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July 23, 2006

Answers to earlier questions.

Filed under: Car Photo Of The Day,Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 10:11 pm

A nice full-on view of the answers to a previous “name that car” quiz. Thanks to Roger & Kevin for playing.

Those French sure do make funny looking voitures, non?

The BMW looks a LOT like a Lancia and Maserati mated and produced a Bavarian. Odd I know. In fact when I posted the original, I thought it was a Lancia. You guys are smarter than I obviously!

Off to the archives to pull something weird out… I’ve got to stump Roger at something other than Japanese Keicars – though the though of him spending hours sifting through Google image searches on such ugly machines did warm my heart… too bad it is so hot out! 😉

Dr. Livingston I presume?

Filed under: Cars,life — chuck goolsbee @ 11:59 am

In every group there is one of these guys. They are great to have around but they are very easy to take the wrong way, and many are irritated by their very presence. I don’t really understand that latter perspective, because “that guy” is usually right.

I love to hang out in a virtual community called the “E-type forum” on Jag-Lovers.org. I don’t use the forum, but instead receive the traffic from it via a mailing list. I realize mailing lists are very “retro” but that is how I prefer it. The smart geeks at Jag-Lovers have built a great system that works both ways, so web people can do a forum, mail people can get mail. Anyway, the group is a wealth of information, and camaraderie. I have made it a point to do my best to meet these people in person, both here in my area, and whenever I travel. The benefits of making human contact with people you know electronically are wonderful.

Whenever one of “those guys” rattles off a pronouncement of learned fact in a seemingly (because via email, you can never really know!) tone of know-it-all-ness… I just mentally picture something like the above and smile.

Lighten up guys. Don’t take anything personally.

(Apologies to Matt Groening and Ray Livingston!)

July 22, 2006

It’s back. The 65E has a face once again.

Filed under: Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 4:20 pm

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the numberplate back on the nose of the 65E for a while. It was removed by a body shop, Queen City Auto Rebuild in Redmond in the process of fixing my ding in the bonnet from a parking lot mishap last year. To be honest I’m really disappointed in the job Queen City Auto Rebuild did on the car. They came highly recommended by Seattle Jag Club members, and the shop owner assured me that he would treat the car as he would his own (he has a Series 1 E-type as well.) In reality however the job was completed in as minimal a fashion as possible. The dent was fixed, but the collateral damage inflicted and promises broken added up to an overall unsatisfactory experience:

The numberplate was removed and thrown away (I’ve had to reconstruct it from photographs.) The chrome ring around the headlight was thrown away… I specifically asked for it back because my friend Doug Martin was going to use it as a template for some s1.5 headlight mod project. I was promised some touch up paint, which I never received. They blended the paint as far up as the windscreen (and they damaged the de-mister under the dash at some point doing that) but didn’t bother to spray the bonnet nose, which could REALLY use it, as it has plenty of road damage and some long-standing paint bubbles from the original restoration. I’ve subsequently found some loose bolts in the bonnet assembly too, which I assume is a result of their work too. Basically they did as little as they could. The Adjuster/Estimator who came out from the Insurance company told me they would cover a full respray on the bonnet, so it wasn’t like Queen City HAD to play it cheap. Finally… they promised to make me a new numberplate, which they never did. Lots of promises, all of them broken. Oh well. Hopefully there will never be a next time, but if there is I’ll bring it elsewhere. But enough of that

I drove around with it “naked” for many months. On the one hand the paint needed the time to properly cure. On the other hand I wanted to see if I liked it better. I decided that I didn’t like it. Without the “distraction” of the numberplate, the paint damage and flaws on the nose suddenly stood out. Even Paul Wigton, who normally rails against the Brits for despoiling the bonnet of an E-type with a license plate admitted that my car looked funny without it.

My friend and trusted engine rebuilder Geoff Pickard brought me back a genuine English plate from the UK after his last trip there. He brought back both the plate and a set of numbers. They were “proper numbers” (Geoff is English, therefore everything MUST be “proper”) but while being proper, they did not match the font of the original. I mounted the plate itself on the car earlier this month but had yet to find the correct lettering. I had enough photos that I could reconstruct it, and so I shopped around for either the identity of the font used, or some place to take my reconstruction (which I had as a TIFF, a JPEG, and a raw PostScript file) and output the letters in some adhesive-backed vinyl. I never did ID the font (hard to do with just two numbers and a letter), and no sources were ever found to create the letters for me… at least not at a reasonable price.

Then I remembered something.

I know how to do this already. I actually used to be a Graphic Designer, and in the olden days Before Computers (aka “BC”) we actually used our hands to make stuff. Odd I know. The afore-mentioned PostScript programming language of course changed that industry forever, but when I learned the business, there was still craft involved. I spent many an hour in college creating comps by hand. So one day on my way home from work I stopped at a big Fred Meyers and picked up an X-acto knife, some scissors, and after hunting all over the store for something adhesive-backed that would do the trick, I found some mailbox/house address stickers… some blank ones without lettering on them. They were white, but also reflective… and hopefully will make good lettering for me.

