Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Radar Detector Dilemma

    Posted on April 29th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I finally broke down today and ordered a radar detector. I’ve been considering the idea of getting a radar detector for quite a while, but have been concerned with the idea that if you have a radar detector you are planning on speeding. It’s kinda like being guilty without even doing anything…

    Will I be speeding? Yes, I can guarantee that… but I would like to think that I’m different than most speeders (even if no one believes me). When I picture most speeders/radar detector users, I see someone who wants to constantly drive over the speed limit and use the radar detector to stop them from getting a ticket. I’m talking about the people driving 90mph on the freeway (in a 65mph zone). This is FAR from who I am.

    I have actually found myself driving slower for the vast majority of the time behind the wheel of the G8 than I was in my previous cars. It is probably because of the large digital speedo (that I’m always looking at), but I’m sure it’s also because I know that I CAN go fast… therefore don’t HAVE to go fast. Maybe I’m the only one that makes sense to, but whatever!

    I want to drive above the speed limit (technically speeding) while I’m on my ‘spirited’ drives. Often times I find myself driving over the speed limit in the twisty stuff. Some roads (Mines Rd. comes to mind) have a speed limit posted above the speed you could actually drive the road safely (Mines Rd is a 45mph speed limit the whole length, including the single lane super curvy parts). Then there are other roads (Redwood for example) that are 25mph… despite the ability to drive 45mph through all the corners…

    I want a little insurance that while I’m out in the middle of nowhere, with no one else on the road, I can enjoy the twisty stuff… regardless of the posted speed limits.

    After reading many reviews about radar detectors I kept coming back to the Valentine One. Yes, it was a bit pricey… but so is a speeding ticket. The V1 also has several really great features that other detectors on the market do not.


    The first feature is a set of arrows that display the direction in which the radar is being transmitted from. So, if there is a LEO (law enforcement officer) ahead of you… the forward arrow will light, if they are behind you … the rear will light.

    The second feature is a display that shows the number of bogeys (radar signals) that it detects. This is very helpful in determining if the alert is a LEO or just some other radar signal (like an automatic door opener at a shopping center). This, in combination with the directional arrows, will alert you to a LEO in front of you and one behind you… something that other detector would just ‘Beep’ at (no different then a single bogey).

    I will be hard wiring in the V1 to the rear view mirror (well, the power that goes to the rear view mirror) using an invisacord. With the detector mounted above the rear view mirror, and no cords hanging all over the place, it should result in a semi-hidden install.

    I am a little concerned about using suction cups to mount the V1, as it’s illegal in California to have anything stuck to your windshield (other than your rear view mirror or a FasTrak). Where it is going I don’t think it would be a big deal (it doesn’t obstruct my view, which is the basis of the law), but I’m sure people have been ticketed for it in the past. Worst case I could get something like a BlendMount to have the V1 mount under the rear view mirror.

    I’m new to this stuff, so I’m sure I’ll be posting more about the V1 as I learn to use it.

  • RIP Pontiac

    Posted on April 27th, 2009 tcorzett No comments


    Today it became official. Pontiac is no more…

    As part of the revised Viability Plan and the need to move faster and further, GM in the U.S. will focus its resources on four core brands, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. The Pontiac brand will be phased out by the end of 2010. GM will offer a total of 34 nameplates in 2010, a reduction of 29 percent from 48 nameplates in 2008, reflecting both the reduction in brands and continued emphasis on fewer and stronger entries. This four-brand strategy will enable GM to better focus its new product development programs and provide more competitive levels of market support.

    It’s really sad to see this happen. As a Pontiac owner I’m not really afraid of what this means for me. Yes, I’m just barely scratching the 5 year/100,000 mile warranty, but GM is still around to honor it. What about G8 parts? Holden is alive and kicking, so Commodore parts shouldn’t be going anywhere.

    My Grandfather owned one of the last Oldsmobile modles… and I’ll own one of the last Pontiacs. Sad, yes, but the death of Pontiac will not lessen the enjoyment that I receive when I’m driving the G8. I’m just glad that I have the opportunity to own the last v8 RWD to stand proudly alongside the other iconic Pontiac models like the Trans-AM and GTO.

  • April G8 Meet

    Posted on April 25th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Having only seen a few G8s on the road, I’ve really been looking forward to meeting a few other owners. The route for the drive was one that I’d made several times before, so I had a feeling that I would be leading (the GPS shouting out directions probably doesn’t hurt either).

    The group meeting place was set for the McDonald’s parking lot just off the freeway in Castro Valley. Unfortunately, the lot was closed-off for construction. I didn’t see any other G8s around (I was 30min early), so just posted-up in the neighboring parking lot and kept an eye-out for other G8s.

