All Stuff That is Andy (Cars, Gadgets, Art, Music

Friday, June 02, 2006

Yugo, No go, You'll no Stop

One of the best things about this rally is the spirit of the road and helping out your fellow motorist. On the way back we were flagged down by team In Glue We Trust's Stephen and Aaron who's Yugo ran out of gas. We were only more than happy to help.
Earlier in the week, we pulled over in the Blue Ridge mountains to let the engine cool down for a while with the hood up. I was amazed that every BABE rally competitor behind us stopped to check on us, while almost every person on the road did not even care.

Thanks Advance in Harrisonburg VA

I would like to say thank you to the employees of the Advance Auto Parts Store in Harrisonburg Virginia. They were some of the most helpful people who let up work on the car in the parking lot and wash up in the back. Great service! Thank you!

The craziest vehicle

One of the best vehicles came from Team Triangle. It was a ice racing Honda CRX that was rear ended and the owner cut off the bent metal and welded on a square tubing structure that used a swing arm to mount a third wheel.
He did run into trouble on the New Jersey Turnpike when a Brown SUV driver thought he was being harassed by Team Triangle when they were taking a picture for digital camera snooker. The harassed driver can be seen in the picture. Does he look like someone famous? Anyways, Team Triangle had a long talk with the Cops who could only site the team for a broken windshield.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Brake Troubles

This is me in Virgina attempting to adjust the brakes on day 2. Instead of going left it now pulled right, but not as bad as before.

We made it!!!!

Here is a picture of the car out side of Paul Prudhomme’s restaurant in the French Quarter.

Sorry for the lack of updates, at the end of the day we usually found ourselves too tired to do anything but collapse into bed. Also, internet access apparently is not big priority in the South. I will give more updates over the next few days.

But we rolled into Akron at 4:35am on Tuesday. The car ran great. During the hottest times of the day we were able to average a speed 65-70 mph, which made for some long days. But when night came we were able to kick it up to 75mph or faster.

The trip was a success. We covered more than 3,000 miles in a car that most would not want to take to the corner store for a gallon of milk.

More to come…

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day 1

We managed to make the 500+ mile journey from Akron, OH to Statten Island, NY with very few problems. We lost the muffler just outside Clarion, Penn and started to experience a slight hesitation problem that was chalked up to high speed turns and a low fuel tank. We arrived on Statten Island around 4:30am.
Day one started in a mall parking lot not far from the hotel and ended in Harrisonburg, VA. We had very few problems besides pulling brakes and a loud exhaust. We logged more than 390 miles in the journey. Our challenge of the day was to play a scavenger hunt game with digital cameras and different color cars.
The field of cars is very diverse and strange and includes a Yugo and a three-wheeled Honda CRX. More details and photos to follow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sponsor Spotlight: Be Car Care Aware

We will be flying the "Be Car Care Aware" banner at the BA2BE Rally this year. They sent us the "Starter Kit" that has some great stickers and banners, we will proudly display them when staging for the morning starts and at the assorted events. The program is doing great things for the aftermarket.
"Be Car Care Aware" is a consumer education campaign about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. The campaign is in response to a call for action from leaders in the automotive aftermarket industry to capture a share of the estimated $60 billion in annual unperformed vehicle maintenance.
An integrated marketing and public relations campaign moving along on a continuum will build awareness and knowledge to prepare consumers to make sensible decisions about their vehicles. As awareness builds, consumers will take action, thus reducing vehicle neglect. Reversing unperformed maintenance will increase profitability in the aftermarket, conserve energy, improve highway safety and benefit the environment.

Built around three key message areas of safety, dependability and pride of ownership, the campaign is designed to represent and engage all segments of the aftermarket industry. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) is spearheading the campaign on behalf of the industry with the Car Care Council serving as the brand and messaging source. The campaign operates within the Foundation for Aftermarket Industry Research (FAIR), a 501-C3 non-profit organization operated by AAIA. AAIA is committed to educating the consumer about auto care, maintenance and repair on behalf of the aftermarket industry and has incorporated this role in the association's strategic plan. The campaign has no end.

