it’s not easy racing in a circle!!

In June, Irwindale Speedway held one of their Celebrity car races for charity.    A time for fans to come out, see some of their favorite celebs get behind the wheel and race with the proceeds going to a nice charity.

It was at one of these events two years ago that “Talking About Cars” got it’s big start.    Like then, several celebrity drivers were gracious enough to take a few moments to give us their car “stories” including this week’s TAC 65 dynamic duo, Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle, Big Fat Liar) and Blake Michael (Dog with a Blog)!  (BONUS : Nathan Kress’ TAC 22 interview makes a cameo appearance to explain the time his DRIVE SHAFT fell out of his car at Irwindale two years earlier!  His was a classic explanation!)

For several of the drivers, including Michael and Jason Ritter (Parenthood) they were making their race car driving debuts!    Michael, driving yellow number 4, had an issue in practice and spun out, (which he and Frankie talk about in TAC 65), then during the actual race, he got a little too “up close and personal” with the wall and you see the damage below.     Actress Kelly Hu hit the wall around the final turn…causing a bit of a premature end to the race, both drivers were okay (Hu’ car is pictured below left)    Both Kelly and Jason will be featured on TAC 66 next week.

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As mentioned previously, Muniz won the trophy (which sort of looks like a Dallas Cowboys football trophy) for winning, hear his story by going to LISTEN on iTunes or LISTEN on Soundcloud (if you have an android device) and listen away!!

 

 

“But Wally, how did you get your high school car back after 51 years?”

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I LOVE stories like this! It’s the ultimate car guy fantasy! Chevrolet even made a commercial about it. Guy has cool first car. Guy sells first car. Then…somehow, guy gets first car….back! It’s a car guy’s way of turning back the clock. Flooding the brain full of memories, sensations, and even smells. That moment you were driving and glanced over to see the logo on the glove box, the date you were on when you pulled out that “Carpenters” cassette to play in your Pioneer deck..you know, the one that was in your glove compartment. The one you bought at Fedco for half off! Suddenly it is “yesterday, once more”.

Actor, director, voice over guy and now art sculptor TONY DOW now knows the feeling. In this week’s TALKING ABOUT CARS 64, he details the story of how he drove a 62 Chevy Corvair in his teen years while working on the TV classic show “Leave it to Beaver” as “Wally Cleaver”, older brother of Jerry Mathers…”the Beaver”. It’s a show America grew up on, and taught us about the “Cleaver” family. The mom always dressed stylishly (for the times), always in a dress, no matter if she was baking, cleaning or entertaining.

But back to the Corvair. Dow gave up the car for reasons like most of us did, to get something better! Only an email 51 years later from the friend of the guy who bought it, saying the owner had passed away and always wanted to return it to Tony opened the door for this great story!

So what car did Tony replace the Corvair with? What car did he ALMOST replace the Corvair with? What’s in Tony’s garage now? What’s the one car on his “must have list?” Click on our “listen” link above in the banner and enjoy! (and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes, rate us and write a review. It’s all free!!….)

(P.S. — yes this also applies to you car gals out there….you have great first car stories too!)

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How a Honda airbag gave me the keys to the car candy store!! ((plus an UPDATE!!))

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by Randy Kerdoon (Talking About Cars podcaster and website editor)

First, let me say…THANK YOU HONDA for making this entire story possible.   (Don’t want to appear ungrateful or anything).    Now, my story

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Once upon a time I drove a 2007 Dodge Magnum R/T.   Black on black, it was car the I was dreaming about for years.   But as often happens, when my daughter joined a travelling cheerleading group, I knew driving her all over the Western U.S. in a 21 MPG car was going to hurt the wallet.   So, I decided I needed a car that had mileage beginning…with a 4.

