A horse with no name, a build with no name

Discussion in 'Road Racing Forum' started by Norm Peterson, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    I guess this is the place for build threads . . .

    Like the title says, my '08 GT has never managed to pick up a name so I guess its occasional build won't ever get one either. I've never done one of these threads before, anywhere. At least not all in the same place. So this kickoff post probably is going to mostly be back story.

    I bought the car built to order back in early 2008, manual transmission (of course), 18" wheel/tire package, and an upgraded interior. This picture was taken the day I drove it home, and yeah that's me.

    2008 Black GT Premium MT.JPG

    The general direction I was going to take this car in was never in question, having held a mostly corner-carving attitude since about 1966. Looked into, but did not buy, an HP Sprite or two and an MGB. But graduating university, getting married, and moving 600 miles away forced a different choice. Though even that car (a 1964 Dodge) got a front stabilizer bar where there originally was none and a tire upgrade from bias to belted bias (hard to believe now, but even that step made it shockingly obvious what tires meant to it all).

    Then I built this, wheels, tires, and suspension first. ↓↓↓
    Pinto3.jpg
    I really didn't know much about what I was doing at the time, but it somehow ended up good enough to beat any street-tired 240Z or 260Z at autocross. Pictured above on the kind of time-speed-distance rally special stage that was probably frowned upon at the time and would get our asses thrown in the clink if we got caught trying it now. I'll just say that it was a timed "free zone" where you're not required to maintain the average speed last listed in the route instructions and leave the rest to your imagination just like we did for the competitors back in the mid-1970's. As event organizers, of course we all ran the section for times, too (but of course, we all knew what was up and where it was going to be). Picture is on the way to 3rd fastest time of the day, organizers and rallye competitors combined.

    Next there was this car ↓↓↓

    85CP Ripken cornering1jpg.jpg


    And then this one ↓↓↓

    _07 Winter Series #2 85FSP #17.JPG

    So I guess you could say that my '08 was doomed from the start to becoming a corner-carver rather than a straightline hero or a car show queen. But it came to me like that's what it wanted done to it, with cambers fully outside the factory range at about -1.7°. Destiny?

    I'll pick up with what some of the initial plan for the Mustang was in my next post.


    Norm
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
  2. bpracer

    bpracer Mark

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    You probably had Racer Walsh catalog for your Pinto parts...



    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
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  3. VoodooBoss

    VoodooBoss Rick Moderator

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    A Pintera, awesome! I look forward to the updates.
     
  4. ChrisM

    ChrisM No bad days.

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    Man, look at that shiny new black paint! Looking forward to more!
     
  5. 302BOB

    302BOB TMO Addict

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    Norm, As long as you have the "need for speed" helping you, you'll do OK...;)
     
  6. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton TMO Addict

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    Love the story, and remember my black Pinto I stuck bigger rims and tires on and with a few other mods enabled me to kill Capris back in the day. Car had no options as I was a sicko to keep weight out, ha. Started auto crossing in 1981 with an RX-7 and have been having " Fun with Cars," ever since. You would have been proud of me, as I won a G Stock Regional Event, one weekend, in the wife's Pontiac 6000 V6 Wagon, ha!

    PS - you are a diehard, I noticed the T-shirt even commemorated the purchase day?!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  7. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    Actually, I didn't.

    Even back then I was able to shop for a variety of performance parts locally in shops that carried parts for the emerging small-sedan hotrod aftermarket. This was in the greater Tidewater area of SE Virginia, which at the time supported at least 8 different sports car clubs not counting SCCA.

    As I recall, the car first got 13 x 7 wheels (when the mass-market was mostly 5.5's), then Koni shocks, Spearco sta-bars and front springs, and somebody's leaf spring lowering blocks. Later, I got into the engine more than a little - 11:1, rough cam, 7500+ rpm capable - but after the timing belt broke for the third or fourth time I swapped the 4 out for a 2.8L V6 and cut down a set of Mustang II front springs to better carry the extra weight. I'm fairly sure that the OHC-four was in the car when that picture was taken, as I seem to recall running it up past 7000 rpm in a couple of places on that run.


    Norm
     
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  8. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    Nice.

