RIDE OF THE WEEK is Michael Carson’s AUDI TT!

Ride of the Week: Michael Carson’s AUDI TT is big power in a small package

As a health and wellness coach and creator of www.fitinseconds.com, Michael Carson knows what it takes to get in great shape. 

Just looking at his frame – he’s like a rock. So when it came to driving, he hand-picked a car that was his version of a speed machine.

It’s true that we pick animals, friends and cars that are just like us and our personality. Convertible Camaros are generally driven by women and men are behind the wheel of classic Morris Minors. And although the rule can be broken, Michael was pretty clear when he decided on this bright white 2013 Audi TTRS.

As a six-speed manual and weighing in at 3,307 pounds, this 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder turbo Quattro coupe produces a hefty 360hp and 345 lb-ft of torque. That’s like a young Mike Tyson wearing a white tuxedo. 

Mods include an APR ECU upgrade to Stage II and APR downpipe adding approximately 80-90 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque to the stock figures.

“A little over three years ago,” Michael said, “I drove my Dinan 135i into the Beverly Hills Audi dealership to look at the TTRS out of curiosity, and I left with it. When stock, it was a bit slower than the 135i. I had it tuned to 430hp, dropped an inch, and that soon changed.”

Michael said all the boxes were checked for him. 

“It looked and sounded unique with carbon fiber side mirrors from the Bugatti Veyron, German precision with a timeless yet future forward design inside and out,” he said. “There were only 200 sent to the US for 2013. Either way, was sold.”

Plus with a superior Quattro all-wheel-drive system at half the cost of its cousins at Porsche, Michael could afford its best to nearly the entire Porsche lineup, after the APR mods. 

The best part of the car, according to Mr. Extreme Fitness? The exhaust. 

When at idle and at 4-7000 rpm, Michael never gets tired of the soundtrack especially in sport mode.

OK, up to this point, I know what you’re thinking: just a guy with a need for speed, working out and driving cool places, right? This is where is gets good. 

Michael’s best short story is the discovery of his dog, named “Freeway.”

“Standing in the center lane of the 90 East on a fine Saturday evening,” said Michael, “this little pup turned my TTRS into a Pet Medivac. After surviving being dropped right in the middle of the freeway, two cars collided over him.” 

Freeway was almost killed and lay nearly lifeless with a broken pelvis. Michael managed to scoop him up and get him quickly to a vet. 

“Five days in intensive care in a shelter, he was all mine,” Michael said. “If it weren’t for the acceleration of the Audi RS providing me the extra seconds to help stop the dozens of other rapidly approaching vehicles from further colliding, I wouldn’t have him in my arms right now.” 

According to Michael, the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

When I met him at Bluffs, we took a spin and shot another Episode 183 of my show, “Fireball Malibu Vlog.” 

I realized how much I love driving with car enthusiasts up Pacific Coast Highway and hearing their stories. All the face-thumping I felt from the car talk was immediately healed by the warmth I felt for Michael’s little Chihuahua, Freeway. Watch the episode for a close-up of his little face, but the stories are what makes us feel alive. It’s what cars do for us and the only thing better than having the experiences like what Michael went through was sharing the story with me.

What do does he dig about driving in Malibu? 

“I love the feeling you get early morning on a clear day driving on PCH past Pepperdine,” he said. “Cruising all the way past Decker Canyon, the coastline almost looks European at times and feels like a departure from the day.”

And his favorite Movie Car? 

“As a young boy I must have played the VHS 2000 times with the opening scene of “Cannonball Run” where the black Lamborghini outruns the police on a stretch of highway. I had the poster over my bed and the 12-cylinder soundtrack in my head.” 

Yeah, it’s a sickness, right? But the best one ever.

Be sure to check out Michael’s site listed above. He’s committed to getting his clients healthy and seems to be doing a great job. 

Thanks for the stories and drive, Mikey. Give that tiny pooch a pet from all Malibuites. You’re both heroes to us.

Want to be featured as my Ride of the Week? Shoot me an email to askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week welcomes ANNA McKINLEY and her ALFA 4C!

Ride of the Week is ANNA McKINLEY and her ALFA 4C!

There’s lots of guys in Malibu who have cool cars, but every now and then there’s a woman out there that has no problem putting them to shame – with her car, I mean. So this week’s Ride of the Week just happens to be one of those ladies — Malibu’s Anna McKinley.

