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Raczer- Your Car Scene Network (Raczer.com/Caruzin.com/Northwest Cruise Calendar)

Graduating from a trim designation on the 1965 Impala to a separate car line in 1966, the Caprice sat at the top of Chevrolet’s full-size car lineup, right under Corvette in the brand’s hierarchy. Despite that distinction, the Caprice isn’t as strong in the collector car market as its almost identical sibling, Impala.

While Impala got sporty, sloping rooflines, the Caprice got a more formal look that makes it seem, especially in the later, vinyl-topped examples, like a full-size prequel to the Monte Carlo

(in a good way). In 1969, with its perimeter bumper melding into the front fenders and hood, the Caprice looks absolutely menacing, an equally impressive muscle cruiser to take on Mopar’s stylish fuselage-styled C-bodies.

Looking at the current market, a 1968 Impala with the L36 427 big-block has a #2 value of $49,700, yet a Caprice with the same 385-horsepower V-8 is worth just $28,400. Even a Caprice with the hot, 425-horsepower L72 only brings an additional $3800. That’s on par with a ’68 Impala with a small-block! So why the big discrepancy considering the cars are so similar mechanically and, besides the roof, visually as well?

Mecum

1966 Chevrolet Caprice

We asked valuation specialist, full-size car lover, and ’66 Caprice owner Greg Ingold to weigh in. When trying to sell his own car, he noted that he can’t get the time of day from most buyers, as they were only interested in an Impala. “I think the issue is that they never made a Super Sport version, which harms the desirability,” he says. It’s true, those numbers we told you about before, on the Impala, were values on the SS model, but, as Ingold explained, the SS package wasn’t a performance option for the entirety of the Impala’s run. As in other models throughout Chevrolet’s history, the Super Sport trim was sometimes used only as an appearance package. Which would you put your money on in a drag race, a Caprice with a 425-horsepower 427 or an Impala with a 250-horsepower 327 that has a nice, shiny Super Sport emblem on the side?

Caprice’s contemporary advertising highlighted the car’s opulent interior and luxury ride and handling. Even the big-block 427 V-8 was lauded as “smooth and quiet.” Apparently Chevrolet’s marketing worked, as today’s collectors appreciate the Impala’s sporty nature and have forgotten that the Caprice delivers all of the same performance. It’s no help for Ingold in trying to sell his Caprice, as median values are down almost 10 percent in the past year, but for those in the market for a muscle cruiser, a big-block Caprice is a powerful and stylish way into the club that many buyers overlook.

Mecum

1966 Chevrolet Caprice

The post Why is the 1966–70 Caprice lagging behind the Impala? appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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Twelve years is a long time to own and build a project car. In a day and age when many projects are built and flipped as soon as they’re completed, one has to wonder: Why wouldn’t you enjoy what time (aside from money) has afforded you to enjoy? It took Tony Lee 12 long years to get his Subaru STI to this level of greatness. What was once simply a daily driver is now the culmination of collecting the rarest of parts and using hard work and effort to build this ultimate project car.

Photo 34/34   |   2005 Subaru WRX STI – Bow in the Presence of Greatness

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An avid car enthusiast since the mid-’90s, Tony admired the Japanese supercars of those days (like the Mk4 Supra and FD RX-7) from a distance but could only afford to modify an Accord his parents helped get for him. “I religiously watched Hot Version, JDM Option, and Revspeed on DVD,” he says. “But my subscriptions to Super Street, Import Tuner, and Modified made me want to really dream big and work hard so that one day I would be able to afford and build a car of my own.” Those golden-era import years taught him that nothing was going to just land in his lap; he had to create his own opportunity and put in the work if he was going to get what he wanted.

It wasn’t until late 2004 that Tony was finally able to purchase his own car, a brand-new ’05 WRX STI, which, in his eyes, was an iconic step forward. “I played a lot of Gran Turismo,” he explains. “The game’s rally tracks are fun when you play with the STI. But the Team Orange GDB built by Nobushige Kumakubo is what really pushed me to start my Subi build.” Tony tried to keep it stock for as long as he could, but we all know what happens next… Old habits die hard, and soon he was modifying it, albeit slowly since he was going to school part time. The simple mods only whet his appetite for more performance and parts that wouldn’t be easily attainable (affordably anyway), which meant he needed to make a career move. Once he found the financial freedom, Tony continued working on his passions.

Photo 34/34   |   2005 Subaru WRX STI – Bow in the Presence of Greatness

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With a goal to have a street-driven STI that was both powerful and reliable, Tony focused on mods centered around cooling, fuel efficiency, and the exhaust. An ATP GTX3071R turbo replaced the factory unit and was mated to a Full Race 1.5 scroll up-pipe and header. Chris “Chinky” Chao helped customize his entire fueling and cooling system and fabricated pieces that were powdercoated and anodized in matching Candy Violet paint to give it a show car “wow” vibe. For two years, Tony’s STI was garaged, with parts being installed back to back—to the point where he was unsure if he would ever get his car running again. What made up for it in the end? Church Automotive Testing being able to tune it to a reliable 413 whp and 416 lb-ft of torque on E85 at 21 psi (“I was thrilled about that!” he says).

