Fear Complex

she said my obsessions would lead me to hell

Archive for the ‘cars’

Driving music

Inspired by a recent post on a forum I lurk on: what are your favourite driving songs?

I’d personally be hard pressed to name mine as there are so many, but if there was one album I seem to find myself listening to over and over again, it would be Damnation by Opeth. This merry little record has kept me company on many late-night missions back to Auckland from places like Hamilton and further afield.

And it’s not even particularly ‘pulse-pumping’ music. Instead it’s ultra chilled out, melancholy prog-rock dripping with gothic influences. Take this track for instance, which happens to be my favourite off the album:

heck, it’s not even a particularly cheerful song if you pay attention to the lyrics, but the music and overall ambience seems just perfect for when you’re travelling lonely stretches of state highway in the dead of night.

pirst fost of ‘10

Merry 2010.

A couple of weekends ago I got to drive a JZX100 Chaser to Wellington. must say I was quite impressed with the car overall, and I’m currently in the middle of writing a little “review” of its merits, but in the meantime here’s the complete album of photos I took of the car on Sunday: flickr album

I’m quite pleased with the results from the venerable old OM-Zuiko 100mm, given that I was shooting in gale-force winds, manually focused of course, and the lighting/weather was a bit questionable. I guess that’s Welly for ya…

Chaser - silly HDR/overdone fx experiment (by decypher the code)

As for the car, I don’t think it’s quite convinced me to go modern, but as the story goes I’m a bitter, nostalgic bastard who can ignore certain shall we say quirks of older technology if it means the bigger picture is still acceptable.

Selective bias, if you will.

practicality 101

MR2? Impractical? NEVER!

practicality 101 (by decypher the code)

I hope it doesn’t rain.

random musings, 27/10/09

from the desk of ed…

- started writing for another blog this week. Battle to the max, baby…

- Red Cliff and Moon are out at the movies. Missed them both during the limited-time film festival run earlier this year, so must go see them while I can. Red Cliff, especially so.

- Still working through the itinerary for December’s TX3 summer shakedown roadtrip. retro-classics has the low-down on what’s up here. Basically it involves a shitload of driving, and catching up with people I haven’t seen in ages. Of course this all hinges on whether I can get the time off work to do so.

- bought Fallout 3 GotY edition and resurrected Little Miss Lysergia for another trip around the capital wasteland. I’d almost forgotten how sweet this game was!

- NFS: Shift is actually a decent game; refreshing given the wiggerized garbage the franchise has been spawning for the last umpteen years. there’s no chance in hell of me ever buying an Xbox 360 just to play Forza 3, and GT5 ain’t due until March next year, so this will do the trick for now.


Am I seeing things or is my twatter working again? Dare I try logging in, in fear of having it crap out in the middle of loading?

**edit** nope, still broken… but my tweets seem to be working again?

wherefore art thou, shades?

from the day I bought my latest AW11 MR2 I’ve been slightly annoyed by its lack of interior t-top shades, which makes driving in direct sunlight a bit of a drain at times (the sunvisors are of limited use).

So ever the completist/OCDist (depending on who you talk to) I set about tracking down a decent pair of the blasted things. Now most AW11 owners will tell you the t-top shades along with the facelift front lip valance are the two most incredibly difficult items to obtain replacements of. Turns out they were only partially right, as within a day I had tracked down a brand new front lip valance (ex Toyota Japan, no less; those people I see whinging on MR2 forums ought to do their homework better!) but the shades proved to be far more elusive, and what I hadn’t prepared myself for was the pricing: a whopping $925 per side provided Toyota still had new old stock lying around… screw that idea.

But then upon some random incredible stroke of luck I came across a wrecked AW11 at Pick-a-Part one day not long after, which happened to have both t-top shades… except they were lying in a puddle, and looked like they had been for some time. After extracting them from said puddle and spending the next three days drying them out (and a further week getting rid of the saturated-cardboard-in-oily-puddle smell), the passenger side one turned out saggy and completely useless, but the driver’s side returned to a somewhat usable state. Incidentally, the total cost was only $12.00!

However OCD kicked in, and I couldn’t bring myself to use one t-top shade: it was both or nothing. The search thus continued. After being offered a pair of t-top shades by some random gouging bastard (who shall remain nameless), on some forum (which shall also remain nameless) for the exorbitant price of $300/pair, I turned to that last gleaming bastion of hope: Yahoo Auctions Japan.

