The International Challenge at Road America (aka the Hawk, the KIC and the July vintage races at Road America) will always be one of, if not my favorite weekends of the year. I started attending yearly with my family in the early nineties and stepped up as a competitor in my 914-6 in the late-nineties keeping the family tradition alive. Of the 16+ times I've raced at the event I can count the number of times I've had significant mechanical issues on three fingers. This past weekend I added a fourth finger into the mix. Humor me for a few minutes as I set the stage. Snugly loaded into the truck, we hit the road for out six hour drive to Road America Wednesday morning I hit the road with my family pointed towards Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, home of Road America, AKA the best place on earth (at least as far as any car guy/gal is concerned). Five of us packed into my pickup with trailer hitched behind us hauling everything including the kitchen sink. Above and beyond the race cars and associated parts we had more food than an all you can eat buffet, bicycles, scooters, life jackets, party rafts (you read that right) and much more. We left on time, made good time and we arrived at the track arguably the earliest we ever have on the Wednesday prior to the big racing weekend. We got our paddock space all setup, and with our work complete at [...]
Life moves pretty slowly after returning to normal life following a race weekend. That’s a known fact when you’re involved in some manner of motorsports. I was reminded of that last week. Two weekends ago I kicked off the racing season by heading to Road America for the World Racing League CanAm Endurance Cup. The racing activity comprised of an eight-hour race on Saturday and another eight-hour race on Sunday. That’s 16 hours of wheel to wheel racing on what I consider the best race track in America. In other words, it was heaven. A racer’s dream. To top it off the weather was absolutely perfect and the car ran great. That said, the weekend wasn’t without a few hiccups. We kicked off the weekend running through tech For the race my team of amateur endurance racing veterans brought out our trusty orange steed, a 1989 BMW 325i. It’s hard to believe, but the event marked our 9th year running the car we’ve affectionately named the E30 bomber. The bomber has evolved dramatically since its inaugural event at Brainerd many years ago and has morphed into a super reliable and reasonably quick little race car. This event again proved that meticulous maintenance during the off-season makes the racing a lot more fun (because the car runs as expected) during the racing season. Sometimes, however, human error can screw it all up temporarily. Our Motley Crew of petrolheads. From right we have our crew chief Josh, Ben, Erik, [...]
Looking back, I've never spent much time behind the wheel of Jaguar or Land Rover vehicles, nor have I kept up to speed on the brand heritage or current models. This changed when we learned that Morrie’s was adding a Jaguar and Land Rover store in Richfield. Soon thereafter I found myself on the hunt for a Jaguar E-type and successfully found one in our 1966 XKE. A mild case of Rover fever also set in and I also found myself spending more time in the MHCC Defender 90. Hell, I even came to enjoy the 2001 MHCC Range Rover, despite it being a bit too new to be classic cool and ten years too old to be everyday driver friendly. Little did I know my introduction to these brands was not complete. That all changed last week when I attended a JLR Global Dealer Expo. Just as Minnesota was getting dumped on with 15 plus inches of snow I jetted out of town and headed to Portugal. What followed was three and a half days learning all about the heritage of each respective brand, getting to know the respective vehicle lineups for Jaguar and Land Rover, spending time behind the wheel on and off-road in each and learning a lot about the future of both brands. In one word you could say it was electrifying --- due in part to a big push towards electric vehicles including the all new Jaguar I-Pace, one of the stars of the show. [...]
Admitteldy, I'm a huge motorsports fan. I host a live screening of most every Formula 1 race live at the Morrie's Heritage Car Connection "Dojo." I try to catch every IMSA Weathertech race live or shortly thereafter. I spend a handful of weekends on track behind the wheel scratching my motorsports itch. Still I somehow managed to completely overlook MotoGP. Until last weekend I had no idea what I was missing. On Saturday I ran across the MotoGP documentary, Hitting The Apex, on AmazonPrime. I figured I'd give it a try and boy am I glad I did. Minutes into the film I was exposed to the insanity of MotoGP. The bikes are crazy fast. The riders are in some cases plain crazy. They're like modern day gladiators wrestling their motorcycles and each other on track. The racing action is epic. It makes the top-level auto racing series I follow look like motorsports pre-school. Needless to say I'm hooked. After watching this documentary I have one problem. I don't know how I'm going to catchup on all the MotoGP action I've missed my entire life. I started by downloading the MotoGP app and catching up on the 2018 season. I may host a live race screening or two at the Dojo. Stay tuned...
The title of this blog post is The last thing you need is another project: Part 2, however in retrospect it should probably be titled What the heck was I thinking. If you missed my introduction in part 1, I'll quickly bring you up to speed. I thought it would be fun to build a truck camper for my Ford F150. Why build one you ask? Well, stinky old pickup campers are a dime a dozen on Craigslist, but a nice one you'd actually want to use can cost north of $10k. With hundreds of things I could better spend thousands of dollars on I decided to build my own. "I like building things and surely it shouldn't take too long to build," I told myself. I WAS WRONG. In late-November when I started on this project things seemed to move along quickly. The frame came together in a few nights and I thought the end was in sight. Looking back, it was a lot like building a new house, not that I've ever done that. The general structure comes to together quickly, however the insulation, siding, interior work and other elements pile on the time. And that doesn't event include the custom fab work associated with building your own camper from your own design. From scratch. Without any prior experience. You live and learn, I suppose. A successful test fit. It wouldn't be long unti I could no longer simply lift the frame in the truck by hand. [...]
