2016 Orange County International Auto Show…Press Coverage

Well, it finally happened.  I was granted a media pass to cover the #Orangecountyinternationalautoshow.  This opportunity was a great way to get in and take pics and video before the little sticky hand kids were allowed to enter and muck up everything.  Perks Garage is very thankful for the access and looking forward to covering more events in the near future.

During my prep for the event, I have been working on setting up a YouTube channel to host the videos we take here at Perks Garage to provide a full in debt review of features and functionality of vehicles, both new and old.

It felt pretty good to arrive at the auto show and be asked for my confirmation letter as then granted access.  I quickly parked the Audi, grabbed my gear and headed in for an unobstructed point of view of the cars on display, and the layout of the event.  Once inside a greeting table confirmed my name was on the list and provided me with my pass.  I was too late to receive a lanyard but I didn’t care…I have arrived.  There were plenty of other people from various media outlets.  Local News channels, fellow bloggers, YouTubers, and even some foreign independent channels roaming the floor.  Everyone was taking pictures and videos and interviewing people spewing out vehicle specs.  It is like a Hollywood gala for auto enthusiast…the bright lights and cameras minus the boogie attitudes.  I was not quiet ready to interview people, I just wanted to act as the cameraman/ videographer.

I had on hand my Canon, Galaxy Note 5 and a small handheld video recorder.  I took loooootttttsss of pictures and quite a few videos.  I took my time and was able to see every vehicle and even test drive a few that they made available for us.  Mazda, Honda and Toyota to name a few were on hand to do test drive demos soI jumped at the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5.  Disappointment quickly set in when I found out it was an automatic and the streets were pretty congested by that time.  After the test drive and brief survey, I did receive an email invite to attend a Mazda MX-5 track event, so that will make up for the weak test drive.  Insert corny car nut verbiage riiight…here!  “Yay Mazda…Zoom-Zoom!”

All in all the event was great.  Free access, free snacks and drinks, unobstructed views and full access to some very nice vehicles.  Thank you Orange County International Auto Show for the media pass.

Now on to some pics…A LOT OF THEM!  Scroll down to check out some video footage.


Don’t forget to Like us out on Facebook .

Also check out our new Perks Garage YouTube channel for more coverage.

Here are a couple of the videos available on the channel.

Please to like and Subscribe!

All images and videos property of Perks Garage 2016!


Dos Lagos First Annual Car Show

Today Perks Garage ventured out into the 100+ degree weather to check out a local event.  The Shops at Dos Lagos put on the first annual Father’s Day car show.  Pretty nice turn out, so I so hope that they continue with these annually.  There were performances from local bands and a variety of cars on display.   The weather was a pretty brutal welcome to summer.  Many people made their rounds, snapped some pics and headed to the freezer section of the nearest store.  We ended up at The Wal-Mart.  Why you ask?  Because Magnum double caramel ice cream bars rule!

Anyway check out these pics and venture over to Facebook for more content.20160618_141828



Raging Bull20160618_14100120160618_14090420160618_140756

Ferrari 458 goodness20160618_14073220160618_14074120160618_14070720160618_14055720160618_14064220160618_14050620160618_14045720160618_14135920160618_141417

GT 35020160618_14041220160618_14040320160618_14023620160618_14022120160618_14013020160618_14012020160618_140113

Nice emblem20160618_14005720160618_140043

Queue the Prince music…20160618_135859

I REALLY liked this little German invader20160618_135829

Off-road anyone?20160618_135552

A pair of Continentals bagged-out20160618_13553620160618_13552520160618_135510



The members of Outkast would be proud to have this in their garage.20160618_13542320160618_135345

Honda 60020160618_13533920160618_135324

A father and son representing.  Just so happens that the son, driving the Mustang, was my sons 4th grade teacher.20160618_135303

My son is a littler bit taller than he was in the 4th grade 🙂20160618_135212

Another of my favs from the day20160618_13501120160618_13504520160618_13503320160618_13505420160618_134650

A little Chevy love20160618_13484320160618_13445120160618_134459

On Friday, my job was setting up for their annual car show, so I was able to take a few pics before leaving work.20160617_15134020160617_151323

Cadillac ATS-V…$85k Frost White edition20160617_15131020160617_15124820160617_15112820160617_151138

