This post is a little different from what I normally do around here. I thought it was high-time I actually showed you guys how to do something. To that end, I chose to demonstrate just how easy it is to install a Q Logic Q-Custom. Since I am more into muscle cars than imports and trucks, I went for the 2005-up Mustang 12″ enclosure. This Q-Custom features a single-12” subwoofer for latest body style Mustang. This creation from the audiophiles at Q-Logic has been meticulously designed to not only create the ultimate low-frequency bass all music lovers craver, but also to integrate so well into the vehicle that it looks like an OE option (that is to say, much better than the actual factory option!) You will even have more trunk space than the Shaker 1000 box.
This weekend (October 3rd and 4th) marked the 22nd annual USACi World Finals event in Tulsa, OK. Held at the Tulsa Convention Center, this year’s event was a unified World Finals, combining the USACi (United Sates Autosound Competition International) finals with dB Dragracing finals. Featuring a combined total of 100 competitors (including those registered in multiple events), the competition side of things was smaller than that of previous years. With the receeding economy, traveling to a world finals event becomes increasingly more difficult. It was no surprise that many of the competitors were regional, with the majority of them coming from surrounding states like Texas, Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas, and several from Oklahoma. There were of course a few coming from further away, such as Chicago.
Walking into the convention center, I was shocked and disappointed. Where just three years ago, it was standing room only, this weekend, you were hard pressed to find anybody there that was not a competitor or somehow associated with the event. The spectator level was damn near zero. Even the manufacturers didn’t bother to show up. DB Drive was the major sponsor of the event and their presence was felt by the giant semi-trailer that was next to the stage. Car Toys, one of the biggest car audio shops in Oklahoma (where Gary Biggs, 7-time world champion, got his start) had the next biggest booth, and they footed the bill, not the manufacturers they sell. There were no giveaways, no T-shirts, no swag at all. Not that that is important to me, but handing out free stuff gets people in the doors, and the place was empty. It was very disappointing. I do not expect much in the future from USACi or dB Dragracing. Though the word on the street is that this year’s event was bigger than last year’s, held in Dallas, TX. I spent the day at the event trying to get photo shoots lined up for future feature stories, but that only took about an hour because nobody showed up for the car show. And to think that the Convention Center cost $13,000 for two days.
Are you into photography? Do you like to take fancy pictures of mountains, floating butterflies and speeding cars? Do you need to print said photographs on paper the size of the empire state building with High-Definition quality? Then the latest offerings from Mamiya are a necessity for you. Never heard of Mamiya? They are one of the premier lens manufactures for Digital and film cameras, top-notch stuff.
In the lastest press release, a few of the juicy details were sent out, teasing us photogs, leaving us wanting more-
October 1, 2009
The new Mamiya DM56 and DM33 deliver an unprecedented range of options to photographers, resulting in the most versatile medium format DSLR series available.
With these two new models, Mamiya photographers can take advantage of record high flash-sync speeds up to 1/1600 per second via three new Mamiya leaf-shutter digital lenses. Designed and developed in conjunction with Schneider Kreuznach, and manufactured by Mamiya, the 55mm f/2.8 D L/S, 80mm f/2.8 D L/S, and 110mm f/2.8 S L/S will begin shipping in Q4, 2009.
For other shooting situations, photographers may choose from Mamiya’s current 645AF series lenses, ranging from 28mm to 300mm APO, all compatible for use with the cameras’ focal plane shutter. Combined with 30% faster autofocus, the Mamiya DM56 and DM33 set a new professional DSLR standard for the most demanding situations.
Software solutions for Raw file processing are provided with the cameras, including new versions of Leaf Capture™, and Capture One™ software by Phase One, allowing photographers their choice of workflow from the industry leaders.
Sounds pretty good right? You can even send the images taken from your new Mamiya DSLR directly to a computer (like all the fancy studio photogs do) or to iPhones around the world (albeit in a smaller image size). The size of a 28-megapixel RAW image is 54 megabytes. dang.
The price to get into the realm of bad-ass Mamiya DM56? Well, they have not let us know that part yet, but the last medium-format DSLR from Mamiya (Oct 2008) require a payment of $14,999. Yeah, that’s 15-thousand DOLLARS for a camera. You still have to buy a lens too.
