This thread is about cars; if you fag it up I will delete you.

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Frosty, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    I have decided to make an attempt to be more than a purely entropic force here at the CZ, so I shall begin an automobile discussion. Feel free to participate and enjoy the conversation, but be interesting, and do not be a douchebag in my thread.


    My car

    [​IMG]

    This is my car. I have posted about it before. It is a 2006 Mazdaspeed6. ~3500 pounds dry, transverse 2.3L turbo four-cylinder producing in excess of 270 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox driving a fairly sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. Torque meets asphalt through 215/45-18 Bridgestones in summer and Pirellis in winter.

    I've installed Cobb's silicone SF intake and inlet pipe, and I'm currently running an off-the-shelf AccessPORT tune from mzdspd.com for 91 octane. It's an incredibly high-strung car that's very poorly understood by the aftermarket and the ownership base, and I'm considering returning it to stock for now until I can afford to get a pro tune and iron out all the little quirks that come with a modified car of this type.

    I think this car is the shit and anyone with a WRX or a Legacy GT can take their large aftermarket and shove it right up their own ass, because we all know which of the three was the hottest from the showroom floor.


    A car I want

    [​IMG]

    1978 Mustang Cobra II. My Mazda needs a buddy, so hopefully this summer I'll come across a good-condition Cobra II to put in the garage. I'm looking for a rust-free or at least minimally-rusted V8 car with T-tops and the lacy aluminum wheels, and a full interior including the center console.

    I don't care about the color but I do want a V8 and not the 4- or 6-cylinder since I'd like to be able to keep the original engine in the car. These rated about 139 horsepower back then, which is hilariously low, but I certainly don't intend to keep it stock, and everyone knows modified 302s are good for monster power. My plan for now is to target ~330hp and keep it civil. Cobra IIs are around 2700 pounds, so it doesn't take much to get them moving.

    The idea is to get a runner and drive it this summer, and then begin to tear it down to bare bolts and restore it to factory-correct (except the engine) specifications. In the end it should look something like this. I'm not into resto-modding because I think it destroys everything that was originally charming and desirable about the car in the first place.


    The new Camaro

    I think the new Camaro beats the shit out of Dodge's Challenger and Ford's Mustang in every category including exterior and interior styling, and engine choices. Discuss.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Racing

    IndyCar is now something like 80% a Versus exclusive, so if any of us wants to see anything like the recent GP of St. Petersburg, we need to order a special cable channel. How is it that a sports league struggling frantically for viewership could possibly be so stupid as to take their broadcasts off of ABC and drop them onto some new cable channel few people have heard of?

    Oh, well, at least we'll get to see the Indy 500 on a sane channel. And maybe Danica will win another race this season and everyone can feel ever-so-slightly less embarrassed for overhyping her so profoundly.

    [​IMG]


    Now you speak

    Make it good.
     
  2. Dyret

    Dyret Super Carrot!

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    Turning nineteen toworrow I should start thinking about getting one.

    Nothing interesting to add, I'm afraid.
     
  3. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    Happy birthday - your post was lame. You didn't even include any pictures or say anything, and that is boring.

    More from me, to show you how it's done:


    eBay blows

    I've been checking eBay - and AutoTrader and craigslist and Hemmings, but mostly eBay - for that '78 Cobra II to come up. It's pretty slow since Mustang IIs are not popular cars anymore and I have specific requirements. I don't want an auto, I don't want a hardtop car, I don't want a '77 or earlier, I don't want a Mach 1, etc. I want what I want, and I want it for a sane price - no more than $5,000 for an utterly perfect barn find, and we can go down from there.

    A couple have shown up, but overall everything has been overpriced and annoying. Why is that? Well, it's because at some earlier date some jive-ass motherfucker figured he really had to sell his car, finally, but he wasn't motivated at all, so he listed it with a starting bid something ridiculous like 11 grand. Then every other drooling hick saw that and figured aww shit, my car is even nicer than that, I'm putting mine up for 13! Only everyone neglected to notice that turkey #1 never was able to sell his car, and now nobody can sell their cars because they all want some insane amount of money. Still, nobody is going to budge on their pricing because what they have is worth something, so almost every one ends under reserve and gets relisted several times to no avail, until they give up.

    They made over a million of these things. Over a million. For people who don't understand cars this might not seem like a lot, but it is a whole fucking lot. eBay jacks up the price of everything because it convinces people they got a real collector's item, yessiree, and it's gotten old.
     
  4. Death

    Death gh0d (Administrator)

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    Of course, of those three, there's a question of which one's manufacturer will still be around in a few years...

    I can't comment on comparing the numbers, though, as I haven't really looked at them. Besides, I'm more of a fan of turbo 4s in light-ish cars (though I won't deny that big-displacement V-8s and more can definitely get the blood pumping, when you hear one rev up).

    I wish I hadn't gotten rid of my Eagle Talon TSi, warts and all (dented hood, ECU needing replacement, and assorted rattles I never got around to hunting down), but now it'd be more expensive to ditch my current Dodge Caliber SXT than to keep it.

    And just for the sake of completeness, here's both of the above mentioned cars, just for shits and grins:

    old, just after getting the original, cancerous paint fixed:
    [​IMG]

    new:
    [​IMG]

    (Stock pic for the second, I never got around to taking a personal shot of my current ride.)
     
  5. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    I'm not sure where this has come from. The Big 3 are about as close to being literally too big to fail as any corporation in America can get. Their assets are simply too valuable for anything to really happen to the brands.

    Let's look at Chrylser, which is the worst-off of the three. Simply owning the Jeep name alone is worth billions. Naturally, Chrysler wants to hang onto it, but if it became absolutely necessary to sell Jeep, they would have buyers smashing down their door within minutes. It wouldn't shock me to hear that Jeep winds up being sold for a sum of money otherwise considered ludicrous, like 30 billion. After that, Jeep would have a new home, and Chrysler/Dodge would have a fat lump of cash.

