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Friday, July 13, 2007


Cool website - Cliff Cramp's Illustrated Garage

An artist on the Classic Motorsports message board was plugging his homepage, The Illustrated Garage. I thought the art there was worth sharing with my readers (if I have any readers who don't also read the GRM / Classic Motorsports boards and find it there first, of course). If you've got some time to kill, check it out, especially if you like British cars. He also shows some other European and American cars - as you can guess from where I found the link, most are from the 1960s and earlier, although he does show a modern Lotus Elise and a few other contemporary pictures. He definitely has a knack for capturing how these cars can inspire nostalgia even in people like me who weren't born when they were building them.


Thursday, July 12, 2007


I hope that's political grandstanding.

Bloomberg.com notes that a deranged EU politician is calling for a ban on all cars faster than 101 mph. Which works out to 162 km/h. This idea seems so stupid on so many levels, I have to hope that this was something along the lines of the Kentucky resolution to have a submarine sink riverboat casinos. Sure, I'm in favor of raising CAFE limits a bit (and ditching that E85 corporate welfare loophole), but this is ridiculous. So I'll ridicule it. Here are some of my arguements against this bill.

Chris Davies, the bill's backer, claims "cars designed to go at stupid speeds have to be built to withstand the effects of a crash at those speeds. They are heavier than necessary..." Well, in the US, all cars have the same crash speed requirements. Hey, if you're going faster than legal, that's your choice. Chrysler is under no obligation to make sure their Viper can keep its driver safe if it crashes at 180 mph.

It's quite possible to drive like a dangerous maniac in a slower car. 75 mph is not safe in a 25 mph zone. Street racers will simply find other ways to race (or simply stick with pre-ban cars and keep the old technology on the road longer).

And in closing, the numbers are weird, pointless, and arbitrary. Why 162 or 101? These numbers seem a reflection of the strange and arbitrary nature of the law. Can't he make it a nice round number?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


AMA publishes article in praise of small bikes

A small bike makes a good first bike because it's light and confidence inspiring. Some people say, "You'll grow out of it. That's too small." That hasn't really happened to me in about 7,000 miles of riding - my GS500F has more than ample power for a commute over surface streets, and it's light, fun, and gets pretty good mileage, too.

Several experienced riders at the AMA are raving about how good their smaller bikes are, too. Several have a bike I've been thinking about for my next bike, a Kawasaki KLR650. They also mention scooters, a Honda NX250, and a Royal Enfield.

Funny thing is, when my Dodge Dart was new, a 650 would have been considered big.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Unlucky Day

The Photoshop contest website Worth1000 sometimes has a contest called "Unlucky Day," where competitors alter photos from life to turn them into pictures of bizarre and creative disasters. Having a wrecking ball land in the trunk of your car might qualify. Unfortunately, the picture accompanying this article is no Photoshop job. Alex Habay really did have the bad luck to have a stray wrecking ball land right in the center of the trunk of his Ford Taurus.

(Found on ObscureStore)


Monday, July 09, 2007


A masterpiece takes shape

There are true masters in the world of slant sixes. I'm not one of them. Sure, I'm working on an exotic turbo slant six and run the Slant Six Mailing List, but there are many people who know considerably more about these motors than I do. Some of them have been working on slant sixes almost since the first 170 was cast. Others can recite every year and model change in a Mopar A-body down to the stamping used for the firewall, seemingly from memory (it's hard to tell on the Internet if people have cheat sheets).

Doug Dutra, also known as Doctor Dodge, is one such master. He may not have the fastest or most powerful slant six, but he knows these motors inside out, knows what their strong points and their weaknesses are, and has tried all sorts of astonishing mods in the quest for more horsepower. Doug's latest project is a real jaw dropper.

First, a little background. Chrysler built an aluminum block 225 cubic inch slant six for a very few years in the early 1960s. It didn't sell in an era where big cubes were more important than the latest technology, so Ma Mopar pulled the plug. You'd think this would make quite a prize for the slant six racing community. Unfortunately, its open deck construction has head gasket issues that make it hard to run large amounts of cylinder pressure.

Now, take a look at Doug's latest motor, "Twiggy." Compare the deck surface with the one in the above artice. It's a closed deck block. One of the slant six message board members wondered if it was a new casting.

Sort of. Doug's block has an iron plate installed in the top, and molten aluminum poured into the top of the block to transform it into a closed deck block for better cylinder head sealing. There's also some concrete in there, and no doubt the Doctor is going to put some other interesting trick into this buildup. This is a truly incredible example of someone who wasn't willing to accept the limits of what the factory built.


Sunday, July 01, 2007


More work in progress shots of the Dart

Here is another round of shots of the Dart. Wayne at AutoFAB has welded up a downpipe that will hook up to the current exhaust, and gives us a few options for running some larger pipes later. He's designed it so that it will be easy to remove the downpipe as an assembly, too.

The current charge pipe plans are to move the throttle body up and rotate it 180 degrees so I can bring the charge pipe over the valve cover, simplifying the intercooler plumbing a bit. Speaking of charge pipe, I have worked out a sponsor deal with Spectre Performance for some charge pipe parts. I'll be using their new line of aluminum modular intake parts and filters. You can see one of their elbows on the turbo inlet; it will go to a Spectre cone filter inside the fenderwell. They're pretty sturdy, and for the miter bends I noticed they took care to keep the welds on the outside.

One other note is that with the flex joint in the turbine inlet plumbing, we're going to try solidly mounting the turbo to the inner fender. We'll see how this works out.



More Father's Day Car Classic shots: Mopar B-bodies

The Father's Day Car Classic attracted quite a few Mopar B-bodies, including the blue Hemi.


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