Bad Dog – A Partial History

November 18th, 1994 – Homer, Alaska

Satch buys a 1988 325iX from German Motors, Inc. (Quality Automobiles), ‘sold-as-is’. The car passes the state inspection on the same day. The odometer reads 86,586.

September 1995 – Michigan

At Press On Regardless, Satch and Russ run the first day in a rental car. Michael Ruge delivers the Bad Dog from Toronto in time to run day 2. Our heros take third this time.

1995-1998 – AlCan, Klondike, Dempster highways; Mackenzie River Ice Road

The ‘Rally Of The Lost Patrol‘ is better described here:
Includes the earliest picture I’ve seen of the Bad Dog.  Looks like it already had the extensive skid plate.

February 1996 – South-central British Columbia

The Thunderbird rally, two days of ‘brisk’ driving on ice-and-snow-covered logging roads. Satch and rally godfather Gary Webb won, in an iX (but I’m not sure that the iX was the Bad Dog). A description’s on the RallyBC site.

Nineties – All Over The Place

The redoubtable Ms. Davenport gives this report:

I spent many happy hours and drove many happy miles in Bad Dog back when it was becoming the Bad Dog. BMW driving schools at Laguna Seca, Sears Point and Topeka; cross-country trips, including one to run the Atlantic 1000 Rally where I picked up 10 SCCA points for a win; rallies in the NW; and other than a clutch assembly that doubled as a thigh-master and a metal gear shift knob that tended  to leave me with burns on my right hand, the Bad Dog served me well (and made it possible for me to scare the bejesus out of Satch in a session at Topeka).

September 1997 – Eastern Washington & British Columbia

At Nor’wester , the horse and feather police halt the rally. Satch asks, “by what authority?!” Russ and Satch score 33 to Fouse and Wende’s 44, first Overall for the Bad Dog.

A Fall Totem, not snowy. Who knew there was such a thing?  The aforementioned Ms. Davenport throws the Bad Dog into the “ditch of doom.” Not sure, but I think it’s a rare DNF.

February 1998 – Quesnel, British Columbia

Bad Dog was at The Thunderbird rally, then immediately left on a course survey of the final ‘Rally Of The Lost Patrol‘.
“Ho-hum, want to drive to Tuktoyaktuk, Jim?”  
“Why not?”

September, 1998 – Somewhere around Alba, Michigan

An entry at ‘Press On Regardless‘ that went wrong. There’s a note from an insurance company, and hints that this was when Metric Mechanic built the custom-ratio 5-speed for the car. By this point, the car’s wearing Alaska-issued ‘WE BAD’ license plates. Ah, here’s the report: “Russ and Satch crash into a local after a L at T instruction finds us turning directly into a control car’s location, making us late.”  DNF

August 1999 – Seattle, Washington

A factory-remanufactured transfer case goes in. Now the drivetrain’s ready for anything!

September 1999 – South-central British Columbia

Garth and Russ borrow the Bad Dog at a Totem that featured very odd mileages. Andrew Dobric (rally-measurer) had a bad sensor in his car. First Overall.

October 1999 – Vancouver Island

Dusk to Dawn: Greg H. is kind enough to run Midnight and assure Russ of the BC championship navvy title. First Overall.

February, 2000 – South-central British Columbia

The Thunderbird rally. At the end of Leg 1, the Bad Dog’gers were tied for the lead with another team at 5 points each. Shortly thereafter, before the Lake La Hache gas stop, the motor let go. I’ve heard it described as a ‘broken camshaft‘, as a ‘sudden serious slowing’, and as a ‘total meltdown’.  Another mention of the meltdown in this story from another competitor.  Russ says:

The Bad Dog expires just south of Clinton. The cam shaft breaks between between cylinders 4 & 5. Raw gas in the catylitic converter melts the exhaust producing quite a spectacle at dusk.

Do we have to say ‘DNF’?      Away goes Bad Dog, to Dinan’s shop in California, for a rebuilt motor.

