Thursday, November 26, 2020

1983 Suzuki GS1100G brat build

I've always had a motorcycle, and for most of my younger life, I've always needed a motorcycle, whether it be for low cost of transportation, or the simple thrill and joy of riding. I rode my Buell almost exclusively as my sole mode of transportation year-round for my final two years of College many years ago. Life lately hasn't afforded many opportunities to ride a motorcycle in the way I've always enjoyed riding. No long drives to work, no weekend travels with friends, far and few spur-of-the-moment joy rides through the mountains. So my last motorcycle was just an expensive thing in the way taking up garage space. I sold it. Then while mindlessly surfing the classifieds on the internet, I stumbled across this 80's heavy-metal beauty. plenty of power, comfy, and cheap! I figured I'd buy it, store it outside under a cover and ride it if I felt like it. It wouldn't be in the way and who cares if it sits outside, right?                                                                                       


I was attracted by its originality. I like naked bikes, and though this is from the early 80's, it still looks timelessly styled. 

Corvette C4's, the best and worst (almost)

 In the spring of 2019 the unthinkable happened: I bought another C4 Corvette. Even more unimaginable, it was a 1984- arguably the worst year for the C4. That's not to say that the '84 is a bad Corvette, far from it, just that it's got the lowest hp rated engine of the entire C4 line-up. The one I picked up had the "doug nash" 4+3 manual transmission and Z51 suspension. The Z51 "track" suspension included a quick ratio steering rack, large diameter sway bars,  extra stiff (bone-jarring) springs and staggered rim sizes. I got the car cheap because it had suffered years of neglect mechanically. The clutch was shot, the exhaust manifold gaskets were blown, oil leaks, 1,000 interior rattles, etc. 

The body and paint were very nice. I lowered it an inch and added slim wheel spacers at the rear to get the stance right. What I loved most about the 84 was it's total lack of modern safety gadgetry: No ABS, no Airbags, no Traction control, no 3rd brake light. The purest expression of mechanical C4 performance machinery.

Friday, May 18, 2018

2005 Cadillac Deville DTS land yacht, a gluttonous and unpopular fetish ride, a wolf in sheep's clothing

This will look like a stretch being posted on my blog about "humble custom and classic" vehicles, but, I assure you, with the little tweaks I did, I can argue that it meets the loose definition of "humble custom", and for me (and harder to argue) it is a modern classic.

This gracefully-aging beauty came along at the right time in the right place a little over a year ago. I had just resolved with one of my car buddies that my next car was going to be a cheap full-size, fully loaded out-of-fashion luxury-barge Cadillac (I've never owned one and needed to check that off the proverbial "list."). They sell used for pennies on the dollar compared to things like Toyota trucks, which as they age increase in value like real estate.

This car presented itself to me and it was love at first sight. I was not well versed in post-vintage Cadillacs so I didn't really know what I was looking at. But I knew I really really liked it. The color grabbed me, the beautiful gray leather interior reeled me in, and the bucket seat and floor shifter sealed the deal.
My DTS (Deville Touring Sedan)  is finished in the exquisite and understated "thunder metallic gray" complimented with chrome plated Cadillac rims and a hand-painted pinstripe.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

My 1996 Harley Davidson Dyna Low Rider experience

I found this bike for sale as a trade-in at an Indian Dealer nearby. They had it bargain priced and listed on craigslist. I skeptically went to have a look. I was wanting a nimble uncluttered  Harley with twin front disk brakes and a carbureted evolution engine, and this one fit the bill. It was adorned with a windshield, saddle bags, sissy bar, and heaps of pointless add-on chrome glamour pieces. This is not to my taste, but I was able to see through all that and picture the cool simple bike that was concealed within. The sales lady talked $500 off the asking price all on her own, much to my surprise, and it was a done deal!
Day 1 departing the Indian dealer with my new/old Dyna. Note the tall windshield, sissy bar, thunder header exhaust, saddle bag supports.