Over the next few years, Tony shifted his attention to enhancing the looks of his STI. Before the 2017 SEMA Show, he found the inspiration to take his car to another level he didn’t think would’ve been possible. With a set of one-off ADVAN wheels ordered through Mackin Industries and aero pieces from M-Sports, he was able to widen the vehicle while still respecting the factory’s body lines. “LTMW massaged and molded the rear fenders into the OEM body to create a seamless flow,” he adds. “I also stuck with the factory Aspen White to create a look only true enthusiasts could identify.” As a way to pay homage to the Team Orange GDB, Tony added carbon Chargespeed brake ducts, Varis side skirts, and one really trick part: a custom double-stacked HKS Kansai Service/Voltex rear diffuser.

Photo 34/34   |   2005 Subaru WRX STI – Bow in the Presence of Greatness

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As fate would have it, the first time he brought out his STI with the new widebody, Tony ran into Kumakubo at a local event while preparing it for SEMA. “What are the chances I’d run into my childhood hero at an event he wasn’t even competing in?” he laughs. Life is full of surprises, and it just goes to show that when you put in the work, you can make any dream come true.

The post 2005 Subaru WRX STI – Bow in the Presence of Greatness appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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The trick to drifting Road Atlanta is not overcooking it—to exercise a little chill and keep your car on the asphalt and off the grass and dirt. As we’ve seen over Formula DRIFT’s 16 seasons at the world-famous road course, it seems easy to come down the hill too hot into Inner Clipping Point 1 and end up in the so-called “kitty litter” on the outside of the turn; or overshoot Rear Zone 2, drop two, and send a rooster-tail of red Georgia clay onto nearby spectators; or even botch the exit to the course’s “Keyhole” and wind up swapping ends. All of these are places on Road Atlanta where drivers can get in trouble, and they get that much harder to drive when Mother Nature decides to throw rain into the mix. But it’s also in these conditions the best behind the wheel really get a chance to rise to the occasion, and we saw a lot of that during Round 3 of the 2019 FD championship.

The event started off dry, with a forecast of showers for Saturday tandem eliminations (meaning little to a series like Formula D because they go rain or shine anyway). Friday qualifying saw many scores push into the 90s (out of 100 points possible), starting with Jeff Jones’s first lap in the DOC Nissan 370Z, Jeff picking up a 91; from there, 90-point scores were going around like measles at an anti-vax party—2015 series drivers champion Fredric “The Norwegian Hammer” Aasbo, behind the wheel of the Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota Corolla, put in a robotically-precise lap (he’d do it all weekend) and nabbed the highest total of the first orbit, a 97. Then with Ryan Tuerck, driver of the Gumout 86, also turning in a 97 on his first go round, Freddie cranked it up a notch and lay down a damn near perfect second lap, a 99—just like he did a round earlier in Orlando. Points leader Odi Bakchis in the Falken Tire Nissan S14.5 240SX got into the show at P5 with a 93, while just above him sat reigning two-time series champ, James Deane, in his Worthouse Drift S15. Fully half the 32 field got in with a score of 90 or higher.

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For a while during Top 32 on Saturday, it looked like the event would be spared from rain, but three quarters of the way through the eliminator the heavens opened up—lightly at first, then ebbing and flowing in intensity, but persistent. With no practice in the slippery stuff up to that point, and as per FD practice, drivers were given sighting laps after it started raining to gauge the slickness of the track surface. Speeds dropped dramatically; tire smoke was replaced by spray and mist.

Top 32 tandems between Tuerck and Brazilian Joao Barion’s Chevy Corvette; Irishman Dean Kearney’s Oracle Lighting Dodge Viper and Matt Coffman’s S13 240SX from the PNW; Piotr Wiecek’s Worthouse S15 from Poland and Italian Federico Sceriffo’s FFF Drifting Dept. Ferrari 599 GTB; and Japan’s Kazuya Taguchi in the UP Garage S15 versus Jhonnattan Castro’s Gerdau Metaldom 86 from the Dominican Republic (as well as a One More Time tiebreaker between the BMW E46 of Michael Essa and Peruvian Alex Heilburnn) were all decided in the rain. Arguably the plotline everyone was talking about from 32 was how rookie Dylan Hughes in his Huddy Racing E46 punted Dirk Stratton’s “Drift-Vette” off the track; the two were coming down the hill to initiate when Dylan waited maybe a split second too long before trying to get his car sideways and plowed right into the rear of Stratton, sending the C6 into the kitty litter (oops).

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The skies kept pelting Round 3 with precipitation for Top 16, but Ryan Tuerck was on a roll and feeling good; debuting his new 86 chassis two weeks earlier in Orlando after totaling his previous one in Long Beach, Tuerck took on Kearney after Barion, moving past Dean after he threw too much angle in the chase spot at Clip 1 and momentarily lost proximity. In the Great 8, Wiecek made a correction up the hill to Zone 1, handing the win to his challenger, and in the Final 4 Tuerck met up with Essa, who had a weird initiation and judges say sacrificed too much angle to maintain his pace.

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Aasbo ruled the other side of the elimination bracket, like Tuerck, taking advantage of his opponents’ struggles in the rain when he could; in his Top 16 bout against Matt Field’s Falken Corvette, Field couldn’t get the initiation right and wound up spinning all the way around. In his Great 8 pairing with FD’s only three-time champ, Chris Forsberg and the NOS Energy Drink 370Z, Fredric filled the outer zones better, while in the Final 4 James Deane fell to the Hammer after Aasbo put in a much cleaner run. James still landed the podium for qualifying higher than Essa.

