Cars


Motorsports improves the breed. Too bad it won’t improve the way the 2008 Impreza hatchback looks (I dig the sedan actually), but at least Subaru is racing it. It looks like the WTCC and the WRC are heading toward the same set of rules so now teams can race in both events with minor changes. This is good news. Hopefully the other factories will follow suit. Racing as a whole (outside of redneck dirt modified and circle track stuff) needs growth.

Source: Touring Car Times

From Mike Chung at Greddy USA:

TRUST CO. LTD, JAPAN, FILES FOR MINJI-SAISEI-HOU IN TOKYO

GReddy Performance Products Inc., Parent Company to Undergo Reorganization

Through Japanese Equivalent of U.S. Chapter 11 Filing

September 9th, 2008, Irvine, CA—GReddy Performance Products, a California Corporation, has announced that its parent corporation, TRUST Co. LTD, has filed for Minji-saisei-hou in Tokyo, Japan, the U.S. equivalent of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan. As in the U.S., this filing is a common strategy utilized by companies to allow them to continue to conduct business and service customers while undergoing an internal reorganization process.

This reorganization will have little, if any effect on GReddy Performance Products Inc., USA. GReddy assures its customers that it has ample inventory of all products for the U.S. market, and there are no production delays on new and current product lines coming from Japan. GReddy looks forward to exhibiting at the 2008 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV in its 20’ x 40’ booth, and will have three new project vehicles and new 2009 products on display. Representatives from both GReddy USA and TRUST Co. LTD Japan are attending the SEMA Show to answer questions about the reorganization and future plans for the company to retain its dominance in the sport compact market segment for the next 30 years.

Stated GReddy Performance Product’s Kenji Sumino, “TRUST Co. LTD Japan has filed for bank protection in order to restructure. This does not affect GReddy Performance Products USA at this time. In fact, we are working on plans to assist TRUST Co. LTD Japan during this process in every way we can. We have more than adequate inventory to sustain us until TRUST Co. LTD Japan returns to full production capabilities. As more information becomes available, we will release it to the media.”

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In other words, Greddy USA will be just fine. Apexi is still around and they had a major issue with the bank, gangsters, and a attempted corporate takeover. Saleen filed bankruptcy and are still around and even releasing new cars. When I said the other tuning parts manufacturers could take advantage of Greddy’s bankruptcy, I was talking about the JAPANESE DOMESTIC MARKET. I should have clarified, but that’s why I did not mention AEM, COBB, Cosworth, etc. taking advantage of the bankruptcy. If you knew how Japanese people are then you’ll know that Trust will definitely take a hit in sales with this kind of news. Members of homogeneous societies tend to think the same (bad news = everybody thinks of the bad news).

I couldn’t believe some of the posts on the forums though. I think some guys who post on forums are like 12 years old. Not everybody was posting stupid shit, but man did I read some dumb ass posts….The next time Greddy has a garage sale, it’s because they want to reduce inventory people. Not because their parent company filed bankruptcy. I think Greddy has a garage sale every year, but you know those same dumb ass forum posters are going to speculate the same dumb ass shit from the past two days. I think forum owners should have IQ tests for membership. That would keep forums more enjoyable for everybody wouldn’t it?

Japan’s largest credit research company Teikoku Databank announced that automotive parts manufacturer Trust filed for bankruptcy on September 10th, 2008. Trust also known abroad as Greddy is reported to be approx US$60M in debt.

In February 2008, Trust reported declined annual sales of US$53M. Loan payments totallying US$43M became a burden and was forced to file bankruptcy to the Tokyo District Court.

Trust was founded in 1976 and employs 190 workers producing exhausts, springs, turbo chargers and car electronics. A US subsidiary, Greddy Performance Products was founded in 1994 to expand overseas sales. In 1998 Trust reported annual sales of US$80M but since then sales had been declining.