How Can Your Company Participate?

The campaign requests an annual payment of $175 from individual service providers. In return, you will receive a starter kit so you can immediately get involved in the campaign and your repair facility will be listed on the Shop/Store Finder section of this Web site. The starter kit, valued at $95, contains bay banners, brochures, countermat, posters, stickers, brochure holder and mirror hangers; many of these items feature the new vehicle service interval schedule.

For more information on the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign, contact the Car Care Council at 240-333-1088, or e-mail

Sponsor Spotlight: Monroe

Monroe sent us a great set of Monroe Sensa Trac shocks for the Rambler. We installed the units on all four corners, the installation was easy because all bushings, washers and nuts were included in the package. We will really need the extra control when we go down Deal's Gap (Tail of the Dragon to locals) a 311 bend 11 mile road in Georgia on day 3.
The Monroe® Sensa-Trac® passenger car shock absorber with PSD (position sensitive damping) and the Safe Tech™ system combines our exclusive precision tapered grooves in the pressure tube with application engineered valving and Fluon banded piston to improve the ride, handling, and safety characteristics of the vehicle.
These features allow the Monroe Sensa-Trac passenger car shock absorber to adjust more rapidly to changing road and weight conditions than any other available shock absorber. The result: enhanced control with uncompromised ride comfort.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sponsor Spotlight: Rim & Trim

For the Rally we were provided with a great set of Kuhmo tires by Rim & Trim here is just a little bit about them, if you are in the area, they are highly recommended:

Rim & Trim is Northeast Ohio's premier custom wheel and performance retailer. For nearly a decade, thousands have relied on Rim & Trim for the latest and best performance products to enhance their cars and trucks.

We offer name brand wheels (Enkei, Akuza, HPD, Cabo, Ferretti, Limited, Venti, Dub, Motegi, American racing and dozens more), top quality tires (BFGoodrich, Kumho, Cooper, Bridgestone, Michelin, Toyo, Nitto and more), as well as a wide range of performance components (intakes, exhausts, brakes, body kits). Plus, Rim & Trim sells and installs top name audio/video systems from Pioneer, Panasonic, clarion and Kenwood.

Recently, Rim & Trim opened Rim & Trim Cycle, offering superior components and accessories for all makes and models of motorcycles.

Call us or visit our store today. You won't find a more knowledgeable staff, better service or better prices!
830 N. Mantua St.
Kent, OH 44240

Press Coverage

Here is my column from the May issue of BRAKE & FRONT END.

