Cupholder evolution: Behold the GPS-holder

Last month, I purchased a refurbished Garmin nüvi 680 from for $199.99.  Knowing it’s illegal to mount the portable navigation unit on my windshield using the suction cup mount*, I knew my creativity would be needed to mount the GPS unit.  After studying the dash a little bit, I realized the cupholder could serve as an excellent GPS-holder.

Not my car’s cupholder shown above

I’ll be the first to admit the MY2002-2004 Subaru Impreza dash cupholder’s design is less than stellar.  It seems like it was an afterthought when the interior was designed.  The only positive thing about it is that it could hold larger circumference bottles and cups than the cupholder next to the handbrake.  For MY2005 (to MY2007), the interior of the Subaru Impreza was slightly redesigned and this cupholder was deleted.  Instead, an additional cupholder was added next to the handbrake.

To mount the nüvi, I connected it to its suction cup mount and laid the nav unit plus the mount in the cupholder.  The fit seemed decent but the unit would still move around quite a bit under hard braking or acceleration.  The solution?  A rubber band placed around the mount and cupholder clamped the nav plus mount assembly down securely.  Doesn’t the unit look secure in the first photo above?  Its silver finish also works well with the color of the dash, too. :o)

*NOTICE TO DRIVERS IN CALIFORNIA AND MINNESOTA: State law prohibits drivers in California and Minnesota from using suction mounts on their windshields while operating motor vehicles. Other Garmin dashboard or friction mounting options should be used. Garmin does not take any responsibility for any fines, penalties, or damages that may be incurred as a result of disregarding this notice. (See California Vehicle Code Section 26708(a); Minnesota Statutes 2005, Section 169.71)

100K the hard way

On Wednesday, October 22, 2008, Devoted Dan hit 100,000 miles! :o) Since January 3, 2004, he’s definitely done a terrific job earning his keep.  I’ve subjected him to eight track days, on and off road escapades, and the rigors of a daily commute in Southern California.

But has he really hit the 100,000-mile mark?  The car came equipped from the factory with Bridgestone Potenza RE92 tires with a size of P205/55R16.  Properly inflated, those tires require 830 revolutions to travel a mile.  Much of the car’s street miles, however, have been on Bridgestone Potenza S-03 Pole Position (P215/45R17), Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R (P225/45R17), and Bridgestone Potenza RE92 (P215/45R17) tires.

Here are the number of revolutions each of these tires must turn to travel a mile:

  • Bridgestone Potenza RE92 (P215/45R17) – 847, 2% inflation over stock
  • Bridgestone Potenza S-03 Pole Position (P215/45R17) – 847, same as above
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R (P225/45R17) – 833,  0.36% inflation over stock

Multiplied over “100,000 miles,” one can figure out that Devoted Dan has probably only traveled ~98,000 miles.  For you automobile enthusiasts whose vehicles are no longer on the factory-supplied shoes, the same circumstance probably applies to you.

With “100,000” in the book, here’s to many more miles and more importantly, many more good times! :o)

Valet for a day

Back on October 13th, I parked the car for the night and noticed the “SECURITY” light below the tachometer (the gauge that measures engine speed) kept flickering at an unusual rate after the key had been removed.  I also noticed the car’s blinkers and sidemarkers didn’t flash when I armed and disarmed the security system.

That was weird.  The car had never done this before.  Slight concern crept in as I wondered if the oddity would drain the vehicle’s battery.  My fear was mitigated when the car started up fine the next morning and later that evening after work.

After purchasing the Top Gun Blu-ray and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Ferrari Challenge for the PLAYSTATION3 at Best Buy, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to figure out what was going.  It was time to read the fantastic manual (RTFM).

First, I used the manual’s index to look up “Security System” (who uses the table of contents anyway?).  Once there, I noticed the subsection on “Valet Mode.”  There, I read about symptoms that matched what I was seeing.

After disabling the security system’s valet mode, I armed and disarmed the car’s security system.  Success!  The car’s alarm was now functioning properly again.  As to how the whole ordeal happened, I’m guessing the “arm” button on the remote transmitter was accidentally press for a few seconds when the driver’s side front door was open.  Once properly addressed, I then took satisfaction knowing the phenomenon would no longer haunt me.

Bridgestone = Budweiser

Am I the only one who has noticed how similar these two commercials are?

Bridgestone 2008 Super Bowl commercial

Budweiser 1999 “True” commercial

I guess AdWeek noticed it back in February 2008 after the big game.

