2010 BMW 328i

Posted: September 16, 2019 in Rants

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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.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R

Posted: February 4, 2019 in My Cars

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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

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I bought this rough, 105,000 mile Z06 on an impulse because the price was right.  It came with some gnarly wheels, rough paint, a fucked up front end, and worn out seats.

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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.

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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.

2018 Ford F-150

Posted: April 28, 2018 in My Cars

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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And then I started to race it.

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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.

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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.