Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Project Miata update #2

Suspension parts are ordered. Those of you who know Miatas have certainly heard of Flyin Miata. They are one of the top Miata specialists in the country. Their business consists of manufacturing and selling all kinds of parts to make Miatas go fast and handle great. So it's no surprise that I've looked to them to supply my suspension setup. I've ordered their Stage 1 suspension kit which consists of lowering springs of their own design along with some Tokico Illumina adjustable shocks. Everything I've heard about this suspension says that it is a great street/occasional track setup.

I didn't stop there though. I also ordered a set of mounts and bumpstops from another Miata suspension specialist, Fat Cat Motorsports. I ordered their custom mount and bumpstop kit for the Tokico shocks. This kit uses second generation(NB) Miata shock mounts modified to fit the first generation(NA) cars. This allows for more suspension travel and better ride when lowered.

Hopefully, I'll be getting all these parts over the next couple of weeks and I'll get them installed as soon as possible.

January 2009 Dream Car of the Month - TVR Sagaris

When I think of small, independent British motor car companies, I can't help but think of TVR. Over the years they have made some of the most outrageous and beautiful cars I've ever seen. The company was started in 1947 as TVR Engineering with the TVR coming from the first name of the company founder, Trevor Wilkinson. At first he started out repairing cars but he soon moved to design and manufacturing of cars of his own. Along with partner, Jack Picard, they designed and build various different models throughout the 50's into the 60's. By 1965, the original founders, Wilkinson and Picard, had left the business and the company then changed hands a few times over the next 30 years.

The 1980's saw the company owned by Peter Wheeler who was the most influential owner the company had seen since it's founder had left. Under Wheeler, the company moved to the Rover V8 and then finally to an all aluminum V8 of their own design called the AJP8. Under his management the company produced some of their most well known models culminating in the outrageous Sagaris.

TVRs from the Wheeler era have become well known for their wild nature. The Sagaris is no exception. They are described as being very challenging to drive to the point of being dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced driver. High power and light weight mixed with a lack of any driver safety nets make TVRs the hairy chested beasts they are. TVRs were imported to the US in the 1980s with the 280 model but there has been nothing from TVR here since then. Being such a small company it did not make sense to attempt to meet the all the safety and emissions regulations here in the states. Too bad for us.

The Sagaris debuted in 2003 and was based on the beautiful T350. It was powered by the now famous TVR Speed-Six engine which is a straight 6 cylinder derivative of the AJP8 V8. In the Sagaris, the 4.0L Speed-Six engine produces 380HP/349TQ without the help of any type of forced induction. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 5 speed manual transmission and the car makes due without anti-lock brakes, air bags, or traction control. The aluminum and fiberglass construction of the car help keep the weight down at 2,371 lbs allowing for a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 190MPH.

The Sagaris was initially designed as a track car that could be driven on the street. The car features various vents and aero additions meant to help on the track. The vents on the fenders of the car were originally open to alloy cooling and as a place where high pressure air could escape from under the front of the car during high speed runs. TVR ran into a problem while testing though when they discovered that these vents allowed mud and other debris to be kicked up from the tires onto the windshield. Therefore they were closed. The car still is quite striking though. Some would say not in a good way either. Design characteristics like the clear plastic rear spoiler and the sideways exhaust certainly make the car unique looking.

TVR began to run into problems in 2004 when the company was sold to 24 year old Nicolay Smolensky, the son of a very wealthy Russian businessman. His original intent was to keep the company as a British institution but with demand waning he announced in 2006 that some production would move to Italy with only engine manufacturing remaining in England. By the end of 2006 TVR had been broken up into several smaller companies and some of those went into the British equivalent of bankruptcy. Then in 2007 Smolensky had re-acquired the company and announced plans to sell it to a group of investors who had plans to revive the company and even begin importing into the US. This sale apparently never happened and Smolensky stated in October 2007 that he hoped to restart production with a target of 2,000 cars annually. In July 2008, the Sagaris was relaunched as the Sagaris 2.

