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STARTER GBXM 1.07 | I BELIEVE IN GEARHEADS Where do I begin? Build Day is always a challenge here at the house. Imagine your significant other has spent the week watching a teething, almost-walking 9 month-old infant between telecommuting, and now it’s the weekend and you’re going to need a solid 14 hours to spend on the computer doing “car stuff.” I’m exceedingly fortunate my wife Vanessa believes in GBXM as much as - if not more than, sometimes - I do. I sit here in the office cranking on the dream - on HER computer (for some reason, all I have are old laptops which can’t handle the Adobe CS). I hear her hanging out with, and sometimes barely hanging on to, Penny, while I play with pretty pictures. I want to spend more time with them. This little magazine is how I hope to one day very soon make that a reality. Last month, Build Day was a bit rough. Yeah, I shared all the stories on our Facebook page (I’m gonna keep GEARBOX MAGAZINE IS: doing that every month, by the way), but I hadn’t done a whole lot to prepare in advance. This month started out strong, though, with Josh Renzo delivering everything I needed to get his story ready in the first week. That’s PARTNERS the bedrock of my ideal process. And it meant it took me less than 10 minutes to get his story into the issue this weekend. Thanks, Josh. You da man. + BRIAN DRIGGS, FOUNDER + DENNIS DEJONG For most of the month, I thought Josh would be the cover because, let’s face it - that Viper is hawt. I’ll never confirm a cover story before I get all the stories ready to go, though. Often, selecting the effing cover comes CONTRIBUTORS down to who’s sent me the most cover-worthy picture that month. Once the incredible Chris Yushta of FOTOmotive sent in the pictures of Zack’s STi, though, I knew it was going to be tough to choose. + ADAM CAMPBELL + PAUL TURNER Selecting a cover story should be about the big story, though. It should be about the story that most jumps + YOU? JOIN US. (CLICK ME) out and grabs you. It’s supposed to shout, “This is what we want you to see!” Imagine my surprise when, after commenting on the crazy, Cuban-Jungle-Socialist-themed VW in the background in one of the pictures Florian sent me to go with the Tuning 4 Kids piece, we went from, “Hey, that’s neat,” to here’s a full-length, bi-lingual feature, complete with high-resolution shots from a compelte stranger just days before deadline. All because gearheads want to help other gearheads do good work. This magazine wouldn’t be possible were it not for gearheads like us looking out for each other. The stories you’re about to read are only here because the people sharing them think highly enough about this magazine to take time away from their daily lives, sit at computers, and answer questions. If this magazine looks sharp and professional, it’s because of the people IN it. Guess what. You have something in common with all of them. Believe in gearheads. I do. Do you? Keep going fast with class & press on regardless,


Our goal is to help automotive enthusiasts build high performance machines & lives. If you’re a first class business which believes, like we do, that success comes from helping others achieve success for themselves, and are willing to work with us to empower our mutual customers, we’d like to tell you about how our Official Partners program can help your brand prove value, build trust, and grow. Nobody likes advertising & commercials. Let’s make a difference. Contact us today.

Gearbox Magazine. Of gearheads. By gearheads. For gearheads. united.

CONTENTS | what’s inside the effing cover | DAILY DRIVEN RAT

This is Henry Clausnitzer’s Cuban-Jungle-Socialist-Themed Volkswagen Vento. We wouldn’t know anything about it were it not for gearheads united. Dies ist Henry Clausnitzer’s kubanisch-Jungle-Socialist-Themen VW Ventor. Wir würden nicht wissen nichts über sie waren es nicht für gearheads united.


Ever get that feeling you want something more out of your local club, but can’t quite put your finger on it? What if you teamed up with a local charity to help terminally ill children and their families? That’s exactly what North Diamonds Club did.


If you saw Josh Renzo out for a drive in his Dodge Viper GTS, you might think he’s borrowed his dad’s car. Plenty have. You’d be wrong, though. This is the benchmark; a look at how he used basic skills you’ve got right now to buy his dream car (and then some).


It takes a lot of work to get into a race car, let alone a race car in another country. Fortunately, many hands make light work, and partnering with a charity can prove a rewarding experience for everyone involved, making much more possible.


Though rally, even at the club level, might have become a complex world of advanced machinery and budgets, there are still those who revel in the simple truth of simple cars driven at 11-tenths on through the dark and scary. PADDOCKSCENE | AUTOMOTIVE EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT FOR AUGUST! 38 THE LITTLE COLLECTION | MIKE LITTLE EXPLAINS WHY HE’S CRAZY FOR OLD DODGUBISHIS 44 CAR 22, OVER | GOING undercover: part 1 45 PENMANSHIFT 3 | HEADLINES: ONE SHOT, ONE KILL 46 ZACK BROOKS | THE JOURNEY: YOU ARE NOT ALONE 52 PREPAREDNESS MAKES US POWERFUL | SIERRA CARNAGE TRIP PLANNING 58 ARCHIVES | A selection of 12 stories you might have missed in the last 3 years

About GBXM|united Stories of real people doing things with vehicles they actually own matter more than thinly veiled, marketing propaganga spun as helping sheep select their next consumer-grade appliance. We believe our shared passion for all things automotive unites us on a global scale, and that the things we have in common as gearheads empower us to get the most from our differences.


dAiLy dRivEn RAT

This is Henry Clausnitzer’s Cuban-Jungle-Socialist-themed VW Vento. We wouldn’t know anything about it were it not for gearheads united. Dies ist Henry Clausnitzer’s kubanisch-Jungle-Socialist-Themen VW Vento. Wir würden nicht wissen nichts über sie waren es nicht für gearheads united. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES SVEN MARTENS PHOTOGRAPHY [bd-e] I believe the words you’re looking for right now are, “What the hell? Why is THIS ‘the effing cover?’” It’s okay. At first glance, you might just see a ratted-out Volkswagen Jetta. It looks like it’s parked in a jungle even when it’s parked at the shopping center. You see the forced rust, you pick up the socialist theme, and now you’re fully invested in exploring this one-of-a-kind machine in-depth. Look at that picture again. I bet you see something new this time. That’s how it all starts. The little Vento catches your eye and draws you in. Next thing you know, you’re lost

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in the jungle, trying to make your way back to whatever you were doing previously. That’s why this story is in this issue. How this story came to be - in the last week of the month, no less - is why it’s “the effing cover.” Henry attended North Diamond’s Tuning 4 Kids (T4K) show this summer. And when Bodo and Florian sent me pictures from the event to go with that story (see page 10 in this issue), one of them was of Henry’s Vento. I couldn’t stop looking at it. I asked my friend Bodo if he knew the owner.

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Bodo didn’t know the owner, but tapped his contacts to see if anyone did. When he located Henry, he not only offered to translate and pass along my interview questions to Henry, but he also translated Henry’s responses, making the story possible. He even sourced a bunch of additional pictures of the ratty V-dub and shared them with me via Facebook. Just a couple days before press time, however, I realized the pictures Bodo sent on Facebook were too small to work in print (remember, you can order printed copies from our Blurb bookstore). Some of the pictures had watermarks on them with the photographer’s name. On a hunch, I googled “Sven Martens Photography.” I ended up on Sven’s Facebook page, which is filled with incredible, mostly Volkswagen, pictures. I sent him a Facebook message, which I knew would end up in his “other” inbox because we weren’t connected at the time. Despite this - and my “noch schrecklich” German - he replied within 24 hours - in “nicht schrecklich” English - sharing a Dropbox folder of full-res pictures for the story. Henry’s Vento is an amazing machine. It’s a testament to the lengths we’ll go to realize our automotive goals. When everything comes together right, the machines become more than the sum of their parts. The fact that you’re reading a bi-lingual feature on it in this magazine is a testament to the lengths we go to help our gearhead brothers and sisters achieve those goals. When we come together, we become more than the sum of our parts. Something to think about. Enjoy the story. Try not to get lost in the back seat.

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[Bd-e] Ich glaube, die Worte, die Sie für den Moment suchen sind: “Was zum Teufel? Warum ist das “die effing Abdeckung? ‘” Es ist okay. Auf den ersten Blick können Sie nur sehen, eine ratted-out Volkswagen Jetta. Es sieht aus wie in einem Dschungel, auch wenn es im Einkaufszentrum ist geparkt ist. Sie sehen die gezwungen Rost, holen Sie die sozialistische Thema, und jetzt bist du voll in die Erkundung dieser one-of-a-kind-Maschine eingehende investiert. Schauen Sie sich dieses Bild erneut auf. Ich wette, Sie sehen etwas Neues diesmal. Das ist, wie alles beginnt. Der kleine Vento ins Auge und zieht Sie in. Das nächste, was du weißt, du bist im Dschungel verloren, versuchen, Ihren Weg zurück machen, um was auch immer Sie wurden vorher tun. Das ist, warum diese Geschichte ist in dieser Ausgabe. Wie diese Geschichte gekommen zu sein - in der letzten Woche des Monats, nicht weniger - ist, warum es “das effing Abdeckung.” Henry besucht Nord Diamond Tuning 4 Kids (T4K) zeigen in diesem Sommer. Und wenn Bodo und Florian mich gesandt hat Bilder von der Veranstaltung, um mit dieser Geschichte gehen (siehe Seite # in dieser Ausgabe), war einer von ihnen von Henrys Vento. Ich konnte nicht aufhören, an sie. Ich fragte meinen Freund Bodo, wenn er den Besitzer kannte. Bodo kannte den Besitzer, sondern tippte seine Kontakte, um zu sehen, ob jemand tat. Als er Henry, er nicht nur angeboten, zu übersetzen und passieren auf meinem Interview Fragen an Henry, aber er hat auch Henry Antworten übersetzt, so dass die Geschichte möglich. Er hat sogar ein paar weitere Bilder des ratty V-dub bezogen und teilte sie mit mir über Facebook.

Nur ein paar Tage vor Drucklegung, jedoch erkannte ich die Bilder auf Facebook gesendet Bodo waren zu klein, um in Druck zu arbeiten (Sie erinnern sich, können Sie gedruckte Exemplare aus unserem BlurbBuchshop bestellen). Einige der Bilder hatten Wasserzeichen auf sie mit dem Namen des Fotografen. Auf einer Ahnung, ich gegoogelt “Sven Martens Fotografie.” Ich landete auf der Facebook-Seite Sven, die mit einer unglaublichen, meist Volkswagen, Bildern gefüllt wird. Ich schickte ihm eine Facebook-Nachricht, die ich wusste, dass sie am Ende in seiner “anderen” Posteingang, weil wir nicht zu der Zeit verbunden. Trotzdem - und mein “noch schrecklich” Deutsch - antwortete er innerhalb von 24 Stunden - in “nicht schrecklich” Englisch - die sich ein Dropbox Ordner voll-res Bilder für die Geschichte. Henrys Vento ist eine erstaunliche Maschine. Es ist ein Beweis für die Längen gehen wir zu unserem Kfz-Ziele zu verwirklichen kannst. Wenn alles zusammen kommt gleich, werden die Maschinen mehr als die Summe ihrer Teile. Die Tatsache, dass du liest ein zweisprachiges Funktion auf sie in dieser Zeitschrift ist ein Beleg für die Längen gehen wir, um unsere Brüder und Schwestern Getriebe diese Ziele zu erreichen. Wenn wir zusammen kommen, werden wir mehr als die Summe unserer Teile. Etwas zu denken. Genießen Sie die Geschichte. Versuchen Sie nicht, auf dem Rücksitz verloren gehen. [bd] Who are you, where are you located, and what do you do for a living?

[hc-e] My name is Henry Clausnitzer. I’m 25 years old and live in eastern Germany in Meissen, 25 miles from Dresden, the capital of Saxony. I work in an office, as a master of public administration. Working on cars is a good balance to the office job during the week. I developed an interest in cars at an early age. I’ve been involved with motorsport at home since the age of 8. In addition to karting, I also competed in various formula and touring car series. All this time, I had an interest in tuning, but it ran in parallel with the other pursuits. [hc-d] Mein Name ist Henry Clausnitzer. Ich bin 25 Jahre alt und komme aus dem Osten Deutschlands, aus Meißen, 30km von der sächsischen Landeshauptstadt Dresden entfernt. Von Beruf bin ich Diplom-Verwaltungswirt und bin Im Büro tätig. Das Bauen an Autos stellt einen guten Ausgleich zum Bürojob in der Woche dar. Der Bezug zum Thema Auto stellte sich bereits früh ein, da ich seit meinem 8. Lebensjahr auch im Motorsport zu Hause bin. Neben dem Kartsport war ich auch in diversen Formel- und Tourenwagenserien unterwegs. Das Interesse zum Tuning lief aber schon seit je her parallel. [bd] The big question - the one I think you hear often - WHY have you done this to the car? [hc-e] I want to show that “rat-tuning” can be done with a lot of enthusiasm for details, with very complex work, and with a consistent theme. For many, “rat-tuning” means cheap, 50€ changes, that a car is ruined with brute force and little work. It’s important to differentiate between cars making a last stand on the scene just before the TÜV* sends

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them to the scrap heap and those which are mechanically sound, wellplanned, and can be used as daily-driver.

Fahrzeugstellen, wo viele Edeltuner nicht einmal Veränderungen betrieben haben.

I’ve spent more than three years working on my car. There are a lot of changes made that most tuners don’t even touch. I love rat-tuning, not only for the technical aspects, but because a lot of realized ideas are funny. This gives the car character, attracts attention, and brings a smile to peoples’ faces. That’s great.

Bei einer Ratte finde ich auch cool, dass Tuning auch nicht nur auf der ernsten Schiene betrieben werden muss. Bei vielen Ideen zieht das Fahrzeug auch wegen seiner lustigen Eigenart Blicke auf sich und zaubert den Menschen ein lächeln ins Gesicht.

