Roadtrip 2018 – Northern Italy, part 1: Renting the right car

My life was so much different before my kids were born. We used to travel a lot, all over the world. Even weekends spent home were not spent at home. Year round I’d find somewhere new to go, something new to see, near and far.

Over the last ten years I feel like I have lost that. Young kids require routines and schedules. To go somewhere, anywhere with them is a mission. They require stuff, lots of stuff. They’re on an eating, sleeping, and pooping schedule. They get bored of everything very quickly. I love my kids but admittedly traveling with them wasn’t always easy.

Time goes by fast. It seems to go by much faster as we get older, which is quite scary. Insert your choice a proverb about life being short here. My kids are older now, six and ten years old. They are easier to deal with, sometimes. They don’t get bored as quickly. They’re less scheduled. Therefore my wife and I concluded that we should hit the road.

This year’s trip is Italy. Specifically Rome and points north of Rome. She found cheap airfare. I’ve booked an AirBnB in Rome, near the Spanish Steps. Now we need a vehicle for time after we leave Rome.

I’m going to write a series of articles about the preparations for this trip. What I need to bring with me, where we need to go, where I want to go. I really haven’t figured out any of this it yet, so read along and perhaps help me out.

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski June 29, 2018 Mystery Car

There are two kinds of people in this world: those that knew right away what last week’s mystery car was and those who haven’t had a slightest clue. Big congratulations go to the mysterious commenter , who not only knew what car it was but also the fact that it belonged to my cousin Darek. RP, you are The Person of the Moment! Congrats.

If you want to read, or re-read, the story of that Polonez, clicky here. I should also note that Darek has since sold the Polonez because he needed something that, you know, ran most of the time. And had some power. And was actually fun to drive. And that women wouldn’t be afraid of. He bought a MINI Clubman, the previous gen from current.  

Since summer is now in full swing, at least north of equator, today’s mystery car would be a sweet little toy to drive around this weekend. Make and model, or as close you can get, please. The giant among people who correctly identifies this beast will get the elusive title of The Person of the Moment! Good luck! The answer next week, same place but not necessarily same time. 

Photo credit: Peter Ciani

Quick Spin: 2019 Acura RDX

In 2007, based on the sales successes of the Honda CR-V, Acura launched the RDX. In the days when automakers tried to shoehorn the biggest V6 into the smallest CUVs (see ‘05-‘12 Toyota RAV4), the smaller sibling to the MDX came with a very different engine – a turbocharged four-cylinder. Annual sales were not very strong, peaking at around 15,000 units, roughly a tenth of the CR-V sales.

At the time, the turbo-four seemed an odd choice for such a vehicle. The media complained that it had the power of a four-cylinder and the economy of a V6. In 2013, Acura ended up dropping the four-banger in favorite of its corporate V6 workhorse. The vehicle gained some love and sales more than doubled in the life of the second generation model.

It’s now 2018. Engine downsizing and turbocharging is the thing. In the last decade that technology has made huge leaps forward. Even much bigger three-row SUVs dropped the V6 in favor of turbocharged fours. The new turbo-fours are quite amazing, with my favorite being versions I sampled on the BMW 530i and the Honda Accord.

For the 2019 model year the RDX is back and now all new. It’s gone back to the turbo-four using a version of the new Honda corporate big engine. But there’s a lot more going on than just that.

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski June 22, 2018 Mystery Car

This week, the summer of 2018 has officially began. This also means that most of the winter potholes have been repaired. You can now truly enjoy that top-down drive in your roadster that only comes out for a few days per year, if you have such a vehicle. Go ahead, take it up to buck-thirty like the driver of today’s Mystery Car did. Knowing what make and model of a vehicle he or she was driving is the important part for now.

Regarding last week’s Mystery Car, those who guessed Alfa Romeo were right.  But no one really got the model name right, which was really more of a guessing game than anything. Regardless,  is The Person of the Moment!

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Quick Spin: 2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i

In 2016 I drove the then new BMW X1. I liked it perhaps more than I should have. It wasn’t even until I opened the hood that I realized that this was the first Bimmer that I’ve driven with a transversely mounted engine. Earlier this year I drove the MINI Cooper Countryman, a base version with a manual transmission. It was a surprisingly fun little ‘ute despite being kind of slow.

