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Thursday, January 29, 2009

good driver in a capable car

What a good driver in a capable car can do to regular deep pocket supercar owners?

Pass 'em!



If you're a casual viewer you should just move on.

Nothing to see here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

s2000



Why Honda S2000 is an excellent sports car?




What is it in a nutshell?

In 1999 when S2000 debuted in Japan it was meant for one thing and one thing only - serious driving pleasure. It has all the elements to be a fun car: convertible, engine in the front, rear wheel drive, 250 horses, straight 4 DOHC VTEC, 9000rpm redline, world renowned handling, 0-60 in 6sec, etc, etc.




Where does it come from?

Filling in the void Honda had left for 30 years after S500, 600, 800, the S2000 is a sports car that induces uncontrollable ear to ear smiles. Yes there was the NSX at the time S2000 was introduced, but NSX was not designed for everyday driving fun. It was crafted to be an out and out super car that rivals Ferrari, which it in theory did.
S series time line

S500


S600


S800





Why Honda VTEC engine?

Although silly fanboyism has led to its bad name, the VTEC engine is the most reliable high performance engine made by a Japanese motor company to date.

VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control) is a valvetrain system developed by Honda to improve the volumetric efficiency of a four-stroke internal combustion engine. This system uses two camshaft profiles and electronically selects between the profiles. It was invented by Honda R&D engineer Ikuo Kajitani.[1] It can be said that VTEC, the original Honda variable valve control system, originated from REV (Revolution-modulated valve control) introduced on the CBR400 in 1983 known as HYPER VTEC.[2] VTEC was the first system of its kind, though other variable valve timing and lift control systems have been produced by other manufacturers (MIVEC from Mitsubishi, VVTL-i from Toyota, VarioCam Plus from Porsche, VVL from Nissan, etc). more on wiki





Isn't AP1 (first gen, with F20C engine) a better car than the current one (AP2)?

Arguably yes, it is. AP2 (with F22C1) redlines at 8000rpm and it has a less powerful engine in number - 240 horsepower while it actually gained 200cc in displacement. What Honda did was it upped the torque in the AP2 making it more responsive off the line. As a casual driver, there probably is no difference. But one can argue that the original 9000rpm redline makes it a truer Honda S-series car (previous Honda Ss rev as high as 11k). However it's not all bad news for the 2nd gen owners because Honda made improvements on the stability department, adding driver's aid that can be turned off. The AP2 is a more sophisticated S. And the 6-second 0-60 time remains unchanged.




What differentiates the S2000 from your typical boy racer?

Well it doesn't do that very well in fact. But, there is the starting price (35k in the US, 3.8 million yen in Japan) that makes it a little unreachable for teens. A lack of turbo off the showroom floor, a l4 engine, missing backseats, a focus on handling rather than straight line performance also contribute to keep racer wannabes at bay.




What has S2000 got to show for it?

The S2000 has received much praise from critics and motoring journalists and has received favourable reviews from such publications as Car and Driver,[15] Car magazine,[16] the Los Angeles Times and Road & Track magazine. Among the features highlighted are the high output of the engine, the high redline, the balanced handling, and the smooth gearbox. User surveys have named the S2000 as a favorite for overall customer satisfaction.[17][18]

* The S2000 was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
* The S2000 was the highest-ranked model in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study "Premium Sports Car" class for 2004,[19] 2006,[20] and 2008[21] and has consistently held one of the top three positions.
* The F20C engine won the International Engine of the Year award in the "1.8 to 2 litre" size category for five years from 2000 through 2004.
* The F20C was featured on Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 2000 and 2001.
* The S2000 ranked number #1 in the BBC Top Gear Survey in 2004, 2005, and 2006.[22]
* Consumers' Most Wanted Convertible Under $35,000 for 2007, Edmunds.com[23]
* 10 Sexiest Cars for 2006 Finalist, Road & Travel Magazine[24]
* Ten Most Gorgeous Japanese Cars Currently For Sale, Jalopnik[25]
* Best Affordable Sports Car for 2008, U.S. News & World Report[26]
more on wiki





Finally, here is what made S2000 extra special for me:

S2000 rolls off the assembly line in a one-of-a-kind factory, namely, the TD line. TD stands for Takumi (ŚĆ† in Japanese, meaning a skilled person in general) Dream. TD line is a Honda factory located in Suzuka (Takanezawa), Mie prefecture. It is where NSX, Honda's halo car, is assembled.

TD line highlights:
size of about 19 Tokyo Domes (baseball stadium)
only the most skilled, experienced mechanics and workers
only one NSX worked on in a day
only a maximum of 50 S2000s assembled in a day
(these are really small numbers for such large factory)
painstaking attention to details
thorough inspections on each and every vehicle ensuring perfection



Why do I sound like a salesperson for S2000?

I've always been fascinated with this excellent example of human ingenuity. It's one of my dream cars. Moreover, it has come to an end. S2000 is over, finished, kaput. This is the last production year. And last but not least, I just bought one! (laughs hysterically)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

inauguration live online

If you're away from the TV set, if you're not in the country, here is where to watch it live:

http://www.pic2009.org/page/content/live

or

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27721638/

or

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/08/national/inauguration09/main4707733.shtml

or

http://www.hulu.com/live/inauguration

Watch it because
1 it's a historic event
2 Obama is the embodiment of hope
3 the US has been through its worst
4 one good thing can lead to another
5 we want to be united not divided
6 it's time for equality
7 the possibilities!!

Now that the US is cool again, our job is to help Prez Obama realize the Era of Responsibility.

warning: volume


The most admirable part of this speech? His tone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy New Year

Now some fireworks...



Jon Stewart. Make sure you watch his last analogy in this segment.