So, crashing sucks. I’m sitting in my office thinking about the tasks ahead and how to proceed.
I really was hoping to get a bunch more events in before this happened but I knew it would. Part of all the experiments I’ve been doing involve having low amounts of front grip. Why, I’m not really sure. I feel like I’ve been able to manage low power and low grip very well but it got me into a bunch of trouble this time.
With the lack of power I wasn’t able to keep up with my friends I was tandeming with. An unexpected spin meant that I was just far enough behind that they had just enough time to come to a complete stop as I was initiating into the turn. Add in that low front grip I was talking about and you have a nasty lock up into t-bone with frame rail 50/50 smash.
Anyway, it happens. At least I got a few good pics from friends before it happened and I finally took video. Youtube is free so that’s where the video is haha!
Of course after the crash my water heater at the shop would decide to spring a leak while I’m at work.
And the last few pics of her ever looking like this again. Photo credits go to Beau Bridges for Minus Darkslide and Jeffrey Buchanan at Golden Automotive Photography both of whom are on FaceBook!
I’m listening to Gang Starr’s My Advice 2 You on Moment of Truth while doing some fab work. It’s a phone photo, don’t judge me!
First off, I never would have made it to the event without the help of my friends. This is one of the most important aspects of why I’m able to continue drifting and having fun. A borrowed trailer, a borrowed truck and hours of work from people who just like to have fun.
Do I want a diesel truck with enclosed trailer to make it easier? Hells yeah! But the more I re-evaluate and think, it’s not necessary. All the prep I’ve been doing lately to get ready for SEMA has almost overshadowed the fact that I will continue to do this regardless of whether or not I have sponsors.
To me this is fun. It looks cool, feels good and introduces me to amazing people all over the country. Competitions may be in the future but this phase of not caring about roll center and proper geometry is what defines a style. There is no arguing with proper dynamics, although I will try haha!
The first vinyl graphic I applied from an entrepreneur in Medford, OR. It’s always inspirational to hear other people’s stories about coming from the bottom, “now we here!” These are the people that help me to stay on my mission, to keep believing that there is some reason behind why I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love.
I love seeing the hustle from other people over a thousand miles away, working crazy hours, jamming out to some good music and wrenching on cars. This is universal, the appreciation for automobiles and the ability to wheel them like some people only dream about. This is what keeps me going some nights, knowing there is someone who is trying to do it better and bring their own style to the forefront.
Then there’s the driving. Yes Lord!! It doesn’t get too much better than the first time you touch the track surface, mash that throttle to the floor and put to the test all that you have done for the past year. Everything from the driver’s meeting to the ride alongs and talking to fans, it’s a surreal experience. This is only heightened by the fact that I get to talk to people on Facebook and then finally meet them. The camaraderie amongst our scene is one of the biggest draws for me, much more than road racing or autocrossing like I’ve done.
There is always a collection of people willing to help out with knowledge, busted knuckles, loaning volt meters and even offering rides to the local parts store, all in a effort to help you destroy some tires.
Then there’s the style. I love being able to see first hand what others are doing, why they do it and how they throw down on track. We come from all over to clown on each others style, hype them up and interject our own opinions. Sometimes I just sit back and watch how people communicate, it becomes easy to see how much people care about drifting and cars in general. There is soo much outside my scope that I can’t wait to discover.
To me it’s not always about the pretty. I like to see what goes on in the trenches, the real work that goes on behind the flashy front. The banged up cars, dollars spent and effort put forth to put on a show sets so many apart from the crowd. I guess it’s my technical background that likes to look deeper. In fact, I can’t wait to get back to doing some editorial pieces on really cool cars. I have emerged from my fabrication cave and it’s time to start showing you all how I see things.
Then there’s the challenge of next year! I couldn’t imagine not going back after the warm welcome (literally, it was hot!). The cool people, relaxed atmosphere and technical track all make for a strong magnetism that I can’t deny myself. Next time I will do it better, louder, lower and flashier!
And just like everything, there is an end. I know eventually this car will wither away into nothingness. There may be nothing but a couple bytes of information that chronicle what happened. But damn, this is fun!
There’s a lot that’s been happening, so much in fact that I’ve really been slacking with the blog. In due time, for now, picture….
That was a long break huh? Winter testing for Toyota is a travel frenzy it seems. Baudette, MN and Sault Saint Marie, MI can be some very interesting places if you ever get to go. A different way of life is all. Anyway, I decided to tackle the job of making brackets for the e-brake tabs in the rear of the car.
After getting that taken care of I made a new throttle cable bracket to take up the slack that I had at the pedal the last time I drove.
I finally have the fuel cell in the car temporarily. I just want to get this thing running for a quick drive and systems check. Once everything is operating properly I’m going to get the real fuel cell and finish with sheet metal work.
Tire shredding will commence shortly.
Made some strut tops, cut out some templates to start closing off the rear firewall and bent some tube to help brace the rear structure and create a more stable area for the rear struts.
