Archive | November, 2011

This Week’s Wheels: 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD

This week I have traded the 2012 Honda Civic for another Honda product, the 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD. Apparently I got a bonus as this one has a six-speed manual transmission.

I’m not expecting to hit EPA mileage numbers as this particular car is literally brand new. I’m the first journalist to get it, so it is still in its break-in period. That said, I fully look forward to the complex all-wheel drive system known as super handling all-wheel drive.

Initial impression, thankfully the beak has been tamed back a bit. The clutch feels overly light with little feedback and the center stack has buttons growing everywhere. But these are 10 second impressions.

Stay tuned.

Happy Thanksgiving: So Much To Be Thankful For

I wasn’t really sure how to approach this post. The reality is, I have so much to be thankful for this year. It has been a whirl wind, but this isn’t new years so I am not about to sit here and reflect on everything. Instead, I am going to show you with pictures a few things I am thankful for this year.

First and foremost, I am so thankful for my amazing wife. She is smart, funny, gorgeous, and the most important thing, puts up with me.

I’m so thankful for both my mother and my father. They both have helped make me the person I am today.

I am thankful for all my friends. I have so many people in my life that always seem to have my back, no matter what stupid thing I do. For that, I am forever grateful. While I don’t have a picture of all my friends, I do have a picture of the guys that have my back no matter what.

Of course, I am thankful for Otto. He brings such joy to both Karen and my lives. No matter how bad the day’s been, he always can make it better. Feeling sick? He can make you instantly feel better, and even smile. He’s a sight for sore eyes and a guarantee you’ll get kisses when you walk in my door.

I’m thankful for the vehicles in my life. From Germany to Japan, we have it covered. I love both Unc’s 300ZX and my M5.

I’m of course thankful for the health and happiness of both myself and all my friends and family.

I’m sure most people already know, but I’m very thankful to have a job that I love with a great team of guys. It’s also nice to work in an industry I am so passionate about.

I could go on and on, but these are the things that stick out off the top of my head. Here’s wishing everyone a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. Now, go eat some turkey and be merry.

This Week’s Wheels: 2012 Honda Civic EX

Just in time for the family to arrive for Thanksgiving, this 2012 Honda Civic EX appears in my driveway for the week. I hope it’s not as disappointing as the Civic SI Coupe I drove back in Minneapolis. With five us on here in the PDX for the turkey holiday, we’ll make sure to put it to the test.

Initial impressions are cheap interior plastics and some poor wearing fabric on the seats. But these are 10 second impressions.

Stay tuned for more updates.

This Week’s Wheels: 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8

As many of you saw on Facebook and Twitter last week, I was driving a 2012 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet in Los Angeles. Upon my return to rainy Portland, a black beauty with a SRT8 badge was waiting for me. With a scowl on the front end and a nice rumble under the hood, this is one mean machine, and I’m loving every minute of it.

As the temperature drops here and the rain continues, the heated steering wheel has been a welcome feature, as have the heated seats.

Stay tuned for more updates.

2011 Los Angeles Auto Show: See You There

Hey-O! It’s auto show season again and it’s time to pack the DSLR, grab the backup batteries for my iPhone, and of course, buy a few cases of Monster Lo-Carb. I’m headed to Los Angeles today so I can see all the newest vehicles in the metal. After all, pictures just don’t do some cars justice these days.

The High Gear Media crew is invading Los Angeles and we”ll have you covered. Want to see the new 650-horsepower 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500? We’ll make sure to snap some pictures. Interested in the new 2013 Cadillac XTS? We’ll make sure you’re covered.

From Twitter to Facebook, I’ll make sure we are posting what we are seeing. If you aren’t all about the social media, you can follow all the action on our Los Angeles Auto Show hub right here.

If social media is your style, below are all the places you can follow the action:

 

This Week’s Wheels: 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist

For my second press vehicle in Portland I’ll be spending the week with a 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist. See? They are still trying to change my ways.

Regardless of its green cred, I’m looking forward to my week with the LaCrosse eAssist. I spent about 10 minutes driving one once before and in 10 minutes was already making notes about likes and dislikes. So this should make for an interesting, if not fuel efficient, week.

On paper the LaCrosse eAssist impresses with an EPA rating of 36 mpg on the highway. That’s nothing if not eyebrow raising for such a large sedan.

Stay tuned for more updates…as I continue to go green in Portlandia.

Introducing The New Federmobile: 1991 BMW M5

The wait is finally over, and I am happy to announce there is a new Federmobile roaming the streets of…Portland. After months of debating what to buy and looking at numerous vehicles, yesterday I purchased a 1991 BMW M5 near Seattle.

I could go on and on about many things right about now, but there is a black M5 calling my name in the garage. So I will keep this as short as possible. We all know how well this’ll work.

It started in the middle of last week when I found this particular M5 listed on Craigslist in Seattle. I called the seller and learned he was the third owner.  The second owner lived in Seattle, and he believed the first owner lived in Flordia. To his knowledge the car has never seen salt or snow. This car was his toy and never his daily driver. The reason for selling, merely to buy either an E39 M5 or newer M3.

I arranged for a friend who knows much more about this particular car than I, to see it in person and drive it. Friday night I received a call that went something like this:

Friend: “If you don’t come buy this car…I am.”

Me: “Don’t even think about it. I’ll be there in the morning.”

And so it was written. I called the owner and arranged to meet him at his house at 9 AM on Saturday. This was at 10 PM on Friday evening.

Let me take a break to tell you all what a trooper my wife truly is. She loves me. Way more than any of us ever thought. She got up at 4 AM so we could leave the house at 5 AM to go buy this car. Even Otto was wondering what the heck we were doing up so early, as he was less than pleased.

