Tagged Posts

So here we go, this post has been a week coming, I just haven't had the time do get it together. About a month ago, perhaps a little more, I did something that seemed to upset quite a few people, even apparently some people at Nissan! I posted the opportunity to buy my Nissan Leaf on Ebay. That lasted all of a few minutes, I’m not even sure how long the auction was up 24 hours before I was asked to (or really it was suggested that I ) remove it. So down it came, along with the posts that I had put up announcing it.

What people didn’t know was that I had been posting the Leaf on craigslist here in the bay area for a month or more before it was ever listed on Ebay. I had a few inquiries from the Craigslist ad, though many of those inquiries were just your typical internet trolls complaining. Some even took the time to email me and call me an “Idiot” I appreciate that someone took the time to do that.

So back to Ebay, I pulled the ad, I removed the blog/forum posts, I cleared most of my tracks at the threat of losing the right to purchase the Leaf. I even quit posting the ad on Craigslist. After the ad came down from Ebay people started coming out of the wood work asking to buy the car. Fortunately for me I had lined someone up before I even pulled the Ebay ad down. In fact the ad didn’t even have anything to do with getting rid of my car, the Craigslist ad came through.

What? I thought you purchased the Leaf last week?

Well, technically I did, for a little while anyways. I had a guy fly in from Detroit on Monday of last week, we drove from the airport to the dealer, then the bank, then the dealer again. The dealer wouldn’t take a cashier’s check, so we had to go to the bank and have the money wired from their bank, to the dealer’s bank, which was all of 1 block away. Unfortunately the dealer’s bank became a problem and wouldn’t show the transfer as posting until the following day. So in order for us to drive the car off the lot that day I ended up having to take a loan out on the car as a fall back contract, in case the transfer didn’t go through.

After about 4 hours of things we finally left the dealer, I in my 350z and the new owner in the Nissan Leaf. I didn’t even get to drive the thing! Though I did sit in it a few times

So there it is, I no longer own a 2011 Nissan Leaf? Why might you ask? Well it really doesn’t matter what I say, people are going to hate on me. But here goes my explanation with a little backstory.

Back in April of 2010 I got an email from Nissan announcing the preorder process for the Leaf, I jumped on things and signed up, immediately preordering as soon as I could. Shortly after that I setup www.LeafOwner.com with the thought of creating a website dedicated to the Leaf. I got some good traffic, with the help of some key features on Engadget, AutoBlogGreen and even two different tweets from Lance Armstrong!

I was thrilled at the idea of getting a Leaf, I have an 8-9 mile commute, so it was going to work out perfectly for that. I was one of the first people to get the Aerovironment charger inspections, I asked my landlord if we could get an install going. From there things actually started to sour a bit. I got the charger assessment back and it was for $2200, roughly $800 for the charger/shipping, and then the rest for the installation, for about an hour’s worth of labor and maybe $100 worth of equipment.

As the summer progressed I kept up with the Leaf, attending events to see the car when I could, and then went through the ordering process, that is when things really went south for me. I went ahead and ordered the car, as a lease option, but when I started thinking about it, the lease was going to be $420 a month. I started thinking, 420 a month could go towards a very nice car payment, rather than “renting” a very expensive Nissan Versa.

I’ll take some hits for that, but to me that is what the car ultimately became. It’s an economy sized hatchback, that when fully priced out last week was $38k. While there are lots of cool geeky features in the Leaf, the only real addition above and beyond a Versa was the batteries, the electric aspect. So I decided that the car most likely wasn’t for me.

In October I went to the driving events that Nissan was doing, and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I drove the car, and after driving corvettes, camaros, and 350zs I just couldn’t see myself driving the Leaf, not at the cost.

I’m a car guy, I always have been, and the later it got into 2010 the more I had the itch to start racing cars again. I am now actively autocrossing my 350z (www.project350z.com). Heck, for the price that the Leaf ultimately cost I could have purchased a brand new 2010 Nismo 370z! Though I didn’t want to do that either, spending more money just wasn’t in the cars right now. My 350z cost me $12k, and that’s a lot smaller car payment than a new Leaf would be, and the car ultimately becomes more useful to me as I can autocross it.

So in the end, to sum things up. The price of the electric car killed it for me. I’m not saying I will never own another Leaf, or an electric car, but right now it just didn’t make sense to me. In the future I do hope to own an electric car, heck maybe I’ll build an electric VB Bug for www.projectvw.com in the future. But for now, I’ll let the early adopters help to bring the price of the electric car down.

