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SEMA Showstopper: Project Tarantula

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In the first batch of SEMA photos from  I ear marked a few cars for 2017 SEMA Showstopper mini features and the car that undoubtedly deserved lead off honors was ‘s ‘Project Tarantula’.

What is Project Tarantula? Well, in its most basic form it is a vintage dirt track chassis with a ’39 Chevy body slung over top.

The name of the car obviously comes from the way the headlights are positioned, using holes in one of the cross members for the suspension.

Clad in Tredware colors, with just the right amount of real and created patina thrown in via hand painted numbers and period correct stickers, the car looks the business.

However if you think the car is just an exercise in looking like a performance build thing again.

Under the hood is a Hamner Racing Engines small block motor that, if you click play on the video below, sounds mighty healthy.

500 horse power healthy if the hash tags tell the tale.

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If you can believe it the car is also 100% street legal (at least in Alabama where it is registered) and recently participated in the 2017 Hot Rod Power Tour.

Looking through the it looks like a lot of authentic vintage race parts were used in the creation of the chassis along with QA1 coils all four corners.

The gold steel wheels are custom-made and clock in at 20×11 inches and are mounted to what look to be Wilwood Wide 5 hubs.

The back axle features a quick change rear end, easily visible through the bash bar, dirt track, style rear bumper.

The interior is spartan as you’d expect for a race car playing street car, and really the whole thing looks like a blast to drive.

Edit: Found a short video on the car.

I’m hoping someone plans to do a feature on this car because the information available online sure is scarce and I’d love to know more.

SEMA 2017: Let’s Get This Party Started

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SEMA 2017 has arrived and as people head to the Las Vegas Convention Center bleary-eyed from overnight flights, late night parties, and last-minute build crunches the rest of us sit fixated to various sized glowing screens awaiting a steady stream of content.

Because a wild amount of my disposable resources has been transformed into boxes of parts for Project Why Wait I am unfortunately sitting this year’s show out.

However ‘s Rob McJannett is at the show and thus PI Speedshops is once again literally powering this year’s SEMA coverage.

Last night Rob sent through an early preview of the show, consisting mostly of vehicles outside the convention center.

The outside has always been a great place to start because it’s the great appetizer to the extremely long main course that is the SEMA show.

There’s a mix of everything outside, no matter what you’re into. Lifted, lowered, traditional, non, style or speed.

With hardly a stanchion or barrier in sight you are encouraged to take a closer look at exactly what’s going on. Thankfully for us Rob wasn’t shy and got his lens nice and close to a few of the more interesting projects.

created a massive following for themselves last year with “Tiffany” their twin turbo C10 project and later a television show Speed Is The New Black.

This year their SEMA crunch prokect is a ’62 Chrysler 300. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 300 of this vintage, and that alone makes it pretty standout.

Add in a killer stance, wheel choice, and awesome patina and you’ve got a real looker.

The trick to this treat is that under the hood of this 300 is a Viper V10 motor. I may need to politely as Rob to take another look at this one once it is parked up at the Centerforce Clutches booth.

I’m not sure if he meant to tease or inspire, but Rob sent through quite a few awesome examples of Advanced Design Chev/GMC trucks sitting on the floor.

I am still fairly committed to 15″ wheels on my truck, but ‘s latest addition to their line up looks pretty damn good when paired with period correct caps.

Similar wheels can also been seen under this fleetside Task Force creatively known as the ‘Slameo’. Both of these trucks are Stoner’s Speed Shop builds.

Looks can often be deceiving at SEMA and I feel like this Plymouth has a few tricks up it’s sleeve. I mean it has to have a few or it wouldn’t get at the big show right?

Patina on American builds has been in fashion at SEMA now for roughly the past five years but a patina Porsche is a little more atypical.

Outside of a few cars Magnus Walker has wheeled in most Porsches at the Convention Center are polished pieces of perfection.

However this particular Porsche is a Rennlist project known as Project Stork. It’s got that name because it is the car that brought the builder home from the hospital when he was first born.

I wasn’t brought home in a cool car but if I were brought home in a Porsche and it was still around I’d imagine I would want to do something similar.

You can follow the entire project on .

Last week I did a Theme Tuesday on unique forced induction set ups and seeing this build I almost wish I waited a week.

This diesel powered C10 was built on the show , so, it obviously has a diesel motor under the hood.

In this case the coal burner of choice is a Durmax motor, and while that is really quite impressive I think the chassis work is also pretty nuts.

did all the fab work chassis wise. I believe what’s going on here is a reverse cantilever set up, that uses hydroshox and a watts link to keep things centered.

