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December 13, 2013

Lowlights from Sonoma

Filed under: Cars,The 24 Hours of LeMons — chuck goolsbee @ 8:49 am

I will post soon about my drive in the “clown car” which was a huge highlight for me, but here are some lowlights from the rest of the weekend with my teammates that pretty much sum up racing at the 24 Hours of LeMons.

June 16, 2013

Happy Father’s Day!

Filed under: Cars,life — chuck goolsbee @ 9:29 am
Ready to hit the track with Dad, 2002
Ready to hit the track with Dad, 2002

Nick & I bring the 65E home, 2003
Nick & I bring the 65E home, 2003

Nick napping in the 65E, 2003
Nick napping in the 65E, 2003

Dad & I in the 65E, New England 2000 Rally, 2000
Dad & I in the 65E, New England 2000 Rally, 2000

Dad & I in the 300sl, Forza Amelia Vintage Rally, 2001
Dad & I in the 300sl, Forza Amelia Vintage Rally, 2001

Dad & I in the XK120, La Carerra Nevada, 2000
Dad & I in the XK120, La Carerra Nevada, 2000

Chris & I in the 65E, Run to the Gorge, 2003
Chris & I in the 65E, Run to the Gorge, 2003

Dad Auto-Xing the 65E, New England 1000 Rally, 1999
Dad Auto-Xing the 65E, New England 1000 Rally, 1999

Dad in the 300sl, Forza Amelia Vintage Rally, 2001
Dad in the 300sl, Forza Amelia Vintage Rally, 2001

Chris & I, freezing in the 65E on the Oregon Coast, Father-Son Roadtrip, 009
Chris & I, freezing in the 65E on the Oregon Coast, Father-Son Roadtrip, 009

Nick Navigating, The Tulip Rallye, 2009
Nick Navigating, The Tulip Rallye, 2009

June 9, 2013

On the road again…

Filed under: Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 11:08 pm
awakening from hiberation
awakening from hiberation

I really drove the 65E today for the first time in a long time. Work. Moving. Life… it has all kept me too busy to give it (and this blog!) the attention it deserves. It fired on the first try(!), and drove really well. I always forget what an amazing machine it is if I haven’t driven it in a while. The wonderful exhaust note. The amazing view out over the bonnet. The “snick-snick” of shifts.

I had to make a run to the grocery store and figured “why not? I’ll take the Jag.” A 30 mile trip turned into 100 miles just because I could. Left the grocery and pointed the bonnet up the highway to Mt. Bachelor.. went all the way to Sparks Lake before I turned around and came home.

Mt. Bachelor from Sparks Lake.
Mt. Bachelor from Sparks Lake.
Oregon Cascades
Oregon Cascades

Of course, nothing is perfect, most of all this car. I noted a few broken things that I’ll have to fix soon. Stay tuned.

November 11, 2012

Clowntown at Thunderhill

Filed under: Cars,The 24 Hours of LeMons — chuck goolsbee @ 2:47 pm
The Clowncar navigates Turn 1 at Thunderhill
The Clowncar navigates Turn 1 at Thunderhill

The last race of the season for my 24 Hours of Lemons team was at Thunderhill in Willows, California. Willows is within a reasonable driving distance from central Oregon, so Nick and I hopped into the M Roadster and made a mad dash down US 97 and I-5 long before the sun rose, with a pre-dawn breakfast stop in Klamath Falls. It was fun to actually drive there as opposed to fly and drive the tow vehicle – as well as a bonus to bring Nick along. We arrive around 10 am on test & tune day…

Nick attending the Safety&BS inspection process.
Nick attending the Safety&BS inspection process.

(more…)

July 26, 2012

Another Lemons Race. Another Track. Another Team. Another Car.

Filed under: Cars,The 24 Hours of LeMons — chuck goolsbee @ 10:55 pm
This WAS a fairly nice Acura Integra - at some point in the distant past.
This WAS a fairly nice Acura Integra - at some point in the distant past.

