Archive for December, 2009

Real or fake?

December 17, 2009 8 comments

Here’s a fun question that you hear a lot in the world of modifying cars. “Is that real or a knockoff.” Most of the time we all know the answer is going to be “knockoff” because let’s face it…knockoffs can be anywhere from 20-60% cheaper than the real thing. I’ve spoken before about this waaaayyy back when, but that was about quality and not what I’m looking to discuss here today; Aesthetics.

Instead of asking if it’s real or fake…how about asking if it looks good? Case in point, Rota Grid wheels. They’re a pretty simple copy of Volk’s TE37 and no one will ever disagree with that. Now here is where you go through the process in your head of choosing real over fake and below I’ve made it super simple for you:


(Rota on the left, Volk on the right. Not really much difference…)

The bonus: Rota Grids are around 50-60% cheaper than the Volk TE37s and look exactly the same.

The downside: Rota wheels are not manufactured to the same high quality that the Volk wheels are…you get what you pay for, for example.

The long and short of it: Unless you’re really beating on your wheels either in a race setting or you’re an “assassinate all potholes” type of driver…you won’t notice a difference. If you ARE a racer or are planning on winning some “oohs” and “aaahs” from other wheel afficionados at car shows/meets you’ll want the Volks. Otherwise…grab some Grids.

(jesse08’s tc from Fake wheels? Real wheels? Who fucking cares?! They look dope on this guy’s tC!)

What this really boils down to is choosing the part that fits your needs. Some people will be a better fit for the Rota wheels and some for the Volks. Some only need knockoffs, some need the real deal. I’m not here to tell you to buy one over the other, I’m just trying to open your eyes and show you that not everyone has the same buying power, overall build goals, or even the remotest of interest in buying the same parts you do.

Like I’ve said before, I fully support the idea that you should buy genuine products when you can and it’s financially feasible/reasonable to do so. What I’ll say now though, if someone’s already purchased something and you’re looking at it for the first time…don’t ask yourself “is it real?” ask yourself “does it look cool?”

– Steve invented cool..and by “invented” I mean “heard about it one time”

Categories: Cars, Steve

What does that mean again?

December 14, 2009 Leave a comment

“The handling on that car makes it feel like it’s on rails!” I see this constantly written by automotive journalists, or spoken by enthusiasts in conversation. Frankly, it drives me nuts. What the fuck does this mean? What rails? Like, train track rails? Slot car rails? I certainly hope it’s not slot car rails, those damn things were murder traps. If you got those things going fast enough into a corner physics would send those little metal hammers right off the tracks and directly into knuckles, shins, and teeth (yes, all of those things happened in my childhood.)

(Lean that far over the track and you’re just asking for a set of bloody knuckles and a big bruise)

I understand people need a clear way to provide a very positive picture of how well a car handles, but can we really please stop using this phrase? It really takes all the magic out of suspension discussions and dumbs down a really complex and beautiful system.

I’ve spent a lot of time teaching myself about suspension and I’ve invested a lot of personal time into the tinkering with and theorizing about suspensions and their related parts. Now I’m not saying this to try and influence you that because I’ve spent the time you should too, but really I always get a little miffed when people just super-simplify such an impressive system without knowing a damn thing about it.

(The first one is mostly suspension oriented while the second is about the whole vehicle as a system. Both great informational reads)

Stop saying something that you don’t understand just because other people say it. Take some time and realize that “handling like it’s on rails” doesn’t make any fucking sense. Don’t just regurgitate something you’ve heard before just because it’s a common phrase. Ah what the hell, whatever I say isn’t going to make you change your mind…at least do yourself a favor and get a book or two on suspension and how it works. I recommend some of the following: How to make your car handle by Fred Puhn and Tune to Win by Carroll Smith

– Steve handles his rail…

Categories: Cars, Steve

Automotive art

December 11, 2009 3 comments

I am a shameless thief. This was featured on Jalopnik and I basically pulled the youtube link right from there. I’m not original and I didn’t find it myself…but I needed to make sure the people that read this site got to see this video.

I am admitedly weak for racing clips set to moving musical pieces, but this one was just excellently well executed. It’s moving, it’s powerful, it’s beautiful….it’s racing.


