22nd Jun2017

CAMcast: Over Hyped & Under Sold

by Michael Chandler

Live on… well not tape, but whatever this is, it’s the CAMcast!  Welcome to it ladies and gentlemen!  We’re glad you could be here for this episode, because it’s a good one.  Mike, Gavin, and Dave congregate in the basement, battle insects (we’re winning!) and talk about so many things:

  • The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans was insane, and we fumble around with the results
  • Nobody is buying the Alfa Romeo Giulia, and we try to figure out why
  • A dealership is selling a bone stock JZA80 Supra for $125,000, which is insane
  • We talk about how much we love the small turbo diesels found in TDI Volkswagens and BMWs
  • And nobody’s mic has issues!

Thank you all for joining us!  We really appreciate you taking some time to listen to our semi-informed conversations.  Stream the episode in the player above, grab it on iTunes or Google Play, or just download it here. And we have a challenge for you: send us a photo or video of you and your friends listening to this podcast in a basement, while eating pizza and drinking some beers.  Best/worst basement situation will get some prizes.  We’ll be back next week with more shenanigans, and more random challenges!

Find us on social media, subscribe to the CAMcast podcast, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
10th Nov2016

Hiroyuki Hasegawa, Co-Founder of HKS, Dead at 71

by Michael Chandler

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Hiroyuki Hasegawa, co-founder of legendary tuning company HKS, has passed away at age 71.  The company released a brief statement, which contained no specific details of his death.

Founded in 1973 by Hasegawa and Goichi Kitigawa, and with an investment from Sigma Automotive, HKS has been one of the premier tuners in the world.  Crafting everything from one of the fastest R35 GTRs in the world (pictured above), to outright drag racing monsters, top speed machines, and even developing a Formula 1 engine, HKS cemented itself in the lexicon of those who know about speed and craftsmanship.  

A former Yamaha engineer, Hasegawa worked tirelessly to develop and release his first aftermarket turbocharger kit in 1974.  From there his company developed many turbo kits and upgrade kits, eventually developing electronic devices that would become staples in the tuning world: boost controllers and turbo timers.  HKS has been involved in all levels of motorsport, from D1GP to JGTC, Formula 3 to drag racing.  Demand became so great that the company expanded into the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom, and Thailand.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
07th Oct2016

The Best Worst Trip

by Michael Chandler

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It was cold and dark last night.  In the darkness, surrounded by storage units filled with other people’s stuff, Scott, myself, and a man named Cody pushed Big Ronda onto a U-Haul trailer.  As they were ratcheting the car onto the trailer, I began thinking about something I found the day before.  I went down to the storage unit on Tuesday, and began cleaning it out the refuse that had accumulated in the three years I owned the car.  While cleaning out the glove box I found a receipt and some lotto tickets that never made it across the counter of the convenience store in Franklin, Idaho.

The Powerball jackpot was rather high, but not historic in August 2013.  Being the sort of fellow who thinks that having ridiculous amounts of money would allow me to pursue many of the endeavors I’d like to, and having a GT car in need of a test of its grand touring prowess, the decision was made to head to Idaho and grab some lotto tickets.  I called up Dave, and we made plans to run to the land of Russets.  But first we needed to address one big problem the car had: the lack of speakers.

When I test drove the car, it had a speaker box in the back and some semi-functional door speakers.  When I picked it up, the speaker box was gone.  Dave and I went to a junkyard, harvested some door speakers from a GS300, and proceeded to install them while parked on the street in front of his house.  While installing the speakers, we also plumbed in a fully functional boost gauge.  One that went up to 25psi.  With those installed, we made our way to Tommy’s family’s restaurant: Thai Drift.  We rolled in, showed off the car to Tommy and Trent (who happened to be down there) then made our way back to the freeway.  On that short drive we noticed something: Ronda was making more whoosh pcha noises than before.  While I stepped on it, Dave looked at the boost gauge and let out an excited laugh when the needle hit 15psi and the car hit fuel cut.  That was an issue we’d deal with later, because we were on our way to prosperity!

