Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Auto Auction Estimate Game!

Near the NMS-North HQ is the Norfolk Naval Base, and once a quarter they just HAVE to get rid of any automobiles that have been abandoned. They do this by selling these vehicles "as is" in a live auction. If nothing else, I'm a sucker for free entertainment, and it's always fun to hear the auctioneer and see how the crowd reacts to various trucks, cars, sometimes a trailer, or even a boat. There is no reserve on these vehicles, and I've seen them go for as low as 50 bucks, and some of them don't even sell at that price. If you are handy, and have your own truck and trailer, you could probably buy any of these for 50 bucks and at least get your money back by selling it to a junk yard or your local Pick-N-Pull type place.

The other fun part is the fantasy of actually buying a car at a huge bargain. So far I've only bought the one Mustang at a bargain, but until we get it running (hopefully next weekend), it's not quite in the "huge" category as far as bargains go. So far it's in the "could just about break even by junking it as is right now if I had to but who who wants to do that" category. With a few fuel pump arriving soon, we'll see if it fires up soon.

Back to the auction! We'll take a guess at the selling price before the auction on Wednesday, and then report later on how well we did. At the last auction we had a bad hair day and were off on more than we go right, so maybe we can do a little better this time.

Here's the list of vehicles from the auctioneer, Gene Daniels Gene Daniels Auctions  The auction is open to military ID card holders only. I think the top sellers will be the Toyota Tacoma, a Dodge Ram, and a 2007 Mustang GT. Some car brands for sale that you can't buy new anymore include Isuzu, Saturn, and Oldsmobile. Marks that start getting into the luxury crowd include an Acura TL and a Lexus. Most unusual vehicles in this auction are some small school buses, so there's something for everyone!

2007 Mustang GT. Body looked good, but like all these cars here, they just might have been in the big storm last year, which means possible flooding.

Heck, maybe it's really great, let's get things rolling here and estimate it selling at:

Oohhh, an old 95 Jeep Cherokee.

Looking a bit, um, rough.

Plus, on the negative side, there are some other Jeeps, and some sweet looking other pickups in this sale.

I'm going to say it's not a hot seller, but someone will take it home for:

Great looking paint on this 2006  red Ford F150.

The tail gate was missing the top piece of trim, but other than that seems to be in reasonable shape. Tires weren't very old either.

Hard to say, but let's go with:

Oh wait a minute, looks like it has been sitting for a long time.

Was the engine underwater?

Heck, let's back off that estimate to:

Sorry for the terrible photo here, but it's another Jeep, this time a 92 Cherokee.

Uh, boy is that out of focus!

Let's just throw out:

There are about 4 Mitsubishis in this sale, which doesn't mean much, but here's the first one.
2001 Galant

Hmmm, front bumper and paint looking rough, passenger mirror not in good shape.

I don't feel the love for these, so let's just say someone will scrap it, so it will sell for:

EVERYONE knows the 94 Ford Ranger!

They usually run forever, and this one is RED, so it's worth more! Let's say:

Ford Ranger #2, from 1989. Other than the cool front bumper guard cow-catcher, I'm going to say it may not sell at all. However, that wouldn't be any fun, so make it:


94 Honda Civic.

The  hood works.

A little damage.

Call it:

If you can see the lettering on the rear, this is the rare 96 Toyota "AMRY", obviously a Camry that needs to buy a consonant from Vanna White.

Ford, uh, Focus.

From 2004.
Didn't look too close, so,
no clue.

How about:

Dang, 95 Jeep Cherokee #3.

Someone always wants a Jeep, in this case it's going to cost them:

Honda Civics have been around forever, and this one has some racing in its past. Not sure if it has a future, but someone likely wants this 89,  for
96 Acura TL. Not the newest Acura, but not the worst!

There is also a nice recent red Honda Accord coming up, so I think this one goes for only:

Honda Civic, 01. much newer than the racer special we just saw two cars ago.


How about...

Again, I apologize for this ridiculous out of focus photo of a convertible 05  Mitsubishi Eclipse. This one has seen better days, so maybe its another junk yard special for:

The red on this Jeep Liberty from 2004 really pops, but, the passenger window also popped out, and it looks pretty wet inside there.

Lets guess:
98 Chevy S10 pickup.

Well, if you don't like Ford Rangers and Jeeps, maybe this is your thing.

Make it your wild thing for:
OK, fun time! A 2005 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner, nice blue paint  job, as long as you don't mind the rusting metal on the roof! Seriously, the rest of it looks pretty good.
Here's the rear view, and overall it looked pretty reasonable.