I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t do that to begin with, instead of shitting around for weeks trying to deal with Toyota, Pick-a-Part, and AW11 owners with overinflated self-worth… because after typing in the search parameters this is what greeted me:

a quick email to the proprietor of hayatonka (an auction middleman service) secured my interest, and this morning I received a reply stating that we’d won the auction… for the measly sum of 2000 yen.

Yep, that’s right, $30 + shipping and commission. More expensive than what I paid for the Pick-a-Part pair, but complete and in better overall condition.

and the best thing? I ain’t have to pay some greedy gouging NZ fucker $300.

Great Success!


currently listening: GWAR – Lust in Space / Various – Galaxy News Radio Soundtrack (Fallout 3)


Another trackday done and dusted… and my poor little track car soldiers on without (too many) issues :)

FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09

however I do get the feeling that my $100 turbo is finally on its way out, judging from the amount of oil it’s starting to blow past the seals. Should I do the ’sensible’ thing before I replace it, and get my spare one (which cost me all of $60) reconditioned? Ah well, I got until 31st August to decide.

So. Trackday. I let Gar loose with my E-500 yesterday, here are some of the results:

FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09 FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09 FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09 FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09

FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09 FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09 FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09 FLAWLESS trackday, Taupo '09

and the full gallery is here.


meanwhile, Tom is off on an intrepid journey to Yurop and won’t be back until November. If he remembers to update his blog you can follow his travelogue here.


Two years ago I embarked on a mission to restore one rather beaten-up Ford Laser, once upon a time the main focal point of this very domain.

As of this weekend that mission is now complete.

there are still a couple of things left to be done, but it’s all window dressing compared to everything that’s come before (for the record: fit new wheels, apply factory decal kit, and get some replica side badging made up). The car starts, runs, drives, and looks the part, so by all accounts IT IS FINISHED.

The bonus round shall commence in another few months’ time when the Link V5 ECU gets shoehorned into the engine bay… but for now, I shall bask in the glory.

Laser TX3 Stonefields '09 Laser TX3 Stonefields '09 Laser TX3 Stonefields '09 Laser TX3 Stonefields '09 

moar photos on my flickr

suppose that means I’ll have to put up another one of those vainglorious showcase pages with a bit of info about the car itself; did have one way back in the early ’00s but it disappeared along with the free webspace I was whoring at the time. The wayback machine actually has a cached copy of the page circa 2003: click thru to have a look and promise me that you won’t cringe…

Supra injectors? Series 5 intercooler? What the hell was I thinking at the time? At least I followed through on the promise to fit a Series 5 fuel pump though. It only took, what, four years?

…Then decide whether to continue modding, or get another car and keep the TX3 as a daily driver.

Oh, ha ha. I see what I did there.


From the “misuse of Engrish” files this week:

now I suppose the original intention was to call the brand RODEO DRIVE, however I’m guessing there are already countless other companies out there already using that name.

(for the record, Lodio Drive are a Japanese company that makes alloy wheels for SUVs and MPVs)

buy my DR30!

I’ll make it short and succinct: my DR30 coupe is now on the market, due to various circumstances. Nothing sinister; I just figured it was time for a shake-up.

here be the link: http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=209129009

to be honest though, as reluctant as I am to let it go, my current feelings are ambivalent as to whether it does sell or not. We’ll see what happens when the auction ends in a week’s time.


in other news, I’m really starting to get into Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, after an incredibly slow start (and getting pre-empted by other authors – *shakes fist at Alastair Reynolds*)

one thing’s for certain – Stephenson is master of the art of using twelve words where two will suffice!

p.s. follow me on twitter. Ain’t that what all the cool cats doin’ now? :D

insipidness, insightfulness, and a broken windscreen

why does Jaquie Brown deserve her own television show?


to make up for the lack of insightfulness around these parts as of late (both from GaR and myself) here are some shots from my recent excursion to the Wairakei geothermal power plant. I was sorely disappointed that Tom didn’t have a desk resembling that of Homer Simpson (complete with box of donuts), but that disappointment was greatly tempered by a guided tour around the facility.

Best viewed with the soundtrack from Fallout 2 playing for the right ambience, and no I’m not suggesting any sort of connection!

