Featured Member of the Week: GizmoQ
Please tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’ve always been a car guy. I built a 383 Cougar in high school, but had my sights set on flying. I joined the AF and flew for a while, but my niche there was designing Electronic Warfare Systems. After retirement, I went into business for myself doing computer/network maintenance and repairs. I love to travel, so my bucket list includes setting foot on all 7 Continents (I only have one left – Antarctica). I love to drive, too, and don’t believe in towing a vehicle to an event, so I did the “long haul” on the 2011 and 2012 Hot Rod Power Tours. I joined the Midwest Marauder XLR Car Club soon after purchasing the XLR-V and we have a week-long annual cruise every year. We bring our cars to many of the Team Cadillac Racing events, and display these unique automobiles at Car Shows throughout the Midwest.
How did you first learn about Cool Rides Online?
From a friend on Facebook that subscribed to the Cool Rides Facebook page.
What Cool Rides do you currently own?
I have always loved Cadillacs, from the tall fins of the 50’s to the cool Coupes and Eldorados of the 60s and 70s. However, during my career, I had various more functional cars for a family man. After I got out, my Dad left me his 96 Eldo and reintroduced me to the stunning new look of the Cadillac lineup. At the time, I had been helping a friend restore a 68 Eldo. Well my friend never completed the restoration, so I’ve taken over ownership and am slowly completing it myself. An elderly relative started selling his collection and I picked up a pristine 74 Coupe De Ville from him for a song. But I still wasn’t satisfied. Then the Cadillac V-Series was introduced. The CTS-V was nice, but I was looking for something different for myself. When Cadillac announced the XLR would have a V-series in 2006, I knew what I wanted.
Now tell us a little about your favorite “Cool Ride”; what makes it special?
The XLR-V is definitely my favorite. As my mom once said, “You finally found a car that fits your personality.” It’s very unique, it has style, it has performance, and its a joy to drive around the block or across the country. Many of these works of art are in deep storage and rarely driven, which I think should be a crime. I drive mine ~20K miles a year. The fact that it’s built on the same chassis and suspension as a C6 Corvette makes it quite versatile.
The first year of ownership I modded the 4.4L Supercharged Northstar. I had BoB Steigemeier perform his Stage 5 Snake Bite, added a D3 CAI, and changed the injectors to 72lbs yielding a race tune of 501RWHP. I then took it out to several road race track days: Mid-Ohio, Road America, Road Atlanta, Audobahn Country Club, Hallet Speedway, and Gateway International.
The second year I added the Active InterChiller Super Chiller and Snow Performance Stage 3 methanol injection system and went on to set two Land Speed Racing records with it.
This year, I changed out all the suspension components to C6 Z06 components and bought a set of track wheels and tires. As of last weekend, I just clinched the St Louis Region SCCA Solo (Autocross) Points Championship for Super Street Modified Cars.
What’s next for your Cool Ride? Planning additional work for it or maybe a special trip/cruise?
“Mod Hell” is an annual winter addiction for me. This year I intend to complete the suspension work I started this Spring by tuning the Z06 parts for better balance on the heavier XLR-V. I’d like to upgrade the brakes to those of the second generation CTS-V. And I have a full exhaust (headers, X-pipe, cat-back) I can’t wait to install that’s been sitting in my basement since June. Next year’s events haven’t been decided, yet. I’d like to reset my LSR records, but first I have some aero mods (front lip splitter, rear diffuser, rear wing) to design, build, and install – I’m going to have a very busy winter.
What was the most difficult modification you’ve completed on any of your Cool Rides?
The most difficult mod was integrating a CarPC into my 96 Eldorado. Its been 10 years and I now admit it may never be 100% complete (I keep thinking up new capabilities to add to it). I’ve been building and installing CarPCs for almost 20 years, most of which are Tablet PCs mounted on docks custom incorporated into the dashboards. My latest system docks into both the Eldorado and the XLR-V. It has full-time internet, AM, FM, XM, and internet radio. It integrated navigation, vehicle tracking, and OnBoard Diagnostics for full vehicle status/automation via cell phone or website. The family can track me on our private website or at shows I can control everything in the car via my cellphone. Every new capability added runs the risk of interfering with something current and lately I’ve been tying different systems together like Gas Buddy finds the cheapest gas within 20 miles of the car’s location (GPS) and with two clicks I can send that address to the nav and it gives me turn-by turn directions to it. Or when the car is off, the rainsense sensor is tied to the PC and when activated it automatically rolls up the windows and closes the sunroof. I probably have an additional mile and a half of additional wiring for all my automation.
What’s your favorite memory involving your Cool Ride?
The Texas Mile Oct 2012, I made three runs already top speed was 158MPH at 80% throttle. It was time to turn everything on and go all out. As I start the run, my crew chief said I spun the tires in first thru third, but my half mile time was over 134 so easily would be over 160 (my goal) by the end. Unfortunately, at the 3/4 mile mark the supercharger pulley let go, power fell off, and the belt began to melt belching black smoke from the hood. Numerous thoughts were running thru my head: “What’s my speed, can I still get 160 across the line? Am I still on the track in a straight line? What’s my speed? 163 Cool. Crap, how the hell am I gonna get this heap 1100 miles back home? What’s my speed? Am I on fire? What’s my speed?” I pulled over off the return road, grabbed my fire extinguisher and popped the hood – nothing… no smoke, no fire, no visible damage just the belt off the pulley. I walked over to get my timeslip, crap, official time 159.5MPH. I creep back to the pits trying to remember where I stored my spare SC belt and feeling proud that I was prepared. I park in the pits and begin cutting off the burnt pulley and as I make the final cut, Plop!, the pulley falls off the shaft. My weekend is done – no one anywhere close had a press to put it back on. 1100 miles with no supercharger, no problem (I felt like grandma on the way to church… forever and ever and ever.)
What is your dream car to own if money was not an issue?
I hate to admit it (because I’d love to say an antique muscle car), but I sat in a CCXR during the Gumball Rally’s visit to St Louis in 2012 and fell in love with the Koenigsegg CCXR.
Taking care of collector vehicles is not easy. Do you have any special tips on how to take care of your Cool Rides in and out of storage?
I mentioned in my introduction thread that I am an avid user of all the STA-BIL® products. Because the XLR is a hardtop convertible maintaining the rubber seals in the roof is paramount for keeping the noise down and the top operational. I use 303 Aerospace every other month to condition all my rubber seals while others in our car club are struggling to remove chalking or applying dielectric grease to rejuvenate the luster of the exposed rubber.
The first thing I pack for any road trip is 2 bottles each of both 104 Octane Boost and Heet Gas-Line Antifreeze. The 104 is used whenever I find myself getting gas that’s not 93 octane and the 2 Heet mixed with a gallon of -20 windshield wiper fluid keeps my methanol injection system at 50/50 water/meth.
The car is in storage from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day so along with a battery tender to keep the battery charged, I use STA-BIL® to keep the gas from going bad during storage. I have never had a problem with that first start after a long winter.
Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?
Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car. Oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car. Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall. Torque is how far you take the wall with you.