Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Ah, Tahoe—it's no Bend, that's for damn sure. But I drove around the whole lake anyway by mistake, and it wasn't all bad, and then I went ahead and drove all the way back to L.A.
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
After a thankfully peaceful night in a vaguely Psycho-esque motel on the outskirts of Bend, I lingered downtown for most of Day 9, because really, why would you want to leave? But then I remembered that my destination that night was Tahoe, or close to it—which meant I had to make it to Crater Lake before dusk.
Sunday, September 21st, 2014
The pretext for this trip was that I had to be in Portland anyway for the unveiling of the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, a 707-horsepower monstrosity that will, as you'll see in a minute, do a burnout. I ended up spending a couple extra days with a notorious local I've done business with in the past—but first, I kicked it "Old-School" with Dodge as we drove candy-colored Challengers all over the place.
Sunday, September 14th, 2014
The agenda on this day was redwoods—lots of redwoods. But we did wake up in Ferndale, and I did leave my camera at Poppa Joe's, necessitating an unscheduled return trip some hours hence...so more did happen than just the trees.
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
So I took the 500 Benz out for its weekly exercise the other day (it spends the rest of its time under wraps, and yes, I still owe you a June->October-slash-maybe-November-too update), found myself entering the 5 South freeway from the Dodger Stadium exit, and realized that I had stumbled upon a pretty level and lengthy on-ramp with no one behind me.
"Self," I barked, "Let's get zero to 60 on camera and analyze the hell out of that video."
Monday, May 6th, 2013
The first question when I'm flying out of LA on a press trip is obviously how I'm going to keep the 500 Benz's noble German sheetmetal door-ding-free, and last Wednesday the answer was this handy diagonal spot on the roof of the Renaissance LAX.
Then I start to wonder about what I'm driving and where I'm driving it, and in this case the answers were "the new 2014 Lexus IS sedan" and "San Francisco," respectively.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
Not surprisingly, rain was in the forecast for San Francisco as mrs500benz and I packed for her aunt and uncle's place last Friday morning, so I prevailed on her to help me install the 500 Benz's hardtop, which had been sexing up my living-room wall ever since my man Johnny Turbo helped me take it off a few days after I bought the car.
In brief, installation can be something of a challenge when the hardtop's on the third floor, the car's in the basement, and you don't have the little rolly cart that Benz originally included to help you wheel the top around...so I naturally captured the whole carnival on video, and then we headed north to see what the Benz feels like with its helmet on.
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
My personal jury's always been out on YouTube car-review sensation Chris Harris: there are some people I really respect who like the guy, and I would personally love to meet him and figure out how to make my job a little more like his, and he can clearly drive the proverbial snot out of whatever he's sitting in...but to me, his videos too often miss the mark in various ways, notwithstanding their million-kabillion views.
To wit, I just watched his "Mercedes SL Driven: New & Old" video (above), which proceeds from the premise that "the best way to understand the new SL is to trace its heritage"—and I cannot fathom why it features every past SL except the two modern ones, i.e., the R129 and R230 models.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
One of the occupational hazards I face is that I'll hit stretches where I'm too busy driving other cars to do anything with the 500 Benz.
Case in point: while the suspension-challenged Benz stewed silently in the garage earlier this week, I had to go evaluate a 2013 Porsche Boxster S PDK.
Monday, March 18th, 2013
Well, the good news is that the re-education of the 500 Benz's transmission is proceeding apace, and I also sprang for some new rear brake pads that thankfully (1) do not incessantly spew dust on the wheels like the old ones, and (2) seem to have fixed the low-speed squealing that I used to hear.
But I'm still chasing the root cause of another issue that I had the guys at MB Elite check out—a most un-Mercedes-like hard ride on bad roads—and as I'm suddenly in full-on maintenance mode here, I figured I'd go ahead and itemize my maintenance costs since buying the car nine months and about 8,000 miles ago.
Friday, March 15th, 2013
Okay, so I had to bring back the DeAndre Jordan dunkface today, because his reaction to that dunk—let's call it a "Something amazing just happened and I don't know what else to do" grimace—is precisely my reaction every time I flat-foot a fantastic engine.