Being 2011, and loving “different” cars, I checked into the popular Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and new Chevy Volt.   Rented them, drove them.    Loved the Volt, but this was 2011, before Chevy lowered the price, realizing people weren’t going to buy a $60,000 car just because it was all electric.    The Prius was everywhere (to me a negative).    Didn’t see many Insights and liked the look, liked the spaceship like dash and the average mileage began with a “4”.   One night, while my daughter was practicing her cheer moves, I zipped over to the nearby Honda dealer.    Due to some fire in Japan, stock was low, and there was ONE Insight left on the lot.   After about a week of phone calls and the usual haggling, I grabbed it.    It was fun at first drive.  Usually the mileage was 45+…..sometimes even 50 mpg!   Then when my daughter started driving and went to college in San Diego, I handed her the keys.     She would get 54 mpg!!  (that’s my conservative driving girl!!)

Eventually I got the car back…and received a letter in the mail.   RECALL…TAKATA AIR BAGS need replacement.   (okay)   METAL SHARDS CAN FLY INTO YOUR FACE IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT  (geez)   AIR BAGS WOULD BE AVAiLABLE THIS SUMMER.  (wait, what?)   This letter arrived in FEBRUARY.    So what the hell am I supposed to do with a hybrid that can shred my face if some bozo drifts out of his lane for 3-4 MONTHS?    I called Honda.   I was told, don’t worry, we’ll rent a car for you….AND PAY FOR IT!!    (Yay Honda!!)  My free ride in the candy store was about to begin!

As of this writing, in about 4 months, i’ve rented no less than SEVEN cars.    From a Ford Focus hatchback to a Dodge 1500 Hemi Truck….from a Dodge Challenger to a Chevy Camaro Convertible…the kids at Enterprise Rent-a-Car know me by my first name (and not because I’m an LA Sportscaster in my real job).    An Enterprise executive once noted a twitter post I tweeted about Enterprise and the car menagerie i’m driving, wrote me back and offered to help me locate the cars I really wanted to drive next!

All this, while my Hybrid Honda sits outside the house forlornly covered in dust (I have to promise Honda I will not drive the car)…the batteries are dead, dead, totally dead, waiting for that replacement Takata Air Bag to arrive.    I charged the car up a couple of times….revved the engine a bit, turned it off, and two days later the car was dead again.     I called a couple of times….and I was told…”another 7-10 days”.   That was 3 weeks ago, and strangely, I’m not ticked off!

I’m not alone here.    There must be a million other stories out there of people waiting to get their Takata Air Bags replaced, and renting cars until that happens.    I’m just having more fun than most!

Once the call comes in that it’s time to bring in my car for it’s replacement air bag and my car rental fun ends, i’ll post a review of the cars I drove, and the rankings I’ve given them.    Oh, and likely the car i’ll be trading that Insight in for…..about the time gas shoots up to $8 a gallon and I beg to get my Insight back!!

NOW AN UPDATE!!    Apparantly Takata is having some problems getting the replacement air bags made.   Now Honda tells me my car will not have it’s replacement part until late August or early September!!   That’s 6-7 months of my car sitting on the side of the road.   Looks like my review of rental cars will be longer and later than expected.   Stay tuned!!

 

Movin’ on up the charts!!

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Our little podcast that could….IS.    Thanks to you…our podcast listeners and “downloaders”, we start this day with our highest automotive podcast ranking on iTunes EVER!!    I like to think it’s because of our great guests and that we’re back doing a consistent podcast a week, so car fanatics like you know where to find us when we upload our new shows every Friday morning between 7am-8am pacific time.   But frankly, i’m not totally sure how this ranking works on iTunes.   Matt Farah of his “always in the top 5” ranked “THE SMOKING TIRE” podcast explained to me, the more listeners you get….the more people who subscribe….the more people who rate you and leave comments….the better ranking you get!   But even he admits it’s not an exact science, and iTunes doesn’t really list it’s ranking criteria.    So, i’m going with consistent content, guests those in (and sometimes out) of the world of cars would know and just having fun along the way.    You are welcome to join us!!    To listen, CLICK the “listen on iTunes” tab above…and enjoy our show!    SUBSCRIBE (it’s free) that way you’ll be alerted each week when a new show is uploaded, and rate us…and if you are so inclined, write a review for us!   This has been a fun adventure…and more is on the way!  (In fact, i’m picking up more celebrity car people interviews later today so STAY TUNED and check back here for the latest!)

