Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame

If you were able to order the CFV option then your C7 Z06 has a lot of visible carbon fiber and it looks good- really good. If you’re like me you start thinking that more carbon fiber would look even better! Rear diffuser, side mirrors, spoiler, brake vents…the list is endless. All in good time (APR Performance has some great looking parts coming). For now I figured my big splurge would be a carbon fiber license plate frame. There are a few online shops that sell “real” carbon fiber frames for $40-$80 but after shopping around I settled on one from lexan123 (eBay) for $18 shipped.


Not bad at all! It’s advertised as and definitely is “real” carbon fiber. The molding is good (not perfect) and the weave is fairly even. It looks great on the car against the black diffuser. For $18 I don’t think you could do much better .

Update: When I got the actual plate I had to cut off about 1/4″ from all sides of the plate to make it fit inside this frame. So… something to be aware of.


LLoyd Floor Mats for any Occasion

One of my car / truck “upgrades” is usually a set of floor mats. It’s become like a tradition. I really like the mats from Lloyd. Good fit, nice quality, no problems- ever.
The floor mats included with the Z06 were undersized, low-pile and kind of sad. I ordered a set of branded front mats from yatesperformance (eBay) and had them within a week.


What a difference! The fit and color match on these mats is great (they are “Jet Black”). I decided to order the cargo mat as well as I’m hoping it will diminish the road noise from the back a little (just a little). I used the “best offer” feature on eBay and saved about $20 off the seller’s regular price on each purchase  If you’re looking for floor mats Lloyd Mats makes some of the best.

Update 2/6/2015: I put int he rear cargo mat. It’s not compatible with the front cargo shade. Slits would have to be cut into the mat which I will do at some point. It does help a little with the cabin noise, but it’s not a significant reduction.

The 2015 Z06 – Looking Good and Available Now!

The new 2015 Z06 is finally available (customers have started getting their orders as of a week ago)!  Availability doesn’t seem as limited as I’d imagined and some dealers have started putting them on eBay. I have to admit this one caught my eye: corvette-z06-white-red

I love the white and red interior / exterior combo. And the black accents really work for me. Very nice. This particular dealer has the car priced way over the MSRP. Part of me understands the desire to make a few extra bucks but I also feel like it’s price gouging. I would never pay anything over the suggested retail price just to bypass a few weeks (or months) of waiting. Shady business practices aside I love how this car looks- it pushes all of my buttons. It’s fun to see pictures of ready to buy production Corvettes.

Speculated availability on these cars suggested they were going to be hard to come by. However, after poking around a bit, it appears that several local dealers have Z06 models in stock (or will shortly); Their websites are a little unclear on what’s available. If they do have access to a Z06, I’m a little surprised that I didn’t hear from any of them. Shortly after the new Z06 was announced I visited the two closest dealers to me in person to see if I could secure one. At one dealer the manager told me “I could order you a Z06 but I’d never get it.” Regardless I left my phone number and contact info with several sales people. I did the same thing at Another dealership as well. Later I tried several online chats to see if anyone was keping a list of people who were interested in the Z06 (one dealer was extremely rude). I sent several emails as well. Eventually I  heard back from a dealer that I emailed (I had bought a car from them before) but was told it would be about a year before they could order a car. All things considered it was a little disappointing. If (when?) I decide to make a move I guess no one local is getting my business. Note: The Z06 is not the car I mentioned trying to buy in another post. 

I also spent some time looking online at out of state options. From what I can tell getting a 2015 Z06 at MSRP shouldn’t be too difficult. In fact, I recently talked with a dealer in Chicago who will have an identical car to the eBay listing I mention for sale at MSRP (the only catch is a short wait). That might just be too good to pass up. If you’re looking for some good leads you can try They have quite a few supporting dealers and someone always seems to know where to find a car or two. Be careful as you shop- there’s no reason to get gouged or be subjected to disinterest or apathy.

And now I will continue my Corvette wanderlust.


A Car-free Life… Will it Last?

