It’s so garish, the Lamborghini Egoista is a must-build

After seeing the new Lamborghini Egoista concept, and feeling the need to start posting things on here because the blog seems to be neglected, I figured I’d share my initial reaction I’d shared among car friends on Facebook.

“Please… PLEASE make it like this. Holy f***tarts of ugly sexiness, it’s just too over-the-top not to put a lot of those features into production. It’s such a wonderful toy, rather than some softened-up Germanic wedge of Lambo. That dash and cockpit canopy in particular– those need to stay. Lambo doors are so ricer now it’s great to see something so cheesishly 1970’s about it.”

Last month, Jalopnik has been going on a lot about supercars, such as what is a supercar, and more recently highlighting the backlash about the Egoista.  For a while I’ve been wanting to write about what is and isn’t a supercar these days, but also know that the high end sports cars like the Porsche 911 Turbos and GT3 RS’s, Audi R8, and Ferrari 458 are all more or less super in their engineering and speed.  Jalopnik is right (as much as it pains me) that car guys are too soft about what a supercar is these days.

Pagani and Spyker seem to have a good hold on a super-ness about them, a certain unique approach in their vehicles that many overlook these days.  The Spyker in particular calls out to my inner steampunk who’d have a C8 parked in my garage, with light switches along these lines (which you can buy by clicking):

Lamborghini’s Aventador does have quite a number of supercar qualities, don’t get me wrong.  After all, it takes many cues from the Reventon from a few years ago, has a 700hp V12 (or there abouts), and doesn’t just spit fire on the over-run but ejects blue flames like an afterburner.  Add to the fact that when thrown against cars like the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12c it’s a tragically sloppy car, and we have a classical supercar in our midst because of it.  Yet at the same time, the Aventador is still an easy car to drive and operate, still using parts from Audi showing a shift.

These days, the classical supercars tend to be called “hypercars.”  One of the reasons there’s been a shift of classical to modern (just like music, art, writing, and philosophy) is we’ve developed.  Technology has put our modern family sedans in realms of straight-line and braking performance that meets or exceeds old supercars that had up to three times the number of cylinders, and weren’t exactly known for being engineered to high standards of livability.

[This was initially written three weeks prior to being published, due to a recent writing gig and recent death in the family.  Hopefully content shall pick up]


In memoriam of my big brother.

I’d like to dedicate this post to my recently departed brother, Andrew Duncan.

Me and Andy 1

Don’t let the tux fool ya: my brother was a tank-top/t-shirt and blue-jean kind of man.


In my very first blog here on Manually Shifted Soul (aside from the introduction), I mentioned the differences in poster cars from the 1980’s to today.  Andrew and his eldest son were part of the inspiration on that blog.  Furthermore, Andy was an inspiration for me automotive wise, having me help fix family cars, handing off buff-books like Motor Trend that his friend had given him, and take me out for drives on curvy backroads all helped me become who I am now.  Without me knowing at the time, he tried to teach me things like how to handle opposite lock slides which then met our old plastic pedal-car with a broken axle.  Later, he’d teach me things like getting suspension to take a set, apexes, and plans for when I get a header.

Me and Andy 2

When I was a kid, taking things apart and putting them back together was my thing, be it pens or my fathers model locomotives (N-gauge specifically).  Likewise, Andy was always mechanically minded, but also highly independent and stubborn.  Regardless, he was a wealth of interesting observations and helpful when it came to fixing parts.  I remember spending a night “helping” him remove and replace an engine in my dads commuter Geo Metro so it could be ready for the 200 mile round-trip commute it’d make the next five days.

That stubborn streak also earned him the choice to live under house rules, or move out– of course choosing the latter, sometimes living in his 1976 Hornet Sportabout (which I wish I’d kept around).  Even though he was 16, he still made it through life by learning welding and more advanced mechanics through friendships he’d made, as well as serving in the National Guard (he was one of the troops helping in the 1997 floods in Northern California), and eventually the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division until he was honorably discharged.

While he was in the national guard, he took me out in some of his Suzuki Samurai’s, one of which was a very cleanly modified mudder, as well as one of the Humvee’s before the “Hummer” brand was so well known.  I also fell in love with the sound of the induction note of his 1996 Ford Probe GT’s 2.5L V6 that he had when I was in my teens, and he’d take me out on some of what are now my “playgrounds” outside of town.  We would occasionally test drive vehicles in Modesto, such as the NB Miata, 300ZX, Sebring Convertible (curious if anything), and he considered trading a ’99 Mustang GT automatic for a 2003 Altima 3.5L SE (for the kids).

Not only was Andy the sort of mechanic that’d rebuild the transmission in his Suburban (pictured next to Pheobe), but he was a professional millwright, doing welding for many of the factories and refineries in Northern California, including retrofitting the NUMMI plant.

Andy was also an outdoorsman– natural for a military man– who would take his sons camping any chance he got, be it Yosemite or the beaches of Monterey Bay.

We did have our differences, of course.  We butted heads often, about cars and otherwise.  We’d argue about what Impreza we just saw– be it a ’99 Impreza RS or a 2002 WRX (in passing) which were of course two very different generations.  He was the mechanical side, while I tended to know bodies and reviews.  For the time I was unemployed and going to school “on taxpayers dime” (which of course I’m not proud of), Andy did give me plenty of big-brother jabs.

