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Old 11-23-2013, 04:17 PM   #1
PetrolHead
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The Turbo Yaris to Cadillac ATS Transformation: Petrolhead Fights Car ADD, but loses

I've been trolling much more lately than the past. Dumptrolling via tapatalk combined with a slowdown at work does that to someone. Instead of clogging up other's threads with postwhoring and OT trolling, I figured I'd start my own. I don't take this place as seriously as others, so if I offend you, get over it, this is just a way for me to pass some free time.

I talk big, and many may think I'm a keyboard testdriver. I've been in the auto industry my entire career, 4 of which I was an automotive journalist. I've driven pretty much everything in a high performance environment current to about 3 years ago. I still have connections that let me drive the stuff I want, just not to the same degree as before. That said, I'm picky as fuck about what I drive.

I've had more cars than I can count. I'm just like Plac, I just don't ever re-buy the same car. The average ownership period of a car for me is around 6 months. I tend to prefer German cars, especially old ones. Every single one has had a 3rd pedal. Here's a taste of what I've had in the last 3 years (in no particular order):

2009 GTI 2-door base (got this whole VW thing started)



1988 Porsche 944 Turbo (still kick myself for selling this one, biggest regret yet)



1991 318is (bought from original owner, insane story I may share one day if my post count needs bumping)



1993 Volvo 240 Wagon (My one and only "stance" car...chopped 3 coils from all springs. Rode like shit, looked cool)



1995 Jeep Cherokee XJ (Awesome truck, couldn't stay cool to save its life)



1980 Jeep CJ7 (restored with my father, had a Corvette LT1 in it)



Not Pictured: 2010 A3, other crap I'm forgetting, garbage I drove before I got the illness

Nice trip down memory lane, I wonder how many haven't been wrecked yet?

Currently, I have:

2012 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (wife's driver mainly)



1993 Chevy K1500 (The beater dubbed "Ol Blue" bought from the original owner to move from California to Michigan, love it too much to get rid of it)



1978 AMC Pacer (My first car. Started the sickness, too ridiculous to get rid of. Restored it with my father, AMC 401 around 400hp, 5-speed T5, too much other shit to list)



2012 GTI (Turbo Yaris)



The last of which is the source of most contention. It's the reason I'm here in the first place. I love to hate to love it. I've owned it for an astonishing 8 months now (should have been sold 2 months ago) and bought it from a guy on here actually. This is my third on the platform, and my favorite. 4-door's great, Golf R ramz, and Revo Stage 1 is much fast. I bought it to replace the e30 when my commute lengthened in California. Moved to Detroit, and had to commute 80 miles a day round trip. Life was good. We moved to Detroit within a few miles from work, and the car ADD set in. Why have a practical driver when I don't have to drive far? I've got a beater...I should get a C5Z since I've never had one. Plus, insurance in MI on the GTI is more than it would be on a Vette (damned kids), so it made no financial sense to stick with it considering they're the same value.

CSB, right?

Well, I came to the conclusion to keep it. Today I was going to meet a craigslist flaker, first time I'd driven the car in a week. 31 degrees outside, seat heaters on, stroking the dash of the superior interior. Stopped at a light and a Focus ST pulls up. Light turns green, cold dense air pushes through the turbo down the intake's throat, modulate the throttle for wheel spin, chirp 2nd, had him by 3rd. I cut it off at 70 mph (I don't live life a quarter mile at a time, obey the speed limitz kidz), but damn...what a fun car. There's an on-ramp to the highway from my house with a progressive 90-degree right followed by a much tighter 45-degree left. Take that without lifting. Car stays neutral, no plowing. On the throttle early, bit a wheel spin, XDS kicks in to pull me through. Why do I hate this car again?

I'm sitting in the parking lot of the agreed upon meeting place, doubting my decision. The time comes, he doesn't show. Text him, nothing. 10 minutes later I get a text "something came up, can we do it tomorrow". Fuck you, I'm keeping this thing.

I know it's a disappointment on the track. I know I'll be cursing this decision at my next track day, but for the few times I can make it out per year, I can deal. The rest of the time this is a near perfect car. I'll use this thread to contain my postwhoring, and OT trolling (kinda). I'll post CL ads during moments of weakness, but in total I'm going to document what it takes for a person with my level of car ADD to keep committed to this thing. I'll be the one crazy person that keeps a stupid turbo Yaris econobox in the garage through the winter. Mods will be few:

1.) The biggest rear bar I can find (anyone selling an H&R 28?)
2.) Lightweight 17" wheels with sticky tires
3.) DG springs

If I get serious:
1.) Downpipe and stage 2
2.) Clutch and LSD

I probably won't make it, but I'll give it my damnedest. If I can keep this thing for one more year, it'll be my longest car (other than the Pacer). It's gonna get interesting, bitches.

