Kimini 2.2 - Build Diaries
2005, April - July


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31 July

Very warm and humid, doing anything results in sweat. The heat takes much of the fun out of things but I pushed on with odds-and-ends.

First shot, installed the fire extinguisher since it is very necessary from here on out. I was amused there were small rocks all over the floor, thrown up from the front tires during my short test drives.

Second shot, riveted on the front lower panel which does duty as venturi entrance, lower radiator rock deflector, and lower radiator duct/diffuser. It's aluminum and in hindsite I should have used stainless since it's going to take a beating from rocks. Third shot, upper radiator ducting is finally riveted. Fourth shot is the fresh-air duct from the inlet next to the radiator, through the blower, to the firewall pass-through. Before the dash is fabricated, a 3-way splitter will divide up the air to three dash vents. Final shot is the overall front of the car. It's very busy in there and I pity the guy working on it - me!

I think the next body section to work on should be the nose. At the bare minimum it needs well-placed foam-core to stiffen it... it's too thin right now. I also want to redesign the radiator air exit and add louvers. I don't like the shape of the exit ducting at all, somehow it looks backwards, whatever that means. I'm looking for a cheap source of louvers I can take a mode off of. Or I may toss the idea of composite altogether and use aluminum. Composite is great stuff but if the louver is just a single part with a straightforward layout, with no fancy curves or contours, it seems a waste of time to use it. On the other hand if curved louvers look best, curving aluminum could be tough. Then there's the fender vents... Don't know if I'll bother yet since I don't know if they'll be functional or just look blingy. Actually I think they'd look pretty cool. Anyhow, I at least have to stiffen up the nose and get louvers on the radiator if it's going to be composite. If it'll be aluminum it can go on later.

On a different subject, of the DVD; I don't want to get sued by illegally using music so I'm looking into finding a cooperative artist. My initial try was fruitless since they wouldn't answer my two e-mails! I'm looking for techno/ambience music where I can afford the licensing. I've never done this before and have no idea what I'm getting myself into - it may be so expensive it won't happen. However, if anyone knows a decent and cheap (yeah I know) artist let me know. I didn't print the artist's name above because I'm a little bugged at them, suspecting I'm not a big enough fish that they'll return my e-mail... so I'm not going to give them free publicity. Now they'll be sorry...

This is the last entry in this diary; the next will be August through... who knows. This next diary should be the diary because it should contain the first real road tests.
30 July

Went to the car get-together to check out colors. Met up with coworker Darrell who's Pantera always reminds me of a simpler time. Thanks again for the ride - nothing like the sound of a V8 right behind you! I really liked the metallic silver on a Lamborghini Gallardo, which they call Grigio Altair Metalli. The owner reminded me Volkswagan owns Lamborghini and the fancy color is simply VW's "Reflex Silver". I also saw a nice silver on Toyota/Lexus cars, "Silver Sky Metallic."

Also met Dave Norton, builder of the Norton Shrike. I already have a link to his site but added a photo of his car in the Other Builder's page. How many builders still drive their creation 20 years after building it?
27 July

I was going to keep the final color choice a secret but since I share everything with you guys, it's... metallic silver.

Several factors helped me choose the color. Number one was using a composite body; since I didn't use high-temperature-cure epoxy or autoclave there's a real risk of it softening in the sun. Even a white surface reaches 160deg F in the sun and it only gets worse with darker colors; this ruled out any dark colors. The next factor was how, in my opinion, the "perfect" color on one car looks totally wrong on another. I had a 1969 Datsun Roadster and I felt its "perfect" color was fire-engine red and once painted, it indeed was perfect. However, I would never paint Kimini red. Why? It's very small, toy-like in fact. The last thing I want is a car that looks like a toy, which rules out strong colors like red, blue, or green. No, it needs to look "all business" and that's exactly what metallic silver does. However, the most important quality of matching paint to car is its shape, and Kimini is all curves; metallic colors are excellent for enhancing the contours of a curvey body. So between being a light color to keep heat down, metallic to show the curves, and non-colored looking very business-like, the final color pretty much picked itself. It also complements the gray chassis, black panels, stainless floor, and red suspension.

So which of the thousands of shades of silver is the right one? I'd like to go into a paint shop in five years and know they'll still have the same exact match. Turns out that's a non-issue. These days paint shops can color-match any color, they just type the paint code into their computer and out pops the magic mix. So it doesn't matter what car I like the color of as long as I can get the magic paint number. For example this Saturday is the next informal car meet where there'll be Porsches, Ferraris, and Lambos. Last time I really liked the silver on one so I'll ask the owner for the paint code. So after ten years I finally get to do the frosting-on-the-cake thing and look at cars to find just that perfect color; it'll be fun.
25 July

Big news, for Kimini at least.

I had to be objectively honest with myself and admit I'm the hold up on completing the bodywork. It's a combination of not enjoying it (an understatement), not being very good at it (read: not willing to put in the time to learn), not knowing all the latest in fillers, paints, and primers, and not being able to afford it. Of course much of the grunt work is done, so I went and done it...

Yes, it was dropped off at a bodyshop today to be finished and painted. Not the entire shell, just the passenger compartment and doors, but psychologically it's an enormous mental roadblock out of the way. The engine cover and nose are far easier to deal with, not having those nasty door jambs. The big deal is that the engine cover and nose can be removed to do bodywork anytime, unlike the passenger compartment which will be bonded and riveted on permanently.

Of course dropping it off brought back my fears I had when dropping off the parts to be powdercoated, the fear they'll screw it up somehow, lose it, go out of business, you know, the nightmare of your choice. It's all related to not trusting anyone with this project except myself. I let them know I've been working on it nearly 10 years and to take good care of it. I'm sure mentioning if they do a good job they'll have fame and fortune after I mention them on my website...

As for me... well, it means I can't claim to have done the entire car; I did many hours of bodywork but realized I just don't enjoy it. For me, building the car has to be enjoyable, not a job. Is it a big deal, not being able to say I did it all? Oh, I don't know... I set out to build a car from scratch, to see if I could do it, and I think I did alright (big words since it hasn't been driven on the track yet.) I did most of the bodywork and all of the composite work so I guess I've learned as much as I want to in those areas. But the question remains, do I get "street-cred" for having done the whole thing? Or, am I the only one who cares about such vain and egotistical things? Perhaps... and I'll deal with it.

Of course what this means is with the worst part of the bodywork out of the way I have new-found strength to get going on the remaining issues, first will be the engine cover. Based on what I've learned I can do much more of the work myself and get it done much faster. The unknown right now is what kind of cooling issues I will have in the engine compartment. This argues for just putting the front and back on, painted, primered, or not, and just drive it to see what's what... I'm sure you wouldn't mind.
24 July

Here's the shell all ready to go to another place tomorrow at lunchtime.

