At the recent monthly swap meet I spotted a derelict looking, rusty wrecker. It instantly reminded me of the steampunk zombie apocalypse survival vehicle that we had talked about a couple of weeks ago, and it easily sucked me in for a closer look. From every angle this thing was an absolute monster. It had enough leaf springs to haul the heaviest of loads, enough steel to thwart off that nastiest zombies, a single headlight for creeping around, and perfect patina to keep things ugly. If I didn’t have so many projects, I would have loved to have taken on a new toy like this. No, I wouldn’t clean off any of the rust. I would just get the truck mechanically sound, and ride crusty. Literally. Who doesn’t need a classic wrecker in their driveway? “You want to take the wrecker today?” “You’re darn right I do.”
Eventually, your car will need new brake pads and rotors. Don’t bother trying to escape it, because you can’t. If you are lucky though, you have a car that doesn’t have the stupid phillips head screws holding the rotors on to the hubs. I was unfortunately not so lucky recently, but I have destroyed enough of these little screws to eventually figure out a way to get them out. Guess what else? I’m going to show you how! Read More
Without question, the most fun that I have ever legally had in a vehicle was when I took my 250+ horsepower mini truck to an autocross-like event at my local air force base. It was put together by a driving school, which I had heard about through a friend of a friend. The driving instructors were mostly made up of
crash Spec Miata racers, who all had decades of real racing experience behind them. Needless to say, it made for an extraordinarily thrilling day for everyone in attendance.
Since we were going to be
brutally beating driving our own vehicles on the course, we began the day with pre-race vehicle inspections. The driving instructors needed to make sure that none of us had any planned trips to the nearby hospital. Once all of the vehicles passed the safety test, we signed a waiver and began learning the basics of autocrossing. Certain cones meant certain things, and if you ignored the rules, you would likely end up looking like a jerk in one way or another. Got it. The walk around the track and basic training eventually wrapped up, and it was finally time to run our cars (ehem… trucks…) with our new driving, racing, and acronym knowledge.
The following several hours were spent pushing our vehicles to the limits, and generally having the times of our lives. It has now been about 3 or 4 years since that fondly remembered summer day, and I still get overly excited thinking about how much fun it was. The amount that I learned, and the amount of fun that I had is simply inexplainable to this day.
Fast forward to last week, and I just so happened to come across an extremely cool website. It takes the place of my “friend of a friend” by helping you find the nearest auto racing schools to where you are. It’s known as: “Auto-Racing-Schools.FindTheBest.com“, and if you are reading this, you should definitely check it out. Some of the racing schools listed on the site are far more serious than what I did, but I would bet the knowledge gained is exponentially more serious as well. The other excellent part of this website is the fact that if you are a driving or racing school, you can add your business to the list and potentially get your name out there to the masses. Look, we all just want to drive our cars like we stole them, and we want to do it without landing behind bars. So go tell your family and friends to pool together a birthday present for you, and get yourself into the racing scene! Even better, bring me along!
Is it the 14.3 second quarter mile times that make this car so outrageously awesome? Could it be the 390 V8? Maybe it’s the 4-speed transmission and the limited slip differential? Glass packs? Nope, all wrong-o! Every one of those guesses are 100 percent, dead wrong. It’s the hood. Yes, the whole hood and nothing but the hood is what makes this car so outrageously awesome. Back in the late 1960’s, when other manufacturers were doing simple scoops and decals, AMC came out and changed the game. The designers at AMC were probably all like “Let’s put a giant bird catcher on this thing! Yeah! Then, let’s make sure people know why we did it! I’m talking decals, engine sizes, arrows and hood pins! We need to lock down the hood game, and bring it to the masses!” And so they did… AMC clamped it, double stamped it, locked it, and then nailed it down so well, that it made everybody else on the drag strip look ridiculous. Nicely done SC/Rambler, nicely done. You’re a true champion and everybody knows it.
Sometimes your engine starts making a noise, and the only way to make it go away is by turning the stereo up louder. Time passes and the noise under the hood has progressed into a dull roar. With a simple clockwise spin of the knob, the stereo volume increases by an equal amount. This seesaw of events continues until your tweeters are nothing but static and you feel like you are trapped inside the woofer. The racket from your engine bay is completely unbearable, and jerking the wheel seems like the best option. Knowing that bad news awaits under your hood, you reluctantly pull over and take a peek. In the spot where your tensioner bearings once lived is an empty pit of nothingness. Sadly, the bearings are long since scattered along the roadside, never to be seen again. Your miles are officially numbered. I’m not a gypsy, but I’d say a Belt Tensioner is in your future.
Real life? You bet it is.
Last week, this video popped up on the interwebs. It consists of a camera strapped to a 650+ horsepower Ariel Atom. Not familiar with the Atom you say? Well, just imagine an F1 car that you can drive on the street. It is sort of like that, but less expensive. It’s not a luxury or winter vehicle by any means, but it will out corner any other vehicle in your neighborhood, and make your friends shriek out profanity. The one in this video was apparently built by RealStreetPerformance in Orlando Florida. It claims to have 650+ horsepower coming from a K20 Honda engine with the help of some forced induction. The power is sent through a 6-speed to the rear wheels, which clearly makes for one serious hell ride.
Can’t see the video? Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUl-4BPLgfQ