Nov 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving to me, I got me an Audi RS3 (that rhymes)

I cashed out my 401K and  spent the kids college money and look what I got! 
New plan, die young and the  kid can go to trade school.  Woo hoo!!!!!!

Nothing validates one’s stupidity better than affirming our perspective via the internet.  I’ve gone and bought a brand-new car, my first actually.  I’ve owned about 25 cars and never a new one.  Anyway, the point is I need a serious blog to rationalize this decision and since I couldn’t find one, I’m writing it myself. 

If you are looking for a real article there is a good example: .  I won't be offended if you read it too.

 Audi RS3.  A 5-cylinder, turbo charged micro machine with 400hp that does ¼ Mile in 12.1 seconds and 0-60 in a blistering 3.6 seconds. Now that’s all Motor Trend data but the “blistering” part is all me

As a pillar of the automotive world, I know everyone is desperate to know what I chose and why.  Understandable.  Like most famous automotive journalists, I have only “room” for one-car in my life.  So my choice here is of paramount importance for multi-tasking as well as satisfaction. Satisfaction that I hope will last beyond my first late payment to Audi Financial. 

I have no idea what most of this crap does.
I just hold on here when I use launch control 

I can justify any car purchase at any time for any damn reason. It’s one of my many, many gifts. Let’s just say It’s been a tough couple of years and leave it at that.  Suffice it to say, I felt yet another stupid indulgence was in order, since the last 3 purchases did nothing to solve my, or the worlds, problems. This came as a shock to me, since everyone knows any problem can be solved with a vehicular acquisition.  Perhaps my owning a brand-new car would be just the thing to set the universe right.   I’m doing this primarily for mankind, not myself. 

I didn't intentionally opt for the sport suspension package, just overlooked on the build sheet.  
The drama about the stiffness is overblown, it's luckily still a pretty a reasonable ride I guess,.

For once I want to F*#K up my own automobile instead of having the previous owners do it.  I’m tired of worn out seat bolsters and steering wheels.  I’m tired of broken radios and bad speakers.  Tired of broken pixels on dash displays, tired of tracking down refurbished seat belt retractors.  Tired of discovering poor body work I missed during initial inspection.  This time I can be the jerk who messes the car up.

What was my criteria? 

I wanted 4 doors.  You probably think it’s not a sports car unless it has 2 doors. Shame on you, intolerant bastard!  America will never be great again with that kind of thinking.  I love opening a back door and easily tossing something there.  Be it a briefcase, backpack, my son or a Mossberg 500,  It’s just so damn convenient.  Small sedan doors open easily in tight parking lots.  When your sports car’s a daily driver too this kind of crap matters. 
The stiffness of 4-door chassis was proven by M3 sedans becoming track day favorites.
Selling was a bone-headed move for sure, perfectly balanced sports car perfection.

It prefer something quite small, ie narrow w/a short wheel-base for illegal u-turns and such.  I like a tiny car so I can make believe I’m in a 356 Speedster.  But wait there are more benefits.  Tiny cars are less likely to get door dings since they don’t crowd the parking space.  Everyone knows you can drive like a jerk if your car is small too, that’s good news.  Yes, there are great “super sedans” out there that are quite impressive, but those are long, big and heavy.  That just won’t support the lies I’m trying to tell myself like I’m young, handsome and driving a Corvette.

It’s gotta be all wheel drive.   Ever since the Porsche 959 (forefather of all Carrera-4’s) I’ve been enamored with AWD.   Tail wagging shenanigans are great, but high speed peace of mind is where I’d rather be.  In the Colorado mountain roads any shady switch back can have unexpected ice, so AWD keeps me driving irresponsibly more months out of the year. 

Audi RS3 - Bild: 208252821

Is it as  cool as  rear wheel drive w/front wheel assistance like Porsche or BMW? Probably not.  A hard exercise for car people is to shop for what they actually do rather than what they think they do.   I don't race as often as I drive in the snow to work,  so Haldex will do nicely.   
I thought this time, I’d try something crazy.  What could be crazier than a warranty?  I’ve owned cars I couldn’t afford using various techniques, but they were all gambles of one kind or another. Frankly I’ve done better than most amateur enthusiasts, I guess.  But in the words of Kenny Rogers, you’ve got to know when to fold ‘em.   So, no gambling this time at all.

