Bugatti Veyron, Elio And My Wheel Life

I read an interesting article today about the Bugatti Veyron, the most expensive production car, that had any significant volume. Don’t tell me about the $4 million Lambo they made 3 of, they’ve made hundreds of Veyrons. That a lot for a hypercar. It ended with this sentence. “The Bentley customer on average owns 8 cars. The average Bugatti customer has about 84 cars, 3 jets and one yacht.” Along with a book I’ve been reading, this sentence got me thinking.

Bugatti Veyron Thanks to Axion23 (Flickr Creative Commons)

Bugatti Veyron
Thanks to Axion23 (Flickr Creative Commons)

What is the purpose of a supercar (or 84). I’ve lusted after supercars, muscle cars, dirt bikes, Harley’s, rat rods and muscle cars since I was young. My father was a “car guy”, and really he was a race car driver, which is a special kind of car guy who loves to spend even more of his his money than the average car guy on his car and a car guy who actually drives his car hard 99% of the time (except when idling around the pits.)

Dad racing picture

Anyway, between that and the time I saw a guy who was about 5 years older than me driving his Firebird around with some attractive girls, I’ve always been attracted to cars (and girls).

I am pretty lucky and blessed as peoples lives go. I currently own a total of 5 licensed vehicles, including a Honda bobber I built mostly myself and a GSXR 600, a Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe, a Mustang a winter beater truck, and a dirt bike, just for fun, and even some projects sitting at my parents home to be completed…. sometime. I recently had a realization of sorts that it just might be financially feasible for me to purchase some of the vehicles I had lusted after as a child. 2012 Boss Mustang? Dodge Viper? Corvette? Ferrari?

I ran into a few problems once I started down this line of thinking. One problem was the insurance, registration and maintenance on the cars I had already was a pretty significant annual cost. Another was, as I’m a big fan of “giving back” I started to contemplate if it was reasonable for me to have so much while some has so little.

Which brings me back to the question, why do we keep building more and more vehicles for ourselves? Are we trying to buy happiness? This has lead me to ask myself “What will really make me happy?” A sentence from “Deep Economy” by Bill McKibben states “volunteer work of all kinds generated ‘high levels of joy, exceeded only by dancing’. Why? The most common answers included ‘I meet people and make friends through it.’”

So are we really getting all this satisfaction from more and more cars? My personal answer seems to be a no. Which is a difficult thing to say. I have loved cars since I can remember. I even went school to design them (I’m working on diesel engines, a bit of a compromise, but still designing and engines, I’ll count it as a win).

I’ve been attending a financial club which has been telling me some things that are not novel by any means but might sound that way just because of the stories we’re fed by the media. One is “Don’t buy a car with a loan, pay cash.” What a crazy idea? I’ve bought 3 vehicles with loans since I graduated college, granted they have each been under $10000 so total, they are about equal to one $20,000 car a “normal” person would have bought, but being a car guy, I have had the urge for quantity over quality at times.

Recently I reevaluated my finances. I determined my recurring monthly and told a friend about it. After she told me my monthly recurring expenses was greater than her salary, I thought I could make a change. I’ve been living in a single apartment for 2 years. I’m hoping to move in with a roommate and cut some that expense about in half (I have already talked to a few people and believe I have plans made, but it’s not been executed yet so I have to count it as in progress still). I have also had to re-evaluate my eating habits. No doubt, the normal person would take one look at my eating habits and say “WTF”. I often eat out for lunch 5x a week and usually 2+ times a  week for diner, and not counting weekends in that even, those are free right? Wrongo-Bongo. I’ve tried to be a bit more reasonable in that and purchase food at the beginning of the week and make a lunch. That cuts the expenses in half at least. Couple that with eating out less overall and I feel I’m on a good path.

I have had a hard time giving up the cars. I still have them all, although I have threatened to sell the Mustang (to myself) a few times. I just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. It sounds nice and makes me smile. I’m not advocating for complete immaterialism, although minimalism has made a lot of folks happy. I’ve been considering a quote from a priest friend “I live simply so others can simply live.” That really makes you stop and think.

So to bring it back to cars, what car is living simply? What is the complete opposite of a Bugatti Veryron? How about an Elio? This is a car that’s not designed to be a “look at me car”. It’s built on practicality. On preserving the earth. On getting 84 MPG instead of 2.3MPG for the Veyron (at 253 mph). To be fair, it likely won’t be driven that fast, or likely at all, considering the 84 other cars, and 3 jets and a yacht it’s average owner has to spend time driving. Lets be honest, if you make that much money, you likely don’t need to drive yourself around, and probably you don’t! Your body guards probably won’t let you. What if instead of measuring our success by the number of cars we have we measured it by the number of people we’ve helped? Or what if businesses didn’t measure success by how much money they made but by how much they let the people buying their products keep? Crazy?

elio

Here’s my proposal (because I still like cars, a LOT!). Someone who’s rocking one of these 84 cars (Jay Leno maybe?), please let me borrow one, just for a year (and pay my insurance please 🙂  (or maybe about 8 months) and let me use it to find myself and influence people in a positive way. That’s My Wheel Life today. Hope you enjoyed it. And if you know someone who’s own 84 cars, please forward this to them.

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What idea most affected you out of this article?

How do you measure your own success?

 

What is a Kit Car?

Quartermile:
Kit Cars – What are they?
Think of a Lego set, but for a car!
Why kit cars?
They are a car focused on performance or style. Imagine a Ferrari or Shelby Cobra for the price of a new Ford Focus!

Lets put it together!

