Nissan ZEOD RC – “World’s Fastest Electric Racing Car”

Nissan ZEOD RC uses the same battery technology used in the Nissan LEAF.  It’s speed exceeds 186mph or 300km/h

Nissan revealed the ZEOD RC – “the world’s fastest electric racing car”, according to Nissan, that is expected to achieve speeds of more than 186 mph.

Standing for “Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car”, the ZEOD RC employs the same lithium battery technology used in the Nissan LEAF.  It will make its testing debut in the late summer of this year and will make its first race appearance at the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour.

 

 

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source: japanesesportcar
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OLE ORANGE BANG: TILL DEATH DO US PART

It saddens me everyday as I drive around Los Angeles, stuck in traffic surrounded by big metal things with four wheels. They are not cars, they are simply methods of transportation, also known as ‘mots.’

You don’t fall in love with a mot. You trade it in when it gets old, you smash it into things when you get bored. It’s a cookie cutter world and most people drive mots.

Speedhunters is about car culture and Ole Orange Bang is most definitely not a mot. It is a car, and it has become a living breathing part of my family. ‘Till death do us part.

On my wedding night instead of being ferried away in a fancy limousine, I drove my beautiful wife home in my 1970 SR20DET-powered Datsun 240z.

Since it had been sitting for a few weeks, I thought it was about time to take it out once again – not only so it could see the light of day, but also to do some much needed canyon carving.

Wedding burnouts really take a toll on the cleanliness of the car, so I wanted to make sure it looked its sunday best before I took it out for a stroll.

Nothing pains me more than seeing carbon fiber parts fade in the sun, so I always make sure to take extra care of my hood.

I am sure this is a familiar sight for you Speedhunters out there. It’s funny because my neighbors look at me weird and ask me why I don’t just take my car to a car wash. They just don’t understand because they drive mots.

Since my last post I haven’t done much to the car besides adding a new steering wheel. I really liked the wooden look of the stock wheel…

… but it was too large. That, and I’ve always wanted a premium steering wheel.

I left the Kazama shift knob alone because I actually really like the feel of it. It’s solid and quite heavy and as our fearless leader Rod Chong always says, one of the most important parts of the car are the surfaces that you touch when you’re using it.

Because I’m away from home for weeks at a time I end up having to jump start my car everytime I want to drive it. My wife took notice and bought me this trickle charger. You see why I married her?

I’ve made it a ritual now everytime I drive the thing. I have to unhook the battery charger…

… and I have to check all its fluids. As this is an old car, at one point or another everything has leaked.

The summers in Los Angeles get quite hot so I added some Red Line Water Wetter. I also figured I would put in some Fuel System Cleaner as the motor already has about 3000 miles on it now since it was built.

Just one last touch and I was ready to hit the road. This metal Speedhunters license plate surround will be available soon…

I’ve driven nice roads all over the world, but there is something special about a palm tree-lined road leading into the mountains.

With a full tank of fuel and the pre-flight check looking good, it was time to do some canyon carving.

I decided to hit up some local roads just a few miles away from my house. This road sign should actually read “Fun for the next 20 miles.”

The road is much less traveled as currently it does not go anywhere. You can check out the route (courtesy of Google Maps) here.

It’s located right next to the much more famous Glendora Mountain Road, also known as GMR.

On the way up you pass this beautiful recreation area. There are many places around here for camping and hiking, as well as one of the largest shooting ranges in the area, located in the mountains. This is America after all.

This area is also an off-road haven for the four wheelers and trail riders out there. You just have to pay a small fee.

Here are some of the trails that you can drive on. Just don’t get stuck.

It seemed like the ribbons of hot asphalt were never-ending on the lower portion of the road with many sweeping third and fourth gear turns. I always take it easy as there’s no way to tell what is going to be around the next bend.

As I was about to start climbing to around 7000 feet I left my AEM multi gauge on the water temperature setting just to keep an eye on it.

As I neared the top section of the road, the turns got tighter and tighter, which meant I was mostly using second and third gears.

In the winter time it actually does snow up here. It’s hard to believe you can walk on snow just a few miles outside of Los Angeles.

I’ve driven these roads before with snow banks lining the outside. It can be quite dangerous though, as they don’t use salt on them so black ice can form very quickly.

Since I’m covering events on the weekends the only time I get to take the Z-car out is during the week.

This road is practically empty with very little traffic during the weekdays. Sometimes I try riding my road bike up the same road, only to fail half way and turn back.

It was about 95 degrees fahrenheit down by my house, but up in the mountains it was a cool 65 degrees.

Many people come up here on the weekends to go fishing at Crystal Lake, and that’s pretty much the only traffic this road gets now.

This road used to connect to the other side of the mountain, but a few years back it rained very heavily and the road was damaged due to landslides.

Ever since then they closed the road to all traffic. It has created a sort of motoring heaven, as you don’t really have to worry about traffic.

Maybe in a couple of years they will fix this portion of the road, but until then I will continue to come here and enjoy the wonderful drive.

If you look over the cliff you can see the stretch of road leading up to the top.

The view from the top was breathtaking as always. You can see the smog in the distance creeping up the mountain, but the air quality was drastically cleaner up here.

Every now and then I could hear the note of a performance exhaust echoing off the face of the mountains, but it was quite rare.

As a tradition I always stop by the cafe located right next to the lake for a bite to eat.

They should probably just leave the needle on critical, as it always seems like Los Angeles is on fire in one part or another.

If you ever happen to drive this dream road make sure you spot by this little trading post – they make great tuna sandwiches. Everybody loves the tuna there.

My car is now 43 years old, much older that I am, but from the day I laid eyes on it I’ve taken good care of it. It has brought me so much joy and hopefully one day my children will be able to enjoy Ole Orange Bang…

What sort of dream roads do you guys drive your cars on?

 

Larry Chen

 

 

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source: speedhunters

THE V8 MK1 ESCORT

“Everything new is old.” Heard that one before? Well it’s true. When people moan about putting BBS wheels on a Golf, because they want to see something ‘different’, you know what? Chances are somebody did your ‘different’ thing a long time ago. I’m sure in the future there will be two distinctly recognisable eras of car modification: pre and post internet.

Karl Fiara’s Mk1 Escort is a trip back in time for me; sat here in the glorious sun of the recent Players Classic Show at Goodwood it transports me back around 20 years. To when you had to be at one of the big season-opening shows to see what everybody had been building during the winter, where you could catch up with friends without knowing how many laps of the Nurburgring they’d done the month before,when the excitement was tangible in the air and cars like this Escort two-door were more commonplace and that can only be a good thing.

There was something familiar about the Ford when I first saw it the previous weekend at the Classic Ford Show at Santa Pod in the UK. It was parked on the Wheel-Whores.com stand as the guys had decided to award it best wheels of the show. A quick conversation saw them invite Karl down to Goodwood for the following weekend, where the Escort did a great job of attracting the crowds.

The Players crowd rightly enjoyed the old Ford. Walking around it and then talking to owner Karl Fiara it still felt achingly familiar, but it was still no small surprise to find that the Escort was built over 20 years ago. Which places it slap bang in the middle of my ‘golden era’ for car modification in the UK. It’s an age thing y’see: I’d just started driving and anything seemed possible, regulations were slacker than they are now, the police didn’t run your plates from half a mile away through a computer and there was less traffic on the road.