Despite all these changes, the car is still usable as a daily driver. To arrive at the event on your own wheels is a different feeling than to load the car on a trailer and just drag it to meetings. A lot of people have told me they aren’t interested in rats, but my car is an exception. They tell me my car is more a work of art. And many are fooled by the looks, too. They don’t think it’s possible to drive. * [TÜV is the German federal traffic administration responsible for vehicle safety/inspection - bd] [hc-d] Ich will mit dem Vento zeigen, dass auch im Rattenbereich Tuning mit Detailliebe und echt aufwändigen Veränderungen betrieben werden kann, dazu auch noch mit einem konsequent durchgezogenen Motto. Für viele ist Ratstyle nur 50€ billig Tuning, dass mit roher Gewalt ein Fahrzeug mit wenig Arbeit verschandelt. Mir ist es wichtig, da zu differenzieren zwischen Fahrzeugen, die kurz vor dem Schrott noch einmal in Szene gesetzt werden bis zum Ende des TÜV und fahrbaren Ratten, die auch auf Dauer einsatztfähig, technisch in Ordnung, gut in Szene gesetzt und alltagsfähig einsetzbar sind. In meinem Fahrzeug stecken mittlerweile über 3 Jahre Arbeit und Veränderungen, die an

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Die Veränderungen sollen dabei aber im straßentauglichen Bereich bleiben. Auf eigener Achse mit dem Fahrzeug anreisen ist ein anderes Gefühl als auf den Anhänger laden und nur hinziehen zu Treffen. Ich habe schon oft die Bestätigung erhalten von vielen Leuten, die meinten, dass sie eigentlich nichts von Rattentuning halten aber mein Fahrzeug da eine Ausnahme und schon eher ein Kunstwerk darstellt. Weit verbreitet ist auch, dass sich die Leute blenden lassen vom äußeren Schein und die Frage stellen ob das Fahrzeug überhaupt noch läuft. [bd] Next, is your car still drivable? If so, do you still drive it? On the Autobahn? [hc-e] The car is not only driveable - it’s 100% legal - with seasonal registration March to October and has passed TÜV scrutiny. Driving on the Autobahn is funny, but sometimes dangerous, too, because other drivers often pass, only to suddenly slow their speed to take pictures or just have a look - without looking for other traffic. [hc-d] Das Fahrzeug ist nicht nur fahrbar, sondern es ist auch richtig angemeldet in Deutschland mit Saisonkennzeichen von März bis Oktober und hat TÜV. Fahrten auf der Autobahn sind lustig und zum Teil auch gefährlich, wenn sich Fahrzeuge zum Filmen und Fotografieren

zurückfallen lassen bzw. neben einem her fahren und den anderen Straßenverkehr vernachlässigen.

beeinflusst. Viele DDR Details fanden sich auf den örtlichen Flohmärkten, bzw. Dachböden von Freunden und Familie.

[bd] I see a Cuban, communist theme. Was this your vision? What inspired this?

Der politische Bezug entsteht hier nur indirekt und zum Teil abgewandelt, wie an den selbst gestaltenten Aufklebern an den Vordertüren. So beinhaltet der rote Stern keinen Hammer und Sichel, sondern ein Gewindefahrwerk mit zugehörigem Schlüssel. Auch der aufgesprühte Schriftzug an den hinteren Fahrzeugseiten „Rat Revolucion“ ist abgewandelt und dem Thema Ratlook angepasst.

[hc-e] The car’s theme is forest- or jungle-find. I think it better fits to a rat and stands out from the widespread, barn-find, haystack rats. I also wanted to integrate Cuba and various other details from socialist countries. Some of these were already part of the vehicle before I started the jungle decoration, such as the trunk extension, and were influenced by our local history, too. Many of the DDR* items were found at flea markets and in the attics of friends and family members. The political reference is secondary, and subtly modified. For example, the Soviet Star decals on the doors. If you look closely, it’s not a hammer and sickle, but a coilover suspension and adjusting tool. The call to revolution on the rear quarters of the car have been stylized to say “Rat Revolution.” In other words, I’m not a communist. It’s only the theme of my car. * [Deutsche Demokratische Republik - the official name of East Germany back in the day. - bd] [hc-d] Das Fahrzeugthema ist zum Einen der Waldfund / Dschungelfund-Style. Ich finde dies setzt das Thema Ratlook noch besser in Szene und hebt sich von den weit verbreiteten Scheunenfund-StrohRatten ab. Das Thema Cuba wollte ich auch gern mit integrieren und ebenso diverse weitere Details aus sozialistischen Ländern. Diese waren zum Teil schon Teil des Fahrzeuges, z. B. Kofferraumausbau, bevor ich mit der Dschungel-Deko rings um das Fahrzeug begonnen habe und zum Anderen auch durch den geschichtlichen Heimatbezug

Mit anderen Worten, ich bin kein Kommunist, nur weil meine Ratte nach einem Motto im Kuba- / sozialistische Länder- Style umgebaut ist. [bd] How do the various design elements support your vision? Which of these modifications are your favorite? [hc-e] Most enthusiasm, in my opinion, comes from the interior. Its overall design, as well as the bark - which you can find everywhere around the vehicle trim and window seals, even on the inner linings of the wheel arches. But when I flip the switch that activates the fountain on the rear bench seat, it always brings a smile to peoples’ faces. [hc-d] Am meisten Begeisterung löst meiner Meinung nach der Innenraum in seiner Gesamtgestaltung aus sowie die Rinde, die rings um das Fahrzeug alle Zierleisten und Fensterdichtgummis und auch die Radhaus-Innenschale ziert. Aber auch wenn ich den Schalter für den Springbrunnen auf der Rücksitzbank umklappe, der sich im Cockpitbefindet, und das Wasser hinten plätschert, zaubert man den Leuten ein lächeln ins Gesicht. [bd] How did this all begin? Did you originally imagine the car would

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look like this? [hc-e] Initially, the Vento was my only daily driver. At the beginning of 2010, I needed a new daily driver, and the grandfather of a pal - and only owner - sold it for 500€. The holiday car of a former bus driver, it had more than 300,000km (more than 186,000mi) on it, but through constant maintenance and careful handling, this 1994 VW was in good shape. At first, it was just an everyday car without modifications, but in daily use, something was boring and it was no fun. So I started with an adjustable suspension and blue and red army stripes on the bonnet in the summer of 2010. Then came whitewall tires and some of those wooden ball seat covers, too. It was more “retro” than a “rat.” The typical “Vento-sickness” - rusted fenders - and an awakened interest in rats, particularly with such a rarely built car at the time, it transformed more and more to the car into what is today. [hc-d] Zunächst war der Vento nur das Alltagsfahrzeug. Anfang des Jahres 2010 musste ein neues Alltagsauto her. Gefunden war das schnell, da der Opa eines Kumpels seinen VW Vento aus Erstbesitz für 500€ in gute Hände abgeben wollte. Als Urlaubsfahrzeug eines ehemaligen Busfahrers hatte das 1994er Modell bereits 300.000 km gelaufen, aber durch ständige Wartung und behütetem Umgang war dieses noch richtig gut in Schuss. Zunächst war das Auto nur Alltagsauto ohne Modifikationen. Da fehlte allerdings auch im Alltag schnell der Reiz am Fahren. Daher bekam der Vento im Sommer 2010 ein Gewindefahrwerk und blau-rote Army Streifen über die Motorhaube verpasst sowie Weißwandringe an den Teifen und Holzkugelsitzauflagen. Die erste Zeit wurde also viel mehr im Retro- als im Ratlook gefahren. Die beim Golf 3 und Vento bekannte Rostschwäche an den Kotflügeln sowie das bereits geweckte Interesse am damals noch recht jungen Tuningstil und die Lust aus einem im Tuningkreis auch eher selten gesehenen Vento eine Ratte bauen zu wollen, formten das Fahrzeug immer mehr in den Zustand, wie er jetzt zu sehen ist. [bd] How long does it take you to set up (and put away) your show display? [hc-e] I need about an hour and 15 minutes to set up my presentation, and about an hour to pack it all away. Everything fits inside the car. I’ve even experienced event visitors who have stayed until the end of the show because they couldn’t believe all the parts fit into the car and I have no trailer or additional transport vehicle.

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[hc-d] Ich benötige ca. 1 Stunde 15 Minuten für den Aufbau meiner Präsentation und ca. 1 Stunde zum einräumen. Es wird auch alles direkt im Fahrzeug transportiert. Ich habe auch schon Veranstaltungsbesucher erlebt, die bis zum Ende des Treffens geblieben sind, weil sie mir nicht geglaubt haben, dass das Fahrzeug fahrtüchtug ist die komplette Dekoration in das Fahrzeug reinpasst und ich keinen Anhänger oder extra Transportfahrzeug dabei habe. [bd] What has been the most difficult part of your project? [hc-e] The building of the safety cage from planting stakes from the local hardware store and connecting the fountain in the rear bench were the most elaborate work. The fountain is operated with a pond pump and gets its power from the battery located in the engine compartment. Building the rear seat bench into a garden-style bench and modifying the Votex roof rack with wooden construction have also taken a lot of time; a lot of long evenings in the garage in winter. [hc-d] Der Einbau des Überrollkäfigs aus Pflanzstäben vom Baumarkt und das Anschließen des Springbrunnens auf der Rücksitzbank, der mit einer Teichpumpe betrieben wird und seinen Strom aus der im Motorraum befindlichen Batterie speist, waren die aufwändigsten Arbeiten. Aber auch der Bau der Rücksitzbank im Gartenbank- Look und die Modifikation des Votex-Dachgrundträgers mit einer Konstruktion aus Holz haben viel Zeit in Anspruch genommen und zu langen (Winter-)abenden in der Garage geführt. [bd] What has been the most rewarding part of your project? [hc-e] The building of the safety cage and the roof rack with my best friend Philipp were very cool and nerve-wracking moments. [hc-d] Der Bau des Überrollkäfigs und des Dachträgers zusammen mit meinem besten Freund Philipp waren schon sehr coole und manchmal auch nervenaufreibende Erlebnisse. [bd] If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? [hc-e] If I had to do it again, I would take out the spare tire and the accessories before expanding into the trunk so I could reach things when needed. [hc-d] Wenn ich das Fahrzeug noch einmal bauen würde, würde ich das Ersatzrad und Zubehör vor dem Einbau des Kofferraumausbaus

rausnehmen, damit man da auch herankommt. [bd] What’s next for you and your VW? [hc-e] Next, larger alloy wheels and a surprise under the hood would be a good idea. I haven’t kept track of the cost of three years’ worth of remodeling, but when I consider that a litre of the rust-paint costs about 70€, and the airbrushed wood design on the hood was neither common nor free, you can imagine that - easily - a larger, 4-digit sum has been invested. [hc-d] Als nächstes würden sich größere (Alu-)Felgen und eine Überraschung im Motorraum gut machen. Die Kosten habe ich im Laufe der 3 Jahre Umbau nicht genau aufgelistet. Wenn ich aber überlege, dass z. B. der Liter Rostlack bereits 70€ kostet und die Airbrush-Holzlackierung auf der Motorhaube auch nicht um sonst war, wird es sich um eine größere 4-stellige Summe handeln. [bd-e] The machines bring us together, but it’s the people we meet through those machines that really makes being a gearhead worthwhile. Just as we find a sense of belonging and family with our domestic clubs and communities, so too we find it internationally. If you’ve been around the block enough times to no longer be surprised by what you see on the road or under the hood, you know gearheads elsewhere in the world have, too. Why not see what you can build on that common foundation. You might be surprised. I found good friends who were able to help me get this story to share with you today. What will you find? [bd-d] Die Maschinen bringen uns zusammen, aber es ist die Menschen, die wir durch diese Maschinen, das macht wirklich ein Gearhead lohnt erfüllen. So wie wir ein Gefühl der Zugehörigkeit und Familie zu finden mit unseren heimischen Clubs und Gemeinden, so auch wir finden es international. Wenn Sie um den Block waren oft genug nicht mehr durch das, was Sie sehen, auf der Straße oder unter der Haube überrascht sein, wissen Sie gearheads anderswo in der Welt haben, auch. Warum nicht sehen, was Sie an diesem gemeinsamen Fundament aufbauen. Sie könnten überrascht. Ich fand gute Freunde, die in der Lage, mir zu helfen diese Geschichte mit Ihnen teilen heute waren. Was finden Sie?

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Ever get that feeling you want something more out of your local club, but can’t quite put your finger on it? What if you teamed up with a local charity to help terminally ill children and their families? That’s exactly what North Diamonds Club did.

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Bodo Engemann tells me about Tuning 4 Kids (T4K), a relatively new event organized by a Mitsubishi club in northern Germany that is raising money for a hospice center which cares for terminally ill children and their families. [bd] Before we get into details of this event, can you tell me a little bit about the organizers? Who are you, where do you live, what do you do for a living, and what do you drive? [be] The organizer is the North-Diamonds-Club. We are located in northern Germany, and cover an area reaching from Hamburg north to the Danish border, and east up the Polish border - a 400 mile wide stripe along the Baltic Sea. Our members - we didn’t plan this - are mostly in the logistic and transport business. A lot of truck smf delivery drivers, but also nurses, paramedics, and cooks. The average age is between 6 years (even the young daughters of our club president are members) up to 50 years. (That old bone is me.) Almost all of us are married or engaged and have children.

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We all drive Mitsubishis - and quite every model is represented. From my old 1982 Sapporo (in US it was called Galant Lamda) to the C50 series Colt, up to Lancer EVO 3, Galant EAO, Colt CZT - nearly every Mitsubishi built between 1982 and 2013. And some rare cars, like an EVO wagon or my Starion.

out fear or suffering. But we have to think about children and families that don’t have such luck. Families that have to realize their children suffer a deadly sickness and do not have much of a future.

[bd] How did you come up with the idea of organizing an automotive event for charity and why did you select the one you did? What were those initial conversations like?

In 2010 we did a tombola [a raffle where tickets are pulled from a rotating drum]. Each ticket cost 1€ and we made 500 tickets. They were all sold within one hour. Our club has about 25-30 members, but even the members that couldn’t be at the party gave us a phone call and bought via cellphone. Some even paid more and we had more than 550€ (about US$720) in cash.

[be] In 2009, we met for our annual Xmas party at the garage of one of our members. He’s an engineer for the federal inspection of cars in public use (like TÜV). Some companies which support our club had donated a lot of merchandising gifts - pens, stickers, caps - all the things that you normally get for free if you are a good customer. Our club-management packed some bags for our members as Xmaspresents, but there were still a lot of gifts that didn’t fit into the bags. Our engineer had the idea to do an auction. He told us he supports the local childrens’ hospice in Hamburg. So our president took some bags, filled them with prizes, and we started the auction. After 30 minutes we finished. Everybody knew about the good cause and we bet like crazy. Without knowing what was in that bags, we raised our offers. After the auction - I think we had 10 bags - we had collected more than 300€ (about US$400). Auctioning off some pens and lighters. We all have children, and our children are healthy. They grow up with-

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So, this isour cause. We decided to help them.

We decided to make this even bigger. Every year at the Hamburg Fair about this time was an event called “Carstyle Exhibition.” Our club had an area at this event and we shared our idea with some drivers of Honda, Toyota and other Asian manufacturers. All of them thought this would be a good idea to make an event for the Sternenbruecke. So in 2011 we did our first meeting. In the week before, it rained every day, and the area where we wanted to do it was flooded. A local supermarket helped without us having to do too much begging, and we could start. At the day, it didn’t rain - it was worse than raining. Storm, water from above and the sides, but it’s unbelievable: 36 cars came to support us. At the end of the day, we had close to 1,000€ (about US$1,300). 2012: We went back to the same area, had more support from companies, 80 cars - and almost 2,000€ (US$2,600).

2013: This year, the weather was fantastic! 160 cars and 3.000€ (nearly US$4,900) raised.

will die. The family has to pay - nothing! No medicines, no doctors’ costs, no care. It’s all for free.

[bd] Tell us more about this charity. Why is Kinderhospitz Sternenbrueke so important? How do they help children and families? What makes them special?

You remember, what a day costs in hospital? Yes, €2,500 - and that is the amount the hospice gets from the health insurance, too. But not for a day, it has to last a month!

[be] The Sternenbruecke is a private organisation. The problem: if you are in hospital, health insurance pays quite everything. But if you leave hospital, and will be cared for in a private organisation, the health insurance will pay a much lower amount.