    Seemed like the thing to wear at the time . . . and BTW it still fits about the same as it always has.


    Norm
     
  9. 302BOB

    302BOB TMO Addict

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    That's strange....All my tees seem to have shrunk over the yrs.................:rolleyes:
     
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  10. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    Getting back to the Mustang . . .

    Since I knew this was going to end up being a project car to some extent (like the Pinto and the Malibu before it), I did have a few things in mind even before buying it - the car was already showing well in SCCA's F-Stock, and I knew Sam Strano from back when he was running the Camaro and that he'd switched over to the Mustang. So a lot of my early research started there, and the early wish list included Koni yellows, Strano's sta-bars (re-branded Hellwigs), UMI endlinks (adjustable), Steeda HD strut mounts, and Vogtland springs.

    Wheels and tires were also high on the list - I half-seriously tried to get my dealer to get it fitted with a set of 18x9.5 GT500 wheels and 255/45 tires, but they didn't want to go for that. OK, have it your way, I'll just go through an FRPP supplier and end up with better tires than the Supercar 1's . . . and have a set of wheels and tires I can dedicate to winter use.

    I took a while to get started with the program, but I finally did get a set of the GT500 wheels and put Goodyear Asymmetric (1st generation) tires on them. About the same time, the shocks, struts, strut mounts, bars, and endlinks went on, but I held up on getting springs. I was just too uneasy about how low those Vogtlands were going to put the car, having already learned from the Mazda that too much lowering can make a strut-suspension roll more even when the spring rates are higher than OE. Never mind that I have a couple of reasons for preferring linear rate springing, so I passed on that part of the early plan and didn't revisit springs for several years.

    By that time, I'd also installed HPS brake pads, under the overly optimistic belief that they'd represent an upgrade over OE . . . hell, they didn't even bite as well as the OE pads, so they got swapped out long before they would have worn out. More on this later.

    IMG_0872.JPG

    ↑↑↑ that's what the car looked like for its first half dozen track days, which were my first half dozen times playing out on the big tracks as well.

    I guess will have to do as being later enough, so I'm admitting that my first track day ever was on those HPS pads. Very carefully, and slow (but still not the slowest out there). That first track day could probably be the poster-boy for how not to get your introduction to this habit. think rank novice, only a few minutes of driver meeting in the classroom for everybody, no in-car instruction, open run groups assigned on the basis of the order in which registrations were received . . . and the laps were being timed. This was in the Spring of 2012.

    2012_run_to_the_shore_road_course092a.jpg
    ↑↑↑ entering T7 at NJMP/Lightning on the out lap of my first track session ever. Most of the rather serious hardware in my mirrors got pointed by once we hit the main straight passing zone (at least passing was restricted to only three places with point-by). Only saw one of them again before the session ended.


    Norm
     
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  11. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    Norm, glad to see you're doing a build thread. Looking forward to hearing more of your story. Subscribed.
     
  12. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    I'd like add a vote for the name of your car. How about VERA? That's the name of Norm Peterson's wife, and she never minded that he hung out at Cheers. It's probably too late now, though. o_O
     
  13. 302BOB

    302BOB TMO Addict

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    It's never too late for Vera to come on board!
     
  14. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    Think I'd better take a pass on 'Vera'. Not because it might get me in trouble, but because Vera was almost never seen. I hope I'm back out on the track more than twice in the next dozen years . . .


    Norm
     
  15. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton TMO Addict

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    Well she gives you the freedom you want and you are from the Philly area , so why not a little play on words ..................Liberty Belle!?
     
  16. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    Before this gets much further I should probably mention a few of the constraints that this build has been working under.

    I was still working when this build got started, so it still needed to be fully streetable. Streetability is still a requirement even though we're both retired these days because there still are times when we're going off in different directions, and I have to register/insure/get it to pass inspection to do that (technically I probably have to do those things just to keep it on the property).

    So what I'm trying to build here is a legitimately dual-purpose car. As a track car, I know it'll always be a bit of a weenie build, as a street car, most folks would consider it pushed a bit too far in the track direction at least in some respects. And I want to keep it relatively low-profile from a visual/appearance perspective - think "sleeper" from another time (tyme?) here. Always more fun that way.