Lippert Rates the Super Bowl Spots

Women with WRXs (wagons)

On my daily morning commute, I usually see one to four Subaru Impreza WRX Wagons driven by women on the 10 East as I crawl along the westbound Santa Monica Freeway’s “fast” lane.  What surprises me about this is that they never notice me in my WRX for a friendly exchange of Scooby waves to take place.  Seeing them also makes me wonder how many women are out there driving WRXs as in what percentage of WRX/STi/STI drivers are female.

Pictured above is Jamie “Subie Gal” Thomas in “Burnsie,” her 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon.  “Burnsie” is named after the late 2001 FIA WRC drivers’ champion, the late Englishman Richard Burns.  Jamie has competed with moderate success in the Rally America series Production GT class, taking class wins on multiple occasions.  You can check out her web site at


My Auntie Karen has her 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan (not pictured above).  Despite the fact that it has a four-speed automatic transmission and is bone stock, I think it’s simply cool that she has it.



Above are a few photos of Krysten’s 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan.  I met her at my last track day at the Streets of Willow Springs.  She also enlists the services of HB Speed to tune her car.  Jon from HB Speed is the same person who tuned my car back in January 2008.

A few days ago, I heard the funniest radio commercial I’ve heard in awhile.  It was a Bud Light “Real Men of Genius” commercial.  In it, there was a salute to “Mr. Overzealous Touch Football Game Player.”  The lines in the jingle are hilarious!  Those of you over 21 years of age can listen to it and other funny “Real Men of Genius” commercials at

Chips ahoy

Lately, Caltrans has been doing nightly work on the Santa Monica Freeway around Downtown Los Angeles.  As a result, my car has been showered with pebbles and gravel on way too many occasions.  Over the years, a clear toll has been taken on my car’s front license plate frame.  Similarly, the front of the car has more chips on the hood and bumper than a can of Pringles.

Not wanting others to experience the wrath of Caltrans roadwork, I’ve copied some information from Caltrans’ web site below.  Hopefully, this will help some of you avoid the carnage of our tax dollars at work.

Planned Work, Area Listings

Before driving, check with the Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN) 800.427.7623

Lane Closure Information

Colin’s cult

Back in January 2004, I joined a cult.  Entry came in the form of purchasing a Subaru.  Last September, Colin McRae and his son, Jimmy, were killed in a helicopter crash.  On August 30, 2008, over a thousand Subarus caravaned to Prodrive’s Warwick facility where they assembled to write his name with their vehicles and form the Scottish flag, the Saltire.  For those unfamiliar with his successes, Colin McRae won the 1995 FIA WRC Drivers’ Championship driving a Subaru Impreza.  His efforts also helped Subaru win three straight FIA WRC Manufacturers’ titles from 1995-1997.  The 25 victories he accumulated place him fourth on the all-time WRC win list.  He also won a silver medal in the inaugural X Games Rally event in 2006 despite rolling his Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car, which was able to keep going almost as if nothing happened.

Here’s Inside Line‘s news article about the tribute to the late rally legend.

Convoy of Subarus Stretches 30 Miles in Honor of Rally Driver Colin McRae

BANBURY, England — Nearly two years after his death, fans of Colin McRae turned up with more than 1,000 Subarus to celebrate the life of the Scottish rally star with a record-setting convoy.

The convoy was led by McRae’s father, Jimmy McRae, and traveled 9 hours and 300 miles from McRae’s hometown to the headquarters of Prodrive in honor of the rally hero. McRae was the first Briton to win the World Rally Championship Driver’s title and helped the Prodrive-led Subaru factory rally team win three straight WRC Constructors’ titles. He was killed in a helicopter crash in September 2007.

At the Prodrive headquarters, 1,086 Subarus were arranged to spell McRae’s name and form the Scottish flag, stretching more than half a mile in length and setting a world record. A second world record was set for the largest parade of cars as the Subarus left from the Prodrive test track. An estimated $70,000 was raised for McRae charities at the event.

What this means to you: McRae’s legacy as a fan-favorite rally driver continues to grow well after his death. — Eric Tingwall, Correspondent

Fifth Gear‘s Vicki Butler-Henderson covered the event for the show.  Enjoy this great clip of their coverage of the late Scotsman.

Sedan silliness

While I believe every person should be allowed to do what he or she wants to do to his or her automobile, I detest the things people do to bread-and-better family sedans.  As point-A to point-B people-movers, they were not designed with sporting intentions in mind.  What about cars such as the Toyota Camry SE you say?  No!  It’s still a Camry!  It’s not wrong to own a Camcord or any other typical mid-size family sedan.  I simply believe it’s wrong to modify one in such a disgusting way.