Amid continuing rain, mud all along the shoulders of the track that was now being kicked up onto the cars, and windshields that were severely fogging over from the inside, Aasbo and Tuerck managed to outlast everyone else to get to the deciding tandem. Both drivers turned in fantastic lead laps, but chase for chase Fredric Aasbo had the clear advantage, able to maintain better proximity for more of the lap. That’s how the judges scored it, but despite getting silver Tuerck mentioned post event he viewed this success as a “W”—after balling up his previous comp car, he was clearly happy to land on the box so soon after getting his new car up and running. This is Aasbo’s first outright triumph at Road Atlanta, Fredric only getting as high as second place three prior times (2012, ’14, and ’18), while Ryan was last on the RA podium in 2008 and ’09, both times for third.

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After the event, the cars left standing looked like they had been through a gravel rally stage in the rain, not a drift event—mud caked all over their noses. This was the first event of the year where neither Odi Bakchis nor Chris Forsberg got on the podium, and the point standings reflect as much; Odi’s lead has now been cut to 47, and Fredric Aasbo skips over a couple drivers to slot into second place in the table, followed by Forsberg, Forrest Wang, and Piotr Wiecek. Three rounds out of eight are now in the books for the 2019 season, and Formula DRIFT heads next to New Jersey and Wall Speedway for Round 4, set for June 7th and 8th.

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The post Formula DRIFT Road Atlanta 2019 appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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Tom Cotter loves driving his woody wagon, but sometimes the driving enjoyment takes a backseat to the doors it opens and conversations it starts. Case in point: the latest Barn Find Hunter in Utah. Starting the day with no leads and looking a bit like it might be a bust, one conversation in a gas station sparks a chain reaction of finds.

While hunting for a place called Washington, Tom finds himself aimlessly wandering Utah. A stop for gas shines a light in the dark tunnel, however, as the woody wagon sparks a conversation that results in Tom following the gentleman home to talk about his 1964 Volkswagen Squareback. An off-and-on project, the VW has been driven only 300 miles or so since 1988.

From there, Tom follows a chain of cars spotted in driveways, each having its own interesting story. Showing why he is the Barn Find Hunter, Tom backs out of a driveway and spots a VW bus on a hill in the distance. He finds his way there and is lucky enough that the owner, Mont, is pulling into the driveway at the same time.

Mont shows Tom around his property, noting that the green pop-top VW is owned by his son. Driven while his son was stationed at Yellowstone, the van shows at least one trip to Mount Rushmore. The garage hides a five-window 1948 Chevy pickup and a Buick Skylark packing a high-compression, 350-cubic-inch engine.

These were all the easy finds. By looking around and chatting with people, Tom turned a day that was looking like a bust into a day talking about great vintage iron. Just goes to show that sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose—or on a hill.

The post Tom’s woody wagon saves the day on the latest Barn Find Hunter appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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It’s been 55 years after James Bond thwarted a plan to rob Fort Knox, diffused an atomic dirty bomb, and left Goldfinger “playing his golden harp.” Now, 007’s iconic British sports car is one step closer to returning to the spotlight. Aston Martin, working with EON Productions’ Oscar-winning special effects guru Chris Corbould, OBE (Order of the British Empire), is developing a limited run of 25 Goldfinger DB5 continuation cars, complete with functioning gadgets that would make Q smile.

The Bond-inspired cars—aside from being remarkable to begin with as new-build DB5s—will feature revolving number plates, a rear smoke-screen system, and several additional gadgets. Here’s the bummer: the Goldfinger cars won’t be street legal. Not only that, each special-edition DB5 is expected to cost £2,750,000—approximately $3,560,000 as of this writing—plus taxes. Delivery begins in 2020.

If you’re able to move past those possible hurdles, the list of Goldfinger gadgets will include gizmos like these featured in the 1964 movie car (subject to final engineering approval):

Exterior:

  • Rear smoke-screen delivery system
  • Rear simulated oil slick delivery system
  • Revolving number plates front and rear (triple plates)
  • Simulated twin front machine guns
  • Bullet-resistant rear shield
  • Battering rams front and rear

Interior:

  • Simulated radar screen tracker map
  • Telephone in driver’s door
  • Gear knob actuator button
  • Armrest- and center console-mounted switchgear
  • Under-seat hidden weapons/storage tray

Aston Martin

“The main challenge has been to recreate the gadgets from the film world and transfer them into a consumer product,” Corbould explained. “We have license in the film world to ‘cheat’ different aspects under controlled conditions. For instance, we might have four different cars to accommodate four different gadgets. We obviously don’t have that luxury on these DB5s, as all the gadgets have to work in the same car all the time.”

According to Aston Martin, the new cars “will be authentic reproductions of the DB5 seen on screen, with some sympathetic modifications to ensure the highest levels of build quality and reliability. Similarly, all the Goldfinger edition cars will be produced to one exterior color specification—Silver Birch paint—just like the original.”

The cars will be built at Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, the historic home of the brand for more than half a century, where all 898 original DB5 sports cars were built from 1963–65.

“As work progresses on these remarkable cars, it’s both exciting and a little sobering to think that we are truly making history here,” said Paul Spires, President of Aston Martin Works, who called the project “a real career highlight for everyone involved here.”

Aston Martin

The post Gadgets galore on Aston Martin’s Goldfinger DB5 continuation cars appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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It was a short six years ago that we featured Tommy Fitzgibbon’s amazing reverse-head H22-powered 1995 Honda Odyssey LX minivan, and as much as we’d like to say every story that has ever been published by Honda Tuning has a happy ending, life just isn’t like that. Sometimes bigger, more pressing responsibilities have to be prioritized—sometimes you can’t avoid the “adulting”—and it’s then there is no way around pushing projects aside—like a car build, no matter how beloved—to the margins of life until you can return to it, if you’re lucky.

