Past Members of My Stable

Since founding Palatov Motorsport in 2008 I stopped keeping individual blogs for my road cars (the F150 was the last of those blogs) but the ones linked below are a record of what led up to it.

'06 Ariel Atom V8 - The project took over 3 years and has been a very valuable experience, achieving what I set out to do (test the Hartley V8 engine) and handily beating the 'factory' to the punch. I met some great people, had a lot of fun (along with more than a fair share of frustration and expense but I don't regret any of it :). The new owner got a screaming car and a screaming deal. I know he'll have fun.

'08 Ford F150 - A great workhorse which even managed to do pace car duty on track a few times. For what it is, an excellent machine. Eventually replaced with an E150 van which better suited our needs.

'08 Subaru WRX - Bought as a daily driver with occasional track duty in mind, the Rux excelled at the former and came up short in the latter in its stock form. Not wanting to mess with modifications on top of everything else we have going, we've resigned to it being just transportation. Reliable, comfortable, reasonably efficient and with a bit of a punch to it from the turbo but not really a standout.

'96 Ducati 900SP - Of all the vehicles I've owned I've held on to the 900 the longest - over 13 years. It has seen 20 other cars and bikes come and go. Only managed to put on 10K miles in that time but some were quite memorable, including a trackday at Laguna Seca and a 1,600 mile treck from Southern California to Oregon along the coast.

'06 Ducati PaulSmart - This one was bought with the intent of keeping it as livingroom art - and that's exactly what I did with it, putting only about 600 miles on this Duc in the nearly four years I've had it. Some may say it's a waste but honestly, the enjoyment I've gotten out of looking at it every day has been totally worth it to me. The bike really has been an artwork in the truest sense and an inspiration in many ways. Eventually though, other priorities prevailed and I chose to part with it. I'm happy for having owned this machine.

'06 MINI Cooper S - It has been a great part of the stable. DarkHelmet helped M progress from a track novice to advanced driver and has taught me a lot as well. It's a very enteretaining device and the 20K miles we've put on this car have been very fun indeed. I continue to be very impressed with this car and how good a job BMW did with it. Never an issue, never a complaint, the MINI humbled much more expensive machinery at the track and took all the hard work in stride. Our goals have changed over time and M is ready for a track car that is more demanding so in the Spring she will have another track toy. This one has served us very well.

'99 Ducati 748 - A great machine, very capable and fun - not to mention drop-dead gorgeous, a beauty that hasn't faded one bit in 10 years I've had her. Well, unless you count the crash damage but that isn't the bike's fault. But the sad reality is that we just have too much going on to put the bike back together and restore her to a condition she deserves. I hope the new owner will get it done.

dp1 prototype test and development log - Entries detailing track tests of the 4-cylinder prototype and the evolution of the v8 powered design based on the lessons learned from the proto.

'08 Lotus Exige 240S - This was never ment to be a long-term relationship, just something to fulfill the curiosity and answer the long-standing question, is this incarnation of the Elise platform really my dream Lotus? - Yes, it turns out that it is. If I had enough room in my life right now for a car like this I'd keep it. But other projects await and I still get to play with this one every now and then.

'00 MBA 125 Shifter kart - For as little as I used this little beastie I learned a lot. In pure engineering terms a kart is an abomination. But it is a very highly evolved and deceptively sophisticated critter. It is extremely effective, getting 2g lateral cornering with no downforce (and no suspension!). Like the Porsche 911 it clearly demonstrates that with enough development, fundamental faults can be turned to advantages and if you're willing to accept some compromises a lot of performance can be achieved with seemingly very little. That said, its job in my stable is done. I'm very glad to have had the experience and what I've learned has already showed up in some of my designs. This trend will continue.

dp1 prototype build log - Another set of entries for the dp1, this one detailing the process between first assembly steps and first drive under its own power. It took a little over a year and a lot of emotional energy and resouces. But I got it done. The test/development log picks up from here.

'05 Scion xB Also known as the Box (or Toaster, to corner workers at PIR). A very entertaining device. Surprised a lot of fancy machinery in the corners on the track. To date it's the only four-wheel device which I have photographic proof of two-wheeling. I learn something with every vehicle I experience and this one was no exception. I'm better for having spent a year with it.