Current generation Toyota Camry

1998-2002 Honda Accord

2002 Toyota Camry on dubs (20-inch or more wheels for those who aren’t with the “lingo”)

Here’s a classic web site pointing out more ridiculous transgressions against the automobile.

What do you all out there think?

Mulholland madness

Hi, everyone!  I’m sorry it’s been awhile since my last entry.  I’ve been pretty burnt out from work.  You’re more than welcome to pray for relief sometime soon.

Back on July 3rd, I took Devoted Dan out to an unpaved stretch of Mulholland Drive that Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton, told me was used for Inside Line‘s full test of the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.  This short 1.1-1.3-mile stretch was rougher than I thought it would be; it probably blew my car’s right front Koni strut insert as a result of the good, clean dirty fun I had.

Google Maps link of the route

I made a few passes in both directions for my friend Louis to take some photos.  Unfortunately, the brightness outside caused all of the shots to be overexposed.  Getting the car sideways through some of the turns was a sheer joy!  There definitely aren’t many cars out there that would be up to the task.  Because of the blown RF Koni strut insert and some scratches the left rear portion of the bumper received as a result of my one close call (see video below), I’m unsure if I would do this again.  I think I would make sure the road is smoother and that the dirt/gravel is finer.

This video (1:52 long) was shot on my very last run.  I didn’t drive the car this hard on the previous runs because I wasn’t as familiar with the road yet.  You should be able to spot when and where I made my mistake and had the resultant close call with the side of the hill.

Having the car regain traction when I most needed it to = Priceless

Don’t hate the plate

There are quite a few people out there–you know who you are–who don’t like having front license plates on their automobiles even though having one is required by law in the state of California.  Here, I will state my case in support of front license plates.

On Saturday, July 5, 2008, I got stuck in traffic on the 57 North because of a fire caused by a vehicle fire on the highway that spread to the area alongside the highway.  At the time, I was headed to Don (Xanga: udonoogen) and Hanley’s (Xanga: randomranting) place to meet up before we headed to that evening’s Angel game against the Toronto Blue Jays.  I was South of the Tonner Canyon exit and stuck in an extreme amount of traffic.

The traffic came to a dead stop on an incline where I found myself behind a black 2004 Honda Civic Sedan like the one pictured above.  As we crawled up the hill, I noticed the driver of the car would let his vehicle roll back a bit while he was waiting around.  This happened more than once, which should’ve been my cue to move into another lane.  Not giving it much thought, I stayed behind the Civic (stupidly) hoping traffic would lighten up because the congestion was making me late.

A minute or two later, the traffic trudges forward and comes to another stop, except this time, the said Civic starts rolling back with more steam than before (3-4 mph).  Once I realized it was going to roll back into me at the rate it was traveling, I hit the car horn and kept my hand on it.  The driver didn’t react until *after* his car hit mine!!!  Unbelievable!

But wait, there’s more!  After moving his car up a few feet, he let his car roll back into mine again, even though I was blaring the horn the entire second instance.  I couldn’t believe it!  Whether I should have or not, I kept my car behind his as traffic continued to slog along.  A few minutes later, the traffic came to a stop again.  I got of my car, took a three second look at the front end.  Everything seemed okay.  I walked up to the driver’s window of the Civic and told the man, “You need to be more careful.”  He then proceeds to ask me, “Is there any damage to my car?”  The nerve of the fella!!!  I replied, “I don’t think so.”  While I was admonishing the guy, I checked out his center console to confirm that his car had a 5-speed manual transmission because a car with an automatic tranny wouldn’t have rolled back like his did at idle engine speed.  He also didn’t seem like he had all his ducks in a row.  I seriously hope he wasn’t intoxicated in some way at the time.

When I got to Don and Hanley’s, I inspected the front bumper more carefully for damage.  That’s when I noticed the damage to the front license plate mount.  It had been pressed into the bumper as a result of the impact.  It currently looks recessed a little bit into the bumper at a slight angle.  My USC Trojans front license plate frame and the corner of the plate itself were also bent by the impact.

Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t try to go after the inconsiderate man.  I figured the damage, or lack thereof, wasn’t enough to merit going through all the trouble of getting compensation from him.  I wrote his license plate number down and took a cell phone photo of his car.  While the incident itself sucked, I was relieved that more damage wasn’t done to my car’s front bumper.  I’m convinced the front license plate and its mount protected my car’s front end.  And that, folks, is why, I support front license plates!

Here are photos of the damage caused by one person’s atrocities.

You must excuse how dirty the car is.  I subjected it to this three days prior to the time these photos were taken.  More to come on the fun I had in the dirt later!