So, the hospice needs supporters. Some big donations are given by rich people, but that isn’t really the biggest part. The hospice receives most of its funding from the thousands of regular people - people like us - that donate small amounts. Housewives, employees, children, anyone who gives some Euro to support them.

So, if you need intensive care, a day in hospital costs roundabout €2,500 per day. As you can imagine, an intensive care area in a public hospital is not a place of comfort for children facing death. It’s cold, unfriendly, and no child should die in such a place. The childrens’ hospice is a place that’s more like a hotel than a hospital. All rooms are well furnished, with pictures, toys - everything that makes a child smile. You have to look twice to notice that the beds are like hospital beds. Hidden beyond pictures are valves for oxygen, emergency buttons, air conditioning for clean air. The hospice has a staff of nurses, doctors, therapists that care for the children. The children can live here the last time of their lives - the Sternenbruecke allows whole families to live there - including the sisters and brothers. If the parents need any help, the team will support them. Having a sick child means care 24/7. The team gives parents time to care for their healthy children or just have a time-out to refresh. They prepare the parents - and the other children - for the day the sick child

[bd] It sounds like this event is growing every year. That’s a good sign. I remember that, at Elbetreffen, there were many different activities planned throughout the event, ensuring there was something fun to do for everyone in attendance. What goes on at T4K on the day of the event? Can you walk us through it? [be] Let’s have a walk around the area. It’s funny how gearheads act when the meeting is for charity. For normally - here in Germany - at a tuning meet you always notice drunk people, some guys revving their engines to redline, and sound systems forced to the limit. And here? Nothing in this way - all fans are nearly quiet, they enjoy standing together and talking about their cars and projects. At T4K, you will notice a lack of beer and alcohol. We don’t forbid them - we don’t offer them - but the people don’t miss it! Instead of DB drag or wet t-shirt contests, you find competitions like

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putting together bolts and nuts on time. We do Bobby-car-races. Slalom-races with a pram. A wheel of fortune - nothing really spectacular. And, of course, we award prizes to cars in a show & shine competition. A lot of activities are intended for the children, but the parents do these with a lot of joy too. [bd] How does T4K raise money for Sternenbrueke? Is it just entry fees? Or are there raffle prizes? Both? How do your sponsors help in this regard? Can you share some of the more remarkable contributions made by sponsors? (Feel free to name those sponsors.) [be] We request a €5 entrance fee. People pay it without discussion. This year, the area we used was too small to fit all the cars, but even the people that were parking in the streets around payed freely. A member created a T4K sticker. He produces it and they are sold for €2 at the entrance. A lot of people bought the stickers and raised the amount by themselves. If you want to present your car for show & shine, you have to pay €2 for the nomination. We do a lottery, and we sell sausages. All fees - without exception - flow 1:1 into the fund. All money from selling stickers, too. Our club members pay for the decals, the prizes, materials - everything is paid from our own money. All money that is collected goes directly to the Sternenbruecke. We contacted German companies that are known in the scene. They send packages with merchandising products for the lottery. But some give really fantastic prizes. Raid - a German company known for performance tuning donated much sought-after gauges Liqui Moly - a company for oil products, donated larger containers of product Markant Supermarket - the manager (Mrs. Risse) that helped spontaneously at the first meeting, advertises in their shoppers’ magazine about the event. Some vendors donated sausages, soft drinks, the manager herself and two employees worked as volunteers in a BBQ and sold them. This money also flows without exception into the fund, too. My company (I’m the boss) covers the insurance on the event. I called the boss of one of our members and we decided to pay the costs for the mobile toilets, too.

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The administration of Reinfeld “forgets” every year to calculate the permit fees. Mitsubishi Motors Germany, of course, supports us. There are a lot of smaller companies. Everyone gives whatever they can give. [bd] How big do you hope this event will become? What will it take to achieve that? [be] This year, the area became too small. The event grows from year to year, but there’s good news. The Supermarket belongs to an organization holding many brands. Markant owns small markets, like in villages, but for Reinfeld, where the event happens, are new plans. The local Markant is closing, but only 250M from it, a big “Famila” will be opened by the same company. The manager of our Markant will become the manager of the Famila. And the both she and the organization have promised we will be allowed to use the Famila parking area without discussion. Normally parking areas at stores of this size have enough space for more than 500 cars. T4K 2014 is under construction. We promise to make it bigger, more attractive, more familiar, and provide more activities. We spoke with lot of people and clubs during the event. They want to support us with their work, their ideas. We will try to make a network of clubs that all present themselves at T4K and offer activities. It is a one-day event. Maybe, in the future, it could become a two- or three-day event like Elbetreffen. But this would raise the costs, so we will keep doing what’s working for now. [bd] Can you reveal any obstacles or challenges your group faces in achieving your objectives for T4K 2014 and what makes them challenging? [be] The biggest challenges are in the logistics. We selected Reinfeld because it’s in the middle of our area, but none of our members lives there, so contacting local authorities requires more effort. When we have a target in 2014 of more than 200 cars, we need more support. All our members have been at the end of their power [ie: completely worn out (but I love the direct translation) ~bd] when the day has ended. They started at 3AM, building up tents, the entrance area,

and more. Because it’s a parking area of a supermarket we can’t start earlier. It all has to be setup “last minute.” If something is missing or broken, we can’t quickly replace with something new because all the local shops and stores are closed on Sundays. Then, when the meeting ends at 6PM, it takes another two hours to tear down everything and clean up. When you remember some members drive more than two hours each way to help setup before and clean up after, you might imagine how long the day lasts. [bd] Where can our readers go to learn more about North Diamonds, Sternenbrueke, and T4K? [be] Of course you can visit all the websites: [TIP: If you don’t speak German, Google Chrome can automatically translate for you.] There is one important thing we’d like you to remember: We are all a part of a community, a country, it doesn’t matter where you live. Everybody, everywhere on the world has an organisation in his or her neighborhood, in need of support. I also support another project of the polish Mitsubishi-Community, the Mitsumaniakis. They have a project called “Mitsumaniaki Dziekom”, and they support children’s hospices, too. They try to fulfill the last wishes of terminally ill children. So all readers of Gearbox Magazine - and indeed all the gearheads of the world - should think a few minutes about when and where they can help. It doesn’t take a lot of money, just a good idea and enough people willing to spend some time on it - and our world will come closer together. And after that, you will feel much better. Even in our daily lives, we can find time to make the world a better place. MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK As Bodo so simply reminds us, each of us is part of a community, and though we like to spend time getting to know each other around the world, there are opportunities for us to do some real, immediate good right in our own backyards. When we come together as gearheads our gearhead clubs - we see how many hands make light work. How can you make a difference where you live?

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If you saw Josh Renzo out for a drive in his Dodge Viper GTS, you might think he’s borrowed his dad’s car. Plenty have. You’d be wrong, though. This is the benchmark; a look at how he used basic skills you’ve got right now to buy his dream car (and then some). WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES JOSH RENZO, BILLYBY

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A 27 year old mechanical engineer from Buffalo, New York, currently working in the oil and gas industry in Houston, Texas, Josh Renzo wasn’t exactly what I was expecting when I reached out for this interview. Of course, I didn’t really have much in the way of expectations when I did so, either. Justin Mohney of Detective Coating and I were discussing the types of pictures needed to go with his story in the last issue, when Josh stepped up, emailing me a couple high-resolution shots of a Dodge Viper intake manifold.

immediately asked for the interview. I knew there was a chance he’d be some exceedingly proud guy, eager to tell us how great he is, but since I fancy myself an automotive journalist, I knew that was just my own, lizard brain insecurities coming through.

Considering 2013 is the Year of the Snake - and I’ve had next to zero Cobra/Viper/Snake owners follow through with interview requests - I


I’m really, really glad I got to connect with Josh on this one. His story is an inspiring example of how the skills we use to build high performance machines can literally help us build high performance lives too.

[bd] You told me you have a new Cummins, an 800hp+ T/A, an EcoBoost F150 work truck, and a C5 rebuild these days on top of the Viper. Introduce the Viper? Year, trim, any special mods? [jr] The Viper is a 1997 GTS. Its blue and white with black leather interior. I got it totally stock from my neighbor, who was the original owner. He had the car parked in his garage and I told him if he ever wanted to sell it to let me know. About two years later he came to me asking if I still wanted it - which of course I did - so I pulled the money out of the bank and parked it in my garage. Right now, it has long tube headers, high flow cats, and a Borla cat back. I ported and polished the intake and throttle bodies, installed smooth [intake] tubes, a three-core radiator, 160° thermostat, and some CCW Classic wheels. I’d like to get a set of roller rockers, good pushrods, a tune, tint the windows and put on some coilovers, but I’m pretty busy, and it drives great as it is. I’m planning on adding a blower or twins down the road, to push her into the 800-900hp range. Right now, she dynod 478whp 511ft-lbs. Growing up, the Viper has always been a dream car; a car I never thought I’d ever be able to own. It’s a great car - no ABS, no traction control - no nannies telling me what to do. The car is almost always out of control and sideways, which is perfect. Inside, its hot, the radio sucks, the ride is rough, everything shakes and it’s everything “man.” This car truly has a soul, and that soul is of a race car born of men from the muscle car era of the past. [bd] Which came first: the 800hp T/A or the Viper? Why would you have two monsters like that? [jr] Well, actually the 1997 Corvette was my first sports car. I buy, fix, and sell cars in my spare time for fun, and that extra money allowed me to purchase my 97 Vette in 2006 as a junior engineering student at the University of Buffalo. The car started off bone stock, which was fun for a year. Then I swapped a cam and AFR heads, and sprayed a 150 shot. The car stayed that way until I blew the motor in Florida while partaking in the AKA Rally. I was doing about 150mph (on a closed track of course) when a monster smoke cloud appeared behind me. Cracked oil ring. So I pulled out the LS1, rebuilt it and sold it. Now it has a 418 ci forged LS3, getting ready to come back to life. I kind of stumbled across the Trans Am. A guy was going through a divorce and needed to sell it. It is a navy blue WS6 car with a forged iron 408. I had a custom faceplated T56 built and added a 300 shot

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of nitrous for fun. Its kind of my street killer. Its stupid loud, sucks to drive slow, and isn’t very user friendly. Under wide open throttle the car is an absolute hoot. I really don’t need all these cars, but each one has its own characteristics that I love. Trans Am is a straight line killing machine, the viper is the refined serial killer with drop dead looks, and the Corvette is the everyday guys car with enough muscle to crush dreams. My wife was daily driving a 2004 SRT-10 ram with 450whp and 500wtq but she wanted something bigger. That is when we got the 2013 Cummins. It’s something we can keep and I can make have over 1000ft-lbs. My work truck is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost. It has 3.55:1 gears, 3” down pipes, exhaust, intake, tune and a couple other things. I was able to run a 12.85 in the 1/4 before the lift and 34” tires. She still runs low 13’s which isn’t bad for a crew cab truck I drive everyday with about 900lbs of tools out back. [bd] Wow. That’s some serious, ground-pounding hardware you’ve got, Josh. And you remind us of one of the Viper’s longstanding selling points - its simplicity. Compared to a Ferrari or an Aston Martin, it’s coarse, callous, and obtuse, but it’s got a purity about it that speaks to just about every gearhead. What is the soul of the Viper like? [jr] It’s wonderful to me, (but I’m a man, haha). [Dodge] took what technology they had - as far as building a racecar, a pure American muscle car, a legend - and created the Viper. These early GTSs are what men dream about and boys drool over. There is nothing civilized about the car. They took what they knew

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about engines and made it huge, added a silly raw cam, coupled it to a true six-speed manual gearbox, and created a monster. No steering wheel controls. No nice stereo interface. No automatic climate control. Hell, the climate control hardly works! There are no electronic non-essentials. No ABS. No traction control. No MPG gauge. I’m just happy the power windows work. On the track, the car is a beast. It handles great and accelerates with no effort. This is the car’s true domain. This is where the Viper truly lives - but you have to be careful, it’s a powerful beast that will bite you on the ass if you get too confident. Some people say the car is hard to drive. It isn’t. It just takes a while to understand. It is a pure race car that just happens to also be street legal. It’s great. The other flip side of the beast is its presence on the street and in town. The GTS has a nasty, sexy look to it, and everyone knows what it is. It’s fun to just drive by a restaurant or crowded shopping area and watch everyone turn and stare at the car. There isn’t another car I can think of with the draw - the attention grab - as the Viper. It’s almost a piece of rolling art. It makes me smile every time a little kid pulls on his parent’s arm and yells “Hey look at that car!” Inside, I’m hoping to help inspire a new generation of gearhead. [bd] If you boost the snake and double the power, that will likely upset the balance and handling. How will you mitigate that? How will you preserve the soul of the Viper so as to avoid just having another straight line killer? [jr] Well, I’m hoping this is where some serious suspension work will help out. I already have a set of CCW Classics with some sticky tires,

so that helps, along with urethane bushings and upgraded sway bars. Coilovers, and some upgraded brakes will help slow the monster down. If I ever get around to it, I’ll probably add in a small roll bar set up with some lightweight seats and 6-point harnesses. Nothing too crazy, my wife drives the car to work sometimes. [bd] It’s also interesting you mention flipping cars for fun and profit. Would you say that’s a route an experienced and self-sufficient gearhead might take to getting his or her dream car like you did? We’re big on encouraging gearheads to explore ways to work for themselves. Obviously, there’s a degree of right-place-right-time to consider, but what’s it going to take for me to come up with high 5-figures like this? [jr] I’d say pick a market and stick to it. This way you know what is a killer deal and what isn’t. (The right place at the right time has a lot to do with how much time you can put into the market. Check your local market often and have cash ready to jump on great deals. They don’t last!) You also learn all the tricks to working on them, and gather parts you may be able to use on future purchases. I started off wrenching on trucks. I kind of progressed from trucks into sports cars such as Camaros, Firebirds, Trans Ams, Mustangs and Corvettes. I realized there is normally only so much money you can make on used trucks. [Profit] margin increases with more expensive, desired cars. Start with something you can afford, and afford to lose. Then make your way up. Invest the money you make in projects that will make you more money. I’m just now starting to get into real estate. I feel this is the next logical step for me. One word of advice is don’t get frustrated. Things in life

don’t always work out as planned, so just deal with the situation in the best possible manner. Focus on your goal and do everything in your power to attain it. I worked while going to college so I wouldn’t have to take out monster loans. You have to work hard in life to get great things. I feel a lot of people nowadays don’t want to work. I’ll work 50 hours a week at my regular job, then come home to wrench. I don’t really watch TV; wrenching makes me happy. Seeing something you brought back to life, something someone is going to truly enjoy makes me happy. Making money off it is just a bonus. [bd] I know a lot of gearheads - myself included - who toy with the idea of flipping cars on Craigslist, but never take action because we’re worried we’ll get in over our heads. Can you tell us about the first truck you flipped? Year, make, model? What did you pay for it? What was wrong with it? Were there any surprises? What did you get out of it and the experience? [jr] It really all started when my 2000 S-10 was totaled in an accident. Insurance wrote me a check, but it wasn’t the money I wanted for the truck. I purchased it back from the insurance company and started to disassemble it to sell the parts. While taking the truck apart I ran across another S-10, but with a blown engine. I figured, heck, I have a good engine, this will be perfect. So I swapped the engine over and sold that truck. I paid about $800 for the truck with the blown engine, $500 for the insurance buy back on mine, and sold the now good truck for $2500.

