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dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/26/19 9:29 p.m.

What an achievement!

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
10/26/19 9:33 p.m.

Could not have happened for better dudes. 

SkinnyG
SkinnyG UltraDork
10/26/19 9:37 p.m.

YAY!

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
10/26/19 10:36 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

Paint is polished and waxed. Bottle is filled. Every detail is detailed. Budget is ready. Car is ready. I'm ready. Let's do this.

Well done! Congrats!

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/27/19 7:36 p.m.

Thank you everyone! Sorry I was so berkin awkward on stage, I was just in shock and this still isn't real to me. I want to let you all know just how meaningful this win is to me. It's been a pretty tumultuous year or so of my life, but no matter how much things changed, always having this project to come home to everyday, this goal to work towards, and this incredible community to lean on helped me get through it all. I am grateful for everyone who helped pitch in for this build, especially during the kick-off build party weekend! That was a huge jump start for this project and I am thankful for you all. I love the Challenge for exactly what it is - a challenge. It makes you think creatively, set goals, and pushes you to learn new skills. Seriously attempting to win the Challenge forced me to try a ton of new things for the first time this year, including actual bodywork and paint, CAN bus and computer bullE36 M3 troubleshooting, drag racing, how nitrous works, autocross driving, etc etc. But I also love the Challenge because of the community around it, where you can ask and learn from some of the best. And because of how much I have received from this group, I am happy to share everything I learn in the form of this build thread. If anyone ever has a question about Datsaniti, VQ35 swaps, or anything else on this thread, ask away. Or if you ever need a hand in cutting up cars or just in general. It would be my pleasure to help. On a less personal note...

2019 $2000 Challenge Recap

For me, the Challenge started Wednesday night when I hosted a couple other Challengers on their drive down. Always good to see old friends!

Thursday I borrowed Dad's truck, picked up a trailer, and hit the road with my teammate in time to catch the tail end of the parking lot builds. Friday morning, we applied the sticker package and made it through tech inspection, which was a bit lax to be honest.

I think the sticker package really suited my livery well!

 

Autocross - 43.380 - 4th place

Even though I have been autocrossing this car all year to find and address issues, I never ran it on a full set of Hoosier A7's. I made the decision to go full Purple Crack after realizing how poorly this car autocrosses on a mix of drag radials and A7's. I simply didn't have the budget for an extra set of tires, nor the time/skills/effort to scrounge a cheap enough set of drag tires. I did 3 runs to warm up the tires, getting times in the 45's and 46's. I left the trans in "manual mode - 2" which holds 2nd gear no matter what, which meant banging the rev-limiter on three different sections of the course. It was awesome.

Then I handed the duck-taped key to pro driver Robert Lewis, who is an awesome autocrosser and person. He immediately clicked off some 45 and 44 sec runs. On one of the runs, the car just shut off after coming to a stop. This sent me into panic troubleshooting mode, but the car fired back up after a hard start. I think somehow the torque converter was sticking or locking up, allowing the brakes to stall the engine in gear as it came to a stop. Never happened again and thankful for that. After figuring out the best strategy to use the tiptronic shifting, which I don't recall the exact details of, Robert nailed a 44.380 sec on the final run, good enough for 4th place in autocross. FTD was 43.738 from a gutted and beautiful Cadillac CTS-V. I was about 2 tenths behind a crazy turbo rotary-powered Porsche 944. Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the performance and happy the car did exactly what I've been training it to do all year without breaking.

Feedback from Robert was pretty positive. He said it felt pretty well sorted, though a bit of instability under braking, which helped it rotate or something (I don't really speak autocross fluently yet), and it needed more front camber and possibly more rear sway bar because it was pushing through turns. But otherwise he seemed pretty impressed by it, not only from his verbal feedback but also the giant grin I could see through the windshield after his first run!

