Are You Ready To Never Lift?
Green Grass

No matter where you’re from in the world I’m sure at one point or another you’ve suffered from a dose of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’.

But, as someone who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes automotive culture, and currently residing in (sarcasm) sunny and warm England (/sarcasm), I find this envious thought process entering my mind on a near daily basis when I look at some of the opportunities, builds, events and general car culture across the pond in the US.


This is especially true when I look at California. If you’re into cars and everything that surrounds them, then California is a pretty damn cool place to live. Plentiful highly skilled specialist shops, a massive choice of aftermarket vendors, cheap fuel, endless supply of great driving roads on your doorstep, epic scenery just a short drive away and constant warm and sunny weather. I’m sure there’s a Californian scrolling straight to the comments section ready to tell me about import laws, smog tests and the almost certainty of someone crashing into your pride and joy on one of the few days it does actually rain but come on – don’t come at me like that – you’ve got it pretty good.

Pretty much every niche of automotive culture is represented in a massive way in Cali – love lowriders? No problem. Want to build an insanely fast street-spec Honda? We got you fam. Hot rods, drag racing, drift events? Fill your boots every single weekend. Heck, your average casual Californian cars & coffee meet boasts a roster, scale and quality that puts some of the bigger organised shows over here to shame.


Why am I telling you all this? Aside from it being my God-given right as an Englishman to have a bit of a moan about things that don’t really affect me, it’s to shine some light on an upcoming event that any self-respecting Californian-or-there-abouts automotive enthusiast should already have on their radar – the Never Lift Half Mile.


Taking place on April 28th-29th, at New Coalinga Municipal Airport, in Coalinga, California, the event is a massive two-day performance-focused gathering of some of the fastest, most insane and powerful cars on the west coast. I looked up Coalinga on Google Maps – it looks nice and warm, just saying.

Winner Takes All

The premise for Never Lift is simple – over 200 racers have registered to take part in a top speed sprint, from a standstill, over a half-mile course. Competitors are split into respective classes based on vehicle type – from drivetrain configuration to a naturally aspirated class, a class for four-door sedans and even a BMW/AMG head-to-heat shootout on the Sunday. From there, each driver competes as many runs as they like, or can, throughout the first stage of qualifying, recording a trap speed at the half-mile point each time.


The top four drivers from each class then advance to stage two of qualifying, and have two hours to record a fresh trap speed. Finally, the top two from each class in stage two move on to the Finals, and a head-to-head run against the remaining competitor. One run, no restarts, and no reruns – the fastest trap speed wins the class. With over $35,000 in prize money available across the different trophies and classes, I’d say competition is going to be closely contested! What’s more, there’s an overall prize for Fastest Badass of Never Lift – that’s awarded to the driver who records the fastest trap speed over the whole event.

If you’re heading over to Coalinga for yourself for Never Lift, then there’s barely going to be a boring run – I’ve done some quick maths whilst scanning the competitor list, and at last count there’s going to be over 130,000hp lining up, with plenty of 1,000hp+ contenders, and some of the most powerful builds topping 1,500hp.

Ones To Watch
2018 CSF EVO X by Paddy McGrath-16_preview

What can you expect to see? Well, builders are taking Never Lift pretty seriously, as attested to by CSF’s crazy Evo X. We’ve featured the car before, but the build is undergoing some pretty serious changes as we speak, with Never Lift as the target deadline. This immaculate ground-up rebuild of a former Pirelli World Challenge racecar is undergoing some further tweaks to make it viable for the half-mile challenge. We’ve more on the rebuild coming soon, but in the meantime get yourself to Never Lift if you want to see the Evo put through its paces.


The Sheepey Built twin-turbo 1,000+hp Huracan will also be stepping up to prove its worth, as will favourites such as Old Smokey F1, a twin-turbo diesel hot rod chasing 200mph+.

