It’s In The Name

Many manufacturers have practically useless and stupid trim options available. I would love to say that this is a recent occurrence but to be honest it has been happening since the beginning of time.  Some of my favorite Useless Trim Levels  are the “Splash” edition of the Ford Ranger, that whole thing Mazda did with their Millenia “Millennium” edition ( I’m sure they thought they were clever) and the Chevy “Xtreme” line of Blazers and S10s.  These were all obnoxious and badly aimed a very specific niche market.  It makes them look stupid, and I’m not afraid to say that I judge many of the people I see driving any of these cars that still have their trim badges on display.  I similarly judge guys that don’t wear helmets while riding motorcycles but that rant is for another pint of beer.

I similarly judge guys that don’t wear helmets while riding motorcycles but that rant is for another pint of beer.

Really it all boils down to trying to take advantage of the consumer, YAY MARKETING!!!  However, did any of these hokey pokey trim levels actually produce something good?  There was a time when Super Bee meant something on a Dodge now, not so much.  Remember the 1970’s when every car had a name or wonky trim level? The Judge (badass I know)? Little Red?  Those were good, right?  So, what happened? Where did beater manufacturers stop adding features and started slapping on a shiny sticker or badge and calling it a day? Why did VW make us buy the Wolfsburg Edition?!?!?!

So, I leave it up to everyone else out there, What is the worst named Trim level on a Beater? 

My vote, Eddie Bauer Ford Explorers.  I mean, come on right?

Wes’s Secondhand Bimmer


When is a beater not just a beater?  When it is your hobby, your project, and your passion.  We got in touch with our buddy Wes recently to ask some questions about his Bimmer beater. Wes has been working on this BMW for while now, slowly improving it over time and fixing mistakes that the previous owner has made; hoping to make it a prestine example of what an E30 should be.  As comes with fixing up any second hand car there were bound to be some obstacles and stories. This is a clean Bimmer, because even pretty cars can be beaters too! Here’s Wes’s Secondhand Bimmer:


When did you get your beater?
When did I get a beater? I have always had a beater. I prefer buying used cars and naturally you can get used cars cheaper when they also need work. My biggest problem with buying cars is not buying for what it is but what I see that I can turn that car into. My current car, which I have tons of plans for and don’t plan on backing out on is my 1989 BMW 325i (E30 chassis). I bought the car a little over a year ago after selling my mk4 VW GTI, I knew I wanted an E30 and set out to find one as local to me as possible and as clean as possible within my price range. Sadly, there wasn’t a whole lot of E30’s for sale at the time and went after what I could get. So, I ended up buying this one for $2300 and lots of work to be had. Upon purchase I already knew that the front end was slightly wreck, more cosmetic than anything, and really needed a tune up and new interior.

Driving home with one of my friend following, we learned the rear end was way out of wack, the car had been drifted into a curb and bent the subframe, wheels, and a trailing arm. New subframe and left side trailing arm, and set of wheels later it was back on the road, long enough for me to spend the rest of my money from my VW on a friend’s hardly used set of K-Sport coil overs, new brakes all around, poly motor and trans mounts, and stainless brake lines. At this point I realized this was going to be a fun car and one I would keep for a long time. At this point in time I have a lot of time and money into and am pretty happy with it, even if I know there is a long way to go until it is “finished”.  12662433_914741085312938_6507748843452327044_n         12107840_855144967939217_1144382222348603848_n

Currently the car has a fresh M50B25 engine swap matched with a zf320 transmission, Aasco lightweight flywheel, PMC Motorsports shifter, CX Racing radiator, K-Sport coilovers, Porsche 944 brake booster, Porsche 986 front seats (with power), “clean” rear black back seat from a 318i, fully rebuilt gauge cluster using parts from (@e30dad a guy I met on instagram), set of 17″ Enkei Racing wheels with 205/45/17 tires (cheap Nankangs) fully adjustable subframe powdercoated by Element Powdercoats.

