Saturday, January 15, 2022

Honda Civic Road Trip

From snowy Rochester, NY to sunny Seminole, FL this is my experience with the new, Honda Civic Si. The trip entailed 1330 miles of driving on all kinds of roads in conditions that ranged from snow and a washboard of ice to dry and smooth warm ashphalt with temps in the 60's. 



I purchased this beautiful, Blazing Orange Pearl Civic at Ide Honda in Rochester, NY on December 22nd. Timing was good as I called around to several dealers in early November and as it turned out, the day I called Ide Honda they learned they were going to be getting this Si.  There was no build date but they expected to see it before the end of the year. I met with Julian Barona in sales and I immediately put down a small deposit to reserve the car. Julian was great to work with and he really knows his Civics, having owned an Si and now a Type R.  If you are in the market for a Honda, I highly recommend you give him a call at 585-504-0193.

December in Rochester is not the best time for keeping a new car clean, but I knew in less than two weeks I would be breaking the bonds of winter's clutch and heading to Florida. As seen in the pictures below, there was a huge contrast. 

Civic Si and I left on a chilly 15 degree morning on January 4th, the day after a huge snow storm scraped across the Mid Atlantic, knocking down power lines, toppling trees and leaving up to a foot of snow in the Washington, DC area.  I left thinking that the roads would be cleared and salted by the time I got down near our nation's capitol.  After all we are the the most powerful country in the world and if any area would have plowed roads, they would.  Wrong!

Things went well the first 250 miles from New York through little towns like Springwater, Bath and Painted Post as I worked my way to RT 15 in Pennsylvania. The Si kept me toasty warm as I headed south, climbing to higher and higher elevations the further I went. It got colder too, hitting a low of 10 degrees as I crossed into Pennsylvania. The roads fine, no problem. The Civic was eager to climb hills with it's revised torque curve, pulling easily up through the many long rises in southern NY and northern PA. My new Coninental Extreme Contact DWS06 Plus tires were giving me the traction I needed while providing a smooth ride. I also must note the seats are some of the most comfortable I've ever sat in and that includes my Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. I did not miss heated seats as the fabric used on them seems to overcome that. I never felt cold in them.

Everything changed when I reached Warrenton, Virginia on RT 17. The roads were not just snow covered but ice covered with a sheet of the stuff 2-3 inches thick. And it wasn't pretty white stuff but ugly dirty brown ice. I was shocked to see they don't use salt there. Looks like they spread brown sugar everywhere. Must be some environmentalist thing- save a tree but kill a motorist as I see it. But that's just me. 

After driving for about 40 minutes with cars off the road here and there I finally reached I-95, one of the east coast's most heavily traveled roads, Again I thought, surley they would have I-95 cleared a day after the storm.  Wrong again!  It was just as bad as Rt. 17 that lead me to I-95 except there were trees down every 1-2 miles covering the lanes on both sides and the brown washboard of ice was still present! I thought I was traveling in a third world country, not the USA!  I continued on until, finally about 20 miles north of Richmond, VA the roads were just wet and the torture was over.

                         South Carolina rest stop. Except for a dirty car, I survived I-95 in Virginia

From Richmond to Savannah GA it was smooth sailing in sunny and clear conditions. The Civic was very quiet and the engine felt refined, even smoother than my 2.0 liter in my 2021 Accord.  Although not quite as quiet as the Accord, it was close. I attribute that  to the Continental tires. The Civic was getting 37-38 MPG and about every three hours I would stop to stretch my legs, and only about every 5 hours did I need gas. This part of the trip allowed me to play around  with the settings on the cruise control, lane keep assist and radio settings. I don't like reading through the owner's manual for everything, prefering to try the controls directly to see what they do. I learned a lot and also learned what I'd need to read up on in the owner's manual.

Darkness was fast approaching south of Savannah and upon reaching the Florida border I had the navigation screen up and running. It is so nice to have the Apple Car Play and with voice commands say where you want the guide to take you. All I needed to do is say 'Starke, FL' because from there I could find my way back to Seminole with no assistance. Like a charm, it guided me through the dark and confusing lane changes needed to get from I-95 to I-295 to I-10 to Rt 301.  

