ALL FOR THE LOVE: SORIA’S LEXUS RC F IN THE MAKING

LEXUS RC F

ALL FOR THE LOVE

Ray Soria’s Lexus RC F In The Making

“I fell in love with the IS 250 when it was released in ’06 but never pulled the trigger to call it my own,” stated Laguna Beach, California resident Ray Soria. The following year, the F brand introduced the IS F as the import adversary to the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C Class AMG. The Lexus F series models continued its production but for Soria, they seemed to lack the excitement and design that was needed to stir up his emotions.

Then in 2015, a new opportunity arose with the release of the RC F—the newest RC sports coupe that was branded as Lexus’s most powerful V8 performance car ever. This was the perfect pitch that immediately caught Soria’s attention.

“It was a no brainer, given the perfect opportunity in ’15 to purchase a brand new RC F and a suitable replacement for my GT500.” He was quick to admit that it wasn’t loved at first sight. “I thought the RC F was ugly when it was released.”

“I’ve owned a number of cars over the years but I wanted to try to build a Lexus. I liked the fact that it was rear-wheel drive, looked good, powered by a 467-hp 5.0L V8 (2UR-GSE) engine, and coupled to an 8 Speed Direct-Shift Automatic,” Soria recounts.

I thought the RC F was ugly when it was released.

As the Southern California import scene continued to evolve, so did Soria’s RC F. Car meets and local show events continued to flourish around him, which ultimately fed his desire to begin modifying his ride. His game plan was a simple, but ultimately time-consuming one; he would keep the engine and interior alterations of his Lexus to a bare minimum and devote all of his time into remaking the exterior.

It sounded easy enough but complementing the RC body already outfitted with wider wheels and tires, cooling ducts, an active rear wing, and stacked exhaust tailpipes is anything but. The complexities of it are actually one of the main reasons why you don’t see as many cleanly-executed RC Fs as you would on, say, an IS 250 or 350 model.

“I slowly began modding my ride over a two-year span with a plan for the car to be different than all the other RC Fs I saw online.” As promised, the outward appearance of his RC F was his main focus, as he outfitted it with a number of aero enhancements which consisted of an Alpheyga Carbon Fiber GTS spoiler and Lexon Carbon Fiber Diffuser but not before wrapping the body in Satin Black.

I’ve owned a number of cars over the years but I wanted to try to build a Lexus.

The added room from the factory fenders offers just enough space to house the aggressive staggered fitment of 20×10-inch and 20×11-inch HRE FF04 wheels in Tarmac Finish wrapped with Milestar MS932 XP+ 275/30-20 up front and 285/30-20 in the rear.

In the suspension department, an Airlift suspension kit was installed alongside an Airlift 3P management system. The end result was a comfortable and smooth cruise carving the canyon roads with no traffic to endure; one of the many guilty pleasures Soria enjoys partaking in.

Though Soria’s RC F is quite simple as a whole, we were impressed with the overall execution of his project. Often times, less is definitely more, especially when it comes to modifying a Lexus.

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MOONEYES OVER YOKOHAMA

MOONEYES OVER YOKOHAMA

Photo Credit: Moon Japan, Inc.

Anybody who has been around the motorsports industry knows the name Moon or at least the Mooneyes logo, which is one of the world’s most recognized logos. The company was founded right after World War II by Dean Moon who ran moonshine as a teenager and bussed tables in Pop Moon’s Café among the oil rigs of Santa Fe Springs, California.

Photo Credit: Moon Japan, Inc.

Like all kids back then, Dean was enamored by automobiles and after a stint in the Air Force as a photographer he opened his own shop and began making parts for the hot rod fraternity. His first products included fuel distribution blocks for multi-carb assemblies, aluminum fuel tanks, gas pedals in the shape of feet and Moon discs that found their way onto racecars from Bonneville to the Indy Brickyard.

Back then, Dean was all about the industry.

The discs, made of spun aluminum and held on with Dzus buttons, or screws, are an aerodynamic aid that actually works—I’ve tested them in a wind tunnel—and they are still the wheel cover choice for land speed racers.

Photo Credit: Moon Japan, Inc.

Back then, Dean was all about the industry. The very first Shelby Cobra was built in his shop in 1962. He was one of the founders of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and in 1964, became its second president. He was also instrumental in helping establish European drag racing when he sent his Mooneyes dragster to compete in England in 1963.

Photo Credit: Moon Japan, Inc.
Photo Credit: Moon Japan, Inc.

Dean passed away in 1987 and the company languished until Japanese enthusiasts Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama purchased it in 1992. Shige and Chico have been exemplary custodians of the Moon brand restoring the original facility in Santa Fe Springs, putting all the original product back into production, developing thousands of new products and hosting some of the best car shows on the calendar.

Photo Credit: Moon Japan, Inc.

Now, almost 30 years old, their one-day, yes, one-day Hot Rod & Custom Show in Yokohama’s Pacifico Exhibit Hall is Japan’s largest indoor car show attracting car builders from around the world including Indonesia, Korea, and the U.S.

“There are no lines to divide us or define us, simply a great appreciation for the custom culture of any time and place.”Bobby Green, Old Crow Speed Shop

At the most recent event celebrities included bike builders Roland Sands, Shinya Kimura, Ryan Gossman, Hawke Lawshe, ‘Dynamite’ Joe Kerivan and many others. Car builders included Bobby Green of Old Crow Speed Shop, Victor ‘Reno’ Sevilla, Coby Gewertz, and Jack Fields and Edgar Hernandez of Starlite Rod & Kustom.

As you would expect, besides a huge array of cars and motorcycles there’s a wide range of entertainment from live bands such as the El Caminos, The Minnesota Voodoomen and Jackie and the Cedrics. New this time was a Pinup Girl contest that proved very popular along with the annual pinstripe extravaganza where artists were asked to decorate frying pans. It’s a little different from a skateboard and therefore all the more challenging.

Photo Credit: Moon Japan, Inc.

There are parties galore from welcoming parties to the farewell “Thank You” bar-b-que. And I’ve never met anybody who went who didn’t have a great time. Indeed, Bobby Green said, “The Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show is so much more than its name implies. There are no lines to divide us or define us, simply a great appreciation for the custom culture of any time and place.”

