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Introducing The New Karen Federmobile: 2001 Audi A6

2001 Audi A6After talking for what seems like forever about getting Karen a different vehicle, the time has finally come: The new Karen Federmobile is a 2001 Audi A6.

Now, some of you may be thinking to yourselves, “Gee that Audi looks familiar.” You would be right. This was my grandmother’s (Nonnie’s) car. To some, it is the Queen Betty on land (the deck boat at the cabin is known as The Queen Betty on the water).

Simply put, this car is special for many reasons. My grandmother loved this car. I’ll never forget the day her, my uncle, my father, and I were in the Audi dealership in Fargo placing the order. At one point there was a conversation that went something like this:

Nonnie: Joel dear, don’t you think the color combination is gorgeous?

Me: Nonnie, the interior color is too light, and it’s going to be a nightmare to keep clean. Also, that exterior color is going to be awful to maintain. Do you realize it’s going to be difficult to find someone who loves this color combination someday when we have to sell this car when you pass away?! Don’t do this to us.

Nonnie: Nonsense, this is just gorgeous. I love it. You’ll see, it’ll be terrific.

I will never ever forget this interaction, or the rest of the memorable quotes during the buying process.

2001 Audi A6

The exterior of this A6 is finished in Ming Blue Pearl Effect while the interior features Vanilla and Royal Blue. It’s definitely unique, and frankly, I do think it’s a sharp looking car in the right light.

Under the hood is a 4.2-liter V8 connected to a five-speed automatic transmission. The car is surefooted through all forms of weather thanks to Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system.

The car currently sits with about 86,000 miles on the odometer. Most of those are highway miles put on early in the car’s life, as my grandmother drove from Fargo, North Dakota to Minneapolis, Minnesota to see us, her grandchildren.

Since the car’s been in the family since day one, I happen to have all the service records, manuals, and even the window sticker. Though I will say the most treasured piece that comes with the car is the original brochure from the Audi dealership. It has my grandmother’s notes scribbled throughout the book as she went through the ordering process.

Ironically, both the first owner and second owner of this car have the name Mrs. Feder, though I wouldn’t advise calling Karen, Mrs. Feder.

I know just how much my grandmother loved this car, and I know how happy it would make her to see Karen driving it.

We will remember my grandmother long after we end up selling this A6, but for now, it’s yet another way we are able to keep a small part of her in our daily lives.

Happy New Year: Reflecting On 2012

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Once again I find myself sitting in a plane flying at 30,000 feet reflecting on the past year. It’s crazy to me that it’s already 2013, I mean, what happened to 2012? Let’s take a moment and look back at the year in the life of “J Fed.”

As many of you know, Karen and I moved to Portland, Oregon back in October of 2011. That means 2012 was our first full year living on the West Coast. The best way to describe it would be to say it’s been a year of exploring and learning. We’ve made new friends, tried new restaurants, visited new places, and most of all, made new memories together. We’ve also been called Hotel Feder, as we’ve been fortunate enough to have many friends and family come to visit us in our new home.

The Cottage

I somehow managed to finagle my way to the cabin back in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota quite a few times. My time on Lake Melissa was well spent with a healthy amount of waterskiing, fishing, and relaxing on the boat. Karen and I managed to spend a week there together which was very nice, and yes, Otto came as well. My sister, Karen, and I also surprised my parents at the cabin for their 30th anniversary with an unannounced visit, along with a small gathering of their lake friends. The look on their faces when the three of us walked into that cabin was priceless.

The Car Connection's Six-Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster

Karen and I took our first ever (and if you ask her, last) cross-country road trip this past summer. The vehicle of choice was The Car Connection’s Six-Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster. That’s right, we drove from Portland, Oregon to Minneapolis, Minnesota in an Orange Hyundai Veloster. We also made a stop at Yellowstone National Park, along with Iowa to visit her family, and of course the cabin in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. All in we drove about 3,000 miles during the trip. I thought it was fun, Karen said we made memories, and Otto was just along for the ride.