    Three other G8’s (MGM, Liquid Red, and Maverick Silver) eventually gathered for the cruise. Most of us were relatively stock, but the Liquid Red had a supercharger and Pedder’s Track II mods (and maybe more). The In-Dash GPS, Back-up Camera, and Smoker’s Package did get some nice attention.

    At noon we headed out for the cruise…

    Part 1: Group Drive

    Total Distance: 24.5 miles
    Driving Time: 1 hours 2 min

    View Larger Map

    As expected, I was the leader (yikes!)… we headed out in our convoy. After a short wait (we sent someone back to double-check there was no one in the McDonald’s parking lot) the four of us set-off for Redwood Rd.

    My biggest concern about leading was the speed… what is too fast or too slow? Well, for the most part I think it went well.

    The first delima was a slow car that wouldn’t move over to let us by (this will be come a reoccurring theme). Rather than trying to force our way by, we decided to pull over… which happened to result in a good location for some photos.


    After some photos, we got back on the road. There was some nice clear road and we were able to stretch the legs of the G8s a little. I didn’t expect it, but there were very few bicycles on Redwood Rd.

    Unfortunately, there was another slow car in the way. This time (and the first time in all my drives) I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. After several miles of going 20mph in a 25mph zone, I saw my chance and crossed-over the double-yellow line and passed the slow car. This is where having radios came in really handy… I was able to radio back to the other cars telling them that the road ahead was free from oncoming traffic.

    After the slow car, things were very nice for a while. Once into the Berkeley hills the roads became a little more crowded with cars and bicycles. It didn’t make for the most ‘spirited’ driving, but the roads are fun and the views are nice.

    Towards the end of Grizzly Peak Rd. the group pulled-off to take a few more photos.


    At this point, it was time to get to lunch as people were getting hungry. One of the group members needed to take-off, so… then there were three. We headed off towards CA-24, but I made a wrong turn. So, after going West on CA-24… then back East… we eventually made it to Orinda for lunch.

    We ate lunch at the Europa Hofbrau Deli & Pub. The food was good, but the conversation was better. Good to discus things like oil changes and gas mileage. The comment also came up about modified suspensions… the last car in the pack noticed that the Track II equipped car had much less body roll. They also noticed that it didn’t bottom-out like I did (D’oh!) going over a big dip… really makes me want to do the Xa coilover Street II upgrade! After eating we all headed-off our separate ways.

    It was really great to meet everyone… I can’t wait for the next cruise!

    Part 2: Solo

    After lunch, rather than just driving home on the freeway, I wanted to take some back roads. Nothing that I’ve not driven on before, but it was much better than the alternative.

    Total Distance: 87.2 miles
    Driving Time: 3 hours 23 min

    View Larger Map

    The drive home was uneventful, but quite enjoyable. The hills are starting to turn brown, but the flowers are starting to bloom. It’s nice to see something other than just brown… not that it doesn’t have it’s own beauty.

    When I was driving through the Altamont Pass I decided to stop again and grab a few photos with the windmills in the background.


    All-in-all it was a really great day of driving!

  • 1st Oil Change

    Posted on April 24th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    The odometer on the G8 GT hit 3000 miles, so it’s time to get her in for an oil change. I decided to switch over to Mobil 1 Full Synthetic.


    I also had the service department check for any ‘updates’ that should be done to the car (specifically relating to shifting), but none were found. After the service, I decide to take a non-direct route home. It was a fun drive and puts me in a great pace for tomorrow’s G8 Meet and Cruise.

  • 92 Octane?

    Posted on April 24th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I filled-up this morning at my local Shell station and noticed that the ‘Premium’ fuel on my pump was labeled as 92 octane!


    I’ve filled up at this station several times before (even on that pump) and never noticed the 92 octane. I checked several of the other pumps and they all seemed to be 91. The price for ‘Premium’ is the same for the 91 and 92 octane, making me believe that it was just the wrong sticker. I went into the service station (mini-mart?) and asked the attendant if they knew if the gas was really 92 octane. She came out to the pump, but really didn’t know the answer (she said she would talk to her manager). I’ll have to go in and ask again the next time I fill-up.

    Update: The pump has since been switch to a 91 octane sticker… so much for good gas!

  • License Plates

    Posted on April 14th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I received my license plates today. I guess Hilltop Pontiac will no longer get free advertising in my photos. That does give me an idea though… I should bring a few of my photos along with me on my next service, maybe I can get a discount!

