Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sweet Titan Pre-Runner Running on 37's...


From a recent Off-Roadweb article. Firberglass front and rear, 20 inches of rear travel, 16 inches of front travel, triple bypass shocks, 37" BFG Baja tires...All in all a great looking vehicle...I still question how long that rear end is going to last given the weak rear diff/gears/axles but for now it looks and supposedly performs really well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not Such a Good Result in Spain...

for Nissan this past weekend. Lest I be accused of talking about Nissan race results only when they are good, may I present the '09 edition of the Baja Espana. With two of Nissan's top privateers entered in the event (Boris Gadasin and Krysztof Holowczyc) expectations were appropriately high. Neither competitor saw the end of the race however. Holowczyc truly blew an engine while Gadasin had an engine sensor fail giving him an inproper signal that made him think he was about to toast his engine and thus resulting in him abandoning the race, only later to discover the faulty sensor...One Nissan did finish in the top ten, that being the Patrol of Technosport Spain driven by a Maruzio Traglio who finished in ninth place...Back to the drawing board I guess...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

HPI Racing's New Blitz Short Course Truck...

So I was at the R/C Shortcourse National event today in Enfield, CT. I didn't know I had taken a picture of one of HPI's brand new Blitz short course trucks till I came home. The above picture is what one of them looks like. Note the real, licensed Maxxis Tires...There was one of the Blitz's running in today's events but I am unsure of how it finished, though it was being driven by one of HPI's employees/factory pilots, so I assume it finished pretty well. Will edit this post when I figure it out from looking through my pics/video. Can't imagine it will be long before we see a FULL SIZE HPI sponsored short course race truck in the Lucas Oil Off Road Series in the near future. Traxxas has their sponsored racers, Associated has theirs and would think HPI might follow suit...More info...HPI's Blitz...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baja Espana...

The third round of the FIA Baja series will be held this weekend in Spain. I have to say that as much as I like Trophy Trucks and such here in North America, I like the looks of Dakar/FIA race vehicles even more. They look like a cross between a Rally car and a desert racing truck...just really mean and modern looking. There are a number of Nissans entered in this race including Krsyztof Holowczyk and Boris Gadasin who have entered their South African built Navaras/Frontiers in this event and should be expected to do well. So far, only the initial Super Special has been completed and Holowczyk and Gadasin stand 5th and 6th respectively. A big event this race also has Dakar regulars Stephan Peterhansel, Nani Roma and Guerlain Chicherit all in their BMW X3s. 2009 Baja Spain...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

RA: New England Forest Rally Recap...

My report can be found here: NEFR Recap...

Amazing that I got paid (minimally even) for attending and writing about this stuff...how I would like to make a living from this kind of stuff...anyone?? anyone??

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Minimal Changes For '10 Frontier and Titan...


Though the changes are miminal (Night Armor color available on the Frontier and a new "value" edition of the Titan, etc.) about the best news out of Nissan on the Titan and Frontier is that they live on through '10 at all. With numerous rumors out there over the past year or more about one or both being cancelled, we can now say the '10s are on their way...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rally America NEFR Video...

This is about the best version of this that I can get up on this blog...still not the greatest but not bad...all video was shot by me with a Canon Powershot SX100IS and a cheap Best Buy tripod...Let me know what you think...

video

Autoblog Reviews the Frontier...

And not surprisingly, give it excellent reviews. More truck than most people need with great reliability and performance. Of course the morons who still want solid axles on everything have their say in the comment section but then again...they're still using dial up and perusing their favorite BBS's in their free time...

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days...I spent this past Thurs-Sun up at Sunday River in Maine at Rally America's New England Forest Rally covering the event for Nissan Sport Magazine and Off-Road.com and have been spending the last two or so days working on video, pics and a story about the event. I will return to sprinkling in new posts today...Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Interview: Nissan Motorsports S.A. General Manager...


Just in case you hadn't see my links to it in all the other places I frequent. This is the first article that I have been PAID for...It wasn't much, but it is a start...Excellent interview if I do say so myself...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Dual Injection Fuel System Coming To A Nissan Near You...