Racing cars is a lot like smoking crack. One hit of the stuff and you’re hooked – and then you can’t get enough.

I’ve loved every minute of racing with my Clowntown Roadshow team mates. However, I’m the sole team member living and working in the Pacific Northwest, with the rest being in Northern California. While I’m very in-touch with my team mates via our Facebook group, and I always volunteer to pull tow-duty on the SoCal races – I miss the weekends wrenching on the car, and have been unsuccessful in convincing my team to think about coming north for events in the northwest.

I advertised myself as a “driver for hire” on the 24 Hours of Lemons forums for any team in the PNW planning on running the Pacific Northworst Grand Prix in Shelton, WA. I had a few teams show an interest, but a group of “newbies” from Shoreline, WA seemed the most eager to have me along, so I joined their team. They had a car, and a lot of enthusiasm, but only three drivers. All had young families and hoped to make it a big outing. Nick had his Freshman Orientation the two days before the event, so I brought him along to round out the family atmosphere.

The event was at the brand new Ridge Motorsports Park outside of Olympia. Nick and I awoke at O’dark:thirty Thursday morning to drive to Corvallis – spent all day and the next attending welcoming lectures, parental-panic-soothing seminars, class registrations, and advanced placement tests at Oregon State University, before making the dash Friday night (with a stop in Portland for dinner with friends) to Olympia. Saturday morning dawned wet and gloomy – yes we were back in western Washington! We arrived at the track, paid our fee, and lapped the paddock looking for our team. I noted that street cars were lapping the track, and since we could not find our team I steered my car out onto the pit lane and decided to see this new track.

Wow!

The track layout. What this doesn't show is the dramatic elevation changes... beatific bovine!
The track layout. What this doesn't show is the dramatic elevation changes... beatific bovine!

(more…)

July 8, 2012

The Clowntown Roadshow runs a 24 Hour Race!

Filed under: Cars,The 24 Hours of LeMons — chuck goolsbee @ 4:54 pm
The Clowncar on the Pit Straight at Buttonwillow.
The Clowncar on the Pit Straight at Buttonwillow.

Buttonwillow last December (The 2011 Arsefreezeapalooza)
Infineon in March (The Sears Pointless)
and now, Buttonwillow again for the 2012 Arsesweatapalooza.

The Clowntown Roadshow completed our third Lemons race, and our very first true 24 Hour event. We did “good” in that we all had two shifts at the wheel, and didn’t irreparably break the car. We made a bunch of mistakes, but also did some things right, and all had a ton of fun.

Donald Webster, known Clown, in our office for the weekend.
Donald Webster, known Clown, in our office for the weekend.

I flew down to the Bay Area last wednesday, and spent Thursday at Facebook HQ attending some meetings before hopping in our team tow vehicle – an un-airconditioned early 90s Ford F250 with utility bed, and driving south for Buttonwillow, which is near Bakersfield in SoCentralCal. Yes, it was HOT. Insult to injury was the 100+ minutes I spent in stop-and-go traffic due to some construction on I-5 about halfway there. I survived (barely) and enjoyed the combination of the best Carne Asada (I’ve had since La Hacienda in Arlington, WA) and the worst Motel 6 (ever on the planet) in the non-town of Buttonwillow, California. Friday was a practice day, and we had too much fun lapping the track, then put the car through Tech & BS Inspection – passing both easily. We enjoyed a team dinner at a small Italian place in Shafter, CA. Since I noted the place was owned an run by some Thais I ordered a Pad Se Ew off the back page of the menu and was blown away by how good it was. Pro Tip: If you dine at Giovannis in Shafter, go for the Thai!

Going through tech & BS inspection - our Head Clown Matt Kulka watches the Judges look for cheats on our stock beater E30.
Going through tech & BS inspection - our Head Clown Matt Kulka watches the Judges look for cheats on our stock beater E30.

