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 Columbia House

The Filming of an Everyday Driver Episode
370Z - 350Z - 300ZX

by Jerry Mallard, Empire Z - VP

My involvement in this event came about due to a post on twinturbo.net by Todd Deeken, Co-Host and Producer of Everyday Driver.

Todd was looking for a "really nice twin turbo 300" and a couple of guys from Empire Z recommended that he contact me.  Todd did not contact me because he learned that I live in Victorville, CA. and thought it would be to far for me to drive to participate in the filming.  Well, I ended up sending him an e-mail with links to photos of my "Z" car and he contacted me and ask if I was interested in helping out with the show with the use of my "Z".  I was;  below is a nutshell of what followed:

Note:  If you just want to view the photos and are not interested in the comments, > Click Here <

(Added).  The episode of the Z Car Review is posted on Everydaydriver.com/.  It was posted in 3 separate parts:

> Part One - 300ZX - Click Here to view <

> Part Two - 350Z - Click Here to view <
> Part Three - 370Z - Click Here to view <

Photo by Todd Deeken Copyright 2009 Everyday Driver

You may have never heard of Everyday Driver.  It is a relatively new (to me) web site and is fashioned along the lines of the BBC show, "Top Gear".  However, this show is produced by some folks who are obsessed with cars and want to help everyone "combine their car-realist with their car-enthusiast."  It is about Everyday Drivers and the cars they drive.

The show is hosted by Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker. They are in discussions to be on television in 2010, but for now their main presence is on the www.  Their cameramen are Jon and Josh and their Jeep driver was Myles, who generally helps out.   Please visit their websites and let them know what you think:

Facebookto view)

On with my story - We met up on August 22, 2009 at Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, CA. 
Below is a route map of the area where the shooting took place: 
                                        (Click on any photo for larger view)

After introductions we headed off to the set-up location for the opening of the show, which had a large turn-out so we would be out of traffic and have room to move about.  (Top right photo insert on the map)

Todd and Paul introducing the show.

Setting up the camera for the "Drive Off" and subsequent "Follow" shots.  One of the cameramen climbed up the mountain a ways on the left for the "Drive Off" shots (third photo).  The Drive Off is each of the cars taking off up the road in the photo, one behind the other, 370-350-300.  We had to do this about four times before the cameraman got what he wanted :)

After doing a bit of the "Follow" shots, the tail gate of the Jeep kept swinging back and forth, so the cameraman had to lower the camera almost to the pavement to keep the door from hitting it.  We had to stop so Myles could tie the tail gate of the Jeep open. 

The "Follow" or "Chase" shots consist of each of the cars following the Jeep through these twisty roads at about 6 feet from the Jeep's tail gate.  The cameraman could shoot from above the cars all the way to the pavement with the use of their boom set-up.  Sorry, I don't have any photos of this, these were video shots.  Some of the Follow footage was shot in the area show in the bottom right photo of the map (above).

Some my scenery shots.

"Driveby" shots.  The first photo on the left is the guys setting up for some of the "Driveby" shots.  A Driveby shot is where the guys set up the camera and take videos as each of the cars Driveby.  These shots were taken at various locations along the "Route" (map above).  The shots were mostly video shots, however, I was able to drive both the 370Z and the 350Z as well as my own 300ZX for some of these shots. 

They also shot videos of all three cars on Driveby sessions.  The camera guys would pick a nice curve and take videos as the cars drove by.  These were great fun to drive as we drove by almost bumper to bumper on some of the shots!

We also did a "fly-out" where all three cars were following the Jeep closely and then flew out.  The 350Z to the left of the 370Z and the 300ZX to the left of the 350Z, then we would all fly back into a single file.  That was also great fun!!


Meeting at the Rally Point (bottom left photo insert on the above map).  Prior to meeting at the Rally Point, we broke for lunch where Todd and Paul took turns for the "in-car interviews". 

Todd and Paul take each car out on to various locations on the Route and comment on each of the cars, while driving.  They each drive each car for about 30 minutes with a video camera mounted on the inside of the windshield (with a large suction cup) and give their evaluation of each car's handling, comfort, acceleration, etc.  I can't wait to see the video footage of these in-car interviews.

Speaking of "suction cups".  I've never seen such a large suction cup before.  If you put one of them on the outside of the windshield, I'll bet you could pull the windshield out without breaking it !!  Sorry, no photos of this.  Most of the time I forgot and left my camera in the car and didn't take near as many pictures as I should have.  But, the guys did keep me busy. :)

The following are what they called "Beauty" shots.  The beauty shots are where they take shots of all angles of each of the cars including the interior.  Unfortunately, I only have the photos of my car, some taken by me and mostly taken by Todd.  When I get copies of the other beauty shots, I will add the photos here.  The three photos below were taken by me.

The following photos were taken by the Everyday Driver Team (Much better cameras).  Copyright 2009 Everyday Driver


Back at the Rally Point for the set-up of "Closing Standup Comments".


The wind was blowing so hard that the video cameras could not pick up the comments being made by Todd and Paul.  They had to be fitted with microphones.

My comments:

I won't spoil the show by relating how Todd and Paul rated each of the cars.  They did very much enjoy driving all three of the "Z" cars and really enjoyed doing this comparison of the last 3 generations of the "Z" car.  I will say that they both commented they would rather drive the 300ZX on a long trip :) 

All the guys thought that my 300ZX was a beautiful example of a 300ZX.  Of course, I still like my car the best!!

The 350Z has a great 6 speed transmission, very close shift ratio.  I need to get a short shifter kit for my "Z". 

The 370Z had a 7 speed automatic transmission with the paddle shifters.  I didn't get to drive the car long enough to figure out how to use the shifters very well.  I will say that the driver's seat in the 370Z was a little too narrow for my "large" ass. :)

All three of the "Zs" have plenty of power and acceleration.  They hugged those mountain roads like they were on rails.

All in all, I had a great time with these guys.  They are real pros at what they are doing and nice guys to boot!!  I wish them great success in their upcoming endeavors.  I'd much rather watch their reviews than "Top Gear" because they evaluate cars that you and I can afford to drive.