For those of you who choose to hate me for that, I am sorry that you feel that way, but that’s the beauty of our wonderful country, everyone gets to have their own opinion.

(if you’re interested in purchasing LeafOwner.com let me know!)

So it has been over 2 years since I’ve had vinyl on a car, that will be changing in 2011. Look out for the upcoming transformation of the Project 350z! Early in the year I will be doing a minor overhaul, with the goal of doing a full wrap on the car later in the year.

I just need to find someone local who can do the wrap for a reasonable cost, and make sure that they don’t damage the car in the process. I’ve not had anyone apply vinyl to my cars before, I’ve always done it myself, but I don’t have visions of being able to do a full wrap myself.

For a refresher, here are some photos of some of my past vinyl experiences (all self applied)

The new look DotNetNuke Corvette My Old 350Z 350Z Autocross CRW_8435 My Old Camaro 7G9X4944

For those of you who have known me for a while this won’t come as a surprise. I suffer from Automotive ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder),  and it is just getting worse!

oyNatalie and I are in car shopping mode, we’re looking to downsize from our 2008 F250 FX4, while we love the truck, it is just far too big for our lives in California. We recently sold our horse trailer that we had been trying to sell for a while now. Now that the trailer is gone, we are ready to part with the truck.

So we’re looking at what to get. Natalie would like a 4 door wagon, with room for a stroller (or the dogs) in the back, the baby in the back seat, and us up front. We’re thinking that we would like to find a used BMW 5 series to fill that role, though figuring out what year/mileage is something we haven’t decided yet.

One thought we are having is that perhaps it might be a good idea to trade the Z in on a 4 door car for myself as well. I test drove a 2011 Mitsubishi Evolution today, oh boy, daddy like!

I wouldn’t buy a new Evo, they are far too costly, but I would considering getting a used one and then perhaps an  older (2000-2003) 5-series for Natalie. I went to check out a couple of used 2008 Evo’s at a dealer down in San Jose today but immediately noticed that they were both modified, which totally turns me off. I don’t want to get into a modified car again, I’d rather buy something that is completely stock and if I want to modifiy it do it myself.

So we’ll see where this bout with my latest batch of AADHD takes us.

Don’t believe me that I have a problem? Here’s a list of the cars I and Natalie have owned over the past 5 years.

2003 Nissan 350z
2004 Ford F350
1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
1973 Datsun 240z
1978 Datsun 280z 2+2
2005 Chevy Tahoe
2004 Chevy Corvette Z06
2005 GMC Yukon
2008 Ford F250
1995 Audi A6
2004 Nissan 350z

Interesting news found as I read through the Autoblog Green today (I'm a changed man reading Autoblog Green now, the thought of getting a Leaf has me all sorts of weird).

There was an article from Monday posted there about Eaton developing fast charging systems for both home and commercial use electric vehicles. That strikes me of interest because I have a buddy, one of my former codriver's in the CorvetteZ06.org car, that works for Eaton. I've already sent him an email to see what kind of discount I can get :)

Check out the full Eaton writeup at Autoblog Green including the press release

It has been quite a while, over a year, since I really spent some time washing a waxing a vehicle. My how time has flown, last year we spent time prepping for, and moving to Colorado, during that time I was without a “fun” car, having sold the Corvette back in October 2008.

Today, for the first time since likely 1995 I spent time washing and waxing a car in California. And the weather was beautiful! I spent the yesterday evening and today up at a friend’s house in Fairfield, the town I went to high school in. We had dinner with friends from HS last night, and then this morning I spent the day cleaning up my the 350z for the first time since picking it up, and boy did it need it, especially after the 1200 mile road trip (on the back of an open trailer last week from Colorado to California).

I washed the car, clay barred the various marks and such in the paint, washed it again, and then waxed the car. It looks mucho better now, if I do say so for myself. Here are some pictures of the beauty after her bath.

IMG_2159 IMG_2158

The rest of the afternoon I hung out and had a BBQ with friends, and new friends. I had a great time, but had to head back down here to San Mateo so I can work tomorrow. I made the drive in 1hr and 10 minutes. If only traffic were that nice all the time I might consider buying a house in my old stomping grounds and commuting to work. But I can only imagine that most days that would be a 2+ hr drive during commute times. Some day, perhaps later this week, I’ll get around to blogging about the Project350z’s first autocross which happened a few weeks ago.