Besides the big, one-day bash in Yokohama, Mooneyes also host a lot of other shows both in Japan and the U.S. For more information on the Japanese shows visit: http://www.mooneyes.co.jp

For information about the U.S. Shows such as their Xmas party at Irwindale Speedway visit: www.mooneyesusa.com

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THE JEEP, FROM WILLYS TO WRANGLER

THE JEEP, FROM WILLYS TO WRANGLER

How the world’s most famous go-anywhere vehicle earned its stripes

If you had to pick a single candidate for “the most American car ever,” there are a lot of potential candidates. The Corvette would be near the top of the list—it’s always been “America’s sports car” from the original C1 racers at LeMans through the iconic split-window 1963 model and the C3 that defined the Apollo Era of American exceptionalism (and endured the dark days of smog restrictions and gas lines), all the way up to today’s C7 and upcoming mid-rear-engine C8 supercar.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

You could also make a case for the Ford Mustang that launched the Pony Car wars and spawned the Camaro and Challenger, or the “shoebox” Chevy sedans that became a favorite of hot rodders. The original muscle car, the Pontiac GTO, would also be on the shortlist, and even the Ford Model T would be a strong contender, thanks to the way it put car ownership in the reach of the working class and created the impetus for America’s shift from roads designed for horse-drawn conveyance to ones better-suited for cars and trucks.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

But out of all the possibilities, in the end there’s only one vehicle that truly deserves the title—the Jeep. In continuous production (and continually popular) since 1941 and showing no signs of ever falling out of favor, the iconic off-roader is the one motor vehicle that stands above the rest. Born in the shadow of looming global conflict, the original Jeep served admirably in the Arsenal of Democracy, transitioned to civilian life as a workhorse for farmers and ranchers, and evolved into a status symbol that never lost its off-road credibility.

While “Jeep” grew from a single, scrappy 4×4 light scout car into an entire brand that has encompassed multiple different platforms over the years, including today’s unibody SUV and crossover vehicles, what we’re really interested in is the MB, CJ, and Wrangler models that are first to mind when you hear the name “Jeep.” Here is their story.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Flat Fenders

The vehicle we know today as the Jeep began its existence as a US Army specification for a “Truck, ¼ ton, 4×4” just prior to America’s entry into the Second World War. Post-WWI, the country’s armed forces had been significantly drawn down and reorganized, and many experiments were in progress to determine how new technology would make the next conflict different from the static trench warfare that characterized the Great War.

…the original Jeep served admirably in the Arsenal of Democracy, transitioned to civilian life as a workhorse for farmers and ranchers, and evolved into a status symbol that never lost its off-road credibility.

Light trucks and cars had shown promise toward the end of that war as a way to conduct reconnaissance, quickly move troops, artillery, and supplies, and generally, replace the large numbers of horses that had previously done most of the heavy lifting. The Army had a number of vehicles already in development or production that ranged from a half-ton to 7.5 tons in payload capacity, but a need was recognized for a smaller, more agile vehicle in the quarter-ton capacity range for the reconnaissance and liaison role.

American Bantam, a manufacturer with a somewhat-troubled history of bankruptcy but plenty of experience with small cars, and Willys-Overland, another faltering Depression-era builder and seller of small cars, endeavored to produce prototypes to meet the somewhat-unrealistic specifications set out by the Ordinance Technical Committee: 4-wheel drive, a crew of three, a 75-inch wheelbase and 47 inch track width, a fold-down windshield, 660-pound payload, and an engine with a minimum of 85 pound-feet of torque, all weighing in at a scant 1,300 pounds empty. Oh, and by the way, bids were required in 11 days, with a deadline of 49 days for the first prototype and 75 days to deliver 70 test vehicles.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

While Willys was the low bidder, they were passed over in favor of Bantam when they couldn’t commit to the incredibly short deadline, and the Army moved ahead with the project. Over the course of development, Willys and eventually Ford became involved, as Bantam didn’t have anything close to the production capacity that would be required for full-scale manufacturing. The specification evolved from the ridiculously-light 1,300-pound weight goal to a more sensible 2,160-pound maximum, and Bantam ended up being edged out of the project as the Willys MB and Ford GPW became the definitive production models, with the US Army securing the patent for what would be known as the WWII Jeep in 1942.

Over the course of the war, Willys would manufacture more than 360,000 MBs and Ford would build another 280,000-plus GPWs. Ford being Ford, while parts were mostly interchangeable between the two, many of the parts produced by Ford would be stamped with a stylized cursive capital letter “F” in the same font as the Ford logo.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Post-War Production

With the Second World War drawing to a close, and all of America’s manufacturing corporations eyeing the future beyond the massive expansion they’d experienced since 1941, Willys-Overland was keen to find a way to turn the MB into something that could be sold on the civilian market. In 1944 with victory in sight, they began to work on prototypes for the “Civilian Jeep,” or simply CJ, mainly consisting of removing military-specific details like blackout lights and adding a tailgate. The initial conversions would later be referred to as the CJ-1, though none have survived and details are scant. The follow-on CJ-2 prototypes would be another limited experiment with only a few scores produced for internal company testing of more civilian-friendly modifications, and a few still exist today.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

These led to the CJ-2A, the first true production civilian Jeep, which introduced the now-trademarked 7-slot vertical grille (previous models had 9) and was primarily intended for the agricultural market with a wide range of factory accessories like winches, snow plows, mowers, and even welders powered off of the engine’s PTO mount. More than 200,000 were sold between the end of the war and 1949, in a bewildering array of possible configurations that have become a collector and restorer playground/nightmare.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The next model, the CJ-3A, debuted in 1949 and included more detail changes to improve the transmission, axles, and suspension, and was adopted to replace the now-elderly wartime MB and GPW Jeeps in US military service as the Willys MC, designated the “Utility Truck, M38.” 130,000 or so were produced before being replaced by the CJ-3B in 1953, with more minor changes. Kaiser (yes, the same car manufacturer that eventually spawned the healthcare company) bought Willys-Overland that same year, and licensing of the Jeep design was expanded from Mitsubishi (who had produced the 3A in post-war Japan exclusively for police and other government use) to also include Mahindra in India, who would continue to grind out CJ-3B-based vehicles all the way through 2010.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The CJ-4 moniker was applied to a stillborn concept project in 1950-51, so the next Jeep model the world would see was the CJ-5. In various versions, it would remain in production from 1955 to 1983, and it soldiered on through many changes – not the least of which came when Jeep was sold to American Motors Corporation in 1970. In military service it would be known as the M38A1, and in 1972 AMC engaged in a major revision to the platform that increased the wheelbase by 3 inches, added overall length, and increased the size of the engine bay to accommodate both a 304 cubic inch V8 and 3.8 and 4.2 liter straight six engine options.

…Jeep fans absolutely lost their minds, with the YJ being panned by hardcore enthusiasts as an unworthy successor to the legendary CJ series.

