Thursday, June 9, 2011

Back to regular programming; It's time for Le Mans!

That's right folks starting at 530am on the west coast SpeedTV will be showing coverage of the great race. It'll be a mix of TV and internet coverage but every hour will be shown. So between feedings and diaper changes I'll be soaking it up..the race that is. May be the wife will allow me to put the changing table in the living room, hmmm....

To hear qualifying and the race go to
To view the race go to Speed TV
Here's the spotters guide to help keep an eye on your favorite team.


...thats amore...

So here he is our little bundle of joy, Gianluca born May 17th. He truly is amazing, we've even watched our first F1 race together, he likes the vroom-vroom sound.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Drumrole, please

So where do I begin? After dodging the stalk for 40 plus years, my time has come; Yup, I’m going to be a dad! My little dude will be arriving on May 21st of this year and I can’t wait. With that good news, I’ve come to the realization that a two seater sports car may not be in the cards. So I’m going to have to bid adieu to my project Z and find a ride with similar sporting attributions but with a back seat and user friendly, make that infant friendly, trunk. The options are wide open; I could stick to a tried and tested Nissan product and purchase a 4-seater version of a Z; the G35 coupe, a very capable machine if rather portly or go back to rotary power and find myself in the great handling, albeit somewhat anemic RX-8. Then there’s my favorite front-wheel drive classic, the VW GTI and the track/street standard, the BMW 3-series. I’ve also seen some rather good deals on Audi S4s but the cost of ownership as well as a rather thirsty V8 has me on the sidelines. Well the hunt is on for the next track/street toy; target day somewhere before the holidays so I’m in no immediate hurry as we are focusing on the wife’s car first; she has to give up her convertible Saab 9-3, moving to a Saab 9-3 Sportscombi…she is far from happy…. Hey it looks cool, right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Autocross with Speed Ventures

Yup an amazing day awaited me for my first ever autocross event.

I had a blast and all for $80.00! I had multiple runs on the tight cone laden course, loosing control a few times and eating some cones. Oh and the Z is a pig; all power with very little finesse. The lack a of a limited slip diff and narrow old tires really hampered my efforts; spinning my tires on every exit as I tried to accelerate smoothly following the slow-in, fast-out formula.

The 235 tires in the rear tried to hook up but the old and close to slick fronts just wanted to plow. I dropped the front tire pressure to get some more bite but just could not break 44 seconds. The V6 pulled really well but by comparison the fastest Z was at 40 seconds and a race prepped G35 coupe with gutted interior and Cosworth heads was hitting 38.2. I focused on my technique as best I could and tried to gingerly move the car through the cones, concentrating on the line as opposed to time but as soon my confidence would rise and I would try to coax the car a little faster, either the rear end or front would let go, real fun stuff, I loved it. Overall an amazing day of driving and meeting some really good folks from Rare JDM. The competition we had was a lot of fun with Zack from Rare JDM laying down the bench-mark in his Redline Time Attack G35, very impressive. The Z performed as well as it could considering what it had to contend with; a rookie driver. As they say the best modification to go faster is seat time at a track.

I’m also glad I took the time to slowly prepare for my first event as it gave me the confidence to push the vehicle without any worries. The engine revved nicely thanks to the light flywheel and stopped very confidently. As mentioned, I changed the engine oil prior to the event but also did some other upgrades too. I wanted to address the ping I heard on occasion so I replaced the JWT pop-charger and went back to the stock air box. I did some looking around on the web and a slight ping between 2500-3500rpm appears to be a frequent issue with the VQ35DE engine. Now with the stock air box and ECU rest procedure it looks like the issue has been resolved. On a plus side a few months ago I purchased a Megan Racing Y-pipe as well as an SR*S (can you say NISMO copy) exhaust system. Matching these two separate units equals a single cat-back exhaust with a 3” diameter. The system utilizes all the stock hangers, is a good deal lighter than the stock system it replaces and supposedly adds 15 horsepower of which I’ll believe when I see the numbers on the dyno report. The sound is amazing, really waking up the sporting nature of the car.
I doubt these slight changes added any hard numbers to the Z but more importantly they added confidence and further communicated to me the vehicle's abilities. So stay tuned for further adventures as I have an important announcement to make.

Friday, February 25, 2011

T-minus roughly 48hrs and some change

Oil Change to Mobil 1 10w-30- check
Mobile 1 filter (code M-110)-Check
Install the original air box-Check

I’m ready to run me down some cones!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Senna...The Movie...

