John Li

The nice thing about living next to work is that even during a winter storm warning, doubling my commute time to an agonizing eight minutes is still very doable. (The sacrifices one makes for a career!) I drove in to work so I wouldn’t be cooped up at home getting cabin fever, but it looks like there won’t be much human interaction at the office today either. Instead of parking in the farthest corner of the lot like I usually do, I took an EXECUTIVE SPOT by the front door. Also, like the consummate BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL that I am, I did some flowy handbrake turns into and around the parking lot before walking into a building with about a dozen people in its entirety.

So the recent spate of warm temperatures and driving rains has all but eliminated the possibility of driving on frozen lakes anytime soon, but on the bright side, there’s no snow, most of all of the salt on the roads has been washed away, and it’s a beautiful 28 degree morning. Therefore, it’s time to spend 30 minutes starting and warming up a car for the 8 minute drive to work. The Morgan started on the second crank!

Whelp, I spoke too soon. There was no way to install the elbow when the clutch master was installed, so off it came again. See, this is why it takes me one and a half years to swap a transmission in Mustang. Hopefully this is the last time the clutch master comes off, but it will probably have to come off again today at this rate…

If the weather is going to be too warm to drive on the lakes, I might as well do some work on the Mustang. I finally have the clutch master installed on the firewall. I hope I never have to take it or the spacer it’s attached to off the car. I’ll have to figure out how to route the brake lines now, since the brake lines and distribution block sat where the clutch master now resides. I don’t know if I have the mental capacity to figure all of this out…

I have, sitting on top of and around the car, a whole bunch of stuff that I plan on installing in the spring to make the Miata look perhaps just a little less beat up. I have front and rear bumper covers, another pair of rocker mouldings, trunk plastics to replace the stuff that got scratched up after years of tools and jacks bouncing around in the back, and a rear tail light to replace the cracked one. I still have to buy the plastic undertray panels; that’ll eventually arrive from Mazdaspeed Motorsports, where I have a requisition list saved because that stuff gets replaced more or less every other year…

It wouldn’t be a John Li car without bumper damage. Nailed a cone trying to stay way inside of a sweeper where there was grip, and drove a bit too inside. As it turns out, whacking a cone sliding sideways at 40 mph when the temperature is in single digits doesn’t do a bumper good.

Then again, I was in a snowy field going sideways at 40 mph. I had my doubts when I left the house and traveled west towards Crystal; the whole drive there, the temperature gauge in the dashboard never topped 3 degrees Fahrenheit. But one I got on site, the sun was out and the wind was nonexistent, making the eight hours of time spent outside pretty tolerable. And the course was long and quick, and I had a complete ball of a time.

And now that the car has been made shitty, it is fit for more rallycrossing…

So, there’s a reason why I drove the Morgan yesterday, and it’s not just because it was a beautiful day to driving around top down in the depths of winter. There was a local Craigslist ad listing a 1971 BMW 2002 for sale with as asking price of $12,500, a low enough price for a roundie that I was seriously tempted to grab some cash out of my savings account and go buy the thing just to check “own a roundie BMW” off my automotive check list.

Doing so would require replacing a car in the fleet. The only car in the fleet I can replace right now is the Morgan. So I drove the Morgan in the cold, through rush hour traffic, one hour to Rochester Hills to check out the car, and then drove it back. Nothing like a drive in the car to be replaced to make you really consider if you’re willing to sway it for a different car… (more…)

Temperature above 15 degrees Fahrenheit? Check. Dry roads? Check. Nothing going on at work, so I can spend 20 minutes warming up the engine? Check. A car with no windows or heater, but free from the tyranny of having a roof? Check. Today’s drive the Morgan to work day!