Installed the shift boot and it turned out pretty well. Installed the brake proportioning knob, the big orange one on the dash. It allows setting the brake proportioning front to back while I'm on the track. I need to call Tilton and double-check how it's supposed to work though because it doesn't look right. First, the master cylinder shafts should be closer to the center brake pedal. As it is it seems the brake adjuster could be turned and until the slack is taken up, nothing will happen. So that one will require some fiddling. Then there's how their adjuster screws onto the end of the balance shaft. It really needs to be keyed, but isn't. If not that, it should have Locktite on it so it doesn't loosen, but then it can't be removed since they didn't put hex wrench flats on the adaptor... more fiddling.

In any case, it's hot and humid enough to take all the fun out of working in the garage, so that's it for today.

23 July

Once again loaded up the shell to take it to a bodyshop for a quote. I had previously arranged to meet with a shop today since I couldn't go during the week. Made sure to leave plenty early and arrived on time, only needing to wait a few minutes. "A few minutes" means a few minutes before our agreed upon time... then I waited some more. Huh, what a surprise, no one showed up... nice. I was reminded, "you really should have confirmed yesterday." Yes... and no. You see, I take people at their word. What they say is a binding agreement with me and I always hold up my side; apparently I'm alone in this thinking. Yes I could have confirmed, but by not doing so, it was a little test of mine, to see if they are a good business, value their customers, and if they wrote it down. Apparently not. Of course my little test also wasted my Saturday morning. Or, has it told me these aren't the guys who should be working on my car. Huh. Sadly it strengthens my theory that I can't count on anyone but myself. Boneheads.
17 July

Odds and ends. Fit up the front lower panel below the radiator inlet. It keeps the air routed through the stock Mini inlet and prevents rock strikes to the radiator. The problem, as found sometime back, is that I need the entire front removable in case the fuel cell must be removed. (Note: Doing it over I'd make the cell come out from below.) Anyhow it means some panels can't attach with rivets, unless I don't mind drilling them out.

Installed the All-View mirror. Why? Because even during these around-the-block test drives I need to see what's behind me.

Trimmed the shifter cutout on the shift panel and installed the top tunnel cover; with both installed it looks a lot cleaner. The black color doesn't quite match due in part to the black wrinkle finish, which avoids reflections and fingerprints. The odd looking cutout the shifter passes through will be covered by a shift boot, probably an ebay item. A flange will attach it to the shift plate.
16 July

Bill came down from Los Angeles and retrieved the corner scales he so generously loaned me. Having not used them before I now understand what a tremendous time-saver they are. I'm really going to miss them and thanked him many times. I really don't look forward to doing the corner weights next time using one bathroom scale and a balance beam :(

I'm going to take the driver's compartment portion of the body shell to a couple body shops next week (really) and because of that I won't be working on it tomorrow. Instead I'll probably work on the shifter cover. Between that and the center tunnel cover that'll finish sealing the passenger compartment from the fuel system. Well, okay, almost; I left the side panel off the passenger-side of the tunnel until everything is really done.

Another fun side project will be making the carbon dash cover. It'll be done like the air-filter intake, using foam blocks, sanding them down, then covering with carbon cloth. The trick is going to be not getting bits of foam all over everything in the car. The dash cover is nothing structural, merely the finishing touch to the dash to make it look really sharp and finished. Unlike most "bling" after-market carbon car parts, the dash cover will not be shiny; that's the last thing a proper dash needs. Carbon will be used, well, just 'cause it looks nice, and because it's dark and non-reflective.
13 July

Well there's an enormous sigh of relief from me concerning the financial issue I mentioned earlier, issue resolved. Very good news since it means I can now take the shell around to body shops to see what's what. I'll also ask around at work in our Composite Shop to see if anyone does work on the side. The trouble with this arrangements is since it's done on the side, projects like this tend to sit around for long periods of time. I'm looking for something more formal then a "I'll get to it whenever" type of thing.
11 July

Decided to see what was under all the paint on the doors. They don't look bad, though one had a layer of Bondo over virtually the entire panel. Guess that's the way it's done these days, fast, efficient, and... heavy. One has a small dent at the bottom, and both have rust along the inside bottom, though not enough to warrant cutting it out. I may try the Rust Bullet paint and see if it can encapsulate the rust, depending who does the finish work on the doors. The door on the right looks wavey but it's just the camera angle. Both seem, to my unprofessional eye, to be pretty straight. My disdain for sanding however hasn't let up; I may still take the main shell and doors around (like I keep claiming...) and see what it'll take to get me over this mental roadblock. I'll just have to figure out how to pay for it.

Regarding the soft brake pedal I've been concerned about, I was reminded one way to see if there's air in the system is to simply pump the pedal and see if it gets harder. Nope. So either I convince myself it's fine as-is, or put in hard-line. Ick.
5 July

Life threw me a curve ball. Since I share the good and bad news here, I received a bit of the latter. Remember how I said I expected to get some "incentive" to do the work myself? Well I got it alright, just not in the form expected. I won't go into the unpleasant details but it means I can't afford to hand the whole job to a shop and say, "call me when it's done." So not long after the picture was taken of the shell on the truck, it came right back off again. Time to fall back to Plan B... right after I figure out what that is.
4 July

Fully disassembled the doors, removing hinges, latches, window glass, and window guides. I realized I can save some decent weight by replacing the windows with Lexan, made easy since they're flat and I can use the glass as templates. The doors were loaded on the truck along with the passenger section of the shell. These I will take around to several bodyshops to see what their answer is to the question, "how much to finish?" After the shock wears off from the suspected high cost, it'll offer incentive to finish it myself...

Also shown are a few of the cars that showed up to the local monthly informal sport car get-together. Nothing is organized, just a bunch of guys taking their toys out for an early morning meet. The sound of a highly-wound V12 is an incredible auditory experience, wish I could hear it more often. The last shot of the Lambo shows how nicely silver metallic shows off contours of the body. I don't know, metallic paint on Kimini may be a mistake due to the difficulty of color matching... or do I care? The "colors of the week" are presently metallic silver and... I'm once again considering the neon blue of the Nissan 350Z and Subaru WRX STi.

Won a P72 ECU off ebay then realized the seller was local. When I met him to pick it up I found he also does tuning... good news for me in case I get stuck later on.

