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Fresh back from Texas

Fresh back from Texas

1996 328is, 5MT, 100% stock (see how long that lasts)

*Updates*
2/08 17″ ’95 M3 wheels from black car
5/08 Koni SA Yellows, H&R Sport springs, wheel stud conversion, fresh bushings, control arms, tie rods, UUC Swaybarbarian SpecE36 bars
6/08 Rear Brembo OE rotors, Axxis/PBR street pads
7/08 15% window tint
8/08 Front OE rotors, Axxis/PBR street pads

RIP

RIP



1/31/2008

Murdered by a Dodge Ram while unoccupied in a Papa John’s parking lot. What a disappointing way to go.

Purchased: 12/22/2006, 155k miles
Totaled: 1/31/2008, 182k miles

Absolutely the best of the four BMWs I’ve owned thus far. So what’s next? … Wait and see.

Project: Makeshift Racing

Project: Makeshift Racing

On December 22, 2006 I bought a black on black BMW 325is manual coupe to replace my gold 325i manual sedan that was totaled. On February 1, 2007 I got caught in an ice storm and slid off the road, into a ditch, and turned on the roof in the “new” car. State Farm declared that one also a total loss, but it was still in decent condition. Since February it has been an on-going project for David (my brother) and I to repair and convert to a trackable driver.

I’ll post more details on the car later, but its due for its first track day at Barber Motorsports Park on Memorial Day weekend, immediately followed by an SCCA National autocross on June 1-2 in Huntsville. On July 17-18 we’ll be going to Deal’s Gap.

1992 BMW 325is Blk/blk Coupe
BMW Ultimate Drive – Susan G. Komen for the Cure

BMW Ultimate Drive – Susan G. Komen for the Cure

While I was in Birmingham on April 24, I joined some fellow members of the Heart of Dixie chapter of the BMW CCA to drive the fleet of Susan G. Komen cars from Birmingham to Knoxville. For every mile driven, BMW donates $1 for breast cancer research. I drove a 2007 Z4 Coupe on this leg.

The BMW Ultimate Drive was also in Huntsville on April 27 so I took Dad down with me, and we were able to test drive the 335i coupe, the 335i sedan, and the new X5 SAV. The 335i has an impressive, wonderful engine, but the car overall leaves me a bit underwhelmed. I’m hoping that powertrain ends up in a 1-series soon.

BMW Ultimate Drive – Susan G. Komen for the Cure 2007
Caster, camber, toe

Caster, camber, toe

Pointed the Right Way

Camber, Caster and Toe: What Do They Mean?

The three major alignment parameters on a car are toe, camber, and caster. Most enthusiasts have a good understanding of what these settings are and what they involve, but many may not know why a particular setting is called for, or how it affects performance. Let’s take a quick look at this basic aspect of suspension tuning.

End of an era

End of an era

The gold 1992 BMW 325i sedan is no more. State Farm has declared it a total loss after a front-end altercation in a parking lot (no-fault accident).

I bought this car in March 2005 with 172,000 miles. As of December 2006 it has 233,400 miles, still on the same engine, transmission, clutch, etc. That’s 61,400 miles in 20 months, or almost exactly 100 miles per day average.

It made two appearances on track — Talladega Gran Prix (TGPR) and Barber Motorsports Park, and three trips to Deal’s Gap (Tail of the Dragon). I’ve salvaged the suspension (Bilstein Sports/BavAuto springs) to reuse on the next car, along with my personal additions.

RIP

Accident damage

BMW E36 Links

BMW E36 Links

These are mainly for my own reference, as I’m at work and won’t have these bookmarks when I get home to work on the car. I bought another BMW today, same as the one I already have — a 1992 E36 325i sedan, 5 speed manual with 201,000 miles in decent condition. Definitely needs some attention, but that’s what this is for.

Installing a Valentine One Radar Detector
E36 electric window fix
E36 back seat removal
Gauges
Other guides
BMW DIY
Understeer.com
Installing gauge cluster trim rings

Live from the BMW Performance Center, Spartanburg, SC

Live from the BMW Performance Center, Spartanburg, SC

7:50am – Got in around 7:30pm ET yesterday, 6h 15m drive from Pulaski to Greer, SC. Terrible traffic in Atlanta. Got a good night of sleep, woke up early. About to leave hotel and head to the Performance Center. Updates to follow.

4:45pm – Back at the hotel. Activities today included slalom course, ABS braking exercise, skidpad, another slalom, oval skidpad/mini-race, powerslides, and timed autocross. I had the best autox single run time, but only by a couple tenths. I’m exhausted.

Morning started out slow, classroom session was overly simplistic and nothing new (define apex, etc.) and the first few exercises were easy, but looking back built up both confidence in the car and set some benchmarks for the rest of the day. I’m the youngest in the group by quite a few years. Many in the class don’t even own BMWs. One of the instructors does WERA road racing. Going to get dinner and get some sleep. More tomorrow.

