Friday, December 23, 2016

Can You Name the Top Selling Car of All Time?

I saw an article on the top selling car of all time, and it was a surprise to me! One car that I thought would be on this list is the Toyota Camry, but apparently they've only sold about 10.5 million of them! Still the top selling car in the US for the past 14 years or so, but not good enough for the top ten.

For what it's worth, let's count them down!

10: Chevy Impala.  14 million.
A Chevy in the top ten, imagine that! The Impala is still a pretty cool car, and they've been around a long time, so that's enough to put them in the top ten selling cars of all time. In 1958, the Impala was a version of the Bel Air, and then in 1959 the Impala became it's own model. Hey, it's 58 years old since 1958, how about that!

9: Volkswagen Passat.  15.5 million.
I am kind of guessing that the VW Beetle will definitely be on this list, but I'm not sure I'd have guessed the Passat. The only VWs I've owned were two Rabbits in the 80s, and a VW Fox. 2/3rds of those were good cars, right up to the day I totalled the Fox anyway. The bad Rabbit I had was bought used, and I bought a bad one. The Rabbit I traded it in for was a brand new 83, and that one was great!

8: Ford Model T.   16.5 million.
Whoa, I thought the Model T would be up at the top of the list, but apparently I was way off. Way to go Henry Ford. I've read that Mr. Ford was so happy with the Model T that it took many years of arguing with him to build a new model, the car we know as the Model A.

7: Honda Accord.  17.5 million.
OK, this one I can believe! Honda  has a great reputation, builds dependable cars, and still makes the Accord today. If you don't like Japanese cars, well, the Accord has been made in the USA since 1982 in Marysville Ohio, so the global economy kind of blurs the lines of what country a car is "from" these days. The first Accords (in 1976) were little 68 horsepower hatchback cars, so they've come a long way. One of the current models is a hybrid that gets a staggering 49mpg.

6:  Honda Civic.  18.5 million.
Two Hondas in a row, two in the top ten so far, not bad Honda!

5:  Ford Escort (UK version). 20 million.
This is another model that has been around for a very long time, and that's what it takes to rack up these kinds of numbers. The Escort appeared in Europe in 1968, and didn't sell in the US until 1981. Make wise, that's 2 for  Honda and 2 for Ford so far.

4:  Volkswagen Beetle.  23.5 million.
Pretty good jump for the Beetle, selling 3.5 million more than the Ford Escort. This also adds VW to the 2-in-the-top-ten list.

3:  Volkswagen Golf.  27.5 million.
Good gravy, three VWs in the top ten! No wonder they were the top selling brand in the world recently, uh, right up to that time they had that little issue with illegally tampering with the MPG ratings on their diesel cars. Maybe the people that count these auto sales numbers should subtract a few of the diesel VWs. Here at number three in the count down, the Golf badge also includes the US Rabbits. I had two of these, remember seeing Golfs in Norway in 1976, and wondering why the gave their Rabbits a different name than in the US. From researching this important car question on the internet, the best I could find out is that VW has never mentioned why they used the Golf name in the rest of the world and called it the Rabbit in the US. Back then they had a VW factory in Pennsylvania, but it eventually closed. Then not too long ago VW opened another factory in the US, so welcome back!

2:  Ford F-series.  35 million.
I didn't make up the numbers, I just found this info that said top ten CARS, and here we have some TRUCKS. Thirty five million trucks is a LOT of trucks.

1:  Toyota Corolla.  37.5 million.
There you have it, 50 years of selling the same model named car, and the Toyota Corolla is the king of the hill! You can read a nice article about the Toyota Corolla from Autoweek magazine at this link: Corolla

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Review: Top Ten Photos

We're about to say good-bye to 2016, so I took a quick look through the past year here on the NMS blog, and figured since David Letterman isn't giving us TOP TEN lists anymore, that I'd have to do it myself. From autocross, to auto shows, to engine work and lots of other car stuff, here's some of the highlights from the NMS camera crew.

