Sunday, December 26, 2010

EJ25 Subaru Engine Table

This video shows the absolute best Christmas gift I have ever received. My father-in-law custom made this entire table himself. It started with a junked EJ25 Subaru motor with a cracked head. He took it completely apart and spent time cleaning and polishing it. Once it was clean, he painted it a nice flat black. He then custom machined an adapter to attach the crankshaft to the flywheel on the opposite side it normally connects. He refinished the flywheel and then painted part of it, and the crankshaft, blue to add some nice visual distinction. He got a custom 2" thick piece of acrylic plastic to act as the top. It was then bolted it to the flywheel so when you move the table top, it moves the flywheel. Which, in turn, moves the crankshaft and makes the pistons move in and out.

I think it is just an incredible piece of work and fits my style perfectly. I am trying to convince him to make them for other people, as I am sure there is a market for such an awesome piece of functional automotive art.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Forzalopnik Info

Since Turn10 has apparently decided to ignore anything involving the Forzalopnik pack, I have decided to put all the information that is known in one place. This way it will be easier for anyone (mostly me) to find the info if it is needed. Please feel free to comment if I have missed any important information. Since I am getting a bad feeling about this, it will be a sort of "archive" in case this DLC pack never sees the light of day.

It started with a partnership between Turn10 and that was announced on January 25, 2010 with this post. The post states, "Starting today, fans will have the opportunity to visit to vote from a list of 120 of the world's most sought after icons and classic cars to come up with the ultimate shortlist of cars that will be featured in a downloadable car pack available later this year." It then goes on to say that the DLC will be released, "... this summer."

The voting then happens and is concluded with this post on January 29, 2010 that announces the cars that won the contest, along with the "wildcard" that was chosen by Jalopnik.

The winning cars are:
  1. 1970 Chevrolet El Camino 454 Super Sport
  2. 1983 Volvo 242 Group A Homologated
  3. 1982 DeLorean DMC-12
  4. 1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth
  5. 1982 Lancia 037 Stradale
  6. 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo
  7. 1971 De Tomaso Pantera
  8. 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500
  9. 1977 Saab 99 Turbo
  10. 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II
  11. 1984 BMW M635CSi
  12. 1971 AMC Javelin AMX
  13. 1992 GMC Syclone
  14. 1988 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R
  15. 1986 Dodge Shelby Omni GLHS
Then BADNED on ForzaCentral makes a post about the winning cars stating, "If everything goes well all 15 cars you see below will be featured in the DLC pack that is going to be released sometime this summer."

Now some of these cars might look familiar to those who have kept up on news with Forza 3. The Tofu R leak mentioned some cars that were going to be in future DLC packs. If you look at the list, you can see that a lot of those cars did come as DLC. And some of the cars in the leak are the exact same ones that were voted on in the Forzalopnik pack. This has caused a bit of controversy on, as some people wonder if the votes were rigged due to the similarities.

Some time passes and then Jalopnik posts a three part series about their visit to the Turn10 studio with some information about the BMW 2002 being created for the Jalopnik DLC. Shortly after that post, Turn 10 posts an update on that mentions, "The second pack (due out later this year) was fan voted DLC which gave fans the chance to vote on which cars would make the cut on an upcoming car pack." After that, Turn10 basically forgets about the pack completely. There are zero updates and no information about this pack.

[Update 10/5]
On March 1, SwedeSpeed posted an article about Turn 10 looking for a Volvo 242 in good condition. It mentions, "...Turn 10 needs a 1983 Volvo 242 Group A Homologated, a.k.a. U.S.-market "flathood," a.k.a. U.S. Group A Special Edition. Location isn't important, but the car needs to be in good running condition, be capable of being run on a dynamometer for sound recording, and be cosmetically stock."

[Update 10/6]
Kurt from has left some interesting comments regarding another car that Turn 10 was looking for. He says, "I was contacted earlier this year by people with this project looking for a Saab 99 Turbo to photograph for digitizing into this game. They met with one of our website's members in the Washington area and did take extensive photos of his Saab 99 Turbo. I was impressed with their attention to getting every detail correct." The car in question can be seen here. As of now, they have heard nothing from Turn 10 about whether or not the car will even make it into the game.

The next bit of information that seems to come is this post from BADNED on August 2nd that shows a Starion ready to be scanned into Forza 3. The info on the photo shows that it was taken on April 6th, 2010. Then around the end of September, BADNED changed his signature to read "10/12/10." He is known for hiding hints in his signature about upcoming cars, DLC, etc. A lot of people are thinking this might be the date for the Forzalopnik DLC.

Turn 10 then posts two updates about their new partnership with Top Gear and the upcoming Forza Ultimate Collection. What makes this interesting is that the "... Ultimate Collection will also include seven new car models, including: Lancia 037 Stradale ...." Now you should recognize that car as one that was chosen for the Forzalopnik pack. Again, Turn10 has given no clarifications regarding why this car has been split from the original DLC it was in.

I am becoming very skeptical about this pack and I am curious how Jalopnik is handling this. Every delay with no information from Turn10 makes Jalopnik look bad. They put their time and effort into getting their community hyped about this pack coming to Forza. Since then, outside of a few updates, there has been absolutely no information about this pack. People are getting upset with the lack of information, and rightfully so. Turn 10 has ignored everyone who just wants some information about what is going on with this pack. Summer has come and gone and there is still no information forthcoming.