I’ve written a few articles about buying cheaper used supercars or

newer muscle cars and I’ve told you about a few different styles of cars such as  street rods and muscle cars. But buying a car assembled by a major manufacture isn’t the only way to get a car. If you are the handy type or just want to break the mold, you can build a car yourself! Of course, building a car by yourself, from nothing is a pretty difficult task, and that’s not what I’m proposing, although that has been done also! Check it out here. If you’re not as hard-core as Ken, but still want something different you are in luck! You can build a kit car!

So what is a kit car? A kit car is a car that you purchase in pieces and assemble yourself, it’s basically like a Lego set, or buying a table from IKEA. Why would anyone want to do this you might ask? Well there are a few reasons.

1. You can get a kit car that looks and performs like a much more expensive car than it is.
2. You can build a car that never existed.
3. You can build a car that did exist but is way too rare to buy an original. (Think Shelby Cobra).

Why would a company want to design a kit car instead of a production car? There are a few reasons for that also!

1. It is (much much) cheaper for a company to design and sell a kit can than it is for Ford, or other major manufacturers. Often kit cars source a reliable engine from the major manufacturers. The body and suspension are the major contributions by the designers.

2. This is because a kit car doesn’t have to pass all the safety standards a new car does. They also aren’t held to the same standards for NVH and other considerations. That being said, that doesn’t mean that they are (all) unsafe, or harsh. Many companies put a lot of work into the kits to make them great cars.

Let’s look at the different types of kit cars available.

The first are replicas of current or older cars that you can build yourself. One example of this is the Factory Five Roadster . It is basically a recreation of a Shelby Cobra from the 1960’s. Why not just buy an original Cobra you ask?

 

Check Hemmings Motor news http://www.hemmings.com/ . An original Shelby Cobra is rare, and therefore expensive (think $100k+) where as a Factory Five Roadster can be assembled for $30k if you do it the right way. You also have the benefit of putting a variety of engines and upgrades suspension, electronics and just about everything else that has progressed in the automotive world in the last 50 years.

Another that is one of my favorites is a Chevrolet Cheetah kit car. What is a Chevrolet Cheetah you ask? It was a car made to beat the Shelby Cobra in it’s day. Unfortunately tragedy befell the company and only 19 (or so) were ever made. The good news is you can buy the beautiful Cheetah as a kit and put it together yourself!

Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s are other vehicles that are popular in this type of “build cheaper than you can buy” category.

gtm

The second type of kit car is a car that never was made. Factory Five has one of these available also. Is called the Factory Five GTM supercar. It’s a “generic” supercar being that it is low, wide and good looking. That being said, it is also a lot more ‘’cost effective” than a Ferrari or Lambo, and if you were to damage it, you know you could always rebuild it!  Here are 2 other supercar kits. The Superlite (at beginning of article) is the first, and here’s a quote from their site

“Q. How easy is it to build, really? –
A. The Superlite SLC was designed to be built in your garage, using basic hand tools.  You don’t need to do any welding, or machining, or have fancy tools.”
Sounds pretty great to me!

And here’s another supercar/racecar kit, the Ultima GTR, made in England.

And here’s a final one, the K1 Attack, made in the Czech Republic.
06_K1-Attack_racing
There is also a third type of kit car. It’s not a complete kit like the cars talked about before, but it’s a massive redesign of an existing car but also bought in kit form. Pontiac Fieros are popular cars for this as they were rear engine like many supercars. Often they get made into Lamborghini’s.

There is also this car, build from a 1990’s Ford Thunderbird.

So as you can see the kit car industry is far reaching, covering many different styles of cars. They are actually relatively affordable, if you are in the market for a performance car. There are often different levels of each kit available. Often you can buy just a body and source all the other parts yourself, such as the brakes, seats, wheels and tires. There are also kit cars that the factories will in fact build for you! There are even some that will let you help them build your car!

Here is a site with a very long list of kit car manufacturers if you are looking for something different. There is a car for everyone!

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So has this gotten your creative juices flowing? Are you rip roaring ready to get down in the garage and build your own car? Or would you rather buy a production car? Have you ever seen a kit car on the street or at a car show?

Car Spotters guide to the galaxy, part deux

Quartermile:
Helping you tell the difference between a pony car, muscle car, sports car and exotics.
The topic of what makes a muscle/pony/sports car is very debatable and you’ll get 100 different answers from 100 different car guys. All opinions voiced below are strictly those of myself, and are not necessarily right. That being said, they definitely aren’t wrong either.This is meant to give you a basic understanding enough to say, who cares what exactly it is, is it cool?

Supercar, Lamborghini Reventon

Supercar, Lamborghini Reventon

La Carrera! (The Race in Espanol, why espanol? not sure, why not? Get some culture in you grease monkeys!)

If you read this article about identifying cars of older vintages approximately 1920’s to 1960’s you are on a good start to knowing what cars are driving down the road and impressing all your friends with your knowledge, or annoying your friends by pointing out every old car they don’t care about.

Either way, you still have a long way to go before you can identify every genre of cars with your eyes closed, young greasemonkey,, so we will continue our car spotters guide here with the next group of cars, in my mind and history muscle cars, pony cars, sports cars and exotics/super cars.

Pony cars – This segment of cars was started in 1964 ½ by the Ford Mustang, hence the pony reference. A pony car is distinguished by it’s physical body features. These are light 2 door, 4 seat, long hood, short truck cars. They can be physically smaller than most muscle cars (although a pony car can be a muscle car also, more later). If you have ever actually stood next to a 1965 Ford Mustang it’s quite a small car!

