Archive | July, 2011

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Ten Questions with Harlyn Jenkins

Posted on 26 July 2011 by admin

 


The recent series with Harlyn Jenkins has been a wonderful one.

Thanks again Harlyn for spending the time speaking with Nolan Milojevich.  Nolan, excellent job with the interview and writing the articles.

Here is the final installment (unless Harlyn returns–which we hope!)

Ten Questions with Harlyn Jenkins

Favorite car made in the 1980s?

  • Omni GLH-S (Goes Like Hell, Som’more)

Ugliest car made now?

  • “Do they still make the Aztek? Okay good.”

First song to play on random on your iPod/MP3?

  • Pretty Ones by Duran Duran

First car?

Zombie Apocalypse, where do you go?

  • “Not a shopping mall, too many entrances.  A prison. “

Best car under $2k?

  • Volvo 240 DL

Your guess for a future classic?

  • “Geo Metro Convertible, it’ll be the next Nash Metropolitan.”

Enthusiast or Collector?

  • Enthusiast

Next Car?

Favorite canceled TV show?

  • “Tribeca, either that or Airwolf.”
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Grant Cardone, Stephen Wade & Ed Tonkin

Posted on 21 July 2011 by admin

Grant Cardone, Stephen Wade & Ed Tonkin at the 2011 OADA Convention

 

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VEHICULATE – Conversations About Exotic Cars and the Owners that Love Them – Part 4 of 4

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VEHICULATE – Conversations About Exotic Cars and the Owners that Love Them – Part 4 of 4

Posted on 19 July 2011 by admin

2006 Maserati at Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo in Portland OregonMaserati Quattroporte Sport-GT/Harlyn Jenkins

PART 4 OF 4 – THE REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF

When he decided on an exotic, utility was one of the reasons he went with a Quattroporte rather than a Ferrari 360 Modena or a F430.  The impetus being that one of his friends had a Ferrari 456 back in the day, and they would take it out on road trips.  Its usefulness and ability to fit something other than an engine in the backseat impressed him.  “With the QP you get the best of both worlds.  Essentially the F430 motor, in just a little fatter body,” he adds.

Currently, he’s planning a Route 66 road trip with his family, primarily due to his daughter’s fascination with the Cars films by Pixar.  One of the very first trips he did in his Quattroporte was along Route 66 with one of his friends.  “Jumped on in Oklahoma City, got off in Flagstaff.”  He recalls, rapid-firing more details, “We stopped at all the weird Americana kitschy stuff, we stopped at Cadillac Ranch.  Not Mustang Ranch, where [the Cadillacs] are buried nose down.  Stopped at the world’s largest ball twine, the largest outdoor cross.”

“You told me that your philosophy is to basically have as much fun as possible.”  I state.  It wasn’t a question.  But Harlyn was quick to modify this, as he would his car.

“Number one,” he pauses.  His tone changes.  What comes next isn’t technobabble, or a pop culture reference, or a quip.  Harlyn, at his most genuine, “Is having as much fun with my family as possible.”

After a moment, he picks up his rate of speech again, “But yeah, I really enjoy having fun, I really do.  Nobody makes it out of life alive.  So, you know, you could go through life cranky.  Some things you have to take serious.  But a lot of things you have no control over, so you just kind of roll with it.”

And how he rolls, is through a tunnel, windows down, exhaust reverberating, and with two future enthusiasts in the back jubilantly saying, “just do it again!”

Article written by Nolan Milojevich, marketing specialist at Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo.

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VEHICULATE – Conversations About Exotic Cars and the Owners that Love Them – Part 3 of 4

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VEHICULATE – Conversations About Exotic Cars and the Owners that Love Them – Part 3 of 4

Posted on 12 July 2011 by admin

Harlyn Jenkins 2006 Maserati Portland OregonMaserati Quattroporte Sport-GT/Harlyn Jenkins

PART 3 OF 4 – WHY MODIFY

“Hey, yesterday was free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s,” Harlyn mentions as we roll past their ice cream shop on Hawthorne.

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Didn’t know that.”  I didn’t.

“Meant to post that on Facebook.  Meant to go to Ben & Jerry’s.  Did neither.  Spent 16 hours pulling wires through my car.”

WARNING: I should warn the reader that what follows is a transcript of Harlyn speaking in pure technobabble.  Skip down a few paragraphs unless you want to find out why he was pulling wires through his car, and have your brain hurt.

“[I’m doing a] full computer integration with NAV and entertainment, stereo upgrade, all that kind of stuff.  But it will be a full-blown Windows 7 PC running in the car using the stock screen as an interface with a touch-screen membrane overlay.  Which a lot of people are doing, I’ve just yet to see someone do a full-blown auto PC for the NAV tool.  There are much easier ways to do it, but this is more fun… There will be a few video output issues.”

