We get a lot of questions from customers that ask why we, and any repair shops, charge for diagnostics. Its a fair question but the answer is anything but simple. It has a lot to do with the differences in modern cars compared to what they used to be. It also has to do with a lot of misinformation out there and the difference between a cheap scan tools you can buy online and ones used in a professional shop. Finally there is a big issue of the difference between diagnosis and just reading codes and throwing parts at the issue.
A little comparison of cars from the 1950's (or even into the 80's for some brands) helps to get us started and I will mainly focus on the engine in this example for sake of brevity and clarity. When cars started becoming a product that every household wanted its important to understand time and context. In the 1950's particularly in North America it was a period after the war, production of cars was ramping up, many of the lessons learned from the military were working their way into the automotive industry. As an example even in motor oils see a previous post of some of the wartime discoveries that were creating longer lasting cars. The new 'cold war' was on and many people wanted to work in the city but live outside in the suburbs or even a different town. The new interstates and roadways across North America gave people the freedom to do just that.
In terms of context, pollution, fuel mileage, looks over safety and other safety features were not really considered early on. A typical engine needed oil, a spark from a distributor and fuel from a mechanical pump. Transmissions were generally 3 speed automatics or a 4 speed manual. The most sophisticated electronics were within the radio, and those were vacuum tubes. Brakes were drum brakes (generally) and ABS or Traction Control weren't phrases that had even entered the lexicon of automobile manufacturers. Every connection in the car except for some rudimentary electronics was a mechanical system and a mechanical connection.
As the years passed and the auto took off in sales people wanted more. By the 1970's crippling fuel costs, a demand for more safety and better mileage and the advent of the first rudimentary computers drove intense decades of development and with it more complexity. As customers demanded more from a car, from safety to better fuel mileage cars began to move away from mechanical systems to ones that involved more computers, monitoring systems, and eventually they became interrelated. Standard diagnostic codes and ODB II (On Board Diagnostics) came together to give some standards but the way systems and other computers relayed information can be very proprietary. Some modern vehicles communicate via fibre optics within the vehicle between modules while others use shielded wires, proprietary communications standards etc.
Have engines become that much more complex?
We are a European shop and its obvious we have a love for all things Porsche so I will draw on two engines from Porsche from two different eras. If we look at an early air cooled Porsche engine from a 911 from the 1960s its a beautifully engineered motor just under two litres. An air cooled flat six mated to a 5 speed manual '901' transmission. The lightweight car had about 130 HP. Compare that to a modern day Porsche engine of similar displacement like a 2021 base model Cayman. It also has a two litre (water cooled) turbocharged 4 cylinder engine but produces 300 HP. None of that would be possible without complex system management computers for fuel injection, 02 sensors, knock sensors, coolant, tires, ABS, traction control, air bags, power windows, remote start, remote door locks, timing sensors, boost sensors, wheel speed, transmission control and on and on. The greater the number of parts of sophistication of the engine means incredible performance, but only if all systems and sensors function perfectly. When one part fails it may look like something else failed instead based on just looking at the fault code alone.
Thats all good but why can't you just buy one of those scan tools online for a few hundred bucks?
Its a good question, and the answer also lies in the difference between reading a fault code and diagnosis. One is a simple task, and the other is far more complex. Scan tools and other electronics are cheap and readily available, you can pick one up for under a hundred dollars. They will plug into your ODB II port and read fault codes. We often get asked if what we do now with modern cars is just read a fault code and replace a part, in fact that is what lesser shops do. The challenge is that reading a code likely wont help in most situations. It may point out that your 02 sensor is reading low and that may lead down a rabbit hole chasing parts that aren't the issue - they just appear as an issue down the line. On top of that, although fault codes may be somewhat standardized, every single vehicle has different arrangements of computers that communicate with each other on everything from fiber optics to proprietary data systems. No ebay scan tool can make up for years of training in automotive systems and diagnostics.
So what am I paying for?
A good shop has the right tools for the job, and each brand often has a specialized scanning tool that is used on a particular brand of cars. Even cars under the same umbrella of ownership needs different tools for different cars. If you take VW Aktiengesellschaft there is VW, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, MAN, Bentley, Audi etc - 12 brands in all and each needs a scan tool that can go much deeper than one bought at an auto parts store.