Notice the short trunk in relation to the long hood.

Notice the short trunk in relation to the long hood.

A pony car can even have a V6 or I6 (like early Mustangs,Camaros, Challengers).To give you some idea an earlier Pontiac GTO (1965) or 1969 Dodge Charger or Plymouth Road runner would NOT be a pony car since the rear trunk is much longer proportionally, related to the hood, than a Camaro or Mustang. Most pony cars were American made, although there might be a few Australian cars that could count, Holden something? To be honest this phrase, pony car, has more or less fallen out of use.

Pony Car, 1967 Camaro

Pony Car, 1967 Camaro

Classic American muscle – In general 1964 to 1972 was considered the heyday of the “true” muscle cars, the ones that started it all. Muscle cars are mostly an American phenomenon, although there were also some Australian muscle cars, Ford XB Falcon (of Mad Max fame)

Ford Falcon XB Mad Max

Ford Falcon XB Mad Max

or the Holden (General Motors) Monaro. Unlike pony cars which are determined by body type, muscle cars are determined by what’s under the hood. That’s why cars below like the Chevelle could be a muscle car or not based on which engine was installed in it.

Muscle Car, Chevrolet Chevelle

Muscle Car, Chevrolet Chevelle

Many argue the 1964 Pontiac GTO was the first muscle car. The GTO was an option of the LeMans that upgraded to 389 cubic inches of V8 power putting down 325 hp. So how can a car be both a pony car and a muscle car? See below.
Ex: A Mustang with a I6 or small V8 (289 CID) would be a pony car but can become a Muscle car by giving it a humongous engine, 427 CID V8. BUT a Dodge Charger, with it’s large body dimensions, is basically automatically a muscle car, but definitely not a pony car.

1969 Dodge Charger, Muscle car! Long hood, long trunk.

1969 Dodge Charger, Muscle car! Long hood, long trunk.

Muscle car, Plymouth Super Bird. A very long car!

Muscle car, Plymouth Super Bird. A very long car!

Because of their large displacement, muscle cars were masters of the quartermile drag race but are notorious for not handling great, especially in relation to lower powered foreign sports cars. Most muscle cars are 4 seaters, but the back seats are a bit more roomy than their pony car counterparts. Although, I’d argue that an AMC AMX, although only a 2 seater, was a muscle car as opposed to a sports car.

Sports car – The word “Sports Car” is a catchall term so broad you could basically use it for anything that performs better than a minivan. For older car’s I’d say that a Chevrolet Corvette and a Shelby Cobra were the two American made sports cars. This was because they were 2 seat cars, often lighter than pony or muscle cars, and had better stopping and cornering performance than contemporary muscle cars. That’s not to say that sports cars can’t have 4 seats also, ex: Nissan 370Z.

Picture showing the variety of sports cars, Nissan 370Z and an 80's Corvette

Picture showing the variety of sports cars, Nissan 370Z and an 80’s Corvette

Into the decades after the 1970’s the term sports car can be applied to so many vehicles so I’ll just list a few to show the diversity, Mazda Miata, Ferrari anything, Nissan all Z cars, most cars you refer to as a muscle car can also be a sports car. Dodge Viper. Dodge Stealth. Acura NSX.

Sports car, Mercedes C63 AMG

Sports car, Mercedes C63 AMG

Modern Muscle car – This is any car made after the 1972 date break for “classic” muscle cars. This is because in 1972 the US government began mandating emission testing for new cars. This effectively killed the performance of muscle cars for the next 15+ years.

Modern Muscle car, 2012 Boss Mustang

Modern Muscle car, 2012 Boss Mustang

That being said, the latest muscle cars, (2000 and newer) are often much better performing cars than their older counterparts, especially in the handling department. The term pony car is basically dead, as far as I’m concerned. Really, do you want to drive a pony car or a muscle car? I think we can see why that term is not so popular anymore.

Exotics/Supercars – Supercars are just what the name implies. They are super in every way. Super fast, super expensive, super cool. They are generally more capable than your average car, in terms of performance, for their time. Some 1970’s super cars could be easily beat in some competitions by a contemporary minivan. Super cars are very powerful like muscle cars, but can also employ a mid or rear engine configuration. They are also exclusively 2 seat cars. They are low to the ground, wide and aerodynamically shaped for their high top speeds and fast cornering characteristics. Italy is the hot spot for super cars with the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s but there are definitely many more around the world, and new supercars arriving on the scene everyday.

Exotic - Testarossa Ferrari. Top of the line Ferrari in it's day.

Exotic – Testarossa Ferrari. Top of the line Ferrari in it’s day.

Just a few are Koenigsegg, Pagani, Saleen S7, Ford GT, Porsche Carrera GT. Supercar and exotic are basically interchangeable terms, and the exotic name implies that they are made in very low numbers. This can make it a bit confusing when you start to look at some cars like a Dodge Viper or a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. They are both modifications of a sports car for sure. Does their lower production volumes and higher performance make them an exotic? I’m not sure, you decide! Luckily there is no right or wrong answer here.

Exotic, Lexus LFA

Exotic, Lexus LFA

So that was quite the list of different cars. Hopefully you can better tell them apart now.
What is your favorite type of car? Is it in this list?