 

 

in case you were wondering….

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As I hit the car show circuit here in sunny (and water parched) Southern California, i’ve been displaying our podcast logo trying to stir up interest in our little podcast that could.    While there has been some interest, i’m getting the distinct feeling of a disconnect.   Maybe they are not getting the spirit of what we are trying to do…or where our “car stories” come from.    Above is a new poster from artist Amy Faigin of West Hills, CA.    It’s all here!    The logo, the slogan and the talented celebrities who are into cars and car “celebrities” that tell their stories as only they can.    Hopefully this might help those who like our logo, but don’t quite get our concept!

Great guest this week!!   On TAC 58, Rodney Allen Rippy of Jack in the Box “Jumbo Jack” fame joins me to talk about how he got his Jumbo gig, which led to a Billboard charted song, which led to him sharing the stage with the likes of Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson.    Rodney also gives us his story about why he loves Camaros, Corvettes and Mustangs….and what he’s up to today!    Listen to us on iTunes, or Soundcloud!!     and remember, Subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes, and rate us, it’s all free.    Or if you listen on Soundcloud, like us and follow us!!    Bigger things are on the horizon for TAC!!   Tell your friends!

 

 

Talking TV & Movie cars with the “Man from AMT”

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Talk about a guy who knows his way around customizing a car!!   This week on “Talking About Cars” 54, we get to hear from a guy who is more than just a customizer!   He races cars (over 100 miles an hour…in his mid-80s….that’s his age…not his speed), he has great stories about his involvement with the celebrity cars behind “Get Smart”, “Back to the Future”, “Blade Runner” and the “Man from “U.N.C.L.E.” and his near involvement with what we know as TV’s Batmobile which was produced under the watchful eye of the late, great George Barris!  …and he designs cars that are creative and amazing!

Gene Winfield has done it all, including the ridiculous, thats an actual car above….the “AnyCar 1″…made for a bank commercial.    Can you see how many different cars are in that??   (actually, he made an AnyCar 2…but that’s another story)   His book came out last year…and last year (on the urging on my college radio pal, Chuck Schwynoch of Maximum Motorsports in San Luis Obispo, CA) we went to Gene’s autograph session at Aerobooks in Burbank, CA ….not only bought the book (yes…I actually BOUGHT the book), Gene gave a GREAT interview!!   Hope you agree.    Click “Listen” above and check out Gene’s great stories, which also include his days working for the AMT people (remember those models you built as a kid?)  and much, much more!!

 

Calling all car people…..

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At the risk of sounding like a really old episode of “Highway Patrol” or “Adam-12″…..BE ON THE LOOKOUT….for a red 1967 Chevelle SS formerly owned by Erica Enders-Stevens’ dad!!!    In our new Talking About Cars #53, the two time NHRA Pro-Stock defending champion talks about looking for the car she and her dad used to work on but had to sell (this car pictured is NOT the actual car, but to simply illustrate in a general way what she’s looking for).     She wants to find it…fix it…and give it back to her dad.     How cool is that?   Also in this week’s TAC 53, Erica hears what race legend Shirley Muldowney REALLY thinks of her, and we hear about her first car (or in her case, a truck) and looking at her bid for a 3rd straight PRO STOCK title!!    ALSO, we hear from our pal Chris Jacobs from Velocity and that new show on TLC “Long Lost Family”….as we talk about “Bandit” Trans-Ams!    Yep, Talking About Cars is back!!!   TELL YOUR FRIENDS and listen here or on I-Tunes!!!   (and please rate us and comment on I-Tunes as well!!   Thanks!!!