Buying the 2010 Raptor for $14,500 with 175,000 miles seemed a good idea.
But that good idea was $10,000 ago,  the next owner, he's the one that got the deal.

I need something fast as bloody hell.   To me, that means 0-60 in under 4 seconds.  5 seconds used to be fast but not these days. These days texting moms in Honda Accords can blow away a 289 Shelby Cobra while the kids watch Frozen in the headrests.  Oh, and someone explain to me why pickups and SUVs are fast now too, WTF?  It used to be a car guy proved speed mattered most to him by giving thing up like: safety, comfort, cargo space, air conditioning or back seats. The more they gave up the faster they went.  This modern world disgusts me.   So, I had to find a car faster than fast just to keep up.

My Carrera -2 996 was plenty fast and plenty new with just 36,000 miles.
It was the incessant whining from many 996 members online that ultimately.
drove me to sell. Yes they have flaws, that's all they ever talked about. 

It had to have boost.  Colorado’s elevation is high, and turbocharging your car corrects the oxygen shortages at elevation.  Modern tiny motors get great mileage, and turbocharging is the only way to actually stand them.   Oh, and boost is freaking fun as hell too.  There’s that!

 Fancy interior for a fancy guy.
I needed that 3rd pedal of a stick shift. Well, I guess “needed” is the right way to put is since it is past tense.  I don’t need it any more.  I just couldn’t pull the trigger on any of the remaining stick shifting mighty sedans. The Focus RS, Subaru STI and Golf R are all great cars, but for me I’d being chasing that 400hp mark and ruining my warranty.  The sober truth is I traded that 3rd pedal for 400hp and a really fancy interior. 

Here is where I get my nostalgia,   But that will be the subject of another blog.
Get ready this is going to hurt people. We have evolved away from 3-pedals and shift levers. Like corded phones, bias-ply tires and Jiffy Pop they are disappearing for a reason.  I don’t care about emissions and economy, though I know they are factors. I do care that I can’t get the most out of a car this fast while using old-school controls. Things happen way too fast and the less you must do in the car the faster you actually will go (stolen from driver Don Kitch or Ross Bentley, I don’t recall).  Yes, I do miss the clutch pedal but not as much as I expected. When faced with nostalgia vs winning, winning wins. 

  Selling my 993 C2S was the dumbest mistake ever.  That said, I am a very dumb guy,
 so it was going to happen eventually. 

I needed something rare and interesting.  Something very exclusive.  Something that draws crowds when you pull up for gas.  Something that causes screams from young and old ladies.  Something that makes we worshiped like a god at Cars and Coffee………………..

Eager to test the AWD performance, but sad to discover the clearance wasn't ample today.
Hey, it's not my fault we got  18" of snow.   Perhaps some air ride suspension?

Okay perhaps my monologuing got out of hand, the RS3 isn’t rare or very exclusive.  But I feel pretty fancy, and that counts for something.  The car guy’s nod is really what we are all looking for. I want to be understood and appreciated by the most important people in the world.  Car people.

What’s next?   I’ll break down my buying experience, what I like and don't like and what is going to happen once the new is worn off this car.

Hint we are going to embrace this cars-rally car roots.  .   

Mudflaps (haven't bought yet, but soon)

Paddle Shifters (bought):

Black Roof Rack (waiting on a sale or lotto):

Re-tune by APR (waiting on warranty  to expire) :

Interesting wheels for mud, gravel, snow duty.

Apr 27, 2019

Jenny Craigslist


867-5309.  Jenny Jenny, you're the girl for me.

So in theory, selling the M3 was a good idea. but I lost a valuable pastime.  Tinkering in the garage was quite therapeutic and tinkering with the Porsche gets me broke pretty quickly.   Frankly if I could turn back time I'd get the M3 back and discard the Porsche.   But that's not news, I've regretted buying AND selling every damn car I've ever owned.   Why would the M3 be any different?  Oh, and did I mention the Raptor I bought?   Never blogged about that minor diversion.