One big highlight for NMS was Brian's design of the "Coneavore", an autocross cone-eating Miata. He put this one on his car, and also sent the Coneavore in to the T-shirt guys at, and they sold 300 of them! Brian also came up with the cool NMS-South logo, the NMS blog design, NMS-North design, and basically everything cool that says NMS on it.
The NMS 1999 Miata had a bit of an issue back in 2015, so a lot of the early 2016 season was spent by Brian and the South Carolina crew getting the engine back together, tweaking the suspension, testing various tires, etc. In case you're wondering what the inside of a Miata four cylinder engine looks like, this photo shows a bit of the detail. This is the motor that went on to compete in a lot of events this year, including major SCCA events in Georgia, Tennessee, and the Nationals in Nebraska.

The Miata also received a new interior, so before that could be completed, all the old stuff had to come out. If you're still wondering about Miatas and wanted to see one with the seats out, the carpet gone, here ya go! This procedure is also a GREAT way to make money, if you find 62 cents hiding in the carpet, seats, and all those hard to reach places that are a lot easier to reach with the seats taken out of your car!
Meet Jason Rucker, shown here during the SCCA competition at Bristol TN. Jason's outer hat is the prize for placing in the top 4 in a two day long competition! Jason won several other regional SCCA events for fastest PAX time with the NMS Miata, and placed the highest of the four South Carolina drivers in E Street class at Nationals.

NMS-North got out of the house and did some kart racing with some of the Tidewater Sports Car Club members over the winter, and learned a lot. Some of the things he learned are that 1: He's not fast in a cart, and 2: He's very slow in a cart! We know that most of the professional drivers in the NASCAR, Indy, Formula 1 races started their careers driving carts at around 4 years old. Robert apparently didn't get this memo, and is still trying to find some 4 year olds he could take driving lessons from. Regardless, indoor and outdoor karting is a ton of fun, and we recommend it very highly. Wear a helmet, fasten that seat belt, and hold on!
 At one of the autocross events in Virginia, Robert drove the FIAT and had Max Curtner ride along. These two guys served together in the Army in a little place that rhymes with Iraq, so Max had a fun day riding along. We kind of think he'll be autocrossing soon too. In this photo he's displaying that "WOW, THIS IS REALLY FUN TO DO, I CAN'T WAIT TO DRIVE LIKE THIS" look that we always see when someone tries autocross for the first time.
During a very hot event in Charleston SC, we snapped this photo of Jason Rucker and Brian Nixon, who were both smart enough to be getting in the shade when they could. These guys teamed up all year, co-drove the NMS Miata, and took on events in at least six states this year. One of the best ways to get better at autocross is to maximize your seat time, or time behind the wheel. You can basically double the knowledge gained by sharing the same car with another driver, compare notes on driving techniques and tire pressures, and keep working hard to improve the car and the drivers.

