Thursday, June 28, 2018


Today the NMS South fleet adds a Bavarian classic. I just got a great deal on a 1986 BMW 528e that I couldn't pass up. For those not in the inner BMW circles, most of their cars are most identified by the chassis designation. The first generation of the 5 series was the E12, after a few iterations they released the second generation known as the E28.
Picking up the car from Olin and Jay at Imports Only in Columbia. 

The odometer broke a little over 307,000 miles, but the straight six motor still runs smooth as butter. It has a five speed manual transmission, 8-way power seats, ice cold air conditioning, power windows and sunroof, tan leather seats, and premium cassette audio. Not bad for a car two months older than I am!
Original 2.7 liter Eta straight six motor.

The car runs and drives surprisingly well for how old it is. It does need some paint work and the interior is a little rough, but there isn't a spec of rust in sight and everything can be cleaned up or fixed. 
BMWs of this era were known as the "shark nose" deaign.

Big thanks to the previous owner, Nick! He bought the car a few years ago and decided it was time for a new owner to give it some love. More to come!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Where's Your Car From?


Without going into politics or talking about trade tariffs, my guess is that most Americans know where their car was made, but may not know where all of it was built. We've seen Civics built in England, Fords built in Canada, with one of the most international cars being the NMS FIAT, which was designed in Italy, assembled in Mexico, and has it's motor built in Detroit. We're kind of more interested in world peace, delicious chili, and cheap fast cars for all instead of wanting to debate politics, so let's make this simple. Do you know where most cars sold in the US are built?

Let's make it a multiple choice question, since everyone likes taking tests right?

A) Japan
B) Korea
C) Germany
D) Canada
E) Mexico

A) If you picked Japan because the Toyota Camry is the number one selling car in the US, then you're wrong twice, because the Camry is built in Kentucky, and cars imported from Japan are only 7% of all cars sold in the US. JAPAN = 11%

B) Did you pick South Korea because Hyundai and Kia seem to be making great cars and they've been sold here since the 1980s? Not a terrible guess, but wrong. Shoot, we'll even include North Korea, since I'm pretty sure they don't build any cars there. KOREA = 4%

C) OK, you might have picked Germany because of all those BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, and Volkswagens that we see all over the place. Again, this is not correct, thanks for playing our game! GERMANY = 4%

D) Maybe you picked Canada, with several Detroit automakers building cars in Ontario just across the river from Detroit? Nice try, good creative thinking, since Canada ties with Japan for 2nd place! CANADA = 11%

E) Let's go south of the border to another NAFTA country and guess Mexico. Hey, they make great tequila, guitars, and other products there, with several brands built around Mexico City. Sorry, but again a pretty good guess, with Mexico right up there with Japan and Canada! MEXICO = 11%

F) Letter F would be the correct answer, with over half the cars sold in the US being built in the US.

If you're interested in more car related information like this, we suggest you check out CAR, the Center for Automotive Research at their web page: CAR

Here's the 2017 numbers from the Center for Automotive Research:

Sunday, June 24, 2018

World's Easiest Camry Upgrade!


Yes, the NMS team likes to drive cars, and that means either driving fast or driving fast cars. Yes, some of us also own other cars, like the best selling car in the US, the Toyota Camry, which should never be confused with a fast or exciting automobile. On our blog we've strayed from the autocross and track driving a few times to report on some minor work we've done on the Camry (mirror replacement, oil changes, spark plugs, etc.). However, today we're taking on a Camry upgrade that before yesterday I'd never even heard about or seen. I seriously doubt you're going to find this information on a blog, a forum, or a video anywhere else but right here, so let's jump in and get going on this WORLD'S EASIEST CAMRY UPGRADE NMS EXCLUSIVE!

It all started when I got some mail from the Toyota folks. Yes, it arrived in the regular old mail, in a white envelope with a Toyota return address! Not an email, not a voice mail, but in the real honest-to-goodness the-mailman-brought-it MAIL! Long story short, it seems that certain Toyotas have been developing either cracking or sticky plastic dashboards, and the fine folks at Toyota will replace any affected dashboards for free! Lucky for me our car doesn't have these issues, but still, who knows what the future may hold? I've read about older Ferraris suffering from the sticky-plastic-syndrome, so maybe Toyota has been copying an ancient Italian plastic recipe?