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14. Ferrari 360 vs. 2014 Corvette

Quartermile:
If you found $70k in a bag in an alley what could you buy?
1999-2005 Ferrari 360 vs. 2014 Corvette
Or you could buy both cars from the last comparison ! 2002 Viper and a 2012 Boss Mustang, that’s probably what I’d do, or 10 $7k cars, ask my friends.

http://www.carid.com/xo-wheels/barcelona-black-machined-15594934.html

On to the country club:

Here I am again bench racing what I’d buy if I suddenly was to come upon $70k.
I have settled upon two cars, a 1999-2005 Ferrari 360 or a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. Lets see how these 2 incredible cars stack up to each other.
ferrari 360 48k miles $60k
First the Ferrari. This car was Ferrari’s bread and butter car in the years it was made. They about 16,000 samples of this car in those years (a lot for a Ferrari), nearly equally split between coupes and spyder (convertible) models.
http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/ferrari-discussion-not-model-specific-sponsored-algar-ferrari/196388-ferrari-road-car-models-production-numbers.html

Here are the hard numbers on the Ferrari 360.
3.6L V8, 400 HP, 2844 lbs, quarter mile 12.8 seconds at 110 mph (Wikipedia)
The last time I checked on EbayMotors there were 6 Ferrari 360’s between $60,000 and $70,000 and they had between 22,000 and 50,000 miles.
For reference a 360 new was between $140,000 and $180,000 so a price drop of almost ½ is incredible! http://autos.aol.com/cars-Ferrari-360+Modena-2004/user-reviews/
Of course you need to shop around to get the best deal.
ferrari 360

2014 vette blue_light
This brings us to the second car in our comparison. Incredibly, the beautifully redesigned for 2014 Corvette, can be bought for as little as $53,000 (or so tells me the Chevrolet website), or up to $65,000 for a LT3/Z51 model. Of course the Z06 and other faster models will be more but they will be out of the price/performance range of someone cross shopping with an older Ferrari. http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette-stingray/specs/trims.html

2014 Corvette

2014 Corvette

For a rough comparison on volumes, in 2013, that being the last year of the C6 there were approximately 14,000 corvettes sold.This is nearly as many in one year as all Ferrari 360’s for their whole production run.
http://www.corvettemuseum.org/specs/2013/2013CorvetteStats.pdf
The 2014 C7 Corvette is one of the greatest performance vehicles ever offered, and doubly so when the price is taken into account!
455 Horsepower (55 more than the Ferrari), 12.2 seconds in the quarter mile at 117 mph(.6 seconds faster than the Ferrari). 3444 Lbs (a full 600 Lbs heavier than the Ferrari)
2014 Corvette
These are both beautiful vehicles. Which one you would buy depends on what you intend to do with it. If it were me, I’d buy the Corvette if I planned to drive the car hard. Being that it’s a new car it’s less likely to break than a used Ferrari and if it does being new it will be under warranty. It’s also a faster car in every aspect than the Ferrari. The new Corvette is also a very aggressive looking car. The new front, side skirts, and rear quarters are all sculpted to make it look ready to pounce at any moment.
On the other hand, the 360 Ferrari is, in my opinion, an extremely beautiful car. The body lines just flow and look “right”. While the Corvette is an attack on your eyeballs, the Ferrari is more inviting. It seduces you with its curves. It invites you to rev it’s 3.6L to the 8500 RPM redline (vs the 6600 of the new Corvette). As in the Viper/Mustang comparison in the other article, the both cars will turn heads, but you will see many many more 2014 Corvettes vs Ferrari 360’s. If I was buying a car to turn heads and get “the look” in I’d go for the Ferrari.

Which do you prefer? Would you buy another car if you came upon $70k?

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13. What is drag racing?

What is drag racing and a little on how to attend your first drag race.

Awesome Barracuda pulling a wheelie at the drag strip.

Awesome Barracuda pulling a wheelie at the drag strip.

Quartermile:
Perhaps you’ve wondered why I use the term “quartermile” for my short synopsis at the beginning of my posts (above).
This term comes from drag racing, which is probably the quickest form of vehicular competition, hence why I use it for my short intros.
Drag racing is the original “go fast” sport.
The first drag race took place in 1900 between a Mercedes and a horse. The horse won.
Skip to the end for tips for your first track day if you don’t want to read everything, but I’d read it if I were you!
If your car is faster than 11.5 seconds in the quartermile
1. You probably shouldn’t start racing with that car!
2. You will need a roll cage (and a SNELL approved) race helmet or you will get kicked out…
Generally at slower speeds you don’t need a helmet up to a certain speed, that varies by track. It has to be SNELL approved also, ask ahead of race day.

The Flying Mile

2 Funny cars drag racing. Funny cars are purpose built drag cars that go very fast.

2 Funny cars drag racing.
Funny cars are purpose built drag cars that go very fast.

If you are reading this you are probably a car person and you probably enjoy driving your car fast. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam frowns on you going much about 70 in most of the country and often over 55 mph is a no-no. Luckily there is an option for you Speedy Gonzalez. Drag Racing!

Speedy Gonzales

Speedy Gonzales

There is so much to say about drag racing so I’ll just start. Drag racing is a race between 2 vehicles (usually). It measures how quickly each vehicle can cover a set distance (usually a quarter of a mile (1320 feet). You have probably been exposed to drag racing from the Fast and Furious movies, or just about any other car tv movie or show when people ask “What will she do?” She being the car. It’s sort of like the bench press of the automotive world. It’s a great number to impress people, but using a few simple tricks you can make a car a lot faster for the quartermile but that will make it less potent in other forms of racing. Drag slicks and skinnies aren’t really the best for autocross or other racing that doesn’t involve going straight! That being said, I like drag racing for this sole reason, it’s the easiest performance benchmark to replicate. You can pay $40 (or $70 or more) to go to a local drag strip, race your car a few times and you know how quick it is. Then you can compare it to friends. This is much harder in autocross unless you are at the same track, and often those tracks get changed each week also. Same for times around a larger set race track. So, drag racing it is.

woman prepping her husbands drag car. Does she have a granddaughter?

woman prepping her husbands drag car. Does she have a granddaughter?