Are the scan tools you use really that expensive/good
As an example for one brand - Lamborghini, a used scan tool (yes used) is about $19,000 CAD if you could find one. We have scan tools for all the brands that we service, plus license fees, access to the latest technical bulletins, training and techniques. We pay subscription fees for the latest software updates and most recent information. On top of that we have the training in diagnosis of these complex systems. We have scan tools specific to each brand we service or we have access to similar but very sophisticated computers but they really give us a look at 'flags' the computers throw for faults, they also give us a much deeper look than a cheap scan tool can.
I still don't fully understand - give me a better example
Sometimes a better example is thinking about it differently. When you see a doctor for a general complaint they draw on years of training and a host of diagnostic equipment that assists in diagnosis but doesn't do the diagnosis for them. If you come in with a specific complaint like being tired it might be a simple thing like a need for more sleep, or it could be something more complex like an underlying neurological issue. The experience, expertise and tools are why you go there. Its the skill and experience and access to the latest medical information and training that you are utilizing. You don't (or shouldn't) get your medical advice from Google - I did once and its turns out I was just thirsty, which is good as Google said I may have rabies (I don't) . Silly example aside, its a good one as its about making a diagnosis with more than just a description. For us its about finding all of the facts to support a diagnosis and a conclusion for your car.
Is it fair to compare our technicians to a doctor? Obviously not in all things but in terms of a diagnostic process yes. Neither profession relies on a guess or a piece of diagnostic equipment bought from an auto parts site on the internet. You would likely be a little taken aback if your health care provider showed you and xray machine they bought on ebay, or said they did their medical degree virtually and didn't think the practical experience of hands on training was worth it.
Its no different than that in a modern shop. Sometimes the problem is really a simple 02 sensor replacement and sometimes the problem is something more than that in a complex web of systems. Even the older cars with simple carbs and vacuum lines require a holistic look at the overall car, and not just a focus on fixing the symptom.
What you are paying for in a modern shop is training and experience in diagnosis of a rolling complex computerized systems that also happen to be an automobile. A scan tool is part of the diagnosis and its a very expensive and specialized piece of equipment that is only part of the overall tracking down of the issue. If your shop tells you they are chasing down fault codes and replacing parts as the codes tell them too, find a shop that knows the difference between code chasing and diagnostics. And don't ask them if they think you have rabies.
If you have followed any of our previous posts you will know that we started the interior floor last year. We did all of the interior where we store customer cars and the rear of the shop area. Over the last few days we have been closed as the final stages of the epoxy flooring have been completed in the main shop area. We staged the pouring of the the epoxy to get the customer car storage area done first before the season started and although things were delayed due to covid we took the opportunity now to finish the rest off.
Its the only time we have had since we opened that the entire shop is empty. It won't look that way again after Friday as we are allowing the epoxy resin to cure. The final piece left to finish is the custom RSP Motorsports logo that we will put in a prominent spot.
The final picture gives you an idea of the depth of shine on the floor after the concrete was resurfaced and cleaned. In total about 1500 pounds of concrete was removed in the grinding. Every machine (except hoists), parts etc had to be either moved or completely removed to complete the process. Renato has always had a desire to have a shop so clean it would pass the 'white sock test' if you walked anywhere without shoes on (not that we do) and it looks like he got his wish while supporting local business.
The RSP Motorsports experience is also about how we treat you. Our spotless shop is only part of the experience of how we strive to achieve customer satisfaction. Take a look at the area where you have your car serviced, the care put into the environment of where the technicians work says a lot about the type of care ultimately put into you and your vehicle.
Its been a challenging time during the pandemic, with closures and and all the uncertainty of the past.
Both spring and the hope of turning a collective corner are not far away.
Over the years we have taken a great deal of pictures of customers cars that were in our shop or at events we participated in. We always try and entertain or inform with our blog posts and videos but in this post we want to see just how good you are at spotting cars using only a fraction of the whole image of a car. Its surprising how just a small detail of an iconic car is instantly recognizable and others than can be a bit of a head scratcher.
This week I will be posting selected pictures of parts of cars and I ask that you let us know what vehicle you think each one is. Post your answer in the comments or email us: [email protected]. Please include your answers and your contact information.
