Monday, October 31, 2011

Enderman Invades

As spotted on our lawn, carrying a block of earth. For more information on these dangerous creatures, click here. UPDATE - her pic is now up on Endgadget, an image in the gallery, part of their Geekeist Halloween Costumes post.

Down On The Street

Running over to one of Celeste's friend's houses the other day, I noticed this scarlet vintage Beetle street parked a couple of houses down.

Looking very similar to the red '64 I had back in Boulder over a decade ago...
painted in a shameful '94 Mustang orangish-red, with a big scoop of orange peel texture

...was this '65.
Lightly altered through the years with fresh paint, white fender piping, add-on whitewall trim (partially obscuring a massive sidewall blister on the front tire at about 3 o'clock), solid black window trim and a mild drop...
...along with some tacky Pep Boys-grade decklid badges spelling out "VW 65" and a set of mos-aligned mufflers. I imagine the car has a powerplant larger than the original 1200cc unit pushing it along with nap-inducing runs to 60MPH.
The repro black door panels and seat covers provide some contrast to the bordello-red dash, but are a bit too funerary for my tastes. My '64 had two-tone light grey and cream white vinyl. But hey, if that's what the owner prefers, more power to him/her. My Beetle saw the 1980s aftermarket tape deck get chucked into the dumpster to make room for an original 6v Becker (I think) AM radio. Hmm, going backwards to a stock head unit in a cheap red toy car, I'm sensing a pattern here. Living in Boulder the best radio station was on AM anyway - CU's Radio 1190.

Still nice to see yet another air-cooled VW plying the streets.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Miata Mods - Top Zipper Stops

One of the weaker aspects of my Miata is the top, which I believe to be original. It's weathered twenty years of SoCal sun (when not placed in its proper, stowed position for motoring the mostly-sunny streets of North County).

The rear plastic window has been replaced at least once, and unfortunately, with a zipper that isn't all that great. An eight inch section at the top on the driver's side won't engage all the way - not a *huge deal* as there is a top flap that still offers weather protection - and I generally have the top down anyway.

But the biggest issue is, or, rather, was, that there wasn't a stop at the end of the of the zipper's run. So the first time I went to zip up the window (after frustratingly fumbling through the section that didn't fully engage), the zipper pull went off the track and ended up in my hands.

So, grabbing a needle and an antique roll of Coats & Clark's Extra Strong Button & Carpet thread from the sewing kit...
note the price - only 15¢

...and used my rudimentary sewing skills to add a stop.
Yeah, far too much text for something so stupidly simple.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Down On The Street

A couple of interesting air-cooled vintage VWs, spotted during today's North County ride. First up, this Splitty that was visiting the same repair shop that the Renault R8S (posted below - or here) was visiting last week.
From the looks of it, this Bus panel van may have just awakened from a long, ocean-side slumber.
That's not rust, it's patina. Right?
No, it's rust. And rotten rubber gaskets and delaminating windshields.
But just look at that face.
And what ratty interior isn't improved by at least 65% with the addition of old pocket t-shirts and zarapes covering peeling German vinyl?
Detail on the non-stock engine compartment cover. Too bad it's not sporting a nice set of vintage California black plates. I wish I was smart enough to be able to make out the original selling dealership's location.
This clean baja Bug/dune buggy was parked about fifteen miles north of the Bus.
No surface rust to be found here. Then again, it has a fiberglass body.
Nice, non-obnoxious powerplant.
The steering wheel's too modern for my tastes, but I like the Beetle speedo.

And here's a tip for budding car photographers/cyclists. This is the kind of poor composition that results after spending about 75 miles in the saddle. And when you're too lazy to unplug the headphones from the iPhone and get your ass off the bike to properly compose a shot.
Blech, I suck. But at least the car has a proper set of black plates.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Miata Mods - Details

A few small upgrades/fixes/mods made to the Miata over the past few weeks. Reattached the washer pump plug that was inexplicably disconnected.
Hood prop retaining clip, before:
New OEM key:
Bought from the dealer and cut from the VIN. Yep, twenty years on and the car is still in Mazda's computer. Which is good as the original key had a rip in it from metal fatigue and a ham-fisted user (me).

