Skip to content
Cars.com Custom Ride Project: Week 8
What a ride it has been, going from plain-Jane Kia Spectra to this eye-popping Custom Ride Project Car in just two months.
The Kia was completed just in time for its unveiling at last week's Greater Hartford Automobile Dealers Association Connecticut International Auto Show.
Down to the last moments Artioli Auto Group in Enfield was tying up loose ends.
These included mounting the custom wheels and the low-profile tires. The body shop had previously painted the wheels to match the car; Wired, the specialty shop in Springfield that was helping out, knew that switching to these rims would create a clearance problem between the inside of the wheel and the vehicle's front struts.
So Wired ordered spacers that took care of that issue.
Wired also did the installation of the repaired and painted aero and ground effects kit parts. What a difference these parts made in the looks and personality of our project car.
With the clock ticking, Artioli Group technicians had to reinstall the front windshield and rear window. These had been removed to facilitate painting.
And there was the issue of reassembling all the other parts that had been removed.
For trim pieces, this meant taking extreme care so the new copper metallic paint job wasn't scratched.
"Actually, the paint is pretty tough," Wisnesky noted. Modern finishes can withstand a wide range of assaults.
Still, a slip with the sharp tip of a screwdriver could have consequences. The last thing the Artioli Group wanted was to arrive at the auto show with a show car that had touch-up paint covering a mechanic-inflicted wound.
Other tasks that had to be addressed included a front-end alignment and engine tune-up. The alignment was necessitated by the installation of a lowered suspension kit and the custom wheels.
It was more complex than usual. The alignment of many MacPherson (no relation) strut cars consists of simply adjusting the toe angle. This is the degree to which the tires point in, or out, when viewed from above.
The lowered suspension kits, however, also include camber adjustments, which keep the tires perpendicular to pavement.
As for the tune-up, "the engine has been running since we reinstalled it in the car," Winsnesky said. "But a final tune-up is in order."
Actually, there really is no such thing as a tune-up any more, but the phrase survives and usually refers to inspecting or replacing those normal-wear items in the induction, fuel delivery and ignition systems.
This would include filters for air and fuel, spark plugs and secondary wiring.
A tune-up also once called for a series of adjustments to be made to ignition timing and the air-fuel mixture.
Today, most of these adjustments are done automatically by the engine computer. A check of the engine management computer and the exhaust gases is usually all that is needed to confirm that these systems are operating correctly.
All of this exacting work was done so that the Artioli Auto Group and The Hartford Courant could give away the car in a random drawing at the Connecticut International Auto Show. Find out the name of the lucky winner next week.
Editor's note: For the last two months The Hartford Courant has been following the Artioli Auto Group's transformation of a 2001 Kia Spectra into a stunning one-of-a-kind show car. Last Thursday it was unveiled at the Connecticut International Auto Show at the Connecticut Convention Center. The winner will be announced next week.