We will be taking all of the winning responses, and selecting one at random for some RSP Motorsports Merchandise including a $100 discount for any service performed at RSP Motorsports. (Open to Ontario, Canada residents only). Deadline March 1st 2021.
Here is an example of a question:
Commissioned in the 1930's this car ceased production in its modern form in 2019
Answer: Its a VW Beetle. In this case its from 1979. The pictures can get pretty challenging unless you really know your cars.
Its surprising how little of the image you need when you know the car.
Scroll down and see how you do. We will be conducting the random draw of all the correct entries we get before March 1st 2021. One submission only please to [email protected].
Lets see how you do...
Classic Car Recognition Contest
Discontinued in 1988 this 'classic' now sells unrestored for between $18,000 to $22,000 at auctions
Its not been an easy year for anyone, in fact its been the toughest in a long time. With the pandemic, minus 15 degree weather, the winter blahs and all that goes along with it we thought we all needed to see a glimpse of hope and whats around the corner so we added a few pics from the warmer days of 2020. With travel restrictions in place and new ones possibly coming why not put effort into staying local this year and give your car the attention it needs?
For us, supporting London and GTA businesses is all part of getting back to normal when this pandemic ends and particularly during it. Where we can, RSP Motorpsports, puts every purchase into local businesses like ourselves. From local cleaning staff to to even buying local for our past Holiday staff party we believe in this community and we will fight to make sure we all emerge from this ready to get back to the business of getting our community, province and country back on its feet.
The corner is in sight and with vaccines on the way and a potential to slowly return to normal we thought we would do a few pictures from the year. Its also a great time to get an appointment booked for winter service if your car is in storage with us or you want to get a head start on the season.
Give us a call - we specialize in Exotics, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari, Audi and European makes and we can get you ready for a brand new season
Let us get dreams of spring and summer turned into a reality - give us a call today. Maybe you have your eye on something for the spring, this is the best time to have us do a Pre Purchase Inspection (PPI) on it. Or maybe you just want a little bit more of a spirited ride, call us and let us see what we can do for you today.
We are all about making sure you have exactly what you need to have a safe, problem free year - book now as its going to be a busy year.
A few slides of images over the course of last summer at RSP and the area. We all need to dream - make yours come true. Don't forget we also service many family cars from SUV's to Sedans. We have over a century of combined experience in everything from general repairs and service on family cars to performance testing and modifications on Lamborghini and Porsche and all in between. Call us today at 519-474-7700 and book an appointment now.
Its been since last year since we have posted a blog and I wanted to post a short video to start 2021 off.
In this case Its a quick overview of the shop and some dyno pulls. The audio is a few clips of Renato talking about engine building, a notoriously difficult task. Renato makes engine building look effortless - the difficult task is getting him to slow down long enough to talk about it. I managed to get a few audio clips over the year and I will be incorporating them into more videos as we get back into the year.
Of course the soundtrack of both a Porsche and a Ferrari on our Dyno are the stars and a few of the most requested 'tracks' we get.
We have a lot of requests to see our dyno facility in action and this is one of the better ways of doing that without insurance issues, COVID restrictions etc. Let us know what you want to see in the future.
Over the last while we have posted a variety of blog posts about everything from ceramic coatings to the value of using an independent shop. Its been a while since we posted any dyno runs and its one of the single consistent requests that we get.
Although there are a few shops with a dyno, we believe that our facility is unmatched anywhere for many reasons. One of the main ones is that, unlike many shops, our dyno is not a moveable afterthought. We have a specific and dedicated Engine Diagnostic Lab as well as a separate dedicated dyno room. We've put over $1.2 million dollars just into that area of our shop.
Our dyno has two separate rollers for the front and the rear wheels that handle anything from motorcycles, front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive or any other vehicles. We often have comments on our dyno pulls with people asking if the car being tuned is all wheel drive (AWD) as they see the front and rear wheels spinning. Regardless of the type of car, all wheels will be turning on one of our dyno pulls. Coupled with the massive air intake and exhaust fans we can closely simulate real driving conditions of an engine under load.