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Now I still had a bunch of parts left over, so I continued looking around. I ended up finding a clean, low mileage S-10 that had been in a front end accident. My front clip was good, so I purchased the S-10 with the front end damage for $1500, swapped on the good clip, and had it painted. I added about $1000 in parts and paint, then drove the truck for a year. I ended up selling it for $5,000 after putting about 20,000 miles on it. At one point I had three or four S-10/Sonomas in the driveway. This experience taught me that hard work pays off. I worked long hours to get these mini projects completed, but each paid off in the end. There are always surprises. You have to take them in stride. One thing that really threw me for a loop was the airbag systems changed almost every year in these trucks. I couldn’t use sensors off a 2002 on a 2000 or a 1998. Also, once a sensor is used its pretty much no good. In order to get the airbags functional, I spent a lot of time and money on Ebay and junk yards. Start small and look for cars that need work you can do, but also aren’t too expensive. Another one of my first flips was a 1996 Grand Am. It had a warped head, but was really clean. I paid $500 for it and put another $500 into it, doing the head work and gaskets. I actually had to do the head gasket twice because the first gasket set I purchased from the local parts store was bad. I ended up spending more on a Mr. Gasket set and did the job all over again. Drove that car for 6 months and sold it for $4000. [bd] Jealousy is a real bitch. It sprouts from our own fear of inadequacy and the anger we feel when we realize our lack of achievement is often our own damned fault. Someone out there is going to read this and write it off because you’re beyond the tipping point, where things appear to get easier. (Success begets success.) This question is twofold. [jr] While some might think this is true, I find it just as hard. If I want to make the same returns (by percent), I need to risk much more money. It’s safer in my eyes to start small, and very, very slowly increase in your investments. I’m pretty cautious, which can be good and bad. I still remember all the painstaking work I’ve done in my life for a dollar, so I still value that highly. I’d say don’t be jealous, look at this as inspiration. Get out there and make something happen! [bd] First, you’ve worked your way up to owning your dream and dreamcrushing cars. Do you find things get easier, harder, or just different? How is living with your heroes (and monsters) different from living with less polished machines? How is it the same? [jr] I feel it actually gets harder to own the cars. I feel more obligated to the original designers and creators of the cars to keep them pristine and in tip top shape. I feel I have to keep the cars garaged, keep them sparkly clean and meticulously maintained. When you’re out in the car its definitely just different. I’ve been pulled over by cops and they let me go, complementing the car the entire time; nevermind the smoky burnout or 30mph (50kph) over the speed limit infractions. On the flip side, I’ve also been pulled over, harassed, and asked if my dad knows I took his car.

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On the street, you’ll get thumbs up and big smiles. People want to use you as a benchmark though. Everyone wants to race and tell their friends they beat (insert supercar here). You have to choose your battles. [bd] Second, give us an example of why you feel the way you do. If things get easier or harder, give us an idea why. Likewise if things aren’t so much easier or harder but different, show us how. Or, if things are pretty much the same, make that connection. We’re trying to get people inspired to get off their asses and take action. [jr] In the past, I’ve had sports cars that were fun and functioned well, but would leak oil, had trouble starting, and had scratched, faded paint. There is something to be said about cars like that. You’re almost more free. There is most definitely a degree of similarity between owning a supercar and something not characterised as such. Most people who own high end cars are terrified of them and probably can’t even change their own oil. The supercar is the same as any other, its a car. Everything I learned working on trucks translates into me being able to work on my Viper. I still can’t justify paying someone to work on my cars, so I do everything I can myself. It gives me a great amount of pride in myself to be able to do these things. I don’t really like to rely on others, so I do as much as I can myself. I’m not a special person. Any gearhead can do this. You have to be self-motivated and have a great work ethic. [bd] Closing thoughts: The most important trait a gearhead can possess is __________, because... [jr] Dedication, because things WILL get hard. Almost nothing works out perfectly, and stupid little hiccups try to derail your plans around every corner. Do not give up. If you do, you’ll be like everyone else in the world. Be a real gearhead and complete your projects. [bd] Finally, where can gearheads find you and connect? [jr] I’m on many forums online under the username “Ultradriver10000” or similar. I currently live in Houston, Texas, but grew up in Buffalo, NY.

BE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE There’s a fine balance between seeing how much we have in common with everybody else and just being like everybody else. On the one hand, you have the foundations of humanity, upon which we can build great things together. On the other, we have stagnation and entropy. You don’t want to be just like everybody else, but you definitely want to find others to be different with together.

old suit who merely drives to Cars and Coffee when the weather is nice. Instead, Josh proved to be a next level gearhead, who has exactly the kind of story I’ve wanted for this magazine for years.

It’s so simple. Use the skills you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and handle a new challenge that stands to pay off in your personal life. What are you waiting for?

Reaching out for this story, I didn’t know what to expect, since all I knew was “This guy has a Viper GTS.” He could have been some stuffy

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REASON It takes a lot of work to get into a race car, let alone a race car in another country. Fortunately, many hands make light work, and partnering with a charity can prove a rewarding experience for everyone involved, making much more possible. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES EMME HALL

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It would be really nice to make more money. If there was more money, we could get our machines built out to our own specifications quicker. They’d perform better, look better, and we could do more with them. We like to joke about how our projects will probably never be finished, but how much of that stems from the reality that is a lack of funding?

Whether you want to race your car, overland your truck, or party with other gearheads, a little help - often in the form of a little extra money - can make a big difference. Many hands make light work. If you want to do something more than drive to and from work or stand around in parking lots shooting the shit, you might want to consider partnering with a charity.

As often as I talk about how rewarding it is to get out of the country and get to know our gearhead brothers and sisters around the world, I know that’s a tall order. Many of us work damn hard to scrape up a couple discretionary grand. It’s hard to spend months or years thinking about how to spend that money on the machine, only to trade the advancement of the project on airfare and an alwaysway-too-short vacation.

Partnering with a charity means racing for a reason. It also makes sense. First, you’re making a positive difference in the world; improving the quality of life for people less fortunate. Second, charities often need help spreading the word and raising money to do their work. Partnerships like these tend to do both. Third, people and brands like to curate an image of caring and social involvement, meaning drivers involved in charitable efforts are more appealing potential sponsorship candidates. See where this is going?


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EMME’S STORY We’ve spoken with Emme Hall before. Previously, we talked about her running the Baja 1000 down in Mexico, writing automotive reviews over at Roadfly, and yes, working a full-time job in theatre. At the end of that interview, Emme told us she was thinking about how cool it would be to run this rally in Africa called Rallye Aicha des Gazelles. Then she just did it. When was the last time you decided you wanted to do something as monumental as entering a rally on the other side of the planet, then made it happen? If you’re like me, it’s been a while. This story is important because Emme isn’t some trust fund kid or Wall Street shill who lays off 20% of the workforce, then FedExes the race car over to Europe for a summer of historic rallies dotted by 5-star accommodations. Emme Hall found something she believed in, busted her ass, pulled out all the stops, and raised nearly US$30,000 for a charitable organization to make this dream come true. This story is important because Emme tells us about what it took to make this dream come true - and it’s information you can use to make your dream come true. Are you ready to make a difference in the world? CATCHING UP [bd] So. Last time we spoke, it was 2011; theatre, Baja, reviews. What’s new? What’s the most meaningful change in your life since then? [eh] Well my dad and I bought a new race car; a 2-seat 1600. It’s an air-cooled 1600cc VW engine with a 4-speed bus transmission. Type 1 front end and torsion bars in the rear, but there are Fox bypass shocks all around, with 14” of travel or so, and disc brakes. It’s a very limited class, so it really is about the driver. Last year, we took 2nd in class points in the MORE (Mojave Off Road Enthusiast) series. These cars are so much fun because you really need to go fast to go smooth. When the car is dialed in and you’re at the right speed, the front end just skips over the whoops (that’s desert speak for bumps) and its the best feeling. The first time I got it right was one of the best moments! I DID IT BECAUSE

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[bd] You mentioned wanting to one day enter Rallye Aicha des Gazelles. The following year, you were there. You did it. I know plenty of people - myself included - who can’t get the car in the garage running to drive to work in the morning. You raced across the Sahara desert in Morocco. I’m sure the race was brutal, but getting to the starting line had to be equally challenging. Why did you do it?

I did it because its one of the hardest things I could think of to do, and totally unlike any other racing I’d ever done. [eh] I did it because it’s one of the hardest things I could think of to do and totally unlike any other racing I’d ever done. It’s about shortest distance between checkpoints, not fastest time. No GPS is used and you navigate with a compass and an old map. We wanted to inspire other women to live their lives to the fullest. We covered our truck with butterflies and wrote the names of women who were breast cancer survivors, pre-vivors, fighters, and angels. Studio 553 designed them for us and he gave us a bunch extra so people we met along the way could add names. He even wrapped our helmets in butterflies, so we were known at the Rallye as the “camion papillon” (butterfly truck in French). I had heard that it was a life changing experience. I mean, you’re out there for 8 days and you can only rely on yourself. No chase vehicles and no help until you get back to the bivouac. I wanted to do something that would push me and make me a better woman and a better racer. [bd] What did it take to realize that dream? How did you make it happen? [eh] We started a campaign on and got help from our friends and family. I also put together a Women in OffRoad Racing calendar, featuring inspirational ladies who race. It’s not a sexy time calendar, but instead is a hero card-style calendar for women to showcase their cars and sponsors. It was very successful and I’ll do it again this year, except I will host a photo contest on Facebook and ask for a donation to FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. They deal specifically with women who have a genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer. I also hosted an online auction with products from some of my supporters, like Off Road Vixens clothing, Azuñia Tequila, SPK Karting, Dezert Wife Photography, RSK Clothing, and MORE. I even auctioned

off west coast and east coast dates with me! I went on the east coast date last month and we had a great time. We went karting and then to Fast and Furious 6. [bd] Navigation by map and compass? That’s gotta be tricky. I can’t imagine there being much in the way of landmarks among the dunes. Is it possible/risky to follow the tracks of others? How does the event know who’s run the shortest distance between points? [eh] There are five different groups, so even if you follow someone, they may or may not be going to your checkpoint. The Rallye does allow you to follow other trucks in the dunes. It’s very helpful to have four people digging out a truck instead of two. Plus navigating in the dunes is so difficult. It’s impossible to keep a heading, so it’s nice to collaborate. Each night, the rally takes an odometer reading, and you mark your mileage at every checkpoint, but they also have all of us on GPS so they can keep track that way as well. FLUSH TOILETS & SOMETIMES-HOT SHOWERS [bd] Eight days in the desert without support vehicles? That is hard core! What’s it like? Where do you sleep? How do you address food and water? What happens when/if you come across a competitor broken down out there? [eh] We chose to give 20-30 minutes of our time to help people. We pulled or dug out at least five teams. One team had a hole in their radiator, so they had to call the mechanics. You could call mechanics and they would talk you through a fix or they would come out and fix it for you as long as you had the part. Of course, there is a huge penalty for that. We slept two nights out in the desert on marathon legs. That was real camping, with no support from the Rallye. Most nights we were at the bivouac, which would be in a different location every night. We would come in “Sabs” (Sabrina, my navigator), would turn in our paperwork and I would clean out the truck as best I could. Then we would drop our tents and stuff in the camping area and she would set things up. While she was doing that, I would go fill up the truck with gas and then take it over to the mechanics. You had to be able to explain - in either French or through drawings and pantomime - what needed to be looked at. They would take care of the truck overnight. Then I’d go check our messages (you could follow us online and send us notes, which was awesome) and meet Sabs for dinner. There was a bar, but I was always too

tired to socialize. We had flush toilets and sometimes-hot showers all set up on trailers, but really, when you’d been driving for 16 hours and you had to get up at 4AM, it was really hard to care about how you looked! SHOW ME THE MONEY The logistics of the rallye are all included in your fees. For US$18,500, we got food, water, fuel, tracking equipment, hotel before and after the rallye, and mechanics. 25% of our fees went to Heart of Gazelles, the non-profit arm of the rallye that provides education and medical services to people in the most remote parts of Morocco. We rented our vehicle for about $9000 and that included insurance, prep, and transport to Morocco from France. You can, of course, ship your own truck which, of course, has its advantages, but logistically it’s much easier to rent. [bd] It’s clear you care deeply about making a difference in the world, Emme. Why are you so involved in Cancer research/prevention/support? [eh] My original navigator, Michele, is a breast cancer pre-vivor. Angelina Jolie has been in the news lately for the same thing. I didn’t really know much about it before I met Michele, but I realized it can happen to anyone, even if you are young and lead a healthy, active lifestyle. But it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. If you have the BRCA gene, you can choose to be proactive. It’s not a choice that is easy to make and it’s very personal, but I’m glad the technology is there to give women (and men) the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. [bd] US$27,500 in entry fees and truck rental. Add airfare to northern Africa, and you’ve got a serious investment. Of course, $30K for more than a week of fully-supported, hardcore rally racing across gigantic sand dunes, just like they do (did) in the Dakar rally, including an almost $5,000 donation to a charity providing education and medical assistance to people in need is one HELL of a bargain. Still, it’s not something the average gearhead does over summer holiday, ya know? Can I ask how you funded this adventure? (Looking to inspire readers that such things are possible with enough drive, and give them those first few pieces of the sponsorship/fundraising process - tailoring sponsors to the event and such.)

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[eh] We had a sponsor pack with information about the rallye, the Heart of Gazelles charity aspect, and about us and why we wanted to do it. We also had a video to go along with it so partners could see that we were camera-ready and able to speak and be good brand ambassadors. Although we didn’t get any money, we did get some product from Slime and we had an online auction with a lot of product support. I was able to auction off gift cards from SDHQ Off Road, Off Road Vixens, RSK Clothing, and Custom Ink. Also, a photo package from Dezert Wife Photography, a race entry from MORE racing in the high desert of California, some awesome Azunia Tequila, a day of karting from SPK Karting at Summit Point, West Virginia,and I even auctioned off a date

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with me! [bd] You also mentioned BRCA, which was in the news recently, having gone all the way to the US Supreme Court. Thoughts? [eh] I’m glad they ruled that it’s illegal to patent a gene. I’m no lawyer and far from a scientist, but it seems weird that you could put a patent on something inside of someone, you know? Now it will be less expensive for women to get the DNA screening and will allow them to make the most informed choices. LOOKING AHEAD

[bd] Looking ahead, what worries you most? What excites you most? Why? [eh] It’s funny, but lately I haven’t had a lot of worries. I mean, I have a job, a house, and enough money left over to race every now and again, so I’m very lucky. I’m excited to just keep on this path and see where it leads. Hopefully I can be an inspiration to both women and men to live their lives to the fullest. It sounds simplistic, but you just have to figure out what you want to do and then do it. You can’t let the first step frighten you off. If I had really paid attention to the money for Gazelles - some people don’t make that much in a whole year - it would have been very easy to say it was impossible. Instead, you just say, “Okay $30K. How we gonna do it?”

we want something bad enough to pull out all the stops. Emme Hall wanted to combine her passion for off-road motorsport with something that really matters. She wanted to go racing for a reason. She did just that. Partnering with a charity means racing for a reason. As you can hopefully see now, it also makes sense. It’s a way to improve the quality of life for people less fortunate, to help help a charitable organization generate awareness of their cause and raise money to do their good work, and to make your team more appealing to potential sponsors which can help supercharge your team effort. We hope this story inspires you do go racing for a reason, too. What will your reason be?