People have been telling me all morning about this. Taro at GT Channel sent me the details. Ouch is all I can say. On the flip side, there’s plenty more of the pie for everybody else now. Who will take advantage of this? HKS? (probably) Apexi? (possibly) Power Enterprises (maybe) Blitz? (na…). Good luck to Greddy if they plan on restructuring. Greddy is responsible for the growth of the US tuning market in a big way with their CARB legal turbo kits and stuff, but I hope they stop polluting the tuning world with dumb ass piggybacks though…

Calling all ballers and baller companies: 2 ex-Champ Car telemetry and track support trailers for sale. Asking price $140,000 each or best offer. No reasonable offer refused. Perfect for mobile command centers, telemetry, mobile offices, nuclear test site office, and easy conversion into rock star party trailers. No Champ Car = no need for trailers. The sale of these trailers will yield additional funding for more tools, machinery, and equipment for me and the gang to play with. YEAH!!! If you think you could use one, give me a call at Cosworth. DO NOT call me to ask me what size injectors or which cams you should use in your GT-R please.

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This is one of the trailers. One is 53″ long and the other is 46″ (I think).
trailer.jpgBuilt in Lista cabinets for tools and equipment, work benches, offices, desks, lounge, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Imagine rolling up to a drag race or time attack in one of these!
trailer2.jpgBuilt in sat phones, satellite tv, compressors, a/c, diesel generators, ethernet, etc. Imagine the parties (and subsequently chicks) you could have in these. Ready for the TRUE baller in you!

Progress is slow on the Red Dragon since everybody is busy all the time. Lew is currently working on the suspension. In our search to create a perfect Impreza, I contacted the guys at Whiteline in Australia to see if they would be interested in working with us. Fortunately they were and Whiteline sent us the works. Every bushing, bar, ball joint, bracket, and piece they had for the 2008 STi showed up a week after our email and phone conversation. Thanks to Mike Kojima for setting this up for me; what a cool guy. Mike also set me up with some custom Whiteline sway bars for the XS time attack GT-R and they worked wonders. Ross at AVO sent me some Whiteline components back in 2003 for the XS WRX way back when and I was already sold on Whiteline components way back then.

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Yellow candy tastes especially good.

For the dampers, we went with a set of the custom valved AST coilovers. Curtis at AST UK works closely with Iain Litchfield who produces the Litchfield Type-25 Imprezas in the UK which use Cosworth long blocks. Curtis has a ton of data on the Impreza and built us a set based on the goal of our car. It should be plenty of fun when we go to the track for “testing”. Naturally I will be bringing along my helmet…

For the aero parts, we want to keep it simple and effective. This car is not directly meant to appeal to the 20-somethings so there will be no rediculous GT wings or anything. The car is designed for guys in their late 30s to 50-somethings so a clean appearance is critical. So for the aero parts, I contacted Donny at Versus Motorsports and hit him up for the Chargespeed Bottom Line aero parts and a carbon bonnet. Personally, I still think the 2008+ Impreza hatchbacks are ugly as fuck. People still tell me, “It grows on you.” The BNR34 GT-R grew on me. The FD3S RX-7 grew on me. The JZA80 Supra grew on me. The GRB Impreza will not grow on me. I could go buy a Ford Focus, flare out the front fender and stick on some Subaru badges, and BAM! I got myself a GRB Impreza. Anyhow, the Chargespeed bottom line kit is nice and should definitely help out by minimizing the fugliness of the focus.

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Please imagine the car with better wheels, no stickers, no wack ass factory tail lights, and in red for your proper viewing entertainment.

19×8.5″ Forged Prodrive GC-14s for street duty and other forged 18×9″ Prodrive wheels (GC06?) will be for track duty.

The stock engine still resides in the Red Dragon, but the Cosworth 2.6L that will be put into the car is not built yet. Until then, we are plumbing the dry sump on the stock engine for some durability testing. The kit is nothing short of beautiful. Eddie, Tyler, Lew, and Marc did a bad ass job on it. The production oil pans will be machined from solid (billet).

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In person, this pan is really nice. I mean REALLY nice. While the pan is not doweled, I believe there will still be some block stiffening because this pan is buff. You know you want one.

