Late Night Photoshop: 1953 MG TD

I was fooling around with Photoshop tonight with an MG TD that I took pictures of for Sports Car Shop. Here is the end result. A bit quick and dirty, but I really like the look and think it would be pretty neat on canvas and stretched over a frame. Please let me know what you think — I’d appreciate the feedback.

dc

Before:

After:

Check Out What’s Up on My Other Websites

Here’s my March 2011 summary of interesting posts on my other websites. Yep, shameless self-gloss!

Rare Sport Bikes For Sale

1992 Kawasaki KR250C3 KR1-S still in the crate!

This post has generated the most comments ever on a single post on my website. The seller is quote eccentric in his presentation and demands of the potential bidders. It’s a very rare opportunity to own a new 1992 KR1-S for sure!


Rare Sport Bikes

Mike hits the Las Vegas Mid-America auction and files his report. He is definitely inspiring me to make this a company trip next year! Great post Mike, thanks so much for the first hand account!


German Cars For Sale Blog

Steve McQueen’s 1970 Porsche 911S is being offered soon at auction and the classic car blog world is abuzz. We didn’t miss it either! We’ll be keeping an eye on the result of this sale for sure.



Classic Italian Cars For Sale

1958 Fiat Fiat Abarth Zagato “Double Bubble”

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Reviving our old Canon Elph PowerShot S410 with a NB-1LH Replacement Battery

Our first digital camera was purchased nearly 8 years ago and was one of the popular Canon ‘Elph’ models. Just a simple, compact, and portable camera to easily take snapshots. It always performed well and we especially liked the macro function for close up detail pictures in the garden.

But we haven’t used this camera much since we got the Canon DSLR’s. Suddenly the more stuff we acquire for the big cameras, every outing becomes a project rather than a chance to just snap some simple pictures. When we remembered the Elph, we were excited to loosen up a bit. Unfortunately the battery wouldn’t hold a charge and we were disappointed that a Canon replacement batterywould cost almost $50! But I started reading reviews about the cheapo imitation batteries and reviewers reported that they were just as good (if not better) than the official Canon replacements — and were less than $10! I figured a pack of AA’s is going for more than that these days and decided to try one out. Sure enough, works like a charm and our old camera has been given a new life.

Now I take it with me on short hikes with the dogs and have been enjoying the first signs of spring in Oregon’s forests. These all got some minor changes in Photoshop to crop and adjust color, but that’s about it. Hope you enjoy!

dc

Takeaways and Tidbits from Searchfest 2011

Yesterday I attended the fantastic SEMpdx Searchfest conference, which I’ve made sure to attend at least the last 4 years in a row, maybe 5. I always attend this event because some of the best in the industry show up from all over the country to share the latest trends in Search Engine Management and Marketing. Each year I feel like there’s at least one major takeaway that I can apply immediately for my clients. Here are some notes from this year that I found interesting from attending the ‘advanced search track’:

– Google personalization is always on now, signed in or not. That means that the search results shown for given terms are specific to you based on your location, persona, and browsing history, and search results will vary for everyone. In fact one presenter noted that 6 of 10 results displayed are personalized!

– Twitter plays an alarmingly large role in the ranking of pages now. A couple of presenters noted that links that were tweeted and retweeted, especially by highly valued Tweeters, got significant ranking boosts.

– Page load times were also noted to be a part of the ranking algorithm now as well.

– A few presenters talked about the growing importance of mobile web, but I have to be honest, I’ve been hearing this same story for the last 6 years and I’m still not convinced. Especially with stats like by 2013 there will be 5.8B mobile users, but only 30% will have smartphones…

– Google is always updating their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) and now that they allocate so much related content at the top (like images, news, local, etc…) there are new sitemaps that they’ll accept that will help you appear in these areas; most notably image, video, and news sitemaps.

– “Content farms”, or sites that exist purely to create web content to rank well in SERPs, are now being penalized by Google. Being a content authority is becoming more important than just well written, keyword laden articles. One way to see how Google views your authority is to filter results by reading level.

