eventually, i became tired of hauling a big acrylic box out every time i wanted to update it. after seeing my friend's IBM thinkpad dock, i immediately decided that was the way to go. so i found an IBM T30 motherboard on ebay for $120 with a 1.8Ghz Pentium-M and went to town. i got a pair of docks (a small one for the car and the really boss big one for my desk), a replacement keyboard, a battery (to survive voltage drops during engine cranks), and a dc adapter. the idea will be to build and mount it on a little shelf in the trunk so it doesn't use up space on the ground.
as of posting, i'm still waiting for the smaller dock and dc-adapter to arrive. i'll post pictures of the installation as it progresses. i've still got some humps to get over though since the dock only provides one comport and one usb port. i still haven't decided how i'm going to go about connecting both the irman and my nearly ancient garmin antenna. clearly i'm going to need a small usb hub though.