Friday, June 28, 2024

Funny Thing Happened on the way to the ROVAL!

NTD=New Tire Day!

So, there I was, being all proactive and putting on the good wheels and tires three days before going to Track Night in America. Everything was good, I washed the wheels, mounted them on the car, and torqued them down, and filled the tires with the right pressure. However, during this process I found a bare spot on one tire, and not wanting to be crashing because my tire blew out on track, I arranged for some new tires to be installed. Hey, as long as I can get them installed before the event, no problem!

Old tire, ouch!

Two days later, I hope in the car to go to my super-special-new-tire-installation-appointment, and BOOM. I've got an ABS light on, Stability Management (traction control) light on, and then then just to rub it in, the Check Engine Light came on, and then the extra cool Porsche Red Exclamation light came on! Dang! I pulled over, switched off the car, turned it back on, and still had the same codes. Double Dang it! 

I will race you in a car, I will race you in a truck!
I will race you in a kart, I wish you good luck!

Drove to the shop because the car felt OK, made an odd noise I couldn't put my finger on, but I know that once in a while you get luck and it's just a sensor that is bad, and not an actual problem with the car. What an uncomfortable feeling. Like most people, I can easily catastrophize when bad things happen, so I'm picturing worst case scenario, like expensive problems! 

How'd it go? SPOILER ALERT! FUN!!

Anyway, just to prove what a super genius I am at mechanical things, the answer was no REAL error codes! Once we adjusted "something" the car was fine! What was the problem? Well, it seems that "someone" on my pit crew had put a rear wheel on the front, and a front wheel on the rear. Now, for a lot of cars this is no problem because they're all the same size. However, for some cars, PROBLEM! My problem was that "someone" put a 265 wide 18-inch wheel on the front, and a smaller 235 wide 18-inch wheel on the back. And THAT, your honor, is why the ABS system, traction control, and even the engine were unhappy campers according to the error codes on the dashboard! 

Having too much fun. Lots of cars. 

For the record, I'll own up to this one, and I told the folks in the shop to go ahead and laugh. I went into the service bay to see what they were laughing at and let them know who was responsible. I told them that I hoped they had cameras in their garage so that they could play it back at their leisure and laugh at the dumb customer. 

Along with the usual suspects of Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs, Miatas, BMWs, and Subarus, there was this MG!

Also worth mentioning while I'm feeling dumb, one of my fellow Automotive Tech students works there, and I was just so happy to provide more entertainment for all the people working in the shop. You're welcome!

And what looked to be a former NASCAR racer. 

Oh, and then the next day I had a blast on new tires at Charlotte Motor Speedway, on the hottest day of the year, and here's the video! ROVAL LAP!

Let's see, in three sessions, I managed to get more familiar with this track, get used to my new tires, and drink a lot of water to keep cool. The car's temperature gauge went higher than I've ever seen, since it usually doesn't go over 175 or so. A warning came on the dash saying the engine was too hot, but it cooled off in between driving runs. 

Novice group gets ready to roll! Maybe you can spot the truck in the middle line!

Tire pressures kept going up also, with the air temp at about 98, although in the third session we got some clouds, and even a few drops of rain, but not enough to affect performance on track. Good to know when you're over 100mph on the oval part! First session my best was a 1:53, second session 1:47, and final session I got a bit lower in the 1:46 range. Plenty of higher horsepower cars passed me, and I passed some cars too. I'd be willing to bet everyone had fun!

I think this is the Advanced Group lined up to start their last session. 

It's a big track and a big facility!

Somehow there was a cone on track in the middle of turn 2 during a session, and I missed it every lap but one! It shouldn't have been there, but I smacked it a bit off of the racing line! At least I could push this loose trim piece back into place before heading home. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

FIAT and Porsche Together Again!

Who doesn't love Corgis?

Once upon a time, when NMS-North still had a FIAT 500 Abarth, we bought a Porsche, and briefly had both cars until the FIAT sold. Well, that same Italian-German combination came back recently at a Greenville SC Cars and Coffee. I heard about this event from the Porsche Club of America, so we headed out to the Michelin North America HQ in Greenville SC. This month's Cars and Coffee of the Upstate just so happened to overlap with the annual FIAT Freak-Out!


The FIAT Freak Out is the national gathering of FIAT and other Italian makes, and it happens in a different city each summer. While I never attended a Freak Out before, this was about the next best thing! Let's see, Michelin is based in France. FIAT is really based in Italy, and Porsche is German. That's makes for a global cars and coffee experience for sure!

Saab Sonnet. You know that Saabs came from Sweden. Extra bonus points if you know the different generations of these cool cars!

It's an MG from Britain. More bonus points if you know that MG stands for Morris Garages.

I'm sorry I didn't look really close at this Italian one, some type of FIAT and/or Abarth is my guess. 

Not a FIAT, but more Italian goodness from Alfa Romeo. 

Pretty sure they didn't sell this one in the USA. 

Bertone built FIAT X1/9

DeLoreans still look cool, but they're still underpowered. If you're thinking John DeLorean was from the US, well, OK, but the cars were built in Northern Ireland from 1981-1983.

Lots of cars at Michelin North America HQ, Greenville SC. 

Why not start with a Lamborghini? The cars are from Italy, not sure about the toys!

Some great older cars on display, including this 1957 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer.

I just love this Lancer badge!

More Lancer!

Monday, June 24, 2024

Brake Class Complete!

One day we had a visit from the Klein Tools folks and learned more about tools.