MOAR POWER ACME brand girder? 30,000kW @ 1500rpm steam pipes 3 

full Flickr album here.

speaking of Fallout, the third game in the series is set for an end of year release. That should more than make up for the lack of any seriously good PC games to come out this year so far. I’d probably rate my anticipation for it higher than Wrath of the Lich King – because let’s be honest, that’ll just be another epic timesink in the grand scheme of things.


oh, and on the way home from Taupo, a milk tanker made my car its bitch. there’s nothing quite like reflexively ducking for cover when a massive rock is headed straight for your face at about 80km/h. Luckily there happened to be a windscreen in the way.

note the careful usage of past tense grammar.

windscreen SMASH windscreen SMASH 

At least I didn’t get stranded in Mangakino.

I can text and drive…?

between Hamilton and Taupo on State Highway 1 there are a series of ‘road safety’ signs extolling the virtues of “losing one’s confidence” in order to “save one’s life”.

don’t know about anyone else, but as someone that does a lot of commuting between cities I’d much rather share the road with drivers confident in their own skills and abilities, than a bunch of scared lackwits driving at 70km/h because the nanny state told them that having confidence is bad.

srsly, what is it with this country and its over-reliance on scare tactics and pandering to the lowest common denominator? Better active driver education would go a long way towards improving road safety and people’s attitudes rather than spending NZ$4.5 million on thinking up ambiguous witticisms for a bunch of condescending billboards.

Roof chops are bad

Makes for an amusing/ironic t-shirt design though!

track car liveth again

And verily, my half-arsed attempt at getting a vehicle ready for the annual gpforums trackday (may 19th) actually succeeded. only took the pilfering of a whole bunch of parts from my other car, one weekend’s worth of stuffing around, some grazed knuckles, and a lot of cable ties.


FORD LASER TX3-I 1986 (in Black with Grey)

Registration status: Active
Licence expiry date: 2008, August 7th
Date of issue for latest licence: 2008, May 8th
Time of issue for latest licence: 12:42

The WOF expires in 6 months (8th November 2008). Last inspection was successful on 8th May 2008.

info obtained from carfax online vehicle database

nothing quite like getting a car running again after years of neglect – and all without it blowing up, overheating, snapping a belt or leaking fluids everywhere within the first day of the engine spluttering back into life.

One hopes it does absolutely none of those things at trackday either.


started reading The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson the other night, and a few elements of that novel reminded me of a photo I spotted on flickr/wikipedia recently:

…the steampunk pc.

can’t live with it, can’t live without it…

>_< / taken 19 Apr 2008

we all saw it coming, but now it’s finally upon us: the price of 98 octane gasoline has surpassed the $2.00/litre mark. (this was taken on Saturday afternoon, on the way to Hamiltron for the V8s).

and today I heard from a colleague that fuel prices have risen a further 3c/litre. Couple that with the proposed 5c/litre Auckland fuel tax rearing its ugly head again (during election year, no less!) and it looks like we’re in for some interesting times ahead…


v8 photos: all action shots are now on the flickr (19th | 20th). was gonna sort through and upload the more mundane pit lane photos tonight, but I’ve had a shit day at work and lost all motivation to do anything except mope around for the rest of the night.

maybe tomorrow.

filthy v8 bumpercars

P4199397 (wide) / taken 19 Apr 2008

sometimes I lament being such a short bastard – attempting to ’shoot over the crowd’ often creates some interesting dilemmas.

fortunately I was able to get away with some pretty aggressive cropping, thanks to the trusty ol’ telephoto lens.

But maybe I’ll bring a swappa crate to stand on next time. rest of photos here

in vogue

was in Hamilton for work yesterday and came across a nu R35 GT-R parked around the corner from the company satellite office. In the steel they are far more imposing (and a lot nicer-looking) than most people would think. I like ‘em better now, anyway.

R35 GT-R R35 GT-R R35 GT-R R35 GT-R 

Didn’t have any proper camera equipment on me at the time so had to resort to taking these yuck photos with my phone. I am truly sorry for the awful quality.


superlap: 38 photos of 101 uploaded. set is here, previews are below.

superlap '08 32 superlap '08 23 superlap '08 29 superlap '08 26 superlap '08 16

…rest of shots to follow.


took the DR30 sedan to a classic Japanese car meet today, but turns out I wasn’t very well organized.

first my digital ran out of battery (and I’d left my spare at home), so I switched to 35mm but ran out of film not long afterwards.

hilarity :(

rear ends they don't make rims like they used to oddity snail, part II 

my photostream is here, and other folks’ photos can be found at this link.

now I should be better organized for superlap tomorrow.