While I’d have loved to attend myself, I’m having far too much fun being rained on over here, but Speedhunters’ very own Californian protégé Trevor Ryan will be present at Never Lift with the sole brief of bringing back news and information on the craziest cars from the event. That ‘grass is greener’ feeling is creeping back strong right now.


Morris Malone of Malone Racing‘s latest Z06 build is one of particular interest – it’s a 1,500hp+ twin-turbo Dart LS Next-powered Corvette that has already set US records with an insane 220mph run last year. His goal is to set a new Corvette world record at 223mph.

That’s not to say that the imports can’t put up a fight either, and there’s going to be over 20 examples of Nissan’s flagship supercar on the grid. Power levels range from a modest 530hp up to the staggering 1,600hp of Atif Awan’s GTR. There’s going to be a handful of GTRs joining the 200mph+ club at Coalinga – but it’ll be interesting to find out which one can go the fastest.

Finally, if sleepers are your thing, then Ramanan Thiagarajah’s 1,200hp 2014 BMW M5 is one to keep an eye out for. Ramanan’s previous M5 build clocked a 175.5mph with only 820hp, so it’ll be interesting to see what he can take the higher horsepower, but heavier, F10 chassis up to.


If you’re in the area, then make sure you get yourself down to Never Lift Half Mile on April 28th-29th. If not, then sit tight for Trevor’s coverage of the event and some of his favourite builds in the following days. For tickets and information, click here.

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters



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$3.75 per gallon last I checked in California.

Marius Engen Skinnes

I was in Cali just a few days ago. We were able to fuel for under $3 per gallon several places (/roadtrip).
Here in Norway I refueled for $7.75 per gallon yesterday..........


Currently paying USD$7.39 per gallon for 99RON in the UK :(


I drive to Nevada to buy gas and I bring fuel jugs.

$3.90+ for regular here in Tahoe


My Subaru takes 91 Octane at a lovely price of $4.25 a gallon at my local station here in Los Angeles. Sigh... I'm crying as I'm typing this.


We are paying around $2nzd per liter for 91octane...


91RON, AKA water?! The closest we get is 95RON which is a bargain at $6.48 per gallon equivalent. I run the RS4 on 99RON at $7.39 per gallon equivalent. Mmmmm yummy :(


Sooooo expensive over there, man! My '59 Bug here in Missouri takes gas that is only 2.50 a gallon!


America has a different octane rating system to us, the US 91AKI is roughly equivalent to the UK 95RON.


Well I never – thanks for the info! TIL.


A few days ago in Russia a gallon price of 95 increased to 2.49$. And it is disaster...


while here in germany it costs about 7.25$ per gallon (ron 98 equals american aki 93 ). stop complaining about fuel prices ...


I thought you were messing with me so I looked it up just to make sure.

My God....


Here in Finland 7.35 dollars per gallon. It's cheap here now. Worst it has been, since I have had my licence, about 8.7 dollars per gallon. Love to get so CHEAP(!) that you guys have :(


it is not that bad. at least we have no speed limit on certain parts of our freeway system and nearly everythink else is cheaper here. furtheremore i can drive legally with more the 300km/h (about 185mph) and do not need a special event for it.


The only advantage in the GCC, sometimes it's around 0.2$/L in KSA, the highest rate is Oman with around 0.5$/L (where i currently work).

Ask Dino for the UAE rates and he'll make you cry (after he start crying for sure).


Just dig into the sand and it's free, right?


Something like that, might be the best way to describe the situation.
And living in this area made me sure that full EV are not in the near future.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I'm still crying! lol


Lol, still WAY cheaper that I've seen here in Australia: $1.76 AUD for premium which equals to $5.16 USD per gallon! Thats still cheaper than youll find in New Zealand too.


Try living in mainland Europe! In the Netherlands I pay €1,50 PER LITER of gas. At today's rate that equates to $7.44 USD per gallon...


It would be a good way to check Aero vs HP. Both have its role but you get what I'm saying.
Please Trevor take this into your consideration while covering the event.