– An often overlooked detail is how your result looks in the SERPs, meaning you may have a high ranking, but if no one is clicking on it because the presentation falls short, who cares? Make sure to have a quality snippet shown, that uses all 3 lines, and has strong anchor text.

dc

2011 Maui Trip Gallery

I might be a couple weeks overdue in posting pictures from our trip to Maui, but they may be just in time for the snow that’s expected this Thursday!

Maui 2011
Shana and I hit “Big Beach” our first full day there. We had big plans to soak in a lot of sun, and we spent 3 full days just lazing around staring at the surf. We really wanted to unwind and this fit the agenda perfectly!

Maui 2011
The obligatory self-portrait on the sand with the warm ocean behind us. Yep, we were drunk on the sun that day!

Maui 2011
As we sat enjoying the view I realized that what looked like a boat on the horizon with a sail fluttering in the wind was actually a whale breaching and playing in the water! This is a cropped hand-held zoom, but it was like a spec on the horizon with the naked eye.

Maui 2011
The next day we took a scenic drive around the northwestern portion of the island going the long way to Kapalua, Lahina, etc… It was a treacherous one lane road in most parts with blind corners and serious drop-offs. But the reward is the view you get from the helicopter tour but without the chopper.

Maui 2011
These ultra-wide images were produced from 8-12 images blended with Photoshop. Shot with Canon 40D and 17-40 F/4L. This lens is hard to beat for capturing the whole scene.

Maui 2011
This is where we stayed upcountry near Haiku. A cute little place that was on a nice 2 acre lot. Very bright and airy, and everything you needed to feel at home. The hutch opens to reveal a 42″ LCD that we watched the Superbowl on while sipping Kona Longboard Lager and mimosas with fresh juice — guess who was having what?! Congrats to Aaron Rogers BTW 😉

Maui 2011
This is our patio complete with gas grill, washer and dryer, and a hot tub! We didn’t use the tub as much as you’d think. It’s Hawaii and the overnight low was like 70F so why bother?

But I did cook a few dinners at home on the grill to offset some of our more expensive meals: Korean short ribs, Teri Chicken, and Maui Ribeyes!

And the meal of the trip was definitely our last night at Mama’s Fish House just outside Paia. This beautiful fish was stuffed with crab and had a lobster tail draped over the top with asparagus. AWESOME! The bisque appetizer that came with was also to die for. But the dessert at the end was really amazing as the sun set.

So as you can tell we focused on scenic drives, days and days on the beach, and great eats. Maui always makes us feel on vacation, but on this trip we really were. Can’t wait to do it again!

dc

It’s Official: The Alfa Romeo 164 Q4 Is One Sexy 90’s Machine!

Alfa Romeo 164 Q4 For Sale

I just put up this post on an Alfa Romeo 164 Q4 over at Classic Italian Cars For Sale, and I have to be honest I didn’t even realize this variation existed. Wikipedia had this to say about the all-wheel drive system:

The Q4 four-wheel-drive system (Viscomatic) was co-developed with the Austrian company Steyr-Puch. The system was very advanced when compared to other 4WD systems at that time. The system consisted of a viscous coupling unit, central epicyclic differential and Torsen differential in the rear. The whole system is connected to ABS and Motronic units. The power driven to the rear axle is continuously variable from 0 to 100%, so the car can be fully front- or rear-wheel-drive as conditions require. Torque is distributed between axles depending on the speed, turning radius, engine rpms, throttle position and ABS parametrics. This model was equipped with a Getrag 6-speed manual gearbox.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of an AWD system that could go from 0-100% power at either axle?! Not to mention all the other 90’s style and class that this car exudes. I’ve always been a fan of the 164 and known of the QV model, but this package really sounds well done.