    Additionally, they have that potential deal with FIAT with technology- and dealer-sharing. Chrysler's big cars are excellent and their engines are okay with supposedly-spectacular ones coming very soon, but they need better small cars and they need small diesels. FIAT has those things, but their past history in the USA makes it difficult to build a dealer network, so this could be a very beneficial arrangement all around. FIAT claims to be holding out until Chrysler can get the AW unions to ease up, but I don't see them walking away from the deal.

    Then we have GM. GM is a technology and engineering leader around the world and their various brands have incredible force. Corvette is practically its own line of cars at this point, and they are packing a lot of class-destroyers like the Cobalt SS, the Malibu, Pontiac's G8, Cadillac's CTS, the Atlas line of engines. They own brands like Saab that they could shed for cash, and believe it or not, Buick is as revered in China as Mercedes-Benz is here, and has an entirely different and very impressive product line.

    Maybe Oldsmobile had to go, and maybe Buick and Saab and Saturn are properties worth letting go, but that only means the core bands are assured their security.

    Ford is in the best position of all with the top-selling F-150, the top-selling Mustang which has always been a destroyer in sales and drove the Camaro and Firebird out of business a few years back, and the insanely popular Focus. With new cars like the Fiesta and Taurus looking to score huge numbers of conquest sales and their stock price already climbing, I'd say they're set.

    The simple fact is that what should have been allowed to occur a long, long time ago was Big-3 bankruptcy. They need the unions and dealer networks off their backs and they need internal shakeups that can allow their corporate cultures to modernize. Bankruptcy is not failure; it's the only way to prevent it. They're not going away now, but their class leadership and upcoming stellar, world-beating products are against their common nature, at least by my reckoning, and we're going to be back here again in 20 years. Next time, I hope we can let them sort this out for themselves instead of handing them money and telling them they're perfect just the way they are.
     
  6. scheherazade

    scheherazade Rear Admiral

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    This is my previous car :
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30114567@N06/sets/72157607108762955/

    Got rid of it while it was worth something and bought a BMW 335 (e92).
    I hope to tune the 335 in the future, but for now I've installed KW v3 coilovers and am working on re-building a rear carrier with a Quaife LSD. Also I removed the clutch delay valve so quick shifts wouldn't be so jerky.

    It's not quite as quick as the evo was, but for about 2 grand I can put down a bit over 400 whp, and for about 10 grand I can put down a bit over 500 whp. So there is room to grow.

    Don't have pics of it up anywhere, but here is a thread dedicated to the model/color. (skip the first dozen or two pages, since the thread is old and starts with pre-release b.s.)
    http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18251

    -scheherazade





    edit :

    I get the same feeling about my evo sometimes. The BMW just doesn't drive as well. More comfy and my GF approves of it, but still, it doesn't drive as well.
    And yah, that talon is pretty easy to make fast (pretty much same engine as in the evo... earlier variant of the 4g63). Huge aftermarket.

    -scheherazade
     
  7. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    As legendary and easily modified as the 4G63 may be, nothing can compare to the supernatural mountain of torque that is the N54.

    What made you choose the 335 over the M3?
     
  8. jaeger

    jaeger Spaceman

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    Fords and imports are not my thing.

    [​IMG]
    Ive had this car since I was 20. Bought and paid for by myself. 318 with a 904 trans, 8 3/4 rear. its a work in progress but It has never failed me once.

    [​IMG]

    I got this so I could haul the crap I need to haul as well as my cars. Yep its got a hemi. Yep the paint is loud. Nope I dont have little man complex. For work I drive much larger vehicles.

    I also have a 67 barracuda that needs lots of work but its going to be a good home for the 383 thats sitting in the garage.
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    This is, of course, the one I want to hear about. '67 Barracudas have always pissed me off because they lost that great wraparound backlight for the solid sail panels, but your particular vehicle will be forgiven.
     
  10. scheherazade

    scheherazade Rear Admiral

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    M3 sets you back 20 grand over the 335 just to buy it.
    Stock the M3 is 0.1 seconds faster 0-60 than a stock 335 (not PR stuff, but that's what the current records look like).

    M3 will set you back another 20 grand for a turbo kit that will put out 600 whp.

    335 will set you back 10 grand for 535 whp, and that is with STOCK fuel system.
    see : http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=248764&highlight=ASR
    (note : that dyno is the first cut tune for the ASR upgrade kit. There is a later thread that I was looking for that shows it tuned to mid 530's)

    And for much less, you can get into the 400's.
    Example :
    This dyno is on a car with this sort of $ spent :
    - JB3 ECU piggyback : ~$600
    - downpipes : ~$800
    - BMS intake : ~$150
    - Code 3 IC : ~$1000

    http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=249332&highlight=turbo+melter

    440 whp (and 400+ tq almost the whole way), for ~$2500...
    That's a friggin deal man.
    That will stomp a sock M3 straight line... and costs less than an M3.

    Add the LSD, coilovers, camber plates (+adjustable linkages if need be) some harder sway bars and strut braces, and you're there for handling to boot.

    ... and still costs less than a stock M3.

    Best part is, the insides are just as nice between the M3 and 335.

    And they weigh about the same (335 is ~100 lbs lighter).

    335 is just a good deal. Stock for stock the M3 will be a smidget quicker straight line, and will track better. But you can fix that easy, well within M3 budget.

    -scheherazade
     
  11. Death

    Death gh0d (Administrator)

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    Ford's survival I'm not too worried about. Chrysler and GM I'm not so sure, even given all that you mentioned.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the detail behind that is based on what political stuff I see, like a union-friendly/capitalism-unfriendly Congress and questionable environmental policies from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and you did ask to not fag up the thread. :p
     
  12. ELTEE

    ELTEE Rear Admiral

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    This thread is awesome. I'm just going to jump right in.

    First, the rides:

    My previous car has been, to date, my favorite. I ran a BMW 2001 325xi with some basic mods, but boy - it was quick.