November 27, 2000 – fax from Dinan

At the top of  the first page, Steve Dinan (FOS, friend of Satch) names a significant discount off retail prices for the work. It’s nice to have friends in hi-tech places. The retail prices aren’t shown on this page, just descriptions of the options.  There are three motor choices:

  1. a 2.7 liter stroker making 220hp
  2. a 2.5 liter turbo at 300hp
  3. a 2.7 liter stroker, with the turbo and state-of-the-art fuel injection, making 350hp.  ⇐ heh.

Next page has the retail prices. Option 3 was $23,000 in parts, plus a core motor for some oddments, and plus 120 hours of labor. gulp

2000-2006 – Dinan Engineering

Pistons, rods, crankshaft, hoses, brackets, heat shields, exhaust, manifolds, knock sensor, ignition control, more custom fabrication than you can shake a stick at. Here’s a piece that I only recently discovered, an aluminium diverter to feed the airbox. 


December 2006 – The Road To Reno

When the ‘Dog was sprung from Dinan, it went to Reno’s ProtoFab shop for skidplate enhancements and (I think) the rollcage.  Between Dinan and Reno, though, lay a mountain pass and a, ahem, CHP officer. About this time the license plate goes from Alaska’s ‘WE BAD’ to Nevada’s ‘WE BADD’.

2006-ish – dammralliers meet Satch

We had an iX of our own, but not because we knew of their rally prowess. One of the dammralliers lived in Colorado in the early-mid Nineties, and had always wanted to own one of these legendary snow cars.

Spring 2007 – Arizona

The Arizona 1000 runs in the desert, mostly. The rocky desert. There was a rock so gnarly that it penetrated the shield of the skid plate and crack’d the Bad Dog oil pan. An elaborate rescue operation, from the middle of nowhere to civilization, followed.

May 2009 – Ely, Nevada

The Nevada Open Road Challenge saw the Bad Dog lowered, on low-profile 17″ wheels, shooting for a 115mph average over the 95 mile course. The car’s top speed on route was 129mph, and it finished second in its class by two-hundredths of a second.

August 1-2, 2009 – Portland to Prineville and Back

Russ & Katy K team up for a narrow win in the Oregon 1000, a two-day extravaganza. Started with a run down Bald Peak road, then wound around the middle Willamette Valley and turned east across the Cascade Range. There was a paved (?) 34 mile section near the crests where we saw nary a one oncoming car. Sunday took us through Antelope and ended on the Columbia River. That’s covering some ground. First overall.

October 3, 2009 – Black Hills Forest, near Olympia Washington

Night On Bald Mountain‘  — the prototypical night rally — has Russ and Katy out again in the Bad Dog. Oh, they won – but it wasn’t easy. They started on tires that were … uhmm, thin in the treaded area.

Sure enough, we got a flat. We were about half way through a seven mile regularity late in the rally when I began to feel the right rear step out in left-handers. The tire was going down quickly. I asked how many miles remained in the section about the time we passed a control two miles from the end. The tire was beginning to make noises and, try as I might, I couldn’t rationalize damaging the fender or wheel of a borrowed car. Let’s hope that was the last control—I looked for a wide spot. I pulled over, grabbed the block of wood and drove onto it with the right front. The right rear was shredded but hadn’t let go completely. I slipped on the gloves, wedged the jack under the skid pan and went to work. The old tire was off in no time but we still didn’t have enough clearance to fit an inflated tire onto the hub. I pumped the jack but the ground was soft and the jack was at its limit so I dug at the gravel under the spare. (Note to self: You own many small shovels. . .  Folding shovels, collapsing shovels, pointy shovels. . . ) Finally the wheel wiggled into place but wouldn’t stay put. If I could only see the holes to align the lug bolts. . . A flashlight that wants to roll around in the dirt isn’t much help. Meanwhile nearly every passing car stopped to offer help. Good people run rallies. (For the most part)

I was gently placing all the debris back in the trunk when Sweep rolled up.