We stopped at 7-11 in Kaysville before making the final push through Logan and into Idaho.  The clutch felt weird while getting off the freeway, but I just attributed it to the heat.  We grabbed some drinks, popped the targa top off, and got back on the road.  Everything was fine, until we got off I-15.  While merging onto US-91, the clutch pedal stopped doing anything.  It would sink to the floor, and stay there.  I managed to keep the car going, but we ran into some construction on 89 and I killed the car.  I had only ever driven it with a full functional clutch pedal, I could blip the throttle on downshifts, but I had no idea how to drive the car without using the clutch pedal entirely.

It was at this point that I began rethinking every decision I made for the last few months: why did I buy this car?  I didn’t want a mk3, I wanted a mk2.  Something I could slam on tiny wheels, and live out my new found dreams that I saw on Instagram feeds like All That Low, DOHC Research, and Liberty Walk.  Why did I not test the car out on a different drive?  What happens if this car can’t get going again?  Why am I here?  Who am I?  What is this?  Through all of the self-doubt, Dave’s voice came through. He coached me through, and while it was stressful, we made it to the L Tienda.

The radio took a dump on us at some point, so we just had our conversational skills to get us through. So while I went in and spent way too much on lotto tickets, Dave contorted himself and got the radio kicking again.  We then faced an important decision: Head back the way we came, which would take us back through Logan and Brigham City at rush hour; OR stay on the 91 until it ran into I-15.  After some brief discussion, and realizing that there would be a lot less shifting required, we stuck to the 91.  We got on the road, and Dave found what would end up being our soundtrack for the rest of the drive: Sports by Huey Lewis and the News.  The 1983 classic went into the tape deck, and never came out.  The damn thing ate the tape, but kept playing it.  It played both sides, on constant repeat, but refused to eject the tape.  It was on the third play through that I decided to uncork Ronda, and see how 100+mph felt without a roof.

We weren’t stopping until we got to my house, where we would grab the Subaru, and take Dave home.  A friend of mine in Farmington wanted to see the car, and us, but I did my best to convey to her that we could not stop, despite how much we wanted to.  We soldiered southward, and prepared for our final test: the stretch of road between the freeway exit and my driveway.  A harrowing 1.1 mile stretch of surface streets, filled with stop lights, traffic, and people who don’t understand how traffic laws or courtesy work.  Would we have to face each battle, or would luck smile upon us?  Mercifully, we had a favorable drive over that stretch.  We made it to my driveway, where we abandoned Ronda for the Subaru, and made our way back to Dave’s.

That was the first, and only big drive Ronda ever went on.  It was the best drive it could have been.  If it was completely uneventful, it would have been boring, and I wouldn’t have remembered the details three years on.  If it was an abject failure, then Ronda would’ve been gone long ago.  It was exciting, it had danger, humor, drama, no romance though.  I could not have scripted it better, nor would I have wanted it to be any different.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
31st Mar2016

No Intercooler, Many Problems

by Michael Chandler

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Well, I finally spent some time with Ronda and made some good progress.   And then, much like the IMSA WeatherTech drivers, I ran into some issues…  But I got the old intercooler and most of the piping out!

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Let’s start with the good that I managed to do.  Most of the hard, crusty intercooler piping is out.  I didn’t get to the pipe immediately coming off the compressor housing, but that’s ok because of reasons I’ll soon be explaining.  And as I said, I got the old intercooler out.  Now this is where I hit a snag.  It wasn’t as easy as undoing a few nuts & bolts, wiggling off some rubber pipes and gracefully sliding it out the bottom of the car.  No, that would’ve been too easy.  It was undoing a few nuts & bolts, using many four letter words, listening to the Sebring rain delay, and learning new things about the car.  Things like it already has an oil cooler, and that it and the coolant overflow bottle need to move for that intercooler to fit.  Neat.