So I don’t know why I didn’t think of this a month ago, would have saved me some money on shipping, but the Corbeau A4s for the 240z are sold. John V, the guy who bought the Corvette has purchased them for use in his RX-7 that I bought and shipped to him a few weeks ago. Would have made sense to pack the seats in the car then, but I didn’t realize he was going to be interested in them, oh well.

On an unrelated note, have you checked out our sister-site, Project350z.com? You might ask, but you don’t even have a 350Z? True, but I will, at least that’s the plan, to get another one in early 2010 so I can have a car to race next year. I’ve spent a few hours over the past few sick evenings sorting through photos of the old car, which just makes me miss not having a 350Z that much more. I posted photos and got a site design together, though I don’t have much other content up there yet, it will take a few months to get it all together, hopefully just in time to get myself a new (used) ride.

Dozzle, if you read this, I still want to buy my old car back!!!!

So today marks a year since the 2004 Corvette Z06 left our stable. In the past year I’ve autocrossed exactly once, back in March or April of this year in St. Louis. We’ve since moved to Colorado, bought a house, and traded/sold most of our vehicles. We are in the process of trying to build up our stable again, lots of changes going on!

Yesterday I went up to Boulder Colorado and looked at and RX-7 for John, the buy who bought the Corvette. It looks like I will be heading up there next weekend and picking it up. It may require a tad bit of work to get it ready for shipping, but John is going to arrange to have a truck pick it up for the haul to DC.

I hope to start autocrossing again next year with a new ride, probably another 350z. In the mean time be sure to keep track of the progress on the 240Z at http://www.project240z.com

Two years ago today was the day that the Datsun toasted Motor #1 on it's first autocross run! Here’s a shot of that first competition run.

IMG_3199 by you.

And then a short time later (same run) here’s my getting out to push it

IMG_3242 by you.

Here’s what we found when we just happened to pull plug #2

This isn't good by you.

And then this is what it looked like when I went to drain the oil from the motor

Drained by you.


A few things have happened in the two years since that fateful day. A few months later I purchased a 2004 Corvette Z06 and autocrossed that for a year.

I sold the Corvette.

I got the Datsun running again with another motor, same turbo setup.

We moved to Colorado. www.going2colorado.com

In the next few weeks I hope to get more of the 240 back together, starting to work on the electrical system and such. Then during the first week of September the car goes to www.hanksvillehotrods.com for a new exhaust, maybe I can talk them into a cage too ;)

So my weekend of working on the 240Z started off quite slowly today. I ended up sleeping until almost noon this morning, it was nice to catch up on some much lost rest from the travelling the past few months.

So after my restful morning I had a few errands to run to get my costume ready for a party tonight. Once those were completed I was able to spend some time in the garage. First things first getting the months of piled on crap off the top of the car. That led me to assembling the 2nd craftsman stool that I had purchased probably 10 months ago now, it was in a box on the hood of the car.

Once I could see the top of the car I made room at the back and rolled her back a bit in the garage, this allowed me to get to the motor which has been on the stand for quite some time sitting in front of the car. Without the Corvette in the garage (*sheds a small tear*) I had plenty of room to move the motor over to the free side of the garage to work on. The next step for the car is to get all of the motor bits back together, the manifolds, turbo and all other accessories need to be put on the car so that I can put it back in the engine bay. I spent some time this afternoon cleaning off some more of the grease/dirt that covers the motor. I think Lynn, the previous owner, took it to a rally cross based on all the dirt and grime I’ve pulled off this motor over time.

I didn’t get too far today, but I hope that tomorrow I can get all of the parts back on the motor, if I can successfully do that I should be able to get the motor back in the car next weekend. The biggest problem I have working on the car is staying focused, if I’m by myself I tend to stray from the task at hand, and I never seem to get anything done. Case in point today, at some point while working on clearing off the car I got out the angle grinder and wire wheeled the hole where the FM antenna was at one point, I thought it looked like it might be rusting so I took the paint off then sprayed some primer on the car. Now it looks worse than before, but I had fun! :)

More updates tomorrow, hopefully with some video. I tried using the Chase Cam today to shoot some video but apparently the PDR doesn’t really care for normal AA batteries as it only stayed powered on for about 5 minutes before shutting off, without me knowing.

I just got an email from Natalie, John is on his way back to the DC area with the Corvette, so we no longer own a Corvette..... Have fun John, enjoy your ride!

So I made the trip to Dubai fine this evening. The three of us in my section were all American, I was next to two guys, my guess is they were oil workers heading off to Baghdad, but they weren’t too talkative so that I could find out.

