What do NASCAR pros use as their daily drivers?

This may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but NASCAR Sprint Cup vehicles are not legal street-driven vehicles. In fact, NASCAR race cars are a lot different than the one you drive. So despite what you see in commercials, they are not the daily drivers of your favorite oval track hero. NASCAR success and fame comes with a nice payday, and the drivers can afford pretty much any vehicle made, which explains the wide variety found on this list of their rides of choice.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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The Earnhardt family has been in Chevy dealerships for generations, and Jr has a particular affinity for the Camaro. A fourth generation Camaro could be bought with dealer modifications to become an “Intimidator SS”, and this process was repeated in 2011 with a fifth generation Camaro SS making 704 hp. Intimidator indeed. While Jr sells these at his dealership, he’d rather drive the older ones. He owns a silver 1967 Camaro rebuilt by Detroit Speed Inc., featuring a traditional small block Chevy v8 with aluminum heads and a carburetor running power to a five-speed stick. A different flavor is available with his orange 1972 Camaro. This one has a modern six-speed and LS2 v8, but the EFI has been ripped out in favor of a carb. Oddities of his collection include a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and a Pontiac G8 converted to look like a Holden Commodore. [keep reading]

Used Electric Vehicles are Finally Here

Tesla is facing the best kind of problem an automaker can have —they can’t produce enough cars to meet the demand. That’s especially impressive when you consider the Model S starts at over $70,000.  Other manufacturers aren’t quite as lucky as Tesla, but overall the market for EVs (Electric Vehicles) and PHEVs (Plug-In Hybrids) is growing at a steady clip. The world is getter greener, and we’re not referring to these green cars. These days, Nissan Leafs and charging stations are a normal sight in parking garages and driveways around the US. With 126,000 all-electric vehicles and 142,000 plug-in hybrids sold in the US between 2010 and 2014, a market for used electric vehicles has finally emerged.

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At over 70,000 cars sold, the Nissan Leaf is leading the charge (no pun intended). The Leaf also stands out as the only EV to sell over 10,000 units in its first year of availability. Most EV models have only been available for a year or two, although a small batch of Toyota Rav4 EVs was rolled out in the early 2000’s.

While depreciation hurts the original buyer, it helps those looking to buy used. More than 70,000 of the EVs sold are 2 years old or more, and many can be found for half the MSRP of a new model. We explored MojoMotors.com to see what the options are for those looking to buy used EVs.

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We expected to find dozens of Nissan Leafs for sale, but we weren’t expecting the prices to be so low. For under $15,000, you can step into a Nissan Leaf with under 30,000 miles. A comparable Mitsubishi i-MIEV could be had for even less. The Nissan Leaf also faired well in our electric vehicle cost per mile comparison, making it an excellent value. Since Nissan guarantees the battery to last 8 years/100,000 miles, any Leaf for sale should still have many miles to travel before diminished range becomes an issue.

Find a used Nissan Leaf

BMW i3 usedIf you’re seeking something more luxurious and unique than the Leaf, ze Germans have what you are looking for. BMW began selling the i3 just last year, but there’s already several for sale on the used market. The BMW i3 has a range comparable to the Leaf, but has a more upscale feel and much more appealing interior, especially for those who respect wood. The exterior styling is admittedly love-it or hate-it, but it certainly has more flair than other EVs. With only 14 used i3s available on Mojo (and most of those in California) you better be prepared to travel to pick one up.

Find a used BMW i3
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Here is something we weren’t expecting to find at all —an original, 1st generation Toyota Rav4 EV. The EPA rated its driving range at an impressive 97 miles on a single charge, although that number has surely dwindled over the many years. Toyota produced 1,400 from 1997 to 2003 and its estimated that 500 are still on the road today. As of the publish date, this beauty is still available. You can see the listing here.

The second generation Rav4 EV was developed in collaboration with Tesla but unfortunately didn’t inherit Tesla-level range, instead maxing out at 103 miles per charge. But it does have 154hp, which dwarfs the 64hp from the original Rav4 EV. It also comes with modern features, such as an infotainment system. The original Rav4 EV doesn’t even have a way to tell the driver the remaining range, but its still impressive that some are on the road to this day.

Find a used Toyota Rav4 EV 

used bmw i8

Remember the 1980’s movie “Twins”, where Arnold Schwarzenneger and Danny DeVito were brothers resulting from a genetic experiment? Well, think of the i3 as Danny and the i8 as Arnold. After you step in through the i8’s swan-wing doors, you can do 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and forget entirely that you’re in a plug-in hybrid.

The 357hp BMW i8 looks like a supercar from the future because that’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t compete with other hybrids, it competes with Audi’s R8, Porsche and other traditional supercars. The one shown here is the top-of-the-line Pure Impulse model that comes with exclusive features.

