Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Of Couch Surfing, Joyous Noises and Flinging Sparks. And the last Thumbnail Freakout (for now)-!

                       Test driving Dr. Lockjaw's '32. It's so nice to be the Forrest Gump of hot rodding...


It was a fairly standard week in Scottyville. Some of it was spent gathering nuts and berries, but every day of it was fun. Thanks to my pals Richard and Sandy (and their beautiful house, stocked with adorably quirky dogs and cats), I got some good solid work done on the latest book project for CarTech. I even prevented a deadline panic for the latest Hot Rod Deluxe story, which made several people happy.


But just like you and your Uncle Bob, I live for the weekend. Lately, my Saturdays have been devoted to recording the new Scotty Gosson Combo album at Medford's James Drive Studio, which may sound pretty swanky, but is actually my pal Rob's unfinished (and unheated) garage. We wouldn't have it any other way, as this place is the natural habitat for some good honest garage band thrashing. After a lifetime of writing/performing/recording acoustic music, mere words are inadequate to describe how cathartic it is to finally unleash the electricity within - but I can tell you it's akin to a 220 volt enema, if you can imagine that. This stuff will probably surprise a few people. We have the basic tracks recorded now, and are down to adding some incidentals, then the mixdown begins. I'm very stoked about this.

That's Rob James' garage (er, I mean, James Drive Studio), behind the Bi-Polar Bear (bearing a cache  of musical instruments, haphazardly homespun electronic devices, and half a bag of Purina Bachelor Chow). Rob's place looks like any other garage on this idyllic cul-de-sac - blissfully invisible to the untrained eye.

Inside his lair, we find Mr. Rob hisself, displaying obvious signs of sleep deprivation, over-caffeination, and borderline creative process adrenaline poisoning. This guy has been a Godsend to me, and to many other musical misfits around the valley. Rob "gets it".

Rob even knows what most of those buttons and switches do. Amazing. I thought he was downloading a mix to the computer here, but it turns out he was pricing used ignition coils on eBay. The mix came out pretty good though.

As of today, the Scotty Gosson Combo consists of Rob on skins and Scotty on strings. We're discreetly vetting bass and rhythm guitar players for some future live performances though (Shhh!).

       Don't turn your back on Rob for a second - he'll make you more famous than you care to be.

Ah, back on my trusty Fenton guitar. This shot is my own fault - I left my camera in the booth with Rob, foolishly assuming he was actually working.


Sundays are reserved for some quality shop time at Dr. Lockjaw's Custom Metal facility, deep in the wilderness of Oregon's Applegate valley. It's a therapeutic forty minute drive from here, and I always arrive at the shop (and later, back home) with my battery recharged. Doc and I are both building Model A's as spare time projects - he, a J-2 Olds-powered coupe, and I, a 2.3 liter Ford-powered roadster thingy (it's "unusual" and "interesting", like most cars I've built for myself). The Bi-Polar Bear sucks gas so hard, I haven't been able to afford the trip for a couple of weeks, so it hit the spot extra solid this week. Beautiful weather didn't hurt, either. After an initial mock-up of my "Sport Touring", we now have the basic parameters sketched out, so we started building my frame rails this week. If I can get out there over the remaining winter Sundays, I should have a rolling chassis in time for T-shirt weather. This project may end up in a book, so I'm not going into much detail here.

Sneaking a peek out of the shop door, at Doc's house. In true  hardcore fabricator fashion, he built it (and the shop) himself, from scratch. Both are totally badass!

Doc's A-Bone chassis is looking good. His up-side-down rails are actually the same Model A pieces I originally planned for mine, 15 years ago. But Doc actually made them nice. Very nice! As always, Doc's car will be deemed a fully realized masterpiece, while mine will be considered more "folk art". We're both okay with those titles.

On my last visit, I delivered these 2" X 3" rectangular tubes and the little 1 1/4" round tubes, and left them on a frame jig, gathering shop dust. These will be the foundation of my new car. SFI-spec (blown Big Block Chevy) Willys coupe in background is a customer car.

After some last second head scratching, slicing, dicing, and inner boxing, Doc waves his magic welding tip over the tubing, and presto! Instant frame rails for a needle-nose Model A! Next week: Tapering the rails.


Once again, my online research has unearthed another weeks worth of cool imagery, too small to print. So I've decided to share it here, then delete it, saving myself the agony of clawing through mountains of thumbnails (eeew!) while trying to be productive on the clock. Enjoy.


Okay, streeters on the salt...

Here's your free Wally Parks screen saver.

A reminder from the AHRF that Ed Roth built more than just the Dali-esque Show Rods. Anyone remember Ed's hot rod '55 Chevy with the FE Ford in it?


(My personal favorites) STREET/STRIPPERS:

When I worked at Mike DeVee's Mopar Resto-Mod shop, this is what we took to lunch every day (it was often the only car on the property without a Hemi). A surly blown smallblock Chevy with a 4-speed kept us engaged on the way to town and back. Mike has since sold it, and I believe this shot was posted online by the new owner, who hasn't changed a thing. I made some minor tweaks to this, and Dr. Lockjaw built the 'cage.

The Manilishi Falcon.

Saluting the El Monte Air Force!

Oh yeah! I'm a lifelong fiftysixer and this is one of my faves.
                          This Bowtie trio pretty much defines the street racer ethos, in my opinion.

Gotta love beaters... 

Speaking of which, Paul Zeilsdorf has the perfect swap meet-mobile!

Model A juxtaposition: Stock and Not.

Orphaned Racers:


The Witchcraft streamliner was based on a Strother MacMinn concept. Where is it now?

Tony Nancy at the '70 March Meet. If you dig this stuff, go blow a few hours at the AHRF site, or their Facebook page.

A bunch that just grabbed me:

This series of shots depicting Gasser great Steve Woods test driving a friend's car is from the Fremont Raceway Facebook site. The rearend wasn't quite nailed down...

At Santa Pod, in England.

I heart early A/FXers. Stripped down to expose the very essence of racing.
Some Just Because racer shots:


Obviously, a lot of this stuff is from Facebook. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Hot Rod Deluxe has a Facebook page! I'm always the last to know anything. It's mostly behind-the-scenes stuff, posted by Taylor Le. But Mr. Ed has posted a few juicy tidbits on there, too.


The HAMB's Friday Night Art Show never ceases to amaze. Here's some samples from this week's show.

                                                                   ENOUGH ALREADY! 

                                                                    (Until next time...)