 A blank template.   22K miles is nothing for these motors.

So I needed a project that was primarily elbow grease and minimal outlay of the Benjamins (that's hipster talk for money).   So I pulled the trigger on this 22K mile goldwing.  Since its an unexciting Japanese motorcycle, it should be mechanically sound albeit aesthetically unpleasing. 

The goal was to lose some serious weight from this porky bitch machine.
Hence the name Jenny Craig was born and quickly morphed to Jenny Craigslist.

I grabbed some cash and took an Uber to Denver after confirming the bike was capable of driving home in its current state.    Once home, I found it did indeed run quite well, but the electrical as well as countless little things needed addressing.  Like any 40+ yr old person it has seen better days but can still satisfy you if you are drunk or squint when looking at her.
Undoing a history of unqualified wiring "improvements" is a blast.
I've screwed up plenty of wiring, so I can spot bad work quickly.
This was just the mental health distraction I needed.  Why pay a therapist $150/hr when you can just tinker on a motorcycle every evening for free.   Well, "free"  might be a tad inaccurate if you check my eBay and history.  But hey,  I've been through a lot this past year and need this distraction.  I wonder if I get a doctor's prescription, will my insurance pay for these parts?

1. Rectify improper wiring to starter, headlights and turn signals.
2. Buy turn signals and tail lights.
First, get Jenny naked and check her out.. 
Rules to live by in any relationship.
Yes indeed, 40+ years did take a small toll on dear old Jenny.   The cables needed attention, tires were old, and forks were weeping slightly.  Lights were all gone, or broken, exhaust leaking, cellulite (just checking to see if you are reading).   Overall through, I wouldn't kick Jenny out of bed if I woke to finder her there.   She's not too shabby for her age.    Jenny's got character and she needs me to save here just like she is saving me.   Too sappy?  I'll tone it down.

Internally routed wires are cleaner looking for sure, so a must.
But damn  they are hard to do with a dremel and a cordless drill.
If I wasn't' so cheap I could have paid to have them pre-drilled.

Everyone is doing a cafe bike these days, and fenderless bobbers bore me.  My initial thinking was some sort of straight bar flat-tracker tribute.  Some super-small saddle would work nicely and cool shocks or a hardtail conversion.   
Instead of cutting the exposed end or removing the fender entirely
I cut the forward edge, then rotated the tail section forward.  
3. Buy fork seals
4. But starter switch for donor parts
5. Buy tachometer for donor parts
6. Buy seat
7. Buy handlebar, grips and end caps
You cannot buy a new starter button,
but I like tiny impossible rebuilds.
8. Buy motor oil, collant, gear oil and brake fluid
9. Buy shocks and fork seals.
10. Buy tire$

Had to learn to weld to do this,  you should see all the scraps I practiced on.
Sometimes looking good comes with a cost.  Once completed I have found that this tiny saddle could easily lead to a broken tooth or spinal damage.  The shocks look sweet, but don't work much like shocks.   I'm thinking perhaps a mouthguard would be a wise investment,  I've also ordered seat springs that are coming soon.
Rebuilding tachometers is not as hard as you think.
 Buy a spare on eBay first if only to show you what you screwed up.
11. buy throttle cable
12. buy digital flasher relay
13. buy speedometer cable
14. buy tachometer cable

Fancy looking shocks, but they are one stiff-ass ride.
Check out the nifty LED tail light.  I'm so cool.
Rear fender is now mounted ON TOP of the frame.
This will look better as it flows beneath the new seat.
Gold Calipers, a period correct color.
New fork seals are not as hard to install as you might think.
I was disappointed no vintage looking tires were readily available.  Frankly nothing was available except expensive Pirelli Knight Dragons.  I couldn't confirm existing tire age,  they had no miles on them, but were probably 20 yrs old.   Unsafe.   Luckily these are now radials  for it now, which my chiropractor appreciates. 
Straight bar and brown grips to match the saddle.
Ran a wire wheel over the clamps to "freshen" them.

