Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Infineon Raceway Photo Shoot

    Posted on November 20th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    In an attempt to get some additional photographs for the NorCal Goats 2010 Calendar (yeah, it’s November and I’m still working on it) I put together a photo shoot at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Having shot professional events at the Raceway for several years, I have developed a good report with many of the media relations personnel. They were graciously willing to let me have free-range access to the facility for photography!

    infineon raceway logo

    Given the Raceway’s busy schedule, we were somewhat limited on the days that would work for the shoot… basically weekends were out. After a poll on the boards I scheduled the event for today (a Friday) and it seemed that quite a few people were able to have the afternoon off for the shoot!

    Unfortunately, the weather was not very cooperative. After a week of just beautiful weather, the forecast for Friday was 100% rain. There was a rather large storm moving down from the North… and a single band of intense rain swept across the Bay Area. As one person put it, “Mother Nature stuck her middle finger out at us”. Because of the rain, many of the cars canceled.

    I arrived at the Raceway at 10:30am to check-in and do some scouting of the facility. The rain at this time was incredibly hard… so much so that I even told someone to not bother coming out. I drove around to places I’d never been before, which is always fun. I was able to narrow down some of my ideas into a half-dozen nice shooting locations. I also headed down to the garages and setup my studio lighting in the case that the rain didn’t let-up.


    This was the first time that I used the Vagabond II power system (basically a big battery). While there was power in the garages I wanted to test out the new toy (and I wasn’t tall enough to reach the overhead outlets). I arranged my lighting to take advantage of the sun light that was entering through the windows (which I needed a polarizing filter to control the reflections of). After drying off my car and taking a few photos (just because I could) I was all ready to start shooting… I just needed a car to shoot.

    As the afternoon progressed the rain passed and the sun came out. I was really surprised, I figured the day was going to be a total wash-out. As things started to dry out I even needed to go put my sunglasses on! The post-rain light was just incredible… Infineon Raceway is situated on the East side of a hill, which results in a long shadow that passes over the grounds well before the sun would ‘set’ other places (one of the spots I was planning on shooting was in shadow as early as 2:30pm).

    The first car arrived around 3pm and we quickly started shooting with the light that was remaining. I needed to get some photos from in Victory Circle, as the ground is painted with a great checker-flag pattern. We then headed down outside Turn 7 for some shots with the Raceway in the background.


    Yeah, it’s great to be able to get cars trackside during a hot-session (there was an open test at the track today). We then headed into the studio to get some shots from there.

    Jut as we were finishing-up with the first car, the second car arrived! This was what I was hoping was going to happen over the entire day… one car after another until everyone was shot from all sorts of locations.

    The second car was the one that I had planned for the Victory Circle shot. Something about a caged, tubed, straight rear-axle, leaded fuel (116 octane) running, NOS breathing monster just begs to be shot on a checkered-flag! Unfortunately, the sun was quickly setting… so doing many other outdoor shots was not going to be productive.

    A third car had arrived, so we headed back into the studio to get some a few shots now that the light had all but gone from outside. Let me say, I was really happy with the results from the studio set-up.


    Very moody, but not over the top. The background is slightly busy (doors, girders, etc.), but I think it goes well with the car… and the lighting focuses the viewer’s eye to the car.

    When I finished shooting the studio stuff, one of the owners commented that it was too bad we couldn’t do something on the drag strip. I made a phone call and a few minutes later we were setting-up the studio on the drag strip. The light was really going fast (like I wish I brought a flashlight so I wasn’t going to be tripping over cables/wires). By the time we moved the second car into position the light was GONE. I even had to use the modeling lights on the strobes (which shouldn’t be used with the Vagabond II) just to get enough light to focus the camera. The results were very interesting… and I took the chance to play with some light painting (everything was crap, but it was fun).

    I cleared-off the drag strip and headed home around 7pm (right on time). It was a really long day with all sorts of complications (rain, lack of cars, lack of light, etc.), but in the end I did come away with a few good images that should help fill-out the NCG Calendar. Now, I just need to find a solution to a quarter of the Calendar being Impulse Blue colored cars!

  • “What’s that thing got under the hood?”

    Posted on November 18th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Today at lunch I was driving around looking for photo locations for this afternoon’s shoot. After finding a few spots that have might work, I headed to Safeway to get a salad (Note: get the half salad, they put the same amount of toppings on it but charge $1.50 less than the full salad). On the way I noticed a black Chevy Impalla race-up behind me and then proceed to ride my ass. As we approached a red light he scooted in front of another car to pull-up next to me. At the light he keeps inching forward, just waiting for it to turn green.

