Did you know that your car’s tires have the week and year that they were made stamped right into the side of them? Pretty cool right? On the side of every tire made after the year 2000, there is an oval with 4 digits in it (as pictured above). The first two digits are the week of the year, and the second two digits are the year itself. On this 2005 Mazda Rx8 tire, you can see “1009”, which means it was built during the 10th week of 2009. Not too shabby.
Now, if your tires were made before the year 2000, things were a little more wild and crazy. They still told you the week and the year that they were built, but they did it with three digits instead of four. (What?!) Tire manufactures assumed that nobody would have tires more than 10 years, so the numbers could potentially repeat themselves once each decade. Let’s have an example, shall we? Pretend you have a super rare, silver 1992 Dodge Spirit R/T 2.2L Turbo. It’s all original right down to the tires, and with over 220 horsepower on tap, you are looking to burn the meats off in grand fashion before replacing them with M/T ET Drag Radials. Dangit! You’re shoelace is untied again. You bend down and catch a quick glance of the oval on the tire with “211” stamped into it. You’re a clever cat, so you obviously know that the first two digits mean that the tire was made during the 21st week, and the “1” is the 1st year of that decade, which was 1991. You quickly lace up your high-tops, hop in the Spirit, pop your MC Hammer tape in, rip the e-brake, and proceed to shmammer the tires as your friends cheer you on in fits of joy.
…annnnnd back to reality for a quick moment – This tire dating knowledge is not just a great way to impress the ladies, but it is a good piece of info to have when buying new (or used) tires. Naturally you want the latest and greatest rubber between you and the asphalt. Whether you can see it or not, old tires just don’t grip like a new set does.
In high school, my friends and I drove some really, really crappy cars. We knew that they were crap, yet we invested fist fulls of money and months of time into them as if they were going to have a huge payout someday. Apparently foresight was not taught in school. Somehow putting $1500 of stereo system in a $30 car made a lot of sense at that point in our lives. On the bright side, the cars were so crappy that it allowed our creativity to really shine. We could do any ridiculous modification that we wanted because the car was worthless to begin with. If we messed up, it was still a worthless car. Racing stripes? Sure! Painted windows? You Bet! Backwards seats? ummm, yes? We learned many valuable life lessons on these cars, and we wouldn’t have be the same without them. Pictures above is a friend / coworker’s high school driven 1983 Olds Delta 88 in the prime of it’s life. It was a car that we were proud to cruise in for obvious reasons. Thank goodness for high school cars.
I awoke one warm morning last fall and meandered my half asleep body outdoors heading in the direction of my truck. My cell phone clicked as I hung up with a friend. He had just asked me if he had left something in my truck the previous day. With each lackadaisical step down the driveway, my eyes reluctantly opened slightly further. That’s when it happened. About 10 feet from the truck I stopped abruptly, because something was not quite right. A giant gobbling beast emerged from its dormancy and we immediately locked eyes. He was perched atop the roof of my truck, and stood tall, spreading his wings as if to challenge me to a duel. With fear in my heart and a rush of Thankgiving thoughts flowing through my mind, I knew that this was not going to be a normal day.
I had to sneak this video onto the blog last minute today because it is truly spectacular on so many levels. It shows the valves of a BMW S1000RR engine opening and closing at an obscene RPM. After seeing this, I want to go home and take the valve covers off my engines to see how they compare. There is really not a whole lot more to say.
The guys at Hitman Hotrods and MBRP Inc. are building what appears to be the most awesome Chevy Colorado known to mankind. As if tubbing and caging a basically new 2007 Chevy Canyon wasn’t cool enough, they went ahead and stuck a supercharged LS7 in it, backed by a T-56 6-speed. Drool. Multipurpose racing with 1000 horsepower is the intention, and they appear to be on the right track. Let’s see how it performs on the 1AAuto Blog Pure Awesomeness list:
– LS7 engine that has no business under the hood? Check!
– 1000 horsepower? Check!
– Manual transmission? Check!
– 10 second quarter mile times? Check!
– Massive front AND rear tires? Check!
– 6 (yes 6) Brake Calipers? Check!
– The stance of absolute perfection? Check!
– Ability to scare people with the engine off? Check!
While cruising the streets of the world wide web, I landed deep within the pages of a great thread in a motivemag forum. It had some outstanding photos of old car wrecks in it. Once you get passed the whole human aspect of it, it is truly amazing to see.
