Waiting in the Shadows

Not long after the final chunk of driving before the pandemic started, I drove my little Zastava the hour or so to my mechanic's shop. The aim was to fix a plethora of leaks, change the belts, plus to finally get it to freakin' start reliably, before another driving season would occur.

The car ended up producing some sort of worrying, clutch-like smell about 30-45min in (it's been so long now, I can't remember exactly why). With a strong desire to not have to call a tow truck, I pulled onto the hard shoulder of the highway and waited for the smell to subside before continuing. Eventually, we reached our destination, but not before the brake pedal suddenly got as hard as a rock.

So I Changed My Game Plan

My little Zastava is in the shop, getting all its gaskets replaced (among other things). I always say that hopefully this is the last shop visit before it's fully driveable, but I won't say that this time. No, I think I'll change my game plan and only talk about what's already been done, ignoring its intended impact on the car's future.

Aside from dealing with the Fića's return to form, I've also spent the last five or six years looking for a modern performance car. The basic criteria was a powerful engine, rear wheel drive, two doors, and most importantly, a manual transmission. Extra points if it's brand new.

Easier said than done.

End of Season Wrap-Up & Gallery

Back at the end of July last year began the second official driving season for my perpetually-broken little bastard. With some long-awaited new parts and repair work having been done, the plan was to drive it as much as possible, and discover if there was any more work to do. And after four months of regular driving, it turned out that...yes, we have more work to do.

But first, let me go over some good news.

Review: 2018 Volkswagen Golf

Remember that Simpsons episode where the family joins a cult? The entire town is hypnotized by clearly unrealistic promises of awaiting paradise, provided they sacrifice everything in their life that was ever worth a damn.

I feel like that describes the automotive industry today. Manufacturers are The Leader, convincing us that needlessly downsized and complicated engines, lack of steering feel, electronics where they don't need to be, and automatic transmissions are the way forward.

Obsolescence and low quality are the name of today's game, robbing more and more sense out of long-term ownership – cars are now built to be leased.

They have to get those sacks of ballast cash for the UFO somehow, after all.

The worst part is, the townspeople buying public are eating it all up. "I love The Leader," they chant, as they buy the extended warranty in the F&I office.

BMW X Tour

BMW's SUV lineup has seen some updates recently. Namely, they redesigned the X3, and launched the all-new X2. I got the chance to sample both on an autocross course, as well as to sample the off-roadability of the current X5 and X6. Here's how it all went.

It's Actually Done

After what seemed like an eternity at the shop, the Fića is finally done. Finished. Ready to drive.

I know, I can't believe it either.

It took the hour-long drive home like a champ. Zero drama. Here's everything that it took to get it to this point.