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02.04 December 2014

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02.04 | December 2014

Better living through busted knuckles.

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To celebrate gearheads; to explore the world through the greatness inherent in each of us; to explore new ideas - platforms, pursuits, places; to discover other gearheads’ work - machines, accomplishments, & discoveries; to see things far, far away, things hidden in garages and paddocks, motorsport danger-ous to come to; to be amazed; to find each other, to draw closer, and be empowered.


Brian Driggs, founderDeanna IsaacsAlex WallerAdam Campbell

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STARTERWe only did ONE issue this year. Why? These things take a lot of time. How much time, you ask? Well, look back at what you’ve seen so far. Not including the cover, this took about 2 hours to design and rough up. That’s not including the words you’re reading right now, most of which I typed up before Thanksgiving to get an idea how this space would look with words in it. Yeah. Publishing takes some effort.

You’re worth it, though. This issue was pieced together here and there over the course of 2 months. A couple hours here. A few more there, and the last minute crunch the night of December 29th because, well, I said I’d have this done before the end of the year.

I really want to do this more often. Monthly proved too much for the little free time I have between work, toddler, and that spray-painted Pajero you see across the page, there. But maybe I can do something quarterly in 2015. That’s the goal, anyway.

Never give up on your dreams. There was a time when you second guessed your spark plugs. Now look at you. I want GBXM|united to re-mind you how this is more than just “playing with cars.” This is our life.

Keep going fast with class, and press on regardless.

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I’m one of those guys who’s always loved the old Alfas, come close to buying once or twice, but never drove off into the sunset. Alas, today, I am a Mitsubishi man, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel my pulse quicken when I browse in the off chance fate will yet smile upon me and change everything.

Alfa Romeo is one of those storied manufacturers every gearhead knows. They pulled out of the US market back in 1995, but even now, almost 20 years later, we still spot the odd Spider or 164 around town. Often, these sightings are of tired, well-worn speci-mens, making those gearheads who notice wonder if it’s someone who just doesn’t care, doesn’t have the budget to properly restore, or maybe knows some-thing the rest of us simply do not.

I’ve been wanting to interview an Alfa owner or two for some time, but don’t know any personally, and all those random visits to result in doz-ens of gorgeous machines - and a bit of depression, knowing I have expensive tastes in old Alfa Romeos. So how do I choose?

Fortunately, on a recent visit to the BB, one thread jumped off the screen at me. This guy had pictures of his GTV, gorgeous in yellow, a Spider which re-minded me of the one I almost bought 15 years ago in Wichita (which was savagely vandalized the night before I went to buy it, thus ending that dream), and the rest of his small, tasteful collection that just made sense.

[bd] Introductions. Before getting into specifics on your cars, I wonder if you could share a little bit about why Alfa Romeo is such a beloved - and, to some ex-tent, feared - marque. I get the feeling you’ve been doing this for a while and can speak to that which makes Alfa ownership so meaningful. How did you come to discover this?

[cl] My name is Carmelo La Spina. I was born in Nissoria, a small town in the island of Sicily in Italy. No, I never did drive the Targa Florio race, but as an adult, I had the pleasure to drive the complete route with my wife Graziella in the fall of 2011. I became an Alfista at the age of 4, when my father brought home a beautiful Giulietta pedal car. My family moved to Chicago in 1970 and I began drawing automobiles - especially Italian racing cars - at a young age and found the little Alfa GTAs to be my favorites. Upon graduating with a degree in Archi-tecture in 1986, I borrowed money from my brother Sal and purchased my first Alfa, a used 1981 GTV-6! The depreciation factor was on my side, 5 years old and with only 27,000 miles, I was able to own a Giorgetto Giugiaro designed car that stickered at al-most $21,000 just a few years prior for about $6,500.

In 1981, Alfa Romeo decided to drop one of the most beautiful V6s ever produced into a more beefed-up chassis originally used on the Alfetta GT. It used a 2.5 liter V6 in 60-degree V, with a single camshaft over each bank and conventional 2 valves per cylinder. Like most Italian Vs, it makes all types of hair tingling symphony once it comes on cam at about 4200RPM.

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My car boasts stainless steel header, oversized valves, higher lift cams from a 164 S and a repro-grammed EFI, “Pandoras Box,” which serves to ad-vance the spark up to 5500RPMs and then retard it slightly as revs rise to 7400RPM. The front-engined car with rear-mounted transmission, combined with the use of a De Dion rear suspension, deliv-ers a perfect 50/50 weight distribution with excep-tional handling. After 28 years of ownership, it was my son’s first ride home in 1987 and I have agreed to pass it on to him when he’s ready to have her.

Anyone who’s been bitten by the “Alfa Vi-rus” understands that Alfa stands for “Al-ways Looking For Another.” Safe to say I have been an Alfa addict since that first pedal car.

I have been involved with the Chicago Alfa Ro-meo Chapter for over 26 years and chaired the National Alfa Romeo Convention in 2008. Just recently, I’ve partnered with a good friend and we have purchased about a dozen Giulietta /Giulia Spi-der Veloce and Coupes in hope of restoring them to their original glory. However, that is another story.

[bd] The cars. We can discuss each a little bit or one in-depth. I’ll let you decide, sir. Of course, I’d like to be sure we include the four I saw in your thread on the BB, but if one speaks to you more than the rest, we can focus on it and simply mention the others. That said, let’s introduce your Alfas?

[cl] Today I own what many consider to be the pin-nacle of the 105 cars - a ’67 Giulia Super, a ’69 1750

Spider Veloce and a ’71 1750 GTV. Even though all cars share similar technical features, each car boasts completely different styling and an abun-dance of personality. Combined they form an in-teresting Germanic color scheme, however, they are about as “Crazy Italian” as any trio of cars can be.

The ’67 Giulia Super, the grandfather of the origi-nal sports sedan (no BMW didn’t do it first) is the most intriguing of the bunch. Designed in-house and one of the first mass produced cars whose de-sign was created by the use of wind-tunnels, it boasts a .34 drag coefficient. That’s right, lower than both the slick Spider and GTV, equal to that of a 911. With the success of the Giulia Ti, Alfa created the Gi-ulia Ti Super and did nothing less than give Lotus’s Colin Chapman and his Cortina’s continual fits on the race tracks. Its proven chassis was the beginning of the good things to come from the unbeatable GTAs and the later GTVs and Spiders. Because of this success, Alfa decided to upgrade the Giulia Ti with the Super.

Boasting a 1600cc engine equipped with two twin-throat Weber DCOE 40s, this car is no ordinary sedan. To the untrained eye, it looks like a brick. However, a closer look reveals details typically re-served for special sports cars; fluted lines through-out, roof overhangs and an unheard of Kamm tail typically reserved for race cars allows the car to easily reach speeds approaching 120 mph.

The interior is beautifully appointed with detailed 3-spoke aluminum steering wheel, and reclin-

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ing seats, not forgetting a 5-speed floor-mounted transmission, servo operated ATE disc brakes all around and a stump pulling 4.56 rear axle ra-tio. I believe that the term “Wolf in sheep’s cloth-ing” was created to describe this exact automobile.

In 1989 I purchased my second car. It was the car of my dreams, a 1971 Alfa 1750 GTV and it was the begin-ning of a special love for Alfa Romeo 105 series cars.

The ’71 1750 GTVs may be the most sought after of the GTVs. It provides a mature front façade, ad-vanced braking system from the ’69 model year, nice interior ergonomics, and the last year of the much preferred 1750 engines. My car, originally used as a pizza delivery vehicle by a local Alfista, was restored back in 1990. The sound of the 1750 engine is intoxicating and one cannot get enough of its go-kart like handling. Of the three, this is the one you take on a long back road drive. The in-terior is comfortable even for guys up to 6’3” tall.

The engine was built by Besic Motorsports and it has been bulletproof for 23 years. The 1750 sports a pol-ished and ported head with oversize valves, 11 mil camshafts, flowed header and stainless steel exhaust system. It rides on 14 x 7 Panasport wheels shod with 195 x 60V series tires. The induction sound never tires and every tap on the throttle produces sounds like those of a pack of Rottweiler tearing up cardboard boxes!

My third Alfa was purchased from a retired aero-nautical engineer from New Jersey. I flew to New York with pops, picked up the car and drove it back to Chicago. Best road trip I’ve ever taken and it means even more today because it was with my father. The car is a ’69 Alfa 1750 Spider Veloce.

When I purchased the car, I would walk around it and study the genius of the late Battista Farina. First year of the American 1750s and the last year of the “Round/Boattail” Spider Veloces. Many argue the ’71 and forward Kamm tail cars are more pure, I say that a car’s design can only be original once. Who am I to argue with old man Pinin Farina?

The “Boattail” is 100% completely original and

that includes the paint as well. Today, you will be hard-pressed to find original USA version 1750s that still have rear nerf bar between the bumpers and front horizontal piece in front of the clas-sic Alfa grille. The only items added were the Eu-ropean lenses because they really help to com-plete the design as it was foreseen by Pinin Farina.

Great for touring even in hot weather. Top down, playing period correct Lucio Battisti music, the growl from a healthy, maintained Alfa engine, and the aroma of high octane petrol smoth-ered in my wife’s hair… just doesn’t get any bet-ter!! Well, that is until I pick another car to drive!

[bd] It’s clear that - like any other vehicle - a prop-erly maintained and well-cared-for Alfa should be a joy to own and operate (and no doubt flog from time to time). Yet it’s hard to escape the no-toriety of old European cars, perhaps Alfa chief among them. Why do so many associate Alfa Romeo with breakdowns and being stranded?

[cl] Having lived in the States through the rust ages of the 1970s, I believe the notion of Alfas rusting is a rumor that initially came from Brit-ish car owners! [laughs] I can show you a dozen cars I presently own and the only time you’ll see rust on the chassis is if the car sat open to water.

Alfas don’t rust any more than Ferrari, Lambos, Mase-rati, Lancias, and for sure not like the FIATs, and I’m still waiting for someone to show me where the billion Chrysler/GM/Ford cars of the same era have gone. Research done in Germany shows more Italian classic cars in top shape than any other makes in Germany.

The cars Alfa built prior to the Italian govern-ment sleeping with the men from the Iron Curtain were rarely susceptible to rust. Like many Euro-pean makes, rust problems began in automobiles built after 1973/1974. The metal purchased from Russia was terribly inferior and that was the big-gest reason for rust. The other biggest player for rust in cars imported to the States was the practice of “rustproofing by drilling holes” in door panels and spraying enough gook inside to clog up all the

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drainage holes, making them rust from inside out.

[bd] What advice would you have for a complete rookie who lusts after cars of the caliber seen here in your collection today, but without the finances to af-ford such specimens? Are there specific years or mod-els better suited to lower budget newbies than others? To that end, if there was just one rule of thumb for selecting one’s first Alfa Romeo, what might that be?

[cl] Today, there are many Alfas that make fantastic starter cars for the beginner lusting for a thoroughbred.

For those looking for handling, great engine and mundane silly looks, 1750 Berlinas can be picked up for a few thousand dollars. $8/10K will buy you one of the best cars in the States.

Early series 2 Spiders (1750/200) up to 1974 are the best to buy. They are the lightest at just under 2,200 lbs and make more power than the smog-tied later models. Exceptional to good ones go for up to mid twenties - $25K - but can be reason-ably purchased between $8/$12K if you don’t mind doing a little bit of work. I picked up a wonderful ‘71 1750 first year Kamm tail Spider Veloce that needed some tender loving care for about $4,500.

For those like myself that have always craved for the body of a GTV, keep looking at pictures of GTAs ‘cause they are now fetching anywhere from $175/$250K. The early 1600 Stepnose GTVs (‘66-’68), later 1750 GTVs (‘69-’71) and lastly the 2000 GTVs (‘72-’74) make for a great selection. Projects starting at $4,500 really good ones up to $45,000. However, most cars fall in the $12/15K range.

The sleeper of the bunch is the GTV6s, for it can be had from $3,500 to $7,500 all day long. Recently, units selling for $18K are very common - HOW-EVER - a warning to those with shallow pock-ets. Do not let the affordability blindside you be-cause, like most fine engineered cars, repairs and maintenance can and will break the piggy bank.

Safe money and just pure enjoyment, a fairly nice 105 series Sedan, Spider or Coupe’ would be my choice.

[bd] Finally, where might the Alfistis - past, present, future - in our audience con-nect with you and others like you online?

[cl] People I’m connected with go on the BB (as you know), the local and national Alfa Romeo chapters. Most now have online chatting, etc.

. . .

There’s something about the old Alfa Romeos that I think speaks to all gearheads. Their rela-tive mechanical simplicity, the sounds they make, storied Italian design, and the passion behind every nut and bolt - these are things which com-bine to deliver the ideal driving experience, right?

Someday, I’m gonna have to get an Alfa Romeo of my own.

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We live on an amazing planet, made even more amazing by the different people and cultures. Car culture is equally diverse, and brings with it a unique opportunity to explore the world from the front seat.

I recently discovered a fun show called An Idiot Abroad. In the first season, British celebrity Ricky Gervais enlists the help of his friend Stephen Mer-chant to send their mutual friend Karl Pilkington out to visit the seven wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Christ the Re-deemer in Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Chichen Itza in Mexico, and that stone building you remember from Indiana Jones (Petra).

There’s only one problem. Karl is a bit of a stick in the mud. He hates change and has almost no interest in any of this. Still, presented with a chance to see the world – something everyone might agree is worth a try, especially for free – and with the added benefit of being on TV in the process, Karl agrees to do it.

Unfortunately for Karl, Ricky wants the experi-ence to be painful. A bit of a dick, Ricky says, “Nothing is funnier than Karl hiding in a cor-

ner being poked with a stick.” What follows is a unique look at the world through the eyes of a continuously cranky and disinterested Brit.

Karl ends up staying in run down shanties, riding camels across open deserts, and almost always, eat-ing something we in the west would consider dis-gusting. Through it all, though, Karl perseveres. He shows us the less glamorous side of world travel, yet, in watching each episode, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe at how well things turn out.

An Idiot Abroad shows us the more difficult side of exploring strange new cultures. Much like a Top Gear challenge, the producers make sure there are people to meet Karl when he arrives and point him toward the next awkward social interaction. (He doesn’t know what’s coming.) The results are both funny and inspiring.