Oh, and balls. Always balls.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D Griff
Basically, anyone who prefers DSGs or automatics is an epic pussy candy ass that doesn't give a damn about cars or performance or fun.
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Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
Some say, he owns a Saab 9-4X. And some say, he also modified an AMC Pacer. All we know, is he's called PetrolPlac.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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nice e30, 944, and the pacer prob the best pacer I've ever saw yet!
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:33 PM   #3
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turbo Yaris econobox
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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nice e30, 944, and the pacer prob the best pacer I've ever saw yet!
Thanks!

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Originally Posted by FoxhoundGTI View Post
There was a thread here a while ago about someone complaining that people thought their car was a Yaris. I thought it was funny. The GTI is really just a hopped up Golf, makes little sense keep it out of the winter. But I have a beater, so why not.
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Originally Posted by D Griff
Basically, anyone who prefers DSGs or automatics is an epic pussy candy ass that doesn't give a damn about cars or performance or fun.
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Some say, he owns a Saab 9-4X. And some say, he also modified an AMC Pacer. All we know, is he's called PetrolPlac.
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:27 PM   #5
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Glad you're keeping the German Yaris, car guys like you are good to have around here.
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:49 PM   #6
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I like you. Only a handful of guys on this forum that I feel like I would like in real life, have beers with etc. and you seem like one of them. Gay.

Your story closely mirrors mine but I keep cars longer although I had my Mazda3 for 6 months. This one going on 3 years. Every day I change my mind about whether or not to keep it. Its paid off and I can drive the shit out of it even though I find the man pedal a tedious addition at times. You live in Detroit and I live in LA, both shitty cities with traffic and we rock the 3rd pedal CSG GTI. I will say there is never a second where the car second guesses me or where I feel out of control. The 3rd pedal will do that. Anyway good post. Keep it for a while. I fucking love the R wheels.. If I weren't such a cheap bastard and thought for sure Id keep the car longer than I might, Id put those exact wheels on it. BLows my mind R owners get rid of those wheels for some gay, most likely black aftermarket ricer wheels. Your story is like mine to because I was inches away from selling my GTI a few times in the past 6 mos. and both times I didn't.

How much did those set you back? Ive seen them on ebay going for 2 grand. Naaagonnahappen
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
Glad you're keeping the German Yaris, car guys like you are good to have around here.
Zil No homo



ghey

Quote:
Originally Posted by McQueen77 View Post
I like you. Only a handful of guys on this forum that I feel like I would like in real life, have beers with etc. and you seem like one of them. Gay.

Your story closely mirrors mine but I keep cars longer although I had my Mazda3 for 6 months. This one going on 3 years. Every day I change my mind about whether or not to keep it. Its paid off and I can drive the shit out of it even though I find the man pedal a tedious addition at times. You live in Detroit and I live in LA, both shitty cities with traffic and we rock the 3rd pedal CSG GTI. I will say there is never a second where the car second guesses me or where I feel out of control. The 3rd pedal will do that. Anyway good post. Keep it for a while. I fucking love the R wheels.. If I weren't such a cheap bastard and thought for sure Id keep the car longer than I might, Id put those exact wheels on it. BLows my mind R owners get rid of those wheels for some gay, most likely black aftermarket ricer wheels. Your story is like mine to because I was inches away from selling my GTI a few times in the past 6 mos. and both times I didn't.

How much did those set you back? Ive seen them on ebay going for 2 grand. Naaagonnahappen
Yea man, if I had been more active on here before I moved to Detroit, we should have hung out. I had an insane job in LA (advertising) with ridiculous hours and tons of pressure. Trolling didn't fit my schedule. We'd prolly get along well IRL. If you're ever in Detroit there's some cool places to hang out. GHEY

I really hope I can hold onto this car the long term. 3 years is inspirational. It really hit me today though while I was driving the car to meet the flaker, that this thing is really legit. It has staying power...if I can fight back the ADD. We'll see. I only owned one automatic, and the transmission went out a month after getting it. It's been three pedals ever since. My entire time in LA was all manuals. There were only a few times that driving them in traffic really got to me, but overall, I enjoy having something to do and the control over the car. Detroit traffic is no joke, but working and living in the city allows me avoid it most of the time.