Friday, March 16, 2018

2000 Audi TT Rally Cross experiment

I remember when this car was unveiled; sometime in the late 1990's one of the mucky-mucks from Audi announced that this new car was the type of car "James Dean" would have driven (much to the chagrin of the Porsche mucky-mucks, who historically owned those bragging rights). Well I have always been passively interested in this fascinating little car. This particular example, an all-wheel-drive, turbo 5-speed model presented itself to me recently for very cheap and I had to have it. I've never owned or driven an old Porsche 356 or 550 spyder (Dean's car), but when I'm hunkered down in the low slung, chopped roof cockpit of this little bomb-shell, I feel distantly connected to that piece of German sports-motoring heritage. This car in 180hp trim with a 5 speed and all wheel drive is responsive, grippy, slightly under powered, and spectacular in twisties. It is also highly modifiable and pretty simple to work on.
 My car had 199k miles on the odometer, but looked to have been well maintained, so I figured it was  at least a 50-50 chance of it not blowing up in my face...I replaced the timing belt, gave it a full tune-up, and completely rebuilt the cooling system.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1995 Volvo 850- Swedish Dream.

Well this is a departure. My wife and I just had a son born to us and I needed a comfy, convenient and safe vehicle to transport him in. At my job I am constantly tempted by all sorts of ordinary and misfit cars available to purchase at or below wholesale prices. One day, this little Volvo showed up and spoke to me. I had to have her. I'll be brief.

1995 Volvo 850 GLT

1955 Willys M38A1 the miliary spec CJ5 Jeep

Presently the oldest "car" I own is this 1955 Willys ex-military Jeep. "Car" being a bit of a euphemism, as it operates, looks and feels more like a piece of industrial equipment...and that's just one of the many cool things about it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

BMW 2002 polyurethane rear sub frame bushing and differential mount bushing install

As this little BMW approaches respectability, I have been chipping away at some of the little long ignored detail things she needs to be "right." There was a pretty good knock from the right rear sub frame bushing when going over big bumps. A quick look underneath revealed saggy bushings for the subframe and the differential mount. I decided to purchase some poly bushings and try them out. This is an easy enough job, but a little cumbersome and smelly. The following is how I got it done.

                                                the rear of the 2002 up on stands

1975 BMW 2002 fresh Polaris silver paint (twice)

Earlier in the year I was on a strong roll whipping the body into shape and took the leap to paint the car myself. I have successfully painted before, albeit single stage. The BMW is getting a base/clear system. I have an inexpensive harbor freight HVLP gun and a good compressor. I set aside a complete Saturday for the project and set out early with two layers of a gray sealer, which when on respectably smooth and even. After the appropriate flash time I sprayed on three beautifully uniform coats of the base metallic silver "Polaris" color.  After enough flash time I mixed up the clear and started spraying. I immediately was having difficulty putting on a smooth coat of clear. It was spraying out in large drops/blobs. No matter how I fiddled with the gun, it wouldn't flow even and smooth. I reasoned that I could just lay it on heavy and cut/sand/polish it to a good smooth finish. It might have worked, but it didn't. The clear was so heavy that it hadn't time to flash off before it began to attack the base coat and wrinkle it in places. The following is how it all went down and what I did to move past this terrible "worst-case scenario" situation.

Little 2002, masked under awnings in the side yard wearing a fresh sealer primer coat

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Procar Pro 90 seats installed in a 1965 Ford Falcon Hardtop

I've been enjoying a slushy restored bench seat in the Falcon for about six years now. I have long flirted with the idea of switching to sportier, more supportive bucket seats and have had my eye on the Procar Pro 90 low backs for some time. They are super reasonably priced and look pretty good in all the ads. Recent events and revelations in my life finally prompted me to make the leap to bucket seats. I scored a set of seats and adapters from Summit Racing (No sales tax and free shipping...Woo Hoo!!!) and got to work.

 Step one is to remove the old bench seat. To make it easier and less back-breaking,  I unclipped both back rests, slid them off their pivot pins, then I wrangled the bottom out separately