Mar 052012

For some people, warm air reminds them that trips to the beach are just around the corner. For others, it signals the start of burly men swinging large wooden clubs and running around in the dirt. For me, it brings to mind growling exhaust notes, the smell of hot rubber, and the sound of squealing tires. It reminds me that autocross season is not far away.

And so it was in late February of this year. We had a short run of unseasonably warm days and, for that brief moment, racing didn’t seem so distant.

It got me to thinking about the first time I took part in an auto-x and I started to consider some of the advice I would give to someone in my position back then: a novice on a tight budget. This, I thought, was worth sharing with my adoring readers.

So, in honor of impending spring weather, here are five recommendations for gear and apparel that I would give to the first-timer or novice on a tight budget: Continue reading »

Mar 052012

I guess this update is a bit late in coming, but quite a lot has been changing for me of late, so writing about this stuff has taken a back seat for a while. In any case, as you can probably tell from the title, I have sold the CRX and returned to a single-car way of life. It remains to be seen how well I will be able to autocross my daily-driver, but for now let’s take a step back and see how I got here.

Continue reading »

Mar 052012

This project car update was originally published August 22, 2011.

When last we left Project CRX, I was twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the South Jersey Region of the SCCA to get their collective act together and find a place to host events this year. With no encouraging signs forthcoming (and since the weather was nice) I decided it would be a good time to do a tune-up.

The car had other ideas.

I finished most of the basic stuff without issue, but when I went to take the valve cover off to adjust the valves, the top of one of the studs came with it. The best that I could determine was that the guy who did the last tune-up over-tightened it and stretched the threads. I decided not to take any chances and replaced all of the studs. Not one to lose an opportunity, I also decided to repaint the valve cover while I waited for the parts to come in.

By the time I had finally gotten everything cleaned, adjusted and put back together, we were in to the late May heatwave that had all of South Jersey (and most of the East Coast) grumbling about air conditioning and electric bills. Apparently the car found the conditions to be especially disagreeable because the first time I drove it, I got home and the radiator burst.

While my face was under the hood.

I was starting to wonder if the CRX had developed a vindictive streak — I couldn’t get it out on course, so it was finding other ways to amuse itself. Expensive ways. Continue reading »

Mar 052012

This project car update was originally published August 2, 2011.

As you may recall, 2010 didn’t end as I had hoped for me and the CRX. Bad weather, family obligations, an enlarged ego and unfamiliar territory all conspired to make my autumn a bit of a disappointment from a motorsports perspective.

So that means there was nowhere to go but up, right?

That’s what I decided, anyway. So, with that in mind, I set about planning how I could improve for 2011. Continue reading »

Mar 052012

This project car update was published on November 3, 2010 on my original WordPress site.

A long time has passed since I wrote an update on my ongoing CRX project, and for that I apologize. For the most part, that has been because I don’t have much to report, although graduate thesis concerns have played a major part as well.

This article, then, will be something of a comprehensive wrap-up of the 2010 portion of the CRX project, and a look forward to what I am considering for 2011.

When last I wrote, the addition of a set of Hoosier R6 tires had both made the car a class winner and enlarged my head quite a bit. My ego received further enhancement when, at the following even in July, I trounced my rival in the blue EP Civic Si, beating him by nearly 2 seconds in my fastest lap. I began to believe that, in its current state, the CRX and I were pretty much an unbeatable combination in South Jersey. Continue reading »

Mar 052012

This project car update was published on July 9, 2010 on my original WordPress site.

When last we talked about the CRX, I had made some minor changes and was pleased with its all-around performance, but frustrated by my inability to coax it to its first auto-x class win. The limiting factor, I had decided, was the all-season tires I was using.

Some would argue that, in most cases, the only part that needs to be fixed to make a car go faster is the one located between the seat and the steering wheel. And while that is true (and I could undoubtedly pick up time by improving myself) I could see, for lap after lap, just how close I was to beating my competition.

I have the rest of my life to hone my driving skills; I wanted to win now. Continue reading »

Mar 052012

This project car update was published on June 28, 2010 on my original WordPress site.

The following is a conglomeration of two pieces, originally written in April and May of this year. In an effort to get back on a current timeline sooner, I decided to combine the two. This meant I had to eliminate some parts and the result is a bit dry. With the return to the current timeline, I promise that any new updates will be written in the old, more friendly style.  —Chris

In the last installment I introduced you to my latest project, the 1991 Honda CRX, and gave my early impressions.

Not long after, I got my first opportunity to see what the car could really do, as auto-x season opened in South Jersey on April 11. I decided to treat the event as a true shakedown and run the car without any changes, with one exception. I switched my wheel and tire combo to the 14-inch steel wheels and BFGoodrich g-Force Super Sport T/A tires that I had bought for the rusty Civic. Continue reading »

Mar 052012

This project car update was published on June 15, 2010 on my original WordPress site.

Last August I bought a Civic.

It was a 1993 CX hatchback model, and I bought it for several reasons: I had a long commute to work, so I wanted a car that would get good gas mileage. I wanted a car that I could take out to the occasional autocross (which I will refer to as auto-x from here on in) and maintain a decent level of competition. Most of all, though, I wanted a project—something that I could tinker with endlessly and see the results, hopefully without breaking the bank.

The Civic, then, would seem like an ideal car, right? I mean, it is inexpensive, there are enough parts available to fill warehouses, and it’s a competent chassis for amateur racing. It sure seemed like a slam-dunk to me.

Then I discovered the rust. Continue reading »