Art Cars Are Part of Houston’s Day of the Dead

Art Cars Come AliveSugar Skull

Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos, has been a long standing Hispanic tradition. It comes the day after Halloween, which in the Catholic faith is All Saints Day. Generally it extends for the two days after Halloween, concluding on November 2nd. In Mexico it is an actual official government holiday. It became a day for remembering loved ones that had passed away. Often it included the opportunity to clean the gravesite of family members.

Houston’s Art CarsArt Car

In recent years it has morphed into more of a festive celebration but still focused on remembering those who have passed away. This year Houston, Texas held a celebration at night at Discovery Green in downtown, not far from Minute Maid Park. Yep that place where the Astro’s lost game seven of the World Series.

Art Cars

Beyond a wide variety of music and vendor booths were several touted “art cars”. One even had been painted with chalk paint so that people could use the provided paint to “write” on the car. Pretty cool use of chalk and the art cars were always attracting crowds of folks. Always nice seeing how the love of automobiles extends into other events.Art Car Skulls

How did you celebrate the Day of the Dead?

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Lowrider Guadalupe Style Down and Low

A while back the Intimidators Car Club sponsored the Guadalupe Car Show. The dusty streets of Guadalupe, AZ were shut down for this event filled with lowriders of all dimensions and plenty of fun activities.Guadalupe Car Show

Lowrider

We’ve always been enchanted of the craftsmanship involved in these rides. Whether it is old school or a newer vintage car and truck the workmanship is spot on. Of course you expect some awesome, vivid paint jobs and terrific stances from these lowriders. But best of all is the camaraderie and friendship that the owners exhibit amongst themselves and the various car clubs.Guadalupe Car Show

Guadalupe

It is an interesting venue as Guadalupe may be one of the poorest and most disadvantaged towns in the Phoenix metro area, but for this one day that doesn’t matter.Guadalupe Car Show

Low Rider Old SchoolGuadalupe Car Show

Personally we favor the old school Impalas, but this show proves that any car is a contender for the lowrider lifestyle. Mix in some paint, a killer suspension, maybe some engraving and plenty of compressors and battery power and you are set to jet! It may seem that we hit a number of lowrider shows but hey, we have eclectic tastes and always enjoy the rides and friendships.Guadalupe Lowrider Car Show

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Hot Times and Cool Cars in Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Indoor Custom Car Show

While it may be hot in Arizona in the summer, the car show scene is even hotter. Plenty of shows move to the pine country and higher elevations of Arizona but the Arizona Indoor Custom Car Show adheres to their name and just holds the car show indoors in air conditioned comfort.AZ Indoor Custom Car Show

AZ Indoor Custom Car Show FordThis year’s show was held at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. So while it might have been hot outside, that didn’t detour car owners and the public from checking out some awesome rides. And holding it on Saturday , June 15th, just before Father’s Day was a nice touch and a perfect excuse to see a car show.AZ Indoor Custom Car Show Truck

Indoor Car Show

While there is a huge showing from the lowrider clubs, this show had a little piece of everything in all the car categories, plus cycles and trucks galore.  They had a section for pinstripers to style away and a few vendors offering up their wares. Of course there were some food options and libations for the adults in the crowd. This is the fifth year for the show and I think they are on to something, don’t you?AZ Indoor Custom Car Show Golden

There were hundreds of cars and trucks spread out on the floors of the convention center. So check out just some of our favorites from the show and join us in hoping the temperatures cool down fast. But keep the cars and trucks red hot.AZ Indoor Custom Car Show Raised

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Pod Light from Mychanic Lights the Way

MYCHANIC’s Rechargeable Pod Light Hits the SpotMychanic Pod Light in Use

For us, a work light needs to fulfill three needs. The light needs to be a blazing, bright white to light up the intended area. As “some” of us age, those puny D cell flashlights with a simple filament bulb just don’t do the trick. Next, it has to easily direct the light to the intended target. Nothing is more frustrating while trying to loosen some stubborn bolts, than to have the light start to slip away like a Western sunset. Finally the battery needs to last while we are working on our project, which always seems to take longer than expected. Fortunately the Rechargeable Pod Light from MYCHANIC met all those needs and then some!Mychanic Pod Light View

Rechargeable Pod Light

We previously checked out MYCHANIC’s Blade Light, so we were anxious to check out their latest offering. The Rechargeable Pod Light is a two piece light system; consisting of a spherical ball with a flat face housing the LED light. It mates to a magnetic rubberized base so the light can swivel and be directed to where you need the light. Of course it comes with a small AC charger when the time comes to recharge the lithium ion battery.

