The Fat, Ugly Cousin

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I found myself in a tough spot when it was time to buy a car. I needed something that was competent off road but at the same time it had to be somewhat fun and different. SVT Raptor was the obvious choice. A few weeks back home and a trip to Ford later quickly changed my mind however, they were asking ridiculous prices and I began to see the sort of people who are driving them here. They are the equivalent to M3 owners; the sort of people who bought the Raptor just to say “I drive a Raptor” when asked. That’s when all roads lead to the Land Cruiser 200. I started researching them and saw the potential. Finally an order was made and I was told to expect delivery in 3-4 months. A few screw ups from the dealer’s end and I ended up with a Pearl White 2013 Land Cruiser 4.7.


It wasn’t too long before I got the itch to get this “Project” started. First things first, a lift was in order. I got an awesome deal on a set of Old Man Emu 2″ Springs and Struts, so I jumped on it.



The plan is to do some work on it over the summer and get more time on the dunes when the weather cools in the fall. More updates will come very soon..

Project: Land Cruiser July 10th 2013

Maybe A Couple Bolt-Ons…

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After buying the G8, I promised myself that I would never modify it. I’m pretty sure this is something that happens to everyone immediately after buying their first nice car. (Right?) After spending that much money, the last thing anyone wants to do is ruin their investment. And besides, the G8 already was a respectable performer. As I drove it off the dealer’s lot, I told myself the car would be perfectly fine the way it was. And it really was! For about a month anyway.

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The mod bug started with the cheapest and easiest of them all – losing the whip antenna in favor of a color matched sharkfin. $70 spent, minor improvement in looks, made the radio a little temperamental, but hey, the car came with an auxiliary input jack for a reason.

Sharkfin Antenna

So far so good, right? Well now is when the mod bug gets a hold of me. Time to go for performance! Next in line was a Roto-Fab cold air intake. There were a few options out there, but the Roto-Fab had the cleanest, most OEM appearance. And I loved the fact that there was a radiator cover available to fill the void that was left by removing the stock airbox.

Stock Airbox

Roto-Fab Intake

Roto-Fab Radiator Cover

The Roto-Fab and matching radiator cover installed beautifully. The performance increase was very obvious to the “butt dyno” and the sound increase in the interior of the car made the purchase worth every penny. I was happy leaving the car in this condition for awhile. But ultimately, the sound of full throttle acceleration with the CAI made me want to get rid of as much of the restrictive G8 exhaust as possible.

The car had a very low, quiet V8 rumble out of the box. It was more than enough to catch my attention at the dealer, but it had room for improvement. I started to study catbacks, axlebacks, and full exhausts. The prices of catbacks instantly intimidated me, so I decided to go with a nice set of SOLO axlebacks. I had no idea how big of a difference in sound there would be just by replacing the huge stock mufflers with a straight section of pipe. But again, it was a mod that was worth every penny.

Old mufflers … I just had to polish them

SOLO Axlebacks

Now I absolutely loved the axlebacks, but unfortunately no sound clips ever made it to YouTube in the months that I had them on. The axleback was its own worst enemy because I enjoyed the sound too much … I wanted more. It was just a matter of time until I graduated to a big boy exhaust.

Operation: Cat-back was a two part project. I first swapped out the G8 GT rear diffuser for a G8 GXP diffuser. The GXP exhaust cutouts are slightly larger, and are required to fit the optional “Big Tips” that come with a SOLO catback exhaust.

Old Exhaust, Old Diffuser

Diffuser and Exhaust Tips

The improvement in appearance was more than enough for me. The improvement in performance was unbelievable – more on that in the next post. As for the improvement in sound, you can decide for yourself:


As much as the less restrictive exhaust improved gas mileage, I think the net gas mileage decreased because I can no longer keep my foot out of it. It’s not without its share of problems though, there was a pesky leak at first that is now 99% gone. Still chasing down that 1%. The key is to keep the exhaust tone itself louder than the leak.

