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  • Member Spotlight: 68Cadillac

    Greetings Flat4! This is the first, of hopefully many, installments of a little corner in our club dedicated to all the unique and exciting people and projects that happen in the Flat4 community. As many of you know, our club is flowing with great people and even better projects, so deciding to explore further into them for the sake of literature only seemed natural. In fact, the biggest problem is really where to start! After some internal deliberation and some ideas, my first instinct was to cover a story on someone who truly does amazing work with mechanics. Not only a great mechanic, but someone who has proven to himself and others, the dedication required to master his vehicle in all things: the proverbial, "driver mod", if you will. My instincts lead me to one of our members known as 68Cadillac, or as his friends call him, Rasmus.

    On a personal level, I have known Rasmus for, roughly, the past 6 years. And the first time I met him - I doubt I'll ever forget. The poor guy was trying desperately to balance the happiness of his family and feed his urge for spirited driving on a group drive we had to Death Valley. Rasmus was all smiles that day, as he and I shook hands and spoke briefly - I could see the slightly nervous faces of his family under the guise of pleasantry as they prepared to descend from the mountain after the climb up to Zabriskie Point. It wasn't until we had reached the bottom did I hear the radio chatter about the white wagon pulled over due to some child sickness in the back seat. Apparently, our friend Rasmus let his urges get the better of him. But really who could blame him?

    Over the years Rasmus has shown to be a great person with a lot of knowledge, and most importantly, he carries a huge love for Subarus and the community as a whole. Taking an active role in the SCCA for many years he's inspired a few members of Flat 4, including myself, to put our skills and motors to the track.

    Graciously, Rasmus allowed me to spend some time with him in his man cave over some sugar cookies provided by his daughter. Nothing more manly than cars, tools, and cookies.

    F4: When did you first join Flat4, and what brought you to the site in the first place?

    Rasmus: (thinking long and hard) Oh I remember now! The sticker. The original sticker -- the simplicity of it. It wasn't some skull and flames, or overdone logo. And I was like, "What is that? And how come so many of the [customized] Subarus in Vegas have it?" And then I finally found someone with the website on the sticker. I had a Subaru and I liked racing it - I was already part of the Sports Car Club of America, so [I was interested] in a local site with people I could hook up and connect with rather than Nabisco, where you were just talking to forum names. That's what got me to Flat4.

    F4: What made you buy a Subaru out of any car out there?

    Rasmus: Turbo. At the time there wasn't a lot of Turbo cars, and I knew what a turbo could do. That's it. Oh, and the All-Wheel Drive package. Having the ability to put down the horse power in an All Wheel Drive system in a street application made it very appealing.

    F4: Fair enough. Why the wagon?

    Rasmus: (looking incredulous) It's a wagon dude. You can haul art in it. (laughs) And at the time it was the sleeper effect. It was the station wagon with manual transmission and a turbo. You get the best of both worlds [also], if you beat someone great, but if you lost... you're a station wagon. No big deal!

    F4: Well, we know you love your Subaru and you also love to race. We know you have quite a few modifications done to your car, name your top 3 "favorites"!

    Rasmus: Weight Loss would be my favorite, but that would be a cumulative list of dozens of different, small, modifications. The largest of which would have to be the front U-frame removal and the lightweight battery. They really made a difference in how the car handles. The amount of mass I've removed from the car makes the car quick. You don't have to have a lot of engine or a lot of turbo, it just "goes." Not to mention it turns really quick and brakes really fast, it all just adds together. As for my 2nd favorite modification, for better overall driving feel, it would have to be the 3 main mounts; the engine mounts and the transmission mount. It was a marked difference between the slushbox that it felt like before with it's delay, maybe half a second, of pressing the throttle, and the car moving. It was great and made a huge difference in the way the car drove. And finally, sticky tires. It makes the the car brake faster and turn better. It's not so much of a flashy mod, but its honest to goodness one of the best things you can do to any car.

    F4: Any future plans for the Subaru?

    Rasmus: Nope. Right now, the Subaru is sitting pretty and looking good. I think I'm done spending money on [the Subaru] for modification purposes. We've got another (signaling air quotes) "Subaru" coming that will have a whole lot more to do. All the time, effort, and money will be going to that.

    F4: Those of us who have been around for a while know that you are an avid Autocross Racer. How did you get into that?

