Friday, October 5, 2012

Of Spark Flinging, Word Juggling, and Worker Bee Pals

People make the wheels go ‘round. If you missed it before, here’s how I went from Shop Grunt to Book Author: In the year Nineteen hundred and Eighty five, I was befriended by Lance Sorchik at Rodders Digest magazine. Lance introduced me to Just Steve Hendrickson and The Gerrys (Gerry Burger and Gerry McWhirter) at RD and we became friends, too. Years later, Burger joined Hendrickson and Popular Hot Rodding Tech Editor Scott Parkhurst in the migration to CarTech Inc. At that time, I was fabricating in various rod shops around the Northwest, and doing basic hot rod fabrication and repair out of my home garage. Then the economy got me and it was time to start over. I’d made other friends in the magazine biz by then (most notably, Jeff Smith at Car Craft and Tim Bernsau at Rod & Custom), and was writing feature stories for them, but needed more gigs to survive as a writer. Burger told Scott Parkhurst about me and Scott gave me a shot with a project nobody else wanted: America’s Coolest Station Wagons. I jumped on it. Scott was my Editor and guided me through the process of earning my rookie stripe. We clicked right away – Scott “got” me, and cut me loose on a few projects. Thanks to his support and guidance, I did minimal damage while learning the ropes.

Whether book, magazine, or newspaper, the publishing world is a cut throat neighborhood and as the digital media (like this blog) has devoured print opportunities, the ‘hood has become even meaner. Scott has now left the building for greener pastures and is sorely missed. This post is dedicated to him. Thanks for the Kool Aid, Chief. It remains to be seen how long a punk like me can survive this volatile environment without you. I spoke at length with another of my literary heroes today about this very topic, and this highly respected veteran is seriously considering bailing out of the biz to save his sanity and his ass. It turns out, there’s probably more job security at the local wrecking yard – right back where I started. That wouldn't be so bad. I really enjoyed wrecking yard work and miss it. Until then, I’ll continue to salute the hot rod flag that these guys perched on the CarTech roof when they took the joint over. I carry it on my shoulder every day.

                                                 (Cover Photo Courtesy of Casey Figlewicz)

Scott Parkhurst is a longtime station wagon fan. He took his personal wagon right to the edge of reason and won Car Craft’s Real Street Eliminator with it last year, against a vicious field of Pro Touring coupes and sedans. This book was his idea and he trusted me with it. Luckily, I’m also stoopid for wagons. Here’s a voyeuristic sneak peek between the covers…

Chapter 1: When Wagons were Wagons and Horses were Tired:
                                                      (Photo Courtesy of Todd Fee)

                                                     (Photo Courtesy of Judy Hardison)

Chapter 2: Stock as a Rock:
                                                      (Photo Courtesy of Aaron Johnson)

                                                       (Photo Courtesy of Jim Becker)

Chapter 3: We’ll be Right Back, After This Commercial:
                                                       (Photo Courtesy of John Stimac)

                                                                      (Scotty Shot)

Chapter 4: Beaters!:
                                                    (Photo Courtesy of Danny Vandergriff)
                                                                     (Scotty Shot)

Chapter 5: Utilitarian Customization:
                                                    (Photo Courtesy of Aaron Aslanian)
                                                          (Photo Courtesy of Zombie)

Chapter 6: Draggin’ Wagons:
(Photo Courtesy of Mike Morgan)
                                                     (Photo Courtesy of Brian Cupp)

Chapter 7: More Longroof Motorsports:
                                                                      (Scotty Shot)
                                                     (Photo Courtesy of Rick Couch)

Some exclusive bonus wagon shots for SGE followers…
                                                     (Photo Courtesy of Thad Johnson)
                                                   (Photo Courtesy of Aaron Downing)

                                                          (Photo Courtesy of Bill Hunt)
                                                           (Photo Courtesy of Al Gott)
                                                  (Photo Courtesy of Casey Figlewicz)
                                                         (Photo Courtesy of Mike Chase)
                                                   (Photo Courtesy of Brian McCool)

                                                 (Cover Photo Courtesy of Scott Parkhurst)

I can only imagine the snickers and side bets taking place throughout the CarTech cubicles when I agreed to take on this hot potato. But what a fun learning experience! And I got to re-connect with my old pal Bernsau, who wrote the challenging Foreword – bonus! Below: A Rat Rod teaser (or, “rat trap”, if you will).

Chapter 1: Rat Embryos
                                                       (Photo Courtesy of Rudy Rodriguez)
                                                      (Photo Courtesy of Marky Idzardi)

Chapter 2: The Resurgence of Unfinished Cars
                                                     (Photo Courtesy of Silas Warren)
                                                                           (Scotty Shot)

Chapter 3: The Trend Catches Fire
                                                      (Photo Courtesy of Rory Bright)
                                                                          (Scotty Shot)

Chapter 4: A New Breed of Extreme Rods
                                                    (Photo Courtesy of Scott Parkhurst)
                                                          (Photo Courtesy of Japo Santos)

Chapter 5: Shock Value With a Grin
                                                       (Photo Courtesy of Jason Cole)
                                                     (Photo Courtesy of Richard Fleener)

Chapter 6: Hightailing It Into the Future
                                                                         (Scotty Shot)
                                                    (Photo Courtesy of Joe Wongananda)

Some bonus shots:
                                                       (Photo Courtesy of Byron Kane)
                                                          (Photo Courtesy of Don Moyer)
                                                     (Photo Courtesy of Cam Zimmerman)
                                                         (Photo Courtesy of Kristin Martin)
                                                       (Photo Courtesy of Scott Parkhurst)
                                                         (Photo Courtesy of Rory Bright)

And by the way, like all CarTech products, these two are available at every bookstore on planet Earth. Can’t afford to gas up your blown Hemi rat wagon for the trip? No sweat. has killer pricing on these little stocking stuffers and delivers to your shop door. But hurry – they’re best sellers and quantities are limited!
Thanks again, Chief! Until next time.....

 To clarify, Scott Parkhurst is alive and well. He just isn't my boss anymore. I'm breaking in a new one now. More on that, later. At this time, no photo of Parkhurst is available, but here’s an artist’s rendering  >    :/   <  Check out those intense eyes and the determined, hard-set mouth. This guy is all business! He knows his stuff, and is rough and tough, too.