Reading into the details, this is not a recall, but just a heads-up that IF this happens to my Camry, then I can take it to Toyota and they'll replace the sticky or cracking dash for free, as long as it wasn't damaged or caused by a crash. The letter said that high temperatures, high humidity, and lots of exposure to the sun may cause the sticky or cracking dash syndrome! We've had the Camry since 2010, with equal parts living in South Carolina and Virginia, so it's seen it's share of heat and humidity, but for the most part it slept in the garage and out of the sun in those states, so maybe that has kept it in good shape.

Anyway, now that we've brought this medical disorder to light, and considering that we can't fit the car in our garage in New York, what is the treatment? Well in my case, our Camry dashboard is fine, so the letter said to install the notification sticker into the owner's manual, so that if we or a follow on owner have the problem, they can read all about it and get it repaired by Toyota up to the year 2020. In the interests of being helpful, NMS will now walk you through this awesome procedure so you can see EXACTLY how to do it (install a sticker on the owner's manual that is, just in case you got confused about this incredible car upgrade!)

Feel free to try this at home, your mileage WON'T vary, and this is something that you could easily due while under the influence of alcohol, up to a point. Still, we can't be held responsible for any damages to your owners manual, accidental paper cuts, or any other earth shattering injuries that may be caused by this intricate and time consuming procedure.












OK, there you have it, what must SURELY be the INTERNETS absolutely first and best set of instructions on how to upgrade your Camry!! You're welcome!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jerry Seinfeld! Comedians! In Cars! Getting Coffee!

NMS sure hopes you have a sense of humor AND that you like cars, because a new season of Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" (CICGC) starts on July 6th on NETFLIX.

That pretty  much summarizes this entire message for today, so here's the link to the trailer:


Even the trailer is funny, has cars, and has coffee in it! Plus it has Matthew Broderick! From the trailer it looks like another winning season of episodes are heading our way, with a switch to NETFLIX from Crackle in the first seasons. With just a few headliners like Kate  McKinnon, David Chappelle, and Alec Baldwin, plus fantastic cars like a Ferrari or two, VW Thing, a Citroen, and a Manx dune buggy, this show has everything!

Started in 2012 on Crackle, you should be able to find previous episodes on line, on Crackle or Hulu, or even on NETFLIX. While it's not your typical scripted sit-com, and not a sit down talk show, the format of Jerry driving a cool car to pick up a fellow comedian and getting a coffee has lead to some funny moments. We give it a high rating and recommend you try a show or two to see if you like it.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Happy National Tire Safety Week 2018!

Our friends at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) want you to be safe on the highways, so they've sponsored another week to share some tips that can help all of us be safer. You can read more at their website: TIRE SAFETY   and here's a few highlights:

--About 11,000 crashes in the US every year are related to worn tires. You can avoid adding to this number by just looking at your tires regularly, and replace them if they are too worn or too old.

--Properly inflated tires will save you money with better MPGs, and last thousands of miles longer to save you even more money! Your tires will lose about 1psi per month, so it's a good idea to use a tire gauge and check them monthly.

--Rotating your tires regularly (about every 5,000-8,000) will help them last longer, wear evenly, and save you money. Who doesn't like having more money?

--The NHTSA has a cool graphic that shows more tire tips at IN THE GARAGE TIPS

--Just like the NHTSA manages vehicle and other auto-related item safety recalls, they also have a data base of Tire Recalls you can use if you want to check out a specific brand or type of tire. TIRE RECALL INFO

Saturday, June 16, 2018

What's In A Name/Number?

NMS Top Picks, #86 and #77

One fun part of autocross or any car event is picking your car's number. Part of the decision on what number to use could be your favorite driver's number, your birthday, your favorite number, or maybe your winning lottery picks! If you start like NMS did with putting numbers on your car with blue painter's tape, it doesn't take too long to figure out that you really want to use easy straight line numbers, like 11 or 1. Seven isn't too hard to do, so I like sevens. Fours that use straight lines are pretty easy to do also. Sixes and nines? Forget about it!

If you're a NASCAR fan you know your favorite driver's number better than your birthday, and the announcers talk about cars by number as often as by the name of the driver. Number wise, Brian has used 86 on his Miata a lot, and on the Fiesta ST (as seen below, modified with #286 for a second driver). Since he's pretty old, I'm going to bet that this number has something to do with his birthday. August 6th? Eighth of June? Birth year? Yeah, something like that!