I have now been car-free for over a month. After I sold my last car I went through a kind of withdrawal. I felt like some part of me was missing and occasionally I felt like I had to get something right away to fill the void. But at the same time the past few months have been some of the most stressful in my life so not having to worry about any car-related issues was nice change. I decided I would take my time and think things over carefully before doing anything . I would even put “no car at all” on the table as an option.

In the spirit of fun I have looked at quite a few vehicles over the last month or so (Internet looking) and I’ve had people give me a lot of suggestions. Below are some of the vehicles I’ve considered or that have been recommended (some as a joke):

ford-raptor-june-2014 I love the Ford Raptor. If I went this direction I’d have to go with the Roush package (which includes a supercharger). Even though my local Ford dealer could install and warranty the package I’m just not comfortable pushing vehicles past their intended thresholds anymore. And at the end of the day this is a truck. A large, gas hungry, plodding truck. I am totally satisfied with my Tacoma so I don’t think there’s a Raptor in my future.

Someone suggested the Audi R8. I saw one at RaceCo and the general consensus was that they didn’t handle well, the reliability was poor and you really didn’t get a lot for your money. Not a glowing endorsement. Couple that with what is, in my opinion, a strange looking design and then R8 doesn’t make the cut.

I had an SS Camaro. It was a great car in a lot of ways, but fell short in others. Visually it pushed all my buttons, but it was large, heavy and didn’t handle particularly well. And it had no headroom- none. A sunroof wasn’t even an option for me. The supercharged ZL1’s power and handling have been enchanced but I’m not sure if that’s enough to make me walk back down that path.

c7-z06-corvette-june-14 The Corvette C7 Z06 looks like it’s going to be an amazing car. It’s hard to judge a car that’s not actually available though. The 650 HP supercharged engine is appealing, but I’m leery of first year production vehicles (I know the Stingray has been out for awhile so a lot of the kinks will have been worked out). Visually this car is a miss for me in some ways, but I wouldn’t let the look necessarily stop me.

jaguar-f-type-june-14I can’t say exactly what it is, but the Jaguar F-Type just doesn’t do it for me. Despite it’s supercharged 550 HP engine it’s the slowest of all the cars listed here. Couple all that with the fact that I’m not British and the F-Type doesn’t make the cut.

lamborghini-gallardo-june-14Haha… no. I think most people can appreciate the outlandish beauty of the Lamborghini Gallardo. Probably the most expensive car here and by far the most impractical. With no place to service it in Utah I can’t imagine this would be an easy car to own. And if I could find a way to afford this I’m sure it would garner a lot of unwanted attention as well.

bmw-m6-june-2014 The BMW M6 certainly pushed a few of my buttons. My friend owns an M3 and it’s an amazing car. In terms of value I think the M6 would be on the top of my list- the technology they’ve put into this vehicle is second to none.

porsche-911-turbo-june-14The Porsche 911 Turbo (the 911) is expensive, but there is a lot of engineering and technology in this car that have contributed toward it’s stellar reputation. In terms of 0-60 and the quarter mile the car is unmatched in its class. Add great handling, understated elegance and superior comfort to the mix and you have a winner.

vespa-june-14 No. Just… no. And yet I wonder.

So, what’s the plan? I’m going to create an outline detailing points that explain exactly what I’m looking for (or not looking for). Then I can process potential cars through my criteria crusher and compare them to each other. Then when the times comes I can test drive the remaining cars (maybe?). Although between you and me- I think I already have a good idea of what direction I’m going to go.

Goodbye Old Friend…

In retrospect it seems silly of me to have ever owned more than one car. I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking (nor do I require a third party analysis). I suppose that as I’ve gotten older many of my priorities have drastically changed. I still love cars, but I think at this point I’m more enamored with the idea of cars than the actual cars. And these days I’m much more interested in comfort and reliability as opposed to speed. How the mighty have fallen…

And so…


I definitely feel some regret- I have so many good memories with this car. It was almost like a friend. I put a lot into this car – and I’m not just talking about money. I had always planned to keep it forever and if circumstances had been a bit different I think that I would have.