It’s hot here, I’m not gonna like that part. So far I can’t get to www.flickr.com and some TV show on BBC was blocked. I am going to miss the freedom of America these next 10 days.

The first car I noticed here in Dubai, besides the hundreds of taxis, a Corvette of course.

So I am sitting at Schiphol airport waiting for my flight at 1:40pm to Dubai. I’ll be there for 10 days, then finally flying home to St. Louis.

Natalie and I had a great time here in Amsterdam, the OpenForce Europe conference was great, and getting to meet more DNN community and team members, as well as other speakers that do a LOT MORE speaking than I do was educational. I look forward to applying for sessions for the conference next year!

Natalie is on her way back to St. Louis, she’ll be home Thursday evening and then will be picking up John from the airport Friday morning. He’ll be driving the Corvette back to Washington DC tomorrow, so when I get home the car will be gone :(

Hope everyone back home is doing well, I’m going to get ready to find my gate, the flights here have the security screening at the gate, rather than when entering the terminal, so the lines for the gates seem to be rather long.

So it's been a while since I've made any real progress on the 240Z, but come the end of October I hope my weekends will finally slow down enough that I can start working on the car again with the intention of getting it running before Christmas!

The Corvette goes away in just over a week, which will leave me without a fun car to drive, so hopefully that will motivate me a little bit to work on the 240 after I get done travelling for the month of October.

So the final days are now ticking down. I have two, maybe three days of driving the Corvette left before we leave for Amsterdam. Natalie will be flying back from Amsterdam and meeting John (the new owner) at the airport next Friday so he can take posession of the car.

I was getting the mail tonight and saw the car sitting half in the garage and half out, where I had parked it, in the light, it looked beautiful. It really is an amazing car, I will miss it, I already do.

You might ask, why are you selling the Z06? One main reason. Natalie and I plan to move to Colorado (even though we are rumored in the horse world to be moving to Germany) next summer, and while I love the car, the car payment and insurance could be used for more grown up things than racing, like buying our first house, and planning for the move. I don't imagine I will go long without a fun race car though.

So what will come next? That is undecided at this point. I will most likely buy a $2-3k ride/beater for the winter so I don't have to drive the long ass F350 all winter, and hopefully spend some time working on the 240Z to get it up and running soon. I need something fun to drive, that is for sure, but even if the 240 runs, it would take a lot of work and money to make it anywhere near as fun as the Corvette.

I don't know what I will race next year, perhaps I'll try to find a nicely prep'd codrive, perhaps I'll take it easy for the year. This year in the Corvette has been fun. I think I've put something in the range of 150 autocross runs on the car not including test and tune runs, on a whole the car has seen well over 300, maybe near 400 runs this year.

Hopefully John and Clyde can put that many runs on her next year.

