21st Jan2016

Steve McQueen’s GT40

by Michael Chandler

Steve McQueen GT40

Steve McQueen bought it, used it to film Le Mans, then sold it.  It wound up in the Miller Collection years later, and at the museum at Miller Motorsports park.  A legend owned a legend, and I got to bask in its presence.

 

20th Jan2016

The Legend Returns

by Michael Chandler

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The Ford GT will be making it’s racing debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of the month.  We, and plenty of others, got to lay our eyes on one of the cars at SEMA last year in the Ford booth.  Photo: Nicholas Cherpeski

11th Nov2015

Happy Veteran’s Day

by Michael Chandler

Datsun 260Z RB26DETT

We here at CAM want to say thank you to all of our Veterans for their service.  What better way to show our appreciation than to show off some fine builds from some vets and active duty servicemen?

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Clint Stoneham’s RB powered Z has been featured not once, but twice!

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Mouse’s yellow Mustang is another great build that went one quite a journey before appearing on our slice of the internet.

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We’ve known Broderick Jones for a while, and we were ecstatic to be able to feature his unique Galant.

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Dan works on jets, and rips around in this Wicked Evo VIII.

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Nik Preusser didn’t have to take either of his cars to a different spot when we shot his features.  We shot his Scion xB and his Jetta Sportwagen at the same mill.

Thanks to these five, and to all the veterans out there for serving this great nation.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
04th Nov2015

SEMA 2015 Day 2

by Michael Chandler

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Photos by Michael Chandler and Nicholas Cherpeski

It rained!  And it got cold!  At least the rain and clouds contributed to some cool photos.  The frigid temps, not so much

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Nov2015

SEMA 2015 Day 1

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Nicholas Cherpeski

The show is officially open!  We braved the crowds to bring you a ton of photos, including the new Ford GT race car and the first Fiesta RS in the country!  Check them out below

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
06th Oct2015

NASA Utah Round 7 SATURDAY BONUS GALLERY!!!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photo by Michael Wells, MCWells Photography

Michael Wells was at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, while I was yelling at the underside of my car.  Because he’s a great guy, he sent us some photos to share with you guys!  Check them out!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
24th Sep2015

Top of the Line Imports Show and Shine

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

We covered a Top of the Line Imports meet last year, and it was a good time.  People go the extra mile to get their car ready for the meet and, for most, it showed.  This year’s meet was no different.

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This thing really stood out to me.  It’s a Volvo C30 on air!  The C30’s are already handsome little moosen, but put some good looking wheels on one and bag it and it becomes something else entirely.

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All the cool kids are bagging their cars, and most of them are not afraid of showing off their tanks and compressors.  I saw a lot of people who ditched the carpet in the trunk in favor of some hardwood.  Nobody had any parquet though…

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Someone went down their own path with the “hardwood” idea.  Good for you hockey enthusiast, good on you.

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One person decided to buck convention, and not mount their tank on the trunk floor.

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More modern cars made up the majority of the vehicles, but some classics came out.  This ’28 Ford Model A, complete with a stained glass rear window.

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And there was a Volkswagen Type 181, the Kurierwagen, lovingly known here as The Thing!  It was surfed out, complete with a short board sticking out the back.

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And in the shadow of another classic, stood the penultimate piece of classic JDM goodness.

Summer is officially over, that doesn’t mean the meets are; however, bigger meets with hundreds of cars and DJs and pizzas are.  But you can bask in the glow of the pictures on your screen and reminisce about the good times.

 

 

08th Jun2015

RallySport Direct Eat, Greet and Meet… Meet

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What started as a humble swap meet, hosted by a humble online retailer, has grown into a sizable meet at the physical home of a porperly big online retailer.  Thankfully, RallySport Direct maintains the feel of a shop run by a bunch of your friends and they have dropped the whole swap thing from their annual meet.

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And thankfully their neighbors are ok with having the meet attendees borrow their parking lots.  I wound up in one of these parking lots, and after receiving some puzzled looks from some mark 4 Supra owners (I’ll have some thoughts on that in a later column), I grabbed my friends Bobby and Brad and we wandered through the meet.

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One of the first cars we came across was Alex Prasop’s Honda Del Sol.  He’s had this car forever, and he’s put hours and hours of work into this.  Some people may look down their nose at a humble little Honda, but a lot of those people are the kind of folk who will create a scenario to show off their friends’ high dollar cars and act offended when people call them a WASPy a**hole.

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While most people are content with bolting on overfenders or flares, Alex was not.  He made his own fenders, along with doing his own engine swap and shaving and wire tucking his engine bay.  If I were given the choice between this, a well worn Honda built by an owner who is very passionate about his car or a new AMG Merc built by someone with more money than taste, who only cares that his car is cost prohibitive to most enthusiasts, I’d take the Honda.

