A DriverMod Update: The Ecotec is Dead, and We’re Driving to NAIAS in a Tesla 

Confession time: I probably take DriverMod more seriously than I should. I grab press passes for every event, stuff my suit jack full of ninety-nine-cent business cards, and wince every time I hear the website described as a blog.  And while it pains me to admit it, DriverMod could be adequately described as a blog, because like a blogger, if I’m not out there making content, there’s no content.  And that’s largely been the case since I got back from Los Angeles.  

An Ecotec Update  

The Ecotec Miata is still dead. Myself and Rajan from R Theory Motorsports worked our butts off trying to get the car together in time for Speed Academy’s October track day, which involved dropping a fresh Ecotec engine into the car in MT Motorsport’s parking lot, along with the billion other things installing an engine requires.   

After a long day of wrenching, filling fluids and cursing, it was done. In the wee hours of the morning, I turned the key and to all of our surprise, it started and ran incredibly smoothly. That was until I drove roughly 100ft and discovered that I painted MT’s parking lot with oil.  

This Ecotec came with a factory oil cooler pressed into the back of the block., which didn’t fit in the Miata’s engine bay. Deleting it meant drilling, tapping and plugging the inlet and outlet holes. Sadly, despite liberal use of thread sealant, both plugs leaked profusely on start-up. Resealing them means either pulling the engine again, or pulling the transmission. Now sufficiently fed up with this project, I threw my hands in the air, tossed the keys to Matt at MT Motorsports, and begged him to fix it over the winter.   

Once fixed, I’m tearing off the stickers, getting it safetied and e-tested, and selling it. The Ecotec era is over. 

We’re driving to Detroit in a Tesla Model S P85  

Mike McGugan, affectionately known as our “website guy” and the adultiest-adult on our staff, owns an Infiniti G37. It’s comfortable, it’s quiet, and doesn’t come with range anxiety. Despite that, he’s decided to go out and rent a Tesla Model S P85 for this year’s trip to the North American Auto Show. Assuming we don’t run out of range and die in the frigid Canadian winter, you can expect to see some proper automotive journalism coming out of NAIAS in the next few days.  

You should also look for our annual Detroit Livestream on our Facebook page, where we’ll be talking about the last year of DriverMod, all things NAIAS, and live car-shopping on Kijiji, all under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol. That’s happening Monday, January 15th, 2018 at 9PM EST.   

Comment below – it makes us feel special.

  • What should I replace the Ecotec Miata with?  
  • Why does my car hate me?  
  • What are you hoping to see get released at Detroit?  
  • What should we talk about during our live stream?