The title of this post says it all! A new car has joined my fleet but in many ways it is bitter sweet. Not too long after my "meet the fleet" post I was in a pretty bad accident resulting in the total loss of my daily driver Roshi. I'm sure anyone reading this doesn't know my cars by name so for reference it was the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek. I would like to point out that myself and the others involved in the accident unharmed no one left in an ambulance. From the pictures you can see it was a fairly nasty accident but I sustained ZERO injuries, a true testament to modern safety. I am heartbroken to have lost my first completed car project but I also and very fortunate.
That brings us to this best in the photo, my brand new 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT! There are many reasons I decided to jump to the Outback but space and the turbo engine were the biggest factors. I plan on doing a full written review of this car in the future that will compare this to older outback models as well as my Crosstrek. For now I wanted to provide a brief introduction to my new car named Porunga and give you all an update with everything else happening here at 95overdrive.
First things first we are working on developing our first line of products! I am working hard to offer unique and thoughtfully designed products, so please stay on the lookout for more updates in the future.
We are also continuing to work on our own project cars here at 95overdrive! I will provide a link to Reddit where you can see my post that details all the current work done to my Miata as well as future plans. As of right now my Miata Pilaf is taking priority because summer is quickly approaching and there are just too many parts available for me to be able to say no
In this post I wanted to introduce everyone to the current 95overdrive fleet and provide details regarding current mods and future plans. Full disclosure, my experience with building, maintaining, and collecting cars is still very limited. I am a recent college graduate with limited money and time to commit myself to working on cars. At this point it is simply a hobby that I am very passionate about. I spend as much time as a can educating myself about all things automotive. I didn't grow up in a family that cares much for cars, and I didn't start to generate interest until my teenage years. I have only recently started gaining access to the tools and resources I need to really learn about mechanics and car ownership. Regardless of my experience I am excited to share my fleet, future plans, and everything I have learned to this point.
My first car was a used 2009 Audi A4 2.0t with an automatic transmission. I originally selected this car purely based on they way it looked. This was at the beginning stages of my love affair with cars and I hardly knew what an Audi was at the time. It was a fantastic car when it was functioning properly and I miss it dearly. That was followed up by a 2014 Subaru Outback that I used while attending college in Colorado. Post graduation I decided I wanted to sell both cars and buy a 2019 Subaru Crosstrek. I never wanted to sell my A4 but I decided I needed something more practical for my lifestyle, it wasn't a manual, and it didn't make sense to keep it. I know what you're thinking "but don't you also have an Outback"? Yes, but besides being a tank the outback wasn't the car for me. I purchased the Crosstrek late 2019 with plans to turn it into a light offraoder/baja style vehicle. It is my daily driver and I absolutely love the car. The current modifications are simply: 15 inch R2 Relations Race Wheels with 215/75/r15 BFGoodrich KO2 tires, RokBlokz mud flaps, and a 1.5 inch lift kit provided by Anderson Design and Fabrication. The only other modifications I plan on installing is an offroad lighting kit. I haven't decided on what I want yet but at some point I will install lighting. In my year and a half of ownership I have put 30,000 miles on the odometer and everyone one of them have been a joy.
Next up is a car that is very near and dear to my heart, my 1986 Subaru BRAT. This is a car that to me, was always endlessly cool. A car that I wanted to be a part of my permanent collection some day. I always thought that day would be in the very distant future. Little did I know one would graciously fall into my lap. The first time I saw my BRAT I was visiting my new girlfriend's grandparents in the middle of nowhere Virginia. We pull up to their house and low and behold... there it was... a muddy, old, SUBARU...FLIPPING...BRAT. Keep in mind I was in high school at that time and I was soon to be off to Colorado for college. I thought 1 I can't afford it 2 I didn't want to inappropriately ask to buy their car when we've only just met and 3 It looked to be a busted barn find. I also, knew how challenging a BRAT restoration project can be because of rust, the lack of parts, and available information. In my mind I had written the car off as SUPER COOL but I will never own it. A few years later my girlfriends grandfather passed away peacefully on his farm at age 93. The BRAT eventually was passed down to her brother but their family decided they didn't have space or time for it. When I found out he was thinking of selling it I immediately texted her brother and causally offered $850. The rest is history. I drove it home smiling ear to ear but slightly nervous to fully inspect it. I had only ever seen it covered in a thick layer of mud, so I had no idea what kind of condition it was really in. I gave it a very thorough detailing and to my amazement, it was in immaculate condition. A few superficial spots of rust here and there but other than that...it was a SOLID BRAT.
