Our weather in Oregon has been a bit on the cool and slightly wet side this spring. But today temperatures jumped to nearly 80 degrees and it was too good to pass up. I did ride the bicycle a bit to try and get back on that horse, but the ride on the Ducati was sadly only the third ride of the year.
Paul and I are planning to hit Laguna Seca for MotoGP and do a proper vacation on motorcycles. But I’m a bit out of practice to say the least. He may be taking his BMW R75/5, but he’s damn proficient on it in the corners and I really do have to work to keep up with him. I need to attend one of Roger’s MotorcyclExcitement schools in the near future! (I maintain his current website and hope to make a new site for him soon!)
The good news is that Paul did such a stellar job dialing in this bike for Sears Point last year that she’s ready to hit the road again with nearly no adjustments.
It is time to part with our faithful ‘77 Rabbit that has served as a great entry into amateur motorsports over the last 7+ years. We’ve done numerous track days at Portland International Raceway (where the Indy cars used to race), autocrosses, and several runs at the Larison Rock Hillclimb. Unfortunately the car has been sitting for a couple seasons and just isn’t being used anymore with other projects in the stable. It’s time for a new owner.
This car was built by a professional Volkswagen mechanic who was working at Independent Auto Werks (Bug Werks) here in Corvallis at the time. Together we carefully pieced together all the proven parts for this MK1 platform:
– Engine is an MK2 2.0L bottom end with 1.8L 16 valve head. This combination is well documented to provide an immediate 15hp gain over the base 2.0L 16v configuration for 155hp total. At around 1850lbs it really scoots! We opted for the simpler CIS-E fuel injection as it’s easier to work with than the later Motronic setups. While the motor has seen action over the years, it still provides lots of power. It is still fitted with stock cams to maintain reliability and driveability to and from the track.
– Exhaust is optimized with a dual outlet manifold for reliability, then routed to a Techtonics race downpipe and on to a matching Techtonics exhaust with Magnaflow muffler. Yes it’s noisy but not in a ricey way. Very distinctive tuned 4 cylinder VW water-cooled sound.
– Engine is coupled to a lightweight VW Motorsports flywheel and Sachs clutch combo which allows the motor spin up with ease. Power is sent through an 84 GTi close ratio transmission. The transmission makes some noise on deceleration but has since we built the car some 7+ years ago. I expect it’ll be fine for limited track usage as there is no issue finding or using all the gears, but may require a rebuild at some point considering.
– Suspension is simple but well sorted. An H&R Cup Kit consists of matched springs and shocks (non-adjustable) for a mild drop and more sporting ride. Front upper and lower stress bars are fitted along with a rear strut tower brace. Also a heavy duty rear sway bar is fitted. All bushings were refreshed when fitted. The ride is very flat but not harsh. This combination helps to dial out a lot of the understeer and cornering is easily controlled with gentle throttle response.
– Brakes are upgraded discs up front from an MK2 GTi and we retained the drums in the back. We had originally fitted rear discs as well but had issues with lockup in the back due to the light weight. Willwood proportioning valves are installed for fine tuning.
– Two sets of wheels are included. The car is currently riding on “snowflake” GTi rims with mismatched tires to get you to and from the track. Also included are aftermarket alloys with used road racing slicks. Available for separate negotiation are some very rare, period correct Intra 14×6 German alloys that replicate the look of early Porsche 928 rims. The Intra rims would be perfect if you’re considering this car for a GTi restoration.
– Interior is stripped and focused on only what is needed for track work. An early Passat steering wheel is fitted for better feel and textured race pedals are in place. A Sparco Pro 2000 race fixed back bucket is fitted for the driver and a generic aftermarket seat is in place for the instructor. Both seats have 4 point Schroth harnesses. The stock dash is removed and a custom console is fitted with gauges to monitor oil, water, charging, and revs. The heater core is still intact but it blocked off at the moment. Can be reactivated to warm the interior on cold mornings. Rear defroster works as does instrument lighting. Most carpet and sound deadening is removed, so it’s very loud inside the car and you hear every creak, rattle, bang, and bump. But with a helmet on it’s just part of the experience.
– The exterior is a decent 5 footer. In honesty it’s a poor Maaco paint job that was applied before we acquired the car, but it can be made to look decent as seen in the photos. There are lots of chips, dings, dimples, and yes surface rust. I have tried to capture the worst of it in the photos. This car is not ready for the show circuit but plenty presentable as you make your entry into amateur motorsports. Features GTi fender flares and aftermarket replica European bumpers. All lights work. Headlights are European H4’s with city lights in the park position. Color matched GTi airdam is also fitted.
