Friday, April 12, 2013

Hangin' out in the Spa!

We all need our garages – perhaps not always to house our cars but at the very least, as a place of refuge where we know we will be able to escape the hassles of life. Yes, we still take out the garbage and with that, we need to pass through the garage once a week. But true car lovers are always inventing excuses to head into the garage – often, the deeper the better!

This week I dropped of the C5 Z06 to the Corvette Spa for a checkup and new sets of brake pads – the Hawk HP plus pads are just about shot so replacements all round are in order. But in a brief follow-up visit it occurred to me that Curt’s establishment, the Corvette Spa, has become a kind of home away from home for me – the garage I go to when I want to chat with someone (in addition to looking at cars).

The picture above is of how Curt’s garage looked this morning – a C3 and then a C4 tucked away beside C5's of various vintages and in differing stages of track preparedness. And it is a reminded too that I now no longer have the C6 – Big Blue, the Supercharged C6 auto Coupe has been sold.  Sad to have to say this but the garage back home needed the space for a new addition but losing theC6 has been offset to some extent by being able to stop by Corvette Spa.

I am still in the Vortech supercharger business and I have all the “treatments” anyone might like to enjoy – so yes, let me know. Any time! In the meantime, I think I need to head back to the Spa to talk some more about brake fluids, tires and wheels – do I need an oil change? Hope I bump into you – and if I do, let me know you read this latest post!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Time to freshen up the garage ...

What happens when you start looking at new cars? Well, when the garage is full, as pictured above, the one car has to go ....

OK, so we have a red 2003 C5 Z06 Vette (foreground) that is really a nice set-up for the occasional track days we participate in and readers may recall how last year we towed it behind the company command center to tracks across the west. Alongside the C5 is the 2006 C6 Supercharged Coupe that has featured many times in posts to this blog.

Look past the two motorcycle cruisers Margo and I have enjoyed riding for many years and you will glimpse the 2008 Gen IV Viper roadster – a car we picked up used (18 miles on the odometer! Seriously!); had delivered to our hotel in Las Vegas, and promptly drove home to Boulder.
In the distance? Well, that is Godzilla of course with sunshine reflecting off it's trunk lid; a 2013 Nissan GT-R with AWD and our back-up winter driving car. Well, if it just had a little more clearance so we could drive it out of the garage following snowstorms … but no, it’s just too nice a car to get dirty although we did drive across the Sierra’s once in a full snow storm with just the summer tires mounted.

So which car will go? Well, the C6 Supercharged Coupe was “replaced” yesterday – stay tuned for more info to follow shortly. What of my love of superchargers in general and Vortech in particular (and the work Andy Green of A&A Corvette Performance does in terms of putting together the best package possible)? I am still very much a “fan” and if I were to speculate and should the business cycle uptick just a tad, there could be another Vette purchase in the future.

If you want to read my feelings about the process, check out the post made a few years back to the A&A Corvette Performance blog that can be found at:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A relief from the snow ...

As I look out the window all I can see is snow blanketing the gardens and lawns. There's been two snowstorms - the first on Sunday that was pretty substantial and the second just yeaterday that was more or less just a dusting of powdered sugar.

It would have been easy for me to throw up a snapshot looking out at the backyard, covered in snow, but I posted such a photo to my business blof Real Time View - look at the photo in the post
It’s yet another sign! Check it out.

The photo above is exactly how the blue C6 looks today - with the new wider chrome wheels fro West Coast Corvette and now shod with brand new Bridgestone Potenza "Pole Position" tires. I have come to really like the Bridgestones and now track the C5 Z06 shod with a similar tire and they work really well. Sure, I would like to run slicks but these Bridgestones give me a full season with something like 30+ heat cycles!

An open top Vette, chrome wheels and the light grey interior are an attractive package and a reminder how much fun the big Vette is to drive on sunny days. Throw in the fact that it's supercharged with 500+ RWHP (and similar torque numbers) and it's not just fun, but a blast.

I know many of you are looking forward to warmer days and are already thinking about projects for Spring - so don't forget, drop me a note if you want to upgrade to a blown Vette and a fun day at the Corvette Spa!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How far will you be travelling ...

Yes, this is a big picture but the big picture here is that we are headed to Australia in October. We plan on catching up with family and in particular, with my elderly Mom (Mum) who we haven't seen since late 2009.

If you read my latest post to Buckle-Up-Travel,
On the road, again! Again? you can just make out this map, turned sideways under Margo's drink. We were unable to rent Corvettes so instead, we have rented the longer wheelbase version of the Aussie V8 Supercars - a V8 Statesman built on the venerable V8 Commodore station wagon.

