Three layers of red velvet and about 40 pounds of buttercream. If I don't die, you can wish me a happy birthday tomorrow.
Just another mental defective Kinja refugee living on borrowed sanity
Anyone who knows me knows about the usually-annoying attention to detail that I employ in automotive projects, but it's something that really interferes with everyday life. I mean who cares if every slice of pepperoni is exactly 3/32"? Can't some be 1/16 and the next one be 1/8? It tastes the same. So I generally try to tone it down for mundane purposes.
So one of the Things I Do is read books. Like a lot of damn books. Someday the house is going to collapse under the weight of all these books. And I usually find a typo, or a factual error, usually car-related.
Anyone who's read Tom Clancy will cringe at his mention of the Jaguar's "powerful V8 engine" (this was in the pre-Ford days.) Stephen King is even worse. Seems like every time he even mentions an automobile, he gets it wrong. I think he does it just to fuck with me.
So I'm reading this book, right? And right there in the middle of page 499 someone (likely someone's kid or grandkid) has inserted POOP in the middle of a word.
How did that get past proofreading? I mean it's POOP, in all caps.
The author sends out e-mail blasts promoting his new book (which is where I found the POOP) and actually reads the replies.
So I replied. Hey dude, you might want to check this POOP out.
Quite naturally, the author was aghast.
This led to a discussion about some other, less significant, errors in the same book (the seventh in the series) and long story short (too late for that) he sent me another copy, and one of his first book which is due for another re-print with instructions to pick all the nits.
This is right in my wheelhouse. So I grabbed a hi-liter and did work. Still doing it, should finish up later today. And holy shit, what a goddamn rush.
I've never really let that OCD dog off the chain before. I'm checking spelling/grammar, editing for Chicago style (which is more or less universal in literature) and fact-checking.
I'm a bit reluctant to call him out on automotive facts, because this is a guy who hangs out with the likes of David Hobbs and Dan Gurney, and has driven most of the cars he talks about in the books. But a few mistakes made their way in, and it's my job to find them (for a given value of "job." We haven't discussed compensation.)
But I'm Googling team transporters from 70 years ago, checking pre-Interstate map routes, tire sizes, shit like that. Details, in other words, that damn few people would ever pick up on or care about if they did.
It's a rush, and I don't know why. It should be boring as fuck. I literally get up at 0400 to do it, because it gets my heart going, and my brain (or what passes for one, see first image) is bouncing off the rev limiter.
The one time I tried cocaine, it felt a lot like this.
So yes, I am fucked in the head, and enjoying it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to verify the tire size on an old Alfa.
Back in '04 or so, I was into RC rock crawling in a big way. Back then you had to make your own stuff, and modify things you bought to make them work better. This includes tires. Available tires (with a few exceptions) were too stiff and nowhere near grippy enough. So I learned the fine art of siping.
Siping is accomplished with a Dremel tool cutoff wheel, and involves cutting fine grooves in the tread lugs.
This creates a lot of dust and smoke. The smoke goes away. The dust sticks to ya, because it's melted rubber. Hand cleaner won't touch it, soap is a joke, shampoo, and other household cleaners were similarly ineffective.
Lacquer thinner does a hell of a job on it, though. Dries the skin something fierce.
While I was doing this job, I was wearing shorts, and boxers, and holding the tire between my knees. Seemed the most comfortable way to get things done. Didn't think about the rubber dust on my hands or legs, because I knew the thinner would take it off.
After the third tire was done, I had to take a leak.
Uh oh. Seems that rubber dust gets... everywhere. The old twig & berries had a liberal coating of the stuff.
Only one thing gets it off, remember?
Well, what's the worst that could happen? Thinner doesn't hurt when I use it on my hands, right? I went to work on it.
Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ, that hurts! I mean, I'm on fire down there, and it doesn't stop hurting, either. We're talking major, tear-inducing, screaming pain. It went on for hours. The worst part was knowing I had to finish the job after the pain started (the job was finished).
I suppose a moisturizing lotion would have ameliorated it some, but at that point I wasn't thinking real clearly, and I probably didn't have any anyway.
No, I didn't even start on the fourth tire.
TL;DR version: Don't clean your cock with lacquer thinner.
The journey continues. On 4/27/19 I drove her home in second gear, leaving a trail of 87 octane and waiting for one of the dry-rotted tires to blow.
Day One. Did you know these things will do 80 in second gear?