Who knows what the future holds for TVR. Hopefully, this great company that has lasted for over 60 years will continue to produce the stunning and outrageous cars they have come to be known for.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Project Miata update #1

Time for a new suspension. I wasn't quite expecting to have to do anything to the suspension on this car since it came with a set of Koni Sport shocks and Ground Control coilovers already installed. I thought I was set on that front. Well, I was wrong. After driving the car around a few times I noticed that the suspension was bottoming out over larger dips. It is well know that Miatas, especially first generation models, have limited suspension travel at stock height which only gets worse when you lower the car. Mine however, is not very low so I decided to investigate.

Changing bumpstops is a common upgrade on Miatas to soften up some crashing suspension bottoming out. Miatas rely on their bumpstops more than most cars as they are designed as a supplement to the springs due to the limited suspension travel. I figured maybe I needed to step up to some better progressive bumpstops so that was my first area of investigation. Unfortunately for me, I discovered that there were no bumpstops at all. Bad news which only got worse.

While is was under there looking, I also noticed that the Ground Control coilovers were not installed correctly. After searching around on the net and miata forums, I found out how they should be installed and set out to disassemble the suspension in an attempt to determine if I could re-assemble everything correctly. Sadly, that is out of the question. The reason the Ground Control coilovers were installed wrong was because they were missing some parts. There is supposed to be a metal collar within the threaded Ground Control sleeve which sits on the c-clip that normally supports the lower spring perch on the Konis. Well that was not there which explains why the coilover sleeves were installed with the Koni spring perch still in place. The Koni shocks were also not in the greatest shape so I assume that this was a budget suspension install cobbled together from some used parts. Mostly, it's garbage and unsafe.

So, because of this, most of my Saturday was spent ripping out the front suspension. After using close to an entire can of PB Blaster and a big breaker bar I was able to get everything out in a few hours using this method where you disconnect the spindle from the lower control arm via a tongue that inserts into the lower control arm. This allows you to remove everything without having to worry about separating ball joints. There is also the long bolt method that also allows removal without disconnecting ball joints. I didn't use the long bolt method because I didn't happen to have a 21mm socket but both seem to work equally well.

So that's where it sits now. The car is on jack stands in the garage waiting for me to decide what suspension setup to get. Prices for good setups range from around $600 to about $1000 depending on what you want. I'll make my decision in the next couple of days and get to work on it. My only consolation is that it has snowed here in NJ the last two weekends so I wouldn't have been able to drive the car anyway. I just want to get it done in time for the warm weather. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Barrack Obama New Cadillac Car | The First Car

General Motors published the first photos of the Barack Obama's new ride a week before his inauguration as the new president of the United States. The latest Cadillac Presidential Limousine is a completely new design, succeeding the DTS Presidential Limousine that debuted in 2004 and was used by George Bush. Predictably, GM has not revealed any specific details on the President's new wheels besides the fact that it "includes many of the brand's signature design elements."

2009 Mazda6 Test Drive

When the Mazda6 first hit the scene back in 2003, it was nimble and playful, and the power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering was exemplary. In fact, it was favorably compared to the BMW 3 Series—an impressive feat for any vehicle, let alone a mid-sizer in this price range.

But it was too small and, some say, underpowered to truly compete in the tough mid-size sedan segment against the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. That’s a big reason why Mazda says sales in the U.S. have been somewhat underwhelming—well below the 100,000-vehicle per year sales mark they were hoping for.

The all-new 2009 model was designed to change that. It’s bigger, it comes in three trim levels, and it’s still got our favorite quality: The Mazda6 is a hoot to drive, unlike its less sporty foes in the marketplace. —Barry Winfield

The Specs

Unique to the North American market, the redesigned mid-size sedan now comes in at 72.4 in. wide by 193.7 in. long (6.9 in. longer than its predecessor), with a robust 109.8-in wheelbase (4.5 in. longer). These increases might seem small, but they translate into quite a bit more cabin space. According to Hiroshi Kajiyama, Mazda’s chief program engineer for the 6, these new dimensions give the car more leg, shoulder and hip room (plus more luggage space) than the Accord, Altima or Malibu. Better still, he says that the car has put on no more than 200 pounds in the process.

