Thursday, June 5, 2014



Sorry folks, but I'm off to the annual Gosson Bros. Racing Library stockholder's meeting (AKA Gosson Family Reunion) for a few days. If you're really jonesin' for a hit, dial-up at 9:00 AM Pacific on Sunday, June 8th for a live report from the event!

Our last meeting (which was a while ago) was nearly unmanageable, as dozens of GBRL readers clamored for news of our next product release. Consequently, this year's event is an invitation-only affair. So please don't tell anyone that we're meeting at the pavement's end on Mill Creek Road, outside of The Dalles, Oregon. Thank you.

If you think this image is disturbing, just imagine a hundred more who look just like us and are equally non-photogenic. With any luck, our bail will be paid in time to crank out a post for next week's blog. L - R: Rocky, Mark, and Scotty Gosson.

While you're here, make yourself at home and enjoy these dynamic images of our exciting current and upcoming products. Both of them!

Racing to America is still garnering positive reviews. Just this week, Binder News declared it to be, "Perfect", and no less an authority than Weyerhaeuser International said of the interior stock, "This is the lowest quality American made product available. The Gosson Bros can pride themselves on putting diseased trees out of their misery while saving themselves a bundle, and keeping jobs here at home. Savvy!" Bragging like this is uncomfortable for me, but the stockholders insist I take advantage of product promotion opportunities. I need a shower now.

This product isn't even on the market yet, but over 27% of test audiences have deemed it, "Tolerable"! I have a really good feeling about this one. The tentative release date of "Sometime in 2014" is looking more realistic every month. Stay tuned...

Both of the above products are/will be available through and That's two major corporations behind us already, and more are no doubt imminent.


Just got back from a magazine photoshoot at an exotic locale. Can you guess where I snapped these images?

These were shot on the way there. HINT: It's in the continental United States.

Star of the motel parking lot. The semi-truck exhaust stacks are as loud as they look. He didn't back into that spot - he went wide open over the divider strip, got rubber (on the rocks) with all four tires, and landed there. Excellent showmanship. His room was two doors down from mine. I kept my door locked, curtains closed tight, and the TV turned up.

"Best supporting role in a parking lot". My badass ride delivered 60 MPG on flat freeway with A/C blasting. It fell flat on its face, otherwise. But it got me there and back.

My host treated me to an incredible breakfast at the local airport. Planes and helicopters buzzed in and out as we stored up carbs for a long challenging shoot in brutal heat.

Working like a dog for the man.

Unintended roadside attraction. Still powered by a flathead V-8.

It was a sweaty but rewarding adventure. Nevertheless, it's always great to get back home and wash my socks. I leave again tomorrow. (Scotty shots)


You may have seen our feature on Super Stock racer Bucky Hess in the May issue of Hot Rod Deluxe. Here's an out take from Spike Kilmer's photoshoot on Bucky's '34 street coupe to refresh your memory. (Spike Kilmer photo)

The story makes mention of Bucky's longing to rejoin his peer group on the drag strip. After a mad thrash, he finally got his old SS/HA King Kuda together for a dash that ended in dramatic fashion. It could have been much worse. Bucky is fine and is back in the shop with son Travis, building more street cars. (Photo courtesy of Dragzine, I think)


That's all we have time for, folks. Will see you on the radio, this SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!

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Monday, June 2, 2014



George Hurst documented his belief in the next generation's capabilities with this paid Hurst-Campbell ad in Hot Rod magazine. His faith has proven to be well founded.

Not George Hurst's nephew, but a representative of the same era. This is Ron Will, posing with his Turbo Phantom. At this moment, they were proudly perched on the brink of glory.

Detroit was a different world when Ron Will scholarshipped in, during the 1961 preparations for future generation Corvettes. Will was assigned to the Corvette design team, where he learned valuable lessons that soon applied to his own bold concept vehicle. Despite a full court press to market the unique ride, mass production was not in the cards for Ron Will. But he still has the car today, which is more than Zora Arkus Duntov can say. Will kindly relented to my obnoxious line of questioning (while interviewing him for an unrelated book project), and generously agreed to allow his images to be shared with Earthlings via this blog, as well. Thank you, Ron!

As with most any successful brainstorm, Will's most fully realized concept - the Turbo Phantom - began as a sketch, in 1973.

The next iteration of the Turbo Phantom was this 1/8 scale model, posed here with yet another model. 

