Back on January 1, admist new year’s revelry, I made what turned out to be a surprisingly coherent post while drunk about motorcycle customization - namely, in that it’s possible for someone with enough time and enough understanding of welding and fabrication skill to not make something that will kill him or herself, to make a bike that suits his or her own personal tastes. Or barring that, take an existing one and mod it out to satisfaction. I’ve seen a number of bikes that I really like, but otherwise just miss the mark enough that despite all the other 99 qualities that I love about it, it has that one quality that makes it a complete no-go. I like the look and engineering behind the Suzuki Tu250x, but it’s dinky little 249 cubic centimeter single-cylinder engine just makes too little power for my riding skill and style. The Royal Enfield 500 doubles the displacement, but still a single-cylinder engine isn’t fun for my type of riding style (I don’t really subscribe to the whole attitude if you don’t feel miserable you’re not having fun, which I think is exceedingly dumb) and they’re rare enough here in Denver that finding even a used bike on Craigslist is basically playing the lottery in the classifieds. As much of an obvious attempt to appeal to the type of rider Wes Siler dispises as it is, I love the look of the new Indian Chiefs, but they’re damn too big and heavy. The Indian Scout is a different story - except the Indian dealership network sucks out here, especially considering I need to take it to a Bombardier-authorized dealer for maintenance (in before well you just have to work on your own bike then - which, well, I guess is what I’m ultimately saying anyway if I’m going to take the extreme step of fabricating my own entirely). Supersports...well...supersports are actually pretty damn well perfected now, and if you’ve got the budget to buy one there’s enough variety and engineering superstardom to find a perfect supersport for what you’re looking for. For that matter, the good (new) old Honda CB1100 pretty much meets all of what I’m looking for right off the dealership floor.
But as cool as being able to afford a Yamaha Y1R and then buying one is, there is something to be said about being able to claim a bike as your own through fabrication. But anyway, this post isn’t about bikes, I already wrote that one.
This is about cars now. Doing the same to four wheels is a bit more challenging and expensive, but not impossible.
Second-Gen Dream Camaro
Paul Alderman’s 1970 Camaro, from Detroit Speed, Inc. who built the car
The Second-Gen Camaro seems to get a lot of bad rep for its (in)famous appreciation by people who think the height of alcoholic spirits goes by the motto Down For Whatever and that all haircuts must conform to the philsophy business up front, party in the back. I’m neither of those things, but for whatever reason I just love the second-gen. One of the first toys I ever got what a Hot Wheels of a second-gen from a Happy Meal and I just thought it was the most awesome car ever made (keep in mind that this body style had already been out of production for a loooooong time). Curbside Classics itself speaks highly of the second-gen, with the reminder that Enzo himself praised the Ferrari copycat.
Gran Turismo 6 Camaro created by “Vertualissimo”as featured on his DeviantArt page
They look pretty great lowered, blacked-out (not murdered out), and with the appropriate wheels and tires. I’d like to have mine with a turbocharged Nissan VQ37, namely 1.) to try to improve weight distribution with a lighter engine, 2.) have an excuse to pull off the Hellcat’s “turbo-eye” inlets in place of the driving lights, and 3.) to snub my nose at domestic V8 purists (sorry and no offense meant if you happen to be one). I’d like to even go so far as to replace the hood, fenders, trunklid and even doors with something lighter - fiberglass? Carbon fiber?
The Volvo You Think of When You Think Volvo
Volvos are certainly appreciated here all right, but normally as a RWD platform for engine swapping or lowering. My dad’s first car was a 242, and that’s the car I learned stick on. I’d like to get another 240, maybe a 245 (yes, wagons all the way I guess) but rather than do an engine swap or add turbos or turn it into a rally monster I want to keep it stock. In fact, maybe go beyond - bring it up to Concours competition level. I guess this is kind of my own way of thumbing my nose at people who insist that Pebble Beach is reserved for cars with backwards E’s in their badges, I dunno.
The Ultimate Stripper Car
Yeah, it’s always fun to take your car to the Sawzall, whether it’s an econobox or a Corvette. But I’ve always thought the best, most optimum result would be something engineered from the ground up.
I’ve always wondered why modern three-wheelers like the Morgan (if you can call it “modern”) or the Polaris Slingshot have all their power going to the one wheel out back, even if it’s extra-wide to lay down that power. It’s always made more sense to me to have that power go to the front wheels. The FoST/FiST, Nissan Maxima and even the V8 FWD cars of GM prove that they can handle that power going the wrong direction. I’ve always wanted to design a trike that has a good stout I4 or V6 and, I don’t know, half-shafts supplied by Ford’s SVT and whatever else is necessary to avoid being sent into the barrier every time I step on the pedal.
But why stop there? It’s already three wheels, let’s see what’s the most “minimum” car I can get away with. A carbon fiber frame with an engine, rear swingarm, and that’s it. Well, a seat and a roll cage too. Again, I’m thinking the VQ37, even though I’m not aware of any FWD applications for it (I can just bolt up a VQ35 transaxle, right?)