I'll go out on a limb and predict this is the top seller at auction:

Right in front of the Tacoma is this big 2003 Dodge Ram truck. Passenger window missing, but it sounded like it was down in the door. This could go for some big bucks too: $5,000

94 Chrysler LHS. When was the last time  you heard those words put together? Let's say $125 and move on.

2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Could be a bargain, but I think someone will bid it up to $1,000
Mitsubishi Galant, this one from 2003. I'm not your Mitsu expert, so this is a total guess, let's say around:

Mitsubishi Eclipse, 2001 vintage. Visible damage, doesn't have a key. Maybe someone needs it as a parts car for:

There are 3 of these GMC buses, and I'm thinking of going into the PARTY BUS BUSINESS! Just send me a couple thousand and we can be PARTNERS!
GMC Bus #2. These looked like they had just come out of service for the Navy, looked to be in good shape, and still had painter's tape over anything that used to say "NAVY" on it.
Yes, you might even want to just send me a blank check, so I can buy all three buses, and we can be partners in the Virginia Beach PARTY BUS BIZ!
Comes complete with seats, doors, windows, etc.
I'm really lost on what these things might go for, but there has to be someone out there that needs 3 buses. Maybe $15,000 takes all three?
This red Honda Accord looked to be in pretty good shape, other than possibly being a flood vehicle.

Let's give it the benefit of the doubt and say:


96 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The Cutlass used to be pretty cool, but that would have been more like 69, not 96.
It has a key!
Take it home for:

99 Ford Escort in exciting silver! Over the years Ford made millions of Escorts, so here's your chance to buy one!

Try it on for size for:  $300
Hey, it's a Chevy motor starter kit, great for the kids!

I wonder what it goes to?
OOOOOHHH, I love yellow trucks! My brother in law has a great yellow truck like this.

Well, sort of like this. His yellow truck actually runs and has options like WHEELS, and a HOOD.Comes with extras, like the basketball backboard!
BUT, this yellow truck has the rare carburetor the front seat option!


This poor Lexus is a 2001 IS900 according to the info sheet. The driver's side of the vehicle is in pretty good shape! Take a chance, let's say for $450
98 Saturn SL. Here is a great opportunity to buy a car from a brand that isn't around anymore, both this and the following Isuzu Trooper. Take it away for only $450
I always liked the Isuzu Trooper. I Don't remember when Isuzu stopped selling in the US, but its been a while! This one was pretty rough, so maybe:


A Nissan 350Z, in a nice bright blue color!

In addition to the rear damage, I think this one was all wet inside, so even though it has a free basketball in the trunk:

Nissan Z motor

Saturday, February 25, 2017

NMS South Firing on More Cylinders

In a bold move last week, NMS South Operations Manager, Brian Nixon made the move to trade in the Molten Orange Fiesta ST after only 18 months for a 2006 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck.

Fresh from the local Mazda dealer, is the new truck.

Just days later the truck is looking cleaner and has gotten the vinyl treatment on the Chevy logo.
 At the NMS world headquarters in Columbia SC, the NMS team announced changes to their vehicle line-ups for 2017. Team spokesman Brian Nixon stated that while the 1999 Mazda Miata and 2013 FIAT Abarth would remain mostly unchanged for autocross this year, the NMS team has bid farewell to the 2016 Ford Fiesta ST. In its short time with the team, the bright orange "Salute to Clemson" Fiesta had taken several 1st place wins in autocross, but is now retired to join the first NMS Miata (a 2004 MazdaSpeed Miata turbo) in the NMS Retired Cars Hall of Fame.

The 11 year old truck was showing it's age on the tailgate. Not only was it a "Hevrolet" but the tailgate did not lower.

Making progress. The truck is all cleaned up and has a working tailgate. Keen eyes will note that the truck sports the same licenses plate worn by NMS vehicles dating back to the Mazdaspeed Miata.
Unconfirmed sources have revealed that NMS now operates various autocross and track cars, has a tow vehicle, but is apparently lacking the actual "trailer" needed to transport race prepped vehicles. When asked to clarify this point, the NMS spokesman quickly changed the subject and distracted reporters with the offer of something he called "free beer." This pretty much ended the press conference, but not before Brian confirmed that both the 2000 Mustang, and 1970s Dodge Coronet were likely to also see action in autocross and LeMons racing later in the year.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Brian Takes 5th: Out of 103 Drivers!

Brian in Orange

On a beautiful weekend in the Palmetto state, Brian Nixon kicked off the NMS season with a big bang on Sunday, taking 5th place overall PAX out of 103 drivers! This was a great turn-out at Darlington for the South Carolina Region of the Sports Car Club of America, and they'll be competing once a month for most of the rest of 2017.  NMS co-driver last year Jason Rucker also landed in the top 10, with 10th place on the day in a different car.

