Saturday, June 29, 2013

TR-6 Restoration (#9)

The carbs are rebuilt and polished.  The intake manifold has been repaired and is ready for cleanup.  (It had pin holes in the vacuum tube which had to be filled and ground down.)  The new radiator has arrived.  Body now completely sanded but metal repair yet to be done.  Both shops are doing other work too, so there's a hiatus in progress.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Who Are They?

It doesn't take that long to become an ancien pilote.  Or at least one with silver hair or a plump middle-aged face.  Who are they?  Extra Credit: which one is lucky to have reached middle-age, and why?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hard Core (Killboy Videos Chasing The Dragon IV)

The video runs an hour; suggest you advance it to 21 minutes (to bypass starting line stuff to where the first ess begins) and watch until bored.  The audio is excellent and fun, especially the turbo pop-off valves. There's a huge variety of cars, from street-licensed Miatas to a McLaren Can-Am replica.  Several V-8 transplants.

This hillclimb is sanctioned and organized by the Central Carolinas Region of the SCCA.  It does not take place on the Tail of the Dragon, but on the access road to the Maple Springs Overlook off the Cherohala Skyway in the Nantahala National Forest.  The road is closed for the event.  (Duh... but people have asked Killboy on his website before...)

Running harder than 8/10 requires Stephen Colbert equipment.  The course is bumpy and reading camber changes while using all the road takes judgement and a sensitive right foot.  There's plenty of gravel; doubtless it moves around during the day.  And there's no margin for error.  In the closed-course events I work for my club, you can go for a ride across the grass for a good long way before you hit something solid (if you ever do).  Here, the ditches and guardrails are right there.

Killboy reports that FTD was set by the silver Locost with a turbo Miata engine (the one pushing its pop-off valve hard).  Number 171, driver Heikki.  He comes through for the first time at 25:50 on the video.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fun With Search Terms (#4)

More amusing (to me) search terms that got surfers to this blog, and the thought that came to my mind:

"pilote Pedro Rodriguez"  He certainly was.  One of the best.  

"wiring Corvair tail lights"  no idea...

"faux knock-off Porsche"  That would be a fake, fake Porsche?

"replica Borrani wheels"  Borrani is still in business, so you can get the real deal (bring $$$).  Unless you want faux knock-offs... which wouldn't be replicas... but I'll stop going down this rabbit hole...

"Moretti 750 Gran Sport for sale"  Don't think you're gonna find one on the internet...

"championnat american cars races"  Hmmmmm?

"BRM Formula 1 cars"  You got to a reasonably good site.  Pilotes Anciens: Home Of The Also-Rans.

"Porsche 993 with ducktail spoiler"  Does this spoiler make my ass look big?

On the upside, the 993 series (1994-1997) was the last air-cooled 911.  And it did a better job of integrating the
integrated bumpers of the 964 series (1989-1993), which replaced the "rubber baby buggy bumpers" of the
911 Carrera series (1984-1989) and the 911 SC series (1978-1983).  On the downside, it acquired the
fat ass that the water-cooled 911's have further fattened.  "Everybody got that?" (as Rick Moranis
asked in Spaceballs).

Monday, June 24, 2013

TR-6 Restoration (#8)

It turns out that the radiator is kaput--the frame is rusted.  After mulling over an aluminum racing radiator (his first inclination), Cuz has decided to go with a n.o.s. piece from British Victoria.  His research indicates that TR-6's "have issues, but overheating is not one of them."  The n.o.s. part keeps the car closer factory original.  British Victoria will probably get the interior/top/dash trim too.  They were budgeted, of course ($2500), but the ca-chings continue.

Cuz has decided to go with the (historically correct) red paint code on the new data plate, not the green code for the paint that will be applied.  Mr. & Mrs. Cuz have decided to go with two-eared knock-off hubs for the wire wheels, not the octagonal-nut "safety" ones.  "[Mrs. Cuz] has staked her claim to the TR.  I will be relegated to the Hertz clone."  (A multi-year restoration/creation of a Mustang GT 350 H[ertz] clone is wrapping up as the TR-6 project begins.)  

