Craaaazy FB Mazda Rx-7 Swap August 30, 2014 | 12:52 am

It’s very rare, but occasionally I will come across a swap so insanely built that I am awestruck. This is certainly such an occasion.

Mazda released the first generation FB-Series Rx-7 in the States in 1978. The Rx7 always had a unique rotary engine. The FB had a 12a, which was a 1.2 liter and had 100 horsepower with 100 ft-lbs of torque. By 1984, the car had grown into a version called a GSL-SE. It had a 13b engine, which was fuel injected, 1.3 liters in size, and had 135 horsepower with 133 ft-lbs of torque. At only 2,400 lbs, these things were pretty peppy. I owned one in high school. Mine got pretty bad gas mileage, and the steering (which is a recirculating ball design) was pretty bad. But I remember when Car & Driver magazine did a write-up on the SE version, and they something about “entire city blocks can be covered sideways.” Well, maybe if you are a Car & Driver editor, and not a pimply teenage dude with an 89k mile example with worn out steering. I introduced mine to a ditch or two trying to prove that statement.

I digress.

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Doing a high quality swap in a nice shop when you have lots of money and the best tools and just buying all the parts you need is one thing. But when you see something ultra-fine and it’s apparent that it was all done by hand… awesome. Read the rest of this entry

Vorshlag LS1 E30 August 28, 2014 | 06:07 pm

Unique cars are a good thing. I’ve found that souping up an old(er) car won’t necessarily get you around a track quicker than a more modern car. Add to that the fact that it’s rarely more cost effective, and you have a recipe for cookie-cutter, OEM sports cars.

But…
a) If you’re a real car guy, you can’t help but tinker, so you will almost always modify whatever you’re driving, whether by a lot or by a little.
b) Stock is boring. Why not mix a little drama in there? Yes, the feeling of satisfaction you get when you snap off perfect shifts right at redline with a machine that is operating perfectly and just as intended by it’s original design engineers is GREAT. But it feels EVEN BETTER if the same thing happens with something you built with your own hands. Or at least that’s how I feel.

DSC2918-L Read the rest of this entry

1999 BMW M3 August 27, 2014 | 09:28 pm

The 2nd generation BMW M3, generally referred to as the E36, was heralded as one of the most sublime daily-driver sports cars ever. No, it wasn’t as brutally fast as a Corvette or as exotic-looking as a Porsche. But anybody that has ever had their ass handed to them by a smug M3 driver at a track event knows that these cars are more than the sum of their parts.

This car was found on bimmerforums, originally for sale for $23,000. At the time of this post, asking price had dropped to $13,200 OBO. The fact that it has 193k miles on it is a bit of minus. But the fact that so much work has been done to it is quite a plus. All the projects were well documented on MotoIQ. Some fancy dress-up bits for the interior, a cat-back exhaust, an M50 manifold upgrade, the TurnerMotorSports Stage 3 performance package, wow. Read the rest of this entry

Toyota Celica GT – 4th Generation February 5, 2014 | 07:27 pm

Totyota made their fourth generation Celica from 1985-1989. They aren’t my favorite series Celica, but the example below was so clean it sparked my interest. To me, the biggest drawback was their conversion from rear to front wheel drive starting with this generation. In 1986, the GT came with the ST’s engine, which was a ST-161 with a 2S-E. These only lasted one year so they are pretty rare. But they have a 2.0 liter eight valve four, rated at 97hp at 4400 rpm and 124 ft-lbs at 4400 rpm. They weight right at 2500 lbs.

For a 1980’s car, these came loaded with sunroof, power windows, and fancy 13″ alloy wheels. Trivia time – the GT came with a front strut tower bar, as seen in these photos. They had ventilated disc and rear drum brakes.

The interior on this car is like a way back time machine. Dang, is it clean. This auction has a buy it now of $5,995. That seems overpriced considering what this car is – ie not a performance freak, just a very nice shiny fwd sporty gas sipper. But hey money isn’t much of an object, we are allowed to buy “1 car per day” right?

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Original 1987 Honda CRX Si Time Machine February 2, 2014 | 03:49 pm

This original 87 CRX Si looks to be in fabulous shape. With 77k miles on it, you probably won’t easily find another one in the entire country that shines up quite as pretty. Looks like the rear bumper is a bit droopy, but come on if the car was perfect we would be afraid to drive it. Speaking of perfect, check out that interior. No airbags to worry about in 87, so we could let the kids ride in the front seat. No milkshakes or goldfish crackers though, because the interior is just remarkable in terms of how clean it looks and totally devoid of wear or age.