You think you want a classic till you realize it adds 4 minutes to your drive to Starbucks to warm up every morning.  So how's it ride?   Well it's got long legs, meaning it likes to cruise at higher speeds, typical of a Goldwing. 
Saddle is a brutal ride, but looks perfect.  
How did anyone get anywhere in these old bikes?  The think gets about 9 miles per gallon, so the range is quite short given the tank is small and hidden under the seat.  I've run out of gas twice already due to stupidity and my inability to read a gas gauge or use the reservoir properly.
Jenny is an Emotional Support Vehicle.
So I can take her INSIDE the grocery store.
Left over paint,  now that's thrifty isn't it?   I'd originally planned to prime the panels and pay a painter to spray the bike whatever color was readily available during a car respray.  But the primer I used on my BMW R100RS last year looked pretty darn good.  So I sprayed some clear coat left over my the M3's wheel refinishing right over the primer.  Perfect is not the goal here,  character is the goal.  Speaking of character, check out that faded Honda logo on the rear fender above.  It is from the original dealership in Florida, circa 1977.
Shake down run.  Note I didn't install the all-too-common license relocator system.
Instead I modified the OEM plate mount to recycle it on the fender. 
The best part about riding the bike is the stops.  Watching hipsters appreciate it from the sidewalk.  Letting people take my photo at traffic lights, etc. My favorite. is the older guys telling me stories about when they had one.   Now, to find a CBX.... Hehe

Whenever I ride her that song goes through my head over and over again.   If you are as old as this bike you'll know the song I mean.     This would  be the perfect project if only it was a car.

Sold nearly immediately to Shane via Craigslist,  Enjoy Shane, she's a good woman.

Dec 23, 2018

What's my car worth? BMW E36 M3/4/5

Be careful what you ask when blogging,  I posted this blog and ended up selling the car in about 12 hours.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.   

My stable needs an AWD for my personal winter coolness.  As a poor blogging pharmacist, the M3 may just have to be the car to fund it.  Please comment on the blog, or suggest a value, a trade, send me money or just call me an asshole.

Tiny spoiler is off a E46, but it's applied with tape,
You can peel it off if it offends your sensibilities. 

If it was for sale the add would look like this......................

For Sale:  Made FAMOUS BY THIS BLOG.  MY 1997 M3 4 door 5 speed sedan 116,000 miles and climbing.  All those nagging little projects have been done.  Apparently, I forgot it snows in Colorado. 

This is the car in current state.  Just outside of Estes Park, my favorite Saturday drive.
Saturday drives and cars and coffee is all I do.  I don't have the nerves for  track days
Please note there are no pizza delivery guys or teenagers in it's ownership history.  No offense intended, I'm a big fan of both for different reasons.
  • Owner 1.  ER manager at Seattle hospital
  • Owner 2.  ER physical at same hospital
  • Owner 3.  Pharmacist at Boulder hospital. (Me)

You can see here all the Dinan shocks, springs, sway and muffler.
Dinan is a great compromise between streetable and sporty feel. 
After all, they sold their stuff through most dealerships.

It is not a Carfax virgin, which can put off some folks.  I bought it because the condition was exceptional, not because the Carfax was exceptional. The was struck by a grocery cart, wielded by an angry vagrant in 2007.  Opportunity to paint the entire car and address years of scuffs and scratches presented itself.  So it's been resprayed pretty darn well.

This photo shows the Motorsport belts, but there are other things to admire.
Note the condition of the arm rest, the door panel & the seats side bolsters.
Please note: I'm showing you the worst seat, the driver seat.
Service history: This cars had the privilege of attentive, financially capable ownership.  It is evidenced by a binder thick with original purchase paperwork, maintenance history and repair documentation.  I personally, love service paperwork, just because it shows the owners were obsessed with the car's care. 