The FINAL modification as of this posting, and hopefully for awhile, is now my favorite. A tune! Now that the car has high flow cats, a simple superchips boxed tune wasn’t going to cut it. I decided to go with a custom “mail order” Livernois 93-octane tune. For $600, I received a CD and a OBD-II cord in the mail. I downloaded the car’s current data onto my laptop, emailed it to the experts at Livernois so they could work their magic, received the modified tune in another email, and flashed it into my car. The results were instantly amazing, and I can’t think of an aspect of the car that wasn’t improved. MUCH crisper shifts, optimized fuel / timing for my exact setup, altered rev limiter, removed speed limiter, new shift points … the list goes on and on. But my favorite feature is the smack-in-the-face shift into second gear. When in the gas hard enough the car will chirp second and sometimes third. The video below shows my first test on some wet roads. (TPMS warning is because of the snow tires, that has since gone away, no worries.)


Also, now that springtime is here, new rubber has been installed – Hankook Ventus V12’s. So far I’m enjoying them, pics to come soon. It seems like they have less initial “feel” than the stock potenza’s, but their maximum grip is much much higher.

Ventus V12

More updates soon!

Project: G8 April 10th 2013

The Turning Bug- The Beginning

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I have owned many, many cars. Over 20. So many that I do not even want to sit down and list them. Most never saw the road. I was fortunate enough to have a large property, and I’d buy low and sell high in order to finance my vehicular vices. My first car was a 1972 Dodge Challenger that I got when I was 10.  318 automatic, 156,000 miles…It was at the edge of salvageable, but I drove it through the entire summer of 2008.


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I owned musclecars almost exclusively until 2008, when I bought a 1984 Porsche 944.



At 140hp new, and 165,000 on the clock when I bought it, it wasn’t going to win any drag races, but the handling….the handling was exquisite. For a guy that had only previously owned 90’s Ford pickups and vehicles with rack-and-pinion and straight rear axles, this thing was a lightning bolt of revelations. In 2008, I did my first track event at Lime Rock Park, and hooked does not even begin to describe what I was.



After 3 years and many, many miles, I sold her back to the previous owner. Not a month later, he nearly lost his life in the car when he launched off of a guardrail at 60mph and into a forest. The car caught fire and smashed into a tree trunk with the roof.


Not to worry, I had moved on to bigger and better things- a 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo, or 951-



I wasted more time than I care to remember dealing with the insane Porsche engineering in this thing. Ceramic-lined exhaust ports, dual ECU’s, Dual ball bearing turbo upgrade…For the 3 weeks it ran decent, it had 350 horsepower, reached 145 mph, and was the most unsafe thing I have ever drive. Then it broke and I never fixed it.

Porsche Nightmare March 22nd 2013

Because Racecar (or Mouse Shit) And Other Redneck Work

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Originally posted: 7-2007 thru 8-2007

Got some stuff done today. Disconnected the wires to the antenna motor since that is shot. Now I can use the radio without lighting the motor on fire. Busted out some cassettes…The Cars. Greatest Hits. 1985.

Disconnected the electronics to the hatch lock to prevent further damage to the locking mechanism. Also, got the passenger seatbelt installed (mouse had eaten mostly through the belt). Hatch is a bit more naked now as well. I need to get some rust stop stuff or whatever it’s called.


Because racecar or whatever the saying is…or because mice are assholes. Car smelled like rotting death

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Bro, do you even skate? I used to…long ago and sucked. Now that sweet Maple Matchhead deck can prop the hatch open. Lucky risers for the extra IDGAF touch


Disconnected the power locking here to prevent further damaged to the lock. Still working fine as of today (Dec 2012)



Not bad on the rust. Most was from the spare tire (below)




No wonder these didn’t work…Paper 4″ cones don’t hold up well to sun and mice piss


Look at those minty tails!

Then this happened. This is the clutch pawl which adjusts the clutch pedal. The cracked loop below is supposed to hold the adjustment spring and without that, clutch tension goes away and you have no clutch pedal…The T9 isn’t bad to shift clutchless thankfully. Got it home and “fixed” it. At the time of this post (originally fixed below on 7-29-07; posting now on 3-13-13) this is still holding with a new transmission and clutch. I believe this is one of those “haters gonna hate” moments?