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That said, I wouldn’t say no to a 911 or a Gallardo.  A classic 911 or a loud, brash Lamborghini are always head turners, and seeing them come out to a meet and them being driven by cool people (especially the 911, thanks for holding up for some pictures!) makes them even better.

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RallySport made their name slinging Subaru parts, and if you’re in need of some I recommend pointing your internet their way.  That being said, most people lower their Subarus and do their best to keep them clean.  Not these guys.  They’ve lifted them, put on massive offroad tires, added offroad lights, and the Legacy even added a snorkel.  These cars aren’t parking lot queens, or track day terrors.  They’re ready to get dirty, and stay dirty.

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The Subarus weren’t the only ones in the dirt game.  They were accompanied by this 4WD Civic Wagovan!  Underneath all that glorious mud was some red paint, but it didn’t look bad covered in Earth tones.

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In the same lot as the dirt crew was this bagged Mustang GT.  Not something you see everyday, especially around here, but a lot of the new muscle cars look great when they’re on the ground.  Bagging these big pony cars is something that needs to be done more, and this guy needs to drop us a line because I want to know more.

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Over in the feature lot, or at least the lot closest to RallySport Direct itself, was this 4 door R32 Skyline sitting on a staggered set of Super Advans.  If you look closely, you’ll see that there isn’t an RB under the hood.  Nope! It’s an SR20!  Too many doors, not enough cylinders, and all sorts of awesome!  Sign me up, I’ll take two.

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Next to my new favorite Skyline (sorry Brody), was another SR20 powered oddity: JR Crosby’s Lotus Super7.  I’ve seen theis car a few times over the years, and I still can’t get over the looks of the Ur-kit car.

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As long as I’ve been aware of the car it’s always been orange, and it’s always had that SR.  The Shelby wheels are new, as are the Nankang tires (which is obvious just looking at them).  Despite being insanely easy to look into the cockpit, I’ve never done so.  So, I did.  The well worn Start button tells you that this car has seen its fair share of road time.  The gauges are laid out in a very sensible fashion, the tachometer and speedometer are right above the steering column, with oil pressure and temperature, water temperature in a row to the right of them.  Below that trio is the wideband and the boost gauge.  It’s sparse, but utilitarian, probably something Colin Chapman would approve of.

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Lyfe Motorsports brought out pretty much everything except the GTR they’re prepping for World Time Attack; which, if you follow them on Instagram or Facebook, is a bare shell that doesn’t have a roof.

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They did bring out their other GTR, the one that has been dominating Global Time Attack and will be racing to the clouds at Pike’s Peak later this month.  This 1000+ horsepower beast is all business, and, as you can clearly see, they associate with only the best of companies.

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And then there’s this yahoo…

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The Brett King Design livery looks good on his still full interior TT1 car.  Yeah, full interior.  Headliner and all.  He drives this thing to work in Wyoming, because why not?

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While people were fawning over the turbocharged V6 in the Lyfe GTR, the old guard of turbo V6s rolled through.  A pair of Buick Grand Nationals came through and turned all the heads.  Seeing one at an event like this (something import heavy) is awesome, a pair is mind blowing.

This is always a great event, it’s well run and they bring out a lot of representatives of the part manufacturers they sell, and they give away a lot of awesome stuff too.  We’re looking forward to next year, as we always are.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

 

 

27th May2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 3: Fetch Thine Umbrellas!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Michael Wells

The unusually wet spring Utah has been experiencing has meant that there were two consecutive rain soaked round of the NASA Utah season for the first time in…  Well, ever.  Mercifully the rain wasn’t as heavy as the second round, and it had let up by Sunday.  So without further ado, let’s get to the winners!

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman led the suddenly surging Spec Miata field to a win on Saturday, and Daniel Williams kept fighting the good fight and took advantage of the sunny Sunday weather to win on Sunday.  Will he sell on Monday?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I doubt he’ll be letting go of his silver NB.

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Spec Z on Saturday was wild.  Tom Kaminski was chasing the eventual class leader Arthur Golebiowski like a man possessed.  He was coming around Clubhouse Turn at full opposite lock, which probably didn’t help close the gap but it looked very cool.  Meanwhile, Kyle Schick (6th in class) had another scary moment in Clubhouse.  He spun out, but managed to slide off the racing line.

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As mentioned earlier, Arthur Golebiowski took the win on Saturday and the #98 of Team Askew Motorsports ran a tight race and took home their first win of the season on Sunday!

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Bill Noblitt battled Gus Stribakos in GTS3, and took the win in his mid-engined Porsche on both days.  Say what you will about the Boxster, but that car in the right hands can do some pretty awesome things.

