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Editorial Archives - DrivingScene

Archive | Editorial

Don’t Turn Off the BMW i3 While You’re Driving It

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Don’t Turn Off the BMW i3 While You’re Driving It

Posted on 13 February 2014 by Adam Kaslikowski

Orange 2014 BMW i3 Exterior

If you ever find yourself in a BMW i3 learn from my mistake and don’t suddenly turn it off while you’re in the middle of a busy street. Now, I’m not an idiot – okay, I probably am but try and remember that you’re on my side here – I didn’t know I was turning it off. Let me spin you the story:

BMW was kind enough to host a driving event for their new i3 in the heart of Las Vegas recently. Unlike most of the journosaurs who were assembled, the DrivingScene crew chose to forgo the cargo shorts and leather sandals look. Perhaps that’s why our careers have suffered so unjustly.  We ignored veiled attempts at small talk from people named Daren, quickly grabbed the key fob for a sunburst orange tester, and jumped in. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the i3 (you can read our full i3 review on our sister site FactoryTwoFour) but that doesn’t mean that we almost didn’t break it. In fact, whenever the team here enjoys a new vehicle it usually winds up broken.

Within the first two miles of the driving loop BMW had put us on, I had already started pushing as many buttons in the cabin as I possibly could with these fat sausage fingers. Radio, check. Climate control, check. Storage compartments, check. Stop/Start? Now that’s got to go. I hate stop/start tech, especially on a limited test drive. Now, the smarter of you will quickly whisper confusingly to your screen, “but electric cars don’t need stop/start…” Congrats, you’re smart! Smarter than me! In my defense, I jump in and out of so many new test cars that they all kind of blend together.

Regardless, I’m in the middle of traffic a few streets over from the strip and I jab the Start/Stop labelled button so violently that you’d be sure it insulted my lineage. IMMEDIATELY the i3 starts shuttering and jolting forward, all while making the wost possible combination of groan and whine you can imagine. After a few seconds of riding a bucking BMW, I’m stopped dead in the middle of the street with a line of cars piling up behind me. HIT THE BUTTON AGAIN screams through my brain milliseconds after I realize the button is the exact same one the BMW handler had told me to press to start the car when we first got in. I told you, you’re smarter than me.

Now, I’m from LA so as the cars stack up behind me I’m mentally preparing to ignore the symphony of horns that should soon begin blaring at me. And to the credit of Las Vegas residents, not a single horn was sounded that day. Perhaps they knew I already felt and knew I was/am a complete ass.

Ass or not, the Start/Stop button isn’t working and I’m loosing my mind. Park! The i3 needs to be back in Park before I can turn it on! Okay, so now the challenge is to remember where the hell the gear selector is. I grabbed the turkey leg-like selector jutting out of the steering column and selected Park by basically giving a repeated thumbs-up to the silver tab that serves as the button for such things. In Park, I again try the Stop/Start button and wait what feels like 30 years for the startup sequence of lights and sounds to complete before I again flick the selector towards me now and get this damn tub into Drive.

Still no honks. Miraculous. Perhaps I’m all wrong about Vegas and it’s actually the friendliest place on earth… I’m under motion now and the trail of tears I have produced is dissolving as we all move forward. I swear to you when I looked in my rearview mirror I saw a smile on the lady behind me. And not a “oh good” smile, no it was definitely a “I think I’m following a mentally disabled person, perhaps I should give him a wide berth” smile.

If you don’t want to see that smile for yourself, learn from me. Leave the Stop/Start button alone while you’re driving. And who says this site isn’t educational?

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Do You Know Your Country’s Racing Color?

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Do You Know Your Country’s Racing Color?

Posted on 28 December 2013 by Adam Kaslikowski

national racing colors

Sesame street taught me that colors are cool. Driving through South-Central LA taught me that picking the right colors are important. Finally, numerous Tumblr galleries have taught me that colors can make or break a cool ride. So how does one pick the right color for their whip? Well, if you want a cheat sheet, you can always pick your national racing color.

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Our Custom Misfit is Done!

Posted on 06 November 2013 by Adam Kaslikowski

custom misfit build teaser

Ladies and gentlemen, the DrivingScene Misfit has been torn down, modified, chopped, welded, rebuilt, tuned, and tested. She has been primed, painted, and polished. The hard work is done, now we just need to reassemble. And of course RIDE. You can also read about our Misfit purchase, and our custom build update, and we’ll be “unveiling” the finished build here just as soon as we take some purtty pictures for y’all.

We could not have done this fantastic custom Misfit build without the hard work and keen eyes of Vegas Cyclewerks and Old Skool Kustom Painting. Both these shops have done great work, and done so under tight time limits. Have a beer for them, and look out for our full reveal and in-depth review of our custom 2014 Cleveland Misfit custom cafe racer. Cheers.