With plugins and hybrids projected to make up 7% of the global light vehicle market by 2020, we can expect steady growth in the used market. Even without the $7,500 federal tax credit (which only applies to new cars) you can still get a great deal on a used EV thanks to high depreciation. With improved battery technology and good factory warranties, diminished range becomes less of an issue. Therefore, if you’re looking to save money while getting your Al Gore on, it’d be wise to shop used.

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Check out our other articles: 

-Are hybrid cars worth it?

-Best cars for city driving 

-7 companies to launch driverless cars by 2020


Written by Tristan Cathers

Graphics by Sam Jackson

Will 3D printing change the auto industry?

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The automotive industry is changing rapidly. There are more than a quarter million electric cars on American roads, some of which have a range over 200 miles in between charges.  It is legal to operate driverless cars in five states and at least 7 automakers will launch driverless cars by 2020. Will 3D printing, the Star Trek-esque technology that’s been all over the news lately, be the next technology to disrupt the auto industry? The short answer is, yes. It already has. [keep reading]

Paul’s automotive predictions for 2015

With automakers finally regaining pre-recession vitality, 2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the industry. As tech and auto amalgamate, automakers are forming partnerships with technology companies and vice versa.

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Recently the Mojo marketing team sat down with Paul Nadjarian, our founder and CEO, to discuss what’s in store for our industry this year. We put together a list of the thirteen trends that Paul believes will dictate the automotive storylines of 2015. [keep reading]

Meet Paul Nadjarian, Founder of Mojo Motors

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Paul Nadjarian is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mojo Motors. Nadjarian has an extensive background in both the automotive industry and the Internet. He started his career at Ford Motor Co. selling inventory and programs to auto dealers and eventually ran the Internet lead management group at Ford.

After Ford, Nadjarian joined eBay Motors to run the Parts & Accessories category, growing the business to $2 billion in sales, the largest category at eBay. Most recently, he was the head of Product and Marketing at OnForce, an online marketplace for local contract professionals.

Paul has also been on the founding team of GreenLeaf Auto, an auto-recycling venture within Ford, and CombineNet, an advanced sourcing & optimization platform. Nadjarian earned a B.S. in economics from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

To learn more, check out his LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nadjarian

General Motors 2014 Recalls Infographic

Updated February 5, 2015

In the first half of 2014, General Motors recalled more cars than it sold in the last five years according to this article. Between the lawsuits, hearings at Capital Hill, internal investigations, delivering new parts to dealers, getting drivers to bring in their recalled cars – this is the general state of General Motors.

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The automaker, already fined a maximum of $35 million, is looking at an even larger settlement expected to be in the billions. Just last month in May of 2014, Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion for misleading consumers and the government on their own recalls. [keep reading]

NASCAR race car VS regular car

NASCAR chevy cars for 2013

NASCAR is the biggest racing league in the United States. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing has used factory-ish vehicles since its early days, more than six decades ago. Quite a bit has changed since then, as the original race cars were “strictly stock” and were just factory vehicles with safety and performance modifications. Ever wonder how the current “stock” cars compare to what you can buy from the factory? Let’s take a look.

For this comparison, let’s look at the 2013 NASCAR season, as the stats on the newest cars are still being sorted out. That year, Chevrolet debuted the brand new Chevrolet Malibu, but saw NASCAR move to a Chevrolet SS on the new “Gen 6” racecar chassis. Sure, Chevy also launched the fantastic SS street car that year, but it is a low-volume premium sedan. NASCAR is about making racing for everyone, and the Malibu is more in-line with being a car for everyone. As you will see, there are slight differences besides the names.

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Drivetrain

The 2013 Chevy Malibu has a choice of competent dual overhead cam four cylinder engines. The base engine is the gas sipping 2.5L, delivering 197 horsepower. This engine features variable valve timing, and is EPA rated at 22 MPG in the city and 34 on the highway. It’s economical to run, as filling the 15.8 gallon gas tank with 87 octane (and up to 10% ethanol) will last you up to 350 miles.

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The other option for 2013 is the turbocharged 2.0L four cylinder. Power is noticeably up, at 259, and tops out at 145 MPH. Keep in mind, this is no sport model, as this engine is the economical replacement for the old V6. The turbo four manages 21/30 in the city/highway test, and still takes regular gas. Both four cylinders have a 6-speed automatic transmission.

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NASCAR strays from factory stock, a little. The 2013 Sprint Cup SS featured an overhead valve 5.9L (rounding up) fuel injected V8. Engine output varied by the builder and team, but 2013 saw roughly 850 horsepower without a restrictor plate from the big guys like Hendrick.

With the plate, power decreased to approximately 450, but that is still noticeably more than the turbo factory-built Malibu. The Cup-spec SS ran 98 octane unleaded, with 15% ethanol, in an 18 gallon tank. Gas mileage would make the EPA frown, as an SS racer ran about 5 MPG at speed. No word on city gas mileage, but flat out in a draft, it’s capable of over 200 MPH.