    I do drive it to and from events, to date as far away as Mid-Ohio from the greater Philadelphia region. Hope I always can, because I have no place to put a tow vehicle and trailer. That I wouldn't care to use for any other purpose anyway.


    Norm
     
  17. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    Judging by the file date, this is the state of the front suspension back when the car was running on the GT500 wheels, Konis, UMI endlinks, and still on the OE springs. They'd been there a couple of years or so, hence a little rust. Hey, I do drive the thing in the rain and during winter.
    Strut 2.JPG

    The endlinks when new . . .
    UMI endlinks.jpg

    For adjusting the Konis I was unimpressed with the little plastic knobs that they shipped with. So I made my own from a scrap of 1/8" x 1" flat stock. I just have to remember to be gentle when re-registering the adjustment against either the zero or the full-range stop.
    MustangRearShockAdjust.jpg


    I tend to DIY things when I can, so I "repurposed" a set of seatbelts out of the Malibu into supplemental restraints for track driving. I'd done this before as chest straps at autocross, not willing to do that where the risk of rollover is any greater than that. My crude stitching need only be good enough to permit snugging the belt over the OE 3-point without stretching. Yeah, I made two of them.
    Supplemental Lap belt V02 web.jpg

    Somewhere in the 2014 time frame I added an Aeroforce Interceptor gauge in a A-pillar mount. The mount is mold-able with a little heat, and I've tweaked it a bit since to close up that big gap some, and the little sunshield has been deleted. I keep this gauge in the car and leave it set to mph (the OE speedometer is damn near impossible to read at a glance) and coolant temperature (OE instrumentation lacks this). The "annunciator" - the two little circles at the top of the display that flash red when your criteria have been met - is set for 5900 rpm (against a tach red zone that begins at 6000 - it's only a 4.6). The wire from the OBDII port is pretty much out of sight, being tucked along the door opening.
    Aeroforce Interceptor - web.jpg

    I find I'm more apt to refer to the Aeroforce than the OE speedometer in normal driving, and I find the A-pillar location keeps it out of my normal sight line when I'm not actively chasing the information that it provides. Unlike all the head-up displays these days that sit much closer to your central vision . . . I like mine much, much better.


    Norm
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  18. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    Somewhere early in the track day habit I put a GoPro sticky mount on the dash-top. Still seems to be holding just fine, but I've always used the separate tether. Philly Region SCCA required a separate tether even for autocross, and doing so makes a lot of sense anyway.
    GoPro mounting.JPG
    Had to temporarily remove the little clip for the tether for the passenger side airbag recall job. One little sheetmetal screw.

    And added this ↓↓↓
    Fire Extinguisher mount (mostly DIY).jpg
    Some day I'll get around to replacing the strap. Rust on the floor is from the well-known water leak that has an appetite for SJBs. Including my car's original one. But I came out of the SJB replacement with an unexpected side benefit . . . did I mention yet that those GT500 wheels were not fitted with TPMS? No?


    Norm
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  19. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson Corner Barstool Sitter

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    That, and some DIY efforts at front brake cooling brings this up to the summer of 2014. Cheap, ugly-looking, and sufficiently functional. Actually, that was a rework, and I just left the little horizontal tab from the first attempt in place figuring it'd only help keep heat radiating off the nozzle off the tierod end.
    IMG_0645.JPG

    DIY brake cooling 3.jpg

    IMG_0763.JPG

    I'd long since stepped up to Carbotech XP8 pads, and I think I was about to move from there to XP10's. Brake fluid was now RBF600, though it was still initially bleeding out dark after every track day. A consequence of still running on the GT's little OE 12.4" brakes, I guess. Even though I'd had no issues out on the track whatsoever, nor did I in a later 30+ minute session at Mid-O.

    All of the tasks thus far were pretty simple and except for the strut swap I don't think any single one of them took much more than a couple of hours.


    Norm
     
  20. ChrisM

    ChrisM No bad days.

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    I need to get some of those gauges, although I'm looking at trying out an Aim dash if it can monitor the same parameters.
     

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