The entire thing is of course painted, plumbed incredibly cleanly, and had some pin-striping added to the extra touch of class.

There’s plenty more to come from SEMA 2017 as the doors opened officially and people flood inside. Much more to come so stay tuned for a busy week!

WTF Friday: You Can’t, It’s a Geo!

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Oh boy, got a doozy of a WTF Friday pick for today. Mid 90s truck/jeep/compact based “hot rods” are always a bit questionable in asthetic and that remains true for this one.

Looking a bit like a Citroën from the front this Tracker is, as the ad states, ‘one of a kind’.

With the front fenders of a 31 Chevy (albeit fiberglass) and the extended hood of a beetle the transition from 90s compact suv to ‘rat rod’ is quite abrupt.

To accommodate the Chevy 305 power plant the frame was stretched 26″ before Belltech drop spindles and coils were installed to bring the front down.

In the rear everything is pretty factory save for the cracked fiberglass bumper, but the rear axle actually doesn’t sound that bad.

It’s a narrowed 92 Camaro 10 bolt rear unit, with slight work in the pot. It’s got drum brakes still, but I don’t imagine this Frankenstein weighs that much.

The inside is fairly factory stock with the only additions being some gauges to monitor the motor.

The vehicle has only had 8000 miles put on it since it was completed in 2008 because it’s mostly been tucked away in storage.

I’m sure many would argue it should have stay in storage forever more, but, it is for sale now on Craigslist Illinois.

The asking price is $6500 but I really doubt there’s been a lot of bites.

 

Theme Tuesdays: Unique Forced Induction

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Forced Induction is everywhere in 2017. Most manufacturers have at least one turbocharged vehicle in their line up, and a select few offer supercharged models as well.

On the enthusiast side of things, I don’t think aftermarket turbochargers or superchargers have ever been more popular. Forced induction has become the go to replacement for displacement.

Like anything else FI isn’t exempt to people thinking outside the box, usually in regards to placement, and today’s Theme Tuesday pays homage to some of the more unique FI set ups I have seen over the years.

This little ‘supercharger that could’ gave this Beetle a shot in the arm power wise (57hp 100 ftlbs).  Nothing crazy, but that’s not the point here
The turbo set up in this Ghia is just a bit more in your face than the one on the beetle – Photo:
In internet terms this photo is absolutely ancient, but it is certainly unique
A look at the packaging – Via: Reddit
This is (sadly) all just for show, but it is quite hilarious to look at
Still patiently waiting on video of this project running
From the top side, this 300, doesn’t appear turbocharged….
…but underneath is an entirely different story with hidden twins
This Genesis couple employs a similar remote mount tactic
However I’m not sure if it is the only rear mount at this point
Would you expect a truck like this…
…to have this in the bed? This Ranger throws everyone for a loop
I’ve seen this car on two occasions, at the same show
Under the hood is a , a company that operated from the 1930s to late 50s
According to the owner this is one of a handful left in running condition

Can’t do a unique forced induction post without including the Latham supercharged Taylor’d Dodge
How about this turbo nail head?
It’s a blow through carb set up with an industrial turbo that apparently came from the parts bin
This car is just now seeing the dyno with its compound boost 1UZ

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The blower is a Ford unit
A Garret unit provides the rest of the boost

The first time I saw this quad turbo video from Nori Yaro I thought Quad turbos were a bit of a rarity

But it seems like quad turbo set ups have been done before, this car was started in 2002 or so

Got a crazy turbo set up I should take a look at? Let me know in the comments!

WTF Friday: Harley Powered…. Jeep?

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Most of the time when Harley-Davidsons are mentioned around here it’s in WTF Friday context and this week, well, things are no different.

The builder of this Jeep Rod took the long way round for power by using four Harley-Davidson Evolution V-Twin motors.

The result is a combined 320 cubic inches, and 200ish horsepower, situated the front of a Jeep.

I’m sure the next question many of you have is ‘ya well what about the transmission, how’s that work?’ Well it seems there’s a center shaft and chain that connects all 4 motors to a TH400 automatic transmission.

Though it looks maybe a little exposed it all seems to work pretty well.

Current whereabouts of the Jeep are seemingly unknown as it was put up on eBay a few years ago to never been seen again.

I imagine it’s probably in someones collection, unfortunately collecting dust, but here’s to hoping that is not the case!

 

The Appeal Of A Fairlady: Tim’s ’72 G Nose Datsun 240

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Sitting in the deep bucket Bride seat as we moved from the first shoot location to the next, it became immediately apparent to me that the 240 featured today is a driver’s car.

The ride is firm, there’s a satisfying clunk when put into gear and the sound of the L28 motor tempts you to bring it up to redline at any excuse.

