1967 Honda RA300 F1 Car

HondaRA300

The V12 powered, 1967 Honda RA300 F1 car – spectacular, don’t you think?

Check out the exhaust headers, isn’t that a work of art?  Somehow, I do believe that even though my Honda S2000 only has one-quarter of the cylinders, there is some of the RA-300′s DNA in it somewhere.  After all, up until just a few years ago the S2000′s F20C engine was the most powerful normally aspirated engine per liter of displacement available.

It is sad that modern Honda Motors is so far removed from their rich heritage of F1 racing as shown in the image above.  Unfortunately all Honda makes these days are mini-vans and economy boxes.

Than again…  You never know…

The planets are slowly aligning themselves again over at McLaren.  First, Ron Dennis has made a much-needed return to re-organize the F1 Team.  Second, Honda is making a return to F1 in 2015 supplying engines to the McLarn F1 Team.

So, today on what would have been the eve of Ayrton Senna da Silva’s 54th birthday one can’t feel but optimistic that indeed the glory of yesteryear might return.  With some luck, who knows…  Maybe some of that glorious magic of the MP4/4 or MP4/5 might return.  Maybe from that Honda might start making real cars again, like the S2000 and NSX.

Finally, check out these videos.  They speak for themselves!

 

North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2014

nahbsThe North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2014 (HAHBS) takes place in Charlotte NC this weekend.  Being I am a cycling aficionado, I could not let the opportunity pass to visit the show.  In past years, I’ve seen only pictures of the different hand made bikes in the pages of cycling magazines.  So I made the trip today to the Charlotte Convention Center to check the event out.

I was NOT disappointed.  I had a chance to see some really nice bikes, paint jobs and some very interesting  ideas.

Rather than show picture and a bunch of text, let me just post a few comments and then you can check out the gallery of some of the most interesting bikes!

  • There were many manufacturers with wood bikes.  The frames were all wood and while not exactly my cup of tea, they are nevertheless amazing.  I must say I have never ridden a wood bike before, so who knows…  If I were to try one out I might like it.
  • Same for bamboo.  There were quite a few bamboo and hybrid bamboo bikes.  They were all equally amazing.
  • There was a vendor there that had a technique to take a mold in plaster of your feet.  He then would use that as a mold to create a hand-made carbon fiber shoe!  The shoes were pricey but looked awesome.  The manufacturer said he obtained his knowledge from making custom ice skates.  These shoes were amazing.
  • There was one manufacturer that made a carbon bike with a honeycomb open air weave of carbon.  Most unusual.  I have seen pictures of a dude in Europe that made something similar but this was over the top.
  • Several bikes had alternate power supplies – electric motors that is.
  • Tandems.  Many tandems.  In all kinds of materials.  Interesting that many had belt drives instead of chains.  Incidentally, my cousin Bob has been using a belt drive on his Seven tandem for many years now with very successful results.
  • Pay close attention towards the end of the gallery – there is a red bike with some really intricate details.  The builder is from Japan and the bike had a $20,000 price tag.  Certainly very artistic and the details had many, many hours’ worth of work written all over them.

An so, here is a full gallery of the photos I took today.  Yes, some of the pics are not exactly great since I took them with my iPhone.  But you get the idea…

Well – what do you think?  Comments are welcome!

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Yard Birds

Yard birds.

Yard Birds, you know… Chickens!

Well…  With the kind of weather we have had lately, getting a chance to get on my road bike today was a real treat.  Just a few days ago we were in single digit temps; yesterday was rain, thunder and lightning (yes in January); today the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky and amazing blue skies.  Temps were in the mid 50′s.  Go figure.

You never know what you are going to find on a bike ride.  I suppose the chickens were just like me out to enjoy a sunny beautiful day.  I’ve written about this chicken farm before (click here) and today we add the above picture.  Nice view indeed.

Roads

IMG_1816On a completely different note, on one of the roads I ride often, I found a great deal of “patch” road work today.  The type of repairs like this were found in the stretch of about 3/4 of a mile on both sides of the yellow line.  The reason this struck me was because of the poor quality of the repair.  Not very well packed and far from level and smooth.

Today, roads riddled with potholes seem the norm.  It is sad because the state of South Carolina used to have very good roads.  Not anymore.  Finally, what just adds icing to the cake is that any initiative to find new funding for road work is immediately turned down by politicians that are more concerned with votes than in doing the right thing.

