John Li

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…

Checking out a BMW 2002 for sale

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!

I couldn’t help buying this cheap little $0.99 key tag for the Morgan, because every drive in the car is an adventure. Sadly, I took the car out for a quick last drive for the year to fill up the tank, taking unsalted neighborhood roads to the gas station and back before tucking the car into the garage for the winter. The snow is super light, and it’s not accumulating on the ground, but the scourge of salt trucks have begun nonetheless…

Gumption trap: the clutch master spacer

Progress on the Mustang is slow. The car that I had driven to the tune of 20k miles over the course of three years — more mileage than most non-air conditioned classic Mustangs would see in decades in retirement as classic cars — has added zero miles to the odometer for the past year.

The car doesn’t need much work in order to be able to move under its own power. Essentially, it just needs clutch hydraulics, new brake lines, and finally the transmission, driveshaft, and exhaust installed. Any competent mechanic could probably knock this out in a single weekend day. But I’m not a competent mechanic. (more…)

Sitrep: Four car garage, filled with three cars that aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and the shell of car that should go away but hasn’t yet. Progress on the Mustang is slow — I don’t think I’ll have the car mobile before the end of the year at this rate. Miata is down for bodywork, top, and roll bar work. The Morgan’s engine is making funny noises and needs some attention. And I still have the shell of the old red Subaru XT Turbo in the back corner. Motivation to work on the cars in my unheated garage is dropping rapidly, in pace with the mercury on the thermometer.