Hot August Nights 2015

hot-august-nights-2015

The 29th Annual Hot August Nights is in now in the history books. It’s hard to believe that it has been going on for 29 years. I didn’t make it to the first one or all of them every year but I’ve made many through the years. Things have changed in that time. This year had over 5500 registered participants.

A few years ago Barrett/Jackson came on board holding their auction at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center. I’ve made it to everyone of those. My Wife, Marsha and I love to go to this function. It’s usually quite a show. I liken it to a terrific car show even if you’re not there to buy a car.  The Auction atmosphere is always exciting and fun.

One of my favorite parts of Hot August Nights is the swap meet. I don’t have the official tally but, it seemed bigger to me this year than last year. The Car Corral inside the arena was full of cars for sale. These are runner/drivers, not parts cars and non-running projects. Those are outside and there were a lot more of those apparent in 2015 than last year. It’s cool that there are still so many “barn finds,” if you will, out there. I bought some 327 heads for my friend Jeff in Idaho to go on his numbers matching 1962 327 we’ve been scrounging for. Jerry, my cousin, bought a factory service manual for his Plymouth Barracuda that he is working on. Coincidentally, he just picked up his freshly machined, balanced and cleaned 360 that he’ll put together this weekend to put back in his car. From the sounds of it that’s going to be a pretty cool ride when it’s done.

Hot August Nights is really a totally unique event. The entire area, Reno/Sparks and even surrounding area smaller towns, get into the nearly week long celebration of old cars, hot rods, race cars, with individual car shows, cruises, displays and so on.

han001

In downtown Reno, Virginia Street is closed/blocked off and each day hundreds of cars were displayed in the quest for the Barrett/Jackson Cup. Barrett Jackson sponsored this show with prizes and big cash awards as well as what has become a very prestigious “CUP” that was award to the overall winner. The cars were judged by a panel of knowledgeable celebrity judges, who evaluated the many entries and paired them down to the top 25 semi-finalist. In looking at the cars this year, I don’t know if I could pick 25 not to mention just one. Some of these cars were built by the best of the best shops in America. Picking one seems like a monumental undertaking to me. Needless to say most all the cars in this competition were simply spectacular. At this writing, the “CUP” will likely  be retired since Barrett/Jackson has decided to not renew their contract for 2016.

Each day in addition to downtown Reno’s display there are shows at the Grand Sierra, the Atlantis, the Peppermill, and the Nugget in Sparks. Each night there is a “Cruise” down Virginia Street from 7-10 and one in Sparks at the same time. It’s pretty cool to set up your folding chair and just watch the parade of great cars cruise by. I grew up in the 60’s and cruising was “Thee” thing to do on Friday and Saturday night. The cruise scene depicted in the movie “American Graffiti” was true to what I remember and it’s kinda duplicated each night for that ‘Hot August’ week.

I’ve probably already told you in another previous story about the “Big Boys Toys” mini trade show that was presented by the Silver Legacy Resort and the Eldorado Hotel Casino at the Reno Events Center in Downtown Reno. This is a must see for the car nuts I know. The manufacturers send their representatives with product displays, who can answer questions and help you figure out what you might need for your car or build. Summit Racing is set up right at the show with a huge order desk and special discounts to help you buy your needs and have them shipped to your home. I bought a Flaming River tilt steering column, a Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve and a Custom AutoSound, radio and speaker system for my 55 Barn Find. Yes, I’m still working on that project and more articles are in the works, I promise.

han01

In addition to the many onsite shows just about all of the businesses in the area join together to sponsor tons of fun car related things to do. But wait, that’s not all!  If you have been to Reno or Tahoe or Las Vegas, you might have seen a show or two and of course there are shows at most all of the Resorts/Casinos/Hotels. There are also bands performing on outdoor stages at most of the larger daily events.