– Adam Kaslikowski

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Custom Misfit Build Update

Posted on 09 October 2013 by Adam Kaslikowski

2014 Cleveland Cyclewerks Misfit Custom Build on Lift

Our custom Misfit build, which we’ve named The Wolf, is progressing along nicely so we thought we’d give all you loyal readers an update. The bike is currently out in Ohio getting expertly painted by Old Skool Kustom Painting, and if you look through their past work you’ll see that the DrivingScene Misfit is going to turn out all kinds of sexy.

While all the tins are off, John over at Vegas Cyclewerks has been more than busy making sure our bike is the fastest Misfit around. To that noble end, we’ve installed a brand new racing head, a totally new carb with enough flow to make the Mississippi look tame, and created a custom stainless steel “trumpet” exhaust to improve performance as well as get that classic cafe racer look. While we’re on the topics of looks, we’ve also wrapped the exhaust pipe (not shown, obviously) in WHITE! and crafted a totally custom seat that will have a much lower profile while still retaining Cleveland Cyclewerks amazingly useful detachable cowl. On or off, the seat looks great.

The bike has also been on a bit of a diet. Already a featherweight compared to the old Kawasaki KZ650, we’ve opted to delete the side covers, relocate the electronics, and upgrade the battery to a unit about 1/4 the size of stock. This little wonder battery provides the same level of juice, and is about the size of your fist. That will be hidden below the seat to still allow for electronic starting. With the sidepods gone and a clear view through the bike, The Wolf is going to look properly cafe.

Lastly, the emissions control piping was scrapped and the bike went on the dyno to test what all our mods achieved. The dyno chart was easily on the sexiest things I’ve ever seen. I’ve always ignored these graphics out of both confusion and indifference. They were strange and boring. But when it is our bike? Oh man have I spent long chunks of time just gazing into the graph like it was a magic eye poster or something. And what I saw made daddy happy. Here’s our improvements, blue line is stock, red line is after Vegas Cyclewerks:

Custom Misfit Build Dyno Results

As you can see, a great improvement. More of everything, smoother lines, and stable air/fuel mix. We. Are. Pumped. Check back here often to see how the build is progressing. Next stop, paint shop!
– Adam Kaslikowski

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We Just Bought a Misfit!

Posted on 17 September 2013 by Adam Kaslikowski

2013 Misfit

Behold gentle readers, DrivingScene’s new ride/long-term tester/tax write-off. That’s right, we just handed over some bags of cash for a new 2013 Cleveland Cyclewerks Misfit. Haven’t heard of the Misfit or Cleveland Cyclewerks for that matter? No worries, for you are not alone.

Long-story-short, Cleveland Cyclewerks imports a specially modified version of a Taiwanese recreation of the venerable Honda CB125. These recreations are available from all sorts of brands, but they are all built using the original or licensed tooling from the Honda factory. So it’s a Chinese bike assembled and sold by an American company. Cleveland tweaked theirs a bit to be a cafe-style bike, as well as upgrading the motor to a 250. Still not a big bike, but one many motorcyclists are calling a perfect commuter bike with style.

Cleveland also sells a number of go-faster parts that turn this little runabout into a perfect sleeper. And wouldn’t you know it, we’ve sprung for just about all of them. We’ll be getting a completely custom Misfit built by the talented hands over at Vegas Cyclewerks and our very fresh paint job is being handled by the incomparable Old Skool Kustom Painting out of Ohio. You know we only work with the best, so that means this build is going to be a cross-country affair. Once you see the final product, you’ll it was worth it.

Currently the bike is waiting for us to pick it up at a loading dock, then it goes straight into Vegas Cyclewerks’ hands for tuning. 2 weeks later, the riding begins. Check back here often for build updates and in-progress pictures, then a detailed review and spread.
We can’t wait, we hope you can’t either.

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What Rebuilding My Carburetors Taught Me About Life

Posted on 28 July 2013 by Adam Kaslikowski


There are a lot of things in this world I don’t understand. Things like the socio-economic inequality in post-Marxist South American countries, why microwave ovens are suddenly able to work with metal inside, and the Weber 45 DCOE carburetor. So far in life all of these things (and much more) have escaped my mental grasp. Imagine my dread, then, when the carbs on my vintage stead started acting up. The previous owner gleefully informed me that the dual Webers had needed a rebuild for some time now. Oh joy.

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Turn Your Hymnals to 2002 Verse 2

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Turn Your Hymnals to 2002 Verse 2

Posted on 30 April 2013 by Adam Kaslikowski

I recently spent a weekend with a very cherry 1970 BMW 2002 that some maniac/god decided to drop a racing engine into. After enjoying its many pleasures I just had to pen an homage to David E. Davis Jr.’s seminal review of the 2002 when it first arrived on our shores in 1968. Below is my update, and you can find the original here.

