There are no bad cars, there are only cars that cost more than they should. My first car was a Plymouth Volare. It did not cost me more than it should; it cost me $600, and it was worth every penny.
I have a $400 multimeter in my toolbox. I’m not sure why, but at some point in the recent past, I decided I needed to measure voltage with an accuracy of less than one-tenth of one percent and current down to ten microamps. Sitting on top of it, is that red multimeter that Harbor Freight occasionally gives away free with any purchase. Guess which one gets used most often?
Technically rockets are automobiles, so this belongs here. On September 3rd 2002 an amateur astronomer named Bill Yeung did what amateur astronomer Bill Yeung does best: he found an asteroid orbiting earth that nobody had found yet. Excited to claim the discovery, he named it J002E3 presumably because Spacey McSpace Face was already taken, but something was amiss. For one, nobody had noticed it before, which was odd given its size. Also, it seemed to be painted white. [Continue Reading]
Bull fighting. Flamenco dancing. Gratuitous amounts of ham. Sure. A large and historic Automobile industry? Spain is known for many things, but what about cars? The answer to that is an unequivocal “eh, kind of.” [Continue Reading]
I decided I wanted to see the aurora borealis, so I took four days off of work, bought the cheapest plane ticket to Fairbanks I could find, and drove around the state sleeping in the back of a minivan. [Continue Reading]
When confronted with the opportunity to buy something for twenty dollars, I always think “I bet I could build that for free,” and then proceed to spend a hundred dollars in tools so that I can build it for free. Then I spend twenty dollars on beer to celebrate the money I saved. So when my doctor said “You’ll need to buy a walking cane,” I thought, Buy? I have a pile of metal and a welder. So I bought twenty dollars of beer and got to work. [Continue Reading]
I fell in love with the 60’s Honda S600 after driving it in a video game years ago. I don’t remember the game, I just remember driving the tiny car around like a go-kart, weaving through traffic and laughing, thinking about how fun it would be to drive the little clown car on twisty mountain roads. Years later, after a stint making Formula SAE cars in college, I had the itch to build a motorcycle engine powered car and I remembered the tiny little Honda-kart.
The S600 is a weird part of automotive history; [Continue Reading]
You suck at driving. Well, I mean, not you specifically. You are great at driving. And me, I’m also great at driving. But everyone else? Everyone else sucks at driving. This is especially disconcerting for those of us who travel on two wheels, because while automotive safety has been steadily improving for vehicle occupants, it is still quite dangerous to be outside the car that drifts into oncoming traffic while the driver is liking his friend’s swipe-chat, or whatever it is you kids do these days. I mean, not you, but, you know, other people.
I’ve been dodging lunatic four wheelers for 15 years now and managed to not get hit by any of them up until a couple months ago when another driver decided my left leg should have 17 degrees of freedom. [Continue Reading]
We needed a Menorah, so we decided to make one. I bought a bunch of old motorcycle transmissions off eBay and took them apart for the gears. [Continue Reading]
There are many important moments in the life of a car guy: The time you buy your first car, the first time you start the engine on your project build, and of course that time Jay Leno says “Hey, nice car, wanna be on my show?”
How, exactly, do you get the power from the output sprocket to the wheels? What engine is that? What about reverse? are you using the original chain drive that came with the S600?
Motorcycle engine, motorcycle suspension.
Have you ever played darts with a sledgehammer?
People ask me all the time what this car is like, and it’s hard to explain, but I will try to answer this question here with the help of some reasonable and not-at-all hyperbolic analogies.
A Viper is basically a cartoon on PCP. Remember how in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? there were cartoons mixed in the real world, so there would be a row of normal cars and then a crazy cartoon car at the end? That’s what it feels like every time I walk out to the parking lot. [Continue Reading]
I own a Dodge Viper and a minivan, and if I could only keep one of them, it would be the minivan.
Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “I don’t want to be rude, Matt, but I’m not sure this is the place for you.”
Hear me out. [Continue Reading]
There seems to be no write-up of how to install a big bore kit in a DRZ400, so I decided to fill the void. All I really wanted to know was
A) Do I have to remove the engine, and
B) How lazy can I be?
The answers, for those of you who can’t wait til the end, are:
A) No, and
B) Like, super lazy. [Continue Reading]
It didn’t work.
I wrote a book about my experience building and racing cars in college. It’s exciting! It’s amusing! It’s free! (for ebook download!)
RACECAR: Searching for the Limit in Formula SAE
By Matt Brown
In 2006, a small unavailing university auto racing team began building a racecar that would challenge the best engineering schools in the world. With fewer people and resources than any of the top competitors, the only way they were going to win was to push the limit, go for broke, and hope for more than a little luck.
By the time they got to the racetrack, they knew: In the fog of fierce competition, whether you win or lose, you learn the hardest lessons about engineering, teamwork, friendship, and yourself.
I always assumed that I’d be good at snow skiing. I do that a lot; I assume I’ll be good at something without any reason to think so. I always thought I’d be good at driving race cars, and so far I’d give myself an A. So skiing shouldn’t be too much different. All the same, I decided to take a ski class before venturing onto the slopes. I found a good ski area, called to check all the details, and left early in the morning so that I could make it there in the 8am to 9am window for ski school signup. 8:15AM, I was 5 miles away from the Loveland ski area. [Continue Reading]