Hot August Nights is a weeklong “Cruise” down ‘Nostalgia Lane’ for any car guy, car girl, or Rock ‘n Roll lover and its good clean fun for the whole family. If you love old cars like I do, I’m sure you’ll find plenty to enjoy next summer. Put Hot August Nights on your calendar for next year. The dates for 2016 are August 2nd – 7th. The web address is www.hotaugustnights.net. Participant registration for 2016 is available online right now. Hope to see you there.


Barrett-Jackson at Hot August Nights

barrett-jackson001

It’s with heavy heart that I write this article about the third and final year of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction at HAN Reno/Sparks. This year’s list of consignments did indeed seem somewhat limited but that didn’t seem to lessen the efforts put forth by Barrett-Jackson, Velocity TV and the sponsors. They still put on a great show and sold a bunch of quality cars, with a 100% sell thru. There were some great opportunities to buy your choice of those quality cars at pretty respectable prices.

As mentioned in another HAN article this was the third and final year of Barrett-Jackson’s three year contract and they elected to not renew the contract. I don’t know if that means that the “Barrett-Jackson Cup” is also retired, but I’d guess it does. The presence and influence of this Auction company certainly brought in a lot of quality competitors to compete for the generous prizes and the prestige of winning that award.

barrett-jackson002

This year’s big Barrett-Jackson Cup winner was a fantastic 1962 Chevrolet Bel-Air 2dr Hardtop, with a GM LS9 packing 630+ HP, backed up by a T-56 Bowler 6-speed Trans. This car is owned by Randy and Lisa Wilcox from Minneapolis, MN.  In addition to the “Cup” they took home some real loot. $30,000 in cash, a brand new GM crate engine and transmission combo valued at $15,000, sponsored by GM Performance, $6,000 worth of Craftsman tools, and the list goes on. Total value for cash and prizes was more than $51,000 to the Grand Prize winner.

The car builder, Andy Leach/Cal Automotive Creations, Bennington Nebraska, won the Barrett-Jackson “Builders Award.”  The cars’ beauty was enhanced by Charlie Hutton paint and by many subtle body modifications like, tucked bumpers, a small wing added to the deck lid and fenders, machined taillights, side trim and window moldings and it all rolls via an Art Morrison Chassis on one off Billet Specialty wheels.

barrett-jackson003

The hard job of judging the competition was done by a 3 celebrity panel including, Bobby Alloway, Pete Chapouris and Bob Millard where they selected the top 25 finalist and from those entries narrowed it down to the top five. Those top five were up on the block on Saturday night after the auction and revealed to the live audience as well as the Velocity
TV audience.

Barrett-Jackson put on a terrific show in Reno/Sparks and will be missed.  By the time you read this the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Collector Car Auction will be history as well. Coming up January 23-31 in Scottsdale, AZ is your next opportunity to attend “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction.”

barrett-jackson004

GK Machine/BI-MART Hot Rod Nationals

woodburn001

Wow. No other words could adequately describe what everyone who was in attendance at the 27th Annual GK Machine/Bi-Mart Hot Rod Nationals experienced. Through Saturday’s qualifying, and for final eliminations on Sunday, nowhere else could you have experience the absolute highs and dastardly lows of what the sport of NHRA Drag Racing brings to the table.  With last minute dashes to fix cars, to fighting for every thousandth of a second as though your life depended on it, the racing was never more intense than this last weekend’s event. After all the racing had ended on Sunday, wins were claimed for Mitch Chamberlin (AA/Supercharged), Mike Padur (Top Eliminator), Michael Peck (Pro Nostalgia), Bob Rude (Nostalgia Eliminator), Gary Hogansen (Dragster/Roadster), Mike Miller (Top Gas), Steve Canton (Hot Rod I), Hollis Runge (Street Machine I), Dan Swick (Hot Rod II), Bart Sowa (Street Machine II), Mark Allan Dolan (Stick Shift), Walt Skoczylas (Inline/Flathead), and Shawn Cranford (Jr Exhibition). As is clear to see, with the number of classes and pure amount of racing that was involved, a phenomenal time was enjoyed by all. As always, event pictures are posted at this time at
www.facebook.com/woodburndragstrip
 
