Category Archives: 7. Miscellany

Shooting Clay Pigeons

This past Saturday, I got together with some good friends and spent a few hours shooting clay pigeons.  We had a nice collection of shotguns:  from vintage models to state-of-the-art; from 20ga to 12ga.

I took two vintage shotguns that have been in my family for a very long time.  My grandfather’s 16 gauge double-barrel and my Dad’s 12 gauge pump.  About 35 years ago (damn that’s a long time) I took it upon myself to dismantle the stock and fore-end and sand it down.  At the time, I had a distant relative that owned a wood-shop, and he showed me what to do.  Three and a half decades later, the gun still looks great.

Today’s featured image was taken by a drone.  My friend Doc has an awesome drone:  the drone has its own remote control unit including a mount for an iPhone, self compensates, is GPS aware, the works.  As the drone flies, video is transmitted and one can see images real-time on the iPhone.  Very impressive stuff.  Oh and if you look close enough, that is me next to the open door on the red Chevy pickup.

I have great respect for our 2nd Amendment and this past Saturday I was reminded yet again of how precious this right really is…

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

 

Jim’s Garage Rock Crawler

LS3 powered Rock Crawler

This past Thursday, I went to lunch with my friend Jeff to a local deli and on the way out, saw this Jim’s Garage rock crawler in the parking lot.  This is not something you see every day, so inquisitive minds wanted to “know”.  We walked over and found two gents discussing how they were going to unload the rock crawler and move it from one trailer to another.

After a few questions, we were able to ascertain the builder of the rock crawler was from somewhere in North Carolina while the owner of the vehicle was from somewhere in Alabama; I suppose they picked Greenville SC as a place to meet.  I asked if it would be alright for me to take a few pictures of the rig and they were kind enough to agree, so I started clicking away…

Not your typical Jeep!

This is not exactly my cup of tea, but I appreciate serious craftsmanship when I see it.  This rock crawler is something else!  The builder said he put the entire frame together himself.  The center console and dash is all aluminum and I asked him if he had also worked on that.  He said that came from another fellow that made it special.  This is what the dash looks like:

Check out the “hold on for dear life” t-bar

The rock crawler was pretty much complete, however it was not wired up nor painted.  The engine was not running as it had yet to be wired, plumbed, etc.  As you can tell, there is no instrumentation either.  I asked a few more questions about the powertrain.  This is where it got really interesting.  Lurking under all the sheet-metal and that awesome tube frame is a very low mileage LS3 from a C5 Camaro.  I asked about the throttle and the owner said is is a “fly by wire” unit.  I did notice none of the pedals were installed, however the owner said he had the correct electronic throttle pedal for it.  Wiring came from MAST and that included the ECU too.  The owner said the entire kit came tuned to match the hot cam in the engine.

Somewhere in there is an LS3

The rear suspension and axle are something else in order to stand up to abuse and the power of the LS3.  Unfortunately, I don’t have more info about all the components.  The two gents were really busy and I did not want to push my luck asking more than I should.  Here is that awesome rear axle and suspension.

Seriously beefed up axle

Somebody really did their homework on this machine.  The suspension is over the top, but anything else would be “uncivilized”.  As you look at each picture individually, notice the builder cut no corners:  the welds are impeccable and notice the generous use of grade-8 hardware.  Those end links are amazing.  Nothing is left to chance here – a truly purpose built machine.

The fuel cell sits behind the seats and the floor above the rear axle is a very nicely made piece of cut sheet steel.  Very nice work indeed, with the builder’s name part of the pattern.  Matter of fact, I had no clue who the builder was until I went through the pictures and saw this detail!

Builder’s name… Spot on!

In closing, the owner told us he plans to take the entire rock crawler completely apart and ship the frame off to have it powder coated.  Then, the body panels will be wrapped in vinyl and then the fun part starts.  Assembling, wiring and getting this thing ready for prime-time will be one hell of fun job!

I can only imagine the large sum of resources invested in this rock crawler.  Having built and worked on many cars myself, I know this kind of stuff takes commitment and deep pockets.  However, when this thing fires up in anger and starts attacking off-road venues, man!  What an awesome ride that will be!

And finally, right before I left I told the owner his rock crawler reminded me of a similar vehicle used in the film The Man From U.N.C.L.E..  He told me he had never seen the picture but he was going to try to check it out.

