The Joy of Six – Nissan 100SX V8

Slap bang in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean is a spot where this V8-engined Nissan 200SX would be right at home. Originally built with a turbocharged four-pot engine, this Japanese coupe has been given an all-American push rod V8 heart by UK firm Apex Performance Parts. The result is effortless speed, impeccable reliability and an incredible grin factor from that V8 noise.

Bren Simpson, managing director of Apex Performance, is no stranger to highly tuned Japanese machinery. The company has quickly grown with the help of 200SX enthusiasts who like Bren’s way of doing business: every Apex part is extensively tested. From suspension components to exhaust manifolds, Apex Performance put their parts on their cars and their money where their mouth is. They have a strongpresence in both Time Attack and the European Drift Championship, and anyone buying parts for their road or track car benefits.

So why the change to V8 power? Well, the story is a long one, but essentially it boils down to reliability and cost. Bren explains, “A few years ago, 1 got tired of unreliability with our 596’bhp RS3 GTS-t track and drift car. I spent tens of thousands on it to try to get to an acceptable level of reliability. We had issues with engine failures, turbo failures, manifold failures and gearbox failures. It was a nightmare.”

Bren continues, “In the end it was running an expensive straightcut dog ‘box, MoTeC M800 management and a custom GReddv/ Garrett turbo kit. We still had issues with surge at the end of the season, and after destroying another RB25 engine because of poor oil control, enough was enough. The RB25 came out and an old-school 6.3ltr V8 went in, running 53lbhp and 500lb/ft of torque. The car was great. Powerful, grunt coming out of its ears and, more importantly, it ran an entire season with no issues.”

This was the seed that eventually grew into the V8 200SX you see here. Bren found an engine and gearbox in America from a 2006 Pontiac GTO with just 18k miles on the clock. The moment it arrived, the whole package was installed by Gary Hay ward at AP-Tuning. Bren provided Gary with a ‘Sikky’ conversion kit from the States for the job, which consisted of all the engine and gearbox mounts and the propshaft. With Gary’s spanner wielding expertise, the car soon fired up. Only the transmission tunnel needed very gentle persuasion. However, like so many of Apex’s products, this was only the start of the journey.

Bren adds, “This was always intended to be our test mule for the V8 conversions, which we are now offering on our V8Apcx.com website.” The car was running within weeks. This was at the start of 2009, and for the rest of the year and throughout 2010, the car has been undergoing changes. The aim has always been to keep this a comfortable road car – a daily driver for both Bren and his wife Ann, and their expanding family.

Yet it has still claimed the scalp of stripped-out competition cars. It has a minimal but MSA-approved roll cage, kill switch and a plumbed-in fire extinguisher, so it was able to enter competitive events. It finished second in a hillclimb at Prescott Hill organized by the SX Owners’ Club. It also consistently finished above midfield in the Time Attack Club Challenge. Even a last-minute decision to let Apex drifter Kieran Cameron drive it in a round of the FJ)C at Knockhill resulted in a podium finish. Quite remarkable for a daily-driven car with a bogstandard engine!

In fact, it was a moment of EDC competition that resulted in a minor bump on the front end and the start of the custom widebody conversion. The car already had wide arches from ABW Designs, but they were reworked expertly by Richard at RT Autobodies. After trying several aftermarket front bumpers that had really poor fitment, Richard ended up creating his own using an OE bumper as a base, l ie then took a mould of the bumper and recreated it in FRR The result is an aggressive-looking car, not unlike the C-West Silvias raced in the Japanese Super GT series.

In fact, you could definitely imagine NISMO releasing a roadgoing version of those GT racers, and the result would look very much J like this. A look that is enhanced further by the growling presence of that V8 motor and the wide track provided by 9-5in wide wheels, pushed out by Apex adjustable suspension arms to provide a wider wheelbase and much greater grip.