Phillips. Head. Wood. Screw. Get some


Clearanced the bore here. Don’t want to be screwing the hard rod that goes through


Epoxy added. Like said above, still holding


Nothing special here, still has the non-working A/C but have a better charging cable added and airbox cleaned up


Some interior work, cleaning poop mostly


Mice made me do it

The car then thanked me for such a redneck fix. Looks the same right?


Oh no…what is this?


Well…there’s your problem right there. My tailpipe decided it wanted to be dragged down the road at 10pm. I stopped, yanked it off the hanger and now it rides around in the hatch.


Shock brace is in at least…



Thankfully this is the worst rust on the car

Give this a listen…wooooooooo sounds like dog shit.

Project: XR4Ti March 13th 2013

The First Detail <3

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Originally posted: 7-12-2007

Washed. Clay bared. Waxed. 3 times. Meg’s cleaner wax and two coats of NXT. She shines up nice for being 22 years old (at the time).


XRATTY? WTF is this thing?

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Vintage grill paint (or lack thereof) shines up great…


A face not even a mother could love


Much better from behind. Should have named this project “Pillow Biter” instead


Same badge, same confusion


Hiding some of the grill ugly, showing off those lovely 14″ Phone Dials with marginal all-seasons





Project: XR4Ti March 13th 2013

The Liquid Red Carpet

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Post number one of the G8 story should begin before there was a G8 in my driveway. My first couple of daily drivers were Chevy Cavaliers … though they were not overall champions at most things, they certainly had their talents. Killing deer, specifically, was their number one talent. They always had a way of getting some sort of attention, whether it be good or bad. I guess you can attribute it to having a big attitude in a little car.

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My first car was a black 2002 Cavalier LS Sport Coupe, dubbed the ‘Black Assassin’. It sported a 2.2 EcoTec and an automatic transmission. It never really saw very much as far as modifications, just an Eibach Pro-Kit 2″ drop. This particular car earned its nickname when it exterminated a deer while sustaining no damage whatsoever. The Assassin was the first car that I ever took down a drag strip, with a mid-16 second run at New England Dragway.

The Black Assassin met its demise on an icy day in Eastford, where a guy a few hundred feet in front of me slid past his turn, stopped, and put his car into reverse while still in my lane. Which brings us to Part 2 of the story…

After the Black Assassin was unable to back itself out of the other driver’s trunk, it was time to look for a new daily. I found the next Cavalier at Carter Chevrolet in Manchester. This one was a 2002 LS Sport Coupe in white. Same 2.2 EcoTec, same Eibach Pro-Kit drop, same luck with deer. However this was the car that got me addicted to autocross, as seen in the video below. The video is a fun-run with Dylan in the passenger seat, shortly after aquiring my first CARTCT class win at Thompson Speedway.


Cavalier #2 was a great car that took me the rest of the way through college, definitely living through its share of adventures along the way. But finally graduation came, which could mean only one thing – getting myself a graduation present! And thats where Project: G8 begins.

Here it sits, waiting at the dealership.

Upon purchasing the G8 I promised myself I wouldn’t significantly modify it, and that I would be content showing it along with Project: Deja-Bu like in the picture below. But as can be seen in the following posts, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

Project: G8 February 25th 2013

Humble Beginnings

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Originally posted: 7-10-2007

I had no idea what I was in for. So stock, so unmolested, so many hidden treasures ready to bend me over at every turn. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Only 66k miles!

No, it’s not rolled over. ACTUALLY 66,277

The great thing about Nimbus Grey, it also matches primer and unpainted plastic

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Shines up well

Strategic angle to hide the Grand Canyon dashboard and ripped seat seams

Best intercooler OF ALL TIME

Vintage dirt; new age cable ties

Project: XR4Ti November 4th 2012

Fire, Smoke and Awesome

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A taste of what is to come. Also, a rare glimpse at one of the few times this German sh*tbox actually ran in front of other people. Always a plus. You can even hear the cheers at the end showing how excited bystanders were to still be alive.


Project: XR4Ti November 4th 2012


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Welcome to WickedFunction Racing!


The website is still under basic development, but expect many updates in the near future.

Uncategorized November 4th 2012