Dem R ramz. I got incredibly lucky. The guy I bought the car from bought them. He actually got them from the owner of Pacific German, who took them off his brand new R for some lightweight aftermarket wheels or something. He got them with 50 miles on them. Not sure the price, but they're mine now. I love the look, especially on CSG, it really sets the car off. It'll look even better lowered. I love driving at the track though, so I'll have to get some lightweight beater wheels with sticky rubber on them for fun driving. I'm not a fan of 18" wheels at the track, and the R's aren't what I'd consider light (though they're not bad for 18's)

Lets stay strong, keep these cars! Rep the manual CSG GTIs. You have quite a jump on me, but really, what else could you buy that has the same combination of great features. I really want something RWD, but come on, this thing is perfectly entertaining for 99% of driving. My MK5 was pretty well set up for the track and let me down, but I might as well give the MK6 a chance...I now have defeatable ESC. If I can manage to embarrass some Murican V8's, bonus.
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Originally Posted by D Griff
Basically, anyone who prefers DSGs or automatics is an epic pussy candy ass that doesn't give a damn about cars or performance or fun.
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Some say, he owns a Saab 9-4X. And some say, he also modified an AMC Pacer. All we know, is he's called PetrolPlac.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:29 PM   #8
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I knew that would come up. Its a good long story, post more later.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D Griff
Basically, anyone who prefers DSGs or automatics is an epic pussy candy ass that doesn't give a damn about cars or performance or fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
Some say, he owns a Saab 9-4X. And some say, he also modified an AMC Pacer. All we know, is he's called PetrolPlac.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:30 PM   #9
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Agreed... I'm surprised you've never mentioned the Pacer on here before.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:29 AM   #10
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Well, I troll hard, but bringing up the Pacer outside of my own thread is a feat I couldn't muster. Thread title: "APR vs. Revo vs. Uni vs. Tuning master ultimate final throwdown part 37" OP: "Just got my first GTI, what tune should I get, is it safe, heerrrpp derrppp" Me: "That's cool, and I'm gonna let you finish and all, but I have this mad tricked out AMC Pacer, lemme tell you about it."

Actually, that probably would have been more entertaining.

Anywhosie, some backstory:

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit in a VERY car-centric family. My dad actually missed me being born because he left to go to a car show/swap meet. All I knew was car infatuation growing up. By the time I was 14, my dad had already restored a few cars since I was born: 69 Mustang Mach 1, 78 Jeep CJ, AMC Rambler. But I was 14, and as a rite of passage for a man in my family, I had to chose a car to restore. Aside from the Mustang, my dad had a very unique taste in cars. We were to pick something that was cheap, fast (or potentially so) and unique. The movie Wayne's world was quite popular, and for some reason the light blue mirth mobile was stuck in my head. I also had the Pacer wagon hot wheels car with a giant engine stuffed in the back seat. I was 14, anything was possible. Dad, I want a Pacer.

At first he laughed, then thought about it. It actually met all of the criteria. Potentially fast, cheap, and weird. The challenge was, how do you make something so ugly...cool looking?

I was scouring an autotrader (when they were still in print) with a friend after school (playboy? Naw brah, autotrader was better, we were that sick) and there it was. 1978 AMC Pacer, PS, PB, AT, V8. Wait, does that say V8 at the end? Had to be a typo. We called the number (we were both 14, had never called on a car before), and as soon as the other side picked up "does the Pacer in Autotrader actually have a V8?" we asked. "Yea, why". Click. It was done.


Gray with a faded burgundy vinyl top, faux wire rams, burgundy interior...and a ma fuckin 5.0-liter 304 AMC V8 under the hood. Turns out AMC only produced a few hundred Pacer coupes with V8s. In 1978, emissions tech was so bad that it added maybe 10hp over the inline 6, while decreasing fuel economy drastically. We also learned that the ugly ass vinyl top was rare. Our car might have been one of a kind, and we were going to rip it into a thousand pieces and make it badass. We actually had some AMC "people" protest, someone even offered to buy the car for the price we paid to "preserve" it. We thought we'd do the world a favor and put it out of its misery instead.

I haven't documented this since I was a kid. I had a cardomain page for it but they seemed to have broken it, here's the link in case you want to lolz: http://www.cardomain.com/ride/287500/1978-amc-pacer/

Here's a quick synopsis:

We did a rotisserie resto on a Pacer. We might be the only people to have ever done that. We took the entire car apart, media blasted it, found rust, sectioned a new back onto the old, rebuilt and renewed everything. We converted the interior to black by scouring junkyards and using vinyl paint. We de-chromed all we could, removed trim, and painted it black to tone down the awkwardness of the Pacer. We cut a few coils out of the front springs, de-arched the rear leafs, and threw 17" American Racing 200s polished aluminum wheels on it. We were pleased with the results, the world was astonished.