AMC’s marketing increasingly targeted mainstream buyers instead of the agricultural and utilitarian appeal previous Jeeps had cultivated. Multiple appearance, accessory, and performance packages were offered, leaning heavily toward the stickers-and-stripes design ethos of the 1970s and early ‘80s.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

A stretched-wheelbase version of the CJ-5 was designated as the CJ-6 and was produced between 1955 and 1981, but most of the 50,000 or so units made ended up overseas, with US availability ending in 1975. As a hint of things to come, a 4-door version was available, but never caught on domestically. The definitive “Civilian Jeep” model, the CJ-7, debuted in the 1976 model year in the US in production that overlapped its predecessor. It was visually distinctive from the CJ-5 primarily due to different door cutouts, but also featured changes to the ladder frame beneath the bodywork that allowed wider placement of the rear leaf springs for more chassis stability—the CJ-5 had been somewhat unfairly faulted for being dangerous in sudden obstacle avoidance maneuvers, and the suspension improvements were intended, in part, to address that issue. As the last of the classic Jeep models that could draw their lineage directly to the original WWII MB and GPW, almost 380,000 were built before the sun set on the CJ series in 1986.

Meet the Wrangler

For 1986, AMC (now owned by French auto conglomerate Renault) introduced a mostly-clean-sheet replacement for the CJ-7 named the Wrangler, with the internal chassis code YJ. The redesign continued the trend toward more safety and comfort features, but retained the Jeep essentials—leaf-sprung live axles front and rear, body-on-frame construction, a folding windshield and removable doors, and a strong bias toward off-road competence over everyday practicality. Nevertheless, Jeep fans absolutely lost their minds, with the YJ being panned by hardcore enthusiasts as an unworthy successor to the legendary CJ series. The distinctive square-headlight Wrangler continued in production through the purchase of the Jeep brand by Chrysler in 1987, with total production topping 685,000 units before the final 1995 production year.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Remaining 1995 YJ production models continued to be sold through the “missing” 1996 Wrangler model year, and the new TJ made its debut for 1997. Bowing to the power of nostalgia, the new Wrangler went back to round headlights, but introduced a major change to the suspension in the form of coil springs in place of the front and rear leaf spring setup that dated back to 1940. Once again, Jeep purists were enraged, but the Wrangler gained another major improvement in everyday on-road practicality in exchange for essentially no loss of off-road competence. The top engine option remained as a modernized 4.0L version of the venerable AMC straight-6, with 4-cylinder power in base models. A “Wrangler Unlimited” model, still retaining the 2-door body configuration but stretched 10 inches in wheelbase and 15 inches overall compared to the standard TJ, debuted for 2004, offering better room in the back seat and greatly improved towing capability.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

TJ production wrapped up in 2006, and Jeep introduced the JK Wrangler for the 2007 model year. While still retaining live axle suspension and styling that was very similar to the TJ, the JK was a complete redesign that was wider and longer in wheelbase (though shorter overall) than its predecessor. Most importantly, the Wrangler Unlimited, AKA the JKU, introduced a true 4-door option with a 20-inch longer wheelbase while being less than 3 inches longer overall than the previous TJ Unlimited. This decision turned out to be hugely successful, with the overwhelming majority of JK buyers opting for the 4-door Unlimited model. Finally giving in to the inexorable march of progress, hardcore Jeep fans have embraced the JK/JKU, and the aftermarket has shown incredible enthusiasm for the third-gen Wrangler with an enormous variety of suspension, engine, and body upgrades.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

For the 2018 model year, Jeep introduced the JL, which continues the tradition of body-on-frame construction and live front and rear axles, with more concessions to the luxury and comfort features buyers of the increasingly-expensive Wrangler have come to expect. While it remains the most competent off-road domestic vehicle you can buy off the showroom floor, especially in “Rubicon” trim, today’s Wrangler has come a very, very long way from the tiny “go-devil” known to US troops in WWII. Over the past eight decades, Jeeps have gone from a thrown-together way to haul a few soldiers and their gear across inhospitable terrain to luxury mall-crawler and every point in between. In the process, they’ve become the most uniquely American form of transportation, recreation, and personal expression, and there’s no end in sight.

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

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HALO CAMARO

HALO CAMARO

According to car builder extraordinaire Steve Strope of Pure Vision Design, Simi Valley, California, “A ‘Halo Car’ is an automobile model that lends prestige or attractiveness to the brands and other models of its manufacturer,” or to put it another way, “A unique automobile designed to draw attention to the brand.”

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Steve is always very good at concocting the “back story” to his builds and is well known for his creativity when it comes to halo cars; if you visit his website you can see a number of them both past and present—cars like the “Anvil Mustang”, the “Martini T-5R Mustang”, and the “TT Camaro”. This second-gen ’72 Camaro was actually Pure Vision’s first Camaro project and the owner’s brief to Steve was to, “Build the baddest interstate flyer that is a comfortable long hauler that can cruise from SoCal to Vegas at a moment’s notice, keep a blistering pace, and do it in style.”

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

The required “blistering pace” is provided by a 427-cubic inch, cast-iron small-block Chevy V8 built by Tom Nelson Racing Engines in Chatsworth, California—and with twin “mirror image” NRE turbos, a billet, 16-injector “Alien” intake, and stainless steel headers by Aaron Cranford it produces a “throat clearing” 1,320 horsepower. Incidentally, the engine is set back 3 inches while the Ron Davis radiator is pushed forward 3.5 inches—and that heat shielding? That’s 24 kt. gold-plated shielding as used by McLaren.

“Build the baddest interstate flyer that is a comfortable long hauler that can cruise from SoCal to Vegas at a moment’s notice, keep a blistering pace, and do it in style.”

Backing up the power plant is a McLeod clutch and a double-overdrive, 6-speed, close-ratio Tremec Magnum transmission Cryogenic treated and massaged by the folks at Modern Driveline in Caldwell, Idaho, to withstand the staggering horsepower loads.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Power is put to the ground courtesy of a Jim Meyer Racing sub-frame in front and Ride Tech four-link in the rear with JRi Shocks coil-overs. Up front, Steve chose to go with coils from Hyper Coils. Stopping the Pirelli Corsa tires mounted on 18- and 19-inch HRE Wheels rims are 6S calipers and 13-inch rotors from Baer Brakes.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

With the engineering work complete, the Camaro was shipped over to Steve’s collaborator Mick Jenkins at Mick’s Paint in Pomona, California. Mick and Steve have worked together on a number of award-winning projects and the Camaro was to be no different.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker
Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

There are no cutting corners at Mick’s and the Camaro was stripped to bare metal before Anvil carbon fiber panels were installed to replace the stock fenders, inner fenders, nose, front spoiler, deck lid, rear spoiler, and hood that features Ringbrothers billet hinges and custom, built-in heat extractors. The carbon bumpers are from Custom Works Products. Meanwhile, the stock door handles were replaced with Aston Martin flip-out handles. After some extremely careful prep and masking, the car was shot in Aston Martin Tungsten Silver.

