Sunday, February 28, 2016

Here is a Few Warm Day Pics of the GT500

Canada finally got a warm-ish sunny day so I was able to pull the Shelby out and get a better look at it. Since it's running summer tires I couldn't really take it out.  My girlfriend took the opportunity to snap a few pics for me to share.  She also recorded the start up.  Not big deal, everything is stock.  Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

An Open Letter to Chris Harris

Dear Mr. Harris.

I recently found myself suddenly having a great amount of respect for what you do.  I have been an auto enthusiast most of my life and I felt I had a firm grip on the definition of what fast is.  Reading statistics and comparing them to the cars I’ve driven I was sure I could imagine the feeling of hopping into a supercar and taking it around a track.  Having driven a few autocross track days I felt I understood what it takes to get those supercars around a track.  But I recently found myself to be very mistaken.

I just bought a new car, well new to me. I went from my old 2007 Ford Mustang GT and bought a 2014 GT500 Shelby Cobra.  I didn’t test drive it and had it shipped to me.  When it arrived I gave them my old car and just jumped into the GT500 to take it home.  I understood this car is a beast and I expected a change but I was really not prepared for the staggering difference it was.  I won’t go into details but it’s been a long time since a car made me nervous and this car made me fairly terrified.  Trying to get it home in chilly Canada, in the month of February, with summer tires was a festival of screaming engines and tires.  I started getting the hang of it after about an hour and was able to regain a little confidence before I pulled it into the garage.

I’m absolutely certain I would repeat this experience if I got out of my Shelby and into a super or hypercar.  I watched your review of the GT500 Shelby Cobra and you were much more confident in this overpowered monster.  I have so much to learn.  Getting out of my car I thought what you must go through.  For you to show up for a shoot, get into a new car you have no experience with, and blast it around a track the way you do is amazing, and you do it while fully expressing how the car feels to the camera.  The amount of mental stress and adrenaline you surely endure must be wonderfully exhausting.

I truly admire your work, your attitude, and the professionalism in your car reviews and videos.  I look forward to learning what my GT500 has to teach me about my driving skills this summer, and I look forward to seeing your amazing track work with my new understanding of fast.

Thank you.

Chad Bordwell

Picking Up the Shelby

I drove the Shelby home Tuesday night from the pickup location.  Basically I just dropped off my ’07 Mustang and picked up the Shelby without any sort of event.  So suddenly I went from getting out of a 300hp car and into a 662hp one in a matter of minutes.  How was it?  Well I found it fairly intimidating frankly.  You think you understand what “fast” means but then you drive something that redefines it.  This is one of those cars.  My 1968 Firebird 400 was a 400+hp car so I really felt I understood how a fast car felt.  I'm now certain if I got out of the GT500 and into a supercar or hypercar I would experience the same feeling.  There is always something faster.  Happily this realization created a great deal of excitement for me because I now have a lot to learn.  I look forward to this summer to start learning.

The car was being stored at a massive car dealer auction lot. Acres and acres of cars. I went to the gate they instructed and went to the trailer/office.  The guy inside looked at my ID and instructed me to go get the Shelby and pull it around to the exit gate to be checked through.  I walked over and got in, adjusted all the mirrors and started it up.  Wow, louder than I expected.  The shifter felt a little mushy after driving the notchy Hurst shifter in my GT.  I thought, "Okay, take it easy" and put it in first.

Noob Story 1: The clutch in the Shelby has a weird kind of uneven tension.  You seem to hit a mid-position and it wants to spring out.  I felt a similar feeling with the gas where a tiny tap seemed to make it scream.  The combo of these two things made me fairly terrified. David Freiburger over at Hot Rod mentioned this in a Roadkill video and I totally see what he was talking about.  After checking the car through the gate the guy cleared me to take it.  Luckily he thought I was revving the car for his benefit and cheered me on, but in reality I just didn't know what I was doing.  Down the road I quickly pulled over, composed myself, and removed the tags from the windshield so I could see out and headed home.  Traffic was heavy though so with the constant stopping and starting I got plenty of practice.  After about a mile or two I started to get the hang of it and by the time I got it home it seemed less terrifying.

Noob Story 2: The car had no gas when I picked it up so I had to pull into the closest station.  Looking at the fuel door I assumed there was an a button inside to release it.  I wasted a bunch of time looking for it and then looking through the manual before I realised there was no button and you just press the fuel door and it springs open.  Duh.