Tommy can now count himself one of the lucky ones, thanks to his family and a dedicated group of enthusiast friends who think very highly of the Odyssey owner, and didn’t want to see the unique minivan go to the scrapheap of forgotten project cars. We pick up the story a couple of years after our articles ran on the van and the reverse-head H22, so around 2015-ish; at the time, due to some personal issues, Fitzgibbon was unable to keep up the car’s registration and upkeep, and so it sat for two years, all the while racking up nonoperation fees. Discouraged by the non-op taxing, Tommy began to lose hope he’d ever be able to bring back his racy Honda family hauler. He unloaded the Odyssey on friends Allen Craft from Fat Four Customs (FFC) and Daniel Hill from Werd Werx (and owner of this sick CB7 Accord we featured) probably thinking he’d never see the thing again—but little did he know Allen, Daniel, and others would put a plan in motion to properly reunite the two.

Craft and Hill are both part of The Accord Collective (TAC), and the original plan for the van (for them, anyway) was to reverse engineer and improve what Tommy had done for the Odyssey’s five-speed manual transmission conversion. Fitzgibbon wasn’t the first to do the swap in Honda’s first-gen. minivan, but he perfected it, and when it started to look like Tommy had given up on the van, Accord Collective’s DJ Djoko suggested the guys from TAC go all in and rebuild the Odyssey. Given how much time, money, and sweat Fitzgibbon had poured into the project, it just didn’t make any sense to let it go to waste.

The core “resurrection” team to tackle the project included Accord Collective members Hill, Craft, Djoko, Ralph Vega, Stewart Guillen, and Corwin Hoogland, with a major assist from Renae Fitzgibbon, Tommy’s wife, who was instrumental in throwing Tommy off the scent, and in general running diversion as the guys schemed and worked toward completing the job. She needed to provide the cover because this entire effort was done without Tommy’s knowledge; his friends were rebuilding his prized project car completely in secret, and aimed to surprise Fitzgibbon with the refreshed Odyssey at the 2018 edition of the Cali Accord Meet.

It took roughly a year of planning for the group before the project started to move forward in real, substantial steps, primarily because everyone was volunteering their time and doing work when they could squeeze it in. Daniel took on a big chunk of the responsibility, housing the vehicle at his shop, Werd Werx, in Anaheim, Calif. which is where all the work took place, but indeed everyone on the team had their duties. In one final bit of planning, six months before the squad laid hands on the minivan they went over to Tommy’s for what he thought was an average barbecue, but in reality they used the cookout to pick Fitzgibbon’s brain (as sneakily as possible) about which parts he absolutely had to keep from his Odyssey.

The guys hatched a plan to replace the Odyssey’s shell with another one in order to circumvent those pesky non-op fees, and since the original van has always been one-of-a-kind, there would definitely be some bits from it worth keeping. In effect, this was the biggest replacement part—the entire van (sans motor, suspension, and a few other items).

Among the raft of new parts for Tommy’s Odyssey is the latest version of the FER Performance 5-speed manual shifter box and manual transmission conversion kit from FFC. The laser cut box is bent out of 6061 aluminum and serves as a platform to raise the transplanted shifter off the floor. Fat Four’s trans swap kit also comes with a Wilwood clutch master and pedal assembly, clutch slave and stainless line for it, AN fittings, and solid bushings for the shifter baseplate.

FFC and Werd Werx teamed up for the front big brake kit, which highlights Hill’s expertise as a brake caliper restorer of the highest order. In fact, if you head to Werd Werx’s Instagram, your eyes will be assailed by photo after photo of beautifully restored and powder-coated Acura RL brake calipers in a wide array of glossy candy colors. For this job, Daniel went with a blue that matches the color in the van’s Racing Hart Type-C rims, and further customized with the wording “Sgt. Fitz,” Tommy’s nickname in the military.

Custom billet extended damper top hats from Fat Four were used at all four corners to provide shock travel clearance for the suspension of the lowered Odyssey (and replace the old set), and an FER Performance forward shock tower brace was also sourced from FFC to help tie together the front part of the Honda.

Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

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Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

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Elements like the HASport CDH1 engine mounts for Accord H-series and engine bay hardware from FFC brought simple, effective function to the Odyssey’s engine compartment, as well as shiny surfaces to catch the eye.

Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

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In a build with so many rare components, the Mugen body kit stands out as one of those items on the Odyssey that is pretty dang near impossible to replace. Since this project was built to eventually go to the track, and no one particularly cared for the idea of the Mugen kit getting destroyed after a day on said circuit, the team came up with some compromises—like the JDM OEM front lip, hand carried to the US from abroad, or the one-off PCI side skirts. PCI sells a universal length and usually people cut them down, but this crew had to have them extended, and they got the tallest ones PCI makes—5 inches tall—because van life.

On a Saturday in March 2018, Hill got everyone to meet at the shop and begin the process of tearing down both Odysseys (the original van and the “donor” van) and start slowly either moving parts over or installing them for the first time. The donor minivan came with a run-of-the-mill F22B6 inline-4 engine, which was summarily kicked to the curb once it was yanked out.

Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

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Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

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The two images above show the exhaust plumbing from the cars, the top image OE and bottom the side-exit custom version on Tommy’s Odyssey. The guys decided to keep the custom exhaust, Hill having his metal fab guy clean it up and fix a crack in the piping.

