Author Archive

Avon Bellamy



VIDEO> The McLaren MP4-12C: US Invasion

We’ve seen the new McLaren MP4-12C before here on MotorMavens with Antonio’s coverage of the Beverly Hills McLaren Event and it was unveiled back in September of 2009 as the first production car to be completely designed and built by McLaren since the McLaren F1, but it’s still rare (and beautiful) enough to cause minor disturbances as it weaves sleekly through more mundane traffic.

This video chronicles the MP4-12C’s invasion of North America – with a cameo appearance by a certain McLaren Formula One racing phenom who was arrested in Australia in 2010 for “deliberately losing traction” whereupon he was dubbed a “Hoon” by the Australian Magistrate. We couldn’t possibly make this stuff up! (more…)

VIDEO> Smashing Trees at Oregon Trail Rally

Here’s a little rally goodness brought to you from last year’s Oregon Trail Rally by our friends at Contour. You have to respect a racing format that includes dodging trees, boulders, and wildlife at high speeds! This clip features Byron Garth (pilot), Sky Pinnick (co-pilot), a 2006 Subaru WRX…and an unsuspecting tree who just happens to be minding his business while trying to cross the road! (more…)

VIDEO> Straight Outta Compton with Mad Mike

If for no other reason than getting a last minute “before they were famous” view of certain icons in West Coast gangsta rap, you should check out this video. In this second installment of interviews we did with the judges of the new SPEED Channel program Car Warriors, we meet the very down-to-earth Mad Mike, who most people might recognize from the television show Pimp My Ride.

If you were alive in the last six years and had any exposure to MTV, you probably think you know Mad Mike, but this interview introduces you to someone you’ve probably never met before – Mike Martin, a shade-tree, car stereo installer from Compton (in his own words). Whatever your preconceptions about Mike might be – leave them at the door. Nothing you see on TV is real… not even “Reality TV.” (more…)

VIDEO> Demon Doorslammers from Down Under!

As Managing Editor of MotorMavens, I get to see a lot of really cool videos, images, etc from all around the world but, rarely does one just jump right into my lap like this one did. Through the miracle of modern technology, and the Facebook chat feature (thank you Mark Zuckerberg!), Adam Crellin contacted me from Sydney in New South Wales, nearly 10,000 miles (and 15 time zones!) away, to drop this drag racing gem from his team (Deno’s Racing) on me. Adam shot this video at the Sydney Dragway and at the Perth Motorplex at Kwinana Beach and it was his first time shooting a video. Ever. So, of course, I’m dropping it on you!

Now, I could probably list a million stats about these 3500hp (Yes. Thirty Five HUNDRED horsepower!), all carbon-fiber bodied, 1967 Camaro-based drag demons. I could tell you that they both have 17″ wide rear tires, 521 cubic inch Brad Anderson engines, three-speed air shifted Lenco gearboxes, PSI superchargers, and Murray Anderson chassis modified by Deno’s Racing and SCF Racecars. I could tell you that their team has one of the first “door cars” in Australia to break the five second barrier. In fact, these cars go from 0-200 in four seconds and they ran a 5.95 @ 246 mph in the quarter. I should also probably tell you that a “door car” is a racecar with functioning doors (unlike Top Fuel or Funny Cars) and they’re popularly referred to as “doorslammers.” (more…)

FORUM> There’s A Lada Lowered Cars in Russia!

Many of our devoted readers know that just before we held our very first MotorMavens car show (Mass Appeal) in December, our website was hacked and many areas of our website ceased to work. Ever since then, we've been working to find all the things that were broken on the site, and worked to put it back together during the time that we're not working our other jobs. Yes, it's true - most of the members of the MotorMavens Crew have other jobs to help in paying the bills; it's not like we have major funding from any big companies or anything like that. Everything you see on MotorMavens is the product of countless hours of sacrifice and hard work from each and every person in the MotorMavens family, whether they are listed as a contributor or not. We're just that passionate about cars; it's what we all think about every waking moment that we're working our other jobs.

We're happy to announce that the MotorMavens Forum is now up and running again! It has been completely restored to the functionality it had before the hack attacks happened! This being said, we'd like to invite everyone to join the community and register for the forums. Post up photos of your car builds, or photos from events you've been to... hell, you can even promote events you're going to attend, or post up cool videos that you've seen online!

While browsing through the forum the other day, I noticed a post from a forum member named Igor Belkin, from the city of Ufa in Russia. Igor posted up a bunch of photos of modified Russian cars on the forum! If you're unfamiliar with the Russian car brand Lada, we're not surprised! Many North Americans have never heard of Lada... probably because the cars are only sold (or mostly sold) in Russia!