I shake the glazed-over look off my face, “What do you mean?”

He continues, “Well I’m going from full DVI down to RCA,” and proceeds to explain this again in more detail.  I’m not sure how much longer this goes on but he begins speaking ‘automotive’ at some point, which is a language I am fluent in.

“We’re going to do a six-speed conversion to it, and it will either be supercharged or turbocharged.”  He says as plainly as if he announced he was going to the supermarket to buy canned food.

It’s not much of a secret that the early Maseratis with the DuoSelect automated manual transmissions had a habit of eating clutch plates.  For these cars, driving like a grandma (no offense intended to grandmas that drive briskly, especially ones that formerly owned a Maserati) would cause the plates to wear out prematurely.  The solution, as Harlyn figured out, is to drive the crap out of it, and has gotten more mileage out of his clutch than anyone else we know of as a result.

But when the clutch invariably wears out again, he’s going to convert it to a six-speed manual sourced from the earlier Maserati Coupé GT.  An idea presented to him by Mike, our Maserati technician, after he and a couple of other technicians training at Maserati of North America discussed the possibility over lunch.  At the time, Mike said, “I know a QP owner that might just do that.”

But the obvious question is, “Why?”

“Because I can.  Off the shelf never works for me.”  He gestures, ”That’s great but I’d like it to do this, this, and this… Well, let’s make it do this, this, and this.”

Because he can.

“I love open source software,” he says assuredly.  “I love some of the new open source hardware that’s going on.  Based on that philosophy, things should be able to be modified openly and freely.”

“Says the guy who cracked his iPhone.”  I fire back.

“Yeah, but everybody does that.  You go to one website and you slide your finger.”

“That’s easy.”

“So easy in fact, when you went into an AT&T store when Jailbreak first came out, they didn’t have all of theirs protected, you could do it to all of them in the store at once.”

“And you did that.”  I say, more as a statement than a question.

“Na, I’m saying you could do that,” flashing his habitual grin.

But modifications can be taken too far.

“Dude!” He says excitedly after brief break in conversation, “I saw a Toyota Yaris, slammed, with a big-ass exhaust on it the other day.  And I was like, you know, I’m all for modding vehicles, obviously… but… That’s one of those things that make me laugh, I’ll see a Honda with $130,000 worth of engine and suspension and bodywork and everything and I’m like ‘you realize you could be driving a [Ferrari] 360’?”

“Yeah, but does a 360’s wiper nozzles glow?”

“They could.  That’s a good idea.  Think I might have found my next mod.  Hot Pink!  Yeah right, I’d plug them in and I’m sure the NIT (Maserati’s central entertainment and navigation unit) would freak out and have some weird error code, ‘I’m sorry, you’ve riced your car, warranty void.’”

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Cascade Auto Accessories

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Top High-Tech Accessories for Your Car

Posted on 10 July 2011 by admin

Cascade Auto AccessoriesAs the technology industry continues to evolve by leaps and bounds, automobiles are increasingly being brought into the fold and integrated with things like smart-phones, digital music players and even new implementations and uses of GPS.  The top high-tech accessories for your car generally fall into three broad groups, each with their own impressive gadgets and advancements.

Mobile and Media Integration

What started with the iPhone has only continued to expand with the advent of Android phones and BlackBerry devices: the smartphone craze has arrived.  These phones do more than just make phone calls or send text messages: they play music, come loaded with applications, and have built in GPS and internet connectivity.

One of the most unique, and most helpful, uses of this new phone feature set is the Viper SmartState vehicle location system.  SmartStart is built into a car’s security system and communicates with GPS satellites to help users locate their misplaced car — and in a big parking lot, that can make all the difference.  But it goes even further, allowing users to unlock the trunk, lock or unlock the doors, and even remotely start the car so that it’s pre-heated or pre-cooled upon arrival.

Then there’s the Parrot Asteroid Car Receiver, which allows drivers to play their favorite tunesover a car’s stereo without a CD or even FM Radio.  The receiver can play songs from USB flashdrives, SD or microSD cars, and iPods or iPhones.  Additionally, it can sync contacts from a connected phone and allow the driver to voice dial contacts while on the road, doing double duty as a hands free system.

And finally, for the text messaging addict or Facebook magnate, there are voice-activated systems that will read text messages to the driver, and allow the driver to speak a text message into the phone and reply to their contacts.  It’s even compatible with Facebook, allowing for speech-to-text status updates on the fly.

High-Tech Security

Sure, cars come with security systems, locks, and keys.  But in a high-tech world full of new products and innovations, it’s the fingerprint that’s being introduced to keep cars safe and secure.  The Fingerprint Car Security System can recognize multiple fingerprints, allowing or disallowing each person the ability to open the doors or turn on the engine.  Permissions can be changed per fingerprint at any time, giving people different permission levels based on a driver’s level of trust — and liability insurance.

