Site Update Log

Photos & videos that were added most recently to my gallery can always be viewed here.  But since that link will show them in an order that doesn't make sense, it's better to view photos through the separate links with each update listed below.

7/30/2016 - A recent track event revealed clearance problems between the Atom's rear lights and my new Keizer wheels.  New rear light assemblies were fabricated using more compact LED lights (photos here).  Since that project included more powdercoating, additional powdercoating photos were also added to that album.

4/29/2016 - Recent upgrades include the lowing: use of Keizer Kosmo wheels (10" front, 14" rear) with R25B Hooosier tires (photos here) for events, installation of stronger camber adjusters in A-arms (photos here), repaired/reinforced rear trim panel due to rear wing forces (photos here), added a transmission vent and installed hardened stainless roll pins in trans arms (photos here), and added a clear fuel filler tube (photos here).

Also added photos and video for the first autocross using the Keizer wheels which can be seen in the new wheel photo album above.

7/13/2015 - The Atom and I attended the Iola Car Show.  Met drag racing legend Don Garlits, and had Ryan Evans (painter on the History Channel show Counting Cars) sit in the Atom for a picture.  Check out the photos here.

The exhaust flex section developed several cracks recently and began to leak, so it was replaced with a V-band clamp which will be more durable.  Photos can be seen here.  Added a really smart self-cancelling signal module that was built and offered to the Atom community by a fellow owner (the stock toggle switch was not auto-cancelling).  Removed the stock Ecotec 2.0 oil pan and installed one from a 2.2 / 2.4.  Its design provides oil to the pickup better during very hard cornering.  Photos of those 2 items can be found here.

6/29/2014 - I'm back from the 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour after driving 3000 miles in 10 days, and I've finally had the time to get some of my photos on the site.  For the details, along with gallery of 175+ photos and video, click here.

Just prior to the Power Tour, I put a yellow vinyl wrap on the car and you can see photos from that process and the end result here. With that done, my buddy Jeff and I were on the road to TMI AutoTech in Alton Virginia for a tour of the current Atom factory (gallery here) as well as participation in the Atom Experience at Virginia International Raceway.  I've done plenty of track events, but this would be the first time for Jeff behind the wheel of an Atom on the track.  See my photo gallery here.

Even prior to that, the garage project gained a slightly-used 60 gallon air compressor (photos of the install here).

6/1/2014 - Removed the Cherry Bomb muffler and decided to try a Magnaflow.  They're polished stainless and look great, plus Magnaflow is one of the sponsors of the upcoming Hot Rod Power Tour event.  Since a muffler is not simply a bolt-on part on an Atom, you can see photos of the metal work required to fit it here.

10/1/2013 - I recently removed the Atom's rear fog and backup lamps which had deformed and broken due to vibration & heat.  A new aluminum panel was fabricated and you can see the photos here (start in album row 2).  Also made some changes to the cooling system, modifying the heater core bypass loop, switching to a lower-temp thermostat, and installing a bleed valve.  Photos of that work can be found here.

9/2/2013 - Finished installing a nice audio system in the other car (Lotus Exige), which I'd been working on for quite some time.  The car presents quite a challenge with NO room at all for equipment, and serious speaker placement limitations. Because of that, equipment selection and tuning was a challenge, but it was made much easier with use of an Alpine IMPRINT processor.  See the photos in the gallery here.

Had a custom heat exchanger made for the Atom which will cool the air better as it exits the supercharger.  It's got greater capacity and better cooling ability, and required way too much effort to fit into the space available.  Built a shroud out of fiberglass from scratch for the fan as well.  The end result was worth the effort as it turned out great.  See photos in the gallery here (they start with the last 2 on the page).

11/4/2012 - Did a lot of work on the interior of my garage lately - electrical, lighting, windows, insulation, paint, concrete, and a beautiful floor coating.  It makes spending time on my hobby much more enjoyable.  If you're interested, you can see pictures in my garage gallery.  Recent work starts with photo #11 titled ugly stained floor.

7/2/2012 - Added photos from recent work to the car.  I finally got the clutch off my kitchen table and into the car, but it was a heck of a time-consuming job since the engine had to come out to do it.  Made a shield (similar to my prior one) for my replacement Cherry Bomb Vortex muffler and applied a touch of custom paint work to the muffler's raised logo.  Also made & installed some headrest padding to prevent knocks to the head and scuffed helmets.

