White_and_Nerdy HalfDork
July 27, 2012 5:17 p.m.

Not a creative name, but my girlfriend started calling it that, and now all my friends call it that, so I'm stuck with it.

Ironically, I ran car #54 with the Cumberland Motor Club for years before I got this thing. Now the number is just that much more appropriate.

I found this car on Craigslist. I'd been eyeballing another P71, a blue 2004, but the kid kept screwing around with me on the title, and then I found this one for less money and bought it instead. I needed a larger daily driver than my Miata, one fairly new, cheap to maintain, and easy to find parts for.

This particular car started life as a sergeant's car with the Ashland, NH police department. There are a few interior blemishes where the emergency lights used to be, but overall it's pretty much unmolested. It came with the complete service log from the PD, receipts from subsequent owners, and even the original window sticker. Before falling into my hands, owners after the PD installed keyless entry with remote start and a pair of Flowmaster mufflers on the stock dual exhaust. They rumble nicely.

Since this is 99% my daily driver, I haven't done any extensive mods with it. A K&N drop-in air filter is the only performance mod, unless you count the Falken Ziex 912 tires I just put on because the cop tires wore out (and the one autocross I've done so far mostly killed them anyway - Goodyear Eagle RS-As, if you're curious). I've made a few other non-performance mods, though. I got the air conditioning fixed. One is a Kenwood KDC-252U stereo to replace the AM/FM factory radio. I haven't yet played a CD in it, but it reads my MP3s on flash drives, and ever since getting an iPhone I just plug that in - they play nicely together. I also substituted a red bulb in the "ticket light" just above the rear view mirror, so that I can use it at night without completely ruining my night vision. I still have the standard dome light for white light if I need it. And since the photos in this particular post were taken I've done the rear bumper tuck mod.

The most significant mod is my ham radio setup. I used the center console the previous owner had sourced from eBay plus some wood scraps to add a radio console similar to what police cars have. Included is my Kenwood TM-621A and Radio Shack HTX-10. There was already an NMO antenna mount on the trunk from the car's old police radio, so I used that plus my own antenna for the Kenwood. Since the trunk lid already had one antenna hole punched in it, I didn't feel bad about drilling a second for my 10 meter antenna, a Shark Mini. I plan to eventually buy a multiband HF rig, and will buy additional Shark Mini antennas for each band I plan to use.

Oh yeah - and the license plate.

This setup worked awesomely for working the New England Forest Rally earlier this month. Between the radio's crossband repeat function and the remote start, I could park the car blocking a crossroad, grab a good place to watch somewhere else nearby, still get into the radio net, and be able to start and stop the engine remotely to keep the battery charged.

Future plans? None, really, at least as far as modifications go. I've done an autocross with it, and was one of the slowest cars there - and one of the most popular. The organizers of the event told me I needed to turn on some flashing lights during my runs. I'd like to try a track day later this year, and a rallycross once I get some snow tires for this beast. With its locker diff it ought to do well on loose surfaces, not to mention snowy roads.

White_and_Nerdy HalfDork
July 27, 2012 5:20 p.m.

I did a dyno day with the Cumberland Motor Club last weekend. Here's how I did.

The stock rating for a 2003 is 239hp at the crank. With 133k miles, that's not too bad.

Moving_Target New Reader
July 28, 2012 4:51 p.m.
White_and_Nerdy wrote: Future plans? None, really, at least as far as modifications go. I've done an autocross with it, and was one of the slowest cars there - and one of the most popular. The organizers of the event told me I needed to turn on some flashing lights during my runs. I'd like to try a track day later this year, and a rallycross once I get some snow tires for this beast. With its locker diff it ought to do well on loose surfaces, not to mention snowy roads.

Painfully slow is right. It needs about 200hp more and a big weight reduction for starters. Not going to happen. The term "turd polishing" comes to mind every time I consider doing serious mods on it. They are fine for what they are but they are NOT racecars.

ps: I had the same "run with flashing lights dood!" suggestion when I took my '94 out to a couple of autocrosses. Silly minds think alike.

N Sperlo PowerDork
July 28, 2012 6:20 p.m.
White_and_Nerdy wrote:

Have you been spying on my garage?

Wish I would have never gotten rid of her.

73

White_and_Nerdy HalfDork
July 29, 2012 10:36 a.m.

That's funny! The existing NMO mount was toward the front of the trunk lid, right by the back window. Some PO cut the coax (?) but I just bought a new mount and installed it in the same hole. When it came time to add the second antenna, with the first one already centered I thought it would look funny to have one off-center, so I did what you did. Knowing what the underside of the trunk lid looks like, you know that with the bracing and all that it's really the only other center location to punch through.

Nice ride!

N Sperlo PowerDork
July 29, 2012 10:44 a.m.

In reply to White_and_Nerdy:

Keep in mind, the grounding straps on the truck are awful and break if you make a turn topping 0.00004 Gs.

Also, this thread prompted me to go searching through my desk. I have a Wig-Wag controller and I don't know if it works. Would you like it?

EDIT: It seems to be burnt out, but you could take it apart and see what the problem is, I'm sure. Not too much to it.

EDIT EDIT: This picture was taken before The flowmasters were on.

White_and_Nerdy HalfDork
July 29, 2012 12:11 p.m.

In reply to N Sperlo:

I know, one of my ground straps is already broken. I'll replace both at some point with something stronger. Sure, I'll take the controller - I'd pondered adding one just to have some flashing lights for autocrosses. Drop me an email if you'd like - my callsign @arrl.net.

Yes, these cars sound good with Flowmasters...

July 30, 2012 1:20 p.m.

Whats the bumper tuck mod? Where are the grounding straps in the trunk. LOL I've had my P71 for 7 years and haven't had a problem with them that I know of. LOL I drive the hell out of my car.

