Project: Pony Up -Part Two

By | September 29, 2014

Project Pony Up

It has been a few months since our last Project: Pony Up update so it is overdue.  The project was set aside for a little while until I was able to find time to put into it again.  In the last update the old 302 had come out of the car and the engine bay painted.  In this update, the new motor and transmission has been pulled from the donor car and I’ll be going over the things that will need to be done to it before it can go into its new home.

Ford 5.0

The new motor is a 5.0 V8 from a Fox Body Mustang.  It is far from stock with its aluminum Edelbrock Performer heads, E303 cam, and Edelbrock Performer upper and lower intake manifolds producing roughly 325 hp at the crank.  The transmission, a stock T5 5-speed manual transmission used in Mustangs in various forms from 1983-2010, this one is from a 1991 GT and is known as a T5 World Class which is rated for up to 300lb/ft of torque and is fitted with a Steeda short shifter.

Borg-Warner T5

The first thing that will have to be done is cleanup.  This motor was so leaky that under normal driving I was having to add a quart of oil every other week and add coolant even more often.  There is so much oil on it and it has to go!  After cleanup, the engine will be torn down and the gaskets will be replaced.  The oil pan and timing cover are notorious for leaking.  The block will then get painted black.  Next will be converting the double sump oil pan for a front sump Canton T-Pan, oil pickup, and a windage tray.  While we’re at it the clutch will be replaced with a King Cobra clutch kit and the bellhousing will be modified for a hydraulic clutch instead of the old cable clutch setup.  A clutch pedal has already been installed but we will go over that in a future update.  A new gas tank has also been installed that is designed for fuel injected conversions.  Fuel lines will need to be routed and then it will be done to the most difficult part of the project, the wiring harness.  The harness will be plug-and-play but will need to be gone over to see what wires need to be lengthened, shortened, or removed completely.

Project: Pony Up Parts

Once all that is done, the car should be able to be fired up and back on the road!  Once the new clutch is broken in and the motor proves to be problem free, it will be taken to a local shop to be dyno-tuned to see what kind of numbers it puts down and also to get the most out of the ECU.  In the coming weeks, we will bring you updates in more of a how-to style so you can see how to do everything we do along the way as well as giving you a chance to voice opinions, suggestions, and questions about the project.

Photos by the Author

NASCAR Announces 2015 Rule Changes

By | September 23, 2014

NASCAR in the RainNASCAR is almost taboo for us at The Daily Derbi.  Most of us aren’t the biggest of fans and would rather watch sports car racing like Tudor Sports Car Championship that are featured in our Racing Blips.  Today, NASCAR announced new rule changes for 2015 that will have a huge impact on the series, some of them so big that we had to share.  Of the 60 new rules, here’s what you need to know.  The biggest goal of the new rules is to increase the safety of everyone involved as well as slowing the cars down.  Rules for the cars will include the following:

-Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
-Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
-Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
-Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)
-Optional driver adjustable track bar
-38-inch wide radiator pan
-Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight:  3,300 w/o driver)
-Updated qualifying formats for all tracks

Private testing is now banned and is only allowed at Goodyear/NASCAR events where teams are invited.

The biggest announcement is racing on road courses, such as Sonoma and Watkins Glen, will now be allowed in the rain with rain tires, wiper blades, a defogger, and rear flashing lights.

The other changes include various items such as new parts approvals and automated pit lane officiating.

The press release from NASCAR can be found here and more info on the rules can be found here.

Racing Blip: 2014 Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas

By | September 19, 2014

Oak Racing Ligier JSP2 HPD

Oak Racing Ligier JSP2 HPD

Well race fans, we are now at the penultimate race of the season. This time IMSA/TUDOR takes us to the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas. F1 fans will know COTA as the home of F1 racing in the USofA. And this weekend, fans of endurance racing are in for a treat. Not only is IMSA/TUDOR racing, but also the World Endurance Championship makes a stop at COTA as well. That will make for nearly 9 hours of racing from some of the finest drivers and marques from around the world. Audi, Toyota, Porsche, BMW, Corvette, Dodge SRT Viper, Aston Martin, Ferrari, etc, etc..all will be racing on one of America’s newest race tracks.