To handle the new size and weight, Mazda upped the power of both the base four-cylinder engine and the top-of-the-line V6. With 170 hp and 167 lb.-ft. of torque, the slightly larger 2.5-liter inline-4 no longer is plenty powerful. Along with its bump in displacement from 2.3 liters, the four-cylinder features a new two-stage intake, more efficient cylinder heads and a less restrictive exhaust manifold.

When connected to the standard six-speed manual, the four-cylinder delivers 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The automatic option adds an extra mile per gallon in the city and on the highway.

The Ford-designed, Mazda-built V-6—featuring 3.7-liters, 272 horses and 269 ft.-lb. of torque—is the same engine found in the much larger CX-9 crossover. But it offers less attractive fuel numbers (17 mpg city/25 mpg highway), and the six-speed automatic is the only available transmission for the V-6.

Mazda zeroed in on noise and vibration reductions, and the cabin area is 30-percent more rigid than in the previous car, according to Mazda’s R&D director Kelvin Hiraishi, who pointed out bulges in the floor pan intended specifically to stiffen that panel—and prevent it from acting like a noise-generating diaphragm. Engineers also focused on cutting down the wind noise leaking through door seals and sunroof surrounds.

There are a bunch of chassis improvements, including a one-piece, forged-steel front lower-control arm to provide better lateral stiffness and to eliminate any compliance in steering over bumps. The front wheels now turn almost 5 degrees more than before, reducing the turning circle by over 3 ft.

Each trailing arm in the rear suspension has an attachment point raised 1 in. to increase the anti-dive effect, keeping the body flat during hard braking. Larger diameter bushings allow a little rearward movement on harder bumps to improve impact absorption, and the twin-tube KYB dampers are placed further outboard in a more vertical position for better wheel control.

Michelin Pilot four-season radial tires are standard issue on all Mazda6 models, and come sized to fit either 16- or 17-in. wheels on the “i” model, with 17 or 18-inchers on the “s.” In terms of safety, the ‘09 Mazda6 is replete with airbags, ABS, LATCH child-seat hookups and stability control as standard equipment. There’s also an optional blind-spot monitoring system that checks the lanes alongside the car and warns of the presence of vehicles if you try to change lanes.

Other interesting gadgets include keyless entry and a 10-speaker, 333-watt Bose stereo. An owner can utilize the vehicle diagnostics connector (via a special tool at the dealer) to tune various functions such as headlamp on-and-off cycles, turn-signal buzzer volume, blind-spot warning activation, power door lock operation and about 20 other functions.

The Drive

Whether or not the redesign has the desired effect on consumers remains to be seen, but we like the look of the new Mazda6 on the road. The interior is artful and tidily crafted—basically what we’ve come to expect from this inventive car company. And there’s certainly ample room inside, even for this 6-ft.-5, long-torso reviewer to sit in the back so long as he scrunches down a tiny bit to avoid contact with the headliner (the headroom is slightly compromised by the fast roofline). Luckily, there’s enough knee room to allow that. And the sound dampening measures really worked; this car is as quiet as a church mouse.

Of course, with its “zoom zoom” reputation at stake, the new Mazda6 has to handle nimbly, and the firm bushing durometer values used in its suspension transmit a little ride noise back into the cabin—well, at least in the Mazda6i model powered by that new 2.5-liter, 170-hp engine.

We certainly expected more power—and got it. Where the 2.5-liter four feels pretty peppy out on the road, the 272-hp V-6 is downright intoxicating. Coupled only to a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode, the 6i models demonstrated great flexibility with a serious high-end punch.

