CARSPOTTING> AC Schnitzer E34 BMW 5 Series

For some people, a car may be just a way to get from one place to the next. However, for guys like Adam Luong, it’s all about how you look on the way. If you were driving around town in this 1995 E34 5 Series, you can understand how a guy could feel that way.

It’s a rarity to see a 16 year old car in as pristine condition as this. Since my encounters with most 5 series bimmers leave much to be desired, it's always a pleasure to discover one that has been built right - call it a pleasant surprise. This specimen is so clean that, to the untrained eye, it appears almost to have just rolled off the Bavarian assembly line yesterday.

You may recall that, back in the 1990s, the BMW 5 Series was the top mid-sized sedan in its class - a class with very little competition. It was a must have for dads all across suburbia. Well, little has changed since then except that the 5 series has grown up to become a more elegant machine jam packed with enough gizmos and gadgetry to make a technologically inclined person go into mental overload. I could go on and 0n about my take on how the technological interface in modern BMWs dilutes the driving experience, that's not what we're here for. Today, it's all about Adam Luong and his little piece of 5 Series heaven.

It was actually Antonio who first spotted this fine specimen at the Wek'fest in San Francisco. When he saw it again at the Bimmerfest in Pasadena, he told me about it and caught my full attention when he said that it was the cleanest E34 he'd ever seen. With a guy like Antonio saying that, I just had to see for myself. When I saw the car in person, I just had to agree.   Read more...

ROADTRIP> Spectre 341 Challenge Hillclimb

Virginia City is the oldest city in the state of Nevada. It was the site of the Comstock Lode, which is spin-off of the 1849 Gold Rush that brought many fortune seekers out to Northern areas of California and Nevada, with stories of gold and silver mining wealth.

Silver was actually discovered accidentally. Prospectors that were making their way to California were forced to stop in the Sierra Nevada mountains because of snowstorms, so they camped out near present day Virginia City as they continued their efforts in panning and mining for gold. As the miners searched high and low for traces of gold, a bluish-grey mud stuck to their shovels, infuriating the early gold miners, who rapidly disposed of it. Unfortunately for them, the nuisance that stuck to their shovels turned out to be silver ore. Virginia City's silver legacy turned it into the richest city in Nevada at one point, with $400 million in silver excavated from its mines. To put this into perspective, that $400 million would be $12.8 billion in today's economy - not exactly bailout money but definitely enough to keep any city running like a well oiled machine.

In 1862, State Route 341 was established, which is a mountain road that was built to allow trucks carrying silver ore to get from Silver City to Virginia City and Reno. The first roots of an organized hill climb event in Virginia City date back to 1972. Hans Tanner, the President of the Ferrari Owners Club of Southern California, thought that Nevada's Highway 341 would be a perfect place to replicate the legendary hill climbs in Europe.

Enter Amir Rosenbaum. Amir is the founder of Spectre Performance, a manufacturer of innovative air intake systems and other performance parts for muscle cars. Aside from owning a fleet of cars that includes several 1970s Chevrolet Camaros, a mid-engined 1970 Chevy El Camino SS (pictured above), a 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1, a 2JZGTE-powered 1970 Ford Maverick, a twin turbo Cadillac powered streamliner land speed racer, and a highly modified 1992 Ferrari F40, Amir set a world record at the famed Virginia City Hillclimb in 2002, driving his infamous F40 up the hill in only 3.10 minutes (more on this car later).   Read more...
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VIDEO> Texas Drifting at Gulf Greyhound Park

A few of Texas’ notable drifters descended upon Gulf Greyhound Park about a month ago for a day of drifting. It was ridiculously hot, but everyone seemed to mow through all their tires by the day’s end.

I’ll go ahead use this post to make my formal introduction as well – My name is Henry Swasey and I’m from Houston, Texas. I’m a photographer/videographer who has a thing for drifting (street drifting specifically). As you may have seen in my other videos that were previously posted on MotorMavens, I’m with a local drift crew called Team Silhouette, and we have a shared interest in dope street drifting and getting it captured on camera. I have a few big projects in the works, so stay tuned to MotorMavens for more Lone Star drifting!!

::Henry Swasey

View more videos from Henry Swasey on Youtube
View more videos from MotorMavens on Youtube

COVERAGE> JDM Allstars Rd.2 – Donington Alpine!