Sure the Escort isn’t immaculate. It has proper patina though; it’s a survivor, unlike a lot of its contemporaries. The early ’90s were a time when half decent cars that weren’t overly complicated were cheap enough to chop up without really caring. You had sleek, simple, cool and sometimes boxy shapes from the ’60s and ’70s that could be built in a home workshop on a budget without looking like some vintage renegade that was about to fall apart. Pastel shades were popular, grunge music and rebellion were in the air and change was happening after the all-consuming hunger of the ’80s had exploded at the end of the decade.

Like I said, it was pre-internet and you’d make a scene by building something to go to a show, and using it until the annual inspection test ran out. Cutting the roof off and welding a four foot gearstick on it, roof chops that left a windscreen the size of a letter box, home built chassis with the abundant Rover V8 slotted in because there were plenty of them in the scrapyards and they sounded good. Splatter painting it at home, the louder the better; it was about having fun. That’s what this Escort reminds me of.

The V8 first went in around ’86/87, with the Escort being stripped down shortly after and the full build taking place. So what you’re looking at now is a 1969 Escort bodyshell mounted over a home-built, ladder style box section chassis. It was all built up by Warren Cole, who amazingly was here at Players Classic too. Karl bought the Escort complete as you see it in the late ’90s, tucking it up in his garage shortly after, only getting it back out very recently as Warren lives fairly locally and it seemed like a good opportunity for a reunion (also as he’d thought previously the Escort was long gone).

But it’s obviously very much alive. Nowadays any Mk1 Escort two door shell is worth big money to the right buyer. So to see one like this is unique. I know of a handful of V8-engined examples but all of them retain a very ‘enthusiast’ orientated look to them. This thing? It stands alone for me. What Warren wanted was a fairly simple, very low cruiser that he could use anywhere, any time.

He used everyday, affordable, mechanical parts that combined in the right way to make something that grabs your attention. It wasn’t long after the era of everybody naming show cars, so you used to add small phrases here or there, much like a well-placed sticker these days. Like the hand painted “Kin LOW” on the handbrake cable carrier. Did we mention it was low? Well maybe not as much as you might think.

That’s the beauty of channeling the body over a new chassis: everything is tucked up out of harm’s way. Airbags were still a decade away from becoming vaguely affordable or practical so this was the best way of keeping everything safe.

The reason why it was on the Wheel-Whores.com stand is because of these Revolution RFX wheels. We all know hot rods and drag cars run big and little combos, but one of the stand out, gutsy choices of this build has to be the 9x16s out back…

… and the skinny 5.5x13in same style on the front. Revolution are a traditional UK-based wheel company and the RFX is probably one of their most memorable wheels; it’s a real late ’80s/early ’90s choice. You can often date a build by wheel choice and these are spot on; remember again most factory cars were riding around on 14s or 15s maximum at this time. Many smaller cars still ran 13s, so the big 16s on the back were literally that. BIG.

No inner wings mean clearance isn’t a problem and the rear end has been tubbed to cover the 245/50x16in tyres. The pastel paint spills over to all the components and suspension parts; again this bright colour coding was really indicative of the time. Looking back I can only really think this was because body-coloured bumpers had been around for five to ten years on mainstream manufacturers cars, so the modified scene started to emulate this and add a little more.

Although of course the Escort has retained its factory standard chrome bumpers and oblong headlights, rarer than the usual round items and showing it’s now desirable 1300GT origins.

The body is largely stock, save for some stretched front arches, but there are a few extra holes around the place. The most obvious is for the standard SU carbs to poke through the bonnet, as clearance was needed and let’s face it, those two inches or 50mm would have meant more space under the sills… not an option.

The other one is for the top-mounted windscreen wiper, which although looking a little messy to some eyes is a clever solution to a problem that would otherwise thwart a builder with less imagination. There’s just no room above the back of the engine for a traditional set-up, although Karl and Warren were discussing the cable-driven wipers of a Mini that could be used now…

Inside you’ll find a period RS steering wheel and behind that a standard set of Rover P6 gauges that talk to the engine and gearbox easily.

There are no top-mounted pedals like standard, because of course Warren made the chassis, which means the hidden master cylinders are now activated by these.

Another blast from the past are the Huntmaster bucket seats. Sure they’re no Takatas but again these are twenty-five years old and you felt like a proper race driver when you bolted a set of these in.

Here you can see them reflected in the polished door panel; again, simple and stylish, it all helps to keep the Escort of the period yet timeless all the same.

This is probably the best view to see just how dramatic the difference in wheel size is, which just adds to the toy car effect I hear people mention when they see the Escort.

The chrome window trim on a Mk1 Escort has always been one of my favourite styling cues; it neatly encapsulates the glass in a bubble, making a very ordinary shape kind of special. You can also see the almost body colour, swage pinstripe line. Another ’90s favourite was extra locks and security devices, because you could ‘lift’ a Mk1 Escort as easy as a toilet seat.

So how does a car built on a budget in a home garage twenty five years ago keep turning heads today? To tell the truth I’m not sure, it could be a case of being ‘simply clever’.

There are no wild graphics, it’s just very well observed. Both Warren and now Karl wanted a very low Escort, itself a very popular car, that could be used any time. Add some instantly recognisable wheels in a slightly outrageous choice of sizes, a burbling V8, pastel bodywork and you tick a lot of boxes.

I’m just glad Wheel Whores spotted it and convinced Karl to come along to Players Classic, so now you guys get to see the Escort after all these years.

And yes, I know I’m perhaps being overly sentimental towards the time this was built, because of course, every generation has its favourites. That’s how the march of time works, but this simple Escort proves to me that good things never go out of fashion and now a whole new audience can appreciate it and be inspired.

 

Bryn Musselwhite
Instagram: brynem
bryn@speedhunters.com

 

Karl Fiala’s 1969 1300GT Ford Escort V8

Engine
Chassis mounted, Rover 3.5ltr V8 on standard SU carbs

Driveline
Rover four speed manual gearbox, narrowed Ford Capri 3.09 baby Atlas axle

Suspension/Brakes
Rack and pinion steering with modified arms, Cortina Mk4 independent front suspension, shortened springs, narrowed cross member, Cortina Mk4 front discs, Jaguar rear coilovers located on L brackets,  panhard rod, Competition Engineering ladder bars with solid rod ends, standard Capri drums

Chassis
Custom-made box section with narrow front end and kicked up rear, body channeled around 6in

Wheels/Tyres
Revolution RFX 5.5×13 with 135/80×13 tyres (front), 9×16 with 245/50×16 tyres (rear)

Exterior
All steel 1969 Ford Mk1 Escort, removable front end, stretched front arches, reformed bulkhead, raised tunnel and floor, tubbed rear, Citroen roof mounted wiper unit, enlarged radiator aperture in front panel, DZUS bonnet clipped at front, additional door locks

Interior
Two Huntmaster bucket seats, Rover P6 instrument panel, handmade pedals, underfloor clutch/brake cylinders, bespoke fuel tank in boot, battery fitted NSR, right hand side hand brake lever using Morris Minor cables

 

 

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source: speedhunters

Technical : C-WEST/BC/Hankook S2000

The C-West S2000 first gained noto- riety in November 2005 when the dry- carbon Honda was freshly shipped in a container from Japan just a few days before its U.S. race debut. With minimal changes performed on the vehicle’s suspension, the car was quickly whisked off to Buttonwillow Speedway as it prepared to wage war in the Super Street and eurotuner Time Attack (Super Lap Battle). The S2000 competed in the Unlimited FR Class and was driven by Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada, using of all things a stock JDM 2.0L motor. The naturally aspirated S2000 ran an amazing 1:53.147 time and was named the Unlimited FR Champion that year. The win was a bittersweet victory for C-West and its S2000 because the car was immediately taken back to the U.S. facility, never to be seen again, sitting in storage for the next two and a half years.