3 July

Finished testing the wide-band oxygen sensor. It appears to be working perfectly though it'll be a little while before it's swapped in. I'm in the process of getting (yet) another ECU to use for customizing the fuel maps. Regardless how well the P72 works I'll keep the stock Prelude P13 ECU "just in case", but since the P72 offers oh-so-many-more possibilities it'll be the primary ECU. Other then that I goofed off all day... and proud of it.
2 July

About a year ago I bought a wide-band oxygen sensor kit, assembled it and set it aside. I'm finally testing it now; it's used to measure oxygen content in the exhaust during tuning. "Tuning" means using it in conjunction with a modified ECU, to get the air/fuel ratio correct through the rpm range. It ensures the engine is running its best when new components are added which in my case are the intake and exhaust. Other perks of a modified ECU are allowing changes to the rpm limit, VTEC switch point, and masking silly error messages that don't apply in my situation. I forgot to mention that's one of the reasons I chose the Honda drivetrain; there's a large healthy aftermarket; not only performance parts but people have reverse-engineered the factory ECUs and figured out how they work. If you're interested, the place to go is the PGMFI website.

I extended the time-frame for this diary through July since it isn't blotted yet. Depending on this weekend I may get another test drive in. I'd like to make two runs, one with the SuperTrapp heavily baffled like during Test Drive 3, and another with it opened up. I really want to know what the "fix" was.
29 June

Having not found any big problem with the engine to explain the low rev limit, I connected a fuel pressure gauge to see if it was dropping off under acceleration. Warmed it up and drove around the block, nervous as always. It sounded the same as I came around the corner and finally got on it and... I hit it. Yes VTEC works - I'm officially in the club! The engine sounded sweet like always up to 5200, then things happened very quickly. The whole engine's attitude suddenly changed, taking on a nasty edge. It's like the engine suddenly picked up two more cylinders, like a rag blocking the intake was suddenly removed. Like the car suddenly weighed half as much... it wanted to run. I didn't take it to redline but it certainly let me know it's alive and well!

Now the question is... why; what changed? One possibility is that it was a quart low on oil. VTEC is rather picky about that, but it's hard to believe one quart would make the difference. Thing is, all during testing oil pressure always indicated it was fine. Regarding fuel pressure, to tell the truth I was so surprised it worked I forgot to look at the gauge. I don't know what I did that could have fixed it, but for the moment I'm a happy camper. Another possibility is a slight adjustment to the TPS voltage but I don't think that was it either. Perhaps it's because the engine sat for about nine years causing the VTEC engagement mechanism to be sticky; that the first time it was attempted it just wouldn't go? Then after it really got up to temperature it finally snapped into place? I just don't know. Someone also suggested perhaps since it sat for so long since Test Drive 3, perhaps the injectors were slightly clogged. That letting them soak long enough in fresh gas finally cleaned them out and they finally started working. I just don't know.

And finally, there's the SuperTrapp muffler, which was set *very* restrictive to keep noise down. With only three baffles I realized it had the exit area of about a 1/2" tube! Before the drive I put all the baffles in to make it much less restrictive. I wonder if that was it; easy to test though.

So when it's all said and done, how much do I question this gift of proper operation? I just wish I could be more confident what the "fix" was. As it is, the problem could return tomorrow and I'd be just as clueless... I'm not complaining, but it makes me feel like I'm not in control of how the car's running. I guess I'm just not comfortable receiving free gifts from the Goddess of Horsepower without knowing what the catch is.

27 June

I've received many helpful comments regarding what may be wrong with Kimini's engine. I realized you guys have no idea what I've been doing since I haven't posted much here. There's a huge thread about Kimini on the honda-tech site; so instead of reprinting it all, you can read it at the: Honda-tech Kimini thread.
26 June

Spent the week debugging the mysterious 5000rpm limit; long story short, I have not found the problem. It's been suggested I messed up the grounds between the engine and ECU. As I go down the dwindling list of things to check, I reluctantly have to admit that's a possibility. Thing is, I checked the grounds both for continuity and voltage drop and it's hard to blame them when I have 0.008V drop from the ECU grounds to battery(-). Everything's been checked many times and I'm running out of suspects. No test drive today since there was no "support crew" just in case. I don't want to get stuck and walk home leaving it stranded, even for a moment.

Did absolutely no sanding... and it felt great.
21 June

A couple of comments on the last test drive I forgot to mention. It rode smooth, very smooth, like a Lexus in fact. It may mean I have to stiffen up the springs, but it's way too early for that. Right now the shocks are all set full soft; there'll be an entire test session figuring out proper spring and shock rates. For now I have no roll-bars and hopefully I did the design right such that they won't be needed.

Kimini also feels really quick, which is a little frustrating since I can't open her up! Thanks to the 5000rpm mystery cutoff it's kind of like dating Angelina Jolie and being limited to shaking hands. Well, okay, maybe a better analogy is owning a race horse that only trots. I can tell it really wants to go, but can't for some reason. Doing these road tests around the neighborhood is very poor form so I'll be looking for a trailer soon. Of course the next issue will be where to take it.
19 June

Added bracing to the passenger compartment so it can be taking to bodyshops without breaking. Pictured here is the next body section needing work, the engine cover. For now this is where I store it. The white stuff is epoxy and micro, used for the first initial fill of the 100s of pinholes and low spots. I took this shot because of how it makes the car look... it sure is little, and one perk is it makes the tires look really big! I had just put the cover on after the test drive.

Yes, that's right, it was driven today, the first time since being assembled "for real." The "event" this time was a bit of a surprise and a mystery for the time being. At about 5000rpm the engine felt like it hit a rev-limit. Loud popping out of either the intake or exhaust - I couldn't tell which, and backed out of it immediately. It hadn't happened before, but this may have been the first time I reached this rpm. Humm, after reviewing Test Drive 2, it looks like I get up to the same rpm with no problem. Nuts... At the moment I'm suspicious of the VTEC circuit. The engine has no problem in neutral, reving just fine... nice, another item to deal with. Instead of being a problem-free drive, offering incentive to me to push on with the body shell, it's instead yet another thing to deal with. Oh well, I'll survive. The new video is on my Video page.
17 June

Partly because I had trouble finding it myself, and partly to be helpful, 10 months ago I started compiling a list of organizations that run timetrial events in North America. You know, where you can drive your own car on some of the coolest racetracks in the U.S. and Canada. The original purpose was so I'd have places to drive my car when it's done, but thanks to many contributions from the guys on Honda-Tech, it's turned into a pretty nice resource for everyone. I list it here because it can be tough to find this info all in one place: Want to drive your car on a real track?
16 June

I found an amazing video of the recently completed rollercoaster at Six-Flags. 450ft tall, 128mph... yes, you read that right. 0-60mph in around 3 seconds using magnetic acceleration... incredible. If I'm ever out that way it's on my list. Kingda Ka rollercoaster ride.
15 June

I'm burnt out; there, I said it.