We use a state of the art SuperFlow AutoDyn 30 All Wheel Drive Chassis Dynamometer that can accurately measure over 1200 wheel horsepower and speeds up to 200 mph (300 km/h). We combine this with the latest technology in electronic data acquisition and engine function graphing techniques. Air flow is maintained by 4 massive 10 HP fans as well as exhaust extractors. So much air is moved that we push 8 times the volume of the room through per minute.
A few different views of the fans in our dyno room and our diagnostic Lab.
In this Dyno pull the car is a 1999 BMW 320i that's been heavily modified for the track with a full roll cage. After tuning it was a smooth and steady run.
Lets start out with saying that there are obviously times when you should use dealership. If you have warranty available on a new vehicle or free oil changes at the dealership you bought your car from you should make sure that you use what you have paid for.
People are keeping cars longer.
The reality is though, that people are keeping their cars for longer. in the 1990's the average age of a car on the road in Canada was about 7.25 years. By 2016 that figure had risen to almost 10 years as the average age. People are keeping cars longer and often look for service experiences outside of a dealership now that the vehicle(s) they own are past any warranty. As a result many are turning to independent shops for a much better experience.
We don't treat you like a number
What we hear about the dealership experience is often disappointment at being treated like a number.
To be clear not all dealership experiences are negative but we do get a surprising amount of customers that are less than impressed. Most often we hear that customers felt that they weren't given the treatment that they expected due to wait times, scheduling challenges etc. Dealerships have to move a volume of cars through the service area and we hear from customers that its often difficult to find convenient or immediate times to schedule service. Independent shops such as ours can work with our customers to find the time that works for them. We don't have the need to churn customers through and that also means that we take the extra time to take care of your car.
Your local repair shop probably knows your spouse’s name, your children’s names and where they go to school, what your dream car is, how long you’ve had your current car, what your last car was, why you sold it, and any of the issues any of your vehicles have. That's all part of the experience.
While waiting areas have evolved into something better than stale coffee and 3 year old magazines, independent shops often provide a much more relaxing atmosphere while you wait for your car to be serviced. Many of our clients like to get work done while they wait and places like ours cater to business people. Our reception area is a quiet place to get work done while you use our free WIFI or just relax and watch the news. In those cases where your car will be with us for longer than you want to wait we have a fleet of Mercedes courtesy vehicles at your disposal.
Specialization and training
Dealerships are generally well equipped, but they are designed to handle the brand of cars they sell, and the service is aimed that those cars. Everything from oil changes to alignments are geared towards the specific brand they sell. Independent shops, like RSP Motorsports, specialize in multiple areas for multiple vehicle types and we aren't specific to any brand.
We have people come to the shop that haven't been in before and ask "...if we do the work is the warranty on their car still valid...?" - the answer is yes.
Provided that the independent performs the service under the guidelines of the manufacturer your warranty is good. Most independent service professionals can help you manage the service on your vehicle. Automotive Service Professionals have access to a database of service information and also have access to the same service information as the new car dealer. This means that they can help you ensure that any recalls are handled properly, and that any warranty repairs are also handled at the appropriate facility.
In many cases we often have people that bring their cars to us as the dealership has told them that they can't (or won't) fix the vehicle. This can happen when dealerships have an unusual or difficult problem to diagnose and the amount of time it takes to do that just doesn't make economic sense for them. In other cases it may be that they do not have the expertise or the time that an independent shop would have. We often have cars brought to us that the customer states the dealership told them its can't be fixed. In every case we have fixed the vehicle and often at a cost lower than quoted by a dealership if they determined they could fix it at all.
Another reason people come to us is to have something special done that could never be handled by a dealership. Its no secret that we are proud of our dyno room. With over a million dollars invested, and, as far as we can see, the only non-commercial Superflow Dyno in Canada its one of the many niches a dealership can't match. The same goes for our network across North America and Europe for any vehicles we tune. Of course that also includes any modifications or performance enhancements that people ask for.
The Workplace and shop environment.
The shop environment - a great workspace leads to great work. We have done many posts on what makes us different and our work place is just part of that. Your experience starts with how we treat our staff, from the areas they work in to the tools and diagnostic equipment they have. We aren't a production line and our staff can take the extra time to go over your car and find any issues that may have been missed, or areas that may be an issue in the future. Take a look around the next place you have your service done. Is it clean? Are you happy with how the staff treated you and the end result of your vehicle service? If not, think about the things you are looking for when you get your car serviced and if you aren't happy with a dealership consider an independent.