The next things to come is a full 5 lug swap, new set of K-Sports, 2 piece BBS RC090 that I have been refinishing, and 4 piston Brembos from a Porsche 986. After that it will be time to save up for the next motor which will be an s52 from a late model e36m3 and of course, PAINT.


What do you like about your beater?

I like just about everything about my beater. It handles great, looks OK, I actually get compliments and thumbs up from time to time. It is a comfortable car, small but roomy for a 2 door, and over all its a pretty unique classic car especially after I’m done with it.

What do you dislike about your beater?
I don’t think I really have any dislikes about it other that it takes ALL of my money. Its not necessarily hard to keep running but it is hard to keep my foot out of the gas pedal along with always trying to add something to make more power. I ended up doing the M50 swap a month and a half after adding bigger injectors, a tune, and full exhaust to the factory M20. Turns out it wasn’t in good enough shape for that so ended up ruining that motor and needing a replacement promptly. 

What is the funniest thing that has happened in it? Has it ever broken down on you someplace unpleasant/sketchy?

I can answer these two at the same time. After a trip visiting my home town (Williams, AZ) 3.5 hours from where I live now (Mesa, AZ), I got on the highway for a fun spirited drive home. Leaving town, it felt like my foot was getting wet, but didn’t last long so I just brushed it off. Well, the temperature difference between northern Arizona and southern/central Arizona are pretty drastic during the summer. So, about and hour from my house I feel that wet feeling again, except it was really REALLY HOT! Turns out my heater core from 1989 finally had it and cracked open spraying my right foot with boiling coolant. Luckily I was coming up to a rest stop of I-17, managed to dance with the gas pedal and boiling water enough to get into the rest stop. Now stopped and an hour from my house I had to figure out how to use the old worn out rubber hoses to loop the heater circuit.

Well after it bursting and me realizing what happened, biggest thing was how do I get to the rest stop. I had to keep kicking the gas pedal and pulling my foot away to keep from burning my foot but still be able to drive it in. Once I got in and got parked first thing I did was call my boss and see if he had ever messed with the cooling system in an E30 and tell me the best way to fix it. Unfortunately he didn’t so I hung up, he hopped on his computer to start to Google around, while I did the same on my phone along with posting on some of the forums Facebook pages.  I managed to find a decent diagram on how the heater core lines routed.1653957_723167154470333_3082849171448292630_n

I popped my hood to start looking at how it all fit, it was all a tight, hard to get to mess. So with it being roughly 110° F outside with a hot engine bay I got my screw driver out and worked on getting the hose clamps undone. Luckily, once the lines were off they were bent in the right shapes to be able to remove one and attach the other to where it removed. Getting clamps back on, was probably the hardest part and took probably the longest. All in all it probably took a little over an hour, which was miserable in the heat, along with being low on coolant and not having any decent water to put into the system.

Called my boss, let him know I got it looped and hopped back on the highway and drove as quickly as I could hoping there wasn’t going to be any traffic that was going to cause me to have to stop. Pulling in my driveway was probably the best feeling that day.  It made it home and didn’t overheat. That was the one and really only day that it would have left me stranded anywhere and for some reason I also found it amusing being I should have checked that when I had first felt the wet feeling on my foot.

Have you been on any road trips?
No big road trips yet, it takes all of my money preventing me from taking road trips. Although I do definitely plan on it in the next couple years or possibly sooner.


What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to fix or take it to the mechanic for?
I wouldn’t say there was anything necessarily weird that I have ever had to fix, just a lot of things the previous owner had done that made me question why they even thought it was a good idea to work on cars. One good example of that is my sunroof ,which I have yet to decide on how to fix, has been deleted using some galvanized metal sheet, lots of RTV and expanding foam. Can you can believe that? Along with the white vinyl with black diamond stitched interior, which I got rid of as quickly as possible, and the horribly executed single stage repaint.