Since I purchased the car/truck in the summer of 2018 I have repainted the wheels, replaced the suspension, removed a dead rat, replaced a window, changed fluids, spark plugs, and replaced fuel filters. This past fall I purchased an identical BRAT from North Carolina to use for parts. Unfortunately, I was only able to pull a new seat, and some other small components. I quickly sold it as I no longer need anything from it. Besides a muffler delete my BRAT is bone stock and I have put over 6,000 miles on the odometer. It currently has around 144,000 miles on it.
My future plans for the BRAT are very ambitious and might not make sense to some people but it's my BRAT and I will do what I wish. I eventually would like to do a full resto-mod to the car. I plan on color matching it to my cool khaki gray crosstrek and changing the decal color to white. I also want to install custom BRAID race wheels, roll bar, and light kit in order to give it a rally car vibe. My plan is to create a classic looking rally BRAT. I have also been heavily inspired by Singer Porsche and would like to do some custom work to the interior. Lastly, the engine....I will run the current motor for as long as it will go but when the time comes I believe a full engine swap is in order. The current AE81 boxer engine is just too small and hard to maintain for the modern world. Parts are scares and 0-60 is probably 35 seconds. I will likely put an EJ22 and a 5 speed in it when the time comes. It will take many years because parts are limited/custom and as you all know custom projects get very expensive. For now I am keeping it safe from the elements and loving every second with it. I have no plans of ever selling my goofy little mullet on wheels.
Enter the newest member to my fleet...Pilaf! It's a 1990 1.6L 5 speed Mazda Miata. I purchased this car for a number of reasons and so far I couldn't be happier with the decision. I live out in the country with a commute into the city for work. On the weekends I day dreamed about carving pavement in a car that was designed for "driving." I love both my BRAT and Crosstrek very much, they are great cars and extremely fun in their own ways. That being said, from a pure driving perspective they are both about as slow and bland as it gets. I don't think there is a car in the state of Virginia that is slower than my BRAT, so if you ever find yourself stuck behind me I apologize...I give it everything she's got 24/7. The Crosstrek really isn't as slow as people make it out to be but it's definitely not equipped to handle any sort of performance driving. I really wanted something that I could learn proper performance driving in, wasn't a pain to work on, and was designed for the love of driving. I can't afford a WRX, S2000, Mustang, or most sports cars, so that left only one option.... the Mazda Miata! Before owning mine I had never driven one or really been all that interested in them. After watching countless reviews, reading about them, and seeing them around town I finally decided that I would pull the trigger. I had an itch that needed scratching. I decided to get an NA because pop-up headlights are an absolute MUST. I didn't have a preference on the 1.6 vs 1.8 that didn't really matter to me. Both engines seemed to have their pros and cons. All I wanted was one that was affordable, stock, and rust free. I't didn't take long until I found one near by with 106k miles on the odometer. The seller accepted my offer and I was off to check it out. I was really nervous about adding another car to my collection. I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew and I wasn't sure how much I'd actually like the Miata. However, 30 seconds into my test drive every bit of doubt and buyers remorse flew out of the drop top. I was completely hooked. I was ripping through gears like an F1 driver in the 80s. I paid cash on the spot and I wont look back.
I've had the car for just a few weeks, so I have only been able to chip away at basic maintenance items like fluids, detailing, etc... I plan on performing the timing belt service soon and replacing seals to hopefully eliminate the waterfall of oil coming out of it. I also, removed the short shifter and installed an OEM shifter with a rebuild kit and Bronze bushing. My goal for this project is to build a tasteful, reliable street car that can handle minor track use and autocross. The previous owner installed a full stainless steel exhaust starting at the headers, and it actually sounds fantastic. It also has a set of Advanti Storm S1 wheels, new tires, and an aftermarket cold air intake. Other than that it's bone stock with a remarkably clean interior. I bought this car to use as an educational tool. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post I am a noob when it comes to building cars, so I want to use this one as a starting point. I plan on doing all the modifications myself from mechanical to cosmetic. I also, plan on joining VMSC and participating in autocross as well as track days at VIR, RIR, and Dominion Raceway. I want to learn as much as I can and how to properly drive before moving on to bigger and better cars. I really love this little car and I can't wait to see it evolve in the future!
