Raised by wolves, by age five Mochi Mochi had learned to draw at a draftsman's table, shoot a gun, and drive a '66 Ford Falcon with a 289 V-8. His first car was a '72 VW Squareback; his first motorcycle, an '81 Yahama SR500 (500cc kick-start single). Along with engineering and architecture schools, his education included studies in auto repair at the GoodNews Garage in Cambridge MA with Click and Clack of Car Talk fame, and courses in Formula Ford and GP Motorcycle racing. Mochi designs things large, small, and virtual; he lectures on design theory at UCLA; and is also a classical guitarist, woodworker, and photographer. Mochi is drawn to boundary conditions: where the sea meets the land, where the tarmac meets the sand, where the rubber meets the road. When he's not working on his beloved '91 Civic Si or his supercharged '89 Toyota MR2, Mochi can be found cruising the Pacific Coast Highway, the canyons outside Los Angeles, and any road that includes long stretches of desert. True to his roots, he also loves dogs.
on February 05, 2009
I was driving down the hill from Griffith Park, when I caught sight of something round and brilliantly red. Even in the depths of my peripheral vision it burned its image like a laser into my synapses. My brain registered: Red - VW - Beetle - original - clean.
A few hours later I got a call from a friend: “I’m in your neighborhood and I found the most amazing car. It’s perfect.”
My Car Lust neural net fired: “You mean the red Beetle at the corner of Franklin? I’ve seen it. Check it out, that thing looks sweet.”
Then three fateful words:
“It’s - for - sale.”
My neural net glowed bright red:
“If it’s good and the price is right I’ll buy half of it with you.”
Continue reading "Test Drive--1970 Volkswagen Beetle" »
on November 04, 2008
The months leading up this election have been interesting to say the least. Financial collapse of banks and lending institutions around the world, one of the most "compelling" and "interesting" elections in history, fires, floods, earthquakes. I'm wondering when frogs will start raining from the skies and plagues of locusts will sweep through Los Angeles. To me this is all normal and expected, but there is something that is less so--gas prices.
If you want to take a really long, really fast road trip or buy an old muscle car and go down to the local 7-11 to do donuts in the parking lot all day long, now is the time to do it. If you've been thinking about experimenting with that 1,000-horsepower gas turbine lawn mower, weed whacker, or wood chipper, now's the time to do it. Now is the time to buy a dozen Escalades and drive them non-stop from Anchorage to Tijuana. Want to equip your tailpipe with a flame-thrower. ...
Continue reading "Election Gas Price Challenge--Back to the good old days?" »
on September 12, 2008
I want this car. THIS CAR! Not a car like it. This one. Why do I want this ordinary looking Volvo 740? Because this the car Sten built, and it is by no means ordinary.
Who's Sten? Sten was this crazy old Swede, an artiste-inventor, with an amazing sense of humor. Sten had been an engineer who worked for Volkswagen, but he liked Volvos. When Sten retired he had some time on his hands, and turned his attention to this Volvo as a project--or shall I say canvas.
you are in or around Montreal and you think you have a fast car, be
warned--this inconspicuous Volvo will pull the paint off of your very
fast ride as it smokes you. Sten liked Volvos, but he also liked F-Body Camaros and Firebirds with a 5.7-liter V-8s and 6-speed manual
transmissions. Perhaps you can see where this is going.
Continue reading "The Car that Sten Built... a Volvo 740?" »
on August 27, 2008
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. Can
Hydrogen-powered powered vehicles kick butt in dry lake racing? If what I saw during Speed Week 2008 at the Bonneville salt flats is any indication, the answer is yes. Last week Ohio State's Center for Automotive Research entered Streamliner No. 2016, the Buckeye Bullet 2, and made history. The car was--you guessed it--hydrogen fuel cell powered. What about filling stations you ask? Filling stations are not an issue at Bonneville. There are none, for hydrogen or any other fuel. The closest thing I saw was a man holding a red can of racing fuel.
The team of engineering students worked most of the week to get their car in shape and make a successful run. There were several days of runs with no recorded times; this is not unusual, given that technical problems and blown engines are as common as salt at Bonneville. On Friday the team had real success. On three runs they consistently crossed the 200-mph barrier. Their best exit speed was 286.476 mph. The team easily entered the 200-mph club and was a scant 13.5 mph away from the 300-mph barrier, a great achievement for any car or team.
Continue reading "Hydrogen Power - No Hot Air" »