Tuesday, January 6, 2015



Yeah, I was born in the year of the squirrel. No big surprise, really.

Logan Collins-Medley, going for his first car ride. He made a surprise appearance in the life of my friends Christy Collins and Sean Medley this fall. His first ride (shown here) was in a Subaru, I believe. Conversely, I came home from the hospital in a '52 Pontiac (minus the seat belts, door locks and air bags), but the buzz was probably about the same. (Photo courtesy of Christy Collins).

Rest in peace, 2014. You had your way with us, then just slinked away one winter night, never to be seen again. Many of us gathered together to acknowledge your impact on our lives, for better or worse, but it wasn't really a proper mourning - more of a wake, actually. In all honesty, most of us got distracted and forgot why we were even there.

2014 was pretty much a Goldilocks year for me: Not too much of this, or too little of that. Just right. My needs were met and I am grateful. But I'm well aware that it was an uncomfortable 365 days for many of you, particularly those who experienced losses, or visited Bonneville Speed Week, the Middle East, or Ferguson, Missouri.

Luckily, it is common knowledge that the key to efficient grieving is to be extra cognizant of new life (babies, puppies, kittens, sprouts, etc), as it reminds us of the constant cycle that always works out just as it's supposed to, no matter how we might feel about it. It's a centering mechanism that puts priorities back into realistic perspective, while simultaneously reaffirming our faith.

With that in mind, we devote this post to forgetting wrinkly and wheezy old 2014, and welcoming in the shiny promise of a new beginning. We hope to replace the disappointments of the past with the lessons learned, and apply them in 2015. So, just what does this future look like? Gauging by the following photos from my friend's Facebook pages, we're going to be just fine in the coming days. A Happy New Year, indeed. Bonus: Many of the following youngsters went on to become famous, already are famous, and/or their parents are famous. Can you spot the junior celebrities???



We all woke up to this image on our monitors this Monday, and received a tale-of-our-times reality slap: Alan Johnson and all other associates of the octopus-like Al-Anabi Racing dynasty have been denied their teat milk until further notice. Meanwhile, despite celebrating a shiny new contract with Peak antifreeze, John Force Racing has pulled the plug on this year's traditional Gatornationals warmup at Palm Beach. More will be revealed, and we're withholding comment until then. From our view, the bottom line appears to simply be about the bottom line, but no one Stateside really knows yet. Monty Burns himself could be pulling some personal vendetta strings behind the scenes. The SGE bottom line: We just can't relate to racing at this level, period.

It seems everyone's projects dried up and blew away over the holidays. Perhaps it's just been too cold in the shop for mortals. But one can't help but suspect space aliens are somehow involved. We're pressing on, regardless. Updates are just now starting to trickle in again. We hope to have something more substantial next week. In the meantime...

My brother Rocky sent this photo on Christmas eve. The Rocky 33 II is now up on all fours and is getting its land legs back, after years on the rack at Jimmy Vaag's shop in Iowa. Rocky is stoked to finally drop in the '57 Pontiac stroker V-8 he's been crafting since the coupe went to Vaag's beauty parlor. It will soon have some gow to match the Hubba Hubba. (Photo courtesy of Rocky Gosson)


From the It's About Time Department: The mighty 2.3L Ford/5-speed combo is finally mocked up in the SGE A-bone chassis! Now we know exactly how much room we have for pedals and steering, as well as auxiliary items like the drag link, master cylinder, radiator and shroud, etc. All of a sudden, the little engine that appeared so demure laying in the field at Dr. Lockjaw's Custom Metal compound comes across as imposingly statuesque. We'll definitely be rethinking the hood top now.

Doc and I spent last Sunday scratching our heads over the possibilities of these steering boxes that we had on hand. L-R: F-100, '48 Ford, and Mustang. All were doable. None were doable without machine work. For the sake of not tying up Doc's shop or spending actual money, we're trying to avoid machine work wherever possible. As of this week, we're considering using the '48 passenger car box with a drag link through the firewall, rather than "cowl steering", which was Plan A.

Dr. Lockjaw is my bestie. We've been through a lot together over the decades. So it's no wonder he couldn't resist torturing me by throwing this monkey wrench into the mix. His vintage Schroeder sprint car box is not only drop dead gorgeous, but fell right into place on the Model A, clearing all obstacles with ease, for perfect functionality. Unfortunately, he's aware of its value, so will not be donating it to the project. But its presence reignited the sprint car box lust that I had finally extinguished this fall. Building cars is emotionally complicated. But I trust my doctor's judgement. For some reason. (Scotty shots)


Happy New Year from Marty Strode! The Emperor of Northwest wrenching and racing reports progress on the sideboards for his '40 Ford shop truck: "The frames will be heading to the chrome shop next."

If the SGE Model A turns out to be worthy, perhaps it will sport one of these badges some day. Something to shoot for.

Marty reveals: "The motorbike gets my attention next. I need to complete the gas tank and exhaust system." The Stallion has no idea of the fate awaiting it on the road ahead. Savor your ignorant bliss while it lasts, little bike.

This week's Moment of Nature is brought to you by Strode Racing Equipment: "Feeding time this morning, across the road from the shop." Thanks for saving us from Slow News Week Syndrome, Marty! (Photos courtesy of Marty Strode)



We've run this little guy before, but couldn't resist bringing him back to help celebrate this 27th season of our most popular weekly feature. We want to believe his left arm is now fully healed. In fact, it probably has arthritis by now, from years of walking with a cane. This is a pretty old photo - in squirrel years, anyway.

The Snap-On bottom box in Danny Thompson's Challenger II race trailer. You know you're making good power when you carry more pistons than tools. May Danny's hand-me-down family car finally realize its potential on the salt in 2015. (Photo courtesy of Danny Thompson)


NEW FOR 2015!


From the late great Dave "Big" Deal.