Well, interesting thing YouTube.  Here is that final chase scene from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – make sure you watch the part where the off-road vehicle skims the surface of the water (starts at around 2:35)…  Wonder if the Jim’s Garage rock crawler could do this?  Hehehe…  :mrgreen:

 

Blog Performance/ISP Issues…

So far it has been an interesting week…  About a month ago, you might have noticed performance issues with this blog.  For example, pages were slow to render.

I called my ISP (Danica’s prior sponsor) and things did not go well.  After much back-and-forth, they agreed to “move” the site to a less crappy server.  Good enough, things worked as expected but this was short lived.  This week the problems returned.

As it turns out, the bowtie6 blog was running on sub-par equipment.  I was advised that for a price I could “upgrade” to a state-of-the-art SSD based hosting and all would be peachy again.  I realize this blog is far from anything of consequence but, hell…  I enjoy posting my little stories.  I upgraded and after a very painful ordeal my WordPress files have been migrated to a this new gee-whiz server.

Please let me know if you find any broken links or have any “issues”.  This new plan I bought is supposed to be the shit so if anything is not working properly, please let me know.  Gotta love technology!  🙂

 

2016 Mileage Roundup

I’ve thought about a post summarizing the 2016 mileage roundup of the fleet.  Questions such as “who will read it?” or “who cares?” came up, but then I read a post on DriveToFive and I changed my mind…

So borrowing Tyson’s idea from his blog, here is my 2016 mileage roundup:

Totals for: RedRock

Totals for: S2000

Totals for: bowtie6

Moral of the story, I need to drive MORE!!!

The daily driver is RedRock (duh!) and it did very well considering a 6.2L V8 with 400hp is under the hood.  The Camaro really does well on the open road though with an all time best of 24 mpg.  The S2000 and bowtie6 get driven only when the sun shines.  Matter of fact, the S2000 has seen the rain on the road only three times since I bought it.  Poor bowtie6, it got neglected big-time!  New Year’s resolution is to do something about this!

In closing, here is a gallery of all three dashboards taken on New Year’s day, 2017.  Should be interesting to see how this compares a year from now…

Note:

This might be one of the first times I post a picture of the mileage on bowtie6.  It shows 22,612 miles and this is a bit misleading (adding this as a reminder to myself too!):

  • I’ve driven my TR6 for 22,612 miles since I put it on the road after the full restoration.
  • The first engine – a 3.4L V6 from a Camaro –  ran for 14,513 miles.  That is when we discovered an irreparable frame failure with stress cracks and my cousin Jim built the new frame from scratch.
  • The 2.4L Ecotec engine/gearbox came from a Pontiac Solstice with only 8 miles on the odometer.  This powertrain was then installed in a new frame built at Jim’s shop.  On October 15th, 2011, bowtie6 left Jim’s shop and has been a hoot to drive.
  • The new Ecotec powertrain has 8,091 miles so far.

Engine Rebuild in Time-Lapse Video

Some time ago, I posted an engine rebuild in time-lapse video of a Triumph Spitfire motor.  In case you want to see what that looks like, click here.  Well the history of Triumph engines is not exactly “stellar”.  You see, Triumph engines are not much more than glorified tractor motors.  In some cases, they started life as pump engines.  Want to piss off a Triumph purist?  Tell them their engines are tractor motors!!  😯

So back to today’s post…  My friend Michael sent me an email today with a very interesting link.  The link points to a YouTube video showing a rebuild of a classic Chrysler HEMI engine.  No tractor or pump engine folks!  This is the real deal; truly legendary stuff.  So kick back, and enjoy.

There is so much to see in this video.  I’ve watched it many times and every time I see something new.  But most impressive is:

  • The Intake –  the intake plenum and runners are all made from scratch from tubing.  Those long runners are for a reason:  produce torque.
  • The exhaust – check those tubes!!
  • The empty cans of beer – beer good!
  • The green MG Midget – pump motor anyone?  LOL!

This is an awesome video.  Thanks Michael!!

Incidentally, custom intakes and custom exhausts…  Been there done that.  My cousin Jim made both intake and exhaust from scratch in bowtie6:

Saving the best for last…  Here is a Chevy engine rebuild in time-lapse video…

Long live the Chevy Small Block!!

Somebody please give me a cigarette!  😉