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Choosing new wheels: Fun with Photoshop!

Posted 08-10-2008 at 09:20 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
It's official. After further deliberation, I've decided that I'm gonna take the plunge and upgrade the brakes. As such, I have a new sense of freedom in shopping for wheels.

I spent a bunch of hours today window shopping online for new rims. I found a bunch of stuff that could work.

Everyone's taste is different. My own personal goals are to end up with a slightly more modern design but with a little retro hint to it...minimum rim diameter of 17 inches...with styling that isn't particularly shiny or flashy.

There were about 10 different rims that I liked, most of which I photoshopped onto the car, which allowed me to narrow the field down to the following four choices.

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Going out of order: The second pic shows classic Torq Thrust wheels by American Racing. I've always liked this style, but I'm a little reluctant to go with an actual totally retro style and 15 inch rims. The first pic shows a Boyd-Coddington...
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The dilemma of upgrading the brakes

Posted 08-08-2008 at 10:31 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
For the last two weeks I've been tentatively looking online for wheels that could potentially be used as replacements for the ones that came with the car.

The reality I'm coming up with is one that I've hit before: There simply are NOT many easy options for new wheels for our cars, mainly because we're limited by bolt patterns and offsets that are like finding a needle in a haystack.

On the one hand, if you stay with the stock Bug pattern, there are VERY few options except a few classic "retro" wheels and a few very expensive custom billet options that, depending on one's taste, don't necessarily fit the bill either. On the other hand, if you go with adapters to switch to a bolt pattern for another/a more modern car, you still run into the reality that an adapter necessarily takes up some space and therefore pushes the wheel outward, so you have to look long and hard to find a combination of adapters and wheel backspace dimensions that work.
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The old wheels: Notice anything else that's strange?

Posted 08-02-2008 at 08:38 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
For the record, I have no big gripes with the basic styling of the old wheels. Up close they are kind of rough, but from a little further back they look fine. And I think the builder found a nice balance with regard to the tire sizes and rolling diameters. If they wouldn't be preventing me from passing inspection and/or driving between 35 and 40 MPH without chattering my teeth, I probably wouldn't be rushing to replace them right away.

That said...does anyone notice anything else that's odd about the wheels?

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Yep. The previous owner bought wheels with a directional design but bought four wheels with the same directionality. Consequently, the spokes are raked forward on the driver's side and rearward on the passenger's side.



(Again, in fairness, they weren't bad looking wheels. I think we can do better, though.)
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Diagnosing the shimmy

Posted 07-31-2008 at 05:35 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
I've been thinking and worrying about that shimmy.

On the one hand, it could be something easy like a bent wheel. On the other hand, I really hope it isn't something more serious like a fundamentally bent or FUBAR chassis.

Cursory inspection of the tires and wheels revealed no obvious culprit.

I checked the steering damper and originally thought it was broken or detached at one end. It wasn't. It was fine. And for better or worse, it looked brand spanking new. Well, what this tells me is that the previous owner was also apparently a little freaked out by the shimmy as well and was just taking stabs in the dark to fix it. Not good. I was starting to feel more worried.

I decided to jack up the car, take the wheels off, and start going over everything with a fine tooth comb. I was going to sheck all bushings and joints and was also trying to emotionally and mentally gear up for having to figure out how to check frame alignment,...
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First attempt at "enhanced inspection"/getting it legal

Posted 07-25-2008 at 04:54 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
I didn't ACTUALLY think it would pass inspection tonight.

I mean...a little part of me was hoping that perhaps the car would freakishly, unexpectedly pass. But being realistic, my goal for this evening was to drive to my friendly neighborhood Enhanced Inspection station, meet the inspector, and figure out what aspects of the car are not up to the minimum standards.

To give some quick background information: About 2 years ago, the state of Pennsylvania tightened up their regulations for inspections of any nonconforming vehicle. This included things like rebuilt salvage-title cars, street rods, and kit cars. Since the new rules were enacted, you MUST take your car to a new category of inspection station called an Enhanced Inspection Station for its original inspection. Until this is completed, you can't even get a PA title for the car in your name.

Well...there aren't many "enhanced" inspection stations around because most of the...
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That ever-so-crucial first test drive...

Posted 07-23-2008 at 08:19 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
Cool. I finally got a chance to play with the new car.

Previous to this evening, the only things that we had verified since it's dramatic delivery were simply that 1) the canopy works and 2) the engine starts. (Plus...well...I sat in it with a big dumb grin on my face for about two hours after dark last night just flipping switches and pretending to drive it...but don't tell anyone.) But I hadn't had enough free time or daylight to go over the car any more thoroughly than that until now.

This evening the conditions were right to take the car out for a good first test drive to determine exactly what level of car/project I just bought. As such, I was excited but also a little nervous. There is ALWAYS something wrong with a given kit car, and tonight was the night to begin to determine which things make me smile ...and which parts just fall off onto the road when I hit the gas or take a turn.

But I'm happy to report that the maiden voyage...
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"Houston, we have a hot start problem."

Posted 07-23-2008 at 03:02 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
This entry might be thought of as an addendum to the previous entry -- "First test drive."

Okay...I admit it. I couldn't leave well-enough alone, so later than night, after the sun had set. I restarted the car and decided to just take it down the street to get fresh gas.

It started fine, and ran as before. It still (obviously) had the 35 MPH death-shimmy...but we drove through it.

On the way to the gas station, I got on the turbo pretty hard and then (in retrospect) parked it at the pump too quickly without letting things cool down.

Not anticipating any problems, I popped the top -- causing a HUGE reaction in the spectators present -- and tried to very nonchalantly get some gas without trying to look like I was noticing or enjoying the attention the car was drawing.

Within 45 seconds, several people had pulled off along the side of the road to yell out their windows, ""Hey, man! What IS that thing!?!"...
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Kinda cool: Video of this car from BEFORE I bought it.

Posted 07-22-2008 at 10:07 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
I'm posting this retroactively on this date for lack of a better place to put it. This video is meaningful to me because it's from immediately before I bought this car. The whole reason it was put on youtube was to show me that the car was in basic working condition prior to my purchasing it. I had asked Nick a bunch of questions, and he said, "Hey, I'll just throw a short video up on youtube." And it's still there. Cool.

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"The eagle has landed!"

Posted 07-21-2008 at 10:49 PM by farfegnubbin (fafegnubbin's projects)
Who said that adults can't ever get that rush of a kid on Christmas morning!? My red Sterling with the rotary turbo engine was delivered this morning, in great shape, and exactly as described, and I couldn't be any happier with it. But that's not to say that the day was without a little dash of drama and adventure...

Okay, so allow me to preface this by noting that this ISN'T the first time I've had an unusual car that had to be shipped to me, and I'd like to hope I'm getting higher on the learning curve with each one. Case in point, from past misadventures, I've learned to emphatically instruct the seller to spend some time with the shipper in order to let them know about any tricks or quirks to things like...say...opening the canopy, or starting/driving the car, etc. Even for normal cars this would be important. But for kits cars in particular, there are always a few quirks and secret-handshakes to geting them to run. And so I've learned to try to anticipate this....
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  • Join Date Jan 2009
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