Today’s IMSA/TUDOR qualifying brought out some interesting changes. First change came in the form of a switch up in the cars of the Prototype class. Gone is one of the Extreme Speed Motorsports P2 cars, off playing with the big boys in WEC. Also the loss of Oak Racing’s P2 Morgan / Nissan, replaced with a Ligier JSP2 powered by HPD. Second big change, Porsche North America bringing in a 3rd Porsche 911 RSR to help with the manufacture points in GTLM class.

What to watch for:

In P, the continuing battle between P2 and DP cars. With Oak taking the top spot by a handy margin during qualifying, imagine the points leading DP cars will be going all out for the new Oak Racing P2.

In GTLM, again, this has to be the finest sports car racing out there right now. The Porsche factory team came out STRONG, as did the No. 92 Dodge SRT Viper. In fact, it was Porsche – Viper – Porsche in the top 3 qualifying spots. Corvette and Ferrari seemed to struggle during qualifying. They just weren’t on the pace for some reason. Tough one to call, but that is what makes GTLM some GREAT racing!!

How to watch the race on Saturday @ 12:30pm ET:

IMSA has some changes to streaming and broadcast again, so I’ll just point you to their website.

As always, the handy-dandy spotters guide.

And a sizzle piece from IMSA’s YouTube Channel.

[photo | IMSA]

In Photos: 2014 NASA WERC Round 4

By | September 6, 2014

Start of the WERC

Start of the WERC

On the evening of Aug. 16th, starting just after 6pm, Miller Motorsports Park and NASA Utah hosted the 4th round of the WERC – Western Endurance Racing Championship. A six hour endurance race meant to give those, willing to step up to the challenge, an excellent chance to prove your ability has a driver, as a team, and just how solid your car is.

This is also one of the few events at MMP that runs into the night. And at 6 hours, running into the night it did. And much like the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the only lights on were on pit row. As this race was running on the outer 3.1 mile loop, this means the vast majority of the race was ran in total darkness. Time to fire up those LED light bars to help drivers see into the night

As with many endurance races, cars fail and fall to the wayside. When the checker flag dropped just past midnight, only 4 cars were left standing.

Taking the overall win was Wild Schick Racing in their ES classed Nissan GTR. Followed by the E3 classed Mazda MX-5s from RJ Racing, Snow Storm, and finally Paul Mitchell.

And you can find more information NASA’s WERC series at their site.

And results of the this year’s Round 4, can be found here.

Thanks to the staff at Miler Motorsports Park for their help covering this event!

[photos | Chance Hales | Neil Eschenfelder | Mike Gillilan]

Sinkhole to be Filled and Three Vettes to be Restored

By | September 2, 2014

bildeBack in February of this year something terrible happened.  A gaping sinkhole opened up and swallowed eight Corvettes whole in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY.  Since that incident the massive hole has become the main attraction at the museum bringing thousands to the museum to see it boosting attendance with a healthy 70% increase.  The Vettes were removed and promptly put on display as well, most of them pretty much destroyed.

Nearly seven months later, the fate of the sinkhole has been decided.  Initially, the museum was going to leave a portion of the sinkhole. To do so they were going to add safety measures for viewers but the cost to do so has more than doubled the initial estimates of $500,000 to over a $1,000,000.  The new plan is to fill in the sinkhole completely.  The sinkhole will remain as-is until after their upcoming Vets in Vettes event November 6-8, 2014.

The cars were also under the microscope and how to deal with them.  There was much debate about leaving them as is or restoring them.  GM even volunteered to oversee the restorations as well as donating $250,000 to aid the museum in its recovery.  The museum has chosen to restore the 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” Prototype, the 1 Millionth Corvette, and the 1962 Corvette.  The remaining five cars were determined too far gone to restore and will be left in their present condition and will be the only remaining damage caused by the sinkhole.  If you wish to see the sinkhole before construction starts you only have two short months to do so.

Source: National Corvette Museum

Bad Carma: Misspelling Intended

By | August 27, 2014

I’m not Buddhist but I’m starting to believe that Karma really does exist.  It either exists or I’m one of the unluckiest people on the planet.  The latter is probably more true as I come from a long line of accident prone klutzes.  My Dad and his Father have wrecked and probably totaled a combined dozen vehicles at least.  When I was a tween my Dad backed out of the garage with the passenger door open in our green 1976 Toyota Corona, severely hyper-extending it and nearly removing it all together.  He once backed that car into a ditch leaving the house as well.  He’s the only person I’ve heard of who has been hit by a train in an AMC Gremlin and survived and he also totaled a Datsun pickup by hitting a stray pig.  When I was 17 he turned into a rural driveway without looking for oncoming traffic.  I was in the passenger seat.  The Silverado we were driving was scrapped and the Neon that hit us carried the crash dummies in the 4th of July parade.  I could go on and on.

