Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2016

Blog Posts of 2016: 2016 Art of the Car Concours

Okay, bye 2016!  Don’t let the door hit you.  Or do.  This probably won’t be remembered as anyone’s favorite year, but we did get to have some fun on the blog.  In fact, we had alot of fun.  Whittling this list down to seven posts wasn’t easy.  Just like 2016.  Here, in no particular order, are my very favorite posts of the year to the Streetside blog.

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How Not to Make a Car Costume for Halloween

How Not to Make a Car Costume for Halloween

There was only one answer, really.  I had just bought a 2006 Honda Civic Si, bloated in design and bleached-bone white.  When I remembered that our October Cars and Coffee event would host a Trunk or Treat and that the following day’s autocross would have a car costume competition, the new-to-me Civic had to become its cinematic analogue – the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  I hope I didn’t ruin the car.

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Autocross is Worth It, Part 2

Continued from Part 1:

Kansas City Region SCCA Autocross

There are no curbs, no signs, nothing to hit but cones.  And since the average autocrosser tops out at 50 or 60 before having to brake for the next corner, autocross is about the safest motorsport outside of Forza.  This is why no one needs a roll cage or racing harness, just a 2010 Snell-rated helmet.  If you don’t have a helmet, you can borrow one for free.

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Autocross is Worth It, Part 1

Kansas City Region SCCA Autocross

I was scheduled to autocross on Sunday, and at 4am on Saturday, I finally got the transmission back into place. My jack proved about an inch too short, and tired muscle had to do the rest. Sleep and money whirled clockwise into a vortex before disappearing into a lost weekend, but I knew at the first orange cone, a long right sweeper, that it had all been worth it. I’m sold. Autocross is always worth it.

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Old Cars Are Just Better

Old Cars Are Better

Old Cars Are Better

At 4 this morning, I decided to admit to myself that sleep wasn’t coming, so I got up.  Hands shaking, I customized my new phone until I could reasonably get dressed and drive down to Dagwood’s, the nearest diner open at 5.  Dagwood’s was already ancient by the time my ’87 CRX was in development.  It was dishing up massive half-orders of biscuits and gravy when the first Camaros rolled into Kansas City.  It made pancakes when the Willys Jeep was still shuttling GIs toward victory in Europe.  As I shoveled similar pancakes into my mouth, a sturdy brace to a stomach bitterly void of all but pain meds, I got to thinking about that old rusted heap of Honda parked just outside. Continue reading “Old Cars Are Just Better”

How to Love Too Many Cars: Art of the Car Concours 2016

2016 Art of the Car Concours

“What’s your favorite car?”  It’s been a long time since I’ve had an answer for this.  I usually get the question after I’ve known a nice person, who isn’t into cars, for a short period of time.  Hungry to make conversation, they ask me what car I’d buy if money wasn’t an issue.  “If you could have any one car..?”  The question throws me into an internal crisis.  It isn’t like asking what’s at the top of a list.  They’re asking me to pick my favorite M&M out of a bucket.  I can’t even choose from those I cans see, and there are layers and layers beneath it.  Yet picking a favorite out of masterpieces was exactly what we were asked to do at Sunday’s Art of the Car Concours in Kansas City. Continue reading “How to Love Too Many Cars: Art of the Car Concours 2016”

The Hot Rod Power Tour Visits the Surface of the Sun

2016 Hot Rod Power Tour

The AC in my $760 Honda Civic does not work.  I spend every drive in a box made of black metal and glass, thoroughly broiling myself.  So by the time I finally rolled up to the Kansas Speedway for last Friday’s final stop of the 2016 Hot Rod Power Tour, I was already half dead.  Together with hundreds of other car people, I stood in a field for four hours, collecting salt on my shirt and something approaching regret.  It’s a good thing there were hundreds of incredible cars there.  Otherwise I might not have enjoyed myself. Continue reading “The Hot Rod Power Tour Visits the Surface of the Sun”

How to Install a Magnaflow Exhaust Manifold

How to Install a Magnaflow Exhaust Manifold

I bought a 1998 Civic for $760. The beater-to-project CRX’s abhorrent rust finally cracked its subframe, so it’s in a mechanically induced coma, and I needed something else to drive. When you buy a car for $760, unless it’s from your grandmother, and she’s not Cindy McCain, you’re going to have some issues to fix. The most obvious on this Civic was a cracked exhaust manifold, so I fixed it. With a little help from Magnaflow.

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Honda CRX: From Beater to Project

1987 Honda CRX Si

I stood in the tiny gravel lot behind my apartment building, staring in appalled disgust at my 2002 WRX wagon, my dream car.  My dreams were dead.  The wagon had betrayed me, locking its engine, and I was so broke from the previous repairs that I couldn’t afford to fix anything else.  I would have to sell it.  The next few days were raw, desperate, and depressed.  I needed a car.  Through red-rimmed eyes I scanned Craigslist, looking to replace my car not with another WRX, that was out of the question, but with another copy of the best car I’ve ever owned: A 1990 Honda Accord Coupe with a manual.  Those had been the good days, when the most work a car had needed was an oil change or new brake pads.  But I found nothing.  All Accords were either carbureted, out of my price range, or worse: automatic.  I was downgrading, not retiring, and the last thing you need when you’re depressed about losing a car is to drive an automatic.  As the days passed, I broadened my search.  Anything.  Nothing.  Then I found a car.  A temporary car.  A beater, to get me through a financial rough patch.  And now I want to keep the little punk forever.  What happened?  How did I get here?

Sometimes love takes time. Continue reading “Honda CRX: From Beater to Project”

Ram 1500 Mods: A Complete Guide

Ram 1500 Express

You finally bought your dream truck, a muscle-bound, full size Ram.  It has enough torque to carve the sequel to the Grand Canyon, and room enough to protect your entire family from the definitely impending zombie apocalypse.  It’s an awesome tribute to American ingenuity, a monument to getting dirt under your fingernails and working hard enough to work out while working.  But there’s always room for improvement.  So we put together a list of some of our favorite Dodge Ram 1500 mods and upgrades, many of which you can install yourself, right in your garage or driveway.  We get it: You have to budget for parts.  Since they’re not made out of cardboard and corn starch, they tend to cost a little more than your average giant barrel of cheese poofs, which is okay, since they last longer and are more nutritious.  So we organized these parts by price, from lowest to highest, so you can map out your own path for your Ram upgrades. Continue reading “Ram 1500 Mods: A Complete Guide”