Zach Zupancic

Zach Zupancic

Senior Designer, SolidWorks addict, AutoCAD zealot, Cyclist, Shade Tree Mechanic, & moderately tall. 

A harking to the past, pop bellies, and bicycles.

It has been quite some time since I have actually thought about the goings on of past lifestyles, pseudo-lifestyles, and a great pair of clacking leather soled shoes. All of these things have come at my mind tank at the speed of a northern bullet and settled itself inside like a warm kitten before I realized that it existed. Due to my lack of work, and no longer having the needs/demands of another bearing down on me, I have had a chance to watch a few movies, reinvest some time into cars, and think about riding my bicycle.

One of these movies in particular has sparked much thought and emotion, “Love of the Beast.” The movie is a documentary on Eric Bana's life, trial, tribulation, and friends that surrounded him and his Ford Falcon XB. The documentary is amazing; the cinematography, the sound, and even the dialogue gives even the non-car buff a reason to smile. For me, this made me instantly yearn for those days with my 7. So what is a boy to do? Easy. start looking for a project car... something simple, smog exempt, classy, has the possibility for spirited driving, and above all soul. Not an easy task in the least... and lest not forget that it also has to be something that looks good parked on the side of the house.

So what of looks? Let’s use some good old fashioned human interaction and fashion to help narrow the type of the project that needs to be built. Let’s use the concepts from above: simple, class, spirited, and soulful, in an attempt to help define what car I am looking for.

Simple... easy enough to say and to articulate, but is one of the harder things to do well. One wrong decision, or execution, can lead to the utter destruction of it. When it comes to men’s fashion, and in my opinion, all suits must be tailored to fit the personality. While there may be seasons to fashion, it is a timeless act to get something tailored to you. I am under the persuasion that the jacket sleeves be a bit short and well fit, pants should be fitted to the leg with extra care taken to the knee. This concept of tailoring will never hold true to everyone. Let’s look at these two people that Scott Schuman, via, has photographed to illustrate this point.

While I prefer the fit and cut of the blue suit, the look and presentation of the camel coated boxer is nothing to wag a finger at. This same aspect can be applied to a car; and in all actuality can be summed up all but a few words... no crazy electronics. There is nothing flashy about what either of these men are wearing, both are dressed simply. After all why would you want to be dependent on electronics, or accessories to make yourself acceptable?

Class... to be honest I had no idea how I was to best use this to describe a car that hasn’t already been done thousands of times over, but thanks to a fleeting comment by a mate I knew it was the best way to do so. Can you see yourself getting out of the car in something that the sartorialist would like and not get weird looks for doing so? For example it would be hard for me to get my mind around someone getting out of an EF hatch, wearing a finely tailored suit. After the initial sight I would be all for it, but that first glace would make my mind stutter. Actually I lie, the mate mentioned above does that everyday and it doesn’t phase me anymore, but the idea still stands. While the car doesn’t have to exude class; it does, however, have to have the ability to present itself in a manner of understated elegance.

Spirited... spirited cars are not considered fast by most people standards. A 1964 Mini Cooper is spirited, but not fast. A 1970 Dodge Challenger is fast, but not spirited. This is to say that it is more focused on the turns of the mountain road than to the flats of the highway. I personally am not looking to win any races in this car but it should give me great pleasure no matter how and where I drive it. This, in turn, leads to the idea of a sub-200 horsepower car that doesn’t break the scales on a weigh in.

Soul... this, like the idea, is intangible. It has to draw you in with a blink, and keep you by its side with its voice. It has to be a chore, heartache, pain, sadness, hope, love, charity, orgasms, peace, destruction, and happiness rolled up into a Katamari. Without that pain and sorrow that comes with it, you can never really feel the pleasure that it gives you; it becomes something that you sit in and take you from point A to B, instead of something that takes you on a journey.

So is there really a car out there that can give this all to me? Nope. This type of thing doesn’t exist, and it never will. But is that going to stop me from trying to find it? Nope. Like almost every passion for every person, one will never be satisfied. There is something more that we crave out of it, something more that we want, and for someone to STOP PLAYING COLDPLAY every frikken time that drive to or from a place of remembrance or vivid thoughts. Then again... I like how it destroys my concentration every time they come on. No matter how many times I hear them all the sorrows and pleasures of the past flood in; but I digress…

With the acceptance that I will never be able to find this perfect car to last me a lifetime of joys and pain, I still can’t help but think about what may be. I have been fumbling though the idea of designing my own chassis and using a donor car to make it a reality, but that costs a pretty penny. The option is still there though, and who knows with some fancy CADD work it can lead to something incredible. Is the perfect car, a car? The other option is to take off a thousand pounds of and a couple wheels and build up a motorcycle. Would a motor on 2 wheels give me the pleasure that a car can give? If I am looking for a weekend rider and a mountain cruiser it works, but there is something to love about the car lifestyle. After all motorcycles are for lazy cyclists… so why wouldn’t it appeal to me, heh.