Diggin’ into the first class of racing, AA/Supercharged hosted a final round showdown between Mitch Chamberlin and Joel Matton. Chamberlin’s ’51 Deluxe struggled through qualifying: finishing up in the 6th qualifying spot while also collected an orange reflector block from the center of the race track.  However, come race day, the machine was set to kill, running a 6.724 and 6.688 to advance to the finals.  For Matton, the struggle was also real: after creating a massive oil down on Saturday, a qualifying slot of third was still a welcome end of the day result. Using a 7.215 first round to defeat Garry Fauble, Matton ran a 6.782 @ 193.59mph to eliminate number one qualifier Howard Anderson, who had his hands full on a loosey-goosey 7.853 pass. Unfortunately for Matton, engine troubles prevented him from attending the final round dosey doe, and Chamberlin set a final-round rocketshot with a 6.624 @ 211.96mph. With further proof going to the fact that you never know what’ll happen on race day, #6 qualifier and 2015 AA/Supercharged Champion Mitch Chamberlin claimed victory.

In the final farewell tour event for Top Eliminator, dynamically close racing was expected, and received, as Mike Padur and Dennis Gorans faced off in the finals.  Padur was the number one qualifier here and showed why in the finals, launching off the starting line timers with a .059 to a .092 reaction time advantage and never looking back, running his FED to a 7.577 ET on a 201.25mph shot.  Gorans was right on his tail though, blistering to a 7.639 @ 196.29mph hit. Mike Floyd, who was the “odd man out,” could have been serious competition for either driver, running a 186.83mph 7.679 as the third slotted car. A great group of people all around and the true derivative of nostalgia, the Top Eliminator put on a fantastic show throughout the weekend.

woodburn003

It’s always exciting when top qualifiers battle off in the final round of racing.  In the case of Pro Nostalgia, it was number one and three qualifiers as Michael Peck and DeWayne Sanders lined up for battle. For Peck to reach the finals, he had to defeat Nick Pruett and Spud Miller, while Sanders downed Ralph Fox and Paul New. With all of the glory on the line, both drivers left with good reactions, before Sanders encountered problems and slowed, sending Peck flying down the all-concrete quarter mile and to the victory. Peck’s 6.593 at 206.84mph earned him the number one qualifier award, which earned him a bonus award from Mike Boertje Jr Trucking. Other bonuses went to Bob Rude, who had the best reaction time in eliminations with a .011, received from Fuel Injection Enterprises (FIE), and Peck also earned a bonus from Brad Russell Trucking, by being the closest to his dial in (6.609 on his 6.59 dial).

Nostalgia Eliminator, which is an extension class of Pro Nostalgia, showcased Bob Rude and Steve Cluck into the last round of racing action. Leaving with a pair of green light starts, both drivers cruised down the racetrack and dueling 160+mph passes, with the win light coming on for Rude, running a 7.913 at 169mph on his 7.85 dial. Cluck ran a great 8.088 on his 7.99 as well, an excellent performance for his first competition race. Pat Curtis and Mike O’Conner were the semi-finalist.
Dragster/Roadster competed in their second-to-last points event on the season, and with the battle as close as this year it’s still almost anyone’s race to win! Gary Hogansen and Mike Ekerson joined each other in the final round of eliminations to see who would be the winner of the illustrious Woodburn Wally. Hogansen battled through a competition single, Doug Gray, and three-time track champion Ron Austin to reach the finals. In the finals, Hogansen left with a stellar reaction time advantage and ran a 10.071 on his 10.05 dial to earn the win. After the event, Hogansen was quoted as saying that he had the “time of his life,” and wanted to thank “everybody out there who gave him a wave, a thumbs-up, or a smile” as each one made his day all the more special. Steve Marcus was the number one qualifier with a perfect .000 reaction time, earning him a perfect light t-shirt and two decals, courtesy of Northwest Wholesale/Hilton Racing, the suppliers of Goodyear/Hoosier/Mickey Thompson race tires.

woodburn004

Top Gas finals showcased Mike Miller and Ron Pappel, and an exciting one it was! Miller, fighting hard to repeat his track championship from 2014, eliminated Ronald Weise, Jim McDermott, Warren Regnier, Brent McKinney, and Richard Dietrich to reach the finals.  With the Pinto set to kill, one more round wasn’t too much more to ask for, right? As the tree came down, both drivers left with green light starts (.026 for Miller, .017 for Pappel), and the race resulted in a double-breakout, favoring Miller by a slim .011. Jerry Carter, from Pendleton OR., was the number one qualifier with a .001.

