Sep 28, 2017

Mental Health

Pikes Peak. 

Some bad shit has transpired.  Don’t worry; I’m not sharing.  Men don’t do that shit.  Men get into their fucking cars and drive.  That's what this man is doing anyway.

I woke up, grabbed Ray Bans, a radar detector, a Mac Book and jumped in the M3 to escape reality

So off I went, on the road to Pikes Peak.   It’s the closest, cool car guy destination  that I know of.  (I've been in Colorado for a few years now, but my focus has not been on cars, but rather my young son).  Someone who will receive the torch of automobilia I hope.  My goal is to waste the whole damn day, if possible.

No guard rails in most places.  I'm a car guy, but damn!  I don't think so. 
I’ve never been up Pikes Peak, but if it’s anything like my drives in Oregon to Mt Saint Helen it should be adequately distracting.    Fresh pavement and turns that require 100% focus to drive the demons from my mind, albeit temporarily. 

I’m rocking out to Pandora in my Kenwood Apple Car play radio.   I prefer factory stereos, but they have broken 3 times in 3 months.   So I bought the most Apple Compatible radio I could find, then asked Duplicor for guidance to paint the shiny/flashy bits to match the interior. They replied in hours with product names and instructions.   I like old school cars w/out electro doodadification, but a man needs to make calls and use his Waze app too.

Climbing the peak allows me to explore my goals for the M3.    I need 0-60  times in under 5 seconds. Probably because that was the Holy Grail when I was a boy.   I’d also like my car to look a bit more stunning w/out looking like a project car.   I prefer my coolness to be subtle, but impactful to people that know what they are seeing.  Automotive esoteric coolness is my mantra.

I don't have the nerves to race, but that doesn't make me less of a car guy. 
 Perhaps autocross is more my speed,   no cliffs to drop down. 

     Big ass brakes would be nice.   These are cosmetic to me, but I still want them pretty badly.  I’d like bigger Motorsports-Blue calipers to peak out from behind my wheels.  Since I really don’t need better braking, I plan on Porsche 996 brake calipers, adapted to fit my car, then painted to look like late model M3 Brakes.  This should be more hands on than a kit, and hopefully less expensive too.   

 Brembos off a 996 Porsche can be painted to look this good

      Dinan badges are cool to me.   Many Dinan parts are irrelevant if I plan to install a supercharger.  The car already sports Dinan suspension, and Dinan exhaust will come soon.   I’ll buy just enough to warrant a legitimate badge w/out being a charlatan.
Wheels,  I can't drive much longer on my hideous wheels.  I want the coolest wheels BMW offered in the 90’s or I’ll die of plebianism.  Below are my ultimate choice, and they are around in refurb and replica forms. 

I think the plate personifies esotericism, if that’s a word.   It means very little to common folk, but tells BMW guys I’m the less common 4 Door with a 5 Speed.   It's actually plenty damn common, but since it took a while to find one, I’m going to make believe it's rare.  What's being a car guy w/out a little self-deceit?

Lastly, I’m having a love hate relationship with the idea of forced induction.  The blower pictured comes with an ECM tune included that should make it quite drivable.   The appearance in black is quite OEM looking, and I dig that. A Dinan supercharger is an ideal choice too, but they cannot be sourced new;  meaning tuning and rebuilding costs would be additional.  

The VF Superchargers are large blowers moving a pretty small volume.  This means you can get away with lower temps w/out an intercooler and make reasonable power.  Ultimately this will get me going the modest speed improvement I desire.  The price of $ 4,500 puts this on the back burner for a while.   When my son’s older It will be a good project for him to see.


My only competition to the Peak today.  I kicked his ass.

May 31, 2017

Project M3/4/5

M3 bought sight unseen, arrived home.

Professional Detailer Cameron Crabtree works for chocolate milk.  

I've sprained my shoulder, patting myself on the back for finding this one in such pristine condition. While not the sexiest car I've ever owned, the M3/4/5 (M3, 4 doors, 5 speeds) as they call it is pretty special.   But, hey, no 20 year old car needs nothing.   Plugs, O2 sensors, drips, and hoses all needed minor attention, but didn't amount to much money.  
It didn't take long for the Service Engine Light to come on.