Brake class was only 5 weeks, but it was a lot of fun, and I really learned a lot about brakes. Specifically, I learned a lot about drum brakes and parking brakes, since I had never touched any of those before. Brakes with rotors and calipers have become more popular on cars than brakes with drums and shoes, but there are a lot of vehicles that use both, so at least now I could put on some brake shoes and adjust the star wheel and parking brake! Remember, with great horsepower comes great responsibility, and without brakes, it's not going to end well! 

Wheel cylinder, inside are the two small pistons to spread the two brake shoes and brake against the brake drum. 

Some of the springs that hold the shoes to the backing plate and to each other.

When we took this rear brake drum off, we saw the shoes and everything were covered with axle grease, so, we took this half of the axle out and replaced the axle seal, added grease, and reassembled the brakes with new pads and hardware. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Back-to-Back Cars+Coffee Doubleheader!

Jaguar E-Type, the car that Enzo Ferrari called the most beautiful.

For the 2nd weekend in a row I managed to visit two Cars and Coffee events over one weekend. Maybe I'll take next weekend off... but don't bet on it! On Saturday my son Brian and I visited the monthly Concord NC Cars and Coffee right at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and this is a very popular event! In addition to a great mix of classic American rides, alongside plenty of modern cars and trucks, AND some super cars (looking at you Ferrari, Lamborghini) there were multiple vendors, sponsors, and even a free raffle giveaway of NAPA tools and NASCAR parts from some Hendrick racecars! 

Cars and Coffee round 2 was on Sunday morning with the "Exotics and Espresso" group in Charlotte. These monthly events allow their members to display their cars at the SouthPark Mall, and this even also has sponsors, vendors, and a big spectator turnout. The cars tend to be a LOT of Porsches, and I think almost entirely European brands. I saw Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Triumph, Smart, a Tesla Cybertruck, Jaguar, Aston Martin, etc. The SouthPark Mall area of town is where we tend to spot cars like Ferraris driving around, and thats what inspired our "Cool Car Bingo Cards" a few years ago. 

Enough chit-chat, let's check out some cars: 

BMW 2002. Not from the year 2002, it's the model number!

A sign on this Willys Jeep said it was modified by the owner to be their hunting vehicle back home in Texas. Awesome!

SPOILER ALERT! The fine folks at Hendrick Porsche had some new cars on display. This GT3 RS goes 184mph. 

Spiderman was there!


Chopped Mercury. Chrome baby!

If you haven't seen a Tesla Cybertruck yet, NOW YOU HAVE! This is the rear view. 

More Cybertruck. A detailing business was cleaning it up, so that explains the water spots on the ground. I was going to joke about they spilled some gas there, since it's an all electric vehicle, but that would be too much Dad Joke for NMS. 

1959 Plymouth Fury. Whew!

Hey, do you NEED an off-roading Lamborghini? Meet the Hurracan Sterrato!
Luggage rack, extra front lights, V10 power, aluminum skid plate underneath, etc.

The deTomaso Pantera put a Ford motor in the middle of an Italian car and was sold by Mercury dealers in the US. 

The Ferrari TestaRossa is instantly recognizable with the intakes on the side. You probably know it means Red Head for the red valve covers.

All Ferraris are not red! Here's a new Ferrari F8 Spider

A North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T.) Ferrari

To honor their rally heritage in the Paris-Dakar race, an off-roading Porsche 911 Dakar.

Porsche Dakar
If you are rich enough to buy an off-roading Porsche 911, I can only guess you might keep some extra bags of money on that luggage rack on top. 
They plan on building 2,500 of these, with 600 coming to the US, starting at $222,222. 

Lamborghini Countach

Antique Auto license I'm feeling older!

There were a lot of modern Porsche cars, mostly 911s, so this older 356 really caught my eye! It had been restored and is in awesome condition! You could eat off the engine in the back, seriously. 

I liked this badge that identified that the Porsche 356 bodywork was built by Reutter in Stuttgart. There are a lot of famous design companies and other bodywork builders around Europe

See, I TOLD you that you could eat off this engine!
Porsche 356 1500 Continental.
Ford didn't like the Germans using the Continental name because they already had a Lincoln Continental, so apparently this model got a new name, and a real Continental is a rare thing. 

Ferrari 308, which of course means it's a 3-liter engine with 8 cylinders. No, I didn't see Magnum PI anywhere near this car. 

Alfa Romeo GTV6, sold in the US from 1981-1986


This license plate reminds me of a joke I just read. 
"My boss wants me to do a 401K, but there's no way I'm running that far!"

Just one of the sponsors, Foreign Cars Italia Charlotte.

Your everyday Lamborghini wheel, with a one-piece knock-off hub. 

Here's a question for you. What epic car was designed by Bertone, and is considered just an awesome car, and possibly the first mid-engine supercar?
HINT: Lambo

Answer: The Lamborghini Miura.
It is considered the first mid-engine performance car, starting way back in 1966. The Miura was built until 1973, when Lambo came out with the Countach (see photo above.)

"Hammer Down"
A few thoughts here: First off, they probably just mean to push the gas pedal and go fast.
Or, it could have something to do with the superhero from Marvel comics, the mighty Thor, who swings a mean hammer. 
Maybe this is Lewis Hamilton's car, since when he drives all out he says it's Hammer Time?
Hammer Time? You mean M.C. Hammer and You Can't Touch This? 

This is a Rossion. From what I could find out, these cars were built for a few years in the US, based on the Noble body, but I don't think they are in buisness today. 

I'm taking a guess here, that someone took a regular Smart car, and then modified it as an off-road version with a taller suspension and off-road tires. 

Or now that I think about it, given the color, maybe they're copying the Lamborghini Sterrato (see earlier photo above.) If nothing else, they have a great sense of humor with the "Llamaghini" badge and license plate! 
Like we used to say in my college marching band: If you're not having fun, it's your own damn fault!