It's my version of Jeremy Clarkson's trademark "POWERRRRRR!" battle cry, and
I a professional driver briefly entered that zone early this morning when a closed course suddenly presented itself.
Saturday, February 16th, 2013
That's what DeAndre Jordan thinks about all this Puerto Rico stuff, perhaps echoing the sentiments of some of you Benzitos out there.
So how about you all just watch the Day 5 video below, take a deep breath, and brace yourselves for a renewed onslaught of often-daily content that's at least tangentially related to the 500 Benz.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Shortly after an ominous cloud bank compelled me to put the Mustang's top up (see Day 3 video @5:46), the rains arrived with real exuberance and stayed for a few hours, making for some unpleasant nighttime driving en route to Isabela.
But we got there in one piece—even had time to stop at Walmart for supplies and put down a nice authentic meal at Panda Express (yep, Puerto Rico really is the U.S.)—and then we awoke the next morning to this...
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
So after I picked mrs500benz up at the airport on Wednesday evening, took her to a highly civilized restaurant on the beach, and introduced her to her twinkly new companion, we headed back to La Concha for the night, having booked the following two nights at Villa Tropical in two-hours-distant Isabela.
That meant we had to get to Isabela by roughly dinnertime on Thursday, but before we left, we managed to do justice to Old San Juan, which is one of my new favorite places in the world...and I also mounted the GoPro to our 2011 Ford Mustang V6 Convertible's trunklid for some exciting San Juan driving footage.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
We rose early on Day 2 for an outdoor breakfast in the Plaza Las Delicias (see Day 1, above, for background), and then it was time to pick a Paceman and head for a coffee plantation in the mountains, where we understood a few 2013 Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works GPs were waiting to amuse us.
As such, there are two, count 'em, two videos in this post, Benzitos: one for the Paceman drive, and one for the few hot minutes I spent driving that GP around.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
When I first perused the itinerary for last week's Mini Paceman press event in Puerto Rico, I found it odd that the Bulldog Inn, our lodging for Tuesday night in Ponce, was not known to Google. Then I noticed the following fine print in a separate email:
Yep, Mini was going to commandeer some random hotel and redecorate it just for us—a power move that would really set the tone for the rest of the trip.
Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
Palos Verdes Drive is one of the more beauteous roads on the planet, in 500Benz.com's humble opinion, so when mercedesmark and I found ourselves motoring upon it en route to Los Verdes Golf Course today, I naturally pulled over and strapped on the GoPro.
If you can get past the oppressive wind noise, I think you'll agree that this is one of the finest 500Benzlife videos yet.
Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Got back out on the mean streets this morning for my weekly 10am basketball game, and I decided to mount my new GoPro HD Hero2 to the rear deck for the occasion.
Verdict: a lot of random stuff can happen in 25 minutes of LA driving...sorry about the fingerprint smudge in the lower left corner...and this is a pretty neat piece of equipment.
Sunday, January 27th, 2013
You gotta love a car company that creates a propaganda film series called "Fascination" to promote its vehicles.
I can't find any such films for current Benz models, unfortunately, so maybe this endearing practice was left behind like the company's time-intensive pre-Chrysler production techniques...but there is a "Fascination" for the R129 SL-Class, and I've got a running commentary that starts right now.
Sunday, January 20th, 2013
As noted, the plan yesterday was to go sailing with my friend Captain Nick, a man of mystery who grew up with me in the woods of Maine and now makes his home here in L.A.
The sailing part went off without a hitch, but the 500 Benz decided to throw a CEL (check-engine light) en route from Hollywood to Captain Nick's fine vessel in Marina Del Rey—so let's take a deep dive into both topics.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
As a prelude to the 500E post, here's the 500 Benz's M119 V8 starting up after sitting overnight, a.k.a. two hot minutes of hand-built German engineering porn.
Sunday, January 13th, 2013
So after the photo shoot, I put the camera on a tripod and shot some barely legal video footage of the 500 Benz.
Then I threw together my first YouTube video using a random editing program I found, and the results are weird for multiple reasons.
Welcome, new Benzito!
No. Spam. Ever.