Saw this on Monday; Amazing stuff, really pulled on the heart strings. One for my collection, right next Mr McQueen"s Le Mans

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Zs & Gs to run against

Looks like a local speed shop specializing in Japanese performance cars will be at the autocross event I'm attending, offering prizes to the top three cars who can beat or come closest to their modified Infinity G35's lap time. What the heck since I'm there I'm going to give it a shot.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Autocross with Speed Ventures

I'm doing my first autocross session with Speed Ventures on Sunday February 27th.
I opted for Speed Ventures as opposed to an SCCA Solo II event as the idea of working while waiting for my run did not appeal to me. For about the same cost I get unlimited timed runs. I purchased time for an instructor too since I intend to see my lines getting better throughout the day. Here's a listing of my run group. If I can keep up with the Prius, then I think I may have had a good day.
Timing AliasCarHPTires
Alexa Apallas2005 Toyota Prius0Street
Bob Gottlieb
Brandon Turner
Chris Aguirre2007 Honda Fit109Street
Club Sport Z2005 Nissan 350Z0Slicks
Daniel Herson2002 Honda S20000Street
Dannie Pinard2010 Chevrolet Camaro400Street
david lowell2004 Mazda MX-5 MazdaSpeed Miata289Street
Doug Hoffman2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe280Street
Drew Dayton 192004 Audi TT225Street
Erik Herson1991 Acura NSX0Street
Fulton Haight1997 BMW M3 E36240Street
Gary Takara
Gene Schneider2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution395Street
Ike2005 Honda S20000Street
Ira Cruz1987 BMW 325is0Slicks
Israel Lopez2008 BMW 328i272Street
Jacob Schiffelbein2003 Honda S20000Street
JASON FLETCHER1986 Mazda RX-70Street
Jeremy Fransen 292010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution0Street
Khiem D2005 Honda S2000237Street
Kyle O'Rourke1997 Honda Prelude0Street
Mark Ponciano2004 Dodge SRT-40Street
Matt Herson2010 Ford Mustang GT0Street
MORGAN MALOUF1998 BMW M3 Sedan0Street
Nick Schiffelbein2003 Porsche Boxster S0Street
Reza V1989 Honda Civic Si110Street
Richard Lee 122005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution0Street
Robert Lowell2006 Mazda MX-5170Street
S2K_Ryan2003 Honda S20000Street
Scott Du1997 Honda Prelude0Street
SIR EDDIE DUNCAN1965 Factory Five 427SC Cobra300Street
Vereker Tam2000 Honda Prelude658Street
Vince Barbarie2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI300Street
W2010 Mazda MX-5165Race
willi smith1992 Mazda Miata0Street
zack tscharanyan 472005 Infiniti G35 Coupe298Street

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Troubles with blogger

Sorry for the topsey-turvy posts. I believe the issues are fixed I didn't do my brake job in Italy... Thanks all.

I'm Back!

Italy was amazing the food, drink and everything in between. Now in regards to cars, Italy was nowhere close to the UK or US. This could very well be because it was the holidays and like most of you east coasters, I’m sure Italian auto enthusiasts have locked up their beloved hunks of steel away from the elements…I guess. Well either way I did not see any Delta Integrales or Evo 75s tearing up the streets. I heard one late model Ferrari V8 next to the Ponte Vechio and a smattering of older 911s. Anyway here’s some pics:

New VW Scirocco

Boring Lancia, plush but...

The Cops love their Land Rovers
Some cool vintage bikes
Police Alfa's on the Ponte Vechio

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brake Job...Oh joy...

Well as the description of the of the blog states “...I shall share my joys and frustrations with this transformation...” Well here’s a nice dose of frustration for ya!

In early November I decided to proceed with upgrading my brakes.The 350Z is a heavy car and although the Base version I have is the lightest of the various models, it’s still a tad over 3000 lbs. The stock brakes do a wonderful job hauling the car down on canyons and high speed runs but on the track the stock single piston brakes are known to cook. Now a Brembo upgrade from a track model Z would be ideal but at this time I’m not willing to spend the $$$ for this luxury. As luck would have it a fellow Z owner with a 2007 model year; bigger twin piston calipers, was moving to an after market big brake kit and had to unload his stock set up. Enter me with cash in hand and an open weekend at my dads.

Couple of shots from the old man's garage and his project cars

The job seemed simple enough; move from the current 2005 set up to the larger twin piston 2007 set up, the pads looked good so I kept them until I was ready to buy some track/street pads.

Specs 2005 350z brakes:

Front rotor-11.5”

Rear rotor:-11”

Single piston front caliper

Specs 2007 350z brakes

Front rotor-12.5”

Rear rotor-11.5”

Twin piston front caliper

2007 to the left and 2005 to the right

Additionally, I upgraded to stainless steel brake lines from Techna-fit and high temp ATE brake fluid.