'06 BMW M5 An amazing car. I never expected a 4,000 lb sedan to be this agile and this fast. Or this fun. Certainly learned a thing or two in our short time together. But, ultimately, the Monster is too big and too complex for me. Not my kind of car - which didn't stop me from having a blast with it! Now, on to the next adventure :)

'05 Lotus Elise The second incarnation of the Elise was a great learning experience. More of a 'real' car than the first, it also was lacking some of the edge and the uniqueness. It was no more practical a car, ultimately. Fun, no doubt. I learned a lot from owning and driving it. Some great memories :) But then it was time to move on. Change is good.

dp1 design log - OK, so this is not a real vehicle log as such, but it does detail nearly three years of effort in taking the dp1 from a concept and a napkin sketch to a complete design ready for assembly and test. It is more of a phase in my life than just a project, really. An ultimate (to me) form of self-expression. The build log that is linked from the home page continues the story from about the same point that the Westie diary started (see below). The set of entries here documents all that led up to it.

'04 Yamaha R1 - This bike is amazing both for how unbelievably fast it is and how docile and usable it manages to be at the same time. Just tooling around one easily forgets that it's a 379lb, 180hp machine. Open it up though and the reality hits you with full force but never scares you. I've learned a great deal from owning and riding this beast. It's been a short but intense relationship.

'03 MINI Cooper S - Great little machine. Circumstances dictated that I part with it, with much reluctance. Its web record testifies to how much fun we've had together. But, true to my core philosophy, when the going gets tough the most practical vehicles go and toys stay - so for the moment I'm down to one Lotus and two Ducatis (don't try this at home!). I'll have another MINI someday.

'01 Westfield Megabusa - Having built the Beast it was especially tough parting with it. I certainly learned a lot in the process of both building and using this machine, and much of that will be reflected in the dp1. So in this regard the Westie will stay with me for a while to come. This web record of our time together is there as a reminder. I hope the new owner has as much fun with it as I did. Godspeed.

'00 Lotus Elise S190 - The Elise was proof that I can do the impossible. The car couldn't be imported, and even if one did sneak into the country it couldn't be driven or insured. Also at the time I couldn't afford one. None of that mattered. I did it anyway. Looking through the web pages and videos it is clear that owning and driving the Elise has truly enriched my life during the four years I had her. But in the end, change is the only constant...

'01 BMW M Coupe - I had originally hoped to keep this one indefinitely. But sometimes achieving goals (the dp1 project in this case) calls for sacrifices. I'll defnitely miss this car.

'01 BMW 325i - Great car. Comfortable, practical, fun, and even inexpensive. Euro delivery was an experience I'll remember for a long time. I was in the process of regrouping and trimming my life to bare essentials. So all the toys stayed, and all the practical cars had to go.

'00 Ford Focus ZX3 - named 'Pumpkin'. A cool transportation device with surprisingly good road manners. Hard to beat for the price. As a result of some self-inflicted changes in my life I found myself with too many vehicles. This one was the easiest to let go of.

'99 BMW M Coupe - named 'Critter'. An absolute blast to drive, my first real performance car. Got me started on track days. Sold it to get the Elise, but eventually missed it enough to buy another one. This car really marked a turning point in not only my vehicular collection but life in general (the former is only a manifestation of the latter anyway). M Coupes inspire enthusiasm, so it is not surprising that the new owner has a web site for it.

'78 Lotus Esprit project - I've actually owned it twice. Never seen it run. The second time I bought it back to make a track car out of it. That was until I saw it again and remembered just how much work it would take (this realization directly led to my decision to buy the Elise). Hope the new owner has what it takes to make the car run again. The Esprit made me promise to myself never to buy a decrepid project car again, even as a toy. One of these years I'll buy a fully restored example just to have one.

'96 Isuzu Rodeo - named 'Chunky'. Pretty good vehicle, for what it is. 5-speed and 200hp V6. Got it because the Isuzu dealer offered me the best lease, and I needed a vehicle in a hurry having just laid down the new Ducati (which I still own) that had been my only transportation for several months. I drove it like a sports car and it didn't complain too much - in stark contrast to some of my passengers (there are people who will not get in a car with me after just one ride in the Isuzu). The Rodeo carried all the belongings I cared to bring when I moved from California to Oregon. Returned it at lease end.

'93 Ducati 900SS - My first brand-new exotic dream machine. I remember at stoplights people would walk over from the curb to ask me about it. It was all that. My pocketbook at the time wasn't, and I sold it when I needed the cash. Loved it though, and bought another one as soon as I could afford it.

'91 Isuzu Stylus XS - named 'Slinky'. Fun sports sedan. Well styled, well engineered, well put together. Had Lotus suspension and even nifty Lotus badges. Excellent handling and rare enough to keep people guessing what it is. Got it mostly for the first wife, the car left with her.