When the ’05 champ seemed to have been forgotten, the car was surprisingly resurrected, with the help of Gary Castillo, owner of Design Craft Fabrication, in early 2008. Castillo just so happened to work in a shop adjacent to C-West, walking past the S2000 on a daily basis while the car sat around catching dust. Sympathetic of the car’s status, he knew something had to be done. With a ’08 season proposal to run the S2000, with C-West Japan’s approval, the car was given a basic tune-up before it was officially un-retired and trailed back out onto the tracks. Using an over-the-counter GReddy turbo kit on the factory engine, the car was taken to a local track event where the now-turbocharged powerplant and lightweight chassis seemed to work well for both driver Tyler Mcquarrie and the C-West S2000.

As time progressed, the S2000 went through numerous changes and picked up sponsors like BC (Brian Crower) and Hankook tires-lending a helping hand to improve its record-setting times at numerous tracks events. Follow along as Turbo magazine and Design Craft Fabrication prepares to swap out the tired 2.0L mill with a custom 2.4L powerplant. You can bet this team, with its new engine displacement and numerous upgrades, is eyeing the coveted track record of 1:43.523 that was set by HKS and its CT230R at Buttonwillow in 2007. Only time will tell before this carbon machine has what it takes to be crowned this year’s Super Lap Battle champion.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Gary Castillo three days after the new engine was installed and the shakedown at Willow Springs Raceway during a Super Lap Battle qualifying event.

Honda S2000 Building New Engine

In building the new 2.4L engine, Castillo used a set of ACL flash-treated rod bearings. BC offers a full set of ACL flash-treated bearings with its stroker kit, which was used for this engine. The advantages of flash treating a bearing is a surface that is stronger, due to the similarities of being heat treated. Because the bearing is sold through BC, they can offer close-to-factory-spec clearances
Honda S2000 Measuring Ring Gaps

Ring gaps were measured per cylinder.
Honda S2000 Stock To New

Here’s an image comparing the stock Honda piston material sleeve to a Darton ductile iron sleeve. The Darton sleeve fortifies the sleeves while making it a closed-deck block. The sleeves were installed by Steve of Race Engine development in Oceanside, Calif.
Honda S2000 Cp Pistons

The newly acquired CP pistons were measured half an inch from the bottom of the skirt to get accurate bore size. A quick measurement of the piston revealed they were 88.91mm.
Honda S2000 Bc Rods

The BC rod uses the same center to center with the factory rod but pin location on the piston is modified to accept the larger 2.4L stroke.
Honda S2000 Preparing Ring Gap Clearance

Castillo prepares the ring gap clearance for the pistons. The CP pistons come with a ring gap spec sheet designed for street, strip, and race applications. The C-West/BC/Hankook S2000 went with a race application gap.
Honda S2000 Oil Ring Set

The oil ring set comes with a fourth oil ring expander, which compresses the oil ring to make up the difference of the pin height placement rather than using aluminum buttons.
Honda S2000 Stock Block Water Jackets

A close-up of the stock block water jackets.
Honda S2000 Iron Ductile Sleeves

The Darton iron ductile sleeves were machined for closed deck yet it allows coolant passage for extra cooling through the cylinder head.
Honda S2000 Arp Main Stud

ARP head studs come with Allen heads on top to tighten by hand and ensure install heights are correct.
Honda S2000 Aclmain Bearings

ARP main studs and head studs were used, along with ACLmain bearings.
Honda S2000 Different Size

A drawback when using ARP head studs is the bolt and stud protruding a little higher than the factory studs. Here’s a photo of the area we had to modify to give clearance for the oil pump.
Honda S2000 Main Girdle

The assembly shows the main girdle on the block using ARP studs.
Honda S2000 Die Grinder

Using a die grinder, the surface area was modified to make clearance.
Honda S2000 Removing Old Valve Seals

In order for the new BC spring seats to be installed, the old valve seals were removed and replaced.

C-West/BC/Hankook S2000 Shatters Records Again On July 12, 2008The Super Lap Battle was another good shakedown session for the C-West/BC/Hankook S2000. After our win in Utah we were intent on getting even more power out of the car. The new BC 2.4L stroker engine and GReddy T618Z turbo should be able to handle horsepower levels in the 600-zone, but we are only at half that power. As happy as we were about finally finding the problem that led to a loss in power, it was the challenge of solving the issue that was killing us. We were able to get the power up but we had to rely on deactivating Honda’s VTEC control. This was a temporary fix because the car should jump up in power once the issue is resolved. We’re looking to make over 100-plus more horsepower out of the engine once we can solve the VTEC issues. Nevertheless, the boost was not falling off like it did in Utah, and power was pulling throughout the powerband so we were forced to run the car as is. Upon our first run session we decided to run the boost controller on low and also run the C91 Hankook tires at a moderate pressure. After our first three passes, race driver Tyler Mcquarrie explained that he had to battle a slight understeer issue at the high-speed turns as well as an aerodynamic drag issue in straight-line, high-speed performance. When the timing sheet was posted, it revealed that we broke last year’s track record time of 1:28.10 posted by HG Motorsports. On the S2000’s first run session it blasted a time of 1:25.05, shattering the record by over three seconds. For the next pass the decision was made to lower the wing by 10 degrees and reset the tires to a much lower pressure and change the rear shock adjustments. On the Honda’s second pass it was obvious the changes worked when a 1:23.50 time was announced. The next closest competitor was Tanner Foust in the Crawford Subaru with a 1:37.20. With two more runs left in the day, we were left with the one of two decisions: unload even more power in case one of the competing teams was holding back or play it safe or leave the car as is. The decision was made to try and get more power using a set of BC prototype cams for our third run. During the run it was obvious that we didn’t have the proper fueling and timing, so Mcquarrie decided to scratch session three. The original BC cams were reinstalled and boost was turned up 4-more psi for the fourth and final run session. With track temperatures cooled off, the S2000 stopped the clocks at a record 1:23.14. Due to traffic, the car was not able to get a clean third pass, and results have always shown us that with the Hankook tires the third pass always runs the fastest with the rubber up to temperature. While we did ended up winning the event with a record time for the Super Lap Battle, an interesting note about the time was that it is the only production car to run that fast at Willow Springs, compared to full-tube chassis cars and open-wheel cars. The time falls in Willow Springs record list at number 26 in the Top 65 cars fastest to run at the track. Keep in mind that this weekend’s win is all testing for the big race coming this weekend at California Speedway. Be sure to look out for upcoming magazine coverage in Super Street, Modified, Turbo, Import Tuner, and Sport Compact Car. Hope to see you all at Auto Club Speedway, formally known as California Speedway.Gary Castillo, Team Design Craft

Redline Time Attack, Buttonwillow, Mar. 22-23First Place Unlimited RWDFirst Place Unlimited ClassFirst Place OverallOne of five cars to run in the 1:48 timezone

Super Lap Battle, Long Beach Grand Prix, Apr. 19-20Second Place Unlimited RWD

Redline Time Attack, Utah, June 28-29First Place Unlimited RWDFirst Place Unlimited classFirst Place OverallFirst Place Super Session BattleTrack record

click HERE to read more

source: turbomagazine

Veyron of Hybrids: 2014 Volkswagen XL1

Feather Weight: With its ostrich-winged doors, Volkswagen’s new mileage champ, the XL1, is the Veyron of hybrids.