Which brings me back to gearhead culture. The world, for all its incredible variety, and despite its relative challenges, is a whole lot easier to explore when you’ve got a local friend or two who want to see to it you have the best possible experience.

As gearheads, we have friends like that. We might not

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know them yet, but we know that, wherever there are cars, trucks, and bikes, there are gearheads like us. As I watch An Idiot Abroad and laugh at all the awk-ward situations Karl finds himself in – every time he’s offered something nasty to eat or confounded by a public bathroom that’s little more than a row of holes in the ground – I can’t help but think it would be a completely different – and better – experience to meet up with fellow gearheads and see the sights from the inside of a well cared-for vehicle.

V and I have scraped our nickels and dimes together to get over to Europe twice since 2010 and experi-enced local cultures (German, British) by hanging out with local gearheads. Not gonna lie. It’s some-what terrifying pulling up to the group of strangers on the far side of the planet, most of whom don’t speak your language, but within an hour, you find yourself soundly among friends. By the end of the day? You’re with family. That’s the real power of gearheads like us.

My friend Anukraman has offered a chance to ride motorcycles across India whenever I can get over there. Mike, who bought my second Galant, regu-larly travels to Japan for business. He’s offered to let me crash on his couch and show me the sights.

There are no fewer than SIX Aussies and Kiwis on my list of people to meet, not to mention run-ning the sh*tbox or Mystery Box Rallies across Australia. I’d also like to run the Alcan 5000, vis-it Chile, maybe explore Italy a bit, but now – since we’re not made of money and can only really make such trips every other year – we have to choose be-tween new adventures and seeing gearhead family.

I see the shenanigans endured by Karl Pilkington on An Idiot Abroad, and I feel that twinge of apprehen-sion. Considering how expensive this type of travel can be, and how little paid time off we get in the States, I really don’t want to make such a relatively large investment in eating bugs or sh*tting in holes next to strangers or land diving (though, strangely, I might consider wing walking). At the same time, I see all these exotic places and think, “Gearheads live there. I’d want to see their side of things.”

Wouldn’t you? If you’ve got Netflix, you can watch all three seasons of An Idiot Abroad right now. Or you could YouTube them. I’m sure they’re out there. It’s a lot of fun and gives, I think, a much better perspec-tive of life in other countries. Have a laugh at Karl’s expense, but think about the cool things he sees and remember, the world is full of gearheads like us.

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I’ve been randomly browsing for a couple years, now, after my friend Michael Banovsky showed it to me. I’m hoping to import a facelifted Delica Star Wagon to Phoenix sometime in 2015, and want to be as prepared as possible. Even though I’m still a year-plus away, I figure now is the time to start preparing, and I’m going to share the journey with you.


Generally speaking you can’t import a foreign mar-ket vehicle to the United States until it’s 25 years old. Apparently, that’s when they become safe and clean enough for our “high standards” or something. (Don’t mind my sarcasm, there. I’m just a little bitter about it.) Assuming the vehicle you want to import isn’t otherwise prohibited for some reason, you have to use a “registered importer” to legally certify the vehicles comply with NHTSA (National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration) and EPA (Environ-mental Protection Agency) regulations.


The only registered importer in Arizona - whose website might very well have been a high school web design project - couldn’t be bothered to reply to my request for information, and a firm I was referred to in New Jersey - which I have to admit was excep-tionally prompt in replying - told me they can only import Canadian vehicles built for the Canadian market (read: not a JDM Declia), and to expect it to cost upwards of US$15,000 on top of the cost of the vehicle.


I was personally referred to RightDrive by someone I trust who has worked with them in the past. Can you blame me at least trying to do business with a local or even domestic company? After two strikes, I finally got a pitch I could connect with. I did what I should have done in the first place. I contacted RightDrive.

The response I got back a couple days later from Mi-chael Kent, President and General Manager inspired me to share this journey with our readers. What fol-lows is the actual conversation we had regarding my specific situation which shifts to a more generalized discussion around why you want to be just as selec-tive in your choice of registered importer as you do the vehicle you will be buying from the far side of the planet, a high level overview of how the process works, and what to expect.

If you’re like me, there’s at least a couple machines

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out there you’d love to get your hands on one day. Wouldn’t you like to get the REAL deal on what it takes to bring one home? Let’s cut through the BS and do this together.

[bd] Hi. I’ve been randomly browsing your Canadian site for a couple years, now, after my friend Michael Banovsky showed it to me.

I’m hoping to import a facelifted Delica Star Wag-on to Phoenix sometime in 2015, and want to be as prepared as possible. The only registered importer in Arizona couldn’t be bothered to reply to my re-quest for information, and a firm I was referred to in New Jersey says they can only import Canadian vehicles built for the Canadian market (otherwise it’s US$15k+).

First, is my dream of owning a RHD Delica in Ari-zona a pipe dream? Second, can you give me some definitive information on what it will really take for me to do this legally? Don’t want “Homeland Se-curity” to raid my house and crush my pride. ;)

Thanks for your time. Hope to hear from you soon.

[mk] Thanks very much for your inquiry – we love Mr. Banovsky here… just wish he would stop trying to rally our Renault Sport Spiders. Not sure of the other firms you are referring to, but we have been in business for 7+ years and pride our-selves on finding the highest quality JDM vehicles.

In terms of the Star Wagon you’re referring to – what do you mean about a facelift? Are you referring to the 1989+ models versus the 1988- units? If you can elaborate that’d be great – then I can send over a few examples that will fit the bill.

The Star Wagon started production in October of 1989, meaning we can legally have one shipped to you (pending the build dates match) in October of 2014. So by the time 2015 rolls around we’ll have a bunch to choose from.

As we generally don’t keep the 1989/1990 Delica models in stock, your best bet would be hopping on to our Portal program, which is a no charge ordering program our firm specializes in.

What we need to get started is the following:

• Completion of the portal order form• A copy of your Drivers License• A $1500 vehicle deposit, paid by any method

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Once active, you will receive emails with available units every 24-48 hours as they become available. You will be able to request inspections, additional details, etc. on every unit you see. Our staff is on hand to complete mechanical inspections, capture more footage, anything you require until you’ve found the unit that matches your search criteria best.

Upon purchase, your vehicle is insured and loaded onto the next container out. Upon arrival to our fa-cilities in Toronto, the vehicle is prepared for delivery to you and receives a full tune up and final prepara-tion. All advertised pricing includes all shipping fees, customs fees and titling of the vehicle in your name. The vehicle will be delivered to your doorstep.

[bd] Thanks for the awesome response! Exactly what I was after. It’s a little confusing when the NHTSA site says all vehicles newer than 25 years have to come in through registered importer, but then doesn’t say much else beyond dozens of year-old pdfs with links to sad websites owned by people who clearly don’t care.

I should have contacted you guys in the first place. Sorry about that.

By “facelift” I mean the Delica with the projector headlights. I think my dream would be a Chamonix with the Crystal roof, but we’ll see. Turbo diesel, 4wd, and I’m on the fence between automatic or manual. (Guys on say the 5mt had a weak 5th and fuel economy or longevity concerns are moot.)

I’m not entirely averse to an 89, as I currently daily drive an 89 Pajero, but I’m also not ready to pull the trigger either! Have to get a few things lined up this


Any chance you’d be up to answer a few additional questions for an article in Gearbox Magazine while we’re at it? I’d like to share this journey with our au-dience. Lots of misinformation out there on the fo-rums. Thanks again for the excellent, inspiring re-sponse, sir. I look forward to shaking your hand and pointing my Delica toward Ohio for a weekend with friends on the way home to Phoenix one of these days!

[mk] Yup, it certainly is a bit confusing! Hate to be a negative nelly (love Ned Flanders quotes…) but the Chamonix only came with a hard top roof. It was actually a “Winter Edition” Delica with bench seating up front, hard top high roof, dual batteries and a block heater. The Super Exceed may be the one you’d want as it came with the reversible captain’s chairs and the Crystal Lite roof. Sure I’d love to answer any questions you’d have for the mag! Whenever you’re ready for the Delica we’ll be happy to help.

[bd] Thanks for educating me on the Chamonix. I’d heard it was a cold weather package, but real draw for me was the dual battery setup. Seems a good thing for extended periods in the bush. Not much need for a block heater in Phoenix, but being able to keep the whole family inside when sleeping is a big plus, as it seems most of the wildlife out here is venomous or otherwise creepy-crawly. You are correct. Super Ex-ceed is the one for me.

You said you’ve been in business for 7+ years. Seeing as you’re President & GM, are you one of - if not THE

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- founding member of Right Drive?

[mk] Yes I most certainly am! I started RightDrive in 2007 in the basem*nt of a dealership with one park-ing space out front. The first car we imported was a 1991 Toyota Celsior (which had heated and massag-ing rear seats!) and we sold it for a $200 profit. Not much, but the attention the vehicle garnished was in-credible so I quit my job at an engineering firm and gave RightDrive a valiant effort. We have delivered thousands of pristine JDM vehicles since and have a team of 14 fantastic employees that bring dream cars to our customers on a daily basis. [bd] Why and how did you get into this niche busi-ness?

[mk] Being a car guy, the overall condition and low mileage these vehicles were capable of being pur-chased with was intriguing. At the time I was dab-bling in a small Formula Drift career (I was the first Canadian to compete in a Formula Drift event whilst working at the Speed Channel) and I had just spent one year building up my Nissan 240sx into a pro SCCA drift car. Having scratched a few too many knuckles on rusted tension rods and jack-crushed sub frames, I was blown away that the same year vehicle from Japan was completely rust free. To this day, I get everyone who passes by our trade show booths down on all fours with dentistry mirrors out examining frame rails! [bd] What set this all in motion?

[mk] There was certainly a want for performance ve-hicles in tip-top condition here in Canada, but per-formance vehicles can be difficult to maintain. What really set our firm apart from anyone else is how pas-

sionate all of our staff are when it comes to customer satisfaction. We were the first to offer competitive fi-nancing rates on RHD vehicles, the first to offer up to 2 years bumper to bumper protection on our classic JDM vehicles, and the first to offer fleet maintenance services to business moving towards a JDM diesel line up. The performance market certainly garnished the interest to take the first steps, but the commer-cial side of the business is what has kept it going.

[bd] Like I said, I’d like to share my journey with our readers. I’ve wanted a Delica for a LOOOOONG time. Now it seems like it’s within reach! Consider-ing the specific model I want won’t be legal in Amer-ica until sometime in 2015 due to the 25 year rule, I’ve got a year or so to get ready for showtime.

[mk] Start doing your pushups! [bd] Aside from saving my money, what should I be thinking about in the next 12 months? Is there any-one with whom I should be speaking with locally? What, if anything, should I be asking them?

[mk] Other than ensuring your underground park-ing can fit the monstrous 7 foot+ height of a Delica, not too much! Our firm takes care of everything from titling the vehicle, to all customs and broker-age fees and it is delivered to your doorstep regis-tered and ready for the road.

Some tips for longevity would be to find a good local diesel mechanic who is comfortable working on older diesel technology. The best thing about the Mitsubi-shi brand is that all of their fuel pumps were made by Bosch so they are easily rebuilt by most local rebuild-ing shops. Keeping a spare set of the consumables on hand is also a good idea so that you’re replenishing

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the garage rather than keeping your truck on a hoist waiting for FedEx to deliver an oil filter. Some of the consumables you should keep handy are filters, belts and brake pads. Other than that, everything is gen-erally kept in stock by a number of suppliers North America wide (our parts dept is available at [bd] As I’m sure you’re aware, navigating the back-woods of Federal import rules, regulations, and registered importers can be daunting. And there’s no shortage of misinformation out there on the fo-rums due to misinterpretations and relatively limited personal experience in this area. As someone who’s likely overseen hundreds (thousands?) of successful - and unsuccessful - imports, what really causes the most problems?

[mk] There are two major risks one would want averted when importing a vehicle from halfway across the world. The first is, can this vehicle be Fed-erally registered? The rules pertaining to JDM vehi-cles cannot be simpler – they must be 25 years old before they can be imported into the United States. Certain States have their own rules for registration (i.e. a 15 year old vehicle is considered a classic, etc.) but this is all trumped by what is federally allowed into the country.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has crushed many vehicles that are not playing by the rules as it is very easy to search by VIN number to see what month/year a vehicle was manufactured. The L300 Mitsubishi Delica, for instance, was man-ufactured starting in October of 1989, so October of 2014 would be the soonest one could be imported stateside as it would only be 25 years old then. The rules in Canada are different as vehicles only have to be 15 years old to be imported from other countries. The second issue that makes an importation unsuc-cessful is the quality and overall condition of the

vehicle. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to chase down phantom problems on a 25+ year old ve-hicle that cost over $10K to import.

Japan is like any other country, short of the fact that is has 14 original equipment manufacturers (OEM) located in a radius smaller than California. Buying new vehicles is as natural as brushing your teeth – so a large amount of used vehicles are available for purchase. But at 25 years of age, it is imperative the vehicle has been maintained and driven, even if it’s just 1,000 mile a year.

Japan is just like anywhere else – bad/rotted con-dition, rolled back mileage, undisclosed accidents, theft recoveries are all very possible to obtain. Given there are so many used vehicles in Japan, the number of these aforementioned units is actually just as high or higher than what you’d find Stateside. Importing something with a treacherous past can have it being driven to the junkyard within its first year of owner-ship and we’ve seen that occur with many private/single man operations. But that being said, the number of quality used ve-hicles is also high. Our firm is unique in that we pur-chase vehicles that pass our rigorous inspections and ensure our clients are receiving the best quality for the best possible price. This is made capable with a ground team in Japan that can perform any mechan-ical test and supply photos/video to our clients here in North America.

When our clients are using a vehicle from us to put in a commercial application or take to a show, it’s re-ally our product on the road as well so we have to en-sure it’s putting a smile on the customers face every day. If it’s not, we haven’t done our job.

[bd] Someone on suggested it might be more expensive to import the vehicle to the United States (assuming North American point of entry be-ing Long Beach, California) then re-importing to the States from Canada. Does this process actually result in such a thing or does the van simply pass through the US en route to RightDrive?

[mk] Hmmm… Not sure I quite understand the question

The extra costs with going through a Canadian deal-ership like ourselves are the shipping costs from To-ronto to the end destination state. If the container arrived in Wisconsin per se, and our head office was in Wisconsin (why would we do that?!?) then natu-rally that client wouldn’t have that additional charge.