I had a blast building the Vette and achieving my horsepower goals. It would have been fun to to track it a bit- run a nine or ten second quarter – but I can walk away at this point feeling satisfied. Driving around a 1000 rwhp Vette is a feeling that’s hard to describe and it was cool to have the experience.


It’s kind of funny- the Vette’s is headed to Florida, which is where I originally bought the car from. I guess in a way the Vette is going home. Goodbye old friend. I wish you all the best!

Movies Watched in 2013

I have dedicated this page to movies that I have watched in 2013 (these have to be fairly current movies from this year or last year to make the list). Older years will show up as blog posts (there is a link section at the bottom of this page).  Newest movies are at the the top. My goal this year is 50 movies half in theaters. 

Results for 2013: 62 Movies, 35 in a theater. That’s it for this year, so it’s time to publish this list as a post and move onto 2014!

Frozen 7.5/10 – Unexpectedly entertaining. You have to love the snowman, Olaf- what a great character!

The Secret Life of Water Mitty 8.5/10 – What a cool movie! Really enjoyed this one. It was refreshing in a way that most movies aren’t. I think we should all take a look inside ourselves – there’s potential to be more than we are.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 8/10 – Some of the action was a little over the top (like jumping the shark silly), but on the whole the movie was an excellent synthesis of action and storytelling.

Smurfs 2 6.5/10 – Sentimental, simplistic but heartfelt enough.

The Lone Ranger 7/10 – Actually a lot of fun to watch. I’m not clear on how $200+ million was sunk into this movie.

Thor: The Dark World 8/10 – I think Thor is a great action franchise. I can’t help but wonder, as the world is about to end, “Where are the other Avengers?”

Planes 7/10 – This movie was blasted by critics but I thought it was really cute. Basically “Turbo” with planes.

Catching Fire 8/10 – A worthy sequel. Some movies like Harry Potter seemed diminished by following the books too closely (especially in the early movies) but the Hunger Games excels.

Ender’s Game 7.5/10 – Well, the book was better, but this was a good try!

Turbo 7/10 – This movie is a about something dear to my heart- speed. In a way it’s almost too happy of a movie- nothing bad ever really happens and the good guys win and win and win. It’s a feel good show- you won’t walk away feeling anything but upbeat.

Monsters University 7.5/10 – This is a cute prequel and a worthy addition to the Pixar film library. Nothing too surprising here, except was a douche Sully was.

Bad Grandpa 6.5/10 – I would have watched this movie even without it’s attempts to connect the hidden camera moments together with a “plot.” When it hit it was hard and funny, but when it missed it was hard to watch.

Escape Plan 7.5/10 – Finally, my two favorite action stars in one movie. I think Escape Plan is a great vehicle to show off these two action heroes of yesteryear.

Gravity 9/10 – Visually breathtaking. The plot isn’t amazing, but the way things unfold is incredible to watch. This is something you should see in IMAX 3D.

Rush 8/10 – “Men love women, but men love cars even more.” I’m a sucker for cars and this movie didn’t disappoint me. Based on the real life rivalry between James Hunt and Nicky Lauder – although embellished to make them seem more like enemies than friends – Rush chronicles their 1970’s Formula One races.

Prisoners 8.5/10 – Wow! This movie really worked for me. At almost three hours long I kept glancing at my phone hoping there was still a long way to go. Loved the plot, excellent acting. Not perfect by any means, but this is a great thriller.

Riddick 7/10 – This is sort of a rehash of Pitch Black. No real surprises here, but it’s a fun action flick.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters 6.8/10 – The kids were dying to go see this. It’s good, but it lacks something I can’t put my finger on. Maybe I have a hard time suspending my disbelief for things like this.

Paranoia 5.9/10 – Nothing special run of the mill sub-par thriller.  I was hoping there would be more tension in the movie. Or at least something to do with paranoia.

Red 2, 7/10 – Loved the temp and comedy in this movie. I think, overall, the red series is a solid geriatric action series.

Elysium, 7.5/10 – Overall I think this is some good science fiction.

