ShawneeCreek Reader
5/22/19 7:40 a.m.

Went to my first local car show with the van. Somehow I managed to park in the middle of the Mustang club.

One good thing about the gigantic windshield on this thing: the entire trifold poster from the Challenge fits and is held up by the rearview mirror.

It was fun walking the people who were interested through the build. But I don't think car shows are my thing. I was bored about 30 minutes into the 5 hour show.

The next weekend I went to the first local autocross. I was a little worried about tech inspection, but it went over well. They were most convinced by the GRM number panel figuring that if GRM was ok with it, then it must be safe. I ended up classed in EM, even though it's essentially a Pontiac G6 convertible that would be in GS.

Final results can be found here but I won, and lost, EM. However, if you compare my best time of 38.133 to the cars of GS I would have gotten third. Losing to two Ford Focus STs, and beating a GTI and another couple of STs. I'm going to call that a pretty good performance for myself and the van. I got a few comments on how smooth my driving was and how much faster the van was than it looked. The poor guy who parked next to me with his Subaru BRZ was a little disappointed that he got beaten by a minivan. laugh


ShawneeCreek Reader
5/22/19 8:04 a.m.

So, fun story, this van helped me to get a new job. Remember this lunch visit to give a former coworker a ride? Well, I've been looking for a new job and really liked what I saw from the company he worked for. I'd applied online, but hadn't heard anything back.

He had told a few people that I would be coming via a printout of the $2018 Challenge article of the van on his wall and I got to show it to more than a dozen people. One of them was his boss who was rather impressed with the whole thing. My friend quietly emailed him my resume and left it at that. A little while later his boss dropped by asking a few questions about me and then took the printout of the article and my resume to HR. I got a call the next day to schedule an interview.

The day of the interview comes and I get there extra early, because I don't want to be late. But I didn't want to be 20 minutes early either, so I decided to park at the gas station down the street for a few minutes. And wouldn't you know what was already parked there?

An early Pontiac Transport in white! This had to be a good sign. During the interviews I noticed that all of the interviewers had a copy of my resume, like normal. But on the back side was the copy of the van's feature in the Challenge issue. Nice.

Long story short, I Got The Job! The company looks to be great to work for, a great fit for what I want in an employer, and I got a 20% bump in pay too. Suddenly all of those long hours with the reciprocating saw, welder, making tape, and paint seem even more worth it. I've got to do something nice for my friend as he was my foot in the door for this. I start there in June.

Until next time.


sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
5/22/19 8:21 a.m.


mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/22/19 8:28 a.m.

That's one of the better Challenge pay offs of all time. 

Do good work, you never know where it will take you. 

NOHOME UltimaDork
5/22/19 8:59 a.m.

Looks like an interesting place to work


Means Industries, a global leader in propulsion systems and advanced metal-forming solutions,




TurnerX19 HalfDork
5/22/19 9:56 a.m.


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/22/19 11:45 a.m.

Exceptional !!

Robbie UltimaDork
5/22/19 1:11 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

That's one of the better Challenge pay offs of all time. 

Do good work, you never know where it will take you. 

I think his other challenge car helped him get his college degree. Definitely a man who makes his challenge cars work for him!


AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/22/19 1:45 p.m.


ShawneeCreek Reader
5/22/19 2:52 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

That's one of the better Challenge pay offs of all time. 

Do good work, you never know where it will take you. 

Thanks. Doing good work is definitely the plan.

NOHOME said:

Looks like an interesting place to work


Means Industries, a global leader in propulsion systems and advanced metal-forming solutions,


Yeah. I'm actually really excited to get into it. I'll be working in their One-Way Clutch group. It's like a one-way ratcheting mechanism for an automatic transmission. A better, more efficient way to shift gears, or something. I've got to learn that yet. Who knows, I may actually learn how automatic transmissions work cheeky


Robbie said:
mazdeuce - Seth said:

That's one of the better Challenge pay offs of all time. 

Do good work, you never know where it will take you. 

I think his other challenge car helped him get his college degree. Definitely a man who makes his challenge cars work for him!


You know, I hadn't thought about it that way, but you're right. Supercharging the E30 was my Senior Design project in college.

Thank you all for the congratulations. I'm really excited to start this new chapter in life and see where it takes me. The good news is with this bump in pay I'll finally be able to regularly contribute some money to my "do fun things with cars" fund instead of feeling bad about taking money here and there from the family budget. Mrs. ShawneeCreek has already approved it (she was the one who suggested it actually. She's a keeper smiley).

SVreX MegaDork
5/22/19 4:11 p.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek :

That's awesome!

I also got a job once because of a Challenge car.  I was hired because I raced a Yugo, and the boss figured THAT was the kind of person he wanted working for him!!



wheelsmithy SuperDork
5/22/19 5:02 p.m.

Rockin good news!


OjaiM5 New Reader
5/29/19 9:37 a.m.

Thought you would like to see this Land Rover on a 04 Pontiac Grand Prix Chassis



Patrick MegaDork
5/29/19 10:00 a.m.
OjaiM5 said:

Thought you would like to see this Land Rover on a 04 Pontiac Grand Prix Chassis



I’m going to guess it overheats because the radiator is up against the firewall and not that there’s anything wrong with the thermostat or water pump???

ShawneeCreek HalfDork
7/9/19 7:25 p.m.