In the Hot Rod I category, it was “The Wildcard” Steve Canton facing up alongside the hottest racer of the weekend Ron Parks, who was in final round number two of the weekend.  Canton, earlier defeating big names like Dan Goates, Richard Beyea, Rick Sales Sr, and Kacee Pitts earned a single in the semi-final round. Important to note is that aside from the single in the semi’s, Canton’s last four reaction times varied by only .008, showcasing to all that a racer who is dialed in with his race car is nothing to mess with.  In the final round, Canton left with the reaction time advantage and claimed victory, running a 10.029 on his 10.02 dial in for a .051 overall package in the finals. Like Dragster/Roadster Event Champ Gary Hogansen, Canton threw a shout out to the great spectators we had throughout the weekend, saying that he appreciated every cheer from the great fans. Ron Wirostek was the number one qualifier with a
.004 reaction time.

For the Street Machine I category’s eliminations, Hollis Runge and Gary Wood took a pair of dueling Novas into the last round of competition. Runge and his ’74 Chevy eliminated Roger McWilliams, Dean Tabert, Barry Sheasgreen, a single, and Jim Goodman to reach the finals. With the final round drivers dialed in at a 10.04 and 10.15 respectively, this match had everything necessary to be a great finals—but unfortunately it was over before it even began when Wood tripped on the red light bulb by -.008 thousandths! Runge rocketed down to a 10.056 on his 10.04, and earned the victory. Runge was quick to thank his wife and his ‘extended family’ of everyone who comes to the races at the dragstrip. Duke Olmsted was the number one qualifier with a .004 reaction time.

woodburn006

Dan Swick and Garry Heinrich were the last two racers standing in the Hot Rod II category, with an exciting final round sure to follow! Swick roughed his ’64 Rambler past Gary Oster, Rose Ann Hamness, A-1 Muffler’s Lee Ennis, and Mark Tabert to reach the finals. Against Heinrich, both drivers left with green light starts before the win light flipped on for Swick due to a breakout finish of -.017 on Heinrich’s behalf. As quoted from Travis Hilton “when I was moving the winners’ trophies into the tower, (Dan) Swick said ‘I gotta get me one of those!’ Looks like he was able to accomplish that very thing.” Heinrich was the number one qualifier with a .004 reaction time.

Street Machine II showed off Bart Sowa and Jolene Woodward in one of the more exciting finals rounds of the day! Sowa took his ’72 Chevy pickup past Margie Stringham, Duane Turner, and number one qualifier Tony Bombara to reach the final round. In the finals, both drivers left with nearly identical reaction time starts (.029 to a .027) and both ran close to their numbers! Woodward completed her run with a 12.397 on the 12.34 dial, while Sowa ran a 13.936 on the 13.89. Doing the quick math, Sowa emerged victorious by just .009 in the finals! Bombara was the number one qualifier with a .036.
The Inline/Flathead category featured five dynamic rounds of racing, with the culmination of which resulting in a battle between Walt Skoczylas and Lou Madsen. Skoczylas, racing out of Aloha OR, defeated Fred Hultin, Ron Price, and Dave Fountain to earn the single in the semi-finals. In the finals, Skoczylas left with the .03 reaction time advantage and earned the win with a 11.891 on his 11.81 dial. Michael Bjerklund was the number one qualifier with a .010 reaction time.
Stick Shift is an exciting class that localizes all manual shifting racers into one class. With a battle between the number one and number two qualifier, the racing was sure to be as tight as ever. Mark Allan Dolan, the number two qualifier, defeated Zac Summers, Dick Arnold, and Pat Aultom to reach the finals, while Poppino eliminated Paul Carbaugh and Jim Wise to earn the semi-final round single. In the finals, the race was over before it even began when Poppino left with a red light start by .011. After the race was over, Dolan came to the tower to collect his winnings and reminded us once again the joys of racing, and the friendships he has developed from it. Poppino’s .006 reaction time earned the number one qualifier award.