Was There anytime during the build that made you laugh or was a particular pain in the butt?
Definitely! That would go back to putting a ton of work into my M20. It sucked getting my valve cover and intake powder coated, putting the bigger injectors in, the tune, exhaust, new starter, new clutch, and a bunch of other very specific-to-that-engine and not very cheap pieces and parts; and to basically destroy the motor within 2 months and have to do a motor swap to keep it alive.11101246_753850554735326_2412661219058910090_n

The Ballad Of Li’l Red

Little Red CurbsideIt was another typical Saturday night.  No loud music, no champagne being puked up everywhere by drunk college kids, no clubbing.  It’s just me, a cold beer, and my computer. I had just discovered the link to Nissan’s live feed of this year’s Bathurst 12hr race and McLaren is kicking ass! As is the typical setting, I’m in a chair paying no attention to whatever house flipping show was left on the TV. Out of nowhere, I’m brought back to reality from my digital trip to Mount Panorama when I hear the intro to some new show talking about flipping “Zombie Houses” in my current hometown of Orlando FL.

There it was. This awesome looking red Dodge.  Wood trim, chrome badge, and STACKS!!!  It was owned by the show team’s Project Manager Justin.  Thanks to Facebook, I got lucky and managed to get in touch with Justin and his friends.  Over several beers he shared with me this, the story of Li’l Red:

“When we started the show [Zombie House Flipping] I wanted something that would stand out that wasn’t my Acura.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Acura, but I wanted something that would be a symbol of what I want to do for Orlando.  I want to put Orlando on the map! We are so much more than just Disney World.  I’ve hustled to get where I am now and I think Li’l Red is a perfect symbol of that hard work; that mentality of hard work and quality that America stands for!  

Little Red Interior

I’ve always liked the Li’l Reds.  I found this one after searching the internet.  The guy that I bought it from lived in Live Oak (FL).  I apparently contacted him minutes after he posted the ad.  When I got to it, it had been sitting for 10yrs and didn’t run. I took it to my buddy Seal. He had just found out his wife was pregnant with their first kid and I wanted to do something that would help him out a bit.  I called him and told him I needed work done to Li’l Red.  We agreed that I’d pay him hourly and cover the supplies.  Everything would go to him and his son.  We worked on Li’l Red during nights, which helped to ease Seal’s nerves a bit too. 


We spent the next 6 months going over everything and got it running well , except for the carb.  We had help from Rick at Wrench Connection here in Orlando figuring that thing out.  Apparently it’s super touchy and even when you think everything is lined up it’ll still bog down. Rick figured that out. He also helped out by installing a new A/C system and updated the cooling system as well.  It worked out perfectly.  Right about the time Seal’s son was born we had finished the truck.

I have some upgrades in the works, Edelbrock carb, headers, new intakes etc., but the thing doesn’t really need it, you know?  Back in ’79 it was the fastest American production car 0-100mph.  They put a high performance engine in a commercial vehicle which helped give it some performance while keeping it exempt from the emissions regulations of the ’70s and ’80s.  

Air Cleaner

I don’t have any plans on selling it. In fact, when Seal’s son graduates from college I plan on giving it to him. It’d be cool to give him a cool truck that his dad worked on. It’s meant to be an heirloom, something that he’d keep in the family.  

Right now I use it every day. It is most definitely a work truck. For my business and the show I have to haul lumber and supplies around to job sites and Li’l Red is the perfect truck for that. Just the other day I had probably close to 1000lbs in the bed and she hauled it with no problem, spinning the tires even!  It’s really nice to hop in with my dog Marley in the seat and cruise through the neighborhoods with the windows down. I love this truck it gets so much attention and it looks so damn good!

One of the first times we drove Li’l Red after getting her running, my friend Stormy hopped in it and decided to lay down some rubber. It’s what you do after you finish building a truck like this. She ended up losing control and fishtailed down the block. Stormy got it stopped just in time, right before a fountain.  Had Li’l Red’s rear end stepped out again it would’ve met the fountain and we’d have a ton more body work to do.

Also during one of our days filming for the show, I blew my AC and radiator hoses off while we were rolling. Li’l Red turned into a steam machine on camera and we had to get it towed back to Rick. We ended up bombarding him with cameras and he filmed with us and fixed it ASAP.”

Big thanks to Justin for sharing his awesome truck with us!