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Customs duty from Canada to the States is negligible (roughly 6%) and the end user still has to pay their state tax, but would pay no Canadian tax. Where a customer could get lucky is by finding a unit on Craigslist that was allowed into the country based on year – something a Canadian has already owned and depreciated for some time. But based on the previous answers I shot over, the risks associated with that are large because you won’t know how me-chanically sound the vehicle is.

With our firm offering warranty protection and satisfaction guarantees, our customers are ensured a trouble free driving experience. [bd] Along these lines, I can understand how you might get my van to me in Phoenix from Toronto (enclosed/open vehicle transport), but how does the vehicle get from Japan to your facilities and how long does that usually take from the time I say “OOH! OOH! That’s the one!”?

[mk] We ship out of Japan every 10 – 12 days, and subsequently receive containers within the same window. From Japan to Toronto we are in the 6 – 8 week range from the moment a client makes their selection on the Portal program. Of course, another “OOH” would get it shipped, just a bit faster. [bd] As I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again, there’s always “a guy in Long Beach who imports JDM vehicles that might be cheaper and faster.” The big RightDrive selling point for me is not having to worry about the regulatory and legal aspects of im-porting a grey market vehicle, but right behind that is knowing you guys will deliver a tuned-up machine ready for action right to my door. What do you guys inspect/repair/replace before putting my vehicle on a transport (or advising me to schedule a flight to Toronto to begin my epic road trip)? [mk] Those darn Long Beacheans… won’t they ever learn?!? At our premium facilities here we actually go as far as to hire Japanese mechanics through the Japanese-Canadian Embassy permanent residency programs. This allows us to service everything from Kei Trucks to Skyline GTRs – and everything in between. We work closely with the film and television indus-tries and have special relationships in terms of fleet services to some fleets that are 100+. We could not meet those demands without ensuring that every possible angle is looked at by our staff prior to a cus-tomer beginning their experience. We try our best to

sell people “Brand New” antiques and that includes brand new tire replacement, brake replacement, belts, filters, hoses, fluids, etc. all replaced at no charge for every vehicle we sell. In addition, we take care of other creature comforts like key duplication, stereo replacement (to match North American frequency bands), etc. – all to en-sure our customers can grab their keys and start their journey with their new (well, slightly used) Right Hand Drive vehicle. [bd] Finally, aside from maybe the Skylines, Silvias, and early Evos, what have been the most popular vehicles you’ve imported in the last year? Anything coming available this year that might surprise peo-ple?

[mk[ Having supplied the vehicles for blockbuster movies like the Resident Evil series, Pacific Rim and Robocop (just to name a small few…), we’ve had the opportunity to import almost everything under the sun. The weirdest perhaps were a set of Tsukiji Fish Market electric pallet trucks – they are called Turret Trucks and have a huge steering turret to rip through crowds of people and deliver fish. Naturally, it has a “Normal” and “Fast” setting – when the first one arrived I ended up plowing it into the front of our building – it was like a golf cart on steroids! In terms of popularity, our largest market is in Postal Delivery so vehicles like Honda CRVs, Toyota Rav 4s and Honda Odysseys are what we sell most.

We have countless stories here – we’ve built and im-ported 5 vehicles that neared the 900hp range, off roaded Toyota HiAces across Canada, imported Mit-subishi Canter poop sucking trucks that we convert-ed to become fuel delivery suppliers for vegetable oil and this year we are aiming to compete in the Targa Newfoudland with a Postal Delivery Honda CRV that we’re swapping some Integra Type R parts into!

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[bd] You have other customers to serve - customers with deposits and inbound vehicles - so let’s keep this one short. After these, I’d just have a couple ad-ditional questions relating to some of the more pop-ular vehicles you’ve imported to the US and Canada in the last seven years, some of the vehicles coming legal in 2015.

[mk] For more details of what is legal, constantly check back to our site at as new vehicles are added every month! But yes if you have something specific you’d like to know about I’ll be happy to fill you in on an ongoing basis.

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Gearhead Fever is hereditary!

We all know how contagious “playing with cars” can be. That first free mod - be it removing a boost control solenoid for an extra pound or two up top or cranking the torsion bars for the inch that gets you another mile - when it goes right, it’s a beautiful thing. We surround ourselves with those who share our passion for mechanical progress. We help each other achieve success. It’s Gearhead Fever and it’s clearly contagious.

Some of us, however, grew up with gearhead par-ents. While overzealous gearhead parenting can drive kids away from motorsport, a healthy balance of exposure, collaboration, and fun does the oppo-site - it passes the fever to the next generation. Four plus years ago, when I interviewed my friend brother Greg Wallace, we predominately talked about his Evo, but Greg had this to say, “The Mitsubishi fever will soon be passed on to my oldest son, [Glenn,] who has requested a 2G Eclipse as his first car!”

Now, Glenn’s in college, rocking a mutual friend’s brother’s old 2GNT. As much as I loved the idea of this story, I wasn’t entirely sure how it should flow at the beginning, so I started with the basics.

[bd] Glenn, when did you first decide you wanted your first car to be a 2G DSM? Why?

[Glenn] Well, I really wanted my first car to be an Evo, but that would never happen unless we struck it

rich in the lottery. While my dad was racing his Evo, I was right around the age to start looking at a first car and he brought up how cheap a used 2G [DSM] could be had. Helping him turbocharge his 99 GS and going for rides in that car when it was pushing 375HP sold me on that idea. Not to mention the great looks of the car.

[bd] When you say you were right around the age to start looking at a first car, what age is that? Were you big into cars before that? How so?

[Glenn] I’d say probably around 14, which sounds a little young, but the plan was to get a car that needed work and have a really nice 2G by the time I got my license. I really got into cars when I saw the first Fast and Furious movie. I was around 6 or 7 at the time and probably had about 15 models of the green Eclipse by the time I was 10. Alongside working on those (making exhausts out of bendy straws and body kits out of cardboard), my dad was building his Eclipse, so most of my time was spent working on the models or helping work on the real thing. When my dad got the Evo, I was old enough to really start learning how to wrench on things and by that point, I was already hooked.

[bd] As a new father myself, I know I occasionally think about how I’m going to get my automotive sh*t together in time to soundly introduce my daughter to the world of mechanical self-sufficiency. Greg, knowing you used to be into racing on two wheels, did you always see Glenn growing up in motorsport? Was any of this your idea or did you take a complete

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hands-off approach and let him come to discover it on his own?

[Greg] I’m a firm believer in letting kids be kids, exposing them to everything you can, and letting them pick their own path in life. But it was very clear early on Glenn would be his father’s son. Maybe it was being track-side at 6 months? Once I saw the spark though, I exposed him to everything I could; motorcycle road racing, auto-x, auto road racing, building and blowing up motors, race prep, behind the scenes at track events, etc.. Most importantly, he saw me doing all of this work and building relation-ships - not handing the keys off to a shop just to write a fat check later.

[bd] Having so much more parenting AND motors-port experience than I, can you shed a little light on why getting a kid involved with cars, maintenance and modification is a good thing?

[Greg] I think Glenn is a perfect example of why this is important. At 19, he’s in college, working part time, and has tackled every issue on his 16 year old car himself (with very little assistance from me); re-searching and buying his own parts, and doing his own work. Zero dollars paid to anyone else for it.

Those are real dollars saved, and he will continue to be able to do that for the rest of his life. Who doesn’t want free money? And with any luck (in due time of course...) he will pass that down to his children. The two of us are driving cars that are collectively 39 years old. Cheap to work on, cheap to insure, and

cheap to own. Cheap doesn’t mean that they aren’t a blast to drive however.

[bd] Greg, how did you see this spark manifest? What are the signs?

[Greg] Well at age 2 he was grabbing wrenches from the toolbox to help “work” on the race bike at the track. His interest only grew from there, following me from bikes, to autocross, to the dragstrip, to road racing cars. LOTS of great people along the way in each discipline also fueled his budding passion. 10 years old and riding to the grid in a full-on gutted TT car. Who gets to do that??

[bd] Glenn, your dad’s comments on motorcycle rac-ing get me thinking. A lot of us had bikes before we had cars. I know my dad had some kind of Honda 750 when I was very little. If he’d been racing motor-cycles at the point in my life when I was riding my bike everywhere - you know, like you do before you have a car - I wonder if I’d be the cager I am today. For all the mechanical/motorsport experiences you had growing up, which stand out most to you? What were some of the things you liked best about being involved in all that?

[Glenn] One of the more notable experiences was when I was in, oh, probably 5th grade (2006) and my dad woke me up at around 5:30 in the morning. I thought I was late for school because he never woke me up - it was always mom’s job. Once I was awake enough to realize I wasn’t late, he told me we were going to Putnam Park to watch One Lap of Amer-

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ica. That was really the first time I really remember being at the track, short of a few times to the local drag strip for test and tune on his 2G.

Soon after that I started going to track days with him and, besides the bragging factor, going back to all my friends at school saying I got to spend the weekend around race cars, meeting people and learning new things at the track have really helped my understanding on things like suspension setups and timing and scoring. I’d say that easily the thing I liked best about being at the track was the wealth of knowledge around me. Without that, I doubt I would be who I am today.

[bd] Another one for Glenn. Between you and your dad, a number of us who have known you for years have been cheering for you along the way. You bought a known-quantity of sorts in Andrew’s old 2GNT, and we’ve seen plenty of pictures of you working on and enjoying it ever since. This is a weird time in life, when we deal with graduation, going back to school, getting real jobs, moving out. It’s one of those first opportunities to really think about what we want out of life. With so many priorities and challenges on your plate these days, what do you want to get out of this, your first car?

[Glenn] For right now, a fun daily driver. I have plans to have it turbocharged by the [Buschur Rac-ing] Shootout in 2015. I’ve already rewired the car to run MS2 [MegaSquirt] and I’m learning my way around tuning it. Beyond that, I want to use the car as a showcase of what crazy ideas I come up with and

how I made them work.

Ideally, after college at some point, I will make it a road race car. I have some really crazy ideas for that (first AWD 420a that isn’t an auto?) and some others I don’t want to reveal quite yet. I want to see this car go places. Ever since my dad had his 2G and Evo, I’ve always wanted a car I can work on and be proud of and, even if I don’t reach my ultimate goals, the car has already provided me with those two things.

[bd] Back to Greg, now. It’s one thing to tell a ran-dom, possibly nameless peer how to do something on a forum, and every gearhead has had to do a lit-tle maintenance/troubleshooting/repairs for family members, but does the coaching/instruction take a different line when it’s your kid? Do you find your-self more attentive to details or safety or such? How important does this stuff feel when you’re sharing it with your son compared to others?

[Greg] I may be a bit biased, or maybe a lot, but he is one of the smartest people I know. He sees solutions to problems I can’t fathom. And he has the ability to design, fab, test, and improve whatever is in his mind’s eye, whether it’s mechanical, electrical, or software. To that end, I try to guide his runaway en-thusiasm with real world results and failings, most from my own experiences.

I also lead instead of spilling the beans. Effective troubleshooting is a huge part of being self-suf-ficient in my opinion, and that has to be grown as well. He has been taught safety first above all else,

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and that a hack fix doesn’t belong on any vehicle, any time. That being said, I do obsess over what he is working on to make sure there is nothing either of us are missing. He probably doesn’t know that, but it is still my job to protect him, something I don’t extend to the same obsessive degree to others - there isn’t enough time to obsess over everyone!

[bd] In a sense, we are all our brothers’ keepers, right Greg? I like to think that, if we play our cards right, we can drive a sort of renaissance of gearhead re-sponsibility. No single one of us can obsess over ev-eryone, but many hands make light work. If we show an interest in the success of a few people around us, we can ensure there’s enough safety/quality/perfor-mance obsession to go around.

Glenn, one final question for you. You said you want to see this car go places. Where (literally and figura-tively) do you want to see it go, and why? What’s it going to take to get there?

[Glenn] I want to see it as a full-out road race car at some point. Ideally around 400HP to all four wheels. The biggest challenge aside from money will be the AWD swap, but in doing all these modifications, more than just see myself, succeed I want to learn.

Through success or failure, I feel like that is what this car is all about to me. Just swapping to Mega-squirt has taught me more than I ever thought I would need to know about an EFI system, and I learn more about its features and capabilities every day. So to specifically answer your question, I want to see the

car go very fast and do many unconventional things (AWD 420A). Getting there is going to take a whole lot of learning.

[bd] Very nice. Greg, same question. Where, literally and figuratively, do you want to see your car go, and why? What’s it going to take to get there?

[Greg] My car? It changes nearly every day. Com-muter, auto-xer, road-racer, drag car. The good thing is the platform is so versatile, I can do all of those things with the same car and give up very little. It’s not quite an Evo (a car I won drag race events, auto-x championships, and nearly a road-racing champion-ship with, all while driving the car nearly every day), but it’s close enough (for now) and it’s old school cool.

The other day someone asked when it would be done. “Never” was my reply. I never see them on the road anymore, so I want mine to turn a few heads and be ready to whoop some ass no matter where I decide to take it.

. . .

“Never.” Spoken like a true gearhead. And it’s clear this passion has been passed down from father to son over the course of some two decades of expo-sure to the challenges - and rich rewards - of being a gearhead. The machines bring us together, but it’s the people who keep us together. That’s the biggest single benefit to being a gearhead. When will these chains be broken? Same answer. Never.

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At the highest levels, it might seem mo-torsport is immune to the many challenges we face as clubmen. The truth of the matter, however, is the opposite. Not only do they face similar challenges, things are far more complex and expensive than we may ever face.

I got a private message from Norwegian Ph.D. can-didate Hans Næss on asking for permission to quote me in a book he’s writing about rally. Flattered, I asked what I’d said which was so worthy of inclusion in this lofty project.

The quote: “I think the Grp B cars were better from a personal preference standpoint. These were sheer monsters, cut loose from their cages, and allowed to have their way with the stage roads on the shortest of leashes. When a driver got sloppy and gave too much slack, these beasts bit back, often hard. Conan would be proud. The new WRC cars, on the other hand, are still cool from the technological standpoint. When a crew chief can download logs from the recent stages and upload optimized maps to the ECU for peak per-formance, that’s pretty bad-a. However this techno-logical wizardry sort of mutes the ultimate demon-stration of skill in vehicle control that makes rally so appealing. Twenty years later and, despite advances in safety and the like, we’re still terrified that a taste of the raw meat would result in a new generation of monsters being loosed on the backroads of the world.”