On the same day in SC, our crew managed to get an awesome photo of this 1958 Edsel driving on the autocross course. On the blog it doesn't look as cool as it did in person, but you can click on the photo to get a better view too. Just about any car can compete in autocross, and this right here is photographic evidence of that little fact!
One of the drivers we've met while competing is Mr. Pete Frazier, standing on the right of this photo. Pete and his sons Cooper and Conner here have been having a blast autocrossing a variety of cars that they've developed, including this MR2, a Miata, a Lotus, and Pete says they've got a couple of Porsches recently that just might be driven in events in the future. I'll take a wild guess that these guys get along pretty well, so you can certainly say that autocross is family friendly. Just ask Team Frazier!
Away from competition, we sent one of our photographers to California to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum. Among a staggering number of jaw dropping dream cars, we liked this McLaren F1 just about the best. This is the type of car that most of us only see in magazines, so to see one in the flesh up close and personal was a blast. I also like the photo because I got to spend the day at the museum with  my brother Brad, that guy in the background there. You can learn more on the McLaren F1 page: F1
 Did we say that just about any car can autocross yet? Yes? Good! It's still true, and here's another car from 1958 to prove the point. In this case, it's a Morgan roadster, all the way from England, and with left hand drive. Besides the cool Morgan, the other reason I love this photo is the view of the scenic Chesapeake Bay, the sailboat out there, and the bright  orange cones showing some previous "battle damage" from close encounters with other drivers. When you knock over a cone in autocross, it adds 2 seconds to your time, so the idea is to drive as fast as possible without hitting them!
As fans of Italian cars like the NMS FIAT 500 Abarth, this photo from a Virginia Beach Cars and Coffee pretty much shows the high and the low, or the cheap and the expensive, in Italian automobiles. The red Ferrari in the foreground is contrasted with the much cheaper FIAT next to it. I guess that's why I bought the FIAT, since it's Italian and I can' afford Ferraris!
Speaking of Italian cars, Alfa Romeo continues to bring new cars to the US, and this yellow Alfa 4C was spotted at the Washington DC Auto Show early in the year. In addition to the awesome carbon fiber bodied car you see here, Alfa is about to start delivering the Giulia sedan to US dealers. Then, likely next year, we'll see the all new Alfa Romeo SUV, named Stelvio, for the famous pass in the Italian Alps.
Michael Moore joined up with the NMS-North team, and co-drove the FIAT at several events this year. When he's not busy working for the Army, Michael is in the midst of restoring a classic Nissan Z car at home. At the event in this photo, we got stuck driving in wet conditions, but had a fun day anyway. Some of the video from this event featured some close-ups of huge water drops on the roof top camera, so nothing to write home about, but entertaining to watch.
We had some hot days, we had some wet days, and then around Thanksgiving we headed north to visit relatives and drove in some of this white stuff too! Sliding around in the snow can be fun, but mostly the snow reminds me to tell you to keep your car in good shape; watch your tire conditions; have emergency supplies if you're driving long distance in the snow; buckle that seat belt, and always look out for the other people on the road.
The South Carolina Region (SCR) of the Sports Car Club of America started to hold some Rallycross events in 2016, and they are planning a full season of competition in 2017 too. Rallycross is just like autocross, BUT, you do it on unpaved dirt, rocks, gravel, or whatever isn't pavement! Check the SCR website in our links section to keep up with their schedule.

We hope you've enjoyed the 16 photos in our TOP TEN PHOTOS blog. If you're worried about our  math skills, just remember what Yogi Berra said about baseball, and apply it to driving: "Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical."

Sunday, December 18, 2016

TSCC Awards Dinner

GS Champion
Last night at the Military Aviation Museum in scenic Pungo VA (The Autocross Center of the Universe), the Tidewater Sports Car Club wrapped up the 2016 auto-cross season with a fun evening at their annual awards dinner. In addition to some great food in a unique setting, the highlight was the presentation of the overall champion trophy for the year, as well as the top 10 drivers, and trophies for the winning drivers in each class. On top of all that, there were enough door prizes given away to stock an entire garage, and I think everyone went home happy. I'm looking forward to more fun with this group in 2017.

Overall Champion Trophy
They let me look at it, not take it home!

Here at NMS-North, we're happy to report that this makes it two years in a row for winning the G Street class, even if there weren't many drivers competing in this particular class. As we like to say, "first is still first", even if there isn't anyone in second! Next year the FIAT will move into the more competitive HS class, so it will be tough trying to keep up with the fast HS drivers like Dan Adams (Fiesta ST) and Chris Parsons (VW TDI Golf).

Door Prizes

One great thing about the TSCC is that they also include a LOT of door prizes, so in addition to a fun evening, we also went home with a restaurant gift card! Other prizes included gift cards to Tire Rack, auto parts stores, tools, car cleaning gear, a mechanic's wheeled chair, a creeper, a 10x10 canopy, and other goodies.

Each class winner received a club jacket with their name embroidered on it, and a cool trophy like the ones in this photo above. For classes with enough drivers entered, there were also trophies for 2nd place. For the overall club championship, there was the cool first place piston trophy, and each of the top 10 overall drivers also received recognition.

People, Food, Car Stuff!

Also, thanks to the Military Aviation Museum. If you're in the VA Beach area, I'd recommend this as a great place to stop and see some fascinating WWII aircraft from not only the US, but also Russia, Germany, and Japan. Here's a Messerschmidt three wheeled car too. Maybe we could get the museum to let us autocross their cars some time!

Thanks for following along with the NMS team, happy holidays, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Oil Change Day!


You know, there just aren't many days of the year that are as exciting as OIL CHANGING DAY! Here at NMS North we just happened to have two cars that both needed oil changes at the same time, so today was that day. Luckily I had the day off of work, so a trip to the auto parts store, (or maybe it was two to find that hard to find FIAT filter). OK, maybe it was two stores and one dealership, so, three then, and I finally  had the two oil filters and the right type of oil for two different cars!