A deep dive under the wheel wells reveals neglected brakes and suspension—TEIN coilovers up front, Megan Racing coilovers in back—including some severely worn out rubber bushings. We already touched on the FFC BBK that’s going in, and in addition to that the team will press in new bushes and polish up the coilovers a smidge.

Retaining much of the Mugen body kit for Tommy’s Odyssey meant transplanting the kit’s side mirrors, as well as swapping liftgates in order to keep the rear roof spoiler (and old-school HT sticker). Fitzgibbon also mentioned he wanted to keep the Type-C wheels, which the team will clean up before remounting.

Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

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Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

View Photo Gallery (57) Photos

The Recaro Sport front buckets were definitely keepers, and the team also swapped over the A-pllar gauge pod and AFR meter, steering wheel adapter hub, quick-release, and MOMO wheel, and the Tuffy center console

Photo 57/57   |   1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1

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We saved our last few pics to give a special shout out to Ralph Vega, who was the master at cleaning and piecing together a presentable set of interior panels and carpeting. Since the donor van was cleaner than Tommy’s, the guys decided to use its interior, but Ralph still stripped down the cabin until it was just sheet metal and factory insulation. He took all the plastic panels and carpeting home, cleaned it up (in the pictures you can see him using a steamer to clean the van’s floor), then brought everything back, all on his own time and dime.

PART 2: We document Tommy’s van coming back together and its 2018 Cali Accord Meet surprise reveal, as well as grab some parting beauty shots of the van in its new trim.

The post 1995 Honda Odyssey LX Rebuild – Part 1 appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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Car enthusiasts dream of coming across a “barn find,” spotting a desirable or collectible vehicle that’s been stashed away somewhere for years, maybe even forgotten or abandoned. “Barn find,” of course, is a euphemism. Many such finds are located not in literal barns but rather some other kind of storage, like a garage or warehouse.

John Grafelman is an actual farmer with actual barns and other outbuildings on his rural Illinois farm, outside of the little town of Hanna City. He’s a bit of a Ford fan. Fan is short for fanatic, which in this case definitely applies.

When I first met John at a big Mustang show at Ford’s world headquarters, he was wearing a Ford New Holland seed cap. (If it’s on the head of a farmer and has the logo of an ag business, it’s not a baseball or trucker’s cap, it’s called a seed or feed cap.) You may not know this, but Ford made tractors for a long time, starting with the Fordson brand in 1919, and getting out of that business in the 1990s with the sale of New Holland to Fiat.

“So you like Fords, do you?” I said to Grafelman, nodding to his hat. “We’re a Ford family,” he said, grinning. “We drive Fords, we farm with Fords, we race Fords, and we collect Fords.” I wish I could write dialogue that good.

In addition to his working farm equipment, Grafelman owns about 40 vintage Ford and Fordson tractors, a Mercury Cyclone Spoiler that was the personal car of Leonard Wood, one of NASCAR’s legendary Wood Brothers, and a 1969 Ford Mustang that has turned out to be a very special vehicle.

Ronnie Schreiber

When he bought the Mustang in 1977 to drive with his new bride Danette, he bought it from a well-dressed man in Peoria, who told him, “It has some Ford history.” Grafelman had seen the car advertised and called the seller, who told him there was a lot of interest in it. It was raining, preventing him from working with his farm’s hay, so he drove up to Peoria right away.

The car had some parts that looked like those on a Boss 302 Mustang, but they were obviously not identical to factory Boss components, and in any case, the VIN was from before Ford started assembling the Boss cars. That VIN indicated that it had a Mach 1 body and the equipment list matched that of the Mach 1, but like the Boss 302, it didn’t have the Mach 1’s rear fender-mounted air scoops. This Mustang also had a 428 Cobra Jet motor, not the smaller 302-cubic-inch V-8 engine that came in the Boss 302. Underneath, there were signs that the rear brakes had been modified but returned to factory spec, and there was a very thick rear anti-sway bar. John figured it was just another Mach 1 with a 428 Cobra Jet engine, an automatic transmission, and some aftermarket stuff to make it look like a Boss, including painted black Boss side stripes that weren’t reflective decals like the real Boss stripes. The stripes also only had “BOSS” lettering, not the two-line “BOSS 302” that appeared on the production Boss 302.

The aluminum-spoke, leather-wrapped Momo steering wheel was custom, and it had the initials LB on the center cap and a #1 stamped onto one of the spokes. The rear deck spoiler was three inches wider than the Boss production wing, thicker, and with mounts that are too close together and plated with chrome, not wider and blacked out like on the production Boss. The rear window’s louvered cover was also not a factory Mustang piece. Additionally, the car sat differently. The stance of Grafelman’s Mustang is lower than that of the Mach 1, which John attributed to sagging, tired springs.

Ronnie Schreiber

The Mustang had about 70,000 miles on the odometer and Grafelman paid cash for the car.

The Grafelmans drove the Mustang for a couple of years, putting about 7,000 miles on it, but they had a growing family and Danette had a hard time getting their son Jason in and out of the car seat in back, so John stashed the car in one of his barns, where it sat for almost 30 years.

The Boss 302 project was the first assignment Larry Shinoda got at Ford after leaving General Motors’ design staff. Ford was going racing in the TransAm series and wanted to distinguish the production-based race cars with their own styling and sell a similar-looking street model. Ford managers wanted to call it the SR2, but Shinoda convinced them that the then-current term “boss,” as slang for something good or desirable, was important to appeal to the youth market. It may have also been a tribute to Bunkie Knudson, Shinoda’s corporate mentor and patron who brought Shinoda with him when he left GM to become Ford’s president. Shinoda also did the design work on the Cougar Eliminator, Mercury’s version of the Boss 302.

