Browsing: Projects

There’s no better proving ground for a car’s strengths and weaknesses than on the racetrack. The twists and turns separated by straightaways and high-speed bends test every element of a car’s driving characteristics, from the engine’s powerband to the chassis’ ability to stick to the road. Our first stage of the DSPORT Ford Fiesta ST build delivered 10 extra horsepower and 43lb-ft more torque to the wheels. Along with the additional power, a 150 lb weight reduction lightened the factory platform. The resulting two-second gain in lap times showed the value in our street performance brake pads, intake, tune and…

Many forget that although the Apollo missions that set foot on the moon nearly 239,000 miles away were a tremendous achievement, these daunting voyages took place with less computing power than a modern smartphone. Adding to this undertaking, NASA implemented extremely low power consumption and massive weight savings for maximum efficiency and functionality in every individual piece of the spacecraft. This meant running the command module on only 2,000 watts of electricity and building the lunar lander with a wall thickness no greater than that of a soda can. These missions displayed what’s possible when you strip away all the…

THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. NISSAN’S R35 GT-R is the performance bargain of the century. When it was originally introduced, its $69,850 base price was definitely more attractive than its current starting price of $101,770. Due to this 45-percent increase in price, enthusiasts looking to make the jump behind the wheel of a GT-R have begun purchasing the earlier 2009-2011 CBA models secondhand. While Nissan made a number of significant refinements and performance improvements to the car in 2012 and even more in 2015, the ability to pick up an early model GT-R for $50-60,000 has made the CBA-R35 very…

BE IT A JUNKYARD BARGAIN FIND OR A COMPLETELY REBUILT ENGINE FROM THE ground up, swapping in a B-series engine will generally require the same parts, procedures and pain-in-the-you-know-what. Within the family of B-series VTEC engines, small differences like the intake manifold, deck height, combustion chamber and sensor placement distinguish them from one another. Which traits your engine will have depends on the year and model that you purchased. As mentioned in the previous installment of Swap Shop, we’re swapping in a B17A1 and YS1 transmission from a 1992-93 Acura Integra GS-R into our 1989 Honda CR-X HF. Read on…

As we close out this November issue, we look ahead to the next opportunity to bring our GT-R to the dragstrip. If you remember from last issue, our GT-R managed a 10.34- second elapsed time. While this accomplishment is extraordinary on many levels, we have still not reached our primary goal of collecting the 9- second timeslip in full-street trim. Hopefully, this round of modifications will help us to reach our goal. Text and Photos by Michael Ferrara Executing the Gameplan When we left off with the project last month we mentioned that our gameplan was to address gearing, power…

Photos by Sami Sharaf // Text by Michael Ferrara Wednesday, July 20th, 2005 During the weekly DSport magazine meeting, it is decided that we will try to get as many vehicles race-ready for an upcoming import drag racing event at California Speedway in Fontana, California. Our plan is to have our Project STi, Project Street Tire EG Civic and our Project GT-R at the event for some shakedown runs. With the closure of Carlsbad Raceway and the hectic work schedule at DSport, opportunities for a trip to the dragstrip are extremely limited. After the meeting, all of the project car…

“Should have…could have…would have…” Our most recent trip to the strip with our Project GT-R proved to be full of both trials and tribulations. While many questions were answered, a number of new questions and concerns surfaced. Text & Photos by Michael Ferrara Persistence Pays The original plan was to head out to California Dragway in Fontana for their season opening Street-Legal event on Saturday, January 22nd. We arrived at 8:30am and waited for about an hour before we were informed that all 400 tech cards had already been sold. The following Monday we place a call to California Dragway…

In our last installment of Ported & Flowed (October 2004), we mentioned that our next step would be to put the computer model to the test. This test would occur when we installed the ported cylinder head along with the camshafts on our GT-R. Then we would optimize the fuel and ignition curves for the new setup. The question that this exercise would answer is “Will the real-world numbers match the computer prediction?”. Text & Photos by Michael Ferrara Commentary by Allan Lockheed The Computer Prediction While we still had the engine set up with the factory heads and cams,…

You’ve probably been told or heard from someone that “an internal combustion automotive engine is just a sophisticated air pump.” Here’s the truth. What you have been told isn’t entirely accurate. First, a pump is a device used to move fluids and it operates at relatively low pressures. Air is not a fluid, but instead a gaseous mixture. Second, the primary purpose of an internal combustion engine is not to pump fluids or compress air. The engine’s purpose is to perform energy conversions to produce horsepower. Internal combustion engines turn the chemical energy in the fuel into thermal-pressure energy in…

Last issue, we said “when we get back on the dyno, we won’t be surprised to see 500-plus horsepower on 91-octane with a boost and power curves that we never believed possible with turbos so big. As predicted, we accomplished our mission with 505 horsepower registering on the dyno after fixing our exhaust leak, crafting a new intake system and spending some more time on the dyno. This taste of success motivated us to make a long overdue trip to the dragstrip. Text & Photos by Michael Ferrara Dyno Time Our previous visit to the dyno proved to be more…

Giant peak horsepower figures made on race gas make for great headlines. Just the mention of a “1000-horsepower Supra”, “740-horsepower WRX” or “500- horsepower EVO” draws attention. While peak horsepower numbers are real and exciting to any enthusiast, these high- caliber numbers tend to distort the total performance picture. This picture becomes blurred since few enthusiasts understand the performance difference attainable between 91-octane pump gas and 117-octane racing fuel. The fact is that swings of anywhere from 50 to 500 horsepower can be seen on turbocharged vehicles when the fuel is changed from pump gas to race gas. While the…

We almost forgot why our Project RH9 Skyline GT-R was our dream car. With a broken factory transmission, our Project RH9 GT-R went from its daily- driven, head-turning glory to a very-large obstacle in our garage. While obtaining another factory transmission would have had us back on the road in the least amount of time, it would have only been a band-aid and not a fix. Our fix would be to upgrade the factory transmission to a Holinger 6-speed sequential gearbox. Thanks to the cooperative efforts of Holinger, Exedy, AEBS (TOMEI ), Blast Racing, Motorex and XS Engineering, Project RH9…

Guess what broke on Project RH9? Another factory transmission. Old school Turbo readers might be seeing visions of another Project Talon in the works. To be honest, I’m picturing the same thing. Text & Photos by Michael Ferrara Back in the days, Project Talon chewed up every single available transmission in the Southern California area. All totaled, close to $10,000 was invested in factory transmissions that couldn’t last a full pass. Learning from our lessons of yesteryear, we decided to research our transmission options for our GT-R. The Close-Ratio Aftermarket Gear Sets A number of companies produce aftermarket gear sets…

Call us a little crazy. No. Instead, just call us insane. As we continue to improve the performance of our Project GT-R, we also continue to raise our goals. In many ways, this project mirrors our experience with the magazine as a whole. We make progress every issue and we continue to raise our standards. Photos by Phil Lam | Text by Michael Ferrara When we began this project, our goal was simple: to build America’s first RH9 GT-R. To qualify for RH9 status, our GT-R would have to run a 9-second quarter-mile time on radial tires. Although this was…

Last month, we promised to upgrade the fuel system, do a compression check, do a leak-down test and more to figure out why our GT-R had made a step backwards in terms of power output. We were then going to strap the car back on the dyno and give it another flogging. Text & Photos by Michael Ferrara Guess what? We didn’t get it all done. However, we are seeing some major improvements and some problems solved as we progress. Sharing these with you will hopefully allow you to avoid some of these problems on your own street or racecar.…