We’re still working on some of the other details like Recaro or Sparco? Michelin or Bridgestone? Pi Dash, ARK Design MFD, Magden display, or gauges? Time will tell. While it seems like we are piecing the car together, the difference is in the details. The collective experience that we have at Cosworth is what will make the difference. There is still plenty of work to be done and many hours of testing and development ahead of us, but it should be fun.

About three weeks ago I walked up to my desk in the morning at Cosworth and there was this big ass red box sitting on my chair. I was thinking “who the hell sent me an Armada intake?” It didn’t cross my mind at the time that I had just posted about using a K&N intake. So I put it aside and started my day. Later that day at lunch Tyler said, “Hey Greg is going to send you an intake. Would you run an AEM intake?” I said, “Yeah I’m down as long as its not an xxx.” BTW, thanks for hooking up the BRUTE FORCE!!! intake, Greg. Sorry I haven’t called to thank you, but it is non-stop super busy at work so I haven’t had a chance yet. I’ll buy you a lap dance at SEMA if it makes horsepower. Dynosheets coming soon.

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The Armada is at Superior Nissan getting a couple of things fixed here and there. I missed a couple of scratches, a broken overhead map pocket, missing floor mats, and the adjustable pedals were not working when I drove the car home at 11pm that night. Otherwise the Armada is a pretty damn good car and in my case, an excellent value. So far so good. It should even be better with the AEM BRUTE FORCE!!! (you have to yell and say it like you’re angry) intake, long tube headers, cat back exhaust, and some kind of tuning. My old school street racing buddy Brian has the Magnaflow exhaust on his Armada and he says it drones at freeway speeds. I hate exhaust drone in a street car so this is no good. I’ll have to research another brand of exhaust or fabricate my own. Bully Dog has their Power Pup ready for the 2008 Armadas now so maybe I’ll get be one of those. I haven’t figured out how to score the long tube headers yet, but hopefully the magazine editors will help me out on that one (right guys?).

Steve at M-Workz sent me some links the other day to some interesting stuff on the RJN Motorsports 350Z that raced at the 24 hours of Nurburgring. You can see some of the build details here at JPCN and more details here at Auto Zeitung. For more information on the IES VQ engines, you can check out the IES website. Chances are if you are reading this blog, you cannot afford anything from IES (nor can I) so please don’t bother them unless you have a six digit engine program budget. Barrel throttles, carbon trumpets, and shower injectors are VERY expensive. Only race teams with race budgets should bother contacting IES.



This thing sounds pretty good at 8000 rpm. I believe IES uses Pectel ecus and dashes and RJN is running a Hewland trans. Race cars are dope.

I was talking to Troy at XS earlier today and he mentioned that he just put up a bunch of kick ass parts on the XS Ebay store that are priced pretty damn good. Check some of this stuff out for some examples:

Apexi N1 Pro Coilovers for IS300/Altezza, brand new

HKS EVO 8 272 Camshafts, brand new

MSD/Rochester 72lb Injectors x 4, used

Owen Developments EVO 4-8 Cast Iron Exhaust Manifold, brand new

Blitz/Denso 550cc top feed injectors, brand new

Porterfield Brembo pads for G35/350z/Skyline GT-R/EVO/STi, brand new

Hawk HPPlus rear pads for for G35/350z/Skyline GT-R/EVO/STi, brand new

Performance Friction front pads for Brembo F50, F40, and Gran Turismo upgrades, brand new

XS Engineering 400hp turbo system for DC2 Integra and EK Civics, brand new

Cosworth S2 278/274 camshafts for EJ255 and EJ257 STi with AVCS, used

XS Engineering EVO 7/8/9 Downpipes works with both standard and MR, brand new

Anyhow, get your shopping on because these are pretty serious items at excellent prices. You can visit the entire XS Engineering Ebay Clearance Store to check out some more good deals. If you buy something, be sure to make a note in the comment area “Eric sent me” because I get a little kick back/commission….heheh. Have a good labor day weekend. We all deserve it!

Legendary driver Phil Hill passed away today at age 81. He is the legendary American race car driver that put Americans on the motorsports map. Back in those days, Americans were racing in circles and ovals on small ass dirt tracks and doing their Dukes Of Hazard thing. Phil Hill showed the world that Americans could also race with the best in the world. Here’s the story on the LA Times website. Read even more about Phil Hill on Wikipedia. Rest in peace Phil Hill.