#86 AND #286, Two Numbers in One if You Move the Magnet!

On the Lemons Coronet, once it had an awesome PURPLE paint job, the car raced as #155. While there might be some cool story about that number, for now it remains a mystery. Personally, I think they just scribbled some X's and O's on the race application and went with what the judges thought the number was. It looks good with 155!

#155 Does Lemons Racing

My 77 was a good number, easy to remember, easy to read if you're dyslexic (I guess), and popular with palindrome fans. It also happens to be the number of Finnish Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas, so that's not too bad! But, I picked it since it's when I graduated from high school, so now if you're good at math or have a big calculator you could figure out how old I am.

#77 in the GS Class Days, 2014-2016

In 2018 NMS North moved to New York and signed up to autocross with the New York Region of the SCCA, so when I signed up number 77 wasn't available, so they ended up giving me a new number for the year. The random number generator on line gave me #374, so there's not much magic or cool about that number, but it will do for now! After two events of making 374 with blue painters tape (on both sides of the car no less), I ordered a new set of numbers on a magnetic sign from the friendly folks at SoloPerformance. This will cut a few minutes off of car-prep time for every autocross, so that should give me more time to drive faster! I like the magnets, since you can just slap them on the side of the car and you're done...unless you have a fiberglass Corvette or you can invent a type of magnet that sticks to plastic! After the event, just take the magnet off and throw it in the back of the car. At home in the garage I like to just toss them on the metal garage door, and then I can find them when the next event rolls around, plus they dress up the garage a bit. Who doesn't need more car stuff in their garage? It's like more stickers on your car, it all makes you go faster!

#374 New Magnets Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

24 Hours of LeMans

Two Questions:

1. Do you like watching motor sports? 

2. Do you get the Velocity Channel?

If you answered YES to both, here's your mission for this weekend, should you choose to accept it. 

1. On Saturday at 9AM Eastern, turn on Velocity. 

2. Sit down and watch 24 hours of LeMans. 

Yes, all 24 hours. 

All on one channel. 

Feel free to take meal and bathroom breaks!

Here's some more info at the link:   AUTOWEEK

Monday, June 11, 2018

June Autocross Report


While the Formula 1 drivers were racing in Canada, down here south of the border on Long Island we headed out to the Nassau Coliseum, (parking lot #2) and had a blast autocrossing with 127 other folks! Hey, let's jump in the NMS FIAT and ride along on the final run (and fastest of the day for us):

In a field of 18 Street Touring cars, NMS ended the day in 7th place, so that only adds one more point to the season total. In the entire field of 128 cars, we think the FIAT did a reasonable 21st place on PAX time, and a pretty quick 29th fastest of all on RAW actual time.

Our math says that now after four events for the year that the team now stands in 6th place out of 25 or so drivers that have competed in the Street Touring Class, so we're looking forward to more tough competition in the coming months.
How Do You Like the Headlights?

Today's event had a few sprinkles of rain before, during, and after the driving, so it's a perfect 3 months in a row for wet/damp events. Maybe we'll get a totally dry one some time this year, but really the little bit of water didn't slow anyone down today. While NMS didn't bring home any trophies or anything, for some reason it was a really challenging course, chock full of plenty of full throttle and a couple tricky spots where I had to figure out how to go faster. Everyone was scheduled to get 6 attempts at the course, with 3 in the morning and then 3 in the afternoon. But is that  how it really happened?????

Happy Cow Cheese!

Here's a look at how our runs played out:

RUN ONE: 37.71 seconds, and it felt pretty darn fast, but we quickly came up with a plan to go faster. On the first run I pushed to hard into a big corner, so I needed to brake sooner to gain more speed. My second half of the course was sloppy, so some driving improvements should drop the time a bit.

RUN TWO: 35.962, well yeah that was faster BUT I hit one cone, so with a 2 second penalty, the official time for this run was 37.962. Hey, almost as good as the first run, but clearly I could drive a 35.9 again without hitting a cone. In fact, this run was pretty quick and I though I had hit at least TWO cones. Shows what I know. New target time: 35.9

RUN THREE: 36.967 I have some good and bad news: Good news is that this was my fastest so far, but the bad news was that it was more than a second slower than I knew I could do. In the second half of this run I again went too fast and slide the car almost off-course, so I knew I had to clean up the last part of the course to get back into the 35 second range.