Drag - 13.109 @ 109 MPH - 9th place

Since I committed to running A7's the whole Challenge, drag prep consisted of installing the bottle and airing down the rear tires. I started at 24 psi and worked my way down to 19 psi. I also started with the 75hp jets, which I knew worked for a 13.1xx. And that's exactly what it did, 13.132 at 107.58 MPH on the 75 shot. Definitely traction limited. The tires would spin and the engine rev straight to redline when spraying in 1st or 2nd gear. It was totally fine spraying through the 3-4 shift. After 2 runs, I swapped the jets out for the "trailer spec" shot, 150hp worth of nitrous. The first run was actually slower, because the spinning problem simply got worse. Then I figured out how to modulate the throttle a bit while spraying, then gradually getting back into WOT. 2nd run on the 150 shot was 13.109 at 109.81 MPH, my personal best. It was still spinning tires all over the place though.

As I crossed the finish line, the check engine light (normally on at all times) started flashing. Something I've never seen it do before. I pulled into pits and checked it out - in addition to the normal 7 codes it throws, it also had a Cyl #1 misfire. Huh, that's odd. I was pretty satisfied with those times already, so I let it cool off and watched the drags with good company. I told them about my issue, and it was recommended to gap the plugs down for nitrous. With 1 hour of drag racing left, we went back to the car and pulled #1 plug to check its gap. That looks a bit out of spec.

Nick and I decided to rush over to the local O'Reillys to pick up a replacement, because it ain't called the $2000 Walk In The Park. They had it in stock, so I bought it, and threw it in the car just in time for one last run on the 150 shot. But only managed a 13.3 with the same traction issues. Oh well, at least we tried! 

Good enough for I think 9th in the drags, which put me at 3rd in the Dynamic Score, behind the Hong Norr CTS-V and Ed Malle's amazing Mustang GT, both LS powered cars. 

 

Concours - 21.66 / 25 - 2nd place

This turned out to be my strongest event. I didn't have much of a presentation prepared, I just told the story of the kickoff build party weekend and which parts were from what on the car. I pulled a fender off and mounted it on my custom fender concours display stand, made from a minivan brake rotor and scrap tubing. This showed off the boundaries between Datsun, Infiniti, and Insanity (stuff fabbed by me). That winter of widebody welding, the weeks of bondo sanding, the fiddling with paint and sprayer settings, and the weeks of wetsanding and buffing really paid off and showed for themselves. Concours score was 21.66, 2nd place behind Wreck Racing's 22.5, which was very well-earned. There were some amazing looking cars this year.

 

Overall - 1st place!

My most prized possession and now living room focal point. Stampie builds one helluva trophy. Thanks for reading along! I have no idea what the future holds for this car, but in the short term, I at least want a 12 sec quarter mile on proper drag tires :)

surfshibby07
surfshibby07 Reader
10/27/19 7:48 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Great job! that car was extremely well built and very impressive. Very awesome accomplishment. looking orward to seeing you next year!

dropstep
dropstep UltraDork
10/27/19 8:23 p.m.

Congratulations on the win, with traction that's an easy 12 second pass based on mph. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/27/19 8:32 p.m.

When I saw the results pop up on the computer I cheered. Then I had to explain to my in-laws and wife what the car was and why I was so happy about it winning. 

Over the last few years we've see the pointy end of the field filled with the Nelson's and Wreck and Patrick and others that have very deep wells of experience and tools and knowledge and networks for purchasing and storing parts. All of this has made the Challenge incredible, the builds incredible, just incredible people. It has also, sometimes, made it feel like something other people can do. 

And then you have Travis. This thread. This journey. Very basic tools, learning as he goes, asking for advice and making mistakes. To follow along over the course of years has been a rare treat. 

In a lot of ways this car makes the Challenge seem accessible again in the way that tickled my imagination 15 years ago when I first learned about it. It's exciting. 

Anyone who hasn't read this thread from the beginning needs to grab a drink and click on page one. Settle in and be inspired. Go buy a welder and a handful of fresh cutting wheels. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/27/19 8:37 p.m.

I was impressed with the way this car laid it down. Very serious hardware, regardless of the budget

It exemplifies the purpose and potential of the challenge. 

This car kicked my ass every which way but loose, and deserved the win. Im proud to lose to travis and datsaniti. 

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo GRM+ Memberand Mod Squad
10/28/19 4:48 a.m.

Awesome job maschinenbau, congrats, and well deserved!

AxeHealey
AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/28/19 8:23 a.m.

Congrats! Love this car and all the work that's gone into it.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
10/29/19 8:08 a.m.