Inside, the interior is fully trimmed, yet quite spartan. There’s everything you need to enjoy your spirited drive and nothing you don’t. A trio of gauges sit above the HVAC controls to monitor the vehicles vitals and a Nardi wheel keeps things headed down the road.

A wood grain knob topped gear stick protrudes from a custom shift boot (care of the previous owner) and that pretty well wraps up the interior modifications.

I don’t even recall seeing a radio.

Like the inside, the outside of the car is a mix of modifications aimed at making the driving experience better from both a visual and performance stand point.

Make no mistake that while this car does look absolutely phenomenal, it’s no show pony and can be easier found on the track than in a parking lot.

Still, it’s hard to deny its visual appeal.

The Marugen Shoukai Works body kit couldn’t better suit the car, and paired with the authentic G nose front end the car has a timeless look about it.

Ten days, ten months, ten years from now it will always be a head turner.

Under the flares are 15×11 sized RS Watanabe wheels with 235/50/15 Toyo R88 rubber. Behind the front wheels are Wildwood four piston brakes.

Out back the factory drums remain, owner Tim saw no need to swap to discs. As it’s set up he has no problem reining the car in before corners on the track days he frequents.

Under the hood, as mentioned is an L28 motor. It’s not stock however as Tim stroked it out to 3.0L and brought the compression to an 11:1 ration in the process.

Atop the motor are three Mikuni carbs fit to a Mikuni runner.

Since blow by is what necessitated the original engine rebuild, Tim keeps the under hood of the car remarkably clean at all times.

It makes it easier to see visually if he’s got an oil leak problem he should be concerned about.

Again, with function being the focus, bracing has been applied to the chassis in various areas. A T3 triangular strut tower brace stiffens up the front end with the help of a matching T3 unit in the rear.

Inside an Auto power rollbar adds further stiffening and added protection should the car end up shiny side down.

Ground control coil overs and Tockico illumina shocks are found at each corner. Additionally all of the control arms have been replacedl Futofab billet control arms are fit up front with matching tension rods. In the rear more T3 parts come into play in place of the factory arms.

Tim seemed a bit shocked when I complimented the ride of the car, but all things considered it was quite enjoyable.

Responsive and firm, but not bone jarring in the least.

As the sun set on the shoot, and the light danced off the fresh paint, I took a few extra moments to study the details that make this car a true Japanese classic.

The first time I saw Tim’s car was at Fitted in 2015 and while it wasn’t part of the show, it certainly stole some of it.

Being able to catch up with it two years larer for some photos was a treat and I thank Tim for taking the time out of his schedule to indulge me.

Next time of course, I’ll have to catch it on the track.

Guest Blog: What I Am Teaching My Child About Cars, So They Won’t Be Just Another Statistic

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I get a lot of contributed post inquiries for this site, so when Patty from dropped a line I was intrigued. The connection between a single mom blogger and wasn’t immediately apparent so I asked Patty what she had in mind.

Unlike a lot of people who submit Patty came prepared with an idea that resonated with me. She reminded me that most ‘millennials’ have no idea how to change their own oil or tires. Worse still they don’t even know how to get their car repaired without getting ripped off.

Since high school (many moons ago) I’ve always felt that auto shop should have been a mandatory course, considering how many people depend on cars day in and day out.

That ideal is, I’m told, unrealistic so maybe parents like Patty are what we should hope for. Take it away Patty…

For teens, getting their driver’s license is a rite of passage, a giant step towards the independence they so covet. For parents, it’s the beginning of a bad dream – , late-night worrying, the inevitable dings or worse. It does get easier – teens learn by experience everyday and parents become more comfortable handing over the keys. For many parents it’s enough that their kids know how to get themselves home safely. However, that’s just the beginning. What your kids don’t know about driving cars could wind up costing you and them more money and trouble than you bargained for.

With my 20/20 hindsight glasses on I can see a number ways that, if I had only known better, I could have saved myself a lot of frustration, heartache and money. I was an only child and my dad died a year before I got my license, so I had no one around to teach me what I needed to know about cars. I in high school when I opted for wood shop instead of auto shop. Oh sure, I could drive. I was a great driver. But, as the years went by, it became clear that I really knew nothing about cars and I paid a big price. Intent on not letting that happen to my child, here is what I believe all parents should teach their children.

Car Maintenance for Kids

I find it interesting that of young adults would give up manually driving a car for a self-driving car. Maybe it’s because it will be one less thing they have to do – drive. Regardless of who is driving the car, it still requires maintenance. Car maintenance can be very expensive, especially if you don’t keep up with it. Forty percent of those same young adults said they were surprised by the high cost of maintenance. I don’t want me child to be surprised by anything, so I taught them some basic maintenance tips.