Flying the Abarth Flag!

After three runs, all drivers swapped places so it was my turn to head out on the course ON FOOT and work while the first working group of people got to drive. Lucky for me I was watching the second half of the course as the radio/flag guy, so I got to watch about 180 laps of the track and figure out how I could drive it faster. This really helped me out, and I was able to better lock the course map into my head and see that I needed to brake at the 4th cone into the second half to slow down and get through the last few elements cleanly.

After some timing issues were sorted out and the action had come to a halt for a while, it was time to drive again. However,  instead of getting three more run we'd only get two. This was a good call to save time for all of us on a long day.

Mustang: Nassau Coliseum

RUN FOUR: 36.374   Again, an improvement, and my best time so far, but still not the 35.9 I knew I could do. I adjusted tire pressures, and planned to approach the first timing light a bit differently, plus I was going to go faster and brake earlier in general. One more try to improve coming up. No matter how much you adjust driving, car set-up, tire pressure, add new components, or whatever, the bottom line is that your job as a driver is to just make the car go FASTER. It's that simple!!

LAST RUN:  I had a great launch, and then after the first two gates I was looking ahead on course and saw saw a cone that was already knocked down before I got to it! I came to a stop on course and honked my horn to get the attention of the course workers, and they realized that they'd missed a cone knocked over by the previous driver. If I had not stopped, then they might have assumed that I knocked it over and given ME the penalty, so I'm glad I spotted the downed cone. Bottom line for me, this run would not count, and then I'd get a full re-run lap later! Once the cone was fixed I continued my run that didn't count, and this gave me an extra freebie practice run at the second half of the course. That helped me out, and now I was sure I'd go faster on the LAST RUN.

REALLY LAST RUN:  35.674!  OK, this one really was my LAST RUN of the day, and sure enough it was the best, a good 0.3 faster than my previous "coned" run. It felt nice to have focused on going faster and figuring out how to do it, and then to actually go do it at the end of the day. Maybe some drivers are born with crazy fast car skills, but it takes me practice and figuring out where and how to go faster. Hey, it was so much fun I think I'll do it again next month!

Friday, June 8, 2018


#374 New Magnet Numbers Day!

Friday kicks off another weekend here at NMS, so that means we’ll be following along with the Formula 1 teams racing up in Montreal (qualifying on Saturday afternoon, racing Sunday afternoon on ABC) and auto-crossing the FIAT Abarth on Sunday with the New York Region of the SCCA. We are big fans of the “have a weekend at least once per week” policy, and we hope you also support this exciting new concept!

The autocross event will be at the Nassau Coliseum where the New York Islanders used to play, so our drivers are looking forward to a larger course to drive on, and a LOT more competition. Speaking of competition, there are 16 total drivers signed up in the various Street Touring classes that we will be up against, and in the Street Touring Hot Hatch section, there are four drivers. Looking at all the classes, there are 114 folks signed up as of today, and we anticipate that there will be more walk-ups signing up and driving on Sunday too!

After being able to rack up a bunch of class wins in the last three years (yes, with very few competitors in the same class), this is a big stinking heap of tough drivers to battle for the NMS FIAT, so we’re pumped up to get out there and see how we do! Unlike the last two events in NY, the weather should be dry, not too hot, not too cold, and in fact, it’s looking to be just right!

The team engineers are planning to run some harder settings on the Koni shocks up front, and they’re also going to be closely monitoring tire pressures during competition. Getting to run on a dry track with over a hundred other sets of tires getting things all rubbered-in should be a ton of fun compared to the last two wet events and the damp BMW day we drove in New Jersey. NMS will be sporting the new #374STH magnets instead of blue painters tape numbers, so our computer driven wind tunnel back-of-the-bar-napkin calculations estimate a net gain of 0.0 seconds per run due to the magneto-resonance impact of dipolar signage compared to the inert “blue tape effect” we’ve been experiencing. No, I don’t know what that means either, but as always, any new stickers or signs on your car should add 5 horsepower!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Charity Car Show Part Deux

Lamborghini, HOW I ROLL!

After showing you a bunch of Ferraris and McLarens in part one, let's look around the rest of last Sunday's show in Glen Cove New York. All these show cars paid to display their rides, and the money went to help fight diabetes. We enjoyed walking around and checking out the cars, had lunch at a local restaurant, and then cruised around the cars again. 