“Your interior is where you enjoy the driving experience. Don’t treat it as an afterthought.”Steve Strope, Pure Vision Design

The interior is luxury personified and built to the owner in the style of an Aston Martin with acres of Aston Martin Bitter Chocolate leather and Alcantara suede-like material expertly French-stitched by Eric Thorsen Custom Upholstery in Agoura Hills, California. According to Steve, “Your interior is where you enjoy the driving experience. Don’t treat it as an afterthought.” Incidentally, the TT Camaro’s air conditioning was upgraded with Vintage Air, the shifter and knob are customs made, meanwhile, Steve completely redesigned the instruments using AutoMeter movements.

Photo Credit: Didier Soyeux

The bezels were machined at White Rhino Industries in Simi Valley, and the faces were tech’d at Redline Gauge Works in Santa Clarita, California. The shortened column is from Flaming River. There is also a touch-screen control panel from ISIS that enables you to control functions such as unlocking doors, turning on lights, activating windows or controlling accessories wirelessly from a mobile device such as an Apple iPhone®, the iPad®, or the iPod touch®.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Proof that the TT Camaro is one rad ride is that it won the prestigious GM Design Best Vehicle of the Show Award at the SEMA Show and it doesn’t get much better than that.

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MCLAREN F1 DESIGNER PETER STEVENS TAKES HIS T BLACK

MCLAREN F1 DESIGNER PETER STEVENS TAKES HIS T BLACK

What do you think the F1 designer of the amazing 240-mph McLaren F1 drives? It would surprise you to know that he mostly drives a Model A Ford and at weekends races his 1925 Ford Model T.

Photo Credit: Keith Harman

Supercar designer Peter Stevens grew up in England in his grandparent’s house with his uncle Denis “Jenks” Jenkinson who was a British motor racing journalist and most renowned as co-pilot of Sir Stirling Moss in the infamous Mille Miglia race in Italy. Pete’s father was an accomplished painter and Peter attended London’s prestigious Royal College of Art (RCA) where later he would become a professor in charge of the school’s acclaimed automotive design program.

Photo Credit: Keith Harman

Peter couldn’t help but become a gearhead and he loves it all, from off-roading to the local English pub, down the River Deben in his Jeep, to Le Mans, to land speed racing at Bonneville. After college, Peter established his own design consultancy and worked for Renault on the Alpine, Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), and even did work for the Brabham Formula One team.

In 1985, he became Chief F1 Designer at Lotus Cars where he worked on the Excel, the Esprit, the Elan and for outside companies such as Isuzu, Cadillac, Triumph, and Chrysler. However, in 1989, he worked with TWR on the design and development of the Jaguar XJR15 that remains one of his favorite designs and endures as a very collectible supercar. Only 53 were built and they command prices approaching $400,000.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Ron Dennis of McLaren saw Peter’s potential and hired him to design the then-new Mclaren F1. Design credit usually goes to Gordon Murray but while he was the engineer Peter actually did the design work.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

When the F1 project was complete Peter worked for numerous clients including Audi, Lamborghini, Benetton F1, BMW Motorsport, Hyundai, IPN Indonesia, McLaren Cars, Nardi SpA, OZ Wheels, Prodrive, Panoz, Reynard, Rolls Royce, Subaru, TAG Electronics, Toyota Team Europe, Virgin Atlantic, and TATA motors. His impressive body of work resulted in numerous awards including the U.K.’s Autocar magazine Designer of the Year.

“The right pedal is the brake, the center pedal is reverse, and the left pedal is low, neutral, and high. The throttle is on the column—got that?”Peter Stevens

In the year 2000, Peter became the Director of Product Design for MG Rover and worked on the MG TF, the MG Z-Cars, the MG SV and the Bonneville MG ZT wagon. It was on that project that we were able to finally work together as I worked at So-Cal Speed Shop in Pomona, California, where the racecar was built.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

But why a wagon for Bonneville, you may ask? Well, deep down Peter is a hot rodder as were members of the MG board and at the time MG was developing a line of V8-powered vehicles powered by Ford-Roush engines. The aerodynamic wagon seemed a natural, especially when powered by a 700-hp Roush NASCAR engine. The wagon eventually exceeded more than 230-mph but sadly MG Rover collapsed in 2005 and the project was shuttered.

Peter, meanwhile, continues to design for a wide range of clients and works on a lot of eco-friendly, mass-transit projects as well as some alternative-fueled supercars. He also judges Concours events around the world, lectures and gives his time to numerous educational projects including the prestigious REVS Institute in Florida.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

However, his first love remains hot rods and Ford Model Ts in particular. Over the years, he has owned several T speedsters but his current ride is a barely shiny, Henry Ford “Any color as long as it’s black,” 1925 turtle-deck roadster. It’s called a turtle deck because of that add-on trunk bolted to the back of the roadster body.

…his current ride is a barely shiny, Henry Ford “Any color as long as it’s black,” 1925 turtle-deck roadster.

Peter purchased the T from the U.S. sight unseen on eBay and works and on it himself at home in his studio or his barn in Suffolk, England, about 100 miles northeast of London. The chassis is a narrowed frame from a later, 1929 Ford Model A right down to the lowered buggy spring suspension and rod-actuated brakes.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker
Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Thankfully, it does not have the quirky Ford T pedal arrangement. “The right pedal is the brake,” said Peter. “The center pedal is reverse, and the left pedal is low, neutral, and high. The throttle is on the column—got that?”

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Power for the black beast comes from a mildly hopped-up Model B four-cylinder engine fitted with a Winfield cylinder head, an Ansen intake, a Mallory distributor and a Stromberg 97 carb that is made just up the road in Waldringfield, Suffolk. Over the summer, Peter’s plan is to install a hi-lift cam from H&H Antique in La Crescenta, California.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker
Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Peter is well experienced at driving these funky old cars. He not only drives them on the street but also races in such events as the Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races in Wales where we caught up with him, at the Rømø Motor Festival in Denmark, and at other European venues. It’s a far cry from the McLaren F1 but to Peter, “They’re all hot rods to me.”

Photo Credit: Keith Harman

For more information about Peter visit his website or follow him on Facebook.

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CHEVY C10: THE NEW LIL’ DEUCE COUPE

CHEVY C10

The New Lil’ Deuce Coupe

There are certain vehicles that at some point in the earth’s rotation of the sun catch the public’s attention: The ’32 Ford, the ’55 Chevy, the ’64-1/2 Mustang, the ’67-’71 Chevy C10 trucks. Wait. Chevy trucks? Yes, the ’67-’71 Chevy C10 trucks are hot, in the spotlight, getting their day in the sun. Right now they’re killing it.

Photo Credit: Delmo

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when, how, why and where this trend kicked off but certainly Delmo and Holley Performance Products were right there at the beginning. Canadian Del Uschenko’s Delmo’s Speed and Kustom in Prescott, Arizona, got his start in the hot rod business working for the likes of Troy Ladd’s Hollywood Hot Rods before branching out on his own saying, “I built my own C10 in 2010 and suddenly, it took off and I’m building trucks for a string of customers.”