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Paul Mitchell, guided by the steady hand of Todd Green, navigated the rain and took the win in PTE on Saturday.  Paul wasn’t done for the weekend, but he was done in PTE.  GTS2 had a competitor on Sunday: the Team CA Sport BMW 3 Series.  We need more lots of things out on track, and E36s are one of them.

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While we’re all familiar with Todd Ainsworth’s new ST3 E36 M3, we’re not familiar with the red E36 M3 pictured above (but below Todd’s).  Turns out the red car is driven by one of our favorite Corvette drivers: George Smith.  Where is the Vette?  Beats me, I didn’t see much of George so I couldn’t ask him but it spent the weekend running around in ST2.  There it ran into something the engineers who created the M3 never imagined it would be competing against: a pickup truck.

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Mike Mielke can wheel in that truck!  Hopefully this season we’ll see some epic, and frankly strange, battles between the super truck and George’s new M3.  Because who hasn’t wanted to see that?

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Travis Tidball got himself a wing to go along with his fancy new (for this season) bodywork!  He also got himself a pair of wins out of the weekend.  The car was back on the dyno at JDP Motorsports to verify its power-to-weight ratio after some questions were raised during the weekend.  The results?  The car is ST3 legal.  The C5 Corvette: ruining people’s race weekends since 2001!

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A big surprise was seeing Brent Holden running in with the NASA Utah guys and gals instead of with the Pirelli World Challenge crew up in Canada.  No matter, he had an impressive showing in his Global Motorsports Group Audi R8 LMS Ultra and took wins in the Super Unlimited class on both days.

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On Sunday he battled the TW Racing R8 LMS, and you know what?  The older LMS got around the Ultra!  It was an amazing battle to watch!  However, an untimely penalty forced the TW Racing R8 into the pits to serve out its penalty and cut the fight short.  How did the GTSU class R8 fare in it’s class?

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Not well, unfortunately.  The 911 GT3 Cup cars of Alan Wilson and Les Long took the wins on Saturday and Sunday respectively.  The Air Power Racing prepped Porsche of Les Long is currently tied for first in the season’s points race with the TW Racing Audi.  How will this back and forth battle play out?  Hopefully we’ll see more tight battles between the two as the season plays out.

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More Porsches battled in GTS5.  On Saturday David Lockwood notched another win for the Air Power Racing camp, while Darrell Troester picked up a win for himself and Tatum Racing on Sunday.

Have I told you that I really like the E90 3 series?  Because I like the E90s, especially in race trim.  Conveniently, Byron Smith drives a race prepped E90 AND he won the GTS4 class.  That confluence of events allowed me to express my opinion on the E90.  Moving on…

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TT1 is being dominated by Subarus.  On Saturday, Shawn Murphy in the Lyfe Motorsports STi took the win over Ziptie Dynowerks STi of Greg Valdez by less than a second.  On Sunday the roles were reversed and Greg beat out Shawn, but the margin of victory was smaller: only .33 seconds separated the two!

TT2 is ruled by the iron fist of Robert Rathbone, and his authority is enforced by his 911 GT3.  All those who oppose him will be laid to WASTE!!!  Well, not really… at all.  He is currently running away with the TT2 championship.

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Alex Whetman is a bad, bad man in a bad, bad Focus.  He took TT3 on both days, earning his 4th and 5th wins on the season. He also had the fastest TT times of the weekend.  Not just TT3, ALL of TT.  By the way, buy the shirt.

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In the sea of FRS’s and BRZs, what rises to the top?  A Honda S2000.  Dave Wann took TTB  on both days, and is right in the thick of things in the class.  We don’t have a shirt to promote here, or anything really.

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Paul Mitchell ladies and gentlemen!  The intrepid Miata won TTE on the weekend, but that’s not the story here.

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Jeb Brown and Ben Lamberson are continuing their battle from last season, with Jeb currently leading Ben by a mere 70 points.  Was this little update necessary?  Eh, probably not.  But would you look at that picture!

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Fresh off their win at Global Time Attack, Lyfe Motorsports brought out their R35 GTR on Sunday AND!… Did not post a time during a TT session.  They did post the fastest time of the day (1.31.803!) during the Thunder group practice that morning. The TW Racing R8 LMS did post times during TT sessions.  Did it on both days.  It’s fastest time in the class was a 1:40.763, but that wasn’t the fastest lap it did over the weekend.  In the Sunday Thunder Group race, they posted a 1:33.825!

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McKay Snow was out again in the Patron Elan DP02, racing in Super Formula.  He took both races in commanding fashion.

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Formula saw Troy Duffin take the first race of the day with young Bruno Carneiro in second.  In the second race, they swapped podium places: Bruno won, and Terry took second.  At the end of the day, the young Brazilian clings to a twenty-five point lead in the class.