I believe 1987 is the last year of the 1st generation CRX. The HF version I think got around one meeellion miles per gallon and came with a 60 hp engine. 0-60 time was 14 seconds. Nope, I didn’t say quarter mile, 60 mph. The Si faired better, with a 91 hp engine to propel 1,840 lbs. No lie, 1,840 lbs straight off the factory floor. They were rated at 36 mpg on the highway, but with that sweet little transmission and that super light clutch and that very direct manual steering, you are going to keep that thing buzzing near redline constantly right? Base price for the Si in ’87 was $7,999. They made 48,355 CRX’s in 1987.

A friend of mine owned one of these in high school. She had a red one just like the one in these photos.

This beauty is currently posted on ebay. It’s at $4900, with a day and a half left on the auction. It’s at $4,900 but the reserve hasn’t been met. Whatever the cost, if I were rich, into my stable it would go.

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**Update: The car ended up selling for $5600

Bad BMW February 2, 2014 | 03:06 pm

Personally, I believe everything tastes better with ketchup. Along a similar line of thought, pretty much any car is better if you swap in an LSx motor.

Take for instance this 1985 BMW 528i with an LS1 swap. I grew up in the 1980’s, so I always enjoy plonking my rear into a well-maintained 80’s car and enjoying the look and feel. This particular car was offered up for sale several times on ebay and craigslist (this was a few years ago), and I lost track of whether it did or didn’t sell. I think part of the problem was the owner spent $35k and spared no expense in doing the swap.

Economics aside, it really does seem like this thing is one of a kind. Brakes were upgraded to help provide additional stopping power more appropriate for the potent v8. Cool E39 wheels, improved suspension, and apparently a little restoration work on the interior. At the time of the ad postings, it had 130-140k miles on it. Certainly doesn’t look it. What’s a good guess, 375 hp at 3200 lbs? It’s no Ferrari, but whoa that would be a ton of fun!

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1977 Ford LTD June 9, 2013 | 10:11 pm

Stretch it out. Go ahead. It’s 1977, and you don’t give a crap about compact, fuel efficient, lightweight, weenie stuff. 220 inches long – yeah baby. My parents had a Ford LTD in the late 70’s when I was growing up. I didn’t ride in a car seat because if they even existed back then, my parents sure didn’t own one. I rode in the front seat, the back seat, stood in the floorboards and called to my pretty mamma, whatever. Who cared, I was wrapped in the loving and nearly impenetrable arms of 2 tons of Detroit steel.

Although the 351 Windsor v8 is a big heavy beast, by 1977 it was already partially neutered. Figure 200hp if you’re lucky, but gobs of torque. Hey no worries, were you wanting a sports car or a cruiser? Flip the AC on max, set the cruise, and float down the road dude.

This particular one has 16k miles on it. Are you kidding me? Where do you think you’ll ever find another 77 LTD with 16k original miles on it? Look at that woodgrain. Look at that plush carpet, those wheel arches. See the headlights? The radio? See the little silver button on the floor by the left of the brake pedal. Trivia time – that’s the bright headlight switch. Try to find a switch like that on a 2013 Avalon and you’re gonna be disappointed. You’d have to buy a limo to get a bigger back seat. Didja see the trunk? I’m pretty sure I know a couple of single guys who could move everything the own into this car and live in it.

If I had just won like $269M in the powerball lottery, I would buy this car. Just because. Might sit in my gigantic air conditioned car warehouse most of the time, but it would look beautiful doing it.

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1997 Acura NSX Race Car June 8, 2013 | 01:00 pm

Here is a thought. Or more like a brain hemorrhage. Buy a 1-of-a-kind NSX race car, do the minimal amount of work required to get it street legal, and drive it to work once a week. Why be boring, right? Every cop in the city would know who you are, and most of them would be too astounded to give you a ticket. The city council might create a new lane just for you to drive in. And angels would sing.

This NSX was built by TCP Racing in England, and is the 11th of 11 chassis that were built just before Honda stopped funding the race program. It has been driven in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and took 3rd in the 1994 24 Hours LeMans. The aluminum chassis was seam welded, and then a carbon fiber tub was bonded to it. That surely stiffened it up mightily. Also has full carbon fiber bodywork and undertray, and a set of centerlock magnesium wheels. They developed the bodywork using wind tunnel testing, and the custom suspension was modeled in an expensive computer simulation program.

See all those spares included in the sale? You won’t need them. Tell your wife you are going to sell them and recoup most of your money. A wiring diagram is included. Frame a few pieces of it and hang it up on your bathroom wall.

