Monthly Archives: August 2014
Just realised that i have built up a new bike without documenting it here. Blasphemy!
I guess we can do this backwards. Recently, i have changed from my long standing tradition of using continental tyres and switched to michelin tyres. It was partly onset by an article i read on pro’s using only 25cc now. Then wiggle had a special on michelin pro 4’s so i decided to get a pair.
Spent a good amount of time getting it on the lightweights. It was super tight to say the least and the profile at first wasn’t that much fatter. I think that is to do with lightweights pretty oldschool narrow rim design vs the new rims from enve and zipp’s. Regardless, i got it on and went for a spin and to my surprise, there was some awful rubbing sounds. Finally i found out that the tyre was rubbing on the rear brakes. That obviously meant the tyres ballooned out a little more and had a taller profile. Adjusted the brakes accordingly and went for a spin.
Fast forward to first ride on the tyres. Surprised instantly at how much smoother they are vs the old gp4000’s. They just seemed to roll better and better. Further to that, they feel super grippy on turn in. I used to get this weird understeery feeling in the wet going down some mountains on the sl4. I have heard this was an issue with the smaller sl4 frames but it will be good to see if these tyres counteract that. They are definitely by all parts better than the gp4000’s so far. Only thing that isnt proven is the puncture proofing aspect. That, only time can tell i guess?
I will document the sl4 build shortly. It is by far the slickest bike i have put together and have a lot of little things i am quite proud of. The bike weighs sub 6kg and runs on clincher wheelsets.
So after the DC5 which i lost interest in by potentially modifying it too much, i set about asking myself what i wanted to do with the BRZ. Well for one from the impressions i gathered, i wanted the car to remain as useable as possible. I wanted to have no hesitation in driving the car out and for that to happen the car has to be drivable everywhere. I knew straight away at that point that even if i was to mod the BRZ it would be very light mods for the fear of it ruining the greatness of the car in it’s stock form.
I also wanted to track again. On the DC5 i piled on the mods and never really did experience the car in it’s stock form. Of course a modified car is always harder to drive vs a stock one, so this time around, i set a rule for performance orientated mods.
I said to myself that basically no mods that would change the lap time of the BRZ would be allowed until i hit a certain time at wakefield. I researched around on what a good baseline time was and found that John Boston did a 1:14:17 in a stock stock trim 86. It was actually very hard to find baseline times on the car and either people are not noting it down on the internet or they never tracked the car in stock form.
As such i set myself a time of 1:14:xx prior to doing any performance mods. This way i can learn how the car handles in it’s stock form and also know specifically what it’s short comings are and how best to improve it. I knew it was going to be hard though as John Boston is a professional driver who does what he does for a living.
I set a cheat for myself though by saying “performance” mods so i was free to do little things.
Immediately i replaced the stock shift knob for a better and understated moonface aluminium shift knob. I actually spent way too much time researching exactly which shift knob i wanted but finally decided on this one. Only downside is the finish is quite slippery but i found that you will only really slip when you are not paying attention. During spirited driving or circuit, i have never slipped.
JDMyard also installed red lens Tom’s taillights for me as well. My god what a difference these lights make. I don’t classify this as a mod as it should have come from the factory in the first place! Added bonus is it matches the front of the BRZ lights very well. Audiesque LED lighting.
Also noticed that a lot of the US BRZ’s looked better and after close inspection it was because foglights are an option over there. So whilst many of the US guys were acquiring “JDM foggies”i was trying to research what the part number was to delete the fog lights. After much research and confirmation, found the part number and placed the order on some subaru parts website in US and $20 bucks later i had the grill panels which suited cars without fog lights. Installed it myself in 30 minutes and marvelled at what a difference it makes. It is always the little things and in this case it was super cheap as well.
These are the only “mods” i have carried out on the BRZ for now.
First impressions on my new car? The clutch is so soft …. as i pulled out of the dealer. Also, hmmm this car is pretty slowish. Even though i was running in the car, i could tell that it wasn’t a torquey car. Thirdly though, wow manual again after how many years without? So fun just to be shifting and clutching. Overall it felt ok. Ok and cheap. Spoilt with the interior of the Audi, the plastics on the switches left me rather unimpressed. I didn’t really need to be though as i knew the aim of the car is completely different and so is the price point. Still, the position is absolutely perfect. Telescopic reach on the steering wheel combined with perfect pedal positioning meant that anyone interested in driving will find this a nice place to be in. You feel like you are in the car rather than sitting in a bus. I got in my friends Fiesta ST and first thing i thought was BUS. The position was so upright compared to the BRZ.
So the next day after acquiring the car, i drove through RNP. I haven’t driven through this place in probably 2 years (i normally ride through more now) but over the next few weeks i probably drove the car through it 5-6 times. I just wanted to kinda get a feel for the new car and that seemed like the only accessible place. I never drove it hard as the car was still breaking in but i didn’t baby it excessively either. Giving plenty of revs here and there and generally got a good feel for the car.
The BRZ definitely cornered well. To me i realised that they were able to use relatively softer damper/springs as the centre of gravity on the cars are so low anyways. What this means is they would get a car which didn’t roll excessively in corners and handled bumps very well. In fact, the BRZ handled bumps SOOO well my wife was pleasantly surprised that it was quite comfortable. The previous car she sat in was Kev’s S15 which i purchased and that scared her with the roughness and just the overall nature of the car. The BRZ she warmed up to quickly though as she found it comfortable, smooth and “not dangerous”.