While in Australia, we will (unfortunately) miss both V8 Supercar events held in Bathurst and on the Gold Coast but plan on driving “parade laps” around both circuits as they utilize public roads and are open to the public at large to drive. And yes, we will pick up the mandatory “track decals” so beloved by many and sure to raise an eyebrow or two when affixes to the rear window of our Vettes. Alongside similar decals we picked up from our time in 2010 on Germany’s famous Nurburgring – check out the earlier post to Buckle-Up-Travel,
Respect the ‘Ring!

For those who haven’t seen the latest copy of Vette magazine, starting on page 58 there is the article, Beauties by the Beach where a bevy of Corvettes are on display across several public car parks adjacent to North Wollongong beach, Australia. All modified to drive on the left – with the steering wheel on the. As we look forward to our trip back to Oz, we sure hope we have the opportunity to check out as many Vettes as we can … and I have to wonder, how many of them will be as modified as ours! Likely, most of them, I suspect!  

Friday, February 1, 2013

How low will it go ...

Yes, you are reading it correctly - $1.799 for one US gallon! And from the reflection astute readers will recognize it is the trusty Cadillac Escalade that is the recipient this time of the cheap gas even though pouring in 22+ gallons, too, may be a clue. I emailed this photo to friends in California as soon as I took it as stories were circulating overnight that California drivers are going to see prices climbing past $4 a gallon.

But this does lead me into the question of gas consumption when it comes to modern day Corvettes, a conversation I have had several times with Curt of Corvette Spa. Not sure which party within GM isn’t keen on marketing the news more widely, but Corvettes post C5 easily see 30mpg on the highway. And it doesn’t take a team of specialist drivers to realize such returns. For both the C5 and C6 I have experienced such numbers myself. Several times, mind you!

And the point? Even as we now know a little more about the C7 and of the merits / strengths of the new LT1 engine (6.2 liters) and see in it a platform that will be the basis for a lot more power to come (did you see work that’s gone into the crank and the pistons to handle higher loads?) – it’s still an awful lot cheaper to FI current C6s than take one of the early C7s. Yes, the old adage will still apply – skip the first two years if you really want to get a true example of the C7. Remember, the C6s of 05 – 07 with the LS2 were no match for the 80s onwards with the LS3! So, will there be an LT1?

No, hang onto those C6s particularly with the LS3s, check out our “Spa treatments” for FI, and wait for more to come from the engineers at GM!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vettes in Winter

It is rather hard to take but it's winter. The roads are frozen. The conditions are rather hostile with no way to know who might run into you. So discretion being the better part of valor, the two Vettes remain in the garage on battery trickle-chargers.
After a brief break in southern California where we had hoped to catch some sun, all we have returned with is the flu and it's hanging around for much longer than we care for - yes, Margo and I are under the weather with no idea how long it will be before we shake free of the flu's symptoms.

While in California we compared calendars with good friends Brian and Jan and it looks like we will be participating with them at a NoCal NASA event at Infineon in early June, followed by their visit to us in July for a weekend at HPR with Rocky Mountain NASA and then in August, a return to SoCal NASA as it runs a weekend of activities at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

All the same, it’s sad to see the Vettes idle in the garage when we just know they would like nothing more than to be back on the road …. Any road!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A summer teaser ..

For several years Margo and I commuted between Boulder, CO and Simi Valley, CA - a round trip of 1080 miles give or take. Living and working out of Simi Valley gave us a great opportunity to participate in track events - there's numerous tracks scattered throughout southern California and with the weather, it was almost a year round proposition. The picture above is of the Vette being washed prior to it heading to a track weekend at Willow Springs tha was taken back in the summer of 2010.

Today, in Boulder and nearby Longmont, it's snowing and the Vette's are on battery feeders. The cold is anything but enticing but eating breakfast, looking through the window as the snow comes down, memories quickly return to California and while we never see snow as the do higher up in the mountains or even deeper into the plains or back on the east coast, it does put the brakes on track outings.

All this comes following the news from Speed Ventures that even as Christmas approaches, they will be holding a track outing December 22, 23 at Buttonwillow, the venue for our most recent outing only six o so weeks ago. But we shouldn’t complain. Shortly we will be vacationing in southern California and if it hadn’t been for the time we spent in Simi Valley, we wouldn’t have run across A&A Corvette Performance and we wouldn’t be as interested as we now are in bringing the A&A supercharger “package” to Colorado Vette enthusiasts.

