Here are the plans I have for the Crown:
Fix brakes (possibly replace master cylinder) Fixed & replaced
- Bodywork/new paint job (needs missing chrome part on front)
- Install parking break
- Install wing mirrors to replace current side mirrors
- Repair/replace gauges (the temp. gauge is the only one I really need and it works; fuel gauge works at full tank and 1/4 tank, again, this is all I really need)
- Suspension (may dump the front; rear sus is OK as is)
Sadly, this car is a poor candidate for classic restoration – she’s a bit rough and it would be quite expensive. Plus, it just doesn’t fit this car’s kick-ass demeanor. She doesn’t want to be pretty in the restoration sense, I think. She is special and deserves to stand out, however. With that in mind, I went searching for some used rims a couple weeks ago with my pal Don. I told him I’d buy a pair of good ones, something with flavor, if we could find them for 6 or 7,000 Baht. We visited five tire shops and joked about calling MTV to Sarakham for help with Pimp My Ride Thailand (after all, people all over the world are thinking similar things). At the last shop, guess what we found?
I know it takes a while to get used to them; it completely changes the look of the car. It’s amazing what new shoes can do – and what shoes they are! In my last post about the Kuj, I said that I began suspecting that this car is a luck magnet… Well guess what? Those are used seventeen-inch Ray’s Volk Racing six points that I picked up for 6500 Baht. With tires, 225s on back and 215s on front, total Jap VIP-car style. Unreal. And the whole time we drove from shop to shop I was telling Don how we were definitely going to happen across a perfect set. This car is a witch. A good witch.
This became evident again last week when we took the car in to a mechanic that Don knew in order to change out the master cylinder. We bought the almost-new part at a local used parts warehouse (2200 Baht, fair) and took it back to the garage. The mechanic turned out to be a kindergarten classmate of Nam’s, so when we went back to pick up the car a couple days later, he only wanted to charge us 800 Baht! That’s like $25 US! For custom fitting a part that didn’t really fit in the engine compartment (because it’s stuffed with an RB-20 engine) and adjusting the brakes! As lucky a break as this was, I couldn’t bear to pay the guy so little for such a big job and insisted he take a thousand (just call me Rockefeller).
Anyway. I took some more photos to update this logbook on the progress of our mooban hacking.
(as always, left click once on photos to open a larger size in a pop-up window)
The careful reader will notice the red spray job that the nice man at the tire store insisted on doing on my brake calipers (rear brakes are drums, luckily sprayed black and not red). He even went so far as to spray a primer coat of silver on them first. This is the level of pimptitude in Thailand (MTV we need you!). Everybody sprays their calipers red, Brembo style. The real posers actually spray their drums red and/or stick Brembo stickers over the paint job. (BTW I noticed that my calipers were made by Sumitomo before the guy sprayed the stamping over. Never seen Sumitomo calipers before. I guess they’re the originals.)
Also, since I wrote that list above a few things have changed. Obviously, the most important item, the brakes, have been worked out, almost completely. There is still a slight issue with balance when braking hard (it’s pulling right), but part of this is the mismatched rubber I’m driving on now. I can handle it how it is for a while. Eventually, I’ll switch over the tires from my Cefiro (luckily, also on 17s – the tires are Eagle F1 215s all around) and buy new tires for it – new tires won’t make a difference on the Crown.
Um, I’m almost ashamed to write this, but I briefly considered having the front springs cut to give it a greaseball Camaro-type slant. I say I’m ashamed because I know this is a truly a Tijuana-level hack. I say briefly because since I changed over to these big rims, I’ve bottomed out the front tires against the wheel wells, lightly, a couple of times. There are big bumps and dips in the road around here, so this has to be done the right way, with new and shorter springs, if at all.
Also, my knee-freezing aircon worked brilliantly for a few weeks after I had it gassed up in Bangkok, but apparently there’s a slow leak because all I get now is a warm breeze out of the vents. So the leak has to be found and fixed there as well.
That concludes this installment of Pimp My Ride, Thailand.