In discussing my comment and his book project, something neat happened. We discovered rally has an identity crisis - at just about every level. It was ex-citing to learn the problems I see facing the sport in North America are not unique to us - and neither are the proposed solutions!

This conversation didn’t begin as an interview, but evolved over time. Rather than chop, cut, and rebuild it to fit my usual style, I’ve simply cleaned it up a bit as it happened so you can see how Hans and I discov-ered a little common ground which gave us both a bet-ter understanding of things. That’s huge, and some-thing I want every gearhead to experience - often.

[hn] The reason why I wanted to use this quote in particular is because it sums up much of the discus-sions I have heard when I have done fieldwork on different WRC rallies. It is analytic in some way, yet representative of the wider WRC community, I think.

[bd] Please feel free to quote me. Will the final prod-uct be available in English and, if so, might I get a PDF copy so I can read the paper in full?

[hn] I really appreciate your positive reply! The fi-nal product will be a book written in English, pub-lished by global publisher Palgrave Macmillan. Date of publication is not set, but is likely to be during the autumn of 2014.

Drawing upon interviews with key people in the sport, historical studies, online forum research and ethnographic fieldwork from rallies (Monte Carlo and France), spectator cultures (Finland and Argen-tina), the inner life of a WRC team (Italy), and the media production facilities (Wales), this book aims to reconcile the traditional sporting elements that once made the WRC great with the promotional concerns produced by the media developments in the 1980s and 90s.

A preliminary table of contents looks like this:

1 - What is the World Rally Championship?2 - The promotional backdrop (why it matters)3 - Imagining the story (about the media)4 - The sense of place (about rallies)5 - The spectator culture (about spectators)6 - Life on the road (about teams)7 - Heroes behind the wheel (about drivers)8 - Sporting implications (overall findings)

At the moment it is called ‘A Sociology of the World Rally Championship: History, Memory and Identity.’ (A dull title, perhaps, but partly it has to do with the search indexing on sites like Amazon.) I may be able to provide you with a PDF copy of the specific chap-ter where you are quoted, but because the publisher has strict rules on what I may reveal until publica-tion it is difficult, I’m afraid, to let you read the en-tire manuscript beforehand. I will however keep you posted on the progress of things. And, again, thank you for letting me use your comment.

[bd] No worries, Hans. Completely understood.

I like how you’re approaching the subject from a di-verse, yet sociological perspective. Two things stood out to me as I read your reply. First, subconscious bias? “The traditional sporting elements that once made the WRC great?” Are you suggesting the WRC is no longer great? Not that I disagree! I get what you’re after in the context of the complete thought; just something which stood out to me.

Second, I’ve all but lost interest in the WRC at this end, and not just because the likes of Makkinen, Gronholm, and Sainz are “retired.” Perhaps this may be of interest to you for a follow-up book, but rally in North America - in the US especially - is all but non-

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existent. While Kristof Denaghel has to turn people away because he’s not allowed to run more than 200 entries in a rally, I’d be surprised if we have 200 total entries between all US rally events in a year (count-ing those who enter multiple events multiple times). Geography, sociology, and the lack of media cover-age over here really keeps the sport down.

That said, I’ve managed to find a solid group of re-gional, clubman level competitors, organizers, and volunteers close by - the California Rally Series - who have shown me how much more meaningful the sport is when everyone involved feels like one big family. I’d rather attend the regional event with 23 entries and feel like I’m part of the magic than travel thousands of miles to stand on the side of the road and be just another consumer.

Anyway, thank you for contacting me. I wish you luck with your project. Oh, and if you’re a gearhead with a decent set of wheels, or just a general automo-tive passion, I’d love a chance to interview you for Gearbox Magazine, which is my life’s work. [hn] Well, I think the WRC still is a great specta-

cle - I am just excited when the first car comes as I was when I was 10 - but it was better in the past. Of course things change, not least in sport, but if the WRC becomes too distant from why people think its fun to watch (I have not interviewed nor met one sin-gle person that did not bring up the past in some way to illuminate the downsides of today), mostly due to commercial circ*mstances, the past will be a burden rather than a quality (a heritage, that is).

You mentioned being part of the rally community, which is very interesting. It seems like another effect of the professionalization is, like pointed out by for-mer World Champion Miki Biasion, that the feeling of ‘one big family’ fades away. Don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of commercialization, but I think the WRC should use the best of its past to make a better tomorrow instead of desperately trying to adapt to a promotional regime created by [those] other than themselves.

Personally, I also think that the WRC lacks star quality among today’s drivers. My hero was always Colin McRae (I am 35), and without stars, the sport

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quickly turns very anonymous. At the same time, my impression is that few in the WRC community idol-ize a driver like youngsters idolize Mr. Bieber. Even when Ken Block, which I assume is a big star in the US, made his attempts on the WRC, he did not re-ally make an impact simply because he was not fast enough.

I could talk about this for ages! Either way, I would happy to be interviewed some day. I don’t think am a gearhead per se, but keeping track of the WRC full-time as well as cruising around with my mildly customized ‘66 Beetle once in a while at least make me a motoring enthusiast!

[bd] Now I would really like to interview you for a feature in Gearbox Magazine. Firstly, old Beetles are always welcome! Second, I really like what you had to say as a well-versed rallyista. Your comments on WRC being a superstar in its own right, as opposed to a platform for celebrities, and even your spot-on assessment of Ken Block - yours is a perspective I think we really need to share.

Taking it a step further, what you’ve said about WRC/celebrity speaks to how one of our sanctioning bod-ies over here is handling its business. Rally America is all about the marketing and hype on the backs of a small handful of relatively famous individuals. They pursue TV deals, big sponsor deals, and so on, but tend to ignore the small teams, which we all know make up the majority of the events. What happens when Ken Block moves on to, say, off-shore boat rac-ing?

In a way, the US rally scene is fairly similar to the top tier of the WRC. You have the maybe a dozen teams campaigning the entire schedule, with the same 2-3 teams taking podium every time. How does that affect those who are tired of hearing about Loeb?

(wink) So I think your comments on WRC vs. elite teams would be very timely.

Conversely, while we see continued contraction at the WRC level, we see some regional/clubman events/se-ries growing. Kristof Denaeghel in Belgium comes to mind. He has more entries than he’s allowed to run and has to turn people away. My buddy Anders Green here in the States is over 70 entries for a re-gional event (Sandblast Rally), which is easily double anything I’ve ever seen in the west. So there’s some bright spots in the sport.

What do you think? In essence, I’d like to share our current conversation in print, only mentioning we met via quote request for a book you’re working on, and go into a bit more detail about how you follow rally full-time, where you see it headed, and what we think will ultimately “save” the sport. Sound good to you?

[hn] Of course you can use any of my prior com-ments in print. In addition, I have some comments to what you said in the previous email. All of them are related to the WRC simply because I know too little of what’s happening in other series. I follow WRC full-time because the book I was talking about is part of my PhD in sociology at the University of Oslo, Norway. Hopefully, the book will be in stores in late 2014.

First, the sense of one big family is still there, it is just covered in promotional fuzz. In one perspec-tive that is the way it has got to be, or else it would not gain coverage or spectators against others in the entertainment industry. But if the WRC strays away from what made it popular in the first place, the fu-ture suddenly depends on attracting a whole new segment of people. I think this is risky. If the WRC is changed to suit those who enjoy action sport events it may end up losing its fans as well as fail to impress others because they see it as a bleak copy of X-games. Indeed, this uncertainty of where the WRC is going is a theme that is not very well received among teams as well as fans.

Second, the FIA’s current regulation regime ham-pers the dynamic of making motorsport into a ca-reer. Motorsport has always been about big money, but as it is now, only the most dedicated teams can exploit the rules to their maximum because of high R&D costs, taking advantage of testing opportuni-ties, and so on.

Besides the need for exceptionally generous spon-sors, you cannot as a privateer participate with any

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car you like. You have to buy one from the very few suppliers of WRC cars (M-Sport, Prodrive), and even if you get that far, it is not certain you have the ma-chinery to compete with the best. Whether he gets the facts straight or not – I am in no position to tell – former WRC privateer Anthony Warmbold has a very interesting blog about his experiences.

On the positive side, even though you have to buy a car here as well, it seems like the WRC2 category in the long term could be a solution to this dilemma because it attracts more manufacturers to build cars available. By keeping the formula for a WRC car to make it attractive to manufacturers and simultane-ously making it available to others than just three pairs of contracted drivers, one could return to the optimism of the WRCar rules that were introduced in 1997.

Personally I remember the 1999 season as the all-time high of the sport; seven manufacturer teams,in addition to a number of privateers, a wildly diverse season, cool cars, charismatic drivers and an unpre-dictable championship where it was “anyone’s rally”

on each event.

Third, I think the promotional innovations that were made alongside the rule changes in the late 1990s had to be done in order to make the sport survive. It was surely better than keeping it as it was! Now, more than a decade later, the learnings from the ups and downs through the whole Antonov affair should enable the WRC Promoter GmbH (a subsid-iary of Red Bull and Sportsman Media) to actually use the sporting successes of the past and the rise in spectator interest that came with it to carve out a promotional strategy.

I don’t mean to sound all nostalgic, but if you take a look at the history of the WRC, or any rally champi-onship’s history, what do you get? A pattern of highs and lows. Those highs, I argue, must be used more proactively. What made the WRC so popular in 1983? In 1997? Rather than inventing the wheel once more, and be entirely dependent on a few big teams, the content of these highs should be converted by the FIA and the promoter into a future regulation regime that can stimulate both a renewed sense of

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community as well as improve the competitiveness of the WRC. If successfully, this would reconnect the sport with the old-school aficionados while at the same time reach out to new fans.

Now I am the one who’s rambling on, but I hope you can use some of it for your feature (and please correct my English any time). I also have some other writ-ings at my (sadly, not so frequently updated) blog that might be relevant: If you have any other questions, just let me know!

[bd] We’ve really covered a lot so far - WRC, promo-tion, teams, viewership - I think we’re good on that front, so here’s a couple questions about you, person-ally, if you wouldn’t mind.

I know you’re a PhD fellow in Oslo, but you said you follow WRC full-time. Can you tell me how you do that?

[hn] I follow the WRC full-time because it is my job - how to identify the WRC’s promotional quali-ties by bridging the analytical foresight of the “com-mercialists” and the emotional power of the “tradi-tionalists” is the topic of my PhD in sociology. I have been to seven WRC events the past three years, each time with a specific research topic in mind. I also pay

close attention to anything that is written or aired about the sport.

[bd] You mentioned having a 66 Beetle. Tell me a lit-tle bit about that. How long you’ve had it, any modi-fications, etc.

[hn] I’ve had my Beetle for almost a year now. I have not done anything particular about it, except chang-ing the battery and the starter motor, as it was quite good shape when I bought it. The engine is replaced by a 1600cc from a Type 3 VW with a tuning carbu-retor and of course a loud muffler! Tires and interior are also relatively new. I plan however to convert it to disc brakes and lower it this winter and, if I win the lottery, repaint it back to its original pearl white and fit US bumpers.

[bd] As a way to tie things up at the end, where do you see all this going? What needs to happen to “save rally?”

[hn] To save, or at least re-energize the WRC, it needs to do two things.

First, it needs to be stabilized. In order to demystify what it is all about, which is very important to attract new fans, it must be recognizable over time. Luckily,

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the FIA has decided that no major rule changes will come until 2017. In that context I think they should keep at least six of the twelve rallies for a minimum of five years (instead of two, as it is now). If these fixed rallies moreover are “classics” (Rally Monte Carlo, Rally Finland, etc) it could be a way of con-veying the heritage of the sport as well as keeping a number of slots open to new events. That way old-schoolers would be satisfied while new fans could get a chance to familiarize with the sport.

Second, it needs to enhance competition in any way possible. Access to the top level of motorsport will always be costly, and I admit that keeping the bal-ance between limiting the costs and at the same time allowing for technological prowess that should be the signature of any world championship is difficult. Yet, without getting too technical, there are a lot of potential changes that could keep the spectacle and ease access for more competitors. Basically it is about less high-tech and more power on the one hand, and getting more suppliers of WRC cars on the other.

[bd] I have to admit, it’s interesting how you want the US bumpers on your Beetle. Often, we in the States want the European spec bits - bumpers, lights, etc.. The grass is always greener, though, right?

[hn] Re the old Beetles, there was a fascination for the California style when I grew up (and that is why mine looks like it does, too). Now it seems, at least here in Norway, that the “rat look” and the nostalgic use of “original” accessories like gangster caps and the like combined with tech stuff like air ride sys-tems have become very popular. But I just drive my car and have fun with it without any intention of dis-playing it on some car show.

[bd] Thanks again, Hans. This is a great story I think a lot of rallyists will appreciate. I’ll be sure to men-tion we started speaking as part of your research for the book. And, once the book is available, we can definitely do a brief follow up which hopefully drives a couple sales.

[hn] I, too, think this will be a good story. I am glad to help out, and would like to thank you both for contributing to my book as well as letting me have a say on rally in your magazine. And if you could give the book a mentioning when it is available, nothing would be better!

[bd] You know we will, Hans. Looking forward to it!

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Old cars rule. Especially obscure, old cars. When was the last time you couldn’t just google the solution to your mechanical problem? Remember that one time you needed a part and nobody had it in stock? Imagine if everything was like that. If we want to keep driving obscure, non-mainstream machines into the future, we’d be smart to get to know a few gearheads doing so right now.

Ryan Woolley lives in a little ghost town near Ed-monton, Alberta, Canada. He tells me he’s jack of all trades and master of none. It’s an old saying but it holds true. Mostly, he hauls cars for people and, as often as he can, provides props for a couple local tele-vision studios in the form of cars and bicycles and random things nobody would ever own, but for some reason he happens to have.

[bd] Introductions. You share so many unique pho-tos on your Facebook page, it’s hard to tell which ve-hicles you actually own. I’m very interested in learn-ing more about the 1931 Pontiac, but what else do you drive? What’s your general philosophy when it comes to cars and trucks?