It's a combination of many things but sanding is certainly the biggest culprit. As before, I made the mistake of thinking about how much more work there's yet to do. Last time this happened it was the enormity of all the different tasks to complete; this time I don't even have that diversity to look forward to. No, this time it's just endless sanding from here to eternity... so it seems. Having more-or-less finished the first round of filling and rough sanding on the passenger compartment makes me realize it needs to be gone over many more times, then there's the engine cover and the nose where I get to start all over again. Oh and I can't forget the doors... Ugg. My concern is that I'll spend a lot of time getting the shell to what I think is "good enough," only to find that once I take it to a shop, they'll say it needs a lot more work at great expense. I don't want to waste a bunch of time on bodywork if it isn't good enough. Or, perhaps, it's that I just hate doing bodywork.

So after talking to a few friends I'm going to do a couple things to rebuild motivation. First, a buddy is going to help me with Test Drive #3. It's very reassuring to know there's someone who can help out in case I get marooned down the block. Oh and it's good to have a second camera operator.

Second, I'm going to add bracing to the passenger compartment. Off the chassis it's rather flimsy, in a scary sort of way; all too easy to crack it right down the center. So some temporary wood bracing will be added across the bottom to make it safer to move around. "Move around" as in, easy-to-put-on-the-truck-and-take-to-body-shops-and-ask-"how much to finish it" kind of a thing. Doing so offers motivation either way. Either they'll say, "Hey this is a really cool car and the shell's in decent condition already. We'll finish it for $500." On the other hand they may say, "This thing needs a LOT of work; figure $2000." So there's the motivation; either it's cheap enough that I say, "fine, call me when it's done," or they'll want so much that I really have to do it myself. Right now I simply don't know.

I've also been thinking about how good the bodywork really "needs" to be. As said before the car will lead a rough life, with sand and rock impacts pitting the front end; no point in paying for a really great finish. In fact I'm wondering if I can take it to one of the chain shops, the ones that ordinarily just do an "okay" job. I'm hoping that I can get the shop employees excited about doing something fun instead of their usual boring work. If that happens they might be able to help me out for a good price. Plus if I supply them high quality paint I won't worry about it flaking off. It doesn't hurt to ask.
12 June

Same old thing, endless sanding, which is really no fun at all :( It's like washing an enormous pile of dirty dishes... just hard to keep going. A buddy come by to offer some support; something to the effect of, "you know, as bad as it looks, it's pretty smooth." I'm not sure how much more I can take before I haul it around to body shops, asking, "How much to finish it?" And this is just the first of three pieces... five if you count the doors...
8 June

Amazing, simply amazing. I have in front of me a two page chapter from my book. Two pages, no pictures, no drawings, 156MB. Yes, you read that right, 156MB. I've been told to save the document under a new name and "it'll get much smaller." Nope, no difference. This came about by taking my multi-chapter manuscript, saving a copy, then stripping out all but one chapter, and repeating this for all the chapters. The "funny" thing is that before I started, the total manuscript size was 156MB. Yet after breaking it up into separate chapters, now I have 16 chapters which are, yes, 156MB in size. Apparently it's stuffed the deleted data off somewhere, still attached to the document even though it's "gone." I feel like smacking Bill Gates with a frozen trout. Yes I know I can cut and paste it into a new document to make it smaller, and indeed it does, going all the way down to 23kb. Word is just fine if you spoon-feed it, using it on its own terms, but why is that necessary? Anyhow I'm fed up with it and am learning FrameMaker. Thanks to Chris I should once again become a productive writer instead of wasting my time fighting my "tools."

Huh, I just invented my own quote, "Microsoft is the Harbor Freight of software; their product is okay for light stuff... just don't ask it to do anything serious."
5 June

Website statistics show viewership is down 30%. Can't say I blame anyone; they enjoy reading about sanding almost as much I enjoy doing it. Anyway, after learning bodywork on the driver's side door jamb, the passenger side was finished today. With the worst part of the shell out of the way, progress will pick up. Of course the filling and sanding is just the first stage, after the rough sanding it must be gone over with finer and finer grit sandpaper before it's ready for paint. I am however trying not to think about the modifications needed for the nose - louvers, but that's more fun for later.

Regarding paint, I still haven't made a final decision about color. Until recently I felt primer black was best because of the not-so-perfect shell, the rough life the car will experience on the track, and because it's cheap. But after talking to people smarter then me the advice is heading me away from dark colors. The concern is the composite will lose strength due to the high temperature, and tiny air pockets potentially popping up through the surface ruining the finish. These are a couple of the reasons why there are few dark colored composite aircraft.

So what's this mean for color? Originally I felt silver was the perfect choice; curves look awesome in silver so we'll see. It's not an important decision... yet. I'm guessing the passenger section will be "done" in a few weeks and I can then move on to the engine cover. Oh, the doors also need work, sigh, still a lot to do. Technically I could just put the shell on it and drive it now. The catch is the passenger section will be permanently mounted so it should be painted off the chassis. The question is do I paint only the passenger section so it can be permanently mounted on the chassis earlier. It would be cheaper to get all three painted at the same time. On the other hand getting the passenger section on now means the nose and engine cover (which are removable) can be temporarily installed so the car can be driven sooner, but removed whenever I want to continue the bodywork. That's almost true, the only nagging thing is the Dzus fasteners will get in the way. I don't want to drill out rivets every time I do bodywork in those areas. Oh well, none of this is a big problem... it'll work itself out.

Paintballing with the coworkers went well and everyone had a great time. Yes I have a couple of impressive bruises, but not as bad as one poor coworker who didn't wear a hat and took a shot to the forehead. Boy does she have a lump... glad I'm not the one who put it there. Anyhow, my CCM J2 autococker performed flawlessly. Since the barrel is removable it gives me the option of trying several different brands in a quest to find the "best" barrel. To me best means the most accurate, which is more about matching the size of the paint to the size of the barrel then anything else, but it's still fun to experiment. The used equipment market is live and well when it comes to paintball, everyone trading for this or that so it keeps prices somewhat under control. As received, my used gun had a non-factory barrel, and since CCM makes a sweet carbon barrel kit, I bought a used set off ebay. That'll be fun to try out...
31 May

A coworker asked how the car project was going. After saying I'd finally finished one door jamb he said, "What do you care if the door jambs are done nice, no one's going to see them." Huh... well, yeah he's right, so what am I doing spending all this time on them for. I think it's because I'm using that area as my "classroom", to learn bodyworking skills. The fact that no one will see it is the very reason to start there first. All my ugliness will be hidden from view; by the time I'm doing the large smooth panels they'll seem like a piece of cake.