The Wolverine, 7.2/10  – Sort of a hot mess. Jackman looks great, but the story just didn’t do it for me. Frankly I’m surprised there aren’t more people trying to steal Wolverine’s eternal youth.

Argo 8.5/10  – I liked this movie a lot. The storytelling was excellent and the tension was nice and thick. I realize they took some liberties, but they make an excellent movie.

Mud, 6/10  – I guess this movie received a lot of critical acclaim. I thought the themes of “complicated love” were okay, but the movie felt long and often boring.

Bullet to the Head, 6/10  – Not very inspired. Stallone as the “good bad buy” works okay, but it feels tired.

The Conjuring, 7/10 – This wasn’t as scary as I was hoping. I liked the pacing and there were a couple great moments, but overall it wasn’t anything special.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, 6.5/10 – This had some really funny moments, but overall the stupidity of the movie hurts a bit.

World War Z, 7/10 – Not half bad. I liked the aggressiveness of the Z Zombies and there was some good atmosphere and action.

Pacific Rim, 8.5/10 – This was just plain old awesome. This is the stuff I watched as a kid brought to life. In some ways it’s almost mindless (and there are some exceptionally large plot problems), but it give you the kind of rush you expect from a blockbuster. Visually breath taking.

Despicable Me 2, 7/10 – This was a fun movie. In a way it’s sad to see Gru get so domesticated but I guess it appeals to a lot of people out there. Love conquers all.

The Call, 5.7/10 – A little over the top. And it’s just too hard to swallow all the stuff that’s going on (or not going on). A miss for me.

The Purge, 6/10 – This started out so good. What a great premise. But the movie slowly degenerated into an almost comical slash fest by the end. Some part of this movie had me slapping my forehead (spoiler alert: seriously, who gives their kids security override codes during the Purge?), rolling my eyes and dry heaving. I’m sure the movie was trying to make a political statement, but it got lost on me.

Warm Bodies, 6.9/10 – Unexpectedly enjoyable! Expectations were pretty low. Some funny moments, some okay action and an interesting plot. (Spoiler Alert!) But love? Love is the cure for the Zombie virus? Hmm.

Jack the Giant Slayer, 7/10 – This tanked in theaters, but I don’t really see why. It’s exciting enough and parts of the movie are captivating. Maybe people just have trouble accepting that a beanstalk can take you to a non-existent world between earth and space.

Oz: The Great and Powerful, 7/10 – Visually I found this movie striking, but at the same time a little off-putting. I like the story of how the wizard came to Oz and the elements incorporated from the previous film (films if you want to acknowledge “Return to Oz”).

Identity Thief, 6.7/10 – It’s got it’s moments (you have to like Melissa McCarthy), but this is not great comedy.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, 6.5/10 – So over the top it’s surreal. Not great as far as action movies go, but there’s enough to keep you interested. Not a fairy tale for kids though.

Snitch, 6.9/10 – The Rock always does it for me. He’s been a bad ass commando, a warrior king, the tooth fairy and now he’s a caring father and truck driver.

Now You See Me, 7.5/10 – It’s got an almost Sixth Sense sort of reveal near the end. It’s clever and very fun to watch, but it doesn’t feel quite right.

Escape From Planet Earth, 6/10 – Somehow Escape managed to lack any of the Pixar & Dreamworks charm. I’m not sure if it was the cast, the idea or execution. A lot of the humor missed the mark for me. Our kids thought it was okay.

Parker, 6/10 – I like the mindless Jason Stathem action movies. This one seemed especially mindless. 

After Earth, 7/10 – I don’t really understand why the critics hated this one so much. I confess that I don’t understand what the movie’s title has to do with anything, but I thought the film, overall, was enjoyable. Maybe people like to bash on M. Night. Maybe people are being just a little to hard on Jaden or expecting too much from Will. I’m not sure- but I thought the pacing and the visuals were good. The story, while light and predictable, worked for me too.


Fast and Furious 6, 7/10 – There’s a lot of things to like about this movie- great action, a fun villain and, of course, Vin and the Rock.  A lot of it is too over the top for my taste and that makes the movie hard to take seriously. And maybe that’s the point.

