Ace Performance – performance shop with something for everyone

I have mentioned many times on these pages. It is the performance shop that was started by my good friend Baer Connard almost ten years ago. I frequent it often. Sometimes I just go there to have lunch with an old friend. Sometimes Baer calls me to come over and check out some weird/interesting car. Other times I take my own cars for service there. Sometimes Baer finds out that I’m sporting around in something fun and says that he just has to see it. 

In its ten years of existence Ace Performance grew significantly. But what I respect about Baer and the shop is that they are never afraid of new projects, they never reject work no matter how large or small, and they do really quality stuff. They have built racecars, extremely powerful street cars, helped a handicapped friend from Norway who was driving across United States in a BMW 850Ci, tuned-up a million-mile Lexus, sell Ariel Atoms and Nomads, they are stuffing a Hellcat motor into a ’68 Charger, assembled and modified a Zenos and are building an MkII Escort rally car with EcoBoost power. That’s in addition to taking care of customers with normal stuff, like me, and participating in LeMons racing and other track events. 

You’d think that a shop with such large array of projects and events would make a good reality show. But no, it wouldn’t. All those reality television shows are not about cars, they’re about people. There are characters and all of them want to be actors. And then there is drama which usually comes from people’s inability to plan, schedule, manage, and communicate. That’s what makes good, or at least dramatic television, but that’s also a bunch of bullshit. The real reality if those TV shows is that they show how such businesses should not be operated. And that’s exactly what Ace Performance is not. 

When I recently went there to drive Matt Farah’s Hashtag Million Mile Lexus, I took a walk around the shop and I took some pics. It is not the quantity of vehicles that are there but rather the differences between. Those include various Ariel Atoms, road racing Porsches and Bimmers, dragster Camaro, 90’s JDM exotica, an Escort Mk II rally car, drift cars, classic Americana, and McFly’s 4Runner. Check out the pictures below. 

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Not Classic Captions Contest: Jaguar F-Pace Edition

For years now we have had the Redusernab Classic Captions Contest. The rules are simple: we provide a classic stock photo or an advertisement of a vehicle and you, the readers, provide your best caption for it. Everyone has a good time and the winner gets nothing but our deepest respects. Simple and fun, right?

On last week’s NEWS piece, the astute  pointed out that Jaguar has an , which can be seen above. And he is right. That is one the most interesting such photos that I’ve seen in a while. Chances are that we would run it in the captions contest twenty or thirty years from now. But why wait? Have at it!


Review: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE

Most of us yawn upon hearing the Corolla name. For years the North American version of the Corolla has been a rather dreadful economy box. It is driven mostly by people who just want a cheap and reliable mobility appliance and by Uber drivers who want a cheap and reliable work appliance. No one ever bought a Corolla because they were in love with its looks or performance. 

That statement is not exactly fair. Corollas are loved around the world for the solid and long-lasting vehicles that they are. Anyone who has traveled anywhere has seen them used as reliable people haulers and sometimes goat haulers. From congested big cities to third-world countries with hardly any roads, the Corollas are the worker ants of the automotive world. And no enthusiast should dismiss the Corolla FX16 GT-S or the AE86.

For 2019 Toyota decided to give us something somewhat unexpected. In addition to the typical Corolla sedan there is now a hatchback version of the Corolla, succinctly but unimaginatively called Corolla Hatchback. But this isn’t just a sedan with a slopped butt, it’s actually an all-new vehicle. And this new Corolla has a new few surprises.

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski August 3, 2018 Mystery Car

What a painful two weeks it has been. First, yous guys couldn’t identify a freakin’ Jeep Wrangler. Then yous got stumped by an iconic (sort of, for the lack of better terms) part of a Hornet AMX. Maybe yous guys just dunno yours AMC cars? Perhaps it was Peter’s detailed pictures that confused you. I just dunno. In the end it was the amazing  who correctly identified the vehicle in question, but it wasn’t after an unprecedented hint was given. 

Because of this, Mr.  gets only partial credit and thus becomes the first person ever to be named The Half-Person of the Moment! Half-Congrats!

