Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • More Rig Photos!

    Posted on July 16th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    A few weeks ago I tried-out my Automotive Rig for the first time, with awesome results. After sharing the photos I had several other owners who were interested in having a giant metal pole suction cupped to their car!

    Just like the last time, I found myself waking-up at 4am so that I could be out on-location just as the sun started to rise. I didn’t really know of any shooting locations in the area, so just chose some areas that might have things that would look good in the background.

    The first location was a roundabout in the housing development of one of the car owners. I setup the 16′ pole on the suction cups and had the owner drive slowly around in circles while I walked along stabilizing the camera (by holding the camera strap). The results from this setup were nothing short of spectacular!

    Previously I had tried to avoid directly lighting the cars (with the sun), as I feared I wouldn’t be able to get the long exposures that I desired. I quickly realized that with the ND filter and a circular polarizer I was more than capable of getting multi-second shutter speeds, even in direct sun light. Also, just like all other types of photography, proper use of golden hour light made the photos absolutely pop!

    After shooting the first car, the group headed out of the housing complex towards a more industrial area (and to get some coffee/energy drinks). I had scouted (via Google Earth) another shooting location in a Park-and-Ride lot that would work well. Like the other area, there were rows of trees that allowed for lots of motion in the background.

    This location was fully lit by the sun, resulting in some complications when setting-up the rig. I had to take care to keep the shadow from the camera rig (and me while supporting it) from covering parts of the car being shot. After a couple of passes we started thinking outside the box a little…

    The owner of this GTO has spent countless hours painting and polishing every little piece of his car. He also runs his car at the drag strip with the hood removed, so it only seemed fitting to take some photos showing off the engine bay.

    As with last time, I learned more and more as the morning went on about what does and doesn’t work. I think I did a much better job keeping track of the basics (exposure, white balance, etc.) and that really made processing the images easier. I feel confident that I should be able to mount the rig to other cars and get respectable photos… I already have a few ideas for things to tryout on the next shoot!

  • Mt. Tamalpais & Rouge et Noir

    Posted on July 14th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Ever since watching a video from a fellow G8 owner, I’ve wanted to get out to Mt. Tamalpais in the North Bay. I finally found myself at home with some time to get the G8 out for some “spirited” driving, so met-up with “The Yeti” and headed up towards Mt. Tamalpais.

    View Larger Map

    Since “The Yeti” has driven these roads before, I let him lead. Not having to lead a cruise was a nice change after the past few weeks. The drive was very enjoyable with a decent pace for such tight roads in a national park. Of course, we had to setup some GoPro cameras to record the fun!

    The road up to Mt. Tamalpais is really a jewel. The climb covers almost 2400′ and is quite steep (up to 9% grade). The roads are twisty and quite “tight” (the trees and brush is close to the road), but the road quality is quite good. I’m sure on weekends you might get stuck behind slow traffic, but mid-week the roads were virtually empty!

    On a performance note: I was really happy with the way the new Bridgestone RE-11 tires performed on the tight roads. The speeds were not too high, but the heavy weight of the G8 put the tires to the test. A few times I heard them squeal a little in the corners… and even once had the right front start to lock under heavy braking into a corner.

    One of the best things about this drive were the scenic views of the Bay Area.

    It isn’t often that I make it over towards the Marin Headlands, so the view was one I had to stop and admire. Another thing I haven’t done in a long while was visit the Marin French Cheese Company (aka. Rouge et Noir). I didn’t have anything else going on, so I figured this would be a great time to make the drive up Highway 1!

    View Larger Map

    The drive along the coast was great… the sun was out and the views were incredible. Having been away from California for so long, it was really great to get to the coast.

    People always ask me why I live in California… and I think I can sum it up with an image…

    Great weather… great roads… What more could I want? California Cheese!

    The drive up to the Marin French Cheese Co. was very enjoyable. The roads were fairly empty, but I did get stuck behind one car that was quite frustrating. It’s one thing to be stuck behind a Prius or a minivan, but to be stuck behind a Jaguar XFR (with a 510HP Supercharged engine), is just unacceptable! While I would have loved a spirited drive chasing a Jaguar up the coast, I was forced to crawl along 10mph UNDER the posted speed limit… Ug! When I had the chance to make a pass, I was sure to let the slow driver know my disgust with a loud whine from my Maggie.

    I arrived at the Marin French Cheese Co. just in time for their afternoon tour of the “factory”. They produce soft ripened cheeses like Brie and Camembert, which are two of my personal favorites. Everything is done by hand in small batches. I happened to be the only one on the tour, so was able to ask all sorts of questions about the cheese making process. After the tour I headed to the gift shop to pick-up some of their harder to find cheeses.