When I first heard that JDM Allstars was coming to Donington Park for Round 2 of the championship, I was a little confused as to where the event would be held. Would it be on the actual race circuit? Since it's currently under reconstruction, any idea of that went out the window. Would it be on the large plot of land off to the side of the track known as the "Launch Pad"? Well, since two other drift series have used that area in the past, it didn't seem to fit JDM's approach which usually involves coming up with fresh and exciting course designs.

I later heard that the plan was to hold it on something called the Donington Alpine Circuit. I had no clue what that was until I came along to the shoot of the promotional video a few weeks back. Then it all became clear. On the outskirts of the main track and the Launch Pad is a fast, wide, almost mountain road-like track that the JDM Crew decided to use. It's made up of four corners and a steep uphill straight where the cars seemingly come out of nowhere and fly over the top. There's a right transition into the second turn, aiming for a clipping point close to the deadly armco, then a transition left into the third turn where you plant the throttle and bring the rear of the car to the armco on the straight, leading to another transition right into the final hairpin turn.

Fast corners, armco barriers on all sides and beautiful scenery all around. This was looking to be one of the most unique and exciting drift events in the JDM Allstars calendar.   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> Monster Suzuki Wins Pike’s Peak

Monster Tajima Monster Sports Escudo Suzuki Falken Pike's Peak Colorado PPIHC Hillclimb 2010

The Monster of the Mountain has done it again. This year’s Pike’s Peak “Race to the Clouds” is now over, and even though most people think of the name Millen when they think of Pike’s Peak… it might just be fitting that the Rocky Mountain behemoth (that peaks at 14,400 feet above sea level) be nicknamed Monster’s Mountain.

Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima hails from Shizuoka, Japan (not too far from Fuji Speedway), and has been doing Suzuki owners proud by holding (and defending) the world record time at the legendary Pike’s Peak Hillclimb in Colorado – previously in a turbocharged Suzuki Escudo, and now in a monstrous Suzuki SX4. (I know that Suz and Tajima have had their relationship going for a while, but for some reason, Suzuki SX4 still sounds odd to me when prefaced with the word monstrous.) Enough of my rambling though… let’s cut to the official press release: (more…)

CENTER STAGE> Pat Cyr, DMCC Winner with AE86!

As I write this, Pat Cyr of Drift Posse is sending me a text message from the DMCC – Drift Mania Canadian Championship - Round 2 on Sunday, June 20 informing me that he has won the event! Congratulations Pat!

When I think of the hard campaigning privateer, there's no one that comes more quick ly to mind than Pat. He and his team bring the perfect mix of heart, dedication and style to every event - and it shows.   Read more...

CENTER STAGE> Rotiform’s A4 Avant on the Floor

One thing about lining up a photo shoot is that sometimes it doesn't always go according to plan. After several months of planning, I was finally able to lock down a shoot date with Brian Henderson's 2010 B8 Audi A4 Avant. This, my friends, is what I would call a truly magnificent piece of machinery. Everything about it oozes class and originality - and who doesn't like class and originality?

After hanging around for awhile talking "car guy stuff" with Brian and Jason Whipple, the two guys who run the Rotiform shop, I was able to find out a little bit more about Brian's previous car history. Much more than just the car, I was interested in getting to know the reasoning behind the choice of the beautiful B8 Audi A4 Avant you see here as well as the motivating force behind Rotiform.   Read more...

GUEST BLOG> BMW Mania at Studie Tokyo w/WSTO

It's not often that MotorMavens gets a guest blog but when our friends at WSTO got an opportunity to go to the Tokyo Auto Salon and visit Studie - we were more than happy to let them tell their story. And so, without further ado - Julius Choi of WSTO visits Studie. Enjoy!

Imagine getting a call telling you that you and one other guy are the $10 million winners of the state lottery - all you have to do is split the money. Cool, right? Now, imagine the state lottery commission calling again to tell you that the other guy lost his ticket and the whole $10 million is yours. If you have a good imagination, that about sums up how excited I felt getting a chance to attend my first Tokyo Auto Salon - sort of like that lottery winner. But, when I got to visit Studie, the ultra high-end tuner shop, it was almost like getting that second call.

Studie has five locations; Yokohama, Tokyo, Kobe, Sendai and Kidnie. I had the honor of visiting two of these amazing shops; Studie Tokyo (their latest which opened last year) and the main hub, Studie Yokohama.   Read more...