Tour under the hood. Give them a tour under the hood, pointing out the key parts that make the car run and what happens when they aren’t working properly–spark plugs, battery, air filter, etc. Don’t go too far into the weeds because you will want to quiz them by asking them to identify the parts.

Check fluids and tire pressure. Point out the various fluid sticks and explain why it’s important to check all of the fluids, including the oil, transmission, coolant and window wiper fluid. Make sure there is a tire pressure gauge in the car and teach them the importance of maintaining the proper tire pressure. This should be done on a monthly basis. If any of the fluids need filling or replacing, walk your teens through the steps.

Change the oil. When done on schedule, using the right grade of oil, changing the oil can extend the life of the car. Nearly one-third of young adults don’t know how to change the oil in their car. With all of the drive-through oil change shops, that may not be a big deal, but it is important that your teen drivers know how it’s done because it’s one more way to save money.

Change a tire. There is some comfort in knowing that 80 percent of young adults do know how to change a tire. Don’t let your kids be part of the 20 percent who don’t. With cell phones and roadside assistance you may not think there is a need, but flat tires don’t always occur within range of cell phone service.

Get a repair quote. When you need to take your car in for repairs, teach your kids how to get an honest quote. The Internet is their friend and they can use it to get online estimates from sites like RepairPal.com. They can also search Edmunds.com’s Car Maintenance Guide for an estimate. In searching for a garage, they can use Yelp.com to find the ones with the best ratings and reviews. Finally, teach them how to call a garage to get an estimate and let them know you are shopping around.

The best time to start teaching your kids about cars is when they first show an interest in them. I sleep a little better at night knowing my kid knows their way around cars.

Theme Tuesdays: Door Art

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I am going to admit that this week’s Theme Tuesday is largely self-serving because door art is something Project Why Wait is most certainly going to have when it’s complete.

Thinking about it now is a few steps ahead, but a little inspiration and forethought never hurt anyone.

You are all of course welcome to pull some inspiration from this post as well for your own project.

Sharing is caring right?

This is hands down one of my favorite examples of door art
If I recall correctly this art is a tribute to the builder’s late mother as well which only makes it more respectable
I’m taking a lot of styling cues from this truck, so it only makes sense to include it
I apologize for not having a closer shot of this art, but I included it because of the unique off-color door that just seems to work
Love the detail work on this piece, if anyone knows the artist do let me know
The entire war plane influence is so well done on TJ Lavin’s shoebox
Sic Ryde does his door art a little differently. The giant doors of dually help, and it works as great brand advertisement
The Instigator comes up in every paint related post I do and how could it not?
The ELTA summer Bash and Big Go drags had lots of door art to consider
In today’s over sensative world having this on your door is a bold move,  looks killer though
I loved the extra depth in the lettering on this car. Something to consider…
I spotted this car at a local cruise night, this could fall under door numbering, but I think the Born To Run text and the illusion of ellipses makes it a good candidate for this post
A bit of humor in door art never hurt anyone then eh? –
I like colors in this one. I could see various blues and white working on my truck quite well –

This is a quick list of course so you can expect subsequent posts to come down the road.

If you’ve got some awesome door art feel free to share!

Talented Dipshits: Why Don’t Minitruckers Get The Respect They Deserve?

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If you’re anywhere within earshot of the minitruck community then you are likely already well aware that fabricator/celebrity Jesse James gave mini-truckers the label of ‘dipshits’ in a recent Instagram post.

Whether or not he meant the entire community, or specific individuals, doesn’t matter at this point because he’s achieved his goal of gaining publicity for his built SEMA project.

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Jesse has never been the type to make friends with his words, but in this case he’s just the most famous in a long line of people to throw undue shade at a community that really doesn’t deserve it.

Minitrucking has been around for at least thirty years and innovation and creativity have been a part of the community since day one. Putting a truck on the ground is much more complicated than replacing springs, dialing in some camber and rolling fenders.

To get things sitting properly minitruckers borrowed attributes from other scenes and meshed them together in their own unique way.

A truly well-rounded minitruck build fires on all cylinders. Body drops,  panel shaving, suicide doors, rag tops, widened wheels, wire tucks, are all incredibly common place among the truck community.

As are completely custom chassis, oddball platforms and off the wall motor swaps of all kinds.

Simply put the minitruck community is not a bolt on one and the resourceful, creative nature of minitruckers has led to technological breakthroughs that extend far beyond the confines of a truck bed.

While many won’t admit it, or just plain don’t know, the modern air suspension community owes a lot of its advancement to ‘idiots that just want to drag bumper’.