    One of the things that really gets me about soft ripened cheese is that it needs to age to obtain the full flavor. Unfortunately, most of the time I want to buy cheese in a supermarket it is too young to eat right away… so you have to wait to enjoy them properly. By going to the source I was able to buy some cheese that was at it’s peak flavor and ready to eat… I was also able to get some varieties that are not sold in stores, like their 50% goat milk cheeses.

    Overall the day was great… and much needed after being away from California and the G8 for so long. I can’t wait to get out and drive these roads again… I think a cruise up Highway 1 with the NorCal GOATs would be great!

  • Hoonage & New Tires

    Posted on July 11th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    I’ve been driving my G8 for the past two years with the tires that came with the car. The Bridgestone RE050A “Summer Only” tires have served be well over the past 22k miles, but they were getting really “long in the tooth”. After all of the “spirited” driving that I’ve done, the shoulders of the tires are all getting really worn-out. I’m actually impressed that with a vehicle that has more than enough power to roast the tires, I have to replace the tires because of the too much cornering. Other than a few trips to the drag strip, I’ve never actually done a burn-out before!

    Since I needed some new tires anyhow, what better way to send-off the the old set than some good old fashion hoonage!

    As I’m sure you could tell from the video, turning the tires into smoke was fairly effortless. The torque from the Magnacharger paired with the 3.45 gears just makes traction impossible when trying to go wide open throttle (WOT) from a stop. Fortunately, since I like driving on twisty roads, I don’t worry too much about WOT from a stop (like drag racers).

    When searching for a replacement tire for the G8, I had many options to choose from. I wanted an “Extreme Summer Only” performance tire, but didn’t want to have to worry about driving in the rain (like those with drag radials might have to). I looked into several tires by Nitto (specifically the NT-05 and the Invo), but decided for my “everyday” tire I wanted the Bridgestone RE-11 in a 245/40-19.

    I have been hearing incredible things about the RE-11 from other car owners. Even the Pedders Camaro is running them (granted in a 305 on all four corners). The RE-11 has a very unique tread pattern that is designed for maximum performance in dry weather, but still has the ability to work in the wet. For a daily driver like mine, that is critical… I can’t be switching tires just because it is raining!

    The first thing I noticed about the RE-11’s after install is that the sidewall is much more square than the old R050A’s that were removed. Since this was the area that I was wearing-out the fastest, I’m hopeful that this different design will work better for my driving style. I’m not expecting to get 22k miles out of them, but I fell the potential performance benefit is a worthy trade-off.

    Time will tell how these tires workout for me… check-back time to time for updates on how these tires are performing.

  • Weekend Cruise: Sunday

    Posted on July 10th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Yesterday I lead a cruise through the South Bay, so why should today be any different!?! Today several NorCal GOATs came out to make the drive over to Half Moon Bay for lunch. Again, it would have been nice to have a few more cars… but having fewer cars to be concerned about made leading the cruise more enjoyable.

    View Larger Map

    We headed out up Highway 9 to Skyline Blvd. and over to the “4 Corners”. The drive was fairly routine and quite enjoyable… like I said yesterday, Skyline is one of my favorite roads in this area for being so consistently fun. A drive along Skyline wouldn’t be complete without a stop-off at the 4 Corners (where Skyline crosses Highway 84). This is a favorite stopping point for cyclists (both motor and peddle varieties) and car owners… you are guaranteed to see some great eye-candy there!

    After a short pit-stop we headed out down Highway 84 towards the coast. Without much other road traffic the descent was very enjoyable. For the most part, I was trying to keep the pace of the cruise “sprited”… without pushing the others beyond their comfort level.

    Rather than take Highway 84 all the way to the coast, which is the most direct route, we turned off onto Pescadero Rd. for real some twists and turns. Pescadero is a road that I really wish was closer to home. The pavement is well maintained and the corners flow together very well. At this point I couldn’t hold-back any longer, and let the G8 stretch its legs a little. Corner after corner my G8 felt like it was on rails… this was the type of driving I built my car for! Unfortunately, a large dump truck decided to spoil our fun and I had to slow down.

    Before getting to the coast the group stopped off at the Arcangelli Grocery Co. so people could get some fresh baked bread (and so the old folks could visit the restroom… again…). This also gave us a chance to stop in at church (it was a Sunday after-all). To my surprise we even had a visitor before the service who stopped to ask us questions about our Pontiacs.

    The drive up Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay was decent, but it would have been much better if the view wasn’t fogged-in. As I expected the traffic on Highway 1 made the drive unexciting, but at this point people seemed to just want to eat (there was a reoccurring request for Fish & Chips coming over the radio). We ate lunch at Ketch Joanne (and it seemed like everyone had Fish & Chips).