IMG_1814And here is some of the high-tech equipment being used to do the repair work.  There were a couple more pieces including a road scraper but I could not get a good picture of them.

So how did the patchwork feel?  Not smoother than what used to be there.  Furthermore, with the poor quality of the work it will be no time before this starts to disintegrate. I suppose we get what we pay for…

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Ciocc Road Bike Frame

I finally came across a vintage, mid 80′s Ciocc road bike frame in the correct size and very red.  Needless to say, I could not pass up the opportunity to finally own one of these Italian beauties.  I remember back in the day, receiving catalogs from mail-order vendors (no Internet back then) featuring these amazing Italian frames.  Frames with names such as DeRosa, Bianchi, Colnago, Ciocc, Pinarello, Guerciotti all built with lightweight Columbus tubing.  All would be dressed in beautiful paint jobs with some of the higher end models outfitted with plated stays and plated forks.   As with everything nice in life, there was a catch:  all that Italian flair came with a high price.

I purchased this frame already re-sprayed with very nice red paint and new decals.  Not what I prefer since I like to do the painting myself.  However, by the time I would have bought all the materials I would have had more than what I paid for it.  The plating is not 100% perfect, instead it has a very nice patina.  Hell, after all, it is 25+ years old!  This is the real-deal, down to the Campagnolo dropouts.

Just like I did with my Bianchi road bike, the devil is in the details.  There are a number of pantographed bits on the fork and frame that will need some white paint.  For example, the Ciocc logo and script on the fork, the CIOCC script on the seatstay caps and all the little details on the lugs.  I know, a lot of work for an old bike but this is just not another bike – it is art!

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As far as components go…  Interesting thing eBay.  For some time I’ve picked up some good deals on modern Campagnolo Chorus components.  Most is new, with a couple of exceptions.  Bottom line, I have pretty much a complete 2008 Chorus groupset with a set of older dual-pivot Chorus calipers (the used bits!).  The downside is I am sure this will piss off many folks because the cranks are Ultra Torque carbon.  But, that is all good:  I’m building this to suite me, not others.

Among the bits left to buy is a Campagnolo aero seatpost – I’m looking for one with flutes so I can finish it like I did the one on my Bianchi with the Italian flag colours.  I also need to find a stem and suitable handlebar.  Wheels, you ask?  I have a spare set of Mavic Ksyrium’s that are true and in great shape.  Again, why go out and buy more when I already have some really nice stuff.

So what is the big deal?  After all, it’s just another old bike?  Agreed.  But, I like to ride and I like bikes.  I have several and this one will be a nice addition.  Stay tuned!  I’ll have updates soon.

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1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet

This weekend I visited my friend Cator’s fabrication shop where he keeps his 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet.  We were done working on one of his other hot rods trying to wire up a Hemi with fuel injection when I asked to uncover the Merc and take a few pictures

According to Cator, these are very rare cars to begin with – only about 1200 of these two door, two-seater, convertibles were sold.  Cator went through great lengths to make this awesome ride a reality and boy does it pack some serious heat!  Given it’s rarity, I am sure many folks reading this post will have something to say since this car is far from stock. Then again just like me, Cator built this car for his personal use and enjoyment.

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The black paint is flawless and shows the amount of work that went in the  bodywork to make it look this smooth…

Yes, this 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet is powered by a seriously hot Chevy 350 with triple carburetors.  Cator built this car before we had a chance to convert him to fuel injection!  That is why his current hot rod will be powered by that late-model fuel injected Hemi.  But I digress…

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The spring loaded star was a little off center because I bumped it when I took the car cover off…

The grill and bumpers are all original to the car.  There is some serious bling going on here!

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My iPhone did not do this amount of chrome justice – the smooth black firewall and all that chrome is stunning…

The engine is mated to a GM transmission and this runs to a 9″ Ford rear end with a solid axle.

This Merc is fully decked out with an air ride suspension.  Check out how low to the ground it can be lowered!  It is also equipped with a nice AC system that blows very cold air!  The interior is outfitted with plenty of leather.  And, the canvas top is fully lined – the top’s frame is completely hidden from view and according to Cator, makes the ride very quiet.

I need to get Cator to bring this bad boy to Cars & Coffee.  I’ll have another set of pictures soon…