So, what does Bren say to people who see the GM LS2 engine as old technology, with its pushrod design and only two valves per cylinder? “Just try one,” he smiles, “You’ll quickly understand why I love it. We haven’t turned our back on the SR20DET engine – in fact, we’ve been building a very special 200SX for a long time. It has a Tomei 2.2ltr forged engine and will run a large T78 turbocharger. The Chevy V8 is simply another option for our customers – once you’ve experienced one and done the sums, the conversion makes perfect sense.” You can’t put a price on happiness, but after three years Bren has no plans to sell this car. It still puts a smile on his face every time he turns the key and hears that 6.0ltr V8 roar into life. The joy of six indeed!

How Much Liability Insurance Do You Need?

When most people consider their insurance needs, only certain types of coverage typically come to mind. Health insurance and life (or sometimes disability) insurance protect you and your loved ones; car and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance protect your major tangible assets.

Personal liability insurance, frequently called an “umbrella” policy, seldom makes this list. But when a rainy day – or an expensive lawsuit – turns up, sometimes nothing but an umbrella will do.

As the name suggests, personal liability coverage mainly exists to protect against claims of liability. In most cases, that means finding yourself, and your assets, the target of a civil lawsuit. A personal liability policy may seem like overkill for individuals who already hold three or four insurance policies. It is true that not everyone needs such protection. But an umbrella policy effectively defends your assets and future income against damage claims that can arise from a wide variety of scenarios. Much like flood insurance for beachfront property, liability insurance is a product you hope you never need to use, but one which can create substantial peace of mind in the meantime.

Who Needs Liability Insurance?

Some level of personal liability coverage is built into homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance and auto insurance. For many people, this may be sufficient. In part, this is because some types of assets are shielded by state and federal law. For instance, a court cannot force you to use qualified retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, to pay a legal judgment, and most states have laws protecting traditional IRAs. Some states protect Roth IRAs and other retirement accounts, too. Many states also protect your primary residence, though the precise rules vary; Florida, for instance, offers very strong protections in this area, while other states may only shield a certain level of home equity.

You can also protect certain assets from lawsuits through estate planning tools, such as properly structured and funded irrevocable trusts. However, be wary of setting up such trusts directly after an incident you fear may trigger a lawsuit. If it looks as if you are simply trying to dodge future creditors, the courts could determine that the asset transfer is fraudulent, rendering these assets available to pay a judgment.

If you don’t have many assets outside your retirement savings and your primary residence, then your existing liability coverage may be sufficient. But second homes and nonretirement investment accounts are vulnerable. High income earners, and their spouses, may also want to consider their coverage options, since courts have been known to garnish wages to satisfy judgments.

While the amounts vary by geography and insurance policy, homeowner’s insurance usually includes up to $300,000 of personal liability coverage. Auto insurance typically covers up to $250,000 for each person and $500,000 per accident involving bodily harm, and less for incidents that involve property damage only. Yet lawsuits for serious accidents can sometimes result in judgments or settlements for millions of dollars. This is where umbrella policies kick in.

Most people think of car accidents as the main trigger for such lawsuits, and with good reason, since car accidents are relatively common and can cause a lot of damage. But there are a wide variety of situations in which you can find yourself liable for an accident. You may host a party at your home where one of the guests is seriously injured. Your dog may bite a stranger or acquaintance. If you employ household staff, such as a nanny or home health aide, the employee could sue not only because of physical harm, but also for wrongful termination or harassment.

There are other liability risks that may not spring to mind so easily. For instance, the hyperconnected world of social media creates many more opportunities to libel or defame someone, even without deliberately setting out to do so. Your teenage or preteen children could also create such problems; in a worst case scenario, they could end up involved with a cyberbullying incident or harassment that takes a tragic turn. Teenagers also increase your liability when they get behind the wheel. Even adult children can trigger “vicarious liability” statutes that may leave you personally liable in certain circumstances, such as if they borrow your car and are then involved in an accident.

Another area some people overlook is the risk of sitting on a board for a nonprofit organization. Many nonprofits are too small to offer much, if any, protection for board members’ personal assets in cases where the organization and its board of directors are sued. Board members may wish to consider directors and officers insurance specifically, as well as or in lieu of an umbrella policy. People whose charitable work – or whose professional activities – put them in the public eye may also want to consider increased liability coverage due to the potential damage a lawsuit could do to their reputations as well as their financial health.