I did a little surfing and here are some other pictures from around the web of this very hot car:

I’d have to say that last picture in the black/gray combo (like the car offered above) looks to have aged much better than the red two-tone. Just saying…

dc

via: Forza Forum, AlfaBB, Alfa164Registr.nl

Apex of Failure is Preparing a New 2011 Entry for the Chumpcar Series

RX-7 Chumpcar Apex of Failure

My hat is off to these guys. They are a Pacific Northwest ChumpCar “crap-can” team that is building their 2nd RX-7 for competition. After a challenging 2010 season, they have found a new platform to build on and you can check out their blog at http://roadtochumpcar.com They update all the time and the photography is great from Gabe McGinnis. Here are some recent photos of their progress:

RX-7 FC Chumpcar
The donor car that will replace last year’s bent car. They are transferring as much as they can to this car.


Tearing down the old car
Tearing down the old car and prepping parts for the new car.


Mazda RX-7 FC Engine
The current driveline out for inspection



Prepping the interior of the second car for racing



Great shot prepping the car for the cage!


Subscribe via email to their updates and follow what should be another exciting season. We’re proud to be their website sponsors at MotoringBlogs and wish them a great year!

dc

A Dream Realized: 1995 Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield Replica in My Garage!

When I first started getting into bikes in the early 90’s, i did a lot of research. It’s in my nature really and no wonder I love the internet so much! But before the internet, I went to the Corvallis Public Library and Linn-Benton Community College Library, which both had great collections of motorcycle magazines. I spent many afternoons reading them. After my thorough analysis (with no seat time) I really wanted a Yamaha FZR400 or an Aprilia RS250. They both had the performance and look I wanted, and I had rationalized that they’d be great first bikes. But to my dismay the 250 wasn’t being imported and the 400’s were very hard to locate as most of the public wanted the more powerful FZR600. But I figured at least they were available. Today the FZR400’s are coveted for their aluminum frames, more pure sporting mission, and performance in amateur racing classes that made them nearly as fast as the 600’s; all of which I knew then and was a large part of why I wanted one — they were special!

I ended up with a ratty FZR600 as it’s what I could afford at the time though. Here’s my original blog post on that bike at an early age riding to Sonomafest with Paul from the Willamette Valley to Bay Area.

Sonomafest really opened our eyes to the amazing talent that road racers possessed. Being able to witness their skill at speed, up close and personal, was really inspiring. We started to follow the top road racing series around the world, and in particular would watch the 250GP class on rented VCR videos. The star of that series was Max Biaggi and he rode the Chesterfield sponsored bike from Aprilia.

Watching Biaggi’s battles and victories only fueled the impossible lust that grew for the factory replica Aprilia RS250 that bears his race livery. But I never really thought I’d have an opportunity to have one considering they weren’t being imported. Here’s a picture of the race replica offered by Aprilia in 1995. I took this picture at the Barber Motorsport Museum:

Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield 2 stroke

Back to Sonomafest, it is one of my favorite road trip memories because we were essentially broke, had no proper gear, but made the trip anyway with great success as two wide-eyed enthusiasts joined up with what felt like thousands of our soon-to-be peers.

As we were staging up for the parade lap of Sears Point that was included with our Cycle World ‘Sonomofest’ ticket package, a guy pulled up next to me on an Aprilia Chesterfield replica — and it even had plates, which certainly added to the excitement of seeing an example like this that was legal-ish to ride on the street! The guy probably thought I was nuts as I practically fell running over to him, motioning to him that I wanted to talk. I tried to ask him how you get an RS250 into the states and get it plated. You could tell he had been asked this a million times, but he wasn’t giving up any secrets today and rode off.

Ever since I’ve been watching the ads. And sure enough, every now and again over the years, I would spot an RS250 that was for sale. Not often, but the more that surfaced, the more intent I became on watching the entire web to spot these rare opportunities.

After getting my job as a Web Services Manager in 2005, I started this personal blog that you are reading right now. And on occasion I started to blog car and bike classifieds I found from time to time that I found interesting and wanted to share. {sorry most of the images are broken on these ancient links!}

In some part, the RS250 and bikes like it, is what made me want to start Rare Sport Bikes For Sale and German Cars For Sale Blog.

