2001: A year full of action!

The year 2001 started off somewhat quietly considering what it would become. In mid April, with my wife in Europe on business, I wheeled out the car for its first photos of the year, with our then-new digital photo camera.

Digital photography was a Godsend to me... it allowed me to snap off photo after photo and see the results immediately. This greatly contributed to increasing my enjoyment of the F-bodies, which always seemed to revolve around photography in the end. The digital camera also came in handy considering that my wife was pregnant with our first child... that first camera snapped literally thousands of photos of our son, but that's a story for another site.

I was enjoying the new exhaust setup that I had bestowed upon that once-too-quiet car. While I initially feared the open exhaust outlet (the passenger's side) would result in too loud a car, the inherent quietness of the LS1 made for little change at below 1400 RPM and anytime the throttle was fairly closed, but with some pressure on the accelerator at speeds above 1500 RPM, it was sheer heaven! And the looks were greatly improved over the original single outlet configuration.

As mentioned, 2001 turned out to be quite the dynamic year. The decision was made in late April to take the opportunity of a business trip to Chattanooga Tennessee in early May to drive down instead of fly with the rest of my team members and coincide the trip with the National F-body event in Memphis, some 4-5 hours away from Chattanooga. It was the first time I had driven an F-body so far and all alone to boot, but the experience was exhilirating. 20+ hours of practically-unmuffled LS1 roaring at 1700 RPM on the interstates, and running up and down the RPM range in the hills when I could afford to.

Considering the planned route, I had initially hoped to make a detour somewhere near the Virginia/Tennessee state line into Kentucky to setup a photo opportunity of my WS6 at a town called Hazard KY. No relation to the fictitious town/county in the popular TV show The Dukes of Hazzard but I thought it might be a very cool photo. It would prove to be too far off course but as luck would have it, Cooter's Garage (run by Dukes' alumni Ben Jones who played Cooter on the series) was right off the interstate as I entered Virginia. Ben came down from town just to meet with me, which was great of him considering he's usually only at the store on weekends and this was a Thursday morning. Some great conversation was had, and some merchandise was purchased for my future child.

In Chattanooga, the good folks at the Marriot Courtyard were kind enough to allow me the use of their hose to wash off my car. I had anticipated massive bug slaughter on the 20+ hour trip, so I came prepared with bucket and all the wash paraphernelia.

It was one of the most enjoyable business trips, to have my car there with me. With a clean car, I attended the gathering (did not participate in any event, for fear of damaging my car in any way, especially so far from home and with the financial burden of a child coming soon). The car even experienced its one and only southern hailstorm!

By this point, things were getting crowded at home. The arrival of the '78 T/A purchased in late 2000 put a squeeze on garage space at home. The fact of the GTA maintaining a dedicated spot in the garage meant the WS6 spent most of its time outside whenever the '78 needed to remain indoors for work of any kind, except for when the WS6 was getting maintenance of its own.

The best part of the long trip to Chattanooga was that it proved the relatively high oil consumption experienced by my LS1 in city driving was not a serious problem. Seems the piston rings have a tendency to flutter and allow oil to bypass and be consumed in scenarios of moderately high RPM (say, above 2000) and low throttle openings. Like many others with a manual transmission equipped LS1, it was not uncommon to cruise around with the engine above 2000 RPM at low power demand... mostly because the engine was so damned quiet otherwise. With my uncorked exhaust, I no longer needed to stay above 2000 RPM all that often, and during this entire trip the car did not consume a drop of oil since most of it was spent at 1600-1700 RPM with the cruise control on.

The was the yearly car show at Modick Performance that I attended with all cars, this year "all cars" meaning three F-bodies with the arrival of the '78 T/A late the year before. This also started the almost-yearly tradition of a photo shoot with all cars in my driveway.