We don't have mechanics - we have technicians
Sure - it seems like just marketing word but in fact its not. In the days of carburetors and analog systems, diagnosis of car issues literally fell into a series of mechanical faults that were (relatively) easy to diagnose. In todays cars the systems are complex, inter-related and often manifest themselves as a check engine light that has to be diagnosed further with specialized tools. As a result our technicians have had the benefit of access to the latest equipment, diagnostic techniques and a network of information and experience. Most technicians at independent shops have had previous experience at a dealership.
The choice is ultimately yours, but have a look at an independent shop and see what they have to offer. You will likely be pleasantly surprised.
Sometimes I start a post and realize that no matter what I say on the topic its going to be controversial. We get a lot of questions that are exactly like the title says asking us what kind of oil we use and I thought it would make a good topic for this weeks blog post.
People have strong loyalties to motor oil, and can be as attached to a specific brand as they are for a particular sports teams. Just Google 'best motor oil' or something similar and read the results. You should probably set some time aside if you do, when I googled it I ended up with about 720,000,000 results.
For us at RSP Motorsports we are about evidence. We have a state of the art dyno and over the years we have tested many different oils out and have actual results rather than anecdotal feelings. Before I delve into that though lets talk a bit about oil, and its history.
Even in the stone age there is evidence of lubricants being used that ranged from animal fats to petroleum in the form of bitumen. As far back as the 17th Century BCE, olive oil was used as a lubricant to help move large rocks and structures by the Egyptians. A few hundred years later and animal fats such as tallow were used as a lubricant for everything from building the pyramids to the wagons and chariots used by Romans, Myceneans, Sumerians and Greeks. As far back as Roman times was the development of the modern day equivalent of ball bearing sets for chariots and the beginnings of the need for better and longer lasting lubricants.
Surprisingly, nothing better really came along until the modern era. In the 15th century whale oil was the preferred method for ships rudders and anything else that needed lubrication and Leonardo Da Vinci began to study the issues of friction and how to address it, including the design of a roller bearing. With metals now starting to be used instead of wood as bearing material the need for lubricants to keep up with the new demands was being addressed and concepts like viscosity was being developed by Isaac Newton. In 1794, Philip Vaughan, an ironmaster, was granted the first patent for a bearing that was an advancement of Leonardo da Vinci’s discovery. it was around the 1800 that horse carriage axles were getting ball bearing axels fitted and the increased need for better lubricants continued.
The Industrial Revolution brought the mechanization of industry and transportation as well as textile machinery. Mineral oils from shale and coal were extracted through distillation and refined into petroleum. It wasn't until 1859 in Titusville when the first oil well was dug down to just under 70 feet and produced under a thousand gallons a day. The oil pumped out of the ground was actually considered inferior to many of the products being used and it wasn't until distillation that oil extracted from wells began to overtake every other kind of lubrication. The first synthetic hydrocarbons began to appear as early as 1890 in the ever increasing need to lubricate everything from machinery to trains.
As there was a need for more than just oil - grease was also developed to maintain a constant low friction surface between bearings. In the early 1900s Oskar Zerkowitz emigrated from Vienna to America and gave his name to a set of grease fittings still in use on almost every car until fairly recently. He changed his name after arriving to Oscar Ulysses Zerk and zerk fittings, although used far less, all remain largely unchanged from his original invention.
The process of refining petroleum and making it better and better was boosted for the product that was the ultimate reason why RSP Motorsports exists - the car. Even the Wright brothers found that they could get increased horsepower and engine longevity depending on the product they were using. For context, the newly formed SAE (society of automotive engineers) had only three grades of oil: light, medium and heavy. None of these oils had additives and they lasted about 1000 kilometers before they needed to be replaced.
By the 1930's additives were being created and blended to reduce friction, extend the life of oil and the engines. With the second world war Germany became a leader in additives such as PTFE (teflon) or molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a solid lubricant found in milk and nuts and by the 1950's the API or American Petroleum Institute was classifying oils in a system we know today. After that came multi grade oils, that added polymers, worked better across a spectrum of temperatures and had better viscosity and lubrication than anything previous.