BMW i8…$152k.  I have my accountant working the numbers for me as we speak.20160617_15111720160617_15103920160617_15110220160617_15101320160617_15100120160617_150954

May 4th

Well today is a special day.  Not because it is Star Wars May the Forth be with You day, but for another reason.  This date always reminds me of my little racing co-driver, die-hard rider, my road dog, my little “egger-on”.  Every automotive or motorcycle enthusiast, street racer, or even a mechanic that is a father has thought (and hoped) that one day their little gremlins will grow up to be like them.  Along that road of parenting and teaching them right from wrong, you experience the things that shape their future and begin to accumulate memories. Memories that make you smile, make you cry and thinking back on them, they even make you burst out laughing uncontrollably at what may have been the most frustrating time ever in my life.  These memories pop up throughout the years at family gatherings, graduations and in random “remember when” conversations.  Now that today is May 4th, I want to share a few of these special memories with you…enjoy!  

Now as far back as I can recall, she was always excited to know I would be the one picking her up from school.  Every so often, she reminds me of how she loved to hear the obnoxiously loud exhaust of my 94 Honda Civic rumble as I came speeding down the street playing some loud hip hop joint.  My car was fairly low and looked as though it was hovering at times and I loved it, and as little as she was, she loved it just as much.  As she got older, she would be my racing buddy and sit in the passenger seat of my Honda Accord.  She would fantasize that she was driving in her dream car…the Lexus IS300.  Now when this car came out, we would both drool when we saw one.  I was particularly fond of the IS in that eye-popping Auburn Sky Pearl exterior color, the black Alcantara seats and the 5 speed with that polished round shift knob.  Yeah, that was the one for me!  This was Lexus’ attempt at stepping up their game and going after the “young executive” market, a new territory for them at that time.  They were trying to shake that grandpa persona that they were known for.  The IS was a small, sporty 4 door.  It had a pretty plush interior and a low price point.  Nowadays, the streets of SoCal are flooded with the newly redesigned and refined IS 250s and 350s and the aggressively designed F Sport package, but “where’s the all-new IS-F Lexus…I’m waiting?!”  

Ok, now back to the story.  My young co-pilot wanted this car and at times pretended that she was piloting this vehicle and racing me down the freeway whenever we went for a drive.. You should have seen her little feet working those imaginary gas and clutch pedals.  One hand gripping the invisible steering wheel and the other shifting gears.  On a rare occasion or two or three or four times, where we were actually, kinda, somewhat, partially involved in a freeway Fast and Furious showdown with some other Paul Walker wannabe, this too-short-to-reach-the-pedals instigator would get excited.  She would shout out, “They are flashing their hazards.  Doesn’t that mean they want to race?  Let’s get’em!”  Whats a father supposed to do?  You can’t let your kids down.  LOL.  As the years passed and her 16th birthday was upon us, it was the time that all parents dread…driving lessons.  Now my wife, she has no patience for this and I don’t blame her.  I stepped up to do the teaching and in a stick shift, no doubt.  The words “Oh Boy!  This should be interesting,” were uttered a few times.  Looking back, I wished we had recorded this, as it was the most frustrating, painstaking, terrorizing time of our lives… and that was just starting the car.  

Now the car to be used for these driving lessons was my car at the time, my customized 2005 Acura TL.  SIKTL 2005 Acura TL 5925356 This car was the most expensive car I had bought and, as usual, I dumped money into it right away: wheels, exhaust, expensive body kit, short shifter, and custom headlights.  This car was a beast, a suit-and-tie kinda beast, with its black factory leather Recaro-like seats and Brembo brakes.  I really miss that car. 

Since our now 16-year old co-pilot was now ready to start terrorizing the streets, we started off with a few lessons.  “Now ease off the clutch and listen to the exhaust tone as it changes when you apply the gas. SLOWLY!  Feel the car.”  I believe that having a throaty exhaust helps people learn how to drive a stick because you can hear how much throttle you are inputting.  A little trick I use on the wife as well.  “Babe, I need to put an exhaust on the car so I can teach our kids how to drive a stick shift.😉”  I guess after she reads this, I will not only be banned from the dealerships, but the muffler shops as well. 