I jumped in the car, fastened the lap belt and blasted off about 11 minutes down. This rally limits you to 9.5 minutes of TimeDeclaration, but our good karma saved us—there were no controls between us and the end. Unfortunately, we missed a turn to start the next transit, and ,somewhere in the dark, Sweep made the turn and was now ahead of us on the course. We recovered quickly…but the following transit was a short one. We started the next section about 12 minutes down and needed a bit more luck. CAST 25—that’s what I call lucky! With the Blessed Acceleration available in the Bad Dog we caught Sweep in less than a mile. Greg and Nora are good friends and excellent ralliers; they pulled aside and made room where there was none. Normally I would ease past and spare them the flying gravel but the left rear found the soft berm of the ditch so I had to keep my foot in it to keep the car on the road. (Sorry Greg!)


October 2009 – Cover of Roundel

Nice shot of a ‘shoe tree’ somewhere in Nevada or SE Oregon.

June 2010 – Eastern Washington

Notable No Alibi, with a total of five 325iXs running or working. Satch and Russ, in the Bad Dog, are four points behind first place at the end of Saturday. Sunday’s sections north of Moses Lake are tricky, and that turbo motor does spin the wheels… Bad Dog stays in second – behind another 325iX!

September 2010 – Running On Empty Column in Roundel

Satch describes driving from Tacoma to … Portland, I think? and having the Bad Dog cough, and coast to a stop on the side of the road. After a cell-phone driven diagnosis session masterminded by Steve Dinan, the cause is what it always is on an iX: main relay popped out of the holder on the left front strut tower. (zip-tying those two relays in is Job 1 for rally iXers).

June 2011 – Eastern Washington

A hard-fought No Alibi, with the usual hidden controls and magnificent vistas. The Bad Dog, with Russ and Katy, was in second Overall ’til..

We drop from second to third but don’t wreck the Bad Dog when the organizers put a control at a blind corner following an acute left. (Not nice…)

September 2012 – Idaho, Oregon, Washington

Nor’wester rally, another episode of a long-running endurance rally. The route winds up, down, and around the Snake River in the tri-state area. Sobering sidehill descents, super-loose pea gravel climbs, The Spiral Highway, woot. Satch + Russ + Bad Dog are leading after Day 1, but uncorrected wheelspin on Day 2 drops them to second Overall.

November 2012 – South-central British Columbia

Totem‘ rally, two days – and one dark night – of TSD across the western foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Satch lent dammralliers the Bad Dog, and with it we won our first snow rally! There was a small problem along the way:

We’d just gone past a sideroad intersection hiding a checkpoint car. The nearby sign reference didn’t seem mileaged quite right, so we were puzzling over how we might have done at the control.

The discussion distracted me enough that the next intersection was a surprise. One road swept left, and a lesser road continued straight. I didn’t know the correct route, so I braked pretty hard to gain time. My navigator supplied “We go Left!” to make up for my neglectful route-following, and I pushed the wheel over in response. I hadn’t quite come off the brakes, though, and the car was still nose-heavy. That made the front tires bite well… but the rear? Not so much.

All the driving instructors out there will be shouting “Gas! Gas! Gas!” at this point, and Satch had told me about left-foot braking, but despite these valuable learnings I was just drifting into a spin, as numb and dumb as a sheep.

The best thing I can say is that I’d scrubbed off a bunch of speed in the straight-line braking, so when the lightened back end came loose and rotated, it was a gentle departure from controlled driving. I saw the road ahead through Renee’s side window, then I saw the left side bank through that window, and then we went CUSHSHSHSSSS sidelong and backwards into the ditch.

Not too deep, though; we stopped pretty quick, and our attitude was neutral, not that unnatural tilt that comes with a good solid ditch-planting. I’d stalled the motor, and while I started it, Renee popped her harness loose to get out and push – don’t tell on her to the Navigator’s Union — but manual labor wasn’t necessary. The AWD bimmer pulled right out of the pocket on the first attempt. I tried to prolong the farce by re-entering the ditch, but the iX just crawled out again, and we were sitting wrong-way in the intersection. Our lateness was .40 minutes and growing.