Check out the Lada above, though! Bolt-on overfender flares, banded steel wheels (widened steelies), stretched tires, and a lowered stance! See anything familiar here? Yes, this is proof! As car enthusiasts, our passion for cars exists all over the world, and now we have even seen slammed, stretched, scraping cars in Russia! YES!   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> Fatal Lexus LF-A Crash At Nurburgring

Just in case you guys haven’t heard the sad news from Nurburgring yet… while test driving a Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition on the 410 highway just outside Nurburg, Germany, Toyota’s chief test driver died in a head-on collision with two other drivers test driving a new BMW.

Both BMW drivers survived the crash (but are hospitalized in critical condition), but unfortunately, Toyota’s driver (who Autoblog speculates is Hiromu Naruse – the personal driver of Toyota head honcho Akio Toyoda, and a highly esteemed driver who is known within the Toyota organization as the Godfather of the LFA) didn’t survive the crash.

For more information and photos, follow this link to Autoblog.

:: Avon Bellamy

NEWSWORTHY> Peace to the Guru

If you don’t live in the Batcave or two miles under the surface of the Earth, then you are already aware that GURU of Gangstarr (Keith Elam) succumbed to his year long battle with cancer on April 19th. This post is not about the details of his life – it is more about the impact of his life. We realize that Motor Mavens is primarily an automotive site but we just couldn’t ignore the passing of a pioneer in an artform that has become such an integral part of American history – especially since we have so many Mavens on staff who appreciate true Hip Hop.

The first time I heard Guru was in 1989. I was a teenager and my cousin and I had formed a rap group in hopes of becoming respected MCs. I was picking him up to go record a song on the album we were working on and I was late so I was rushing to get him and then get to the studio on time. All of the rushing stopped when I got to his house.

My cousin had this nasty, complex track playing that I thought he’d put together until someone started rhyming over it. The MC’s voice was different from any other MC I had ever heard. Remember, this is back in 1989 when you had a very wide variety of different sounding MCs with completely different styles all co-existing in the world of Hip Hop; Rakim, KRS ONE, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee, Ice T, MC Shan, JUST-ICE, Fresh Prince, NWA – gangsta, party, conscious, lyrical, even silly – it was all there and all respected for the skills more than the sales. So, in a huge group of distinctive voices, this MC’s voice was completely different – plus the dude had mad lyrical skills. That MC, of course, was Guru and the song I heard that day, as an introduction to one of the truly pioneering Hip Hop artists, was Manifest. Needless to say, we were a little late to the studio that day.

The first thing Guru brought to Hip Hop was Jazz. It seems like a given now, but then you were more likely to hear Funkadelic or Soul fusions in Hip Hop. Jazz was a much more complex musical language – more cerebral. It would take Guru and Premier to incorporate it so seamlessly and take it mainstream Hip Hop.

But far more than just Jazz, Guru brought a certain musical fearlessness and freedom to Hip Hop. The first time I ever heard anyone rhyme in another language (successfully) was MC Solaar on Le Bien Le Mal – Guru gave us all the opportunity to experience that. I don’t think any other MC could have pulled off the things that Guru did while completely managing to avoid commercialism and corniness.

For me, Guru was a pioneer. He opened my eyes to Jazz in a new way which allowed me to truly appreciate my Pop’s old Miles Davis and John Coltrane albums. I think that Guru did something for the music of Hip Hop that many of the lyricists (including himself) had already done lyrically – he allowed us all to dig a little deeper. And that’s Universal. Peace god.

:: Avon Bellamy

NEWSWORTHY> Grunewald Camaro SS Test at Laguna Seca

If you remember, back in September of 2009, MotorMavens was the first to break news of Conrad Grunewald‘s brand new, Hankook Tire sponsored, Chevrolet Camaro SS entering the Formula D Championship. At the time, it was still only a concept and was still being built by Luke Lonberger at BLU808. All we had were a few mid-build photos and renderings, but they still had all of the Motor Mavens readers salivating!

Well, she’s come a long way since then! She’s up and running and looking HOT. While we were checking Facebook this morning, we spotted this video of her first drift runs at Laguna Seca during some “cone course tuning.” Can you say BEAST?! Running 305 wide tires and lighting ‘em up in third gear from 1500 rpm all the way to the redline with no problem, they can definitely check “power” off the to do list. I heard some people on Facebook saying that this car had 2300 HORSEPOWER?! Is that really true?! Twenty three hundred?!?!?!

There’s not really much more we can say about it that you can’t see and hear for yourself. Good Luck to CG Racing and BLU808 with this beautiful new competition Camaro SS! We can’t wait for the Pony Wars to get restarted at Formula Drift!

:: Avon Bellamy

WEBMINING> A Shakotan Odyssey

Here’s a video I got from my boy Travis that had me and some of my boys on the East Coast straight trippin. We just don’t see stuff like this over here too often – especially not when we have potholes as big as moon craters that suck up whole caravans of cars without so much as a burp. If this is how they roll in Japan, I’m sold – I’m completely down with citizenship.