  • Easter Egg Hunt

    Posted on April 12th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I have tomorrow off from work, so figured that Easter Sunday would be a good day to do a longer drive. I was right… in the mornings the roads were almost empty (other cars and bicyclists). This afternoon things got quite busy, but I was also in the heart of California’s traffic areas.

    So, first things first… How did the GPS do? Well, THIS is the route that I intended to take. One of the nice things about the Garmin Nuvi 755T is that you can enter ‘Custom Routes’. Another cool thing is you can do it via coordinates, so I don’t have to worry about trying to find specific intersections. Last night before heading-out I entered in all the waypoints to be ready for this morning.

    While there were a few things that didn’t go perfectly, having the GPS was wonderful! Not having to deal with a piece of paper full of turns was relaxing. It was even better when I decided to take a detour to the Golden Gate Bridge and then through San Francisco… I would have been totally lost without the GPS. The ‘Lane Assist’ feature of the 7xx series Nuvi is also nice for getting a heads-up before reaching intersections when you need to turn. For the future: 1) Double check the route to make sure they it doesn’t just make an out-and-back to a waypoint. 2) Make sure to have enough waypoints for all the ‘off the path’ roads, as it seems the Garmin likes to stick to the main roads.

    Total Distance: 385 miles
    Driving Time: 10 hours 59 min

    View Larger Map

    Given I was looking at nearly 11 hours behind the wheel, I wanted to get on the road early. Unfortunately that required waking-up early (something I hate to do), but it was worth it. I needed to get some money for bridge tolls, so headed off to the bank before hitting the road.

    The first part of the drive was not very exciting (I-580E to Vasco Rd.), but the low cloud cover was nice. Once on Vasco Rd. the clouds were just over the tops of the hills and it resulted in some great views of the windmills. It was really cool when the sun peaked through… projecting a rotating shadows on the road/hills. Marsh Creek Rd. was quite nice as well, I didn’t see another car the entire way to Clayton!

    The drive towards Napa turned out to be less interesting than I had hoped. The origional route I planned on taking a few more curving roads to get to 38°22’30.48″N 122°12’11.64″W, but the GPS decided to take the ‘direct’ route (resulting in an out-and-back). This resulted in my taking I-780W to I-80E, rather than Suisun Valley Rd. I guess next time I’ll have to make sure to hit that route.

    Once in Napa the drive, while not very exciting, was quite enjoyable. The drive on CA-29 past several major wineries (Robert Mondavi, BV, etc.) was very scenic. After a short drive through the Napa Valley I turned to head towards Lake Hennessy and Lake Berryessa. There really was something enjoyable about seeing a road sign that says ‘Narrow Winding Road for the Next 36 Miles’.


    Being Easter Sunday I’m sure really helped make this enjoyable. There was almost no one on the road, allowing for some nice ‘spirited’ driving. Part way around Lake Hennessy I stopped to stretch my legs, and took the opportunity to take some photos.


    The drive around Lake Berryessa was fun, and I even ran across a deer standing on the side of the road eating breakfast. A little later on the road I found a turkey out for a morning jog (seriously, she was just running down the road). In addition to the wildlife, the scenery was also great… with several very impressive views over the pristine valley.


    Once out of the hills the roads became quite mundane, but the scenery was great. Row upon row of vineyards, green fields sprinkled with yellow and purple flowers, and the occasional California Poppy… very scenic. I really should have stopped to take some photos. I had planned on taking a different route (through Calistoga) to the next ‘curvey’ part of the drive, but the GPS thought differently. It was not all bad, as I joined back up with Hwy-101 I passed a Napa Valley sign and took a few photos.


    One of the main reasons I decided to go North for a drive, rather than down towards Monterey, was route from Hwy-101 to CA-1… Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Rd. (how about that name). I had previously read about this road on (which is a great site for driving road information). They ranked this road with a fun factor of 5 and a difficulty of ‘High’… they were spot on!


    This road is really up there on my favorites I’ve ever driven on… I just wish it wasn’t so far way. The first part is very well maintained with wide shoulders, but a 30mph speed limit. The beginning area around the reservoir has a few cars on the road (in my case a truck towing a boat), so nothing too fun… but it gave me a chance to admire the view.


    After the reservoir this road really wakes-up. There are some very nice elevation changes and lots of flowing curves. if you are willing to push it a little (they do a great job reminding you the speed limit is 30mph) you can have a really great time. There were even a few times I had the anit-lock brakes kicking in on into the corners. The few cars that I did come across were all great at pulling over to let me by. Just like the LateralG website said, after the bridge the road conditions became a little more sketchy, but it wasn’t ever too bad. The other nice thing about the less maintained part of the road… there is no posted speed limit (the GPS had it as 55mph). There are some uneven parts of pavement, but most of the one-lane sections of the road were marked. The twisties are really, really, fun… did I mention it was fun? Yes, it was a total blast!