So after a few burnouts lessons in the TL, we went back to practicing in an automatic and let the driving instructor do his job.   Later that year I traded in the TL for a 2008 United Gray VW Rabbit. I named it “Mr. Jack Rabbit”.  It was a lowered two-door 5-speed, with a Magnaflow exhaust, cold air intake, short-shifter and 18 inch wheels.  Why?  Because I’m a tuner and this is what I do😊.  This was my baby after I traded in the TL and also my intro to German cars. 

With a few lessons down, my teenage co-pilot finally driving an automatic comfortably, it was time for a refresher on driving a stick shift.  So, as it goes with teenagers and hormones, they have NO PATIENCE!!!  It’s amazing how much we had this little Jack Rabbit bucking like a bronco auditioning for the rodeo.  I mean, what happened to what she learned just a few months ago?  And what happened to all the fun we had? The smiles? The laughter?  How did we get 100 feet from the house just for her to give up, pound the steering wheel, throw a fit, jump out of the car and walk home?  How did I get left alone, strapped in the passenger seat of my own car in the middle of the street with the driver’s door wide open?  WHUUUUUUUUUUT?!   I mean what happened to my little enthusiast? Where was that persistency and that “can-do attitude” she had through the first few lessons in the TL?  Kids! 

I sat there perplexed. You have to be kidding me!  We made it this far only to have a temper tantrum in the middle of the street.  Talk about grumpy!  After that unfortunate incident, the garage was now closed.  I retired and left the driving lessons to the professionals.  She got her driver’s license, and as it goes with most kids, you can’t tell ‘em anything after that.  

Fast forward a few years, I get a random phone call from my daughter. “Thank you for teaching me how to drive a stick.  There was a co-worker that was very sick today and I had to drive her car to take her home.  No one in the office knew how to drive a stick except for the two of us.  The guys were all looking around the office confused, so I jumped behind the wheel.  All the guys were saying, ‘you’re going to stall.  You won’t get out of first gear.’ Hahaha.  I showed them.  Started it up, threw it in first and eased off the clutch and we were off…HA!” 

This was probably the proudest dad moment she has given me to date.  Of course, we always laugh about the temper tantrum incident, but apparently she did learn something from me.   So on this day, May 4th, I just want to say…HAPPY 24th BIRTHDAY ASHLEY!  I LOVE YOU!  Now if she can just slow down that Mustang!  Darn Kids! 😉

Chevy Corvette Z06


Unfortunately this was the best side view photo I could get of this beautiful Z06 as so many people were crowding around it at the Classic car show this weekend.  My wife says “no you can’t have one” because for some reason, she believes it is a car for old farts going thru a mid-life crisis.  Maybe it’s because that’s usually who we see driving them around our area.  All I know is that one day I will have one of these bad boys in my stable and not because I’m an old, bald, pervy guy picking up on young stock.  Oh wait, I am bald and getting old, lol.
I must say that these cars are amazing! Just look at it with it’s light weight construction, sharp lines, led lights up front and 650hp motor to match it’s futuristic styling.  This car definitely capable of putting a smile on your face, just standing still.  I have driven around in an early 90’s Vette and and early 2000 Z06, so I know what they are about…BUSINESS!!!  Chevy really did a number on this revamp and I must say that I had my reservations, but hats off  to you Chevrolet 🙌🙌🙌.   I am truly a believer in the new Stingray and Z06, and I haven’t even driven it…yet ;).  I do know a guy that is a bit of a car guy that is currently building one, and based on what has owned and modified in the past, I’m sure the customization world will be turned on its ear (full interview to come).  Until then, I will leave you with these quick snaps of the oh-la-la interior and oh yeah…that backside!  Enjoy.


Photos by M Perkins

A Love Story

The year was 1993 and I was rolling a frost white 88 Toyota Tercel EZ,

the EZ stood for BASIC!!!  I mean a passenger sun visor or side mirror was not included on this car.  It had gray vinyl seats with a 4 speed stick shift and crank windows, but it was my baby…with all its 78hp glory.  From senior year in high school, racing up and down the 110 fwy, back and forth from CA to San Antonio, Texas.  For my high school friends, my Texas fam and my wife, you know this car put in work!  But this entry is not about my baby, but rather the one that stole my heart.  Folks this is simply a love 💓 story.  A story about how I fell in love, with a little roadster from Japan.

