The second half of my first grade year took place in Seattle, Washington. I’ve never lived in a more interesting neighborhood than I did there. I asked my mom if she remembered the address so I could Google Street View the place. All she remembered was “Magnolia” and the street was “a number of some kind.” (Hey, it’s been 30 years.) [Read more…]
24 hours after John told me he was a week away from literally sleeping on the street, I launched my first crowdfunding campaign. 48 hours later, we had more than twice what I originally asked. Once the funds cleared (and I got over the Flu), JP and I went car shopping. Here’s what it was like.
You can watch thousands of hours of rally footage; fall in love with Group B over and over and over again, and be moved almost to tears by tributes to McRae, Park, and Burns. You can idolize Mäkinen, Grönholm, Sainz, and Loeb, and follow Ogier, Latvala, Hirvonen, et al., in the current point standings.
Unless you’ve ever actually volunteered at a rally, you don’t know the half of it. [Read more…]
Here’s an interesting little thought experiment. Imagine 3 muscle cars in your garage. Can you name them? Could you tell me year, make, model, and/or trim? You probably could, right? 65 Mustang, 71 Superbird, dat Yenko – something like that. Now imagine 3 pre-war (read: older than 1942) cars in your garage. A little bit trickier, isn’t it?
There are others like it, but this one is mine. Now, before Kris shits a friggin’ brick. This is actually Kris Marciniak’s rally car. I do not have one because I gave up on my own rally car plans. I say the 2GN is mine because it’s Prescott Rally time, which means one thing – I’m going to be volunteering as Rallynotes service crew.
If you want to do something different, you have to be prepared to blaze a trail on your own. Being different requires a deep understanding of how things work – and do not work – together. If you’re willing to face obstacles on your own and persevere, the results can be amazing. [Read more…]
Last summer, maybe sometime in August, I was having serious doubts about my own rally dream. Again. Despite restructuring this dream several times over the years, all I had to show for it was a partially caged, halfway sold Galant VR4 rally shell collecting dust in my garage and I was trying to figure out why I was so terrible at rally. [Read more…]
Bodo Engemann send me a quick note on Facebook this weekend while I was building Issue 1.08. On Tuesday, 3 September 2013, North Diamonds Mitsubishi club was invited to Kinder-Hospiz Sternenbrueke (Star Bridge Children’s Hospice) where they presented the organization with a check for €3,000 (about US$4,000).
If you’re a subscriber, you read all about how North Diamonds’ event Tuning 4 Kids came to exist (preview), how it’s growing every year, and how the funds raised help terminally ill children and their families in Germany. We’re happy to share the results of their hard work and dedication to their community. [Read more…]
It’s almost Build Day! | Though rally, even at the club level, might have become a complex world of advanced machinery and budgets, there are still those who revel in the simple truth of simple cars driven at 11-tenths on through the dark and scary.
Motorsport is big business. No way around it. And though many a grassroots, clubman-level team struggles with building the relationships necessary to advance to the big leagues, we’re fortunate we can still “play cars” on relatively minuscule budgets.
It might not seem minuscule when we’re shaking out the couch cushions to buy that replacement radiator hose or an extra tank of fuel, but how much of that is our own hangups? Adam Clees reminds us of some simple truths. [Read more…]
1.07 PREVIEW | Curation is the act of carefully selecting items to include in a specific collection. Mike Little has been doing a bit of curation over the years. We take a look at Mike Little’s Big Collection of old Mitsubishis.
WHO AM I?
Everyone has a sense of identity; gearheads even moreso. We curate experiences and tailor possessions as a reflection of who we want the rest of the world to see. It’s why, in a world with so many choices, we are fairly particular with the vehicles we select to modify and drive.
Take this question, for example:
Which 1990 or older RWD platform would you buy right now? [Read more…]
1.07 BEGINS WITH A VIPER GTS | It was Build Day for issue 1.06 and I woke up to half a dozen emails from someone I didn’t recognize, all with “Viper” in the subject line. Justin Mohney of Detective Coating asked Josh Renzo, said Viper owner and one of his customers, to pass along pictures of his work for his interview in issue 1.06. Josh happily obliged.