    The AWD system was, in my opinion, superior to then-comparable Audi offerings, and I was always the idiot hauling buddies to the local pool hall if there was a blizzard outside. The car saved my ass numerous times during my stupid years when I lived and breathed street racing. Now, I've grown sensible and keep it on the track...for the most part. :D

    I don't take a lot of pictures, so these are from e-bay when the gentleman I sold the car to was selling. He made a few design changes, so I'm going to try and scan a photo of the car in its prime, replete with SSR wheels and no crappy two tone color paint in the front. Really, what was that guy thinking? ;)

    Front:
    Lakisha-Front 2007.jpg
    You can see both the intercooler and the oil cooler (behind kidney grills)

    Engine bay
    Lakisha- Engine Bay 2007.jpg
    The car had basic bolt-on mods which included larger throttle body, cold air intake, larger injectors, rotrex supercharger with stand alone oil system, ecu reflash, and cat back exhaust. Prior to sucking boost, she was a Dinan S1 test-bed.

    Lakisha-Back 2007.jpg

    Current ride:

    For weekends and nice days I tool around in a 2006 Cayman S. This car is absolutely amazing. At my first auto x event, with no experience in RWD, I set the second fastest time of the day. Mark Dadio, a national champion, drove the vehicle and completed the course several seconds faster than his previous bests in the Lotus Elise ane Exige.

    This was taken in the summer of 2007 while I was in Arizona for training. We went for a drive up Mt. Lemon and the road was fantastic. My buddies' VR4 3000GT is also pictured. That car was really misunderstood - despite the weight penalty, the vehicle was quite advanced for its time (and priced accordingly...)

    DSCF0380.JPG

    I actually just received an entirely brand new engine from Porsche under warranty. A defect was discovered in cylinder wall # 5 - the piston had been starved of oil for some time, and the wall showed scarring. I couldn't believe that it was cheaper for them to just install a new one, but the tech showed me the cost analysis they conducted in concert with Porsche that proved the cost savings. Originally, the factory sent a euro spec engine. I told them to either keep that or get the new direct injected 3.4 - to which I was met with laughter and polite refusals.

    IMG00131.jpg

    I also drive a 1997 Saab 9000 CSE with 240,000 miles on it. It has been a family car, first driven by my father and then passed down to me. You will be hard pressed to find a more practical and utilitarian vehicle. This car has more square feet of room in the back than most mid size SUVs. I currently do not have any pics of it.

    Finally, I am sharing a 1994 mustang with my good friend who is a mechanic. We are going to drop in a 1989 302 and hope to make about 500 rwhp with it, the goal being to have a decent car to both drag and time attack with. We are at the very beginning of the process so I'll post picks of the 302 rebuild when I get them from him.

    My biggest problem? I love so many different cars. I think we are lucky to live in an era where quality can really be found from many sources. I have the most experience with euros, but I have alot of affection for Japanese and American cars as well. Some dream ones on my list? Integra type R, Nismo R-34 Z-tune, 2000 SVT Mustang R, 1969 427 Camaro ZL1, Ferrari 288 GTO, just to name a few.

    I think the new Camaro looks incredible, and I love Hennessy's take on a modern
    ZL1. Dropping the new ZR1 engine into the camaro is going to be a neat project car.

    The new mustang deserves alot of credit for bringing these wonderfully American car virtues back to the forefront of the automotive industry. I think, dollar for dollar, that the new camaro will outshine and outpace the pony car, but I'm still standing in the mustang camp at the end of the day - probably.

    My modern muscle car pick of all the new entries? Surprisingly, I'm going to go with the Shelby Terlingua. Supercharged V-6, 375 BHP, good suspension, better weight distribution - it's almost the spiritual successor to the 2000 type R. Speaking of which, I really, really wish Ford would make the GT-R concept mustang a reality. They already do, sort of, with the FR500 for racing. Give the people the air!

    Thus ends my disorganized and disorderly initial contribution to this thread. Frosty, I think your ride is awesome - I love to work with a car that isn't everyone's first choice to mod. Everyone who saw the e46 said "why aren't you driving an evo?"
    I hear you on the 302. Great engine - legendary. Should be a great build with the power to weight ratio. It reminds me of the guys at auto x who have dropped 302's and 347's into their Datsuns. They do really well.

    scheherazade - your take on the M3 is interesting. According to both Road & Track and Car and Driver, the M3 hits 60 in around 4.4 seconds (though I have seen slower in other mags. I know that's not a great source.) I don't have the 335 stats in front of me, but I recall the 335 mirroring the previous gen e46 m3's stats at around 4.8 or so to 60. I admire your logic for sticking with the 335 - turbos are awesome - but I'm not sure dollar for dollar you would end up on top. I recently test drove a 2008 m3 (which, by the way, if anyone wants one, go NOW - we're talking 10k+ off sticker with NO negotiation) and I was blown away. Truly an amazing car.

    jaeger - SHOW US THE 67!!!!

    Death - I always, always got smoked by a buddy with a talon. He would just toy with me every time, running just enough boost to make me think I was winning, then would blow by at the end. Every time. I tried hard. really.

    Dyret - you're in the best position! A blank canvas - a chance to go anywhere and try anything. I remember that time...
     
  13. scheherazade

    scheherazade Rear Admiral

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    I honestly haven't kept up with the M3 records.
    Last 0-60 record I saw posted was 4.8 for the stock M3 (months ago).
    Last 0-60 record I saw posted was 4.7 for the stock 335 (in the last couple months)

    Here are some 0-60 runs...

    stock : 4.69 seconds
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4v6bZpjjyA

    Chip only tune (jb3) w/ drag radials on 93 octane : 3.8 seconds
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh4xllMMA1M&feature=related

    Bang for the buck is there. There's no way you're getting an M3 under 4 seconds for "$600 bucks chipped + some grippy tires".

    I think the fastest FULL-bolt-on 335's [with no turbo upgrade] are hitting 60 in around 3.4/3.5. Quarter miles are in the mid-upper 11's.

    I also wanted the XI, and no AWD M's (sadly).
    This is also why I'm installing the LSD, the 335 has all open diffs, and I need to take care of at least the rear to have some fun. The I models have a basic "differential simulator" with the stability control when the stability control is turned off. But if you turn off stability control on the XI, the system won't emulate a basic differential. It just lets you free-wheel.