    When the light turns green he jumped on it, so I figure, what the heck… let’s have some fun with this guy. I rolled into the throttle (maybe 75% or so) and closeed the gap in a heartbeat. I quickly pulled ahead of him, so let off on the gas and pulled into the left-most turn lane. To my surprise he pulled-up along side of me, and when I glanced over he was nodding his head and smiling. When I looked back over he’d rolled his window down, so I did the same.

    First thing out of his mouth was, “What’s that thing got under the hood? A V8?”. I responded with the normal, “Yeah, 6 liter V8”. He started asking about horsepower and stuff, so I described the mods and such… Turns out this guy has the Supercharged 3.8L V6 with a custom exhaust and a few other things. The conversation ended with him commenting, “Nice car man”. When the light turned green he raced-off (I wasn’t going to play on a road with a 35mph speed limit that I know police like to patrol).

    Again, I’m really happy with the way the G8 performed. I love that people really don’t know what they are dealing with when they pull-up next to me. Also, the results of the supercharged v6 just demonstrates that there is no replacement for displacement!

  • Goodguys Autumn Get-Together

    Posted on November 14th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    The NorCal GOATs made a presence at this year’s Goodguys Autumn Get-Together. I was planning on taking the weekend off from car stuff, but I just couldn’t turn down entering the G8 in the show-n-shine at a big event like this… Throw-in that the event is in my backyard, and it became a no-brainer.


    It had only been a week since I’d washed the G8 last, but it was a long week (~600 miles of driving), and I needed to put in some quality time to make sure things were ‘show worthy’. I wasn’t feeling very well, so decided to leave work a little early on Friday. It worked out well that I was able to get the car fully detailed before the sun went down.

    It has been quite cold here lately at night, and to my disgust there was a light layer of dew on the G8 before I could get back home and into my underground parking garage. One the drive home the water was flowing down the rear window… tarnishing the perfection that I worked so hard to achieve earlier. I seriously debated re-detailing the G8 once I got home, but decided that I would leave it for once I arrived at the show.

    The group met at 6:45am to get to the fairgrounds early enough to get a nice spot at the show-n-shine. The weather was very overcast and there was even some mist. As we approached the show the weather worsened to the point that all of our cars were covered in water. I was really glad that I hadn’t obsessed the night before, as I had to re-do everything anyhow. It made for good fun… it was nice to see how each person details their cars in slightly different way.

    The group was able to get a spot right on the ‘main drag’ quite close to the Auto-X. There was also a cool barn that we staked a claim to, which resulted in some nice photos once the sun broke-through the clouds. In addition to the cars, we had a tent with a nice NCG banner. There was also a BBQ and all sorts of food and drinks.


    I was originally hesitant to enter the G8 into the show-n-shine, as I’ve never considered it a ‘show car’, but the G8 received a very warm welcome from everyone that I talked with. From other G8 owners, to those who wished they were owners, the comments almost always ended with “it’s really too bad that they stopped making these”. It was really fun talking with everyone… and for once being on the ‘owners’ side (rather than just the photographer).

    I was able to set-up a few photos around the barn and think we may have another couple candidates for the NorCal GOATs Calendar. I also talked to a few NCG members and it looks like there will be a photo shoot tomorrow afternoon!

    I think attending these events in the future will become a regular thing. Not only is it a great time hanging-out with the other NorCal GOATs, representing the club in a public forum is important too. We met several new people with GTOs and G8s… hopefully a few of them will join-up and participate in future activities.

  • GPS Silver Trim Upgrade

    Posted on November 13th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    One of the problems with being an early adopter of technology (etc.) is that you often times don’t get the perfect final product. Being the second person in the US to get the trim kit (the first outside of JHP) meant that the parts that I received were what was available at the time… a black center trim piece. While I’ve never disliked the way it looked, the silver trim piece that has been made available more recently looks better.

    I finally decided to order the silver trim piece from Crazy Paul’s (there is just something hard to stomach about spending a total of $65 on a little piece of plastic). I popped-off the black piece and put the silver one in place, but quickly found that the ‘stock’ piece needed some modification to fit flush with the rest of the trim. I tried using tape to hold things in place, but decided that the best method (and the same one that JHP used) was to heat and bend the plastic a little. After some delicate work with a torch the new trim piece fit perfectly!


    I also took the opportunity to change out the inserts on the vent nobs to the silver ones that came with the stock G8. While it’s just a little piece of trim, I think the silver upgrade really makes things look like they would have come from the factory.