Then we had a need for speed, and the need … was fulfilled.

2012 – 2015 – Vancouver, Washington

With Satch in Southern California, the car slept in a huge garage, with only the dim orange light of a battery tender to stay warm by. 🙁   Well, okay, to be honest – there were visits from Austin-Healeys, Porsches, and a BMW Z8. But the Dog only went out on rare occasions.

November 2015 – Portland, Oregon

dammralliers acquired Bad Dog, and began to refresh it. The intended use was unpaved or rough-tarmac rallies. New shocks/struts and OEM springs restored the ride height. We installed fresh fluids, a greased-n-shimmed 58k mile front driveshaft, new front wheel bearings and CV boots; we purged yards of old accessory wiring, rebalanced the rear driveline, and cleaned the air filter. The odometer reads 212,850.

Oregon DEQ liked the tailpipe emissions, but failed the car for lack of a catalytic converter; with a converter, the ‘Dog is cleaner than our other iX.  Satch’s comment on hearing that it passed: I will be damned!

February 2016 – South-central British Columbia

The Thunderbird rally. Our first outing in the car, and I haven’t got the hang of the power. We have lots of wheelspin (heh), and finish off the podium. Lots of comments from other competitors and workers who’re familiar with the car.  The Coquihalla Pass (BC Hwy 5) is, as usual, as bad a road weather-wise as any we drove on the rally route. About 1200 miles this weekend.

May 2016 – Ukiah, California

We drove down from Portland, with our mandatory ice cream stop at Micki’s Better Burgers in Dunsmuir.

The Mendocino Gold rally uses some of the same roads as the Mendocino pro rally. There’re plenty of rocky climbs and loose gravel descents, but also miles and miles of skinny paved strips running through the coastal hills. Bad Dog’s power makes easy work of the hills, and we finish first Unlimited and first Overall. About 1500 miles this weekend.

June 2016 – Tri-Cities, Washington

With a weather forecast promising 110 degrees, we fitted static-cling window film and got Boyds’ to re-charge the A/C. On the way to Kennewick, the roads up the Columbia Gorge were a mess of slow traffic, side effects of an oil-train fire that closed the nearby Interstate. We got to the headquarters hotel very late, and slept little. But the No Alibi rally has for some years been the best TSD in the Pacific Northwest, so we dragged ourselves out Saturday morning. No Alibi epitomizes the hidden-checkpoint rally style; workers camouflage themselves and their cars, with the goal that competitors never know where they will be timed. “On Time All The Time” is a must. We survived the heat, and won both days of the rally. First Unlimited, first Overall. About 900 miles this weekend.

October 2016 – Wilsonville, Oregon

The Oregon 1000 is two days of tightly-spaced sections, running from the Willamette Valley over the Coast Range and down into Coos Bay. It’s a run-work format, which ensures that you’re never waiting around at the start of a section for the workers to leapfrog you. It’s go, go, go from morning ’til night.

We had a small incident on Day 1, but got our heads together and finished. Day 2 starts on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and re-crosses the Coast Range on the way to Albany. A wrong turn put us pretty far down the wrong road.. when it turned into a skidder track, we turned around. But we were still hitting our marks; even timing in hundredths of a minute, we never cracked double-digit penalties at a control.  A hat trick: first Unlimited, first Overall.

February 2017 – South-central British Columbia

dammralliers missed this one, but the Bad Dog made it, in the hands of Simon and Brandon, two other experienced rally folk. Reports stay it was the snowiest, most challenging The Thunderbird in years… maybe decades.

The Bad Dog finished on the podium, and the borrowers complimented “the power”. About 1200 miles this weekend. Some photos here.

September 2017 – Newfoundland

Well, if it doesn’t sell, it should probably go to The Rock for Targa Newfoundland, shouldn’t it?