Many people assume that cars of that era were slow, but the truth is that many models were quite capable of today’s highway speeds. In fact, the first car to ever reach 200 mph was in 1927. Sure it was using plane engines, but it does show that America was deeply craving high speeds. Almost every car in the 1930’s could easily attain today’s 55 mph speed limit, and many of the vehicles from the 1920’s could too. Although these cars could clearly get up and go, their skinny tires, leaf spring suspension, mechanical drum brakes, and the dirt roads, made their stopping abilities less than stellar. Just imagine stopping your own “modern” car with nothing but the parking brake. That is similar to what many of the 1920’s cars had. Compound that with solid steering columns, steel dashboards, lack of seat belts and safety glass, and you were in rough shape in an accident. So the next time you hop in your car, open your window, and give a quick shout-out to modern technology.
You probably won’t believe this, but car companies aren’t throwing keys at me and begging for me to review their latest creations. Shocking right? So I’m doing things a bit differently than most. I will be begging for, borrowing and buying cars, driving them for a while in the real world, and then letting everybody know what I thought. The huge benefit to this is that I will be driving real cars, not Pagani Zonda’s. By all means, if a fresh Pagani lands in my driveway, I am willing to take it for a jaunt around the block, but my celebrity status isn’t at that level just yet. So until then, with your help, I will be tackling the slower and carbon fiberless real world vehicles.
Let me start off by stating that all of my life I have hated BMW’s. Granted, I had also never driven a new one, so my opinion was completely biased. Each one that I had the “pleasure” of driving felt like a 7000 lb gutless turd that was filled with cracked leather and broken electronics. While not nearly as bad as the Saab’s, Buick Reatta’s, or Cadillac Allante’s, it always seemed like I needed to know a secret slap-the-dash move to make stuff work.
Fast forward to last summer. My friend’s neighbor said “Hey Jeremy, I have a BMW Z3 that I don’t want, it’s got some issues (no surprise), you wanna buy it?” I checked it out and decided that BMW’s couldn’t be all that bad. Maybe I did need a little bit of the ultimate driving machine in my life. The price was very right, and with the top down, summer sun was going to be better than ever.
The Z3 is a 1.9L with a 5 speed manual and 90K miles. It is not the slowest thing that I have ever driven, but it feels like a typical 4 cylinder as far as power goes. The truth is that the engine feels rock solid, way more so than any of my other vehicles. I could probably rip 3 spark plugs out and the little devil 1.9L may not even notice, it feels like a tank. The 5 speed transmission is a different story. Mine was completely replaced at 60K by a BMW dealer, which means it only has 30K on it. Instead of feeling like a new transmission, it feels sloppy. I’m not sure if all BMW manual transmissions feel like this, but it is just not sporty feeling like I expect to find in a 2 seater sports car.
Steering and Suspension:
It’s small, and light so the steering feels tight & fast, especially with the relatively wide tires. The suspension on the other hand feels like it has 90K miles. It lacks heavily as far as sportiness goes, leaning too much, and being more bouncy than firm. If you buy one with 1998 suspension still attached, new shocks and struts should be the first priority on the list of parts to buy. If the suspension parts were new, I bet it would handle & drive 100X better than it does currently.
– Heated seats are toasty hot.
– The stereo sounds decent for an OE 1998 system.
– Incredibly awful. I hate nearly everything about the interior.
– The steering column doesn’t adjust down. Seriously BMW? Really? My knuckles are against the windshield!
– The seats and door panel belong in a 1985 Celica. They could not be more sleep inducing.
– The cup holders are right where your elbow is and they are too small for a medium ice coffee. Buy a coffee and it’s “Cya Armrest!”
– The power windows move in slow motion. I have honestly never seen a vehicle with slower moving windows. The time it takes to roll the windows up or down is measured in hours.
– The dashboard styling is really dated. It’s like they designed a crazy round unique shaped body, and then said “we have no time left to design a dashboard, here is one from a 1983 Mercury Capri, customers will never know.”
– The heat and A/C blowing ability is offensive. Then again, why am I driving a convertible with the heat or A/C on?
The looks of the car are pretty good overall, it’s really a matter of taste though. The fit and finish is all original and it really is high quality. The paint still looks fresh, and everything opens and closes properly. My only gripe is the headlights that are yellowed. Unfortunately all plastic headlights eventually look like that. I need to spend some time polishing them to make them pretty again.
Overall, I am glad I bought the car. It is a lot of fun on warm days, and with a little maintenance it could be a really fun car on windy roads or an auto x track. My biggest gripe is that I feel like people are calling me names and giving me dirty looks. I may need to paint it flat black and add some numbers to the side so that people don’t assume I’m a rich snob.