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

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 12)

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.

12th Feb2016

Weekend Happy Party Time!

by Michael Chandler

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 2 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (46 of 56)

Time to get rowdy!!!!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
09th Feb2016

Let’s Rate the Automaker’s Super Bowl Commercials

by Michael Chandler

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

A healthy chunk of us watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, and some of us watched for the commercials.  I watched because it involved going to a place where there was awesome brisket and hominy dip, but that’s neither here nor there.  Since this is an auto enthusiast website, let’s not discuss the game but instead talk about some commercials!  Specifically the commercials from the auto manufacturers.  This year we had commercials from Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, Mini, Buick, Toyota, Audi, and FCA.  What were each of these manufacturers pushing, and who (or what) did they get to push whatever it is? LET’S FIND OUT TOGETHER!  And then let’s rate them on a scale from 1-10.  Sound good? Great!

Full Disclosure: I missed the first quarter, and was far more concerned with wolfing down food than with what was going on on the screen.  With the exception of Kia, Mini and Honda, this is the first time I’m seeing these commercials.

Let’s start with

Kia:

They’re pushing the new Optima with Christopher Walken and sock puppets!  OOO, look how shiny and not like any other mid-sized sedan it is!  Except it kinda looks like a Camry, and that interior doesn’t look THAT amazing.  But I do appreciate the dig they’re taking at everyone else.  Buying a mid-sized sedan is a lot like choosing socks: you just pick something that won’t stand out, and go on about your day.  Some options are more boring than others, but at the end of the day we’re talking about socks.  The things that keep your feet warm and dry, and comfortable in your shoes.  They don’t need to be flashy, and wacky sock guy isn’t a great guy to be.  I EXPRESS MY PERSONALITY THROUGH MY SOCKS!  ZABOW!!!  Please don’t be that guy, or be that guy and let me hurl grapefruits at you.  Either or.

And was anyone else hoping Christopher Walken was going to break out his monologue from Pulp Fiction?  It wouldn’t have been nearly as marketable, but it would’ve been the best commercial in twenty-years.

Score: 6.5

Hyundai:

They had four ads this year!

In the first one, titled The Chase, a pair of hikers (a guy and a gal) are being chased through the woods by two Grizzly Bears.  Thinking quickly, the guy speaks into his smart watch, and the 2017 Elantra fires up.  They hop in, and escape the bears.  Hooray!  But then the bears are given some dialogue, and I am suddenly overcome by the desire to burn whoever green lit that idea at the stake.  Why do I want to revive the practice usually reserved for witches?  You saw the vegan joke, right?  I rest my case.

The second ad is titled Ryanville, and features two ladies driving down a suburban street where every man they see is noted Canadian Ryan Reynolds.  He’s riding a bike.  He’s giving and receiving a traffic ticket.  He’s an entire construction crew.  He’s playing five on five football with nine other Ryan Reynoldses, one of whom seems way too aggressive for this being a simple pick up game.  I believe this to be the “evil” clone.

The women swoon and gawk, and damn near hit Ryan Reynolds the dog walker.  Thankfully for them (the world at large really), their Elantra has whatever they’re calling their collision avoidance and automatic braking system.  The world will have more Deadpool appearances, which makes this a much better world to live in.

First Date: Kevin Hart’s daughter goes on a date with a boy who may have nefarious intentions.  Kevin is reasonably concerned, so he let’s them take his Genesis 5.0.  The Genesis is equipped with Car Finder, which he uses to stalk the couple.  He’s at the movie they go to, he’s hiding in a pile of stuffed animals at the midway on the pier, and he shows up on a ladder hanging underneath what looks like an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter.

Their final spot was titled Better, and revolves around a boy who has a seemingly unique birth defect (condition? abnormality?): he has a V8 that produces a blue light protruding from his chest.  We see him go from baby, to toddler, to elementary school (where he knows how many moons Saturn has and can play Galaga like a pro), to high school (where he ignores his friend and talks to some attractive female classmates), to college (where he burns the midnight oil in the library), to post collegiate life (where he enjoys fitness and helping the elderly).  And then we see where he works, and who he works with.  The where appears to be a Hyundai design studio, and the who are other people with THE SAME ENGINE THING ON THEIR CHESTS!  Turns out that the engine is a metaphor.  “Better is the engine that drives us,” says Paul Rudd, who did the voice over work in all of the Hyundai spots.  We then see the intrepid lad looking at a concept vehicle that he penned.  Is Hyundai better than they were before?  Definitely.  Are they better than most of their competitors?  Well, they’re better than enough of them to remain a relevant player.