Fortunately for me, the clumsy gene seems to have ebbed but the bad car Karma continues.  I drove a 1993 Nissan Maxima 4DSC in high school.  That car was good to me but I abused it.  In my ignorant teen mind, I figured that as long as I maintained the car it would take care of me.  Clearly 137 MPH runs through the dry farms and clearing all 4 wheels from the ground were not included in the recommended maintenance.  Regular oil changes and tire rotations would ensure a long worry free relationship right?  Not so much.  My lack of self control caught up with me.  An annoying ticking noise showed up one day from the timing cover after four years of hard use.  I’d stretched the timing chains.  Alas, even after new timing chains were installed my beloved “Red Rocket” would never be the same.  No matter how much time it spent at the shop getting diagnosed and having warranty work done, it would never be quick again.


The Maxima soon found a new owner and with the money I bought a 1997 Honda Accord LX.  It wasn’t overly sporty but it was a 5-speed so I was OK with it.  My wife and I drove the Accord for two years or so without anything major.  Overall it was a good car.  Then, one winter I got stuck in the snow for the last time and sold the Accord in favor of a Dodge Durango.  The Durango got such bad gas mileage that I thought I was getting gallons per mile.  No matter how often i fixed a leak a new one would surface and it burned oil.  I bought a second car to commute to work in.  A 1989 Honda CRX with a B16 DOHC VTEC.  I loved this car but it had issues right out of the gate.  I flew to AZ to pick it up and though I’d had it inspected and had a bunch of stuff replaced including the brakes, they kept locking up on me.  I had to spend two extra days in 120 degree weather for them to sort the problem out.  Or so they thought.  I got 600 miles into a 1000 mile trip and the brakes locked up again in the middle of nowhere Utah.  With the help of my smart phone and a CRX forum I was able to MacGyver my brake booster’s vacuum hose to get home.

319590_10150331964786673_1283630945_nI took a job that moved us to Seattle and the CRX leaked when it rained so I reluctantly sold it and bought another mid 90′s Accord.  This one took $1,000 from my pocket in repairs in the first month.  We sold the Durango and bought a brand new Dodge Grand Caravan.  We were done with paying for car repairs.  A few months into my new job we realized we didn’t need a second car so I sold the Accord… the A/C needed a new compressor.  I took a new job shortly after and moved back to Idaho.

262997_10150235641036673_6408987_n With my new job I got cheap auto parts and so I decided that I’d try my hand at flipping cars.  My first attempt flipped me the middle finger.  It was a 2005 GMC Envoy and it had a misfire.  Even though I had it inspected before I bought it they didn’t catch that it had low compression in one cylinder.  My wife wrecked it two weeks after we bought it and then I had to put an engine in it.  $5,000 later I was underwater in it bad.  We sold our still new Caravan to my Cousin with only 8,000 miles on the odometer.  We still have the Envoy and now that virtually everything is new on it we’re crossing our fingers and say a silent prayer every time we turn the key.

I bought a 1975 Dodge Power Wagon that was just like my Grandpas.  He’d dropped trees on his but this one was cherry… or at least it looked that way.  It didn’t run when I bought it but after hours of messing around with the cooling system, vacuum lines, and the carburetor I was finally able to drive it.  Then the rear end went out on me… followed by the front.

00p0p_4EIzP0zyngX_600x450  Apparently I hadn’t nuked our bank account enough so I bought my unicorn car on Ebay.  A one owner Series 1 Datsun 240Z.  It had faded paint but it was a numbers matching survivor with low miles.  I couldn’t resist.  I flew to Sacramento and drove it home 600 miles.  Soon after getting her home a loose cam bolt walked a pin loose and bent the valves.  $2,000 later my original engine is sitting in my garage and I have a used L26 under the hood that burns more oil than my 2-stroke weed whip.  It would only happen to me.  10402900_10152026924506673_1213809600887892656_n

I sold the Power Wagon last week but the Envoy and Z remain.  It’s been months since I’ve looked on Craigslist or Ebay with any serious curiosity and I often awake to cold sweats.  If you run across anyone with the last name of Davis, don’t buy a vehicle form them.  The karma could follow you.