And there you have it.  If you’re doing rain dances, stop it!  Round 4 is also on the East Course, and the Lucas Oil Offroad series will be dropping by the off road course at MMP as well.  Come out, bring an umbrella (and possibly a winter coat.  You won’t be laughing when it snows three and a half feet!), and take in a full weekend of all sorts of racing!

Saturday Gallery

Sunday Gallery

Michael Wells Gallery!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

09th Apr2015

It’s a Spec New World

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

The Spec Z field is exploding for NASA Utah, Spec Miata is healthy, 944 Spec provides a solid battle every race, and there’s even a Spec E30 class that has yet to be explored.  Spec racing is a hell of a way for people to get into door to door racing, without having to build something crazy.  The blueprint is right there, all you have to do is follow it.

There are probably a ton of more spec series available, but there are plenty that don’t exist.  They probably don’t exist for good reason, but today we’re going to explore the brave frontier!  Buy your supplies, and prepare to lose half the party to Cholera.  WAGONS HO!

Spec S Chassis

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Drifting is starting to get ridiculous.  700-900 horsepower?  V8s with ridiculously engineered exhaust collectors?  What happened to welding up the diff in an S13 or S14 and getting wild?  It’s been proven that you don’t need rear mounted radiators, hydraulic e-brakes or sequential gear boxes to slide, but looking at Formula D makes one think otherwise.  I think it’s time to change this.  I’ve kicked this idea around with Dave, and we’ve come up with a rough framework for an amazing new drift series: Spec S Chassis.  An entire field of S13s and S14s, all sporting KA24DEs.  The only modifications you can do internally is a hot cam swap (running an exhaust cam in place of an intake cam), and that’s it.  Welded diffs, basic steering angle mods, and coilovers are all you get suspension wise.  You can run whatever tire you want, granted it is the specified size.  Suddenly it’s not who has the biggest budget and most power, it’s who has the skills to boogie.  It’s still judged, but (and since this exists in the minds of a few) there will be completely different judges than in Formula D.

Now, I know Lone Star Drift is trying a budget minded series this season and that’s fantastic.  The drivers have their chose of chassis and can do some modifications (motor swaps like SRs in 240s and such, and engine cooling is open, and suspension is open but no attachment points can be moved), and all the competitors have to run Kenda tires.  You can still petition to have some modifications let in, but hopefully they’re not too lenient with it.  However, if you really want to see who is the best driver, you’d stick them in identically prepared cars and let them go at it.

Super Pursuit

Crown Vic

Travis over at Jalopnik proposed a Spec Panther series/class, and it has all the required legs to be something.  The Panther platform Fords are in abundance and are cheap, and he laid out the rules.  It’s great, and since he came up with it a square almost two years ago I’m not going to bogart his idea.  I’m going to expand upon it, and take it to ridiculous new heights.  Instead of just seeing Crown Vics, Grand Marquies and Town Cars running around, why not expand it to ALL the common and cheap former police vehicles?  Why not?!

Crown Vics, Chargers, Caprices and Impalas are eligible in this series, and they would have to have some of the basic spec requirements (cage, minimum wieght, spec tires, etc).  These cars wouldn’t be street legal, but neither are Spec Miatas or Zs.  The spotlights would be removed, BUT the cars can run light bars provided they’re attached securely.  And each car would have to be painted, or wrapped, to look like an actual police car.  Not 100%, but at least black and white or similar colors to a local municipality.  Who wouldn’t want to see this?!?

WGT: Wagon Grand Touring

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We love wagons.  There’s no shame in that, because wagons are awesome. Unfortunately, with the rise of minivans then CUVs, the humble wagon has started to disappear.  Ford, FCA and GM aren’t making any.  BMW and Mercedes do, but finding one is like finding a unicorn.  This pretty much leaves VWs, Subarus, and Volvo.   And this wouldn’t be the first time a Volvo wagon was out racing! Unfortunately, the Touring Brick would be outlawed.

It would be open to four cylinder wagons, naturally aspirated and turbocharged, so no BMW or Meccedes.  The modifications would be more open for the NA cars, and the turbo cars could carry a weight penalty.  Tires would be spec, but different sizes for the NA and turbo cars.  Cages, obviously and fuel cells.  No roof racks, baskets or boxes/pods.  Having these grocery getters running around would open up some interesting new avenues for competition.  Honestly, some Top Gear-esqe shenanigans like a mandatory pit stop to load the car with groceries would add some hilarity.  Or fastest lap with the most cargo.  The possibilities are endless, like a child’s imagination.

So that’s what I’ve come up with.  How about you?  Feel free to add your ideas, tweaks and your own classes in the comments.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.