As an executive assistant, Anna’s job is to smooth out the wrinkles, control the potential pitfalls and organize a plethora of messy potentials. Her love is in helping to keep people like her boss on track, focused and straight on the apex. Which is why when it came time to grab a cool ride on Dec. 14, she and her husband chose Alfa Romeo’s 2015 4C launch edition. It’s actually the very first Alfa in Malibu and No. 42 out of only 500.

“It showed up Dec. 14,” said Anna. “So about a month now. It was shipped out from the Alfa Romeo dealer in Laredo, Texas. There are only 80-some dealers, and a handful have delivered cars to customers.” 

The specs as a stock pocket rocket? Factory fresh at 237-horsepower and 258ftlbs, weighing in at only 2,465 pounds. That results in a liquid fast 0-60 in 4.1 seconds. 

But why this car, Anna? “My husband and I have had a few Italian cars. A couple old Alfas and an Abarth which is my daily driver. Italian sports cars are in my blood. We were lucky enough to drive a 4C press car in Monterey last August and I fell in love instantly. I knew I had to have one. I’ve never been so excited and it’s really a special car.”

Special for sure, as the red on this car makes you want to either nuzzle up against it with some Merlot or lick it like a Telly Pop.

The car is mainly used for fun — like, would it be used for anything else? I think not. Can you see her boss saying that something needs to be picked up? Like a cartoon character, there would be nothing left of Anna but a puff of smoke.

“It only has 600 miles on it and the furthest I’ve been in it is to Ojai so far…” continued Anna. “But I guess the best story is how it arrived. My husband had the transporter deliver it to my office. He called me and said, come outside then handed me a key and pointed to a shiny red Alfa with a silver bow on it.” Whoa. Silver bow on a red car equals some big smooches. (That will be another article. 

But what about Malibu? 

“We live at the top of one of the canyons, so as car lovers there’s no better place. Everyday is a fun driving experience. The only downside is how fast I go through tires, but that’s a good problem to have. For us, Malibu is a perfect combination of country living and beach community, yet if we need a dose of big city life, it’s only minutes away.” So true and something we can all relate to equally.

As usual, I asked my two main questions as well, to which Anna responded with vigor and elegance. 

Your favorite movie car? “Can I have two?” she said. “Sean Connery’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger — elegance, speed and gadgety. And ‘The Bandit,’ 1976 Pontiac Trans Am because it’s the exact opposite of the DB5 and my mom had one when I was a little girl.” 

Sounds like Mom was a badass. And finally, Anna’s favorite chocolate is one of dark. 

“It’s supposed to be healthy for you, right?”  

Well, regardless if it’s healthy or not, dark chocolate and a new Alfa 4C is a perfect combination for the abundant lifestyle. And the trunk is just big enough to hold it, although I think her husband is going to have to get in line with the rest of us. 

Do you want to be featured as Fireball’s Ride of the Week? Let him know what you’ve got! askfireball@fireballtim.com Be sure to get on of Fireball’s cool Automotive Books on Amazon!

Ride of the Week is BUZ ALEXANDER and his ITALIAN TWINS

Ride of the Week is BUZ ALEXANDER and his ITALIAN TWINS

One of the best things about doing this Ride of the Week column is where I actually get to go in this wee town. 

Tiny corners of car heaven tucked away in the nooks and crannies of Paradise. Case and point: an undisclosed, phenomenal beach where the two Alfa Romeo Spyders of Buz Alexander live.

Shhh! You didn’t hear it from me!

Being a filmmaker dablbing in real estate, Buz Alexander’s life bounces from surf to land deals to Vampire Zombies. And in between all that, he loves to drive his 1974 and 1986 Alfa Spyders: the Veloce and Graduate. 

The ‘74 has a 1750 cc twin cam matched to a five-speed manual, and the ‘86 is a 2000 cc twin. Mostly stock Italians, but even so, they’re fun to drive – as all Alfas are.

Buz has had the ‘74 for 20 years. He snagged it from a university friend near USC, and the ‘86 came from a South African yachtsman here in the ‘Bu.

“Alfa Romeo has such a great racing history and tradition,” Buz said. “And beautiful Italian design by Pininfarina.” 

The best part of the car?

“The high-compression twin cam aluminum engine and racing gearbox,” Buz said. “The canvas convertible top is very nice, too.” 

And although he only uses these cars for pleasure driving here in Malibu, they’re functional surf cars and used to take his 14-year old daughter to Malibu Middle School.