We arrived at the owners house and the car hadn’t been started for the day. The car fired right up and he backed it out for my inspection. The paintwork is all original and the car is in great condition for its age. It definitely needs a detailing and small minor things inside the cabin, but nothing that is completely outrageous.

Karen and I hopped in and took it for a drive. It took three blocks for me to know I was buying this car. When Karen offered to just turn back and let me buy it, I said absolutely not. I wanted to go for a quick drive.

After a short stint on the highway and then on some suburb streets, we were back in the sellers driveway. I confirmed on the agreed upon price, and he handed me a folder. This folder contained not only ever service record from him, but also every service record from the previous owners. Along with all this, the folder had the cards from the BMW factory with the original key and radio key codes. The cherry on top: the original window sticker.

I know you want details, so without further delay:

  • 1991 M5 black on silver/gray
  • 140,000 miles
  • Most every major wear item has been replaced with OEM parts, including but not limited to the water pump, timing belt, most rubber in the engine bay, brake pads and rotors, suspension bits, and much more.
  • Dinan stage one suspension
  • Only major flaw, (if you’d call it that) is the A/C doesn’t work. I’m still not sure if I’ll have this fixed as I’m not sure how necessary it’ll be in Portland.
  • Front leather seats are cracked, but no tears or holes. Leather is still soft.
  • Has an E36 steering wheel (slightly smaller diameter than the original steering wheel).
  • Factory tinted windows.
  • Pulls hard.

Last night I followed Karen on the way back to Portland (a terrific idea since there turned out be way more cops out than I would have ever anticipated) and averaged 24.3 mpg while cruising slightly above the speed limit. I was pleasantly surprised and more than happy with this.

The pictures in this post and in the below gallery were taken this morning without even washing her. The road grime from the drive back and anything else on her has not been cleaned.

I look forward to spending many many rewarding miles in the newest member of the Feder family. While she hasn’t been named anything beyond M5 yet, I can already tell she’ll fit right in.

While I won’t name names, there are specifically five people who literally helped to make this happen. I want to thank you all for helping with this. You know who you are.

This Week’s Wheels: 2011 Nissan Leaf SL

That’s right, I’ll be driving a 2011 Nisan Leaf for the next week. How fitting that it be my first press car out here in Portland, right? They are trying to change me already.

Actually, I’m really quite excited to have the Leaf for a week. I’ve driven one before, but only for a very short distance. It’ll be interesting to experience what it’s like to really live with a vehicle that has a limited range.

Plus, not sure if you noticed, but the wheels share some kind of resemblance to the Z32 300ZX. So that is automatically a win in my book.

Stay tuned for more updates as I go green in Portlandia. Oy…

Long Overdue Update: Hello From Portlandia

Hello out there. I’m coming to you from Portland, or Portlandia as many people I seem to know love to call it. Frankly, I’ve been meaning to post here multiple times in the last three weeks, but needless to say life has been a whirlwind since we started the moving process.

Let me catch you up on what’s going on in the life of the Feders, and what exactly is happening to this blog.

So we moved. There, moving on. Ok fine, just kidding. I’ll skip most of the boring details. Here’s a quick synopsis:

  • Moving sucks
  • Otto isn’t a huge fan of his airline approved pet carrier
  • Moving is made interesting when one person travels for work during the week you move
  • We didn’t really cry until we walked into the Minneapolis airport
  • Nearly nothing got broken in the move
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family is ridiculously hard

While Karen was meeting the movers and unpacking our house, I was in Detroit for half the week and Vegas the other half. Both were work trips, and I offered to skip the Detroit trip but Karen said it wasn’t a big deal. Not sure if she still feels that way, but I don’t feel like asking.

Karen and I rented a house in a suburb called Beaverton. Door to door, it is 21 minutes from our house to her office in downtown Portland, with no traffic. We are a mere 5 minutes away from a Max (the public transit light rail system) station which Karen uses each morning to get downtown, and I suppose to get home as well.

Otto is adjusting well. He loves having a fenced backyard to play in, and he really loves having all the stairs and open space in our house. The one downside of having a three level house is Otto has decided he needs to place toys on each level. He’s taking over our house.

Karen seems to be liking her new job as an Online Marketing Manager at WebTrends. She’s already traveled down to their offices in San Francisco once to work with the team there.

As for me? Well, I’m adjusting. I can’t prove it but this move might have been the hardest for me out of the three of us. Portland is pretty and the people seem nice. The weather is mild and I like the place we chose to live. It’s weird not being able to pick up the phone and just call my friends to go grab a bite to eat, but it has made me appreciate my close friends even more. I’ve had to learn how to *gasp* pick up the phone and call people just to chat. It’s a weird concept that I’m still working on.

And finally this blog, what’s going to happen here? Well, I’ve considered changing the name to Accelerate PDX or Portland, and that change is still on the table. I’ve been too swamped to make any real moves with that. So for the exact moment the logo isn’t changing. My heart still lives in Minneapolis and so the name isn’t a complete lie. But stay tuned for further updates on that.

As for the content, I mentioned originally when the move was made public that the content on this site is going to evolve. Many of the things I used to post here, I now write for our sites at work. So this move has in essence become the immediate catalyst of change. Reviews of new vehicles will still make it here but they will be shorter and more to the point. They might really just become quick driving impressions, but I’m not sure about this at the moment. I want to end up posting more random stuff, and more updates about me, my life with cars, and my family. Now that I’ve moved, this is a great outlet for people to be able to keep up with what’s going on with the Feders. My life revolves around cars, so this shouldn’t change the focus too much. Besides who are we kidding, name a day I didn’t talk about cars with someone somewhere at some point.

I don’t see these changes happening quickly and it will take time for me to adapt. So stick with me if you will.

This whole thing has been an adventure and I look forward to continue to share it with you.