The Euro & JDM Parts Scene

Russ Smith's 1989 Polo Mk2 Breadvan

Hello, all you Euro fans! Today, I’m going to cover some key points about adapting US market cars with European and Japanese domestic parts, some differences between them, and even a short perspective from someone across the pond!

The Japanese domestic market (JDM) and European cars that share chassis with US models, tend to attract an origin-of-production following. Specific make group enthusiasts—like Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, and BMW fans—here in the US can have a deep respect for their vehicle’s country of origin, but different safety and emission standards have caused many cars to vary in engine and body detail from country to country to a large degree. Cars from Japan and Germany may have different lighting, interior, emissions components, and in some cases completely different drivelines from their overseas counterparts.

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Without September NASCAR, What’s Next for NHMS?

As all New Hampshire and other NASCAR fans are aware, New Hampshire Motor Speedway lost its September race, starting in the 2018 season. The race has been moved to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for various reasons.

The September race at NHMS was a large tourist attraction and helped with the seasonal race track’s financial health and New Hampshire’s economy as well. Governor Sununu pitched the sport loss as an opportunity for the race track to seek out other events. Some businesses and enthusiasts are concerned, however. The track had enjoyed two races, the other being held in July, for more than twenty years. Without a hiccup in these events for two decades, this blow to the track will be substantial, and it raises the questions of what will takes its place and how other events will be effected.

Doors could open for small-time local racing. Although Loudon, New Hampshire receives the full brunt of the northeastern winters, the motorsport community is very strong. We could see more availability for these events being welcomed to the parking lots, and hopefully use of the main track at a reasonable rate as well. NHMS has always allowed a large variation of motorsports to be held at the speedway. Being a participant in events and media coverage, I’ve never seen the track let anyone down, hosting lot events that range from car shows and autocross to a pumpkin distance shooting event in some of the dirt locations. Some racing clubs can cross their fingers in being allowed on track sometime soon.

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LS Swap Cost: What I Paid for My LSx V8 Swap & How to Budget Build Yours

Got a Fox-body Mustang? Just LS-swap it. 240Z? Better LS-swap it. ‘54 Mercedes? You’ll need to go ahead and LS-swap it.

You can’t swing a melting ice cream cone at a car show without dripping it on at least a dozen LS engines. With these swaps becoming so incredibly popular, I began to wonder if the saying “Cheap, fast, and reliable—choose two” had finally met its match. I decided to LS-swap my own car to find out just what it takes mechanically, and financially.

1964 Impala


My 1964 Impala convertible is a car that I have had since 1997, and I drove it for the first time around 2014. Needless to say, it’s been my project for a while. The car came from the factory with a straight-six engine that I could always rely on to run like complete garbage. The carburetor was the reason the engine always ran so terribly, and also the reason why I wholeheartedly believe that all carburetors belong in an airtight container at the bottom of the ocean. The only thing that this carburetor did well was inhale the happiness from my soul and burn it within each of the six cylinders.

After years of trying to love my straight-six, I smartened up and decided to find a better engine—one that actually made me happy when I fired it up; one that was a little wild and fun; and one that wouldn’t unexpectedly get weird on me. I basically wanted the maple frosted donut of the engine world. That underdog maple donut, a little offbeat and not for everyone, that you have to respect because it’s a smart choice. Anyone that has ever experienced the maple frosting knows it’s always the right decision if you’re playing the long game. So the solution to my engine problem was obvious; I just had to LS-swap it.

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Can I Bring My Car Out Of Winter Hibernation, Yet?

Being native to the northeastern part of the US, the winter here is long and full of salt. As the cold salty roads approach, we all put our cars away for protection. But now it’s almost time to take our cars out again. Or is it?

This year’s winter felt like it had been one for the record books for most annoying. Our winters are not as severe as some other areas—this year we didn’t see any snow sticking past 2-3 feet— which may seem like a lot to those in warmer climates, but, trust me, it is not a lot. The New England winter likes to stick around just enough to dangle spring three inches from your face. With some days hitting the 60s in mid-February, we all thought spring was just around the corner but Mother Nature had other plans for us.

The winter months here can be deceiving, dropping temperatures into the single digits during what is supposed to be “spring” and keeping enough salt on the roads to leave most of us stranded to our mundane daily drivers. Even worse off are those without garage space to work.

Some enthusiasts choose to engage “winter mode” on their modified cars with winter wheels, tires, and ride height adjustments to avoid the dreaded daily driver type grandpa car. But when is it actually time to release your car from its winter tires or take it out of the garage?