The smart guys are going to do everything to reduce drag. Power increases by a cubic factor with velocity. Drag is your biggest enemy. Diffusers, and mirror deletes, as well as 'speed tape' are total prerequisites. The smart people know this, but the rich have more money than brains, so hopefully some smart guys destroy one of those ridiculous Lambos (although, the Lambo has a pretty decent drag coefficient out of the box, and the Evo is abysmal.) But, you have to run what you brung. Well, anyway, it make any underdog wins that much more enjoyable.


the event is a massive two-day performance-focused gathering of some of the fastest, most insane and powerful cars on the east coast.

west? =)


Wanted: Geography lessons. Apply within.

Pancho Northmann

I might go to this. The area is dead by standard SoCal entertainment metrics, but it has some of the finest driving roads in the country. Parkfield Grade, Coalinga Road, Los Gatos Creek Road... If it weren't such a dead population center these drives would be legendary. Dawn photography there is epic. Are you listening, Larry? Great wine and food to match is only over the hills in Paso, too...

Doctor Claw Ph.D.

Don't get so distraught. Southern California is a great place to SEE cars, but a lousy place to OWN them. Traffic is atrocious and the police will profile anything with a drop that moves. There's some cars that can get by (*cough, cough...domestics*), but overall there's better places with less stringent emissions and modification laws in America.

That's my story and (after significantly over a decade driving modified cars here) I'm sticking to it!

I don't wanna hear anything from you Germans and Australians either! Don't forget about the car THEFT rate in California!


I was visiting a few years back with my 'riced out' Honda, and because I had out-of-state plates, it seemed to garner a lot of unnecessary attention. Cops were totally weirded even asked me, "Are cars like that normal from where you are from?" I almost wanted to say, "Have you not seen Fast and Furious?" But, I bit my tongue. I had no idea why my car was getting so much attention, but I soon realized that it was not only because of my external mods, but because of my gigantic muffler (it had a 4 inch tip, and it was called 'The ThunderMuff') I hated the exhaust tip, but it made the most wicked sound that I couldn't help myself when going through tunnels. With 3 straight through resonators and DC Sports headers, the flow through the exhaust was quick and dirty, but the best part was that it didn't sound like a typical farty Honda.

So sad, my rod bolts when while racing a V8 Tundra on I-5 at over 100mph. I guess it could've been worse, but I ended up having to abandon the car, because I couldn't find a new engine, because it blew up in the middle of the valley, and there was just nothing around. I kinda hope the car got auctioned by the cops, because the chassis and suspension were totally dialed. I could've cared less about the engine, but I was really bummed to lose all that work that I put into the chassis. I even had the L-CON traction bars, which was by far, one of the best handling upgrades I ever did.


BTW, I parked at this abandoned gas station to cool off in the shade in the middle of the Mojave, and some dumb f**k called the sheriff on me, and told them I was a 'speed freak' or something because I went around the building to take a piss, and I didn't have my shirt on. When the cops knocked on my door, I was kind of dozing off, and I didn't look to see who was knocking. When I opened the door, the copy had a 12-gauge aimed at my face. The crazy part isn't even that...because, after I opened the door, they said something about searching my car, and I clearly stated, that I do NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION to search my car (which is illegal without driver consent or probable cause). So, this cop, who still had his shotgun pointed at me, yelled in my face, "Too bad, we have probable cause." And they proceeded to search every inch of my car. Now, I know there was nothing bad in there, but they didn't so they really went through everything. After about a half-hour, they found a bottle of booze in the trunk, and as soon as they saw that, they stopped the search. Which I thought was kind of odd...but they really did think I was some kind of speed freak, and the booze ended up contradicting that assumption. Also, I think they were getting bored searching my car. Always asking me every few minutes, "Is there something sharp in here?" before plunging their hands into all the nooks and crannies in my car. Apparently some people 'booby trap' their drug stash with hypodermic needles, specifically to discourage cops from searching. Anyway, that was all new to me.

