Friday, August 29, 2008

End of Summer Update

We've been busy with some travel, a new acquisition, and some prototype work. The travel was a trip out to the Pebble Beach Concourse D'Elegance, which is a hugely over-the-top classic car show. It's hard to describe the ridiculousness of this show, so I won't try, but I'll share a couple of pictures. On the modern side, there were such vehicles as the Lamborghini Reventón (one of twenty made) , several concept cars, and the debut of the new convertible Bugatti Veyron. On the classic car side, there were scads of '30's-vintage Rolls Royces, V-16 Cadillacs, and Packards. Oh, and a mess of Ferrari 250GT Spyder Californias. And a Ferrari 312P flown in from Switzerland. So many super-ultra-rare cars I felt like my brain was going to explode from overload. "Oh, look, a Lamborghini Miura Spyder. Wait...did they even make a Miura Spyder?" (Answer: Yes, but only one.)

Featured cars included V-16 Cadillacs, Alfa Romeos, and the Ferrari 250GT Spyder California, of which several gorgeous examples were in attendance. (See one at left.) The Spyder California was already highly coveted before the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," but that film brought the car to the attention of the public, which further added to its value.

There were not any Subarus shown at Pebble Beach, but there was a WRX STi at the nearby Pacific Grove Concours Auto Rally.

Back to reality, we've got our annual Mach V Track Day event coming up, and after balling up my Lancer Evolution at a track event a couple of years ago, I'm not so keen on risking my pristine STI. So we acquired a somewhat tired 2000 Impreza which we're going to turn into a track mule. On the minus side, the body is a little rough, and the engine has a rod knock. On the plus side, we've got a spare engine, and it happens to be a Japanese turbo engine. (It's 1996 vintage, but still...) So we'll be putting that together over the next couple of months.

I find it interesting to compare the size of the '00 Impreza with its grandson the '08 STI. The old car (known by its chassis code GC) looks much smaller, even though it's only about an inch shorter in length and width. It is a full three inches shorter in height, and the roof line does look much lower; the beltline is lower, too. There's a huge difference in weight, though: The older car weighs around 2700 pounds, while our '08 model is a hefty 3350 or so. Even just getting in to the GC car, you can tell the old chassis isn't anywhere close to the stiffness level of the current car. You can get in the car and watch the frame flex! We'll be gaining some stiffness with extensive chassis reinforcement and a roll cage...

Yes, this post WILL actually have some Mach V STI info in it. We're working on a cat-back exhaust for the car. We have mostly finished the prototype. It still needs tips, but the basic design and layout is done. The design is a transverse oval muffler with four tips, similar to the factory layout. The piping will be 3" to the muffler, then 2.5" out to the tips. Even with our phony muffler (it's full of air, not normal muffler packing), the prototype system is surprisingly quiet. We're aiming for a mild sound with good exhaust flow. Look for the system on our web site some time in the near future.