Star Trek: Into Darkness, 7.5/10 – Many of the elements of the second Star Trek movie have been incorporated into this almost-remake. But it’s a fun backwards alternate reality version with some good hits and a few misses. An appealing action flick nevertheless.

I’ve sort of fallen behind with my mini-reviews. But come on, did anyone really read them anyway? I don’t think so.

Iron Man 3, 8/10 –

Oblivion, 7.5/10 –

Django, 7/10 –

Olympus Has Fallen, 6.5/10 –

The Host 6.5/10, –

Jurassic Park (3D), 7/10 –

GI Joe: Retaliation (3D), 7/10 –

Life of Pi, 8/10 – With its stunning visuals and moving store line Pi stands out from most other movies. In some instances I found myself totally captivated. This is a movie not to miss and Ang Lee probably deserves his Oscar.

Zero Dark Thirty, 8/10 – In terms of acting, cinematography and storytelling this movie rocks.

Here Comes the Boom, 5.5/10 – Formulaic to the point of irrelevance. Sort of a comic knock-off of Warrior. I like Kevin James but this is not his best.

Les Miserables, 7.5/10 – This was a very moving production. It’s clear that not all the actor’s are good singers, but the performance is emotionally driven so I can appreciate what they did here (can singers act?).

Ice Age: Continental Drift, 6/10 – I have to confess that I’m not a huge fan of this series to begin with- prehistoric animals having social problems just isn’t that appealing to me. It’s entertaining enough to watch, I suppose, but it’s not great.

Last Stand, 7/10 – Arnold is really showing his age. In some ways the title of this movie is ironic. The action is good (over the top, of course), loved the Corvette vs. Camaro showdown but the overall experience was lacking. I saw this in a D-Box seat- never doing that again.

Hotel Transylvania, 6.8/10 – A cute effort, but nothing too special here.

Lincoln, 8/10 – Well acted, beautifully shot. I don’t care much for historical movies, but this was profoundly gripping.

Premium Rush, 6.5/10 – After I watched this movie I had a dream that I was Lance Armstrong. The premise of the movie is okay, but everything about it is kind of so-so.

 ParaNorman, 6.8/10 – The stuff they are doing with stop motion these days is pretty impressive. Visually ParaNorman is cool (the odd looking people don’t quite wok for me though), the story is good and it’s fun to watch. I think this movie is supposed to be funny too, but not a lot of it hit home with me. Not quite a Halloween movie, not quite horror and not quite right, but a good effort.

 Looper, 8/10 – Time travel is always a messy movie subject. Having your future self sent back to your present self for extermination is extra messy, but Looper pulls is off with a fair amount of finesse. There’s nothing spectacular in terms of special effects, but the ending is both moving and shocking. An excellent effort.

2010 Movies
2011 Movies
2012 Movies

It’s Official: 1000rwhp Corvette

It’s taken about 18 months, but we’ve finally arrived! I took my car up to Premier for a few small tweaks and one last dyno run:


The car put down 1024 rwhp (over 1200 crank) and 944 ft lbs torque on pump gas & methanol at 15 psi. There was nothing weird about this pull such as ice on the intercoolers, fuel filters pulled off or the car sitting for a few hours. There’s more power there but I’ll wait until next year (if ever) to coax it out. Overall, I’m very pleased with the final product. It took way longer than I anticipated but I think the results speak for themselves.

My advice to anyone who wants to do a similar build: Know what you’re getting into. Nothing is going to go as smoothly as you want and everything will take longer than you think. Expect compromise. As you build a high horsepower car you need to recognize that some driveability elements will be diminished and not everything is going to work like a stock car- but that’s okay. And ultimately you can’t do anything with a 1000 rwhp car except drag race and feel like a badass. That much power has no practical use on the street – it’s for the dyno.

I want to give a shout out to Vince (& the Lung crew), Heath (& Premier Performance) and Cole (& RaceCo) for their help with this project. There were a lot of other people who contributed their mental energy, time and encouragement and I’m grateful to them as well. It’s been fun! Where do I go from here? Hmm… that new Corvette might be calling my name.


