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Personal Corvette related items

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Since taking ownership of my ZR-1, I’ve created a habit of taking at least one extended cruise a year, designed to drive on interesting roads and explore this new continent I now inhabit and also just to glory in driving around in this incredibly rare and special ‘vette so that all can see. (Actually, I don’t think anyone much notices or cares, but it helps feed my starved ego to think they do.)

Traveling this way is a little bit like royalty trying to slip the paparazzi and move around incognito. King he may be, but to most people he is sadly just a generically labelled “Corvette” judged on the quality of his paint (and current state of cleanliness) rather than the unique Lotus-designed heart that beats beneath the hood.

Coastal Road to Marquette

Coastal Road to Marquette

While no Corvette is ‘ordinary,’ Dave McClelland et al. made a very deliberate decision to run the King of the Hill in discrete clothing. Some ZR-1 owners I believe find this a source of frustration and bemoan the fact that the ZR-1 wasn’t given more distinctive features. I certainly sympathise with this when I find myself at Corvette shows and even other Corvette owners seem to not understand what they are looking at; but for the most part I actually find the relative ignorance amusing.

The first of these extended cruises was a drive around New England two years ago to take in the coastal sights. For this year’s trip (we skipped last year as my wife and I had an important wedding to attend – our own!) we decided to do a coastal trip of a different variety – the ‘Circle Tour’ around Lake Superior. This involves following the roads that skirt around the lake and had all the hallmarks of one of the most memorable journeys “on our doorstep”. The tour is 2100 km (1300 miles) around and the quickest recorded circumnavigation is 18 hours on a motorbike (driven at legal speeds).

In our case we planned to spend the first night in Paradise, MI, and then go around the southern coast of the lake, up to Duluth, cross back into Canada and stay at Thunder Bay, before curling back down the eastern coast to hit Wawa and finally Sault Ste. Marie.

The first day was the usual mix of rush and relaxation. This was our first real vacation of the year and with the world economy in full-on meltdown we were more than ready Continue reading

After much thinking about the problems, the only way that I could think of was to get rid of some of the wire to allow it to be tucked inside the passenger side kick panel. Cutting down the ignition and other wires was not a problem but the RCA leads for the speakers were a bit more daunting being a central wire surrounded by a conductive sheath. I got some new connectors and tried to solder those but after I messed up two (and got some rather painful burns on my fingers!) I decided that it would be easier to cut and splice the original wires and connectors.

That proved much easier (for my skill level at least) and after the necessary modifications were complete I reinstalled everything. This time I manged to tuck the wires inside the kick panel and close that up properly. The head unit was still a pain Continue reading

I finally got the head unit installed okay and everything worked okay. My soldering went well after some practice to re-familiarize myself with it (and solving a slight issue with the solder itself – Thanks Rob!). Installing the head back into the dash was a bit of a pain as the sides of the dash area are angled inwards, so you have to pull them apart to slide the unit in (three  hands come in handy here…).

Once installed I switched the ignition on and the head unit booted up nicely. Everything worked as it should and I was very happy with the progress I’d made. Time for a couple of beers to celebrate!

After this it was time to put everything back together, something I thought should be relatively straight-forward but as with so much of this project that wasn’t to be the case. Continue reading

I unpacked the head-unit a week or so back but hadn’t powered it up because I was thinking more about getting the old Bose unit out of the car. My “buyer protection” was close to expiring though so I thought I better power it up and make sure it worked.

Luckily I had a mains – 12v transformer that was left over from an earlier car computer project that didn’t work out as planned. This was perfect for a simple plug-in test to make sure the new android unit powered up properly. After a few turns of the screwdriver to connect the main wires the unit purred (actually it was entirely silent!) into life and presented me with the main “desktop” display.

My first impressions of the unit were Continue reading

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

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