When considering the need for personal liability insurance, it is also worth considering the common law concept of “joint and several” liability. In many jurisdictions, a plaintiff can recover all the damages from any of multiple defendants, regardless of fault. In other words, if four defendants are all found equally liable, the plaintiff can recover 100 percent of damages from one of them and nothing from the other three. Many lawyers thus concentrate on the defendant with the highest net worth in such cases, under the theory that this method is the most likely to secure the largest payout for their client.

How Much Liability Insurance Should You Carry?

As you can see, individuals with a high net worth, high income potential or both have reason to worry about their liability exposure. Once you have decided to purchase an umbrella policy, the next logical question is how much insurance you should buy.

Unfortunately, there is no specific formula to determine the correct amount of coverage. A good rule of thumb is to carry at least enough insurance to cover your net worth and the present value of your future income stream. A Certified Financial Planner™ or an insurance agent can help you with such calculations, and there are also a variety of tools online designed to help you calculate a figure. Bear in mind that tools and advice from insurance companies will tend to want to sell you more insurance than you may need, but it can still be useful to see what factors will affect your coverage. Some of these are intuitive, such as your current net worth and assets you own. Others are more immediately concerned with the potential for accidents; for instance, you might want more insurance if you own a trampoline or a pool, and you can expect slightly higher premiums as well.

As with any insurance decision, shopping around is a good idea. But there are real benefits to purchasing the majority or the entirety of your insurance products with one provider. Consolidating your coverage will not only ease the administrative burden, but it will also make it easier to spot potential gaps. For instance, if your homeowner’s insurance covers $300,000 in personal liability insurance but your umbrella policy does not kick in until $500,000, you will be responsible for the $200,000 in between. To avoid this, most companies that sell umbrella insurance require customers to increase their base liability coverage to eliminate such holes. Sticking to one company can also make the process simpler in the case of a lawsuit, since you will not have two separate companies handling two portions of your coverage. And bundling can secure discounts on premiums for your various policies.

The good news is that, in most cases, umbrella policies offer a good value. Since catastrophically large lawsuits are relatively rare, companies can afford to spread the risk widely among their customer pool. While the exact rates vary, $300 to $500 annually can often secure $1 million in coverage. This figure may rise or fall depending on the number of homes, cars and drivers in a policyholder’s household, as well as the part of the country in which he or she lives. However, it is almost always the case that whatever you pay for the first $1 million of coverage, the second million will cost less. If $1 million in coverage costs $500 per year, $5 million will almost certainly be less than $2,500.

For such relatively low premiums, personal liability insurance offers substantial peace of mind. In addition to the product’s basic function, some policies go above and beyond. Extras you may encounter include not counting legal defense costs against the coverage limit or offering reimbursement for public relations firm fees to manage the incident’s fallout. Depending on your needs and your lifestyle, it may be worth comparing features, as well as cost, when choosing a policy.

We in the United States live in a highly litigious society. Some of these lawsuits are frivolous; many are not. The reality is that civil suits can, and often do, result in judgments or settlements that run into the millions of dollars, and judges and juries have no obligation to limit awarded damages to an amount the party being sued can comfortably afford. Personal liability insurance protects you in such worst-case scenarios, even if the court finds you entirely liable.

So while adding one more insurance policy may seem unnecessary at first, for people with assets vulnerable to creditors’ claims, an umbrella policy is an economically sensible way to protect against a rainy day in court.

The Aston Martin Virage Sports Car

Aston Martin Virage – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The V8 Series of Aston Martin sports cars had been successfully produced since 1969, and a replacement was well overdue.

Consequently, in late 1988, and as a natural evolution, the successor was introduced at the Birmingham Motor Show as a 2+2 coupe, and designated the Aston Martin Virage sports car.

It was positioned as the company’s premier and exclusive model, and the timing of the launch coincided with the acquisition of the company by Ford of the US.

In terms of styling, it’s sleek lines, which produced a drag coefficient of just 0.34, resembled that of a Lagonda rather than the classic lines of the V8 Series.

It was fitted with spoilers both front and rear, and stylish flush headlights.