Day 2: Wow! Delayed posting this, I’m back at work, but what an awesome time. Due to special circumstances, we got bumped up to M3s from the 330is we drove on day 1. Amazing cars, and I may be convinced on SMG now. More slalom, skidpad, emergency braking, emergency lane change, just at faster speeds. Also more autox. Then we got to test-drive the Z4M Roadster, M5, M6, 760Li, 650Ci, and X5 4.8L on the autox course. After that we took the X5s out to the off-road course for a bit of fun.

Read More Read More

BMW Performance Driving School

BMW Performance Driving School

BMW

So it looks like I’m going to the BMW Performance Driving School on September 15-16 (tentative, date subject to change).

I think this will be a bit low-key: emphasis on car control, maybe a bit of skidpad. Not really an advanced track school or anything, but hey, its a(n expensive) freebie.

This is in Spartanburg, SC at the BMW Performance Center. I may try to work in a drive through Deal’s Gap on the way there or back. Or I may decide to fly and skip the 8 hour drive there & back.

Update Dates confirmed, hotel reservation made.

Little of this, little of that.

Little of this, little of that.

Some cool stuff I’ve found lately:

· RumbleStripRadio: a motorcycle racing podcast, covers MotoGP, WSBK, AMA…
· MotoGPod: another, focus on MotoGP
· Rossi Files: blog of Valentino Rossi news, etc.

Some of you know I recently got a used Powerbook G4. So far, I love it. Here are some Apple links.

· Applepedia: Like Wikipedia, but for Apple/Mac stuff.
· VersionTracker: software repository

The pictures are posted from our trip to The Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park. And if you missed it, my album is still online from the AMA Superbike round at Barber back in April.

Barber Motorsports – AMA Superbike – 2006
Barber 2006 – The Porsche 250

The AMA Superbike album also has pictures from the awesome museum there. Check it out!

Ariel Atom coming to the US

Ariel Atom coming to the US

Also recently announced, the Ariel Atom will be coming to the US through Brammo Motorsports.

Pricing will start in the low 30s and go from there depending on options. Engine options include a 300HP supercharged Ecotec. 0-60 in 2.something seconds, or roughly as fast as a litrebike like an R1 or ZX-10R. Mainly a track weapon, it will be street legal as a kit car in many states. If you aren’t familiar, this is the car that Clarkson hailed on Top Gear and set a near-record lap time with the Stig at the wheel — just behind a Ferrari Enzo and Maserati MC-12.

Build mine with the best Brembo brake kit available, please.

Busy weekend for the Bimmer

Busy weekend for the Bimmer

This week we’ve done rear shocks, front brakes, oil change, power steering flush, new rear tires, and rotate/balance. New exhaust gaskets go in today, bleed/flush brake fluid today, new front struts on order, and clips for the door mouldings on order (all of them started coming loose at once?!?).

Car turned 193,000 miles this week. Will add almost 1,500 more over the next week driving to all those events and participating.

Rumor: Chrysler to show Challenger concept at Detroit

Rumor: Chrysler to show Challenger concept at Detroit

http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=103629

“To all those purists who still can�t forgive Dodge for building a four-door Charger, here�s your answer: the 2006 Dodge Challenger concept. The Dodge boys released a sketch of the car to the world, but we obtained these exclusive spy photos of the car, which will premiere at the North American International Auto Show in January in Detroit.

“Built on a shortened Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger chassis (116-inch wheelbase vs. 120 inches), the Challenger gets a 6.1-liter Hemi hooked to a six-speed manual transmission with a pistol grip shifter.”

If Chrysler builds this car with a six speed manual, I will own one at any cost.

Something worthwhile for Valentine’s Day

Something worthwhile for Valentine’s Day

So instead of being doing some sappy romantic garbage for Valentine’s Day ’06, why don’t you sit back, turn on the TV, and tune to TLC for an all-new episode of Overhaulin’?

February 14 is the air date for the episode that was filmed at SEMA. Look for me somewhere in the front left of the crowd during the reveal of the car to Merrick.

It will be lots more fun than buying roses.

SEMA Wrap-up

SEMA Wrap-up

Got back in to Nashville in the wee hours of the morning. Had a great time in Vegas, except for having my cell phone picked off sometime Wednesday and having to deal with Sprint. Hopefully I’ll have a replacement handset by the first of the week. They insist they must ship me a new phone, even though there was a huge Sprint/Nextel store right at the Las Vegas Convention Center where I could have picked one up.

Had a great time at the show. Took almost 400 pictures, most of them ended up blurry or otherwise bad, because I’m a terrible photog and have unsteady hands.

SEMA 2005
SEEEEEEMMMAAA

SEEEEEEMMMAAA

Flying out from Nashville (BNA) at 06:00 Wednesday to Las Vegas (LAS) for SEMA at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Been wanting to go to this show for years, and finally got an industry pass. Thanks, Marie!

Got the camera, got an extra SD card, and some comfortable shoes. Still have to pack everything and find a hanging garment bag to take. Should have tons of pictures upon my return.

VIVA LAS VEGAS!

Deal’s Gap, 16 October 2005

Deal’s Gap, 16 October 2005

Went back to the Gap on 15-16 October 2005. Took the BMW up as I’m not back on the bike yet (and its starting to get too cold to worry about it this year anyway). EastTNRiders.com had the EOSB (End of Season Bash) at the store Saturday night, and it was great to put names and faces together.