    M3 is a great car, but I can't justify the cost. Yah the M3 will ultimately be a little faster tuned than a 335 tuned, but the cost is just staggering (for the same performance).

    edit : I got nothing against the M3 (beautiful car), but if money was no issue, and I wanted RWD, I'd rock a 977/GT3. Or a spec miata (as a second car).

    -scheherazade
     
  14. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    I just believe the auto industry basically moves from A to B to C inexorably and no amount of misbegotten meddling from politicians can halt that. The Big 3 taken together are an incredibly massive financial organism with a lot more power to dictate outcomes than they let on.
    Yes, it is.
    Caymans are beautiful cars. I find them a lot more attractive than the 911s because of the longer rear quarters. I'm really impressed by your tale of magical lap times. Would you chalk it up to simply being easier to drive, or more torque, or what? I've heard of other sports cars like the Pontiac Solstice smacking the Elise and Exige around, but I didn't realize the Cayman S was also that badass.
    288 GTO all the way. Definitely a car in the running for best-looking. Some of these are cars I'd consider myself lucky to touch, let alone own. A '69 ZL-1 is like a unicorn as far as I'm concerned and may as well not exist. Especially with the B-J crowd driving prices of everything up in some senseless gambit to recapture their youth.
    While the LS9 is already a legend and sure to be remembered as one of the great V8s, I'm a bit skeptical of the Hennessey car. It looks beautiful, but isn't he the guy who got the shit kicked out of himself on the street for scamming some Viper guys? Nothing on the level of Unique Performance, but definitely client cars on cinder blocks type of shenanigans.
    I'm a Mustang guy at heart, but I really don't feel positive about the '05+ cars. There are a lot of what I would consider elementary styling mistakes in the cars' exterior design. I recognize that they have to please their hardcore base, and I realize that there are safety requirements that necessitate certain things like high shoulders and large bumpers, but you can really minimize the impact these things have on the car's appearance if you're clever. Dodge and Chevrolet did a better job there.

    I'm also irritated that they don't have at least an optional independent rear suspension for the 'Stang. They should be leveraging their trim lines more effectively. Mach 1 for drag enthusiasts, offer the 6.2 and a custom aero package and solid axle. Boss for road racers with the 6.2 and its own aero, and IRS. Grabber colors and graphics options for both. Let SVT do what they will with the Cobra and get a new Cobra R out the doors. IRS optional on GT, standard on V6 models, and please nuke silly models like the California Special and the Bullitt. V6 -> GT -> Boss/Mach 1 -> Cobra -> Cobra R is how the line should function, and a V6 producing less than 300hp shouldn't even be considered. Hell, the EcoBoost turbo 4 would work fine at the upper end of its power capability.

    Ford took a cheap route when they redesigned one of their few continually-profitable cars.
    Admit it: you just like the barking bunny.
    Thanks. With the freer intake and semi-custom tune it's quite a beast. There are guys in the community shooting for big horsepower, but I'm content to leave it as it is for now.

    There's a lot of do-this-first type stuff that the car needs before you can really go for a big turbo and scary numbers. The motor and transmission mounts are too soft, but going stiffer really dumps a lot of vibes into the cabin. They have fairly indestructible transmissions and differentials, but they tend to rip the rear diff right off the car on hard launches. The stock fuel system is close to its limit from the showroom floor, and the ECU is apparently extremely difficult to tune gracefully. There are really only two major players in the aftermarket - Corksport and cp-e - and the parts are fairly expensive. I could go on, actually, but I won't.

    It's a pretty car that rides and handles beautifully, with a monster engine that has a lot of potential to become something like Mazda's 4G63, but it's a very limited-production vehicle, with a run of something like 10,000 cars, and it's very early in the lifespan of the thing. I hope to piggyback on the success of the Mazdaspeed3 which shares the engine. Hopefully in a few more years there'll be a greater understanding of the car and it will allow me to be more aggressive.

    I think those of you who've owned Evos and BMWs would really like the Mazdaspeed6. It packs a lot of aggression in a package that's a lot more sociable than the Mitsu at a cost-to-own that hurts so much less than a BMW. It's a shame they didn't take off.

    Oooh, one thing that is awesome with absolutely no caveats: Mazdaspeed6s stop like a motherfucker. The braking in these things is supernatural. We're a couple feet off of Z06s. It is awesome.
    Hopefully I find a numbers-matching car (nobody gives a shit when it comes to the II, but it would satisfy me,) and basically toss everything but the block. I'd keep the parts, but just not in the car. With an essentially new engine, and the requisite suspension and brake (big, fat Wilwoods) upgrades, I think it could be a really spectacular car. I might have to suck it up and get 15" wheels because nobody makes sport 13" tires anymore, but it'd still be raised white lettering all the way. And, of course, none of that redneck factory take-off bullshit. Minilites or something equally classy that matches the aesthetic of the car. I hate seeing a nice old ride with tacky new wheels, and it happens so much in the Mustang world.
    AutoX sounds like fun.

    I recently got interested in maybe getting started in SCCA or NASA stage rally, but I really couldn't afford it. 4 grand for rally school, a couple grand for a car, I'd need a truck and a trailer of course, I'd need a handful of other guys with me, there's entrance fees and of course everyone needs a place to stay... it's intimidating. I wish there was a more casual level that could accommodate beginners for a couple grand per year or less.

    AutoX is kind of intimidating to me as well because I realize there are folks who take it very seriously. I don't feel like I'm a bad driver, but I don't want to be that guy in the car that's just a little too large who's never been on a course before knocking cones over and generally holding everyone up. With the Cobra I really will want to play with it, but the size and weight of my Mazda and my newbishness are holding me back for now.
    Just remember: You will destroy your first car. This is not something you can avoid. You have no idea the kind of destruction you will cause. So just be prepared to shell out some bank for repairs or go get yourself a beater and save most of your cash for a fun weekend ride you don't need to abuse.
    I'm surprised your car doesn't have a rear LSD. I have a feeling the performance of my car would be affected tremendously if it didn't have one.