The influence of Ford was noticeable in the fact that, as a cost-cutting measure, a number of the car’s’ components were sourced from a wide range of companies, including the Parent.

Although it used aluminium body panels, it was still a heavy car with a curb weight of 1790 kg.

When production ended in 1995, Aston Martin had built a total of 365 Virage sports cars.

THE ENGINE

The Virage was powered by a front-engined, all aluminium, 5.3 litre, 32 valve, DOHC, V8 unit with the head modified by Callaway Engineering in the US, and incorporated a modified intake manifold and Weber-Marelli fuel injection.

This developed 330 bhp at 5300 rpm, and 350 ft/lbs of torque at 4000 rpm.

Fitted with a ZF five speed manual gearbox and using a 9.5:1 compression, it produced a top speed of 158 mph, with 0-60 mph in 6.5 secs.

Interestingly, the majority of customers preferred the optional Chrysler three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission.

Towards the end of production, an optional six speed manual gearbox from the Vantage sports car was offered.

In January 1992, as part of a programme of improvements, existing customers were able to replace the original 5.3 litre engine with a 6.3 litre V8 unit that had been incorporated in the Aston Martin AMR1, a Group C sports car racer that was entered in the 1989 Le Mans 24 Hours race.

The new engine developed 500 bhp at 6000 rpm, and 480 ft/lbs of torque at 5800 revs, which gave the car a top speed of 175 mph.

The conversion included fitting larger vented disc brakes, 18 inch wheels, air dams and side air vents.

For Technical Data, see original article below

COMPETITION

Typical competitors of the Aston Martin Virage sports car were the following: Porsche 964 Turbo, and Ferrari 550 Maranello.

For Comparative Technical Data, see original article below

This concludes my Aston Martin Virage Sports Car Review

5 Signs of a Failing Honda CV Joint

Honda vehicles are known for their reliability, quality parts and excellent gas mileage. Their ATV’s are no different. These are powerful machines that are known to withstand rough terrain, weather and driving. However, just like any vehicle they are prone to breakdown especially if not carefully maintained and looked after.

The Honda CV Joint

The Constant Velocity joint or the CV joint is a very important part of the ATV as it is essential in providing proper control and maneuverability. The axle assembly of a Honda model ATV is used to shift power from the transmission to the wheels. This is the place where the CV joint is located. It is part of a drive shaft that attaches to the ATV’s transmission at one end and the wheel at the other. They are designed to be able to bend in any direction while continuing to turn the drive wheels at a constant velocity.

Aggressive use of a Honda CV joint can wear it down and therefore it must either be repaired or replaced. However before it completely fails, there are signs that it is breaking down. One doesn’t have to be an expert mechanic to notice these indications. Here we will go over some of these symptoms. This will help aid drivers in discovering a faulty CV Joint beforehand and avoid costly repairs.

1. Clicking Noise when Turning

This is the most noticeable indication that something is wrong. While turning, the CV joint will make a popping or clicking sound repeatedly. This will be especially noticeable when making sharp turns at slow speeds as the clicking noise will get excruciatingly loud.

2. Vibration during Acceleration

Another very noticeable sign observed while driving is that the steering wheel will vibrate or shake heavily especially when accelerating. It is best to pull over or reduce speed and make it to a safe location and have it checked immediately.

3. Growing Humming Noise

This sign will most likely be in conjunction with vibration during increasing speed. While driving, the car will make a humming noise that will grow with acceleration and cease with deceleration.

4. Clunk Type Noise when Accelerating

This type of noise is experienced in the inner joints or outer joints of ATV vehicles. This noise can also be the result of extreme backlash in differential gears. One good way to verify this symptom is to put the vehicle in reverse and accelerate. If the clunk is even more noticeable, then it’s a sure sign the inner CV joint is bad.

5. Vibration at High Speeds

There could be many reasons for this vibration to occur such as an out of balance tire or faulty alignment. However, its occurrence in conjunction with any of the above symptoms should be regarded as a sure sign of a faulty CV joint.

These are a few signs of a failing Honda CV Joint. It is always best to keep them in check through regular checkups and inspection. The fact that ATVs are used so aggressively makes it even more important.