A little bit of trimming would be needed on the rear dust shield but apart from that it should have been a simple “plug-and-play” affair…or not.

Well after about four hours of doing the actual swap I was ready to bleed the system and take the Z for a test run. Close to two liters of brake fluid later and nothing; the brake pedal was holding zero pressure and would go straight to the floor. My father, a mechanic with forty-years of experience was baffled too. He was pointing to the brake booster or may be the master cylinder. I was less certain of that, as I had done my research and found that others who had done comparable swaps never had to replace the MC. It was now approaching 10pm on a wet Sunday night and we where both spent. Could it be bum calipers, failing MC and/or booster? May be the stainless steel lines where a wrong fit. I was convinced it was air in the lines and we just hadn't bled the brakes enough. So back to the Z forum I went and I sent out a call for help. “Get a Power Bleeder!” was the uniform reply; Z’s are notorious for being a PINTA when there’s air in the system and the only efficient way to bleed the brakes from any trapped air pockets was with a power bleeder. I ordered a Motive Power Bleeder and 48hrs later we were at it again but this time the brake pedal was starting to hold pressure. The Motive Power Bleeder is a great tool and highly recommended if you’re doing a brake job by yourself. In less than an hour, pressure had built up and the brakes were good to go. Finally!

In the months since, the brakes have worked flawlessly. This past week, due to a lack of time, I dropped off the Z at Precision Z for a brake pad change. Sean and co hooked me up with some Stoptech club pads and gave the Z a once over. The brakes are biting nicely and with the hightemp blue fluid I should be able to hang with the best of them…we’ll see. My first autocross event will be February 27

Friday, December 17, 2010


When I started this blog almost a year ago, I wanted to solely concentrate on the Z and nothing more. No family pics or moaning about the trouble & strife; that’s wife for my northern friends. But like all plans, life happens. So the point I’m getting at is it looks like I’ll be missing my December 18th track day…again. Oh don’t feel bad for me, really and I’ll give you a hint why:

Guess where I’m going? Yup Italia! I’m off to Venice, Florence and Rome. It’s a treat for my better half and I and details of why will have to wait until the New Year. Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Speak to you all in 2011.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post-Turkey day work out

I took the Z out today to stretch its legs. As most of the country was enjoying each other’s intimate company in the malls, I decided to hit Angeles Crest High Way and Big Tujunga. I couldn’t have picked a better day; the freeway was open and the canyons were clear from grandma and officer plod. Instead I was sharing the road with the likes of Ducati, Buell and Honda. Did I mention how much I love 3rd gear? oh and torque, what a thing of beauty. Well I used both to their fullest as I was offered curve after curve. There were straights too and I could have easily hit triple digits but I played nice and hovered just under them. Well enough of my gloating here are some pics.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Forza Italia!!! And a lil love to France too.

Swung by the tale end of the Cars of Italy and France this past weekend. By the time I got there most of the cars had left. Still, there was a smattering of some pretty cool rides. Check out the Junior Zagato and the rest of the cars, enjoy;

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Million Dollar Bumble-Bee

I had an appointment in Beverly Hills, just off Rodeo Drive yesterday so I took a detour to take in the sites. Rodeo is a treat in itself but also pretty cool if you’re into cars. All the big marques parade back and forth driven by the usual characters that know the price of all but the value of none. Either way it's good fun. While walking to my appointment, I saw a crowd milling around a car in front of the Bijan store. The store is named after its founder, Bijan Pakzad who is quite a mogul here in LA with billboards displaying Mr. Bijan’s smiling face and his flagship store taking prominence in the middle of Rodeo. Take a peak through the shop window and you’ll see why Bijan has the envious title, at least amongst his peers, of the most expensive store on Rodeo Drive. Well I crossed the street and this is what I saw:

A yellow and black Bugatii Veyron, yup yellow and black!

You may be asking “what the French toast, of all the colors, why would you spend $1 million on a car and order it in yellow and black?” Well yellow and black happens to be the signature colors of the Bijan brand, a brand that does not cater to the shrinking violets of the world but instead to the loud and brash captains of industry. The Bugatii looked great and upon closer inspection I could see the Bijan signature on the left quarter panel as well as what looked like the face of a Venetian Lion on the front hood of the car, painted to display a shadow effect behind the layers of gloss black paint. I’m sure I’m off here on the lion motif, if you're reading Mr Pakzad, please feel free to correct me. Again not the colour I would have picked but since the car is a promotional piece as well as one of Bijan’s personal rides, there must be a tax break in there somewhere, so I can appreciate what’s behind the thinking. Watch out for the Club Sport Z in black and green….not. Irrespective of the color, the car looked great. Heck, yellow and black, make mine neon pink I’ll be driving it around with a smile on my face.