The ultimate goal of drag racing is getting the car to cover the distance in the shortest time possible, because faster is better right? Drag racing sure sounds easy you are thinking right? Well yes and no. In principle yes, but have you tried accelerating fast and in control? In all likelihood, no, you haven’t, and definitely not with 300 or more horsepower. Everyone wants to do burnouts in their high horse power car, which look cool, but that is actually the opposite of what you want to do when drag racing. Burning out = no traction. Which means not moving forward which means you lose the race. Now you’re a loser. Bummer.

At the end of a drag race you will get a time slip which will show you the time it took you to cover 60 feet, 330 feet, ⅛ mile, and a quartermile. It will also tell you your MPH at the ⅛ and quartermile points on the track which is important. I will help you decipher all these numbers to help you go quicker below.

But first! How does a drag race start? A smoking hot girl throws a hankie in the air right? Not so fast Dom (inic Toretto, Fast and Furious reference for you uninitiated).20140426_151648
Before you start the drag race you have to do a few things. First, you should usually do a burnout. This will clean the debris off your tires. It will also make them warm and sticky. This will help you accelerate and not spin your tires off the line. Then drag race starts with the “Christmas tree”. It’s a set of 7 lights. The top 2 tell you when you are at the starting line (when you are staged).
Detail of Christmas Tree Lights
The top one will blink when you break a laser beam, and you will roll an inch or 2 forward and the second one will light up (from your tire breaking another beam). You are now ready to race! Once the other driver has also staged the 3 yellow lights (below the staging lights), will blink off in .5 second intervals (for normal racing, all at once for professionals). Then the green light will light up and you should start going now! Actually in all likelihood you or your car will not be as fast to react as you think, therefore the slower your car the sooner you should start engaging the clutch/removing your foot from the brake, and pushing the gas. If you leave from the line before the green light goes you will “break out” which means you have lost the race before you started, because you started too early. Not a big deal on your first day. On the other hand, the tree also measures your “reaction time” how close your car left the starting line in relation to the green light. Depending on what type of racing you are doing you might have to pay attention to this number. If you are just doing it to see what your car can do, that is fine, but if you are actually racing, the reaction time gets factored into your overall time. If you and the other car run the same time but his reaction time is .000 (perfect) and yours is .500 seconds you lose, even though your cars were equal. You can actually lose if you have a faster car even! If you run 14.00 with a .5 reaction time, and the other guy runs a 14.1 with a .000 R.T. you still lose.

Now that you know about starting, lets break down my time slip below and try to understand what all the numbers mean starting with the 60’ time which is one of the most important numbers in drag racing. This tells you how good your car is sticking to the ground and how much traction you are getting. If your 60’ time is high that means you are spinning your tires, which means you are going slow. See my time slip below.

1998 Super Taco vs 2007 Musatng

1998 Super Taco vs 2007 Musatng

This is my 2007 Mustang GT vs a 1998 Toyota Tacoma pickup (not a performance vehicle in most peoples mind!) Our Mph was the same at the end of the track (100Mph) but his 60’ times are better and his over all time is lower by .821 seconds! That’s huge in drag racing. Why is he faster? He sticks to the track and uses his power while I was taking off, spinning tires, sometimes getting “wheel hop” etc. Who wants to take their mustang to the track and get smoked by a Toyota Taco? No one! How do we fix this? It (should be) easy. Basically you want to take off slowly enough, roll on the throttle to prevent wheel spin. You can also let air out of your tires to get better traction. Finally if you can, install drag slicks on your car. There are tons of other, more involved suspension mods you can do if you get fast enough, but that’s not the aim of this article.

Next we will compare the times of 2 cars that I raced separately and copy pasted their times together for a comparison of what the sticking to the track will do for you.

Super Taco vs. Some burnout

Super Taco vs. Some burnout

 

Burnout vs. Super taco

Burnout vs. Super taco

You will notice on the right is our friend the fast Taco vs some burnout car that I didn’t bother to document. You see again the Taco had the faster overall quartermile time 13.567 seconds vs. 13.757 for the burnout. But wait! The taco has a slower MPH at both the 1/8th and quarter miles. How is that? If you look at the 60’ times you will see. The Burnout had a time of 2.174 seconds vs. the Speed Taco at 1.892 seconds. This is showing that the Taco was accelerating very good and converting all his power into forward momentum vs the Burnout was spinning tires or had a bad start. So that brings us to the MPH. How was Burnout going faster at the end and still lost? The Burnout definitely had a bad start, spinning tires etc, which put it way behind. You see at the 330’ marker the Speed Taco had a lead of .337 seconds. This was cut down to .19 seconds at the end of the race. Therefor the Burnout had more horsepower and was accelerating faster once it finally got hooked up (probably 2nd or 3rd gear) whereas the Taco was always hooked but not quite as much power. So while power is good being able to transfer that power to the ground is also extremely important for your times and your ego! Don’t get smoked in your new bazillion HP car by some guy who knows how to race! Do burnouts, don’t be a burnout!