Rt 301 was so much easier with the Civic. If you have ever been on that stretch from Jacksonville to Ocala you know how the local municipalities like to change speed limits about every 2-3 miles. The Civic keeps you informed on the dahsboard what the speed limit is along the way, which is very nice. Also, the rev matching on the Si is sweet- need to slow down, just grab a lower gear and lightly tap the brake. It is smooth and effortless control that beats an automatic every time!

Once in Ocala I jumped on I-75 and was on the home stretch to Tampa and over the Howard Frankland bridge to Pinellas County and my home in Seminole, reaching there at 11:40PM. Covering 1330 miles in 22 hours.  Breakfast in Rochester, NY and dinner in Seminole, FL all in the same day thanks to this incredible Honda Civic Si!

Driving impressions: I'll give you my overview and then I have a video I encourage you to watch to get a complete report on the Civic Si's performance by Matt Moran. I agree with 99% of what he says in his review after he spent a week in an Si. 

Paul's driving impressions:    Engine Performance - Torque curve saves the day.  The fat, flat torque curve makes this Civic feel like a hot rod. It has the muscle for all street use up to 70 MPH.  It does not feel like 200 HP, more like 240-250 and I use the comparison of my Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Sport that is rated at 280 HP. That car is about 300 pounds heavier and the two cars feel the same for street use up to that 70 MPH. 

Handling/ Suspension - The ride is firm but not harsh. You completely loose the sensation of firmness as you reach highway speeds. Combining the ultra comfortable sport seats with the suspension characteristics, the car is surprisingly comfortable. I did not feel tired after driving 22 hours in it, just the opposite, I felt fine and even wished I could have kept going I was having so much fun rowing through the gears after riding along on cruise control for a good portion of the journey.

Steering - The steering is crisp and a little on the heavy side.  I think that would balance out at faster speeds but the best thing is you get some feedback from the tires so you 'know' where the front end is going like you are connected to the mechanical parts. I rate it as excellent.

Transmission/ Shifter -  A crowning achievement for a car under $30K. I owned a Porsche Boxster and I think this gearbox is as good as the Porsche. And with rev match on this takes the work out of driving a manual for perfect downshifts. Have it either way if you are do it yourself type. But I left it on and kept smiling every time I shifted.

Looks/ Appearance - The more I look at my car, the more I like it. It grows on you.  I parked at the food pick up spot at a Panera Bread the other day and the guy next to me said- hey I like your car. Also at my Tampa Bay Racers lunch this week one of the members commented (Porsche owner) your car looks meaty, aggresive.  Several members also said they love the Blazing Orange Pearl color! I have ordered a set of silver wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, just for a change of pace and will update the pictures when I get them.  I am old school and can't wait to see the 'silver look' with this Orange paint. The interior is a home run with good looking materials and premium feeling switchgear. Everything you touch feels quality and the Si seats look so nice. 

Areas of Improvement - It is hard for me to find a shortcomings, but one that stands out is the hump for the center brake light obstructs the view out the back window. For such well thought out forward vision for the Civic, which is part the new Civic's strong points, the hump on the rear package shelf is a big miss on Honda's part. Why not have it at the top of the back window.  I must say it bothers me looking in the rear view mirror.  Honda- I hope you are listening. If enough owners complain maybe they will change it.  The second complaint is the electronic parking brake. It's OK, but barely that. It sometimes does not release when you push the button down to release it. I found you have to put your foot on the brake to get it to release. Way too complicated.  Just give us the old fashion hand brake! 

Conclusion - A written review could go on for pages but watch this video- It gives you an honest assessment of the car and everything you need to know. All I can say in summary is that it is fun to drive and way better than I expected at this price point. The Civic does so many things well, it feels like an old friend.

So now it is time for the video- well worth your time to watch:

Complete Review of the Civic Si    by Matt Maran


        After pressure washing every inch of the car and a coat of hand rubbed wax, looking good.

                 Here's my Si with some Cricut Smart Vinyl accents on the rockers and lower fenders.



Here are the tires and wheels I went with.  I used Fitment Industries to buy the Enkei Kojin wheels (super happy with the buying experience with them) and purchased Continental Extreme Contact DWS06 Plus tires through Tire rack.  I have another set of Michelin tires and  Aodhan wheels on order from Fitment Industries that I will highlight and do a compare and contrast review of the tires in the future. Watch for more on this Civic Si as i have a few appearance mods planned!

