Tuesday, December 31, 2013


That signpost up ahead... It looks a lot like the one in the rearview mirror. Is this some kind of deja vu juju? Attempts to adjust the picture and sound have proven futile. Where are we? Where are we going?

Hopefully, we're all going "Further". Eugene, Oregon sculptor Peter Helzer cast this hood ornament for Ken Kesey's Merry Prankster bus. It depicts a tiny Kesey pointing ahead, but we seem to have come full circle now. Are we just driving further into the circleI once logged some miles on the bus and sensed we were actually going "Elsewhere". But what do I know?

We've done it again. Another parts store calendar in the trashcan and we're 365 days closer to the checkout counter. We'd better make this year count. Who'da thunk our fuses were long enough to reach the year 2014? Many of us should have been dead a hundred times over by now. Yet here we are, driving through the very future we could only guess at, yesterday.

2014 could prove to be the biggest culture collision since The Flintsones met The Jetsons in a twisted cosmic time warp. How so? 

It seems like only yesterday that we were aimlessly trolling for adventure...

... and back then, we all assumed we'd be cruising town like this in 2014.

Cadillac's thorium-fueled concept car takes us a little bit closer to that possibility, but is still anchored to Earth.

America's most esteemed engineers are feverishly working on a solution to the gravity problem.

Of course, defying gravity won't solve everything. As long as humans are at the controls, there's going to be trouble.

Luckily, a lot of us work from home now, which eases the pressure on infrastructure. Here I am, taking a little break from the keyboard.

Still, there are times when even the most dedicated employee must get out for some fresh air and exercise...

Irony of ironies, over 100 years after the industrial revolution, bicycling has made an enormous comeback and humans are getting in shape again! For something. The zombie apocalypse? 

Maybe we're preparing for the day when we finally convert the hot rods into hovercraft. 

One sure thing: 2014 is the make-or-break point for the NHRA. The Big Show has suddenly become dramatic again - for all the wrong reasons.

BOLD PREDICTION: Should it survive 2014, the NHRA will operate out of a rented office in a Glendora, California shopping center, built on the former site of Astro Dragway (the sacred burial ground of Wally Parks, and surprisingly, Jimmy Hoffa). They must be humbled to survive.

An inordinate amount of my time in the sixties was spent ensuring that my hot rod friends didn't know about my hippie musician friends, and visa versa. I was a double agent. There was no way I could've envisioned this day of equality - one big respect fest. We're all in this together and no one gets out alive.

Me again. Still rockin' the kids, over half a century since discovering the forbidden "race music".

As long as people, robots, and dogs want to shake a tail feather, I'll keep rockin' like Dick Clark...

The cat population has declined over the years, but their contributions live on and continue to inspire.

Through it all, strides in high performance continue, from seedy backyard garages to Detroit engineering laboratories, still driven by that demon "jungle beat" soundtrack. It is getting harder to find a place to exercise your horses though...

... Actually, this is one area where my peer group hasn't grown an inch. We're still knuckledraggers, one and all. We keep up on the trends, but stick to ancient basics, ourselves. Jeez, are we hampering the  evolution of the species?

Imagine the contributions we crusty old hot rodders and racers could make to the new Utopia. Our hands-on know-how could help improve everyone's quality of life! That seems more noble than selfishly focusing on our polluting money pits... But would it be as much fun? Is this the reason why we've lived so long and learned so much? To tear the old structure down and build a new grassroots society from scratch? We conducted that social experiment in the sixties, but it all fell apart in short order. Could we make it work this time, knowing what we now know? Or should we just fry rubber into the sunset, while there's still some oxygen left in the atmosphere to help burn the fuel?

Mr. Natural may be right. But yesterday's fun experiment could prove to be training for surviving today's reality, as radioactive Karma continues to flow across the ocean, from America to Japan and back again ... Remember Godzilla!


Some festive New Years imagery for those who may have slept through it:


On last week's Christmas post, we tastelessly poked fun at alcohol consumption, and drunk driving in particular. To clarify: There's sophomoric blog comedy, and there's reality. Before you even consider driving while buzzed, please take a moment to contemplate the ramifications. If you lose it out there on the road, the result doesn't just ruin your day - the ripple effect deeply scars everyone who ever gave two shits about you. Not to mention the people whom you may take out with you. Plus, you could scratch up your ride!

Someone put a lot of work into this GTO. Oh well. The driver's fate will be decided by - Da Judge!