So I've been meaning to do this for a while now, I added up the number of runs I've taken this year in the Corvette, it comes to somewhere near 130+ runs, I'm not exactly sure how many runs I got at the Evo school in Kansas City, but assuming I took at least 15 that puts the total around 133 considering the reruns at events I remember. That also doesn't include the Test&Tune in Topeka before the divisional in August. That is a lot of runs on a car, but if you take into account the number of runs that codrivers have had (around 195) that brings the car's total up to over 300 for this year alone. No wonder the rear control arm bushings are worn out! By my rough count I should have another 18 runs in the next week and a half assuming the car is repaired, plus codriver runs (18) that will put the total over 350 for the year without T&T events, we're also doing the Test & Tune this coming Sunday in Topeka. Sometime I will go back and find results from all the events to get an accurate total, as well as a cone count for all of Dave's runs!
So this was supposed to be a quiet weekend, the first weekend off of racing since the 14th of June. While it is true that we won't be racing this weekend, it doesn't mean we won't be working. There's something wrong with the Corvette, something pretty massive, though thus far untraceable. Something is going on with the suspension, or drivetrain, causing it to feel very unsafe under acceleration, but fine when cruising down the road. This evening it started throwing errors about "Service ABS" "Service Traction Control" and "Service Active Handling" which I have seen before, but a quick reset of the car has always made these go away. Well not tonight, so, this weekend I'll be thoroughly going through the suspension of the car to try and track down WTF is going on. Hopefully I find something, otherwise I'll be taking it to the dealer first thing Monday morning. I hate to have to resort to that, but I need the car repaired ASAP as we leave on Thursday to head to Topeka for 10 days of racing!
A heads up to anyone who codrives with the Whitworths anytime in the future... They hit so many cones, that these cones start to haunt the other drivers in the car! A funny thing happened on Natalie's last run on Saturday. I was filming the run and saw something pecular. After a short time on the course I noticed a cone under the back of the Corvette, I was pretty sure that Natalie didn't hit a cone at the beginning of this run so it had to have come from Beth's previous run in which she blasted into a cone right before the finish. I hadn't bothered to look under the car when Beth got back from her run and we were prepping the car for Natalie, had I looked I am pretty sure I would have found a cone somewhere near the rear diff.
3 of 5 drivers in the CorvetteZ06.org team finished in 3rd this weekend. Natalie finished third in SSL, Dave finished Third in ASP, and I finished third in SS. Beth finished 2nd in SSL and managed to win the only tire this weekend, Tom ended up having to deal with some family business in KC after taking his runs on Saturday so he was unable to run on Sunday. Hopefully his father-in-law is doing better. More detailed updates and video later this weekend/week.
Today we ran the last local event of 2008 for the CorvetteZ06.org team here in St. Louis. It was another successful day today, the car taking FTD, Top Pax, 3rd on Pax and top on the Ladies Pax as well! This is the fourth time this year (out of 6) that I was able to finish on top of Pax. I'm pleased with this result, though I won't win overall Pax for the year, had the points been normal this year (6 events counting, with all events being equal) I believe I would have had a shot. Natalie did very well today, taking a win in SSL as well as the overall ladies win. This was just her fourth autocross ever, and only her 3rd in the Corvette so I am very happy with her performance!
Now that the Corvette is pretty much sold, I will have it for a few more weeks, but John will get it some time after the Solo Nationals, I am trying to figure out what comes next? I was thinking something along the lines of a used BMW barge, maybe a 5 or 7 Series, but Terec reminded me that I have to stick with the Z in whatever I purchase, so if I want a bimmer that pretty much leaves me to a Z3-4 or 8, and I really don't want a convertible. Here's how my Z fetish has panned out since 2001.
It looks like the Corvette Z06 has found a new home, John V will be taking it back east sometime after Nationals. John's a good friend of mine from back in the day when I used to beat him in B-Stock! :) I'm starting to get sad that the car will be going away, but I am glad it is going to a good home, someone who will autocross her just as much if not more than I have. We've still got a month or so together, so I will enjoy her while she's here!
I spent the day today cleaning up the Corvette and then setup the new look of the car for the upcoming Solo Nationals. A big thanks to Dave at www.SoloPerformance.com for getting the vinyl cut yesterday. It took me pretty much all afternoon to get this done, with washing the car, clay barring a few parts of the car, polish and wax, applying the vinyl then another wash. I think the car turned out great, you can check out the flickr photos to see what it looks like. Now for the video, music from Steve Ewing (www.steveewingmusic.com) Check out the video on the full blog post.
After the Solo Nationals this year the Corvette (available mid to late September) will be for sale as I have other plans for the next year. This car has been exciting, and if I didn't have some big things coming up in the next 12 months I would be keeping it and running it all next year. I wouldn't be opposed to someone buying the car and me co-driving it next year at National events, and some local STL events. Any co-drive arrangements would be made seperate of the sale of the vehicle. Get yourself a car for a great price that is capable of winning trophies at National Tours, ProSolos, and to take the top Index and even FTD at local events. (Currently located in St. Louis, MO) Here are some of the specifics: 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ~18k miles currently 3M Clear Bra 1 Set of Koni Sport shocks (currently the fronts are installed) 1 Set of OEM Shocks (rears installed on car) 1 OEM Sway Bar 1 Adco (sp?) Sway Bar 1 Borla Stinger exhaust (on car) 1 Hardbar Harness Bar 1 Corbeau Harness in car 1 Set of Street Wheels/Tires, C6 Z06 look, in C5 size 3 Sets of C5 Z06 wheels, not sure what tires will be left/included with sale. The car has been well maintained and cared for, all fluids changed recently, transmission and diff using Red Line, Mobil 1 Synthetic used exclusively in the motor. I’m looking for $31k for the car and all the above parts. The www.corvettez06.org website might also be for sale but is not part of the price of the car. If you're interested in the car feel free to get in touch with me. -Chris
What do you think of this as a possible look for the Corvette for Nationals? Check out the photo on the full blog post.

Chris Hammond is a father, husband, leader, developer and car guy. Chris has long specialized in ASP.NET and DotNetNuke development, so you will find a variety of topics here on the website. For more information check out the about me page.

If you are looking for DotNetNuke consulting please visit my business website at https://www.christoc.com/