few minutes a yellow Ferrari 360 slid into the empty lot and parked. I met my driving Sherpa, Eugene, who was dressed in tan designer suit, sunglasses and driving moccasins. We stepped into the office and completed the paperwork required by the company to protect their investment.

Motorsports Lab

Back at the car, I reviewed the basics of Ferrari operation and hit the road. The well planned route included some highway, back roads and a small amount of stop and go traffic.  I was happy that I was able to try the engine’s capability in several places during the drive and enjoy the smoothness of this classic Italian supercar.  Our drive took about 45 minutes in which we talked cars, autocross, Ferrari and business.  At the end of my drive, I returned to the parking lot we started at and thanked Eugene for making my experience enjoyable.

Motorsports Lab

And for for my little dark secret.  The forms you sign before you climb behind the wheel include video waivers, charges, fees etc.  One fee is called a redline charge of $2,500 if you hit the rev limiter while driving the car.  That charge protects their investment and ensures that the drivers’ keep it under control.  You can avoid the whole issue by driving the car in automatic.  Yes, I drove a Ferrari in automatic mode as opposed to using the paddle shifters. I have always hated paddle shifters and realize that someday when the last real auto manufacturer gives up on manual transmissions I will be forced into a tough place.

I climbed back into the 1999 BMW M3 and turned the key.  The engine revved and I felt comfortable exiting the parking lot and blipping the throttle to the redline of my own supercar.  The clutch and shifter working in unison as I raced back home.  Driving a Ferrari was a once in a lifetime experience but driving a BMW M3 everyday is the Ultimate Driving Experience.

Check out Motorsport Lab and you to can drive a Ferrari.

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Buddy Stubbs Harley Museum

Buddy Stubbs is as close to an Arizona Harley legend as you can get. He has had a motorcycle shop here in the valley since 1966 and has represented the HD community in movies and TV over the years. His dealership is located off of Cave Creek Rd features a large museum that he opens up once a month to the faithful that want to learn more about the heritage of Harley and the man himself.
Buddy Stubbs HD
Buddy was born into the Harley tradition. His dad owned a dealership in the mid-west and he grew up with a motorcycles in his life from childhood.  He did what came natural; Ride and Race–Sell and Service. He built a museum attached to the dealership and twice a month he cracks the vault like door and lets the faithful into his glass walled heaven.  Like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory the people await entry into paradise; some are tourists while others are hard core fanatics of motorcycles.  Buddy’s collection stretches from almost the beginning of motorcycling through the modern period.

Buddy Stubbs HD

These are Buddy’s bikes!  All of them run.  Some he raced, others he just owned and rode and some he even challenged in a cross country ride of pre-1916 motorcycles.  The collection ranges from Harley Davidson (of course) to British and Italian motorcycles.  Buddy has even been in movies and TV shows as a stunt driver.  The Harley below was featured in the “ElectraGluide in Blue” movie featuring Robert Blake.

Buddy Stubbs HD

Check out the Photo Gallery of the Museum to see more great bikes. If you happen to be in Phoenix on one of these special days the museum is open–Stop in and Enjoy the Tour.  Buddy is quite the showman and motorcycle fanatic!

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PHX Thanksgiving Tradition

Every year the International Automobile Show sponsored by Motor Trend makes its rounds through Phoenix over the Thanksgiving weekend.  The show opens on Thanksgiving day and allows those who want a break from Turkey dreaming and Black Friday shopping to see some cars.  Or perhaps it is a last minute distraction to protect the wallets of consumer’s so they can afford a new car.

We have made this a tradition since we moved to Phoenix.  You can usually find tickets for free and the crowds are light in the late morning of Thanksgiving Day–that allows you to get into the cars, walk around and check them out without too much of a hassle.  As you enter the hall this year you were dazzled by a large presentation of high end automobiles (Bentley, Rolls Royce, Lotus and Ferrari) secured behind a large rope barrier.  Look but do not touch these beauties!

PHX Auto Show

We had a list of cars we wanted to see during the show.  We are not actively looking for a new car but, with all of the recent redesigns and new model launches we had a short list to check out.  Check out our One Phrase Reviews below.

Fiat 500 –> Very Interested, but Forget It
Volkswagen Beetle –> Who Cares-No one else did either
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –> Upgraded Nicely
Mini Cooper Coupe –> Very Nice
Mini Cooper Countryman –> Very Nice
Hyundai Veloster –> Needs a Real Engine
Land Rover Evoque –> Hipster Material
BMW X3 –> Too Small/Cheap Materials
BMW X5 –> Very Nice, but Pricey

Make sure you take the opportunity to get out to your local New Car show when it makes it’s rounds this year.  It is great to be able to explore the cars without a dealer and have a chance to see how the crowds react to the potential purchase.

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