The cycle-car hybrid chassis. Simplistic by today's standards, perhaps. Perfect for Seventies sensibilities: "There were long gas lines, and cars were only getting 12 to 15 MPG. I thought my sleek cycle car design would probably get double or even triple that in mileage."

Rear body view features drop-down engine cover. With precious little radiator area, Will's prayers were answered with the introduction of Honda's water-cooled Gold Wing motorcycle. In fact, he employed about three quarters of the bike.

With the chassis proven worthy, a much larger 3/8 scale hand-carved wooden facsimile of the body was snuck into the wind tunnel for testing, after hours. With some minor tweaks, the final body envelope design was realized. Will again: "Our Cd was .31 - not great, but not bad either."

"At this point", recalls Will, "after 10 years at GM design, I quit to follow my dream." Will married his sweetheart Pat, and left Detroit for Costa Mesa, California to pursue the Phantom full-time with help from his brother Lee. Working in Will's new home garage, the brothers formed a fiberglass body in stages, based partly on emerging GM body structure data. Will developed the mirrored pop-up headlight covers to enhance the tilt-top assembly. Will had a unique ride, for a while: "There is now a Phantom II in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Someone built a body and is putting it over a tube chassis."

Government skidpad testing of the Phantom at Edwards Air Force base. "Against a dozen other cars, we came out on top, with excellent handling and stability, generating more cornering G-forces than many 4-wheeled cars." This was the green light to glory. Or so it seemed.

Production plans included details such as this body panel assembly schematic. Will courted a number of corporate partners before a fateful connection with Texaco Oil Company.

Texaco suits found the Phantom intriguing enough to include in a TV spot with Bob Hope. "The tag line of the commercial was, 'Someday, your high-mileage car will be made of lightweight plastics made from oil.' The car was to break out of a giant oil drum, then drive across the desert and stop next to Bob Hope, where the driver would turn out to be a beautiful girl in a silver space suit-like outfit. The catch was, they were worried that the girl would run over Bob Hope, so they wanted me to drive up to Bob. For this, I would have to don a blond wig and silver space suit. When the car stopped, we switched places, and the beautiful model would open the door. That was my 15 minutes of fame - suited up in drag."

Ron and his counterpart, smokin' hot in silver suits!

The Phantom in the giant breakaway Texaco oil drum.

Ron whips his creation to greatness across the desert floor. 

In the end, no one drove over Bob Hope, the model survived with her dignity, and Ron Will's standing in the gearhead community was cemented - as a highly skilled drag queen.

Ron Will today, with Chevrolet's Aerovette concept car. Where's the Phantom? "Today the Phantom is in my Arizona garage, waiting for me to finish the restoration necessary to get it back into running condition. Perhaps this time it will be painted a Cadillac pearl red." Read Will's in-depth first person account of this adventure at: (Photos courtesy of Ron Will)



You know Kristin from her previous appearances here with her '55 Studebaker. It's her daily driver and has delivered her to the Bonneville Salt Flats more than once. So you can imagine how many conversations Kristin has been dragged into regarding the ubiquitous salty Studes. After a few years of this, enough was enough. Naturally, she has entertained the idea of blasting the car down the salt. But hey, that stuff is automotive Krytonite, and this is her baby. Besides, its street-oriented smallblock Chevy isn't exactly a record threatener. So when invited/dared to wheel Jerry Hansen's '55 at this years Speed Week, it didn't take Kristin all day to accept.

Kristin and her Stude are fixtures on the salt. She's usually shooting event coverage, and he's usually standing by for the next transport assignment. If you see them there, smile and wave, but please remember, she's on the clock.

Jerry Hansen was well into a '55 Stude build, when his mom mentioned, "My dad had one just like that." This is Grandpa with his '53 Commander in North Dakota, when it was still a low mileage Sunday driver. And close enough to a '55 for Jerry to feel some kinship. (Photo courtesy of Jerry Hansen)

Hansen with his high velocity Studebaker, in their natural habitat. Now that the introductions are handled, let's pop that hood!

Hansen had a 400" SBC ready to drop in here, when a friend crashed his Corvette and Jerry ended up with this 6.2L LS engine, 4L80 trans, and the complete Vette suspension package, to boot. He installed a 'cage and other required safety gear, good for up to 175 MPH. Due to the Stude's construction, SCTA put Hansen in an Altered class, with a 240+ record. Being a grassroots type, he isn't concerned with pursuing records, yet. Bonneville is equally about friends having fun while helping each other move toward their personal legend. 