The Alfas have a special place in his heart as he actually brought her home as a newborn from the hospital filled with “It’s a Girl” balloons. That officially puts that car in a “I’ll never get rid of it” category. 

I always say that if you really want to keep a car, take your kids for rides and the smiles that come will lock that puppy into place.

And what is there to love about driving in Malibu according to Mr. Alexander? 

“Everything,” he said. “Seeing the ocean on one side and trees on the other. Putting the Alfa through its paces on winding canyon roads.” 

Can it get better than that? Not even.

Veloce means “Fast” in Italian. But, that can mean fast in the canyons, fast to school and fast just standing still. Nothing like an open air cockpit to absorb all the beauty that we have here to offer. 

If you haven’t driven in a convertible in a while, I suggest that this summer you either rent one, steal one or get Buz to give you a spin. But be sure to brush the bugs out of your hair afterwards.

Oh, and by the way, check out Buz’s latest film on Amazon, “Nocturna.”

I wasn’t kidding about the vampires and zombies part – they’re real!

Ride of the Week is Actress TANNA FREDERICK & her black 1983 ALFA ROMEO!

Ride of the Week is Actress TANNA FREDERICK & her black 1983 ALFA ROMEO!

When Tanna Frederick’s PR agent sought me out, I had expectations of the way actresses can be sometimes. 

That said, something about a lady who loves an ‘83 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce was intriguing — because cars make people cool. 

So we set up a photo shoot and a meet-up at Malibu Bluffs Park here in the ‘Bu, and that’s how we started this week’s Ride of the Week.

At first sight, Tanna’s flaming red hair was a mess from driving her teeny convertible Alfa like one of those cute guinea pigs, but within minutes of launching out of her car, the actress/surfer/activist whipped that ‘do together like a firefighter taming a crazy blaze. And after introducing ourselves, I knew this was gonna be a hoot. Any girl that can whip hair like that together in seconds while making jokes and laughing from ear to ear had to be good. And it was.

We took off up north in that li’l Alfa to find a spot to shoot, but I decided to take her to Latigo Beach for a short, but awesome beach, giftee first. Again, the sun on those red locks beamed so hard that even with my cool shades, I was squinting.

There, she filled me in about the car.

“I bought this car on Craigslist about five years ago and thought, ‘every girl needs a convertible,’” she said 

She was right. Messy hair is the sign of someone who’s in love with life. 

“It’s a small car but fits me perfectly,” she said. “I love the style and feel of it.”

We then arrived at a cool spot along Pacific Coast Highway and I started shooting. The ocean, a red hottie and a convertible. How could anything go wrong? 

Well, before I even started, those red waves caused me to try shooting with the lense cap on, like a pro. But her smile let me off the hook and we started rockin.’ One snap after the next, this ROTW was coming together.

Tanna continued: “I use the Alfa to get away from my busy schedule. It’s a great release to have the wind blowing across my face and through my hair.” 

Usually wind is bad for flames, but in this case, it’s awesome on an epic scale. 

“It’s been my sidekick through some tough times but nothing helps me clear my head more than getting in and not knowing a destination,” she said.

But what does she love most about driving PCH in Malibu?

“Driving right next to the ocean in Malibu is one of the most peaceful drives in the whole continental United States,” she said, and I tend to agree and it was a treat for those that drove by while we shot. The woots and honks were a fun distraction as I made sure the camera was actually turned on.

Life is meant to be fun no matter what you do. And meeting people who love what they do and do it well is inspiring. Tanna is a perfect example of this and has had tremendous success because of it. Anyone who snags her for an upcoming film will see that she brings excitement and passion to their set. She did to mine and driving with her was a blast.

Watch episode 85 of my show and you’ll see our shenanigans up close. Can life be any better when you merge the beauty of a classic car, the ocean and Tanna’s energy in one shot? Not possible. I’m grateful to her PR gal, Lori, for hooking me up. And this is why I do Ride of the Week, and why I love my life.

Want to be featured as Fireball’s Ride of the Week? Send an email to askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week is Malibu’s John Sibert and his 1988 ALFA SPIDER

Meet John Sibert and his Alfa Spyder. Chances are you’ve seen him before – many times before. That’s because John sits on our City Council, and has been mayor of our cool town twice. 

But, did you know that this distinguishing looking car dude is just that? A major car dude? Well, I’m Fireball and since cars are my thing, let’s get into Mr. Sibert’s world.

