Monday, February 28, 2011

2558 - 2550

Adrian Streather's comprehensive 911SC book which I own( and you should too if you own an SC) and refer to often has the SC's weight pegged at 2558lbs. That is not too light. My race prepped 944 weighs in at 2450lbs.

So, I was wondering what my 82 SC Targa weighed. And remember my Targa has a fiberglass ducktail, radio delete, complete A/C delete including all hoses and brackets, lightweight door panels and minimal carpeting.

2550lbs was the weight with a quarter tank of gas. So figure that is about five gallons of gas at 7lbs a gallon for 28lbs of fuel. That puts the car weight at approx. 2525lbs. What the heck! You would have thought my car is 200lbs lighter than a stock SC. I bet it is. Because I bet the weight in Streather's book is a completely dry weight. Whatever. Now I know what it weighs.

But I do have to say that it has put the bug in me to remove even more weight from it...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

More Race Wheels. One of These Not Like the Other.

My budget has taken precedence over my vanity recently. Currently my 944 SPEC race car has a very nice set of Fuchs with it. I use them for my tow rims as the rules only allow you to run Phone Dials or Cookie Cutters.

So, I made the decision to hunt up another cheap set of rims I could use for my tow wheels. And boy, did I come up with a cheap set. $90 for all 4. I bought 4 rims, one dented beyond repair for $40. I then bought one more 'good' rim from another SPEC racer. Thanks a lot for the sweet brush-painted silver rim, Chuck.

I will give them all a quick clean and respray, my vanity has not disappeared. Just been re prioritized.

So, look soon for a set of Fuchs for sale. I should be able to fund my new race tire purchase when I sell the stock 15x7 and 15x8 rims.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Porsche Axle Repair - Diminutive DIY

My son’s Porsche suffered a rather dramatic front axle failure while undergoing some high-speed, high-stress testing in our living room. Just look at the damage. My wife and I, and Graham as well, are just lucky he was able to walk away unscathed. Our wallet, however, had to bear the brunt of the damage as we attempted a repair.

Looking at the damaged parts in detail I was surprised to see that the front axle was made up of uni-directional pine, milled to less than 1MM diameter. This seemed like a feathery piece of engineering, one I wondered if had been superseded by a new factory part.

Calling the factory in Stuttgart, I was soon forwarded to a member of the competition engineering department. A Dr. Peter Wolfhensler. He was well aware of the front axle failure on my son’s Porsche. “Unfortunately, the pine used for that production run had some core instabilities that showed up under extensive testing. We ourselves experienced a dramatic failure while testing on the Nurburgring. The right front wheel shearing off and the driver being slammed into the Armco at 200 kmh. But overall, we are still pleased with the performance of this equipment. It is within factory failure rates.”

I asked if they had fixed the problem. Here the doctor paused, “Not quite. We are still looking for a suitable pine-based axle assembly as it has the desired weight/cost/performance ratio but have not found an adequate solution. Yet.”

Carbon fiber seemed like a good material for this use, so I asked Dr. Wolfhensler about that as an option. “It is too costly for a customer car. We have learned our lessons from ceramic brakes. Until the costs come down, the customers cars will need to be optioned only with the pine.”

About to hang up the phone, Dr. Wolfhensler tossed another option at me. “I hear The Racer’s Group, TRG.”

“Of endurance racing fame?” I asked.

“Yes, of course. I hear that TRG is developing a fix that uses a ferrous material. They have found the additional weight is not a handicap in their particular type of racing. Maybe they have an option for you.”

So once again, when it comes to my Porsches, I had to turn to a private entity to find a satisfactory repair. The LN engineering fix for the M96 IMS comes to mind. I quickly rang up TRG.

I didn’t even fully explain the problem when the young man on the other end of the line interrupted me. “I know the exact problem. We have developed a kit to upgrade to an extruded, air-rolled, nickel-lined, honeycombed center steel axle.”

“I’ll take it.” I said.

Gulping after the young man quoted me the price, I took a breath and was hit with more bad news. “You are handy right? The kit comes as a you-cut-to-fit and epoxy yourself kit. This allows you to change the track of the car if you wish. We find an extra 2mm track in the rear helps with braking stability.”

The kit arrived and I set to work. First, I had to re-bore the wheels. Thanks Porsche for using an adhesive instead of a center-lock. I used a 1/4 inch bit and made sure to hone it perfectly true. I don’t want my son to suffer any high-speed vibrations.

Next, I leave some things as the factory intended and did not alter the track. I used the stock width of 11.5mm. And with no other alternative, I also used a quick-setting, multi-material epoxy. The fellows at TRG suggesting I ensure thorough coating of the parts because if their steel comes into contact with the wood wheels there would be galvanic corrosion due to minute metal particles in the wood stock. Who knew?

So, did Graham notice any difference in the ride quality of his Porsche after my lengthy repairs? In a word, no. He just grabbed it and pushed it along the floor - on its roof.

Of course the above is fiction. It is the way I handle how poorly this toy was built in the first place. Kinda like Boxster motors.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Portland Still Killing it With Cars to be Spotted

There is obviously no dearth of car scenesters in Portland. I am back for the third week in a row on business and keep spotting great rides.

For one, a Volvo 142S coupe parked in a downtown lot. Love the mud flaps. Learn more about them at

Then at dinner tonight at Park Kitchen, this great screen print was in the men's room. Getcha some gears with an AMX.

And finally. The cherry on top of the evening. The dream of a car to see being actually driven. A Delorean. Sure, I can hear all the reasons not to own one. But at night, on the streets, the car looked downright bad ass. And it still oozed future cool.

Monday, February 7, 2011

X-Wing Fighter Painted Jeep Portland Car Spotting

This remarkable piece was spotted in the exact same spot as the Baur BMW I snapped a pic of a few days prior. I hope it belongs to the same guy. And I do mean guy, there is no way a woman would own a Baur and this Jeep.

Check out the details of this X-Wing fighter rolling replica. Nice detail on the paneling. The Rebel Alliance symbol is well rendered on the hood. And it looks like it got into a bit of a scrape on the left rear quarter...maybe a run in with a TIE fighter of the Empire?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Car Spotting - Portland Edition

Apologies for not posting lately. Lots of travel for paying work.

Luckily am in Portland for a week. Incredible beer town. And, a nice patch of weather so some of the quirky cars have come out.

Without pictures I have a seen a pretty Boattail Buick Riviera on its stock wheels. So many have been dubbed out. Also spotted with no pics was an 1800 Volvo wagon looking rather like a hermits house as it had a boot full of junk in it.

But above you can see a very straight and clean Falcon driver. And if the club wouldn't keep you away the suited figure should. While the Baur conversion Beemer looked nice on its minilite wheels. The driver was a bit agressive with top down as it was only 40 degrees at the time.