[rw] I post a lot of photos because I take a lot of pho-tos. I have around 40,000 of my own photos on my computer, probably 9-10,000 physical photos from my 110, 126, and 35mm cameras I’ve had since I was 5 years old plus, due to a computer crash, I lost close to 40,000 of my earlier photos. It’s only since 2006 that I have been sharing my photos with the online world and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! I post a lot of photos of my own cars be-cause they are easy for me to get shots of any time I want to, so a lot of the one of facebook are my own, though I have started adding albums of my car show photos and my shots of cars “in the wild.”

My general philosophy with car, trucks, bikes, mo-torcycles. Really anything at all antique or not is to use it as it was intended, and I do so often to an extreme.

It started out with my bicycles, I grew fast as a child and outgrew all the hand-me-down bikes we had at home, so my dad grabbed some vintage bikes from the local dump and I learned to repair and eventu-ally restore bikes by building them for myself to ride. I rode a 1951 Viscount with a 3 speed Sturmy-Archer for years while all the other kids at school rode new bikes, I got made fun of till they realized my bike was faster, there’s nothing like showing up a kid on his brand new 21 speed mountain bike while you are riding a rusty green bike with full fenders and a basket on it! I think that sort of experience cemented my love of vintage transportation.

When I got older I got my first car. It was a 1937 Dodge Brothers 2 door and I was 11 years old. From there is was all downhill. I started gathering parts to build cars in the future including all the model T parts I could find. Now I have the model Ts to build with the parts, one being a ‘26 TT truck in amaz-ing shape and a ‘26 T roadster I saved from the scrap yard that I want to eventually build into a 50’s hot rod. I like all cars and all brands but was not really into what the cars the magazines deemed cool, of-ten the stuff they deemed weird of orphan were the ones I liked the most.

I daily drive a few vehicles including a ‘94 F350 I built out of wreck, a ‘72 Dodge Coronet Police car, and the one I drive the most and prefer is my 1936 GMC hot rod tow truck. I tend to drive it all year round - even in the middle of the winter when it gets to -50° or colder here. One of my favourite memories

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is driving around Edmonton on one of the coldest days on record with a lady friend. We had a blanket wrapped around us and the heater blasting and we were almost the only vehicle on the road. It was sur-real and so much fun!

Part of my philosophy is to save these old cars too. I am constantly saving cars and trucks from the crusher and then finding people to take them. I got this mindset from my dad, as we spent a lot of time when I was kid doing that sort of thing. A few years ago I went into a self serve auto wrecker just as they were loading a car into the crusher. At first glance, I thought it was a Hupmobile, but when I convinced them to pull it out it turned out to be an early 1935 Graham! I worked out a deal and brought the car home and reassembled it (all the parts that were off of it were stuffed inside) and, after contacting the Graham club, it turned out to be one of 3 known to exist! The car is now in the hands of a collector being restored.

When I was 1 year old, my dad saved a 1946 Ford glass top bus from an auto wrecker. My family spent years restoring it and enjoying it and it turned out to

be one of 44 built, and is the only known survivor or the fleet it was from. I seem to find a lot of “one of a few” cars and trucks or very rare ones and have the good luck to be able to acquire them normally.

[bd] Let’s get into the Pontiac. 1931 401 Sport Sedan. I suspect the why and how surrounding your acqui-sition of this machine are intertwined. Why and how did you come to acquire this unique vehicle? Tell us a little bit about it! Did you buy it as it looks today? Is it truly sporty? How does it align with the philosophy you just mentioned?

[rw] The Pontiac is an interesting one. From what I know, it was a lemon from day one. It was always breaking down and having issues and because of this it survived. It was originally partly restored in the 70’s and was used a lot, though it was hard to keep it running right. It was later traded to my late uncle, who was a master restorer in Guelph, Ontario. He traded a fully restored ‘35 Ford Coupe and a nice ‘40 Ford Sedan for it. It was not a good trade because of the condition of the car, but it was done sight unseen.

So my late uncle tore the Pontiac down, and he and

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my aunt replaced most of the body wood, repaired the rest of it, reupholstered it, and had the engine ful-ly rebuilt and balanced and blueprinted. The rest of the car was conserved, as it was in good enough orig-inal condition, including the differential and chassis. But the car still was very hard to keep running and, no matter what was tried, it would suddenly stall and then suddenly start working again.

When my uncle passed on, my dad and I acquired the car and brought it out to Alberta. I was the only one that really drove the car, and I broke down a lot. It left me stranded so many times I lost count and I have pushed that car many a mile since I got it in 1998 - until the day we pulled the distributor out and discovered it had bad bushings. It turned out the shop that rebuilt the car had never touched the dis-tributer, so we rebuilt it and the car now starts every time and I can drive it anywhere without any issues at all!

The first summer it was working I put over 5000 miles on it! Since I got the car in 1998, I have been re-doing and restoring parts of it as I go. Driving these cars can be hard on them and it’s inevitable to have to do repairs. I hope to repaint it in the next few years and keep on driving the wheels off of it!

[bd] The dichotomy of relative simplicity versus scarcity in these older machines is particularly in-teresting. On the one hand, there’s a special purity to early vehicles wherein it’s easier to understand how they work. On the other hand, their rarity makes repairs or replacement particularly chal-lenging. These opposing forces in mind, what are your thoughts on the vehicle in terms of personal freedom versus self-sufficiency?

[rw] I find there really is a lot of freedom with these older cars in terms of simplicity sometimes. Like one day I was driving my ‘31 Pontiac and my fuel filter got clogged. I was in the middle of nowhere on a gravel road, so I just stopped, took the element out of the filter, cleaned it, and was back on the road again. A simple issue like that will ground a modern car so easily.

On the other hand, the scarcity of parts can be a chal-lenge too. Two summers back, my starter went bad. I have taken it to all the rebuild shops I can find and it turns out nobody rebuilds anything anymore - they can only put in brushes and repaint them. Anything more and they are stumped. So I have been without a starter ever since and, being such an uncommon car, I have not found another starter for it, as it seems to be a one year only variance.

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Later, I am going to try a 1931 Studebaker starter I picked up that looks close. This sort of thing comes with the territory. You learn as you go and gain new skill sets when things do get broken or worn out and you need to fix them.

[bd] You seem the like the kind of guy who “gets it;” the kind of guy who appreciates the value vehicles add to our lives beyond mere transportation. How has being a gearhead contributed to your life?

[rw] It’s made me the go to guy for most of my friends when they have a problem. That can be good and bad, but I tend to enjoy it. Being a gearhead, in my opinion, has made me more self-sufficient in all aspects of life. I tend to be a good problem solver and have no problem looking at things from all angles as a good gearhead often needs to be able to do.

[bd] If you were to suddenly decide to dedicate the rest of your life to helping gearheads like us live more meaningful, rewarding lives, what issue(s) would you tackle and how?

[rw] That’s a tough one. One of the issues I see all the time is people only trying to own the “popular” and high value cars - as if all others are a waste of time. In my experience, I have found that all old cars can be fun and rewarding to own. Just because it’s not a ‘32 Ford or a ‘57 Chevrolet does not mean it’s not worth your time. And just because the resale value is not high does not mean it’s not a car to build. You’re not a used car lot. Go ahead and fix that Brand X car and enjoy it and you’ll learn about it too.

Being into some of the off-brand and oddball cars has made me somewhat of an expert on some of them over the years, and driving and taking these cars to shows has shown me that people are sick of cookie cutter cars crowding the shows these days. My cars tend to get crowds around them at the car shows I go to, much to the chagrin of of the guys who spent fortunes on their “popular” cars. Basically, I think people should build what they like and not what ev-eryone else says they should like.

Another issue would be education. Our society is hooked on non-reality based reality shows that give misinformation and myths as fact and blatantly lie about the car hobby - and people are starting to believe it. When a program shows a car with a tiny rust hole in a fender and calls it unfixable it drives me crazy. That mind set has come full circle to the people that occasionally are buying cars from me.

If they think a hole the size of a bottle cap is unfix-

able, how will they tackle even the basic maintenance of that car? Instead of watching these shows with their bad “facts” and manufactured drama, they should be wrenching on their cars and learning the skills to, at the very least, keep their cars running. You don’t have to be an expert on anything car re-lated to do this or to enjoy this.

[bd] I love how you frame the simplicity vs. rar-ity element of oddball vehicle ownership. How can gearheads who might only be familiar with the more popular models discover rewarding, yet lesser known projects? Where do we look and what do we need to know going in?

[rw] That too is simple. Where you need to look is anywhere. Cars and trucks are all over still, a lot in plain sight. The way they make it out on these “real-ity” shows is not the way it works. Normally it’s a lot easier and a lot cheaper.

As for what you need to know going in, I just recom-mend an open mind. And the only opinion that mat-ters is your own. If you like the looks of a car but ev-eryone else says it’s not cool, then that’s all the more reason to go for it. In my opinion you’ll be happier in the long run, especially if you like to attract a crowd at a car show, my cars always do!

[bd] Anything else you’d like to mention?

[rw] Never get into the car hobby to make money. Get into it for the cars and the enjoyment. So many people will tell me I should not build a certain car because of low resale value, as if I am running a used car lot. Build your car for you and nobody else. Do what you think will be cool and not what you think others might like. Not everyone will agree with you, but they aren’t the ones driving it.

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6th generation Galant VR4s are a special breed. Limited edition (in North America), WRC hom*ologated sleepers which paved the way for the world renowned Lancer Evolution you just don’t see every day. I used to own a couple – and that’s as Banovsky would say, a story for another day – but neither was as clean as Kevin’s.

[bd] Introductions. Who are you, where are you, and what do you do for a living?

[kr] My name is Kevin Roy and I live in Orlando, Florida. I work for Wells Fargo as a banker.

[bd] Now, the cars. I know you have a couple Galant VR4s. How did you get into these machines? Have you always been a Mitsubishi/turbo/AWD fan?

[kr] I actually have 1 Galant VR4. I used to go to lo-cal Orlando DSM meets in my 1995 Galant back in the day and hang out with the guys with 1G and 2G DSMs. Then one day this guy named Fabio came to a meet in his 91 Summit White GVR4 and I was totally intrigued by it. At this time I didn’t know Galants came AWD with a 4G63T.

Fabio was one of the very 1st to have an Evo 3 Big 16G installed, which was the turbo upgrade craze at the time. Spending time observing and learning about the car and seeing it leave the meet doing an AWD launch… I was certain one day I would own one.

I was originally into domestics until I went to the Philippines to visit family, where most of them owned Turbo Pajeros, Delicas, Galants and Lancer Evo 2s & 4s, and I was instantly hooked on the Mit-subishi brand.

[bd] 1995. You’re easily pushing 20 years in the game, mate. Let’s switch gears a bit. We all face that ter-rifying, hard-scrabble existence in our early years.

The major repair that *has to* be completed – with-out any surprise issues – in time to drive the damn thing to work Monday morning. From there, we often see ourselves stumble less and less because we don’t know what we’re doing, until we reach a point where the only risk/fear associated with major proj-ects/repairs is spending the time on it. That in mind, you told me why you were initially hooked on the Mitsubishi brand, why have you *stayed* with the brand for two decades?

[kr] Simply… the brand has never let me down. I have owned a total of 7 Mitsubishis and none of them has let me down. Matter of fact, two of them saved my wife’s life and the other protected me, my wife, my son, mother in law, and brother in law. I have been very proud of each and every Mitsubishi I have owned.

I am a brand loyalist. If I like it, I tend to stick with it almost like the quote “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.” I am not saying I haven’t had issues with any of them; some have been no fault of my own and have been a challenge to overcome like electrical issues, but most of the issues have been my fault. So yes, I have stuck with the brand for 2 decades and hope-fully many more.

[bd] Didn’t you also start a special, Galant commu-nity online? Why? How hard was it to do that? To keep it going?

[kr] Yes,, and it started with me, along with co-owner Reggie Reeves, after a fallout with another Galant community. We started this community as another “home” for Galant enthusi-asts who own all generations of Galants from differ-ent markets all over the world. We wanted to a com-munity without the “drama” that can happen in a lot of online communities, so the staff is committed to that. We wanted a community where egos are kept

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in check and members can enjoy and learn and share the Galant platform they own with other members.

We don’t have the traffic or member base compared to the other Galant community we split from. It seems new members that come to our community get discouraged by our community activity being much slower and that’s been a challenge for our site. While most other forums’ operating costs are cov-ered by vendors and donations from the community, it has been out of our pockets. We are hoping things change and member activity increases, but for now we are still up and running.

[bd] I believe one of the absolute best things any gear-head can do is hop a plane to another continent to experience different automotive cultures. When you visited family in The Philippines and saw all those import-them-when-they’re-25-years-old machines, I suspect you also got a taste of gearhead culture be-yond anything you might see at home. How was it different?How was it the same? And how did those experiences impact your perspective on gearhead community at home?

[kr] The biggest difference was they had cars that weren’t offered in the US. Before going to the Philip-pines, I was just getting into being a gearhead and really was still naive. The internet was still relatively new and I was totally ignorant about the JDM mar-ket and thought cars we had here in the U.S were the same all over the world. When I got there, stepping out of the airport, I saw cars I never saw in my life from familiar car manufacturers.

First thing I almost immediately noticed was there were A LOT more Mitsubishis on the road com-pared to the US, like a ratio of 1 car out of 3 was a Mitsubishi built vehicle. My uncle picked up our family in a Mitsubishi Delica which, at that time, I never even knew Mitsubishi built a van, and it was turbo and had a 5-speed shifter on the steering col-umn!?

Car clubs or even car meets in general over there had a much different feel and environment com-pared to ones I have been here. There seems to be a tighter bond between owners and their cars and appreciation for each others cars – the car egos are thrown out the door. Whether it’s a planned meet or an out of the blue last minute meet, they engage in activities like if you were hanging out with your own family, like eating out or just hanging around with the cars at a persons place eating, drinking and small talk.

Maybe I wasn’t exposed to enough meets to really get a real accurate feel of the car scene there, but I have yet to experience that type of “meet” with fellow car folks here in the States. That has left me unmotivated and reluctant to go to car meets here for the most part unless its with a couple of friends.

[bd] As you reflect on how far you’ve come and how much you’ve changed in light of such experiences over the last 20 years, what skills do you see yourself having developed from your time “playing with cars” that have made remarkable differences in the qual-ity of your life? Personally? Professionally? Work? Home? (Basically, however you see being a gearhead has mattered.)

[kr] This car hobby of mine has mostly been an outlet for me to relieve some stress, forget about the world, and a medium to apply some of my creative/artistic thoughts and goals into reality.