 

If you drove a Volkswagen XL1, you’d be unlikely to encounter anything like it coming the other way. That’s because VW plans to build only 250 copies of its 283-mpg hyper-hybrid, and also because GM long ago crushed most of its EV1s, from which the XL1 looks almost entirely plagiarized.

Here’s another example of VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch going to extremes—in this case, to show his many critics in the German Green Party where to stick it. The XL1 is 1800 pounds of carbon fiber, aluminum, and plastic propelled by a two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine sharing the trunk with an electric motor. As of this writing, this Karmann Ghia of tomorrow may be sold or leased, VW hasn’t decided, but any sticker price should exceed $120,000. Sorry; European distribution only.

Just 45.4 inches tall, the XL1 is half an inch lower than a Lambor­ghini Gallardo, and it would be impossible for anyone but Tom Thumb dipped in Vaseline to enter through conventional doors. Even so, normal people climbing in have to bow deeply under the forward-winged hatches, step over a sill that is nearly a foot wide, and drop into a body that clears the ground by a mere three inches. If you expect this Volks­wagen XL1 to be a sports car, with its proportions and ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber tub with attached aluminum crash structures and body panels, you are mistaken. Push the starter button to see.

Instead of engine yowl, an indicator at the bottom of the central speedometer ­simply reads “READY.” Pull the lever of the seven-speed, magnesium-case, dual-clutch automatic to “D,” and push the accelerator. The electric motor integrated into the ­gearbox gently whirs like a blender, and the XL1 moves off. The low-rolling-resistance Michelins sound like grinding millstones—they are sized 115/80R-15 in front and 145/55R-16 in back, and no, that is not a misprint. The front rubber, just 4.5 inches wide, is inflated to 44 psi.

slim fastThere is no single silver bullet for creating the world’s most efficient production car. No, it takes a flurry of them, and the XL1 relies on meticulous optimization of aerodynamics and weight to meet its audacious goals. Steel and iron account for less than a quarter of the car’s 1800-pound weight, and the 0.004-inch-thick coat of paint is 50 percent lighter than a typical carbon-fiber paint job. Other details:

The skinny tires provide a comfortable ride up to city speeds. As the car accelerates on electric power, an orchestra of mechanical noises plays from the wheels and the transaxle. Every push of the brake pedal is accompanied by the rumble of pads sanding the ceramic discs. “We did not use any insulation,” says VW development engineer Ulrich Mitze, stating the obvious. “And the side windows are made of polycarbonate.”

Saving weight was the major developmental target for the second most extreme project within the Volkswagen Group after the Bugatti Veyron. The goal was a saleable “1-liter car,” or one capable of averaging 1.0 liter/100 km of fuel consumption. That’s a target of 235 mpg, nearly five times better than a Toyota Prius’s EPA combined rating. And VW claims to have beaten it.

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source: caranddriver

New Corvette Stingray turns 12-second quarter-mile

2014 Corvette Stingray Price and Performance GM
The 2014 Corvette Stingray will go 0-60 in 3.8 seconds on its way to a 12-second quarter-mile.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with an available performance package has been rated as the best performing standard Corvette to date.

The 2014 Vette with the performance-exhaust system can make the 0-60 sprint in 3.8 seconds. Braking from 60-0 mph takes just 107 feet, and the Stingray can sustain 1.03g in cornering.

A Corvette with the performance and magnetic ride-control package lapped the 4.2-mile Virginia International Raceway Grand Concourse in 2 minutes, 51.78 seconds. To achieve those figures, the Stingray was modified to include a racing seat and harness, and fire extinguisher system.

The Corvette equipped with the performance package is priced at $56,590. The Stingray goes on sale this September with a base $51,995 price (including destination charges).

The $2,800 optional Z51 performance package adds an electronic limited-slip differential; dry-sump oiling system; integral brake, differential and transmission cooling; and aero package.

Magnetic Ride Control with Performance Traction Management is a $1,795 option.

 

By: Angie Fisher

 

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source: autoweek

Kia Cross GT Concept revealed at Chicago Auto Show

Kia Cross GT Concept Kia
The Kia Cross GT Concept is an evolution from the Kia GT we saw in Frankfurt.

The Kia Cross GT Concept made its debut Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show. The concept is the next version of the Kia GT that we saw in 2011.

The Cross was penned in the Kia Design Center America in Irvine, Calif., the same shop that drew up the Track’ster, KV7 and Soul’ster concepts and the 2014 Kia Forte.

The Cross GT is a crossover with a long wheelbase, short overhangs and a wide stance. Kia says the Cross GT is of the same bloodline as the Sorento SUV, but with an additional 15.7 inches of wheelbase, 8.4 inches of length, and almost 5 inches of width. The roofline, though, is lower.

The rear doors open suicide-style, offering better access to the back seat. We’d be floored if those made it to a production version. The cargo area opens like a clamshell with a separate tailgate and glass hatch. Multi-paneled, hexagonal skylights dot the roof.

The hypothetical powertrain for this car — which is strictly a concept — is a 3.8-liter V6 combined with an electric motor, producing 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. It would be connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. Kia says the concept could go 20 miles on electric power alone.

Inside the Cross GT, four seats are anchored to the center tunnel, which makes them appear to float in the cabin. Reclaimed American walnut covers the instrument panel while renewable wool is used for touchable surfaces. Heating, radio and navigation functions are controlled with a touchscreen in the dash and mouse pad on the steering wheel.

We rate the chances of this car going into production at close to nil. Even Kia marketing chief Michael Sprague concedes that this is only one direction the company might try.

“Our customers are looking to the Kia brand to offer relevant vehicles in the premium segments that take value to new levels of sophistication,” said Sprague. “The Cross GT is the next logical step in that evolution. And while only a concept today, it signals one possible design direction we may explore for the future.”

Kia Cross GT Concept Kia
The Kia Cross GT debuted at the Chicago Auto Show.
Kia Cross GT Concept Kia
The Kia Cross GT has a hypothetical powertrain making 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque.
About the Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show is held every February at McCormick Place and bills itself as “The Nation’s Largest.” Pickup trucks traditionally have had a big showing in Chicago, as have green and small cars. This year marks the 105th Chicago Auto Show; press days are Feb. 7-8 while public days are Feb. 9-18.

source: autoweek

Building an Engine Wiring Harness

23 Building Engine Wiring Harnessfire Wrap 3000
01 Building Engine Wiring Harness

Whether you need to customize your engine wiring harness or just want to improve its appearance, we offer an alternative to purchasing expensive aftermarket harnesses. Keep in mind that this is not a definitive guide on building wiring harnesses; rather, we show you some basic steps on how to properly restore/clean up your engine wire harness using a number of DEI products.