Perhaps we can handle the few days of cold weather ahead of us after all – and yes, I will be dropping by the Corvette Spa before we head out … more news to follow!   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Painting a pretty picture ...

I couldn't help but snap off this photo last week. Standing alongside a "new arrival" - a nicely decked out C6 Z06, supercharged of course (but not from our supplies, unfortunately) - it's blue paint scheme in stark contrast to the red C3 on the lift and the yellow C5 behind it. But all the same, a cheerful blend of colors that instantly warmed the heart of a Corvette fan like me. And yes, that’s Curt about to mount a carbon fiber wing to that Z06 although, I have to admit, it looks a little like it’s more suited for show than for the track.

It's winter and yet it's not winter. The calendar tells us otherwise and yet, Boulder is still enjoying temperatures climbing into the 60s. A sure fire way to pull out of the garage the motorcycles - there's been numerous lines of them riding along our arterial highways. A group of 9 or 10 riders aboard BMW adventure bikes made me think of my own long ride of a few years ago. But winter will hit us shortly I have to believe and already, our ‘Vettes are hooked up to battery tenders in the garage and will not likely hit the road again till the spring.

Of course, winter is also a time when we start thinking about upgrades, changes and sometime even a new acquisition. Even as GM leaks information about the C7 Corvette most of us can’t wait to see what rolls-out come the Detroit Auto show where, as I understand it, we will get our first glimpse of what had been an anxiously awaited release. And yet, like many others, I can’t help feeling that the prices for the next ‘Vette are headed north where base models (with minimal options packages) will likely pass through the $60K mark and in so doing, drive the value of our C6 into the ground – GM has the ability to manufacture so many “Vettes that it will be hard to keep anyone interested in the earlier models.

So, don’t trade! Keep the C6! And as spring rolls around, head to the Spa for a much-needed treatment. It’s amazing what a difference there is when you have bolted on an extra 200hp … just ask me! True, now I am using the C6 ‘Vette as a daily drive I have dialed-back the power / torque but it’s still a blast to drive as after all, it’s just a coupe, remember. A real sleeper until the loud pedal is pressed hard – if you happen on by Boulder / Longmont then don’t forget to drop in and take the time to chat with Curt.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where it all began!

It all started with a casual conversation with our good friend Hal, recently moved to Ft Collins from Silicon Valley. Experiencing firsthand the impact from living at a higher altitude (and at the time an owner of a C6 coupe) Hal asked if we had considered supercharging our own C6 coupe. Seriously? No, the thought hadn't crossed our minds at all.

A matter of weeks later, while entering the 101 freeway in southern California, a new Lexus IS-F passed us without any trouble. It was the new high-performance Lexus with a free-revving 400+hp V8 that on paper we should have had no trouble keeping up with - but the driver just simply pulled away from us.

You gotta be kidding! So needless to say, further research behind us, we drove to Andy’s shop in Oxnard, California and his team at A&A Corvette Performance began working their magic. It’s been a fun journey ever since as we tweaked many different elements of the Vette to where today we have just one nice daily drive. But now there are no worries should we come across another Lexus IS-F.

Drop by the Corvette Spa in Longmont any time and let me know in advance and our C6 coupe – supercharged and all – will be ready for inspection!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Yes, it is the smile!

The previous post featured Margo on track for the start of her first session at Buttonwillow, 2012. It didn't take me long to realize that readers like photos of Margo a lot more than they do of me so here's a photo of Margo for the start of her first session at Buttonwillow, 2010.

Should you like to read more about Margo's adventures back then, check out the post to Buckle-Up-Travel that came out just a few days later:

The big yellow "2" on her windscreen was acknowledgment that Margo had moved out of HPDE1 and into the more challenging HPDE2. The difference being that she could now circulate tracks without the mandatory instructor seated beside her. Margo still attended the educational downloads following each session, of course, but letting anyone jump in beside her was now completely up to her.

The blue Vette her was in its second-to-last iteration; supercharged and tricked out for lapping days. All 600+ hp (500, rear wheels) through an “auto tranny” and fighting with a final ratio of 2.4:1 or thereabouts! A tough car to light up coming out of turns I have to admit. But we had completely worn out the R-spec tires (this instance, Toyo R888s) and had reinstalled the Michelins and in many ways, this gave Margo an improved feel on a track she hadn't visited in some time.

The yellow 2 was missing this time out but if you look closely at the red C5 Z06 in the previous post, you will see a bright orange sun or star - yes, Margo continued to enjoy HPDE2 events and yes, the smile of some two years ago remains very much in evidence as you all have noticed!