1998 Speed Taco 13.5 seconds in the quarter mile. Super Taco!

1998 Speed Taco 13.5 seconds in the quarter mile. Super Taco!

A few quick tips for your first track day.
1. You will need to go through tech inspection before they will let you drag race. Make sure all loose stuff is out of your car! Maps, shoes, kleenex, empty pop cans, etc. You don’t want that stuff flying around your car when you take off.
2. They will check some simple things like if your battery is tied down. Make sure it’s secured by something, at least the stock battery tie down!
3. Start accelerating when the 3rd yellow light is on. If you wait til it’s green you are already behind.
4. Do a burnout, if you have an AWD car this probably doesn’t apply.

burnout before drag racing to clean tires, get them hot, and help you stick to the track

burnout before drag racing to clean tires, get them hot, and help you stick to the track

5. Take off slowly. Don’t try to launch your car at 5000 rpm the first time. Ease onto the throttle, see how your car sticks. If you stick good, then try a little more gas next time.
6. If you do eventually start spinning on take off let some air out of your tires. Maybe to about 10 PSI. This completely depends on what type of tire you have, how far from home you are, etc. Don’t let all the air out of your tires and then be mad at me when you can’t get home! But even down to 15 psi you can drive a little bit safely. Air your tires up again ASAP!
7. Talk with other racers! They will give you tons of help. They are generally a super helpful bunch, but maybe don’t ask the guy with a top fuel dragster to help you drive your stock 2000 Honda Civic… He’s probably pretty busy and has a lot of money tied up in his car and he’s probably pretty serious. Maybe ask the guy who’s just a few seconds faster.
8. If you want to start modding your car once you have the technique down, but don’t have any money, removing weight also makes your car faster. Remove the spare tire, passenger seat, rear seat (those are the 3 easiest things to remove. A general rule of thumb is every 100 lbs removed from your car = .1 second faster in the quartermile. Don’t forget you need to reinstall these things sometime…
9. Have FUN!

Now that you know all about drag racing how do you start? It’s pretty simple to drag race. You can literally drag race any vehicle. I’ve seen Dodge Caravans, pickup trucks, Buick Century’s as well as the normal car’s you’d expect like muscle cars, import tuners and purpose built drag cars. A normal one day of drag racing test and tune will cost you between $25 and $75 dollars to run as many runs as you can get in, base on how many people are there. So get to the track! What are you waiting for?!?!?!?

Per usual please share this if you enjoyed it! Like “My Wheel Life” on Facebook, etc.

Here’s a great (non-traditional) drag race staged by Motortrend magazine between a ton of cars!
Motortrend Greatest Drag race 2. This is my favorite of the 3 “worlds greatest drag race” videos.

11. Hot Rod Power Tour 2014 – Part 3/3

Quartermile:
Skip to the end and read about the Jason’s if you dont want to read the whole article because those guys are cool! But I’d read the whole thing if you have time (or at least look at the pictures cuz there’s lots of cool stuff on HRPT!)
This was my experience of the 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour.
This article covers the last 2 days, Thursday in Bettendorf, IA and Friday in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
It’s probably the greatest moving car show in the world.
It’s a week long.
You need to do it!
Below are the links to my first 2 articles about days 1-5 and an article on the cost, it’s worth it!
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/15/8-my-wheel-life-hot-rod-power-tour-part-1/
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/19/10-my-wheel-life-hot-rod-power-tour-part-2-of-3/
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/17/9-what-does-hot-rod-power-tour-cost-answer-its-worth-it/
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The Final Leg
The last two days of HRPT 2014 were probably the most fun for us. The big thing was our car was fixed! No more clunking or brake pads rubbing. That really makes for a much more relaxing drive when you aren’t thinking your car will shoot you off the side of a mountain.
We woke up Thursday June 12th in Crown Point, IN. The drive this day was to Bettendorf, IA. There was a lunch stop at Heidts at Lake Zurich, IL. http://www.heidts.com/
They design/manufacture suspension/chassis/brake parts for muscle and street cars. They gave a very interesting tour and had a free lunch for HPRT participants. They even pulled a few HPRT participants vehicles, who were having serious suspension issues, up on a lift and fixed ‘em up! Cool guys! Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures there but I did get one of this HUGE Dodge truck (I’m 6’1” for reference).
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We continued on to Bettendorf. On the way in we parked a ways away and walked to the Isle Casino because we were told (via the HRPT facebook page) that the line was very long to get in. On that note it’s very useful to get info via the HRPT FB page during the tour! Per usual there were a ton of cool rides at the show. Here’s just a list of a few.

Cool drag race Mustang. This looks like a serious performance machine which distinguishes it from a pro-street style car, which are often built to look like they are fast but sometimes are, sometimes aren't.

Cool drag race Mustang. This looks like a serious performance machine which distinguishes it from a pro-street style car, which are often built to look like they are fast but sometimes are, sometimes aren’t.

A second cool fox body mustang with serious drag race rubber under the back.

A second cool fox body mustang with serious drag race rubber under the back.

One of my favorite cars that I’d been seeing most of the week was an old (Plymouth I’m assuming) sedan done up like a Richard Petty race car. I was finally able to snap a few pictures of it.

The awesome Richard Petty... Plymoth?

The awesome Richard Petty… Plymoth?

Another interesting car I saw was this (2007 ish) Mustang done up in a Mad Max style. (There’s a new Mad Max Movie coming out) http://bangshift.com/general-news/first-official-pictures-new-mad-max-cars-unveiled-semi-truck-whole-benz-cab-yes-please/

Mad Max mustang

Mad Max mustang

Another car I had seen earlier in the week was this pink Mercury Capri Pro-Street style car. It has a very distinctive late 1980’s/early 1990’s Pro-street style, denoted especially by the roll cage, and tubs to fit the wide tires. A few other clues that this is the older Pro-street style are the body color grill and the early 90’s style graphic on the lower door. Overall a very cool car that has been featured in Hot Rod (and many other) magazines.

