2023 Acura Integra A-Spec

Posted: May 25, 2023 in Rants

After the destruction of my wife’s Jetta, we were unable to source a new Jetta R-Line because they stopped making them. They didn’t even have any new Jettas for sale due to the door wiring harness being made in Ukraine. They offered us a used Jetta GLI for $30,000 (the same price as a new one) so we passed.

I moseyed on down to Honda, assuming Civics were comparable to Jettas. To my chagrin, thanks to the inflation crisis a new Civic was $26,000 with the base 2.0 turd motor, while the 1.5t was into the $30,000 range. For a CIVIC! I inquired about the SI to which they indicated they were also $30,000 new, but due to scarcity, they always marked them up to $35,000+. Hard pass.

I walked next door to Acura just to see if they had anything nice and used; and for the first time in my life I laid eyes on the new Integra – which I fell in love with. It just so happened that the A-Spec model is essentially a Civic SI with more features, AND Acura was willing to discount the car down from $35,000 to $33,500. So, here we are.

I immediately voided the warranty by lowering it and purchasing a Phearable 1.5r 93 octane tune on the K-Tuner v2 Touch, which my son helped me load up. I subsequently purchased some RPF1s and Toyo tires which dropped 14 lbs per corner (58 lbs of unsprung mass, hello) and a friend’s old Karcepts 1″ rear bar which is an absolute monster of a unit.

The car is fast, handles well, and a load of fun. It’s a truly playful, fun car which I haven’t experienced from a Honda (or most modern cars) in a long time, and it’s made me care about cars again.

2010 BMW 328i

Posted: September 16, 2019 in Rants


It’s a stock 328i with “x-drive” and some crappy all season run-flats.  I put on blacked out front gills and a sweet rear lip spoiler, and now it’s my daily driver / wet-weather autocrosser.

For 2021 I installed K&W single adjustable sand used it as a backup track car.  Currently on Rival 1.5s.

For 2022 I installed an ESS supercharger because I was bored over the winter.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R

Posted: February 4, 2019 in My Cars


It’s got less power than our 2016 Jetta Sport, but two more gears, less weight, and the same torque output – so it’s about as fast in a straight line.

More importantly, it has the magic e-diff.  Rotates off throttle, tucks in and goes on throttle.  Not that this matters to my wife.


2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Posted: August 15, 2018 in Rants


My wife took the kids and left me home alone for 10 days so naturally I bought this rough, 105,000 mile Z06 on an impulse.  It came with some gnarly wheels, rough paint, a fucked up front end, and worn out seats.


I promptly tore the engine apart, performed the trunion/rocker bushing maintenance, fixed the oil pressure sending unit, threw in some Koni shocks and changed all the fluids.

I went with the BFGoodrich Rival S in 275/335 because the Yokohama wasn’t available in four sizes, rendering it “not legal” for SCCA use.  Yokohama promptly released the Advan A052 in enough sizes a couple of days after I ordered tires.

Off she went to the paint shop.  Didn’t turn out too bad.




The paint shop sent the car to the alignment shop, who got the rear alignment right (-2 degrees camber, 1/4″ toe in) but completely botched the front.  I removed the shims from the upper control arms in the front and wound up with between -2.5 and -2.9 degrees of camber and added about 1/16″ of toe out.

The guys at Arete did a paint correction and ceramic coating.


Hanging out with some friends.


2018 Ford F-150

Posted: April 28, 2018 in My Cars


I swear, I was only looking for something to replace my Range Rover as a light truck that would fit my son’s go-kart . . . so I was just looking at a basic 2.7 Ecboost – but after the truck I chose had issues with the key fob Henderson Ford hooked me up with a fully loaded 3.5 Ecoboost.  Aside from having more technology than I know what to do with, this thing has more power than I know what to do with.

Well, I figured out at least one thing to do with all the power.

1998 BMW 318ti

Posted: June 16, 2017 in Rants



I used this car throughout the winter as a fun little runabout, and as soon as Spring came around I swapped out the all-seasons on stock wheels for some Rival S 1.5s on ultra-light flow formed D Force wheels in 17×9 at all four corners.

In preparation for some casual autocross and light DE use I slightly lowered the car, added some slotted rotors with Hawk DTCs and had an alignment performed to my specifications.  They also performed a slight paint correction which really brought this 20 year old car back to life.


I had it at Watkins Glen for the first time in June 2018.  It was SUPER soft and squishy, and could definitely use some stiffer suspension.  The brakes were fine for 5 laps or so.  The car hit a top speed wall of 110 mph – nothing left at that point.  Otherwise fun, easy to drive – a pleasure actually.




1998 Subaru Outback Sport

Posted: June 8, 2017 in Rants

I purchased this car for my wife to learn how to drive.  No, I didn’t marry a child.  She’s from a place where people don’t need to drive.


It was a completely rust free example from a less than reputable local dealer.  Of course as soon as I drove it off it had a check engine light and multiple small issues, but I didn’t pay much for it and I was prepared to deal with them.


As I tend to do, I immediately debadged the rear and took the stickers off the sides.  I installed swaybars, adjustable shocks (with stock springs) and taller snow tires for added ground clearance.  Of course I did the obligatory DIY autozone air intake and an APEX’i N1 cat back exhaust.

For the summer, I used BFGoodrich g-Force Sport Comp tires, which are a solid summer tire for street use.


For the winter, I chose Firestone Winterforce.  These are studdable which means they have a slightly stiffer sidewall than a standard snow tire, although I never studded them (because a studded tires performs worse on all surfaces other than ice).

I went an entire winter without plowing or shoveling my driveway.