6/30/2012 - I'm back from the 2012 Hot Rod Power Tour after driving 3200 miles in 8 days, and I've finally had the time to get some of my photos on the site.  For the details, along with gallery of 260+ photos and video, click here.

6/2/2012 - Did a lot of work on the car recently in preparation for the 2012 Hot Rod Power Tour.  More details will be posted after the event (mid-June).

8/72011 - Took a few shots of the car with a rainbow in the background after driving through a rainstorm.  They're in the gallery here.  Replaced my Cherry Bomb Vortex muffler that had the fiberglass packing blow out unexpectedly.  Pics of the problem here (start at end of page).

5/2/2011 - Updated the site with a few projects I've had in-progress over a long winter: wider rear wheels and custom fender/mount fabrication, installation of vinyl wrap on the wings, installed coilover spring bearings.  More to come...

7/2/2010 - I've been back from the 2010 Hot Rod Power Tour for a few weeks and finally made my way through all of the photos.  You can see my album of 240+ photos and video clips from the event here.  This year's event traveled from Newton Iowa to Mobile Alabama and the 4th cross-country trip in the Atom.  It added 3088 miles to the odometer.  The week was quite the adventure - it was 55 degrees and raining when I left home, and close to 110 degrees upon arrival in Alabama later in the week.  Saw a lot of beautiful and uinque cars and said HI to quite a few people from Tours past.  It's always an enjoyable experience and I'm looking forward to doing it again in 2011.

6/6/2010 - Did several upgrades to the supercharger's cooling system (pics in gallery here) - installed a 2-pass endplate on the intake manifold (which manufacturer Brammo did not install when they should have), and swapped out the aftercooler pump for a better one off of a Mustang Cobra/Ford Lightning.

In preparation for the 2010 Hot Rod Power Tour, I've been working on a few sizeable changes to the car recently and you can see photos here: airbrushing skulls, fabrication of a front wing, fabrication of a rear wing, after all paint work & fab was completed.

1/11/2010 - Finished a few projects recently which are chronicled in my gallery - Palatov rear uprights and rod end replacement with a string alignment.  Took the car out of the garage on the coldest day of 2009 for a lap around the block and took some photos of that as well.  See the first two photos in my winter gallery.  Also stripped and powdercoated the rear pushrods that had tons of stone chips.

9/10/2009 - I recently took some photos of the Atom in a very remote wooded location near where I grew up in Wisconsin. No matter how far I've traveled, I don't think I've ever come across as beautiful a view. Only recently did I remember this spot from when I was a child and I'm glad I finally got around to taking pics of the Atom there.  View the album in my gallery HERE.  If you have a larger monitor (22" or greater), be sure to click the link on each album page to view the photo in full size for the best quality and resolution.

8/25/2009 - The 2009 Hot Rod Power Tour is covered in the October 2009 issue of Hot Rod Magazine.  They were kind enough to include a photo of me & the Atom in the magazine from the dragstrip in Bristol, TN.  Scans from the magazine can be viewed on the last page of my 2009 Tour gallery HERE (at bottom).

Also received a DVD of the 2009 Hot Rod Power Tour produced by Dave & Amy at ARS Promotions.  They were very kind and included several video clips of me & the Atom. See them here: Cherry Bomb's Matt Graves talking about my exhaust, Interview while unpacking the car in the rain, View of Bristol Speedway from the passenger seat.

6/20/2009 - I'm back from the 2009 Hot Rod Power Tour.  Just as I wondered how it could possibly be any better than last year, the trip surpassed it in every way.  A week spent with tens-of-thousands of other auto enthusiasts on a crazy cross-country road trip is a great way to spend a vacation.  Details with photos and video can be found HERE.

5/4/2009 -  Added photos of even more exhaust work (fabricated shield for Vortex muffler).

4/23/2009 - Added a few more questions to the FAQ page (painted panels & colors, and HP level). Added more photos of the airbrushing process.  Received a GM Performance Parts clutch, and I'll be documenting the clutch job in a new gallery here.