Now I remember why last time I just ordered everything from Amazon and had it delivered to the house.


Both the FIAT Abarth and the Toyota Camry are 4 cylinder engines, and they both use paper filters that fit inside a reusable cartridge. I've changed them both before, so my tool box had all the tools I needed. The reason I had to visit three stores was to find the odd size filter for the FIAT, and since the chain stores didn't have one, I actually went to the FIAT dealer, and they had them in stock. The only other odd thing was that at O'Reilly they only had 2 quarts of what I needed out on the shelf, but the folks working there eventually found some more 5W-40 in the back storage room. Thanks for the extra help!

The Toyota is on a 10,000 mile oil change schedule with its 0W-20 Synthetic, and the FIAT has an engine sensor that lights up when it's time to change. This week it came on at 7,000 miles since the last change, and since my commute to work isn't very far, that's been an entire year. The hardest part of the oil changing is remembering (or Googling every time) the procedure to turn OFF the "change your oil now" light on the dash. At least in the Toyota I've got it marked in the owner's manual so I can always find it, but the FIAT doesn't mention this in the manual, so excuse me while I Google it again.

Oh yeah, turn the key to on without turning on the engine, then pump the gas pedal three times. Hey, didn't Dorothy do that in the Wizard of Oz? Do I have to say "There's no place like home" all three times? Why am I asking you?

To reset the Toyota "change your oil now dummy" light, it's a bit more complicated, something like turn on the car power (without turning on the car), while AT THE SAME TIME pushing in on the Trip A Mileage re-set button. Oh, and only do this after you shut it off with the Trip A Mileage showing. Thank goodness for the owner's manual.

I'm thinking that oil change places really change your oil for free these days, but they charge for the oddball process to reset the oil change warning light. THAT'S the hard part!

Monday, December 12, 2016

NMS 2016 Gift Giving Guide

I'll bet you're looking for gift ideas for that auto enthusiast friend of yours, aren't you? Well, buckle up and hold on, here we go with the NMS 2016 Holiday Gift Giving Guide! (HG3 if you love acronyms)

--You need a coffee mug that tells the world you're a race fan, or maybe just to hold coffee in! How about a Ferrari mug for 9 bucks? Ferrari Mug

WARNING: these F1 mugs ship from Great Britain, so check on how much the shipping costs before confirming it's a great deal!

DOUBLE WARNING: The mug for 9 bucks was such a good deal that it's sold out, sorry!
I also had a link to a McLaren F1 team mug for 3 bucks, but guess what? Sold out.

--The Snap On Tools paper catalog. It's only 5 bucks: Snap On

--A Hoosier racing tire hat, and it's PURPLE! It's only 5 bucks: Hoosier Tires Hat

--Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. This is a book/catalog of tools and really cool stuff. We have one at home, and you need one too! You can find it here on Amazon:  Cool Tools
It really is a cool book, and worth the 26 dollars or so, but

HINT: You can buy just about any book on Amazon USED, so the Cool Tools book can probably be found for about 8 dollars with shipping if you don't mind reading words that someone else might have already seen!

--Books: Our best tip is to go to and search for any topic in the books section. You'll probably find something you might be interested in, and of course books come in hardback or paperback. Here's the tip though, on Amazon you can almost always find USED books, and a lot of cool car racing books can be found that are used for 99 cents. Even if you have to pay about 4 bucks for shipping, it's a good deal if you like to read.

--If you're STILL really stuck on getting a car fan something they'd like, find your nearest Harbor Freight Tool store, and see what they are giving away in their little advertisements. At a minimum they'll have some other little doodad like a free tape measure if you buy ANYTHING, so just buy the cheapest thing they have and you'll get another thingy or two. FREE!

--For just about anyone, how about a flashlight (with working batteries please) to stick in their car. Maybe a safety kit for the car, a basic first aid kit and/or warning triangle and flares for safety in case you break down in the dark. A plain old can of tire sealant goop might be a life saver some time, just throw it in the car. Or, you could cover all the safety stuff I'm hinting at and get your favorite driver a membership in the American Automobile Association (AAA).