By the 1980's and 1990's hydrocracking, synthetics and all of the modern additives began to emerge to create the modern oils, designations, grades and properties that we use today.
I know - I still didn't answer the question of what oil we use at RSP. A few paragraphs up I mentioned that Germany was a hub of development for oils in the early part of the 20th century and it still is. Liqui Moly GmbH was founded in 1957 in Ulm on the river Danube. The patent for production of molybdenum disulfide formed the basis for the company. This additive based on liquified molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) was the company's first product and gave the company its name. Molybdenum sulfide, the basic ingredient of the Liqui Moly Oil additive, was discovered in the shops of the US Army in post-war Germany. These shops sold a can under the brand name Liqui Moly that contained the liquified form of the solid lubricant molybdenum sulfide (MoS2). When added to motor oil, this substance ensured emergency running characteristics in the event of a sudden loss of oil. Fighter pilots in World War One had already exploited this property, adding MoS2 to the motor oil in the aircraft engines. This enabled pilots to still land, even if the oil tank was hit.
From this additive, an entire range was developed, with over 4,000 products including engine and gear oils, additives and vehicle care products, workshop equipment and service products. In Germany, Liqui Moly is one of the leading producers of engine oils. Germany remains the main marketplace, but international demands are increasing. Liqui Moly products are now sold in 120 countries
Like the Wright brothers we have done testing on oils, specifically LiquiMoly, and found gains both in torque and horsepower and we have measured those changes on a dyno using multiple runs in identical conditions and including spacing those tests years apart in some cases. In every case we have found it to be a superior product and we don't hesitate to recommend it.
For us (and our customers) LiquiMoly has significant benefits and we use all of their lubrication products exclusively. Now you know.
I will finish this post with a testimonial from Renato.
I have heard for years the positive reviews of LIQUI MOLY oil and additives. I was skeptical and before I recommend any product to my customers I thoroughly test them. I took a Porsche Cayenne GTS, Mercedes C320 and a Porsche 993 and tested them on a dynamometer. I then flushed all three engines using LIQUI MOLY Engine Flush. Upon completion, I added Leichtlauf High Tech 5W-40 oil, Motor Oil Saver and Cera Tec wear protection. I then re-tested all three vehicles on the dynamometer. In my 43 years as an automotive professional working with European luxury and exotic cars in both Europe and Canada, I have not come across lubricants which enhance and restore engine and components on a level comparable to LIQUI MOLY products. The results were astonishing! The three vehicles experienced an increase of up to 20hp, increased torque, and generated 25 degrees less heat!"
I don't want to be the one to say that word...the 'winter' word, particularly when its going to be a series of plus 20 degree weather days this week, but its coming. In this post I wanted to delve into our storage and why this is a busy time for us.
Generally around this time, on top of our regular day to day, we have two things on the go - people asking for snow tire installs or storage for the off season (see - I avoided the winter word). I often hear the heavy sigh lately as a customer enters the store and says 'its that time...isn't it. The reality is, if its not today at the latest its a few weeks away, but its no reason to be concerned, think of it as an early start on next season.
Here are a few reasons to think about winter storage with us:
For many of our clients the issue is as simple as that, a need for more space. For some people a get away spot is at the cottage or on vacation, but for many of our clients the vehicle is the get away and they use it through the season. Particularly in these times of pandemic and limited travel many people have a summer car that gives them exactly that. When the season is over they are often looking at a place to store it that's out of the way and secure. We can fill that niche for you and store your investment in a place free of any off season contaminants, which is a nice way of saying snow and salt.
Protecting your investment.
The air filter on the left was from a customer car would have benefitted from our storage facility. It was obviously stored in a place that allowed mice and insects to get access to the all areas of the car. The air filter is not from the Audi by the way, its another of our clients cars showing off its summer looks. Our facilities are modern, state of the art with dust free climate control and trickle chargers on each vehicle. We've recently epoxy coated our entire storage area floor and we challenge anyone to find a more spotless facility.
We also have zero tolerance for anything touching your vehicle other than our technicians or detailer.
