1998 Ram Air Trans Am - 2003
This year's season started off pretty much on time, perhaps even a few weeks late considering the arrival of the new Marauder and some visitors in town.
Before the car could be deemed roadworthy, though, some maintenance was necessary. Among that being:
- A slight cut on the front rotors, due to annoying warping.
- New NGK plugs to replace the 65000 km originals, gapped at 0.050.
- Fuel filter change
- 4 Replacement GM shocks
- 4 brand new tires to replace the original Goodyear F1 tires.
- Solving an annoying exhaust system squeak at the Y-yipe junction.
That I was able to get 65000 km out of my original Goodyear F1 tires is a testament to the responsible way I drive, as there was still a little bit of tread left and I was not yet at the wear indicators. This included many many drag strip visits, and several road course lapping sessions. Had it not been for the deterioration in wet weather handling (specifically the resistance to hydro-planing in standing water pools), I would have continued to operate the original tires, but with my son so often in the car with me, I did not want to take any chances.
The tires I got to replace my original Goodyears turned out to be Yokohama AVS Sport tires, obtained at a great price. While they were recommended to me as being as good in the wet as the original F1s were in the dry, I have since determined that claim to be a bit stretched, but nonetheless they appear to be good tires.
Another contributing factor to the low spring and early summer mileage was an uncomfortable environment at my place of employment, which left me pretty much unmotivated to do anything related to F-bodies for 2003. Once I took steps to correct that situation, I was able to take advantage of the remaining months of 2003 to their fullest. The car was running flawlessly and fuel mileage was way up... 20-25% in fact, which is surprising considering that there did not appear to be any decrease in fuel mileage over the years. Surely a result of the new plugs and my custom gap.
Particularly enjoyable was the opportunity to take my car to Toronto on business, which allowed me the chance to get reacquainted with the fine automobile. While the car remained parked at the hotel lot pretty much the whole weekend as I worked from my hotel room, it was nonetheless very reassuring to occasionally peek outside every now and then while taking breaks during the quasi-24-hour work sessions.
While I did not get a chance to evaluate the newfound fuel efficiency on the race track, I did manage to find my way onto the famed Gilles Villeneuve Formula One racetrack. This facility is used as a bicycle path during the off season, and this permitted me to get some photo opportunites I never dreamed I could find.
Weather conditions allowed me to continue operating the car until very late November. Unfortunately, a wet snow storm that iced over caused me to get stuck on a poorly cleared side road not far from my house. Once I managed to get moving (thanks to a pair of nice folks who helped push me off the curb), I got the car home and parked it for 2003.