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Originally I planned to install a Sony head unit to replace the dead Bose unit in my ‘vette but after thinking about it I decided to take things a step further and install an Android car computer instead. This is a bigger project but basically gives me a toy for my toy and that’s what Corvettes are about really. There are some practical reasons behind the decision:

  • I can carry my entire MP3 collection to hand (I don’t listen to the radio and CDs are just too much of a pain)
  • Built-in navigation through android apps
  • Access to any number of other apps through the app store
  • Ability to connect to OBD monitoring and diagnostic information
  • Wireless and/or 3G internet connectivity
  • Almost infinite customization possibilities
  • Not forgetting the sheer coolness of it!

The unit I chose I found through an online forum and was recommended by several people online. Things being what they are it was only available direct from Continue reading

The museum has released details of the cars damaged in the floor collapse:

  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors
  • 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors
  • 1962 Black Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
  • 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
  • 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

Seeing the Spyder on the list makes my heart fall. The museum also released some pictures :

DSC_1259 DSC_1250

I just saw the breaking news that the Corvette Museum floor collapsed inside the Sky Dome. Reports say that a sinkhole opened up beneath the dome and swallowed eight cars. There are no reports of injuries thank goodness. The dome houses some of the Museum’s rarest vehicles, so this could be a huge loss to the collection and will no doubt cost a lot to fix. You have to wonder too if the site was surveyed properly before the museum was built.

It’s hard to think that at last year’s ZR-1 Gathering we had dinner inside the Sky Dome – something that now feels very humbling.

Best wishes to the Museum and it’s staff.

Auction season is in full swing with Paris’s Le Grand Palais being just one of the latest. As always with these events the cars combine rarity and beauty along with eye-popping prices. I have one simple strategy when it comes to any kind of auction – don’t! It really doesn’t matter too much what is being auctioned and, what’s more, they’re all pretty much above my pay grade!

That said, here’s my choice from the line up at Le Grand Palais.

Citroen DS21 1968 Citroen DS21

At an estimated $190,000+, this is probably the cheapest car at the auction and I still couldn’t afford it! Oozing all of the Gallic charm it can muster, the DS series was iconic of Citroen. I remember ads on TV declaring “Citroen DS for the sheer joy of driving.” a captivating idea that stays with me even now. Driving – just for sheer pleasure. Years later my first real car was a Citroen Xantia, direct descendent of the DS series and a car enjoyed by both myself and my wife.

Jag D-Type1955 Jaguar D Type

As a British lad, how could I not be entranced by Jaguar who have produced some of the most beautiful and highest performing cars in the history of the automobile. The D-Type brought innovation in chassis design and was one of the most successful sports cars in Jaguar history winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1955, 1956 and 1957. Look at those curves! Estimated price? An eye-watering $5-6 million. Continue reading

So Formula 1 has announced it will go ahead with plans to have double points awarded for the last race of the year. This was proposed by Bernie  “the poisoned dwarf” Ecclestone whose efforts to manipulate and add artificial “competition” have no bounds it seems .

In the last few years we’ve seen rules brought in to ban people from actually racing each other, KERS to make passing easy, DRS brought in to make passing easy (when KERS didn’t do the job), tires made from blancmange and now what has to be the final insult of double-points for the last race.

Why don’t they just let Bernie pick the winners he wants?

I, for one, have officially given up on Farce One.

 

I just watched a video of the the new targa roof for the Porsche 911 Targa 4. It really is impressive, everything sliding around in coordinated harmony and certainly makes the manual lift-off roof on the Corvette look rather basic. Apparently the Porsche engineers worked on the roof for two years to perfect its operation and it certainly looks like they did.

A few things strike me though. First, I wonder just how durable that mechanism is going to be in the long term. The complications introduced by that engineering look like a nightmare when the cars start to age. I have visions of half open rear windows, roof pillars stuck half open or closed and the targa caught somewhere in between.

The second thing is purely space related. In the vette I can take the roof off and leave it at home so it doesn’t take up storage space (if I feel confident enough about the weather!). It doesn’t look to me like that’s possible with the Porsche set up.

Finally, you have to wonder what the weight penalty is on a system like that. After all this is supposed to be a lightweight sports car!

There’s something to be said for simplicity. Again though, you have to admire the ingenuity and engineering involved.

So the new C7 Z06 has been launched. There’s some great technology in the new C7s so it’s no surprise that the new uber-vette looks like an amazing deal (prices haven’t been announced yet). Yet I have to say I feel dissappointed, though not exactly surprised.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, increase engine capacity and you increase power. Add a supercharger to increase volumetric efficiency and you get more power. It’s been the easy solution since the 1920s and sadly I don’t see anything here beyond that thinking. It’s the same-old same-old. More power, more cubes, who cares about real efficiency gains…

I felt kind of embarrassed for the whole GM presentation and especially Mark Reuss. There was the thumping rock track (okay not too thumping, let’s keep it safely corporate…) and then Reuss climbs on the stage looking old, tired and bloated. I got the idea that they were trying to do something like the Stark Expo from Iron Man 2 but without the style, panache or balls. And Mark sorely missed the presence of some “Ironette” equivalents.

Chevy has won both the truck and car award for 2014. Great news and a big boost for GM as a whole. But the whole show fizzled like a wet firecracker searching desperately for gunpowder. And a fuse. Next time maybe GM could bring in Robert Downey Jr – I’m sure he’d be available at the right price.

And by the way. Those tail lights are still butt-ugly…

The C4 Corvette was a big step up from earlier generations but one area that always seemed a little weak was the lighting. Even when first introduced, the lights were probably best described as “adequate.” With the great innovations seen in auto lighting in the twenty plus years since, it all looks just a little bit meager.

Luckily most of the lighting technology updates are now available as retrofit items and prices are dropping all the time, making this a relatively painless and inexpensive upgrade that can improve the appearance, functionality and safety of your vehicle.

The three main areas I am interested in are:

  • Daytime visibility
  • Night driving illumination and
  • Efficiency.

The need for daytime visibility is Continue reading

Recently Corvette Online released some “spy pics” of what could well be the new C7 ZR1 engine. The photos show what appears to be a supercharged fifth generation LT1; inside information suggests it’s a 6.2 liter engine and will be pushing out 650+ hp.

I find myself with strangely mixed feelings over this idea. As a C4 ZR-1 owner I can’t claim to not like power, but to me this represents yet another instance of more brawn and less finesse.

When the ZR-1 was released in 1990 it represented a huge leap in performance Continue reading

In my earlier post I discussed tackling the under-plenum updates. Here I cover the drivetrain updates which turned out to be more significant and challenging in unexpected ways. Early on Sunday we were back at Jim’s for the drive-train work. Again the WAZOO guys were in full attendance. Darrin was back too to help the transmission pull – this after working all night at his “day’ job.

Jobs for this day included: Continue reading

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