  1. Dinan intake, the original carbon not the new crappy ones.  
  2. Dinan Strut Tower brace.  just  front one.  Sedan's w/out a pass through, like this one) are the most rigid M3's you can get.
  3. Dinan Sway bars, front and rear.
  4. Dinan Suspension front and rear.
  5. Dinan Exhaust, not too loud but sounds better than stock.
  6. Dinan short shifter
  7. Dinan pedal kit
  8. BMW Motorsports seat belts.
  9. Aluminum Radiator & upgraded waterpump.  
  10. Kenwood radio well matched to interior coloring.  Pandora, IOS, handsfree etc.   
    1. Installed w/adapter so not a single wire has been cut.  OEM radio included 
  11. M3 Roadster x-brace.  (you know what that is? then this might be the car for you)
  12. Three spoke steering wheel conversion. 
  13. BMW factory alarm system w/remotes
  14. Recent window tint
Stickers are blasphemous I know.  But they come off and I like em.
These are not pristine wheels, but they are pretty darn presentable

Also of note
  • Original window sticker.
  • New plugs
  • New oil
  • New filters: oil, air, interior air
  • New O2 Sensors (Meister Motorworks, Seattle)
  • New seals (I don't like leaky cars)
  • New wipers
  • New clutch  (Glen Shelly, CO)
  • New tail OEM lights  (cheap replacements trigger a service engine alert)
  • New BMW badges, floor mats & many small interior, exterior and engine trim pieces etc
  • New A/C (Dynamic European Service, CO
  • I've had the dent people run through and correct tiny imperfections.
  • Ignition switch issues don't exist. Been there, done that.
  • Door actuator issues don't exist. Been there, done that.
  • Blower motor doesn't rattle.  Been there, done that
New floor mats.  What kind of moron pays $250 for Dinan pedals.
I'm that moron

What you'll need to do
  • If you plan to drive daily, I bet you'll need new tires in 12 months.
  • If you park outdoors (god I hope not) I bet you will need a new Idle control motor too.  When super cold, the idle control feels sluggish.  ($150 for the good ones, $50 for the cheap ones) 

Professionally detailed.
Seriously, I have removed all trim and scrubbed this car to the bone.

Car and it's roommate.  
No, I don't want to sell.  But i'm not Jay Leno, and if I want a new car, something's go to go.
If I can't afford to fund something interesting I can experiment with snow tires and mud flaps
Back seats, that's why people buy these.  Kids actually fit.
I've tested it, and yes you will find cookie crumbs if you look

So, now you've seen it.
A Dinan badge worthy package
Manual transmission
Sedan, not coupe
Black leather, not grey or white.

    Dec 11, 2018

    12 easy steps to ruining a cars originality.

    I bought a 40-Anniversary Carrera because it was an amazing amount of car for an amazing price.  I am not afraid to change things up as long as it makes it a better car and is reversible for the purist in me.  You know, in case I need to sell it to fund a hemorrhoidectomy or something.

    Black accents, Lower, Louder and Bigger brakes. I'm done for now.
    I'd like to think Porsche could have offered such a car in 2004.
    Yes, the paint is perfect under that hideous black hood.  
    With just 35,000 miles on the odometer and 25,000 on the motor it is freaking NEW!   Most people would assume it was an IMS failure that forced the dealer to buy it back and intal a 997 engine block, but that's pretty unlikely at 10K miles.  Finding any X51 powered car at all is a win because nobody actually bought the X51 package. 

    I'd say the Carrera T is my benchmark.  Not overly powerful, but well sorted  for Touring.
    It comes with something odd, a warranty.   What would I do without the worry of breakage?

    Have you driven an X51?  Do your homework, this was Porsche's "backup" engine in development of the GT3.  Read up and be impressed with me:

    The 40Jahre is as close as I'm gonna get to a new 911.  Many people put them away wrapped with baby diapers, like this one.  When the 996 marked didn't explode like the 993 market these cars started to pop up for sale. And like any new sports car, for me it isn't an investment, just a incredibly preserved Porsche that i plan on driving the shit out of.

    (yes!  I ended a sentence with a preposition, pretty bold eh?)

    Here are my 12 steps to ruining the originality of my car.  