Safety

The 2013 Malibu is a “Top Safety Pick” at the IIHS, which scored the Malibu as “Good” in all tests but the small offset test. That rating is “Marginal” but that is still pretty good since that test is relatively new and a very high bar to meet. The NHTSA gave it 5 stars overall, and with 8 airbags, this is a very safe car.

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For the Sprint Cup driver, there are no airbags, but the 5-point harness and mandated helmet and HANS device are far superior to your lap/shoulder belts. The entire car is wind tunnel designed for maximum downforce, so even when there’s a bit too much rubbing on track, none of them go airborne. The seat is closer to the centerline than the factory Malibu (or factory SS) to provide a larger crumple zone. The steel roll cage can take a serious beating while keeping the driver safe, as you may have seen Clint Boyer educationally demonstrating that one time he crossed the finish line backwards, upside-down, and on fire.

Features

The Malibu can be loaded up quite nicely. Check all the boxes and you’ll get leather, turn-by-turn navigation, paddle shifters, OnStar, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. Of course, being for the American market, there are Big Gulp capable cupholders front and rear. Plus, the drivetrain has a 5 year, 100,000 mile warranty. All of this is wrapped in a steel chassis that weighs 3,580 pounds in street trim.

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With a racecar, there is no leather, satellite radio, or navigation. The seat is custom formed for your body, but has almost no adjustment. The pedal on the right is the fun one that makes the entertaining noise. There’s no weaksauce paddle shifters here, but a proper manly four speed rock crusher, as God intended. Little known fact: there are zero cup holders, so Dale Jr has to hold his diet Mt Dew the entire race (Okay, sure. There’s a place to plop a sports bottle if the driver isn’t wearing a Camelbak, but it is not a traditional cup holder). There is no warranty, so if you tag the wall and have as many sponsors as Kvapil, you’re paying for that yourself. This steel and sheetmetal beast is close to production weight, at 3,300 lbs empty.

Price

A new 2013 Malibu retailed for a little over $23k as a base model. With the turbo engine, leather, nav, and some sweet 19”s, you could spec out a Malibu into the $33,000 range. While that was a good deal on a new car, the used market really shows depreciation as strength for the used buyer. Poking around Mojo Motors, there are 42 pages of Malibus for sale, and a low-mileage 2013 Eco can be had for as little as $10,995.

Unfortunately, there are no 2013 SS race cars currently on Mojo Motors. However, for price comparison, a 2006 Nationwide Series Chevrolet Monte Carlo is selling on the used racing equipment site RacingJunk.com for $35,000. While the race car is faster, it looks like the street car is a way better value.

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Written by Andy Jensen

Photo Credits: NASCAR, Chevrolet

 

The greenest cars

Car enthusiasts catch a significant amount of flack from eco-friendly folks. Climate change is happening, and in 2015 it’s tough to be passionate about something that ultimately harms our environment. That’s why Mojo Motors has made it our resolution to become more green in 2015. Our first step on the road to biological bliss it to show Mojo shoppers the greenest cars available today.

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Considering the abysmal 11/18 MPG it retrieves from the 691hp V12 engine, the Lamborghini Aventador doesn’t seem like a green car on paper. But then you take a look at this baby and BAM! Undeniably green. [keep reading]

Uber’s toughest year yet

There are many ride sharing services that provide an alternative to traditional taxi cabs, but none larger than Uber. With backing from big names like Google Ventures, Goldman Sachs and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Uber has expanded globally and asserted its dominance in cities across the United States. They’re now worth an estimated $40 billion and still growing. But monumental growth does not come without growing pains.

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The same aggressive business and marketing strategies that made Uber a success have also got them into trouble several times this year. From shady business tactics, to neglecting passenger safety, to privacy issues, Uber has gotten almost as much bad publicity in 2014 as General Motors, the undisputed recall champ.

That’s why we’ve put together this infographic that shows the company’s public relations missteps throughout 2014. [keep reading]

Most expensive tolls in the United States

Nobody likes paying tolls, but they are a necessary evil. The money from tolls is used to fund the construction of new roadways, as well as maintenance. Unless you live in one of the 22 states that don’t collect tolls, or a state where you can get by without owning a car, you have no other choice but to pony up and pay the toll. We did some research and found the most expensive tolls in the nation. Here’s what we came up with.

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Most toll roads cost under ten cents per mile, but the price of tolls on a long road trip can add up quickly. At the end of your journey, you could easily spend $50 in tolls…or more if you live in a state with high gas taxes. There are some toll roads you should watch out for and they can add up to as much as $1.25 per mile. The cost is even greater for bridges and tunnels. Hopefully you don’t have to pay any of these tolls on your commute. [keep reading]

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