Vette Regret? Nah.

Finally a Corvette update (I know, I know-  you’ve all been waiting for this…not)!

In another post I mentioned that I had gotten my car back from Premier, but there were still a few issues. Since I’d had a good experience with RaceCo (Porsche) I decided to let them take a crack at my Vette.

They pressure tested everything and discovered that the blow off valves were popping open around 12 PSI. I was disappointed that this issues hadn’t been identified before, but it was a good find. RaceCo rebuilt the BOVs so there wouldn’t be any more boost related issues. Vince and I had always thought the car should boost to more than 12-13 PSI so we were curious what this fix would yield.

After making sure every leak was plugged RaceCo told me the car seemed to run better- it started fine, the surging was reduced and they didn’t experience any stalls. They also replaced a melted 02 sensor and added more heat shielding.

Next was the boost controller. For whatever reason there were intermittent sensor errors and the boost pressures weren’t accurate.  RaceCo got in touch with the manufacturer and they helped them trouble shoot and sort through the issues (one wiring, and one plumbing).


With the boost controller working properly it was time to do some testing. On high boost the car made it to 16PSI without breaking a sweat (that’s where the boost controller is currently set- when things warm up again I’ll be curious to see how much higher it goes… I’ll probably have to upgrade the fuel system for that). With 940rwhp on tap at 13 PSI I’m positive I’ve broken the 1000rwhp goal at 16PSI. The car is nasty fast on high boost. It just pulls and pulls. It’s hard to describe…

The drivability of the car is finally to a point where I’m comfortable with it (although there are obviously traction issues on high boost). I’m still not sure if I’m a fan of the aluminum flywheel- my only gripe is that the car is tricky to get moving from a stop. I think I’d like to get the car converted over to a speed density tune, but for the now the MAF tune is working fairly well (and it has the advantage of being OBDII complaint). Yes, the project took way longer than I thought it would, but ultimately I’m pleased with the results. No regrets.

Now I’m in the process of taking care of a few other little things. For example, the car needs a massive cleaning inside and out. Polishing out the hard water deposits (rain then sun) will be a good winter project.

While I was in Provo the other day I drove through a construction zone. There was a massive bump in the road and I got one of my air hoses under the car ripped off again! I fabricated some shields for them this time. Hopefully they take the brunt of the next impact instead of my poor hoses.


One of my RCA cables has been giving me grief. The end developed an issue and ultimately I had my friend Jim put on a new jack. That temporarily solved the problem but in the end I got hungry for more.

Initially I bought new Monster Audio RCA cables. Then I also decided to upgrade the head unit with a Pioneer AVIC-Z150BH and add a back up camera. And I was getting pretty sick of my Beltronics radar detector suction cups giving out so I figured it was time for an integrated STIR-Plus system too.

This time around I didn’t feel like doing the install so I had Travis CSDAudio take care of it. He did a great job and I’d recommend him if you’re looking to have any car audio done. In the end I pulled out the center console to adjust some wires, but that was a piece of cake.


The Pioneer AVIC-Z150BH seems to be an excellent receiver. It’s a little glitchy since it doesn’t really support iOS7 at the moment but I think that will get resolved. The audio it pumps out seems like a huge improvement from my AVICZ1 which kind of surprised me. Travis assisted me with some tweeter tweaking to eliminate the sibilance as well. Overall I’m very happy with this stereo upgrade- I would rank my system among the best I’ve heard. And no ground loop!

The Beltronic STIR-Plus system also seems to be excellent. I’ve got the display screen and a warning light mounted on top of my steering column (I may need to black out the backside of the LED bulb as it reflects of my gauge cluster) and operation is simple and discreet. The sensitivity seems to be as good as, if not better than, my old unit.


Finally I had our graphic artist here at work make me a customized sticker for the car since I’m trying to stick with the red and black theme (our blue and white logo just wasn’t working). This is the first prototype; It was a monster to get on but I think it turned out pretty good.

What do you know? Sometimes cars are fun!