I have dived into maintenance or upgrades into my cars with a plan and time frame and learned over the years that you can’t do that with these things. Some-thing almost always comes up whether something

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won’t come off or go in correctly or it just breaks. So I have developed a mentality that it’s good to plan – but don’t take it serious if the plan doesn’t go accord-ingly, because life will throw those curve balls just like working on a car.

Anyone that works on cars, especially old cars, where eventually things do need to get replaced, knows that your patience will be tested. It’s an in-evitable fact we car folks will have to face. I have always had pretty decent patience, but my Galants have helped me extend my patience level. If you are a married man like myself or in a pretty serious rela-tionship with a significant other, patience is a impor-tant key to keep the relationship going and healthy. Well, if you have a goal for the car or just a need to get it running out of necessity, typically patience is needed to get the job done right the 1st time. If we rush anything or cut corners, almost always sooner than later, you will have to go back to correct a prob-lem or issue.

I used to have another Galant. My 1st “newish” car. The car that went through alot with me during my young adult life. It was my first project car, it was the car that helped me learn how to work on a car on my own. I ended up having to let it go due to some circ*mstances.

It was a point in my life where I just couldn’t af-ford keeping it without worrying when my next meal would be. I went close to 2 years without a car; taking public transportation or walking – because that’s how much money I didn’t have – until I finally got a job and met my girlfriend, who is now my wife and she found another Galant as a gift for Valentines Day.

I truly know the meaning of appreciating what you have. While people may complain about not hav-ing certain things or having the newest and coolest products, I always reflect on that time in my life when I let go of my car just to have the basic ne-cessities – food and shelter. I am lucky to have what I have. There are people who aren’t so fortunate. I may not being driving a new or relatively newer, late model car, but I have a car which I am proud to drive because it own it or I built it. So when I happen to see anyone in a situation much like I was years ago with almost nothing, it humbles me to know that was me years ago and that I am fortunate to have what I have now.

[bd] I like your thoughts on patience and focus. I also like how you were able to walk away when you had to, and still came back when you could. The ma-

chines are part of our lives in many ways. They shape us as much as we shape them. What does it mean to be a gearhead? Forget the term ‘gearhead’ for a mo-ment and tell me how your experiences with the Gal-ants and other enthusiasts shapes who you are.

[kr] Being a gearhead to me is appreciating what ve-hicles are for what they are. Much like human be-ings, not everyone is the same. We are built differ-ently. We all have our own special skills that we are good at, and don’t appeal to everyone. No car is per-fect. Perfection is designated for a person for which that vehicle fulfills his/her likes and or loves, where either history or experiences create that “bond” and no matter what others may say of feel, to that per-son, their vehicle is perfect.

As a “gearhead,” I like to appreciate what a car has to offer and what makes it what it is. The arguments of which is better between AWD, RWD , FWD and 4cyl, 6cyl, 8cyl, etc., etc., is all pointless IMO.

Ultimately, if the owner truly enjoys the platform and is is proud and happy with it, what does it mat-ter?

My first Galant was a 95 and it was FWD. When I was first getting into the scene I did basic mods which were a intake and a exhaust. I went to local DSM meets where it was either a 1G or 2G Eclipse/Talon/Laser and majority of them were AWD. Lets face it. I didn’t get much help or attention as I was just a N/A SOHC FWD sedan, which their cars’ chassis were based on. Luckily, there were a few guys willing to talk to me and give me some knowledge which even-tually helped me understand and go forward which future projects. Even when I installed a turbo on my 96 Galant and brought it to the meets, the coolness and unique factor which I would at least get was shot down simply because, “Oh… it’s still FWD.”

This still goes on today where MOST (not all) peo-ple who upgrade to Evos or GTRs or any higher end performance vehicle, suddenly feel superior and en-titled to respect and envy because they drive those types of machines. To me this is bad for the car cul-ture community and definitely affects the reputa-tion of the car/brand of “people who drive ____ are douches.” I have met some people that I could have gone about my life not meeting and I have met some GREAT people too. Being in this car culture, both have shaped me to the type of gearhead I am today.

[bd] How is this perspective reflected in the way you build your machines? Clean lines, clean engines, nothing too extreme – what’s the fundamental belief

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driving your choice of parts and projects?

[kr] When I first started I will admit – I did some “ricey” things to my car – but doing those things has shaped the way I want my cars to look today. Meeting the different types of enthusiasts through the years, from the show car crowd, to the performance crowd to the people that actually race professionally, it has definitely influenced how I vision a goal for my proj-ects. As I meet new people and explore information online and internet communities, the way I want to build my machines changes as I grow.

For now, I like to have to clean OEM look to my cars with nothing too crazy. I have always liked a nice clean motorbay with minimal clutter if possible. I used to like some bling in my engine bays, but I have had an infatuation with a dark-themed motor bays with colors like black, gold, silver or purple.

I am not into high horsepower builds. I like to have reliable, good power with street drivability; just ba-sically turnkey operation and performance without worrying and going out of my way or do special things just to drive my cars. I like to use quality and proven brands for my parts on the cars – ESPE-CIALLY the vital parts essential for vehicle opera-tion. I don’t mind buying used parts, but they have to be QUALITY, good condition parts. One of my good friends, Jason Aleman, gave me advice a long time ago before I got really serious on my builds that has stuck with me still to this day.

“Have a goal for the car. Plan. And ONLY get the parts to achieve that goal.”

If I had a goal of 400hp, why should I buy parts to support 700hp? The extra money I spent could have went to other areas of the car that could use attention or help support 400hp.

. . .

Kevin’s a solid guy. We’ve all faced hard times here and there, but very few of us have actually had to sell

off our dreams to make ends meet. That’s part of what makes this story so meaningful for me. About the worst thing that could maybe happen to a gear-head could probably be having no wheels. Kevin’s been there and, through lots of hard work, got him-self back in the driver’s seat, with more than a couple super sharp machines to his credit.

Maybe you don’t agree with his choice of platform or sense of brand loyalty. That’s not the point of this magazine. The point of all of this is to recognize oth-er gearheads think about their machines just as you do yours. Maybe you’re not into Galants, but this is the right way to feel about whatever we favor, right?

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In May 2013, Jax Goad was less than 10hp away from her goal of putting 500 to the wheels in her 1997 GST. She was happy where she was, thankful for friends and family, and thinking about making her next project an Evo. A little over a year later, she and husband Justin would up and move all the way across the country.

“Treat me like any other gearhead,” she told me in her 2013 interview. After crossing paths at West Coast MOD (Mitsubishi Owner Day) in Cypress, Califor-nia, I remember wondering how many other gear-heads have moved far away and how their automo-tive connections helped. I had some more questions for Jax.

. . .

[bd] You moved from Florida all the way across the country to California. Why?

[jg] My husband Justin is an active member of the United States Navy. His orders for Florida were up and it was time for us to move to a new duty sta-tion. We lucked out and were chosen to be relocated to beautiful southern California.

[bd] How did being a gearhead impact your move planning?

[jg] I had the huge task of figuring out how I was going to get both our prized possessions – the DSM and Evo – across the country. We had to drive the moving truck, so driving both was not an option. I obviously wasn’t letting the DSM out of my sight, so we decided to ship the Evo in an enclosed trailer and tow the DSM behind the truck. I’m happy to report both arrived at their destination without a scratch.

Packing up our three garages was also a chore, and I want to say it took twice as long as packing up our two bedroom apartment. Clothes and dishes were thrown into random boxes but sockets, wrenches, assorted tools and spare parts were all organized

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and labeled accordingly. We arrived in California with all toolboxes and parts intact, but somehow ended up misplacing an entire box of pots and pans, haha. Priorities!

I think it is safe to assume at this point that being a gearhead pretty much controlled the planning of our entire relocation. Justin finished his last day of work in Florida on March 12th and he wasn’t scheduled to check in at his new base until April 17th, so we had plenty of time.

TX2K14 in Houston was scheduled the weekend af-ter he stopped working. Since Houston was pretty much on our way to California, we made plans to

attend. Even though part of the event was rained out, we still seized the opportunity to say “hi” to some of our high horsepower friends, such as the guys from English Racing, and several other GTR and Supra owners.

Having friends all over the country, I wanted to take the chance to meet some friends while we were on our roadtrip. I met a large group of fellow DSMers in Texas, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to catch din-ner with them and talk cars. On several occasions, I also had people message me on Facebook and say they spotted our moving truck with my car on the trailer behind it. The entire move was an experience, and I’m glad we got to take advantage of our time on the road.

[bd] It sounds like you had a pretty epic road trip. I moved so many times, growing up in the military, I think I’ve permanently got PCS Syndrome – an itch to move all the time. Though the government told you where you were moving and when, I wonder if your gearhead connections helped you find your new place in SoCal. What about work for you, social life, shops, vendors, and such?

[jg] Absolutely. I knew I had some friends on the west coast already, so I reached out to them and asked about which areas were good and bad. We had to stay close to the base Justin was transferring to, obviously, but we were still left with a lot of options. We ended up in a nice little city a short drive north from Los Angeles, and right down the road from the nearest e85 station, haha. We refused to step down from 93 octane to 91, so we swapped both the Evo and the DSM to run e85 full time.

Work was surprisingly easy to find. I was given job offers to about four different places, so I had the priv-ilege of choosing where I wanted to work. I picked a fantastic opportunity as an account manager at a global telecommunications company.

As for my social life, I feel as if I have been living here for years as opposed to a short four months. As we started attending car meets and shows, people have been coming up to me already knowing my name and introducing themselves, saying they couldn’t wait to see my car since they heard I had moved to Cali.

We had the chance to finally attend Mitsubishi Own-ers Day in Cypress, and I was just overwhelmed with the amount of faces I was able to attach to screen names, people I have been talking to and trading build advice with for years. The hospitality I’ve re-

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ceived since being here is unreal, I absolutely love it.

[bd] You moved from one coast (Florida) to the other (California). What have you discovered is different where you live now compared to where you used to live (aside from the obviously much better weather)? What’s proven to be pretty much the same?

[jg] Ohhhh my, this WEATHER! Hahaha. This beautiful, consistent, humidity-lacking atmosphere is, for lack of a better word, addictive. Aside from that, I’ve been in a constant state of culture shock for the past couple months since we moved. Eating is probably one of my most favorite things to do and my taste buds are always experiencing something new, I don’t think I’ve eaten at the same restaurant twice yet. In-N-Out should have its own place on the food pyramid and I’m still not used to servers looking at me funny whenever I try to order shrimp sauce with my sushi.

The motorcycle community is HUGE. It should come as no surprise, because I haven’t seen rain since I left Florida, so you have the opportunity to ride every day. So, of course, Justin and I both bought motorcycles. A 2012 Yamaha R6 for me, and a 2006 R6 for him. Black and white, of course, because we can’t break the cycle of being the cheesy couple that matches, haha. Florida didn’t require you to wear a helmet as long as you had insurance, but they’re mandatory in California. I think lane-splitting be-ing legal had a lot to do with that. Coasting through

rush hour with inches between you and the cars on either side of you definitely calls for additional safety measures.

The car scene is black and white compared to the east coast. There is a lot more variety, and the track cars are just obscene. Everyone over here seems to be a lot more friendly, as well. Everyone is friends with everyone, no matter their preference in build choices. It’s not as much of a competition, the “Cali lifestyle” seems to chill everyone out. I like to think its the weather, haha. How can anyone be unhappy or hold any animosity with how gorgeous this place is all the time, especially when they’ve never had to suffer through a pollen or love bug season?!

Ok, so, similarities?… *crickets* I still feel the need to learn Spanish, lol. I went from living a hop away from Cuba, to a hop away from Mexico, and there has always been that strong language barrier be-tween the locals and I. I took four years of Spanish in high school, so the foundation for speaking a second language is there, I just need to throw myself into studying to become fluent.

[bd] I like to think any gearhead – whether complete-ly inexperienced or master builder/racer – if he or she is personable enough, can tap the power of the global community and enjoy benefits such as you guys did with your move. The difference between struggling to find connections to tap when the chips are down and the cavalry coming to rescue you within an hour

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is a function of immersion. You and Justin are clearly immersed in the scene. Can you shed a little light on just how much of your lives revolve around automo-tive people and pursuits? How much time do you spend with gearheads? What do you do other than car stuff with them?

[jg] Justin and I actually met through cars and being gearheads. I was at a car meet with my DSM when this guy with an Evo rolled up. At that time, it was rare to find someone on our platform in a world full of Hondas and Subarus, so we looked over each oth-er’s cars and connected because we both spoke the “language of 4g63.” Here we are, years later, married and living the Cali life. It’s a scenario many people dream of living, and I’m grateful to have met some-one who shares the love of being a gearhead.

As previously mentioned, being deep in the car com-munity affected our move across the country, but its also a big reason we ended up in California in the first place. When Justin’s time for orders came up, we were given several options of places to go. Our cars and our hobbies were a big reason we ended up where we did, and we’ve since dedicated the next 4 years of our life to this place because it supports our love for turning wrenches.

I want to say at least 99% of my friends were either met through a car event or a parts exchange, and they’ve evolved into becoming big parts of our daily lives. Outside of track days and car meets, our need for speed causes us to take frequent trips to 6 Flags, go-kart racing, of course. I flew to Pittsburgh last October to see the Bruins play against the Penguins because Jus (the genius that builds my turbos as well as a very close friend) and I have rival hockey teams.

We recently drove out to Las Vegas and hit the casino with some long time car friends (and of course dis-cussed what cars we would buy if we won big, haha).

For those of us who sharing the irresponsibility of being non-parents, there have been many occasions where the guy with the softest suspension ends up being the designated driver because it decreases the possibility of someone puking on the way home.

Being a gearhead has gifted me with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. In moments of trag-edy, they’ve been there for me like family. With great success, they were there to celebrate. Annual car meets end up being family reunions. It’s a great comfort to know that aside from the build advice and racing techniques, we all still have a lot in com-mon and enjoy each others’ company. There are no doubts in my mind that these people will be a part of our lives for years to come.

[bd] There’s a certain nobility in building things. You’ve torn it apart, rebuilt it better than it was be-fore, and just listen to it purr. There’s no room for interpretation of the results – it either does what you want or it doesn’t. Either way, you can see it, hear it, touch it, feel it. It’s a tangible accomplishment; a re-flection of your effort and abilities. How do all these tangible vehicle success stories affect who you are and what you want out of life? How do you see build-ing high performance machines as a way to build high performance lives?

