It is pretty crazy to think about all that has happened this year.  Mostly the first half of the year, at least as the car is concerned.  It was this time last year that I decided to try, blindly I might add, a track day at NOLA Motorsports park.  At the time, I had a filter, an ECU tune, and a lightweight crank pulley on the car.  I also had changed out all the fluids (brake, oil, transmission, and differential) with what I felt was upgraded fluids (sure cost like an upgrade).  I still get goosebumps when I think about how much fun I had on that weekend.

There were some pictures taken of the car and upgrades to the car between that weekend in February and the weekend that I spent at NOLA again in July.  And that was the last time that I wrote in this blog (sorry about that).  Again, it left me smiling ear to ear, eager to get back out there again as soon as it was possible.  Come to think of it, I didnt upload any of the track-day pictures that were taken.  I went with 2 friends, one with a car and one with a camera.  For the low low price of…a $200 zoom lens..(split 3 ways)..I had my own photographer for the whole weekend.  I am sure most of you have seen the best pictures, so I will try to add those and some others here in the next couple days.  Anyway, it went great and I learned a lot once again.

Unfortunately, the rest of the year has been far more difficult and less interesting than I had hoped.  I have had one upgrade that I havent covered, and the rest of the year was quiet (ish…read below).  That upgrade (if you desire to call it that) was changing out the stock front pipe for a Berk Cat-less Test Pipe.  A fellow FRS/BRZ owner traded his armrest (which isnt stock on these cars) for it, but really had no need for the new pipe. So I purchased it off him for about half the normal asking price. Image

The picture is a little odd, but imagine the engine is on the left.  For those who know nothing about cars, it flows from the engine, through the header, over pipe, front pipe, mid pipe, muffler, and finally out the back of the car.

The install was relatively easy, though some of the exhaust bolts were a bit stiff and took some time (and extra WD-40) to get loose.  There was a bit of shielding that also had to come off, which was around the catalytic converter that had been there.  It was a little twisting and turning puzzle, but in the end, it came out too.  And ultimately, the job took about 30-45 minutes from start to finish.  The result was a slightly louder exhaust note, but no real difference. It rumbles more when it first starts up, but usually quiets down after a few minutes.

In other news, the Opticoat coating that I had put on the car is still doing its magic nicely.  It seems to bead up really easily with just a quick wash and for the most part the car has completely avoided any chips in the paint.  Bugs are a little harder to get off now than they were before, but that might have something to do with the work that I had done on the front bumper this year.  In any case, less than 2 hours work and the whole inside and outside of the car shines.  The car now has over 25k miles on it, for 18 months of ownership.  I still cant walk away from it without looking back and smiling a little bit.

Also of note, we had a Pensacola area meetup for FRS/BRZ owners, and I am proud to say that we managed to get 12 owners in one location.  McGuire’s Irish Pub worked great for lunch, and then we hung out and took some pictures in a local parking garage that was otherwise empty.  That is a record for the area, beating the previous record of 8 cars at a Destin meetup.  Hopefully we can continue to grow and get more and more cars out at our monthly meets.1512734_10202111263037376_583218355_n (1)

All in all, 2013 was a great year from a car perspective.  I have learned a lot, enjoyed a lot, and cant wait to see what the future brings.  I hope to return to the track at least 3 times in 2014, but we will see if life will allow that.  Thank you for reading and have a happy new year.