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I think I arrived at AutoRama 2016 sometime around 2PM, and it was not until 9:30PM that I was boarding the bus to cross the border back to Canada. There was a lot to see as always.
The trend to replace chrome with powder coat, in a shade close to the body, has continued and it's something I'm liking more and more. The clean, modern look without removing the character one finds on vehicles which have actual bumpers and metal trim.
Engine swaps are starting to become a little interesting as well. The surprise to find diesel engines lurking under the hood of muscle cars was a pleasant one. Even a few turbocharged 6 and 4 cylinders. A nice change when even the hundred thousand dollar builds quite often just use a carbureted V8 (Really?! If paid someone that sum to restore a car for me and it came with a carburetor I'd ask for a refund!). The reception of these cars seem to be positive as well. Unique engine swaps, as long as they are done well and fit the vehicle, are one of the things I look forward to every year at the show.
As I was wandering up and down the isles, terrible American beer in my hand, I was moving closer and closer to the powder blue Datsun 1200. A Datsun on the main floor of AutoRama?! Must be something special. Would it be too much to ask to find a rotary under the hood? Turns out, not at all! Upon approaching my hopes were confirmed: An S4 RX-7 13B was nestled between the frame rails in what is a purpose built drag car. After taking the pictures, I struck up a conversation with the owner-builder (I'm sorry, I forget your name). Powered by the semi-peripheral ported 13B, he's going for 7s and with the 800HP he's going to make on methanol that should be fairly easy. As there are no manifolds one can purchase to fit a semi-PP 13B, his intake manifold is a very well build combination of sheet metal and milled runners. There have been a rotary or two in previous years but nothing this well built or high profile. It was a pleasure to speak with the owner. He mentioned how nice it was to speak to someone who knew a thing or two about the rotary, instead of the typical "Hey...is that one of dem wankel motors?" he'd been getting all day.
It was nice stumbling upon a Bricklin at the show. As a DeLorean enthusiast, both vehicles can tend to be lumped together (though that's a bit like considering a Mustang and Camaro to be similar) and I've casually seen Bricklins around. However this was the first time I've been able to get a very detailed look at one. Cool car. No idea they had leaf springs until now. And not even a single comment was heard referencing a helicopter engine!
This year it just seemed as there wasn't much interesting to me in the rat-rod basement. Perhaps simply because it was now 9:30PM and after 7 hours, the energy begins to wane.
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