  • Maggie Mod Day

    Posted on November 8th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Today was the second day in a row doing car stuff. This time I had to wake-up early as I needed to be in Tracy by 8:30am. After loading-up the car with the majority of my camera equipment I headed-off. Like always, I had some extra time so decided to take a leisurely drive down Altamont Pass Rd. I was again reminded of the cold cloudy morning when my Father and I drove these same roads in the RX-7 chasing after trains. It would have been a perfect morning to have a NorCal GOATS club jacket!

    After meeting-up with two other people, the group headed South on I-5 towards Merced. Unfortunately we had to make a brief stop as one of the group was pulled-over by the CHP for having tinted windows (Seriously, doesn’t the CHP have something better to do?). The remainder of the drive went smoothly and we made good time.

    While driving down I couldn’t stop thinking about photography. The weather was partly overcast and the parts of sun that made it through really made the countryside look gorgeous. The recent rain has resulted in the hills starting to turn green… very photogenic!

    The shop where the mod day was being performed was incredible. When I think of my ‘garage’ (which is actually just a parking spot) I am reminded just how awesome a workshop could be. Not only is there a huge area to work on whatever you could imagine, there is even a lift!


    The work on the Magnacharger (MP122) was going well, without my help, so I decided to look around for something to do. Given I have had photography on my mind, I quickly set-about trying to find some photo locations around the shop. Looking outside was OK, but the inside of the shop was just perfect to setup as a studio!


    I don’t have much (any?) experience lighting something as large as a car with studio lights, but figured today would be a good time to learn. When I purchased my strobes I decided to go with the more powerful monolights just in case I wanted to do something like this (and I’m glad I did). I also picked-up a Vagabond II battery pack for the ability to work in remote locations… today I had power, so it wasn’t needed.

    After some experimenting I found a lighting setup that seemed to produce some nice results. I probably should have done some more shots with less ambient lighting to create a more dramatic mood, but a nice evenly exposed image is more usable (and I can always add the shadowing in post). All-in-all I’m sure I was able to get a couple shots that will be potentials for the NCG calendar.

    The drive home was fun, being joined by one more GTO, and went smoothly. I decided to take Corral Hollow Rd. just to add some spice to the trip. There was the typical traffic around Carnegie Park, but I was able to get a clear piece of road to have some fun.

    The weekend has turned-out to be quite a bit of driving… I’m guessing I drove over 500 miles in total… but like always it was a blast!

  • Sacramento Cruise

    Posted on November 7th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    It has been a little while since we headed-out for a cruise (GoatRun was a month ago!), so it was about time to get out and relax behind the wheel. Some of the guys around Sacramento organized a cruise through some really great roads on Saturday afternoon with a dinner afterward.

    I had debated on how to drive up to Sacramento, as I had driven the I-5 route two times in as many weeks. I ended-up going I-5 again so that I could cruise with some of the Stockton GTO owners. Because of the GPS and radar detector I found myself being the leader and it turned-out well… other than the huge flock of birds that flew over the freeway dropping bombs all over out cars.

    When we reached the meeting location I needed to stop and get some gas. I pulled-into the Shell station and what did I see? A brand spanking new, JetStream Blue Metallic, Corvette ZR1 (yeah, the one with the 638HP supercharged 6.2 liter LS9). As I was filling-up I had to go over and tell the gentleman how nice his car is. I asked him if he was here for the cruise (the ‘vette guys were invited to the cruise as well), but he was just a local.

    There was a nice turnout, including two other G8s… there was even a GXP! As always, it was great meeting new people and seeing what they have done to their cars. After some talking, we headed out on the cruise.

    View Larger Map

    We had a little trouble getting onto the freeway as a group, and without knowing who the last car in line was, I didn’t want anyone to get left behind. I dropped back and kept an eye-out… turns out there were several people who needed to catch-up. From that point on, I stuck at the back of the pack making sure everyone was still around. Because I was at the back I wasn’t able to have as spirited drive as I would have liked, but the company was great and the roads were very scenic.

    It is a great time of the year in California… the hills are starting to turn green again and the leaves are turning all sorts of bright colors. The weather was perfect too… cool, clear, and sunny (I should have been at the drag strip!).

    After the cruise I headed out to dinner with some of the guys (I think I was the only non-local in the bunch). We ate at a nice diner and the food was good. There was lots of talk about mods, smog, etc. I think we need to have a few more meets with the Bay Area G8 owners. While I love a drive, talking shop is always fun. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and it’s great to see how people have modified their cars.

    After the dinner I headed back home. It was a long drive alone, but I made it before it got too late. After this cruise, I think I need to re-think some of my NorCal Exploration drives… there are some really great roads that are just begging to be driven!