I thought I was pretty lucky to find a rust-free, low-mileage example. Good bones and all that. Figured there would be some "project car" stuff involved, but I needed to limit it to the greasy bits as body and trim parts are pretty much unobtainable now, 34 years after her first birthday. I do hoard all the NOS parts I can find, including the front bumper trim strip (plate delete) and hood ornament, and I was extremely lucky to snag a fuel sending unit when I needed one.
Year One: Chasing and fixing all the major problems: Transmission (twice, once properly), fuel system, air conditioning, all the coolant hoses (pre-emptive repair, they were still good but 30 years old), starter and alternator, belts, radio, important electrical gremlins.
Also, much shaking of the head at the quality of past repairs. How hard is it to do proper work? Mechanically these cars are as sophisticated as a stone axe, yet previous work was beyond sub-par, bordering on sabotage.
Year Two: Minor gremlins, LED conversion for minor lamps (many), some upgrades, much waxing.
Year Three: Just drive. The gremlins are down to a noisy power steering pump and an intermittent misfire.
Crikey, the rozzers!
I had the Ansens and BFG's from the Ranger, put them on when the OE wheels were off getting re-shod, liked the look so they became the permanent summer wheels. Because look at them!
As for Isaac, I haven't seen him, but damn do the brothers love a Box Panther. Racists need not apply. It's a guaranteed conversation starter.
Total miles: 58,748, of which I can claim 9,161.
The Challenger is now a 2018 CX-5 Sport AWD. I'm gonna miss it, but Mrs Hotness can get into and out of this one without pain or drama.
Happy wife, happy life.
The dealer did a good Svend job on it. Very nearly acceptable (OCD speaking). They overdid the tire shine, but I guess that's par for the course.
10K miles, CPO warranty, etc etc. The trade-in on the Challenger was too good to pass up.
The owner's manual is a fucking brick. Like Stephen King wrote it, and then got the OK from the publisher to put all the cuttings back in. Someday I will figure out the infotainment.
Overall, it ain't bad.
Seems like yesterday I brought this thing home:
So you're all just dying to know, what's it like living with an outdated, oversized, underpowered, underdamped land yacht on a daily basis?
Pretty awesome, actually, once you get the bugs ironed out. Most of those bugs were due to bad repairs by previous stewards. And while that was annoying and occasionally expensive, it's also done.
Reliability has been 10/10, never failed to start on the first try, even during the sorting-out period. That's because I fired the parts cannon at it early, in a sustained barrage.
It's been driven in all weather, from 0F to 90+, wet and dry, for 22 months. So here's the review:
Look at all that blue velour.
New for 1988 was lumbar support in the seatbacks, and 33 years later it's still comfy. You don't sit in these seats, you sit on them, and you rely on seatbelts and friction to hold you in place during cornering, but if you're moving around you're going too fast. It's an obvious case of "not a sports car" and if you can wrap your head around that and drive it as such, it can get on with what it's good at, which is comfort.
This isn't performance luxury, it's grandpa luxury. Grandpa wants quiet and soft, and moderate speeds. And lots of room in the back seat. Adults will be comfortable with lots of room, even wearing a hat.
There are seatbelts for six. Might get a little tight. Four will ride in supreme comfort.
Yeah, don't have too many chassis pics.
What it's good at, it's really good at, being smooth and comfy. If you push it, you're gonna get lots of body roll and tire squeal (215s don't give you a lot of contact on a 3800 lb car (255-60's in the pic)) but it will turn, predictably and safely, but with a bit of drama. This is the car's way of saying "please don't do that." Keep doing that, and you're going to Understeer City.
Steering is super light and over-assisted. You really can park with one finger, if it's a decently-strong finger. Not much road feel. Back to doing what it's good at, which is isolating you from the road.
Front 10.5"discs, rear 10" drums. They do the job around town and on the freeway exits, but for any sort of spirited driving, they're seriously undersized. Overboosted and with no ABS, you'll want to leave some room in front. Don't drive it like you have a lot of brakes, because you don't.
Well, you've got a primitive trip computer and a radio with six speakers. What more do you want?
Luxury touches include automatic temp control, which still works and works well, even. And a power antenna, which still works:
In 1988, poors had to get out of the car to put their antenna up.
Power seats, windows, locks mirrors, tilt wheel and cruise control we take for granted today, but you were big pimpin' if you had all those 30 years ago. And I do, and they work. I guess that makes me a pimp. I sure feel like one driving this car. Automatic headlights, too.