  Just a loose injector wire.   ( i'm leaving  out that it took me 6 hours to figure out ). 
 There is something very rewarding about such a well matched car.    Gearing, weight, torque, sound, steering and shifter-feel all come together well in this car, even after 20yrs.   It's understandable why its handing was legendary in the 90's.  That could have faded with neglect, but this car was not neglected.  Especially with it's recently installed Dinan suspension, it is quite a rewarding old car to drive.

The E36 M3 has it where it counts for me.  That's on the road to work, mountain passes and freeway on-ramps. While not powerful at all by today's standards, it's tailored to feel good on the road each day.   Power delivery seems optimized from for the US legal road experience.  I'm not interested in amazing Nürburgring times or 190mph top speeds.  I'm also not interested in how cool the european models were.
Now it's not all sunshine and roses, It did find tell tail signs of a car parked outside in Seattle for many years.  Mildew and sludge buildup was on the exterior crevices.  Though it doesn't show in the photos, it was unsettling.   It took a 3 day weekend to make this car 90% what I was looking for. Which is a classic sedan that looks as good as it handles.
Inline 6 is favorite motor of mine probably because I learned to drive on a F150 with one.

Easier access than the M5's V8, and certainly easier to access than my Porsche 911's motor.

Lastly the kid can learn and see what I'm doing easier than with those cars
Especially in Storm Trooper While, I find it more attractive than other M3s. It's no Carrera, but it does still make me smile when I turn around for another glance after parking.   I'll Tint windows soon, because it's damn hot here in Colorado.   Forged Dinan or Motorsport wheels and a factory spoiler install are also on my mind.  
Cut and Buff via my Griots Garage toy box.   W

ax and Plastic treatments courtesy of Meguiars.  
Leather didn't crack over the past 20 years, but it was very thirsty for conditioning.  It will take several more treatments to make this leather happy.   I'll spring for a full interior replacement when the kid stops dropping ice cream and gummi bears everywhere.  Meanwhile I clean the rear interior weekly using my leaf blower, that gets those goddam Cheerios out of the crevices.
Part of me misses full power seats of my Carrera, 

but the weight reduction helps with the rationalization.

Surely they are more reliable too.  yep,
Back seats that don't fold down make for a slightly stiffer chassis I'm told.

   I like this and don't plan on taking it to Ikea anyway.
To address the mildew and grim I took a nausea pill and got to work watching my Father-in-law clean.   This Seattle grime is a good reason to get a garage for crying out loud.   Sadly, property values have climbed so high, everyone in Seattle  is using their garage's as a spare bedroom.  A travesty explained in my blog on garage abuse.
Door trim after removing the slimy rubber door seals.

I have many sludge photos , but you get just this one.
This is the rich Seattle soil tucked into just one fender's edge!

Again,  no rust at all..
Interior condition was quite neat and preserved,  Seats were removed,  interior was vacuumed and steam cleaned but soil inside was quite minimal.  At least that's what my detailer reported.
Cookie crumbs will come later, so he's training here.
Discovered a  dim radio display.  A quick Googling indicated I could fix this myself.
Later I Googled a replacement on eBay. (after breaking it even more during my "repair")
Sure glad there are people that can solder micro-resistors better than I do.

Goodies I've bought thus far and am awaiting delivery

 Perhaps childish, but for just $21 I like the little "M"s.    We'll see if the EVER arrive from China
Buy $200 steering wheel now, learn of the other $200 worth of parts for intallation later.  That was my plan.
not an easy install, but it's done.
The only way to tell if you need euro indicator lights, is to buy them right?

May 7, 2017

Project initiation 1997 M3/4/5

For now all you get is pictures and my plan.

 Compete w/those $60-80,000 sport sedans with about $20,000? I think it's possible.  But we will have to apply your car passion to more than just your checking account.   Though the checking account will be involved.  hehe....  Make those checks payable to Dinan please.

A pleasant surprise in my pile of receipts.  Recent significant suspension work. 

I'm so excited and there is nobody to tell....


Starting point,  is the E36 M3 Sedan which I haven't taken delivery yet, but below are some photos as a primer to this blog's new mission.