[jg] Let me go ahead and disclose that I am not a parent. I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent or raise a child. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of work that entails every day. Having many friends with kids, I’ve always felt like the person left outside of a joke when someone talks about the pride they feel when their kid accomplishes something. Walk-ing, talking, writing their name… until I started my car after her first big “surgery.”

Her 7-bolt block had spun a rod bearing, and I seized the opportunity to do the 6-bolt swap along with

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some other goodies. It was the first time I had com-pletely gutted the engine bay. I dissected everything, eliminated some things, relocated others. Replaced and upgraded a majority of what I took apart. As someone who was building their first car, it was a little scary.

As much confidence as I carry every day, I was wor-ried that one wrong wire, or one misplaced bolt, could make or break me. After every sensor, bolt, and clamp had been checked, double checked, and checked again… she started. The tick of freshly bled lifters and the whine of an idle screw being turned in too much, I experienced the joy of a baby’s first cry. After she got up to operating temperature, I put her into first gear and put the smallest bit of pressure on the gas pedal for her to roll forward out of the ga-rage… baby’s first steps.

I have no shame in admitting I shed a few tears after seeing her move under her own power. I kept think-ing “I built that. I did it. I tore it apart and put it to-gether and my hands are responsible for the power this machine is going to achieve.” (That was right before she made 492hp on the DynoJet in Miami, Florida. ~bd) I finally had an idea of what a parent felt like after creating life.

Building cars has taught me more about life than any-thing else I’ve ever experienced. You want to build it right the first time. You want it to be consistent and reliable. I mentioned in my original feature on Gear-box that overcoming obstacles in building a car is a great way to teach you that things don’t always come as easy as you would hope in life. It teaches you pa-tience and discipline. You need to have confidence that you can achieve your goals, but most important-ly, nothing worth having is easily acquired.

That’s how I look at life. I’m a huge believer in “ac-tions speak louder than words.” Too many people waste their time saying things rather than doing things. I wanted a 500 horsepower daily driven car. I built one. I wanted to drive across the country. I did it. I wanted to be able to afford my hobbies and live comfortably, so I got a job that allowed me to do that without sacrificing my free time (despite grow-ing up hearing that I would never know happiness unless I got a college degree).

While my way of living may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I have everything I want out of life right now. I won’t say that some knowledge about compression or torque patterns is the sole reason for that, but I don’t know how my life would have ended up without it.

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“Building cars has taught me more about life than any-thing else I’ve ever experienced. You want to build it right the first time. You want it to be consistent and reliable. I mentioned in my original feature on Gearbox that over-coming obstacles in building a car is a great way to teach you that things don’t always come as easy as you would hope in life. It teaches you patience and discipline. You need to have confidence that you can achieve your goals, but most importantly, nothing worth having is easily acquired.”

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I’ve been lurking on FerrariChat for years, now, every so often popping in, hoping I might find someone with whom our readers might iden-tify; first time Ferrari owner, turns his or her own wrenches, etc. Recently, I got lucky, finding Gordon Choate, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He fit the bill perfectly.

A long time gearhead with that deeply rooted, burn-ing desire for a Ferrari with which we can all iden-tify, one day he was driving across town with his wife when they came upon a Ferrari Mondial. To his absolute surprise, when he mentioned some models were actually in his price range and he’s always want-ed one, his wife told him to go for it.

Soon after, he had this 1984 308 GTS QV parked in the driveway between his Miatas, and his experience turning his own wrenches on the Miatas would prove beyond valuable in the months which followed.

. . .

[bd] Introductions. Who are you, where are you, and what do you do for a living?

[gc] My name is Gordon Choate, I’m 55 years old, and I live in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) – on the western edge of the prairies, in sight of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I moved here 33 years ago from Mani-toba, where I grew up in a small town near Winni-peg. It was in the middle of the prairies, straight flat roads for hundreds of miles around – definitely not sports car country (especially in winter!), but there were enough British sports cars around that I could usually spot a few when we made the trip into the “big city”.

I studied engineering in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba, graduated in 1981 with a degree in Me-chanical Engineering, then worked in the oil patch in Alberta for 10 years as a drilling and operations engineer. It was around 1990 that I made a switch to Information Technology, and have been working in IT since then.

[bd] Briefly, introduce us to your car.

[gc] My Ferrari is a 1984 308 GTS QV. It’s a full Eu-ropean specification car (no conversion to US lights, bumpers, emissions, etc.) – it was originally sold on Jersey, Channel Islands, in September 1984, so is a mix of UK spec (speedo in MPH, dual rear fog lights under the bumper) and continental spec (LHD). Compared to the US spec versions, the Euro version is about 200 lbs lighter, has shorter, lighter bumpers,

no catalytic converter, no side impact beams in the doors, smaller side mirrors, and a few more minor cosmetic differences.

The QV in the name stands for quattrovalvole, sig-nifying the four valve per cylinder heads that were introduced in the 1983 model year. In European spec, it is rated at 240 HP, in US trim 230HP. I don’t know the early history of my car after delivery, but I know it ended up in Vancouver, British Columbia at some point. I have the documentation from the sale of the car from a Vancouver owner to an Edmonton, Alberta owner in 2000, and from there to a Calgary owner in 2007. I bought it from that Calgary owner in July 2013.

[bd] How long have you wanted a Ferrari? Did you ever think you would? Why or why not?

[gc] As a kid, I knew the American cars of the 60s. My mom had 2 Mustangs (a 65, then a 68), and Dad had a 70 Toronado, so there was a bit of a family in-clination to interesting cars. I became “sports car aware” around 1970, when I was in Grade 5 and read “The Red Car” by Don Stanford from the elementa-ry school library. That book really opened my eyes to a scene that was fascinating, and I began to no-tice the MGs, Jaguars, Triumphs, and the more rare Porsches, etc. when we’d visit Winnipeg.

A Ferrari is mentioned in the book as the ultimate sports car, but I had only seen them in the pages of Road & Track, which I started reading in 1971. It was 1972 before I saw a Ferrari in person, at age 12 – it was a 72 Dino GTS, in yellow, in a small foreign car showroom along the main road in Winnipeg, and it blew me away! I made my Dad turn around and pull in, and we went inside to have a look at this other-worldly exotic machine.

I still remember the price at the time, they wanted $17,000 for it… and a Daytona would have been $33K.

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At that point I knew of the Dino and Daytona from the pages of R&T, but at the time I didn’t know of any Ferraris in Winnipeg. That’s probably the time when I began wanting a Ferrari, it was confirmed as my dream car after seeing the Dino in person! I had become a die-hard sports car nut, enough so that my first car was a 1974 Alfa Romeo Berlina (I couldn’t afford a GTV), bought in 1978, and it was pretty im-practical for Canadian Prairie winters!

By the time I finished my Engineering degree and moved to Calgary and started working in 1981, there were 308s around the city and I’d spot a couple per week through the summers. At the time, they were priced at 3 times my annual gross salary, and at that point I never thought I’d be able to own one. It just seemed so far beyond reach, completely unafford-able, when I was paying off student loans, getting a car loan for an 83 Honda Prelude, then getting married and starting a family.

Fast forward 10 years to the mid-90s, and used 308s were on the market, but after a divorce and a reboot of the getting married and starting a family phase

(now with alimony and child support!), buying a Fer-rari still seemed completely out of reach. I was still a sports car nut, had managed to have an old, beat up sports car once or twice (the Alfa, a 240Z), and saved up for a few years to buy a new Miata in 1996.

By that point, my “library” included every issue of Road & Track since 1972, many Car and Driver, Automobile issues, a bunch of CAR issues when I could find them, then most issues of EVO. I was also buying British mags like Classic & Sports Cars, Thoroughbreds and Classic Cars, Grassroots Motor-sports, especially when they had articles about own-ing a classic Ferrari.

I was immersed in the Miata scene, both online and with the local Miata club. The Miata was a genuine sports car providing the thrills of a great handling, fun, nimble convertible without breaking the bank – I was completely satisfied with the Miata for the enjoyment of the sports car experience, doing club drives, autocross, track days, long road trips, etc. Yet I still followed the magazine reports about new and old Ferraris, read about them online, checked them

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out in the showroom or on the street whenever I came across one in the wild… the dream was still alive, even if I never thought to be able to achieve it…

[bd] Let’s talk about maintenance and repairs. Though your 308 isn’t as complex as a 458, I feel like it’s probably appropriate to expect upkeep to be - even if you do it yourself - a fair bit more involved than on most other models of the same vintage. Would you enlighten our readers a bit on this subject? Is the 308, one of the more affordable Ferraris out there today, just as affordable under the hood? [gc] (Photos – 4541 is through right rear wheel well; 4177 is a bit closer in through the left rear wheel well; 4290 shows the heater hoses and heater valves un-der the front cowl (fiberglass liner removed to ex-pose this area); 4293 shows just the heater hoses I replaced, with the longest section being about 14 feet long (cut into two pieces for removal), along with the brake vacuum booster hose at the back of the photo; 4302 shows the engine bay access with the hatch re-moved (I can probably get a better angle than this for you); 4557 shows the engine with the timing belt covers removed, ready to change the two timing belts and tensioners) Maintenance on the 308 is only slightly more in-volved than on other 1980s vintage cars, but that’s mostly by virtue of it being mid-engined. Access to the engine is actually pretty good, with good access to the ‘front’ of the transverse V8 through the right rear wheel well (once the fender liner is removed), and good access to the back of the engine through the left rear wheel well. Working on the left (forward) bank of the engine is greatly eased by removing the rear hatch entirely, which requires assistance from 2 or 3 other people.

An example of the complexity incurred by the mid-engine layout would be the coolant hose and heater

hose plumbing – to replace all the old rubber hoses in the cooling and heater systems required 20 pieces of hose, 40 hose clamps. The longest hose was the heater hose that runs from the right (rear) cylinder head over the left side fuel tank, down to the left rocker panel, where it runs through the rocker panel, through the left front wheel well, up to the cowl area – 14 feet in length! That long hose replacement has probably been the most difficult task to accomplish. Aside from the layout implications, changing 1980s era spark plugs, fuel filters, coolant hoses, etc., is not very different on a Ferrari than on any other 1980s era car. I did find that my car has turned out to be in very good condition, despite the surface grime accumu-lated from the oil leaks over the years. The original coolant and heater hoses were not on the verge of failure, but I replaced them to eliminate the later, in-evitable, failures of 30 year old rubber hoses. Similar-ly, the rubber fuel lines called for replacement based on age, not condition. I’ve found that parts are not greatly overpriced – a lot

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of OEM electrical and fuel system components are Bosch, and often shared with 1980s Porsche, BMW, VW, Mercedes – so many of the German parts sup-ply houses can help with Ferrari parts for a lot less than the Ferrari dealers want for providing it in a yellow box.

A good example would be the pair of rear hatch sup-port gas struts – the Ferrari branded Stabilus strut is priced at around $120 each, but without the Ferrari logo, the exact same Stabilus part numbered gas strut sells for about $35! Similar savings can be found on Bosch fuel filters, Bosch injectors, and so on. There are a few specific parts that can’t be cross referenced, so that leaves a small number of parts that are very expensive with no alternatives to buying the genuine Ferrari part. Even then there are a few dedicated Fer-rari vendors that sell more affordable options than the Ferrari dealer offers. [bd] As I mentioned previously, I had 2 primary rea-sons for wanting to interview you. First was because this is your first and only Ferrari, but second, because

I saw how much work you’ve done to the car yourself. Most of the people I know start with less expensive machines, then throw tens of thousands into them (to perform at or above Ferrari levels). It’s all about modifications and upgrades. No doubt your time and experiences in the Miata community make you no stranger to this mindset. How well did your years “playing with Miatas” prepare you for “playing with Ferrari?” Where was it a blessing? A curse? And how has your modification mindset evolved with respect to the 308? [gc] Working on my own cars, including a Miata or two over the last 16 years, has allowed me to build up my wrenching experience base from changing the oil to more involved maintenance work, from brake flu-id flush and pad change, up to swapping the cylinder head, installing a supercharger kit, and installing a vintage rebody kit and associated bodywork.

That experience over the years gave me a reasonable confidence that I could handle most of the mainte-nance work on an older Ferrari. I have found that I have a different mindset working on the Ferrari than the Miata, though – with my Miata, I have a strategic goal for any and all changes I make to the car with respect to performance and appearance, and evaluate any upgrades and modifications against that goal. I am more than willing to ‘improve’ (i.e. change to my liking and preference) on the components provided by Mazda, and have a typically long list of parts that have been upgraded and modified, from bumper to bumper over the years. With the Ferrari, though, I am deliberately avoid-ing starting down the path of performance up-grades – my focus with this car is to keep or restore the original performance and reliability levels. I will change to newer material versions or parts to improve reliability, for example upgrading the fuse boxes to improve the old Italian electrics; but I am

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not considering changing the Bosch K-Jetronic me-chanical fuel injection to a programmable EFI, even though I’ve done that on my Miata. I’m not consider-ing tracking down hotter cams or a lighter flywheel, I’m not looking to improve on the original brakes, just restore them to their original (very capable) per-formance. There are performance options for the 308, the typical coilovers, big brakes, programmable EFI and ignition, and so on – but those options tend to be expensive due to the small volume of potential customers.

When people ask me how quick or how fast it is, I readily concede that in year 2000+ terms, it’s not that quick, original 0-60 times were in the 6.0 to 6.5 sec-ond range. In 1980s context, that actually was con-sidered very quick, and that’s the perspective I want to maintain – as part of the experience of owning and driving a 1980s Ferrari, I’m perfectly happy with 1980s Ferrari performance levels and I genuinely feel no desire to start down the performance modifica-tion and upgrade path. When people point out that a new Camry V6 or Accord V6 is faster, a suitable reply is that if I owned one of those, I’d be driving a Toyota or Honda, but with this car, I’m driving a Ferrari! (Nothing wrong with a Toyota or Honda, they are great at what they do… but what they do is provide reliable, isolating, boring transportation, with no character, no fun, no spirit.)

. . .

Gordon has, like so many of us, always wanted a Ferrari. It took him a few years to make his dream come true. Sure, as he mentions, a modern Camry or Accord might be faster on the street, but you never saw a poster at the book fair featuring an ocean-side mansion with a garage full of Camrys and Accords, did you?