Heard from my buddy who's Lotus burned up. He let me know that it was a '77, not a '73, and that it was a fuel spill not a leak that caused the fire. The good news is, after talking with his wife about it, they bought another Lotus Esprit, this time a fully restored mid-eighties turbo version. Good to see him in better spirits again.
30 May

After a lot of hours and grinding drudgery I finished the driver's side door jamb - the worst part of the entire shell. As the pictures show, the shell is very rough. Oh to have vacuum bagged it... alas, a lesson learned for next time. I can hear my buddy saying it again, "you should have dumped that thing in the trash and vacuum-bagged a fiberglass version." Yeah, that would have saved me a lot of time, but due to the allure of carbon, being a cheapskate, and not wanting to see this one go to waste, well, here I sit, sanding and sanding. That's the price of vanity, all to say, "Yes, it's carbon." As bad as the pictures look, it's actually very smooth if you run your hand across it. Some of the shell will be covered by weatherstrip or glued-on rubber sheet (where the panels overlap) so it avoids some work on areas that'll be hidden. First shot isn't staged, Cooper likes to be right next to me no matter what I'm doing.

Anyhow, with the driver's door jamb "done" (basic filling and sanding with 100 grit), next will be the only-slightly-better-then-hellish passenger door jamb. After that things will start to move much faster.

Goofed off a bit today and took the paintball gun to the field to "chrono" it. That means adjusting the air pressure to set the velocity the balls are fired at (250-300 feet per second, or 170-204mph!) This has to be done since each field has its own maximum speed. Since I'd never set the speed before I figured I better figure it out now, not next Saturday when I play paintball with 35(!) co-workers. The gun is pretty darn accurate; fairly consistently hitting a one-inch wide pipe at maybe 60ft. My co-workers are going to love me... hee hee hee. Of course the love affair with all things carbon has bled over to paintball too, I'm picking up a carbon barrel kit... what can I say.

25 May

A good buddy at work recently finished months and months of work restoring his 1977 Lotus Esprit. (That's the sports car James Bond drove off the pier and which turned into a submarine.) So after many hard months of work his dream had finally come to fruition. He drove it in yesterday and we all checked it out; a very clean car. And yet only a few hours later it had burned to the ground due to a fuel spill. I felt so bad for him; I too once had a car "all done" for two weeks before it got totaled. That event taught me never to fall in love with a car, even Kimini. In a way I feel I'm already done with it even though I just drove it around the block. What happened to him though made me think long and hard about my present fuel system; fire is my biggest concern. I've done the best I can, using braided line everywhere, a fire extinguisher on-board, so I push on with the project. But if anything happens to it, I already feel I've gotten a lot of learning and joy out of the journey.

Later the same day I saw a coworker giving his son a tour of our company. His boy is very, very sick, but while he still could he wanted to see where his dad worked. I though that was really cool; seeing them made me realize how unimportant all this car stuff is...
22 May

Nothing exciting, more sanding and filling. It's coming along, though at a very, very, frustratingly slow pace. Put up shading over the car which made a big difference. Saw Star Wars. Oh, and saw Ike Turner (Tina Turner's ex) in a local store. The guy sure created his own living hell; how different his life would have been if he'd encouraged Tina instead of beating her. Instead of being her manager today, he gets to think about what could have been every time he hears another Tina Turner song. The funny thing is the woman he was with dressed and looked like Tina, but probably didn't have the same talent..
15 May

While I could do some bodywork like applying filler in the garage, I really didn't want to fill the garage and house with evil dust. It was moved outside next to the garage where the majority of the nasty sanding will happen. The good news is I made great progress, finally figuring out how to apply filler quickly and efficiently. It's a good thing too because my motivation to work on the car has become rather low. I'm not sure why, this close to the end. I think it's the combination of being a little burnt-out after pushing so hard for so long. Or maybe it's working on the car for hours and not seeing measurable progress even when there is, plus the weather is warming up. Working outside doing bodywork means I better put up some shading seeing how I got a sunburn today; the heat just sucks the energy out of me. Oh, and the guy who was going to help me out never showed, so while I'm figuring it out on my own, it's a bit disappointing. It's a good thing my malaise is hitting now, this close to completion. I feel a bit like a rocket, one coasting after it's run out of fuel. It'll still get where it's headed, but it's not being pushed. Don't worry, I go through these spells. I'm still working on it every week and it'll get done. Once the shell is closer to being done I'll get motivated again.

Received some advice regarding Microsoft Word, namely splitting the book into a separate document for each chapter, and not adding pictures until the very last minute. While that'll help, it doesn't really make me feel better about MS Word. To say it works fine it you spoon- feed it isn't my idea of a product that "just works." Several people have suggested Adobe PageMaker which I'm looking into.

On the paintball hobby I've upgraded the barrel, tank, and feeder to pretty trick parts. There's some pretty cool stuff in this hobby; the paintball marker I have is of the "autococker" design, perfect for those of us who love to tinker with things. And the air tank is carbon-fiber wrapped so it can hold up to 4500lbs yet weighs less then the steel or aluminum tanks that only hold 3000lbs. Hanging out on the paintball forums I was shocked to discover what people pay for this hobby. One week's expense is typically $15 for use of the field, another $15 for air fills, and that's nothing compared to the cost of the paintballs. One case of 2000 balls is around $35-$55, so lets say $45 typical. A typical player runs through two cases in one week! So that's around $120 per week!!! Here's the kicker... if I take what I've spend on the car and spread it out over nine years, it comes out to about $50 a week. These guys are spending more per week then what I spent building the car!!! It's also shocking to me that in most cases the parents pay for it all... I'm avoiding the high cost by using an "old-school" non-electronic gun, one that can only fire as fast as I can pull the trigger... not like the new ones that can spew up to 17 balls per second.
10 May

I need to get back to working on the book. What ticks me off is how poor Microsoft Word is when handling a document that's over 100 pages or so. Talking to a coworker who wrote his thesis using Word said it sucked big time for him too. Once I started adding pictures it went from bad to worse, taking, oh, five minutes or so to save the document, while at the same time kicking the computer's throughput in the nuts. I have a pretty kick-butt game computer with a fast processor and 1GB of RAM, yet Word brought it to a standstill. What the heck is it doing? It makes me wonder what "real" authors use to write novels. Anyhow, to try to get on with things I split the book up into one chapter per document. Even now some of the chapters are oddly enormous, consuming way too much memory for what's in them. What it does is take all the fun out of writing, knowing that whenever I hit save I'm in for a long wait.
8 May

