4 Surefire Ways to Become an Automotive Enthusiast

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CarGurus is a wonderful resource for shoppers looking to find great deals from great dealers, but sometimes we wonder whether we’re serving the automotive enthusiast community as well as we could. Sure, we’ve got plenty of data connected to market values, used-car rankings, and new-car reviews, but how can we help drivers, new or seasoned, looking to bury themselves deep within the rich world of car culture? For some of you, this glimpse down the path toward gearheadedness will sound painfully obvious. For the uninitiated, we hope it acts as a roadmap as you earn your stripes (your C4 Corvette Grand Sport racing stripes, that is).

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Defining the Driver’s Car: Our Experience at IMPA’s Test Days

While many auto journalists will tell you they’re just trying to scratch a living out of whatever they can, it’s an undisputed fact that the job has some definite perks. Although we can’t live the life of the rich and famous every day, we do occasionally get invited to drive the cars we cover. For a couple of beautiful days in October, Monticello Motor Club—one of the most exclusive and impressive automotive country clubs in America—opens its doors for the International Motor Press Association‘s (IMPA) Test Days, where schlubs like us get asked to drive some of the best new cars in the world on both a technical race track and the back roads of the Catskill Mountains.

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Happy Collector Car Appreciation Day!

1956 Chevrolet Corvette

Happy July 11th! Today is a very special day for car-lovers: the relatively newly dubbed National Collector Car Appreciation Day is a (real and official) holiday celebrated to raise awareness of automotive restoration and collection and its role in American society. A resolution was passed (one of the few truly bipartisan efforts) by the U.S. Senate in 2010 in order to to recognize the important roles played by automobiles in music, literature, cinema and other cultural and artistic aspects of the American identity. Organized by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the event has been held on the second Friday in July since 2010. This makes today the fifth annual Collector Car Appreciation Day, and its popularity (and knowledge of its existence) is growing. And we couldn’t be happier about that.

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Burning Oil in a Brand New Car

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Burning oil in a 1973 Cadillac seems legit.

Drive an old boat like that around for long and you’ll stop at every gas station and put in a quart of oil. Worn engines simply burn and leak oil, often causing heavy smoke and the putrid odor of crusty black tar.

Drivers of those old cars don’t get too angry at the oil consumption because they know it just comes with the territory of having the pleasure of driving a Nixon-era automobile.

A 2013 car should never burn a quart of oil between oil changes.

Right?

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Summer Car Events You Can’t Miss

Woodward Dream Cruise

Is it August already!?

Sometimes looking at the calendar truly shocks me. I realized we’re not only in August, we’re about done with the first week of the last month of summer. And I haven’t even gotten sunburned yet!

If you’re like me (God help you), you’re realizing that summer is passing you by and you haven’t really taken the time to enjoy it. Well, you need a break. Even if it’s just a weekend out of town or a long day spent doing something fun just for you.

You need to get away from the constant barrage of political wars, Facebook updates and buzzing cell phones. But you don’t want to get away from civilization and go into the wilderness or anything… that’s crazy. There aren’t any cars there to enjoy. So what you need is a summer car event. One of these will do nicely:

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Racing: It’s for ALL the Idiots!

A new generation of speed freak!

I drove for the first time when I was about 9 years old.

That’s also when I crashed for the first time, slamming hard into a big blue dumpster after the brakes on my homemade go-kart failed.

Those early days behind the wheel of a go-kart I made with my dad are what sparked my love for cars and my desire for speed (not to mention a hearty appreciation for good brakes). Today, like most responsible adults, my driving is limited to shuttling the kids to school and piano lessons with the inevitable stop at Costco.

Not exactly the stuff of blood-pumping exhilaration, which is why I’m so thankful for two things: the thrill of the track and my son’s go-kart.

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Cars Coming Soon->2012 Dodge Viper, 2011 Dodge Charger, a Christmas Camaro

All-new 2011 Dodge Charger

2011 Dodge Charger

In September we heard that the next Dodge Viper could be a reskinned version of the sexy Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. While that rumor still holds, we have another tease regarding the upcoming Viper.