Photo Credit: Mooneyes

Patinated, bagged in da dirt—Delmo builds the lowest C10s—and fitted with Del’s signature smooth “Delmo” wheels. “I built the first set from some old CenterLines and factory caps,” said Del. “But now I use Intro Wheels while Mike Curtis Design makes most of my other parts that include coil re-locators, engine kits, and valve cover adapters.” Two of Del’s most popular products are his replacement billet aluminum doors handles and his new inner fender panels.

Photo Credit: Mooneyes

Recently, Del moved from Burbank, California to Arizona, saying, “There’s a great truck scene here. I have a lot of friends and somehow it’s less competitive than L.A. We help each other rather than fight each other.”

Photo Credit: Holley

Likewise in 2010, but two thousand miles away in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Holley initiated their own ’67 small-window, C10 “shop truck”. According to Holley CEO Tom Tomlinson, the shop truck featured an LS3 engine and Holley’s HP self-learning, EFI fuel injection.

Photo Credit: Holley

At that time, that was one of the first aftermarket injection systems for the new aluminum LS3 engine that had been introduced on the Corvette in 2008—it was, at the time, the most powerful base Corvette engine in history. The engine featured big-block Chevy-style, coil-pack covers, and a dual-snorkel air cleaner and, of course, EFI. Tom said, “We wanted to show people that you could have modern reliability and drivability with that vintage look.”

Photo Credit: Holley
Photo Credit: Holley

The great stance of the Holley truck was in part due to the six-pin, Halibrand-style knock-off wheels by Mike Curtis Design. To see the Holley truck in action, check out the episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.

“We wanted to show people that you could have modern reliability and drivability with that vintage look.”Tom Tomlinson, Holley CEO

There’s a lot of enthusiasm for GM’s LS-series of hi-performance engines that, despite their ugly coil packs, can be made quite attractive albeit with a lot of makeup. Today, there are several versions including the LSA, a factory supercharged 6.2-liter, along with a host of aftermarket speed and dress-up parts.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker
Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

For example, we spotted Louie Atilano’s white ’65 at Mick’s Paint in Pomona, California, where they were installing an LS3. “We didn’t start the build or paint Louie’s truck,” said Mick, “However, we are doing final assembly which included the installation of a full tubular front suspension and brake kit from Classic Performance Products. It was a straight forward install and the LS swap is a simple one that we have performed on a lot of sixties vehicles.”

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

GM began production of the C/K line in 1960 with C standing for 2-wheel drive and K for 4-wheel drive; however, it’s the second-generation 1967 to ’71 trucks that are the most sought after. GM called them the “Action Line” when they began improving comfort levels with coils springs up front and leaf springs in the rear. They were also known as “Glamour Pickups” but that is not to say that the models either side of the ’67 to ’71 sweet spot are not popular, they are an increasingly so.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Production numbers for the ’67-’71 golden years are approaching 1,500,000 total units with just under 300,000 being produced respectively in 1967 and ’71, more than 400,000 in 1969 and just less than 400,000 in 1972. There is a staggering number out there to choose from but as they were built primarily as workhorses, many have suffered. That said there are replacement parts galore from companies such as Brothers Trucks, Classic Parts, LMC Truck, and many more. United Pacific, for example, has nearly 70 items for the ’67 truck alone. The problem is not one of availability; the problem is one of deciding from all the available options. For example, Truck and Car Shop has separate 150-page catalogs for 1947-’59, 1960-’72 and 1973-’87 trucks.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Complete frames and chassis are also available from companies such as Art Morrison, Pro Performance, Roadster Shop, Speed Tech Performance, and Scott’s Hotrods ’n Customs. Kevin Tetz of Paintucation chose a chassis from Schwartz Performance for his latest project “C-Tane” that can be seen on his show “Hands on Cars” on Amazon.

“They’re plentiful, not too expensive, there are plenty of parts available, and they’re easy to work on.”Michael Hope

One young guy starting out in the hobby is 19-year-old Michael Hope who crews on Ron Hope’s AA/Fuel Altered Rat Trap. He’s also the ‘fly-in’ guy for Bobby Hilton’s AA/Fuel Dragster and Tony Lombardi’s 7.0 Pro in NDRL. His ’84 short bed is his first real build and it will be used to support his grandfather’s racecar. “These trucks are a great place to start. They’re plentiful, not too expensive, there are plenty of parts available, and they’re easy to work on,” commented Michael.

Artwork Credit: Pure Vision Design

Rather than a new frame, Michael decided on Ride Tech tubular A-arm front suspension and No Limit four-link in the rear with Viking coil-overs all round. “The stock frame is strong enough,” said Michael. “I just wanted it lower to look more like Thom Taylor’s rendering.”

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

The stock power train has been replaced with a Chevrolet Performance 350 crate engine and a 700R4 trans. Still, under construction at the time of writing, Michael plans to hot-rod the motor with Holley’s Sniper EFI assembly including the Sniper ignition system and long-tube headers. “Holley has done all the engineering,” said Michael. “I don’t need to mix and match parts.”

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Pre ’67 trucks are likewise popular and we went to check out Dave Keister’s stack injected, gasser-style ’65 being built at Jimmy Shine’s Speed Shop. Up front, it has a drag-style straight-tube axle with power from a Crower-injected 572 ci Dart big-block with a giant Currie rear end and gold anodized American Rebel wheels.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

An interesting “concept” truck coming together at Steve Strope’s Pure Vision Design in Simi Valley is a ’67 for Bob Florine of ARP Racing Products. Steve’s what-if question was, “What if Chevy was building their own shop truck and used parts from a 427 Corvette? We found all the right parts including a 427 block, L88 heads, ‘Snowflake’ intake and Tri-power, a date-coded Muncie 4-speed and the ’Vette independent front and rear suspension. It’s even going to be painted Marina Blue by Mick’s Paint.”

In Huntington Beach, California, designer and “Overhaulin” TV personality Chip Foose took a similar but different “what-if” approach with his own ’67 C/28. It began when he found an original Z/28 Camaro 302 engine date-coded to the day to match the ’67 C10 he already owned. Chip then explored what the factory might have done had they dropped the Z/28 302 into a C10.

Artwork Credit: Chip Foose

The 302 was ported, polished, and made to work in a modern environment while the stock chassis was upgraded with Hotchkis suspension and brakes and a unique set of Foose five-spokes.

You can tell, there’s a lot of activity in the C10 world and prices are beginning to creep up. However, at the Kennedy Brothers in Pomona, California, there were three C10s: a ’69, a ’72 and an ’86, all for sale. There was also a ’72 Blazer that belonged to Jay Kennedy’s wife. “She drove it all the time with the roof off,” said Jay. “Now I have to freshen it up before the summer.” 2WD Blazers, especially the ’72 model, is, of course, sought after as the front-end changed dramatically for ’73.

