I wanted to look back at the cars that have passed through my garage over the years.
1999 Ford Mustang GT
This Mustang was a 35TH Anniversary Edition and my first foray into performance cars. Prior to this I had the family hand-me-down and a compact truck. I bought this car when they first were released, in fact I didn’t seen another one like it for a couple months. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. I went through pulleys and throw-out bearings every 2 weeks (not from abuse). Finally Ford took it from me for about 2 weeks to repair it for 3rd or 4th time. I don’t 100% know what they did, my suspicion is that they re-balanced the engine. When it came back to me, it felt a lot more powerful (butt dyno). From there I added a Flowmaster exhaust, K&N intake, and a chip.
It was a loud and fun car, but as I got to be a better driver I started seeing it’s short comings in the handling areas.
1998 Porsche Boxster
So, I upgraded to my first Porsche. This was the 2.5L, 201HP engine that completely redefined performance for me. I loved this car, and I drove the hell out of it. I added a BMC filter, and then swapped the exhaust for a system off of a Boxster S. The biggest difference was the sound, it was a little deeper and more of growl than whine. In this car I was consistently one of the fastest cars on street tires (before ST classes existed) at autocross. I would typically lose out to S2000’s on R compound tires. This car was a lot of fun to drive all the way over the limit. I would often describe it’s low polar moment as “Spin or Win”. I also did a pretty sweet burnout on “new tire day”:
The sound was messed up, so you’ll have to use your imagination on that bit.
2003 Acura RSX Type-S
After wearing out the synchros in the Boxster’s transmission, I sold it a moved along into the newest Hot Hatch. Having watched the Integra Rs tear up the Autocross circuits, I thought getting into the new version would be great. This car didn’t really get a fair shake with me. It was a huge departure from the Porsche in terms of performance and drivability. Before I was able to really learn it, life got in the way and I had to move on.
1995 Nissan 240sx
As my life settled down, I started to get back into and found a clean 240 that I was going to fix up for racing. I started with updating the stereo head unit, adding satellite radio and a sub woofer… all things that improve on-track performance. Ok, not really, but the car was pulling daily driver duty as well so tunes were important. Then I started working ground up on the car and replaced control arms and the suspension bushing with polyurethane. The car came with a Flowmaster exhaust that was really too much for it. It never saw the track. My financial situation improved and the value of this car came up to the point where it made sense to sell it and use the money on a better car.
2004 Nissan 350z Track Edition
I then stepped into a new top-spec Z car. This was a really good car out of the box. I added a Borla true dual exhaust, a K&N intake, tinted the windows, added satellite radio, and a few minor cosmetic changes. This is an 8/10ths car. It drives really great right until you push it to the 9 or 10 tenths and then it lets you down a bit. I tweaked the suspension geometry a good bit and ate through a lot of expensive tires but was fast and placed highly at every local event.
2003 Porsche Boxster S
As prices improved on Porsches, I bought my second. This time it was the 3.2L S model. This car was a lot easier to drive on the street. The added torque made it a lot more comfortable in stop-n-go and traffic. When it came to racing the added power made it faster, but I believe Porsche made changes to the suspension and dialed a considerable amount more understeer into the car. It was safer for average folks, but when really pushing it would give up the front end too much. Were I could actually spin my first Boxster, I never really got close in the S. That said, I loved this car. I sold it when I couldn’t fit a wife and baby seat.
1976 Lotus Elite
I bought a practical car… or really a truck. So, we filled the garage with a project car. We found a Lotus Elite that we were planning to build out into a race care to participate in the Grassroots Motorsports $2k Challenge. The car was already gutted, it was just to build into the car we wanted. We planning to add a race built rotary 13b engine connected to a Ford 8.8 read end. My teammate moved, and I ran our of time and talent. So, we handed the project off to the Boy Scouts of Atlanta and they built their own project vehicle with a motorcycle engine out of the chassis.
1985(ish) Mazda Rx-7
This car was bought as a swap for the race engine. This was a clean car but just was the wrong engine. I traded to a guy for the built 13b.
1989 Datsun 280zx
Without the time and talent to build a race car from scratch, we bought one. This one featured an inline-6 with dual webers, straight pipes and a custom intake. It was also completely gutted and purpose built for racing. We ran it through a few shake down local events. It attracted a lot of attention and ran well.
Then we took it the GRM $2k Challenge. After the concours event, we went to the autocross section. Suddenly the car had no power over about 2500. It was just dead, it would barely pull to 3500. We limped it through the event finishing in the bottom third and took it home for diagnosis. It seems when we added gas, it stirred up a bunch of gunk and clogged the fuel system. We also discovered some significant rust in the floor pans and decided to part ways with the car.
2006 BMW M5 (e60)
This is the only unicorn car to grace my garage. I loved it. I’m glad I don’t own it.
2008 Lexus IS-F
This was hands down the best all around car I’ve ever owned. It was great at everything. 400+ HP, it was loud and aggressive when you wanted it, quiet and reserved when cruising. In normal driving it would get 28mpg. Carried 2 adults and a small kid without complaints. I had no desire to get rid of this one, but I could not fit a rear facing child seat in the back when we found out #2 was on the way.