Above and below: two dents were discovered when the rear bumper was removed.  "No big deal" to repair says the
body & paint man.  The bondo patch mentioned last week; also no big deal because it did not conceal rust. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Interesting ProDrive Video And A Fantasy Inspired Thereby

Above and below: Aston Martin Vantage built to FIA GT-4 class spec. for A M by ProDrive as described in the video,
and the same car built to a slightly modified rally specification.

I suspect this video was embargoed until LeMans because it shows basic preparation of the GTE (Group 3) GT cars for that race.  Of more interest to me--theoretically--is the car built to the GT-4 spec. for sale to the general public.  (This is from the Champagne Taste, Beer Income, Department.) 

It seems to me that the funnest ride available is one like this, built to FIA GT-4 specifications for Aston Martin by ProDrive.  It's legal for the production-based class of FIA GT racing but, more importantly, it can be licensed for the street.  As Dan Sayers says in the video, several have been built for private (non-racing) clients as an ultimate track-day car.  I suppose the Porsche GT 3 is such a car, slightly mis-named for the FIA class "above" GT-4, minus, perhaps, a roll cage.  Would that Ferrari would do a 458 Italia like this, and Corvette a Stingray ditto.  Audi and BMW the same.

"De-contented" (as the Aston Vantage and Porsche GT 3 are), such cars would not be terribly more expensive than the corresponding street car.  And a lot more fun than the likes of Konigseggs, Lambos, and Nobles.  The difference being that GT-4 cars are set up for racing but with practical and legal road clearances and equipment.  Drive to the track, switch tires, compete, switch tires, drive home.  It would be a useless touring car, of course, but about as much fun as you could have on weekends--including getting to the course.   

Watching LeMans Online

Just in time for LeMans, Comcast cable shifted Speed TV to a premium HD package.  Well... OK... I was pretty disgusted with "the NASCAR Channel" anyway...  So I went online and discovered (French language) and (same webcaster, in English).

The video quality was only acceptable (380) and the network had direct access only to in-car cameras. But they had delayed access to the ACO's "world feed" and real-time access to timing and scoring. Which was fine.  I toggled back and forth and was able to stay informed.  There were two unexpected benefits: 1) the English-language color commentators were excellent, and I learned more useful technical information than I've learned in years of Speed TV broadcasts; 2) there was one 30-second Rolex commercial every hour.  Heavenly.

The expected benefit was learning a bit of French, including accents.  I love the musicality of French, including pronunciation: chicann, Fehrareh,  Potshuh, Tooyoutahh.  My favorite British contribution was "a slightly dodgy line" (describing a massive curb-jumping).  In the post-race interviews, Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich's answers, in French, sounded impeccable to me.  But then I nearly needed a translator for Alan McNish's Scottish accent.  Dr. Ulrich's French may have been nearly incomprehensible to native speakers.

The 90th anniversary running of LeMans lived up to the race's epic reputation.  Allan Simonson was killed on the third lap when (it appeared to me) his Aston Martin suffered a suspension failure that sent it straight into a barrier with such force that it bounced back into the middle of the course at the exit of Tetre Rouge, shedding components.  Fatalities in sports car racing are extremely rare these days.  The accident set the tone for one of those struggles against weather, mechanical failures, and brain-fade that characterized LeMans in earlier years but have been more rare recently.  The weather was wet/dry/wet/dry/wet for 23 hours, including downpours.  There were several long full-course yellows for to repair Armco barriers.  In post-race interviews, several veteran drivers said it was the toughest LeMans they've done.

And it was suspenseful to the end.  Toyota was able to finish second to Audi, one lap down, with gritty determination.  The Toyotas were 4 seconds per lap slower than the Audis on a clear track, but could go 1-2 laps further on a tankful.  With fewer and shorter full-course yellows, Toyota's superior range on a tankful and equal pace in the wet might have won out.  Porsche entered two factory GT-3 RSR's, but Aston Martin gave them all they could handle in terms of outright pace.  Porsche finished 1-2, but the single remaining Aston was on the same lap.  The Ferrari 458 Italias and Corvettes were off the pace, but moved up during the night through attrition.  Close to the podium, but no cigar: a classic LeMans outcome.