After the project was finished and Shinoda got wind of plans to crush the styling prototype, he arranged to buy the car for $1. He drove it for a couple of years and then sold it to his tailor in the early 1970s. A well-founded rumor has it that at one point after he took possession of the car, Shinoda drove the Mustang over to the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, home of GM Design. A guard recognized him from when he worked there, so Shinoda was allowed on the grounds, where he proceeded to do donuts with the Ford.

About 15 years ago, when Jason Grafelman was on a trip to California, he decided to find out about his parents’ “Special Edition Mustang” as they called it, and visited a number of Mustang restoration shops in the Golden State. Eventually, he met with a Mustang historian who showed him a photo of the prototype parked on designer Larry Shinoda’s home driveway. That was the family’s first clue that their barn might have held a very rare find. It looked like it could be the same Mustang, but the car in the photo had the Mach 1’s rear air scoops.

Ronnie Schreiber

The car had also been used for engineering development of the Boss 302, so it had a lowered racing suspension and brackets for rear disc brakes, which were returned to stock drums before Shinoda bought the car. Shinoda himself added a custom rear sway bar and gave the 428 engine an aluminum intake manifold.

Those parts ended up being used by Grafelman to identify the Mustang as the Shinoda prototype. After his son tracked down the photo of the car on Shinoda’s driveway, John stuck a long mirror under where the rear air scoops should have been and discovered the blanking plate Ford had brazed into place. Shinoda didn’t approve of fake stuff and had the Mach 1’s non-functional fender scoops deleted for a smoother line on the production Boss.

With growing conviction that the Mustang in his barn may indeed have been the first Boss Mustang, John Grafelman started doing serious research, including finding people who worked with or knew Shinoda before his death in 1997. Grafelman found archived photos from Ford’s styling studios that showed alternate versions of the BOSS lettering in the side stripes, including how Grafelman’s car is lettered.

Howard Freers, a former Ford engineer who worked with Shinoda, told Grafelman that the people at Kar Kraft, the Dearborn shop that did much of Ford’s in-house custom work and performance engineering, called the car “Larry’s Boss.”

Thinking that might explain the initials on the steering wheel, Grafelman tracked down another of Shinoda’s personal cars, a split-window 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. The C3 Corvette was based on Bill Mitchell’s Sting Ray racer, for which Shinoda was the primary designer. Grafelman found out that Shinoda’s ‘Vette had a Momo steering wheel with initials, only LC instead of LB, also with a #1 stamped on a spoke. If LC stood for “Larry’s Corvette,” it’s likely that LB meant “Larry’s Boss.” A custom powered trunk latch and burglar alarm were also known features of Shinoda’s car and those, too, are present on the Grafelman Mustang. There was even some body repair that seemed to match the time when Shinoda put the Mustang into the wall at a race course.

Finally, Mustang VIN guru Kevin Marti closed the circle by providing an order form from September 1968, showing that the Ford Motor Co. Design Center leased a Mustang Mach 1, with one “L SHINODA” on the order form, whose VIN matches that on Grafelman’s car.

Once the car was identified and verified, Grafelman initially started showing the Shinoda Boss Mustang just as it was when he dragged it out of his barn, but when he realized that people were traveling long distances to see the car, he decided that Boss Mustang #1 deserved a full restoration.

While it had been protected from the elements in the barn, it was still a relatively high mileage car that was almost 50 years old, built when galvanized sheet metal and rustproofing were years away in the future. While the body was pretty solid, the floors were gone.

The restoration was started in 2015. Bob Perkins and Phil Shultz at Perkins Restoration in Wisconsin did the body and interior work, using new old stock parts, while Grafelman rebuilt the engine himself. All the original prototype parts were preserved. Considering the car has about 77,000 miles on it, the majority of those miles put on by Shinoda, who took it racing and drove it hard on the street, the engine was in great condition. Grafelman simply honed the cylinders and replaced the rings and bearings. The cylinders and bearing journals were still within factory specs. That speaks to the special attention Ford may have paid to the relatively low production Cobra Jet engines.

Ronnie Schreiber

Grafelman wishes that he had met Shinoda while the man was still living. He says it would have saved him a lot of time verifying the car’s identity, but I think mostly he’d just want to talk about his car with the guy who made it. The seller he bought it from has been lost in the mists of time, but Grafelman believes that the sharply-dressed man in Peoria may have been Shinoda’s tailor.

Had John’s Mustang merely been the prototype for the Boss 302, it would be rare and collectible. The Boss 302 is a notable performance car, which makes its prototype a piece of history as well. When you consider that it was also the personal car of the designer, one of the preeminent car stylists of the 20th century, that makes the first Boss a very special car indeed.

It’s a rare car that has a great story, and a reminder that sometimes the best finds are closer at hand than you might think.

Ronnie Schreiber

The post How one man discovered he owned Shinoda’s personal Mustang Boss prototype appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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Raczer- Your Car Scene Network (Raczer.com/Caruzin.com/Northwest Cruise Calendar)

Blame it on John Clinard. A long-time Ford representative, Clinard faithfully produced the original Cars & Coffee for years with purely noble intentions. Benefiting from the Southern California climate, as well as the region’s extensive and diverse car culture, Clinard leveraged his connections with automakers and various local communities to run a casual, year round, weekly gathering that would go on to set the standard for car shows around the globe.

