This article comes directly from my garage.
There's no comfy home office for me because of rearrangement of furniture and cleaning of carpet. There is something good about writing an article about cars in your garage, though. Maybe this change will improve the material. You can be the judge.
During the cleaning of my desk I found some interesting things from the past. One thing I found was a folder of stuff from a company called Worx Environmental Products. I met these guys at the SEMA/AI Show last year and they were good enough to give me some samples for the garage. Then they sent me some more samples and asked for my opinion.
Well, sorry for the delay, guys, but Worx works. In fact, it is probably one of the best hand cleaners I have ever used.
You don't really think too much about hand cleaners on a day-to-day basis. I have used almost a whole bottle of this stuff with great results and never thought much about it.
Worx is a green powder hand cleaner with a slight pine smell to it. The way I use it is to first rinse my hands with warm water, then work the Worx hand cleaner in. Rinse it off with water and you're done.
So far it's been able to handle the normal things I get into working around the house and in the garage. Worx handles everything. All the rest of my hand cleaners are moving out or going to the yard sale.
Here is the big bonus for this product that even Worx Environmental doesn't talk about. You know, guys (and some girls), how your significant other complains after you use hand cleaners in the home sink? Hand cleaners leave a film. Most of the jelly types are the worst.
After you start working the Worx into your hands, the excess falls off in the sink. Then after you rinse your hands some more of this powdered hand cleaner remains in the sink. After drying your hands with a paper towel, use the same towel to wipe out the sink and the Worx left behind will clean out the grease. Clean hands, clean sink, happy wife, happy life.
It is probably worth mentioning that it is seldom noticed when you clean up a mess you have made. But it is always noticed when you don't.
The International Auto Salon in Los Angeles was an interesting event for me. This sport compact market is getting huge. It is obvious to this writer that this is the future of performance marketing.
Most of the aftermarket suppliers are also on board. Companies like Edelbrock are designing intake and exhaust for the market. Mazda Speed is offering their performance accessories. Vortec has their superchargers and BF Goodrich, Toyo and Yokohama are all there with tires.
How about those automobile manufacturers? They know that the sport compact market is where the action is. Dodge, Honda, General Motors, Nissan and Ford all were well represented at the show. Ford, at the IAS Show, had a garage set up including a floor lift as they demonstrated the installation of their aftermarket parts.
There were a lot of other diversions at this show including sound and video but the theme was all "Fast and Furious 2."
Brute acceleration, enhanced handling and customer accessories were shown.
Let's review the performance of some of these machines versus the old standard U.S. muscle cars. For comparison I chose a Mopar Hemi, 898 horsepower in a (you guessed it) 1964 Belvedere. Its best performance: 9.29 seconds in the quarter mile.
First contender: a 1992 Acura NSX 3.2 liter 290 horsepower. Quarter mile time: 13.6 seconds.
How about a 2002 Honda LS-2000 2.0 liter, 360 horsepower? It goes through the quarter mile in 13.1 seconds.
A Nissan Skyline with a 2.6 liter engine does the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds.
On June 6, 2003, "2 Fast 2 Furious" will present a 1994 Toyota Supra that makes 654 horsepower and goes through the quarter in 11.9 seconds.
The 898 horsepower hemi Plymouth is king for going in a straight line. The Acura, Honda, Nissan, and "Fast and Furious" Toyota will also corner and have better driveability.
In summary, the automotive aftermarket needs a boost and it is this writer's opinion that the sport compact vehicle is the ticket for new business.
I really don't want to admit how long I have been involved with the performance automotive aftermarket — let alone how long I have been working on cars. I can remember, however, one year that SEMA seemed to be a bit upset about some of the models in the booths at the Las Vegas show.
I have noticed over the years at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas that slowly but surely the number of booth girls has been decreasing. At the IAS Show the girls were back. Some were dressed as angels with wings and others in a thong. I took some pictures that I hope the Booster editor will print.
Springtime is a perfect time for cruising. The sport compact crowd has their own cruise. It is called Hot Import Nights and it is getting to be a huge event.
You probably won't see me trading in the '63 Plymouth for a Honda, but after the IAS Show I have a respect for what can be done to one.
The automotive aftermarket is alive and well.
Originally published in the June/July 2003 Automotive
Copyright 2003 by KAL Publications Inc.
Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.