Mercury Capri Pro-Street style car

Mercury Capri Pro-Street style car

One unfortunate thing we saw was this 1969 Chevelle/Malibu that had the top part of his cowl hood come off! In true HRPT fashion though they were making the best of it. They had put a few zip ties on to hold it down and kept driving it! A Roadkill sticker tops it off nicely. Nice looking car! (Easiest way to tell a 1969 from a 1969 is a 1969 has a 1 piece door window while a 1968 has a vent window at the front of the door)

Unfortunate cowl hood failure! They made the best of it tho!

Unfortunate cowl hood failure! They made the best of it tho!

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On our walk back to the car we stopped at a shop on the corner where some locals were encouraging burnouts. It was great! They even gave us a drink. We stayed about 15 minutes watching burnouts until the police put a stop to the fun. I was told this had been going on all day though.

Boo. Cops.

Boo. Cops.

This was at the corner station also.

Since I grew up on a farm AND work for JD I had to include the old 2 cylinders

Since I grew up on a farm AND work for JD I had to include the old 2 cylinders

My dad is a big fan of old Mack semi’s and has a few himself. I had to take a picture for him.

B-61 Mack tow truck

B-61 Mack tow truck

The final day (open to the public) was Friday 6-13-2014. We left Bettendorf, IA on our way to Wisconsin Dells, WI. We drove up 61 in Iowa passing through Maquoketa, Iowa. What a great little town! There was a man directing traffic (burnouts!) and a lot of locals watching from the sidewalk. There was even a gentleman from the town sitting in the back of an old pickup commenting (with speakers and a microphone!) on the cars coming by. This was one of the highlights of the trip! We stopped and watched for about 20 minutes, took a few pictures of awesome cars at the gas station, and then it was on our way.
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We spotted another Richard Petty tribute car on the way.
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Upon arrival to Wisconsin Dells we were aware of a long back up, it was a 2 hour sit in traffic (1-3 pm) for us to get from the highway to the show. Once through, it was worth it! I was told that the resort was told to expect a much lower number of cars than showed up, so I guess thanks to them for letting us park on their golf course! Hopefully we didn’t tear it up too much. The show was very cool again! One cool 4×4 I saw was this 1970’s Ford!
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Another cool Ford was this cool GT40 (or replica?)

Assuming it's a new Ford GT and not an older GT40 by the stripe on the bottom of the door.

Assuming it’s a new Ford GT and not an older GT40 by the stripe on the bottom of the door.

And there was this also Mad Max style Dodge charger. I especially liked the sickle mower guards in/under the grill for teeth (I grew up on a farm).

Mad Max like Charger

Mad Max like Charger

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One of the coolest stories of Power Tour was the 2 Jason’s from Minnesota. They purchased this 1966 Ford pickup sight unseen from Craigslist, in Tennessee! They flew there, drove to Charlotte and Long Hauled it home! True Roadkill style. They did put new tires on the truck, and lots of duct tape to seal the windshield.
Jason (which one I’m not sure) told me that they had a few problems, a broken push rod, the fan ate the radiator because they were doing burnouts and probably broke a motor mount etc. They were considering selling it when they were done but the fanfare they got from everyone (including David Freiburger (David Freiburger is the editor-in-chief of Hot Rod magazine and Hot Rod Deluxe magazine and host of Roadkill. He’s the former editor of Car Craft, Rod & Custom, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, and Hot Rod Deluxe. Often seen and heard on Hot Rod TV. – Borrowed directly from his Facebook page) for those of you who don’t know who David Freiburger is, made them consider doing some upgrades and keeping the truck. We’ll see what they do next year!
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Jason and Jason's Road kill 1966 Ford pickup with a 460!

Jason and Jason’s Road kill 1966 Ford pickup with a 460!

Saturday was for Long Haulers only. We recieved our awesome tin signs showing we were Long Haulers. There was a group picture of all the HRPT Long Haulers, which we missed. Woops. We were able to get our picture in from of the Hot Rod motorhome thingy, so that was cool. That was the end of the HRPT 2014.
Next year HRPT SHOULD start in Wisconsin Dells. If you are anywhere near the start you should at least come for the first day. Do the long haul if you can! Hope you enjoyed reading about it. One thing I found interesting was the lack of general public knowledge of HRPT. Please share with your friends and help continue to make this one of the greatest car destinations ever!

Per usual please share with your friends, follow via email, like the FB page (to get daily links to cool stuff) like this
http://wildsau.ca/2014/06/car-stuff-man-cave/
or this
http://forums.evolutionm.net/loft-evom-car-talk-corner/423729-i-got-beat-geo-prizm-pics.html

Thanks for reading. Keep the rubber side down and please Visit us on Facebook.