The good: This car is very well sorted and should clear inspection for autocross, trackday or hillclimb. A simple tuneup should be applied but runs fine with no stumbling and tracks straight. To be used for road racing or rally you’ll need additional safety equipment like a rollbar or cage, fuel cell, window netting, fire suppression, etc… But even after sitting for a few seasons it is running well with just a new battery and a full tank of gas. I also put new tags on the car today so it’s registered until 2013. I drove the car in a spirited manner this afternoon and it made me wish I had space to put it on jack stands and come back to it someday.
The bad: It does have some surface rust on a 5 foot paint job and a couple holes in the floor boards. But for what it was built for it’s ready for more action with just minor TLC. After a thorough once over, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive up to Portland, track it, and drive back like we have numerous times over the past several years.
This car is perfect for someone who is looking to get into local amateur racing or a GTi restoration project. Please email me for more information or to arrange for a look in person. Here are links to my personal blog with stories about how we used the car (note the time stamps):
Please email me if interested in more information or a closer look at the car. I am asking $2350 obo and the Intra wheels mentioned are available at additional cost. With a full price offer I’ll include a used but legal autocross helmet, magnetic numbers, and the fire extinguisher. I’d love to see this car find a home that will appreciate it and the time spent putting it together. Thanks for looking.
Paul’s XKE roadster is now on eBay. It was a lot of fun photographing his car and editing the video. It’s not going to win any Academy Awards, but for a second ever effort, I was happy to end up with a video that clearly demonstrated the abilities and condition of the car.
Bid on this car now and good luck with the sale Paul! It’s a really fun car and I hope it finds a good home.
The last time Paul and I made this trip was over 15 years ago. Shame on me for letting this fantastic trip from being relived for so long. But we more than made up for it in the end. This trip will serve my memory for the rest of my life!
I’m keeping this post simple in the form of a photo journal of our trip to Sonoma via Highway 101, Highway 1, enjoying the West Coast MotoJam AMA Races of 2011, and returning on I-5.
According to Google, the back way takes only 6 more hours than just shooting up and down I-5. 6 hours well spent if you ask me!
And here’s a video of us on Highway 1 in the Redwoods. There are faster clips on YouTube, but it was our first time and the wide angle of the GoPro doesn’t do the pace justice. That said, it was a lot of fun and the scenery doesn’t get any better — until you hit the coast of course! I’ll come back to this segment in a few weeks and provide an edited version so we don’t have to wait for the good parts. The fun part starts at 1:45 in this one 😉
and here is part two. Skip to 11 minutes for the trek out of the forest and on to the coast. The next 6 hours would be all be about the same; as in awesome!
On to the pics, starting from the beginning:
I’ll likely add more to this post in the next few weeks as I gather all the pictures. Enjoy!
I’ve been meaning to attend the DesmoNorthwest BBQ for at least two years in a row and this year I had no excuse not to. Naturally I hit my buddy Paul up to join me; he can’t say no to rides over 100 miles, let alone nearly 650 miles. In two days total! Yep, we decided to ride up and back on Saturday and Sunday.
But the leg up on Saturday was the real meat of the trip. We rode back roads from Corvallis to Edgefield in Troutdale for a late breakfast. We both had the bacon scramble with fresh baby red tomatoes and smothered in freshly grated Parmesan. Delicious!
From there we hit I-84 for a quick blast to Hood River, where we took the bridge across the Columbia to Washington, and headed North for Mt. St. Helens. Turns out this area is a meca for sportbike riders as we must have seen nearly 100 riders in this area. Most of the roads are fantastic and the vistas are even more amazing.
We continued on past Randle through the Mt. Rainier area, past Mt. Adams, through Enumclaw, and then on to Issaquah. All in all, I think we were on the freeway less than an hour and half all day. Here is our route:
Unfortunately when you’re behind on your day long back roads trip, you don’t stop for pictures. But luckily lots of other Flickr users have. Here is what you can expect from the area:
After riding some of the best, and some of the worst, that SW Washington had to offer, we were beat. Ten and a half hours later, we were hurting to say the least! Paul being the saint he is, and having water-tight hard bags on the VFR, went and got us some refreshments to unwind with after our journey:
The next day we cleaned up the bikes and headed for the BBQ. After supporting the Ducati website for nearly 2 years, I was able to connect names and faces. I already knew the club was full of great people and it was a really nice gathering of like minded enthusiasts. Here are some pics of the rides that showed up:
The worst part of the trip was definitely the last leg, from Issaquah to home via I-5. A record heat wave started that afternoon and we rode home in some seriously hot air on the blacktop for over 5 hours. It was like being blasted from all angles with heat guns no matter how fast or slow we managed. So we ended up stopping about every hour to rehydrate and recharge. Not much choice as we both had to be at work on time the next day.
All that said, I’m really glad we did this trip. Not only did I finally get to meet some great Ducatisti, I proved to myself I’m still capable of a big trip. I can’t wait to go again!