    Since I'm in love with them I'm posting more pictures of Mustang IIs, or a Mustang II anyway. I don't know what this started life as, possibly just a base 2+2 or a Rallye, but it's pretty different now.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Like I said, I don't much like resto-modding just because it usually robs the car of its original charm in some quest for, I don't know, props from kiddies or something. Still, aside from the wheels being a touch too big, this one sets me off. I especially dig the custom fuel filler-cap. I'd have put a chin spoiler on, but I like the cow-catcher look, and I know it's not for everyone.
     
  15. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    Howdy carthread,
    I don't have much to add. As most of y'all know (but not McGruff, apparently) I'm close enough to blind so that I'll never drive a car again... and I'm car-illiterate to the point that what I think are really cool are weird looking vehicles (the Citroen 2CV is my favorite!)

    But: I wanted to say that I've ridden in Frosty's Mazda Mazadaspeed6 and it's really fun. I can appreciate what's so special about this stuff having had that experience -- it feels very different from the Volvos and Subarus I grew up with.
     
  16. ELTEE

    ELTEE Rear Admiral

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    The Cayman is certainly a bit more forgiving than the Lotus - I really think it is the overall balance. There was an article not too long ago in Road&Track that attempted to explain, in scientific terms, what makes a car handle better than another. They threw a huge assortment of vehicles through an impressive battery of tests, with the Cayman emerging as one of the best all around handling cars (in fact, IIRC, the 997 GT3 RS was one of the few cars that scored better.)

    Certainly the Cayman has more power than a Lotus, and does not suffer as much drag as the hopped up Exige supercharged. The Lotus is an incredible car, but the Cayman is great as well. To be honest? On any given day, on a small track, it's probably the driver skill that will decide who emerges in front.

    The Pontiac is a really, really, really impressive machine. You can basically get into a factory race car for about what it takes to get into a spec Miata. Pontiac tried really hard with this car to prove it can make a world class handling car, and I think they largely succeeded.

    Hearing the name 'Unique Performance' makes my stomach turn. The thought of people investing in a dream and ending up with a rust bucket shell sitting on cement blocks really pisses me off. Those guys were ass clowns. I don't understand why they did what they did - their fundamental business plan was sound, but they collapsed from within with false promises and shitty management. Suckering both Shelby and Foose is the automotive equivalent of Bernie Madoff taking your money.

    I don't think Hennessy is in quite the same category. I have a feeling that they struggled a bit in the beginning - but it seems the company is operating pretty seriously now. There are plenty of customers and even a new tuning school that he runs each year.

    Yes, yes, and absolutely yes. I actually think the EcoBoost would have pretty cool tuning capabilities...

    I felt the same way when I started, but in all honesty, the sport loves nothing more than to welcome newcomers. Plus, it's really inexpensive to get started. You're looking at maybe 20-30 bucks for a weekend. There are always instructors ready to go with you to show you how to negotiate the course. I would find a small club near you and do a rookie school! You'll get a crash course in all of the fundamentals and you'll be more than ready to hit the cones.

    Guys are serious, but most are really open and willing to share anything. What everyone hates is the guy who shows up in the vette, says your car sucks because its an import or because its a dodge, then goes out and spins at every corner. We don't like those guys. They should stay home.

    The rallies are great, but you're right - they require a higher investment. My personal preference is a basic auto x season sprinkled with the occasional track day experience...

    My 325 braked well, but I never got used to the drive by wire and electronic feel of the clutch engagement. To be honest, it's one area that BMW still doesn't have quite right. Driving the new M3, I could never quite pull away smoothly in 1st, and throttle blipping for downshifts would be hart do match correctly. I used to think it was because I was bad, but after driving so many other cars and figuring the timing out right away, I'm convinced BMW has the problem - not me. :p

    I think resto modding can be really cool - but only when it isn't trying to hard to misrepresent itself. If I see a 69 camaro that is obviously a modern interpretation, I can get into it. If it's trying to be a 69 COPO but has too many modern touches, I start to question the validity. It's tough to debate these ideas because it's like art - it really is all in the eye of the beholder. I do think it's cool that resto mods can be driven with less guilt than, say, an original Yenko.

    LOAF, I'm really sorry to hear that about your vision. So many of the activities that are near and dear to my heart require god eyesight - I can't imagine losing it. Don't fret about your car tastes, though - Citroens rock! You basically were safe with any answer there, as long as you didn't say 'Pontiac Aztec.' :D
     
  17. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    Lotus has very particular ideas about how to make a car that tracks well and I really respect that, but it definitely leaves room for others like Porsche to take a different route to the same objective. Lotus's famous skepticism of limited-slip differentials is one. Lotus saying you don't need an LSD is like Apple saying you don't need right-click; it's technically a defensible point of view, but I'd rather not go without.

    I never doubted Porsche, but it's nice to know that the Cayman has proven track chops to go with its good looks.
    It's a shame that GM isn't moving forward with the Kappa platform. Obviously if they were in a better financial state things would be different, and it makes sense that platforms like Kappa would be the first to go when the belts tighten, but it disappoints me anyway.
    It's a disgusting affair, probably the worst of it's kind. Everyone got screwed for no reason at all, and the poison it dumped into the scene is going to linger for years.
    I guess I'm mostly amused that he literally got his ass kicked in public for being a little shady. I'm pretty sure it was Hennessey, anyway. I've searched for it in the past and never found any of the old articles or forum posts from that time. It was a while ago, though, so I guess if they're still kicking, he's gotten his act together.

    I'm a big fan of Y-spoke wheels like BBS produces, and the ZR-1 wears, and I'm an even bigger fan of graphics packages, so the Hennessey definitely trips my hotness sensor.