Score: 7. Blame the bears and the engines, praise Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds.

Honda:

In the third quarter is where America was introduced to the new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, which looks like an Odyssey that had everything behind the C-pillar cut off and replaced with a truck bed.  In this ad we have a farmer transporting sheep, a handful at a time, to a pasture for grazing.  We can hear Queen’s Somebody to Love playing from the truck as the farmer unloads what has to be his twentieth load of sheep.  He drives off, and the sheep start singing the classic song.  They stop when the farmer, and three more sheep, return.  And it’s here that we find out why the sheep are singing Queen: because of the truck bed audio system that’s an option on the new Ridgeline!  I can understand how this could be a useful feature, but I’m not 100% sure I get how it went from a note in a focus group to a thing that you can get on your truck.  Anyway, the farmer drives away and the sheep begin singing again.  Then we see the truck in front of a barn, and hear a voice over talking about the truck bed audio.  The camera slides over to reveal that the farmer’s dog is delivering the lines.  After seeing this ad, I noticed the four dogs running around the room.  I felt a sudden wave of melancholy wash over me, and I went back for more brisket and chicken nuggets.

Score: 6.  Any other song, and this would’ve been scored much lower.

Acura:

Acura was pushing the 2017 NSX, something they’ve been doing for four years now.  Instead of having Jerry Seinfeld, noted Porsche fan, trying to get the first NSX (something he didn’t do in the 2012 ad, and something he didn’t do this year), they released a 30 second version of a longer commercial they released a week before!  They show the car going from a block of aluminum to a car via all the processed that are necessary to go from block of aluminum to car, with Runnin With The Devil playing in the background.  While not a bad commercial, this is another one of the many odd steps Acura has taken during this whole NSX gestation period.  Why undercut your Super Bowl commercial by releasing the minute long version a week before the game?  I demand answers!

*pounds fist on table*

*Funko POP figures fall down*

OH MY GOD NO!!!!!!!!!

Score: 7 for the extended cut, 4 for this version.  Seriously…

Mini

Several celebrities (take that with a grain of salt) hurl labels at the Minis.  Tony Hawk, Abby Wambach, Randy Johnson, T Pain, Serena Williams, a little girl, Michael Whinnet, some racing drivers, and Harvey Keitel are all here to tell you that people who defy labels define themselves.  And they also want you to buy a Mini Clubman, which I’m gonna go ahead and say don’t.  For $29,000 there are better options, ones that don’t include a pillar running through the middle of your rear window.

By the way, does anyone remember Harvey Keitel driving an NSX in Pulp Fiction?  Why can’t HE be pushing the NSX?  Why, of all things, the Mini Clubman?

Score: 7.5. Who are some of these people??

Buick

Remember when we thought Buick was going to be cool again?  While we have the Regal GS, we have to take things like the Cascada to get it.  Is it a shorter Murano Cross Cabrio?  A taller VW Eos?  Whatever it is, it’s at a wedding and it’s criminally under vandalized.  Seriously, who are these guests and why isn’t that thing filled with balloons, tissue paper, and other random crap?  *annoyed grunt*

Since it’s a wedding, there HAS to be a bouquet toss.  The bride throws the bouquet over the assembled women vying for the flowers, and one recreates an O’Dell Beckham Jr. catch.  The bystanders remark on how Beckham Jr. like her catch was, then OBJ himself says that she was out of bounds.  Adorably hilarious.  Where’s that Avista sport coupe?  MAKE IT HAPPEN PEOPLE!

Score: 5.5.  Could’ve been worse, could’ve been a lot better though.

Toyota

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!  The only exciting Prii are not even really Prii.  The entire time this commercial was playing, I was imagining running those idiots off the road.  The day America falls in love from some bumbling idiots, running aimlessly from the cops in a Prius, is the day the fiery gates of Hell open up, and fire and brimstone fall from the sky and finish ruining our shit.

Score: Words cannot express how much I hate this commercial.

Audi


New R8?  Good.  Bowie’s Starman in the background? Amazing.  A son using said R8 to reignite his former astronaut father’s interest in life?

This was the best commercial from the auto makers for this Super Bowl.  I felt all of the feels.

Score: 11.  IT’S JUST DUSTY IN HERE, OKAY?!?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA kept it all about Jeep, and it’s 75 year anniversary.  The first one talks about all the things Jeeps have done in those 75 years, and the other talks about all the things they currently do because they’re Jeeps.  No model in particular, just Jeep.  These two fall short, especially when compared to the three stellar commercials to come out of the FCA camp in years past.