The 2018 Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona wrapped up nearly a week and a half ago and if you follow IMSA racing you’ve likely seen your fair share of media recaps already. That said, I’m not going to post my average at best photos from the 56th running of this Florida endurance classic. Rather, I’m going to recap the race from a different perspective that you surely haven’t seen - that of a six year old attendee. Attending a race like the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is a bucket list item for most sports car enthusiasts - a race most would like to attend at least once in their lifetime. In the case of my son, he’s already been twice and he’s only six years old! I can’t say he’s hooked on cars just yet, but the fact that I’ve got him to attend the better part of two 24-hours races without too much whining is a good start, right? Photo op during the pre-race grid walk Last year he was kept entertained by his buddy who attended with us, but this time it was just Benjie, Grandpa and me. It would be a true test of his automotive attention span. Fortunately, it started out on an unexpected good foot. We started our day during the pre-race grid walk. This presented an opportunity to see the cars up close and mingle on the serious banking Daytona International Raceway is known for. Benjie was excited to take pictures [...]
Why are you building that? The last thing you need is another project. That's what I know a certain someone is thinking about my latest garage project. There's probably more than a little truth to the statement, but winters are long in Minnesota and you have to stay busy, right? Besides a gearbox teardown and other automotive excitement on the winter checklist I got the hare brained idea to build a custom pickup camper for my Ford F150 by scratch. You might say it was fueled by many late nights scouring the Expedition Portal Forums with one hand on the keyboard and another holding a delicious IPA. I'd have to agree at least a little bit with that statement. So, why the heck do I want to build a pickup camper? Beyond pure impulse and enjoyment of building things, I see it as a good opportunity to get out and explore with my family. There's nothing wrong awitha little more quality time with your loved ones, right? It could serve as a great basecamp for race weekends, both those where I'm racing and those where we're simply spectating, and also a good platform to get out and enjoy the multitude of parks within a days drive. Who knows, maybe we event take it on a road trip out west. The rough design I've spent a lot of time thinking about the design. Programs like Sketchup make it easy to put ideas into 3d models and I've worked through several different [...]
Here in Minnesota wintry weather is inevitable and it’s approach triggers the unavoidable – putting your fun car away for winter. Here at MHCC we have to tuck away 30+ cars every year and we've learned a few things about it over the years. It's always hard locking our favorite cars away for a long winter's slumber, but there are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure they are ready to hit the open road when Spring returns. We’ve included a number of storage tips below to make sure your car has a trouble free winter slumber and is in tip-top shape when it comes time to take it out of storage. • Prior to storage bring your car fully up to operating temperature • Find a dry, dark location to store your vehicle. Concrete floors are best. • Lay down plastic sheeting on top of the concrete where your car will be parked • If covering your car, give your car a good wash and wax if possible to prevent any scratching inflicted from covering a dirty car • To prevent excess air in the tank from condensing and causing potential issues, fill the fuel tank with a fresh tank of fuel and add fuel stabilizer. • Arrange an oil change prior to storage to prevent contaminants from working into your engine. An added benefit is that when spring arrives you’ll be ready to hit the road with fresh oil • Inflate your tires to 55 [...]
For the second time this year, I loaded up the family into my F150 pickup and headed to Road America with trailer in tow. The destination was the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival (ELVF), the more laid back of the vintage race weekends there. It had been three years since I last ran this event, historically one of my favorites, and heading back was a little bittersweet. During my last outing I grenaded the engine in my car. In the first session. On my birthday. Thousands upon thousands of dollars later I was back in hopes of making it a successful weekend spent on track and with family. Fortunately, a few things were working in my favor. I had a new engine in the car that had run like a champ in July at Road America. The weather appeared to be some 45 degrees warmer than the low-thirties experienced last time at the event. And better yet, the sun was expected to shine all weekend opposed to the frigid rain endured the last time around. Finally to top it off, I had a three and five year old to assist in the pits. What possibly could go wrong? Junior crew chief in training Benjie helps his dad check the tire pressure Friday was a practice day with a 30-minute morning session and a 30-minute afternoon session. Given work is extra busy right now I spent nearly every minute I was out of the car on my computer working, and as [...]
This year we've partnered with The Scout Guide Minneapolis to bring you the ultimate VIP Experience at the 10,000 Lakes Concours d'Elegance on beautiful Lake Minnetonka. In between viewing the most stunning classic cars around you can visit the VIP tent to sip on Vino and delicious cocktails from Famiglia Meschini & Twin Spirits Distillery, enjoy picnic fare from Bellcour & France 44 and desserts from Amy's Cupcake Shoppe. Gates open at 9am on Sunday and the event goes until 4pm. The VIP tent is available from 11am to 4pm. Please RSVP for you and your guests for the VIP Experience at email@example.com. Be sure to mention that you're a guest of Morrie's Luxury Auto.