Sanding and filling, filling and sanding... you get the picture. Thanks to many helpful people I have a better understanding about bodywork. Turns out I was trying to remove filler with too fine a grit of sandpaper. Bought a bunch of bodywork supplies from a real bodywork supply shop and was a bit surprised to find a big roll of sticky sandpaper is about $40! Oh well, either I pay for it or pay someone else to buy it then charge me for labor. Still working on the worst part of the shell, the door jambs. I forgot to get glazing putty, otherwise I'd be further along with the bottom passenger-side door jamb. The putty will be picked up this week so once the bottom is further along I can start moving up the sides of the jamb. I'm both learning how to do it and starting on the worst part of the shell. It offers me the incentive of knowing the job can only get easier... I do admit however to sometimes working on the flat panels to take a break from the tediousness.
4 May

I've started a Yahoo group, Kimini group. I realized I've either been receiving e-mails with similar comments, or answering with similar replies. Setting up the group will hopefully help to share various points of view, so we can all see what everyone is talking about. It could also serve to let similar-minded people meet up and exchange ideas of their own. So I'll try it out and see how it goes. If it doesn't get spammed to death it could become a valuable resource. I'll try to check-in several times a day to answer questions.
1 May

May already... the year is passing fast. The "latest" goal is to have it on the road this summer. Around here it doesn't get really hot until mid to late August and I'd like it done by then. Driving it along the beach instead of sanding away in the hot sun, itchy carbon/glass/epoxy dust sticking to me, is a good goal. That's what today consisted of, Bondo and sanding, and relearning the old lesson of sanding without waiting long enough for the Bondo to harden. Opps... Started in on the passenger door area of the shell, figuring that was as good a place as any to learn this stuff. Said another way, not too visible once done. Won't be many pictures for a while, as a sanded shell looks just like a not-so sanded shell. Made decent progress but it's a little misleading. That is, it's easy to get the low spots filled fairly quickly then sand, but it's that last 10% that'll take most of the time. Once I get the worse of it taken care of I'll put some black primer on it and see what's what.
29 April

Received very supportive e-mails about doing the bodywork myself. The common suggestion is to coat the entire shell with a thin layer of Bondo, sealing all the pin-holes, then, work on the obvious problem areas, and cover with primer called Duratec. The only thing is I'm not sure which of their products to use over the filler... I'm sure someone will let me know! A buddy at work has volunteered to get me started and, unlike my usual practice of always "going it alone", I'm happy to have his help.

And finally, Eric in Arizona reminded me that doing bodywork is much like the "Karate Kid"; "Bondo on, sand off... Bondo on, sand off..." Yes I guess it is!
28 April

Received a number of e-mails encouraging me to do the body work myself. Actually there's another reason reinforcing that view, that a typical shop might spend, oh, 40 hours on it. At $50hr that's $2000... nope, I can't go there. Also, Dennis at dpcars (who's moving right along on his car) reminded me that I'll likely have an "acne" problem with the car because I didn't gelcoat it. That is, with the car sitting in the sun, trapped air will pop up to the surface, ruining the finish. Lastly, I reminded myself the environment the car will be used in... track events. I had a Datsun 1200 I used for track events, and the front of it got sand blasted by all the debris kicked up from other cars. So, it looks like I'm going to be doing it myself for cost reasons, and also because there's no reason to give it a perfect paint job - and I'm perfectly qualified to make it not quite perfect! It'll be painted with flat-black primer, which I think will enhance its sinister nature too. Plus, touching up the finish will be a breeze.
27 April

Been doing a lot of thinking about the bodywork; I'm not sure which way to go with this. Put into words, it's conflicting thoughts like:
1. I don't look forward to doing 100s and 100s of hours of sanding.
2. I've never done complete and extensive bodywork on a composite car before, all the way to paint prep.
3. While I can get it "close" to being ready, I suspect there's a fair chance it'll look bad unless the pros fix it.
4. As we head into summer, I won't enjoy being fully covered in gear to protect me from nasty epoxy/carbon/glass dust.
5. I'm afraid I'll suck at it.
6. I'm afraid that after I'm all "done" with it, the paint shop will say it's so bad they'll have to spend a lot of time fixing it.
7. Related to #6, if they have to fix it, does that mean I should have had them do it right the first time.
8. Having a paint shop do it "the right way" could be very expensive...
9. Having the professionals do it would go a long way to getting Kimini done and on the road, far sooner then if I do the work.
10. Sometimes, it's okay not do everything myself. It's okay to say, "alright, this isn't my strong point" and have someone good take over.
So that's where I am right now, weighing the three choices of: Get it done quickly. Get it done right. Get it done cheaply..... Pick two....
24 April

Guess I've now officially switched hats to "body worker." The shell is rather sad because it wasn't vacuum-bagged, with a ton of bubbles (in the from of depressions), pin-holes, and areas where the composite pulled away from the mold. I knew this when I started and there was serious thought of throwing it out (really), and doing a vacuum-bagged fiberglass version. But, being human, I gave in to the "yeah- it's-carbon" vanity, so now I'm paying for my sin in the form of many hours of body work. There are so many surface defects that the most efficient way to fix it was using a squeegee and spreading filler over the entire surface. Epoxy was mixed with glass micro-ballons to the point the epoxy had the consistency of peanut butter, then off I went. After lots of sanding there will no doubt be more filler and more sanding before any primer is applied. I'm not sure how long this cycle will go on; guess it'll either be until I finish or get sick of it and hand it off to professionals. At this point I can do most of the work; if I hand it off later, at least I'll have done the bulk of the work to keep the costs down. Right now I suspect this is going to be messy, monotonous, and unrewarding, but we'll see. It all depends at what point it's deemed "good enough." I still haven't decided if I'll even paint it... guess I'm getting tired of dumping money into it.

Last shot is, I believe, a B17 flying into the local airport. It's cool to see them fly over; they look like they're hardly moving, and you can hear them coming from a long way off. I think they're selling rides; last I recall it was something like $450 and it pretty much just took off, made a big turn and landed. Still, in a way, I can see it being worth it for what it is, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ride in something with enormous history. At $450 per passenger, they probably aren't making much with the cost of gas and maintenance.