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Speaking of neat things, let’s take a closer look at the new intercooler.  It’s a bit deeper and taller, and much wider due to the end tanks.  Those are all good things, and also problematic.  Like I mentioned, I have to relocate the oil cooler and overflow bottle.  The oil cooler is going to move to where a fog light was, but I have no idea where the overflow bottle is going to go.  That’ll be an issue for slightly further down the road, because I need to get some brackets fabbed up so I can mount the intercooler.  Having reached that impasse, I elected to move on to another aspect of this upgrade project.

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I’m going to be installing a new turbo elbow, downpipe and exhaust along with the intercooler.  I wasn’t going to try to pull the exhaust or the downpipe by myself, because being entirely under my car with no one around seemed a bit too sketchy.  So I decided to get the turbo elbow off.  I got the heat shield off, and the O2 sensor out, and then I made an unfortunate discovery.

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I couldn’t get the elbow off of the downpipe.  The studs connecting the downpipe to the elbow have their nuts on the downpipe side.  Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, I put the O2 sensor back in, closed and locked the door of the storage unit, and went home.  Some people would look at this day as a failure: the new intercooler didn’t go in, and the elbow didn’t come off.  I see it as a success.  The old intercooler is out, I don’t have to buy a new oil cooler because I already have one, and the big gal didn’t crush me.  Anytime your project car doesn’t kill you is a successful outing.

And that’s how she sits.  The next step is to grab some friends and some more jack stands and try to get the old exhaust parts off, and the new ones on.  Don’t know when that is going to happen, but it’s going to happen!

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

 

21st Mar2016

Expect a Big Ronda Update As Well

by Michael Chandler

Yeah, I spent some time on Saturday yanking that out of the car and listening to the Sebring 12 Hour rain delay.  I’ll tell you about how annoying that was, and why that’s all that I did, later this week.  Also, follow us on Instagram: @camautomag.  We try and have fun there.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Feb2016

So Ronda Is In Storage

by Michael Chandler

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Unfortunately, I had to send my girl away.  It’s sad, I know; however, there’s a reason for this.  It’s a reasonable one too: someone in my house just leased a brand new car, and they wanted to keep it in the garage.  That would mean the semi-motionless Ronda had to go to a new home.  I say “semi-motionless” because the starter is going out, which makes getting the old girl started a tremendous pain.  That, combined with her lack of gas and practically dead battery, meant I’d need someone to help me drag her to the storage unit I had rented earlier that day.  I got Mat to bring his truck and trailer, and Dave to come over after he got off work, and we got her out of the garage and onto the trailer.  Then we almost ripped the lip off the front bumper as we gracefully rolled her into the unit.

And there she sat for a few weeks, mostly because it has been cold, but also because I’ve been terribly unmotivated.  Well on President’s Day I found some motivation.  I grabbed Joey, and we went down to try and do… something.  But first, let’s get caught up with Ronda a bit more.

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When last we left Ronda, she was getting lowered and getting a big cooling upgrade.  She also had an H in her name.  That’s gone now, but she did get something to make up for the loss of a letter: a braking upgrade, in the form of Stoptech drilled rotors and brake pads.  There’s a set of 17″ wheels sitting in my garage, just waiting for tires and powdercoating.  At the end of last year I jumped on a screaming deal: for $500 I picked up a Tanabe Hyper Medallion exhaust, downpipe and turbo elbow, and a new intercooler and piping.  There’s a few reasons for that purchase:

  1. The current exhaust, while stainless steel with V-Band clamps holding it together, look awful and is rusting in places.  It’s also loud and droning.  It just needs to go.
  2. The downpipe hangs low.  Really low.  It scrapes on everything.  While it’s better than scraping the oil pan on everything, it’s incredibly annoying.  It also looks pretty cheap, so might as well replace it with something shiny, new and brand name.
  3. Stock MA70 intercoolers are cool because they’re shoved into the nose of the car.  They’re not cool because the damn things, and the OEM piping, don’t do that great a job of keeping the boost in the system.  Oh, and there was one coupler that was not meant to see positive pressure.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about what Joey and I managed to accomplish.