    1. Sell the exclusive 40AE luggage to fund this blog

    Buying the most maligned Carrera of our time left me with a little money left over but not enough.  So I sold off the exclusive 40 AE luggage to have even more money to play with.  I know I'll kick myself later, but bipolar car disorders come with some regrets.

    Ash, enjoy them!    They were sold for some worthy causes below

    2. Embrace the 996 Headlights.

    I am NOT going to deal with those fried egg lights.  Something this polarizing must be celebrated.  Think of it as Cindy Crawford's mole, but two of em.

    I'm going full-on with #FriedEggPride

    3.  Pay tribute to the past with Cocomats.  

    These old-school mats were common in German cars 40 years ago like Carrera's and 356's.   I think they have a place in an Anniversary Edition car.  Made of woven coconut fibers, we are recycling all that coconut water consumed by hipsters.  

    Custom a back window deck , just cut a template and mailed it to them.

    Black and white hides Oreo crumbs well.  Good thing.
    4. Enhance wheel appearance with overpriced rotors.

    The OEM wheels are too good to replace so I opted to enhance behind them instead. Giro-Discs are pretty, and the notable braking improvement was a side benefit.  Lighter than the big 996 Turbo rotors too.

    Bigger, lighter, floating design. 
    Better than black or red brakes but not equal to yellow.  Painted em blue. 
    GiroDiscs are freaking expensive, hence the selling of the luggage 
    Do you wanna pack or do you want to stop?  

    5. Porsche Sport Exhaust, sort of.Porsche failed by not adding a powerful exhaust note to match the more powerful X51 motor package.   I have rectified this with Fister HD's mufflers, Fister has quickly become the gold standard for Porsche's.  For 10% the cost of the sport exhaust option ($4500) you get the same design w/o the ability to turn it off.   Who the hell would turn it off?  
    Recent PCA tour, Bruce's Seal Grey 996's ride height put me to shame. 
    Something had to be done, and fast.
    6 Stance Stance Stance, $400 The 40 Jahre had the good sport suspension option included but being in the USA they were forced to make it a monster truck for DOT compliance. Some geniuses suggest I need new shocks designed to match my 1/2" drop in height.  I called RUF and they set me straight.  

    RUF springs are same spring rate, just a tad lower.
    Fister's don't need ceramic coating but I couldn't resist.

    7. Making the car recognizable Porsche went all out with a silver that's 10% different, Whoopie Do!   Although GT Silver was an exclusive color, it isn't that distinctive. I solved this with a few hideous satin black accents for bedazlementation.  I'll try to pass them off as OEM. 

    Inspired by the new 991T decal.  I think these are pretty understated.
     others have likened it to a tatoo on my face.  Each to his own I guess
    Man Cave hooked me up with my "blackening"  thanks guys.
    Rock chips are bad in colorado, so why not do some blackening.
    8. Vanity Plates
    It's easier for fill out Hotel forms if you have a plate you can memorize. 
    40 Jahre is German for 40 Fast years


    9.  iPhone Mount.
    This I can do. And since its from Suncoast, a Porsche specialty company, it costs $45 instead of $10.  Worth every penny.  iPHone mount,   cheap thrills

    Magnetic Phone Mount - 996/986
    Worth every penny.  iPHone mount,   cheap thrills 

    10. Make your passengers comfortable.
    While Porsche sells a child seat, but you really want one w/out armrests.  It makes it easier to reach the seat-buckles.

    Maxi-Cosi Rodifix is a better fit than anything I've seen before. 
    11.  I never found the Ruf Wheels I'd put on space #11
    12.  I really thought Apply Carplay would be in slot #12, but turns out you sacrifice too much originality in the forms of wiring modifications.  I just couldn't stand doing that.

    Love those hard backs.  Kid loves em too. 
    What he doesn't like is the "no snacks" policy.

    This is the monster truck stance,  I have not yet photographed it with the European ride height.
    Look below and you'll find it soon.

    This is lowered to Euro height.  Still clears the curbs and speed bumps.
    I'm not a fan of drastic height changes.  This is just how Porsche intended.

    Brakes done,   new springs not yet installed in this photo

    Pretty sure the black hood should be removed,  but till then it serves as good rock guard.