I have too many friends who have made purchases only to find that the “other” side of the truck, the side not shown in the photographs, is not up to par, sometimes not even there.

We came across numerous classic C10s both customized and stock as we drove around Pomona. As you would expect, prices are across the board according to the condition. The first thing to check before you buy is that the truck has a title. Often, these trucks have sat for many years without being registered. You need to know that it has a title before you make the purchase.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

There is an I.D. plate riveted to the doorpost that states the vehicle’s gross weight limit (weight of truck plus it’s maximum allowed load) plus stamped digits that give the assembly plant year, size of the truck, month built, and sequential numbers as it came off the production line. These plates are necessary for positive vehicle identification and in some cases registration.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Another thing to beware of is the long bed that has been hacked into a more valuable short bed. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been done properly but you have to get under there and take a look. Obviously, being primarily a work truck you have to consider the condition of the bed and what it might cost in time and trouble to restore or even replace.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Many of these working trucks are being pulled out of the snow belt because they are usually cheaper than trucks from the dry Southwest—many of which have already been picked. Examine the truck all over and especially underneath for signs of rust or hasty repair.  Yes, it’s all fixable and the panels are available, but at what cost? Also, beware of a freshly painted truck or a truck in primer as a primer can cover a multitude of sins, especially if the seller says, “Oh, we were just getting ready to paint it.”

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

“It’s better to buy a rougher truck that has original paint and even original rust,” said Mick Jenkins of Mick’s Paint. “At least you can see what you’re buying.”

My final piece of advice for a would-be C10 purchaser is to beware of buying a truck sight unseen off the internet. The internet is a great way of finding a vehicle but beware of the unscrupulous seller. Go and look at the vehicle and take a friend for an unbiased, second opinion. I have too many friends who have made purchases only to find that the “other” side of the truck, the side not shown in the photographs, is not up to par, sometimes not even there. Caveat emptor—buyer beware.

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ON A DIME: BRAKE TECH – BRAKE PADS AND THEIR FRICTION

ON A DIME: BRAKE TECH

Brake Pads and Their Friction

Many will insist that the brake pads are the simplest part of the brake system. They are very, very wrong. Their creation and the material they use to create friction against the brake or drum surface is very complicated. Let’s talk about brake pads and friction materials.

The friction material of the pads and shoes are mixed with their adhesive prior to being flowed into a mold with the backing plates made of steel. They are then pressed to their friction material shape before getting sent to an oven. They are then baked to very high temperatures with their compound and adhesive. This bonds the backing plate and friction material together in the modern brake pad and shoe. Prior to this, the friction material was pressed into a mold and with openings for rivets, which fastened them to their backing plates.

Now that’s out of the way, we can go into the simplest and, quite honestly, one of the most dramatic changes you can make to your brake system without changing your calipers to something more expensive—your brake pad and shoe compounds. To do that, we need to talk about the friction compounds between the most popular types.

Semi-Metallic Brake Compound

Semi-metallic, also mistakenly called “metallic”, brake pads are about 30 to 60-percent metal with other synthetic compound mixtures within the friction material. It is a very good material to look for if you do a lot of braking or very heavy braking like you would on a track day. However, because of the amount of metal in the friction material, it can be harsh on rotors. These may not perform well in very cold temperatures as well as they won’t put out enough friction to make any heat and won’t bite. At least initially, once you use the brakes several times, they will begin to generate heat and work as they were intended.

Organic Brake Compound

“Organic” pads are made of materials such as fiber, chopped glass, mineral fibers, and even Kevlar mixtures. Organic pads are usually low-dust, low-noise, and are generally better on the rotors, but they do tend to wear out fast. They are also not good for brake environments that see a lot of heat because of their organic materials. Those materials ablate away as you increase the heat and use the brakes more and more.

You’ll usually see these advertised as a “low-cost” or “economy option” brake pad as they are inexpensive to produce over semi-metallic, low-metallic, and ceramic pads. However, because of their compound, they are good in low brake temperature environments where the brakes aren’t used that often.

Low-Metallic Brake Compound

The low-metallic pads you see on the market are called so because they don’t contain as much steel as semi-metallic pads. Sometimes no steel at all and those contain a lot of the same mixtures as organic pads. However, they perform better because they are mixed with more copper or other types of softer metals. So, these pads will be a little noisier compared to full-organic, but not as much as semi-metallic.

Many will insist that the brake pads are the simplest part of the brake system. They are very, very wrong.

They are also not as harsh on rotors as semi-metallic pads are but again will wear the rotors faster than organic pads. These are, as you can probably guess, in between when it comes to brake temperature environments. They work far better at low brake temperatures than semi-metallic and can stand higher temperatures than organic pads, but that does depend on the material mixture.

Ceramic Brake Compound

The ceramic brake pad and is one that uses ceramic compounds along with some other metals like copper in its mixture. They provide the lowest dust and noise and have the lowest wear on the brake rotors. While they can take higher temperatures, they are not a desirable choice for a high-performance option. Reason being is that they don’t get rid of heat as well as metallic-based friction materials.

These are the best choice for the show car that sees street duty and wants decent braking performance. However, there are also new ceramic compounds coming out of Germany that do feature more metal in their mixtures. This means that show and performance drivers can have their cake and eat it, too. This idea of a true high-performance ceramic brake pad is coming down the line.

Full Metallic and Exotic Brake Compounds

Finally, there is the true metallic brake pad compound, usually found in racing brakes. They are made of sintered metals with little to near zero synthetic materials in the friction lining. They have a very high fade resistance and very high-temperature tolerances.

This also means they are noisy and are very harsh on rotors as well as require a higher temperature to begin to operate properly. There are also exotic material brakes made from carbon fiber, however, these types of rotors need to generate high-temperatures to operate and are best suited for harsh race track environments.

Shapes and Design Features of the Friction

Brake pads come in many shapes for many reasons. While caliper and packaging design plays a significant role, it’s not the only reason.

Chamfer Edges

A common design among street brake pads is the chamfer, an angled cut seen at the ends of the brake pad friction material. However, there are several ways a chamfer is done. This is designed to prevent high-vibration areas around the edges of the brake pads when they contact the rotor.

This reduces the noise and vibrations you can feel while stopping when compared to a brake pad without the chamfer. A pad with a straight edge design on the braking area usually causes a high pitch squeal from a phenomenon called “tip drag”.

…one of the most dramatic changes you can make to your brake system without changing your calipers to something more expensive—your brake pad and shoe compounds.

As the piston of your caliper begins to push the brake pads into the rotor, the pads begin to bend and fluctuate. This happens in microns of an inch but can create the high-frequency squeal as the pad tips bounce against the rotor. This bouncing can create glazing on the rotors and even increase rotor wear.