Skip to 2008 and I actually blogged this exact bike when it came up for sale last time: http://raresportbikesforsale.com/1995-aprilia-rs250-chesterfied-replica/ Later I would find out that it was actually owned by an old childhood friend of mine, who is a part owner of SpeedyMoto. He invited me over to look at it and explained that he couldn’t actually go through with the sale. It was his wife’s bike and she got it from a family friend that went through considerable expense importing it into New York from Holland.

But on Tuesday last week he emailed that it was again available and asked if I could help list the bike on RSBFS. I said of course I can, but before we do that, I’M INTERESTED!

We quickly settled on a price and the bike is now in my garage with the Ducati 750SS. Now that I’ve been up close with the bike, it’ll be a 7/10 cosmetically when it gets cleaned up. Long story short, it needs some serious time on the buffer. They used it as a backup track day bike and occasional Sunday rider. It’s great mechanically, probably 9/10. Not to mention it came with crazy spares too. Like a full race body kit, a piston rebuild kit, and a factory decal kit that will allow me to restore the factory body work to new when I’m ready some day.

Luckily the day we went to get it in Portland, it was an amazing 60 degrees outside in January. That’s unheard of but it made for an amazingly awesome test ride in the sun. It makes about 60hp at the rear wheel and weighs in at 308lbs dry. The gearing is very aggressive right now and as Paul said, first gear is silly. There is next to no power below 6k, but then it starts moving and showing some grunt as the revs climb. When you hit 8k the real magic happens and in an instant another 20-30hp kicks in. It screams to the 12k redline immediately as it tries to lift the front end up — and I’m no lightweight myself! A very special experience was realized this day, and one not soon to be forgotten.

Since I read those magazine articles, it only took 16 years to get what I thought I’d never put my hands on. And this is going to sound corny but it probably wouldn’t have happened if RSBFS wasn’t created. The reach, connections, and friendships that the site enjoys has helped me to share what has completely exceeded my expectations and I feel very fortunate.

A quick shout out to SpeeyMoto and Christian Hanson. Thanks for the call!

dc

2011 and it’s On… Immediately!

Break is over, school is in session, and it’s time to get back to work. I was kind of getting used to that every day a lazy day life, but in truth it’s good to be busy again!

British Auto Parts LTD.

Bob, the owner of the Sports Car Shop, introduced me to Jim Pocan who runs BritAutoParts.com at this years holiday party. Jim is right in our backyard in Marcola and after a nice meeting last week, I’m happy to say that I’m going to build him a new website. The new version will be built on WordPress and I’m going to work with Jim to teach him how to maintain the site himself. I’m really excited about this project and hope to have the new site up by early Spring.

Impala Bob’s

impalas.com

I had a nice meeting with a colleague recently from OSU, Gary Dulude, who also assists Impala Bob’s with their monthly promotions and e-newsletters. A couple of beers and burgers at McMenamins was a nice way to unwind after work today as we compared notes about our moto-related projects and consulting. Check out Gary’s 1964 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan:

Sports Car Shop

Bob and Joe surprised me last Friday with not 1 but 3 new cars added to their inventory that needed updating on the website. A nice mix as it turned out, and I got all three photographed before it started raining that afternoon:

Porsche Cayman S – The easy choice in the “next day lotto fantasy” would obviously have the Cayman coming home in short order. This is practically a new car with only 14k miles, and the blue on tan color combo is really handsome. What really surprised me is how much more elemental this car was compared to the previous Cayman they had — but that car was a tiptronic. While the tip felt like a toy, this felt like a machine ready to be worked… hard!

Fiat Dino Coupe 2.4L

Fiat Dino Bertone Coupe 2.4L – The Fiat is a pretty cool car as it turns out. While the looks are a bit hot and cold for me from different angles, this one is the more desirable of the series with the enlarged 2.4L V6 engine and updated suspension. Classic Italian proportions and seating position make for a surprisingly affordable classic sports car. Check out the live auction now on eBay

Mercedes-Benz 230SL

Mercedes 230SL Coupe Convertible – The Mercedes might have been the most fun in the end. It’s a very presentable car in need of a restoration. But it’s so approachable in this kind of condition, it was almost the easiest for me to enjoy. A simple and free-revving straight six attached to a four speed manual, this car was a simple pleasure. The elegance and efficiency of this car had me yearning for a Sunday wine tasting tour!