With a major deadline looming (at midnight of December 31), little time was allowed for this decidedly sober New Years party post. The consequent lack of content is certainly a blessing to most, but someone is bound to complain about not getting their money's worth. Sorry, but the squeaky paying customers (publishers and editors) get greased first. Regarding the side effects of such deadline fever (sleep deprivation in particular), Uncertain Steve Scott quips, "I think that's what's called The Living Dead Writers' Society. Or is it The Dead Writers Trying to Live Society?" I think he's right on both counts...

Some of my artist heroes, in order of appearance: 

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera
R. Crumb
Bo Monster
Stanley Mouse
R. Cobb
Pete Millar
Robert Williams

This concludes our special series of holiday blog posts. Next week: Back to the grim reality of having fun with cars and relaying the giggles to print.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


"Thirty two." A pair of majestic words that conjure the utmost in iconic hot rod imagery. The grace, elegance, and startling speed of the Greyhound. And as of today, "32" also represents the SGE Nation. 

Meet Bob - the thirty second SGE Member! In a mere four years, the SGE Nation has inexplicably swelled to over thirty members, and last week, Bob vaulted us to Deuce status! We are now thirty two. With Bob, we are theoretically wiser, numerically larger, and consequently, stronger. At a glance, Bob is already one of us: Graying, visually impaired - yet stylish, with a large and colorful "G" tattoo'd on his left shoulder. Thanks for your dedication and willingness to represent, Bob! We're honored. He wears a hat and wears it well. And that's all I know about Bob. Perhaps a day will come when we all meet face-to-face - an SGE convention of sorts. On that glorious day, we will all get our left shoulders tattoo'd just like Bob's, in a show of solidarity (the "G" obviously stands for Gosson). Until that day, we have Christmas. It will have to do...

 As per SGE tradition (established in 2006), we kick off the SGE Christmas party with the annual posting of William Motta's classic painting that we've been calling "Christmas Present Race". It's immortal - like a fruitcake (half life: 150,000 years).  Hey, that race car driver bears a striking resemblance to Bob! You don't suppose...


Yeah, it's Christmas again. Personally, I get the whole Christian deal about Santa driving the snakes from Iran - that's a pretty cool story. And the part about surrounding yourself with despised family members and obnoxious friends even makes some kind of twisted sense, from an entertainment standpoint. But I just can't understand why these holiday gatherings have to be held while we're experiencing the absolute worst travel conditions of the year. Sure, everyone wants to celebrate Louis Chevrolet's birthday, but why couldn't it just be acknowledged in winter via Black Friday sales, then celebrated in summer, when traction is good and we can wear T-shirts and sandals like Jesus intended? This simple change of date could save drag racing. Imagine the Christmas Nationals, with a Santa starter at the Christmas tree and a crack team of track elves, doing their thing at a northern strip equipped with cool dense air. Everyone would run their personal best up there, making for the happiest Christmas ever! Just a thought.

Then there's the gift giving. Again, I can see why the department stores initiated this tradition shortly after the (insert favorite war here) war ended - it saved our economy. But jeeze, that was years ago. Times have changed. This may sound crazy, but maybe we as a race have evolved to the point where giving immaterial gifts would be more meaningful. You know, like good deeds and stuff? This topic was discussed at the latest SGE staff meeting, where it was unanimously agreed that we should set the pace with our own example. It is in that selfless spirit that we waive the cover charge to our company Christmas party and invite the entire SGE Nation (starting with Bob) to join us in honoring the original intent of this most sacred holiday.

It was Santa Claus himself who taught us that a cool gift can bribe people into doing good deeds. And thanks to our recent partnership with the esteemed Hazard Fraught Tools Corporation, do we ever have some last minute gifts for you! In fact, that's exactly how we're kicking off this year's HOT RODDER'S GIFT GUIDE (just like in Hot Rod magazine)!!!