As I sit here, fresh from the elegant embrace of a 1970 BMW 2002, it occurs to me that something between thirty eight and thirty nine million Americans are going to make a terrible mistake this year. Like dutiful little robots they will march out of their identical McMansions and buy the wrong used car. Fools, fools! Terrible, terrible, I say. Why are you blowing your money on any number of tweaked and bodily-fluid enhanced yesteryear versions of the Civic / Focus / 3-series / 3-series Status Symbol / Eclipse / Sex Substitute / Camry / Accord / Crown Victoria / Overkill / Evo / A4 / CR-V / Malibu / GTO / GTA / GTB / GTS / GTX / Reality Blaster / Golf / Fusion / C-class / Mazda3 / XK-E / Dino / Dud car when you should be buying a classic BMW 2002 I ask.

Down at the discos, Jenni Applebottom and Chaz Power and all their twit friends buy blarting little Japanese coupes with raked windshields and large chrome wheels, unaware that somewhere, someday, some guy in a BMW 2002 is going to blow them off so bad they’ll henceforth leave every stoplight in second gear and never drive on a winding road again as long as they live.

In the suburbs, Biff Everykid and Kevin Acne and Marvin Sweatsock will press their fathers to buy IROC Camaros with hood vents mounted up near the horizon somewhere and enough power to light up the city of Seattle, totally indifferent to the fact they they could fit more friends into the BMW in greater comfort and stop better and go around corners better and get about 29 times better gas mileage.

Mr. and Mrs. America will paste a “Support the Troops” sticker on the back bumper of their used Sebring and run Old Glory up the radio antenna and never know that for about 2500 bucks less they could have gotten a car with more personality, more head room, more style, good visibility, decent brakes, independent rear suspension, an interior that tells you stories of past journeys and adventures every time you sit in it – not to mention a lot of other good stuff they didn’t even know they could get on an automobile, like responsive steering and seats that don’t make you tired when you sit in them.

So far as I’m concerned, to hell with all of ‘em. If they’re content to remain in the automotive dark, let them. I know about the BMW 2002’ Something between thirty eight and thirty nine million squares will miss out on this neat little 2-door sedan with all the cojones and moxy and cred of cars half its age and four times its price, but a few adventurous types will buy them this year, so the mainstream loses like always.

To my way of thinking, the 2002 was/is one of modern civilization’s all-time best ways to get somewhere sitting down. It grabs you. You sit in snug sport seats with great, tall windows all around you. You are comfortable and you can see in every direction. You start it. Willing and lumpy is how it feels. A rough idle, but no zappy noises to indicate the task you propose might be anything more than child’s play for all those twitchy Bavarian superhorses.

Depress the clutch. Easy. Like there was resistance there. Clunk. First gear. Remove weight of left foot from clutch as it travels it’s 3 feet back to rest. Place weight of right foot on accelerator then add a pound or two, on accelerator. The minute it starts moving, you know that Vin and Ludacris and Paul Walker and all those other big street racing studs retired only because they feared that someday you’d have one of these, and when that day came, you’d be indomitable. They were right. You are indomitable.

Nobody believes it, until I suck their headlights out. But nobody doubts it, once that nearly jet-loud little car has disappeared down the road and around the next bend, still accelerating without a sign of the brake lights. I learn not to tangle with the meth dealers in their big hot camaros with the 500 horsepower engines unless I can get them into a tight place demanding agility, brakes, and the raw courage that is built into the BMW’s ancient seat as a no-cost extra.

What you like to look for are teenage driven Civics and Cobalts and such. Them you can slaughter, no matter how hard they try. And they always try. They really believe all that hype about their VTEC and fuel injection, and the first couple of beatings at the hands of the 2002 make them think they’re tripping or something. But then they learn the awful truth, and they begin to hang back at traffic signals, pretending that they weren’t really racing at all. Ha! Try again, Honda. Slink home with your tail between your legs, Forte Koup. Hide in the garage when you see an ancient BMW coming. If you have to race with something, pick a kid on a Big Wheel.

But I don’t want you to get the notion that this is nothing more than a pocket street racer. The BMW 2002 may have been the first car in history to successfully bridge the gap between the diametrically-opposed automotive requirements of the wildly romantic car nut, on one hand, and the hyperpragmatic people at Consumer Reports, on the other. Enthusiasts’ cars invariably come off second-best in a CU evaluation, because such high-spirited steeds often tend to be all desire and no protein – more Megan Fox than Jennifer Aniston.

It’s interesting to see who owns a 2002. The twits don’t buy them, because it’s too non-sensible, too uncomfortable, and not easy enough to live with. The kids don’t buy them because it doesn’t look like something that will fit a bodykit and it doesn’t have an iPod player. BMW buyers – I suspect – have to be pretty maladjusted enthusiasts who want a unique car, a sense of humor to enjoy its foibles and the taste to appreciate its mechanical excellence.

The Germans had a word for it. Back in the day the German paper Auto Bild called the 2002 Flustern Bombe which means “Whispering Bomb,” and you should bear in mind that the German press spoke of bombs, whispering and otherwise, with unique authority.

Feel free to test-drive one, but please don’t tell any of those thirty nine million squares who are planning to buy something else. They deserve whatever they get. Now turn your hymnals to Number 2002 and we’ll sing two more choruses of Whispering Bomb…


This piece was orginally published at Euroberge


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