There are a few things I don’t yet understand about the car.  For instance it beeps at me when I accelerate hard.  I think this might be a traction warning or maybe a shift warning although I was not near redline.  I’ll have to figure it out and see if I can turn it off, extremely annoying.  I was trying to get the supercharger to whine but when it would start beeping I’d let off so I have yet to really hear it.  To be fair I shouldn’t be doing that anyway.  It’s cold and the car has summer tires so it just wants to spin.  Even when I was in third gear and hit it hard I could feel the car’s traction systems trying to keep the tires from spinning.

In regards to the reaction it got on the way home I just noticed two people checking it out but I was very "focused" you could say.  One guy with a tricked out Honda zipped past me in a different lane and seemed to almost snap his neck looking back.  The other guy was an Audi, didn't notice what type but he was revving like crazy at me.  I was in no way prepared for any racing so I just gave him a rev back and kept going.

Since then the car has been sitting in my rather crappy garage waiting for the snowstorm to end.  I haven't gotten a chance to even look at it because the garage is so small and I'd really rather pull it out so I have some room.  I think this summer I might at least paint the garage interior so it would seem a little more worthy of the GT500's presence, maybe even some nice flooring.

Overall I have some mixed feelings about the purchase.  It's always a little sad to see your previous car go but you can't keep them all.  Plus I swore to myself  I wouldn't get another Mustang and I'd try something different but I guess this really isn't a Mustang.  Also this car is way into the high end of my budget so I'm nervous about it's impact on my finances.  It should all work out but we'll see.  Also I've been a little disappointed with the response I get from most friends and even some family.  Seems they kind of hate me for having it.  I plan to write more about this in a different article.

So now we wait for warm temps.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Canadian International Auto Show Photos

As I mentioned I went to the Canadian International Auto Show with my girlfriend Julia.  I took a few shots with my phone but she brought her pro camera and took loads of shots.  They are really great pictures of some of the new models coming out and also some classic cars.  It took her several days to go through and edit the pictures but she just got them posted on her blog and I wanted to share them.
As you can see in the picture to the left she posted them in a few mixed galleries and also individual galleries for each model.  Below are the links to the mixed gallery pages but don't forget to check out the drop down menus for even more pictures of specific cars.

Don't miss the Acura NSX and the Ford GT galleries.  They were pretty awesome to see and I posted one of her beautiful Ford GT pics below.  As I mentioned before my "best in show" was the Viper ACR.  It was amazing.

While you're at her site feel free to check out her other galleries.  She not only does photography but also paints portraits, does a little writing, and has her own blog.


The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Looks like the GT500 isn't arriving in Toronto until Tuesday. Kind of a bummer since it's supposed to be a warm and dry weekend and delivery is missing it. I'm a little concerned about ending up having to get it during a snowstorm. Snow and 662hp, don't mix well.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

To Stripe or not to Stripe

My new GT500 hasn't even arrived yet and I've already been thinking of ways to make it more mine.  This is a little harder to do since it's a Shelby and modifications tend to lower the value rather than add to it.  So I think I want to stick with things that can be put back to stock if needed later.

2016 GT350R
One thing I really liked about the new GT350R vehicles is the red pinstripe following the racing stripes.  The R has the red and the regular GT350 has white.  This sounds like an easy modification. My GT500 already has the racing stripes to only the red pinstripes would be needed and then could be removed if in the future I even want to sell it.  They also make the car look like a black widow which I find pretty snazzy.

I'm unsure if this could cause any future problems such as paint fade becoming uneven in the area where the pinstripes were.  Maybe that could still affect the value?  Frankly I wouldn't remove it while I owned it so it would only be removed in the case of a future buyer not liking the look.

So I would love to hear opinions.  I know there are some black out purists out there that are crazy about black cars being all black but I'm not really one of those guys.  Do you think I shouldn't mimic the GT350R and just let the GT500 stand on it's own?  Personally I like it.  What are your thoughts?  Would you also do the GT500 side stripe with a red pin?  I think that might be too much.

Below I have created a quick and dirty Photoshop edit to compare the looks.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Canadian International Auto Show

For Valentine's Day my girlfriend surprised me by taking me to the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.  It was a pretty fun time with more people than I expected for Valentine's day. Most manufactures were there showing their new wares.  I took a few shots with my phone but my girlfriend took her pro camera and took hundreds of shots which I hope she will let me post on this blog.

The Ford area had such a different vibe than the other areas at the show.  It was light, friendly, and very family oriented with games and fun stuff for kids to do.  No other manufacturer thought about kids at the show.  We didn't have kids with us but it was still a pretty smart move.  The kids played allowing the adults freedom to browse Ford products.  Bravo Ford.

