Cars. Car Culture. Motorsports. Things that go Vrooom...
posted by Terrence Dorsey on Friday, 17 May 2013 @ 21:37
Any project that takes more than an afternoon includes the potential for parts to get mixed up or lost, or for systems to be left in an inconvenient (or dangerous) state.
Ever left the battery unconnected and couldn't figure out why the engine wouldn't start? Or forgotten that the brake line was open and stepped on the brake pedal? Yeah, not a mistake you want to make twice.
Some vague memory of the part name and original location, or the thing you're supposed to remember to do/not do.
Directions: Put a label on the tag. Write your note on the label. Attach tag to part. Have a beer.
You can get cute and color code your tags — red for warning, green for parts ready to use, blue for parts that broke your heart, and so on. I used the red ones to remind me to not step on the brake pedal when the system was open. I used other tags to keep fasteners labeled by original location, size and whether they are reusable, to be restored or need replacing. That kind of thing. You could make a checklist for re-assembly steps. Things like that.
The wire makes these easy to attach, detach and reuse. Slap a new label on and you're good to go for the next project.
The bad news: the Avery tags only come in a box of 1,000, which I think is overkill for even the most OCD restoration project. The good news: my local stationer sells them for 10 cents each. Maybe yours does, too.
posted by Terrence Dorsey on Friday, 22 February 2013 @ 19:30
This is my grandfather's Snap-On 1/2-inch ratchet. Family lore dates it to the 1920's, but it's actually a 1953 No. 71-M. It served three generations of our family faithfully. Now it's broken.
My grandfather was an old-school teamster — and I mean that in the sense that he started out leading teams of horses. He worked in a coal mine, drove buses in Yellowstone Park and eventually made a career delivering gasoline from a depot in West Sacramento.
When my grandfather passed away, his modest set of tools went to my father. Eventually, when I started on my own projects, this particular tool made its way into my toolbox.
I built my first engine with this ratchet (with a lot of help from the guys at Import Specialties in Walnut Creek). It was a mild hot-rod 1600cc VW engine for my '63 ragtop beetle. German case and heads. Scat cam... good stuff from Ralph's parts stash. Ran like a top for years.
This year, working on the Porsche, the ratchet mechanism wore out. I called Snap-On. 60 years later, they're happy to send me a new one — a modern, Dual 80 1/2-inch ratchet of my choice — to replace it. And I almost took them up on the offer. But...
This particular tool holds a few too many memories for me to give it up.
Caveats first: this is a list of cars on sale today with the cool factor that might lead to collectibility down the road. And it's certainly a list of cool cars. Vipers, special edition Corvettes and Minis... one thing that certainly works for collectiblity is their small production numbers and desirability.
And I predict even the Subaru BRZ will fall into this camp. I don't expect the model to stick around more than a few years, but I do expect it to attract a cult following. Think XT, SVX and STI. Many will be cut up as track toys or bent on the rally piste, leaving an ever-dwindling pool of classics down the road.
Ignoring the attention-grabbing headlines for a moment, it's fair to say that none of these cars are particularly close to collector status today. But, if you were looking for a classic on the cheap, what mostly ignored cars today would be fun to own and increasingly desirable in a decade or so?
Here's my short list:
BMW 325i Cabriolet (1986-1993) — The successor to the classic Pagoda legacy, in my opinion and, unlike the Benz, commonly available with a manual transmission.
Mazda Miata/MX-5 — Already a classic. Too common, you think? People once said that about Spridgets and MGBs. Tried to find a good one lately? Exactly.
Mazda rotaries, R100 through RX-8 — With the RX-8 out of production, the long line of Mazda buzz bombs has come to an end. I've read more hilarious stories of hooniganism (and blown engines) from former RX owners than any other marque. Sure sign of a classic.
Mercedes 450SL — Like the BMW cabriolet, an elegant and relatively sporty alternative if you missed out on finding the right 280SL when they were still (kind of) inexpensive.
Pontiac GTO (2004-2006) — Based on the Australian Holden Monaro, the GTO featured GM's LS1 and LS2 engines and was available with a 6-speed manual transmission. A Corvette with a back seat and sleeper looks.