If you’ve noticed by now, the OE harness has been sheathed using electrical tape and plastic loom. Yes, it’s cost effective on their part, but in all honesty, it doesn’t look good. The factory-style split loom is an eye sore with its bulky appearance while electrical tape over time will “weep” adhesive and peel off, leaving a sticky residue that’s a nuisance to remove.

The most important thing to consider before tackling this particular DIY project is deciding if this is a full-blown rewire job or a simple clean up. The more time-consuming wiring jobs will take a few days to a week to complete, so if this is your daily driver plan accordingly. Upon spending some time researching different methods of making wiring harnesses more clean and subtle, we decided to loom the harness entirely in heat-shrink tubing (no seams). We began by spending some quality time peeling off about a roll of old, greasy sticky, electrical insulation tape from our Subaru STI engine harness.

  • 02 Building Engine Wiring Harness
  • 03 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Products
  • 04 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring

Wiring Harness Rebuild

06 Building Engine Wiring Harness Plug
05 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring Diagram

It’s important to use the proper tools: a good set of wire strippers and cutters, a soldering iron, a heat gun, shrink wrap, pick tools, and self-vulcanizing tape. Always keep an OE service manual handy to access the wiring diagrams for your vehicle’s exact year and model/sub-model due to wiring differences between models. Repair any frayed wires prior to rewrapping.

Document the current wiring/clips and routing with detailed pictures prior to de-pinning the harness. If necessary use masking tape and/or zip tie to separate the wires and label each connection prior to taking photos for future reference to keep track of your progress. Most importantly, don’t begin by simply tearing apart your engine harness! Carefully plan your route of attack while sorting through the tangled wires. Properly measure each wire length as well as how they are routed to ensure your finished harness will install properly without any issues.

07 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring

Heat shrink offers a clean, no seam look, and it will never peel off or break. The DEI heat-shrink tubing is mil-spec grade, withstands up to 275 degrees F of direct heat, and is flame retardant. This meets or exceeds the corrugated looming that you typically see on engine harnesses.

  • 08 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring
  • 09 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring Pick Tools
  • 10 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring Shrink Tubing

DEI Hi-Temp Shrink Tubes

DEI Hi-Temp Shrink Tubes can be used to insulate wires, wire splicing, connections, and terminals and meets the material functional properties of mil-spec DTL-23053/5C. Professional-grade mil-spec flexible polyolefin tubing provides excellent electrical insulation, protection from dirt, dust, solvents, and foreign materials as well as providing strain relief. With a 3:1 shrink ratio and temp resistant from -67 degrees F to 275 degrees F, DEI shrink tubes are an alternative to corrugated plastic, which over time will cause “chaffing” of wires inside the conduit. It is best to have your wires tightly wrapped with heat shrink so they do not rub against each other. A simple trick to speed up the process is to use a wire secured to tape holding the main wires to pull through the heat-shrink tubes.

  • 11 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Hi Temp Shrink Tube
  • 12 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Hi Temp Shrink Tube
  • 13 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Hi Temp Shrink Tube

DEI Fire Tape

14 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Tape

Fire Tape is a nonadhesive silicone rubber tape that is self-bonding, self-curing, and forms a permanent watertight barrier that withstands 475 degrees F direct continuous heat. We like the fact that you’re not left with a sticky residue when unsheathing the wires. Combined with the DEI Fire Sleeve or hose protective sleeve products is an excellent insulating alternative to vinyl tapes and can be used to wrap wiring harnesses and cover and protect wire splices. Problematic portions of the harness, such as the firewall plugs that are too large to fit heat-shrink sheathing over the wires have the option of being rewrapped in loom/tape or nonadhesive silicone rubber tape as we used in the photo at the left.

  • 15 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Tape
  • 16 Building Engine Wiring Harness Before DEI Fire Tape

    Before
  • 17 Building Engine Wiring Harness Before After DEI Fire Tape

    After using DEI heat shrink and Fire Tape.

DEI Fire Sleeve

19 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve
18 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve

Constructed from a high-temperature-resistant braided glass material, woven into a sleeve and heavily coated with 100 percent iron oxide silicone rubber, Fire Sleeve provides the ultimate in heat insulation and protection from direct heat up to 500 degrees F continuous/2,000 degrees F intermittent heat. The fire sleeve helps to insulate wiring, hoses, oil/brake/transmission lines and can also be used for bundling and protecting hoses, electrical wiring, and more. To dispel heat, we wrapped the ignition coil wires with DEI Fire sleeve, which happens to sit adjacent to the turbo up-pipe.

  • 20 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve
  • 21 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve
  • 22 Building Engine Wiring Harness Ignition Coil Iring

Fire Wrap 3000

23 Building Engine Wiring Harnessfire Wrap 3000

Constructed from the same material as Fire Sleeve but with the convenience of a hook and loop edge closure design. Simply wrap Fire Wrap 3000 around wires, cables, or hoses without the need of disconnecting. We plan to cover the larger harnesses in the direct path of the turbo and downpipe once our newly rebuilt engine has been installed.

Using a labeler can help identify plugs when installing them on your engine. You can take it one step further and use clear heat shrink to protect the labels.

We think the results are pretty nice and make for a really clean look, but you can be the judge.

source: importtuner

Global Time Attack at Road Atlanta

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Road Atlanta and Global Time Attack are a match made in heaven. If you combine a 2.54 mile road course that rolls through the green hills of Georgia with an open rule set where maximum speed and minimum lap times are all that matters, you’re bound to have an incredible event.

Thanks to GTA series sponsors like Continental Tire, Whiteline Suspension, Garrett Turbo, Spec Clutch and Meister Watches, the battle for Road Atlanta certainly did not disappoint, with new competitors in the mix, newly set fastest lap records, and even big crashes!

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

From the perspective of Professional Awesome Racing, Road Atlanta was a shakedown and tuneup for the heavily revised 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII. Gone were the Active Center Differential and Super Active Yaw Control rear differential, replaced with mechanical differentials front, center and rear.

Having switched from Street Tire to Limited class at the Global Time Attack finale in November 2012, it was also a time to learn the nuances of driving differences of the Hankook Ventus TD in comparison to the Ventus RS-3.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Unfortunately, Day 1 proved to be a challenge from start to finish. Chasing issues of excessive oil consumption, the car would not run consistently enough to put together one flying lap. Having a never-say-die attitude, team members Grant Davis, Mike Lewin and Jordan Gilsinger embarked on a parts search throughout the greater Atlanta area, devising a solution that proved to work extremely well by the end of the day.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Tony Szirka Unlimited Class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Jason Dienhart Kyle Lewis

With the problem solved, the crew proceeded to help fellow competitor, Tony Szirka, replace a transmission in his Unlimited Class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Tony Szirka Unlimited Class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Jason Dienhart

Szirka and Professional Awesome have a long history of working together under the most adverse circumstances to fix record breaking cars at the last possible moment!

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

A threat of rain was in the forecast for the second day of competition, but feeling confident that all major issues had been addressed, Professional Awesome hit the track hard looking to gain lost time from the previous day.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

The car performed flawlessly in the first sessions of the day, and I with became even more comfortable with the vehicle changes as the day progressed. Minor tire pressure and alignment changes were all that was needed to maximize grip and to dial in the balance for optimal performance, though a new issue had peaked its head.

