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Ask A Car Nut

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Formaldehyde, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I've been a car nut ever since my father bought a Triumph TR3 when I was a kid. There was something about that car which really made me extremely interested in cars, especially sports cars, and I've been fascinated by them ever since.

    Here's a quick overview of my various interests and experiences with sports cars, and why I think I might be able to answer your questions on this topic, or at least find someone who can.

    My very first sports car was a 1959 Triumph TR3A. It was stolen in Atlanta. I replaced it with a 1966 Fiat 124. Then came a 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, a 1964 Jaguar E-Type, and a 1972 Pontiac Firebird. Then I bought a 1984 Porsche 944 and took up autocrossing.

    Autocrossing is a driving event where you run by yourself on a mini-race track demarcated with cones in what is supposed to be a perfectly flat parking lot with no obstructions. It is supposed to be big enough so you can ostensibly not hit anything. It is really the perfect venue to learn car control in an extremely limited risk manner.

    Here is an example incar video in one of the fastest autocross cars in the country driven by one of the best drivers, just so you won't get too bored watching a vehicle a lot slower:


    Link to video.

    Drivers ed is a chance to drive your street car at a purpose built road racing facility. You can go as fast as you wish once you get signed off to drive by yourself. Before that point, you always have an instructor in the car with you.

    Here's an incar video of a 944 Turbo at a Porsche Club of America drivers ed event at Bridgehampton, which was disputably the greatest race track ever devised by man, other than the Nurburgring or Spa of course. It featured 4 straights with some of the best corners in the world linking them together. His top speed is probably 130 mph or so right at the bridge at the beginning of the video just before the track starts to go sharply downhill, which isn't really evident in the video. The cars that pass him like he is standing still a bit later in the video go quite a bit faster.


    Link to video.

    I kept the normally aspirated 944 for 10 years until I broke the timing belt at Bridgehampton. I then picked up my current car, a 944 Turbo that I eventually set up for PCA club racing.

    Here's the photo of my current car again that I recently posted in the "Vehicles" thread, and which inspired me to start this thread:



    If you have any questions about cars in general, sports cars in particular, autocrossing, drivers ed events, or amateur road racing, I'll try to answer them or refer them to other car nuts that I know.

    I am particularly keen on encouraging people to try autocrossing because it will drastically improve your car control skills at close to zero risk to you and your car. This is especially invaluable for teenage drivers. It is far better to learn how to recover from a skid under controlled conditions than to try to learn under emergency conditions. It is also a great adrenaline rush and a heck of a lot of fun.

    I regularly give friends advice on potential cars to buy based on their own interests, so I'll try to answer those sorts of questions as well. Being a car nut, I spend a lot of time keeping up with the industry.
     
  2. Skwink

    Skwink FRIIIIIIIIIITZ

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    Would you buy a new Honda Insight or new Prius?
     
  3. Leonel

    Leonel Breakfast Connoisseur

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    When I brake too quickly on my 94 Toyota Camry, I notice my car's RPM dips down so low it feels like it's going to stall. I noticed the approximate same thing would happen to my boss's Honda Civic but it would completely stall. Would this be the problem with the O2 sensor?
     
  4. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I haven't driven either one, but I'd probably lean towards the Prius based on what I've read.

    It is possible, but there are other maladies which can also cause that problem. Stalling problems can be tough to track down because there are so many potential culprits.
     
  5. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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  6. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    Who is your favourite driver/rider?
     
  7. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    The only bad thing I've ever heard about the MX-5 is that some consider it to be a girly car. Personally I wouldn't care. They are probably best handling cars for the buck on the planet.

    If you want something a bit more upscale I'd suggest comparing and contrasting it with the Honda S2000. But if the dinero is an issue you can't go wrong with the MX-5.
     
  8. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    It's got to be the V8 Ariel Atom at the moment.


    Link to video.
     
  9. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Cruising

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    What's the best material(s) to make a double wishbone suspension system out of?
     
  10. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    Is the increasing prevalence of computers a problem for gearheads / do-it-yourself car guys?
     
  11. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    That is a car, not what I asked about.
     