“Phoning a friend”

Dave Hall owns “RESTORE A Muscle Car” in Lincoln, Nebraska.    He helped restore that ’77 Bandit Trans Am that sold for a half million dollars at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale this past January.     While there, Dave joined me IN the car and we talked Bandit trivia and….we found out his wife, Michelle knew more than he did as Dave got to….”Phone a friend”!!     WATCH and tell your car pals!!     @GenerationAutoTV    Talking About Cars podcasts return soon!!

 

TAC 24’s Alfonso Ribeiro wins final LBGP Pro/Celebrity Race 2016

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Alfonso Ribeiro (who you can hear on our Talking About Cars podcast #24), did it again!!    he won the 40th and final Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, California.    For Ribeiro, it was his 4th win, after taking the checkered flags in 1994, 1995 and 2015.   He finished just under 5 seconds ahead of Pro driver Max Papis.

Over the years, the Pro/Celebrity races have helped Toyota donate more than $2.3 million to “Racing For Kids”.

The final race included a couple of twists; Eighteen previous winners were in the race and when Jimmy Vasser and Al Unser Jr finished 1-2 in qualifying, they found out that meant they’d start the race in the LAST two spots, meaning they’d have to run through the entire field over just 10 laps to win.     Surprise!!!

Among the Finishers :

  1. ALFONSO RIBEIRO                                         31:24.954
  2. MAX PAPAS                                                    –     4.87 sec
  3. ROD MILLEN (Pro winner in 1995)               –     9.78 sec
  4. ADAM CAROLLA                                          –   11.91 sec
  5. MIKE SKINNER                                             –   12.14 sec
  6. KEN GUSHL                                                   –   12.64 sec
  7. FRANKIE MUNIZ                                          –   12.88 sec
  8. JIMMY VASSAR                                            –    13.77 sec
  9. RICKY SCHROEDER                                    –    14.23 sec
  10. AL UNSER JR                                                 –    19.42 sec
  11. RUTLEDGE WOOD                                       –    22.42 sec
  12. DAVE PASANT                                               –    23.89 sec
  13. WILLIAM FICHTNER                                   –    24.43 sec
  14. DARA TORRES                                              –    29.22 sec
  15. DOUG FREGIN                                              –    36.03 sec
  16. BRIAN AUSTIN GREEN                              –  1:09.50 sec
  17. SEAN PATRICK FLANNERY                       –    DNF*
  18. BRETT DAVERN                                           –    DNF
  19. BOB CARTER                                                –    DNF
  20. EDDIE LAWSON                                           –    DNF
  • – Did not finish    NOTE, above picture was taken in 2015.

Getting ready for the Big Comeback!!

Going on 10 weeks since my little “health issue” interrupted things, the good news is…..I’m supposed to be returning with NEW PODCASTS here on Talking About Cars by the end of the month….LIKELY SOONER!!

In the meantime, some new things to look out for!   On our Social Media tab (above) we are adding to TAC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram……TAC on YOUTUBE!!!    Basically, our friends and partners at Generation Auto TV has uploaded many of our interviews from our collaboration at Scottsdale this past January, and that they all there for you to check out!    Barrett Jackson and ESPN commentator Rick DeBruhl joined me in the promo ’77 Bandit TransAm joining previous talks with Chris Jacobs (Congrats on his new show “Long Lost Family” on TLC with pal from my days at Fox-11, Lisa Joyner….check it out…it’s a great show!)….and Richard Rawlings from Fast and Loud!!     (Both interviews are linked below as well)

Check out some other interviews with officials with Ford Motor company as we talk about their new Ford Raptor truck, and Ford Focus RS!!    These are interviews that are exclusive to this YouTube account!

BONUS TRIVIA : Rick and I were alums at the campus radio station at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, KCPR.    but that’s for another podcast, another time!!