Nissan Maxima 2009

New Nissan Maxima 2009 pictures and Flash Slide show


New TATA NANO mobile price 25 juta IDR

The Nano will be launched in India later in 2008. The car will be available in both standard and deluxe versions. Both versions will offer a wide range of body colours, and other accessories so that the car can be customised to an individual's preferences.

Stylish, comfortable

- Designed with a family in mind, the Nano has a roomy passenger compartment with generous leg space and head room.

- Can comfortably seat four persons. Four doors with high seating position make ingress and egress easy.

- With a length of 3.1 metres, width of 1.5 metres and height of 1.6 metres, with adequate ground clearance, it can effortlessly manoeuvre on busy roads in cities as well as in rural areas.

- Its mono-volume design, with wheels at the corners and the powertrain at the rear, enables it to uniquely combine both space and manoeuvrability, which will set a new benchmark among small cars.
Why Nano?
The name 'Nano' was chosen as it denotes high technology and small size.
Most eagerly waited car
People world over were keen to see what Tata Motors' People's Car looked like, and know more about it. The Tata Motors website saw nearly 7.9 million hits on January 10 (the day the Nano was unveiled), while the Tata Nano website saw 4 million hits in 30 hours, making these sites among the busiest in the world.

The Nano website ( was developed within a short timeframe of 1.5 months and with limited resources.

The entire portal has been built on open source technologies, involving minimum investment, following the essence of the Nano - low cost, but high technology.

Fuel-efficient engine

- The Nano has a rear-wheel drive, all-aluminium, two-cylinder, 623 cc, 33 PS, multi point fuel injection petrol engine. This is the first time that a two-cylinder gasoline engine is being used in a car with single balancer shaft.

- The lean design strategy has helped minimise weight, which helps maximise performance per unit of energy consumed and delivers high fuel efficiency.

- Performance is controlled by a specially designed electronic engine management system.

Meets all safety requirements

- The Nano's safety performance exceeds current regulatory requirements. With an all sheet-metal body, it has a strong passenger compartment, with safety features such as crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat belts, strong seats and anchorages, and the rear tailgate glass bonded to the body.

- Tubeless tyres further enhance safety.


- The Nano's tailpipe emission performance exceeds regulatory requirements. In terms of overall pollutants, it has a lower pollution level than two-wheelers being manufactured in India today.

- The high fuel efficiency also ensures that the car has low carbon dioxide emissions, thereby providing the twin benefits of an affordable transportation solution with a low carbon footprint.Related modifikasi Skywave new

Monday, January 12, 2009

Detroit Auto Show

I've been checking out some coverage of this year's Detroit Auto Show and I figured I'd highlight some of the cars that have caught my attention so far. Even though the economy has been taking a toll on the automotive industry, there are still some exciting cars to check out.

Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI

Audi officially took the wraps off of the production version of the V10 R8. With 525HP/391TQ the R8 V10 can rocket to 60 in 3.9 seconds on it's way to a top speed close to 200MPH. Some cosmetic enhancements distinguish the V10 model from the standard R8.

Mercedes McLaren SLR Stirling Moss Edition

There will only be 75 of these built with a price tag of over $1million. They will only be offered to current SLR owners and will feature a 650HP 5.5L supercharged V8 capable of sending the car to a top speed of 217MPH. That should be lots of fun with no windshield. I bet a bug to the face would hurt at over 200MPH. Bring a helmet.

Volkswagen Concept Blue Sport

VW's diesel sportscar concept, the Blue Sport, looks like it has potential. Powered by a mid mounted 2.0L turbodiesel with 180HP/260TQ it should get to 60 in about 6 seconds while returning 35MPG. There is also an "Eco" mode that supposedly will achieve over 60MPG. Certainly won't be a high revving beast but should be fun none the less.

Cadillac Converj Concept

What do you get when you mix the design of a Cadillac CTS Coupe with the drivetrain of a Chevy Volt? You get the Cadillac Converj. It has the same 40 mile electricity only range until the gas engine kicks in to supplement the batteries and all that junk. I can't concentrate on the specs though. Just look at it, it's gorgeous.