4/12/2009 - Finished one of the many winter projects on the list, and you can see the results in two new galleries: the airbrushing process, and green true fire paint job.  Added photos of even more exhaust work (Jet Hot coating, vortex conical insert, additional O2 sensor locations).  Added a few relevant quotes as well as another entry to the artists and craftsmen section of my About page.

3/3/2009 - Added a slideshow to the main page.  If you see any problems with it, please drop me a line.

2/23/2009 - Added a page with some fascinating history on Ariel and their prior vehicles.  Removed the stock supercharger pulley and installed a quick-change hub & lighter pulley.  Added photos of additional exhaust work, along with several other new improvements: hardened axle/hub spacers, rod end safety washers, and smaller mirrors (which can all be seen in the misc improvements gallery).  Also added a photo of what's under the hood/bonnet, and a shot of the bare Ecotec LSJ motor in the parts/misc gallery.  Added a few more links to some cool video and reviews.

10/25/2008 - Posted some photos and video from a HPDE/lapping event at USA International Raceway on 10/12/2008.  Added two albums to the photo gallery covering recent larger upgrades: brakes and exhaust.  Added some background on buying the car on the order/buying page, and also updated the stats page to reflect a handful of recent changes.

9/20/2008 - The Power Tour coverage in Hot Rod Magazine's November 2008 print issue includes a photo of my car and a nice and write-up.  Scans from the magazine can be seen in my gallery for the event HERE.

8/28/2008 - Added photos and video from an autocross at USA International Raceway on 8/17/2008.  Check out the in-car video from a very dusty spin.

7/5/2008 - Added more photos to my 2008 Hot Rod Power Tour gallery: day 3 summary video stills, long hauler group photo.

7/1/2008 - Added more links to other people's photo albums on my 2008 Hot Rod Power Tour page.

6/22/2008 - Added more links to other people's photo albums on my 2008 Hot Rod Power Tour page.  Got tired of having my signal bulbs keep rattling loose in their plastic sockets so I fabricated some steel sockets.

6/17/2008 - I'm back from the 2008 Hot Rod Power Tour and have had sufficient time to recover.  I had the best time of my life with tens-of-thousands of other auto enthusiasts on a crazy cross-country road trip.  Details with photos and video can be found HERE.

6/6/2008 - Added notification to main page that I'm participating in the Hot Rod Power Tour.  Been busy over the winter with some service and modifications to the car, the most visible of which is a second set of body panels in a new color.  Also added a few decals here and there.  Added a new photo gallery of the current state of the car.

5/24/2008 - Bought a different dashboard panel and fabricated a pair of windscreens for it Added some new photos to the Upgrades/Misc gallery - mounted the Autocom helmet intercom system tucked away under the dash, added 2 more power sockets.

4/27/2008 - Added some new photos to the Upgrades/Misc gallery - replacement steering bushing installation, Toyo R888 tires mounted, Aeroforce Interceptor gauge mounting.

3/22/2008 - Added several new albums to the gallery: front plate fabrication, Atom on lawn, winter in WI, and parts & misc.

2/10/2008 - Added to the FAQ page - see the question What's it like to get in one for the first time?  Two guys from the Atom forums have done a great job of describing it.

9/3/2007 - Added more photos to the improvements album: aluminum fender spacers and Hot Lap lap timer install.  Also added more items to the powdercoating album: front tray screws, rear tray fasteners & screws, and lighter socket & bracket.  Scanned and uploaded the alignment checklist and final inspection checklist to the build album.

8/21/2007 - Added a new powdercoating album, and more photos to the improvements album: brake bias control and bracket, steering wheel spacer, and a set of Falken Azenis RT-615 tires.

8/16/2007 - Added more photos to the improvements album: another camera mounting position, magnetic oil drain plug, and Speedbleeder screws.

8/13/2007 - Added photo album from a local car club's show that I attended on 8/12/2007.  Lots of beautiful cars were in attendance, the weather was nice, and the Atom brought home a trophy.  It was a good day.

8/6/2007 - Added photo album showing process I used to tint the lenses.

8/6/2007 - Added 2 new photo albums from recent events - Solo 2 Autocross and Car Club Cruise.  Also added a few photos of the on-car camera mount setup to the improvements album.

7/28/2007 - Added a number of new albums to the gallery, including photos from the drive home (Oregon to Wisconsin).