On any Saturday at the Irvine, California offices of Ford and Mazda (they share a parking lot, coincidentally), you could count on spotting uncommon rides. A Ferrari Daytona, that Facel Vega from the Paris motor show, the latest R Gruppe hot rod. These events were as democratic as they were magnificent. All marques were welcome, but duplicate models were discreetly discouraged. Admission was free for all. No merch, definitely no sponsors, and decidedly no doo-wop. The only things you could buy: drip coffee and humble doughnuts.

Clinard and his band of volunteers had created an inclusive event that has never been equaled in modern car culture. It was a magical time in the SoCal car community – but alas, it could not last. As Clinard’s Cars & Coffee was winding down, a victim of its own success, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long, and his partner, designer Howie Idelson, took the idea one step further: a Cars & Coffee specifically for their friends who share enthusiasm for air-cooled Porsches.

It was the right idea at the right time. Air-cooled Porsche enthusiasm was just taking off, and it served to propel Luftgekühlt from its humble beginnings to this year’s fully orchestrated production. Now we have staggered, scheduled arrivals, mandatory bus transportation, and a $45 admission ticket.

For its sixth annual iteration in Southern California, Luftgekühlt landed at the Universal Backlot, a venue that is nearly unfathomable for a car show. It’s an active location for a host of productions you’d recognize from film and television, including the Hill Valley town square from the unforgettable Back to the Future series.

Word on the street is that for the 2019 event, Luftgekühlt accepted roughly a third of the vehicle applications it received and the selections were made to demonstrate diversity – well, at least among air-cooled Porsches. Special emphasis this year was made for the long-underappreciated 914.

The Universal Backlot provided a canvas for vintage Porsches unlike anything previously seen. Upon entry, attendees stumbled upon was a street scene graced by a set of Singer-restored 964s. Dig a little further and you’d find Matt Farah’s Safari 911, with a fresh coat of dust from a recent shoot, placed on a set that looks eerily familiar to fans of HBO’s Westworld.

Luftgekühlt offers a level of access above and beyond its contemporaries. Unlike more formal car events, none of the Porsches were flanked by stanchions, including the pedigreed Porsche 935 race car driven by Paul Newman at Le Mans that was purchased a couple of years ago by Adam Carolla for well north of $4 million.

Huseyin Erturk

The atmosphere is more street party than car show, with food trucks, coffee and beer stations, and a DJ spinning some pleasing modern tracks. Naturally, multiple merch stops were there to sell Luft-branded gear. Not surprisingly, Porsche was also present in an official capacity, with Porsche Classic taking over the gas station in the Hill Valley square. If the company was slow to admit the existence of the air-cooled cult, and it was, you cannot say that it is not making up for lost time.

Rod Emory, noted 356 hot rodder, had a number of his Porsches in attendance and some of his more subtle work is simply gorgeous. The notion of a 356 with modern power, brakes, and suspension is eternally appealing. His latest 356 RSR, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. While the Luft cult has heaped endless praise on the car, its shape is missing some balance and refinement. The quality of the fabrication work is exceptional and faultless – but this isn’t a race car and its final design is an oddly aggressive interpretation of old and new influences. It could have benefited from the careful eye of an experienced car designer.

C.J. Wilson, the baseball player who now races Porsches and sells them through his own dealership, brought a pair of air-cooled wonders down from Fresno. His righteously subtle 964 RS was overshadowed by his 993 GT2 with is monstrous wings and track-ready stance.

Perhaps for the sake of the aforementioned diversity, show organizers permitted entry to a very non-original 993 Speedster-like machine that would look more at home on the set of The Fast And The Furious IX than down the row from a pristine 993 Carrera S. It was placed, appropriately, next to a 964 that had suffered the RWB treatment.

Huseyin Erturk

Luftgekühlt and vintage Porsche tastemaker Magnus Walker are a match made in gauche heaven, but neither Walker nor any of his cars could be found at this year’s event. The absence didn’t go unnoticed by many of the Porsche faithful, who had paid major-league ticket prices and expected major-league people.

Oh yes – that $45 ticket. It was necessary. Had Luft offered complimentary admission in the spirit of the old Cars & Coffee, a venue like the Universal Backlot and open access to these delightful Porsches would simply not be possible. This is the price you have to pay to closely experience some of the most interesting air-cooled Porsches in history.

Year after year, Luftgekühlt continues to grow, with increased attention, more ticket sales, and a number of official and unofficial pre- and post-Luft parties. If you kept your ear to the ground, you could have spent the entire weekend in Los Angeles carousing with your fellow Porsche enthusiasts.

How long can it last? It depends on how much you buy into the idea that the aircooled era was a Golden Age for Porsche. The 356 and 911 were aspirational, mechanically interesting, and satisfying to drive. Events like Luft serve to remind modern Porsche fans that there is more to the marque today than SUVs and wait-listed, limited edition 911s. You can look at it as a celebration of heritage, or as a stunningly off-brand admission that the old cars are better than the new ones. Either way, you’ll want to get your Luft 7 ticket well in advance.

Huseyin Erturk

The post The skeptic’s guide to Luftgekühlt 6 appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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Raczer- Your Car Scene Network (Raczer.com/Caruzin.com/Northwest Cruise Calendar)

Two years ago, vacuum cleaner magnate James Dyson said his company was investing $2.6 billion to develop and manufacture an electric car, based on its expertise in making battery-powered appliances. Dyson set up a research and development center at a former RAF airfield in Hullavington, UK, and started building a dedicated automotive assembly facility in Singapore. More than 500 people have been hired or assigned for the project, which Dyson says will have a car ready to introduce by 2021.