MotoringBlogs

I’ve been starting to work more on one of my latest sites, Classic Italian Cars For Sale. It follows the same basic format as Rare Sport Bikes For Sale and German Cars For Sale Blog. Later this year, I’ll also be making similar sites to follow classic auctions for Japanese, German, and British Classics as well.


I’ll be doing a lot more of these kinds of updates. Eventually they’ll move to my business website, which is due any day for a complete overhaul. In the meantime I appreciate the support!

dc

2010 Year In Review Post (aka Why Has This Blog Been Damn Near Silent?!)

If there are any subscribers left on this site, I sincerely apologize! To summarize this year in a few words is to say I was far too busy. I burned out completely at least 3 times and the last thing on my mind was blogging. Routine 60 hour work weeks have been rewarding but truly challenging.

That said, there was waaay to many cool happenings this year that normally would’ve been documented in these pages and I’m going to try and catch up with a few pictures and brief summaries. These are mostly amazing trips I was able to make happen, some updates on the family, and a few of the ones that got away this year.

Note: This post is grossly unfinished and I’ll be updating it over the next 6-8 weeks, and hopefully adding some event coverage posts before the new season.

Stay tuned as 2011 is going to be action packed and I’m very excited to start getting back into a regular rhythm on this site. Sorry this is a post in progress, but have a Happy New Year!

dc

Family

We are very proud of our Goddaughter, especially when she invents new cute things to do like this! As Mom becomes more comfortable with seeing her angel on the web, we'll try to post more.
Me and Shana at the Corvallis Knights game sponsored by Calapooia Brewing this past August. It was a perfect evening for baseball, and even though the Knights lost this particular night, we had a really great time with Pooia brew crew -- as we always do!
An image of Shana and Sam on a trip to the beach on a stormy day. Sam loves the beach and we decided to take her by herself for a special trip.
A picture of the little stud, Winston, on a walk in the woods. He's a great addition to our family and is always amusing us with his latest alpha antics!
Another one of the cutest dog ever.
And our little black cat, Abbey. Not a fan of pictures, or so she pretends.

Miller WSBK

By far my best image of the year. This is Max Biaggi taking first place for the first time in a long time since his dominance in 250GP racing on Memorial Day. Pictured here about to enter the final corner at the U.S. leg of the World SuperBike Tour at Miller Motorsports Park with a tribute to the American soldiers in the background. Many thanks to Jay Bernard and Veloce Racing Aprilia Team for making our participation possible.

Sonoma Historics Birthday Trip

Shana took me to Sonoma for the Historics at Sears Point this year. Here's a picture of us outside Mario Andretti's winery. Surprisingly not a single car on display. Good wine though and a lovely tasting area.
My favorite image taken from this event: Rothmans Porsche 956


Working with Sports Car Shop

I got some brief seat time in this gorgeous Ferrari Testarossa that is available at Sports Car Shop in Eugene, Oregon. I am their webmaster and get to take pictures of their inventory. Yes, this is one of the best jobs (if you can call it that) that I've ever had!
Earlier in the year I had the pleasure of trotting out this stallion for some pictures. I have to say, this was a far better car than I could've expected. For $140k, Ford hit this one out of the park. I know that's a lot of cash, but compared to it's rivals, it's a true bargain.

The Ones That Got Away (or were considered)

This is a bike I should've just acted on immediately. A 748S, less than 13k miles, and $6000. It was gone in less than 5 days and I've been kicking myself ever since. And in a terrible twist of fate, it's for sale again but this time I'm not in a place to purchase it. Yes, I try to talk myself into it daily...

{I’ve got at least another dozen images and stories to add. I’ll try to bump this post every time I do because there are lots more people to thank for an awesome year!}

dc