This week’s Mystery Car once again comes from my friend Peter Ciani. To make it easier I chose to crop the image of the whole car and not just put an image of one of the detail shots that Peter took, which you ladies would never solve. Make and model, please. If this isn’t solved by the end of the day I’m going to change Mystery Car to Misery Car

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Quick Spin: 2018 Nissan Titan PRO-4X King Cab

The full-size pickup truck market is the highest grossing and most competitive of all North American vehicle segments. The big three have been competing against each for almost a century. To show just how competitive this market is and how much brand loyalty there is in, Toyota and Nissan have been offering their versions of full-size or in-between full-size trucks for almost two decades and they’re still clinching only a small fraction of the market. It’s a big pie and everyone wants a piece – sometimes even the crumbs are worth chasing after.

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Project Update: Hellcrate motor into a ’68 Charger

Last December I wrote about a project that my friends at were undertaking. The project was to drop the 707-horsepower Hellcat crate motor into a recently restored 1968 Dodge Charger. While the Charger already had big 440 under its hood, dropping in Chrysler’s latest is a lot more than just a quick and dirty engine swap. The owner of the car and Ace wanted to this right. An obscene amount of power in a chassis that was never designed for it is a recipe for disaster. 

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Mystery Car – HINT!

Kamil Kaluski July 31, 2018 Mystery Car

It’s been five days and I can’t take it anymore. I’m crawling out of my skin here. The group of people who have identified so many vehicles from such minuscule hints seem to be stumped again. There were a few honest shots at what the vehicle was but none hit the target. I even gave a clue that the vehicle was American. 

So here you go, a second picture of Friday’s Mystery Car. And really, I had another picture but the detail was so vague that it would only further frustrate y’all. Get to your googling machines! I cannot make this any simpler!

Roger Sets the Bar High on Velocity’s “Chasing Classic Cars”

Roger Barr, ace mechanic on Velocity’s “Chasing Classic Cars”

This article was written by my friend Bill Griffith for another outlet and is posted here with permission. Bill is a freelance automotive journalist in the Boston area. You should follow him on Twitter . -KK

PORTLAND, CT—You know him as “Roger,” the sometimes funny, sometimes curmudgeonly (and often both) 82-year-old ace mechanic on Velocity’s “Chasing Classic Cars.”

He plays off show centerpiece Wayne Carini so well that you are immediately drawn into the nitty, gritty of the mechanical fixes. How well? So well that Roger rates an Emmy as Best
Supporting Character in a continuing series.

What’s a normal daily scene at Carini’s F40 Motor Sports is the stuff that makes the TV series, in its 13th season, an enduring part of auto enthusiasts’ viewing. 

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski July 27, 2018 Mystery Car

Well, I am very disappointed and rather perplexed. How did anyone not get this. When the Mastery Car is fragment of a taillight an obscure one-off it gets identified within minutes. But here was a vehicle as common as a dog, an iconic American vehicle sold and known the world over, and no one could identify it. Last week’s Mastery Car even had a damn television show named after it, for eff’s sake. How did you miss it? 

Again, I am disappointed. But despite there being no clear winner, there still is The Person of the Moment! award. And that person is… me! For stumping you with something so simple. Bow to me!

Today we once again keep it simple. It’s so simple I expect more than just a make and model. Please don’t let me down again. 

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Redusernab Asks: Did you drive a million miles?

After driving Matt Farah’s #MillionMileLexus yesterday I started thinking, which is never a good thing. I asked myself if I have driven a million miles in my life. I got my driver’s license in 1994 but I’d be lying if I wasn’t driving much earlier than that… in Mexico, of course. Even so, in my 24 years of driving I would need to average over 40,000 miles per year. 

I kept calculating and looking over the past twenty years of my life. For that part of my life I lived in northern New Jersey and downtown Boston. While I always drive, the distances I cover are not great. When I worked in Manhattan and downtown Boston I used to take the train or bike to work. My longest car-commuting distance was a round-trip of about 40 miles and I did that for about two years. I accumulated the most miles, almost a 1000 per week, when I worked in NYC but spent my weekends in Boston. 

Adding it up I think I might be somewhere around a half a million mark in my lifetime of driving. I might, might, be at a million if I add up my lifetime of flights and distance covered as a passenger. And this is what makes the Million Mile Lexus even more remarkable. It started life in 1996 and by 2018 has 981,201 miles on it. That’s an average of 44,600 miles per year. 

Today we are asking – have you driven a million miles?