Most likely in smaller cars (Versa? Cube? the next Rogue? Sentra?) at first but I would bet in most Nissan models eventually this brand new design is said to both reduce the amount of precious metals (read: Platinum, etc.) needed in catalytic converters and improve fuel economy due to a better atomization of the fuel. Not sure if the increase in cost due to the new design will be offset by the decrease in precious metal costs but if its a relatively even trade then the improved performance will be worth it. I would look for it in '11 or '12 models.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Casey Currie Shines At TORC Bark River Event...

Casey Currie put in a strong weekend out at Bark River, MI in rounds 7 and 8 of the TORC series. As the most active driver in short course offroad racing, Currie has traversed the country from AZ to TX to CA to WI to MI as he competed in both LOORRS and TORC events this year. Additionally, he was signed Monster Energy to be his primary sponsor, creating one of the coolest looking Pro-Lite trucks out there...
This past weekend, out at the Bark River, MI event he took home a 4th place finish on Saturday and gave Monster Energy its first Pro-Lite podium of the year, coming home 3rd on Sunday. Entering the weekend in 4th place, only 3 points behind Marty Hart for 3rd place overall, Currie should have moved up a spot after this weekend given Hart's 3rd and 7th place finishes.
If you would like to see Currie in action, you can either wait for the TV broadcast on 7/19 on ESPN2, or if you can handle watching the race in low-rez, the TORC homepage has Saturday's entire Pro-Lite race available to view here: Entire Bark River Pro-Lite Race...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Looks Like The "Dakar" Race Won't Be In Dakar Anytime Soon...


Not from the look of things at least...this report from the NYT shows that the Al Qaeda groups in North Africa are actually getting stronger, not weaker. Not much of a surprise given that the governments of most of the countries there are barely out of the stone age but it sure will prevent the ASO from returning the Dakar to Africa any time soon. I don't think the U.S. will be lending much support to the erradication of Al Qaeda forces there with their hands squarely tied behind their back just trying to get a handle on Afghanistan. After two years in South America, will the ASO be looking for some place else to run the event?? I'm betting they will be...

Latest Video of Nissan GT-R At Nurburgring...

Shaving a few more seconds (or tenths of seconds) off its time around the famous track. Its new time of 7:26.70 is sure to set off a new round of flame wars between Nissan fanboys and similar know it all Corvette and Porsche fans...
video

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vegas To Reno 2009--BLM Finds No Significant Impact...

In response to numerous environmental groups BITD's Vegas to Reno race was under increased scrutiny this year. Numerous rumors earlier in the year had the race potentially cancelled. Given the changeover at the top of the governmental food chain and a big increase in left leaning enviros in all federal departments this was not at all surprising. Earlier this year a good sized movement to get desert racing enthusiasts to send in positive comments regarding the race and the benefits it would have for Nevada was started and as part of such I sent in a letter regarding my support for the race to the BLM's Tonopah Field Office. A couple months later now, I received in the mail today a letter from said field office stating in oh so much legalese mumbo-jumbo that all public comments that were accepted during the open comment period have been addressed in an Environmental Assessment and that a draft Finding of No Significant Impact has been completed. Now, I'm not an expert on the BLM's language and procedures but I believe that this letter and its associated EA and Finding of No Significant Impact is an extremely positive sign for the race and desert racing in Nevada in general. It has once again been found that Casey Folks and BITD take all the reasonable, necessary steps to mitigate any of the potential negative impacts from the race and that Vegas to Reno races fall well within the intended use of BLM lands. I have a scan of the letter that the Tonopah field office sent me below with the sentence mentioning the Finding of No Significant Impact highlighted. I also have provided a direct link to the 81 page Environmental Assessment.One final note...the fight to keep the race and the desert open is not over however. There appears to be yet ANOTHER comment period as indicated by the final paragraph of the Tonopah letter which states now that comments regarding the EA can now be sent until 7/30. You can be sure a whole new round of letters detailing the EA's failures to address who knows what will be coming from numerous environmental groups. I would suggest desert racing fans again express their own support and send their letters in. The people wanting to stop desert
racing will not stop their efforts to end desert racing and we cannot fail to express our support for it at every opportunity...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Because The First Trillion Wasn't Enough...