I’m not big time in to racing history, but since I’ve been working at Cosworth I have certainly been more aware of it. I love the old school racing movies like Le Mans, Grand Prix, and Winning to name a few. If you do go out and rent these movies, keep in mind that you’re not watching these movies for the story (because the stories suck). You’re watching these movies because of the cars, racing, and to see the big balls of the old school race car drivers. There were no fire suits, high tech helmets, nomex, hans devices, let alone safety harnesses. I’m not really an old movie person, but I am a car nut so these types of movies are well worth the time.

I really wonder why people don’t understand how critical the condition of the sealing surfaces of the deck of a block and the fire face of the cylinder head is to head gasket sealing. Old school engines used paper gaskets so you could get away with some flaws, but modern engines use metal head gaskets which require the block/head is 1)absolutely flat and 2)is free of flaws or defects. As you can imagine, metal doesn’t flex and fill defects like a paper gasket can. When I say free of flaws, I mean no scratches, nicks, and dents either. The more cylinder pressure there is (aka boost and horsepower) in an engine, the more critical flatness, surface roughness average, and perfection of the deck/head is. When you look at a factory manual and you see the spec of a block or head needing to be flat within .002″, that’s fine for factory horsepower levels. A quick rule of thumb I use is if you plan on doubling the horsepower, split that spec in half. So for example if a factory 280bhp RB26 has a spec of .002″ for flatness, then it needs to be .001″ for 560bhp. Triple the horsepower and it needs to be absolutely flat. 800+bhp is no laughing matter and the deck/head must be ABSOLUTELY flat and free of ANY defects. The surface roughness average should be also be at least half of stock. When it doubt, have the block and head lapped for the ultimate in sealing force.

The reality is that people often ignore how critical the deck and fire face are. If an engine is loosing gaskets, here’s a list of potential problems:

1. Warped head
2. Warped deck of block
3. Detonation
4. Lifting of the head due to detonation and/or weak head bolts
5. Flaws on deck of block or fire face of head
6. Too much horsepower (you need bigger or higher grade studs)
7. Poor surface preparation (see below)

If you are suffering from #6, chances are you already know what I’m writing about here. I am writing this for those people who buy a brand new quality head gasket from HKS, Tomei, Cosworth, Apexi, Greddy, etc., loose a gasket, and then foolishly blame the gasket like a fucking dumb ass. The reality is that it is YOUR fault for not properly preparing the block for your horsepower level. People also like to blame head studs and of course its NEVER their tuning, but come the fuck on: how come the pros can do it right? Detonation and knock can destroy a head gasket real quick; especially if you have all forged components.

Anyhow, before I go off on a full on rant again, here’s a quick tip on how to clean up the deck of a block or a fire face of a head. If the block is not flat or the head is warped, you will have to remove the engine, disassemble it, and take it to a machine shop. This tip is only for cleaning the surfaces up or repairing a minor flaw. It also works for cleaning up the deck if you’re changing a head gasket with the engine in a car. You can also flatten a head if you have more time than money since aluminum is softer.

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Get yourself a block of steel (thicker and heavier the better), some 400 grit sandpaper, and WD40. You’ll want to take the block of steel to a machine shop to have them grind and/or lap one surface flat. GRIND, not cut. I did capitalize GRIND.

flat2.jpgWrap the 400 grit sandpaper around the steel block and use the ground surface against the deck of the block or fire face of the cylinder head, spray a shitload of WD40 on the sandpaper and surface to be flattened/repaired, and go at it with smooth strokes along the entire length of the block or head. You will also need a straight edge and feeler gauges to measure for flatness. This picture was taken for illustration only. You’ll want to remove the dowels from the block before sanding so you can sand the entire surface.

That’s it. As with any kind of engine building or assembly, it always takes time or money to do it right. Skipping steps will result in disaster. Pay attention to the details and you will be rewarded with an engine that performs when you need it to. Almost every engine and head built at Cosworth is done this way and trust me, we don’t do it because it’s fun.

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