You have to wonder what Turn 10 is thinking at this point.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Virtual Test Drive - 2009 SL65 AMG Black

2009 Mercedes SL65 AMG Black
Power - 661hp
Torque - 738lb/ft
Weight - 4215lbs
Top Speed - 189mph

PI Class - A548

Ladera Full - 56.979
Quarter Mile - 12.864
Kaido Stage
C - 2:03.886

I must say that I went into this really expecting to dislike this car. I have never been a fan of Mercedes and I just cannot get behind their idea of just adding horsepower to make a car “sporty” without bothering with weight or balance. I must say that within the first twenty seconds or so, I was eating crow…and I loved it. The car supremely agile and much more balanced than you would think with a car that heavy and with over 700 pound-feet of torque. There is pretty bad turbo lag that you really feel before four thousand RPMs, but it usually is not a big deal. It did catch me off guard a couple of times in the middle of a corner in Ladera, but you learn how to feel the car fairly quickly. Once those turbos kick in, the power just doesn’t stop until it is time to shift again. With all the torque though, you have to be careful of either burning the tires off the rims or ending up backward, at 100 miles an hour, going toward a wall. Again, the stock tires really hurt the quarter mile time as all that torque, and turbo lag, really made it hard to modulate wheelspin. And the car also was pleasantly surprising in the Kaido downhill section. Although it is super tight, and the car is fairly heavy, it handled incredibly well and was an absolute blast to drive at its limit.

Next comes the most controversial part, which is the look of the car. Honesty, I really do not like it. I feel the wheels are too big and it really lends a “cartoony” look to the car. I know I am in the minority here, but I honestly do not like the style of the car at all. The little wing on the back just doesn’t fit with the rest of the styling of the car and it just feels like there is no cohesive “theme” that flows through the car. Mercedes, and especially the AMG tuned models, really were always about the style of subdued power. You know they were insanely powerful, but they never looked that way. This car breaks that mold, and not in a good way. Nothing on the car fits together. If they were to remove the wing and lower the rims to maybe 17s, I think the car would look much better. Right now it still looks too much like a German version of a boy racer.

All in all, the car surprised me in many ways. I expected it to be barely drivable and a handful, however it was anything but. Yes, it will attempt to kill you if you stop paying attention but it rewards good driving with an absolute thrill. It has one of the best sounding engines and you just cannot keep a grin off your face as you scream it around each corner.

(Note: Click the photos to view them in full resolution)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Virtual Test Drive - 2010 BMW M6

2010 BMW M6
Power - 500hp
Torque - 383lb/ft
Weight - 4098lbs
Top Speed - 186mph
PI Class - B455

Ladera Full - 59.411
Quarter Mile - 13.396
Kaido Stage
C - 2:06.618

This virtual test drive has shown me that the 2010 BMW M6 is an amazing car. Although it weighs just a bit over 2 tons, you would not know it when you are flinging it around a track. Even in the tight corners of Ladera, this car was well balanced and nimble. Although the quarter mile times are in the low 13s, that is more a fault of the tires than the car. The car has almost rocket-like acceleration and the poor stock tires just could not handle all the horsepower. The car also performed very well on the Kaido downhill as the stock brakes worked wonderfully in bringing this rather portly car to a halt. Although some of the tighter corners showed the M6s propensity to understeer, that was easily solved with some judicious use of the throttle.

As for the looks, this car is just gorgeous. Although there is some reside of the “Bangle butt” in this generation, it does not really detract from the overall styling of the car. Although the car is rather long, the lines of the coupe really make the car feel smaller and almost give the car a feeling of “surging forward” through its design. The stock rims also do a lot to the overall look of the car with the thin spokes making the car appear lighter. The styling also lends a subtle “tuner” look to the car and gives it a more aggressive feel, without it becoming too overpowering.

Overall the car was a pleasure to drive and it felt stable and connected to the road at both high speed and during tight, low speed cornering. Although the tail was more than willing to swing out if you were a bit too heavy with the throttle, the balance of the car made it easy to drift through the corners. Although 500 horsepower could be a handful, the poise and balance of the car made it fun to drive.

(Note: Click the photos to view them in full resolution)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Virtual Test Drives

I have decided to start something new with this Blog. I am going to try (tentatively) to update this at least once a week with a “Virtual Test Drive.” This test drive will be done in Forza Motorsport 3 for the Xbox 360. This will help with both my writing and photography skills, along with “reviewing” cars I will probably never be able to drive in real life.

Each car will be taken through a series of “virtual tests.” These tests are meant to give an idea for the performance level of the car. Along with those tests, I will give the stats that the game has for the car. This will help with any comparison that might arise between the different cars. The following is a list of the tests that I will perform with each car.

The first will be similar to the “Power Lap” that is done on Top Gear. This is meant to be an all around benchmark for the car. The course I have chosen is Ladera Full. It is a smaller course that has a good series of tight corners and enough straights to test the acceleration of the vehicle. It is a short length also, so the times should be easier to keep consistent. Each car will be given three runs from a standing start, with the fastest run being tallied. This will show how easy each car is to drive and how consistent it can be through multiple starts. This time will be kept on the “Ladera Leaderboard” that will continue to tally all the times of the different cars.

The next test is a run on the Benchmark Quarter Mile track. This will be done in the same style as the first test and is meant to show the cars pure acceleration ability. Along with this test, there will be a flat out portion on the Benchmark High Speed Ring that will attempt to see the top speed that the car can pull on a single lap.

Finally, there will be a Point-to-Point test on Kaido Stage C. This is a downhill “touge” style race that will test the braking and cornering ability of the car. This will also be done in the same style as the Ladera test.

Along with all the information from these tests, I will post a write up of my thoughts on the car as a whole. I will attempt to cover everything from the feel of the car to the general aesthetics of it. Interspersed with this write up will be a few photos of the car that I have taken in the Forza 3 Photomode.

I am hoping this will be interesting and entertaining for the audience, as well as honing my skills as a writer. Throw in having some fun playing games and developing an eye for photography and this might be the best idea I have had in a while.