It was around 4:30 am and I’m heading to work at the Aerospace Corp in my white 88 Tercel hatchback.  Cruising westbound on the 105 fwy bumping that new Lethal Injection from Ice Cube, because that’s just how I roll.  It was dark and there were only about 5 cars on the fwy because no one gets up that early.  I was crossing the 405 and nearing my exit on Sepulveda when I saw a little red convertible sports car zipping by me.  “Is this guy’s top down at 4:30 am?  What a nut!”  As I neared the Sepulveda exit, drops of water began falling from the sky and my thought was, “this guy is about to get soaked.”  He takes the exit ramp in front of me, and as he was pulling up to the red light the rain is starting to come down.  He reached back with his right hand and with one motion pulled the convertible top up over his head and latched it closed just as the red light changed to green.  I mean, he never even stopped the car!  It was a flawless execution.  Was he doing a commercial for Mazda?  My eyes lit up just like that kid Ralph in “A Christmas Story” whenever he described the “official carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle…ooooh!”  I was blown away!  I thought to myself that I had to have one!  It was at that exact moment a new love had been born…Miata!

Fast forward some 20 years and who knows how many cars later and I finally get up close and personal with the infamous well-balanced Miata rosdster.  One day the guy at the end of my block had his garage open. He had an Orange Lotus parked in front of his house and was working on a Miata in the garage with another guy that looked to be his twin.  Me being nosey me, I decided to walk my dog down there to see what was going on in my neighborhood.  Now usually in Corona you don’t hear Too Short playing in a garage, especially from the garage of a white guy that drives a Miata, but this was my introduction to the infamous Brothers Wilde.  I introduced myself and my interest in their cars while trying to remain calm and nonchalant, but good old Christmas Story Ralph was inside me just as giddy as a Christmas day.  After a bit of conversation I was invited to come check out Adams Motorsports park, an outdoor go-karting track, from these guys I just met, to experience some Time Attack and drifting that goes on out there.  Now between the two of them, they have probably bought and sold more Miatas, than you could count on all your little fingers on both hands, so the title Miata experts guru’s seems rather adequate. Well being the enthusiast I am I showed up at Adam’s that Friday night with my helmet in the off chance that I was courageous enough to go for ride along with someone.  That night I got to witness some high powered cars racing and some amateur drifters sliding all over the course.  There was some track mishaps with cars driving off the course up the hill and hoods popping up and spin outs galore! This was exciting but I then I saw it!  I watched in amazement as a little red blur and a silver blur sped around the course Time Attack style and I got the warm and fuzzies in my gentlemen parts. It was my neighbor aka mx5msm and his brother riding shotgun and their buddy aleks024 in the other car…WOW!  After their run, the invitation to ride along was presented to me and I jumped at it.  Now putting my life in someone else’s hand is not the norm for me, but the life insurance policy is paid, so eh, what the hell! I strapped on my helmet, said a quick prayer and let the fun began. With a death grip on the door handle and me wearing out my imaginary passenger side foot-brake, I was blown away and the handling capabilities and balance of these little cars in semi stock form.  The only thing he had at that time was suspension, a rollbar and an intake…thats pretty much it.  100hp never felt so exhilarating. Now throughout my driving years I had been use to piloting and rolling in much higher horsepower cars, Evo’s, Subies, TL’s and what not, so I was blown away to say the least at what I was experiencing. Turn after turn after turn, tires screeching with only the light from the Miata’s signature pop-up headlights illuminating the track as my neighbor and I were being run down by who I suspected to be Lewis Hamilton‘s driving instructor…aleks024! My grin only got bigger.  My helmet tapping against the rollbar as we slalomed thru the tire section and the hairpin turns.  This car was amazing!  Truth be told, I may have soiled his seat a little bit, but that was his fault.  This ride was life changing, I mean I felt…ALIVE.  I know I’m rambling on, but all in all I HAD A BLAST and obviously survived to write about it lol.  Anyway I was more motivated than ever to stack some cash to make a purchase of one of these little wonders.  Thanks the Brothers Wilde for the invite and ride!

So with that flame fueled and the search began.  I joined a forum or two and after researching these cars and combing the internet for a while.  I grabbed my cash and went shopping.  A few test drives later, I ended up with a stock 91 NA BRG (British Racing Green) Special Edition Miata.  I added a few parts to give it the Mike touch. So now without further ado, I present to you…BUBBA #741 of 4000.