Before I left work this week I dumped my PostScript image file to the printer three times to create a set of templates for the job. I figured I’d need one for lining it up on the car correctly and one for use in cutting, and a spare should I screw up. Good thing I did because I did screw up… the “5”:

The bad one above is on the right. You see it is very hard to cut a smooth radius curve with a knife, the better tool is scissors, but scissors are really bad for cutting inside corners, and impossible to cut negative space… the term in typography is a “counter”… but to your average person it is a “hole.” Cutting precise, curved, or in this case round holes is very hard. The “6” came off well, on the first try, but the “5” looked a little ragged. The “E” was easy.

Characters cut, I then went out to the garage to put them on the car.

Using the last remaining printout of the reconstruction, I placed it on the car with a taped “hinge” on top. This would allow me to flip it up and down and check the placement of the lettering underneath prior to sticking them down permanently. I also used tape to hinge the individual characters down, which allowed more precise placement.

I’m pretty happy with the result, and feel even better for having done the “65E” portion by myself. Let’s hope it stays on OK.

WTF is THAT? (name that car!)

Filed under: Car Photo Of The Day,Cars,Weird Seen — chuck goolsbee @ 7:45 am

Thanks to Bruce Cox in Burnaby who sent me a set of photos of something even MORE obscure than the BMW 503 (I thought I’d stump you guys with that one :\ )

Unlike the elegant 503, this thing is about as ugly as you can get without going to Soviet Russia. Let’s see if you can guess this one.

If you can’t, I’ll reveal more pictures of it as hints.

Jerome got the answer, so here are the pictures:





Makes me wanna barf.

July 21, 2006

Time for another round of: Name That Car!

Filed under: Car Photo Of The Day,Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 8:41 am

I actually will have to go dig in my notes to know the answer myself!

This was shot in Poulsbo, WA on a local vintage car rally a few years ago. Christopher & I won our class that day. This was the prettiest coupe in the crowd though.

I think I know what it is, but I’m wondering how many of you can spot it.

Roger, your task is to name the fraction of a car visible behind the rally staff. 😉

Update: I found my notes. NOBODY is going to guess this one right. This is such a rare bird that I’ll be shocked if anyone does get it. Guess away. I may just leave it up here forever and see if I get any correct guesses.

July 20, 2006

Finally, a carmaker with BALLS

Filed under: Cars,Diesel — chuck goolsbee @ 8:42 am

I’m a casual reader of a few auto “trade blogs”… one of which is “The Truth About Cars“. In a post yesterday they related how Audi is considering a TDI engine for the TT, and not just any TT mind you, the TT ROADSTER. Whoo hoo! FINALLY. I have been saying for years that some car maker needs to grow some cajones and drop a TDI into a sports car… and not just any sports car either, but an open topped one.

When I say that, people think I’m nuts. They think Diesel must equal slow, noisy, and smelly. They obviously haven’t driven a TDI powered car. They obviously weren’t watching the Audi R10 kick ass last month at Le Mans. They obviously don’t have a clue.

I love this quote concerning the oil-burning R10:

The R10’s performance at Le Mans was so convincing that race organizers are now deciding how to level the field, so that gasoline powered cars can compete.

Ha! I love it. Now give me my ultimate sports/commuter.

A 4-cylinder, TDI driven two seater, with a ragtop. I can burn my leftover french fry grease based fuel, and smell like a rolling burger joint while I soak up rays and get 60 MPG. Life would be good. I LOVE my VW Jetta TDI, but gawditisboring… the most dull-yet-functional design… it sits there, looking very germanic, and very … um… practical. Yawn. As Paul Wigton Sr once famously said: “Life is too short to drive a boring car.”

I only have two issues with the Audi and the TT. One is price… Audi’s are basically expensive VWs. They carry a huge (100-200%) price premiums over an equivalent Volkswagen. For example, the Audi A4 is basically Auto Union’s take on the Jetta. The TT is, (hold your breath) built on the New Beetle chassis. For some odd reason I bet Audi charges a premium price for the TTTDI. We’ll see.

My second issue is weight. The TT is a very small car, but the damn thing weighs a LOT. The lightest is 3131lbs, the heaviest is almost 3500lbs! Yep, a full ton and a half of “road hugging mass” Mein Gott! Put that thing on a diet! Look at the Lotus Elise, now THAT car is begging for a TDI engine transplant… 1600lbs + TDI engine = a REAL open topped sports car with fuel economy that would make a Prius look like a Hummer. The TT tugging around over twice the weight would likely perform about as well as the Jetta… maybe worse. 45-50MPG tops would be my guess.

But, if they build it, I will come (and lay my money down)… I have to put my money where my mouth is. So unless Lotus can deliver an oil-burning Elise first, look for me in a TT.

–chuck

(Photo linked from the Audi USA website)

July 19, 2006

Oh my… Aston on Blocks

Filed under: Car Photo Of The Day,Cars,Weird Seen — chuck goolsbee @ 10:12 pm

I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or shout.

I received these photos from reader (and frequent commenter) Jerome Lumley in New Zealand this evening. Apparently this happened in Auckland. he included this quote:

Somewhere in Auckland there’s a 1976 Cortina Station Wagon with a vinyl roof, louvres and a Supercheap Autos 5 speed gear knob driving around with 21″ wheels worth around $40k!

You do have to give it to the theives how they left the car in such a minimal state, balanced on merely two cinder blocks. But it does beg the question… where’s your garage and why wasn’t the car parked in it Mr. Aston-Moron?

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