As a special bonus, here's a link to another article that lists car gifts that the author doesn't want: 10-automotive-gifts-we-dont-want

Sunday, December 11, 2016

What's On TV?

Now that we're into December, there isn't any live NASCAR for this year. IndyCar is over for the year. The Formula 1 folks wrapped it up a couple of weeks ago. So what is a poor driving fan to do? You can always watch YouTube videos of stuff that has already happened of course. Funny how the YouTube FUTURE channel doesn't exist to show us races in the future, so maybe some day it will be invented!

A couple of suggestions for you are Jay Leno's Garage on CNBC every Wednesday night, and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld on Crackle, which is an internet "channel" for programming. You might have seen some of Jay Leno's car stuff on his internet only show "Jay Leno's Garage", but this new show is a regular on cable CNBC. On his December 7th episode, Jay had stories about cars and water, which included his turn driving a Navy LCAC vehicle like the ones we autocross next to here in Virginia.


The big news is that the former Top Gear guys (British version) are back with an all new show on Amazon called The Grand Tour. They are releasing new shows on Fridays, so if you haven't seen them yet you're about 4 weeks behind all the cool kids. I'd recommend seeing the first episode if you've missed it, it has a rather dramatic opening, and plenty of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.

One more photo related to these shows is of a McLaren F1 that I saw in the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. Jay Leno's show had a couple of commercials he did for Michelin tires, and one commercial was all about the Michelin tires on his McLaren F1. One of these would be great as a Christmas gift too!

McLaren F1: I like the driver's seat, right in the center!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Auto Auction Results

Recently we previewed a hunka-hunka abandoned cars, and now we're going to add up the score and see how close we got on our estimated sale prices. It was a nice sunny day at lunch time, and here's what these fine fine automobiles sold for at auction!

2003 Nissan Titan

Estimate: Sells for $2,000

Sold: $5,500

Off by over 100%, so we start off our guessing game at 0-1.

Hope to do better! 

2005 VW Jetta

Estimate: Let's go with $850

Sold: $1,700

Hmmm, off by EXACTLY 100%, so not much better. Maybe I should have actually looked at the cars before the auction!

Now 0-2, a perfect record! 

1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue

Estimate: $200

Sold: $325

Less than 100% off, or only $125 in real money. Given that I'm 0-2, I'm giving myself a win on this one!


1998 Saturn SL

Estimate: Maybe $300

Sold: $450

See previous remarks, kinda in the ballpark, let's make it 2-2. 

2003 Pontiac Grand Am

Estimate: $250, not so hot.

Sold: $800

I have no excuse on this one, maybe there is a rule that red cars sell for more because people like red cars. Wrong on this one, so 2-3. 
1992 Mitsubishi 3000 GT

Estimate: Another $300 special.

Sold: $150

Man, I was UNDER for the first time, and by 50%, so that has to count as a loss.

2-4, still not in the winning percentages at all.

2007 Ford 500

Estimate: $1,800

Sold: $750

OK, I'm having a bad day at guessing prices, and this car was in good shape on the outside. 
Wrong again, not looking good. 

1998 Chevy S10

Estimate: $275

Sold: $500

Can't catch a break, another loser, so 2-6.
I'm going to need a miracle to turn this losing streak around. Good thing I didn't sign up to bid on anything today! 2-6 
2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Estimate: $1500

Sold: $1,500

Now up to 3 right, 6 wrong, 3-6.

1990 Chevy Impala

Estimate: Go Big or go Home: $2,000

Sold: $2,050


4-6, "so you're sayin' there's a chance?"
1988 Plymouth Sundance

Estimate: $300
 Sold: $100

See, my estimate was only off by $200, which, compared to the Gross Domestic INcome of the entire world is VERY small, so maybe this was a pretty good guess. However, I'm going to be tough and fair on this one, and say that 300% is not close. Now down to 4-7 

1995 Ford F250

Estimate: $1,750

Sold: $300

Terrible estimate on this truck, I should quit playing this game. 


1996 Acura Integra

Estimate: No Sale
Sold: $10


Close enough to victory for me!

Up to 5-8, moving in the right direction!   