23 April

The paintball gun came back from Chipley, nicely tuned up with a few new parts, no charge; the beauty of their life-time warranty. I'm selling the barrel it came with and bought a Scepter barrel kit. I'm considering upgrading the heavy air tank but the really nice carbon ones are very expensive... Yeah I know this isn't car-related, but if you like cool mechanical stuff, paintball markers are right up there. Contrary to what my wife thinks, I don't think about cars all the time...
22 April

Okay, I have a bit more information regarding the epoxy issue. I received the following from West System:
Room temperature cure epoxies have a limited post cure response. Post cures, exposure to elevated temperature after an epoxy has cured can boost its mechanical properties - if its a system that responds to post cures. WEST SYSTEM does not respond too much to post cure - maybe 5%. I've built intake manifold components and similar 200F + parts and they got post cured on the job - which is valid. Limits for WEST SYSTEM high temperature exposure are on the order of 300. At 140 it starts to get soft, a post cure could enhance that. Our pro set line responds better to post cures so its high temp work limits may be close to 160 but that's about it.
I then asked exactly what he meant by "soft."
Good questions. here are a couple of examples of situations I've encountered/dealt with.

1. threaded studs are bonded into a wooden with fiberglass covering intake manifold carburetor spacer (a performance issue to improve plenum condition). Centrifugal forces exerted on turns at high speed stress studs that hold carburetor. Engine temps are about 200F in operation, maybe a little cooler with air flow about compartment. Studs do well but when at rest and engine is shut down temperatures rise to 250 and we notice that nuts are loose because studs creep in holes and require tightening.

Black surface faired (1/2" thick in areas) with #407 phenolic low density filler on soap box derby car sitting still in the sun gets hot to the touch, about 200F measured with infrared device but when I push on faired area and doesn't not depress with all the force I can exert with my thumb but can depress with a blunt screw driver. Where as, same condition with #410 much softer and can be depressed with maximum pressure with thumb. The rest of the entire structure all bonded together is very rigid and remains so - determined by resonance when thumped on - sounds like a drum.
So there we go. Looks like I'll be fine if I insert a metal ring in the output end of the air box so it doesn't collapse over time being clamped to the rubber inlet hose. Regarding the shell, it looks like my saving grace is that it's not structural. It may soften slightly but not enough to collapse. Looks like I'll "probably" be okay if I paint it gray, though I was told by someone else that I'm going to have problems with escaping gas from within the composite ruining the paint finish. I was also told that anywhere I used honeycomb core (in the roof), it may delaminate as the heat expands the air inside the honeycomb... great. May have to go to the backup plan of either leaving it primer gray (instead of primer black) and consider silver instead of dark gray. Not such a terrible thing... knowing ahead of time what may happen if I leave it dark...
20 April

I'm getting a lot of comments about the composite cure issue. I decided to go to the source and wrote to West System, maker of the epoxy I use, to see what they say. No one yet has agreed with the comments about the epoxy softening... The general consensus is, once it's hardened, that's it, short of heating it up so much it actually melts. I'm still researching this...
18 April

Remember how I said one of my insecurities was worrying someone out there is looking at what I'm doing and shaking their head? Wondering why I was doing something wrong and didn't know better? Yup, I got one of those e-mails over the weekend. The irony is that it was someone from where I work!

However, it wasn't a bad thing. Many thanks to Dave for pointing out something I was completely clueless about. It relates to the temperature at which composite cures... take my air-box for example. I let it cure at room temperature, so it's fine, right? Well, yes, as long as I only use it in an environment no warmer then what it was cured at. Turns out that if a part is cured at, oh, 70 deg F, and then mounted in an engine compartment that's maybe 170 deg F, the epoxy will re-soften. What must be done is to always cure composite at a temperature higher then it will ever see in operation. Once it's cured at a given temperature it will stay rigid up to that temperature. Either it's not in my books or I forgot ever reading about it.

What I'm thankful about is learning this now. With the air-box it means putting it in an oven for a couple hours, though since I removed the foam I have to keep it from "wilting" somehow. The real issue is the carbon shell, that's going to be a bit more work. I now know that a white painted surface sitting in a desert environment (like Willow Springs Raceway) will reach 165 deg F. Recall that my plan was to paint the car either dark gray or just leave it primered. Worse, the engine compartment gets much hotter, especially once the car stops and heat-soaks. Fixing this will require putting the shell pieces back in the molds and building an insulated box around them, adding some heaters, and baking it at around 220 deg F for a few hours. Not learning this now could have been a very sad thing. Thanks Dave, for saving me from having a big disaster on my hands!
17 April

Since passenger compartment body work is next I put the doors on. Shots are of the custom hinges; I used half of the stock part and made the other half. Oilite bushings are on the load side of each hinge. The reason the doors are going on now (temporarily) is to use them as a guide to know where and how much filler I need. Unfortunately when the body was made it wasn't vacuum bagged; in some areas the fabric backed away from the mold. So now I pay for that by wasting time, weight, and money, correcting the goofs. The idea is to fix the composite defects and fill the low spots in the garage, then remove the shell and do the messy sanding work ourside.

Without restraint the doors can open really wide, which may come in handy when working on it. And finally a shot from the front, taken at eye level. It's pretty low...

16 April

Pretty much finished the lower portion of the air-box except for its mounting to the frame. The foam came right out, no problem, as did the tape. Looking at some of the pictures you can see ripples left from the tape; they're actually very slight. The assembly turned out plenty stiff, no doubt because of all the compound curves. Upper right shot is with the frame and filter "ledge" riveted in. It positions the filter so it's just slightly above the top edge of the frame, and will be compressed, and sealed, by the yet-to-be-built upper assembly. Bottom shots show it in place, it turned out fine. I'll make the upper half later, after the side window is in place. Last picture is of my "bestest buddy" Cooper, taking one of his many naps. He's doing well since the accident though sometimes he's stiff after a nap. Getting old... just like me...

15 April

Took the day off and worked on the air-box. Finished sanding until it was "good enough", then wrapped it in shipping tape. I realize shipping tape won't result in a glass smooth inside finish, but so what, it'll serve the purpose just fine. The housing is so much larger then the stock set-up it's not like airflow will be measurably affected. While I intended to use carbon, it just seemed like an extravagant waste of material. Plain old boring fiberglass was used instead; the carbon will be saved for the dash cover. Not sure if I have enough layers on the box, there being 2-3 layers pretty much all over it. If it's too flexible I'll take care of it tomorrow.

