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Gasoline-free: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

It might not be obvious at a glance, but the Volkswagen Golf has evolved into quite a versatile vehicle.  VW’s sporty hatchback is notable for being the only car in its class to offer just about every fuel option available.  You can get a Golf with a conventional gasoline engine, a diesel or a hybrid-electric, and starting this year the Golf has gone fully electric as well.  The e-Golf joins the lineup to round out the alt-fuel lineup, and like the hybrid and diesel versions, there’s not much to distinguish it from the standard version.

That’s exactly the way Volkswagen wants it.  As it’s adapted its products to take more efficient powertrains, the engineers at VW have worked hard to preserve the distinct and entertaining driving experience that the Golf has been known for.  Any company can throw together a hybrid or electric car these days–making it fun to drive is a different matter entirely.  How did Volkswagen do it? Continue reading

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Project Terranova: Spring update!

Wintertime in Michigan made working on the RV pretty much impossible, thanks to my inability to get it in a garage and my lack of desire to freeze to death while working on it!  But, the weather has warmed up and Terranova is taking steps toward being roadworthy again.  IMG_7160

The biggest task was getting the original 400 V8 pulled out of the motorhome.  This proved to be slightly less maddening than getting the 454 out of the donor van, since the 400 is physically smaller, but it still involved some complicated gymnastics with the engine hoist and several friends to help maneuver the thing.

A major boost to the project came when I finally bit the bullet and bought an air compressor and an impact wrench.  Yes, I’ve been doing everything by hand (and torque bar) all this time.  The new air ratchet made short work of the RV’s old rusted exhaust nuts, motor mount bolts and several other small bits that would’ve taken me days to fight (and probably break) off, so this is a fantastic development.  Now I’ve got a clean engine bay, new motor mounts in place, and the next step is to try and stuff the big-block in there.

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I didn’t spend the winter completely idle; some time was taken to get started on the interior as well.  I pulled apart the rotted folding table and cut templates from some scrap wood; after some sanding these should be presentable, but still retain a salvaged-materials look to go with the pallet-couch.

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Emmy’s dreamfleet

img005When I was a kid, I used to chop up Auto Trader magazines every week.  I went through them looking for the interesting and cool cars, and pasted them into notebooks, creating a virtual car collection.  In my head, it was an eclectic museum where every car that I found special or interesting could go for preservation and display (and to be driven once in a while, of course).   Over the years I filled no fewer than six notebooks with imaginary automotive purchases that presumed unlimited funds, storage space and resources.

This tradition remains alive and well; I still scour the cars for sale on the Internet.  Bring A Trailer, Daily Turismo, Auto Trader Classic, Craiglist and Barn Finds, among many others, are the usual hunting grounds for my imaginary dreamfleet.   Continue reading