Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Magic Altezza (Part 1)

The Toyota Altezza is highly appreciated not only by amateur drifters, but also professional representatives of this extreme sport. In the United States and Europe this car is known as the Lexus IS of the first generation and only experts in JDM culture are aware that in Japan this car is sold under the brand name of Toyota. The brand name, however, is not the sole distinguishing feature of the cars and technically these two are quite different vehicles.

During the years of the sale, the Altezza was offered with a large selection of power units, but mainly with mechanical transmission. Distinguished for its sporty behavior, the most notable engine is the 3S-GE. In this article, I will introduce an Altezza exactly with this engine.
So, what’s the “magic” of the 3S-GE?
The truth of the matter is that the engineers of Toyota collaborated with specialists from Yamaha when developing this 2.0L 4-cylinder in-line engine. That’s why this engine turned to be so revving, powerful, and roars like a motorcycle. This car is equipped with a Yamaha engine paired with 6-speed manual transmission. It was released in June 1999 and came out from the plant in white color.

Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about the tuning chronology and how many owners has had this car. The fact is, at the sale in a Japanese auction in September 2015, this Altezza had already undergone serious tuning and the body had a two-tone golden purple color. The original lot executed in a gangster style was sold to a client from Armenia. In January 2016, the car was already in Yerevan. A detailed inspection showed that the car has a modified suspension with controlled pneumatic elements.
To be continued...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Emka : The GAZ M1 (Part 2)

By that time, the taxi fleet of Yerevan had  been so much updated, that the old “Emka” looked rather archaic on the background of the GAZ M20 and GAZ 21; and besides, its 4-cylinder 50 HP flat-head engine was no longer able to meet Vanik’s expectations. Over the next few years, the car was constantly breaking down, which led to its complete unfitness. As a result, it was dismantled and the remains of the body were consigned to oblivion.

Many years later, in 2003, the remains of the car were discovered by Araik Hunanyan, a famous master known for his restorations of soviet cars of the prewar period. Araik reached an agreement to purchase the car, and got down to restoration soon after.
Since there was nothing left from the original image of the car, at primary stage of the restoration, it was decided to assemble a custom-version, without strong external differences from the original version, but with powerful “stuffing”
The car of 1938 production was destitute of the body number. During the restoration process, the car lost the registration number either. It received an engine from the GAZ-21, which did not prevent the master from having the vehicle registered at the traffic police, after which the car received a new certificate of registration. After few years of hard work, the car was finally able to leave the territory of the garage. Araik proved that it’s quite real to assemble a masterpiece from a pile of rotten scrap metal.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Emka : The GAZ M1 (Part 1)

The GAZ M1 is a true classic of the soviet automobile industry. Its serial production at the “Gorky Automoble Plant” started in March 1936. During the next seven years of production, the plant released nearly 63.000 samples of the model M1. In fact, the M1 is the copy of the American Ford V8 only slightly adapted for soviet roads. During the war, in many soviet regions, these vehicles were the sole means of transport for the communication between cities and settlements.

The car introduced in this article arrived in the Soviet Armenia before the Second World War. Initially, along with other five similar cars, it was serving the visitors of the capital, mainly the guests of the “Intourist” hotel.  The “Emkas” can be seen almost in all old photographs of this part of the city, on the Astafiev Street, at the entrance of the “Intourist” hotel. Unfortunately, the fate of the other five cars is unknown to us, but the one we managed to find, has a very interesting history.
After many years of exploitation as a taxi, this car became so much worn out, that it was discarded by the city authorities, after which it became the property of Vanik, its driver, who was a famous driver in the city and  perfectly familiar with the technical part of the car. After a complete overhaul, the car was back on the wheels travelling around the city.
To be continued...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Restoration of a Pedal Car (Part 2)

Next, the guys restored the windshield. Like the original, there was used 3.5 mm transparent organic glass, which, after being bent, received the outlines of the factory windshield.
The glass fasteners were also made of stainless steel.