woodburn005

MetalWorks Built 1966 Pro-Touring Nova

1966-Nova

E-bay has become a powerful tool for both buying and selling classics cars over the years. The vast majority of transactions done via on-line sales are successful for both parties involved, but I’m sure we have all heard of a horror story or two. Such is the case with the gorgeous Chevy II you see gracing these pages.

To coin the saying of “a picture is worth a thousand words” I feel we can alter that popular statement to “a photo can hide a thousand flaws” when it comes to online car purchasing. This Nova looked gorgeous online, and sold for some pretty good coin. When the Nova arrived at its new home, it even looked pretty good in person, but when the crew at MetalWorks began working out a few flaws for the new owner… the rabbit hole only got deeper and deeper. We won’t dwell on what all was found wrong, but focus instead on what MetalWorks did right on this now amazing Chevy II.

The Nova proudly runs a brand new GM Performance 525 hp LS3 engine with FAST fuel injection after its original engine was found to be bad. Tied to the LS is a TREMEC 5 speed manual transmission that is mated to a Ford 9” rear end with a Detroit Truetrac posi. Handling duties are carried out by the install of HEIDTs front and rear suspensions. Wilwood brakes keep things safe in the stopping department, and look sweet tucked inside the Billet Specialties wheels. Tons of other goodies are hidden behind the fresh coats of mile deep blue paint, and the full custom leather interior… but it’s hard not to mention features such as air ride by Ridetech & Accuair, Dakota Digital gauges and electronic climate control, and a Pioneer touch screen with 1100 watts of stereo, and even a back up camera.

In the end the Nova became everything, and much more than what it appeared to be on the E-bay auction. Chevy IIs are extremely popular and very stylish cars… and this example ranks with the elite that I have ever encountered. The crew at MetalWorks through their extensive building knowledge and flow of components that work properly together built a car that performs every bit as well as it looks… and it looks incredible!

Spanaway Speedway Reunion

spanaway-speedway

Former Stock Car racer Don Hall hosted this event in 2014 and outdid himself this year. It is a day set aside to remember the now defunct ¼ mile paved oval, once located near Tacoma, WA. Built by the Boness family in 1956, the facility was in continuous operation for almost fifty years. 1990 Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope and Tom Sneva (an Indy winner in ‘83) had both been regular competitors there. In fact, NASCAR and USAC (now IndyCar) had sanctioned races at the venue for decades. Today a housing development is built on the former site and all that remains of the speedway are memories. Hall helps facilitate those memories with his impressive collection of memorabilia. There are also dozens of photos albums laid out and accessible to all. And then there’s the racers themselves who are always happy to share a story or two. Even Dick Boness, the man that built the facility and was there to the bitter end, attends this annual celebration.

A bonus to this scribe was the appearance of a surprisingly large turnout of midgets– vintage and contemporary. Lastly, Dave Craver and Darrel Hedman unveiled their new Jerry Day built retro-roadster. This Ranger aircraft engined monster is without question one coolest vehicles I have ever had the pleasure to inspect.


It was a great day with lunch and dessert provided pot-luck style. All indications are that Hall will host again next summer so make plans now to attend.

spanaway2

Rockin’ Around the Block

rockin-around-the-block

If you happened to find yourself passing through town on the second Saturday of August and suddenly ended up hip deep In what appeared to be a hornet’s nest of hot rods, you might have felt some concern for your health and welfare—that is, if you were not a GearHead. After all, Hollywood had once made horror films about hot rods taking over a town!
Car guys and gals from all around know that this is the Gresham, OR.  Rockin’ Around The Block Annual Cruise spectacular! This is the day that the Northwest Motorsports Association takes over downtown Gresham and proceeds to line Main Street with all manner of muscle and hardcore hot rods.