Five liter V8 with a whopping 150 HP, but a good 275 lb-ft at 2000 rpm. The torque gets you going quickly enough and then it's time for the transmission to do work. Usually you're running at 2,000 rpm or less, which keeps you right there at the torque peak. So it feels faster than it is. 1/4 mile time is in the low 17s which is hilariously slow by 2021 standards.
All this is down to the throttle body. It's 52mm, about what you'd find on a Harley. Good port velocity, but it's all done by 3.500 and literally will not rev past 4,000. Kind of genius engineering for its intended use.
Sequential EFI was a really big deal in 1988.
Did you expect better? Why? 15 city, 25 highway. If you need more, get a Prius.
Cargo room: 10/10
22 cubic feet. You can literally haul 4 mounted tires and a week's worth of groceries at the same time, and get the lid closed. Room left over for a dead hooker, if she's small. If you need more room than that, you can always rent a van.
No air bags, no electro-nannies. Don't crash and you'll be fine. If you do crash, the full perimeter frame might help. But don't crash.
Style (subjective) 8/10:
It's your thing, or it isn't. Insert your own number here. Personally, I dig it. Even the padded vinyl roof.
This is all stone-age stuff. The oil filter is easy to get at and change, and you don't need to digitally pair any replacement parts. I'm gonn ding it one point for the single-stage enamel paint, which takes a bit of care or it'll go chalky. But with regular svending, it looks really good. 90% of the paint is original (half of one quarter panel has been resprayed).
What else ya want to know?
Covered my door strikers with 1/2 inch CPVC pipe. Why, what's that do? The striker is quite a bit smaller than the opening in the jaws of the latch. So with the door closed,it would sometimes rattle. And closing it wasn't a sure thing, sometimes the door would bounce back off the weatherstrip before the latch closed, and it would latch in the halfway "safety" position. Also very noisy when opening. CLACK!
Now: Opens silently, and closes every time effortlessly. Like with one finger. Feels like somebody stole my car and left me a 1980s Mercedes instead.
Wordle 534 4/6
Daily Dordle 0315 4&5/7
First one is related to today's Wordle
TRIDLE - 3/3 words, 8/8 tries
🟧🟧🟧 🟩 🟩🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟧
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
Daily Quordle 315
Second guess first, and you'll do better than I did.
Daily Octordle #315
Daily Sequence Octordle #315
Daily Rescue Octordle #315
I think 7 is pretty good under the circumstances.
Daily #295 20/21
Daily Sedec-order #295
Fuck that Spanish pop-up, right in the ear.
SCRABWORDLE - Normal mode 2/5 tries
Play this same puzzle at https://engaging-data.com/scrabwordle/?challenge=bhg5
xordle #249 4/8
Got Cardle in 3.
Slept in, no time for Thirtle.
@AkioOhtori Okay, trailering there and back is sort of cheating, but... YOU MADE IT!
With that car's history, I can totally understand wanting a trailer nearby.
Wordle 533 3/6
I just love it!
Daily Dordle 0314 3&5/7
TRIDLE - 3/3 words, 7/8 tries
🟧 🟩 🟧🟧🟧
🟧🟧 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
Daily Quordle 314
Daily Octordle #314
Daily Sequence Octordle #314
One less meh.
Daily Rescue Octordle #314
Daily #294 19/21
Finally a result.
Daily Sedec-order #294
That Spanish pop-up is almost enough to get me to stop playing.
SCRABWORDLE - Normal mode 3/5 tries
Play this same puzzle at https://engaging-data.com/scrabwordle/?challenge=cyi5
xordle #248 3/8
Tried word association rather than finding letters. Seems to have worked out.
Thirtle: Normal in 00:19:34
No record, but plodded thru it.
Cardle: another ain't care. For a site that supports historic and classic vehicles, they seem to only do modern stuff.
Lincoln Town Car at invoice? I'm in.
Full disclosure: in 1991 I was still accumulating free Yugos, so in reality I'd just have pulled another one from the yard.
Autopian article got me looking at Mercury Bobcats. Found one in Colorado springs for $3500:
No description whatsoever, only 3 pics, but the price is right.
Manual? Auto? Gotta be one of those. Running? Maybe?
But still, when's the last time you saw one?
Ironic: For an economy car, the fuel mileage sucks. It's not much (if any) better than my Crown Vic.