Why an M3 from the 90's ? Because they are currently way undervalued. They are advanced, but not complex.  Also, they were regarded as one of the best handling cars in the world at any price in the 90s.  Because they are light, which is always cooler than powerful, if you can't have both. ( more in both later )

I don't vape and don't want to be infotained.  That extra weight in fancy new sport sedans is safety, infotainment and emissions stuff.   Who needs safety? Trump has closed the EPA, and  If I wanted to park while vaping on twitter, then a $60,000 sedan would be perfect.    I like the majority of the weight of my automobile to actually be metal.

For more rational reasons this car is cooler than that new Alfa, read this blog and you'll get the spirit of where i'm coming from

Post Purchase inspection.  Typically a smart shopper would do a Pre Purchase inspection.  But I am not a smart person, I'm a luckly one.   I hope .   So we'll call it a  Post Purchase inspection.  I'm a risk taker.

This inspection will occur at Meister Werks in Renton WA and that will clear the car for the drive from Seattle to Boulder when I retrieve it.   While most of the work I'll do at home, whatever important things found may need to be addressed there first. I'll scan and post the results of the inspection here.

 I judge a lot from my impression of the seller.  That impression was good, and given the color combo was important to me,  I needed to move quickly.    A car fax report indicated a non-structural accident, so I am interested to see in person the quality of the repairs.  I was however put at ease by the seller, he mentioned all the right repair and maintenance facilities in our conversation.  An 100% virgin paint condition is a sticking point for some, as is a perfect car fax, not for me.  I see opportunity.
Photo from Autotrader listing.

Upon arrival in Boulder, I'll take the car straight to my personal BMW gurus that helped in the search. That would be,  a broker/dealer for BMW and other nice machines. Though not a repair shop, I'm sure they'll want to rejoice with me and take a look because they are true enthusiasts and not merely sellers of fine autos.   Naturally, I'll share what we find at that time too.
Stay tuned

Jan 24, 2017

Okay, so lets just say I'm between sports cars right now.

No, I didn't ever intend on selling my Carrera.  As a common car-guy it was a very special day when I acquired it and a very sad one when I sold it.   Profit be damned, the car was the ultimate expression of just how cool I really am.  I knew before that auction closed, I'd be back.

When i return, let me tell you how things are going to be:

I will return with Car Guy vengeance!  I will  climb the highest mountain, fast and meditate as long as it takes to come up with the ultimate, and cheap, car guy acquisition.This acquisition will fill my empty soul while I wait for my Lotto ticket to come in and fund my next Porsche

That next acquisition must meet the following criteria.
1. Cost next to nothing.
2. Seat at least 3 people (is the McLaren F1 expensive?)
3. Come in a manual transmission
4. Speak volumes about my genius via it's esoteric coolness
5. It should also be the fastest car I've ever owned.
6. Unnaturally aspirated (helps with the Colorado altitude)

Now enlightened by peyote, or whatever shit those mountain geniuses consume, I will know the car that is this next project.  That project will begin with the search for the perfect machine.  My new found vigor will set Craigslist ablaze with witty emails and texts.  My genius that dazzle jackass online sellers to the point of begging me to take their overpriced cars for free.  

****Time lapse*****

I have visited this mountain and here is what I've come up with.  My mission will be to  solve an important car-guy problem:

How to compete with today's super-sedans on the super cheap

Saab 9-3 Viggen.  A lot of people will think I'm crazy. A Turbo 4 seater with esoteric cachet. This could tide me over for a year or two once I squeeze 300+ hp out if it.   The trick is, finding one with under 100,000 miles and under $15,000 which i'm finding impossible.

Yes, the M3 sedan may seem a little common, but that can be a good thing.  Parts are readily available.  The right wheels, sprinkle a little Dinan here and there,  then hide some enormous Brembos behind those wheels, and you've got something interesting to whomever is paying attention.  Finding a sub 100K example w/manual trans and $15,000 is hard, but shouldn't be impossible, But it is proving a test of one's patience.  (hint: this is where I ended up in my search see link here)

Other Cars i'm open to.
1. Competition Package 2005,6 M3 Coupes w/manual
2. 2006 M3 Convertible, manual tran  V  (not a fan of convertibles unless  really nice)
3. Save for another year, buy a 996TT    
4. Miata Turbo if one becomes available in stock condition locally.   
5. 944 Turbo,  but only when in above average condition. 

Stay tuned