Enthusiasts have theories as to when the salt is actually gone. Some say first rain in a higher temperature day, some say a time frame from the last salt. Although it may seem like overkill to some, salt in the northeast is not to be trifled with.Continue Reading

2017 Formula Drift Driver Changes: What to Expect

Greetings fellow tire shredding enthusiasts, I would like to go over some big key changes for the upcoming Long Beach event and the following 2017 season.

DeNofa Moves to RTR

One of the biggest stories coming out of 2016 is underdog Chelsea DeNofa. The surprise winner of the 2016 Long Beach event is ditching his BMW for an RTR Mustang and joining Vaughn Gittin Jr. on an adventure to find the limitations of these Ford Racing, big budget, three-wheeling Mustangs.

Last season, despite starting out with a bang, put Chelsea in what seemed to be an uphill battle. The BMW, retaining a BMW 3.0L straight 6 won the hearts of many for the sheer bravery of running the unproven powertrain, but hit a brick wall.

Last season Chelsea could be seen sporting a loaned, underpowered S14 and even being slapped with a technical violation for using a type of tire bead sealer during an event. Chelsea’s driving career seemed to need a big change, and he found it. But will the change alienate the few purists he attracted running the daring BMW setup or will his new RTR find him fame and fortune?

Can Foresberg Repeat?

Chris “the Force” Foresberg’s constancy is something you need to see for yourself. Most events, Foresberg clears qualifying with ease and reaches the podium often. He pulled in the 2016 championship, but just barely, due to some close competition in Irwindale with Aasbo and Gittin at his heels.

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Should I Buy a Modified Car? Tips to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

modified car buyer beware


Hello, fellow car enthusiasts! Today, I would like to go over some key points for purchasing a lightly modified to heavily modified car. Relieving some of the stresses of these purchases can make for a more entertaining car hunt. This post will be geared towards a turnkey purchase, requiring little work when first purchased. We will also cover purchasing basics.

Take Your Time

When purchasing a modified car, it is key to take the process seriously. When dealing with modified cars of any sort, whether it be a show or a track car, you need to understand what you are buying and what risks may come along with it. Many times, first, second, or third-time purchases can end in disaster. It is very easy to find a car you want, but be aware that it may have flaws. When searching locally, it’s best to be cautious. Letting your desire get the best of you can result in a bad purchase.

Research and Know the Car

Going into a purchase blind is not a good idea and a common mistake. When you do find a car you want, approach it with every question you can think of—really cover everything. A little internet researching can return great results for problems with a certain car, mod, or part. When dealing with a car producing large horse power numbers on a stock rotating assembly and valve train, you should always know what it is capable of. Forums and even performance shop pages and websites list all sorts of reliable information about builds.

Understand the Vehicle’s Current Modifications

People can hide poor work. Wiring nests can be hidden behind dashes, poor engine tuning can wreak havoc, and a bad suspension setup can be dangerous. Have a clear understanding of the modifications done to the car. Sometimes internet listings can stretch the truth or exclude work done. Car enthusiasts do a lot of work at home. This is not a bad thing, some of us are more talented than others and can produce amazing work. When you meet the owner, ask who, where, and when these things were done. These cars can change owners frequently and by the time the current owner has it, sometimes there’s little known information left about the car.

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Why You Should Rotate Your Tires

What is tire rotation?

To start, tire rotation is when you change the location of each tire.  You keep the same tires and just move them around.  This helps extend the life of each tire.

Why should I rotate my tires?

The short answer is that your tires wear at different rates.  Relocating tires that experience more wear to spots where they’ll experience less wear (and vice versa) can give you the maximum life out of each tire.  That’s better than letting an individual tire wear out quickly, requiring you to replace it more often.

Why do tires wear at different rates?

You might think they would wear out at the same rate, since they go the same distance over the same roads.  Well, actually, they don’t necessarily all go the same distance.  In a turn, the outside wheel covers more distance.  Since we drive on the right hand side in the United States, left hand turns take longer.  That means our left tires cover more distance than the right ones, so they wear faster.  If you live somewhere where driving on the left side is the norm, your right wheels will wear faster.

The other factor affecting tire wear is the weight on top of the tires.  The engine is the heaviest thing in your car, and in the vast majority of cars, it’s located at the front.  That means the front tires get pushed harder against the road than the rear tires.  That also wears them faster.

The front wheels also have the duty of steering.  When steering, the tires turn across the ground, which scrapes off some of the rubber surface.  That also speeds up the wear on the front tires.

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