  12. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    What percentage of Jeremy Clarkson is a Slobbering Idiot, and percentage an Automotive Genius?
     
  13. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    Unobtanium? That is way outside my sphere of knowledge and I wouldn't even know whom to ask. But I imagine most garden variety gearheads would be quite happy with 6061 aluminum for most such applications unless weight was a premium and price was no object. I'm pretty sure that's what the latest racing control arms for my car are made of. On F1 cars, all the suspension components are now made of carbon fiber. But that is very risky business.

    Fuel injection in general was frowned upon for ages because it was so difficult to mess with compared to carbs. But nowadays nearly everybody is finally coming around. ECUs like the Motec M800 and Haltech H8 are becoming pervasive, and everybody has a laptop to configure them.
     
  14. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    Oops. My bad. All time best would be Ayrton Senna. Living would be Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, or Louis Hamilton I guess. It's quite a toss-up at present. Put any of them into the Red Bull car and they would dominate. It used to be Schumi, but he appears to have gotten old at the age of 42. So now I guess the honor must go to a new hero instead of a semi-retired one.

    On motorcycles, it's tough to not like Jorge Lorenzo. I think the Honda is a better motorcycle than the Yamaha at present, but Lorenzo doesn't seem to care about that. But Stoner is also hella good and Valentino Rossi has to be the favorite based on his past accomplishments, like Schumacher.

    I wouldn't call him an automotive genius, so I guess mostly the former. But he is quite entertaining.
     
  15. rugbyLEAGUEfan

    rugbyLEAGUEfan Chieftain

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    You can have any new car to the value of $500,000 on the planet ( the budget is to rule out Veron , Zonda etc which are too obvious) . You have another day to day car so practicality is not an issue.

    What's pulling up the driveway of Chez Formaldahyde ?
     
  16. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    @RLF. Read the Vehicle thread for the answer to that.

    What do you think of the farcical end to the latest Indy car race?
     
  17. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I think I already answered that one by mistake. I'd probably get an Ariel Atom V8. But I'd also have to consider a Porsche Carrera GT, a Ferrari F40 (if you could find one that cheap), a Porsche GT2 RS, or possibly even a Donkervoort D8 RS (a Lotus 7 clone on steroids).

    For under $100K, it would probably be a Corvette Z06 which is actually much cheaper than that. That car is a hell of a bargain. But the Donkervoort is just a bit over that figure. I'd also have to consider a 911, which is slower but may be more to my own personal liking. But Nordschleife lap times mean a lot to me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nürburgring_Nordschleife_lap_times

    That was quite entertaining! I have no idea what Brian Barnhart was thinking. After the race, he claimed that he got feedback from the corner workers that the track was in acceptable shape and that he didn't hear anything from the pit techs who are ostensibly supposed to report what the teams think. That seems pretty hard to believe given how much discussion there was. It looks like there needs to be far better communication between race control and the teams.

    At least they made the only fair decision and reverted back to the order before the last restart, even though it was contrary to their own rules.

    I just wonder what they are going to do to Will Power for his comments and flipping Barnhart the double bird on TV. Barnhart claimed that the drivers were understandably upset after the fiasco, but that's going to be tough for them not to take any action.

    I also wonder about the future of the race. They claimed there were 30K fans there, but it looked like half that many at best.

    For those who didn't see the race, here's a video recap. The controversial restart is at 1:55:

    http://multimedia.foxsports.com/m/video/43806402/indycar-loudon-recap-2011.htm?r_src=ramp
     
  18. nonconformist

    nonconformist Miserable

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    To what would you attribute the death of British Leyland?
     
  19. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    All the smoke eventually leaked out of the electronics?

    It's really sad to see given all the great sports cars they made in the past. Perhaps this Top Gear episode explains it best:


    Link to video.

    At least the sports car tradition was later revived with the MGF, even though British Leyland was already defunct. Too bad they didn't think of that back in the 70s and 80s when they were building cars like those featured above.
     
  20. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    My dad loved, as he put it, old Limey junk. His first car was a TR3 too. Perhaps slightly safer than a motorcycle.

    I've always wanted a TR4. Prefer the styling.

    anyway, best British sports car?
     

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