Icing on the cake, and the carrot on Kristin's stick: Door art heralds Kristin and hubby Ethan's inclusion into the ranks of the hardcores who keep the landspeed racing torch blazing.  

She's ready. Just one of hundreds with a calendar covered with X's and a membership card in her mitts, thanks to a good friend. (Photos courtesy of Kristin Cline)



After serving a winter apprenticeship under Jesse Coots at the Old Soul Hot Rod Shop in LeRoy, New York, Lance has finally brought his '33 roadster home to roost. He's tying up loose ends in the comfort of his northern New Jersey garage now, and will be terrorizing the local populace in due time. Knowing Sorchik, we scored some images of the build before he ends up "going away for a while", for moving violations.

The finish line of the teardown is the starting line of the build. Sorchik and his roadster have come a long way since the corn was last green.

The rails were finessed, X-member tweaked, and torsion bars joined wishbones for a unique juxtaposition of traditional street gear versus traditional race tech.

Finished rear suspension is innovative, tidy, and carries all the visual cues on your subconscious checklist.

Same story up here. Lots of work, resulting in an organic presentation - the scope of which is celebrated in the details...

Safely ensconced in the interior of his garage, Sorchik approaches the interior of the roadster.
With body and fenders in place, you'd never guess the underpinnings were inspired by George Jetson.

THE END??? Hardly... (Photos courtesy of Lance Sorchik)



Sorchik and Coots' pretty-boy show is a tough act to follow, especially with this gruesome lead shot. In last week's episode, we were forced to redesign the Model A's wishbone mounts. This image of the new edition in the ugly stage has been haunting Doc and I all week.

The same piece today, after some basic clean-up. Aahhh... Much better. Note that it's now tacked to the frame...

... and the spring pivot sleeves are now tacked into the 'bones...

... allowing for this mock-up, illustrating final component placement - except for a grossly exaggerated spring perch. This will be one of our greatest design challenges ever, as the perch must climb high and make a 90 degree turn, while remaining strong and sexy. Wish us luck. We'll need it. (Scotty shots) 



So long to my part-time benefactor, Source Interlink Media, who's lineage extends back to Petersen Publishing Company (founded in 1948 by Robert E. Petersen). SIM has now changed their name to TEN (The Enthusiast Network), perhaps in an attempt to distance themselves from the shockingly viscous mass murders on Thursday, May 29th of Rod & Custom and Popular Hot Rodding magazines. Tim Bernsau left the back door unlocked for me at R&C, and Scott Parkhurst (former Tech Editor at PHR) did the same during his tenure at CarTech Inc. By midnight on Thursday, High Performance Pontiac, Custom Classic Trucks, 4 Wheel Drive & SUV, Mud Life, 5.0 Mustang, Modified Mustangs and Fords, Camaro Performers, GM High Tech, Import Tuner, and Honda Tuning were also eliminated, raising the human body count high into the hundreds, considering the staff employees of twelve magazines who lost their jobs. Those worker bees are all highly skilled and loyal employees, with mouths to feed and mortgages to pay.

TEN's take on the slaughter was, "A sweeping redesign of (our) brand portfolio." TEN CEO Scott Dickey stated, "The Company's future focus will center on its iconic core brands and their connection with the consumer across all forms of media." The statement continued, "The portfolio changes accelerate the company's move to a web-led, socially amplified media model." Dickey concluded, "It is not up to us to decide how our consumers choose to interact with our brands. Our job is to provide them with the content they want, where they want it, and when they want it. Our business model needs to reflect this new reality."

Adios amigos... Luckily, Hot Rod Deluxe lives on. (Scotty shots)



Is this heaven? Or just some human's idea of art? One and the same.

This is a toolbox?

Yes it is. Trick!

Behind the scenes.


Seen at a local car gathering last week.The zoomies attach to a tunnelrammed bigblock Chevy. The vehicle is apparently a Ford truck.

Bench race ammo for non-Northwesterners who perceive us as crazed mushroom-gobbling inbred types up here. If you watched Twin Peaks or Northern Exposure, you know it's all true. Not that we have television yet, ourselves. (Scotty shots)