October 7, 2010 - It's aliiiiiive! After reprogramming the computer - which took about 5 minutes, using software I'd never seen before - I ran upstairs and told Janel I had a surprise for her. She didn't know how close the car was to starting. I jumped in the car and hit the key. It cranked for a few seconds, then a few seconds more. But it was trying. So I tried again and VAROOOOOOOOOM! Lots of noise, lots of revs, and a running engine.
I caught it all on video. It's a cinematic masterpiece, with expository dialogue, a build-up of tension and then a big climax followed by a happy denouement. In case you're wondering, I was talking to Janel who is standing at a safe distance behind the camera, taking refuge behind the Mini. Watch it!
It wasn't completely successful. The first few times it didn't want to stay running more than a couple of seconds. It eventually settled down and kept running, but at a 2500 rpm idle. Since the main goal was to simply get it to work, I declared that enough. Even just a few seconds of running was enough to get the paint on the headers to bake in and release a nice cloud of smoke. I'll spend some more time cleaning up the wiring and hunting for vacuum leaks. Maybe this weekend I'll let it run for a bit longer to see if the engine speed will settle down as the computer re-learns this engine. The change in behavior from the first start to the fourth was notable.
First I need to blow the smoke out of the garage. Whew! entry 405 - tags: first start, engine, video
November 7, 2010 - The first drive! You can watch it on YouTube.
Overall, the first drive was a big success. Nothing broke. Nothing (unexpected) leaked. The car worked as expected. Cue the big celebration!
The car does feel very, very powerful and very light. The Miatas with a similar engine feel a bit beefier, possibly due to much fatter tires. The brakes were definitely not up to snuff - you can see me check them as I leave the garage. They were good enough for this little tour though.
The suspension was not noticeable, which means it was working! Obviously, tougher tests will come. No noises, clunks or anything worrisome. The clutch worked well once we both got used to where it engaged - the bigger problem was the gas pedal which is currently sitting much too high. The sound is excellent. The transmission did try to pop out of reverse, which is a trick it had been doing in the Camaro. There, I thought it was a matter of shifter adjustment and I spent some time fine-tuning that. But I was wrong. I'll look into that.
It wasn't a long drive, just a proof of function. And it did just that! entry 429 - tags: first drive, video
June 23, 2011 - Video time! I spent some time playing with a couple of cameras today and put this together. I think it's fair to say that I'm not going to be getting a call from Martin Scorsese to take over for him, but hopefully it'll give a bit of the flavor of what this thing is like to drive. Yes, I wish there was more engine noise too!
If the video doesn't show below, you can watch it on YouTube in glorious high definition.
July 5, 2011 - A new intercom for the Targa car. This one, a Peltor FMT120, has a few features the old FMT100 didn't. Aux in (for a phone), separate volume controls, etc. Most importantly, it has an audio out. When combined with the new video camera that arrived last week, this means we'll be able to have Janel's instructions as audio for the in-car footage instead of just engine noise. That should make it a lot more interesting to watch.
The old intercom will go into Nancy, the sister car on the team.
Progress on the car should resume shortly. Lots of fine-tuning to do. entry 624 - tags: intercom, video