Score: 8.  Not great compared to their previous entries, but stellar compared to most of the other ones.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
05th Feb2016

Goodbye Scion

by Michael Chandler

Tuner Scion xB

Toyota finally axed Scion, the brand that was supposed to be youth oriented, but ended up selling to the same people who normally buy Toyotas.  It’s sad that this news came after the success of the FRS and the introduction of the iA, which is basically a Mazda2 with an extra set of doors.  We can sit around and complain, pitch ideas of what could have been done, and/or point and laugh; OR, we could remember the good times.  Good times like Nik Preusser’s first xB.

Fredric Asabo Scion TC Formula D

Or Fredric Aasbo’s tC

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Or the FRS we saw at last year’s WERC 6 Hour race.  Let’s remember the good times people, and rejoice that the Scion lineup is getting shoehorned into Toyota’s.

04th Feb2016

Kick Up Some Dust

by Michael Chandler

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 2 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (35 of 56)

Let em know you came to party

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

MkIV Toyota Supra CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-9

Smoke em if you got em!

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.
29th Sep2015

Three Musketeers

by Michael Chandler

JDM Trio shoot Group Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-3

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Somethings happen because someone works hard, long hours, for days and weeks on end.  Somethings, like this shoot, happen because of pure circumstance.  If, on the day I saw two of the cars featured here, I decided to make a left turn instead of a right this might not have happened.  Thankfully, I made that right, and got the ball rolling on this shoot.

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The two cars I saw were the Black FD and the purple SW20.  Seeing either of the cars would be awesome, but seeing both, cruising around together brought up all sorts of images of Daikoku Futo.  I put the word out on Facebook, and almost immediately someone responded.

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Brad, the owner of the red FC RX-7, said they were friends of his.  He acted as go between, and helped set up the shoot.  Oh, and he drives a red FC.  A red coupe with pop-up headlights?  Let’s look further at this child of the 80’s.

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Captain Coolpants might not have some cool things (like a turbo, or torque) but he does have some sweet ass S5 taillights.  That’s gotta count for something.

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And the 17″ Racing Harts, courtesy of a Mazda Protoge5, fit nicely.  And the gold looks great with the red.  Enough of the opener, let’s get to the feature and headliner.

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Mid-engined sports cars hold a special place in the hearts and minds of us enthusiasts.  Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, even Acura made their top tier sports cars mid-engined.  And so did Toyota*.  It’s fitting that Tayler’s MR2 wears purple, it is after all the color of royalty.

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Wedged in the middle of the MR2 is the venerable 3S-GTE, a two liter, turbocharged four cylinder that also powered the all wheel drive Celicas that eventually got Toyota in deep trouble with the FIA.  Thankfully, there isn’t any sort of trickery going on in this particular motor, but it is making all sorts of glorious noises.

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A modern classic like this needs modern classic wheels, and the 5zigen FN01R-C fits that bill perfectly.

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Those same wheels, albeit in a different color, set off the classic lines of Kaiden’s FD.  Like its contemporaries, the Supra and 300ZX, the FD RX-7 ditched the angular lines that defined the previous generation and became more rounded and smooth.  While it came with pop-up headlights from the factory, Kaiden’s has been fitted with a set of flush mounted lights.  Despite the omnipresent lights, the shape is still instantly recognizable.

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The front bumper, fenders and hood have all been replaced with pieces that shed weight and help with air flow.  Air flow, especially through the engine bay, is key when you’re dealing with an engine the size of a basketball, but weighs as much as an LS1.

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But what an engine it is.  Despite the publicized “short comings” (they’re not the torqueiest motors, but they can make plenty of power without eating apex seals every other day), the 13B is a legendary motor.  It has powered some blisteringly fast cars, and if you can shove one into a Miata, you’ll have yourself one hell of a roadster.

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I’ve noticed something with the youths.  It seems that they’re gaining an appreciation for some of these modern classics.  It could be because they’ve realized that the more mechanical cars have a feel that the current cars don’t have, or they might be dropping into their price range.  I doubt that last part to be true, but then again, when I was in high school my budget for transportation was enough to grab a new shop deck for my skateboard every now and again, so my views may be skewed.  Either way, seeing more of these cars in the hands of young enthusiasts is a good sign for the future of us, the enthusiast.

BONUS GALLERY

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