    [​IMG]
    What would be really cool is if they play with very low displacements and twincharging. I'd love to see a little 1L direct-injected 3- or 4-cylinder ramming down 200 lb/ft through clever use of a roots blower and a turbo. It would really open up their ability to throw huge V8s at whatever they wanted by providing acceptable performance in a much more fuel-friendly package for the bread-n-butter stuff. I am already thoroughly in love with their new 6.2 V8 and I want to see it everywhere without them getting a CAFE monkey on their back.
    It's definitely on my to-do list. This summer I'll at least try to hit a few and hang out and watch.
    This year it'll be a guy who shows up in a GT-R.
    Honestly, I think you're right. That is definitely something I'd chalk up to their use of that clutch delay valve or spring or whatever it is they've got in there.

    I fully understand the pain of graceless shifting. My MS6 has a very peculiar clutch spring with crazy non-linear resistance and the clutch has a very narrow range of engagement, since it's supposed to be sporty. The thing is that where the pedal spring reaches its peak resistance and therefore requires the most effort and affords the least finesse is right where the clutch does everything. I have made a crappy graph to explain:

    [​IMG]

    If we take the X axis to mean the full range of pedal motion and the Y axis to mean some range of force, then the blue line is the amount of force the pedal pushes back on your leg with at any given point in the pedal's travel. So, naturally, it sucks that the clutch is only really acted upon between the two red lines.

    Most people who own the car took it back and got a new clutch and new pedal assembly. Others did an adjustment on the pedal to fix the problem. I took it like a man.
    Well, I think part of my problem with the resto-mod scene and the aesthetic in general is that I believe car design really peaked in the late 60s. This was before anyone really had comprehensive safety regs to work around, but long after advanced metal forming had appeared, so you have these beautiful and intricate shapes that are bound by pretty much only the designers' visions. As you go further on you see bumpers get huge, and beltlines start to climb up and then cowls climb, and it just gets silly.

    If you look at a 1969 Camaro or a 1968 Mustang, or a 1971 Challenger, you really can't say they don't look more sporty, more aggressive, and , honestly, more advanced than their modern counterparts. They look like jet fighters ready for a kill, not big fat whales that've beached themselves on our interstates.

    Flush bumpers, beltlines that kick up after the doors, head and taillights contained by the front and rear, not wrapping around, color contrasts and appropriate use of chrome trim to set the shapes off and make the cars look like they're high-quality, none of the modern monochrome plastic-look stuff.

    It may sound like I'm fussy, but deciding not to paint the tails of new Mustangs black like they used to just makes them look cheap. I find it very hard to express because we really don't have a specialized vocabulary for it. Either you can puzzle your way through what I'm trying to express because you speak car-guy or I just sound like a whiny bitch.

    I guess rather than blanket disapproval of restomods, I should say I really think there is an upper limit to wheel size before it gets stupid. 18"s look right on my Mazda because the beltline comes up like an armored car, but on a low, sleek little pony car it's all wrong. 16"s start to look kind of obscene. It seems like nobody appreciates tires anymore. Radials gave us something wonderful in appearance: the bulging sidewall. Big fat sidewalls that poof out an inch or more past the lip look tough and say to the world your car means business. Everyone's running 50s and 45s and 40s and even lower now, and you just don't get the same threatening stance from a rubber band.

    You could design a tire with a big sidewall that could still handle beautifully, but it would be expensive, so instead everyone cheats and throws on huge wheels with shallow tires and makes up for the harsh ride with limousine suspensions, because it's easy and it fits the fashion.

    I also don't like that the restomod scene is very heavily influenced by the hyper-clean glossy low-riders that guys like Trepanier and Foose make. Don't get me wrong, Chip Foose is a great guy and I do love his cars, but he does things a certain way, and if everyone apes him it leaves no more room to explore other styles.

    Like I said, I like graphics packages. I like big flat black vinyl stripes, I like a bright orange COBRA written on the door. I even like the little running running rabbit you can get on a new VW Rabbit. I like semi-gloss paint, and I like loud colors like Ford and Chrysler used back in the day. And I like 13"-16" wheels with a little grit and masculinity in their design. The old Torq-Thrusts, Magnums, Minilites, these... The Billet Brigade can do big and shiny wheels in the current FWD-offset chic, but I can't live on that alone.

    The G-machine thing was cool for a while, guys putting Viper engines in old Chargers and sweating the suspension until they hit .9 on a skidpad, but it got old fast.

    I'm more into the Factory+ kind of deal, where a guy can look at your car and know for sure it's not stock, but be completely unable to place specifically how. Do it the way the factory would have if they didn't have to please accountants or regulators.

    Thus ends my completely insane free-form rant about automobile styling.
     
  18. ELTEE

    ELTEE Rear Admiral

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    This had me in tears. HILARIOUS.

    Safety can go screw itself. We shouldn't be plowing into pedestrians anyway. If someone is too stupid to get out of the way, or too drunk to realize there's a human being in the middle of the street, they shouldn't survive the accident anyway. Stop fucking up good designs to save lives that shouldn't pass "go" anyway.

    To be honest, there's really no excuse for custom shops to not at least keep the original looking tires/rims as an option. People who are worried about performance but want to maintain the original look now have so many choices even if they want to stay away from the bias ply of yore.

    On the other hand, those original crappy tires were one of the big components of the character of muscle cars of the late 60's and early 70's. Even with their weight, they fought for grip in every gear and were wild to tame. Stick on new, ultra fat and low profile performance tires, and you might as well make love to traction control and all of the electronic nannies that also ruined driving. (See rant on safety above.)

    <stands on soap box>
    Looking to the future past tire evolution, I'm tentatively optimistic at best; petrified at worst concerning the continued availability of performance oriented cars. I'm certainly not against alternative energy vehicles - I get that everyone has to do their part, no matter how sacred they think their hobby is. That being said, I fear we will be saying goodbye to alot of storied cars sooner rather than later. I just hope that whatever replaces them; hydrogen hotrods, ev screamers, etc - will still manage to inspire some type of automotive bliss.

    I'm already sounding like an old geezer, but there's just nothing like the scream of an internal combustion engine, whatever the displacement or number of cylinders. I'm not ready to give that up.
     