Most of the cars there I expected to see like the Ford GT and the Acura NSX, which I liked way more than I thought I would.  There were a few unexpected things like a Nissan Titan Warrior concept truck that was pretty cool and the Final Edition Lancer Evolution.  Dodge disappointed me a little because I couldn't find the ridiculous Jeep Grand Cherokee Hellcat everyone was talking about but I really just wanted to laugh at it.

Viper ACR
For me personally the SRT Viper ACR was looking amazing and I wanted it to follow me home.  I also got to see a Pagani for real which I've never seen before.  It was the Huayra and not my favorite, the now retired Zonda but it was still incredible to see such an elegant super car.

Like I mentioned my girlfriend took lots of pics which I hope to post later.  But for now here are a few I snapped on my crappy phone.

Challenger Hellcat
Challenger Scat Pack

Ford GT
Ford GT

Pagani Huayra

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Black is the New Orange - Traded-in My 2007 Mustang GT

So it has finally happened.  After years of moaning and complaining that I wanted something else in my garage I finally made my choice.  I purchased a 2014 Mustang GT500 Shelby Cobra.

A couple weeks ago I narrowed down the choices between the 2014 GT500 and a 2016 GT350.  The GT500 was in Nova Scotia and the GT350 was being shipped from Ford to a dealer here locally.  Both were black which isn't a color I get excited about but both are damn hard to find so it's hard to be picky about the color.

2016 GT350
The GT350 is of course an awesome car and has all the hype around it this year.  Everyone wants one and I was lucky to have found one.  But a few things bothered me about it.  First the car had been ordered by a guy who ended up getting divorced and canceled his order.  So the car coming to the dealership wasn't something I would pick.  Like I said it was black, no stripes, and had the technology package rather than the track package.  Why someone would rather have the nav and fancy stereo than the extra cooling for racing I have no idea.  They had no others so I couldn't come for a test drive.  So I told them it wasn't really exciting me.  Then out of the blue they said a guy that had ordered an orange GT350 was thinking he'd rather have black so there was a chance he would want to switch.  Well I was all over that idea.  If he wanted the black one I would happily take the orange one.  But in the end he decided to stick with orange.  I gave the dealer another chance saying, "If the black one just had the GT350 stripes I'd want it."  But they either didn't take the hint or weren't interested in adding them because he said, "Well you can do that yourself later."  I looked up the cost of adding a stripe to the car and it was around $900.  So awesome car but no sale.  I called other dealerships, the best I could find was one dealer willing to take a deposit to order a 2017 GT350 when available.

2014 GT500
The GT500 was also black but does have matte black stripes which looks pretty mean.  It's also fast as hell with that 662 hp 5.8L.  This particular car only had 4000 miles (6000 km) so is basically new.  It has the track package but not the performance package.  Personally I'd rather have the extra cooling than the adjustable dampeners so I was fine with that. Carson Exports was willing to take my '07 as trade-in which would bring the car's price down to $63,000, not bad for a car selling for $68-69k here in Canada.  The biggest bummer was that the car was clear in Nova Scotia.  So I wasn't going to take it for a test drive or anything.  I had driven one locally last fall and really like it so I had an idea of how the car drove.  What really made my decision to get the GT500 was Carson Exports.  Such a great bunch of guys!  Really easy to talk to and very down to earth.  They even offered to ship the car and pick up my trade for free!  To be honest I was pretty wishy-washy at first on whether to get it or not and they were super patient with me.  No pressure.

In the end I had to just be realistic about it.  Both these cars are super expensive for my modest income.  Cars are my passion so I'm willing to have this expense on my budget.  But due to the extreme expense this is likely to be my last "fun car" purchase ever so I wanted it to be a good one.  The GT350 is a track car, it's slower 0-60 and slower 1/4 mile than the GT500.  The GT500 is a street brute and the GT350 is a driver's car.  But the question I had to honestly answer was would I really use the track capabilities of the GT350 or would I most likely just drive to work on sunny days and cruise around on the weekends?  The real answer was that the GT350 would be wasted on me.  Currently I haven't gone to a track day since I got to Canada and the few times I might go the GT500 would be loads of fun.  So I went with the GT500.

And another thing I had to admit is that if I owned a GT350 there would always be a little voice in the back of my mind reminding me that somewhere out there is a GT350R that is a lot better. ;)

So my GT500 should arrive in a few weeks.  It's going straight into storage until all this Canadian snow and salt is off the roads and gone.  Here are a few more dealer shots.