Regarding the paintball marker, it arrived today! Whoohoo! Very nice... No doubt I'll get nailed by a 13-year old, but at least it'll be a fun activity and get me out of the garage. It'll now be shipped to the manufacturer for a complete check-out and tune up - the beauty of a life-time warranty. The only downer is that it wasn't packed well and the air tank threads got dinged, like the box was dropped. But the air tank manufacturer said no problem and they're shipping a new part for free. Cool. Did I mention my wife's going to kill me?

11 April

Boy I really hit a chord on the moldless composite air-box... been getting e-mails all day.

The urethane foam, epoxy, books on the subject, and just about anything else needed to build an airplane or race car are from Aircraft Spruce. They are not the cheapest place around, but you can always find what you need. I was reminded the urethane sheets may also be used in home wall insulation, depending where you live. The epoxy is the "West System" which I like a lot because it has nearly no smell. OTOH the stuff from Home Depot really stinks! Thanks to several e-mails I'm warned that if I just put the composite straight over the foam it'll look like crap on the inside once I remove the foam. That's because the epoxy soaks into the foam, leaving a really rough surface, not good for airflow. Thanks to Benn for telling me to wrap the foam in packing tape before lay-up. In fact I was thinking something even better might be the stretchy film for wrapping pallets. Heck, even "Saran-Wrap" might work. Either should work well due to all the 3D curves my air-cleaner box has. Of course I'm reminded that the epoxy will get into the folds... nuts.

The seller of the paintball marker shipped it and supplied a tracking number! Whoohoo! Now I get to wait and make sure it is as advertised.
10 April

Trying out something new, for me at least, moldless composite construction. I made an aluminum frame for the air-filter element which was straight forward, but the longer I looked at it, the more it looked like using metal for the rest of it was a poor choice because of all the curves. Since I've been itching to try out the moldless method, it seemed good to use this as practice for the dash. Urethane foam blocks are glued together and carved to make the desired shape, then covered with composite. After it hardens, the foam is removed. Presto, a one-off custom air-intake... or at least that's the plan. As shown here it's still rough and will be smoothed out more before wrapping it in carbon (of course.) The grove in the fourth picture is where the air-box straddles a chassis tube, which it'll also mount to. Fun stuff.

In other news, the seller of the paintball marker finally wrote back saying it ships tomorrow; fingers crossed. The irony is, the company that makes this marker, Chipley Custom Machine, is experiencing some legal issue this week. The only two markers they make have been pulled from their site. Amazing, can I pick 'em or what! I have no idea what this means for product support. Hope I didn't buy a dinosaur.

7 April

Taking a mid-week break from the car, spending time learning all about the world of paintball. Yes, that's right, while I've only played a few times, instead of deciding, "well that was okay - once", I like it more each time I play. While I have absolutely no interest in real guns, I enjoy paintball a lot, matching wits against the other team. So I spend time lurking on the paintball forums, seeing what equipment people like. The markers (guns) are widely priced; from roughly $50 all the way to $1300. I didn't want a new one because of the depreciation; that had the advantage of opened up choices otherwise outside the budget. If you care, I bought a used marker, manufactured by Chipley Custom Machine. Chipley is exceptional in that they make everything themselves, plus they give a life-time warranty. Not one person, anywhere, said anything negative about them, their product, or their support. How many companies can that be said about? That alone sold me on the brand name. I'm just impressed when I come across that rare company that's really on the ball.

Of course, I haven't actually received it yet... No, I'm in that scary nebulous region of an ebay purchase. You know the feeling, you bid, you won, you send the money... and then you wait, wondering if the seller is a great human being, or a lousy no-good thief. Wondering if you'll hear anything at all, then when you do, and he says it shipped, you wonder, did it really, and if and when it shows up, will it really be what you bid on? I use ebay all the time, but never for anything too expensive. This one has me nervous.

I bet this paintball stuff makes some people wonder, "just how old is this guy?" Let's just say I'm a grownup that never grew up. A big hint is when I was in high school, paintball didn't exist! In any case, it's refreshing to take a break from a complicated car project and focus on something simple for a change. I'm not letting up on the car, but I won't let it rule me either.
3 April

Installed the new brake master cylinders; the pedal feel is much better. I have to wait for the test drives to see if they are correctly sized now. After they were installed, next was the curved panel at the base of the windshield. Second shot is what I call the "Bondurant panel" seen in the foreground. Its purpose is to keep my legs inside the car if the floor panels get ripped off, like what happened to Bob Bondurant in the 1960s. His car hit a dirt embankment which peeled the floor off, allowing his legs to dangle out while the car rolled. It was a long time before he walked again... no thanks. Third shot is with the passenger compartment on, and finally with the engine cover in place. This was to better figure out where the air filter box must go. Last shot shows the approximate location of the air filter.

2 April

Went to the "Good guys" hotrod show in Del Mar, the first real hot rod show I've been to. Here are some of the more notable cars. The red roadster looked ordinary until we noticed there was no engine "where it was supposed to be." Well there it is, mounted mid-engine. The surprising thing to me is the half-shafts carrying the enormous torque from the V8 into the huge tires are smaller then my Honda axles. The third shot is a different looking V8, due to someone noticing that a Porsche 928 block was within 0.030" of an American engine, so someone created a 427cu. in. all aluminum quad cam V8 producing 550ft-lb at 2500rpm. Next is a beautiful green sedan with a Viper V10. At upper right, I just missed getting a good shot of a 1927 Indy Roadster, but it gives an idea how small they are.

Lower left, a good tow vehicle for my car! It could just about fit on the rear bed... Next is a very long, very black sedan, followed by a very, very, well done early Thunderbird with a late-model Corvette engine. The car looked brand new; I'd consider owning this one. Last two shots, a rather surprising car at this event, a 1922 Duesenberg in apparently stock condition, just sitting there waiting to be bought and restored... if you have $375,000, no kidding. And it was just sitting there all by itself.

1 April

Thinking ahead to insurance, I discovered many classic car/hotrod insurance companies do not insure a car if it's driven to work. Well that blows... I'd like to do that occasionally. The plan is to insure it as a 1961 Mini "Modified" and they have no problem with that; but it can only be driven to shows or "pleasure driving" and less then 3000 (or 5000) miles per year. But I can't drive it to work... I think their concern is it sitting someplace insecure. Fine, guess I'll contact our insurer who takes care of our home and other cars. If anyone has a hotrod, and knows that the insurer will let you drive it to work, please drop me a note.

The brake cylinders showed up so they'll go in Sunday. I'm still reading many differing opinions regarding using flex-hose everywhere instead of hard-line for brakes. I'm going to leave it as is for now... I suspect I have hard-to-remove air bubbles in the system. In other news, I've been looking at paintball gear... my wife will kill me...