Life is what happens while you’re making other plans…

I always got a kick out of that famous John Lennon saying, because it really is true.  It’s hard to believe I’m coming up on FIVE years of owning the Sonett.  My goal was to build a technically superior Sonett, and on many of those components I feel like I’ve succeeded.  There has been a lot of great work done, but I don’t think it’s going to get finished.  A bunch of events have come together to slowly change what my plans are.

First up is my son working towards his driver’s license.  Younger generations tend to favor Asian import cars, so last February we picked up a Mitsubishi Eclipse GS.  It ended needing a fair amount of work more than expected…which is an understatement…  So a full set of Stoptech brakes (pads, rotors, calipers), new Focal 18″ wheels with BF Goodrich Comp-2 tires, VIS carbon fiber hood, DC Sports cold air intake, stainless cat back exhaust, new front bumper/radiator support/headlights, and a ton of rustproofing later… we still have more work to go.  But seeing my son smile makes every busted knuckle and cash hemorrhage well worth it!  I would do it again in a nanosecond.


Second up is my employer.  I started there two years ago, and quickly realized I was surrounded by some of the craziest gearheads on the East Coast!  The cars are assorted, but all share one trait:  the love of horsepower.  We have twin-turbo Porsches (two of them!), a 707-horse Challenger Hellcat, a 750-horse Cadillac CTS-V, a 900-horse Mustang GT, and a Focus ST with a 650-horse turbo build underway.  What can I say?  I got bit by the horsepower bug and a few months back picked up a leftover 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS.  With the 455 horsepower LT1 engine and blazing fast 8-speed auto to go with a full aluminum frame, it seemed like the perfect platform for a fast car.  And it didn’t disappoint, running a 12.1 @ 114 bone stock, smoking a ton of “more powerful” cars that day too.  And all that with heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, navigation, color heads up display, blind spot warning, etc!?!  It’s insane where muscle cars have gone lately.  It’s no one-trick pony either, it pulls near 1.0 G on the skidpad with stock tires, 60-to-0 braking of only 117 feet (Brembo brakes all around), and cruises like a good citizen when your friendly law enforcement officer is around…  And like any good gearhead, I recently bought a Whipple supercharger for it which should push horsepower up near 700…



And since I now have a car that I’m bringing to the track, I know it’s just a matter of time before I grenade something.  I’m not loving the idea of breaking a halfshaft two hours away from home, so I decided I needed something to be able to tow my car with.  My company car 2017 Ford Explorer wasn’t going to cut it, and frankly it was getting a little rough around the edges after 80,000 miles.  So I went for the gold and submitted on a 2019 Toyota Sequoia Limited to company ownership.  Amazingly, I didn’t get fired, and the beast is now in my driveway!  With 381 horsepower and 401 ft/lbs of torque, and an integrated trailering package with 4 & 7 pin connectors ready to go, trailering the Camaro should be a non-issue.  I was pleasantly surprised at all the tech in this “old-school” SUV:  lane departure/blind spot/rear cross traffic warnings, full LED head and fog lights, sonar parking sensors front & rear, backup camera, radar adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, power folding third row seats, power liftgate, 20″ wheels, etc.   So far I’m loving it.


So, that leaves me with the following that I am offering up to my loyal readers:

  • Titled 30,000 miles Sonett chassis:  fully restored.  Professionally sandblasted, fully welded, double POR-15 coated, brand new springs and poly bushings, fully refurbished steering rack & brake master cylinder, powdercoated suspension (all of it!), new brake lines, all new brake components (rotors/pads/hardware), cupronickel brake lines, new bearings with synthetic grease, etc….  You guys have read this blog and know how much work this was.
  • Fully rebuilt and bulletproof V4 engine:  fully machined with one of a kind CNC ported cylinder heads, forged Wiseco pistons, fully balanced rotating assembly, ARP head and main studs, ARP rod bolts, steel timing gears, new oil pump/pan/driveshaft, rare timing cover without fan bearing, new Jack Lawrence street cam with upgraded valvesprings/retainers/lifters, etc.  This was designed to handle a turbocharged application of 200+ horsepower.  Jack Ashcraft gets $6K for a basic rebuild, and with all due respect, this engine is light years past that.
  • [EDIT:  Gearbox is already sold!] Beefcake V4 gearbox:  virtually all new bearings (believe only one was reused since it was in mint condition), all new seals, Jack Lawrence custom sleeved/pressed/welded freewheel, powdercoated linkage & throwout bearing arm, POR-15 coated case, synthetic oil, etc.  Again, a basic rebuild is $2400 normally, and this gearbox  is obviously beyond that and has been designed to handle the above 200+ horse engine.
  • Full V4 fuel injection setup:  custom machined two-barrel intake manifold, with CNC adapter plates to handle a 2.0T throttle body, fuel rail prototypes for you to copy, brand new GM LS3-style fuel injectors, distributor replacement prototype, valve covers with custom coil mounts, brand new GM LS2-style coils, new trigger wheel with sensor and bracket, custom marine-grade aluminum fuel tank, etc.  Virtually all the development work is done to add sequential, coil-on-plug, EFI to your V4!  Again, I haven’t seen anything else like this out there, and this is a game-changing addition to your ride.  Thousands invested in this setup.

So, if any of my loyal readers are interested in any of this stuff, just let me know.  I know that you never see anything close to full price when you sell car parts, so I’m happy to work with you guys on what you think it’s worth.  Honestly, I’d like to see you guys get some use out of this stuff.  It was a lot of work, and I don’t want to see it go to waste.  If there is something you want to inquire about, send me a note at jcayea99 at gmail.  There are obviously pictures of just about all of this stuff in the blog, but I have additional pictures that I can send as well.

Thanks again to all of you for following along over the past few years.  I really loved all the emails from you guys (Roger, Reed, Jonathan, Simon, David, Adam, just to name a few). Hopefully you found something useful in all these posts, or at least something that you got a chuckle out of.   Can I ask you guys for one last favor?  Stop by my wife’s online website ( and pickup an honest-to-goodness handmade piece of jewelry for your wife/significant other.  Remember, keeping the boss happy means she might look the other way when it comes to your ill-advised automotive ventures…!  😉

And remember to watch out for those hidden wasp nests…!!!


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