9. What does Hot Rod Power Tour cost? – Answer: It’s worth it!

Quartermile:
It’s definitely worth the cost!
But the Hot Rod Power Tour isn’t actually about the cost, it’s about the the cars, the comradery and the burnouts!
A lot of people are probably interested in what it would cost them, hence why I thought I’d write this up.
There is no price you can put on being a “Long Hauler”. You will get recognition and instant friendship with any other Long Haulers you meet up with at any car show.
Check out my daily logs of HRPT 2014 and all the cool people I met and all the awesome cars I saw!
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/15/8-my-wheel-life-hot-rod-power-tour-part-1/
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/19/10-my-wheel-life-hot-rod-power-tour-part-2-of-3/
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/28/11-hot-rod-power-tour-2014-part-33/

Robbie and I, HRPT long haulers

Robbie and I, HRPT long haulers

The Full Monty
$1988.73. That is what I figure the raw cost was for me to be on HRPT this year. That takes into account all the food, snacks, gas, hotels, broken parts, registration, magazine renewals, t-shirts, etc. Some of this will be reduced when I split the hotels with my buddy, Robbie (watch for a bill in the mail). I’d definitely recommend doing power tour with at least one friend. This lets you talk to someone while driving, maybe I’m just a sentimental person like that. You also will have someone to split gas and hotels with, and you’ll have a navigator, which is very very helpful!

Cool HRPT parking lot!

Cool HRPT parking lot!

I spent $630.57 on parts and service by a shop on my car. So if you take that out my cost would have been $1358.26, which is not bad at all. That being said, power tour is a very demanding trip on cars and you should be ready to spend money on broken parts. Don’t be surprised! I was quoted $1400 to replace the struts and a-arms on my mustang, luckily the GM performance mechanics were able to replace the a-arms for a total of $0. This will be one place I take to say “Thank You” to those guys. They saved so many cars this year (and every year) for no charge. They are really great guys, super friendly, and obviously they kept me going and allowed me to finish the HRPT in one piece!

Mustang getting alignment

Mustang getting alignment

To break down the costs by what they were spent on:

Registration:
My registration was $93.50 because I registered the first day at zMax in Charlotte. Because I used a credit card it cost me an extra $3.50. If you registered early it was $80 instead of $90.
Really the registration is a deal. Your long hauler ticket gets you tons of free stuff from the aftermarket companies that have booths at HRPT. Magnets, the all important HRPT stickers!, posters, car polish, and tons of other goodies, and at the end if you complete the whole thing there is always a long hauler “prize”. This year was an awesome 20th anniversary tin sign, so while this seems like a lot of money up front, it’s really all paid back to you. This registration is per car, and you get 2 “punch cards” per registration.

Long hauler punch card, you get all kinds of free stuff with this!

Long hauler punch card, you get all kinds of free stuff with this!

HRPT 20th anniversary Long Hauler tin sign

HRPT 20th anniversary Long Hauler tin sign

All important HRPT year sticker. (also MyWheelLife.com sticker, available for your own car, email me)

All important HRPT year sticker. (also MyWheelLife.com sticker, available for your own car, email me)

Hotels:
7 Hotels cost me $570.28
To be fair Robbie, did pay for one night’s hotel which was not included.

Gas:
All the gas to drive from Iowa, to North Carolina, back to Wisconsin and back to Iowa cost me a total of $410.36. That’s not bad! to be fair here, I was driving a 2007 Mustang that got 25 mpg average.
The HRPT prescribed route was 1602.1 miles this year. Just to drive that with my mustang would have cost $225 (assuming $3.50/gallon gas).
If you are calculation costs for the tour you simply have to take the number of miles for you from your home to the start, the total mileage of HRPT (usually about 1500) and then the miles from the end back home, divide that by the mpg of your car, and then multiply by and average gas/gallon price (I’m using $3.50 for now)
So if you drove a total of 3000 miles with a car that got 10 mpg it would have cost you $1000. Still not that terrible.

Cool Camaro at Gas station

Cool Camaro at Gas station

Food
I spent $175.63 on food (at restaurants) this year. This was usually a fast lunch and a pretty good diner. Robbie paid for some of my diner’s and I paid for some of his so I believe this is a pretty good average.

To be fair my co-pilot (Robbie) bought us a lot of snacks/breakfast/donuts. We didn’t eat breakfast too many times.
I spent about $40 on snacks/drinks.

There are a ton of variable costs for power tour. There are a ton of great deals for shirts. Comp cams and Petty’s Garage were both selling $5 t-shirts.
I also renewed my Hot Rod and Car Craft magazine (for 3 years each) for a total of $52, and got a free t-shirt! Since that was something I would have done anyway, that was basically a freebie!
The HRPT shirts are a bit expensive, $20+ for a t-shirt (that’s expensive to me when Comp Cams is selling $5 shirts) but some of the HRPT t-shirts are very cool and I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from buying one.
I also spend $30 on supplies to make my Comp Cams drawing costume. The drawing was Friday at the last stop, Wisconsin Dells, WI and the winner got $10,000 in Comp Cams (and other companies they own) shopping spree. This year I got $100 to buy stuff from Comp Cams for my troubles, as a consolation prize. The Comp Cams guys are great and it was fun walking around talking to people so that was worth it to me.

HRPT golden ticket Spartan!

HRPT golden ticket Spartan!

Overall, the HRPT is really a pretty cheap vacation. Really if you wanted, your only costs could be gas, hotels and food, and you’d get to see a ton of cool cars. Probably the cheapest way to see the whole HRPT would be to drive a station wagon with 4 guys, stuff all 4 of you in one hotel room, split gas and then just a bit of food would be it. That would honestly be awesome! Let me know if anyone has done that!
But like I said at the beginning, HRPT isn’t about the cost. It’s about the cars, the comradery, the friendships and the memories, and you can’t put a price on any of that.
“It’s worth it!” – Axel Hoogland
So will you be making HRPT in the near future?
What’s your favorite car road trip besides HRPT?

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Keep the wheels on the road!

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