Look, no one wants the economy to turn around faster than I do...I've been unemployed for nearly six months now and I'm not exactly making headway on my life goals with my unemployment checks. That being said...My god...though most of America may not have the words on their lips yet, be forewarned here, the phrase "Stimulus Package Part 2" will soon be broadcast nightly on the evening news. With less than $100 Billion of the first TRILLION $ stimulus package spent so far (how those renovated bathrooms in Missouri state parks treating you??) Obama and the rest of his staff are prepping the public by floating numerous trial balloons and making various comments in the press for the introduction of a second TRILLION $ package which will come up in Congress in August...Which is all in addition to the takeover of Chrysler and GM and the socialization of medicine. And don't even get me started on what the master plan is here (anyone for socialized urban communes under the guise of energy Independence and equality for all??). Bottom line is...if you have a sane brain cell in your head, please become aware of the FACTS regarding this administration and not just the pablum that is fed to you on the nightly news...Thats all I ask...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Dirt 2 Trailer...

Ahh...This is what I've been waiting for...Not only is it a new trailer for the Colin McRae Dirt 2 video game but it includes clips of non-rally vehicles including the Honda Ridgeline Stock Mini currently dominating its class in SCORE and BITD races and the classic Terrible Herbst Landshark truggy. I can't wait for this to come out now that I know it won't be a purely closed track, all rally car video game. It looks like it will be everything that I wish the Baja: Edge of Control and other recent offroad video games could have been...
video

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nissan Xterra--The Straight Scoop On Its Future...


OK...OK...all you Xterra fans (myself included) you can come in off that ledge now. Recently there was a post on The NewX.org website detailing a meeting between some Nissan dealership GMs and Nissan management in which it was said that the dealerships were told that the decision had come down to cancel the Xterra and that there would actually not even be a 2010 model. Needless to say, this caused quite a kerfuffle (love that word) amongst the offroad loving segment of Nissan owners. As one of the last true, body on frame SUVs with the toughness to tackle a real adventure the Xterra has a special place in the heart of many an American.

Well, your intrepid reporter here at NismoStuff got to the bottom of this story and here it is:

100% UNTRUE...In speaking to Scott Vazin (Head of Product PR at Nissan), who was very gracious in taking the time to speak to me after I basically spammed all of Nissan management with an email expressing my displeasure in hearing that the Xterra was cancelled I learned quite a bit that gives me hope for the Xterra's future. First and foremost, the Xterra has not be cancelled in any way shape or form. Scott stated that after receiving my email that he gave a call over to the head of Nissan's head of product development to make absolutely sure that there was nothing he had not become aware of and was told the Xterra is currently scheduled to run its full life cycle through '10 and '11, continuing to be produced at the New Smyrna, TN plant alongside its other F-Alpha brethren (Frontier, Titan, Armada, Pathfinder). When I asked how Nissan's plans to also produce its upcoming line of Electric Vehicles at this same plant would impact these plans, I was informed that there is more than sufficient capacity at the New Smyrna plant to produce both the EVs and all the body on frame Xterras, Frontiers, etc. and that ramping up production of the EVs would not have a negative impact on their ability to produce our favorite petrol burning trucks. Let me be crystal clear here--Nissan WILL produce the Xterra through its full life cycle until 2011. Period. Kill the rumors...
Now...all that being said...Scott was also frank with me in regards to the fact that no decision on the future of the Xterra BEYOND its current life cycle has been made. The decision to build a 3rd generation of Xterras has yet to come to a head and will obviously also involve similar decisions in regards to the future of the Frontier, Pathfinder, Armada and Titan. Scott was also candid in stating that the Titan is obviously the one they are looking at with the most scrutiny right now, though even if the Titan were to be cancelled today, the Armada would continue in production. The future of all these vehicles is understandingly dependent upon economic conditions and consumer preferences. This makes these decisions so difficult given that what is true today almost certainly not be true in 2 or 3 years when the fruits of today's decisions will finally be seen. Though we have no assurances at this point on a 3rd generation of Xterras, we have through 2011 at a minimum and perhaps we as fans of the vehicle and consumers can help shape what the future Xterra could be (a mini Patrol?) if it is to continue ...
On a slightly separate tangent Scott shared with me that what the GM who told his employees COULD have been referring to is the 2nd generation Rogue. A decision HAS been made at this point to produce a 2nd generation Rogue for U.S. consumption, meaning the current Rogue will be phased out in the near future. This means that any sights of our Canadian neighbors Xtrail vehicle is exceedingly unlikely that we Americans will continue to see them with Canadian plates.
Lastly, I also inquired about Nissan's EVs which are getting so much press lately. While GM and others are focusing on Hybrids and "kind of" EVs like the $40K Chevy Volt, Nissan will be introducing its line of 100% EVs beginning in VERY late 2010 to fleet customers and then to the consumer market near the 2nd/3rd quarter of '11 and will be staggered to accommodate the the markets most likely to have a high demand for them--meaning if you live in Minot, ND, you are not likely to see a Nissan EV anytime soon...
So there you have it...the straight scoop (from the head of Nissan PR and head of Nissan product planning no less) on the current state of Nissan's thinking regarding our beloved Xterra. Feel free to shoot down rumors of the Xterra's imminent decline wherever you see fit.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hot Wheels 2009 #1 Nissan GT-R...