You're welcome. But now you owe us, big time! (Images courtesy of Hazard Fraught via Motormouth Ray)

You elitists who desire a snootier gift to give (in hopes of making yourself look better to giftees who couldn't care less) are in luck, as we have you covered, too:

Five genuine NAPA ratcheting endwrenches for $20 ! Best of all, the crowned tops are welded on, so the wrenches are useless for the rest of the year! "Sorry Hon, I can't fix the wash machine until I get a rollaway full of Snap-Ons. Those decorative wrenches that Larry got us for Christmas won't work on our metric washer, anyway." Again, you're welcome. But your tab is growing... (Image courtesy of NAPA via Motormouth Ray)

Then there are those extra special people in your life to whom you want to give only the very best. What if we told you of an affordable gift that is worth its weight in gold and will only appreciate as the years roll by? Sound too good to be true? Well then, you must not have seen THESE before:

And they're all from CarTech Inc - a name America trusts! Available for $29.95 (or less), wherever money is accepted, around the globe. (Images courtesy of CarTech Inc)

So, you gambled the Christmas budget on a street race and are in jail for the holidays? Again? Don't sweat it. We can bail you out of the stress mode with our clairvoyant predictions of  2014's hottest sellers! It's a gift, so to speak...

It hasn't even been publicly released yet, but the Gosson Bros. Racing Library's first contribution to America's great tradition of publishing greed has already been declared a masterwork by Oprah, Ellen, Cher, and Bono - and they only saw the mimeographed single-page press release! We plan to completely flood the market with these puppies, so expect a spam tsunami soon. (Image courtesy of Gosson Bros. Racing Library)

Longtime racing pal Jim "Little Big Man" Lindsay just released his first novel! He claims it's fiction, but Jim is a drag racer, and you know how they are... Meet Jim in person and have him sign your copy of "Little Bastards" at the 2014 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California from January 24th to the 26th. Order yours today at www.jimlindsayauthor.com

Legendary Northwest photographer and all-around trad gearhead Peter Vincent just released his amazing The Bonneville Salt Flats, for those in need of really fast eye candy. Go to www.petervincentphotographer.com for a closer look and find out why this book is racking up celebrity endorsements like this: 
Yes, that's noted novelist Jim Lindsay and renowned racer/fabricator Marty Strode, ignoring a big buck customer car to savor Peter's stunning photos. 

Sick of visiting relatives and need to get the hell away for a while? Here's your ticket out. Go to motordolls.com and snag a copy of Lori Bentley Law's new novel. The Motor Dolls plot is a high velocity who-done-it, guaranteed to get you arrested for speed reading. This is the very definition of a page turner, as it has pages that turn and everything. A must read for aspiring escape artists! (Image courtesy of Lori Bentley Law)

For those with no time or aptitude for reading, here's a downhome video that won't kill much time while amusing you with the familiar tale of a group of friends building a hot rod and taking it to Bonneville for a shot at the USFRA's 130 MPH Club. The build and ensuing time trials are offered with a grassroots level wink-and-grin that anyone can relate to. If you've never crunched salt, this makes a good primer. Contact Ratrod Ray on Facebook, or just drive to his house: It's a block off of Rogue River Hwy southbound, in Grants Pass, Oregon (look for crusty cars in driveway). (Image courtesy of Ratrod Ray)

Okay, those are all swell gifts and all, but in the end, does anyone even remember what gift they got last year? Of course not. Because they were celebrating the REAL meaning of Christmas: It's perfectly socially acceptable to drink like a whale on national holidays! While I don't indulge myself (mostly out of respect for Bob), even I can't deny that the signs are everywhere:

Naturally, we also have the hot skinny poop on this year's elite A-list social gatherings, where there may be a two drink minimum, but no maximum whatsoever! Picture yourself here:

Fun for the whole family at Crested Butte, Colorado's Santa Ski Crawl! The big news at this year's drinking and skiing event is an attempt at the World Record for drunken Santas blasting down one of the country's fastest ski runs! Imagine the hilarity! And it's affordable, too: Only $25 for admission to the pub crawl through downtown Crested Butte (and a free Santa suit!), and $20 for your lift ticket (if you're still wearing some of your Santa suit). As mentioned above, nothing is more traditional than being cold and uncomfortable at Christmas. And what could be more chillingly awkward than swooshing through steaming piles of Santa vomit at certain-death speeds in sub-zero temps? Well, since you asked... (Photo via Motormouth Ray)

This is where we're headed for Christmas! The annual SantaCom event launches from New York City's East Village. A shared Twitter feed guides revelers from there to Manhattan and Brooklyn, where "Rudolph Dance Offs" are contested by those still standing. City fathers have been getting so much heat over SantaCom that this year's event could very well be the last. 

Police even issue these handy guidelines to every Santa participating in SantaCom. Nice. Over 37,000 would-be Santas follow the Twitter feed, and most pop in for at least a drink or two. Below are some random shots of the randomness.