    After lunch we headed back towards the Bay Area on Highway 92 and Skyline Blvd. As we climbed up through the hills I even had a chance to show-off the torque of the Magnacharger. One of the GTOs lined-up next to me and started to rev, so of course I had to punch-it… and even going 65mph the rear tires wanted to break loose! It really is nice to know that I have more than enough power on tap to deal with the occasional challenger.

    The trip back to Saratoga was the much like the trip out… until I rounded a corner to find a fellow automotive enthusiast waiting at a stop sign. Most of the time when I approach an intersection on a cruise I’m dreadful of a slower vehicle pulling-out in front of me… but I think this one time I would make an exception. Why? The car was a Bugatti Veryon Grand Sport (aka. a 1001HP, €1.4 million, monster)! It was even cooler when the Bugatti pulled-in behind us for the remainder of the cruise. Unfortunately the drive down Highway 9 was nothing like yesterday, and we got stuck behind slow moving cars.

    Much like yesterday it was a great day out on the road with friends. I really wish some of the roads were less populated, but overall it was a nice drive. I was really happy to spend some time out on the road with friends… and hope to do it again soon!

  • Weekend Cruise: Saturday

    Posted on July 9th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    I’ve spent way too much time in my house these past few weeks (yeah, I know I’m just making-up for being on the road so much this past year), but I needed to get out for a little while. I started asking around if people would be interested in going for a cruise this weekend.

    While most of the NorCal GOATs were interested in doing a Sunday Cruise, there were a few G8’s that wanted to do something on Saturday. Sunday the cruise is planned to go to Half Moon Bay, so I figured we could do something towards Santa Cruz on Saturday. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough interest to do the “long route” (~94 miles total), so we did the “shorter than a marathon route” instead:

    View Larger Map

    A total of three G8’s arrived for the cruise (including myself), all GT models. While it might have been nice to have a few more cars, the fewer the number of people trying to stick together on the roads the easier (and more enjoyable to lead) the drive becomes. Given the simplicity of the route, and that everyone had walkie-talkies, leading the cruise was fairly enjoyable… other than the slow cars and cyclists that wanted to become hood ornaments.

    The first road we drove was the Page Mill Rd. as an up-hill. I knew there were some crazy cyclists in the Bay Area, but this is a very steep road… and other than the kamakazi downhill afterwards… I can see no reason why anyone would ever want to ride up this road. Unfortunately, the cyclists don’t think like me… and there were quite a few on the road today. Having to take the time to look around corners for cyclists crawling uphill really slowed things down, but not nearly as much as getting stuck behind a slow driver! Home come whenever we drive on a road a slow car gets in the way?

    Once we reached Skyline Blvd. the slow car moved out of the way and we were able to have some fun. Skyline is one of my favorite roads in this area… not because it’s fast or technical, but because it is consistently fun. The posted speed limit is high enough that you don’t get stuck vehicles crawling along. The road has just enough twists/turns to keep things interesting, without being so tight that tourists have to slow down. Today was no different, and Skyline was a pleasure to drive.

    My biggest surprise came when we turned onto Hwy 9 for the return trip towards Saratoga… there were no cars in front of us. For the entire 5 mile decent we had open road to push things as hard as we desired… and push we did! At one point I even had to slow to keep from catching air over a crest. I can only hope that the drive tomorrow will be anything close to as much fun!

  • 275/35-18 Hoosier Race Slicks!

    Posted on July 5th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    I’ve been needing to nail-down my track tire situation for far too long. My goal was to fit the widest, stickiest, tire that I could on all four wheels of the car. After way too much research I was finally able to get a test wheel on the car!

    The tire is a 275/35-18 Hoosier race slick, mounted on a 18×9.5″ +45mm wheel. That is just about the widest, stickiest, thing available for all four wheels on the G8 (without some major modifications). This will allow me to keep the car balanced and still rotate tires front/rear (unlike a staggered setup).

    The main reason for going to 18″ 35 series tires (vs 19″ 40 series tires) is that there are far more tire compounds available (street, R-Comp, slick). The smaller wheels should reduce the unsprung weight by a few lbs over larger wheels (18″ is the smallest wheel that will clear the Baer Brakes). It will also lower the car another 1/2-inch when on track, without having to change the ride height on the coilovers (which would result in needing an alignment).

    I’ve had some concern about how well the 275 tire would work on the front with a 9.5″ wheel and a +45mm offset. Fortunately I can also use run a 5mm spacer in the front (effectively making the wheel a +40 offset), but it doesn’t even look like I need it to clear the Coilovers. The wheel also sits perfect on the front and rear… so much so that I might not even need to roll/cut the fenders!

    I don’t plan to run a race slick for quite some time, as I need to learn how to drive on a less forgiving tire first, but it’s good to know that this setup will work for all of my track tire needs!