The way the room exploded when you were announced as the winner was really an incredible moment- I know there are a lot of us who followed this build and were pulling for you.  To see  the hard work pay off is an inspiration to everyone, and to me personally it feels like you're the "most GRM" effort to win in a long time.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/29/19 8:49 a.m.

I love how this car didn’t dominate anything. No first place in anything. Just a well-rounded overall, which is exactly what it should take to win at this event!

dherr
dherr GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/29/19 9:37 a.m.

Congrats to Travis and a very "GRM" win indeed! Been watching this build and story and would have loved to have been there for the results!

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
10/29/19 12:35 p.m.

Pulling the fender was a great idea for the concourse! The car looks amazing and I’m glad it all came together and performed to its potential at the challenge

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/30/19 12:19 p.m.

Thank you everyone. I couldn't be happier with the performance, results, and reception of this car. It's been a wild ride and I'm already brainstorming crazier ideas.

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
10/30/19 12:44 p.m.
SVreX said:

I love how this car didn’t dominate anything. No first place in anything. Just a well-rounded overall, which is exactly what it should take to win at this event!

THIS! Amazing job on the win, dudes. You earned it!!! Now find SOME way to free up some budget for some used drag slicks/radials!!! 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
10/30/19 4:42 p.m.

Nice job! I was hoping at the start that this car would turn out much like it actually did, so +1 for that!

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/30/19 4:58 p.m.

So I had the good fortune to be sitting with Travis at the banquet when this was announced (amongst a bunch of other awesome dudes). I didn't talk to him to confirm this but here is what I saw.

After datsaniti scores 2nd concour, Travis knows he is in serious contention for a trophy overall. 

Then third place overall is announced, not datsaniti. Travis becomes very fidgety. I'm pretty sure he thinks he got second at that point. He looks nervous. He sips at an empty glass (ok I just made that part up). Second place is announced and...

It's not datsaniti 

I didn't see any disappointment in face or body language, but I did see what I think was relaxing. I'd be willing to bet at this point most of us at the table thought datsaniti just missed the podium. 

That all really made the next award announced even better however. 

Congrats Travis. Congrats Datsaniti. I freaking love it.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/30/19 6:13 p.m.

Yup, congratulations, Travis. And for the rest of the class, yes, we did a full feature shoot on the car. smiley

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
10/31/19 10:45 a.m.

I've just spent all week reading this on and off from the start.  Outstanding, what an amazing, inspirational build.  Well done.  Very well deserved win.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
10/31/19 11:39 a.m.

This thread delivered on an incredible journey the whole way to a triumphant victory. I wish all our cars had build threads like this. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/1/19 1:08 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

When I saw the results pop up on the computer I cheered. Then I had to explain to my in-laws and wife what the car was and why I was so happy about it winning. 

Over the last few years we've see the pointy end of the field filled with the Nelson's and Wreck and Patrick and others that have very deep wells of experience and tools and knowledge and networks for purchasing and storing parts. All of this has made the Challenge incredible, the builds incredible, just incredible people. It has also, sometimes, made it feel like something other people can do. 

And then you have Travis. This thread. This journey. Very basic tools, learning as he goes, asking for advice and making mistakes. To follow along over the course of years has been a rare treat. 

In a lot of ways this car makes the Challenge seem accessible again in the way that tickled my imagination 15 years ago when I first learned about it. It's exciting. 

Anyone who hasn't read this thread from the beginning needs to grab a drink and click on page one. Settle in and be inspired. Go buy a welder and a handful of fresh cutting wheels. 

I couldn’t agree more with Seth. 

Ive been out of the Challenge game for a few years. Life happened, but more importantly I saw what people were bringing and what it took to win. I’m simply not the builder or racer that Andrew Nelson is. I was very content to enjoy the show from the sidelines. 

Travis, you made it real again. A car in the 13’s took the overall. 

I realized I still CAN compete. And a car I own and have wanted to build for a long time could easily win. 

I’ve dusted off my old friend, and decided to get back in the game. 

Thanks Travis!!

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/1/19 11:05 a.m.

In reply to SVreX :

Uhhhhh, details please!!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/1/19 3:12 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

This is Travis’ thread. 

I’ll start a thread in the near future. wink

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