A Chapter Ends, A Chapter Begins (Short Version)

944folly, under new management, or something like that … read more

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A new direction for next winter?

Maybe we’ll do something different for next winter.

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Little Wheel Spin and Spin

Big wheels turn around and around. (Apologies to Buffy.)

Wheels – Should be easy, right? Some folks prefer Phone Dials, some Fuchs. Me? I think that the Cookie Cutters are the better looking wheel on the 924/944 series. That being said, after I acquired a set of Toyo Observe G3s for winter tires, I started a search for an okay set of Cookies. Only okay because after all, they’re going to be the ‘winter wheels.’

It seems that they’re really easy to find until you’re looking for a set. There are lots of them around. In Georgia, Alabama, New York, Michigan. Suddenly the low cost ain’t so low when you price out shipping clear across the US of A. So I tasked my friends at the local boneyard to find me a set. $400 and a couple weeks later they’re in the shop.

The first thing we notice is that one is a little less than round. Like about 5 mm less. So after investigating straightening ($125), we take it back. They can find me another one.

On to the other three. There’s a video on the YouTube showing how to do it. First thing is to get the tooling. “The Spinna” is a roller frame to allow one to easily spin the wheel while you’re polishing. Google that name and I find nothing so the solution is to build one myself.

I find that conveyor rollers are cheap. Like REALLY cheap. (2) 11.5 inch long rollers, 4′ of 2×2 steel angle and an hour on the drill press and I got my very own “Spinna.” For $30.

Then we start to cleanup. The first step is a liberal application of paint stripper. It turns out that they no longer make Methyl Chloride stripper (something about silly EPA rules or some such) so that means that the first application and scraping was followed with about three more liberal applications. Then a bunch more scraping and scrubbing. Methyl Chloride was easier. Brush it on, hose it off, kill the weeds. Forever.

After removing the majority of the paint and clearcoat, it was on to the actual polishing. (The red is powdercoat. It won’t come off without heat or professional stripping so it’ll just get painted over.) First wet sand with 220 followed by 400, 600 and then fine Scotchbrite. We mostly ignored the curb rash as these are ‘winter wheels’ and we’ll just put the rashed ones on the off-side. After about 3 or 4 hours, we got out the Mother’s Mag Polish.


I learned a really neat trick from the above mentioned vid. Use sandpaper to trim the masking tape. It works slick.

Then paint with matte finish black farm implement enamel and we end up with:


And the fourth wheel? Here’s the first replacement:

That’s deep corrosion. It will not ‘polish’ out and I don’t have a lathe big enough to machine it out. They’re looking for another. And it’s beginning to snow.

The winter tires are on the Phone Dials. Probably put the summer tires on the Cookies.

The plan is to paint over the primer in the Spring. I spoke with the painter last night. He said that he’s looking forward to the job. (He did body and paint for Beverly Hills Porsche in an earlier life.) The labor’s about half paid for so far.


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More 1969 Discoveries

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A Man in a Car & Some Local Scenery

Jim  drops by unexpectedly yesterday.  What’s a 200-mile interstate impulse drive when you’re retired and driving a fine(-ish) car?

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Discoveries (1969)

Looking through storage boxes in my studio, mostly untouched and unseen for fifty or more years:

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Pasco End of Summer Motorcycle Show

Lawrence, you’ve got high hopes.

I did spend a couple hours driving over to the show this morning. Superslab to Pendleton thence 37/730/12 to Pasco. ‘Twas a lovely drive. 80-85 mph Freeway blast followed by empty, swoopy two-lane through the harvested wheat fields and then along the “mighty Columbia” lake. This was my first time actually driving THROUGH Pasco. It reminded me of Barrio Logan in San Diego or East LA. It looks to be a cultural and gastronomical delight.

The goal of the drive was threefold. First was to verify that the odometer problems are behind us. Second, to verify fuel gauge accuracy and vehicle range and finally, to see if the eastern PNW’s two-wheel offerings are more interesting than the typical car ‘show & shine.’

Referring to the first two reasons above; I can report that the odometer has recorded nearly 1,000 miles without interruption and survived multiple trip odometer resets. The fuel gauge in now functional to the point that it reads full when the tank is full and 441 miles later the gauge read 1/4 and the fill was 14 gallons. Specs say 20 US gallon tank, so it’s safe to assume that the gauge is reasonably accurate. And 32 mpg mixed driving. (Note to Jim: This puppy will easily do 500 miles between fills.)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a engineer/mechanic, not a photographer, so taking crummy snapshots is the best I can do on a good day. This is why I invited Mr. Hathaway to join. He’s a photographer. Besides, I didn’t think to throw the Canon in the car and the iOS 15 update right effed up the camera on the fruitfone so I got GOOD excuses.

Report on the show – IMHO, it was worth the drive. There were a bunch of ’60s through 80s rice burners. Suzuki was particularly well represented with all variations of ‘water buffalo’ present. There were three or four Bridgestones. There were the usual 70s dirt bikes. Surprisingly no Yamaha DT series. Maybe there aren’t any left?  They were ubiquitous in SoCal when I was coming up.  There was a gentleman who was very proud of his CX500 Turbo Honda (Dude! Where’s your mask? GET BACK!) and fair number of England’s finest. All twins ranging from BSA A10s, Triumph TR6s, various flavors of Norton Commando, and a lone Triumph TSX. You can look it up. I had to. That there was only one is not surprising.



(Note that the photos above are stock Internet search results. The photos are linked to descriptions of the respective motorcycles.)