The funniest part was when they 'interrogated' me about speed, and I just blurred out, "I've seen Breaking Bad...and, I have absolutely no desire to be a speed junkie." That kind of took it down a notch, and they ended up being pretty cool after that. One of the cops actually asked me where I got the booze from because it was a bottle of imported absinthe, and he said he had to 'go to France' to get the real stuff (but that's not true, because it is imported.) I told him where I bought it, and he was actually kind of interested in getting some himself.

Even though I wasn't arrested, and the situation didn't turn into anything too dramatic, I still have that vision of a shotgun point blank in my face to remember. I can't believe it, because if I had made one wrong move, or said one stupid thing, I would've been fucking mincemeat. Too close for comfort, IMO.

Anyway, that put me off moving to Cali. I had lots of encounters with cops, and even though I was never arrested and I never did any crimes, my car got way too much attention. Apparently, they really do profile people down there, and that's just how they roll. Cali is a nice place to visit, and when I was a kid it was a nice place to grow up...but, I don't think I could move there unless I was a millionaire, or promised some awesome job opportunity. Too many people on edge down there.


That's one side of the story...


I think they were talking about actual speeding not the drug. Would make way more sense, and if someone actually said you were on speed that's probable cause.


Yeah, come to the southeast, NC/SC/GA. Some have no inspections or much lower standards. A lot of car culture around Charlotte and Atlanta to boot.

Doctor Claw Ph.D.

California LOO OOOVE...


$2.95 Per gallon of 93oct in south Florida.


I hate you.


I fill up my n54 e92 with $50 lol


Stop rubbing it in. It costs me the equivalent of $117 to $131 to fill up my RS4 with 99+ octane.


$2.82 for 91 octane in Connecticut


Unfortunately, you missed a couple of crucial points about Cali. For one, the gas is the most expensive in the nation, and also one of the worst in terms of detonation considering they max out at 91 RON. So, it's expensive, and it sucks.

Secondly, Cali is INSANELY expensive to live in. Besides the weather, there really are no benefits that you can't get anywhere else. CARB certification and smog testing is also another reason that Cali sucks. Also, Cali has state taxes, which my state doesn't. We have some crap weather in the winter, but at least, we aren't in the middle of desert that has to pump water from aquifers hundreds of miles away. In many ways, Cali is a dead man walking. Long term, you cannot support the kind of populations that they have there right now. The equation is too finely balanced, meaning, if just one small factor changes, it can have enormous ripple effects on society. Also, the Indians that were native to Cali, lived in very small populations that were dependent on long treks into the mountains to find sustenance (acorns)...that is telling you something. Without our modern technology, California would be completely unlivable for large populations. At some point in the future, we will have to succumb to nature, and relocate.

I grew up in San Diego, and I really loved growing up there, but when I visited SD a few years ago, I was astounded by the amount of new buildings there were. Every single scrap of land that could be developed, was being developed. I was curious about the price for a home on Coronado Island, and I looked at the asking price for a 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house, and it was nearly $3 million. I was absolutely stunned. Sure, it was beachfront property, so I know that it is an 'exclusive' location, but the fact remains, that the house was originally built from materials that probably cost no more than $5000 when it was built. I know they say you are buying the land and not the house, but trust me, the property wasn't big, and it certainly did not look that special. In fact, the entire house and property looked like a rundown suburban ranch home, that would currently sell for much less than $150k where I live. I mean, Cali has nice weather, but it's not worth 28x the amount of a house where I currently reside. I mean, honestly, that was literally insane price. I don't know how a millionaire could be happy in such a shabby home. If I were a millionaire, I would buy a house in Norcal, Oregon, or Washington...where you can buy a house, and guarantee yourself a steady income for the rest of your life. Why would you sacrifice that to live on Coronado? I have no idea...but, I guess stranger things have happened.