Two intense modes for Pod Light

The Rechargeable Pod Light has two light modes; full intensity and a battery conserving, low power mode. The light source is a state of the art, LED Chip on Board (COB). Instead of singular LED points of light that you might be familiar with, the COB enabled light creates a larger field of light and in this case a brighter white along the Kelvin scale. You literally cannot look directly into the light source. Despite the light strength, the Li-ion battery is rated at 4.5 hours at full intensity and over 9 hours at the dimmer setting.  That’s enough time for most work days!Mychanic Pod Light Floor

Pod Light Specs

Like all the MYCHANIC items, they splash some Kelly Green on the Rechargeable Pod Light so it is easy to see on a cluttered workspace. The rubberized base allows you to place the item on a vehicle without fear of scratching the paint. Plus the light sphere has a nice ruggedized feel to it and is made with ABS plastic, to help absorb the bumps and drops most work lights will suffer. The MYCHANIC light comes with a one year warranty. Although the packaging indicates the light puts out 300 lumens, recent testing came back showing it is rated for 400 lumens according to the company.

The magnetic field in the base is strong enough to securely hold the Rechargeable Pod Light. We were even able to attach it to just a fiberglass hood’s metal latch and it held on just fine. We appreciate the company including the cable and charger for the Rechargeable Pod Light, so no need to track down an obscure cable or charger to keep the Rechargeable Pod Light at full strength. Perhaps the best advantage to the Rechargeable Pod Light is the low profile. Measuring at four inches (including the base) the light easily can fit where you need it including under some low slung suspensions.Mychanic Pod Light Suspension 2

Mychanic Lineup of Great Tools  Includes the Pod Light

Check out the entire lineup of awesome tools and lights at www.mychanic.com and you’ll find some great tools to make your workday go by faster and easier. The Rechargeable Pod Light offers a great work light in a small, compact package that will often come in handy.  We also loved their mechanics stool.

Some photos courtesy of MYCHANIC.

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Mychanic Pod Light

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Green from Goodguys Spring National for St Patrick’s Day

Well the Goodguys Rod and Custom folks are wrapping up their Spring Nationals show today, on St Patrick’s Day. In honor of this day, it seemed appropriate to give you a glimpse of some green. No not cash but vehicles.

Green is always a tenuous choice for car owners. Too much and it screams out, too subtle and you risk being drab- olive drab.  So enjoy some of these highlights and let us know what you think..

 

Resto Mod or Resto Blah? You Decide

If you listen to some automotive pundits, the hottest trend is a resto mod car.  Well that term has been around for years and we’ve been seeing cars built on a resto mod for years in magazines and at car shows.  So we can’t be sure that it is a NEW trend.

Resto Mod

A resto mod is taking an older car and while restoring it, also modifying or modernizing it.  That typically means changing out the power plant to a bigger, more efficient and modern engine. The LSX variants are a popular choice right now as are new crate engines.  Typically you replace points and condensers and double pumping carbs for fuel injection with electronic ignitions.  Most builders will also readily take out a four speed and swap in a low rpm overdrive automatic.Resto Mod Corvette

So what has fueled the rise in resto mods?  The market, my friend the market.  Many affluent buyers see their cars as trophy’s to plop in a garage, hire a guy to detail it and drive it (cautiously) to a cars and coffee event once a month.  After all if you just plunked $400 large on a resto mod Corvette are you willing to park it at the local grocery store while you pop in for a gallon of milk?

NOS Resto

In years past a car was restored to look factory fresh and showroom new.  That meant seeking out the correct parts, hoses and connectors to bring back a stove bolt six cylinder engine to restored status.  When showing your car at a show, you would worry that the judge would deduct points for using the wrong shade of glossy black on your radiator fan shroud.  Plus owners would hunt down dealer installed options so they could have the most accessories on their car.