Photo Number 6 Photo Number 5 Photo Number 4
Photo Number 2 Photo Number 12 Photo Number 13
Photo Number 8 Photo Number 14 Photo Number 15
KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS

KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS

KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS

If more people don’t start obeying this simple traffic guideline, I’m going to go mental. How hard is it, people? Stay in the right lane unless you are passing. Pass quickly and safely, then get back in the right lane. STOP HOGGING THE LEFT LANE ON THE INTERSTATE!

In other news, I got behind a black C6 Z06 Corvette yesterday in Nashville on I-65 south, north of Franklin. That was the second new Z06 I’ve seen on the road (saw a yellow one last month on I-24 between Murfreesboro and Nashville). Anyway, we were both in the left lane rolling about 85 around traffic, and caught a big gap in traffic. I guess he was tired of seeing a Roundel in his mirror, but whatever the reason, he dropped a gear and went WOT. The exhaust note from that car is pure sex, I tell you. He must have rolled up to 140 or close, because I tried to keep him in sight speeding up to a touch over 120, and he was still pulling away from me like I was stationary. Color me impressed.

Motorracing Roundup

Motorracing Roundup

I just realized it has been over four months since I updated anything here. Sorry for letting things get so stale. I updated a lot of the sub-pages last week. Here’s a roundup of what I’ve been up to.

I bought another bike back in May after selling one of the Kawasakis. Its a 1998 Yamaha FZR600R, and was in perfect shape with street and track bits. I did a track day back in early August with Ed Bargy Racing School and got competition certified for WERA. I don’t plan to compete for a while yet, but there are a LOT of track days coming up.

Alex and I took a trip to Deal’s Gap at the end of August, and I slipped up and high-sided the FZR. Bike came out OK (needs upper fairing and some touch-up paint), but I managed to shatter my wrist in the process. I had surgery at Vanderbilt to reconstruct it, and I’ve got an external fixator on for six weeks total (three weeks more). That’s keeping me off the bike, and making me mental. I am getting rather quick at typing and tieing my shoes with my left hand, however. I’ve been driving the Jaguar since I can’t shift the BMW.

I’ve become interested in this new podcasting fad, and there are three podcasts in particular that you should check out.

  • MotoGPod – Bob Hayes’ podcast on MotoGP, and sometimes other motorcycle road racing.
  • The F1 Podcast – I’ve listened to a few Formula 1 podcasts, and this is the best.
  • The A1GP Podcast – Same guy that does the F1 podcast; this one is all about the new A1GP series. More on that later.

I saw a segment on the British motoring show Fifth Gear where Jason Plato test-drove one of the development cars for the A1GP. I didn’t really think the series would get off the ground, but when you have the financial resources of the Dubai royal family at your disposal, I guess anything becomes possible, eh? The first race is at Brands Hatch next month, and at least 20 teams are ready to race. For a primer on A1GP, check out the Wikipedia article or the podcast linked above. The main thing that interests me is Scott Speed driving for the USA team. It also looks like he has a certain seat in F1 next year with Red Bull just announcing the purchase of Minardi. Best of luck to the American driver in both of these race series. Hopefully some US fans will take interest in something besides NASCAR.

Back in February I posted my predictions for this year in F1, MotoGP, and WRC. Well, I never actually got into WRC past the Monaco round. Sorry. I know rally is awesome, and I’d love to get to drive a rally race, but I can’t follow it on TV like I can road racing. Anyway, here’s a little-past-mid-season update to my predictions:

  • MotoGP – Of course I was dead-on about Rossi. Who could miss that? Too bad he posted his first DNF of the season today at Suzuka, or he might have clinched the championship. Gibernau has really put me off; I can’t stand his attitude, and I hope Rossi makes good on his promise to prevent him from ever winning another MotoGP race. Really pulling for Edwards and Hayden; both are having decent seasons. Disappointed for Shakey Byrne and the whole KTM deal. I really, REALLY like Shakey, and hopefully a decent team will pick him up and give him a competitive ride. *edit* This just in — Camel Honda signed Shakey to ride the next two races for the injured Bayliss. Awesome!
  • Formula 1 – Wow. Talk about blowing it. I wasn’t even close. First, thanks, F1, for spoiling the USGP and putting off a generation of fans in this country. Regardless of who is most at fault, it was a total farce. Please don’t screw it up next year KPLZTHX. Renault is doing me proud. Alonso is awesome in my book; I’ve been pulling for Alonso and Coulthard since race one this year. Speaking of Red Bull, looks like they’re getting serious about this. They may be F1’s saving grace, especially with their commitment to put an American in the driver’s seat of at least one car. GG, Red Bull. Also interesting is BMW looking to have a go for next season. Best of luck to them as well, and please send me a new 3-series guys. This season has been good so far, but I’m really looking forward to 2006 and 2007 with the new teams and new rules.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m posting this in a hurry, so hopefully there aren’t too many errors. Later!