Underground Racing lambos make 2500+ if they show up it's over

Marius Engen Skinnes

"This is especially true when I look at California. If you’re into cars and everything that surrounds them, then California is a pretty damn cool place to live. Plentiful highly skilled specialist shops, a massive choice of aftermarket vendors, cheap fuel, endless supply of great driving roads on your doorstep, epic scenery just a short drive away and constant warm and sunny weather."
- THIS is so true.
Best Regards,
Norwegian (Who's in love with California)

Pancho Northmann

Meet me; A Californian IN LOVE with Norway. Fancy that. You guys have pretty cool car culture, too. I saw an awful lot of vintage American iron over there the two times I've been.

Some affable punk kid driving his dad's 60's Mustang north of Stavanger on the Atlantic route(E39?) near Forde told me some cool stories about Summer meets. I can't wait to go back. Dip my toes in Gatebil if I can. I heard it's quite the party.

Marius Engen Skinnes

Haha, NICE! You should defiantly come to Gatebil July, then we MIGHT have nice weather too!

What I love about California is the atmosphere, weather, cars, the people and the twisty awesome roads. (/not the highways/freeways)
I've been in California two times now in under 12 months, both times more than 2 weeks, and I still love it. Hell I even love LA..

Also it seems that you're not a oddball when you're into cars in the US. In Norway people look at you in a strange way when you're into cars, because it's not normal here.
The typical Norwegian should have two cars, preferably electric, own your own house/condo, get a dog, two-three kids, watch football and/or do road cycling in the summer (f*ckers).
When fall comes, get ready to hunt some innocent animals in the forest, with the dog that's in a cage outside all year when its not hunting season.
In the winter you should go cross-country and yell at all the people that's slower than you.

Gatebil might be the biggest car show in Scandinavia (/world?), but all the visitors is definitely not Norwegian. But the car scene is growing fast!

Pancho Northmann

Sir, Gatebil is extremely tempting. I've been trying to get friends of mine to go with me to Rudskogen for a few years now. They all gripe about money. Granted, California is expensive, but they've never seen food and drink prices like I've experienced in Norway. I do also have to visit my friends on the Sognefjord, so my trip is expensive for that reason as well.

On the car scene in NO., I found most people that I chatted with liked cars. But I tried to avoid Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger. I do like the cities, but I find you get the most inaccurate picture of a country when you spend time in its biggest cities. Out on the west coast where people depend more on their cars and boats the people seemed more interested in my road trip and how I do the same here at home in my cars. I'm somewhat curious, though... I watch a Norsk car enthusiast webTV show called "Garajsen" on YouTube a lot. I don't understand much of it, but it seems well viewed from the comments section. Is it not popular? Anyway, don't be fooled by CA. Plenty of people here, the majority I'd say, have nearly the same life plans as your example Norwegian. Leave out the X-country skis and the hunting. Of course. But since there are 10x the people in CA as there are in all of Norway, it is easy to find a large cross-section of locals and visitors alike into whatever interests you. As an aside, Norwegian innocent woodland deer were delicious. Sorry, venison is one of my favorites.

But in general, CA is awesome. Everything except the weather. And I don't contend that you're wrong, only that I live in Southern California, and I have my whole life. Honestly, I'm tired of permanent Summer. Mostly I prefer the wine country and territory further North. But yes, driving here can be excellent. Though our rural road quality is swiftly degrading, there are still thousands of miles of seldom used twisty smooth pavement with beautiful scenery.

P.S., next time you're headed over here in the summer, try to get to the extreme NorthWest of the state. The roads are great, mostly better maintained than down here in LA. And it'll trip you out to have mountains and lush evergreen forests but have the weather be burning hot(35 - 40 C) and rivers to swim in that aren't all bitterly cold. It's far, though. I'd say to get there from LA it's the equivalent of going from Bergen to Mo i Rana or Bodo.