[bd] Best places to find you and connect? [eh] I’m on Twitter and Instagram quite a bit @MMMotorsports. Facebook is /EmmeHall. I’m pretty good at responding to people so please don’t be shy! There are Gazelle videos and such at You can learn more about the rally at and check out my car reviews at I’m also a contributing writer at THINKING ABOUT IT You could raise $30K and race for charity, too. Yes, you could. You just have to want it bad enough. For each of us, there comes a point where

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TRUTHS Though rally, even at the club level, might have become a complex world of advanced machinery and budgets, there are still those who revel in the simple truth of simple cars driven at 11-tenths on through the dark and scary. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES VARIOUS

If you were to describe rally as “Formula 1 on dirt,” you wouldn’t be wrong. Manufacturers bring the utmost in technical prowess to bear in competition often measured in thousandths of seconds over hundreds of miles run wide open, day or night, through all manner of inclement weather. Though the machines might look like roadgoing cars, they’re anything but. They begin their lives as showroom stock models, immediately stripped to the unibody, which is then further dissected and modified as much as the rules will allow in the spirit of absolute competition on a world class level. 300hp, turbocharged, all-wheel drive beasts are the order of the day, with active differentials and sequential gearboxes. They’ll do 0-60mph (100kph) in three seconds flat and see speeds well in excess of 100mph (160kph) on roads which would leave your consumer-grade machine hobbled. The similarities between WRC and F1 don’t end there. Sebastien Loeb has won the WRC driver’s title seven years in a row, 2004-2012. Compare that to Michael Schumacher’s 5-year run, 2000-2004, with Ferrari, or Sebastian Vettel’s current, 3-year run with Renault. You have to ask yourself how one team could win the title so many times in a row. Is it pure talent? A lack of real competition? One team simply spending more money than anyone else? Clearly, motorsport at this level is big business. Grassroots, clubman level rally, on the other hand, is far more accessible (and exciting). Motorsport becomes more meaningful when the competitors, organizers, and volunteers are your friends. That said, there’s still a tendency toward the expensive, turbocharged models, and our

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increasingly litigious society has made even grassroots rulebooks relatively complex. Which is why, when I came upon a picture of Evan Green and Roy Denny a couple years ago, splashing through a water crossing in the night, during the 1969 running of the Southern Cross Rally down under in Australia, I was immediately smitten; wishing for a return to the relative simplicity of the early days of rally. Simple, 2WD cars, their carburetted engines straining to make 100-150hp, driven wide open through the night. Though I’ve been attending rallies for nearly a decade at this point, I’ve yet to see an old school Mitsubishi like the one in the picture I saw that day. So when my buddy Tim recently mentioned he was crewing for a team running just such a car at the Nameless Performance Rally, I had to pursue the lede. [bd] Introductions: Who are you, where are you, what do you do for a living? [ac] My name is Adam Clees. I’m 25. I respond best to just Adam, or “Hey you,” than Mr. or sir. I’m not a formal guy. I use bad grammar for the fun of it (at least that’s my excuse). I never liked school. In fact, I dropped out senior year, got a GED, and I haven’t been back to school since. I’ve been a car nut as long as I can remember. All the pictures I drew were of cars. By the time I was eight, I could name off almost every car’s make and model that we’d see on the road. When I was 10, my parents’ friend gave us a rusted out, 1964 Volvo 122 wagon for me to mess around with. This lead to a few more old, pushrod Volvos in my younger years. I still have a ‘66 122 2-door that I’m getting closer to having restored.


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A few other cars I’ve had include: ‘94 Miata (sold because it was too “barbie car” for me), 626 GT (turbo 5-door I really liked, but it died of deer), Subaru GL hatch (Mad Max-style off-road car that I got into too much trouble with), ‘71 BMW 2002 (turbo style body and k-jet engine swap from a ‘78 320i, sold because racecar), and a Subaru Legacy wagon in which I got my start rallycrossing and TSD rallying (the best beater I’ve ever had, it eventually ended up with a legacy turbo sedan’s engine and 5-speed). I’ve never really been into modifying my cars just for the sake of it. I make changes where I think I can improve the car, and I’ve bought modified cars and spent my time finishing up the modifications that were made. But I think since the first car that I bought (the ‘66 122 when I was 14) turned into such a huge project so quickly, I learned to be realistic about my car improvements and to focus on making them as useable as possible. I live outside of Bellingham, Washington. I rent a house that is attached to a mom and pop-type store, where my garage is underneath that store, heated by their walk-in coolers’ refrigeration compressors. I’m lucky I’m short and drive small cars, because the ceiling is really low in there. I work for a small concrete construction outfit. We specialize in higher end stuff and we do a little bit of everything. It’s not what I want to do forever, I just kind of fell into it about six years ago and it’s been a pretty easy going work environment. (That’s the politically correct way of saying that I/we get away with a lot of things at work that most people don’t!) [bd] Introductions: Tim was pretty excited to be crewing for a proper, old school Mitsubishi rally team. Tell us a little bit about your car; what is it, how did you come by it, what do you do with it? [ac] This car is a rare example of a really, really old rally whore. Its first

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rallying owners were experienced competitors. They knew what needed to be done to make a rally car be fast - and last - and they did it. I’m unclear on it’s exact origins because it’s had so many logbooks over the years, but it might have been racing as early as 1983. The car went through three more owners - all of them first time stage competitors - and now I’m its fourth first-time competitor. It’s always been a west coast car, so there are a lot of experienced rally people around here who have seen it, worked on it, or competed against it over the years. Sometimes I feel more like a caretaker of a piece of rally history than a new driver, but that’s okay - it’s a unique car, and I feel privileged to own it. I bought the Colt because I had owned “wrong wheel,” all wheel and rear wheel drive cars, and RWD was my favorite (naturally). I had gotten to the point where I was fed up with the way my Subaru handled. Everybody in rally had one and I wasn’t really interested in working with fuel injection or turbo systems. It helped that this old Colt was only 7 miles from my house in Bellingham, and that it came with another identical, complete and (barely) running ‘77 Colt street car (which has become my daily driver). The Colt is a simple car, so in theory it would be easier to finish rallies, where every component in the car is a potential failure point. And I could afford it, which is important because I really doubt any businesses are looking for a Dodge Colt with a novice driver to sponsor. Haha. I started off just getting it functional enough to finish rallycross and TSD events. It had been in a barn for 7 years before I got it, and the engine was a fresh 2.4 liter de-stroker that started right up, but like the rest of the car, needed some sorting before it was really ready to get out and compete.

For the first year I had it, I drove it to a few WCRA (West Coast Rally Association, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Hope Rallycross events, Chuckanut Sports Car Club’s Monster’s Revenge TSD, and WCRA’s Thunderbird winter TSD, then I sold my BMW, bought a trailer and a truck ,and kept doing about the same thing for the next year. When I looked at the schedule and saw how soon the Nameless Performance Rally was coming up, I had owned it for about the car about 2 years and I really wanted to get it out on the roads the car had seen so many times before. I knew what needed to be done and decided it was

time to go for broke and finally get into stage rallying with it. In about two and a half months, I took it from as-rallied in 2003 spec to current safety spec, and did a refresh on the engine’s bottom end to boot. I had to go through three different rulebooks (and I suck at rules), figure out how to properly mount seatbelts, consider all the ways I could reasonably make the car safer, and this was only my second engine rebuild. To say I was a little bit intimidated would be an understatement! [bd] The North American rally scene is home to a wide variety of ma-

TOP: Suiting up in preparation for launch at Nameless Performance Rally 2013. (Image: Anthony Latham) BOTTOM: The wee Dodgubishi is on the move! (Image: Tim Reed) OPPOSITE: Image: Eric Gearhart, My LIfe @ Speed

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ABOVE & RIGHT: Image: Tim Reed chines. Imprezas, Lancers, Golfs, Volvos, more Golfs, that guy with the light truck. Why have you opted to go with such an old, likely low-powered and under-supported platform for you rally dream? [ac] I feel like the Colt is one of those cars badly affected by its stigma. When these were new cars, people bought them because they were cheap and gave good fuel mileage. They were used up and thrown out. When I drive around in my daily driver ‘77 Colt, I get a lot of people that say, “That was my first car!” or, “You don’t see many of those around anymore.” And I think it’s unfortunate there aren’t more of them surviving, because it wasn’t that they were bad cars - they were actually really good cars - it’s just that their lot in life happened to be one that’s not appreciated much in the US. The Lancer Colt has a very strong body. It’s simplicity lends it great durability, and the range of engines that can be put into it has helped it to be a viable racing car long after its heyday. In the ‘70’s and 80’s you could order parts through Chrysler’s Direct Connection department. They came from what Mitsubishi was making for the Lancers that they used to win the Safari Rally several years in a row. [Not to mention the Southern Cross, right, Drew McPhee? ~bd] They had performance level packages for the suspension, and engines with cylinder heads, cams, headers and intakes with Mikuni carburetors you could just go to the dealership and order. So the Colts became very popular with rallyists. That’s all dead and gone now, so this is no longer a car for the racing driver who wants to buy parts from one vendor, put them on, and go race. But really, what old car is like that? Sometimes the problems are really frustrating, like how all the old cylinder heads seem to be cracked, but for every problem there has been a solution so far, and every time I have to sort out another issue, I become a better mechanic. I’ve had to learn how to cross reference things through many years of Mitsubishi cars, network with like minded people, and my fabrication skills just keep growing. I like doing things old school. I get satisfaction from things like re-curving a distributor, or finding the right combination of jets to fix a part throttle stumble, and figuring things out like “how does an alternator work, so that I can wire in a different one?” not just knowing that if I order the right one, it will plug in. [bd] Just to clarify, you picked up a couple old Colts from a barn in the PNW, both equally rare these days, race one of them and daily drive

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the other? Which is which? Can you share engine/drivetrain basics with us? [ac] As far as my insurance company knows, they’re both the same! The daily driver (sometimes I call it the yellow car, or PB after the penetrating fluid that was used so much to resurrect it) is un-restored. It’s neither nice nor terrible. It was obviously cared for at some point in it’s life to make it to this age, but it was really neglected when I got it. It’s pretty much a stock, base model Colt with a SOHC 1.6L 4G32. It only has 83HP, which makes passing difficult, but it gives 30-35mpg! I replaced the 4-speed with a 5 (direct no-fabrication replacement). Disc front, drum rear, power brakes, and an AM radio! Everything is manual except the brakes - including steering - but it’s not too difficult since it has little 175 width tires. I had it on a scale yesterday and it weighed 2,025lbs (918kg) with 1/3 tank of gas! The rally car (trying to restrain myself from writing a novel here!) has a 2.4 liter de-stroked 4G54 engine, dual Dell’orto 45 carburetors, 4-21 header, late-style cylinder head for a Starion milled down to bump the compression, and a Delta 272 re-ground cam. Transmission is the same as the 5-speed in the daily. Rear axle is from an AE86 Corolla with 4.30 ratio and an overstuffed LSD. The axle rides on factory Safari leaf springs with custom-valved Bilstein shocks. Front suspension is Colt strut bodies with GAB (KYB) gravel inserts for a Mazda 323GTX and 2.5” 300lb (136kg) springs. Front brakes are stock Colt calipers and 9” discs with Hawk pads, rears are stock AE86 discs with Hawk pads. The brake master cylinder has been re-located to the navigator’s side of the engine bay to clear the sidedraft carbs. A transfer bar that came on the early Colt FWD cars facilitates that. And of course reinforcing plates in key areas, stitch welds all over the place and skid plates under the engine/transmission and fuel tank. [bd] With parts getting harder to find these days, doesn’t owning TWO of them make your life a little harder? When have you had to choose between which car gets what, and how do you choose? [ac] I think it’s not too much more difficult to use a car like this in rally racing. I’ve learned that rally preparing any car other than a Subaru or Evo usually involves parts that aren’t commonly available, and many standard components can and will be replaced for safety, performance and durability concerns.

ABOVE & LEFT: Image: Tim Reed On the Colt, consumable items like grilles, bumpers, doors and rear quarter panels and lights are a concern, but I’m getting better at bodywork to fix what I can, and I have a few spare parts I might need in the future. I’m always looking for more spare parts though. I scan the Classic Colt forum, search Craigslist in a 400 mile radius, and I usually go junyarding once a month. Ebay in Australia is pretty handy too. There seem to be a lot more car nuts over there interested in Colts.

good while longer behind an engine that has half the torque!

It’s sad to say, but a lot of the parts for these cars are out of production and the parts warehouses are trying to clear the old stuff off their shelves for dirt cheap. I’ve been able to buy quite a few parts through Rock Auto. I plan ahead and get parts I think I’ll need when I can find them. I have boxes of new and used front suspension parts, gasket sets, new and used engine parts, spare gearboxes, new and used brake parts, sheetmetal, glass, etc.

[bd] Do you know anyone else racing older J-tin, Mitsubishi or otherwise? How do/does their experience seem similar/different? (If you don’t know anyone else running a 40 year-old import, would you like to? What would you like to talk about with them?)

I’ve been meaning to buy some door and window seals since Tim found a source in Australia, and once in a while, a set of oversize pistons pops up for the 1.6 engines. The 4G54 engine in the rally car is pretty easy to get parts for, at least maintenance wise. I talk smack about the lame duck engine that is the Toyota 22R, but I envy the aftermarket support they have. As far as major parts for the daily driver, and advice on Mitsubishi parts interchangeability, that’s where my friend Tim has been my lifeline. Apart from being a really great friend, and maybe the rally car’s biggest fan, he’s been upgrading his two 1.6L cars to the later larger engines, and I’ve ended up with the old parts. Both of the cars have been worked on in stages, from barely functional (neither one could be driven when I bought them) to competition and road trip ready at the present. Aesthetics are next, but maybe won’t even get done. I’m not much concerned with how my cars look, just that they do what I want them to. When I started working on the Colts, the yellow car’s needs were easier, like cleaning electrical contacts and working on the brakes. And since I wasn’t sure if the car was going to work out, it got the cast off parts from the race car, like the front calipers and the old, non-compliant navigator’s seat replaced the tattered, original drivers seat. I would swap parts onto the race car; like the gas tank on the race car that had about a gallon’s worth of dents in it went into the yellow car, and the good tank got cleaned and sealed and went into the race car. And when I found a good 5-speed to go into the rallycar, the DD got the one with battered splines and bearings because I figure it will last a

[bd] What’s been the most difficult obstacle you’ve faced with these old cars so far and how did you overcome it? [ac] Getting over the fear of breaking stuff and just driving them like they were meant to be!