Full Name? “John Sibert will do,” he wrote me. “You don’t need the middle name and ‘III.’” That just made me laugh, because when I drove up to meet Sibert and see his cool ride, I asked for his full name and he laid it out. 

Meeting up with John was a hoot because he really loves his car, a 1988 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. Now, you’d expect former mayors like John to be tooling around in executive-type vehicles, but not this guy. You’d expect him to be humorless and serious all the way, right? Oh no, not professor John Sibert. We spoke for half an hour, and talked about amazing cars and his equally amazing background.

A retired university chemistry professor and administrator at Yale, Caltech and the CSU system, John also started and ran the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation and was manager of the Arco Corporate Research Laboratory. 

He also works on stealthy stuff with JPL but if I told you what it was, I’d have to send flogging agents to your house. 

“My daughter once asked if I had decided what I wanted to be when I grew up,” John said.  

The answer was “not yet,” but he still serves on a couple of boards of directors and consults for NASA. Yeah, he’s one of those smart dudes who everyone wants a piece of. Including me – only regarding cool cars, though.

 So, his Alfa is a Bosh Fuel-Injected 2.0 L DOC 4 cylinder. All original and no mods. Bummer, ‘cause I could see droppin’ a Hellcat in that lil’ puppy and heading to the track. Maybe not, but John bought this car in 1998 from the first owner. 

“It’s red,” he said. “A two-seater, a convertible and it’s a Pininfarina design.” 

I’d say that’s a triple threat, but he mentioned four things. Only a chemistry professor could do that.

 But the best part of the car for Mr. Sibert?  

“The sheer joy of driving it along the coast and on winding roads with the top down.” 

Yeah, that’s the life here in the Bu. We’d do that even if it was raining.

John uses it for regular transportation when the weather is amenable to driving with the top down. 

“My best story was taking my niece – who writes a Car Column for Rolling Stone Mexico – for a spin along Mulholland with the Beach Boys loud on the stereo,” he said.

From our short time talking about cars, one thing was clear: John loves Malibu in a way that only a longtime local could. Thoughts of beauty, sound, wind, sun, friends and family were clear cues to living the dream. I, for one, am on the Sibert Train. 

Not much beats cruising the canyons of Malibu in a classic red Italian convertible sports car. Nothing, except taking me with you next time, JS. 

Watch me visit John on my show on Youtube. See the car up close and hear some extra cool stories.

If you want to be featured as my next Ride of the Week, shoot me an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com

The Road to Success is an Adventure…

There was a time in my life when I read lots of biographies. 

I figured that I might be able to absorb some success tips from people who had made it big in certain fields such as cars, film and health. And as good as some of the books were, they all gave the sense that these people were essentially overnight successes who just did a bunch of different things until something popped. 

But the truth is not something you can put in a biography. The truth is actually far simpler and something I apply every day to what I now do. Success comes from knowing what you want and taking small steps every day to get there. Failure comes from not having a direction or constantly changing direction. It’s a simple formula that even a child can understand.

As a child, I always made films. Stop-motion animated movies, karate movies, action movies — all with my dad’s Super8 camera. Most of them came out pretty bad, but I learned something from them each time. Now, with having made close to a thousand short films at this point, I’ve learned so much that the secret of success has been proven to me. And although success in society is largely based on how much money you have, I beg to differ when I talk with those in hospital beds who wished they’d eaten better, but have millions in the bank. They’re sick and looking death right in the face.

So, success is distributed along the lines of your uppermost thoughts. Think health all the time and you get healthy. Think wealth all the time and you get wealth. Think stress all the time and, boom, stress comes. But the model can also be proven this way.

When I tackle a car project, the only way to get it done is to take on one thing at a time. I have to complete that step in the best possible way and I’ll succeed. Same goes with my Vlog Show. I’m on episode 528 as I write this and that’s 528 consecutive days filming. Each one was completed one step after the next and each one is a success, if completed and aired. 

Lots of moving parts, lots of things to do, but essentially just one step after the other as if you were walking from LA to New York. You can’t worry about Kansas when you’re walking through Nevada. 

This year can and will be a success for me automotively as long as I stay focused on what I want and do things one step at a time, believe and have faith that I’ll succeed. It’s how cars are built and how shows are done. But it’s also how your kids grown and how you’ll make this year the best one yet! But you have to realize the truth. You’re not alone, because the universe has got your back. Call it whatever you want. God, spirit, the big guy. Just do your thing and be the change you want to see in the world. Someone important said that and I believe it. 

This is Ride of the Week. And this is how I roll.