Sunday, October 2, 2016

Neighbor Drags Wasted R107 Out of Yard, Into Road

My neighbor across the street finally dragged the R107 450SL out from behind his residence and into the street. Last driven about 15 years ago, the Merc is now totally rotten except for the floors, which hold puddles in which mosquitoes create large nuclear families. It was there for about 3 days before LKQ came and hauled it off, no doubt at a loss on their end.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Datsun 280ZX Ice Beater

Today's post is brought to you by adventurous friend of Beaterblog, Dan Huber. Now Dan calls New Zealand home but in years past, he's run beaters into the ground here in the States, lived on a ship in Africa, owned a beautiful pearl colored MGB-GT, and built a canoe with his own hands that actually floated and looked beautiful doing it. Despite what you might be thinking, Dan is a real person.

You can expect to see some content from Dan down in Australia's Canada in the near future. Case in point; this tale of a nearly-free Datsun with no remaining body structure, modified to be drive at maximum recklessness on the frozen boundary waters of Northern Minnesota:

This story starts about a decade ago. Its summer and there’s always talk of finding a jalopy to tinker with, especially when you’re young, unmarried and work in the ol'automotive industry.  ‘There’s a dead ’83 Datsun 280ZX at a mechanic’s garage in Highland park, the owner wants it gone’ said the work colleague.  I’ll swallow that hook.  After my initial offer of $50 for the car and counter offer for $20 more, we had a deal.  To date, I don’t think I’ve had more fun and solid memories than with these four wheels at an initial price of 70 clams.

Full story continued after the jump.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Project Acquisition - 1990 Mazda Miata

I can honestly say that until a certain person bought a $500 MX-5 and whacked the front windscreen off, I hadn't thought twice about owning one. To me, they seemed common and kinda wheezy and I'm more used to rare and wheezy I guess. It wasn't until today during lunch at the local spring and frame shop where I actually saw myself getting into one of these neo-classics. The common aspect would make finding parts on craigslist a breeze and how can you pass up a 2,100lb roadster with the reliability of a Protege? It's also easy to argue that the Miata is the Austin-Healey Sprite or MGB of the younger generation; a rite of passage into the world of sports car enthusiasm. Maybe now was the time. How it all happened below.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I'm Back! A Statement of Intent...

I'm a little intimidated at the moment. I haven't posted in over a year and a lot has gone on, beater-wise. I've bought and sold several cars, fixed up a Morris Minor, built a garage, shipped a container from Australia, had a vehicle stolen, drove across Tasmania in a Charger, embarked on a restoration of my father's F-250, and lord knows what else. I've got a lot of stories that need to be jotted down and so I intend to do so with some more dedication and regularity. We shall see!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Marketplace Feature: Ford Sierra Ranchero

German ebay offers up a rare chopped into a pick-up ford Sierra complete with flared fenders and a "Cosworth" inspired body kit. While the USA had to make due with only the hatch-back Merkur XR4Ti, europe enjoyed a sedan, wagon, and 3 or 5 door hatches. Missing from Ford's line up was a car based pick-up. Seeing this absence, someone took matter into their own hands and crafted this european Ranchero. The plywood bed cover, homemade hood, and wolfs head decals have all the hallmarks of body work fuel by Jagermeister. If this could ever be driven on German streets is doubtful as Tüv vehicle inspectors will fail a car for rust holes bigger than a pencil and even small modifications require paperwork to prove the vehicle still conforms to safety standards. Without the tyranny of the Tüv, a 5-door Sierra isn't a bad candidate for camino-ization but this hack job looks like one slow mess. Now ended at 798 euros.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Local paper features my kart team, expectations completely unobtainable

Myself and fellow Detroit ex-pats Brian Rutkowski, Dushyant Wadivkar, and Fabian Hartwich will represent the Motor City at the 6 Hours of Sonneberg kart race this Sunday. The town near Thüringen closes the streets and throngs of spectators show up for the spectacle.

A team of foreigners is apparently newsworthy for the local paper which is cool. However the attention is entirely undeserved. We've all turned fast laps in cars but none of us are serious kart racers. If you'd like to follow team Detroit Motorcity, there's a live timing link on the race website at

The Lemans style start is 2pm European time Sunday.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Veteran Gearhead, Rookie Blogger

20 years ago, I looked a lot like the guy driving this '64 Spyder convertible.  Actually, 20 years ago I *was* the guy driving this '64 Spyder convertible.  That's my "never shoulda sold it" car, but I was young and dumb, with visions of wheel-to-wheel competition in my head, so the Spyder had to go.
I sold it to fund the build of a '69 500 into an SCCA Improved Touring road racer, but the 500 was a survivor, way too nice for ITA, so it became a very clean and lightly modified street car.   Problem was, it never satisfied me as a street car the way the Spyder did.  So I sold the 500 and bought a '65 Monza coupe that became my first Grassroots Motorsports Magazine $20xx Challenge car, back in 2002.  Soon after the '02 Challenge, my automotive ADHD kicked in, and I sold the '65 to make room for a '66 Monza convertible with a Crown Manufacturing mid-engine small block Chevy V8 conversion.   Lather, rinse, repeat, for 15 cars over the last 12 years.

Hi, my name is PC, and I've got a problem.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Beat on die Strasse: Beater Golf MkII

I don't mean to generalize, but as a whole Germans don't really get beaters. Bi-annual vehicle inspections and accepted norms of vehicular upkeep are effective at sending eye sores to the scrap heap or Eastern Europe. Despite the TÜV, this Mark II Golf proves at least one German knows the importance of petina.

Don't Be Gentle, it’s a Renault Megane Rental

One perk of my day job is travelling to warm test tracks during the colder months of the year. A trip to a semi-exotic location driving a late model rental car is my best opportunity to sample Beaters-to-be before the original owners drive them into a lake. At the rental desk, I express no vehicular preference. My fate lies in the hands of a friendly middle-aged Spanish woman holding a square piece of plastic that apparently unlocks and starts an almost new Renault Megane (apparently pronounce MAY-ghan) hatch back. My first time behind the wheel of a French car is about to begin.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Project Acquisition - '96 BMW M3

In my mind, the E36 M3 is an automotive right of passage for the grassroots enthusiast, similar to how an Alfa GTV or bugeye Sprite might have been in decades past. Perhaps it was a crime of opportunity or maybe my soul was being sucked dry by driving something as slow as a Rabbit Diesel Caddy every day but I have been lured into BMW M-cardome. The point in time arrived where an E36 M3 came around that I could actually afford, on offer from my brother, so I jumped on it. In a few short weeks, I will have a new conduit for irresponsible driving.

There were a couple caveats though; it couldn't be driven home as the rear trailing arm bushings were so bad that it corded brand new tires in 400 miles, the front end shook like it had tremors, and the interior and paint were ragged and sun-faded.