[ac] I know of two Galant chassis Colts that were bought out of a mothballed state around the same time I acquired mine. Both of them were also old stage rally cars. One car in Vancouver, Washington, had extensive rust problems unlike mine, but they have it all repaired now, and were registered and ready to debut it at Nameless Rally, but engine problems cropped up right before the event. The other one, up in Canada, is in progress, but I’m uncertain of it’s current state. I don’t think either of the other teams have dug into engine building yet, and right now, that’s what I’m most interested in. The cars are also being worked on primarily by people other than the owner/drivers, whereas I’m the owner/driver/mechanic/principle. If I get an opportunity to chat them up and look over their cars, I’d want to know pretty much everything, but I especially want to know if there is any old literature out there from the old days of Colt rallying. It seems like, for most cars, there’s a book that covers all the funny things about racing that car, but I haven’t found one for the old Mitsubishis yet. I want to know things like how to build an engine that could last more than a season, and little things to improve the suspension, and I know that there are people out there that have figured out the answers already. [bd] Looking five years down the road, what worries you most, automotively-speaking? What excites you most? And why on both accounts? [ac] I really don’t see much in the current market that is very interesting to me. I doubt that anything 5 years in the future will either. Cars made now are overcomplicated and overweight. There’s a certain driving feel you get in an older car that doesn’t come from calibrated power steering effort and intake sound transducer tubes.

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Part of what upsets me about modern cars is that I don’t think that they’re any good for a new car enthusiast to learn to work on. I’ve learned so much more about what makes cars tick from the classics I’ve owned. When I walk through the junkyard, it makes me sad to see cars like restorable 280Z Datsuns, and I think about what that car could teach a car nut who is not as lucky to have had old car experiences like I’ve had. The thing that excites me the most, though I still have mixed feelings about it, is the mass appeal of drifting and gymkhana. I think that having more car nuts placing the highest importance on driving ability and choosing cars based on agility over outright speed will be a benefit to car enthusiasts in the long run.

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Major manufacturers seem to be noticing and responding with cars like the BRZ/FRS and the Chevy 130R concept. A lot of people are finding ways to make drift-able cars out of old junk like Cressidas and Corollas that would otherwise be unwanted and replaced with more lame, new FWD cars. Some of the influence of drifting and Mr. Block’s videos should trickle down into rally as well, and for every 50 energy drink brand t-shirt wearing people that show up to watch rallies, a handful of them will come back to volunteer, or build a car and take their racing off open roads. And from that handful of people, maybe one or two will make it into organizing eventually and keep the sport sustainable. [bd] Finally, where can our readers find you and connect these days?

[ac] We have a page on Facebook now, thanks to my fantastic navigator Holly: Also, we’re planning on being at the Pacific Forest Rally, October 4-5, so come find us there, or look for us in the results. SIMPLE TRUTHS There was a time when rally - indeed, all of motorsport - was little more than brave souls with a thirst for adventure striking out into the dark and scary. Big dreams were powered by small engines. Man and machine became one. Simple truths so profound they continue to inspire.

Adam’s story is special not only because it reminds us of the simple truth of motorsport, but also because it reminds us how there is still a place in motorsport for simple, inexpensive machines. It’s a dream that will never die. Is it your dream? What are you waiting for? OPPOSITE TOP: Image: Dean Clees OPPOSITE BOTTOM: Image: Tim Reed TOP: Image: Anthony Latham BELOW: Image: Deanna Isaacs

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The independent motor racing resource & Gearbox Magazine are teaming up to bring you a selection of automotive events every month. This space, like PaddockScene and this magazine, are going to evolve over time. The more involved you become, the better we can make these resources for you! Have you signed up on PaddockScene yet?

PS: This is nowhere near ALL the events in the PaddockScene database. It’s merely a taste of what’s to come. Anyone can join PaddockScene, add & discuss events.

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AUG.23-24 AUG.25



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THE little Collection

Curation is the act of carefully selecting items to include in a specific collection. Mike Little has been doing a bit of curation over the years. Here’s a look at Mike Little’s Big Collection of old Mitsubishis. WORDS DENNIS DEJONG & BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES MIKE LITTLE

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Each of us is a curator in some way. Our sense of identity is in no small part entwined with our machines. The performance goals we set for and the appearance of our machines, even the way we dress when we drive them, reflect the image we want others to see when they think of us. Though there might be a dozen options capable of meeting our goals, we still often find ourselves making the decision that “just feels right.” When it comes to old school, RWD J-tin, there are plenty of options. Nevermind the Celica, Fairlady, or RX7. I’m talking the not-meant-to-be-sporty, original sport compact class. If you’ve got a fever for the flavor, you’ve got plenty of popular options - Starlet, Bluebird, RX3 - but there’s another member of that class growing in popularity these days - the Mitsubishi Colt. Though any of those older models can surely bring a smile to the face of any enthusiast looking for a simple, RWD driver’s car with sufficient aftermarket support to be dangerous, we all favor the one that feels like it most reflects who we are. That’s curation. Much like a museum director might do; find pieces that reflect the spirit of the show and take them home.

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IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT If it’s broke, get a smokin’ deal on it and take it home. Michael Little works in horticulture, groundskeeping, and gardening in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s also a handyman. When your choice of vehicle is older J-tin, you kind of have to be something of a handyman. After nearly 40 years, the cars can be pretty rough, and parts can be hard to come by, meaning you really need a good idea what you’re doing - and love doing it - if you’re going to have any fun. Fortunately, Michael loves what he’s doing. [dd] What kind of car are you driving? [ml] Really depends on what is drivable and has rego… Or has the most petrol at the time. Current drivable ones are: 91 GTO (3000 GT) as a daily, but don’t use it much Ford Ranger (Mazda BT-50) that work has kindly provided for me. 73 Dodge Colt A53H 81 GH Sigma, Peter Wherrett Special (PWS) 74 GB Galant in need of reconditioning as the head gasket just blew. The last two are on a Historic Rego Scheme, which allows me to use them 90 days throughout the year via a log book. [dd] How did you come to own/buy the A53H Dodge Colt? [ml] At an Australia Day cruise. I saw it there. My mates seen me looking very closely at it and knew I liked these types of cars. We was just standing around watching the other cars leave when the owner jumped into it and my mates were bugging me to ask if he would sell it. A bit reluctant, a mate just yelled out “Ya wanna sell it mate?” to which he stopped the car and I went and had a chat to him. A week later, went and had a look at the cars (he had a pair of them), and nine months later I bought them.

As for the other one, really need to have a better look at it and see what can be done to it. I have a spare sedan body I can use parts off of to resurrect it, but need to really look at it closer. But if need be, it’s all there parts-wise; just needs a lot of bodywork. Basically restore it to original. [dd] What have you already done to the car? [ml] Re-done the exhaust, changed the gearbox, suspension components, rims (same style as ones that came on the car, just a polished and painted set), front lights and grill (to a 71 GA Galant). [dd] What are you planning on still doing to the Colt? [ml] Rear brakes (from drum to disc), rear diff (it’s noisy at the moment), general tidy up, a few wiring issues, re-build the Webers and put them on a different manifold, dyno tune, tramp bars or different rear springs due to it tramping on the drag strip. [dd] With so many old Mitsubishis around, how will you ever finish them all? What else have you got planned? [ml] One day I will finish them all, but is a project car ever really finished? Being the age that some of the cars are, I am lucky to have them on our Historic Rego Scheme, saving me some money for the little use that some of them see. I have not bought them to get rid of them. I plan to keep them for as long as I can. Owning a shed to store them in also helps. I do not plan to buy more for the collection, but if something catches my eye, that does not mean I will not chase it down to have. The Valiant, GB Galant 1400, non-running Dodge Colt Galant 1.6L and PWS will all stay standard and get a rebuilt at some point. The GK Sigma, I have a few goodies waiting to go into it when the build takes place, aiming for 200kw at the wheels, it currently has 170kw (270hp) on 10psi.

[dd] What is your end goal for the Colt?

The other Dodge Colt, I have a supercharger here that is screaming out to go into it.

[ml] Just keep it drivable, fix the few things that need doing on it, and a bit of tidy up here and there.

The Race GB is just awaiting paint, re-assembly, and another motor rebuild.

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The Sigmatron, I would like to get on the road. A few things need to be done to it before this will ever happen. If not, just restore it and keep showing it at car shows. There is a Scorpion 2.6L motor in the Colt at the moment. It has twin 40mm Weber carburettors and some home-made extractors. Nothing fancy done to the motor, as its pretty standard on the inside. Plan to change the inlet manifold over, put a lumpy cam in it, and get the distributor re-graphed. [dd] How easy/hard is it to get parts for this car? [ml] Sourcing parts for the car. I have managed to source some NOS (new old stock) and 2nd hand parts from Malaysia and The Philippines. Some parts are compatible with the Australian model, which helps, like front body panels, suspension components, running gear. LOOKING BACK [bd] Why do you stick with the old Mitsubishi models? Did you always want to own so many? Tell how bad you’ve got it, mate. [ml] Owning multiple cars has not been the plan from the onset. Some just came up at the right time, others were bargains, some I have chased for a few years before acquiring. Growing up and dad being into Chryslers (as he worked at the South Australian plants), we spent many hours tinkering, fixing and maintaining the family cars ourselves. I Started out with a 1974 TD XL Cortina Wagon as my first car. This was stripped to a shell and the rebuild began. But I did not get to finish this car. Sadly it was gotten rid of to make room for others I got along the way. The family had bought a 1974 GB Galant for dad, my brother and I to go racing in (motorkhana, khanacross, track practice days). It was a 1400 4-speed. Nothing too special, but a good starting point. I ended up being the only one to continue racing for a couple of years. I was not in it for trophies or glory, but more to learn how the car would or wouldn’t behave in certain circumstances. I eventually took over the car and began to modify it dramatically. Having a mate with an identical car, we were playing with it almost every weekend, modifying this, repairing that, testing and tuning. This made the decision and direction I was going with the car easy for me, as all

the R&D had already been done. At a car show one day I stumbled across my next purchase, as a mate had shown me build pictures of it as he worked with the guy. I took the details down and made contact with the owner. This was the car that I had while on my learners. 1984 GK SE Sigma. It was modified with injection, turbo, and different seats. I took this out to one of the practice/track days to see how it would go and quickly found out how bad the brakes were. Doing approximately 200km/h (125mph) on the back straight coming up to the hairpin turn the pedal came up hard, but I was not slowing down. Kept the car straight and went into the kitty litter. Having previously been there a couple of years before and watching the trucks racing, I knew what would happen if I went through the sand trap and into the wall. Needless to say, the kitty litter did its job and pulled me up way before then. I then acquired a 76 GD Galant wagon to drive on my learners and provisional licence. It was a standard 1600 4-speed. I told myself no modifying this and just drive it. This did not happen. I ended up with a bigger motor, 5-speed, 4-wheel disc brakes with upgraded rims to fit over, different seats, and a digital gauge cluster modified from another car to suit. Having crashed the race car a week before, it was meant to go to get the roll cage put in, I then stripped it and found another body for everything to go into. I got this home and stripped it ready for modifications and the roll cage. It still sits as a bare shell at this stage, as I keep getting sidetracked. I then was at the wreckers and looked at another GB Galant for a spare. This was then bought and in my possession. I then acquired a 76 GD Galant sedan. This was meant to be done up as a car for the girlfriend at the time. Upon stripping it down to see what I actually had, I found some real nasty stuff, so it was parted out and the rest sent to the scrap yard. Getting a bit sick and tired of the GD wagon, I was on the hunt for another car. I looked at an LA Lancer sedan, but being too hard to get bits for at the time, I opted out. There was a GE Sigma sedan, which I was pretty keen on until my dad found me a 1981 GH Peter Wherrett Special Sigma, which is a special of only 1000 cars made. We went and had a look at it, checked out what was there or missing off it,

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and I ended up getting it. I had about a month to get what I needed to fixed before the wagon ran out of rego. This then became my new car to drive and the wagon got pulled down and sold off in bits and scrapped.

styling, and such. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like them and that is why I have them.

Having been driving this for about a year and finally having my full licence, I had been playing with the GK Sigma; just tidying up a few bits and pieces and replacing a few things I got it back on the road and was a weekend fun car that I took out on cruises and shows. I missed driving the GB Galant though, so I was on the hunt for one to drive. I found a 2nd owner 1400 4-speed base model with all the books, receipts, etc., that had been in the shed for the past 10 years. This needed a few things done to it before driving it on the road again, but it was good to be back behind the wheel of a GB.

[ml] I have been told that the Colts are part of the five that Chrysler/ Mitsubishi bought over back in the 70’s. Two were cut up upon arrival. The remaining three went to the high up management people at the time, with one staying in South Australia, one to Victoria (which was written off in an accident), and the other to New South Wales. I have both the SA and the NSW cars. The SA car remains the drivable one, with the NSW being the parts/restoration car.

A mate had a VK Valiant Regal that, every time I went around, he asked if I wanted to buy it. I eventually did. It was good to take out on cruises with mates as it’s big and comfortable. It’s just a stock 265 3-speed auto. This has now been parked up and awaiting rust repairs around the front and rear windows. Also bought this as something to tow my cars around with if the need ever arises.

[ml] They all have something special about them to me, whether they are stock, mild or wild, they all have a different feel. Some of them, being limited number cars, makes them special in that respect, and also being a special part in Australian motoring history.

I then bought a 2001 Proton Satria GTi, as the PWS was having some issues, and I was a bit sick of constantly fixing it. This was then pushed into the back corner of the shed not to be seen or played with for a year or so.

[ml] Just the amount of looks and comments they get. Most people don’t know what they are. They’ve been called about five different things at the moment.

I then got a 1991 Mitsubishi GTO for no real reason. Just because. The Proton then went up for sale, as it was no longer required. While having these, a car I had been chasing for a few years now kind of came on the market. Liking my GB Galants so much, I wanted a 2-door hardtop, seeing it at a few cruises. I had made contact with the owner and looked at it with the intent to buy if he wanted to get rid of it. His missus buying him a car that he had been looking at made the decision to on sell it to me an easy one. I now had not one but two Dodge Colt Galant 1.6L’s in my possession - one stock, but needing a lot of work, the other modified, but registered and running. I now had the car that I had been dreaming of. I then picked up another 1984 GK Sigma shell to start the rebuild on the other 84 Sigma. The body being much better condition makes for light work. The next and last purchase was Chrysler’s concept car made for the 1980 motor shows. This car was known as the Chrysler Sigma Batmobile, later renamed “Sigmatron” when it returned to Mitsubishi (formerly Chrysler). This is a 1 of 1 build. Being a kid and seeing it when I attended the South Australian National Motor Museum, it always drew my attention. Going up there one year and it not being there was a sad sight. I wondered what ever happened to it. After speaking to a couple of people, I had a lead. Contacted the then owner and went to look at it. Well, not really. I went there basically to arrange a time to collect, just wanting to see the car beforehand to make sure it was all there and not been smashed up. This was cleaned up a bit and I have had it in a few car shows with the plan to have it in more. I like my Chryslers and Mitsubishis, as I like the way they drive, their

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[dd] Some other information on this Colt you would like to share?