Joel and Karen in Israel

Karen and I managed to get away this year in the form of a 10 day trip to Israel. We went on Birthright together, and it was truly a trip of a lifetime. We did it all, from riding camels and swimming in the Dead Sea, to hiking Mount Masada and visiting the Western Wall. Memories were made, friendships were formed, and life experiences were had.

This past August marked my second year working at High Gear Media. While my title hasn’t changed from Social Media Manager, I’ve taken on a whole new host of responsibilities. From managing our videos and being our front man with OEMs and marketing agencies, to helping test iOS apps and brainstorming new concepts, there’s never a dull moment. I’m looking forward to even more responsibility and new assignments in 2013.

JD Power Automotive Marketing Round Table 2012

I know you’re patiently waiting for an update on the furriest member of our household, the one and only Otto. We’ve lost count of which Mr. Fox we are on at this point, but it doesn’t seem to matter as Otto always appears to enjoy destroying him. Otto’s continued his travels, and at this point would likely have quite a few doggy air miles, if such a thing existed. Karen reminded me that this year Otto made his first trip to a pumpkin patch. He was a bit intimidated at first, but after a few minutes he decided it was safe to run around all the round things on the ground.

Otto in Pumpkin Patch Karen, Nonnie, and Joel

We had planned to spend Thanksgiving with friends down in California, but unfortunately we ended up making a trip home as my grandmother passed away at the age of 92 years old. She was the matriarch of our family, and the void she’s left can not be filled. She was an amazing woman who taught me so many things. She will never be forgotten.

The silver lining in her passing was that we were able to spend Thanksgiving with our family back in Minneapolis. Everyone really did pull together, and we tried to make the best of it. It was nice to be with family.

I know about this time last year I promised that this blog would receive more attention. If you spend even a few moments on this site, you’ll see that promise was broken. I swear it wasn’t really a lie, but merely something I just couldn’t deliver on in the end. Between work and my personal life, the blog has received less attention. It comes down to a mere lack of time, rather than a lack of motivation. As we go into the new year I won’t be promising that this blog will return to its former glory multiple posts every week, but I can say I’d like to see myself post here more frequently. We’ll see what happens.

While not as many changes in my life as 2011 (moving across the country, getting married, getting a different car, selling a car, etc), I would overall put 2012 in the win pile. It was a great year with some terrific memories.

So once again I find myself wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year.

M Car Day 2012 At Griot’s Garage

I recently attended the annual M Car Day gathering up at Griot’s Garage in Tacoma, Washington. A day where BMW M Car owners meet up, share insights, lessons learned, and basically drool over each others cars.

Actually, if we are being honest, I wasn’t going to go. I had wanted to go, looked forward to going, but in the end had decided I was going to stay home. Then a few of my buddies at Portland Cars And Coffee basically bullied me into going.

A handful of the local Portland BMW M Car owners met up at Elmer’s Cafe near the Portland International Airport at 7:00 AM the morning of the event. We had breakfast while sharing stories about our cars. Then we caravanned from Portland, Oregon to Griot’s Garage in Tacoma, Washington. It was a blast caravanning with a bunch of other M cars for a few hours.

There were a total of five E34 M5s in attendance including mine. From what I’m told, this was an impressive showing for the E34 M5. It was interesting to see some of the modifications that the other owners had done to their cars. I also enjoyed learning from their experiences, and really enjoyed swapping stories. I even learned some new information about my car.

Nearly every kind of M car except an M1 was in attendance. From the Z8 to the E30 M3, not much was left out. Of course, E46 and E90 M3s dominated the scene. But I really enjoyed looking at the E28 and E39 M5s. A lot of the owners have done some unique modifications that make these cars stand out.

Griot’s Garage was a terrific host for the gathering. There was a raffle with prizes and a few vendors selling food. Definitely a cool event here in the North West that I hope to be able to attend again next year, and in the end I’m very glad I went.

Enjoy the full photo gallery below and the video of the caravan heading up to Griot’s Garage.