Patent drawings for Dyson’s proposed electric car are out, so you can queue up your vacuum cleaner jokes at your pleasure. The drawings show an aerodynamic one-box people mover with reclining seats, a long wheelbase, and tall, skinny tires likely designed for maximum range efficiency.

After the patents became public, James Dyson acknowledged in an internal email obtained by Bloomberg that the drawings “provide a glimpse of some of the inventive steps” the company is considering for its EV but minimized their significance, saying that the patents “don’t reveal what our vehicle will really look like or give any specifics around what it will do.” Dyson did hint that the Dyson EV would handle well due to a low center of gravity, suggesting the battery pack will likely be built into the car’s floor structure.

Development must be fairly well along, as Dyson also told his employees that serious testing will start next month.

The Dyson company also launched a new page on the corporate website, dedicated to its automotive venture. Few actual details about the car are included, though it appears that it will be driven by a version of the high-speed “digital” electric motor that Dyson developed for its appliances.

U.S. Patent Office / Dyson

The post Appliance outfit Dyson reveals patents for upcoming EV appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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Raczer- Your Car Scene Network (Raczer.com/Caruzin.com/Northwest Cruise Calendar)

Wekfest Japan 2019 packed Port Messe, Nagoya with quality cars from every make, including quite a few European builds. Row after row, fans were treated to extensive builds that often incorporated custom fabrication, engine swaps, boost, or a combination of all of the above. That fact alone makes it a difficult task to choose just a handful to highlight, but that’s exactly what we managed to do. In no particular order, here are our five favorites from WF JP 2019.

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

In our latest issue (July 2019), we featured Hitomi Ishikawa’s 180SX, which featured some outstanding bodywork by none other than her husband, Masaru. Keeping tabs on @masaru2236 we knew he was hard at work on a new S-chassis build which was, of all things, a convertible—something we don’t see done very often. The series of posts documented some heavy bodywork being done and the finished product, as expected, raises the bar considerably. Like his wife’s build, the metal bodywork is next level and the deep red paint is offset by polished, deep dish BBS rollers that tuck into the reworked fenders with some help from its air suspension.

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

The interior looks to be mostly stock with upgraded materials, but if you look a little closer you’ll notice black coated door bars, while under the hood Masaru’s signature bay work mimics his wife’s car and you’re all but forced to turn your attention to the engine itself, which is surrounded by sculpted, seamless panel work. This car’s been making the rounds on social media as it neared completion, and in person it definitely brought in a crowd—it’s not hard to see why.

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

@Exceed_Japan was tasked with building this EK9 Civic Type R and things came down to the wire with the job completed just in time to make the event, though you’d never know it based on the finished product. The engine bay steals the spotlight and has been relieved of anything deemed unnecessary or able to be relocated—like the brake booster and clutch master cylinders that once sat on the now shaved firewall.

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Like many modern Japanese-built Hondas, the CTR relies on some U.S.-built goods like the @sheepeyrace turbo comoponents, @downstar hardware, @vibrant_performance Vanjen clamps and @rywire_motorsport_electronics engine harness and coil-on-plug conversion.

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Inside the stripped and painted interior is a custom roll cage complete with dimple die gusseting at both the A and B pillars and blood red Bride buckets. Though the car isn’t fully complete yet, it’s very close and we’re looking forward to seeing it hit the road.

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We featured Eiji Daito’s AE86 a few years ago and even today, we still can’t get enough. As the owner of Total Create E. PRIME (@e.prime_daito), Daito has access to plenty of parts and he’s certainly put together a long list of upgrades, but it’s the execution and the details that really tie his one-of-a-kind ’86 together.

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The turbocharged 4AG, which transfers power through a Skyline 71C transmission, gets a workout as this immaculate Corolla sees track and show time—a true “do-it-all” build that we place as one of the best we’ve ever encountered.

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

Also from Total Create E. PRIME was this RB-swapped S13 coupe, draped in a color similar to the 86 seen above. More than just a basic swap, the tubbed front fenders, along with the rest of the bay are smoothed and free of any holes or unneeded bits of metal. Attached to the custom intake manifold is a titanium velocity stack while on the other side of the mill sits a custom exhaust manifold.

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

Subtle aero additions and gunmetal Advan Racing TC4 make up the outside, with custom covered Bride buckets, a complete alcantara surface makeover and steering wheel all re-stitched with orange thread to tie it all together and add up to a slick, timeless S-chassis build.

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

When you hear about the Wekfest tour’s stop in Japan, you automatically expect a bunch of S-chassis, Z-cars, GT-Rs, RX-7s and Civics, but what you probably don’t expect to see perched under the natural and artificial lights of Port Messe, Nagoya’s sky-high dome is a pristine restomod BMW 2002.

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

View Photo Gallery (22) Photos

Start anywhere you’d like, but this 2002 cuts absolutely no corners, and every aspect of the build has been addressed. Flared fenders that house tastefully wide Frontline FLM02 mesh wheels sit at a dead perfect stance and the flawless paintwork oozes over the car’s exterior. Under the hood, the original turbo engine has been heavily reworked and highly detailed, then lowered back into a bay that’s been painted white for some eye-catching contrast.

The post Top 5 Cars of Wekfest Japan 2019 appeared first on Raczer - Your Car Scene Network.

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