Editorial: Why Wagons?

This post is written in first person, as it’s a different narrative than the regular chronicle of events at SkunkRennWerks.

To me, the wagon forms a perfect combination of elements that make up a great car. You have the size, performance, and styling of a performance sedan; combined with the cargo and people capacity of an SUV or truck. The current trend shows wagons are big, wagons are in, wagons are cool again. Take this smattering of shots from the OUSCI photo gallery, which spans generations and continents for its wagon collection:

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I’m not a wagon newcomer, I was born into it. I cut my teeth real early on the wagon trend. My dad, Cryptic Father, started me on wagon path early, with his fox-based wagons. He swapped Mustang drivelines, suspension, and interior comforts into Fairmont and LTD wagons. This was before the internet and way before I could drive, so I grew up around these projects and had many a road trip in the back of a wagon.

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When I turned driving age, I had stewardship over the beige 1984 LTD wagon in the picture above, and I loved the 5.0 V8 power and ample room for friends and parts. I did (and still do) have affairs with non-wagon platforms, but I keep coming back to the staple that the wagon format.

When I met Shelby, she was shocked when I was quite taken with her family’s former shop project, an e39 wagon with a supercharger and loads of AC Schnitzer goodies. Seems Cryptic Father wasn’t the only one with hot rod wagon dreams running through his head.

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So it was a natural choice when we bought our first joint car, the e46 wagon I now race. And when the #stealthbomber needed to leave, what could replace it, but another wagon? Of course, this is different than any wagon I’ve owned, with AWD, 6-speed manual, and a boxer engine to boot. But it has already been a thrill and finally having off-pavement capabilities has been quite addicting.

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So with the question being “Why wagon?”, I’ll always reply back “Why not?”

 

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

A lot has happened since our last update. The garage has been busy as hell at SkunkRennWerks and the lineup has changed. Let’s dive into it.

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From a racing perspective, while we love the #Stealthbomber, it wasn’t a great fit for the household, and with a certain 1988 Mustang lurking like a specter in the shadows, the Bomber wasn’t long for our stable. Upon discussing the car’s fate among friends, a fellow Mustang enthusiast jumped at the opportunity to continue the legacy.  A deal was struck and our S197 Mustang went off to a new home in November.

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What is the next racecar? We would be silly to say we won’t race again. Our daily driver BMW e46 Wagon has been given the go-ahead on becoming the new race vehicle for SkunkRennWerks, and the moniker #racewagon has been adopted. Look for a future post on the history of our little wagon that could.

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In addition to the #racewagon, we’ve replaced the Bomber with something a lot more practical. Something that can go off-pavement and haul a lot of stuff. Something from across the Pacific.

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Yep, we just went full wagon. We picked up this 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 6MT with a little under 50k miles in late November. Packaged in a pretty Azurite Blue Pearl, along with an Ivory interior, this wagon is our go-anywhere do-anything solution. In typical SkunkRennWerks fashion, we wasted no time in heading off the beaten path with it, venturing up Nate Harrison Grade to Palomar Mountain Observatory for Black Friday.

1/31/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

The second event of the San Diego region was quite the wet one! Rain throughout the day with spectacular conditions for our first 3 runs. The Bomber was set up in the “new” street configuration, running -1° camber and zero toe on the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R 275/35/18 tires on Rotiform 18×10.5 ET45 wheels. While we brought the equipment to switch to track configuration, the rain dampened our spirits enough to prevent such adjustments. We did, however, take some time for glamour shots with Team BMO.

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CAM-C had a strong showing with five total entrants. Joining the Stealth Bomber was a 2015 Mustang V6 Coupe (driven by Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport fame), a 2001 Roush Mustang, 1998 Mustang Cobra, and a 2013 Camaro SS. The course was on the west lot with two river crossings due to the rain. This meant it was a rare windows-up driving experience! The event was a flury of activity with two cars overheating and a CAM-S truck losing both rear wheels due to stud failure.

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A wet course and 200tw tires gave us pause, but the RE-71R’s performed amazingly well, unlike any performance tire we’ve experienced in the wet. Luckily, the course dried out for our fourth and final run, resulting in a 60.953+1, placing us mid-podium in second, while the 2015 V6 Mustang put down a clean 59.775 for first. Rounding out third was the 2001 Roush Mustang with a 61.368. Competition across the board was close, with the slowest time coming in at 62.148. Our CAM-T contemporaries lost this round of the CAM battle with a fastest time of 60.080. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Bridgestones perform under dry conditions and full camber.

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