Ash tray to coin tray conversion. The removal of four screws and the cigarette extinguishing screen/holder allows for easier access of coins. Before:
And yes, the screen and screws were put away in a box with the car's other original parts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LACMA Photos

A few photos taken outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art a few weeks ago.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Down On The Street

Another one to put in the "I think this is the first of it's breed I've seen in person" file.
Another Gallic sedan, this time a Renault 8S, resplendent in French Blue. As a sucker for most forms of auxiliary lighting, I love the factory-installed inboard high beams that the "S" model received:
Venting on the decklid helps prove that it's powered by an air cooled, rear-mounted engine:
And if the Wikipedia entry is correct, the air-cooled lump has a displacement of 1108ccs and squeezes out 59HP. That's a better specific output than VWs of the era.
3-lug/13" wheels, yes please. The wood-rimmed wheel and nylon door pulls are also keepers.
Overall it's a much more-sporting than the last Renault I featured.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Miata Mods - Wheels

What a difference a month makes. Back when the Miata was acquired, I had planned on upgrading the 18.1lb, 14" x 5.5" stock steel wheels...
...with lighter (13.1 lbs), wider and larger 15" x 6" '99 Miata Sport Package five-spoke alloy wheels:
I found the five spokes locally and bought the set shortly after buying the car. After doing a bit more research on the fantastic forum, I had a change of heart about the 5-spokes. My plan all along was to hold on to the OEM steel wheels, either to put back on if/when I get bored of the car or to simply save as they're original to a very original car. However, the steelies are wrapped in 10 month old rubber - and the thought of having four nearly-new tires sitting, aging and drying out (not to mention taking up space) in the garage just didn't seem right. Secondly, I discovered the Enkei RPF1 wheel:
So the 15" 5-spokes were put up on Craigslist and sold with ease for my initial purchase price. To my eyes, RPF1s have a simple design with a nice lip and should also be easy to keep clean. The 14" tires would swap over from the steelies, saving me the hassle of storing tires as they slowly deteriorated. And, most importantly, the 14" x 7" size weigh in at all of 8.5 lbs each.
And here they are, finally installed on the car:
Not only do they look great and give the car a much more-sporting appearance, the ride and performance was transformational. Reducing unsprung and rotational weight by a whopping 38 lbs, the car feels more lively with additional steering feedback - especially since this car has a manual rack. The "butt dyno" confirms that it's a bit more sprightly when accelerating and braking as well. A set of McGard Spline Drive lug nuts hold the wheels on.

The stock steelies are now sitting, boxed, in the garage rafters. Next up: suspension freshening.

UPDATE: My friend Ron thinks I missed a great opportunity to run some truly classy wheels:
Spinners look great on everything, right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Getaway pt 3: Glass Beach & Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

One of the most interesting spots visited during this trip was Glass Beach just outside of Fort Bragg.
Like many ocean-side municipalities, the city of Fort Bragg routinely dumped their trash right into the ocean. However, unlike most areas, the local tides didn't take all of the trash out to sea. After decades of pounding surf, the tons of deposited glass have been mostly polished smooth, making the beach a truly unique spot.
Consisting mostly of clear, brown and green glass pieces, but with a smattering of cobalt, opaque white, ice blue as well as polished pottery shards.
The grrrls bought a reference guide to the different colors. Many of the opaque white glass was from milk jugs, while flat ice blue pieces may have been windows or glass from framed prints.
Mixed in were small, twisted metal pieces and wire - mostly aluminum. I did manage to find part of a Trico windshield wiper blade and a bullet casing.
Certain areas of the beach provided different-sized glass. This particular cove was virtually all glass with very few natural rocks or sand mixed in.
Two freezer storage bags worth of interesting glass was collected.
Celeste naturally found other things to entertain herself with. Like this piece of kelp...
...and small spring.
Also visited was the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse...
...which was recently restored to its 1909 condition.that's all