I spent way too much time just watching it over and over with my mouth hanging open – it’s so short and when you see the camber and fitment on the Odyssey…INCREDIBLE! It’s the little things that mean so much. I mean, it’s one thing to slam a car and hard park it – but, driving it on the highway like these guys is another thing entirely. Whoever these guys are – they get mad love for KILLIN this Odyssey shakotan-style! And whatever that is running with the Odyssey – DOPE!

Take a second and snatch a peak. It’s like those chips – betcha can’t watch just once!

::Avon Bellamy

CARSPOTTING> Spyker's C8 Aileron Spyder

And now...BACK TO THE EXOTICS! And, if you needed any proof that the Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder is a bonafide, state-certified exotic - look no farther than the face of Daniel Craig on the screen in the background of the picture above. Would 007 be allowed to appear anywhere near (like within 500 yards of) a regular car? I'm sure there's a clause somewhere making it an offense punishable by debt to expose the 007 brand to any car priced south of $150K. There. It's official.

The Spyder is the latest offering from bespoke car-builder, Spyker Cars. It's Spyker's latest offering of hand-crafted quality and exclusivity - and it has a little "get up and go" too. Who doesn't like that? Apparently, not everyone.   Read more...

CARSPOTTING> Introducing the Mazda 2

After being exposed to the curvy sexiness of the Mercedes SLS AMG Gullwing, the cutting-edge science and incredible power of the Audi e-Tron, and the crisp, German-engineered precision of the Porsche Boxster Spyder, I'm sure some of you are thinking "The Mazda 2?!" Well, yeah...that's right. We said it - the Mazda 2.

Sure, the 2 might seem like a let-down compared to supercars like the LFA and the SLS but, let's keep it real, how many of you have the solid-gold wheelbarrow filled with diamonds and rubies that they're asking as a down payment for one of those America's Next Top Model magnets? It's like buying a Picasso. You just can't nail it up on your living room wall (perish the thought!). No. Protocol requires that you buy a freakin' museum to display it. Do you have a museum? I didn't think so.

So, being the Motor Mavens that we are, we figured we'd throw in a "real" car to talk you guys in off the ledge. We believe (in the immortal words of the bard, R. Kelly) that you can fly - but we figured you might just want to drive first.   Read more...

WEBMINING> Aggressive Offset Deja VW

I was reading Yoshi Shindo’s Passat story the other day and it really jumped off the page at me when he said he had “never been the greatest fan of VWs”. Not that there's anything wrong with liking what you like. It just reminded me of something my boy Steve told me about the VW scene awhile back. He said (I’m paraphrasing): “There’s nothing new about aggressive offset and rolled fenders. VW guys have been doing that for over 30 years.”   Read more...

WEBMINING> Zen Drift Master Orido

I was on a hunt for footage of one of my favorite cars – the JZZ30 Toyota Soarer (aka the Lexus SC300/SC400) and lo and behold, what should I find but Manabu Orido drifting Honjo Circuit in Japan.

Although in this video, Orido’s driving his Project Mu/Autotech JZS161 Toyota Aristo (Lexus GS300) and not a Soarer, I thought it was worth it to post this gem just to show the interior action shots. Look at how little he has to do to control the car – his economy of motion and technique is amazing.

I know that we’re not supposed to be envious…but I just can’t help it! Who wishes, like I do, that they could plug into The Matrix (I’m talking about the movie, not the FF Toyota) and download Orido’s drifting skills like Neo, waking up suddenly, saying… “I know drifting.”

::Avon Bellamy

WEBMINING> Ueo vs Nomuken – 3 Wheel Drift

I was on one of those endless YouTube “nature hikes” when I stumbled upon this D1 gem. The action is awesome but it’s really the characters and the commentary that make D1 so cool and fun. Check out the 3 wheel action as Ueo goes against Nomuken! Enjoy!

:: Avon Bellamy

CARSPOTTING> bB Squad on BBS in Sarasota

Looking through the terabytes of photos in our Motor Mavens photographic archive, we noticed these photos from our last trip to Florida sitting in a folder, never before published and never before seen on our site.

It was one of those perfect Florida days, with the tang of fresh salt water in the air and the sun seeming to just chill and hang out like an old friend – warm and breezy in a “no worries” sorta way. So, what does one do in Paradise? That’s right... check out the cars. We were in Florida to attend the Scion Exposed 6.0 event in Sarasota anyway, so we thought we'd do a little carspotting at the show. That’s where we saw our favorite car at the show - this clean, minimalist, emerald gem, owned by Nick Rico of the bB Squad.   Read more...