Rolling Proof Rambler

I recently bought a 1967 AMC Rambler American for a “beater rally” that will take the car from New York to New Orleans ( The 1,500 mile trek is not that extraordinary, but when you consider that it must be done in a $250 car, it takes on a whole new dimension. Also, the more you break down, the greater your chances are of winning.
I found my car through the local paper; the phrase “runs good” caught my eye. It was a long shot if it would go the distance, but I had to go and at least kick the tires (if there were any). The car was located in a small town southwest of Canton, OH.
When I saw the Rambler, I was amazed. It had some rust problems in the trunk, floorboards and the rear quarters, but the rockers and doors were solid thanks to rust proofing. Under the thick coating of dust from setting in a garage so long, I knew that I had something special. It had the usual used car story — the car was bought new by this guy’s aunt and she drove until she was too old to drive and he drove it from 1991 till 1993. It had 89,000 miles on the odometer. It started and I was able to drive it slowly around the block.
When I picked the car up later that week, instead of towing it like a sensible human being, I decided to drive it the 40-plus miles home. I first took the car to the coin-operated car wash down the street to wait out the afternoon rush hour traffic. The thought of four-wheel drum brakes and learning how to drive “three-on-the-tree” in stop-and-go traffic is not my idea of high adventure.
Under the hood, it was covered in a thick coating of oil with a sticky undercoating as a foundation. As the degreaser and quarters worked their magic, it revealed a number of maintenance stickers for various oil and coolant changes through out the years. As I cleaned out the trunk and interior, I found numerous receipts for parts and service that spanned almost 40 years. There was even a receipt from Ed’s Radiator Exchange that used the motto at the bottom “Come Get Tanked with Us.” It was like opening up an aftermarket time capsule.
To my amazement, the 199cid straight-six engine did not miss a beat on the journey. The temperature stayed stable the entire time and the oil pressure light did not come on. The brakes took a few stops to shake the rust loose from the drums, and when I equalized the tire pressures in the front bias-ply tires it actually stopped in a straight line. When I rolled into my driveway, I was impressed.
As I popped the hood to look for fresh leaks, I took some time to peel back those old service stickers that were embedded in the rust proofing. I came to the conclusion that my lucky journey had nothing to do with luck. The reason why I made it back home was because of simple preventive maintenance the previous owner had performed and the shops that took the time to recommend during the past 39 years. It is rolling proof that preventive maintenance can make a car last long.
Will the car make it the 3,000 mile round trip from the Big Apple to the Big Easy? Find out in the June issue of Brake & Front End.


OK, Team BM Racing is getting closer to the start of our epic journey. Like all racing teams we are hungry for sponsors.
Here is my stab at one of those MasterCard “Priceless” commercials.

Shocks: Free, thanks to Tenneco Monroe
Tires: Free, thanks to Rim & Trim
Mounting and Balancing and Alignment: Free, thanks to Hunter Engineering and Frank Ponte
Oil and Filter at AutoZone: $10.25
Bars Leak: $2.29
Helper Springs: $26.99 at AutoZone
Distributor Points: $5.25 at NAPA
Distributor Cap & Rotor: $10.25 at NAPA
Permatex Liquid Metal and Instant Gas Tank Repair: $12.00

Knowing that you can fix almost anything: PRICELESS

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Count Down to BABE RALLY 2006

We've got a full tank of gas (actually we do not because the tank leaks)
half a pack of cigarettes (We can't afford a full pack)
it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.
Hit it

Team BM Racing is making final preparations for the BABE RALLY 2006. Our ride will be a classic 1967 AMC Rambler American. This senior citizen of the road promises to be one of the most unique and troublesome cars at the rally.

We have made sure the safety basics like the brakes work and have installed a new set of Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks to make the ride more comfortable. We have new tires from Rim & Trim that were install by Frank Ponte at the Hunter Engineering Training Center in Hudson, OH.
The alignment reveled a broken leaf spring, and a .24º thrust angle. But with the assistance of some helper springs, we now have an acceptable ride height.

More updates to come..
Tomorrow we will have a picture with all the stickers on the car.

Elwood: It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?
[a brief thinking pause while Jake Blues lights a cigarette]
Jake: Fix the cigarette lighter.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I am entered into possibly one of the greatest automotive events since the original Cannon Ball Run. The BigApple2BigEasy Rally is a new event to the United States and its simplicity and originality is where it breaks new automotive ground. All you have to do is get yourself the worst looking vehicle you can for $250 or less and enter the Rally.
This rally will be based around the same formula as our highly successful European rallies, Staples2Naples and Home2Rome. As I have many friends in the US, I've been under pressure put on a similar event in the center of the motoring world.
The car must cost less than $250. You can either look for the most comfortable cruiser around for that $250, or you can look for a car that's on its last leg and needs coaxing to New York, let alone New Orleans. In others words, the more you breakdown and come up with innovative repairs the greater you chance to win the $1,500 prize. The key to having fun is to find a car that is safe, but is also utterly knackered.

Check it out!
My team is BM Racing (Baker+Markel)