Well I have just been to Jersey and back, so let’s get back to the concept of my original point. If there is a perfect car out there what would it be? There was one idea for the possible future car that I left out from the above, and that it has to be fit. While I was an obese kid, driving around in a fat car was easy. The FC is the fatty, touring car of the Rx7 bunch. However now that I am in a much fitter state, and looking to further that, I need something that reflects that. After all, if the hipsters are getting a bit tubby in retaliation to our amazing president Barrack Obama, I am going with him in the pursuit of fitness. This idea taken from an article in the NY Times; ()

I am a rotary kid at heart, and really want to keep it that way. But finding a car that fills this requirement really puts a lock down on the possibilities; thus I will put that as a secondary thought.

If I may, I am going to finally start throwing some concepts out.

Strangely enough the first on my list doesn’t follow any criteria that I have for this project. The Subaru 2.5RS is fat, quite large, the chassis is loose, there really isn’t much room for sartorialism, and the class of the car is only tied to either the dirt or asphalt.

S 2.5

None-the-less I really like this car. The idea of deciding to turn off the road and take the road never traveled on is quite fun. To further its point it is non-turbo, which will forever make the traditional Subaru tuner pout a bit. The only issue is that it will only be a track car; rather it would only be fun when pushing it to the limit. This car will always hold a place in my heart for one image alone. When I was, oh, 17 or so, Keiichi Tsuchiya did a back to back comparison between the prototype bug-eye GD wrx and the GC wrx. The bug eye was faster by far, but the fun to be had with the GC was much greater.

Following the GC there is the classic, fantastic, and sleek lifestyle of the 240z.

D 24z

This is one of those rare cars that fit so many of the criteria that is makes me sick. Since its birth it was an instant success in both the tarmac and rally courses. I had a chance to buy one a couple weeks back, but choose not to due to it already being modified to someone else's dream, as well as the rust that was prevalent. I may have well have missed out on an amazing deal, but it doesn’t bother me too much. There will be more. The 240z is a car that I could see pulling up, having a well dressed man get out of and no one would really question his decisions in life.

The only rotary powered vehicle that will be attached with this list is the 7 that started it all; The SA/FB Rx7.

M 1 7

I am drawn to this car for its engine, and what it did for rotaries. While I hate to admit it, the first generation Rx7 is much better car than its next reincarnation, the FC. Like the 240z, the first gen Rx7 is quite simple, and semi-purpose built. Even though I love rotaries this car doesn’t rank as high as the 240z. It may just be the lines of the car, but there is something about the SA/FB that doesn’t make it as beautiful, or appealing, as the 240z.

THE roadster that re-ignited the trend of driving a go-cart on the streets, the Mazda Miata.


While this car does have the stereotype of being a "chick car" it has a lot of things that make it quite fantastic. It doesn’t have the class of the 240z, nor does it have the presence of the GC; but what it lacks in both it makes up with overall fun. Another major plus is the cost of upkeep and modification will keep this car well below the rest; which is a quite neat.

These are also a group of cars that must be looked at as one. This is due to both their rarity, as well as their overall styling. The Austin Healey Bug-eyed sprite, Triumph Spitfire, Triumph TR6, and cars of the like; i.e. British Convertible Roadsters


These cars reek of class. Leather gloves, wood Nardi steering wheel, white scarves, some driving goggles, and a picnic basket. Even though these cars are reeking of class they also reek of wiring issues. This is a small price to pay for what happens when you sit in one of these cars. There is also another lingering factor that I have yet to test... and that is do I fit? Am I too tall to fit within these tiny cars? If worse comes to worse there is nothing that you can’t fix with some cutting and welding.

If any of the few of you that actually read this blog, can think of other cars that would possibly fit into what I am looking for don’t hesitate to make suggestions. But lets make them reasonable, while it would be fantastic to own a Porsche 914/6, 928, 944, or Ferrari Daytona; there is a rare chance that one could find one for a decent price.

-till next time