From the mid-1970's to the advent of Group C cars, I lost interest in LeMans.  And I lost interest again in the fastest classes after Group C went away.  But the GT class has been great fun to watch recently, and has gotten more so since the FIA and the ACO insisted that these cars more closely resemble their production counterparts.  The contingency and suspense of endurance racing fascinate me, and I realized this year that LeMans has again become "appointment viewing," like the Monaco and Belgian Grands Prix.  It's even better on-line.

Above and below: The latest Porsche GT-3 RSR is a fine-looking race car with driving lights replacing those dumb
corner water radiators.  Who needs to watch a Porsche prototype entry in 2014 when Stuttgart fields cars like this?
In WEC races in Europe, unlike Stateside, Aston Martin is giving Porsche and the 458 Italias all they can handle
in outright pace.  But on both sides of the pond there are factory-supported, cutting-edge, teams that can win on
any given weekend.  These are "the good old days" of GT racing, just as compelling as the early 1960's.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Picture Of The Week, Maybe The Month

  "Knee Dragon"  Thanks for the laugh, rider and Killboy!  ATGATT, plus.

New Oldies Pix (VSCDA Blackhawk Farms Meet #8 And Last)

The Sunbeam Tiger page:

The owner/driver marches toward a timing check.  As far as I could tell from the way it sounded on the front straight, it
didn't need a thing.  He had plenty of torque coming out of the last, slow, corner onto the main straight and was easily
pulling away from the small-block Corvettes.  He went out in the rain on Saturday morning on the mud tires seen here
outside the Easy-Up "and it was fun."  No Fear, indeed...

Ford 289 built by a shop in the Minneapolis area.  It smoked heavily on cold start.  But it ran clean and sharp, to very
high revs, at operating temperature.  Loose clearances and very high compression.  VSCDA at Blackhawk is a mellow
event.  Lots of smiles and greetings from strangers.  Most owners stood aside when they noticed that spectators were
trying to take pics.  This guy enthusiastically removed the hood when I asked if he would (to shoot the engine).  He
told me some stories about how Ken Miles developed the Tiger in his spare time when Carroll Shelby, who had a
contract with Sunbeam, failed to deliver because he was busy with Ford.  The owners want to talk about their cars.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Oldies Pix (VSCDA Blackhawk Farms Meet #7)

The (911 RSR clone) Porsche page.  There was a nice 911 at this year's meet too, and at least one
914-6.  But no 356's, 924's, or 944's.

The large entry this year resulted in a lot of temporary "1's" taped ahead of the cars' permanent competition numbers.

The oil cooler is vented a la 917 too, rather than under the car as normal.

  The sound that comes out of those pipes at 6000 r.p.m.+ is glorious.  I believe John Wyer said in his memoirs that the
Wyer-Gulf colors came straight out of Triumph's paint codes for Spitfires.  The screaming orange was called Marigold.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Oldies Pix (VSCDA Blackhawk Farms Meet #6)

The MG page.  OK, people, you're on your own here.  If it was built before the TC, I have no idea what kind of an MG it was...  No MGA's this year, although there were a couple of B's.

It rained on Saturday morning, but that didn't stop these guys from practicing.  They just parked under this portico and
wiped the cars down.  No Garage Queens in the VSCDA!

I do know a Roots blower when I see one...just don't know what it's on...

Moving on to Saturday afternoon, which was sunny...

I'm gonna guess it's a 1933 J2...

Back to the rainy morning.  Yes, I know the one in the foreground is a TC.  Background, same car as above.

New Oldies Pix (VSCDA Blackhawk Farms Meet #5)

The Jaguar page.  Oddly, there weren't any XK-120's this year.  (I don't recall seeing an E-Type at the VSCDA Blackhawk event since I've been going.  This car is a regular.)

Silly me, I asked if it was an ex-Bob Tullius car, or a tribute.  "There's only one Tullius 12-cylinder, and it's in a
museum in England."

Owner/driver raising the hood at the request of several bystanders.