And not to worry Martha. This horde  runs a clean operation… Well, there was that one year… You see, there was this thing called the “Brick It.” And well – there was this T-Bird that caught fire! It seems the engine blew up and spread fire to all of the plastic on the car which proceeded to burn and burn and could not be put out. Ultimately the fire department had to be called in. But then that is another story.



The fact is, the NWMA has been producing this event for seventeen years running with the blessing of the entire downtown district. This event is a fundraiser for the Mount Hood Community College automotive technology program. During that time it has raised over $150,000 for scholarships.

Long time Street magic car club member, Scott sayre has been working this event since its inception. We asked him what stood out in this year’s show? Not surprisingly his answer was – a car. Specifically it was a ‘66 Nova out of Schroeder Speed and Custom speed shop In Troutdale, OR. This car has been pulling down multiple trophies and wins since it was recently introduced to the car world. It did it at the Portland Roadster Show and at this event as well.



There really was much more going on at this spectacular event than we can mention in these pages. This is a huge draw for the Gresham Chamber of Commerce. Sponsor, Jon Weston introduced a really bitchin’ old ‘54 Fire Engine that would have come in handy years ago (see above).

The show is heavily supported by a number or recurring sponsors. Not only are all the streets and lots throughout the core downtown area filled with Detroit iron but the Farmers Market fills up adjacent streets. All together it adds up to throngs of people jamming the streets and sidewalks throughout the day.

Speaking of throngs – we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Gresham Bed Races. What are those…  uh, watch the vid. Actually, this has been part of the tradition. On Friday evening, the locals line the sidewalks on Main Street to witness those crazy bed contraptions that local businesses and organizations have built. Teams push them down the impromptu dragstrip set up on the closed down street. This year’s competition was mostly dominated by Tae Kwon Do fighters. Show promoter, Vern Ferris was happy to include a  raffle this year for wounded veterans. Two lucky winners went home with some really bitchin’, little miniature electric KIA cars donated by Show sponsor Westin Buick Kia GMC. Then there were the hundred or so trophies given out to the deserving winners.



Ron Ruedi and the Hurricanes rocked out throughout the afternoon on their Main Street stage right up until the Main Street Cruise closed out the event that evening.

It was a great day for a car cruise And this one did not disappoint. The weather was nice and mild and the whole town was filled with hundreds of hot rods all throughout the day. Were you there? Let us know what you think.

Rose City Round Up

Rose-City-Round-Up

June’s Rose City Round Up held at Jubitz Truck Stop is the kind of event that you half expect to see John Milner at. You know, the guy that drove the yellow ’32 in American Graffiti? It’s easy to tell that most of the attendees live the hot rod lifestyle as opposed to “dressing up” for the occasion. This isn’t the poodle skirt set, it’s more the Bettie Page crowd—Great for people watching. But of course, the real stars of this gathering are the cars themselves. It’s an eclectic mix of showroom classics, rat rods, gassers, low riders and kustoms. Friday night’s special attractions were the flame throwers and a “Cacklefest” featuring about a half dozen of the gassers- cool beans. Saturday’s main event was the awards presentation in which all of the attending car clubs passed out handmade trophies to their favorite vehicles on display. Kurt West’s ’32 Ford was the big winner of the weekend, capturing multiple prizes but “J.P.’s” ’51 Chevy garnered Best in Show. Joyce Johnson (aka The Hot Rod Lady) recognized other women that share her passion, “The ones with grease under their fingernails and work on their own stuff.” Her son “Bub” who chaired this year’s meet was raised around hot rods and is now teaching his son about hot rod culture. “It is so much more than a car show,” explained Bub. “It is family.” On top of all else, it’s for a good cause. Each year the Round Up donates their proceeds to a local charity. This year they selected The Ronald McDonald house. So mark your calendar for next year’s event. And if you happen to run into John Milner there, tell him that Bob Falfa’s looking for him!