TIP OF THE DAY: Click on the photos to see them MUCH BIGGER on your computer!

First up, let's go with the Porsche Carrera GT. From what I read on the Porsche website PORSCHE 980 this 980 model was built in 2004-2007, with only 1,270 built in total. With a 10 cylinder 5.7 liter engine, top speed is 205mph. When they were new the list price was in the $400,000 range, and a used one today would likely range from 500,000-800,000. Dollars. Or Euros. Or Pounds, whatever. 

If you really want to read a cool car review, check out what Jerry Seinfeld had to say about this model in 2004. One of his funny lines is that he's glad that German-dubbed episodes of his TV show Seinfeld bombed in Germany so that the Porsche engineers would have more time to develop more cars like this! Seinfeld Carrera Review

Porsche Carrera GT 
Porsche Carrera GT

Ferrari Challenge race car...HUGE SPOILER ALERT!

Ferrari of Long Island Challenge Car

Funky wheel on a BMW i8

This odd looking Camry-like-thing rolled by, and then I noticed it was named "Aristo" on the back. Hmm, never heard of that. Then I noticed it was right hand drive, so that told me it was a JDM car. Then I remembered that JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market, sold in Japan and not the US. After 25 years you can legally import foreign cars that weren't sold here, so that explains seeing this Toyota Aristo in the US. It was also sold in Japan as a Lexus branded car too.

Toyota Aristo????

That's no moon, that's a JDM!
Stuff you don't see every day continued...some guy made his own version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. If that doesn't ring any bells with you, it's the name of a Disney movie from the 60s or 70s with a magical flying car. This isn't a movie review blog, so go watch the movie on your own with some youngsters! Check out this short clip of the movie with Dick Van Dyke and you can get the theme song stuck in your head!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Maybe you don't see one of these everyday, but the Ford Ranchero is a unique car/truck hybrid. This one looked to be in great shape too! That head on shot of the grill with 4 headlights is something you won't find on any new cars today. While the Ranchero was built from 57-79 (and even longer in Argentina!), the 390 GT models like this one date from 1968-1969, you can see the badging and the hood scoop unique to this version!

Ford Ranchero


Funny license plates crack me up, here we go!

BMW M2 = Mr. M Deuce!

One Evil GTI

Not Bad Huh?

OK, it's not funny, but a 50 Mercury isn't something you see every day!
Ferrari = 4ARI

Orange McLaren = Vitamin C

Enough with the license plates, let's travel around the world and check out some more cool cars!

Germany = Classic BMW 2002

Germany = Porsches just look cool in orange

England = Lotus, Teddy Bear in back for some reason!

Italy = Maserati trident logo

Japan = DATSUN (not Nissan) 280Z

Italy = See the clock? And the vinyl wrapped Maserati?
What time is it?

Why not decorate your super expensive McLaren car?

Germany = Porsche SPOILER ALERT!


USA = Viper

USA = Hot rod

England = Martin. Aston Martin. Shaken not stirred. 

Volkswagen THING.
Yes, like classic VWs the engine is in the back, so that explains
what the police officers are checking out in this one! I like the
fold flat windshield. 

Not Mr. Fantastic, but THE THING. 

Ford. Wagon. Woody. Awesome!

Ford Fairmont Squire

Ford Fairmont interior, dig the bench seat! Non-stock steering wheel.

Hot Rod!
 I almost didn't realize that this next one was an OLD cop car that was a part of the show, it's a 1986 Dodge Diplomat police car.

1986 Dodge Diplomat, Nassau County NY police car!

OK, let's wrap this up with one last car I'd never seen before. This is some kind of tiny tiny Toyota from Japan. It's super tiny, has right hand drive, and had some signs on it that said you could rent it and drive it around town. My FIAT is small, but this thing is TINY! There is an entire class of small cars that are built for the Japanese market, so it's always a surprise to see any of them in the US.

From what I can tell, this is a Toyota Sport 800. Seeing it parked in between two SUVs  gives you an idea of how TINY TINY TINY this car is! The only other tidbit of info I know about this car is that Toyota has a museum in Torrance California that has one or more. Oh, and one other thing, here's a short video of FOUR of these in a car show in Long Beach CA in 2015: CARNICHIWA.COM
You can learn a lot on the Internet!

Toyota Sport 800

Toyota Sport 800