Bubba’s photos by M Perkins

Going Topless

Here is where I stand or shall I say sit today. 2002 Audi TT Quattro 225 6-speed 3 pedal…oh yeah!. I was sitting at work looking thru our companies internal car buying service on a Friday when this I came across the ad for this little TT.  It was not the baseball leather edition, but it still caught my eye. That Sunday after church, my wife asked what were my plans for the rest of the day and I thought this was the invite for a honey-do list day.  I told her, “going to check out a car.” I anticipated the usual WTH glare she gives whenever I mentioned the C- word. To my surprise she asked if she could go with me. Whuuuuuuuut? Happy dance, happpy dance!  Wait, what did you do with my wife?  I took this rare opportunity and ran with it.  So we headed down to northern OC, but just to look at it because my mind was already made up about this CLEEEEAN Blue Graphite Pearl B6 Passat – Wolfsburg Edition…euro💓. In my mind I. already had this thing bagged on Accuair, tucking something 3 piece and polished at all four corners with an APR tune and custom 3″ Magnaflow turbo back exhaust. I was trying to negotiate a lower price on the Passat that week when I decided to go take a look at the TT.

The TT was stock, but super clean with low miles for being such an old seasoned car. Garage kept and pretty well taken care of except for the slight rear bumper ding from either a backing incident or someone not respecting the sexy backside of the little Audi.  I always had a thing for roadsters, S2k’s, Miata’s especially, but the TT…who doesn’t want to pull the top down and show off their TTs ;). I told myself “just leave it stock and save the mods for Bubba (my NA BRG Miata I was building)”, but Self said…”SCREW THAT!” and you just can’t argue with Self…that’s just crazy talk.  Well I got a big beautiful smile from the Mrs when I put the top down to check it out.  The price was right, so the deal was done and the date night car was bought.

Now here she is, sitting low and fitted with a staggered set of Privat Cup wheels – 18×8.5f and18x9.5r.  Rubber comes in the form of Sumitomo’s measuring 215/40 up front and 225/40 out back, giving just the right amount of stretch.  These german vehicles have crazy factory hub spacing and fitting aftermarket wheels can be a challenge so the addition spacers is very necessary without custom built wheels.  I picked up some 12mm and 15mm spacers help the TT achieve just the right amount of pokage so that I can be “culturally” accepted.  The gravitational pull is courtesy of German built ST coilovers. The saying goes, “if you ain’t rubbin, you ain’t dubbin!”  That too can be said for Audi’s as well. No performance upgrades…yet.  Right now its simple and clean!
Photo by M Perkins

Intro to the Past

Welcome to Perks Garage! This blog will be used to discuss my passion for all things automotive. I will share my views, opinion and perspectives on cars, tuning, specs and events that I attend throughout the year, and yes there will be pics as well.  Now I admit that I am not the greatest photog, but in my head I am just as good as a Marcel Bischler or a Jeremy Cliff, look them up if you don’t already know.  I will be interviewing other enthusiast and showcasing builds along the way.
Now that we got that out of the way, let me start by introducing myself. I’m Mike and have been in love with cars since I was about 10, which was a looooong time ago. I am not afraid to work on my own cars, from regular maintenance and stereos to installing custom suspension and body kits.  My first memory of driving was in my sisters Honda Civic when I was about 12 or so.  At that moment I was in love and knew driving would be my sanctuary.  My first automotive love was the 88 Honda CRX SI.  When most boys were drooling over their dads dirty mags, I had the Honda car brochure spread eagle on my bedroom wall with the CRX centerfold enticing my dreams.  I would rush home and thumb thru the brochure everyday, going between the CRX and the Prelude.  It was torture since driving a car was years away…legally that is, and owning one was even further.  In my years, I have owned a number of vehicles and I have modified every last one of them with the exception for my 85 CRX (funny story about that one). Needless to say my  hobby drove drives my wife crazy, as I am sure it would most wives.  In the last 2 years, I tried to convince my wife that owning 5 vehs for 2 drivers with a 2.5 car garage was a great idea.  With that, I am now banned from buying another car for quite some time now 🙂  I’ve gone from Tercels with big wheels to slammed Accords.  From RonJon kitted TL’s to stretched and poked Quattro TT’s.  In the words of the great philosopher of this new generation imported direct from Canada “Started from the bottom, now we here!” – Drake 2014  lol

Now with that brief intro, I give you Perks Garage!

Welcome and enjoy the ride.