Had some fun with the van today. I drove it to work. It's quite rediculous.

I also stopped by a couple of local patriotic spots for some photo opportunities:



Mndsm MegaDork
7/9/19 7:29 p.m.

I love that you drive it and it's still street legal. And that you got a job with it. 

maschinenbau SuperDork
7/9/19 10:08 p.m.

I've never felt so much freedom just by looking at pictures of a minivan on the internet. Proud to share the roads of this great country with such a machine.

spacecadet Dork
7/9/19 11:55 p.m.

As I told you in South bend. I friggin love this thing. But prior to tonight I hadn't read through the whole thread. 

My first car was a 98 grand prix GTP supercharged. So I have a soft spot for these big FWD Pontiacs... 

Stevenson may have been booted from IMSA Conti Tire challenge for cheating.. But they got nothing on how you're cheating at life man. Congrats on the new gig! 



AngryCorvair MegaDork
7/10/19 9:56 a.m.

the grocery list on the rocker panels still kills me.   bravo!

davefla New Reader
7/12/19 7:31 a.m.

Congratulations on every part of this project and the new job. It looks as if the power widows are working now!

Once you have a "do fun things with cars" fund, and the passenger side damage is fixed, I wonder how much weight restoring the A/C system would add...

ShawneeCreek HalfDork
7/28/19 7:49 p.m.

I saw some co-workers in town with their fun cars (Veloster N and RX-8) heading to a local car show. Ran home and grabbed the van to meet up with them and check out the show. It didn't turn out to be much (what do you expect for a Sunday night). But I took them to a local spot to take some interesting pictures of their cars, and snagged a picture for myself.

That's the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum aboard the USS Edson in the background. I really should stop by when they are open and look around. I'm sure it's really interesting.

ShawneeCreek HalfDork
9/2/19 6:57 p.m.

Gas is currently cheaper than usual and the van was running low, so I filled it up tonight. I thought I'd let you all in on the process that is adding fuel to the van, because it's quite the process.

Step 1: open tailgate/hatch

Step 2: open passenger rear window

Step 3: remove three sheet metal screws from access panel above right rear wheel and remove access panel

Step 4: remove sheet metal screw holding filler neck in place

Step 5: bend filler neck down below sliding door track to get space to remove gas cap.

Step 6: run fuel nozzle into the back and insert upside down into fuel neck.

Step 7: add fuel, finally!

And as the manual always says, assembly is the reverse of removal. I got 18.7 mpg on this tank. Not bad for beating on it any chance I could get. The next autocross is the 15th. It's still a blast to drive around.


ShawneeCreek HalfDork
10/7/19 7:35 p.m.

I participated in the last autocross of the season on Sunday. It was on an airport runway with four slaloms and a turnaround. I had a couple of freakout moments when the van's weight transferred more than I expected, the front end gripped, the back end broke loose, and I was suddenly turning more than I expected. I nearly gave a course worker a heart attack when the van was pointed towards him after all of that. Thankfully for him I was already recovering and turning away.

A couple of other interesting cars were there too. First up was a McLaren MP4-12C in bright orange. He actually used launch control on his first run, not that it helped that much.

The other fun one was the G-Velle, complete with LS V8 power and 315/30R18 tires at all four corners.

Then today I loaded the remnants of a large deep freezer into the van and took it to the scrap yard. The operator was quite amused and impressed by it.

Wait until he sees me tomorrow with an entire stove in the back. #RaceVanLife

In less happy news, the insurance for the van runs out next Tuesday. And I decided a while ago that I was getting rid of the van when that happened this fall. Whether that means selling it as a complete vehicle or parting it out and scrapping the remnants, it has to go. It's just not very practical (despite the above evidence at the scrap yard), not safe, insurance is expensive here in Michigan, and I've got other projects to get to.

It... makes me sad. I've put a lot of my heart and soul into this van. Massive body swap. Paint job on the trailer in the hotel the parking lot. Soccer Mom Class Champion. Epic eagle and stars paint job complete with pin striping. "Sponsor" stickers and banana bread bribes for the concours. Competitor's Choice. 2nd in the Concours. Longest Drive (1,143 miles). Helping me get my dream job. It's been quite the journey since November of 2015 and I'm sad for it to end. But, end it must.

Much like a pet with special needs or a disability, to be sold as a complete vehicle the van needs to find the right home. If any of you are interested in buying it, let me know in the next week here on the thread or by email (my username plus ".racing" at Gmail). If I don't have any interest by the time the insurance expires then I'm going to move on to plan B, part-out.

The engine and transmission should be worth a bit, especially to a Fiero owner. The seats and wheels are still decent. And I'm sure there are a few other things of value in there. Then I want to cut off the entire driver's side of the van and mount it on the garage wall for a while, you know, as art. If anyone here is interested in any of that, I could likely deliver it to you at the Challenge (or anywhere reasonably between Saginaw, MI and Gainesville, FL) as we're spectating this year and will have some extra space in the car on the drive down.

Ugh. I'm going to be a little sad until it's over. Stupid, perfect, ridiculous, flawed racevan.


Patrick MegaDork
10/8/19 8:09 a.m.

Do the garage art thing then buy a fiero to put the engine/trans into

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/8/19 8:14 a.m.

If i could figure out how to use the 3900 in place of my 3400 without having to reengineer everything....

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