Rest Mod Blossoms

But the resto mod craze has changed all that. People don’t want a big old Auburn and might not even have a long enough garage to store one. Fewer folks have actually driven in a Duisenberg (let alone know how to spell it) and even the cars of the fifties are languishing as the market ages upwards.Resto Mod Corvette

Let’s be honest. The ride on a 64 Corvette pales to what you get on a new C7 Corvette. And that resonates with new buyers. They want and enjoy cars that have Bluetooth, push start buttons and navigation screens. The fruits of technology is not just under the hood.

So resto mods force the classic car market into a quandary. Do you take a beat up classic and spend the years and buckets of money to restore it to a 100 point restoration with NOS (New Old Stock) parts?  Recognize that you’ll have put way more money into it than the market will ever price it at?  Or do you shuck it all, swap in a new chassis, blend in lots of bling and a new 700R4 transmission and a crate engine from GM?

More and more the builder will go where the money is and create a resto mod.  Years from now history will decide if the builders were revolutionary or heretics.  You can decide for yourself now.

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Supra from Toyota Revived at Barrett-Jackson

The Toyota Supra is a Japanese sports car  produced starting in 1978. The original four generations of the Supra were manufactured from 1978 to 2002. The styling of the Supra was a take off of the Toyota Celica, but with it being both longer and wider. Starting in mid-1986, the Supra model became a separate model distinct from the Celica.

In 1998, Toyota regrettably ceased sales of the fourth generation Supra in the United States and in 2002 Toyota officially stopped production of the Supra even in Japan. But in 2019, the fifth generation Supra is unleashed.

The new 2019 Supra was displayed at the recent Barrett-Jackson auction held in Scottsdale, AZ. Besides the new model, the marketing folks from Toyota rounded up a fine set of white clad specimens representing the previous four generations for a nostalgic look.  During the auction, a 2019 Supra GR still to be built, but number 1 on the VIN was auctioned off for $2,100,000 with the proceeds going to charity.2019 Supra

Supra First Generation A40

The first generation Supra was based largely upon the Toyota Celica lift back, but longer. The doors and rear section were shared with the Celica but the front panels were elongated to accommodate the inline-6 instead of the stock Celica’s 4-cylinder engine.Supra First Generation Driver Side

Supra Second Generation A60

In mid 1981, Toyota completely redesigned the full Celica lineup, thus including the Supra, for its 1982 production year. Still being based around the Celica platform, there were several key differences, most notably the design of the front end and fully retractable pop-up headlights. but a six cylinder was still offered.

Supra Second Generation

Supra Third Generation A70

In February 1986, a totally separate model Supra was introduced. It was no longer based on the Celica. . The Celica changed to front-wheel drive, while the Supra kept its rear-wheel-drive set up.

Supra Third Generation

Supra Fourth Generation A80

Official mass production began in April 1993. The fourth-gen Supra again shared its platform with the Lexus SC. However, the two cars looked nothing alike and the Supra was more than 13 inches (340 mm) shorter than its Lexus stable mate. Supra Fourth Generation


Supra Fifth Generation A902019 Supra

The latest version of this iconic nameplate is generating some buzz, both good and bad. Its engine was a joint effort with BMW and it even garnered its own “pinball wizard” Super Bowl commercial.  As with many “revived” nameplates, it will be interesting to see what the public thinks of the latest Supra?  What are your thoughts?

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PRS4 from Praxair Cuts to the Chase at Barrett Jackson

Besides 1,850 classic cars being auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction, there are a variety of vendors showing their wares. Beyond artwork, mattresses and outdoor furniture, one of the most intriguing displays was the Praxair’s Lancer PRS4 Automated CNC plasma cutter.