  19. Frosty

    Frosty a full fledged GF

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    The counter-argument is, of course, that we shouldn't roll our cars into ditches either, but sometimes it happens and it's nice to be prepared.

    It's obvious to me that we have to consciously draw the line somewhere and say that on one side of it we have acceptable requirements for safety, and on the other side is the realm of the ridiculous. While pedestrian safety regs don't quite get us into gleaming alloy air-cars, I'm of the belief that they fall on the silly side of the line.

    If someone hits you with their car at any kind of speed where flip-up headlamps or an extra inch of clearance before the intake manifold will actually affect your outcome, you're pretty well fucked anyway. The amount of energy something like a Dodge Charger can dump into a person at even the lowest speeds means that if the car itself doesn't break your ribs, the paved surface you're about to slam into will definitely do the trick.
    I really liked how Jay Leno handled it with his '56 Buick. He had new 16" or 17" wheels machined to look like the originals. Now it wears modern tires but it doesn't look trailer fabulous either.
    I don't know, I could go either way on this. In terms of styling I stand firmly on the side of originality, but when it comes to handling it really only takes new springs and some serious rubber to get some of those old machines pulling some serious lap times.

    I think we've allowed ourselves to be brainwashed about American cars by publications like Road & Track and shows like Top Gear. I can tolerate Road & Track and I love Top Gear, but they push a very narrative-based view of history that tells a pretty story without having to get too bogged down with accuracy.

    Lincolns destroyed Porsches in the Carrera Panamericana repeatedly. In the 60s, maybe handling did suffer, but where crossover occured in racing, like when Trans-Am leaked a little bit into BTCC, the American cars handled their business very well. The Ford Galaxie was staggeringly competitive overseas against cars half its size. The idea that a powerful American car from the muscle age is some kind of bull you ride with white knuckles isn't applicable as widely as everyone thinks.

    I think when it comes to the really big cars - especially the Chryslers - yeah, part of their essential character is their tail-happy nature. Piloting one of those big gorillas always scrabbling madly for grip is the essence of the experience. But when it comes to pony cars like the Mustang and Cougar, Camaro and Firebird, and, to a lesser extent, the Challenger and Barracuda (which, if we're honest, were never intended to be true muscle cars nor even thought of as such until long after their heyday,) I think it's reasonable to have an expectation of excellent handling.

    There used to be a very clear delineation between the real muscle cars like the Chevelles and Road Runners, and the nearly-sports-car ponies like the Mustang and Camaro, and I think we need it back. It poisons the way we look at cars today. The Mustang and Camaro and Challenger should be considered in the same class as cars like the Hyundai Genesis, as well as any future Nissan Silvia or Toyota Celica (real Celica, not that FWD rice cart.)
    I think I should get this out of the way: I do not believe in global warming, or "climate change" or whatever we're calling it this week. At least, I am not of the opinion that any such thing as anthropogenic climate change has occured or is occuring.

    I feel no compulsion to do my part. I recycle because I reject wastefulness, not because it's good for Gaia. I am intrigued by electric cars because they are potentially much cheaper to run than a normal gasoline or diesel vehicle, and the prospect of stupid torque tickles me. Maybe things like CARB benefit local air quality, but I'm not too worried about the long-term future of the planet or our species.

    I also don't expect the internal combustion engine to go away for a long time. Perhaps not ever. Gasoline may go away, but diesel won't. I could see pure ethanol taking over for gas. There are a couple problems with that in terms of production, but they seem surmountable. The motivator will of course be profitability. Ethanol is also interesting to me because of its crazy octane rating. There are a lot of exciting technologies being developed right now that could revolutionize the internal combustion engine.

    Just imagine a smallblock V8 with some kind of stupid displacement like 6.5 or 7 liters, ceramic block and rotating assembly that doesn't require lubrication or cooling, dual overhead valve-in-cams, fueled by ethanol, twincharged. You're looking at a lower-maintenance engine than ever before with far fewer moving parts running silly compression and silly boost and producing some completely insane power figures while being as mild-mannered and streetable as your average Camry. The only downside is you'd be looking at single-digit mileage, but gas and diesel have really ruined our expectations of range. Nothing will ever live up to the kind of distance those two fuels can provide, so we just have to learn to live with it.

    Electric cars have been around forever, like 120-130 years, maybe more. They've never caught on for several reasons we don't need to explore deeply. It's good enough to know that the problems inherent to electric vehicles have never been solved, and so the reason they weren't good enough in 1890 is the same reason they aren't now.

    I can see a lot changing in the near future, but in the far-distant future I can imagine people driving their diesel Jeep on some crazy colony planet 100 lightyears away.
    You're right; there isn't. And that's the best reason to expect them to be around forever. There are much better ways to light a fire than a match, but we still use them because we like to. The only reasons we've ever considered changing our automobiles are a collective sense of guilt and outrage over cost. Each of these things shall pass, and the car will remain, largely unchanged. Electric cars may finally find their niche in replacing the appliance-like sector of 4-cylinder Accords and Altimas, but even ignoring the many functional advantages of a traditional vehicle, there's a lot that's pleasing about them that many of us won't want to give up, and probably won't have to.
     
  20. ELTEE

    ELTEE Rear Admiral

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    This is a great point that I must admit I have overlooked. Of course it makes perfect sense - even the dimensions of these two 'classes' of car are different.

    In terms of handling, I think it is one of the rare cases where the 'rose colored glasses' concept is actually wrong. Most old timers I speak with (like my father) remember those cars as handling like ass and being built like crap, with huge panel gaps and lots and lots of rattles. This stems from the simple fact that basic cars today are just built better (at least APPEAR to be built better :p ) and can be made to handle very well with simple off the shelf company components simply because the collective technology is that much better.

    It's true that Camaros, Mustangs et al were great handling cars - people just dont remember that because their recollections fade and they compare them to the new standards that they live with day in and day out... then, as you pointed out, they read about them in Road & Track or watch Jeremy Clarkson shit all over them and go 'yeah, that's about right. I guess they did suck.'