This thing is only $119,900. Come on, go raid your 401k and buy it 🙂

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1989 Ford Mustang GT Anniversary May 28, 2013 | 03:45 pm

Fox-body Mustangs were enormously popular in the 80’s and 90’s. It seemed like everybody in my high school either had a Mustang or wanted one. They are far from perfect cars, with several known design flaws and issues, but they are a ton of fun.

The 5.0L v8 of this era put out around 225 hp. Compare that to about 420 hp for modern Mustang GT’s, and we begin to realize some progress has been made. The 89 GT was quoted in Motor Trend as doing 0-60 mph in about 6.2 secs, with a 14.8 sec quarter mile. Many of the Mustang aficionados will grumble about those numbers, saying these cars are super easy to modify for several dozen more horsepower. But don’t shoot the messenger!

The 5.0L is very torquey and easy to drive, making these cars great to play around with as a daily driver. The interiors are nothing special, but have a unique vintage look so having a clean example makes it cool.

Speaking of clean examples, Ebay has this clean one with only a few minor blemishes. With a current bid of $5,550, it would be an awesome car to go play around in.

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According to the seller:

This is a 1989 Mustang GT 5.0. 25th Anniversary. 5.0L V8 with 5 speed. There are about 105,000 original miles on the car. The car is Deep Shadow blue with the titanium gray bottom. The car is all stock except for the cat-back Magnaflow exhaust, drop in K&N air filter and rear end gear ratio(3.73). The other things that have been changed/upgraded are the LX tail lights and clear 6 piece headlight set. The car has been completely repainted about 3 years ago. This car has had a lot of freshening up done to it in the past 3 years (listed below). This car has had almost a completely new interior in it too. It runs and drives fantastic! Car has power windows, power locks, power mirrors and factory sunroof. The A/C has been converted to R134. It is charged and COLD! This Mustang has a set of original Ford factory Pony wheels that are in great shape. The front tires are brand new and rear tires are about new with 85% tread remaining. I will attempt to give an accurate as possible condition of this car as the car does have some minor flaws. There is a ding/chipped paint on edge of hood (something fell out of hands when walking by the car in the garage), passenger side lower ground skirt has chip and has been touched up though, rear hatch has small raised bump spot and at some point in the past someone broke in through the hatch and when car was repainted they never fixed the under side where the lock retainer clip is. You can’t see it unless the hatch is open and are looking for it, it doesn’t effect the operation or function of hatch or lock at all. Passenger side black trim has some small chips in it and the factory radio doesn’t light up very good anymore. All these noted issues are pictured below so you can see for yourself what I’m referring to. These cars are becoming extremely rare and this is one really nice all around car. Thanks for your looking and good luck bidding!

All new items:

Exterior-

New Paint
New Clear head light set
New front tires
New window sill trim
New door seal weather stripping
New LED license plate bulbs

Interior-

New headliner
New door panels
New door speaker grills
New door handle trim
New drivers door lock actuator
New carpet
New front and rear seat upholstery
New hatch shocks

Other New items-

New O2 sensors
New Battery (year ago)
New K&N air filter
New radiator

With 100k Mustangs produced in 1988 and again in 1989, and about 85k in 1990, there should be enough out there to find something worth buying.

1958 Volvo PV445 Rat Rod May 27, 2013 | 01:47 pm

Wow, I don’t think there’s a single thing on this rat rod that isn’t custom. It’s always fascinating to see something like this for sale, considering the hundreds of hours the builder must’ve put into it. Hundreds and hundreds of little touches that were added, modified, or built from scratch.

It started out as a 1958 Volve 445 Duett van from California. In order to lower the car, the builder fattened the front fenders by 2″ to clear the wheels and tires. Modified radiator support for larger cooling package. Custom hood with custom hinges and latch. Completely custom interior, with tons of sound deadening, and special lights. Custom fiberglass ducts were made for the HVAC. Custom 4-link rear suspension, tons of frame modifications required to fit the blown LS1 engine, auto tranny, and suspension in there.

This thing has 540 hp at the wheels and goes 11.2 in the quarter mile. It has been street driven to the tune of 8k miles. Amazing.

There’s lot of unfinished stuff here. For example, it’s outfitted with a Vintage Air AC system, but it doesn’t work. It has a nice stereo, but one of the speakers doesn’t work. I guess my point is, a rat rod by definition isn’t a polished, perfect vehicle that you’re afraid to drive. But in the case of this rod, there are some things that are installed and there but don’t work.

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Currently for sale on ebay for $15,800.