A straighter edge has the tendency to bounce and grab more than chamfered edges which can lead to noise and can cause pad lift. Pad lift is where the friction material lifts off the backing plate and this can cause moisture to build up, leading to de-bonding from corrosion, corrosion of the backing plate, and brake pad failure.

Cuts in the Pad Materials

The center cut on the brake pad friction that you see in this picture is designed for three reasons: flexibility, cooling and venting. Even with the chamfer, the pads will still move and bend on their backing plates. If a solid piece of friction material is used on a pad that moves quite a bit, it can lead to chunking of the friction and even full pad failure. The slot also helps the hot gasses that build up to vent out and help prevent the pads from overheating in normal cases.

 

This same venting will allow the incandescent material, the unburnable debris from pad wear and road pickup, that builds up as your pads and rotors wear to vent out and away from the rotor and pad for optimal braking performance. In some cases, pads can have more than one cut for the same reasons. It all depends on the design requirements of the caliper and backing plate interaction and venting requirements.

Now that you see the complication involved with brake pad friction, that’s got to leave you wondering about rotors and their design, right?

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“BIG DADDY” DON GARLITS MUSEUM OF DRAG RACING

“BIG DADDY” DON GARLITS MUSEUM OF DRAG RACING

I first saw “Big Daddy” Don Garlits race in England at Blackbushe Airport, west of London, in 1964.  By then, Gar’, as he is often called, was already famous having begun racing in 1950. In 1959, he traveled west from his home in Tampa, Florida, to race at the 1959 Bakersfield Fuel and Gas Championships. He was not popular and whenever they moved his infamous “Swamp Rat” dragster it had to be pushed through a field of empty beer cans.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

“It got so bad,” said Garlits, “that one of us had to walk in front of the car as we pushed it through the pits, to kick a path through the empties.” Unfortunately, for him, Garlits did not win but he learned a lot and came back in ’65 with three cars, two of which raced in the final that Don won against teammate Marvin Swartz.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Garlits continued to win race after race, but it was in 1970 while running at Lions Drag Strip that he would unwittingly cause a racing revolution.

One of us had to walk in front of the car as we pushed it through the pits, to kick a path through the empties.

While driving Swamp Rat 13, his home-built, two-speed transmission exploded and severed his foot in half. Shaken, Garlits came back the following year with a new rear-engine dragster that changed the look of drag racing forever.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker
Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

In 1976, Garlits made another trip to the U.K. and while there came to the realization that the U.S. needed it’s own drag racing museum. Consequently, Don and his late wife Pat founded the “Big Daddy” Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing and in 1984 opened the original 25,000 square foot facility in Ocala, Florida, just off Interstate 75.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

Over the years, Don has added to the facility that now tops 50,000 square feet and even that is nowhere near enough as the place is jammed to the walls with not only Don’s cars and memorabilia but around 200 other cars and related artifacts. Note some are housed in an adjacent building called the Museum of Classic Cars.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker
Photo Credit: Tony Thacker
Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

To be honest, it’s a bit much to take in on one visit; you really need several visits to see everything. Obviously, it’s great to see so many of Garlits’ Swamp Rat dragsters but some of my personal favorites include Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s “Yellow Fang” dragster that was driven by George Schreiber; Red Greth’s “Speed Sport Special”, Jocko Johnson’s “Jocko’s Porting Service” streamliner, Dean Moon’s Moonbeam Devin sports car and the Mooneyes dragster, and the Mooneyham & Sharp 554 Fuel Coupe.

Finally, and sadly pushed into a corner was Jim Lytle’s “Big Al” an Allison V-12-powered ’34 Tudor sedan chopped to the point that it had slits for windows and the driver’s head poked out through a hole in the roof.  Those were the days when drag racing was wild and unpredictable and racers experimented with the unconventional.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day from 9 am until 5 pm. Parking is free and admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors (60+) military, veterans, college students and teenagers (15-18) and, $10 for children (5-12).

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

As for Don, whose personal best was 318.54 mph in 4.76 seconds in 2002, you might bump into him working on one of his projects that includes an electric dragster that might just change the sport again—he’s done it before.

Photo Credit: Tony Thacker

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ON A DIME: BRAKE TECH – BRAKE ROTORS

ON A DIME: BRAKE TECH

Brake Rotors

“Come on,” you’re probably thinking, “those rotors are just big slugs of metal cut to fit my car.” Nope, rotors are another very complicated part of your brake system. However, there is a huge misconception on how they should be designed. Those cross-drilled rotors you have are pretty much junk.

How Are Rotors Made?

Rotors are typically made of cast iron known as grey iron—a type of cast iron with graphite in the mixture and sometimes other compounds such as copper, silicon, or other materials that bond with iron. Early front disc brakes and many rear brakes today are a solid disc. However, these discs can have trouble with dissipating heat fast enough. This is where the invention of the vented disc brake came in to fix that issue.

Both types of discs are molded, but vented discs are done in a procedure known as sand casting. The veins of the vented rotor are made of a separate sand core. It’s placed between the cope (top portion of a mold) and drag (bottom portion of the mold) and the metal flows into the mold.

Those cross-drilled rotors you have are pretty much junk.

Once the metal cools, the core is removed by hammering it out, using air, or various other methods of removal depending on how the sand cast was made and bound. After that, the rotor is then machined for vehicle fitment before final surface finishing and coating—if a coating is being applied, that is. Drums are usually made in a very similar way with molds.

Rotor Faces

Rotor faces come in four distinct types: solid, slotted, cross-drilled, or slotted and drilled. How does each of those work and what are the advantages of each? We answer that in this rotor article.

Solid Face Rotors

A solid face rotor will be the most rigid and can dissipate heat very well. It can take a little more abuse and can also be resurfaced easily from “warping”. It’s the simplest design that all OEs take advantage of because it doesn’t require extra machining or complex work to build or mold it. While it’s simple, it’s still very effective in most high-performance brake systems where pad gassing and debris clearing isn’t an issue.

Slotted Face Rotors

A slotted faced rotor is designed to keep some of the rigidity and heat dissipation of the solid rotor but create a space for gasses and incandescent materials to be wiped away from the friction lining. Gasses come from the natural breakdown of the adhesive that holds the brake friction to the brake pad as it heats up from use. This gassing creates a bearing surface, like how an air gap works, and creates a form of brake fade because the gasses can’t be compressed. The slots transfer those gasses away from the friction and rotor surface along with the incandescent materials to improve braking performance in high-performance applications. A street car normally won’t see this, but if you track yours then you will and is why a slotted rotor is an excellent choice.

Cross-Drilled Rotors

A cross drilled rotor has holes drilled straight across each rotor face that also feature chamfered edges to reduce hot spots at those drill points. This design is for maximum degassing as the venting of the rotor helps pull those gasses away from the rotor surface. The problem you start to encounter with a cross drilled rotor is the reduction of surface area for cooling. This can cause heat stress cracks at the drill points and a loss of rigidity overall for the rotor.