Had minitruckers not been early adopters, and work out the kinks, the air suspension industry likely wouldn’t be where it is today.

It’s through their experiments with chains of valves that compact valve manifolds were born. Similarly the need for something more than a switch box lead to advanced digital management systems.

and each have minitruckers embedded in their operational and development staff.

Companies like and who are on the bleeding edge with modular tanks and heated valve blocks, were built on the backs of hard-working individuals with roots in minitrucking.

From a fabrication stand point the minitruck community has always had shining  stars. Sure in the early days crude mono leaf set ups may have been prevalent, but today well-engineered and thought out multi link suspension kits, or complete custom chassis are the norm.

Many of the best fabricators I know, and several I don’t, have backgrounds in the minitruckin industry. In fact there’s so much useful knowledge tucked away in the minitruck community that there’s even a book coming out focused on properly engineering suspension systems to go as low as possible but still be safe and reliable.

In the right hands this book will lead to better built trucks overall. Combating the stereotypes that minitruckers are hacks.

 It’s easy to criticize minitrucks as an outsider but let’s be real, overly ambitions back yard builders keen to ‘waste metal’ and armed with a 110 amp stick welder and a six-pack of beer exist in every subset of car culture.

For every dodgy s10 back half in the minitruck community, there’s a botched flare install in the import scene, or terrible ‘rat rod’ atrocity in the hot rod world.

Aesthetically Minitrucks are typically known for skulls, scallops, wild paint and all sorts of over the top airbrushed magic but there’s been a shift in recent years towards building trucks of classic ‘resto-mod’ quality.

The most prominent example of this is the ‘Stranger’ built by  a truck highly regarded as one of the best minis ever built. This truck proved that it was possible to build a minitruck at the same level of quality (and maybe even higher) of any other genre.

The Stranger, and trucks like it, catapulted the quality of minitrucks tenfold. Attention to detail returned to the forefront and since then highly detailed truck projects have continued to emerge across the globe.

Sure you can argue that minitruckers might have their socks too high, hat brims too straight, and get a little too wild at shows. But all that aside they really are not any worse off than other genres.

I challenge any of you reading this who are skeptical of the minitruckin community to go to one of their events and take a hard look. Chances are you’ll see something you like.

Call them dipshits if you want, but they’re some talented dipshits for damn certain.

Theme Tuesdays: First Generation Lexus IS300s – Pt 3

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Am I alone in thinking that the first generation IS300 is the best IS300? Probably not. It was a great looking rear wheel drive sedan when it was released and it has gracefully transitioned into a modern classic today.

Reasonably sized in comparison to today ‘IS’ models, aggressive yet refined, and with an available wagon option its hard to argue that the IS300 didn’t start of on the right foot.

Sure the five speed auto trans in most of them tempers the cars awesomeness to some degree, but the fact that the came with 2JZ in Japan means that swapping the motor and transmission isn’t an unreasonable lift.

Like so many luxury cars, as they’ve aged, they’ve fallen into the price range of those who want to modify them quite heavily. The result of the IS300 becoming more attainable is a healthy community of modified models.

With that in mind it’s time to follow-up 2012s IS300 Theme Tuesday.

Start things off with a bug turbocharged bang, I’ve posted this car before, and never seen it again, but there’s no denying it makes a visual impression
It’s a build, and though I can’t find video of it running there is a picture
If you read the D1SP coverage then you already know that this car has no issues running
owns and slides this car on the regular
This wrapped brown beauty was subject of a feature shot by
I think the car was parted out shortly after this shoot
Sadly this car was rear ended and is no longer with us
The owner has moved on to another Lexus, but still, this one was sweet
This car has gone through af ew different makeovers over the years
It currently looks like this, with  Rocket bunny kit fitted, and as of recently air suspension

No local IS300 tribute is complete without photos of Aidan’s car
It’s great to see ‘The Unicorn’ out this year
Big side skirts work so damn well on IS300s, as do deep dish three spokes – Photo:
Photo:
Nine times out of 10 Bazreia are a great choice. – Source:
This car was a for Rev’d mag, but I don’t think it every got off the ground. Maybe it was the spoilers fault (sorry dad joke)
sportcross is outstanding. Photo:
I can’t deny that I’m intrigued by s car, he has certainly taken a unique path with it
I’m listening to west coast rap mix as I type this so s car only seems fitting
The same car at earlier stage in its life
AJ Gillet () is pretty good at doubling down
Neither car is exempt from track duty either. – Photo:
Photo:
Since most of the cars in this post have been drift/style oriented how about a street/track build? – Source:
has the details on this – Source:

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