Thursday, August 11, 2016

Donks of Miami

Donks are everywhere in Miami. They are classic Chevy Caprices and Impalas from 1971-76 that have been tricked out with large sparkling rims. Since they always catch my eye, I created a photo gallery of donks around Miami and Fort Lauderdale for my newspaper Sun Sentinel and Donks have also been part of pop culture, particularly music videos by Pitbull and OMI. Below is a donk featured in the 2015 summer video Cheerleader by OMI. The video was shot in north Miami-Dade at Haulover Beach. Secretly, I kinda want one but with standard tires.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Spotted in Miami: 1948 Plymouth Goulds

I came across this classic 1948 Plymouth Goulds while driving around this weekend in Miami on SW 1st Avenue and 16th Court (near Cassola's Pizza in Miami.)

 As the For Sale sign states, it has six cylinders.  It reminds me of a vintage police car from the 1950s.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Five things I love about my Fiat 500

It's been almost a year since I bought my little Fiat 500 Pop. I thought I'd list some of the things that I enjoy about my Italian hatchback since people often ask me about it on my daily travels.

1. It's tiny:  Big things come in small Italian cars. This little bugger can pretty much squeeze into any parking space (especially in car-congested South Beach and downtown Miami.)

But when you fold the backseats forward, the car is surprisingly roomy. The car has about the same exterior dimensions as the first Honda Civic hatchback from 1973 but my Fiat feels spacious inside.

It's  big enough to fit my father's wheelchair in the back.  I'm five-feet-10-inches tall and weigh about 170 pounds and three of my guy friends who are more or less the same height (okay, maybe an inch taller and thinner that me) fit comfortably in the car with me in the driver's seat.  On date night, my boyfriend and I usually take my car because it really fits anywhere.  To me, FIAT stands for FITS IN ALL TINY spaces.

2. Headturner:  Several times a week, curious admirers ask me about my copper colored 500 when I pull into a parking space or pull up to the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru in Fort Lauderdale.  The car literally turns heads.  "Beautiful little car,'' one woman said as I hopped into the car outside Publix. "How is your Fiat treating you? I had one in college," a business man asked me as I parked at my work's parking garage in downtown Fort Lauderdale..

3. Gas-friendly:  I commute weekdays from Coral Gables to Fort Lauderdale, which is at least 70 miles a day, sometimes more depending on my assignments.  A full-tank costs me $21 and lasts me four and half days. I average about 300 miles on a full-tank what has 10 gallons.

4. Design:  I like to joke to people that I feel like I'm inside a beautifully-detailed Italian purse on four wheels.  The dashboard has beige, brown and orange accents. The seats are sewn in espresso brown material.  The steering wheel is a cream-hued leather.  The head rests are perfectly-shaped ovals. With its egg (or coffee bean) shape, the car sits high, tall.

5. Peppy engine:  The car has a 1.4 litre engine that hums at 101 horsepower. That doesn't sound like much but the engine is zippy, peppy. I can easily maneuver inbetween cars on Interstate 95 when I switch lanes although I have to punch the pedal and give it gas.

(that's me below sitting in the backseat.)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Carting around

Golf carts are as common in South Florida as the palm trees and courses they navigate around. But these carts are getting pimped out and morphing into mini cars that are hitting city streets for everyday errands.

Some people have customized these vehicles into classic cars while others lift them with big rims making them look like carts on steroids.

I wrote a fun story for the Sun Sentinel  hat looks at South Florida's love for golf carts.

Above is a golf cart modeled after a Rolls Royce as it zips around Fort Lauderdale.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Herbie The Love Bug rolled into West Palm Beach this week for the annual Barrett-Jackson car auction at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

This version of Herbie was used in two movies, Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo and Herbie Goes Bananas.

Folks snapped selfies with the car at CityPlace in West Palm Beach Wednesday afternoon. I got to take a fun (and bouncy ride) in the little Beetlem which can still squirt oil (or now water) from its rear right wheel.

Here's my Sun Sentinel article on Herbie.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

50 Shades of Beetle

50 Shades of Grey had two beautiful actors, lots of grey ties, rope, handcuffs and a lot of huffing and puffing.

But that's not what revved up my engine after catching a screening last Saturday afternoon.

There was a small uncredited role and it belonged to Wanda, Anastasia Steele's light blue classic Volkswagen Beetle.

Yes, I loved the car in the movie. To me, it was a scene stealer, diverting my eyes to its Lady Bug body in the few scenes it appeared.

In one early scene as Anastasia and longtime buddy Jose talk in the parking lot at their university, they do so in front of this little bug before she climbs in. When she cranks it up, the Beetle carried its traditional rear-engine puttering sound.

In another scene after she sees Christians' lavish sports and luxury car collection,  she tells him something along the lines, "What, you didn't know I was a collector of classic cars?" referring to her VW.

When Anastasia renegotiates Christen's S&M contract at his office, she decides to leave and head back home and she does all this in front of her VW as if making a statement - you can't change me, I'm an original.

I think the car says a lot about Anastasia.  Both are independent, reliable, determined, down-to-earth and of course, curvy. (They're also loud in their own way but I won't get into that here. Go see the movie or check out the book at your local library.)

Although there are newer car models out there, she prefers this little tough Beetle to dart around to and from school, her hardware store job and the so-called "Grey House." After he has her car sold (without her permission) to surprise her with a red Audi, she later demands Wanda back (which his driver sold.)

Perhaps I'm reading way too much into this fictional story but you don't see many of these old Beetles on the roads these days, at least not in Miami.  So while moviegoers gushed and giggled about the sex scenes and this sex toy thing called flogger, I sat in my seat and smiled whenever Wanda the Beetle rolled on the screen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mobile businesses on a roll

South Florida's car culture is driving more businesses to take to the wheel. Besides food trucks, we now have mobile boutiques, hair salons on wheels, even door to door gyms in a truck.

Here's my Sun Sentinel story on the mobile trend.