Brian and the NMS Miata competed in the Pro class, which features cars from all classes, and attracts the fastest drivers in the region. He placed a solid 4th place in Pro, and is off to a flying start in 2017.
Overall, the Miata gang took 5 of the top 10 places, with our friends Kyle Ray-Smith, Luke O'Hara, and Marty Bull all up there fighting for the win. The autocross crowd is a great group of drivers and friends, and it's great to be competing again, win lose or draw. (although winning is more fun!)

Listed below are the top 10 overall PAX drivers out of 103 competitors. For all the results you can find them on the SCR results page at: FEB RESULTS

Place Driver Car Model Pax Time Diff. From 1st
1 Jason Fetchko 2003 Toyota MR2  25.531 0 0
2 Kyle Ray-Smith 2001 Mazda Miata 25.557 0.026 0.026
3 Luke O’Hara 2001 Mazda Miata 25.719 0.162 0.188
4 Chad Parker 2016 Scion FR-S 25.986 0.267 0.455
5 Brian Nixon 1999 Mazda Miata 26.014 0.028 0.483
6 Don Bruner Biesse 26.017 0.003 0.486
7 Jaybird 1999 Mazda Miata 26.024 0.007 0.493
8 Dave Jenkins 2010 Subaru STI 26.029 0.005 0.498
9 Marty Bull 2005 Mazdaspeed MX5 26.048 0.019 0.517
10 Jason Rucker 2016 Scion FR-S 26.175 0.127 0.644

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Here Comes the Autocross/NASCAR/Formula 1 Season!

We hope you had a great weekend! In the NMS-South area, Brian was busy this weekend with the first weekend of autocross with the South Carolina Region of the Sports Car Club of America. They held an SCCA Finish Line school on Saturday, and then their first autocross of the year at Darlington on Sunday. 

Brian Nixon in the passenger seat

You also just might have noticed that the NASCAR folks are up and running again, with the pre-season kick-off down in Daytona this weekend too. In an effort to make the racing more fun, more attractive, and keep the fans interested all season long, NASCAR has tweaked the race format this year. So, in addition to having a new series sponsor (out with Verizon, in with Monster energy drinks), each race will now have three parts, and each part will award points. After that, it starts getting complicated, so you might have to consult with an attorney to really understand how this thing works. If nothing else, we believe that the idea is still to drive faster than the other drivers, and hopefully the first car across the finish line wins the race. More to follow on this, maybe that's how it works, maybe not!

Formula 1 wise, things start getting interesting tomorrow, when the first new 2017 car unveiling takes place. Since we've gone without any racing since late in November, even the appearance of a new car is news worthy! The first race won't happen until late March in Australia, so at least this week we get new cars revealed all week. After that, there are two different four day test sessions, so we'll finally get to see some cars on track, and check out the new look to the lower, wider, and bigger tire cars this year. Predictions are that the cars will be getting around the average track about five seconds a lap faster, so that sounds like some fun right there!

Day               Team        
Monday         Sauber
Tuesday        Renault
Wednesday   Force India
Thursday       Mercedes
Friday            Ferrari and McLaren
Saturday        Williams
Sunday          Haas and Red Bull and Toro Rosso

Test 1             February 27-March 2
Test 2             March 7-10

Friday, February 17, 2017

Motor Trend Richmond Virginia Auto Show

Hyundai Ioniq hybrid

Today I attended this annual auto show, and let me just say this: You get a free year's subscription to Motor Trend magazine with every paid admission! Hey, it pays for itself! I've attended this a few years in a row now, and a few years before that in Greenville SC, so look for a Motor Trend auto show near you!

The show in Richmond continues thru Sunday this weekend. Opens at 10am every day.

Here are some highlights!


Corvette Grand Sport, starts at only $67,000!

Corvette = 'MERICA!

Chevy Bolt = All Electric!

Chevy Suburban = When you need a BIG ONE!


My lovely assistant checks the Buick

Buick mesh in the sun roof

FIAT 124 Spider Abarth

FIAT 500
Honda Civic = Built in England, I did not know that. Some are also built in Canada

Mustang 5.0 GT


Mustang = 'MERICA!

Mustang California Special badge
Subaru BRZ


Mazda Miata

292 horsepower in a VW Golf for only $40,000


VW Wolfsburg badge on an SUV
Aston Martin = Good enough for James Bond!

Alfa Romeo 4C = Carbon Fiber body

Mercedes AMG GT

Lexus = My least favorite grill in the world

Mustang Shelby display

Classic Mustang G.T. 350