Hugh E. Joyce founded James River Air Conditioning Co. in 1967. The company initially called Joyce Air, began as a one-man operation, with Hugh Sr. selling, installing, and managing the entire operation. During the early 1970s, the company continued to grow and become more diversified, and in the mid-1970s the Company name was changed to James River Air Conditioning Co. Which I will refer to from here as JRAC.
JRAC’s first company vehicle was a 1968 Ford F100 designed for one purpose in mind, hard work. As JRAC began to mature, so did JRAC Truck 001 until it was retired from service and became Hugh Sr’s family knock-around truck. It went from hauling air conditioning units to hauling grandkids around Beaverdam Virginia. Hugh Sr. drove JRAC Truck 001 with its cherrybomb exhaust and honky-tonk horn proudly until his passing in 2005. JRAC Truck 001 was then placed into Storage at JRAC Headquarters where it remained for over 10 years.
After over a decade of storage JRAC Truck, 001 was dusty, had flat tires, and a broken heart. Finally, in the summer of 2017 JRAC Truck 001 would see the light again. Our new journey with JRAC Truck 1 had begun. I was working for the company that summer as a warehouse associate. My job was running various parts to job sites and maintaining inventory at the warehouse. (The same warehouse where my grandfather’s 1968 Ford F100 pick-up truck was being stored.) Every day I’d see the truck sitting in the back of the warehouse, rotting away underneath the years of shop dust.
I was frequently asked, sarcastically, by my bosses “when is your dad going to move that dang truck out of here so we can use that space.” I usually would laugh, shrug, and rock on with my day. One day, I got to thinking “what if we restored it!” I figured why the heck not?! We’d get my grandpa’s truck back on the road, the warehouse would have more space, and we could use it for some fun marketing down the road...win, win, win.
That day, I called my dad and pitched him the idea. To my amazement, he was on board. I walked into to the warehouse cage and told my boss “I have good news, we’re pushing the truck over to Ford today.” Fortunately, the Ford dealership was directly across the street from the warehouse. A team of us rolled it out of the warehouse over to the Ford dealership. There they got it running and cleaned up enough to be simi roadworthy. Shortly after I drove the truck home where I was able to do a thorough detail and get all of the junk out of it. Now that is was clean I was able to asses the scale of the project. The prognosis wasn’t great. The truck had serious rust all over the body and in the bed, the suspension was shot, and the interior was basically a rats nest.
At the time I didn’t know much about what all would go into restoring the truck but I knew it would be a big project. We took it to a local shop that specialized in restoring vintage cars. They agreed that the project would be big but definitely doable. They gave me a quote, said they could probably have it done in 6 months and I was on my way home! I thought this is great it will be ready by Christmas! That was wishful thinking...
I was in college in another state at the time, so it was hard to keep my hands on the project at all times but I did my best to help make decisions and keep it moving forward. 2 years passed and the truck still went incomplete. However, that is expected with projects like this. The bodywork alone was a huge undertaking. There were also some additions we made that created a lot of snags for the restoration team. The biggest hangup that wasn't rust related, involved fitting the AC unit to the truck. The original truck obviously didn’t have one, so the stock radiator was too big and the unit wouldn’t fit. Sourcing new compatible parts added to the time delay. This is only one example of the various types of delays but like with any restoration project issues like this are to be expected.
In a nutshell, the restoration consisted of separating the frame from the body, attacking rust, fabrication, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, more sanding, buffing, restoring the engine, restoring the frame, suspension chrome fittings, new wiring, AC, radio installation, and reupholstering the interior. Hours of work and collaboration were poured into getting this project done. 60 hours alone were spent fixing the rust in the bed of the truck.
After two long years and hundreds of hours of hard work, Fast Lane Motorworks completed the project. JRAC Truck 001 has been completely resto-modded to be better than ever. We are thrilled to have it back and are ready for another 50 years of service with JRAC Truck 001.
In loving memory of Hugh E. Joyce.
Welcome to the 95overdrive blog! Here you will find short articles about anything car related! We write about projects we're involved in, events, news, videos, all things car related! There will be no scheduled content as of right now but we hope to bring your insightful and fun articles! Enjoy.