Sunday, February 26, 2012

Down On The Street - Two-fer

Two interesting cars spotted on the streets of North San Diego County during the short road ride I did this morning.

Up first is this pleasant Pinzgauer:
This is probably my favorite military vehicle that I could someday see myself owning. Purposeful, European, forward-control, boxy, goofy-looking. Yep, it checks all the boxes.
A row of seats is bolted in the bed under the canvas top. Another good rig for patrolling the wilds of Carlsbad in.
Some details:

Interested in buying one? Click on over to Cold War Remarketing. Far cooler than a similarly-priced new Kia.

About an hour later, this little red coupe caught my eyes.
A 1974 Alfa Romeo.
The man-eating serpent logo makes for what is arguably one of the coolest automotive badges ever:
And classic Alfas always had interesting shift lever placement.
I'd happily carve out a corner of the garage for this.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Down On The Street (or work parking lot)

Here's the third interesting vehicle I've captured in pixels in the Electra parking lot (the first two here and here), a 1940 Dodge that's owned by a co-worker.
Wide whites, six cylinders, three on the tree, suicide doors. He bought it as a barn find in good condition in Arizona about ten years ago.

Early on the car was a parade vehicle for the then-governor of Arizona. Or that's the story at least. I bet dark paint and no air conditioning was less-than-desirable to say the least.
The Dodge is in good shape overall, just covered in a layer of dust after spending a few months at a shop getting the head gasket and brake system replaced.
Nice stylized ram hood ornament. And this beast sure has presence.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Jayhawks - Blue at The Belly Up Tavern

The Jayhawks performing their should-have-been-a-hit Blue, from 1995's Tomorrow The Green Grass album, at The Belly Up Tavern a few weeks ago:

Another great show from Gary, Mark and band.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Miata Mods - Bodywork, Pt. I

I really dislike driving a car with body damage. A few scratches are tolerable, but major blemishes or dents really grate on me. So once the ignition system was brought back to life, an appointment was made with a local detail/light body shop (my term for it that as they specialize in automotive cosmetic issues, not major collision damage) to take care of a few things.

The rear quarter dent was pulled, filled and repainted, going from this... this:
still needed - replacement side marker cover

Instead of buying some chrome-plated replacement mirrors, the covers were sanded and resprayed. Before...
...and after:

And three moderately-sized dings, like this...

...were popped out.

And finally, the world's ugliest antenna was replaced with a shorty amplified mast.

But first I had to remove the stubborn base of the old one.
A Phillips screwdriver and and Vicegrips on the base...
...yielded nothing. So out came grandpa's old Black & Decker drill (along with a temporary case of Tourette syndrome):
Once the base was gone (and unceremoniously dumped in the trash), the power lead was routed through the trunk and up to the switched power line on the back of the radio head unit.
Yep, I had to remove the center console and radio yet again. But that's okay as the end result was worth the effort.
Nice, subtle and low-profile. Too bad the reception is far worse. I'll have to figure that out sometime in the future. For now, I just stream my local NPR station* through my phone via the auxiliary input on the head unit.

I still want to take care of the front bumper and rear finishing panel (plastic panel between the taillights), but those will come in time.

*the only FM station I listen to anyway

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Down On The Street - Parking Lot Edition

A couple of interesting imports spotted in two Carlsbad parking lots within an hour or so.

First up, a Triumph TR3

 mmm... painted wire knock-offs.

Second up, this stunning 1966 VW Beetle convertible.
 I love this color...
 ...especially paired with the brick red interior.
English roadster or a convertible version of a German economy sedan. Which would you prefer? I'll take the Bug.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Miata Mods - Spark

Spark, fuel and air - the three essential ingredients needed for an internal combustion engine to function. With the bad coil and spark plug wire causing the misfire that was described in a previous post, the silver car wasn't street-drivable. So the first thing ordered were new ignition parts to get the car back on the road.

Most importantly, a replacement Mazda ignitor/coil was sourced...
 ...which is connected to the spark plugs by way of the spark plug wires (duh). The Bosch-brand wires of unknown age were pulled...
 ...and replaced with a set of 8.5mm wires from Magnecor (who seemingly have a web presence that hasn't been updated since the mid-90s). 
They cost more than the standard-grade replacement wires, but have a lifetime guarantee. And, from what I have read, Miata's B6ZE(RS) engine consumes wires evevry 30k miles or so.

And finally, a set of NGK plugs were screwed into the engine's alloy head.
The old ones weren't bad, but I felt it best to cover all of the electrical bits in one fell swoop.

Considering I was replacing broken/worn components, it's not surprising that the difference in driveability and performance was night and day. What was surprising was how much better this engine felt as compared to the red car. It just seemed to sing whereas the red car's engine was a little bit more muted.

I don't know the exact age or mileage of the ignition components on that car, but I am guessing that it still had the original ignitor/coil providing the electrical pulse. The wires and plugs had likely been replaced within the past couple of years.

Once I was able to take the silver car out for an hour-or-so ride, I felt very confident that I had made the right choice in selling the red car and keeping the silver one. And now that the car could be driven, I could start doing more work to it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just Another Day in Rancho Santa Fe

The Rich Guys Car Club®* was out in full force this morning in Rancho Santa Fe's town square.
 That electric green Porsche? Yep, a $190k GT3RS,
parked behind this out-of-place ragtop Beetle...
 ...which was behind this ≈$190k Mercedes-Benz SLS
 ...which in turn was parked behind another one.
And in front of the brown SLS? An original, black-plate 427 Cobra.
Halibrand magnesium knock-offs (w/safety wires) always look good on Cobras

Pity the poor, boring yellow Cayman parked across the street.
 I'll take the E-Type.
A ≈$250k Bentley Brooklands:
 BMW 2002tii:
 Mustang GT350:

 Another GT3RS, I prefer this color:


 GT3RS scoop detail

Ferrari 308, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, 900 Turbo, yawn.
 MG, Aston Martin, another Ferrari (575 Maranello?)

*I don't know what this cars-and-coffee type of meet is really called, that's just my name for it.