N Sperlo PowerDork
July 30, 2012 1:27 p.m.

In reply to Conquest351:

HAM radio antennas need a strong ground if your running any decent amount if wattage. My radio maxes at 65 watts. The ground straps on the trunk break and you lose constant ground ruining your transmission and possibly damaging your radio due to the power reflecting back to the transmitter. By habit, I transmit at the lowest power possible.

July 30, 2012 1:34 p.m.

Ah, well mine has no extra antennae. So I don't think I need to worry about it.

Moving_Target New Reader
July 30, 2012 1:46 p.m.
N Sperlo wrote: In reply to Conquest351: HAM radio antennas need a strong ground if your running any decent amount if wattage. My radio maxes at 65 watts. The ground straps on the trunk break and you lose constant ground ruining your transmission and possibly damaging your radio due to the power reflecting back to the transmitter. By habit, I transmit at the lowest power possible.

Ah, the mythical QRP'er.

White_and_Nerdy HalfDork
Aug. 1, 2012 7:56 a.m.

Here's a link to the bumper tuck mod. Basically, unbolt the bottom of the back bumper plastic from its supports, move the supports out of the way, and zip-tie it to a different support to sort of roll the lip up and forward. It makes it look a little meaner. I understand a number of PDs do this routinely to reduce the risk of tearing off the bumper during rough terrain pursuits, so it makes sense for a rallycrosser.

N Sperlo PowerDork
Aug. 1, 2012 8:33 a.m.
Moving_Target wrote:
N Sperlo wrote: In reply to Conquest351: HAM radio antennas need a strong ground if your running any decent amount if wattage. My radio maxes at 65 watts. The ground straps on the trunk break and you lose constant ground ruining your transmission and possibly damaging your radio due to the power reflecting back to the transmitter. By habit, I transmit at the lowest power possible.

Ah, the mythical QRP'er.

Unicorns we are.

Aug. 1, 2012 10:59 a.m.
White_and_Nerdy wrote: Here's a link to the bumper tuck mod. Basically, unbolt the bottom of the back bumper plastic from its supports, move the supports out of the way, and zip-tie it to a different support to sort of roll the lip up and forward. It makes it look a little meaner. I understand a number of PDs do this routinely to reduce the risk of tearing off the bumper during rough terrain pursuits, so it makes sense for a rallycrosser.

Need to get a new bumper cover and do that! Mine's torn from the previous PD. LOL

N Sperlo MegaDork
Aug. 1, 2012 11:08 a.m.

In reply to Conquest351:

No, thats just the other mod.

Aug. 1, 2012 2:04 p.m.
N Sperlo wrote: In reply to Conquest351: No, thats just the other mod.

Whaaaat? Why do I not know these things? What else needs to be done to my P71? LOL

Sorry for the thread jack...

White_and_Nerdy HalfDork
Sept. 17, 2012 9:24 p.m.

Nothing new on the car (well, except an Alinco DX-70T ham radio and more antennas for different bands to replace the HTX-10), but I had to share this awesome (and ironic) picture from the last NE-SVT autocross I did.

As you can see, I followed the advice I got at a previous event to throw some flashing lights on the car. And in case anyone's wondering, yes, I did crank Sabotage by the Beastie Boys during my first run.

Tom Suddard Intern
Sept. 18, 2012 11:08 a.m.

I've got a rear brake light/ reverse light flasher unit out of an ex-police P71 if you want it. I was going to throw it on the Trooper, but then I put a set of strobes in instead.

I paid $20 for it, I'll sell it for $20 and a picture of it in action at an autocross.

Here's my E30 with the strobes on at the Mitty, it made a great chase car.

N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 18, 2012 11:13 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard:

its probably the same as there code3 I'm about to drop in the mail to him. If thats the case, not worth 20. I've got a $10 set of strobes I've been meaning to put in the escort. I do emergency lighting dirt cheap. $10 to fully outfit the F150 with amber/white.

White_and_Nerdy HalfDork
Sept. 18, 2012 7:37 p.m.

Tom, thanks for the offer. I'll ponder it, but I'm curious what Nick would suggest for an ultra cheap option. Solely for off-road and rally support, of course.

N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 18, 2012 8:19 p.m.

I'll be shipping you a working wig-wag (flashes the high beams back and fourth) for free. I have your address. I'm about to put some Type R Strobe Lights ($10 ebay) on the back of the escort. Its a four light kit. Already have hazard kit on the truck. Rear, Offset, and Front. The video makes the clear look blue, but they are clear.

A duck in slow motion

Tom Suddard Intern
Sept. 18, 2012 9:59 p.m.

Cool! I have no clue what kind of controller I have sitting around, I'll have to dig it up.

I put an $80 set of 6 hideaway strobes in the Trooper, and they work great. I used the turn signals and reverse lights so I'd have white and amber, as I wanted to stay legal. At the time, I spent one or two nights a week shooting photos at night on the side of the road, so the extra visibility was comforting.

My E30, on the other hand, is full of eBay specials. I think I've got 10 strobe heads in it. They work pretty well, but then again they've never served any purpose other than herding cars at the Mitty. Somehow I never used them illegally, so I guess not every stereotype about 16-year-old kids is true.

Tom Suddard Intern
Sept. 18, 2012 10:00 p.m.

Back on topic: White and Nerdy, what color lightbar are you going to install?

N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 20, 2012 9:17 p.m.

Code3 Red White and Blue. What else?

N Sperlo PowerDork
Sept. 21, 2012 11:01 p.m.

Just got the strobes in the reverse sockets. Next, one on each outer break lamp.

AAAAAAND a certain Clem mentioned to me that there is a gentleman looking to trade a stop stick on CG. Could really be an advantage at the next autocross event.

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