Maintenance Improvements

Cars have long had on-board computers that measured things like engine temperature and whether or not it’s time for an oil change.  Now, a high-tech device called CarMD can connect to those on-board computers, download data from the car’s computers, and print out easy-to-read reports on a laptop or desktop computer about the state of the car’s maintenance and the potential need for any repairs or checkups.

In a world where mechanics are thought of as less-than-trustworthy until proven otherwise, CarMD is an important asset for the driver who doesn’t want to be overcharged for parts they don’t need, or convinced their car needs a special kind of maintenance that, in reality, it does not.

Technology is rapidly changing the way everyone lives their lives — practically every daily task is now pocket-sized.  Cars have been late to go fully mobile, but these accessories are a bold step in the right direction toward all-encompassing mobile integration.

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for three years; she is also contributing to auto insurance blogs and in her free time she enjoys helping teens prepare for their DMV test.

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VEHICULATE – Conversations About Exotic Cars and the Owners that Love Them – Part 2 of 4

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VEHICULATE – Conversations About Exotic Cars and the Owners that Love Them – Part 2 of 4

Posted on 05 July 2011 by admin

2006 Maserati Maserati Quattroporte Sport-GT/Harlyn Jenkins

PART 2 0F 4 – THE CAR, CULTURE, AND ONE 70-YEAR OLD WOMAN

“I keep getting calls, but not call backs.  The last call I got about it was ‘Could the stunt driver drive it fast?’”  Harlyn explains how his car and motorcycles are listed with an agent so they can be used in television commercials and movies.  Yes, his cars and motorcycles (mainly Ducati’s) have an agent.  Probably a holdback when he was a child actor.  And yes, he was a child actor in a few commercials and print ads.

“I actually said ‘no’.  There’s something in that statement that made me uncomfortable,” is his response.  Some time after the interview, however, he found out that his car would be in an episode of Leverage as the bad guy’s car.  Taking one look at it, anyone can see how that would fit the stereotypical bad guy.

He confesses that there is a misconception of exotic car owners as jerks.  Which could certainly be true in some cultures, but Harlyn is emblematic of most of our clients: he absolutely loves his car and makes every attempt to be gracious to those that are intrigued by it.  And I’ve witnessed at a gas station once that he really does love to talk to people about it, and to educate them.

Commonly, most onlookers don’t really know what it is.  “Nice emblems, what is it?  A Mazda-ati?”  Harlyn pantomimes the average admirer.

It glitters with its Nero on Nero combination (or black on black if you don’t speak Italian), bedecked in carbon fiber and suede, and still in impeccable condition for having over 63,000 miles on it.  Which, trust me, is a lot for an Italian exotic as most owners have gotten the idea that theirs just might melt if it ever touches rain.

In contrast, Harlyn’s Quattroporte has seen snow more than once.  He’s an unabashed enthusiast, as opposed to a collector.  He feels that exotics should be used and admired, not simply the latter, even if most people don’t know what his is.

But then he’ll occasionally come across an unlikely expert.  “I haven’t seen one in 30 years,” was the reaction of one 70 year old woman he met out on the coast.  Her husband had bought her one many, many years ago and she was delighted to see another.  His response was, “Do you happen to still have it in a barn under a blanket?”

Article written by Nolan Milojevich, marketing specialist for Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo.

 

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Nichole Metcalf

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Employee Spotlight: Nichole Metcalfe

Posted on 01 July 2011 by admin

Nichole Metcalf

Nichole Metcalf

Born and raised in the Portland area, Nichole Metcalfe has been a highly respected employee at Ron Tonkin Honda for nearly ten years.  Nichole has not only trained most of our service advisers when they first arrive, but she holds the record here at Ron Tonkin Honda for taking care of over 500 Express Service customers in one month–an unbelievable feat!

Nichole is a great example of our commitment to providing excellence in all areas of our operation to exceed customer’s expectations.  She has the character and integrity that our customers appreciate and its no surprise that just about every Ron Tonkin customer knows Nichole.  That’s why so many of our Honda customers also trust Nichole with their non-Honda vehicles.  With the largest auto parts warehouse in the nation, Ron Tonkin can work on any make or model, giving you the quickest possible turnaround for your service.

So if you’re looking for convenience, friendly service, come see Nichole in our Express Lube service drive at Ron Tonkin Honda.  Our Express Lube service includes a national safety recall check and Honda service bulletin update, as well as a complementary 27-point vehicle inspection by our factory trained technicians, who not only know what they are looking at, but like Nichole, know exactly what to look for.

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