[bd] What makes them special?

[dd] Share one of your favourite moments you’ve had with your cars?

[dd] Are you a gearhead? What does that mean to you? [ml] I would have to say that I am a gearhead. I really like my cars and go to a lot of shows/events with car related things. I can appreciate all the time and effort that goes into making a car to what it becomes in the final product. [dd] Where can people find and connect with you? [ml], username: GB_BB4C WE LOVE THE LONG STORIES Here at Gearbox Magazine, we love the long stories. They show us how deep the love of a particular make or model or pursuit runs. In Michael’s case, it’s clear the love of old Chrysler/Mitsubishis runs very deep indeed. Not only has he managed to save and begin restoration on a number of once popular models, he’s also picked up a couple rarities to boot. Here’s hoping there’s time and money (and kit!) to save them all. Keep going fast with class, mate!

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car 22 undercover PART 1 BY PAUL TURNER

The Duty Officer began shouting loudly. I wasn’t really listening to what he was saying, but then I didn’t need to, I had heard it all before. It was the usual list of instructions; things that prisoners could and couldn’t do, rights that they were entitled to and privileges that would be withheld from them. He smiled wryly at me as he finished his little performance and then nodded to the “tai-lau” who slammed the cell door closed. There is a very distinctive sound that a cell door makes as it closes. Firstly, it is loud, very loud; you simply cannot close a cell door quietly. Secondly it is cold, mechanical, as if it occurs automatically without any human intervention. And thirdly, it is conclusive and final. It signifies the end of the occupants’ freedom, whether for a few brief minutes or an entire lifetime. And nowhere is that sound as harsh, as deafening or as terrifying as from ‘inside’ the cell. As I watched the Duty Officer walk away, I was left to reflect upon the events of the last two months and how I came to be on the wrong side of that cell door with my new found ‘friends.’ It was July 1994 and by now I had been serving in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force for almost four years. Following my graduation from the Police Training School, I spent my first two years working in “Miscellaneous Enquiries,” investigating non-suspicious deaths. It was a depressing job that involved spending half my time talking to coroners who were obviously sick of explaining medical terminology to young green police officers and the other half trying to take statements from bereaved relatives who were sick of talking to police officers altogether. I hated it, but I was also good at it and after disclosing a murder that had failed to arouse a detective’s suspicion and proving beyond all reasonable doubt that a scuba diving ‘accident’ was in fact caused by criminal negligence; I was given my stripes and released upon the unwitting Hong Kong public as a Patrol Sub-Unit Commander. I revelled in my newfound freedom, but my constant desire to learn more was being thwarted by my lack of mobility. I could barely cover a quarter of my beat without having to call a patrol car and that put me at the mercy of my NCOs, who varied in their attitudes from mildly lazy to downright apathetic! I soon came to despise the Cantonese phrases for “That’s not our job!” and “Get the next shift to do it!” I had to cut the apron strings and that meant being more mobile. I got myself on the first motorcycle course that I could find and six months later found myself reporting for my first day in Regional Traffic. That same day, as I returned home from Traffic Headquarters, I stopped outside the Central Post Office and clambered off my jet black GSX-R1100. Leaving it on the side stand, I lifted my darkened

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visor and nodded in appreciation at a fellow expat starting up the Honda Fireblade beside me. He extended his hand and after a few brief pleasantries he asked if I was interested in coming out for a ride at the weekend. I declined as humbly as I could, saying that the “Gixxer” wasn’t really a gentle Sunday Afternoon ride sort of bike. To my surprise, he wasn’t offended and suggested I meet his crew. He said speed limits were optional in their opinion, road markings and road signs just guidelines, and that the only time they stopped for the police was if they fell off. He left me his number and I promised him that I would think about it. That night I called Toby, the officer in charge of the Anti-Road Racing Unit. I had him run the telephone number and the plates on the Fireblade through his database. It turned out my new biker buddy was no stranger to the long arm of the law. He and a few of his mates were actually due in court the following Monday. But it was all minor stuff, the occasional speeding ticket or traffic sign violation, never anything more. The group was well organized and always one step ahead. Toby knew that they were getting information about his operations from inside the Force, he just couldn’t find the leak. He needed a way in, and I was it. He told me to stall for a day or two whilst he tried to persuade his boss to let a rookie with less than 24 hours in traffic go undercover. The following day he called me back. “Okay, the boss has given us a green light,” he said with some hesitation, “You report directly to me, you don’t mention your involvement in this to anyone else and tentatively you have complete immunity against prosecution for any traffic offences you commit!” “Tentatively?” I enquired, “What does that mean exactly?” “It means,” said Toby, “That if you get clocked going 100 mph you get away with it, and you can have the photo as a souvenir; but if you wipe out and kill someone, it’s on you!” “Thanks!” I said. “Hey, I never said it was going to be easy,” Toby chuckled before going deadly serious again, “Now, wind your neck in and get your game head on. You’ve got about 12 hours to get your cover story straight and call your guy back. We start this Sunday!”


With introductions to Penmanshift, journalism excellence, and the style guide - which we aren’t running in the magazine because it doesn’t really translate well into an article on its own - out of the way, the program moved right into a module called “Headlines: One Shot. One Kill.” At the end of this module, program participants would be able to “craft powerful, inherently meaningful headlines to draw maximum attention to [their] work.” All the time we spend drafting, reviewing, and polishing our articles, all the time spent meticulously selecting images to accompany them, and then the time spent formatting and scheduling them on the back end of the CMS (content management system) or building into monthly issues is for nothing if we can’t attract our readers with meaningful headlines. Think back to the last time you clicked a link to a story. You probably took about half a second to look around before you actually began reading, right? Such is the importance of quality headlines. Hours of effort on our end is reduced to a split second decision by the reader. This is, after all, an attention economy. With so many outlets vying for readers’ attention, those with the most gripping headlines stand the best chances of success. You’ve got one shot and you’ve got to hit your mark. This module shared a number of example headlines, broken down into a small group of formats which we learned - and still have yet to master - from Glen Allsopp, one of the biggest names in SEO and affiliate marketing. We came up with our own examples to four of the headline formats Allsopp shared, including: Item:Hype. Item is the subject, hype is the reason why someone would want to read it. Some off-the-cuff examples more tailored to our market included, “Pagani Huayra: Batmobile Meets MiG-29 on Main Street, Photo Enforcement: Your Taxes Are Not Enough,” & “Rebuild Your Alternator: Spend Less, Get More.” Ultimate Ending/Finality. These headlines suggest the final word on a subject, ideally suited for authoritative pieces where no follow-up is necessary. Automotive examples might include: “Fastest Production Cars of the 20th Century, The Gearhead’s Guide to Brake Selection,” & “Never Get Dirty Changing Your Oil Again.” The List. Everyone loves a Top 10 list. These can be very powerful if done right. And it doesn’t always have to be 10 items. “New Pagani Huayra will destroy these three cars, The 20 Fastest Production Cars of the 20th Century,” & “10 Reasons Why You Will Buy a New Ford This

Year.” Curiosity. This one is something of a tease, so be careful. Combined with why, this one can be dangerous if not backed up with substance. See: “400WHP for Less Than $400, 5 Fitness Secrets of F1 Drivers,” & “Joe Blow Plays With Cars for a Living.” There are sites out there publishing dozens of half-assed stories every day; hastily-written fluff pieces reflective of a spray-&-pray content strategy. And you see a lot of this type of headline writing used in the process. As these headline templates have proven powerful across the web, it’s important to make damn sure our content backs up our claims. Suggest you’ll be showing someone how to rebuild his alternator, but not give him enough information to at least get started, and you’ll burn a bridge. Likewise if you forget the McLaren F1 on your “Fastest Production Cars” piece, or there are gaping holes in your “400WHP for Less Than $400” piece. It’s possible to get 1,000 people to read ten quickly paraphrased press releases loaded with keywords churned out hourly, resulting in 10,000 visitors in a day, but how do you think that type of content compares to, say, three articles attracting 3,000 readers apiece? It’s less readers and less content, but what does it suggest about the quality of that content? Each article we write takes a great deal of effort, but crafting the perfect headline can be the hardest part of the process. “One Shot. One Kill.” That’s a fairly strong metaphor, and to be honest, I’ve never personally liked it. Though we generally only get a fraction of second to close the deal, and we always want to have a “target audience” in mind, headlines are really more like promises. We either deliver on our promises or we don’t. Headlines which suggest why something is worth reading speak directly to the innermost parts of the human brain. Those sites which churn paraphrased content with bait-and-switch headlines will never really satisfy, even if they CAN afford to constantly lose repeat business for the time being. Crafting powerful headlines isn’t easy. In fact, it’s often the hardest part of the story. Whether you come up with your headline before or after you write the story, if you want it to be effective, you need to remember who you’re writing for and why they’re going to want to read the story.

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the journey

you are not ALONE

There’s probably a million ways to customize any vehicle. Our lizard brains are programmed to spot those differences between us and everyone else. While this contributes to the vast diversity of the gearhead community, it also kinda divides us. Ever stop and think about what we have in common? WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES CHRIS YUSHTA, FOTOMOTIVE

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As much as we want our machines to be different, to reflect the unique identities we have in our minds, that desire to stand out is built on a foundation of wanting to belong, of needing to find at least a tiny shred of this life that makes sense. Making enough power, cutting a fast enough lap time, getting just the right look - we see others do the sorts of things we want for ourselves, and doing likewise kinda shows the rest of the world, “Hey, I’m not crazy.” There are times when it seems like we’re all alone; like we’re the only ones doing things the way we are. Maybe everyone else has already leveled up to bigger, better, faster, more status. Maybe not. Zack’s Impreza is newer, cleaner, and more powerful than anything I’ve ever owned, personally, but as we got to talking, I got the feeling he felt he might have maybe started out on the wrong foot. The reality is, it’s probably a safe bet he actually took the same route most of us took starting out.

Did you go the same route as Zack? How does it feel to know another gearhead - who maybe has a different machine and goals than you - started from pretty much the same place you did? And, if you took the other path, how does it feel knowing that this isn’t the only way and there are others out there like you? This story makes me smile. [bd] Introduce yourself, mate. Who are you, where are you, what do you do for a living? [zb] My name is Zack Brooks. Currently, I live in the small town of Huron, South Dakota, but I’m working on moving to Sioux Falls. After graduating from high school, I started working as a welder, doing anything from production parts welding to custom fabrication of unique projects. [bd] Introduce the machine. What is it, why do you put so

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much effort into it, and how did you come to own it? [zb] My project car of choice is a 2007 Subaru Impreza STI. Back while I was in high school, when the STI platform first started getting really popular, even before Ken Block started making his gymkhana videos, I owned a 1990 Dodge Shadow ES turbo (the car that got me hooked on turbos). I would spend all my free time watching videos and reading about cars online, dreaming about one day owning, building, and modifying the car of my dreams. That’s how I decided that one day I wanted to own an STI. Finally, about 4 years ago, it was on a random trip to Sioux Falls for my wife’s birthday, the chance to get one and start this adventure began. [bd] Whoa. 1990 Dodge Shadow ES Turbo? Weren’t those pretty rare? I took my driver’s test in a 1990 Plymouth Sundance. Same 2.2 mill under the hood, but no power and a slushy, 3-speed auto between the front seats. That car spent plenty of time sideways out on Kansas farm roads. Aside from the odd Shelby CSX, I didn’t even know a turbo model was available until years later. What was it about the Impreza that lured you away from the Shadow? How did your time with the Dodge prepare you for owning - and modifying - the Subaru? [zb] Yes, they are a pretty rare car now - and back then. The one I owned actually had a 2.5L, but it wasn’t the Shelby version. It was one of the first cars I ever owned and I picked it up for dirt cheap, just as a way of getting to school and work. It didn’t take long after I got the car to notice the mechanic who sold it to me forgot to hook up the turbo intake tube hidden way down inside the engine bay. I was always work-

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ing on that car to keep it running, but hooking that hose back up and taking it for a drive made me discover the power of boost. I wouldn’t say the Impreza lured me away from the Dodge. It was over the years following that the boxer rumble led to me wanting to own one. After the Dodge, I went through lots of different cars, including a ‘94 Chevy Cavalier Z24, an ‘02 Mercury Cougar, and an ‘05 Mazda RX8. At the time, I just bought what I could afford, working my way up, and never really did much modding other than exhaust, stereo, and speakers. So I actually wasn’t very prepared for this journey. [bd] It’s been four years. How far has the car come in that time? What’s your ultimate vision? [zb] Yeah, four years is a long time. At least for me in terms of owning a car, since, before that, I only ever kept a car maybe a year at most. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I started actually diving into what has turned into a neverending project. It started with a stereo and subwoofers with a few small details. Then I really jumped in when I decided to add coilovers and stance to replace the shocks that were going bad all while trying to shy away from touching the motor. But finally, last October, it was time to start making some power. As of right now, it’s still a stock motor and stock turbo with lots of boltons and a dyno tune on e85 putting it at 345hp 364tq at the wheels. I’m always thinking and getting ideas about what else I can add or

tweak to improve the car. And that’s really my ultimate vision for the car - to always be improving, whether it be trying a new aero setup, adding more power, or just some small detail most people won’t even notice. [bd] Ever look back at your experience and wonder how it compares to the experiences of other gearheads? How do you think you stack up? I mean, how common do you think it is for gearheads to do as much as they can before tearing into the engine? [zb] Hmm, no I guess I really haven’t. For me, it was something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time or money. Eventually, I was able to start working my way into the culture and suddenly I became immersed and haven’t looked back to think about it. My experience so far is likely a bit different than most, since most people probably would have started with the function and worried about form later. While I, on the other hand, started with form, then added function, and now I’m trying to juggle what mod I do next. Everyone has their own way of digging into a project. [bd] Why did you avoid touching the engine? [zb] Initially, more power was the first thing I really wanted to do, but I’ve always been the kind of person that will research as much as possible before making any decisions. And if you start looking up how to add power to a Subaru motor, you will undoubtedly hear someone talk about “how weak the boxer motor is.” So initially I got scared away

since I didn’t have the money to replace a motor, let alone the bolt-ons I wanted to buy. Shortly after that, the shocks started going bad, so I decided to take a different route instead. I’ve come to learn that the motor really isn’t as weak as people say. You just have to know it’s limits and, if you mod it, make sure you don’t cut any corners. But that’s with any motor really. [bd] Well, sir, I can tell you from the 17 years (holy shit - haven’t thought about that in a while) I’ve been playing with cars, your story is very familiar. Looks and power draw us in. Over time, we gain confidence through a combination of direct experience and support from others. If I might share my own story as an example, I bought a 1997 Eagle Talon. Almost immediately, I began searching the nascent web for ways to personalize it. Remember clear tail lights? Yeah. I was after those, but they never made them for Talons. Being a DSM, it took all of 3.2 seconds to find something about turbochargers. “Unfortunately,” I had bought the base, non-turbocharged model with the oddball Chrysler engine under the hood. This would prove one of the best decisions I have ever made, as I can trace every good automotive thing that’s ever happened to me directly back to that fateful day in September of 1996. I cut my teeth on that car. It taught me what it means to be the underdog, to be part of a community, to be a gearhead. Once we get involved, we begin seeing how others overcome that

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which we fear most. Eventually, you reach the point where you’re neither worried about your ability to do the work yourself, nor your ability to pay for it - you worry about how time spent working on the car takes you away from other things. I suspect this leads to getting rusty, losing tools, and abandoning projects, but I’m not *quite* there yet. (haha) So, what was your first “serious,” functional modification, why, and how did you prepare for it? How did it go? Were there any speed bumps along the way? [zb] Well, actually, my first serious functional upgrade happened all at once. When I bought the car, it had a cold air intake and a turbo-back exhaust. When I decided it was time for more power, I prepared myself by researching every option available and looking up build threads on forums, just taking my time finding the right way to go about it. Everything went really smooth from start to finish, and I definitely have the guys over at MAPerformance to thank for that. The only big bump in the road to getting it done was the fact that I live about 6 hours away from Minneapolis where their shop is located.

the 400whp mark. Without careful and proper tuning, you can very easily blow it up. That’s why I decided it was best not to just start bolting stuff on and see where it got me. With all the research I’ve done, I’m definitely better prepared for the road ahead, but I’ve still got a lot to learn. [bd] Tell us about a corner or two you’ve felt the urge to cut, but didn’t, why you didn’t, and how it turned out. [zb] Right from the start of modifying this car, I told myself I wouldn’t cut any corners just to get what I want out of it. Buying a Cobb Access Port was one thing I had to refrain from doing right away since, like I said, I was scared that if I started trying to add power I’d break something. And you know how that turned out.