This Review brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher Carcamerastory.com
Follow on @wownowpics on Instagram


Thursday, December 16, 2021

This May Be The Last New Car I Buy

                        WHY THIS IS THE LAST NEW CAR I WOULD WANT TO BUY

                                     The new Honda Civic Si aka Honda Civic Type R Lite

There's a lot of changes going on in the new car market.  More change than this business has seen in 100 years! To give context to the subject, I have been around the car business for70 years. I was born into it, so not my fault. The first 6 months of my life was spent in our family apartment above the showroom of a Chevy/ Olds dealership. My early recollections of this were around the age of 3-4 hanging out with dad in the showroom and if I was good, I'd get to eat a cinnamon twist donut with the mechanics when they went on break.

Those were the days when your local car dealer was known to everyone in town and he (my dad) would frequent the local eateries for lunch, chatting with townsfolk about the latest news of the day. Your dealer was your friend who you could go to for advice all things car related and get straight answers, have a few laughs. Like my dad, who was the Treasurer of our church, your dealer was one of you, a known figure of trust and respect.

Those days are changing, replaced by 'Market Adjusted Pricing', Required optional dealer installed equipment, and even gotcha clauses in finance contracts that charge up to $2,000. for paying off your car loan in the first year. (Don't resell your car for a while).  And now outrageous 'subscriptions' to allow use of the equipment you bought with the car!

I'm not sure when changes started but I saw things change in the '70's and '80's as the 'city' dealers got bigger and bigger and the small, family owned car franchise was seen by the car manufacturers as obsolete.  Go big or go bust was the attitude. The car companies held all the cards and told dealers what to do and how to do it. Computers came into the picture, more expensive diagnostic equipment became a requirement and everything focused on numbers and profit.  Nothing unusual here- all business needs to do that in today's world.  A natural progression of things.

Eventually my dad gave in to this changing world and got out of owning a dealership and settled in working in the business for another dealer as a parts and paper runner. He was never happier. 

As I write this, dad would have been 108 years old yesterday- the day my new car from Honda arrived on the transporter at Ide Honda in Rochester, NY.  I feel a special connection to this car because it surprised me and the sales person I'm working with, showing up sooner than expected! Maybe dad knew I could't wait to get my hands on this beautiful Civic Si and had something to do with its arrival.

So why might this be the last new car I buy? First of all it is a 6 speed manual, a blast from the past.  Very few are left and as we know companies don't want to invest in low volume units, as in manual shift cars. The other sign on the horizon is the death of the internal combustion engine. If the politicians in charge have their way the ICE is doomed.  Electric vehicles are the future they tell us, even though most people don't want them at this moment.

So what is my point about this being my last new car though? 

Here's the rub- the car manufacturers are going bonkers for new ways to suck money out of the consumers. I'd say they are Coo Coo for CoCo Puffs when you hear what's coming.  SUBSCRIPTIONS to be able to use your car's features. Unbelievable.  You have to watch this video to see how far out they are going.   After watching the video, I'll sum it up.  Take a look at this:

IS THIS PURE GREED?   Subscriptions to use your car's features:


A 1.5 liter turbo- 200 HP

                              Thank God! An honest to goodness 6 speed manual!

To conclude, with manual's going out, ICE's going extinct and subscriptions coming, who the hell would want to buy a car?  Keep what you have and treasure it because it may be gone forever. The only thing that will preserve cars that are fun to drive is if we vote with our wallet by buying cars like this. Let's hope they keep making them!

And write to your congress person (politically correct term) and Senators to ban the practice of requiring a subscription to use equipment you already bought. If that is allowed to stand, then the lawmakers should be booted out of office.

BONUS REVIEW-  And here is one of the best car reviews on this new Civic I've seen.  They nailed it!

Click Link Below To See Review:

Honda Civic Si - By Slashgear.com

Oh and Merry Christmas ,  I really do hope that for you and your family.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher, Carcamerastory.com / follow on Instagram @wownowpics

See you after the new year.


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Smog and Electrification -Looking Back While Looking Forward

                           The feature article in the June 1967 Road Test magazine was:


 Sounds like we are still discussing this topic today!  Well, for this post I thought the end of a year is a good time to reflect back- way back 54 years on a topic that's in the news every day. Isn't it amazing the lack of progress we have made in electrifying our fleet of cars in America!  That has a lot to do with personal preference from the buying public for ICE vehicles.  It also has a lot to do with battery technology, or lack thereof, given the strides made in other areas such as computing power, space travel and even our everyday television sets.   My opinion is we are not there yet on either front.  