I move to the beat of a different drum. When most people move left, I move north. I just don’t try to fit in anymore. As a kid, that was the thing, you try to shape yourself to fit the mold that was “cool” or popular, so that you would have friends and to get along. I tried for a while, but eventually, I realized I was just different. I drive a muscle car. Not too outside of the box right? Well it’s a 1971 Buick GS convertible. One of only 656 built. It is powered by a 400-hp Buick 350, definitely not your average small-block Chevy, getting that 400-hp took thousands of dollars more than it would take to get 500-600 out of an 350 Chevy. Everything about that car is different, even the Buick 350 is out of the box. Most guys that do build Buicks go for the bigger 455.
The point is that you don’t have to be the same as everyone else. Even building a car, you can take something that is different and build a tuner, hot rod or cruiser and make it your own. What makes my car stand out is the fact that it is a Buick and not a Chevelle, Camaro or Mustang, not that there is anything wrong with those cars.
The point is that you should take what you have, make it your own and not care what others think. It’s yours, build it the way you want it.
Drag racing is fun. Lots of fun. Especially if you can do it on the cheap and have grudge matches against your friends. That is what this weekend was all about for me. I spent Friday putting in a new set of 4.11:1 gears in the GS (my 1971 Buick GS convertible), which was finished around 2 am, and then headed to the track 80-miles away the next day. I have not had the car on the track since it has been completed (400hp motor, fresh everything, complete build, took 4 years) and I was excited to get it going. The first run of the day was kind of lame, but I had literally just driven 80 miles and ran through the lanes and made a pass. 15.11. Ouch. All that hard work and a 15.11? Ugh. I was a little miffed.
I spent the rest of the day chasing low 14s, even though i had been hoping for 13s. Things like this are to be expected, even though we never really expect them. I made a few adjustments along the way- aired down the tires, less air means better contact patch for the rubber. That got me down to the 14s with a 14.88. My 60-foot times sucked. They sucked all night actually. The main problem there is lousy traction. Street tires are unpredictable, sometimes they work ok, sometimes they don’t, though they usually don’t work too well.
After getting into the 14s, I made some shifting adjustments. Before I was shifting at 5500 rpm. This time I went for 5800. That worked out well as I managed a 14.60 ET at 91 miles per hour. We were getting closer to the 13s. Read the rest of this entry »
I am a gearhead. Just about every piece of clothing I own has grease, oil and general car funk stains on them. Except for a few nice pants and some Polo shirts, I wear jeans and T-shirts. I even buy Mechanix Wear shoes. I live in the garage, under the dash, in the motor or under it. It is what I do and who I am. I love all things automotive—street machines, hot rods, race cars, cruisers, even ricers (they have their place). Most would call me a fanatic.
When it comes to the automotive hobbyist industry as a whole, encompassing everything from rodders and tuners to restorations and show cars, there is a lot of animosity on the inside. Cruise a muscle car through a group of old-school hot rodders or tuner cars and you will get griped at. Don’t even think about trying to park a Honda between to a ’69 Camaro and ’71 Challenger, it might not be drivable when you come back. But is it necessary? Of course, it isn’t, but this is the difference between fans and fanatics. Read the rest of this entry »
While it may seem like shameless self-promotion (which it is), my latest book, “How to Design and Install In-Car Entertainment Systems” is finally on the shelves. After months of hard work, late nights and several purpose-built systems, the book is done and on the boat from China. Yeah, they print them in China. Don’t worry, I am sure the paper is lead-free, at least I hope it is.
In case you are wondering, the book covers everything car-audio and then some. The first chapter is all about the fundamentals of car audio and electronics, which is to say a brief primer on automotive acoustics and basic electrical theory. It is presented in a way that is easy to read and understand, so you don’t get bogged down in the mire of technical jargon. The next two chapters are about planning and basic installation tools and techniques.
