The Portland Roadster March 15th thru the 17th marks the beginning of the car show season in Portland, Oregon. And as with previous Roadster Shows only the top customs and street rods are accepted each year to compete for top awards at this year’s event. Here are some of the vehicles that were on display. More photos will be added in a later.
Well during this stage of my Mini Cooper project. I wanted to concentrate on what is slowly becoming my favorite part of building a custom vehicle, upgrading the brake system.
But before I could do that I had to first do the exhaust system. I decided to go with a stainless cat-back set-up. I originally was also going to install a new header, but all the one’s I liked were designed to be used with no cat. And since I was going to drive the car daily and I need it to pass emissions. The last thing I wanted was to have problems at DEQ and have trouble with vehicle registration.So I had to pass on the header for now. But if I can find one that I like with a cat, I will probably still install one later.
The original plan with the big brake kit was to go with a Wilwood kit front and rear. But I liked the look of the Stop Tech kit. To top things off I was offered a pretty good deal to run the Wilwood kit. But as luck would have it. My Stop Tech connection came through with a better deal plus it was my original first choice. So I ended up installing Stop Tech rotors front and rear, Stop Tech steel braided brake lines and 4 piston front calipers. I also took this time to install the front and rear Alta performance end links on the swaybars.
I also picked up a new sponsor on the Mini Cooper project, Speed Concepts located in Beaverton, Oregon.Thanks Tony for the support. One thing that I have come to realize is that a nice set of Street performance Coil-overs are now being added to the list, or at least a set of upgraded performance shocks, to match up with the Tein sport lowering springs. The last piece to be added to the undercarriage was a Madness Motorworks Lower brace bar.
Next up is the exterior. Not sure exactly which direction I’m going to go. And I also need to finish the audio system.
I would also like to thank the following companies for their support with this build so far: Moss Motors, Alta Performance, Madness Motorworks, Speed Concepts and Stop Tech brakes.
One of the things I wanted to do with this build was to improve the cooling system and get more air to the engine without cutting up the front end for a bigger inter-cooler. So I started by adding a Mishimoto alloy racing radiator and SP performance blue silicone hoses. I also replaced the plastic coolant expansion tank with a Forge polished alloy model. The factory plastic ones have a history of cracking and leaking causing motors to overheat and in some cases engine failure. Also to help get more air to the air intake, I installed an Alta Intake hose. And to get more air to the factory inter-cooler I installed an Alta inter-cooler air diverter.
Also this time around for the suspension I added Alta adjustable end-links to the sway bars and a Cobalt engine shield.
Audio system got a little upgrade too. I built a custom sub box with a shallow mount MB Quart 10 inch subwoofer. I added a Vibe amp from their light series of amps which are very compact. With this set-up I lost very little trunk space which is already small to begin with.
Rule number one when building a street custom/daily driver. Build it to survive real world every day driving. This means no wild paint job, or over the top motor build
In the first stage of my Mini Cooper S street custom/daily driver convertible build. We started the build with a pretty good foundation. The car came with a set of TSW 18” wheels and was still setting at stock height. First stage mods include replacing the TSW wheels with a set of Falken 18” wheels and tires. While the wheels were off a set of front and rear sway bars and cross slotted rotors were installed. . A set of Tein sport lowering springs was used to lower the stance for now.
The first mods done under the hood was an Alta supercharger 17% reduction pulley and TSW performance upper motor mount. Next was an Alta oil catch can and M7 strut bar. A Madness Motorworks cold air intake system was the last modification in the engine compartment for now. I tinted the windows 20% and also replaced the stock radio with an Alpine CDE-HD 137 BT headunit. This headunit allows me to keep all steering wheel controls and added heads free phone operation Pandora and Ipod function.
This is the list of first stage parts:
Falken wheels and 215/35/18 tires
Alta rear sway bar, Oil catch can, supercharger pulley
TSW Upper motor Mount
Madness Motorworks air intake
Cross slotted rotors, front sway bar
M7 Strut Bar
Shorty antenna and 20% tinted windows
Alpine CDE-HD 137 BT Headunit
New Mini Stuff Steering wheel control module
With 2013 just around the corner. December is when I start thinking about what new modifications I’m going to do for the upcoming car shows. But for 2013, car stereo competitions will be my main focus. My plan is to go to as many Northwest sound offs as possible. I’m going to attend a few car shows but most of them as a spectator or car show judge.
One of my wishes for 2013 is that the promoters putting on car shows take the time to find judges that know something about customizing and automobiles. There is nothing worse than seeing someone judging a vehicle and you can tell that they have no clue about what they are looking at. And if you’re putting on a import car show don’t create a class called domestic and then expect Muscle cars , American sport compacts and sports cars like Corvettes and Vipers to compete against each other. And the same thing go’s for promoters of variety car shows have an import tuner class. Not just import or just tuner class. Both of these classifications cause confusion among the competitors at these type of events.
In 2013 I’m building a true street custom/daily driver. Something that I have not done in a long time. Some of the best builds out there are done this way. But pay the price, at the top car shows because the wear and tear shows from driving them every day. But if you’re building it with driving it all the time in mind, then winning car shows is not your top priority. This is what makes doing sound offs so cool. Because your stereo is the focal point, if the outside of the car is customize it only adds to the overall appearance. But will not make or break its chance at winning in the competition.
I’m also curious to see who going to step their game up at the NW tuner shows as most of the top cars from the last few years are starting to fading away from the scene. My money’s on Team Innovations Prez Dom Costello, his Civic is coming along rather nicely, and the next phase of his build should put it over the top.
Bring it on 2013, may we all stay healthy and have fun playing with our toys.
I’m finding as I get older that I want things to be as simple as possible. I even had offered to pay at a discounted price for parts rather than deal with the obligation that comes with full sponsorship.
On a positive note most of the parts for the first stage of my Mini Cooper build are in. I only have a few parts to go, most of these will come from Madness Motorworks in Beaverton, Oregon. They specialize in Mini Coopers, and make some really nice performance parts and offer Maintenance and repair service
Here’s a picture of one of my favorite custom pick-ups. 2013 is just around the corner.
This year’s SEMA convention was the best one that I’ve have been to in years. The attendance has always been pretty good, but last years event was not a good year when it came to the quality of the vehicles on display. When you think of SEMA you expect to see some of the best custom builds the world has to offer, regardless of genre. And the 2012 edition of SEMA was a sign that importance of vehicle quality was back and every hall was full of vendors top to bottom, front to back. It was a good sign that automotive aftermarket industry is moving in the right direction.
I took as many pictures as I could over the 2 days I spent walking around, making new friends and meeting old ones. So feel free to take a look at a few of the vehicles that caught my eye.