Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What to watch this weekend (April 28 - May 1st)

  • Inside West Coast Customs. Rascal Flatts - Take the T-Tops Out. Thursday @ 8pm - 9pm (Discovery's HD Theater) replay - marathon Sunday @ 7pm - 12am
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Friday @ 9pm - 11pm (Discovery's HD Theater) 2nd season replays
  • Isle of Man TT 2010 - Episode 1 of 2010's seasonal coverage. Saturday @ 12pm - 1pm (Discovery's High Def Theater) replay
  • WRC - Rally Portugal. Days 1 through 3. Sunday @ 11:30am - 1pm (Discovery's HD Theater) not a live telecast - preview starts at 10:30am
  • IndyCar Series - Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300. From Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sunday @ 12pm - 3pm (VS/VSHD) live
  • Toyota Pro-Celebrity Race. From the street track of Long Beach, California. Sunday @ 3pm - 3:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay
  • Top Gear (UK). Season 13 Episodes 1 and 2. Sunday @ 6pm - 8pm (BBC America/BBC America HD) replay
New WRC and IndyCar race coverage this weekend. WRC coverage spans all three days of stages in Portugal and IndyCar goes down to Brazil for a battle on a high speed street race track. The Toyota celebrity race is always entertaining to watch; a bunch of under powered stock cars with cages and race suspension. The celebrities get a head start from the professionals, then on course hilarity ensues. Lastly I wanted to give a reminder to you all that BBC America is showing recent to classic Top Gear, constantly. Just a couple episodes on Sunday evening, but a ton during the weekdays. Be warned though, if you try to look for Top Gear before Sunday you'll just get wedding coverage.

Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quick Vid: E46M3 vs Japans best (Best Motoring Int'l)

Even though this is an European automotive speciality blog, when I can find excuses to weave JDM into our content, I do. I have a ton of Best MOTORing dvds in my house, so this was intuitive. While I'm a subtitle guy, this vid came dubbed...much to my chagrin. Ignore the corny voiceovers and enjoy the show.

Video courtesy of GT Channel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Red Coupe - More Power Pt.1

Following up on the last episode, you'll know that I got my hands on a motor to replace old faithful. Before we get to that, I'll share the last afternoon I spent on this car with ya. I still had my winter setup installed, higher ride height, steelies with iPike w409s, sandblasted front is lip and rock chips a plenty. I still have rock chips ahoy, but I learned something very important; when you have perch type coils, they don't do such a great job shaking off the winter harshness and tend to seize quite easily. I spent 4 hours busting knuckles in the driveway finding this out, as all my older VW (non-perch) experiences never put me in this predicament. Long story short, my "temporary" height solution is growing on me; the car looks good with the new daily wheels and 205/50-15 BFG G-Force Sport tires (review coming this summer). I considered several wheel options and since I'm a sucker for building slick oem+ setups, factory 15x7" weaves went from a backup choice to the choice. This smaller wheel diameter and light weight has been an absolute joy to drive around in compared to what I had been running, and my suspension seems to be much happier than with the stock rolling diameter. My highway MPGs have gone up by about 2 (to ~30.5). The car is noticeably quicker too, which excites me for what's next.

Back on topic then. My motor is old (blah blah) and I have found a clean low-mileage rebuilt replacement. This past Friday was going to be the three day install weekend marathon, but things don't always work out as planned. Regardless, my buddy Tim (Rootbeer Tuning) who I've appointed the tech lead on this effort, and myself, have made it a point to make lemonade. The first thing needed to be done is pull the motor and detaching connectors, wiring and mounts was a major affair. Thankfully my buddy Ian was in town for Easter weekend and lent his hands towards the extraction. While this was being sorted out I cleaned every bracket that came from the car in the parts cleaner, scuffed up the new motor and painted the block in Eastwood Cast Iron color high temp engine paint. The exhaust manifolds were bush coated with Por-15 manifold paint. I didn't expect this to be perfect, but I did want things to be spruced up quite a bit over the sludge slathered heart that was in there already. It turned out great for my needs. While I was at it, I replaced the oil filter.

As we went along I made sure to take plenty of images to remember where everything went for the reinstall that will be taking place in a couple days. I wish I had a designated picture taker because shooting with my cell phone sucked; I would've used the good camera but I didn't want my grubby hands on that thing. When we got just about where we needed to be for removal after a ton a PITA clips (thanks Ian) and harness maneuvering, I began to see additional small things I wanted to fix before things went back together. This is the first engine swap that I've been completely invested in and didn't realize how easily the initial list of things to do grows beyond your initial estimates. I'll get into details on that next time around, but for the time being the first stage of this process was accomplished. Motor out.

There were some logistics that we didn't think of that threatened to throw a monkey wrench into the ease of this install. For the night though, it was time for some much needed sleep.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Event Recap: Blown Euros 2011 Spring GTG

Back at it again! It was good to get out in the sunshine and check out some cars at the 2011 Blown Euros Spring GTG. This years show was at the Sesame Place children's amusement park parking lot in Langhorne, PA. Once again, I got to this event past the middle of the show, due to conflicts of interest, but I got what I wanted out of the experience. Nice weather, a couple really cool cars, several slick daily drivers, a bunch of CCW's (ahem), seeing some associates for the first time this year and some snaps where applicable.

As I stated previously, the Blown Euros 2011 Spring GTG was a fundraising event for Variety Children's Charity, disguised as a GTG. The atmosphere was chill and people were out in large numbers. I spoke to one of Blown Euros' crew bigwigs about the event, my buddy PT, and he let me know they plan on having the show at this location for the foreseeable future. For background, previous shows have hopped around from location to location in the Philadelphia area for a variety of reasons. Having a set location will be great for growing the GTG, which already has become known for being a great casual gateway to the East-Coast European automotive-enthusiast show season.

Towards the end of the show the Blown Euros crew began awarding prices for raffle ticket numbers. Prizes were awarded after a drawing, including some cool event branded t-shirts. After returning home it seems I didn't do a good enough job with recon as there was a t-shirt preorder prior to the show; when I went to buy one and no XXLs were available, I was bitten by the snake of ignorance. Guh! I guess my plans will have to wait til next year, which is fine, because I'll definitely make it a point to be there.

All shots from this event can be seen here.