It was so good that i changed my plan’s slightly on the BRZ. I almost did not want to mod it to ruin that perfect usability for everyday driving and to this date i am still very hesitant. I drove the car everyday and to everywhere and generally wanted to USE the car day in day out. I purposely went to pickup furniture in the car just so i can use it for stuff that it wasn’t meant to do (which it handled with aplomb). That was one of the best qualities of the car. I also found the car super approachable from day one performance wise. You feel like you have driven the car for ages and you are keen to try out almost everything. So approachable was the car that i had to refrain from clutch kicking the car in the middle of corners through RNP on my 2nd day out. Coming out of corners on a wet day remains a hard task with self control needed to not try and get sideways.
1. Very accessible performance in a approachable manner
2. Perfectly focused on the driver with all the little things
3. Very dailyable and useable (carried furniture, bikes, drive into any driveway)
1. Not torquey
2. Engine seems a little characterless vs vtec engines
3. Interior quality
So towards the start of this year, i purchased a new car, the Subaru BRZ.
I deliberated over the choice prior to purchase for many month and like anything i purchase, usually i put in a good amount of “thought” into it as well.
It always starts at carsales. You go on it just to have a peep. A peep turns into a browse. A browser turns into an addiction. Soon enough you are searching terms like te37, voltex, ce28n blah blah ….
Before i knew it, i decided i needed a sports car in my life. The Allroad is a perfect daily car. It is honestly a car i will most likely keep for a very very very long time (the depreciation scares me to sell anyways + the shape will be timeless). Still, i wanted a sports car again, i needed a sports car again.
The Porsche GT3 is my dream car. I knew it wouldn’t be happening anytime soon so i thought about it and decided that i wasn’t going to be sportcarless for the next 5 years or however long it takes me to get the GT3. I started looking at carsales and quickly drew up a list of candidates. In no particular order.
2. M3 E92
The GTR35 can be had for around $90k now but from my research, the gearbox was keen to have issues. Especially with the sensors. Basically, i realised that unless you buy a brand new GTR35 from AUS dealers and then never mod it and rely on warranty alone, be prepared to sideline another 10-15k for gearbox “strengthening” when it does go. Often GTR35 owners have being stranded on the side of the road because their gearbox went into limp mode and the idea of a 100k+ car on the side of the road was pretty ridiculous. That and rotor replacements are super expensive as you would expect and a 1750kg car wearing through 20″ tyres in what 285-305 was definitely not going to be a cheap affair to track. Basically, i figured that i didnt have enough money to own the GTR35 comfortably. $90k? You probably needed $110-120k to comfortably buy/maintain/track a GTR35 prior to modding. No thanks.
The M3 E92 was a better proposition. Firstly it was much cheaper. You could find examples earlier on in the year for $70k and unlike the GTR, the gearbox was not known to crap itself. The V8 M engine was also decently reliable from all reports as well. Plus it was a RWD car that was loaded with features as well. Gps, lcd screens, idrive, electronic seats, etc etc plenty of goodies to keep you happy for the daily commute. So why didn’t i go for it? Well the timing wasn’t so right. The 70k example i found was a imported one from UK and it looked a little “dodge”. I nearly put through a $500 RACV inspection but my 6th sense was telling me NO. If you are trying to buy the cheapest example, then once again, you probably do not have enough money to play with this car. Interestingly enough, over the next 3 month, i would see the same car (it was slightly modified with lip/diffuser) in the area and it looks super super hot. The car also had some crappy wheels slapped on it obviously as something for the car to roll on so i would have spent $5-6k on a set of 19″ te37sl’s shod with Rs3 rubber so really it was a $75k+ car.
If the timing was different though and i was looking to buy a sports car RIGHT NOW, i think i might have ended up with the M3. Looking at Carsales over the last couple of weeks, the prices of M3 have dropped into the 60-65k mark comfortably for examples with around 50,000 kms. Surely due to the arrival of the new M3 and M4.
This leads me to the BRZ. It was the no brainer type of choice. I always knew it but i wanted to prove myself wrong by trying something more adventurous (M3, GTR35). Reason won at the end of the day. The biggest point of differentiations are that the BRZ would be brand new. No looking into history of previous owner, no worrying, trouble free motoring with 3 years of free servicing? Smart choice indeed. Also the other point of difference is it is a significantly cheaper car to buy/own/mod. You are looking at a purchase price of mid-high $30k’s and the upkeep of the car is free as it comes with 3 years of free servicing.
I also liked the car. I was following the development of the car way before the car was released into AU market. To all accounts, it sounded like a car which any car enthusiast would like to drive/own. Recently i started playing GT5 and GT6 and noted that my garage was littered with various examples of the 86/brz modded slightly differently.
Dated June 2012 a screenshot of Toyota Au’s FB announcement on how much the car would cost.
Sure there are 86’s everywhere on the road, but, that type of thing never really worried me too much. I mean i buy the car becuase i drive it and because i like it. I wont stop buying a car just because everyone else has one. To the contrary, i find it better as i knew that aftermarket support for this car would be incredible and it is always good to have a variety of owners on one car just to break up the cop’s perception on the owners of certain vehicles.
So a little before my birthday as a present to myself i found a white BRZ in stock in a local dealer. This was back when it was still fairly rare to find BRZ’s in dealers as they were operating on a web retail model, so i decided to harmlessly drive down and check out the car. Big mistake. It seemed like even though the car was pretty much selling itself, the sales people were still quite negotiable on a deal and having seen it IRL i really liked the car. Sure it looks awkward from certain angles i still liked it heaps due to the classic shape of the car and how low slung it was. So after a not so happy wife + one day later, i went to pick up my new BRZ. It had 18kms on the clock after i picked it up but i took this picture at 97kms.