2003 Dodge Ram

Estimate: $4,500
Sold: $350

See, I thought it was an awesome big honkin' truck, but maybe it was missing the motor or some other MINOR DETAIL that I failed to inspect. Way off, 5-9, no soup for you! 

1995 Jeep Cherokee

Estimate: $300
Sold: $350

OK, only off by 50 bucks, I'll take that as a win. 6-9, hey, that makes me bowl eligible if I was in college football!
1993 Geo Storm

Estimate: No Sale
Sold: $25

Second lowest price paid on the day, but it sold. I was only off by $25, so I'll take a freebie on this one and count it as a win. 

7-10, maybe the sun is going to shine on me and I'll get up to .500 on the day.   

1994 Ford F150

Estimate: GO BIG: $4,000
Sold: $1,800

It went big, but just not big enough for my estimate. Rats. 

7-11, convenience store time! 

1979 Ford F150

Estimate: $4,000

Sold: $2,500

A little better than the previous big honkin' truck, but not big enough again. 


1988 Mercury Cougar

Estimate: Uhhhh, no idea: $500
Sale: $1,400

Turns out that this car was in good shape, and apparently there are people that don't mind driving a big old car from the 80s out there. 

Loser. 7-13 
2007 Saturn Ion

Estimate: $400
Sold $1,350

I was there and saw and heard it myself, this car must have been in OK shape, it sold for way more than I guessed. Maybe I just don't like Saturns. 7-14, sounds like a football score, and I'm on the losing end. Need a quick touchdown to tie this up. 

2002 Nissan Pathfinder

Estimate: $125
Sold: $250

Off by only 125, or 100%, so I'll say a tie, could go either way. 

7-14-1, no overtimes. 

2003 Ford Taurus

Estimate: $600
Sold: $1,400

Loser, way off, better luck next time. 


1998 Cadillac DeVille

Estimate: $800
Sold: $150

One of three similar Cadillacs sold today, no further comment you honor!


2003 Chevrolet S10

Estimate: No sale
Sold: $850

Man, this is not my day, way off again, losing record. I'm glad the next auction isn't for 3 more months!


2002 Mitsubishi Lancer

Estimate: $200 for scrap
Sold: $400

Maybe I'm being too tough on myself, what's another 200 dollars among friends for a yellow car? Loser.  7-18-1 

2000  Honda Civic

Estimate: $400
Sold: $500




1996 Acura TL

Estimate:  $1,400
Sold: $550

Nothing to see here, loser on the Acura.

2011 Toyota Yaris
I predicted that "Other than the big honkin' trucks in this auction, this one might be the highest priced seller, because it certainly looked to be in the best shape."

Estimate:  $4,000
Sold: $5,900

TOTALLY NAILED IT! Highest priced vehicle sold today!  9-19-1

1997 Saab 900

Estimate: No Sale = Three in a row.

Sold: $25

Only off by 25 bucks, I'm going for the WIN on this one!


2004 Cadillac DeVille

Estimate: $3,000

2004 Cadillac DeVille

Estimate: $3,000

Sold: $300

You can tell that I must have meant to write 300 in my estimate instead of 3,000! OK, just kidding, off by a LOT!


1988 Nissan 300ZX
Maybe you need a parts car for your 88 Z collection?

Estimate: $500
Sold: $75

Yes, I got the "parts car" part correct, but way off on the price here. Oh well. 
10-21-1, those numbers are almost the same forwards and backwards. 
1997 Toyota Corolla

Estimate: $4,000

Sold: $425

I was thinking this car was in good shape, but missed the boat completely. Good thing guessing car prices isn't my day job. 

2000 Cadillac DeVille

Estimate: $2,100
Sold: $400

This is a nightmare!
Bad news bears!
Terrible, Ivan!


2002 Mazda B3000 Pick Up Truck!
Estimate: No sale.
Sold: $150

It is rare that a vehicle doesn't sell at this auction, so I should have at least guessed 50 dollars and could have counted this as a win. 

Let's call it a bad day at auction world, but it was fun to watch the bidding, listen to the auctioneer, and see what these cars and trucks brought with real dollars. The best I did today was way back when I started out 2-2. Shoulda quit then!

Final tally on the day: 10-24-1

Thanks for playing our game.