I thanked him, also explained my trouble with “Year of the Snake,” and asked if he’d be up for an interview in the next issue. His response? “Sure. What do you need from me?”
I’m excited to announce that, not only did he come through in a pinch with pictures we could use in Justin’s story, he was on top of the questions like a boss. Barely four days after 1.06 dropped,the first story is ready for 1.07. [Read more…]
Let’s face it. Those of us who travel in tuner circles tend to see a lot of cookie cutter bullshit. For every one gearhead doing something fresh and different, there are a dozen others merely ordering the biggest, most expensive, brand name parts they can fit on their credit cards in pursuit of untenable “goals.” This guy is the former. I caught up with him to talk about his nearly complete, Mitsubishi-powered Dodge.
INTRODUCTIONS: THE MAN
We like to give a little background into the people we interview – where they live and what they do – because we want to show what people like us (who don’t have the means to build a new vehicle from scratch in three months or such) are capable of doing when we put our minds to it. The rough and (nearly) ready Dodge truck you see here today belongs to Steven Johnson of Denver, Colorado.
Steven runs the emergency services department for the world’s largest fire and flood restoration business. Steven handles the worst of the worst case scenarios, helping people get through the first hours or days of the worst disaster they may have ever had to experience. Fires, building collapses, severe wind damage (tornadoes), cars crashing into buildings – pretty much anything that can, as Steven puts it, “jack up your home or business,” he’s the guy on the other end of the line coordinating resources to get everything back to normal.
I met Steven on GalantVR4.org, where he goes by the screen name “biglady112.” I figure there’s got to be a story behind that, so let’s start there. “Back in the mid-90s, when the Internet was just getting off the ground, I was taking a computer class. We were informed by our teacher that we were going to be starting a Yahoo email account as part of the class. I took it as a joke of course and did not take things seriously as most kids do in school. I originally wanted to use Fatchick112, but my female teacher and I did not see eye to eye. So we compromised on Biglady112.” That little piece of trivia aside, let’s get into the meat and potatoes, shall we?
INTRODUCTIONS: THE MACHINES
Mr. Biglady has a diverse collection of vehicles, starting with a 1989 Dodge Colt Turbo. Steven’s left this spry little econobox bone stock for daily driver duty. Says Steven, “I put and engine together earlier this year for this thing. I pretty much never drive it, as I drive a company vehicle for work all the time, as I am always on call. But this is an extra vehicle that we usually only use for date nights when I can break away from work.”
He’s also got a 1999 Saturn SL, also stock, which is his fiance’s daily driver. With 216,000 miles on the clock, it refuses to die, but you’re not here for dent resistant panels. You’re here for denting panels, for chop, cut, rebuild, for the 1947 Dodge pickup. Despite the longstanding, if not official partnership between Chrysler and Mitsubishi, it might seem strange to see Steven’s thrown a Mitsubishi Sirius lump into this beast. Then again, Mitsubishi was making Jeeps nearly 30 years before Chrysler bought out AMC, so maybe it’s not so strange after all. Especially when you think about how the Mitsubishi 4G6X is known for producing anything from 200 to upwards of 1,000 wheel horsepower. Add to that Steven’s decision to put the power through a GM TH400 trans and an Eaton LSD-equipped 12-bolt rear end, and you have a recipe for a surprisingly sweet cruiser-slash-street-toy.
SERIOUSLY, THOUGH. A 4-BANGER IN A HOT ROD? WHY?
“I’ve spent a lot of years racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats, where the street and rat rods always seem to draw me in. About three years ago there was a huge showing of rat rods in Wendover for Speed Week. I got to thinking I would love to own one some day. Well, as my skill levels increased and I acquired more tools in my garage, it was only a matter of time. I saw all the money a friend I was racing with was spending with just no end in sight and no real major payoff for all the effort we were putting in. My car was very, very close to making its first passes down the salt, but I think my better judgment and desire to no longer be in debt made my decision for me. I took all the parts off the car and sold my friend the chassis for nothing. I could still afford the hobby, but racing was just a never ending pit. So I took a leap and took on a ground-up build that would be unique. I don’t ever see any rat rods in my area and certainly none like what I have anywhere on the Internet.”