From there the book gets into the nitty gritty details of installation. Covering all the basics like head units, amps, subs and speakers to MP3 players and GPS. Many of the techniques shown in the book are cutting edge, things you won’t find ANYWHERE else. These are the tips and tricks that make installing car audio much simpler for the novice and may even provide the pro with a few ideas too. Read the rest of this entry »
In today’s world, brazen thievery threatens us every day. Whether it is your kid’s backpack, your briefcase, laptop or your prized muscle car, theft is on the rise. But how do you protect your belongings from these low-down dirty criminals? A couple of enterprising companies may have the answer, GPS.
While GPS tracking devices such as Lowjack have been around for quite a while, they are expensive and must be installed in the vehicle. There are alternatives that allow you to purchase a single device that remains portable, it can be transferred from one vehicle to another, and some devices are even useable in briefcases, backpacks and laptop cases. Using what is classified as A-GPS or Asssisted GPS, these new devices use both satellite-based and cellular-based tracking functions.
GPS Snitch- this device is mainly designed for automotive use. About the size of a pack of cigarettes, the Snitch is easily concealed under a seat, in the glove box or under the dash.
The GPS-Snitch device has unique alarm feature, which allows you to set the device, arm it and if the vehicle is moved, the tacking center sends you a text or email. This function is extremely useful for local car shows, cruise nights or other outings where you might leave the vehicle unattended. The Snitch can be had for $299 direct from the manufacturer. Read the rest of this entry »
So, you are bass head and you want to add some thump to your ride. The problem is that your ride is small, like a Corvette, Miata or some other two-seater with not much room. What are your options? The answer to this question which plagues a lot of audio fanatics depends on your resources. There are simple solutions and then there are complex solutions. Here are few to think about-
Pre-fabricated: Enclosures such as the universal Q-Custom from Q-logic is a great way to add some tight punch in a tight spot. Behind the seat, tucked away in the trunk, these enclosures come as small as 8”, so you can likely find one to fit your car.
Loaded compacts: There are quite a few of these on the market now, one in particular is the Rockford Fosgate Overload. The Overload is a 12” powered subwoofer mounted in a fully-enclosed (read protected) housing that is plug-and-play, featuring a remote bass control. This is an easy sub add-on for a factory head unit too.
Transducers- This is a really cool product that has been around for decades, but has recently made a big jump into modern car audio. A transducer is a motor that gets a signal from a low-powered amplifier and produces vibrations, emulating a subwoofer. You won’t win any SPL contests, but a transducer greatly increases the wow factor for any system and you don’t lose hearing . Couple a transducer with a small 8” sub and you have an incredible system that will knock your socks off and you won’t get any noise tickets. Read the rest of this entry »
So, you think the whole donk, box and bubble craze is new? Think again. Oldsmobile built the original way back in the 1911.
During my recent visit to the GM Heritage Center in Dearborn, Michigan, I got a chance to see some really cool cars. One of which inspired this post. Donks are semi-cool. In case you do not know, a Donk is a full-size sedan or coupe with 24-inch or larger wheels. The box and bubble variants are basically the same, just different years\styles. You see these things crusing in the bigger cities, with jacked up suspensions (to the point of being truly unsafe) and painted with crazy paint schemes. When in Atlanta a couple of years ago, I even saw a McDonalds-sponsored Donk.
Back to the Oldmosbile. In 1911, Oldsmobile was still a seperate company, it was not part of GM. Oldsmobile was a true luxury car, like Mercedes and Duesenberg. The 1911 Oldsmobile Limited was the largest car ever built in America, and in its day was a behemoth. If you thought a 1976 Olds 98 was a land yacht, this thing is a battle cruiser. The 42-inch rims (all wood baby!) and brass trim really set the Limited off as an imposing yet elegant ride. This whip was available as a roadster, touring car (pictured), and limosine (yes, they got bigger). Built over a three-year run, just under 700 were produced. Worth well over 1-million dollars today, Oldsmobile has owned this all-original Limited since the ’30s.
Any guesses on the original sticker price? For comparison, the 1911 Model T Runabout sold for around $680 new. The Oldsmobile Limited would run you between $5,000 to $7,000 greenbacks. Holy pocketbook Batman, that is a lot cash. Adjusting for inflation, $5k in 1911 would be $114,150.68 in 2008 (closest I could get). If you were a Baron of industry (railroad, oil, newspaper, real estate, etc) this was THE car to have.
There you have it, the first donk was an Oldsmobile, built in 1911