It has a fairly low speed, lopey, idle and sounds like a small-block American V-8 with a cam in it.  Above 3000 r.p.m. it
sounds exactly like what you see here.  And loud.  This was the only car at the meet that made me ask myself
"Why did I leave my earplugs in the glove compartment?"

True that!  This was inspired by a glancing, but close, encounter with an Armco, backwards, when full throttle was
applied at the apex.  This is the corner of the car that was repaired.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Oldies Pix (VSCDA Blackhawk Farms Meet #4)

The Alfa Romeo page, including a sweet-looking GTA / GTV...

Back-in-the-day, there weren't many Giulietta/Giulia Sprint (coupe) Veloce competition cars: heavier than the Spider.
Besic Motorsports logos were much in evidence on the Alfas at Blackhawk.  Apparently Mike Besic is one of the go-to
guys for Alfa race-prep in the upper Midwest.  He runs his own Duetto.

Classic on the outside, "All Mod Cons" (as the Brits say) on the inside.

Yeah, I've posted pix of this lovely engine several times, even recently.  Here's another.

Above and below: it gets two pix for three reasons: 1) Such a classic-looking presentation; 2) the bottom pic shows off
the Panasport wheels better; 3) the owner/driver has a terminal case of Alfiste Disease.  He races this car 6-8 times per
season.  He also owns and races a TI sedan in enduro events.  And his daily driver is a Duetto.

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Oldies Pix (VSCDA Blackhawk Farms Meet #3)

False Grid pix:

Lotus/Caterham 7 knock-offs are legal for VSCDA racing.  This could be a false grid for a C/D Production race 40-50
years ago.  Trivia buffs: what make/model is the yellow car?

Extra style points for classy paint not inspired by BRE graphics.

The guy in the wheelchair flags off the false grids for my club, too, and does an excellent job.  He works all day long,
both days, and manages about 24 false grids and 125-150 cars per weekend.

Big-block ground-pounder.

He couldn't keep up with the ground-pounders, even though Blackhawk is short and tight.  But he made glorious V-12
noises trying to.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

TR-6 Restoration (#7)

A slow week in terms of pictures to post.  Carbs are finished and ready for re-installation.  The new clutch goes in this weekend.  The oil pan was pulled; the bearings and con rods are in fine shape.  The compression test was also fine.  So Wolf recommends keeping the engine together and trying it out.  It will be detailed and painted.  But head and valve work has not been ruled out.

Bondo was found on the left-front fender and lower door panel.  But it was used to fill a dent (instead of pounding it out), not to repair rust.  It will be removed and the dent properly repaired.  This week the lights, bumpers, windshield, and minor trim come off.  Three weeks until ready for paint?

Solenoid for the overdrive ordered.

New Oldies Pix (VSCDA Blackhawk Farms Meet #2)

"Head Shots," as my niece with the theater background would say.  These were taken as the cars were entering pit lane at the end of qualifying for the "big bore" class on Saturday.  More pix of some of them will be posted later.

Two years ago, this car sported a rookie's "X" next to the competition numbers.  No longer.

He paddocked with the 240-Z,  not with his 510 peers.  For you BRE 510 trivia buffs, this car is in "Mike Downs
Colors:" blue where John Morton's car was red, and vice-versa.  Nice tribute to a little-remembered car.

Pilote doesn't really need an excuse to put up a picture of an Alfa GTA/GTV,  but, as previously posted, Horst Kwech
was the only Alfiste to give BRE a run for their money in Trans-Am U2L.

No excuses for a Porsche 911 RSR clone pic, either.  The Wyer-Gulf colors on this car have grown on me since I first
saw it a couple of years ago.  The driver has "Michael Delaney" painted over the door along with his own name.
"Steve McQueen is my co-pilot"?

Sunbeam Tiger (Ford 289 V-8).  "It doesn't have enough tire for the engine," the driver told me.  Just the same, he took
it out in the rain on Saturday morning.  "I found a set of mud tires that work OK..."  The car is on slicks in this picture.

This shot was of the cars at speed: "Ahhh... lunch is served..."