Dodge Viper logoA select group of Viper Club of America members were shown a preview at the club’s 11th annual Owners Invitational in Salt Lake City. While a car wasn’t exactly on hand to view, the 800 snake-bitten enthusiasts got to see the next best thing: the car’s new logo. A car was onstage under a sheet, but it turned out to be “just” a Ferrari 599. (Hmmm, maybe those Alfa rumors aren’t so solid…)

Cameras and cell phones were supposed to be under lock and key, but dragtimes.com caught a few good shots of a gaping-mouthed, sharp-fanged Viper that will adorn the next-gen supercar.

Dodge has also been hard at work redesigning the 2011 Charger.

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Crazy Racers: A Bright Spot in the World of Facebook Apps

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I haven’t been on Facebook long, but I’ve been there long enough to already despise invites and updates on things like Mafia Wars, Gangsta Life, Horse Head in the Bed, and whatever other mob-inspired games are out there.

I’m already sick of them and think someone needs to order a hit on them all.

This is why I surprised even myself when I was sucked into a friend’s post about something called Crazy Racers. I think the whacked-out Taxi is what grabbed my attention. Whatever the reason, it was only about 30 seconds after that first click that I was racing my new Clown Car against that old Taxi in an ice race. And I won! And I wanted more.

Crazy Racers is the latest game offered by Car IQ on Facebook, a fast-growing car community created by the folks at CarGurus.

TAXIJust log on, pick a car (you can choose between a tank, an ice cream truck, a school bus, and more) and challenge your friends. Or me. When your challenge is accepted, you’ll compete in either a drag race, a demolition derby, a cannonball run, or an ice race. Then take your prize money (called “carsh”) and buy upgradesTANK until your car is nearly unbeatable! It’s simple, addictive, and most of all, fun.

The Car IQ community is great because it’s built around people who love cars. They share pictures of their cars, review cars they’ve driven, and can even create virtual garages and fill them with every dream car imaginable. Have a question about a car? Submit it to an expert and join the nearly 20,000 folks who have already gotten answers on everything from what year Civic to buy to why a Mitsubishi doesn’t run.

Then there’s the Car IQ game itself, another addictive game in which you try to identify cars by year, make, and model. It’s harder than you’d think, especially as you move up in the game. You can even add pictures of your own cars to the quiz, too, just by uploading some to your garage. Of course, that means sometimes a car can be mislabeled (apparently some people don’t know the difference between a Dodge Charger and a Challenger), so if you see a mislabeled car, there’s a link you can use to report it.

For someone who loves cars, the Car IQ community and the new Crazy Racers game have been a blessing in an online world currently controlled by the mafia. Maybe we can call work together to run the mob down with our cars, then challenge them to a Crazy Race.

Who’s gonna challenge me to a Crazy Race? See if you can beat me and my upgraded Clown Car! Find me on Facebook here.

-tgriffith

German Roadside Service on the Autobahn

ADAC? That’s correct. ADAC is the German Autobahn’s super roadside service entity, that responds with special equipment that are self contained and can literally repair your car on the spot right where you break down on the Autobahn. Their drivers are welders, mechanics and a parts house and fabrication shop.

This is the state of the art in roadside service in the world, as far as I know. Try using Google’s Language Tools to help as this site is completely in German, for obvious reasons. Awesome and something to behold, even it’s on the Interent.

John(CarGurus_Sr)

Roadside Service is very different on the Autobahn…

Being German and all, means being very organized and precise in ones execution. First off the way the Autobahn is run through a Command Center. They have a lot of highly organized documentation to populate their pages and related service websites. One of those is really in all German, yet if you go to Google and use their Language Tools on the right, you can translatem into English. Really cool.

Tomorrow the German version of AAA roadside service. This will blow your mind. Can we have this here and hey, what about a ‘Toll’ Autobahn in the US to pay for lower gas costs… is that even possible? I’ll address that soon for sure…

John (CarGurus_Sr)