Bob? Your gun has a matching beard?

(Photos via Motormouth Ray)

As it turns out, our imbibing embedded reporter (and now ex-SGE staffer) failed to notify us that the Santa Ski Crawl and SantaCom events both took place on December 14th (so sorry you were witness to this debacle, Bob). SGE and its affiliates worldwide not responsible or liable for airline ticket purchases or lodging reservations made in connection with these events. Women advised not to consume alcohol if pregnant. Use at own risk. Men pregnant and otherwise are absolved of any responsibility or other expectation if using alcohol or otherwise. Your mileage may vary from EPA estimate. Not to be used as flotation device. This product recognized as a carcinogen in laboratory testing. Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt.

What's missing from these events? Challenge. Any drunk Santa can fall down a hill, or stagger across town. So we came up with THE SGE BORDER-TO-BORDER FAST SANTA CHALLENGE: A winner-takes-all, open jackpot race (entrants contribute what they want to the purse) from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, to be contested by drunk Santas next year, from Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve. All Santas (in bright red costumes and white beards) are required to stop at secret checkpoints to have their blood alcohol levels checked (must be over State limit, with bonus prizes awarded for each point over those numbers). Only the car's owner may drive the car (one owner per car). Car may carry unlimited number of passengers, but must also carry a 350 cubic foot bundle of illegal "Christmas Presents" and a full size (and fully illuminated) Christmas tree, strapped to the car's top. Several valuable bonus prizes have already been donated by anonymous sponsors. At press time, we have four confirmed pre-entries, to be piloted by "Santa X", "Bad Santa", "Santa Pod" and "Santa Anna". First one to Mexico wins. Since I don't drink, I'll be the designated non-driver and will be shooting photos and taking notes to post on the blog.  I can't post any more details here for obvious reasons, but can assure you that Christmas 2014 will be a very merry trip on the Polar Express - for SGE readers, anyway.

We can't vouch for how serious these first three (tentative) entrants are. None have contributed to the jackpot, as of this writing.

But we can tell you that these last four are as serious as a revoked driver's license about the competition. All of them have tossed surprisingly healthy dough into the jackpot, which they each fully intend to pocket. Don't worry about your exposed mugs, guys - you'll be unrecognizable in Santa guise at 100+ MPH.


The following is a public service warning of the dark side of a white Christmas. Beware these freaks of nature. They are extremely dangerous and are not to be trusted.

Bob? Is that you?

(Images via Motormouth Ray)

Some friends of SGE who asked us to pass along their Christmas wishes to you...

Kristin Kline

Chadley Reynolds

Sadie Floyd

Maria Panova

Steve Scott and friend

Faith Granger and Lucky

Dave Wallace Jr.

Raoul Duke

This Guy (sorry, Bob!)

Our friends at the Golden Dragon, SGE's official office-away-from-the-office.

And, of course, the entire folded-arm SGE staff:

Motormouth Ray




OTHER BELOVED CELEBRITIES WHO SHARE LOUIS CHEVROLET'S BIRTHDAY: (December 25th): Sir Isaac Newton, Humpherey Bogart, Sissy Spacek, Rod Serling, Cab Calloway, Jesus Christ, Anwar Sadat, Robert Ripley, Nellie Fox, Pud Galvin, Karl Rove, and Carlos Castaneda. Some badass Capricorns...


Mawy Chwismuh! We hope your hangovers are cured by next week. Because we're all meeting back here for New Year's Eve!!! With Bob!

As per SGE tradition (established in 2006), we close the party with the annual posting of H.L.Condiment's classic "Why palm trees should not be decorated for Christmas".



Every proper hot rod garage is equipped with at least one cabinet where we keep "the good stuff". You know, those special items that we don't even allow dust to touch. Motormouth Ray is no exception. But on Christmas Eve, Ray's cabinet doubles as a secret hiding place for the family's presents. Do NOT peek into such a cabinet, as you just might discover a secret that you'll wish you hadn't seen - for the rest of your life. (Photo by Motormouth Ray)

And yes Virginia, we even have special Christmas squirrels for you "good" boys and girls. Perhaps you'll discover these treasures under YOUR tree in the morning. It could happen... Or you might find a crazed rabid squirrel that scampers straight up your arm to your jugular veins when you reach under the tree. You just never know. Good luck!