Lancer PRS4

This entry level plasma cutter is a ferrous metal cutting machine. At an initial price point of under $25,000 this device can allow a small business owner to enter the custom metal work industry.  Using existing templates or designing their own from line drawings or sketches, a user can quickly get to work, cutting up to 7/8” steel plate.Praxair Plasma Cutter Sparking

At the show the plasma table was using compressed air and electricity to cut out everything and anything. Besides hearts and ghouls, they were cutting out cars and animals as well. They even were up to the challenge and made a custom Corvette cut out.Praxair Plasma Cutter Corvette

PRS4

Chris Vihnanek, Senior Director at Praxair, explained that his device had several advantages over a water jet. Besides price point, the water jet while versatile can’t cut at the speed of the plasma cutter and the lack of the water jet abrasive allowed for a better control of the subject metal. Users can run with one of two plasma systems  Hypertherm or Thermal Dynamics- and the welding table starts at a pre-fabbed 4′ x 4′. The PRS4 can cut up to an astounding 500 inches a minute.

Given the crowds surrounding the machine, there were tons of interest in this machine. So why is Praxair offering a device that uses some consumables but no specialized gasses?  Well it is a plasma cutter and they hope companies will follow along up the product chain where argon or oxygen gas would be needed and consumed. Smart marketing with a nice hook.Praxair Plasma Cutter Finished Product

They’ll cut through about $7,000 worth of metal as they cut up all sorts of images promoting the PRS4 and other CNC machines.  So if a bidder can’t buy a car, maybe they’ll end up with a car cut out?

What would you use a CNC machine for?

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Custom Works Zon at Mooneyes

Zon2One of the most prestigious custom car and bike shows is held in Japan and is commonly called the Mooneyes Show, although officially it is the Hot Rod Custom Show. The one day show attracts entries from across the globe but this year’s winning “Best of Show Motorcycle” was a home grown entry from Custom Works Zon with an eye opening engine from BMW.

Custom Work Zon Founders

The two leaders at Custom Works Zon are Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda who are no strangers in the motorcycle world. Their creations frequently cross the ocean for American shows.Zon4

Custom Works Zon

Their entry is shrouded in a mysterious new boxer engine from BMW. The specs on the engine and further details are still not official. But from this entry you can expect air and oil coolers with a high displacement BMW boxer style engine.
The bike itself feature a low profile and skinny tires, 21″ up front and 25″ at the rear. The folks at the shop hand crafted the tank, seat and trim.Zon9

Custom Works Zon Wins Prize

Given that over 650 bikes are typically entered at this Yokohama show, nabbing the coveted top prize was quite an honor for the duo and BMW. Can’t wait to hear more about the engine.

Photos courtesy BMW

ISM Raceway Speeds Fans to a New High

The ISM Raceway hosted the NASCAR trio of races this past weekend and the premiere turned out to be all that the owners had been predicting. The massive reconstruction took two years but left the historic dogleg mile track intact. The track in Avondale, Arizona was previously known as Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).ISM Raceway Overall View 2

ISM Infield

By shifting the stands counter clockwise they put the fans into the afternoon shade, offered wide stadium seats, a better view of the new finish line and overall the bar was raised for track amenities.

ISM Raceway Fan Access

If the fans opted for the infield admission ticket at ISM Raceway , they had a close up view of the racers’ garage areas plus they could see the driver’s meeting and the walkway leading to it. They could easily walk through an underground tunnel to get to the infield throughout the race day.ISM Raceway Garage

The victory lane area has a sunken pit area where lucky fans who stake out an early spot can enjoy all the victorious festivities. Plus in the infield were seats and shade alongside three sites serving food and “adult” beverages. To maneuver around, nine elevators were added along with four escalators.ISM Raceway Victory Lane

ISM Raceway

Fans could get views never before seen, literally standing within feet of a hard working garage crew. Plus over 400 monitors kept fans up to date on the action. Plenty of space remained in the midway for souvenir purchases and the parking was plentiful and easy to get to.ISM Raceway Garage Area

Wi-Fi (free of course) was available throughout the site with no dead zones. Of course the facility offers 51 upgraded suites plus three suites that overlooked the actual NASCAR garage. All in all getting this project done, without interrupting the racing venue’s schedule, was quite an accomplishment. This two year project cost over $175 million and involved no tax dollars! Quite an accomplishment.

@2018 Route 66 PubCo

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