    Rasmus: I talked about it as a car guy since I was 18 years old "You build a car to autocross." But I never understood the level of skill that was needed. I always thought it was about the car, and I would show up and show all these old farts how to drive a car. But when you get out there, nothing's more humbling than driving in a 300 person event and placing 285th. And you realize, it's not the car: It's you. And you suck. And you don't know what you're doing - there's a whole 'nother level of skill. And instead of running and tucking my tail between my legs and calling everyone a cheater, I started changing me. I wanted to be a better driver. I just wanted to drive good like these guys; they could do things you would never even imagine. It's humbling when you go out on a course and where your best time is 53 seconds and you ask an experienced driver to drive your car, and they can beat your best time by 5 seconds having never driven your car before. Do it with Thomas (Author's note, F4 member: Optimus). Thomas can drive any car and you'll just be like "Whaaa...? Thank you Thomas, I'll try to upgrade.... me...."

    F4: It seems like you've taken a step back from racing as much as you used to, any plans to go back to racing full bore again?

    Rasmus: Yep. A lot of plans. And it'll get here with the 818. Once we get there, I'll be back driving again, perhaps not a leader but I will definitely be more active.

    F4: Are you going to be running on AutoX or a track?

    Rasmus: Both, it will be built to Autocross specs, but it will go to the track as a track day car. Not a as a wheel to wheel racer. If you do any wheel to wheel racing you have to treat the chassis as a disposable part. And ahhhh... no thanks.

    F4: Any words of advice to people who want to start Autocrossing but have never tried to before?

    Rasmus: Show up and go. Never go to an Autocross event just to see it. Make sure all of the loose stuff is out of your car and just go. Watching an Autocross, after the first fifteen minutes, is boring, because you're not in it. You should have done it. Really, just go without any experience, but just try to be safe and come to terms with the fact that you're going to suck. You will be outclassed so badly, that you will have an 87-year-old woman out drive you. I've had that happen. Because she knows what she's doing. Check out lvrscca.org and scca.com for more information.

    F4: Not only are you into Subarus, as your name implies, you've got one big, bad boat of a Cadillac. What's the story behind her?

    Rasmus: I was honestly looking for one for what I like to call the "cathedral headlights". The pontiac GTO from the 60's era borrowed the top and bottom style of these headlights from Cadillac. I had seen a '65 Cadillac with those headlights that just projected out and they looked so dangerous to pedestrians and the rest of humanity. They were completely unsafe, and I wanted one! So, I was driving out to a work thing one day in Peoria, AZ, and on the side of the road was the '68 Cadillac: $2000 obo. So I "obo'd" it, and got it. She had never been wrecked.

    F4: You have a pretty lengthy build thread on the boards which has shown us some pretty awesome custom frame work. What's next?

    Rasmus: The body goes on, then it's looking into clearance problems. After body modifications then it's a dual phase of both building the motor and making it reliable. Basically putting money into the engine to make it drivable but not building it to be a drag monster. Then after that - chopping the top.

    F4: Now, of all the crazy custom cars and kit cars available, why did you choose the 818?

    Rasmus: The weight is right and I'm familiar with Subaru technology, so it will keep me in the Subaru community, which is great. I've got about 80% of the bolts memorized in reference to what size they are and where they go. The wiring harness and programming the ECU isn't intimidating, either. It's that lower center of gravity that you can get with the boxer engine rather than a Honda inline 4 or a V8, which at that point you're talking porsche transaxles, who's got $12k for that?

    F4: Can you explain the 818 for people who don't know exactly what it is?

    Rasmus: The 818 is [from] Factory Five Racing (link here) who are famous for their Cobra replicas. So famous in fact, they are no longer allowed to use the Cobra name. They actually made a better Cobra then Shelby - and were subsequently sued. In any case, it [818] is their latest kit car that uses a single Subaru Impreza donor. It can be any donor, with the exception of the STi, because the transmission doesn't fit.

    F4: What was your most memorable moment with your Subaru?

    Rasmus: The first time I got top PAX at the local SCCA. For those not familiar with PAX, it's the handicap adjustment you make for certain cars. That way you can sort of compare your car to a sticky tired corvette ZR1. I knew there was no way I could have driven that course any faster. I was so excited I got out and ran around my car five times, and I knew no one could beat me. And I've never had a run like that since.

    F4: How does one get so badass wearing kilts and army boots?

    Rasmus: (laughs) That's a funny question. I think once you get to 40 years old, you don't care anymore. I do what I want, this is what I'm gonna do, and I don't give a f*ck. Note: Don't weld upside down in a kilt.

    I hope you all enjoyed the read and got a little insight from one of our more experienced and friendly faces around the car club. A big thanks goes out to Rasmus for allowing me the time to sit down and talk to him, so that I might in turn summarize and share his experiences with you, the viewer. Additional thanks to Nosmo for helping with coordination and Ivan for his fantastic photography. If you have an interesting story or project you'd like to share, feel free to send me a private message on the forums or email me at el.sarge@gmail.com. Thanks for stopping by.

    Written by: Sarge
    Photos by: idobref
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