March 2018

Out on Hines Drive shooting the ad pictures for the Morgan. Boy, the car cleans up nice. And despite her extreme rattiness, she’s still very, very pretty. (And you can own her! Contact me for details!)

Well, would you look at that. It’s a clean Morgan Plus 4. I even reinstalled the headlight bezel and polished the shiny trim pieces and the bumpers. That can only mean one thing — I’m readying the car for sale. I’m still drafting my for sale ad, and still debating as to whether or not I want to list the car myself or click the easy button and list the car on Bring a Trailer, risking a low, final bid for a car that I’m sure the nit pickers would tear apart in the comments. Hmm…

Mustang on the QuickJack, Miata and Morgan on ramps and jack stands, and the Fiesta ST on a jack for a tire change. I am, as it is said, “going full Tipple.” Half a day is gone and I’m barely scratching the list of what I hope to do this weekend…

Today’s all about tires, tires, tires. Taking six wheels and two old Corvette tires off to the tire shop. I’ve got a new pair of whitewalls for the Mustang to replace the tires I burned up on the front axle going up and down the Pacific Coast Highway two years ago, and a new set of street tires for the Miata. I’ll burn off the old Rivals on one set of Miata wheels and replace those with 245s for the SCCA Time Trials at Gingerman. The past week was the first time that my old tire shop saw my face around for over a year — but we’re back to business as usual now.

What does $700 buy? A set of tires for a Miata? A round trip flight to some warm vacation destination? How about an electronic odometer with clickey mechanical digits? I bought a Brantz Retrotrip rally odometer and two speed sensors, one that runs off of the speedo cable and one that uses GPS. Now I just need mechanical timepieces and the dashboard of the Mustang will almost sort of look like one that one would find in an actual vintage rally car.

I’m writing in support of the proposed changes to steering wheels and seats for Street Touring.

I believe these changes, however painful they may be in the short term, are better for the class that bills itself as the home for daily driven modified cars. And as seats are becoming more and more integrated into cars in terms of occupant safety and vehicle features, thinking ahead 10 years into the future, replacing seats will likely be an unviable option.

I’m sure that there will be plenty of letters pleading for seats along the lines of “if you don’t want to have race seats, you don’t have to install them in your car.” And they’d be right. However, in terms of class intent, it would be in our benefit to reel in seat allowances and align with the class mission, which considers safety and emissions (even if that aspect is still a bit imperfect) compliance that Street Prepared and Street Mod don’t worry about at all.

Hell, perhaps drawing the line at airbag seats and airbag wheels might create some separation and some breathing room between Street Touring and Street Prepared.

This is brave action that should be lauded, in my opinion. I think that Street Prepared, once relevant for cars primarily built in the 80s and 90s, lost relevance as new cars came about, and new expectations for what are reasonable modifications for such cars should be. ST as of right now is perfect for cars built in the 2000s and 2010s, but probably wouldn’t be relevant as-is for cars built in the 2020s and beyond. Back when airbags were few in number in a car and the car was designed around that fact, perhaps people were comfortable replacing an air bag seat or an air bag steering wheel. Now, with steering wheels now serving as even denser vehicle control interfaces than ever before and seats becoming an ever more integrated part of a vehicle’s safety system, we should do what we can to reign in the temptations to ensure that ST of the future isn’t held back by the ST paradigms of the present.

To put it bluntly, I appreciate that we’re taking proactive action to ensure that ST changes with the times and doesn’t suffer a slow decline along the lines of SP.

As written, I think the proposed changes are fine. Count this as another vote for the proposal as written, even if it means that I have to take the race bucket out of my STR Miata.

John Li

Got my Fiesta ST back from the dealership. They replaced a coolant bypass valve. Has that solved my overheating issue? I’ll find out when I go autocrossing this weekend with the car. (They also replaced a bevy of motor mounts. Thanks, Bundy Hill.)

Still waiting for word back on the Fiesta ST, but I’m already fantasizing about replacing that car with something else. The Honda dealership here in Southfield has this really pretty Civic Si in blue, and I kinda really want one. After hanging out on Woodward, I swung by to take a look at the car in person. Hmm…

I’ve got a new land yacht to sail around town. For someone used to driving only lowered sports and sporty cars, driving this F-150 around town feels like I’m flying around in a blimp.