Saturday at 10 am the race started. We ran the #15 config for the terminally curious. I volunteered to take the first shift to avoid the heat of the afternoon. Unlike previous Lemons races where the start is laps and laps of full-course Yellow the green flag flew on my second or third circuit of the track. At the start I was a few cars behind the infamous Rolling Chicane Limousine, this race in the guise of the Titanic. Thankfully I was able to pass it just past the start-finish line.

The Clowncar passes the Titanic on the pit straight. Yours Truly at the wheel. Photo by Donald Webster. Hey! Isn't that Kate Winslet?
The Clowncar passes the Titanic on the pit straight. Yours Truly at the wheel. Photo by Donald Webster. Hey! Isn't that Kate Winslet?

Our little ’89 BMW 325i E30 wasn’t the fastest car on the track though. The field contained several faster cars, mostly BMW 3 & 5 series machines, along with a few fast oddballs like a 4th generation 300ZX and the Model T GT, which you can see passing me below:

(more…)

May 15, 2012

Changes to the fleet…

Filed under: Cars,Goolsbee News — chuck goolsbee @ 12:40 am

As some of you know, digital.forest was acquired earlier this year. While my payout as a stockholder wasn’t “retire now” in scale, it has allowed us to upgrade the Goolsbee fleet. First and foremost I set out to buy Sue a cruiser to help her sore back and smooth out her hectic driving schedule with something super-comfy. We test-drove a lot of mid-range machines, and she settled upon a Mercedes-Benz C300. It took me a month or so to find the right one, at the right price. She now enjoys a 2009 C300-4Matic. It is hands-down the best car we’ve ever had in the Goolsbee garage. VERY comfortable, and drives super-smooth.

This means her 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD is now for sale.

Christopher finished school at the end of the winter quarter, and is now preparing for law school. Since he loves the car and learned to drive in it, I’m giving him the TDI. It for him will be like the ’80 Diesel Rabbit I drove when I was his age – a great, reliable, frugal first car.

“How about Chuck? What does he get?”

I wanted something fun for my new commuter car. My drive to work is actually quite enjoyable – a choice of twisty two-lanes, largely without traffic. I love to drive roofless. I like to shift my own gears. (In hindsight, I’ve never owned a slushbox for *my* daily driver.) I don’t need more than two seats. I didn’t want to spend that much. I started surfing Autotrader and eBay for used cars meeting the above criteria. After filtering out the Miatas (sorry – while I know they are GREAT cars, they are also nearly ubiquitous) my searches turned up a good selection of interesting cars. MR2s. TTs. S2000s. 350/370Zs. Boxsters. SLKs. Some 911s and Corvettes. Even a Jag (Holy depreciation Batman!)

After the wonderful experience of hucking the ClownTown Roadshow’s old E30 BMW around the track now twice – with every lap bringing a grin to my face, I figured I owed a look at the Z3/Z4 line of cars. A coworker at Facebook loaned me the keys to his 2006 M Roadster while I was in Menlo Park for meetings several weeks back and halfway through the drive I decided this would be my next car.

I decided upon a color & trim choice (blue exterior, grey/wood interior) and went hunting. Autotrader turned up a few, as did eBay, but then I was referred to a car broker in the Bay Area. The idea is you tell them what you want, and about what you will pay. I knew what I wanted, and my shopping gave me an idea of what the fair market value of these cars are now, so I laid it out for the broker. He found me one in SoCal within a few days, and now the car is mine. Totally painless process. I highly recommend it over trying to buy on your own.

The car is a 2007, has ~33k miles, and is REALLY nice.

the car d.f bought.
the car d.f bought.

While I’m not a huge fan of the Z4 styling, the M version seems to tone down some of the more outrageousness, while upping the “ultimate driving machine” bit. It is very much a modern E-type: Classic “long bonnet, short boot” styling. Minimal interior, maximum driving pleasure. High horsepower & torque straight six. Laughable cargo space (though easily 3X what the Jag has!)

I’ve only has it a week, but every mile has been grin-worthy. The miles per gallon can’t touch the TDI, but the smiles per gallon is way past the redline. I can afford the gas now.

;)
;)
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