Well, for '09 Hot Wheels certainly knew the right car to put as their #1 for the year. The Nissan GT-R is arguably the most written about and discussed performance car to come out in the past 20 years. I have also seen this Hot Wheel in blue and red though the Wal Mart near me had them only in white. Ebay has them listed for like $2.99. It is a nice addition to the Datsun 510 Hot Wheel I purchased earlier this year and posted about earlier in the year...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HPI Racing's Awesome RC Cars...

One of the leaders in the R/C market, HPI Racing, has recently introduced a line of vehicles they call their "Cup Racing" line of mini R/C cars. Measuring 390 mm long by 160 mm wide, these true 1/10 scale cars possess incredible detail and all high end, reliable parts as HPI is well known for. As an added bonus, two of the first three body shells they have released for these cars are Datsun/Nissans. One is a Datsun 510 body and the other is a Nissan 240Z. More info here: HPI Racing Cup Racer Line...




Friday, July 3, 2009

Cash For Clunkers--Bad Idea...

Though I have certainly been tempted by the $4,500 that I would get for my 2000 Xterra, in balancing out the negatives of entering into such a deal (new car payments, higher insurance, etc.) I have come down on the "No, thanks..." side of the ledger as this writer has. A well written article, using the authors '00 Frontier as an example, on how the "Cash For Clunkers" deal now in effect is a poor proposition for most reasonable, logical people. Of course if you are looking to increase your debt, decrease your cash flow and end up worse off than you were before--but with a shiny new vehicle--have at it...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sarah Palin's Hardbody For Sale!!

No...not THAT hardbody...I am talking about their 1997 Nissan Hardbody. It was recently for sale on Ebay, though it failed to sell...guess the fact that it used to be owned by the current Gov. of Alaska was not enough for someone to start out with a $6,500 bid on a 13 year old, salvage titled truck...Maybe if you contact the buyer he might let it go for less at this point...Love the "photoshopped" pics of Palin in the truck as well...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different!!


As I was doing my usual Flickr search for Nissan or Rally photos, up pops this!! A Yellow Fronty leading the way at this past weekends 6/28 NYC Gay Pride parade!! Yeah, say what you will but putting a Nissan at the front of their parade makes them OK in my book!

Might Wanna Rethink Your Vehicle Strategy Nissan...

OK...first the bad news...Nissan sales continue to decline along with the entire auto industry and were down some 22% in June. This is however a major slowing of the decline seen in the past six months and is a better performance than most manufacturers other than Ford who saw sales drop by only 10%. I am picking Ford as the auto company most likely to start kicking ass and taking names over the next 5 years by the way---THEY GET IT. They understand that the American and World markets are two distinct things and make their vehicles accordingly. Unfortunately Nissan is heading in the wrong direction at the moment looking to phase out ALL trucks and SUVs and go solely to a small, urban, electric lineup (perhaps a bit over exaggerated but not far off...). Which brings me to my point. Nissan's truck and SUV sales are leveling off far quicker than their car sales are and given the greater profitability to be found in trucks/SUVs and the cost savings to be found in single platform derived vehicles such as the Xterra, Frontier, Titan, etc. Nissan may want to rethink becoming Obama's pet foreign car maker...