The typical car buyer is gun shy about getting an EV because of 'range fright' and inconvenience of recharging a battery. On the second major point, battery technology is better but it has a ways to go and buying this year's EV might prove a disapointment when in 18 months to 2 years superior battery technology is offered in updated vehicles. You could get stuck driving an 'antique' in todays hyperfast changing technology.

                                                 Take a look at this BS from 1967:


What is amusing is the political side to this discussion. The politicians are so full of it, you can't take anything they say seriously. Like the underlined section of this article- basicly outlawing ICE vehicles in California starting in 1980.  What happened to that deadline? Sounds like New York state when they passed a law a few months ago banning certain ICE vehicle sales after 2030- 2035.  Allowing for a phase in period.  Politicians tell you what they think you want to hear wether it makes sense or not.

And for a little review of the science behind the development of EV's here's a few of the automakers attempts that may give you a chuckle, or may give you a sense of how complicated and diverse a set of 'solutions' can be:   Point is - automakers have been studying this subject a long, long, time.

I know some of you will say its a conspiracy by the oil companies to prevent EV's from becoming the norm. I say no - it is not easy to mass produce EV's that are economical to buy, environmentally friendly to produce in the millions, and acceptable to the mass market given the downsides to owning an EV.








ON TO THE NEXT SUBJECT- ICE VEHICLES AND THEIR CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT:

If you think things have not changed much with car engine performance and continual efficiences found by reducing weight and perfecting aerodynamics, think again. The difference in ICE performance and the overall improvement in how cars are constructed is amazing.  I am still blown away knowing the hottest muscle cars of the late '60's can't compare with even 'sporty' compact cars of today.  ( I'm buying a 2022 Honda Civic Si that blows every one of these away in fuel consumption (double the MPG) while matching these 1/4 mile times at 15.1 seconds and besting top speeds with 130 MPH )!!  Take a look:





                                           AND THE SUBJECT OF SMOG CONTROL

Back in the '70's all the talk was smog control for cars. Every car enthusiast was pissed because the government mandates were essentially killing performance and making cars run like crap.  All at a higher cost for the consumer.  Nothing like paying more for a car that ran worse and felt like a sick dog to drive.  We had just been treated in the '60's to some phenomenal cars, only to see that get stripped away by government regulation for pollution and smog. And the biggie- the dreaded Catalytic Converter!

There's a wonderful editorial in the December 1972 issue of Motor Trend that summed it up with the

cartoon caption " The emisions are down to zero, but the car doesn't run!"    Check it out:



So you see the debates we are having today are not all that different from the debates of nearly 50 years ago. That's the paradox, we have come so far with our cars's technological advancements yet we still have the bugaboos of further controlling pollution (Smog) and we can't ever be satisfied with how far we have come. Like the cartoon implies - how far are the politicians going to push this.  Well they are pushing hard for EV's and they want to kill ICE's but maybe we should be happy with how much we have improved.   

ONE LAST INTERESTING COMPARISON:

Since I'm getting a Honda Civic Si, I thought back to my cars of the past and my '82 Chevy Citation X11 came to mind. What a similar car to the Civic Si! It even resembles the new 11th Gen Civic if you use a little imagination. The formula is the same- a compact, fun to drive car that gets good mileage and handles well yet is affordable. Bingo- The Chevy Citation X11. The Citation came in a coupe and a 4 door and was a hatchback. In coupe form it looks a little like the new, slope back Civic 4 door sedan.  One big thing I remember when getting the Citation X11 was how good it was on gas. I was getting 24 MPG on the highways which was about 5 MPG better than anyting I owned before. And it was a zippy little thing with a nice exhaust sound. Honda- did you copy Chevrolet when you designed the first Si in 1986?  Maybe.  Here's some pictures to compare. Use a little imagination and you will see Civic all over this Citation!



And here's the new Civic Si:



            That's all for now.  A long look back into the future?  


Check back soon for the delivery of the 2022 Honda Civic Si- sometime in December.

Carcamerastory, brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher

Follow on Instagram @wownowpics


 


Monday, October 25, 2021

Rooster Tails And Power Boat Racing - InCahoots, Again!