UPDATED – Stolen Car: 2004 Volkswagen Passat W8 Wagon

UPDATEThe police recovered the stolen car this morning at 3 am PST. Oddly enough, the person who stole it returned it back to Portland International Raceway. 

My buddies 2004 Volkswagen Passat W8 Wagon was stolen approximately one hour ago from Portland International Raceway. It currently has black window tint and black alloy wheels. It also has a bike rack on the roof. The back window has a @JareyRoy decal on it. The car has Minnesota plates on it. The plates are NBC 817.

If you see this car call the police immediately. Then please email me at Joel@kinderco.net.


Why I Bought An E34 M5


A ton of people have asked me why I bought an E34 M5. While it’s been over five months since I’ve bought my car, it’s taken me this long to fully understand it. At the time, I knew why , but couldn’t put it into words. Now I can.

E28 M5 – The Original

I started off thinking I wanted an E28 M5. The original. I did all the research, talked to all the right people, and started looking. Eventually I ended up finding one within 40 minutes of my house. I went and test drove it. It was in acceptable condition and ran well.

The moment I started driving it I got this weird feeling in my gut that I’ve never experienced before. Something felt off. I pushed this feeling aside as best I could and continued the test drive. Now, let’s be clear, the car was very fun. It was light on its feet so to say. The straight six hummed and loved being revved. But the chassis and the powertrain didn’t seem to be a perfect match for me.

The interior didn’t feel substantial enough for what I was looking for. It was spartan. This car is going to be my “daily driver” and not a garage queen.

In the end, I just didn’t feel the E28 felt like it was going to be what I wanted. I would never kick one out of my garage, and would love to own one, someday.

E39 M5 – The Legend

I then started considering maybe I wanted the legendary E39 M5. With a high-strung V-8 engine and slick six-speed manual transmission, the only term one can use to describe this car is beast.

When I thought about the E39 I couldn’t stop thinking about the dreamy engine. But then I started thinking about traction control, stability control, side curtain airbag this and passenger side airbag that, navigation, and then I stopped. This car was filled with technology and driving aids. Was that what I wanted? Sure, you can turn that stuff off, but that’s not the point. I still decided I must drive one.

I ended up getting my hands on one and driving it. Yup, it was a beast. Amazing powertrain. Silky smooth and sounded terrific. But I decided in the end that it wasn’t time for me to own an E39 M5. That’s not to say it’s off the table for someday, just not now.

E34 M5

Suddenly I felt like this was like Goldilocks and the three bears, too hot, too cold, juuuuust right. I kept researching the E34 M5, and quickly thought it might be a happy medium of everything I was looking for.

The car is more modern, if just barely, than the E28. With a more substantial interior and timeless exterior, it has the looks. It has a driver side airbag but no traction control, no stability control, definitely no navigation, not even an OBD II port.

I started looking and found a few for sale that seemed to meet my requirements. Eventually, I found a black on silver 1991 E34 M5 in Seattle. I talked at length with the owner and finally determined this might be the one. Before just picking up and driving to see the car, I had a buddy who is local and knows BMWs go meet the owner. My buddy took the car for a drive. An hour later he called me and said if I didn’t come buy it tomorrow he was buying it. I believe my words were something along the lines of, “Don’t you dare. I’ll be there at 8 am tomorrow.”

I won’t go into the full story as you can read that here. But I will say upon getting into the E34 M5 it just felt right. It was exactly what I had been searching for. It was the right generation M5 for me at the right time. The chassis, interior, powertrain, looks, it all worked. Karen looked at me before we even made it down the block during the test drive, and asked if we should just turn around so I could buy it. I said heck no, we were going to hit the highway first. But she was right, I knew within minutes I was buying this E34 M5.

And the rest as they say is history. So now you know exactly why I bought an E34 M5. The E28 and E39 M5 are both fantastic vehicles, that I may own someday.