Andy being himself, courtesy of friends sharing on his Facebook.
Andy being himself, courtesy of friends sharing on his Facebook.

But even with the jabs, he had his compliments that will stick with me.  I knew he was proud of some of the achievements I’ve made in the last few years even with such meager means– my commitment to my car (which he said is “fun, but no Mini Cooper S”), and such humble beginnings to try and work up my automotive journalism career goals starting to slowly bud.  When a job interview for doing camera work for a car TV show was presented, I was nervous.  He commented over Facebook saying “bro you have talent making an econo car look as good as you do on no budget is like havin a pig in a poke and selling it as a goose that lays golden eggs.”  The last thing on my page that he “Liked” on Facebook was announcing I’d finally landed a paid writing gig for  I know he knew and was happy for me, and for that I’m grateful.

I’ll miss his energy and know-how.

Collecting the Rejects

Ask a collector of pretty much anything—from Hot Wheels to coins– about mistakes.  Perhaps the Celica in the blue box has a backward clear-plastic greenhouse that puts what would have been the windshield switched to the back, or a find a penny that has  “double dies” superimposed because the coin was stamped twice.  You’ll find that the mistakes are often worth more, as it’s a rare occasion.  That penny?  It’s worth at least $1,000.

In 2009, Toyota gave us a tenth generation Corolla.  However, many people had seen it as too small a step forward over what it’d replaced (the 2003-2008 models).  It looked as though they’d just added some bulge and stretched the lights, added some reflectors, and changed the wheels.  Of course there was more to it than that: the roof-line changed slightly, and the 1ZZ-FE 1.8L engine was replaced with the 2ZR-FE 1.8L (making marginally more horsepower).  Inside added a little more vibrancy, with a few more metallic-look surfaces, the HVAC knobs modernized with embedded buttons within them,  and the automatic shifted was now notched for a more luxurious feel… at least, compared to just straight forward and back would have suggested.

2003 Corolla S front

2009 Corolla S front

2003 Corolla S rear

2009 Corolla S rear

That exterior was still needing a change, though, and Toyota scrambled to fix in 2011.  Essentially what they’d done was take the 2004 Mazda6-looking rear design, and put the Toyota schnoz on the front.  They than added chrome rings around the gauge bezel and gave it a cheaper looking manual shift knob for those equipped.

2011 Corolla S front

2011 Corolla S rear


2003(top), 2009 (bottom left), 2011 Corolla S (bottom right) manual interiors

That gave the 2009-2010 Corolla a somewhat short-lived design cycle, and a tale to tell our car-loving kids (if we’re so blessed) about the Toyota flub of 2009.  A new Corolla designed with some traces of the Furia concept is due for 2014.

While Toyota’s mistake is something to be expected—just another chalk-up to making money through badges rather than real effort (“it’s a Corolla, so it’s gotta be good”), Honda followed suit in 2012.

One would think Honda would have not played it safe with design like Toyota had.  After all, Honda had come out with the 2006 Civic which was a very odd (and successful) step from the compact-car norm.  Aside from the tail-lights, however, many had a hard time telling the old Civic from the new, making for a one-year change, taking cues of the also-new Honda Accord (which was a good move).  The interior hadn’t changed a whole lot from 2006 to 2012, either, and not much was done for 2013.

2011 Civic

2012 (left) 2013 (right)


2011 Civic rear

2012 Civic (left) 2013 Civic (right)

2006 Civic EX-L (left), 2013 Civic EX-L (right).

That’s not to say that the two cars I’m about to list are going to be worth more, but they will definitely be looked upon as a relative rarity in the landscape of their other iterations of “just a car.”  It’d be interesting, though, if these models were viewed as collectable someday.  Penny for your thoughts?

Image sources:
-Double-die penny:

-2003 Corolla S front:

-2009 Corolla S front:

-2003 Corolla S rear:

-2009 Corolla S rear:

-2011 Corolla S front (which shows the market they’re aimed to– graduates and older folks):

-2011 Corolla rear:

2003 Corolla S interior:

2009 Corolla S interior:

2012 Corolla S interior:

2011 Civic front:

2012/13 Civic fronts:

2012/13 Civic rears:

2006 Civic EX-L interior:

2013 Civic EX-L interior:

School’s done for the summer, now giving me time to get back to my blog and other ventures.  What other ventures?  One of those ventures will be the added challenge of leading a group of fellow enthusiasts through some of the roads I call my playgrounds.  How I’ll actually do it with an Echo I don’t know, but I’ll try.  Though if you happen to be a local enthusiast (local being a somewhat broad term) you’re more than welcome to join in at The Motoring Enthusiast Group at Facebook, Meetup (complete with my maiden call to fellow drivers), or LinkedIn.

In the other corner is volunteering.  The California Automotive Museum in Sacramento has a number of positions in washing and media which I could surely help with, and could help me polish up on things I may not know in automotive workings or history.  It’s a nice museum that has a surprising collection that seems to change from time to time.  It also has a sales department of which my editing and photo/video would be beneficial.

Hopefully as summer goes on I can settle down from school mode and find my mind wandering with more bloggy material.