Now, it came to bumpers. As an example, the restorers procured an original bumper of the Moskvitch. The front and rear bumpers of this car are virtually the same. At first, our specialists created a mold in accordance with the factory bumper shape,only after which, using polyester resin and fiberglass, they managed to re-create the original bumpers.
Since the car was completely destitute of its seat, it was decided to make another one of plastic, which received a more ergonomic configuration. Thanks to the professional sewing of the upholstery cover, the seat looks quite pretty. The trimming was realized with high-quality artificial leather.

The wiring process was the final stage of the assembly of the pedal Moskvitch. Originally this model was equipped with 2 front lights with a capacity of 8 volts (0,068 amps.) But now, such lamps are no longer available for sale. More difficult it is to find an appropriate power source. Currently, two 12V batteries are connected to the light bulbs, which are switched on by means of a switch on the dashboard.
The restoration of this pedal Moskvitch was completed only in the summer of 2016.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Restoration of a Pedal Car (Part 1)

As I promised, today I will complete the story of the long-term restoration of Moskvitch, the most popular soviet pedal car ever produced, which was brought to our workshop for restoration almost  2 years ago, in the winter of 2014. Initially, the car had almost nothing original. The few native parts, which had the car, were either damaged, or could not be restored any longer. At first, our masters got down to the restoration of the decayed body. In fact,  It was one of  the most ambitious and complicated restorations our specialists had to ever deal with.  In the end, the construction of the pedal car got integrated with a 40-mm-square frame with a thickness of 2.5 mm.

After completing the painting work, the guys started the assembly process. Stainless steel bolts and nuts (in some cases zinc-nickel plated details) were applied in the joints of the rear wheel drive. The aluminum radiator grille was thoroughly restored. After being polished, like the wheel covers, it was inlaid with silver enamel. The exact duplicate of the steering wheel  was joined to a steering rack, which was made of polished stainless steel in accordance with the original sample. The steering wheel with a horn button was produced by "pedalcars.ru" in Saint Petersbourg. The exact copies of the brake lights were made in Moscow by the specialists of “Retrozakaz”, who even provided color selection.
To be continued...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Interesting Offer: BMW 3-series (Part 2)

As it later turned out, this BMW, produced in 1990, had been purchased by the current owner almost immediately after the release and had been being actively used for fun since then. In fact, this car predetermined the preference of his family years ahead. Namely, all the family members, over years, have become lucky owners of cars belonging to the make of BMW.

Initially, it was assumed that the restoration would last until the middle of next year. The clients decided to add uniqueness to their car. Externally, they wished the car to be identical with its sport modification from BMW Motorsport. For the EU market, there have been released only 2164 instances of M version with this body, which is a quite rare model nowadays. Alongside with the body restoration, we started to work on engine modification. The former 2.5-liter 6-cylinder engine, after some magic manipulation, turned into a powerful 3.0-liter engine aggregated with automatic transmission. The original interior was also changed -- a new steering wheel from M-series was installed.

The suspension also underwent some refinements. We installed new enhanced braking system with supports and discs from the E 46. After nine months of anticipation, the restoration was completed. The car is in an ideal condition now. The owner is back in the saddle again. Visually, this BMW can be distinguished from the M3 by the wheels of different design and additional side lights on the front and rear bumpers (such side lights have been installed on some north American BMW models, but never on the E 36).

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Interesting Offer: BMW 3-series

Some cars are like domestic pets. After the acquisition, the owners grow so attached to them, that they never want to part with them. For this reason, some cars forever remain as a family member. The family heads always protect them, timely take care for them and, in the end, these cars become rare findings for collectors and classic car fans.

In the past, this alignment of events would be easy to imagine and realize, but, as we know, marketing has gradually become the driving force of progress, including automotive industry. New models are released with unbelievable frequency, but unfortunately with decreasing percentage of durability. Accordingly, the owners of the cars produced in 21st century are unlikely to keep their cars in excellent condition after years of use.
Against the background of this seemingly undeniable truth, the following story seems fantastic:

In September 2015, a family of architects from Yerevan came to our workshop. The originality of the order was the fact that the subject of the discussion was an ordinary BMW 3-series with the body index E36, which was supposed to be completely dismantled and repaired with restoration meticulousness. The restoration garage “Hot Road Armenia” gladly accepted this extraordinary challenge.

To be continued…