Welcome To Accelerate PDX

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s already been nearly six months since Karen and I moved to Portland. The name change on this site has taken longer than I expected. Maybe it was me not being ready to finally face the reality. Maybe it was me just being lazy. Whatever the case, today is the day.

You’ll notice the new logo incorporates the Portland skyline and my BMW M5. Uncs Z is back in Minneapolis with my father, so the M5 seemed fitting to be in the new logo.

The adjustment has been easier than I expected. I’ve started meeting new people and have found the local car community. The driving roads here are something I could’ve only wished for back in Minnesota.

While I’ve been insanely busy with work, I know this site has been neglected. I struggled to figure out exactly what I should post here. Most of what I used to post I now write and post for work. While my postings here will be less frequent than they used to be, I do plan to post here.

Thank you to all my followers. It’s been quite a journey since I started this blog. Stay tuned as the journey continues.

The Story Of Unc’s Z

Many of you know I often discuss a certain 1990 Nissan 300ZX.  Some might say I have an infatuation with this particular car.  But few people actually know why, until now.

This is not some random sports car I am obsessed with (there are plenty of those).  Instead, there’s a real story behind this infatuation.

Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat: This is Unc’s Z.  Not mine, not my fathers, but Unc’s.

See, I’m getting ahead of myself already.

In the 1980s, my Uncle Robert bought several Nissan Z cars and my parents brought me into this world.  Uncle Robert started in 1970 with the Datsun 240Z, skipped the 260Z, and then bought one of the first 280Zs produced, in 1975. He continued to drive Z cars (as they developed) as summer cars.

In fact, we became a “Datsun/Nissan” family, as a 610 wagon and then several Maximas joined the “Feder Fleet.”   Fast forward to 1989, when my Uncle Robert special-ordered a blue-on-blue 1990 Nissan 300ZX.  He ordered it with every option and waited for his new baby to be built and shipped to the local Datsun (later Nissan) dealership, FM Auto Mart in Fargo, ND.

Many ask me why this car is not a twin-turbo.  In fact some have pooh-poohed it for not being one.  My uncle wasn’t after pure speed; he planned to use it as a grand tourer. Thus he chose the 2+2 configuration for its longer wheelbase, with the small rear seats for nieces and nephews.  I was one of those nephews.

My uncle was a successful attorney.  He fought for what was right, and fought for justice. He was well respected and I looked up to him like no one’s business.  He was the definition of ”excellence” in every way. After losing a battle against cancer in 1997, his passing left a void in all of us, as well as the community.

He drove the 300ZX only during the summer months and stored it during the winter under the OEM car cover.  Most of the miles were put on by going between his house in Fargo and his cottage in Detroit Lakes, MN, a 45-minute highway drive.

When Uncle Robert passed in 1997, his 300ZX had a little more than 38,000 miles.  During the next 11 years, my aunt put a mere 4,000 miles put on the car.  The rest of the time, it sat in storage, just as my uncle had left it.

Why Unc’s Z? When my older cousins were children and just learning to talk, they couldn’t say “Uncle Robert” at first, and it was then that he became “Unc.” To an extent, my “Uncle Robert” was somewhat larger than life to all of us, and that’s how he became “Unc”

In the spring of 2008 my aunt agreed to sell Unc’s Z to my father and I. It hadn’t been started in years. The odometer registered just over 42,000 miles.

My father and my Uncle Jerry installed a new Interstate battery and pumped up the tires. When the original titanium key (yes, The 1990 300ZX came with a titanium key) was inserted, the injectors pressurized and the car fired instantly. No cranking required, just ignition, and it was running.

We had most of the rubber in the engine checked or replaced to insure against problems, and we had the timing belt changed. The wiring harness looked like new, so we decided not to pull the engine. We had the rest of the car’s drivetrain checked to make sure it was mechanically safe and sound.

All the fluids were flushed; they came out sparkling clean, except that the coolant was dirty, so we spent extra time flushing the cooling system.  Red Line fluid was installed in the transmission and differential, along with blue racing brake fluid.

The car is mostly stock with the exception of a few tasteful upgrades such as HID headlights, and upgraded brake lines.

