Archive | 8:58 PM

My second first car

20 Aug

-1996-

If it wasn’t for Nissan, my first semester grades during senior year of high school would have been much better. In my defense, it was hard to concentrate in class when you’re first car was being custom built just for you and the job was almost complete. No, I wasn’t a rich-kid. No, the parents weren’t helping out at all. It was just nice to have friends in high places. Friends with a thriving business specializing in high performance Z-cars. Friends with a clean chassis and enough spare parts to piece together a sweet ride. My 1982 280ZX Turbo was almost completed! When released, it was THE fastest production car available and put the hurt on the current Corvette, 911SC and even the Ferrari 308GTSi.

Now you understand my hesitance to stay focused during social studies. So, I’d daydream about the fresh charcoal gray paint, HKS intake, custom exhaust and the electronically controlled Recaro’s they just had lying around.

Delivery was imenent so I had the car insured with the same company my Father used. And that’s when it happened – the VIN # came back “Turbo” and my Father forbid the Z as my first car (despite me funding it all from working over the summer and throughout the school year). The guys at Z1 didn’t mind at the time – now they had another lovely Z to drive around in!

Unfortunately, a turbocharged car was out of the question. So, I searched high and low for my second first car! I decided the naturally aspirated FC3S RX-7 was the car for me. I loved the 944-esque exterior and the Rotary powerplant was legendary with old school tuners. After looking at several junkers, I found a clean 1988 base model FC. It had around 80K on the clock and aside from blown shocks, it checked out 100%. Compression was strong and it even passed emissions with flying colors.

Within a few months, I had new KYB shocks and a set of linear Suspension techniques springs. Then I scored a set of 16×8 ROH wheels at the junkyard and threw on some 225/50/16 dunlops. Within a year, I added a K&N intake, custom single exit exhaust and the rear spolier and side strakes from an ’87 RX-7 sport. The RX-7 was a sexy superb-handling dream machine and it treated me well.

-2005-

Fast forward 8 years. The FC had undergone some major changes. I’d eventually changed everything including the swap to a ported Turbo motor. However, it all became too expensive to maintain. After my second TII motor in a year, something had to give.

It didn’t take long to find a suitable buyer. The kid was from CT and seemed nice enough. My FC was gone (much to the shock of anyone who knew me). “One day, I’ll build another,” I told my girlfriend.

-2008-

It’s August 20th and I’m freaking out!  I’m getting married in nearly 3 months!!  So, my Fiance comes to me with some depressing news. It seems she’s been trying to buy-back my old RX-7 for a wedding present (yea, she ROCKS). Unfortunately, she found out the car was totalled in a bad accident a few months ago and the remains were sold as a parts car to another enthusiast. In that moment it all came back to me. I could smell the turbo rotary’s putrid exhaust. I could feel the powerful motor thrust forward on full boost. I will build another one day…I’m thinking an ’89-’90 convertible with a Turbo motor swap. For now, let’s hope I don’t spend my time in the office daydreaming or I’ll never be able to afford it!

RIP

Cobb Tuning EVO X Downpipe & Test Pipe

20 Aug

Man this new EVO X is getting the attention it deserves from product manufacturers…

Let us know if you are interested in this or any other Cobb or EVO X part.

Work VSXX on an FD RX7

20 Aug

This picture is an old one that I believe came from Rick from Status. These wheels look SICk on this car!

The Little Engine that Could…

20 Aug

Close your eyes and try to remember the year 1997. Our business was growing at an alarming rate and all we could dream of was an OEM Auto industry that cared about the performance minded enthusiast.

The once-kings of Japanese performance cars had all been dethroned. The 300ZX and RX-7 were both already discontinued in the US and the Supra followed a year later. Despite stellar performance and sex appeal, they had all suffered from bloated price tags and lackluster sales. Moreover, they had become a faint shadow of each of the cars that paved their way. The early Z’s, RX-7’s and Celica-Supras had followed simple tried-and-true recipes for the sports car enthusiast; combine an eager engine with a sporty suspension and wrap it in a sexy affordable package. Sadly, by the late 1980’s, Nissan, Mazda and Toyota had created a war to see who could cram the most complicated technology under the hoods of their flagship sports cars. Ultimately, it led to their demise.

Ok, so it’s 1997 and the Japanese sports car is only attainable as a used model. That is until Acura announced that the Integra Type R would hit US shores. The 195 hp 2600 lb Type R was fast, raw, high-tech and affordable! The automotive press RAVED about it’s performance and other auto-makers took note. Soon enough, budget performance cars were released year after year and I think we all have to give the Type R some credit for the much needed spark that set our industry aflame for the next decade…

1998: Subaru came through with the Impreza 2.5RS. The mini-WRX was loaded with potential and Subaru geeks around the country united in parking lots and message boards. Soon ater, the car virtually exploded with popularity as Gran Turismo and Colin Mcrae Rally became enormous video games. We all drooled for a WRX.

1999: Toyota introduced a revised Celica. Co-developed by Yamaha, the high revving 180hp motor seemed to directly target the Integra Type R.

2001: Ford brought us the SVT Focus.

2002: Nissan gave us a revised Sentra SE-R (Spec V). Acura re-badged the Integra as the RSX and the world was introduced to the now legendary K-series motor. Oh, and Subaru finally sent us the famed WRX!

2003: A big year. Mitsubishi, hot on the heels of the Subaru’s success with the WRX, brought the EVO to the US. Nissan finally released a new Z car with the 350Z. Even Dodge joined the party with the powerful and insanely affordable Neon SRT-4.

2004: Subaru countered with the WRX STI and Mazda brought back the Rotary engine with the Renesis powered RX-8.

2006: Acura drops the RSX from it’s lineup, but bolts in all the go-fast goodies into the revised Civic SI.

2007: Mazda provides again with the brutally powerful Mazdaspeed 3. And Honda took everything that made their redesigned Civic SI a winner and put it all in the worlds first Civic SI Sedan!

Back to reality – it’s 2008 and us auto enthusiasts seem to be living in a new golden age. There is a sizable menu of performance cars to choose from in the range of $20k -$25k. How much longer will it last?

There are already signs that the trend may be shifting again. Subaru and Mitsubishi continue to fight it out as horsepower ratings and price tags grow. The EVO and STI price tags start around $35K. Even Nissan is rolling out the first Skyline GTR in the US but you have to pay to play and $70K is Porsche territory.

Are our beloved budget hot rods destined to become too fat and too pricey? Will we have to endure another cycle of bland offerings from the companies we all love again? Time will tell. For now, I think we should all bow respectfully to the USDM Type R and it’s B18C5 motor. The little engine that could…

On Rails…

20 Aug

Thought I’d post of some photos and a short clip of one of our track cars. This is our E30 BMW (the white one in the pictures) driven by our resident “product tester” Mike Sabatello. If it can be broken Mike will break it but the good thing is somehow he will also fix it. Mike is one of our mechanics at the shop and has had a hand in every one of our shop builds and then some.

I will post more pics up of the car in another post. Also if anyone is interested, its for sale.

A little Limerock action for your view pleasure.