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The OEM boost leak, I mean intercooler

The original plan was to pull the faulty starter, and the battery, and maybe get cracking on some of the fun stuff.  We managed to pull the battery out, and we got some bolts off of a bracket holding the intercooler in.

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We also pulled off some of the old intercooler piping, and got a shiny new pipe fitted.  One with the appropriate couplers!  The rest of the piping and the new intercooler are going to have to wait for a warmer day, one when we can get going earlier since my unit doesn’t have power inside of it.

There’s still a lot left, most importantly is the starter.  That’s going to be an endeavor.  And there’s also the issue of all of those nasty, gray silicone hoses.  They’ve gotta go too.  And I should probably take care of the leaky targa top…    I should probably make a list…

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
16th Feb2016

Well That Was A Long Weekend

by Michael Chandler

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Anybody get any work done on their project?  Cause I kinda did!  I’ll tell you about it later though, cause there’s a bit of a story behind why I’m working on the Supra, where I’m working on it.

02nd Feb2016

Lady In Red

by Michael Chandler

 

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Photo by Nicholas Cherpeski

Tucked away in a corner of the SEMA Show was this gorgeous JZA80 Supra.  Our guy Cherp snapped this awesome photo after the rain fell.

29th Jan2016

It’s the Weekend!

by Michael Chandler

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Smoke em if you got em!

17th Mar2015

Utah Japanese Classic Car Spring Fling

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Spring is in the air and we, as gear heads, need to take to the streets and enjoy this.  On Sunday the Utah Japanese Classic Car group got together at Sugarhouse Park to ring in the season with what they called the Spring Fling Pot Luck.  If you’re in to classic J-tin then this group is for you, and if you were able to make it out to the park you got to see some treats.

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There were a pair of classic Celica GTs in attendance.  Both coupes were 5 speed models, and were rather bright.  You can see some American muscle influence in the noses of these vehicles, very reminiscent of early Camaros and Challengers; however, while the Americans were spry for being as massive as they were the Celicas were just spry.

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This beautiful, Datsun wagon made its way out.  More impressive than the wagon, and its cloth sunroof?  The fact that it made it out of the park.  That exit is gnarly!

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Who doesn’t need more RX7s in their life?  Everyone does, and there were examples of all three generations out, but this FB really caught my eye.  It’s not a concourse car, but it isn’t a wreck that that’s rotting away.  It’s a simple driver that’s hopefully spreading the good word of Reagan era rotaries to the masses.

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FC RX7s have been on the rise for a while, and for good reason.  Like all 80’s import FR coupes, they look amazing.  A few simple exterior modifications can transform a mundane runabout into a jaw dropper, and there were plenty of turbo models produced.  Nary a man alive can resist the Siren’s song that is a turbo 13B.

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This was, arguably, the most gorgeous car at the meet and is in the running for most gorgeous car to ever be produced.  The FD RX7 didn’t look like its contemporaries when it was new, and nothing has come along since to rival it.  This one is a bit different than the ones you see running around.  There isn’t a Mazda badge on the exterior, but it does have an “efini” badge on it.  This is because Mazda, like Toyota and Nissan, opened up a luxury division.  Their’s was called efini, but only operated from 1991-1997.  And unlike the Lexus and Infiniti brands, efini existed only in Japan.  That fact explains the most obvious feature of the car: it’s a right hand drive model.  You’re not going to be finding efini RX7s littering your supermarket parking lot, so seeing one in person is like finding a unicorn.

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Second generation MR2s were out in force.  These mid-engine runabouts have been turned into Ferrari F355 lookalikes by some idiots overly enthusiastic people, but thankfully the ones at the meet were clean examples that weren’t sporting prancing horse badges.

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IT”S A SUZUKI CARRY!  WE’VE HIT PEAK JDM!!!  This is as good a place as any to end this post.  There’s a gallery below, but I won’t blame you for spending your day basking in the glory that is the Suzuki Carry.

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