Girl Power

Group-1

Lyn St. James is a late bloomer in terms of being a professional race car driver. At the age of twenty seven she strapped into her converted street car (a Ford Pinto) for the first time at an obscure road course in south Florida. All was going well until the leader approached to lap her. “It was like someone had jumped out of a dark closet and yelled: Boo!” she recalls in her book. She jumped and lost control, spinning her racer off course and into a swamp. Fortunately she had the presence of mind to bail out… because almost immediately, the Pinto began to take on water. By the time her race had ended, the Pinto had completely disappeared from view.
A rather inauspicious debut. Who would have guessed that in eighteen years, this same woman would make her debut at Indianapolis? When the leaders approached on that day she held her line because by then, she was a seasoned professional. She soldiered on to an eleventh place finish and garnered Rookie of the Year honors. She is the only woman in history to do so.

Most people know Lyn St. James as the second woman to qualify for the Indy 500 but in her life she has accomplished so much more. All tolled she qualified and raced in seven Indy 500’s, finally hanging up her helmet at age fifty four. What most people don’t realize is that she was a winner in world class endurance racing. Teamed with other professionals, St. James won races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road America. Additionally she holds thirty one national and international closed course speed records. What she is most proud of however, is the work she has done to promote other women in motorsports.

Today she is acting as Grand Marshall of the historic car races at Portland International Raceway. She still races on occasion and was supposed to have a ride in the Trans Am class, unfortunately that deal fell apart. This is better for us because now we have her undivided attention. I am here today with my daughter and our friend Ariel Biggs. Both of these twenty year olds are pursuing careers in motorsports; my daughter on the marketing/management side of things, Biggs as a driver and eventual team owner. They are giddy about the prospect of sitting down with a racing legend. Best of all, St. James seems equally enthusiastic about talking with them.

The girls discussed routes to success in what is still a male dominated industry. How to change the existing demographics? St. James suggested that it all begins with parents exposing their daughters to motorsports at a young age; just as readily as they would their sons.
They talked about finding and securing sponsorships. St. James reminded them that it’s not about you and why you need financial backing. It’s about what you’re going to do to promote a sponsor’s product or service.

They talked about the mechanical aspects of the sport. St. James admitted that she isn’t a mechanic but learned enough about race cars to be able to communicate with her crew. You need to speak the same language. The fact that Biggs does her own setups and likes working on the race car, puts her ahead of the curve.

They discussed the importance of staying fit and St. James even demonstrated part of her stretching regiment.
Finally, St. James reminded the girls not to become discouraged. They need to be diligent in pursuit of their goals. If they fall off the horse, they need to climb right back on. Even if their horse ends up in the bottom of a swamp, they can’t give up.

Flashing back to her debut, St. James and her husband had to wait until all of the races had concluded before they could retrieve their Pinto from the swamp. They hauled it home and stayed up all night cleaning and drying. St. James was especially motivated to get her Pinto back on the road. She needed to drive it to work on Monday.

Group-1.1

Advertiser Update: GBE Mandrel Bending

August-issue-PICs-103

Building a better “Mouse Trap” has always been a dream of fabricators, inventors, etc. The old spring loaded mouse trap does its job and serves its purpose alright but the question has always been, “What if I could build a better one?” I think the saying goes “Build a better mouse trap and the world would beat a path to my door…” or something along those lines.

I know that none of you have ever put an exhaust system together on your pride and joy only to have it leak, sag, fall off etc. The old trusty ‘mouse trap,’ ‘er exhaust clamp we’ve all used serves its purpose but it isn’t ideal. The alternative is to weld the exhaust system up to prevent leaks which creates other problems like, what if you need to take it off the car? You end up cutting it apart to remove it and then what?  Build a new one, weld it back together?