The car was running perfectly, but low on boost at only 22psi. The car had already set the new limited record with a time of 1:31.717, but quick adjustments were made to the tune to see if more power could be coaxed from the Evolution. Based on the previous year’s data, the team believed a 1:29.xxx  lap was possible and expectations were high for the fifth session.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 CRASH Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart Kyle Lewis

The fifth session proved to be the final session of our 2001 Evolution’s life.

Following another 1:31 second lap, I entered turn 1 and lost control of the car after an outside tire dipped into the Georgia clay. A hard crash ensued, but luckily I walked away with only minor bruising and a good headache.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Following the crash, the final session ran and everyone prepared for the awards ceremony.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

At the podium ceremony, champagne was sprayed, big checks collected and fast lap Meister watches given to competitors.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Much to the surprise of Professional Awesome, new Limited Front Wheel Drive record holder Doug Wind (left) gave his event winnings to the team to help the rebuilding process and Tony Szirka (right) followed suit, also donating his winnings.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

It was an incredible ending to an incredible event which saw competitors from the West Coast, East Coast and everywhere in-between.

New lap records were set in Street Rear Wheel Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Limited All Wheel Drive and Limited Front Wheel Drive which will give new goals for 2014 competitors to strive for.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

At the end of the day, it was amazing to see how tightly knit the time attack community is, helping out fellow competitors from start to finish! We look forward to seeing what will happen in November at the Global Time Attack Finale in Central California’s Buttonwillow Raceway on November 15, 2013.

MotorMavens has thousands more photos from GTA Road Atlanta! Stay tuned to MotorMavens for the next GTA photo update!

:: Dan O’Donnell

Mad Max Honda At Speed Ventures

Honda N360 N600 Vintage Mad Max Time Attack Car Streets Of Willow Speed Ventures

Can you guess what kind of car this is? If Mad Max drove a vintage Honda in a time attack series, is this what you would imagine his car to look like?

We were carspotting at the most recent Speed Ventures event at Streets of Willow, and saw this old school Honda with monstrous box flares, front lip spoiler and a huge front bumper. Let’s not forget the big wing up top, and the center mounted driver seat and steering wheel!

It looks something like a classic Honda meets time attack car built by Mad Max meets a dekotora meets Mater from the Pixar film Cars. This thing looks ridiculous, and we LOVE it.

Can you think up a good caption for this photo? The winner gets props and a shout out on our Facebook page and/or Instagram!

 

 

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source: motormavens

THE WEKFEST LA SPOTLIGHT-O-RAMA

Now that I’ve given you guys a broad look at Wekfest LA 2013, it’s time to close out my coverage with a Spotlight-o-Rama featuring some of the most interesting cars from the show. The result of my hunt has brought a mix of clean street cars, mad stance machines and some cool engine swaps. Let’s begin with the RHD EG Civic pictured above.

With so many high quality Honda builds appearing at events like Wekfest, it can be hard find the cars that really stand out. But there was just something about this particular Civic that I really liked.

The car was in immaculate condition inside and out, and the right-hand-drive cockpit was set off with with a few cool details like a wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel. I also like the use of the factory seats rather than aftermarket buckets. How can you not like those cool 1990s seat patterns?

The wheels on the EG were also quite special: 16-inch Desmond Regamaster Evos that have been custom-widened into some very aggressive sizes.

All in all, this Civic is a perfect example of the extreme attention to detail you find on so many cars at Wekfest. It was certainly one of my favorite Hondas of the day.

We’ll be sticking with the Honda theme for the next car – a CE1 Accord Wagon from the City Stars Crew. I might be slightly biased because I used to own one of these things, but the I absolutely love the long-roof version of the Accord.

Before I continue on with the Spotlight, just a little piece of trivia on this generation of Accord Wagon. Did you know that even the Japanese market versions of these car were actually assembled in Ohio before being exported to Japan and labeled as the ‘US Wagon’?

Anyway, this particular wagon was really built as a perfect cruiser. A set of old school Volk Racing mesh wheels are a fine choice to go with the 1990s style – although the fitment and stance are something that’s a little more contemporary.

Inside, a simple leather interior was complemented by a few small bits like another wood Nardi wheel and a classic bubble shift knob with Crown Royal boot.

Good style, tons of room for passengers or parts hauling, and bulletproof Honda reliability – it’s not hard to see why the Accord Wagon makes such a good daily driver. I’d love to have another someday.

I know some of you guys have expressed concern over the lack of Toyota MR2s on Speedhunters, so when I saw this Nevada-based SW20 I knew it was the perfect chance to do something about that.

Then again, the car was cool enough on its own merits to warrant a spotlight. In my eye this example seemed to have the perfect balance of aesthetic and performance modifications.

It was also in fantastic cosmetic shape, as evidenced by this view of the cockpit.

As for wheels. the car was equipped with a set of staggered Work Emotion XD9s – a perfect match for the subtle body upgrades and hunkered-down stance.

There you have it – some much needed Speedhunters MR2 love. I suppose the fact that an awesome mid-engined turbo sports car is somewhat ‘overlooked’ really shows just how good Toyota was back in the ’90s.

Next up, we have a car that just might incite some colorful conversation in the comments section. In fact, it almost seems like that may have been the intention with this build.

And whether you love it or hate it, the BMW Z4 from the Low ‘N Slow Crew certainly stops people in its tracks. If there was a negative camber award at Wekfest, this car would have taken it home.

I do have to say that the sweeping body lines of the Z4 are actually a pretty good match for this sort of cartoonish ride height and wheel fitment.

Just look at the way the fenders literally sit on top of the Work Schwert SC2 wheels. Whoa.

Before you go nuts over the nonfunctional suspension setup remember that the car does have “Low ‘N Slow” written down the side of it after all.

Moving in another direction now, we have a car that was clearly built for a little more than just looking pretty on the grass. From a distance it looks like a nice clean example of a first generation RX-7…

… but then you look under the hood and see that the car is powered not by a rotary, but a Honda F20C from an S2000.

To be honest, I’d never really thought about how good of a combination the SA22C and a high revving VTEC powerplant would be. After seeing this car, it all makes sense.

Besides the requisite S2000 instrument cluster, I also really liked how the owner fitted a vintage Mugen steering wheel – just to further throw people off when they peek inside.

So yes, contrary to the beliefs of some commenters there were plenty of cars at Wekfest that were about more than just aesthetics.

Last but not least we have one of the coolest and most unique cars in the entire show. Actually, it’s not even a car but a first generation Honda Odyssey built by Fast Eddie’s Racing.

From certain angles the van looks like your typical cruiser, but the looks are really just scratching the surface of what this minivan is all about.

Sure, there are cool style details like a set of 1990s-era Racing Hart wheels, but you have to look at the engine bay to really see where the magic is.

Under the hood, you’ll find a Honda H22 swap – but not just any H22. This motor has a totally trick reverse head setup based on the Honda Accord touring cars of the 1990s. The front-facing individual throttle bodies really make for a strange response when peo0ple walk by.

So there you have it – a little sampling of the kind of machines found at Wekfest LA. Some were built to go fast, some were built raise eyebrows and some were built to do both.

 

Mike Garrett

 

 

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source: speedhunters

DREAM DRIVE: THE KLAUSEN PASS

It all started with a phone call. Back in April when I was planning out a few Speedhunters Dream Drive stories, I called up my friend and regular Alpine pass expert Martin for ideas for the potential routes worth featuring. I remember him vaguely mentioning a petrolhead friend of his, Michael, who owns a Porsche 996 GT3 RS. With only 682 built, it is quite a rare car, so on the eve of one of the German public holidays a couple of weeks back, I rang him up and asked if he could arrange to meet me the next day.