So when the new X2 appeared at my house I sort of knew what to expect. At least I thought I knew. … Continue Reading

Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski June 15, 2018 Mystery Car

On June 17th we celebrate Bunker Hill Day, which is the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. “This battle, which occurred in 1775, was part of the Siege of Boston. This siege took place during the American Revolutionary War, which is also known as the American War of Independence” (). The Charlestown section of Boston celebrates it with a parade down Bunker Hill Avenue. There are cook-outs (don’t call them barbecues), prizes for kids, and towing of illegally parked cars. It’s all fun and games and someone always gets arrested. 

It would therefore make sense that today’s Mystery Car be British. But it isn’t. We’ve had too many British Mystery Cars lately. Make and model, please. This one should be relatively easy, I give it an hour.

Last week’s Mystery Car, a GAZ Chaika M13, was solved by , so please bow to him as he’s the Person of the Moment!®©

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Craigslist: 1989 Jeep Comanche Dually

Remember when small pickup trucks existed? The Jeep Comanche, somewhat based on the Jeep Cherokee, was one such pickup. There was no quad- or mega-cap option, only a regular cab, like pickup truck gods intended. But there was a choice of 4×2 or 4×4 driveline and a six- or a seven-foot bed. Over the years there were different engines but not much has changed over the seven years that the Comanche was made. 

Perhaps this is why people love to modify them. We’ve seen a quad-cab Comanche before and now we’re seeing a… heavy duty conversion! 

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski June 8, 2018 Mystery Car

The Mystery Car is a weekly feature here on Redusernab, unless I happen to miss a week. And that’s what happened last week. Oops, sorry. To make up for that omission, today’s mystery car feature is really not special at all. Make and model, please. 

But two weeks ago our own  supplied something that has stomped so many for so long. It took two days but  came up with the right answer, and even its full and proper name – Morris Marina convertible made by Crayford for W. Mumford Ltd. Now, wasn’t that simple? Congrats, Mr.Roadrage! 

If you have potential mystery car, send it in – [email protected]! The only requirement is that it is a photo that you took, an original! 

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Improving Jeep Wrangler JK lighting with Raxiom LED headlights

The beloved JK version of the Jeep Wrangler was in production for ten years. Being a somewhat primitive vehicle overall, the JK had many shortcomings. One of the biggest ones was its lighting. The factory headlights were as modern as disco ball and as bright, too.

Things got so bad that in 2016 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety declared the Wrangler to have the worst lights in the industry. Next year Jeep made brighter factory LED lights available. But what about the other thousands of Jeeps out there?

Thankfully there’s aftermarket. is one the largest suppliers of Wrangler aftermarket parts. Jeeps are their passion and it shows in the products they sell and in the experienced technical support. I reached out to Extreme Terrain to see if they could help me upgrade the crap factory headlights on my family 2014 Wrangler Sport. Extreme Terrain sent me a pair of the new , which are direct replacement for stock 07-18 Wrangler JK headlights.

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Redusernab Asks: Ever been a victim of hit-and-run?

Afternoon rush hour. My wife was stopped at a red light in the middle lane of a three lane road after picking up my son from school. The left lane was for left turns only and the right lane was for right turns only. The left lane got an early green light for turning left. The line of cars in the left lane drove away as she waited for her light to turn green. The last car turning left side-swiped our 4Runner on its right and our left, and continued on its way.

My wife, and son in the back seat, were surprised by this. It was one of those moments were you don’t know what to do. In the mean time the left turn light turned red and her light to go straight turned green. She couldn’t go left after the car and the cars behind her began hoking, because that’s what the people who work in Boston and live in the suburbs do when they see something, anything, obstructing or delaying them. 

So, what do I do now? The damage is likely to be less than my deductible. The car that hit us is gone, unknown make or model. I, unfortunately, don’t have a dash-cam (yet). There are scratches on my driver’s door and front fender molding. Some will buff out, some won’t. There are tire marks on my beefy rock-slider, which I got just for such reasons. I hope the dickface bent his tie-rod or something. It was a smaller vehicle, so he/she likely has more damage than my 4Runner. 

I hate people. I’m getting a dash-cam so that I can at least get the license plate of the next dickbag that hits me and runs. Now I have to waste my time trying to make this look prettier.