    You're damn right about racing. We could dish it out as well as anybody. My father is lucky enough to worke with Sam Posey on occasion, and if you get him started about his Challenger racing days, you'd think that car could ace your GMAT for you. (more on racing as a whole later)

    [QOUTE] I feel no compulsion to do my part. [/QUOTE]

    This is really, really tough for me. I don't know how I feel. As I tell people, I have good days and bad days with this stuff. There seems to be a whole lot of smart people pointing to a whole lot of studies that show were killing ourselves. I remain unconvinced, but certainly aware. It doesn't matter anyway - we're all going to die in 2012.

    What I know for sure is that I'm not thrilled about 'green' initiatives in racing. The ALMS is the most guilty of this. I don't really care what car has the 'smallest carbon footprint.' I care who kicks who's ass. If an electric car can show up, pass tech for a class, and win - then great. Otherwise, stop trying so hard.

    Engine design trends fascinate me. I do agree that we have not seen the last of the horsepower wars, as this decade has seemingly been dubbed. Whatever the case, I like to tinker - I hope that wedon't need a degree in advanced engineering just to fit a lower restriction intake on your performance twincharged super engine. That would be no fun - it's my biggest gripe with the cayman. I can't really do anything to it without a lift, beer to bribe my buddy (so I can use his shop after hours) and two free lifelines to Hanz und Franz to save my ass when I screw everything up.

    What DOES excite me, at least concerning the near future, is a temporary step back from high horsepower, high weight cars. There is a lot of talk surrounding a return to the lightweight, precision handling school of thought. Take Corvette, for example. It looks like the next generation will feature a smaller displacement, smaller horsepower engine but will combine this with an even lighter chassis that takes more advantage of advanced compounds in construction to save weight. Chevrolet has already announced that the mid engine super vette has been cancelled (boo!!) so it seems there may be some truth to this (although the racing version will still be produced.)

    These cars might not rocket to 100 in quite the same way, but they might be even MORE fun on the road because it will be easier to drive them hard without going to jail...maybe.


    I don't trust any car that moves forward without making a sound. It's like anything that bleeds for... eh, you get the idea. :D

    I really, really hope you're right. I'd hate to think the golden ages are behind us. I already think I should have been born in the mid 30's, flown P-51's in the War, and then drove Camaros and Mustangs to my big business job in advertising. I don't need ANOTHER reason to think I'm stuck in the wrong time period.


    Now, on to my assessment of those racing series that I think matter. A few things up front - I think racing should be somewhat based on reality.

    ALMS - Super excited for this year. Unfortunately, the car fields are down this year as a result of the economy. Many marques, like Pugeout and Audi, are only racing the big US races, like Sebring and Petit, then focusing on the European Lemans series which includes the venerable 24 hours of Lemans. That looks to be an AMAZING race.

    N-1135.jpg

    I hold out hope, however, because despite the smaller field, diversity is way up! We have new m3s (beautiful cars,)Ford GTs, Corvettes, Porsches, Panoz', Vipers, Ferraris, Astons, Acuras, Audis, (even a possible R8 GT2 car), etc. The great GT1 Corvettes are finally switching to the GT2 class mid-season after the 24 hours, so they'll add even more competition(one more attempt at Aston Martin at the 24.) So, you're seeing a lot of different marqes competing, and even private teams are competitive like Lou Gilotti's vettes from World Challenge fame. That, and ratings are through the roof - sports car racing is becoming more popular. This year, there will be uninterrupted coverage of the 24 hour race. I'm going to stay up and throw a party, even if I'm by myself!

    Acura has unveiled its new P1 car as gasoline is permitted in the top category again - hence the new Acura arx-o1b chassis in P1(sp). I miss the RS Spyders campaigned by Penskie, but I think Porsche liked being competitive with the P1 cars even in P2, and only avoided P1 because of the diesel requiremnt: we might just see the car again, or some new replacement, competing in the P1 series.

    F1
    I used to hate Formula 1, but it is having an incredible season this year. Ferrari is no longer dominant, and two teams that have never won before have tasted victory. The points are completely lopsided, veterans are struggling against newbies, and the races are actually exciting to watch - replete with more passing! I never, ever liked Formula 1 - now I enjoy it. IndyCar is pretty cool too, now that all the stars are together and the formats are mixed. I wish the cars were a bit more exciting and I really wish we could get a mud pit for Danica to duke it out everytime she gets upset.

    NASCAR, WRC
    Series I think are in trouble, or that I'm losing interest in? NASCAR, NASCAR, WRC, and NASCAR. I have lost all interest in NASCAR. I tried to stay up to date on news, etc the past few years - but the racing is just plain horrible, the car is pitiful, and it's just too 'big business.' It stinks of it worse than Formula 1 or DTM. My opinion? We have AWESOME new muscle cars in the market - we should be using these. Go back to your roots - keep the cars simpler, even slower, but lower the cost to play, and make the cars unique and representative of actual vehicles. Who cares if they're not all aerodymanically similar? Give some more horsepower, others more turning and braking, etc.

    WRC is just a sad situation. What a great venue, and awesome racing - but alas, there are only two manufacturers left, and neither has officially committed for the next season. Ford and Citroen. Gone are the days of charged factory teams from all over the world competing across the globe. Maybe it was always meant to be a private affair, but I miss the factory teams, to be honest. (related good news? The new Focus RS might, just might, make it to the US as the new SVT Focus.)

    Disorganized Conclusion
    I still love Koni Challenge, World Challenge, and spec cup racing. I think Mustang and Porsche cups provide a lot of good entertainment. I am very picky about what I think constitutes *real* racing. Why do I follow it so much? I wish I had a dream marketing job at one of the tracks, or a seat in one of the cars. I think of the example of Paul Newman all the time; maybe I'll be able to get into racing at a later stage in my life. I can only hope.

    Basically, sports car racing good. stock car racing bad. DTM? Ugh... not enough diversity, super cars too rediculous. Where am I going with this? Time to end this post...
     

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