EDIT: (01/18/2010) Had to relink this as the first one got moved. Same video though.

-Mother tested, Steve approved

Categories: Cars, Random, Steve

Winter is just prep time for next racing season

December 5, 2009 1 comment

Winter is rapidly approaching and I’m sure some parts of the country have already felt the wrath of Mother Nature in the form of rain/sleet/snow/lack of available street-corner hookers. No matter which way you slice it, winter is a rough season for most of us car enthusiats that require warmer temperatures to install new parts, tracks clear of snow so that we can get in some lapping, and zero ice so that we don’t smash our rides into something much sturdier than ourselves. Basically unless you’re a rally guy winter eats dick.

(Mmm, old school 5th gen Celica in Castrol livery….sex)

Fear not my fellow Mediocre fans, winter isn’t just time to dust off the snowboards, park the race car, strap the winter tires onto the winter-beater, and dream of far away tropical islands…No, not by a long shot! Winter is a great time for cars! When you have nothing better to do than sit down and look over your build plans with enough time to actually get your more boring administrative type work done you’ll basically have none of the boring stuff in the way for when the season actually starts up again! When you’re out racing, under the car wrenching, or busy punching that low quality lady-of-the-night for the small fee of $12 you don’t really get time to sit down and keep up with your less exciting work.

When that snow hits really take the time to look over what you’ve done over the past season. See what you’ve done right and wrong as well as looking over how well you did against your build list. This is the perfect time to see what’s left to do and what’s next for your build. Make updates to that list, do some research to see if you’re missing out on something, or just pat yourself on the back and go get some eggnog to celebrate a job well done.

You DID take Rich and my advice to make a build list for yourself…didn’t you? No? Well luckily you’ve got plenty of time to start making one now, and I can’t see any excuse for putting it off any longer!

(I’m pretty sure anything with “+ Rum” next to it can be considered a success in the Mediocre book)

Me? I’m pretty proud of what I’ve gotten done this year, but I’ve also still got a humblingly long way to go parts-wise and a lot of things to take care of before the race season starts back up again next year.
      • I’ve gotta take care of my fuel starvation issues with a swirl pot or surge tank
      • Invest in some more safety gear, specifically a harness setup and a HANS device for the track
      • Bleed the brakes, replace the pads, check the rotors for warping/cracking/N*SYNCing/etc
      • Investigate the need for an oil cooler as well as a transmission cooler to help keep reliability up at the track

(HANS device that stops the type of injury Dale Earnhardt Sr. sustained. Expensive, but totally worth it.)

So don’t fret too much when you see your track car all buttoned up for the winter, get IN there and make the best of the downtime! Don’t worry too much about the hookers going into hibernation, by the way, I was just kidding about that. They’re still out there, they’re just wearing coats now (or are not-so-subtly disguised on Craigslist from the comfort of their own homes.). Meanwhile, winter-related question: Why don’t they make other kinds of nog? Like, Spritenog or Winenog?

– Steve is gonna go try and cook up some Spritenog in the kitchen…extra rum

Categories: Cars, Steve

Dear Temecula, CA

December 1, 2009 3 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and it’s been a LONG while since I’ve posted in the “beer”category. In fact, I think the last time I posted was the time I talked about “Chocolate” .

I just finished watching “The Goods: Live hard, Sell hard” and I have to say that this might be my new favorite funny movie. It’s produced by one of the few people that truly understand humor, both overt and subtle, Will Farrell . I’d seen a few ads for this movie floating around, but I didn’t think much of it. I really like Jeremy Piven, that bald white guy whose name I don’t remember, that black guy whose name I don’t remember, and THIS guy is just flat out hilarious in both his standup and his acting. Basically what I’m saying here is that the movie was set up to be awesome just from the casting alone.

(Totally under appreciated, totally worth a watch)

My girlfriend and I have been drinking one of our old standby beers Red Hook: Long Hammer IPA and having a good time on a Sunday night and this movie combined with this beer has been perfect. Got a Sunday? Wanna laugh? Find some Red Hook: Long Hammer and rent/Netflix The Goods: Live hard, Sell hard. It’ll completely make your transition back to work less painful.

(IPAs aren’t my favorite, but damn this beer is delicious!)


Categories: Beer, Steve