                                         Like a fighter pilot, Jim Aid Ready To Launch

 Yes, power boat racing, which is a new subject for this blog. It all came about when my friend, Jim Aid a national winner in his class a few years back, asked me to crew for him at the Orange Cup Regatta in Lakeland, FL on October 15-17th.  His boat is named InCahoots, Again.  (There's a story behind that)

The Orange Cup is a race santioned by APBA or the American Power Boat Association.

This was a new challenge for me as a photographer, having some factors to deal with while capturing the action on the one mile course from land.  The hardest part was to know where to be when the race started to capture the best pictures since moving from one vantage point to another was out of the question.  The races last 5 laps or 5 miles and at over 100 MPH things happen quickly. The other factor is water spray from the skid fin which helps to turn the boat and the 'rooster tail' from the propeller. Get two or more of these boats together and you get a spectactular show, but a real problem for picture taking. In spite of this, I was pleased with the pictures you see here.

To get an idea of Jim's class, he races in the 2.5 liter modified that is described in the link below. What is nice is that there's quite a bit of leeway in the rules allowing the boat owner to be creative in ways to be fast.  And Jim is fast.  A few years back he held the national speed record for the mile course in the 2.5 Modified hydroplane class. Try 130 MPH at the end of the straightaway on water!

The other thing that's fun to watch is how they use cranes to get the boats in and out of the water. If you want a treat, attend one of these races!

APBA 2.5 Mod Class Description

It was a beautiful weekend. perfect weather and a light breeze, good for racing. I've put a link below for anyone wanting to see a video of the race where you get a chance to see the action.  I am also posting a set of pictures of some of the other boats along with Jim's.  One of the most fun to watch are the Jersey boats, which are vintage looking, but new Rum Runner boats used in the past to smuggle booze.  They are manned by two people and it is one of the wildest rides on the water. Like riding a bucking bronco as I describe it.

So take a peek at the video and enjoy these pictures.  

Watch The Race Here:

                         
                        Jim and co-owner/crew chief, Norm Cameron talking strategy.
    
                                                                        

                                                                    Jersey Boat



                                                       Jim in center waiting for lift in.                

                                                                       Lift In!

                                             Bobby Gunn doing final check of systems


                                                Jim talking with a race official.              

                                       Crew attending the boat before lift in.

                                                                          On throttle!
                                                  

                                                            Hold on at 130 MPH
                                                                   

                                                         Can two make the turn?
                                   

                                                          Yep- Jim turns on a dime!



                                              And here's a sample of the other races:
















                                                                   A good days race.

I hope you enjoyed this post. A lot different than car racing but just as exciting. Plan on coming to Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland Florida in October 2022 for this race.  It's free for spectators and a bunch of fun for the family.  

Photos and story by Paul Ziegler, Publisher, Carcamerastory.co.  Follow on Instagram @wownowpics .
Also, author of "Echoes From The Glen" on sale now.






Friday, September 24, 2021

Robert Wickens Returns To Driving In A Hyundai!

 Rising star Robert Wickens was making a name in Indycar in 2018.  I watched as he won the pole for the 2018 Indycar Grand Prix run on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida in March that year.  He had already accomplished so much in other racing series including FIA Formula Two, the GP3 Series, Formula Renault 3.5, DTM and now Indycar.

A horrific crash in August 2018 nearly ended his life, let alone his racing career. But like Niki Lauda of F1 fame, Robert fought back with dedication and vowed to return to racing.  He is still progressing to this day and a major milestone has been achieved by landing a seat with Brian Herta Autosport using a hand control system developed for driver, Michael Johnson in a Hyundai Veloster TCR car. 

Click Here For Video:

The next year  Robert attended the St. Petersburg Grand Prix and I was fortunate to meet him at the drivers autograph session. It was there that I gave him a copy of my book, Echoes From The Glen that highlights Niki Lauda on the cover. I remember inscribing inside the jacket a personal note to Robert that said let Niki Lauda be your inspiration as you recover so that you in turn, can inspire others recoverinig from a spinal cord injury.  Here's the pictures that recorded my brief meeting with Robert:

                     That's me handing Robert a copy of my book 'Echoes From The Glen"



So for more on this story, here's a video of Robert back in a race car!  Thanks to Brian Herta Autosport Bravo!    Click Below:

Robert Wickens Interview


And here's some pictures of Robert on the track at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix in 2018. 




Good luck to you Robert and I can't wait to see you in a Hyundai at a track near me soon..

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher of Carcamerastory.com