Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift

O.k....I admit it! I designed this blog to showcase pictures and summaries of carshows, cruise-ins, and cars of friends and family. The idea of having "rice-burning" "turner" cars even pictured in this blog is a bit unsettling.

My 15 year old son enjoys the Fast and Furious movies, and today, I bought the 3rd movie: Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. While I myself do not have much interest in the import scene, I do appreciate that the writers of these movies have always seemed to include a few American built muscle cars in each of the F&F trilogy.

If you haven't seen Tokyo Drift, I've copied and pasted a nice summary of the plot that I found on the internet:

Sean Boswell, who has always been an outsider. A loner at school, his only connection to the indifferent world around him is through illegal street racing -- which has made him particularly unpopular with the local authorities. To avoid jail time, Sean is sent out of the country to live with his Farther in the military, in a cramped apartment in a low-rent section of Tokyo. In the land that gave birth to the majority of modified racers on the road, the simple street race has been replaced by the ultimate pedal-to-the-metal, gravity-defying automotive challenge ... drift racing, a deadly combination of brutal speed on heart stopping courses of hairpin turns and switchbacks. For his first unsuccessful foray in drift racing, Shean unknowingly takes on D.K., the "Drift King," with ties to the Yakuza, the Japanese crime machine. The only way he can pay off the debt of his loss is to venture into the deadly realm of the Tokyo underworld, where the stakes are life and death. Written by Press Release

In this movie, the main character, Sean, starts out with an "in-process" early Monte Carlo. He is seen working on it in a high school auto mechanics class. Later, he races a rich "punk" in his daddy's Viper. Unfortunately, both cars in up being totaled, (I think I might of shed a tear or two as the Monte rolled over and over across the screen).

Because he has been in trouble in 3 different towns for racing, his mother sends him to Tokyo to live with his military father. Toward the end of the film, he finds out his father has a "rough" Mustang with no drive train in the garage. Sean and his friends swap out a souped up Nissan engine and trick the Ford out. The final race involves Sean in the 'Stang against the antagonistic character in his Nissan Z. Of course Sean wins the downhill drifting race, with the Z going over the edge of the narrow road.

I guess the thing that bothers me a bit about movies like this is the number of vintage vehicles they have to go through to make the movie. (see picture). In the first two F&F movies, they wrecked a Yenko Camaro, a Dodge Charger, a Vette, and a late-model Mustang among others. All in all, the vintage cars always make the sub-par acting, weak story lines, and Japanese "pop cans" tolerable for me. The bottom line for me is that regardless of the cars, it is great to have something (i.e. an interest in automobiles) that can be enjoyed and shared with my son in the same way that my father and I have been able to do.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Midlife crisis?

O.k....I'm not thinking of running out and getting any tattoos or anything drastic, just thinking how cool it would be to buy a retro, old skool bobber. I wonder how the superintendent, the board of education and the local parents would appreciate their middle school principal riding something like one of these to school. I've always enjoyed motorcycles. I can remember burning my leg on the exhaust of my dad's Triumph when I was just a pre-schooler.
(Updated 02/23/07 blogger's note: I spoke with my father the other day and he "corrected my memory". It was my Uncle Randy's motorcycle that I burnt my leg on, not my father's Truimph. Dad also told me that even before this event, he used to take me around town (straddling the gas tank, sitting between his legs) when I was just 9 or 10 months old! Seems dangerous in today's world of seatbelt laws and car seats...but those were different times. I can remember my dad driving around town in a Bug-eyed Sprite as I sat up behind the seats like the grand marshall in a parade...aaah, those were the days!)
When I was in late elementary school, dad bought me a mini-bike. At first, dad put a regulator on the throttle to keep me from killing myself. I remember on one occasion, I jumped the hill in front of our bank-barn and snapped the front fork right off.
In early middle school , we had a 250cc Harley Davidson Enduro. The thing was way to big for me at the time, my feet didn't even reach the ground. I can remember that same summer, dad was having a new septic system installed in the field behind our house. There were lots of big mounds of dirt which made riding the bike a real thrill. One particularly scary spill curbed my interest for some time.
When I was dating my wife, her younger brother was in middle school and had a small Rupp dirt bike. We used to take turns riding it through the front yard and around the barn.
In college, one of my buddies who lived on my floor had a new Harley Sportster. I think this was probably the first time I started thinking about the idea of owning a Harley of my own some day.
I have a friend that is quite the "horse-trader" (see earlier "Shay" posting). Occasionally, he will get a new bike or four-wheeler. When I stop in to see him, he is always willing to let me try out his new "toys". A couple of years ago, he had a really 'sic' Harley. It was bright red with a custom purple paint job. The bike rode well, but he wouldn't sell it to me because he said it was from the "AMF" years of Harley. During the years Harley was owned by AMF, before the Harley workers bought the company, Harley's were notorious for leaking oil. He said I really should buy a later model Harley if and when I buy one.
A couple of years ago, one of my high school students went out and bought a brand new Sportster. The thing was incredible. He would ride it to school and typically park it right near the faculty parking. I'd have to walk by the bike every day to get into the building.
Every week, my wife picks up the free Indiana Auto and RV books. My son and I really enjoy looking through both the "A" and the "B". I'm always interested in looking for bikes that have that old skool look....i.e. wide whitewalls, ape hanger handle bars, etc. On occasion, I'll surf eBay for the same kind of bikes. Tonight I found a couple of bikes that would "fit the bill". Guess I'll have to keep dreaming til the kids are out of the house and I'm drawing those retirement checks.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

I Want a "Flathead"!

Gabcast! Suede and Chrome #2

A friend of mine's father has a 1947 Ford two-door sedan he has been trying to sell for a couple of years. He puts it out at the end of his driveway for a couple of weeks in the summer time, then it disappears into his heated garage for the rest of the year. I don't think it has been driven more than up and down the lane for several years.

I don't get to see him much, but in the summer time, his grandchildren play in the same softball league as my daughters. Occasionally, I get to ask him about the car. Unfortunately, I haven't convinced my wife that it would be a good investment. According to the owner, the car was originally bought for his youngest daughter when she turned 16. (who by the way my younger brother dated a couple of times.) Anyway, she is now grown, married with children, and has moved to Texas.

The car is all original, with a flathead V8. If memory serves me right, the body is pretty straight and is painted a muted green.

This week, while surfing through the automotive listings on eBay, I was reminded of the car and how "cool" it would be to own it. I'm not a big fan of Fords, but I do like "fat-fendered" cars no matter what the make. Cars from the late 1930's through the early 1950's are definitely among my favorites! I've included some pictures of the Ford I found on eBay this week. I really like the lines of late 40's Fords. The red steelies with wide whites, and the dual exhausts make this one "way cool daddio"!