    Once I reached the coast I realized that I had driven through several of California’s very different and beautiful geographic regions… all I’d need would be snow and a desert and I’d have the complete set. The coast was great today, with no fog and lots of visibility. The traffic was about what I expected, with several slow tourists admiring the views, but nothing too bad (other than the 14 mile stretch into Bodega Bay stuck behind three of the slowest moving cars I’d ever seen). It did give me a chance to look for a place to pull over and take some photos of the G8 on the coast.


    CA-1 is very cool when there is no one in your way, the 55mph speed limit is more than enough for most areas to be fun, but be prepared to get stuck behind someone slow. In those situations I suggest that you just take a moment away from driving and enjoy the scenery.


    After heading down the coast I was really feeling like heading home, but the weather by the coast was just too perfect to pass-up. I made the drive down to the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve wanted to go to the Marin Headlands to photograph the Golden Gate for quite a while now. The ability to pull-up a map and hit ‘Go’ on the GPS made this detour painless. There were a ton of tourists (like me I guess) on the roads, but I was able to find a few places to pull over and get some photos.


    After shooting the bridge from the Marin Headlands, I wanted to try and find my way to the other side of the bridge to see if I can get a shot that I had seen before. While the light wasn’t right (would have been better in the morning), but it still made for some cool photos.


    After photographing around the Golden Gate Bridge I was really feeling like getting home. I took the GPS suggested route, minus a few missed turns, through San Fransisco. Driving by the entrance to China Town was kinda cool. Once on the Bay Bridge the drive was just a quest to get home.

    So in the end, I had a total blast. Next time I think I’ll cut the drive short before it hits 11 hours! I think that I have a new favorite road… Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Rd… and not just because I can’t say the name five-times-fast. Anyone who has the chance should seriously drive this road!


  • All finished!

    Posted on April 5th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    The interior mods are finally complete! It was a fun process [Day 1] [Day 2]… even when I needed to take a drill to the trunk. Today I spend most of my time putting things back together. I’m really happy with the final product.


  • A day with the NorCal GOATs

    Posted on April 4th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Last night I was reading about a GTO dyno day on April 25th (the same day as the Bay Area G8 meet). I checked-out the North Western section on and saw the NOR-CAL GTOS were having a meet and cruise leaving from Pleasanton! After getting permission, as I’d hate to crash a party, I signed-up for the drive.

    Total Distance: 41.2 miles
    Driving Time: 1 hours 37 min

    View Larger Map


    We started off meeting at the Stoneridge Mall at 10am. There were a crazy number of Cyclone Grey Metalic GTOs, like 5 of them! It seemed like everyone had something done to their car… from the mild to the wild. The G8 was receiving quite a bit of attention (probably because it was the only G8 there). I was able to show-off the progress of the mods, but I really wish everything was buttoned up.


    After everyone showed-up, we headed out driving west on Dublin Canyon Rd. to Palomares Rd. I tried driving on Palomares a while ago, but didn’t get too far. I’m really glad we got a chance to drive on it, as it’s a great road. There was a large bicycle ride today, which didn’t help with ‘spirited’ driving… but at least the slower cars on the road pulled over to let the train of GTOs by.

    After Palomares Rd we headed over to Calaveras Rd, another road I’ve been wanting to drive on. This is a really windy stretch of road with several one-lane sections. I found that the G8 was again spending too much time in higher gears, so put it manually into 3rd. There was more than enough power to come out of corners and no delay when getting back onto the gas. Like much of the day, there were quite a few bicyclists on the road… making for an interesting drive. So often I just wish that we could get a ‘one way for a day’ type of event.


    The cruise ended at Dave & Busters. After some photos people headed in to get food and pay some games. Given the G8 was still in pieces, I felt my time was best spent getting work done. I headed to Livermore and kept going on the mods (all my electrical work is now done).

    A special thanks goes out to the NOR-CAL GTOS for allowing me to come along on their cruise. It was great to meet everyone, and I’m sure I will be attending more of these sorts of events in the future.

  • Well on the way…

    Posted on April 2nd, 2009 tcorzett 2 comments

    After a few days of tinkering on the G8 GT, I’m starting to put things back together. The GPS is installed and so is the front smoker’s kit. I am really happy with the way things are turning out… it looks so clean compared to the alternatives (dash mount, etc.)