What makes this story truly special is the gearhead connection. There are lots of Ferrari owners out there with multiple Ferraris. Not that they aren’t gearheads like us, but I think the unspoken hesitance some of us might have toward investing in a similar model is the high cost of maintenance and repairs. Gordon shows us the skills we’ve developed working on Mia-tas, DSMs, Chevy Silverados, etc., uniquely empower us to handle exotics as well.

Now just imagine how those skills might play out in other areas of our lives...

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The Ultimate Driving Machine. Whether or not BMW still actively uses this tagline, it’s pretty much settled at this point. Their newer models are getting ridiculously complex (still desirable, though), and they’re even getting ready to offer (gasp!) front wheel-drive models, but the blue-and-white roundel from München remains a highly sought-after badge.

Joel Feder has the gearhead’s Beemer, in my opinion, but I’ll let him tell you about it himself.

[bd] Introductions. I know who you are, where you are, and what you do for a living, but how would you introduce yourself to our audience?

[jf] I’m currently the social media manager at High Gear Media. You could say I’ve been an auto enthu-siast since the day I was born, and there’s a photo floating around of my father and I playing with a 280ZX when I was four months old. Normal kids made houses out of Lincoln Logs, I made garages for my Hot Wheels, and each car had a specific park-ing spot. I inherited my automotive passion from my father, and then took it to the next level of obsession. I currently live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, daughter, and our dog. Outside of autos I love water-skiing, hanging out on the lake, being with friends, and making the most of life.[bd] Tell me a little bit about your M5. Any modifica-tions or history to the car?

[jf] My car is a 1991 BMW M5 which makes it an E34. I’m the fourth owner but the third owner kept the car less than a few months, so the first and third owners put most of the miles on the car. I bought it from the third owner out of the Seattle, Washington area. The car is bone-stock outside of a Dinan Stage

I suspension.

The first owner put this in which removed the rear SLS. He also swapped the steering wheel with one from an E36 M3. It looks the same but it’s slightly thicker and has a little smaller diameter. The only other modification (if you’d even call it that) are the Turbine wheels from the 1992-1993 models. When I bought it, it had Fuzion ZRi tires that were both worn out and far below my standards. I replaced them quickly with Michelin Super Sports. The clips inside the original shifter knob broke so when I re-placed it I put a shorter weighted M knob on it from the E46 ZHP (the E34 M5 shift knob is quite tall).

[The Beemer] currently has about 144,000 miles (I haven’t been home in three weeks… can’t remember exact mileage off the top of my head) and the pow-ertrain is all-original. I have every single service re-cord for the car from all three owners, the window sticker, the key cards and factory radio codes. It has the full tool kit untouched as well.

[bd] This one’s been going through my mind since you told me you were up for this. You spend time in all kinds of new vehicles. And you’re in close ties with players across the auto industry. With all the advanced power, performance, safety, convenienc-

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es, and insider knowledge, why are you so partial to what is essentially a needy, high-strung, older BMW?

[jf] It’s true, I have at least one—if not more—new vehicle(s) in my driveway each week due to my job. When I decided to buy the E34 M5, I did so based on the car it is. It has only a driver-side airbag, ABS, and that’s about it. There’s no traction control or elec-tronic stability control, there’s no navigation system or fancy electronics, it’s simple. It’s a drivers’ car. I knew we were going to have a kid soon, so I needed something that could practically hold the entire fam-ily if we drove out to the coast for a weekend (the wife set a rule about having four doors).

The E34 M5 is classy, it’s fast, it handles very well, and it always puts a smile on my face. It engages the driver, and the sound from that S38 engine is ter-rific. The fact that it’s very rare and few people actu-ally know what it is actually appealed to me as well. I didn’t need something that was flashy – understated is fine by me. At the end of the day the newest ve-hicle I was seriously considering when I purchased the M was a 2003. It’s also worth mentioning my wife’s car is somewhat more modern, being a 2001 Audi A6 4.2, though, it too is an older, out-of-war-ranty German car.

[bd] Love how you state the car didn’t have to be flashy; that understated is fine by you. I wonder, has this always been your preference or is this the result of exposure to so many flawless new machines? Re-gardless, how does driving so many brand, spankin’ new cars and trucks make you feel about this Beem-er? About older vehicles in general?

[jf] Like many auto enthusiasts, I grew up with the Porsche 959, Ferrari Testarossa, Lamborghini Coun-tach, and McLaren F1 all on my wall. Some of those – the Ferrari and Lamborghini – I’d consider flashy. I wasn’t drooling over them because they were flashy. It was the engineering, the design, the entire pack-age. Whether it was flashy or not didn’t really play in. The Pagani Huayra is a good example. I’d consider it to be flashy, but it captivates my attention. The en-gineering behind it, the sounds it makes, the way it works, it’s so intriguing to me. In comparison to the Huayra, the P1 and 918 Spyder aren’t exactly flashy, but they aren’t pedestrian, and those too I’m very in-terested in for the same reasons as the Huayra.

Sorry, this has been a very long answer. The bottom line is I’m fine with understated, but I don’t hate flashy cars; it’s simply not a requirement for me. Not only that, but when I have a flashy press car, it’s fun,

for a few days. By the end of the week, the attention kind of gets old. I like cars and want cars not for the attention, but for my enjoyment.

I think some of the press cars make me appreciate my E34 M5 more, yes. I get into my BMW, every single time, without fail, I always immediately love all the glass, the open greenhouse, the airy feeling, and the terrific sight lines – definitely something most mod-ern cars are missing. I would also say that driving all these new cars does make me appreciate older cars in general, but in the same light, I appreciate newer cars for how far they’ve come in all regards, safety, technology, drivability, and livability.

[bd] Your job presents a unique opportunity to per-sonally experience much of the latest technology in the industry. A lot of gearheads are concerned that driving – not to be confused with operation, there is a difference – is going to become a thing of the past. Ever-escalating oil prices; anemic, range-limited EVs, hordes of mindless consumers trading into driverless cars – all these stand to make enjoyment of conven-tional/classic machines cost-prohibitive, if not liter-ally prohibited. How do you balance your desire for mechanically simple classic motoring with intrigue with technology’s inevitable march toward electric autonomy? What makes you nervous? What makes you hopeful?

[jf] Like any auto enthusiast, the march towards self-driving cars frightens me. That said, do you know how many people honestly don’t know how to drive well? How unsafe our roads are not because of the cars, but because the people behind the wheel haven’t had the proper training? That also frightens me.

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I think there are plenty of fun new cars still coming to market. The new Focus ST and Fiesta ST are hon-estly a blast. In fact, I had more fun in the Focus ST than I did the Nissan GT-R on the same road on the same day. Back to back, the Focus ST provided more smiles. I have mixed feelings on the new M3/M4, and some really mixed feelings on some of the stuff com-ing out these days, but then there’s stuff like the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Heavy, ridiculous, supercharged, and it has 707 horsepower, from the factory. That’s absurd, and awesome. I’m rambling again, but I guess the answer is I think there’s a bal-ance, and we are still seeing that.

Some automakers—like McLaren—are embrac-ing the future technology and making crazy stuff like the P1, and then there’s Porsche with its PDK transmission. I’ve driven a manual Porsche, and I’ve driven PDK. I don’t care who you are, you can’t shift faster than PDK. Not all the tech is destroying driv-ing fun, some of it is just shifting how we have it. So the answer is electric cars aren’t evil (the Tesla Model S is awesome, and the idea of KERS is fantastic), self-driving cars will come and are necessary to a point, and fun cars still exist. It’s just different. The future is scary, but it’s coming and we must adapt. It will be what we make of it.

[bd] All the above said, where does your E34 out-shine its modern, F10 equivalent? Where does it come up short? Have you had a chance to drive both?

[jf] My M5 makes noises the new F10 wishes it could make, has sightlines and a greenhouse it couldn’t dream of, and sits low with a stance from the factory the F10 can’t match. New regulations prevent some of this stuff, and other stuff is the march of time and modern engineering. That, and the F10 is simply a different car than my E34 M5.

The F10 is a really, really fast grand touring sedan, where as my M5 was a four-door car they shoved a race car powertrain into. It was a four-door race car.

It was the fastest four-door car in the world at the time. It was hand built. The F10 is a mainstream car. Obviously the F10 has a ton of technology my M5 doesn’t have which might make it a more “livable” daily driver, if you want to look at it that way. But my E34 has character oozing from its ITBs.

Yes, I have driven the F10, in fact, I drove it around Road America in May. It’s fast. Really, really fast. Pret-ty ridiculous fast for a four-door sedan that weighs a ridiculous amount. You can feel that weight, the way it shifts. The sound it makes is alright, but it’s differ-ent. At the end of the day it just felt like a really really fast 5-Series, where as my car feels like something very special. The F10 has a body kit, upgraded inte-rior, and a bunch of badges. My M5 has two badges on the entire car, very subtle body molding, and the 540i sport seats. That’s it. It’s the powertrain and sus-pension that make E34 what it is. The F10 is a pack-age. It’s not just a powertrain.

[bd] Give a shift. Elaborate. (And how well has this “campaign” been received?)

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[jf] Ha! #GiveAShift was a hoot to create. Though, I can’t take full credit, the idea came from our edi-torial director Marty Padgett. He dreamed up the idea, drafted a rough script, the team looked over the script, and then our video guy and I filmed it. Ad-mittedly, it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever filmed.

The entire time all I wanted to do was bust out laughing. In fact, it took a long time to film—in comparison to other video reviews I shoot— because of how funny it was. I would be in the middle of a line and just bust out laughing. Or worse, the video guy would bust out laughing which of course then threw me into a laughing fit as well. When I saw the first rough cut of the film, I was laughing so hard there were tears coming from my eyes. My wife just couldn’t fathom why it was so funny.

After many edits we finally got the video how we wanted it, and pushed it live. Nearly every automo-tive outlet picked it up, from Road & Track and Jalop-nik to Carbuzz and AutoBlog, they all found it epic. Most people found it hilarious, though there were a few that took it too seriously and picked it apart. If you didn’t realize it was a parody of the Sarah McLachlan Humane Society ad you didn’t fully get it, or it wasn’t nearly as funny. Anyways, overall it was well received, and it was fun to do.

[bd] Finally, where can we find you online to best follow your automotive shenanigans?

[jf] I’m everywhere, at least that’s what I’m told and what it feels like. If you want to follow me personally, I’m on Facebook and am pretty open on there. Natu-

rally I’m Twitter (@joelfeder), and LinkedIn, and In-stagram (@joelfeder). Those are the big ones I guess. I still have my personal site/blog ( but have so little time these days that I really don’t post there, but hope to again someday.

I also run all of High Gear Media’s social accounts, so for the most part, if you see something on The Car Connection, Motor Authority, Green Car Reports, or High Gear Media’s social profiles, I posted it. We are everywhere, from Twitter and Facebook to Ins-tagram and YouTube. I’ve brought the editors into the Instagram fold as I simply can’t be everywhere at once, and it made sense for them to post to those ac-counts while at product launches and events.

Defintely something worth thinking about. Even when you can drive pretty much any new model on the market, it’s still possible to find pleasure in older, simpler models. I’d like to thank Joel for taking the time to speak with me about his situation and ve-hicles.

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78REARVIEW: ALTERIUS NON SIT QUI SUS ESSE POTEST One afternoon a couple years back, I found myself brainstorming a motto for GBXM|united. I wanted something simple and elegant distilling our mindset to the bare minimum. Something people would immediately understand. (Something we could put on shirts and stickers and sh*t.) First, I had to decode the big idea swirling and evolving in my head since 2009. I started breaking it down into single words. Almost immediately, I came up with equality, brotherhood, and freedom.

There was just one small problem with those three words...

It’s Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. The national motto of France. Unless you’re French, you just don’t adopt the French national motto as your own. That’s poor form; at least, for a brand (which is what I’m trying to do, here). Back to Square One, but no less inspired, I pressed on, eventually finding myself on a list of latin phrases and translations. That’s when I came upon this:

Alterius non sit qui suus esse potestLet no man belong to another who can belong to himself.

Aesop’s fable, “The Frogs Who Desired a King” tells the story of frogs who felt they needed someone in charge. In the end, it was liberty which they valued most. This phrase reminds me being a gearhead is key to free-dom. None of us wants to be controlled. We all want to be free. But there are times when we all wish someone else would just tell us exactly what to do. It’s important we remember the slippery slope we’re on every time we wait for someone else to tell us how to do something we want to do.

We gearheads respect each other for being responsible for our machines. We stick together. And we support each other’s independence. Sounds an awful lot like equality, brotherhood, freedom. But I’m not ready to to go French. At the same time, Latin isn’t exactly simple, though I bet it would look classy as hell on those shirts (and sh*t).

It’s important we remember that knowing what we want isn’t the same thing as knowing we don’t want something. At the start of 2014, I felt that publishing monthly issues was maybe a waste of time. Building these takes a lot of time and energy. As the year progressed, it felt like something was missing in my life. That missing thing was publishing. Not merely posting articles to the website, but real, actual publishing.

This issue represents our collective move toward something we want - better living through busted knuck-les. It’s not always - literally - knuckles. Our minds can slip off the breaker bars of life, causing pain and swear words just as easily as our hands can slip off breaker bars on actual wrenches. Sometimes the wrench falls in our faces, sometimes the damn socket rolls out the other side of the vehicle. Either way, we pick our-selves up and do what needs done to complete the job.

Just as exciting as the first firing of a new engine, or as thrilling as that first trip around the block, if there’s one thing every gearhead in the world knows, it’s that no matter the problem, no matter the complication, we’ll figure it out. Our machines are never done, and neither are our lives. I hope you found at least a couple stories in this issue inspiring.

There was a time when we had no idea what we were doing, when the machines were complicated, almost scary puzzles we thought we’d never figure out. Today, each of us is on a path toward mastery of our ma-chines. Our passion for power, handling, performance, knows no bounds. With a new year upon us, now is the time to apply that passion and those skills to the rest of our lives.

Keep going fast with class, and press on regardless.

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As I stand in my driveway and look up at the sky, I see the drifting clouds and go with them in imagination far out into strange new worlds. Then I count the days that still remain before I can point my wheels down the uknown trails that lead to adventure.

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GBXM 02.04 - [PDF Document] (2024)


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