With modern adhesives and pad construction, the requirement of a cross drilled rotor has been reduced to the point that they aren’t used that often. This includes professional motorsports. The exception is environments where having high rotor surface temperatures are needed for brake pad friction effectiveness or where the rotating material just needs to be removed. In other words, you don’t need a cross drilled rotor on your daily driver. The brake temperatures won’t be high enough for pad degassing and the pads you are using don’t need that much temperature to operate.

Slotted and Drilled Rotors

The combination of slotted and drilled seeks to gain the advantages of both: the maximum degassing of a cross drilled rotor and the wiping of the friction surface of the slotted rotor while also retaining some of the rigidity from the slotted rotor design. However, if you’re not experiencing any degassing issues with solid rotors, you’re not gaining much in terms of performance from switching to either version. You’ll also lose surface area that helps with cooling your brake rotors.

…if you’re thinking about getting those drilled or slotted rotors, you may want to reconsider.

Both a slotted and cross drilled rotor will be slightly lighter, but only by a few grams at best. Unless you’re in a Formula Car or maximized the reduction of the weight of your tires and wheels, losing weight at the rotor isn’t going to be of much use to you. It can be detrimental if you don’t buy a high-quality slotted or drilled rotor.

Losing Weight with a Two-Piece Rotor

However, if you want the maximum rigidity but want to reduce weight, you should consider a two-piece rotor with an aluminum hat, as you see here. The aluminum hat reduces the weight of the rotor significantly since that large mass of metal is of a lighter material. You also gain the ability to change rotor faces and material without changing the rotor hats and this type of hat can allow you to work with a custom design by just changing the hat instead of the whole rotor. This does come at a price increase over a solid hat and rotor but if you’re going for maximum lightness, the price usually isn’t a concern at that point.

How a Rotor Cools

Again, rotors come in solid disc or vented disc, with most front rotors being vented. The venting design is a centrifugal (radial) fan type, where—in the simplest terms—the blades create a low-pressure area on the outside of the rotor as it rotates. The high-pressure area between the blades flows in to fill in that low-pressure area, which then creates a low-pressure area behind that to pull in more air. Again, that’s oversimplifying it. Changing the angle of the blades can increase efficacy but will make the rotors directional. There are also multi-blade designs that direct airflow for better hot spot cooling.

So, if you’re thinking about getting those drilled or slotted rotors, you may want to reconsider. If you’re simply going for the looks, we can’t argue against it. If you’re going for performance, consider staying with a solid face rotor and finding other ways to either reduce rotational weight or brake cooling.

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BRUCE CANEPA’S TOP 10

BRUCE CANEPA’S TOP 10

Scotts Valley is a small city of 11,000 people six miles north of Santa Cruz, California, and to the south of what is now known as Silicon Valley. Of course, that term was barely in general use when Bruce Canepa opened his first business in 1982.

Photo Credit: Canepa

Bruce’s family owned a Ford dealership in the beach/college town of Santa Cruz where he learned all things mechanical and cut his driving teeth on a Model A Ford circa 1963. He began racing as soon as he was able driving quarter midgets and Go-Karts before progressing to super modifieds and sprint cars.

He tried it all and excelled at most and was awarded consecutive “Rookie of the Year” and “Most Improved Driver” in three different race categories: Sportsman, Modified, and Sprint Cars.

Bruce Canepa
Photo Credit: Canepa

In 1978, he moved into racing sports cars in both the IMSA and Trans-Am series and in 1979 formed his own team to campaign a Porsche 934 at the grueling Daytona 24 hour sports car race. Teamed with Rick Mears and Monte Shelton, they finished an incredible third overall.

The Porsche factory was so impressed by the privateering effort, they provided him a brand new 935 for the rest of that season thus cementing Bruce’s continuing passion and loyalty to the brand.

He tried it all and excelled at most…

In 1980 and ’81, Bruce returned to Daytona with Gianpiero Moretti in the famous MOMO team Porsche 935. They also raced at Mid Ohio and Riverside. Bruce tried his hand at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with his own design twin-turbo-powered open wheeler—he qualified first and finished an amazing second overall.

1980 Canepa Pikes Peak Car
Photo Credit: Canepa

The following year, he was back at Daytona teamed with Bobby Rahal and Jim Trueman in the very first March GTP “Ground Effects” Prototype. He also opened Bruce Canepa Motorcars handling Audi, BMW, Lamborghini, Maserati and of course, Porsche automobiles.

Canepa Motorsport Museum
Photo Credit: Canepa

Bruce has always been good at seeing a niche in the market and in ’82 he opened Canepa Design. The following year he began redesigning Kenworth big rigs that led, in 1985, to his purchase of Concept Transporters. That year he also drove the Eletrodyne Lola T600 at the Riverside 6 Hours.

Canepa Shop
Photo Credit: Canepa

With Group B rallying dominating the European racing scene in the mid-eighties, Porsche introduced the phenomenal 959 in 1986. It was quickly and rightly regarded as the ultimate sports car, however, the car was not legal to import into the U.S.

Porsche 959
Photo Credit: Canepa

Enamored of the 959, Bruce and perhaps even Microsoft’s Bill Gates worked at enabling the car to be legally imported. Meanwhile, the American scene was all about SUVs and Chevy/GMC trucks and Canepa subsequently built more than 1,500 custom vehicles to Bruce’s design.

Porsche 959
Photo Credit: Canepa

After ten years of working on the legalization of the 959, Bruce was finally able to deliver the first Canepa 959 in 2000 and the first California-compliant version in 2003. Despite all this work, Bruce continued to race and returned to Colorado’s Pikes Peak setting the course record for tandem-axle big rigs in 2000, 2001, and in 2002 he crossed the line in 13:57.800—a record that still stands on the 156-turn, 12.42-mile mountain course.

Racing oil runs in his veins and his current ride of choice is a McLaren P1 GTR.

Canepa moved into his current 70,000 sq. ft. Scotts Valley facility in 2006 and for any petrolhead, it’s Nirvana and showcases some of the raddest cars in Petroldom. There is so much to see that we asked Bruce to choose his Top 10 from all the cars on display and they are presented here: everything from the famed So-Cal Speed Shop Coupe that ran both at Bonneville and the drags in the very early fifties to the Porsche 917/10 of 1972 and the 1985 Rothmans Porsche 962C. It’s an amazing to-die-for, must-see collection.

Canepa is not just a showroom though, or even a museum, its also houses one of the world’s most respected restoration shops that not only meticulously restores historic racecars but also offers setup and race support, meanwhile, Bruce still does all the final testing. Well, he would wouldn’t he?  Racing oil runs in his veins and his current ride of choice is a McLaren P1 GTR.

1966 AAR Eagle Indy Car
Photo Credit: Canepa

For further information visit: canepa.com

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