Getting modifications or repairs done
For us, the off season is a perfect time to tackle those issues that crept up on you over the summer. While your car is in storage we can work on it to address any issues, improve horsepower, rebuild an engine, or modify the car to anything you always wanted to have done but didn't have the time to do it in. In the 'off season' we can spend the time making your dreams for next season a reality. Its also the perfect time to have your car detailed or ceramic coated.
Peace of mind and security
In some cases our clients have invested a significant amount of time, money, thought, or all of the above, into their vehicles and want to be able to enjoy the 'off season' without any worries about their investment. As mentioned above we have fully climate controlled heating and cooling systems, robust security with cameras and now we have added an additional layer by installing electronically controlled barrier gates on each side of our facility. We can store any make and model and although our storage is by the month, many of our customers book us ahead of time for the entire 'off season'.
We have space for about 40 cars - but its filling up fast, give us a call and set up your storage up today.
Yesterday we had a classic 1983 Ferrari in - a 308 GTS Quattrovalvole in for a performance test on the dyno. We often get requests to see how owners classics are doing on power and what the actual horsepower is after losses, particularly after almost 40 years. Before the video of the power test I wanted to take a bit of a retrospective into the history of that era of Ferrari.
In this day and age where everything from Hyundai to Honda's range between 180 to 250 horsepower out of four cylinders (with similar torque values) and a modern 'entry level Ferrari' (Ferrari's words not mine) like the Portofino have 600 HP its often difficult to think that most of the 80's sports cars had significantly less than that. As was the case with many sports cars of the time the 308 was naturally aspirated. In an effort to increase power, Ferrari modified the heads to 4 valves per cylinder - thus the Quattrovalvole badge. The engine is transversely mounted with a 5 speed gated transmission tucked behind and just below the oil sump. Fuel was controlled via a Bosch K Jetronic fuel injection system and spark controlled by a Marelli electronic ignition system. The European version of the car did not have as many emission regulations and Ferrari stated (somewhat optimistically) that version came in with 240 Horsepower at around 7000 rpm with a top speed of 255 km/hr (about 160 mph). and somewhat less for the North American version.
In that era many of the sports cars had surprisingly less power than you might think. For comparison The iconic Lamborghini Countach of the same year came in at an impressive 350 horsepower and a naturally aspirated Porsche 911 was about 172. I mentioned modern Hondas and Hyundai's earlier and I think for fairness and context a 1983 Honda Civic had a 'blistering' 67 Horsepower and a Hyundai Stellar had 10 more than that. For those that are thinking I left out similar era American cars...a 5 litre V8 Mustang had 176 horsepower and a base model C4 Corvette had around 205 HP.
It was the 80's and it was as much about looks, style and exclusivity as it was about speed and handling. In the case of the 308 it was raised to iconic status in part through a mustachioed private detective on Oahu - Magnum PI. It probably did more for advertising in that era than all of Ferraris ad campaigns combined.
Lets be honest though - it would not be the same TV show if Tom Selleck drove a Hyundai Stellar, particularly since it had a hand operated, manual choke, but I digress.
The styling of the car itself followed a series of lines that were as recognizable as the giant shoulder pads in womens dresses (think Dallas or Dynasty) to the 'popped' collars sported by a significant portion of the nation. This particular Targa Top variant era of the model made its debut in 1982 at the Paris Salon. It carried forward a bit of the wedge design that was so in vogue in the decade preceding it and was rendered by Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti. Over the course of its production run around 4000 of them were produced.
The interior as well takes its cue from the era in all of its analog glory with all of the main cluster of gauges in a single binnacle in front of the driver. RPM and Speedometer take their place on the right and left respectively and the cluster is rounded out by oil pressure and temperature, plus a fuel level gauge.
This particular example we had for a power pull was very impressive. The car starts slow and winds up to its full RPM with its distinctive Ferrari V8 snarl. In this case, the car is smooth and power gains through the RPM band rise steadily. After almost 40 years the car has lost less than 10% of its output and is an excellent example of how a well maintained classic can be.
After the power run and the fans were shut down the room was filled with the smell of a 1980's sports car. Hydrocarbons and octane would be an apt way to describe it and once you have smelled it, its addictive, particularly since I was filming as it hit the top of its RPM range while standing near the exhaust. Although the top of the charts was, "Every breath you take by the Police" for 1983, I cant imagine a better sound track than the high revving Ferrari engine itself. Enjoy.