At first we rebuilt the 304, unchoked it, and it made OK power. Changed the rear-end to 3.55 gears with a limited slip (POSI BRAH). To keep costs down, we left the 904 torque flight 3-speed auto in it. I think my dad was worried I'd kill myself in it with something more powerful, but after a year, the itch for more started. This was the first automatic transmission car I'd driven. The first my dad had owned in a while. It wouldn't do. We found a Pacer in a junkyard that had a manual from the factory, and we took all the clutch linkage and pedal assembly bits from it. Turns out the Borg Warner T5 mates up to AMC V8s with the right bell housing (we also found laying on the ground in a junkyard), and Ford had made a version that was hardcore for the new mustang cobra R. We sourced one of those, but when changing the transmission, might as well change the engine too, right?

The big dog AMC engine was a 401 cu in 6.5-liter V8. It was essentially a stroked 360, which itself is a bored 304, with a forged bottom end. A bolt-in for our car. They're pretty rare, but again junkyard searching paid off. We found a Jeep J-10 long lost in the corner of our favorite junkyard. Strangely, the engine was still in place. What was it? A 401. It was fate.

We did some basic enhancements to the oil system, bored it .30 over, upped the compression to 10.5:1 with new KB pistons, new flat tapped hot cam, roller rockers, Demon 4bbl 850 cfm carb, Edelbrock airgap intake, GM-sytle HEI distributor, had custom headers bent, dual 3" exhaust and 40 series Flowmasters. When all was said and done, it dynod out of the box at 375hp to the rear wheels. Torque was well over 400. Playing with the air box, carb setting, and intake manifold, we were able to get it to over 400 to the rear wheels.

It was LOUD, FAST, and a Pacer. Maybe the first time all those words had been used next to each other.







Custom dash with Autometer gauges, used a stop sign for the aluminum



The thing nearly stops traffic. People are in awe of it. It garners more attention than super cars when out cruising. It's been to every Woodward Dream cruise since it was finished, and each time it seems to get more and more attention. It's hard to believe such an ugly car could be so loved, with just a bit (ok, a lot) of elbow grease. The car even got me my first job out of college. I owe a lot to this quirky blacked-out fishbowl bastid.

There was a dark period with the car. When I finished college and moved to California, the car wasn't close to smog legal. The state of California cringes at the sound of this car. We toyed many times with selling the car, but somehow it stayed. It was driven sporadically, but I rarely came back, and my dad was busy with other projects. Most of the time, it stayed covered off in the corner of the garage.

I moved back to Detroit in June, and being reunited with the car has been both joyous and tortuous. See, I developed the car ADD when I went to California and discovered what a canyon road was. I first drove on a road course, and fell in love with driving anything that isn't a straight line. The Pacer, with rack and pinion steering handles ok, but it's over-assisted like piloting a barge, and while it handles flat, it's just not entertaining if it's not pointed straight. Being RWD, it's pretty tail happy if you nail it mid turn...making it maybe the most unlikely drift machine around. It's a RWD, manual hatchback with loads of torque...my perfect car. Yet still, my interests have changed, and I simply don't get the enjoyment I used to out of it. I'm hoping that my new devotion to kicking the car ADD affliction can help keep the Pacer around with the GTI, but time will tell.

So that's the story of one of the strangest, most bad-ass cars on the road. I haven't taken good photos of it ever, so what's posted here and on my cardomain is all that I have for now. I'll have it out next spring, we'll see what happens from there.
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Basically, anyone who prefers DSGs or automatics is an epic pussy candy ass that doesn't give a damn about cars or performance or fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
Some say, he owns a Saab 9-4X. And some say, he also modified an AMC Pacer. All we know, is he's called PetrolPlac.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:49 AM   #11
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Very CSB... Love some of those previous rides you have there... All of them look really clean
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:52 AM   #12
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Yeah, you can't get rid of the Pacer.

If you're really that bored and frustrated with it, you could always add flares, dump it on coilovers, stretch the tires out, and stance it.

You might make people's heads explode.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:53 AM   #13
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Very CSB... Love some of those previous rides you have there... All of them look really clean
Thanks!

I'm really picky when I buy cars...which might contribute to the car ADD. When the right one comes up (which it rarely does), I convince myself to jump on it. That's where the 944 and e30 came from. To make matters worse, I have an extensive car bucket list.
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Originally Posted by D Griff
Basically, anyone who prefers DSGs or automatics is an epic pussy candy ass that doesn't give a damn about cars or performance or fun.
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Some say, he owns a Saab 9-4X. And some say, he also modified an AMC Pacer. All we know, is he's called PetrolPlac.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:55 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
Yeah, you can't get rid of the Pacer.

If you're really that bored and frustrated with it, you could always add flares, dump it on coilovers, stretch the tires out, and stance it.

You might make people's heads explode.
Right... lol
That Pacer is so hideous its beautiful
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