The America vee-twin category was rather thin, though there was 1940 Chief and a flathead Harley. The Harley was interesting to me in that one rarely sees a early 70s Honda 750 SOHC front brake grafted on to early American iron. Rider musta had an experience that made stopping a priority.

Headed home through WW WA and made the obligatory stop at Popular Donuts. Over Tollgate for another swoopy two-lane experience and home in time to walk the dog.

I’d do it again. Might even ride Gorgeous. BMWs were so under represented that she’d probably win a prize.

Oh… And the jumper in the Porsche fusebox? It did nothing. I removed it and absolutely nothing changed.


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Photography Lesson, er … Diatribe

Finally, some photography of a 944 by someone who knows what he/she/they is/are doing.  Here is an example of, imho, the best view of the styling of the 944 (although I might have done some details slightly differently)…


Many cars can look a bit better from a high-angle view like this, maybe even a Prius.  Try it on a 911, but you might have to contend with its pudenda and vulva qualities.  The spreads for the Avant-Garde Collection cars probably could benefit from the addition of this approach, as the Avant-Garde look has become so recognizable as to border on cliche.

Speaking of cliche, over the years cars have been so exhaustively photographed that extreme measures have to be taken to avoid that trap.   Like Tom’s approach with his night-lighting work.

But almost everything is cliche in automotive photography.  Thanks considerably to Instagram and the interwebz.   Not to mention Photoshoppery.

My favorite way of doing a straight documentation-type take is from high angle, and I have tried often with the Blue Rascal.  But my way of bypassing cliche over-use is to do a counterplay of other lines and angles in the frame, especially with roadway and street markings and abuse of shadows.   Usually I just give up, as I’m usually in a transitory situation and only have a minute or two to deal.  I once tried a high-angle, third floor take on the ‘Rascal but for the variations that had my body stretched on the ground alongside, I realized I would need a production crew of sorts.  What I really was considering — and try visualizing it with the BaT 944 example I mentioned above — was to place a nude lying in parallel and in tune with the vanishing point.  Maybe Professor Roy might be inspired to do a Photoshop implementation of the concept …

Automotive photography distress is further complicated by compound curves and highly reflective surfaces.  A friend in LA shoots cars for publication, or did — he’s mostly retired now, I think — in tightly controlled circumstances inside darkened warehouse studios with elaborate lighting setups, often surrounding the entire car, including top-down and bottom-up. 

So for something that looks fresh and new in auto photography we have to mostly look for the content itself, and ignore the cliched angles and approaches in favor of fixing our attention on new models and new styling details and the like.  Action photography is something else, of course, and that stands to be infinitely variable.  Maybe, sort of.

Along these lines, for the past few years — especially since the advent of the pandemic, it seems to me — is the obligatory drone shot, straight down of city streets and traffic in almost everything you can stream these days.  And I’m just waiting for comprehensive, close fly-by drone coverage of the cars to show up and become de rigueur in BaT listings …

P.S. I am writing this at around 2 a.m, as I cannot sleep and am somewhat in grieving over the prospect of having to decline Jim’s invitation to join him on an outing to see vintage motorcycles on display in Pasco (prepositional decay alert).  But we can all look forward to his report, hopefully with photographic illustration.

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August update

Updates for August

Clusters back from testing. 12k miles with no failures. Reinstalled with reworked light pipes and 6400k 194 LED lighting from Super Bright LEDs. One can read the gauges at night now. I had the LEDs installed in the black faced gauges and they too were readable. Definitely an improvement worth way more than the $15 cost to implement.

I opened up the driver’s side door to service the latch mechanism. The driver’s door has been difficult since I acquired the car. Pelican Parts has the procedure and the thought of a $300 new handle finally compelled me to take action.  Half a 12 oz can of WD-40 and a little bit of spray ‘gun oil’ and the door handle now works properly.

Pulling the door panel revealed that there were repairs necessary that would require ‘drying time.’ (Mounting holes on the door pocket required JB Weld repair.) I used the delay to evaluate the power mirrors. Power was getting to the switch and while testing they actually started to move.  Removed the switch and thoroughly cleaned and lubricated it.  Power mirrors now function as they should. Hooray! Fixed for free!

Console lid.  Tough on the elbow. A gentleman in Klamath Falls had exactly what we needed.

$100 later and problem solved. $100 sounds expensive except when one figures in the fuel cost to get to the upholstery shop in Boise and the actual cost of the repair, then a bill seems quite reasonable.

Upcoming September projects:

Fuel gauge. Reads 3/4 full when full. There’s a potentiometer on the gauge that I suspect will fix that. We’ve already replaced the sender. With all the cluster swapping around, I have multiple spares to test with AND a tested working sender.

There’s this jumper in the fusebox that just ‘bothers’ me. From fuse 24 to fuse 34. George, the gentleman who’s been doing the speedo work, sent me a fusebox. Perhaps between the actual part and the wiring diagram, I can sort out where the electrons go missing and get the bothersome white wire out.


Until next time.

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1969 Discoveries

Found these today while browsing my ancient photo archives and storage boxes:

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A Past in Paris (1983, Remembering Bill)

In going through my box of letters and whatnot from recently-deceased friend Bill (see this post), today I find some clippings he sent to me from the Thursday June 30, 1983 edition of a newspaper in Paris where he lived then.  He indicated that the exchange rate was something in the neighborhood of 8 francs: 1 USD, so do your due division (not to mention magnification/zooming).  First, he sent a section of used Porsche listings:

Porsche for sale in Paris, 6/30/1983

And Bill also enclosed some listings for other interesting cars:

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