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Show & Tell:What I Did This Weekend - Drivers Seat

Aaron Bonk
Feb 2, 2007
Writer: Robert Choo
0703_turp_01_z+robert_choo+standing_next_to_nissan Photo 1/1   |   Show & Tell:What I Did This Weekend - Drivers Seat

I know I've said before that I practically eat, breathe, and sleep cars, but in case there are any lingering doubts out there, I'm not kidding. As I was contemplating what to write about this month, my brain was overflowing with all the different automotive-related activities I've been up to this weekend. It dawned on me that I spend way more time dealing with cars than I do sleeping - or anything else.

Starting the weekend off early on a Thursday night, we headed up to Hollywood to attend a party that ProMotion was throwing to debut their new Spocom DVD. After sitting in two hours of LA traffic to get there, it was a night of drinks, DVD watching and drifting stars.

Bleary-eyed on Friday morning, I dropped by the office briefly to keep tabs on things and then bolted off to Sparco for a race seat installation. From Sparco I went straight to work on our Project Miata. The task at hand was installing a water temp gauge among other things. After losing daylight, I researched body kits on the web for our new Project Hachi Roku and decided on a paint scheme.

Saturday I headed out to the NHRA Sport Compact races, but had to leave early to pick up our Project Yaris from Design Craft Fabrications. The magic hands of Gary Castillo installed a custom roll cage and fitted the Sparco racing seats. After dropping off that car I headed over to Tech Editor Aaron Bonk's house to pick up the Yaris' suspension. Then I installed the Tein suspension in my driveway. After that, I gave the Yaris a bath. Dropped to the floor and sparkling clean, I must say it looked pretty badass. Having a little bit of time left before the sun went down, I washed our Project Celica, which had been looking neglected after being dive-bombed by a flock of birds. In between all of this I diagnosed a car problem over the phone: a friend's Volvo, which I'd helped work on, died for no apparent reason. In general, I receive so many phone calls about cars, and their possible diagnoses, that I may need to start my own Click&Clack radio show.

Sunday was no day to rest. I got up early and assisted a friend in purchasing a used car. I always get called out for car inspections, since I can rip sellers a new one when they lie about their vehicle. No accident? Runs fine? We'll see about that. I then met up with one of Turbo's freelancers for lunch and discussed the various stages of Turbo's project vehicles and the like. I would prefer to say we talked about non-car related issues, but I honestly can't think of anything else that came up.

On my drive back, I assisted my uncle in purchasing a new car over the phone. I then picked up some dry ice to break apart the sound-deadening material on the Miata. Why? Because it's just fun to use dry ice. That, and we're going to paint it; and I am anal about everything being stripped to the bone when I paint a car. After hacking away at the Miata's trunk, I got out the Dremel and shaved the Project Yaris' plastic shroud over the valve cover to accommodate the newly installed and kick-ass supercharger. I also installed a racing steering wheel while I was at it.

By this time the sun went down and I was relegated to work by garage light. I finished what I could on the Yaris, which was to tape up one wheel for painting. As I came inside to wash up (in my usual state of being covered in car grime), I was planning out my upcoming week. What parts do I need to pick up? Where do I need to drop off our various project cars? Still can't decide what color to paint the Miata .... Now I sit at home typing this on a Sunday night while catching the highlights of today's NASCAR race on SportsCenter. So where did the weekend go? Cars, cars and more cars. I think I need a weekend to relax from my weekend.

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Performance Challenged - Tech SceneThe day before the NHRA Sport Compact World Finals were held this last October, the bigwigs at Scion invited a bunch of us journalist types out for some good old-fashioned drag racing at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Scion has done this before. This time it was dubbed the Scion Performance Challenge 3.0. They bring out eight of their TRD-prepped, Toyota Pro/Celebrity tCs, and a couple of pro drag racers - this time Christian Rado and Kenny Tran - and let the journos have at it. Unfortunately, we were only able to have at it in the neighborhood of about 75 mph and were cut short at the eighth mile. Somebody must not think us writer types could handle that full quarter mile. Fair enough. It was fun for us just to get out on the strip and give the beat down on somebody else's car. The tCs were decent too. Scion fitted the Camry engines with TRD superchargers as well as the usual bolt-ons, Progress coilovers and Bridgestone Potenzas that hooked up as good as we could have hoped for a street tire to hook up.

The day kicked off with more than 40 journalists, photographers, editors and Scion employees each battling it out for a spot in the 32-person elimination round. Rado and Tran were both on hand dispensing staging tactics and driving advice for the curious. They were also there to compete. Rado didn't disappoint. He posted the fastest E.T. and quickest mph of the day - at first. He qualified number one for the first round of eliminations too, but got knocked out by some bastard from Turbo magazine. To be fair though, Chris got stuck with a tC sporting a questionable transmission during our match-up and experienced second-gear shift trauma. Nevertheless, it was the upset of the day. It was off to round two for me where I was given a reality check and fittingly knocked out of the race by one of the editors from National Dragster. I guess if I was gonna get taken out it might as well have been by someone who knows a couple of things about drag racing. He does. I guess I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon for a career in drag racing. Overall the day was a success. It was good to see a big company like Scion take such an active interest in seeing our scene grow. Then again, the free food and drag racing didn't hurt either.

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By Aaron Bonk
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