I have memories of riding in that tiny back seat with my uncle to the local store to get the newspaper.  I remember watching my uncle hand-wash the car up north at the cottage.  I remember my uncle’s love for his Z.

Almost everything is original, though there was an, ahem, incident a few years before my father bought the car.  My aunt drove it to the cottage one weekend and a huge storm rolled through.  Before anyone could move the car to safety, a branch fell onto the hood.  It wasn’t ruined, but the hood definitely suffered minor damage, which we had repaired and repainted. Except for the hood, the paint is factory-original.

The original front brake rotors and pads were just replaced in 2010, as they had finally worn out.

There are now three blue-on-blue 1990 300ZXs in the Feder family. No, I’m not joking. My other uncle bought and restored two cars that are now duplicates of Unc’s. He gave one to my cousin and he still has the other one.

We try not to drive the car in the rain unless necessary, and it is not driven during the winter.  This past summer Unc’s Z clicked over 52,000 miles.  The engine compression is still at factory specs and the car drives terrific.  With only a few thousand miles put on a year (if that) I can only hope the car will last long enough for me to hand down to my son.

As many of you know, I now live in Portland. The car does still live in Minneapolis with my father. After some intense discussion, it was determined it was best if the car stayed in Minneapolis for now.

I have a ridiculous emotional attachment to this car. Karen and I drove away from our wedding in this car. The license plates and floor mats say “Uncs Z” (yes, we still have the factory blue “Z” mats, in perfect condition, in storage). This always has been, and always will be Unc’s Z.  I think of him every time I drive it.

This isn’t just another sports car.  It’s not the fastest thing in the world, it’s not the lightest thing in the world, but it is Unc’s car—and that’s something you can’t put a price on.

This Week’s Wheels: 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design

I’m a little late on this since I’ve been driving this car for two days, but upon arriving home from the Detroit Auto Show I found this fire engine red 2012 Volvo S60 R-Design was waiting for me.

Being the R-Design, it has Polestar tuning with 325-horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque sent to all four wheels. With two days of driving under my belt I can confidently say I’m happy Volvo didn’t die.

For more updates make sure to follow Motor Authority on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook as I report on my experience for work.


This Week’s Wheels: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ

I arrived back in Portland to find a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ waiting for me. For those who don’t know, this little hatchback is replacing the unloved Aveo in Chevy’s lineup.

Featuring the same 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder as the Chevy Cruze and a six-speed manual transmission, there’s no question the Sonic is more fun to drive than the Aveo. So far it feels on par with the Fiesta is not slightly more fun.

Stay tuned for more updates.


Happy New Year: Reflecting On 2011

As I sit here on a plane flying at about 12,000 feet, I wonder how it can already be 2012 and why am I flying to Portland, Oregon to go home. Yes, it’s been a crazy year and it is time once again to reflect on the past 12 months in the life of Feder Feder.

Let’s start with the big one, I got married. Yes, in case you missed it, there is now officially a Mrs. Feder Feder (AKA Karen Feder). Karen and I got married on August 28 with perfect weather and all the family and friends a couple could ask for. It was a beautiful ceremony and an amazing party. While I still haven’t gotten around to uploading the amazing photos to Facebook, the day continues to replay in my head. There’s no question, I’m a lucky guy.

One would think that planning a wedding would mean a whole lot less time at the cabin in the summer. Luckily for me, my (now) wife and mother are rockstars. Working fast and furious to make sure everything was in order, all while ensuring my father and I were content with the amount of quality time at the cabin. In all reality, we spent quite a bit of time up North this past summer. There was plenty of water skiing and thankfully no major accidents. The fishing was terrible, but the cigars, Monster Lo-Carb, and company of my father made up for the lack of actual fish.

Funny enough, a mere month and a half after Karen and I got married, we packed up our stuff and moved out West to Portland, Oregon. My rockstar wife accepted a position with WebTrends as a Search Manager. Not only did we move, but I was traveling both the week before, and the week we actually moved. Needless to see, my champ of a wife moved us and unpacked us.