'91 Ford Festiva - The first spouse-mobile, to complement the '89. Wasn't nearly as good as the '89 though. Nasty motorized seatbelts, distorted windshield and less overall character. Only had it for 5 months.

'73 BMW 2002 - Bought it as backup transportation to the Yamaha and out of fond memories for the one I had before. A very tired example of the breed. Memories were better. This was the car that made me promise to myself never to buy a used vehicle for transportation again.

'90 Yamaha FZR-600 - My first bike ever. The kid that sold it to me was a real weasel, I hope Karma has caught up with him in due measure. Lied to me about everything. The bike had been raced before, and crashed a couple times. Bent frame, sand inside engine cases... I had been too naiive to notice at purchase time (shame on me I suppose). At some point I totally took the thing apart, had the engine redone, frame fixed and powder-coated, then put it all together. It ran and worked well. Bought for $4K, another $3.5K 'invested', sold for $3.5K. Typical.

'79 Mazda RX-7 - Cool car, purchased in really sad condition. Ran OK. Put an aftermarket exhaust on it and it got LOUD. Had to buy a different one. Car $1100, parts $800, sold for $700. Smart investment, huh. I think it went on to become a club racer.

'89 Ford Festiva - named 'Spot'. My first new car. Bought it with a credit card over lunch. Great personality, served me well for over seven years. It brought all of my belongings from Ohio to California. I went through a number of other vehicles while hanging onto this one. Finally gave it as a present to my kid brother, who destroyed it in a few months. Sad.

'83 Chevy Malibu Wagon - named 'Martha'. More competent than one would think. With low-profile performance tires suprised a LOT of people. Sold it to a relative who trashed it in short order.

'74 Lotus Europa Special (TC) - My dream throughout college. Upon graduation decided to stop dreaming and start doing. And learning, as it turns out. Hardly ever drove it, worked on it all the time. Changed chassis, suspension, rebuilt the motor (in the living room of my 18th floor apartment). Sold in pieces but somewhat operational nevertheless. Saw the car fully restored for sale in Autoweek years later, was tempted to buy it but restrained myself. Another car I will get in restored form when I have an excess of garage space and cash.

'74 BMW 2002 - my first Bimmer. Had quite a bit of fun with it. Came in second in a BMW club rally, and even that was only due to getting the bonus question at the banquet wrong - would have been first otherwise (out of 40-some cars). A few autocrosses and many donuts in parking lots. Eventually flipped it at 90mph. Got away with only a scratch, same couldn't be said of the car.

'81 Olds Cutlass Wagon - named 'Mr. Jaws'. This thing was a moving magnet. It had seven accidents on it when I bought it for $500 from a college roommate, and I added three more before it finally coughed up its tranny from too many drop-shifts. The grille was missing, and headlights were held in by tape. As was plexiglass covering the hole where rear glass used to be. The car came with a broken cue stick to prop up the hood because it wouldn't stay open. At night the sight under the hood was reminiscent of some sci-fi movie, with sparks sneaking everywhere from failing ignition wires. I painted shark teeth around the grille-less opening, hence the name. At some point the muffler fell off and I would say that now its bark is as bad as its bite. Had to feed it three quarts of ATF (administered at stoplights) to drive it under its own power to a junk yard. This was one mean, tough machine.

'79 Ford Fiesta - named 'Flea'. Great little machine. Served me well. Started autocrossing in this car. Blew up one engine, replaced it with another one in my mother's driveway, in the middle of winter, at night, with a table lamp for light, laying on my back in snow and ice. Had to drive it to work the next day (and did). This Fiesta was totaled when some idiot turned left from opposite direction directly in front of me. She then proceeded to pull into a parking lot, parked her car (now with a huge dent in the door), and walked into a store like nothing happened.

'74 (?) VW Super Beetle - My second car ever, and the first one I killed. I was rather rudely introduced to the lift-throttle oversteer characteristics of swing axle rear suspension, followed by the car's introduction to the guardrail. Sold the remains for $50, but while waiting for the buyer to pick it up was fined by the city $50 for keeping it in my mother's driveway.

'74 Fiat X1/9 - My first car ever, while still in high school. It was a victim of the incompatibility of mid-70's Italian manufacturing techniques and Midwestern winters with salt on the roads. The rust was amazing (or at least the fact that it still held together was). After picking it up, during the 40-mile drive home a rainstorm started and all the electricals slowly went away. First lights, then wipers... Finally upon pulling into the driveway the car died. It took me 3 months of tinkering to get it started again. I drove it less than 100 miles and sold it just before it finally disintegrated from terminal rot. Some day I'll find and buy a rust-free one just to know what they really drive like.