Here’s the thing with Subaru’s AWD system – its schizophrenic.  It understeers on entry, oversteers on exit, and arbitrarily switches between the two during sweepers and transitions.  Now, obviously this car isn’t an autocross (or even a rallycross) car – but the lack of predictability from the AWD system was infuriating in my daily driving.  As you know, flat out – that is how I drive.

The nail in the coffin for this car wasn’t the haphazard handling.  Rather, it was the deplorable build quality.  This thing was built like a tin can.  I simply did not feel safe putting my child in the car – and I’m notoriously cavalier about my children’s safety.

2008 Honda Civic SI

Posted: June 4, 2017 in My Cars


In anticipation of the birth of my first child, I picked up what I thought was a reasonable, reliable family vehicle.  Four doors and modern safety met a sport suspension, 8,200 rpm, and a front limited slip differential.

I quickly proceeded to do what any self respecting owner would do and removed the VTEC stickers and Civic badge from the car.


And then I started to race it.


Competing in the “G Stock” class, I cut my teeth with a fat, torqueless, understeering pig of a car.  It taught me nothing about driving but I had fun.

Once I acquired an actual race car I bought some wheels and lowered the car slightly.  I was really disappointed with the Eibach springs and this would teach me that aftermarket spring manufacturers design their springs to create even more understeer so that the car is “safe.”  From here on out I would consult an engineer and customize my spring rates when possible.


During my ownership the car never broke, but it did develop a rust spot on the rear passenger fender.  Honda refused to cover this under warranty because the rust hadn’t worn a hole through the fender.  Accordingly, this was the last Honda I ever drove.

2005 BMW M3

Posted: October 6, 2016 in My Cars

Less than 24 hours after registering at the DMV and she’s got slicks and race numbers on her.


I blacked out the grille and gills.  The boys at PAD gave it thorough cleaning.


Class legal modifications include headers (with cats 6″ downstream), Turner SCCA T2 tune, pulleys and an intake flare.


Oh, and some Moton Club $ports.


One last photo before surgery.


The headers went in with some work.  You have to remove about 1/4 of the engine bay to access all 18 bolts holding on the factory header.  Then, you have to remove all of the factory studs and replace them with the aftermarket studs.  Finally, you have to jack the car up and insert both headers simultaneously from a vertical angle.  I’m telling you this because it took me about 3 weeks to figure all of this out.  BUT – the eBay fitment was perfect and HOLY COW does this car rip with the headers and tune.


Installing the shocks was not difficult.  Routing the remote reservoirs was a little more work.  For the fronts, I removed the fender liners and snaked the reservoirs up into the engine bay, mounting them to the radiator shroud with zip ties, because I’m classy like that.


Mounting the rear reservoirs required full removal of the bumper.  There are plastic vents that I removed and made small cuts to allow the hoses to fit through.  I mounted the reservoirs to the trunk brackets – with zip ties of course.


The Ground Control bars were a bit of work as well, but they are so fancy and so adjustable.

Ground Control Bars

With the factory 19×8/19×9.5 wheels and 26″ diameter tires package, fitment was troublesome.  With my race setup 18×10 front and rear with 25″ diameter tires, fitment was a little better, especially once I learned how to do an alignment in my garage and dialed in 4.2 degrees of camber in the front.


After a professional corner balance, she’s ready for battle.  I settled for -3.7 degrees of front and -2 degrees of rear camber – a little more front and a little less rear than I wanted.  0 toe all around is my preference for every car that I drive and helps save the tires.


The car weighed in at 3,476 lbs.  Time for a diet.

Step 1: Replace heavy ass leather/power seats with manual/alcantara.


Step 2: Replace the 60 lbs OEM battery with a 24 lbs Miata battery.



My preferred tire pressure settings are 33 psi front, 29 psi rear

2 compression front and rear.

4 rebound front and rear.

May 28, 2017 from Ricky Spanish on Vimeo.

A full season of racing took its toll on the front bumper.


I also bought some Ikea seats on eBay that required me to assemble them myself, without any provided hardware.  They were cheap and included brackets that actually fit (and worked with the stock belts and wiring), so that made me happy.  They’re also light as all hell.


For 2018 I resprayed the front end.

I weighed myself at the Finger Lakes Championship Tour:


For 2022 I sent the shocks to moton for a rebuild, did the airbag recalls, painted the rear and installed the factory exhaust for street use. The car is on brand new Pilot Sport Cup 2 Connect tires.

1993 Audi 100 CS Quattro

Posted: October 6, 2016 in Rants

It’s gonna be a race car.


Step 1: Add lightness


Step 2: Add power with a “custom” intake.


Step 3: Mount truck tires


Step 4: Race


We added a little more lightness during our first event by ripping off two fog lights and the front grille.  We also discovered that 1st gear is more than enough with the tires.  Finally, our suspension travel not only makes for a pillowy smooth highway ride but also works rather well in an off road setting.


Total racecar.  Send it.

After our wheels started bouncing around like basketballs due to blown shocks, we contacted 2bennett Audimotive for a set of custom valved Konis.  As part of the “while you’re in there” process we cured some nasty sounds and vibration by replacing most of the tired or shredded rubber in the motor/trans/diff mounts.  The car handles surprisingly well for a full sizer, on road or off.


My friend helped me weld a custom skidplate for the car, and it’s had a ton of suspension refreshing at the hands of REDi Imports.  Drives like a dream, with AC and heated seat luxury – it’s fun to taunt the other competitors with such amenities.


I have spent much money on this car.  Most recently I lowered it and installed studded snows for better ice/snow traction; and we will run truck tires for summer dirt/mud traction.