AND WHEN IT’S FINALLY COMPLETE?
Steven says, “The main goal of the truck is to scare the crap out of anyone brave enough to take a ride in a hot rod with drum brakes all around.”
You get to a point with any project where you’ve learned enough about man and machine to realize you might have done this or that differently, when asked about the most difficult part of this project so far, he points to the frame and rear suspension setup. “The frame and rear suspension were the hardest part of the truck; safety being the major concern. I had to measure, measure and remeasure. And I still got things wrong. Just trying to make sure it all meshed together, looked how I wanted – and functioned – was challenging. I just took all the things I had seen online, seen on other vehicles at the track, all the advice of my friends and family, and made decisions based on what made the most sense and what seemed the safest.”
That said, if he knew then what he knows now, Johnson would redo the rear suspension. He doesn’t like not having full control over the 4-link as designed. In fact, he can only adjust in two ways – not four – which can be frustrating as it binds up. Lesson learned? “I would take a more conventional route next time, rather than the easier route. I would do a more traditional and proven drag racing four link setup.”
This old Dodge isn’t quite done yet. Johnson’s going to finish plumbing the brakes and design/install the steering. Aside from that, the truck already runs, with the entire drivetrain functioning as a single unit. Steven’s had it running more than a couple months now, working out the bugs he can while it’s parked in the garage. Unless a major catastrophe happens, he hopes to be driving this thing before the holidays. “Would be nice to take it to the family Christmas party this year.”
Steven spends most of his time on the major DSM forums, but he’s also on GalantVR4.org, a couple Suzuki Samurai sites (he’s owned four of those in the past), and he’s also on TeamSwift.net, a Suzuki performance forum he found while messing with those Samurais.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
We had a bit of a tough time putting this story together. In fact, at the last minute, 90% of it changed drastically, and then we ran into technical difficulties. In a way, that’s how things go when you do something out of the ordinary. Have you ever wanted to build a hot rod of some kind? What makes your idea special?
Back in 2005, a friend asked if I could help him crew for a California couple racing a Dodge Neon at the Prescott Rally, 90 minutes north of Phoenix. They needed help keeping the car in the fight. Eight years later, I am still just as excited about this event each year as I was in 2005. Have you ever volunteered as rally service crew? [Read more…]
500 miles from home, in an arid valley on the outskirts of Death Valley, with only the Joshua Trees and insects to keep me company, I found myself in a different state of mind. It was one of those rare moments of zen. Enlightened, I quickly grabbed the notebook from my backpack and began frantically scribbling the words you’re about to read.
It’s time for the second part in the series;Back to the Past, where we do reports on meetings/events held in the past. Today, we’ll check out a Hummer in Gulf trim, Golf R32s, yellow Lamborghinis, fast Opels, a lot of girls, and a mix of old timers, modern (tuned) cars, and some bikes. Yes, we’re taking you back to the Essen Motorshow. In 2006 to be exact. [Read more…]
We are always looking to bring you stories you won’t find anywhere else. We like to interview you (gearheads make the world go ’round), but we got to thinking maybe you’d like to see some of the things we’ve seen over the years. We’re going to start going back in time to report on past automotive events, starting today, with these pictures from when I attended the 2008 Spa Retromobile Meeting in Belgium.
Once, I sat down with my dad and asked him about all the cars he’s owned… [Read more…]
There are so many meetings during the summer time, you could visit one every day if you wanted to. How do you decide which one to go to? How do you know it’s worth a two hour drive? Well, you look into the history of that meeting. We did this as well, and found one meeting being held every Thursday from May till October and has been around for almost eight years. Every week there are at least 50 cars. Even on rainy Thursdays. What makes this meeting so special? Why do people from Belgium, Germany and even Luxembourg come to the Netherlands to visit this meeting on Thursday evenings? Let’s find out!
Get to know Jace Tuttle, one of the more active wheelmen in the Pacific northwest. He’s runs a 92 Mitsubishi Mighty Max and has one hell of a story about the drive home from his first rally. [Read more…]