I knew we were going to have an exciting day when the trip idea was green-flagged within a couple of hours, but as soon as I arrived at the meeting point next day on the outskirts of Zurich, there was a second car in the lot – a Mercedes Benz C63 AMG wagon. Both of the cars are owned by Michael. One is the daily driver, the other the track tool. I’ll let you take a guess at which one is which…

After a short brainstorming session, we decided to take a run up Klausen Pass which is a tight mountain road that cuts through some amazing scenery and sleepy villages. The route started from the town of Glarus and wound its way up and down the mountainside and ended the approximately 40 miles (64km) later in Altdorf. But there was little time for looking at maps – we had two cars and some challenging corners to carve.

Every now and then we would pass a tunnel when Michael would both drop a gear or two and let the engines sing.

The mix of a howling race bred flat six and a shouty V8 provided all the soundtrack I could have ever asked for. It was a perfect duet.

Warning bells were ringing in my head as we drove up the road. Snow in mid-May? That can’t be good…

… a point that was hammered home just a few minutes later. But, as we soon found out, due to fallen rock and snow being cleared from the road, the crest of the pass was closed to the public.

Although this wasn’t ideal, we had the cars for a few hours so we decided to head up the mountain and see just how far we could get until the road closed down completely.

Of course, given that the road was going to run out, we made the most of the often-technical winding ascent. As the Porsche gripped and darted through the hairpins with the C63 on its trail, I could constantly hear the tyres crying in agony.

Eventually the trees opened up and we were greeted by this jaw-dropping view. It suddenly felt like we were in a different country altogether.

This little village was peppered with cottages and huts, with the sky-kissing rocky cliffs providing a grand backdrop. This was mother nature at a scale I wasn’t used to.

About a mile later – and just as we were getting into the groove of the pass – we reached the roadblock where we were forced to turn around. I jumped out for one shot from the furthest point up the pass we had gotten to, overlooking the spectacular road we’d driven up.

Since our trip was cut short prematurely and there was no traffic at all, so we decided stop so that I could take a look at the cars in detail and soak up some of the atmosphere.

The GT3 RS came with two color options – red and blue – but only for the wheels and stripes along the side. This might not seem like much until you understand that it pays direct homage to the the legendary Carrera 2.7 RSs of the early ’70s.

The RS stands for Rennsport, or ‘racing’ in German. Race-bred technology can be seen everywhere on the car.

For example, the rear windows are made of polycarbonate, like that used in most race cars.

Lightness is a theme that is pervasive across the car. We’ve all heard how the GT3 RS features a badge sticker rather than enamel in order to save weight. That might seem live overkill, but for this race-ready road car a whole lot of small savings end make a big difference.

Inside, a big centre-mounted tachometer dominates the gauge cluster, with a redline at 8000rpm. The higher the red needle went, the better the car sounded.

These keyrings are often overused, but it seemed rightly-placed in the Porsche.

In comparison, the C63 comes with a healthy dose of practicality. Four hundred and eighty-plus PS, seats five and a big boot – what’s not to love about that sort of specification?

The chiseled fender flares give the car some menacing character. I drifted off for a while trying to pick one car over the other but even after quite a lot of heavy pondering, I still couldn’t decide. Would these two cars make a perfect two-car garage? I think so.

I swapped cars and jumped into GT3 RS. I say jumped, but in reality it was a fairly elaborate process getting in and putting the six-point harness on.

My time with the cars was running out and it was time to say goodbye to the C63. Following it through tunnels was just pure joy. The throaty V8 sound filled the hillsides.

Our trip came to a conclusion in the town of Linthal nestled in the valley. The unexpected end to our planned drive had me wanting for an experience of the full extent of the Klausen Pass. Which, of course, leaves me without a choice. I’ll be back. And soon.

 

Alok Paleri

 

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source: speedhunters

KUSTOMS UNDER THE SUN

I’ve been to more car shows in the last year than at any other time in my life. Between debuting my own car and coming on board with Speedhunters, I’ve been fortunate to hit major shows nearly every month – a petrolhead’s dream come true. An unexpected benefit of this recent and rapid exposure has been the opportunity to compare some very different events. Let’s be honest, nothing sucks more than attending shows that all feel the same – especially when the same cars show up over and over… and over.

I was excited to attend the Cruisin’ Nationals in Santa Maria because it’s known for having a strong contingency of my favorite genre: the traditional kustom.

Walking in the gate, Larry and I immediately had our socks knocked off by all the shimmering pearl electrified by direct sunlight. We both just walked off and started shooting the sun-charged masterpieces in their natural habitat, regrouping every so often before making our way to another set of cars.

Many of the major rod shows are indoors, a tradition that dates back over 60 years. It gives builders the chance to put their best foot forward, with a perfectly-polished and detailed car sitting in a display to complement it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the prestige of a national indoor show as much as the next guy, but the Cruisin’ Nationals reminded me of what you miss while your brain is being numbed by artificial lighting.

With the natural light enhancing every voluptuous vintage curve, we could truly appreciate the finest kustoms and rods on the west coast.

’49-’51 Mercurys are by far the most legendary of all kustoms – it’s just the go-to bodystyle for customizing – so this earlier ’48 model with canted Buick lights was particularly refreshing.

Being a kustom-centric show I thought we would see tons of chopped and dropped Mercs, so I was surprised by the overwhelming number of slammed Chevys.

This one had plenty of intricate paintwork on the roof – a theme we would see a lot more of throughout the show.

Here’s another with the mild custom treatment – slammed, shaved and flaked – but not chopped.

Plus a nicely detailed original straight six. I hope this one gets finished.

Traditional doesn’t always have to mean dumped though. I’m sure some would argue that this stock height Ford roadster is more traditional than any of the bagged and candied kustoms being built today.

I took Gene Winfield’s metalworking class with a few guys who are now making their mark on the scene, like the owner/builder of this car, Bear Metal Kustoms’ Jason Pall.

Jason showed us the trick four banger he built with an NOS Cyclone racing head.

It seemed like the nicest cars were always clustered together. This row started with a bagged, subtly flamed Chevy…

… next to a traditionally-styled Merc…

… next to yet another Merc from Celebrity Customs

… bookended by John D’Agostino’s latest creation: Sophia.

We first saw Sophia at the Grand National Roadster Show, but it just wasn’t the same as seeing her out in the daylight. We’ve just confirmed a full feature shoot on this car for next month, so stay tuned!

I watched the matte painted ’57 Ranchero in the background as it was built on the HAMB. Between this car and Keith Weesner’s renderings, a ’57 Ranchero is now on my short list of must-have cars. It’s always cool to see a car like this in the flesh for the first time.

The Loco Banditos CC were lined up front-and-center by the stage.

We’ve been trying to tee up features for these cars since we met the guys at March Meet. In the meantime, look for a Spotlight on the ’60 wagon very soon.

There were surprisingly few under-construction vehicles at the show, but this bare metal Chevy deserved to showcase its fine metalwork.

Who would have thought white could look so bold?

This ’40 Merc looked like it fell off a page of Rodder’s Journal.