I found today after moving forward that I have to go back. In order to design the rear cage section and mock it up I need the rest of the cage completely in the car. SO, I cut all the tacks I had in place and started finish welding everything forward of the roll hoop. I should be back to the truck conversion/rear section this weekend.
Gone for two weeks of business trips in the midwest and a weekend with the family, I came home and went HAM!
I decided that as a practice car, the Fleur De Lis really doesn’t have to conform to any specific rule book as it will never see professional competition. As long as I can go a foot deep into a wall and only damage tail lights and easy body repairs I’m happy.
The fuel cell will be located right after the rear firewall which should also help some with weight distribution. Don’t know where to put the nitrous bottle yet though…
A couple more bars and a lot more cutting and this bad boy will be ready to touch the ground again!!! Smash Brothers Unite!
Got an early start today and accomplished enough to make myself happy. That damn tubing notcher from Harbor Freight is designed to wear out quickly I swear. I can already tell I’m gonna have to make one myself with ball bearings and such. Brass bushings just dont cut it when trying to burn through DOM tubing. Anyway, I fixed that shit….
So the thing is made for a 1/2 inch arbor and comes with an adapter to go to 5/8. I’ve gone through two adapters now as I went back and bought another kit. When the second one fractured I just said screw it and got busy…
That’ll teach her to break on me!!
Anyway, after overcoming that little obstacle I got the passenger side door bars done, the harness bar done and the diagonal brace. Tomorrow is the driver side and I may start cutting into the rear for the truck conversion. I still have to figure out how I want to brace everything back there before it get’s too flimsy.
Finally got around to cutting some more bars for the cage. I’m finding lately I don’t even touch this thing during the week and try to get as much done as possible on the weekends. Some of the other aspects of this business are starting to pick up. Thank you to anyone who has come to visit my site thus far. This kind of started as a journal I could look back on when I’m older but it may turn into something far greater, hopefully. Anyway, pictures!
It’s okay to fail as long as there is a lesson learned. Last time I learned the importance of practice material and understanding how a radius adds to length. This time I learned that I should use the tools available to me. I forgot I had a digital angle meter. The meter is very useful when calculating angles of B-pillars and uprights to horizontal bars. Finished product has been deemed acceptable for crashing!
Lesson learned = Less bender, more measuring tape. Mr first attempt at the roll bar ended up two inches too long on the horizontal section.
Happy is the feeling as I start the roll cage. Things have been slow since the return from Japan, jetlag is no joke! This will be my first go so I’m moving a little slow because of the cost of DOM right now.
Well, I finally have the chassis dolly completed. I’ve already noted a few things that will be changed if I make another one in the future but this one will serve it’s purpose well. There’s one more caster to add to the front bar and then she will be truly complete. The weight is distributed pretty well as I was able to get in the car and rock it side to side with no movement. The most surprising thing so far is how much space it actually frees up. Being able to move it around the shop makes it much easier to get my Datsun inside. Anyway, pics! Thanks for the lens Dave, I feel like I need a 50mm 1.8 now!
There’s so much more space for activities!!
Two weeks later, after a work trip in Ohio, I get around to this. Made it to the track with time to spare, drove the entire time, no over heating, nothing broke, went off track multiple times and didn’t break the kit (needs lower) and made it home safely by 3am. The clutch sucks, I’m down on power (obviously), wheels rub in the fender wells and the e-brake is almost useless. At least I have a plan to fix things, when’s the next event?
Two weeks until the infamous Trial By Fire Night Event in conjunction with NASA Arizona. This is one of the biggest events of the year so naturally I registered without the car even running…
Tonight after work I got the brakes bled, the clutch bled, the e-brake and shoes adjusted properly, put the car back on the ground and prepped for some engine work.
I’m a chassis guy. It’s what I do at work and what I prefer to do if someone ask me for help with their car. So of course I decided there was a bunch of useless crap on the engine that wasn’t going to make the car any faster, it was just stuff getting in my way….
like the EGR tubes and such. I made some block off plates.
But as it turns out, the KA really doesn’t like to run well without these things. Most importantly, Idle Air Control parts (doh!). Anyway, that is what’s on the menu for next week. Get this thing running enough to do some Hooliganistic street antics and make sure all my T’s are crossed.
Extended control arms… Thank you C’s Garage for the inspiration!
There really is nothing like going to a drift event, helping to pull it off and watching all your friends have fun while your car is sitting on jack stands haha!! Anyway, I went directly to the shop after the event around midnight and resumed work on the green two tone car. Continuing on Sunday, I installed the new SPL toe arms. These are some really quality pieces and you can see in one of the photos that when installing, it’s always a good idea to have one disassembled so you can approximate your thread engagement better. The alignment on the green car was really close so I haven’t adjusted them to their exact position as of yet. I also started to transfer the fuel tanks as the practice car, which from hence forth will be known as the “Fleur De Lis” had a lot of rust inside it’s tank. Other than that, a few wheels have shown up things are progressing normally. I’m in the process of picking the paint colors for the shop and the bench is almost finished. I can’t wait to get a stereo in there, music from the Driod doesn’t quite get it done.