[bd] Where are the limits of the EJ under your hood? How prepared are you to finding them? (Or will you just bypass them?)

Another struggle I had was trying to find wheels I actually liked without paying a fortune. At first, I wanted some Rota Grids, but I already knew two people that had them. Then I thought about Work Emotion XD9s, but there’s so many people that have those on STIs already. Eventually, I choose the Enkei RPF1s on the car right now. It’s all worked out for me so far because I’m very pleased with the results of my efforts to this point.

[zb] The biggest weak point of the boxer motor is that it doesn’t come with forged internals from the factory. No way you can bypass that, unfortunately. It can still handle a lot of boost, however, but without the forged internals to go with it, you can safely only push it to around

[bd] At the risk of sounding like some kind of anti-gearhead, if the engine is good to 400hp, why do you need more than 400hp? How are you going to actually use that - and how often? (400hp is no joke. I like to challenge people to defend their goals from time to time.)

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[zb] Truth is, I really don’t even need 345hp, let alone 400+. I’ve never even taken the car to the track. Partly because the closest track to where I live is at least 5 hours away, but mostly because, for me, it’s not about trying to have the fastest street car on the road or track. Instead, it’s about challenging myself to see just how far I can take this build. Maybe one day I’ll actually take it to the track just to see what it’s capable of, but regardless of what I do I just want to have fun. [bd] As for the Access Port, another popular - and often lauded - build path involves starting WITH the tuning solution. It’s a way to optimize the factory specifications, but does bring, as you mentioned, the increased risk of meltdown. Given your extensive research before making any modifications, do you really think that would have spelled disaster? [zb] After having actually done the research, I realize now it probably wouldn’t have ended in disaster. It would’ve been all the other bolt-on parts I wanted that might have. I do know a local guy who put a front mount intercooler on his STI while still running the stock turbo and a Cobb tune. The extra strain on the system to pull air into the motor eventually caused it to blow the housing of the turbo and ruin the motor in the process. At the time I was looking at that option, the car was my daily driver, so I decided it was best not to take any chances. [bd] Overall, what has Subaru ownership and modification taught you about life, the universe, everything? (Closing thoughts.) [zb] I don’t know if I can narrow it down to just Subaru ownership. With-

out a doubt, the Subaru community is a vast and unique one to say the least. But from my experience it’s not just about what you own - It’s about being a part of the community and the culture of the car world. I have respect for all variations of this community and I’m just glad to be able to be a part of it. It’s taught me way more than I could’ve imagined and led me to meeting some amazing new people. And I want to thank all those people for their wisdom, support, and in one case, the opportunity to be featured in their magazine. [Aw, schucks. ~bd] Most of all, I want to say thanks and love you to my awesome wife Kristina. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her help and support. [bd] Finally, where can people find and connect with you online? [zb] I may not spend a lot of time on forums unless I’m researching some new ideas, but please feel free to look me up on Facebook and ask me a question or share your experience with me anytime. POP QUIZ: AIR + FUEL + SPARK = ??? Easy, right? Our ideas - all of them - from the most hellaflush, stancedout Euro, to the most haggard, rust-o-mod rat, to the most aggro, exocaged trail rig, to the most sinister track slag - are the air and fuel of the global gearhead brotherhood. The things we have in common, including the reasons why we all kinda do pretty much the same thing in a million different ways, are the sparks that ignite that mixture. And you know what that means. Find that common ground. Let’s make some power.

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Adam & Kevin are preparing for a challenging, 11-day 4-wheeling adventure in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Affectionately referred to as the “Sierra Carnage” trip, chance favors prepared minds and vehicles. Time is running out for these guys... WORDS ADAM CAMPBELL | IMAGES AZ CRAWLERS

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Preparedness makes us powerful. September 1st is the Sierra Challenge. It will be an 11-day, 4-wheeling adventure in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which stretches some 400 miles (about 650km) through California and Nevada in the western United States. I am currently preparing for this trip with two friends - one of whom has experienced the challenge once before. Things are coming down to the wire. Supplies need to gathered, and the vehicle is not quite ready yet. This is not the trip you want to

“just wing it” on. With just under a month to go, I think we’ll be ready on the 1st, even if that means finishing at 11:59pm the day before. I’ve been going over the trip with Kevin (driver on this trip) about what to bring and I’ve been rounding up my gear accordingly. We have a limited amount of space for food and supplies, so we need to pack smart; no big foam mats for sleeping on and there is no room for BUTTER or cheese in our portable refrigerator. Our plan for food is mostly dried and canned goods. We’ll eat

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like Third World champions for breakfast and dinner but lunch will just be snacks on the go. Getting the truck ready needs to be done ahead of time because everyone who has wrenched on something the night before a big trip knows you need a pre-trip shake down. I wanted some pre-trip details from the last trip so I asked Kevin. [ac] Can you tell me about the night before leaving to the Rubicon and the trip there? [kp] The night before leaving, Pat and I burned the midnight oil, wrenching and repairing as much as we could, making sure the truck was in its best possible shape (mechanically) to drive clear out to northern California. We had an idea of what this trip would bring but nothing to the extent that it did. Counting down the minutes until we had to leave - still working on the truck, trying to button up some loose ends - we were going to end up leaving around 2 or 3 hours late. This would cause Lloyd to have to wait in Kingman, Arizona, for us for a couple hours and put us a bit more behind. We hit the road, heading towards the Reno area, where we were supposed to meet up with the rest of the group at about 9PM. On the road, we discovered one of the rear axle seals was leaking (this was a repair we made along with changing out a 3rd member drop-out we had a shop weld for me so I would be locked up in the rear). Even with this discovery, we still pushed forward, checking the leak and the diff level every time we made a stop.

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We finally arrived in Kingman late - around midnight or so - to meet up with Lloyd. We topped off the fuel tank, checked the diff, and pressed on, crossing into Nevada. This part turned out to be a disaster. As we were coming down the mountain, turning into the checkpoint just before weaving down across the dam, we had about eight different sheriff’s deputies yelling at Pat and I to “Get out of the car! Its on FIRE!” Pat and I, very confused in the heat of the moment, looked around as we are trying to get out, finding the back passenger-side corner of my truck had caught fire. The sheriffs quickly put it out and we pulled the truck off to the side. Trying to think quickly what we should do after discovering a wheel cylinder had started leaking and brake fluid poured all over my brake pads. We had heated the brakes coming down the mountain enough they caught fire. We decided that a pair of Vice Grips would come in handy at this point and we clamped off the brake system to the back. After doing that, we had all kinds of brake pressure on the front - which was nice - but probably a bit dangerous. We moved forward after that was all past us and proceeded onward to get just outside of Vegas and crashed out on a dirt road once we could pull off the highway. We got about two hours’ sleep before the sun came up - and decided we needed to make up some ground, so we left early. We drove a while, grabbed some breakfast, then headed on down the road in earnest. By the way, my truck only held 9 gallons (34 liters) of fuel because the tank was so crushed from rocks on previous trips. I had to carry three 5-gallon (19-liter) jerry cans with me so I could make it without having to stop at a gas station every 100 miles.

As I was saying, after breakfast we starting making the stretch over to the Reno, Nevada, area. Until disaster struck. We pulled off the highway as we were crossing the desolate Mohave Desert to dump a few cans of fuel in, still about 3 hours away from Reno. As I pulled off the highway, I felt a sudden jolt. I thought I’d bounced over a rock on the side of the road with my tire, but it ended up being my truck losing a tire as I had just sheared an axle shaft. Note to self: if a rear axle seal is leaking even after you replace the seal, there is a problem. Unfortunately, we were miles from home and miles away from Reno, in the middle of nowhere, and on the side of the highway. As we stood around the truck trying to come up with a solution, Lloyd called Dat, one of the club members we were going to meet up with and asked if he could maybe swing into a junkyard and pick up a complete rear end before he headed out to meet up with us. Just so happened he was at the junk yard picking up some parts himself on the way out. We quickly loaded up into Lloyd’s truck and darted out to make the 3-hour drive to Reno. We met up with Dat, loaded the axle onto a roof rack and drove 3 hours back the middle of nowhere, where my truck was still sitting on the side of the road. With all that driving, we didn’t actually get started working on my truck until sometime around midnight, and then turned the wrenches until about 2AM - on sloppy, rocky ground with a hi-lift and some cheap jack stands holding the truck up. We were back on the road and got into Reno as the sun started coming up. We kept on trucking, up into the mountains to the staging area of the world famous Rubicon Trail, where we came across yet another truck on jack stands.

[ac] What was it like when you first arrived at the trail and when did it become real? [kp] The first trail we ran was Snake Lake. The drive to the trailhead and all the scenery was amazing. The weather was awesome for July. All the wrenching had finally stopped and we were finally doing what we had originally set out to do. Being able to see an area like this in person for some of us out of state people is really amazing. Few people ever see a place like this anymore, so those who do should consider themselves lucky. It makes you want to go back everytime you think about it. [ac] Tell me about the hazards associated with taking a vehicle that wasn’t mechanically ready for the task? [kp] The biggest issue I faced with not being prepared was the fact that I attempted a lot of experimental projects before they had really proven themselves to be more positive versus negative additions. I drove a 4-cylinder Montero with a 100hp, carbureted engine. In the high altitude, the carb started surging and would lose a lot of power (more so than usual of course) going up hills. I had also swapped upper control arms from a gen 2 Montero into my gen 1 and did a ball joint flip. This caused several issues for tie rod ends. My truck had more articulation than it could handle, and when there was enough pressure on one wheel it wouldn’t take much to snap a tie rod end like a twig. The other problem associated with breaking tie rods is then your tire can turn any direction as far as it wants without restriction. Once it

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moves too far inward, and you’re powering through before realizing what has happened - SNAP! - there goes a front CV axle. There was also the rear axle issue as I stated before. The bad axle seal caused the gear oil to wash the grease out of the bearing. It overheated, burned up, and sheared the axle right off. The seal continued to leak though, due to the shop removing what they called a thrust block so they could put a better weld on the spider gears. This thrust block kept the axle shafts from being able to move up and down, or forward or back. With it gone, the shafts move and the seal lets gear oil past and into the rear wheel bearing, which then causes the bearing to fail. We learned this after the fact of course. I could have avoided a 400-500 mile (650-800km) side trip for an axle swap, saved a lot of time, and gotten more sleep. Then there was the brake issue. I never was able to get the rear brakes back up and going for that entire trip. This was a very dangerous situation once we realized what losing the rear brakes could cause. At one point, Pat and I are cruising through the pines following Lloyd and we were having issues finding the cabin. We start down a steep trail and, about halfway down, we realize this wasn’t going to be the area. We then decided to turn around and head back up. As Lloyd drove forward, I started on the gas pedal and, within a split second, the carb choked out and died. No power meant no brakes. Rear brakes are all that work well enough to stop the truck when the power goes away - especially when you’re rolling backwards down a mountain road. Unfortunately, there were no rear brakes because a pair of vise grips were clamping them off. This was also a common issue with Weber carbs choking or dying out on a steep incline. I quickly learned as this

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happened that there was no stopping the truck as it was starting to fly backwards down a steep grade with a cliff not too much farther down. Luck would have it, one of my front tires hit a good enough sized rock to bounce the truck a little and throw the steering wheel to the right

“There was no stopping the truck as it was starting to fly backwards down a steep grade with a cliff not too much farther down.” causing my truck to take a hard right backwards and slam into a giant tree. This tree probably saved our lives. Had that not happened, I probably wouldn’t be telling this story. That was one of the scariest things to ever happen to me. The next time I do this trip, I will have a betterequipped vehicle and not have to do so many trail modifications. [ac] What about the collateral damage - the carnage - involved with the trip? [kp] Mechanical damage is not the only worry for the Sierras. Damage from different obstacles definitely leaves their mark as well. When you plan a run like this, you always have to be prepared in the back of your mind that there can be body damage, broken axles, steering parts, shocks, suspension components, brake failure. All these things need to be considered before you plan to do a trip like this. I, myself, went through a long list of parts for our upcoming 10-day trip

to the Sierra Nevadas: 2 spare CV axles, 8 tie rod ends, 1 drag link, 1 idler arm, 1 complete rear end, 1 KYB shock, and a mechanical fuel pump. And I’m sure there is more I’ll think of before the morning we leave. [ac] Anything else you’d recommend for someone planning to make this trip? [kp] Make sure you have armor in all the places possible to better protect your investment. 4-wheeling isn’t a cheap hobby, not for most people. Always be prepared. Preparedness makes us powerful. Always be safe, and don’t go on a Sierra expedition alone.

Adam & Kevin - and a number of other AZ Crawlers - will be making their way to the Sierra Nevadas on September 1st, 2013. Expect a full report once they get back. Adam says we need more in-depth, what-it’s-really-like-on-the-trail content in this little magazine, so get ready, it’s coming... GBXM | 59

Here’s some of our favorite stories from July 2010.


KEVIN JEWER’S 8-second rwd dsm

Revisit our interview with Darin Frow:

Revisit our interview with Kevin Jewer:



Revisit our interview with Kiggly:

Revisit our interview with Mike White:

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Here’s some of our favorite stories from July 2011.



Revisit our interview with Falco Columbarius:

Revisit our interview with Kristof Denaeghel:



Revisit our interview with an island drift club:

Revisit our interview with Nick Schmitt:

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Here’s some of our favorite stories from July 2012.



Revisit all the pictures from Elbetreffen in Germany:

Harvey Duncan is a proper gearhead:



Revisit the Spring Rally from The Netherlands:

Revisit our introduction to JB Autosports:

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LESSONS LEARNED high performance machines & lives



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