Wide white bias plies are as traditional as it gets. Some guys cheat (myself included) and run radials on a full fendered car, but obviously this owner wanted to go all-in with his traditional build.

It’s funny how such an extreme build can start to look tame in a sea of candy colored customs.

Here’s a nice slammed Pontiac, with matte paint glowing under the bright sun.

The switchbox for the air ride is the only tell-tale that this picture was taken in 2013 and not 50 years earlier.

White, chrome and color-matched carpet makes for a fresh interior.

Two doors are generally favored, but these sedans loaded with factory accessories looked absolutely perfect with nothing more than a slammed stance.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

This ’54 Chevy came down from Canada and had a slightly different vibe…

…with a tame but nicely appointed six banger…

… plus full trim and wires, creating an upscale, sophisticated feel.

Here’s another Chevy that I would put in the sophisticated camp. The owner really restrained things, resulting in a very clean build.

This little pickup was quite the opposite.

Loud and in your face.

Another little hot rod in a sea of kustoms, this time a Modified on narrow bias plies with open headers.

I hope he wears those goggles when he drives.

This pair of Chevrolets was a good demonstration of two different styles. The matte blue Tri-5 had a mean ’60s street race vibe, while the earlier shoebox Chevy was more of a SoCal lowrider custom.

I spotted a period metalflake Mooneyes steering wheel inside the Tri-5 too. You’ll see why I had my eye out for these soon enough.

Guys used to showed off their hydro pumps behind acrylic, now it’s air compressors.

As Larry and I finished lunch I realized there was a whole field behind us that we hadn’t even seen yet.

I instantly spotted the Kaiser from across the grass. I looked for the owner but he wasn’t around, so I threw my card on his seat. You just don’t see chopped Kaisers very often.

Nor do you ever see a chopped Nash Metropolitan!

While I was checking out these custom oddities, Larry had slipped away again. I found him shooting this amazing scene – a patina’d two-door Chevy sitting alone in front of a barn.

It was an interesting layout at back of the show.

It seemed like people just parked anywhere, resulting in some unexpected backdrops.

Larry was having his own private shooting session with the cars and barns.

I know he wouldn’t let an opportunity pass without pointing his lens and making some poster-worthy images.

Before long the rumble of engines got our attention.

I dragged Larry away from his impromptu photoshoot so we could see what was left in the back field. We spotted this LaSalle grille’d ’40 Caddy.

I was glad we walked the field before everyone left because we caught two really nice bullet birds.

The ’61-’63 Thunderbird is another car at the top of my must-have list.

The factory customs don’t need much to be show stoppers.

I’m pretty sure this Willy’s was the only gasser at the show.

Check out the diversity of styles in this shot. The ’50s, ’60s and ’70s are all here and each representing a unique traditional genre.

As the cars rolled out we got one last reminder of why we were here.

After months of attending high-zoot indoor shows…

…we finally got to see some show-stopping kustoms where they belonged, under the California sun.

Modified Nissan 200SX S14a

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

Michelle Westby’s modified Nissan 200SX

Motorsport is dangerous. We know this, because we’ve all seen some pretty spectacular crashes and the odd injury over the years. We also know this because every circuit and drag strip in the country, has this little, diamond-shaped sign that carries the words ‘Motor Sport Is Dangerous’.

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

Michelle’s old drift car…

It warns us to be careful not to break our legs, get brain damage or spontaneously catch on fire – stuff like that. What people tend to forget though, is that it’s not only risky for your physical being, but if you aren’t in the big-money sponsorship crowd, motorsport can be downright dangerous for your wallet, too.

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

… and her new one 12 hours later.

In our Michelle’s case, her purse has been well and truly stretched in the pursuit of living the motorsport dream, and we have to ask; was it all worth it? According to her, damn right it was – and then some!

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

Now, we’ve seen Michelle on Fast Car before (and with far less clothes on too). But apart from her day-job in accounts and a spot of modelling on the side, she’s one of a select few talented female drifters. And this sweet S14A is her particular weapon of choice.

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

Michelle may be used to appearing in the odd magazine, but this time the focus of the story is not the lady herself, but the machine she’s intent on getting sideways at every possible opportunity.

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

As it turns out, this is the second full-on drifter to live in her garage and there’s a good metal-crunching reason for that – she stuffed the first one into a wall at Santa Pod! Doh.

Nissan 200sx drift car s14

Yep, Michelle knows only too well the dangers of overcooking it, and how in the blink of an eye, it can go seriously wrong. But, as she says herself, If you’re not pushing your luck in a sport like drifting, then what’s the point? Fair play.

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

On the flip side, she also knows the pain of writing off her pride and joy. Immediately after the crash, she couldn’t even and look at the wreck, all you have to do is swap everything over. starting from… now! let alone do anything about it.

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

However, after a spot of personal reflection, Michelle decided the only thing to do was get back on the horse. So she went out, found a straight 200SX and packed the whole lot off to import-fettling extraordinaires, Garage-D.

Nissan 200SX Drift Car S14

Julian and the boys at the Hertfordshire-based tuners know their onions, but even more importantly they know their drift cars. So after ripping apart the original (and thoroughly banged-up) S14A, they found one mashed alloy, a selection of ‘lady items’ including an inflatable boyfriend, and luckily a load of undamaged usable parts.

drift racing helmet

With that good fortune, and Michele mucking in with the spannering, they then embarked on a total strip down and rebuild of the new drifter in a bonkers 12-hours. They even had a Motors TV film crew there to prove it!

nissan 200sx drift car

The thing about Garage-D is they do like to do things properly. They not only used the original 290bhp-tuned lump and running gear, but also stripped and reworked the interior, and welded the diff all as part of the job.

Nissan 200sx drift car s14

They even installed a 6-point cage in case there are any other ‘learning difficulties’ in the future. The results are pretty astonishing too. If this is what they can do in half a day, just imagine what they could do in a week!

drift racing helmet

Now, I don’t pretend to understand women but, hottie or not, you have to admire a girl who owns a turbocharged, caged, drift monster with a welded diff and little in the way of comfort. You have to admire her even more when you consider she straps herself in and drives the thing on the road every day.

nissan 200sx drift car

What’s most important, though, isn’t any of that. It’s about Michelle following her dream by overcoming a soul-destroying obstacle like mashing a motor she put her heart and soul into. It’s a philosophy we can all learn from; a mistake is never a mistake if you pick yourself up, learn your lesson and get on with it. Top work missus!

TECH SPEC NISSAN 200SX
STYLING
Seibon vented bonnet; black smoked indicators and tail lamps.

TUNING
Garage-D front-mount intercooler; braided turbo lines; Apexi induction kit; Japspeed turbo elbow and downpipe; Walbro fuel pump; decat pipe and 3-inch exhaust system; Driftworks lightweight flywheel; paddle clutch with Exedy pressure plate welded differential.

CHASSIS
Rota GTR 9.5×17 ET15 wheels in black with 225/45×17 tyres; Driftworks CS2 coilovers; Evo Brembo front brake conversion; SuperPro polybushes; front caster and rear camber adjusters; Garage-D extra lock tie rods and street/drift 4 wheel alignment; Fabricage 6-point roll-cage.

INTERIOR
OMP steering wheel; Sparco FIA driver’s bucket seat and R33 GT-R passenger seat; TRS 3-inch harnesses.

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source: fastcar