Have you ever had your brand new headers leak at the collector after only a few days? How about the bolts vibrating loose? How about scraping the collector flange on a speed bump or driveway, fumbled with the bolts, washers, and nuts to get a tri-bolt collector bolted together? No matter which way you turn that collector flange there is always going to be one corner either hanging down or it will be up on top making it difficult to tighten up those three bolts evenly to prevent leaks.

There is also the “ball and socket” type system out there but as the exhaust expands and contracts, it loosens, slips, and leaks like the old guillotine style clamp and they are expensive.

A little research by me revealed some interesting information about the Marman Flange clamping system. We’ve all heard of the Marx Brothers, but what I didn’t know what that Herbert “Zeppo” Marx had a company that made these clamps in the 1930’s. They were used in many different industries where leak proof clamped connections were needed. Currently, the space and aeronautical industries use them extensively, even for fuel line connections.

Steve at Get Bent Mandrel Bending had been dealing with all of the above for some time trying to solve these problems. He has invested a considerable amount of money in research and equipment and it looks as though all that work has paid off. With his New to GBE, rotary end former and special dies he had built for the machine, GBE can now make 3” Marman Flanges, in stainless steel or mild steel, to be used with “V Band” clamps to create a simple secure exhaust clamping system that helps prevent the age old leak problems mentioned above, and it looks cleaner is and more compact too. More new dies will be built in the near future to allow other diameter pipes.

You can buy these flanges w/clamps pre-made, for $64.00 per pair or you can have GBE build and install your new systems at their shop. Call 503-607-0443 with questions or to schedule an appointment.

August-issue-PICs-105

MetalWorks Built 1955 Chevy

MetalWorks-built-1955-Chevy

Tri-five Chevys are a corner stone in the world of classic cars, and most enthusiasts have found themselves drooling over one at some point. Now, we could argue until we are blue in the face about which of the three has the best lines…but when it came to Shaun Schroeder’s first classic car…he knew he wanted a 55.

With a very successful year under his belt for his business “Wireless Alchemy”, Shaun set out to find the ideal shop to build his future 55. Shaun did a good amount of internet research and honed in on MetalWorks Classic Auto Restoration in Eugene, Oregon due to their impressive worked displayed on their website, and especially due to their success with Tri-five builds. Shaun contacted MetalWorks and spoke with owner Jon Manilla, and really liked what Jon had in mind for the direction of the 55’s build, so a plan was put into motion.

The first step was to actually locate a 55 Chevy, and luckily Jon knew of one that had already been acid metal dipped by MetalWorks a couple of years prior, and was available for purchase. Shaun admits he is not a huge classic car guy, but he does recognize and appreciate quality craftsmanship… so for that reason he gave Jon and the team at MetalWorks the green light to build him the best 55 possible… and the end result blew Shaun away.

The Chevy’s paint work is a gorgeous combo of laser straight orange and white, colors that Shaun said helped win his wife over on the build as they are both huge Giants fans. Underneath the 55’s amazing exterior is a precisely chosen platform of components that create a driving experience that keeps Shaun grinning and filled with excitement every time he gets behind the wheel. One of the 55’s key components is the Art Morrison chassis… and a special one at that as the 55 sits on the 1000th Art Morrison Tri-five chassis built. Nestled into the Chevy’s frame rails is a GM Performance supercharged LS9 engine connected to a TREMEC 6 speed transmission.

The guys at MetalWorks are extremely knowledgeable in LS platforms, and the Chevy’s LS9 delivers a performance that is smooth as silk…well, silky smooth that is until Shaun decides to drop the hammer, then all hell breaks loose.  When things do get out of hand Wilwood brakes help stop the double nickel on a dime, and luxury amenities like leather interior, 8” touch screen navigation, and electronic dual climate control keep Shaun and his wife extremely comfortable while cruising any distance.

In the end Shaun wanted the best, and MetalWorks delivered on that goal.  Shaun is not a car show type of guy, but he loves putting miles on the 55, so watch for this wicked 55 on the streets of Winters, CA… Shaun will be the guy with the smile on his face.