I’ll fully admit, the decision to move did not come lightly. It was a very difficult decision that we struggled with. Moving away from everything we knew, all our friends and family, might possibly be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Three months later, I don’t regret our decision. But I do still miss our friends and family. That said, I’m happy to report I can now make it to most places in Portland, including Costco and Chipotle, without using a GPS.

I celebrated my one year anniversary at High Gear Media and head into 2012 as the Social Media Manager. While my title hasn’t changed I’ve taken on more responsibility and definitely grown as a writer. The HGM Editorial Mafia breaks knee caps on a daily basis in an effort to make me both a better writer, and probably a better person. For that I am grateful. It’s not often you can say you truly love what you do, and I have the opportunity to say I love both what I do, and who I do it with. The team is terrific and I look forward to what 2012 brings.

Another milestone for me in 2011 was what I dubbed Operation Blackout: Feder Feder Unplugged. The week after my wedding I went seven days without touching both the Internet and Monster Lo-Carb. Yes, no Twitter, Facebook, or Email. My RSS reader just continued to collect stuff. Many people didn’t think I could do it. They were wrong. Even my own wife didn’t think I could do it. But she admits that I did. Just for the record, it wasn’t as refreshing as everyone said it would be. I felt lost in the world. Like I had no clue what was going on. Unplugging for a few hours, maybe even a day, is OK. But going seven days with absolutely no Internet or form of communication outside of talking on the telephone or texting, that just felt weird.

Back in March I made the decision it was finally time to sell my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Yet another tough decision. My Jeep had 172,000 miles on it and literally had three door dings. The paint shined and it ran like a top. It sold in a day and a half. While I truly miss my Jeep some days, I know it went to a good home. I have some amazing memories in that vehicle, but the time had come to move on.

In October right after we moved I purchased the new Federmobile: a 1991 BMW M5. After searching for weeks I found the right car waiting for me three hours north of Portland in Seattle, Washington. A three owner car with every service record dating back to the original delivery of the car. I not only have the records, but also have the original window sticker and key cards with the radio codes and key codes. While the car has 140k on it, most major mechanical parts have been replaced, and the expensive stuff like tuning the valves was done right before I bought it. While the car is my daily driver, it is more of a toy than anything at the current moment.

I know you are all wondering about the four legged member of our family, Otto. He’s doing well. I’m happy to report he is very happy in Portland and loves that our house has only carpet instead of laminate floors like in Minneapolis. He sprints up and down the stairs multiple times a day, all three flights. We are fairly confident the stairs has made him lose a little weight, but when we moved he was only 8.4 pounds, so he didn’t have too much to lose. He’s fully grown and loves to sleep. I am sad to report he finally killed Mr. Fox by ripping open his head. Mr. Fox had a good run of nearly a year and a half. Mr. Fox was replaced by, you guessed it, Mr. Fox II, who sadly was destroyed in three weeks. Otto is moving on to Mr. Fox III, but we aren’t sure about his chances of survival. So we already bought Mr. Fox IIII. Otto is also becoming a world traveler. This flight we are on right now will be his fourth flight. This time, we didn’t even sedate him, and he’s doing quite well.

We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Portland and were able to see both our family in Iowa, and our family in Minneapolis during the holidays. It was terrific to catch up with friends over the holidays and it truly reinforced what great people we have in our lives.

As you might have noticed since I moved to Portland, this blog has been lacking consistent content. The reality is much of what I used to write here is now being written for work. Duplication isn’t necessary. Going forward in 2012, I hope to get back into the habit of writing stuff here more consistently. This is a terrific outlet for my thoughts and I know many of my friends and family read this site to keep up with me and my adventures.

From all the above, I’m guessing you figured out that 2011 was a pretty good year. Some big life changes but all of them leading to new adventures. I look forward to tackling each one head on and seeing what 2012 brings.

So with that I’ll end with wishing everyone a healthy, and happy new year.