Porsche 914 — Prices for the 356 and long-hood 911/912 have taken off. SCs and 3.2 Carreras have clearly hit bottom and are rising. A real 914-6 is a real collectible. Turbos? You missed the boat. But the original 914 is just starting to attract the attention it deserves. Next up: 964 Carrera and 928.
VW Rabbit/Scirocco (Mk 1 1974-1983) — Tough, simple, sporty... and getting hard to find a rust-free chassis that hasn't been hot-rodded. The classic Beetle of Generation X.
And a bonus, grab-bag pick:
Rear wheel drive Japanese economy cars of the '70s and '80s — OK, Nissan's Z cars, 510 coupes and Skylines are already classics, but many others remain overlooked: Isuzu Impulse to 1990. Mitsubishi Starion. Nissan Silvia and 240SX. Toyota Celica to 1985, KP61 Starlet, some Corolla models up to 1985 and all MR2s.
There you go: a good list of potential future classics for well under $100k. In fact, you can probably find good examples under $10k still. As always, do your research and watch out for rust.
By the way, if you're interested, here's the 2012 Hagerty Hot List. Would you still consider these future classics?
Group 5 BMW 320i driven by driven by Hervé Poulain and Marcel Mignot in the 1977 24 Hours of Le Mans. Poulain and Mignot finished first in class and ninth overall.
Poulain, an art dealer, famously began the BMW art car tradition, combining his love of art and automobiles (and self-promotion) by getting Alexander Calder to paint his 3.0 CSL for the 1975 race at Le Mans. He followed up with another CSL painted by Frank Stella for 1976. Roy Lichtenstein painted this 320i for 1977.
“I wanted the lines I painted to be a depiction the road showing the car where to go. The design also shows the countryside through which the car has travelled. One could call it an enumeration of everything a car experiences — only that this car reflects all of these things before actually having been on a road.”
posted by Terrence Dorsey on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 @ 21:21
Carlos Sainz and Andrea Aghini driving the Lancia Delta HF Integrale on the '93 Rallye de France - Tour de Corse. No words. No music. Just engines barking and tires squealing on a classic tarmac rally.
posted by Terrence Dorsey on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 @ 19:57
(Photo by Tiago J. G. Fernandes, used under Creative Commons license.)
The end of the 2012 season marks the end of Sebastien Loeb's full-time participation in WRC competition. From 2013 he will compete in select WRC events — the Monte, Rally de France Alsace and perhaps a few others — as well as a second career in circuit racing.
In 14 years of WRC competition, Loeb entered 164 events. He won 76 of them, a 46 percent win rate, and secured the championship 9 times — every championship since 2004.
Over those year's he's raced in 25 different rallies. Seb won Rallye Deutschland 9 times with one stretch of 7 in a row. He also won Rally Catalunya 8 times running and Rally Argentina 7 times in a row.
Seb won the 2006 title without competing in the last four events due to an injury.
He's won every single rally in which he's competed on at least once, except two: the final Safari Rally and the only Rally of Poland held during his career. Unfortunately, it looks like he won't get another chance to wrap these up.
He is the only non-Scandinavian driver to win the Swedish Rally in its history, dating back to 1950.
The previous record for career wins was held by the great Carlos Sainz. Seb passed that with his 27th win in 2006.
He failed to finish a rally on 25 times, an amazing feat.
Seb also won the JWRC championship in 2001 and finished second at Le Mans in only his second attempt, in 2006.
All up, an impressive career... so far.
It is only fair to point out that Daniel Elena has been Loeb's co-driver in every event, for every win. All of these achievements are his as well. A testament to friendship, trust and teamwork.
In the image (click for a bigger, readable version) green events are those he entered, middle green denotes second place, and dark green plus "1" denotes a win.
For my part, I am a huge fan of Seb's career in rally, in much the way many F1 fans admire Michael Schumacher. He drove the best car, for sure. And it's only fair to note that, in recent years, thanks to the decline of Ford and withdrawal of other marques, the competition has not been fierce as earlier in his career.
But he was... is a true sportsman. From the start, he demonstrated a clean, tidy line on tarmac events, and developed true mastery of snow and gravel events as well. Great fun to watch.