Tuesday, April 1, 2014



I'm leaving an extra-large margin here, so you can scroll down before experiencing an epileptic seizure (or acid flashback, depending on how you spent the 60s). You're welcome. Imagine living with this 24/7/365. That's life in Scottyville...

911 is on speed dial. I'm wearing a Life Alert necklace. And Deadline Fever is steadily torching a gaping hole through my brain, as I flat-foot it to the finish on the latest CarTech book project. The stripe is a scant four weeks downtrack. It should be worth it in the end, but today, the strain is testing my (already nervous) nervous system. So, with no time to devote to a proper feature story this week, it seems an appropriate opportunity to update you on some of your favorite SGE characters.

A belated Happy Birthday to the Motormouth twins, Chris Switzer and Ray Guarino, who turned twelve recently. That's nearly a decade of airwave advocacy on behalf of East Coast wrench heads. These real-life Vanishing Point mouthpieces deserve more than cake for their efforts, so Motormouth Ray ended up with the very last Gen II Gosson Bros. Racing T-shirt. Others have claimed ownership of this rarest garment, but they are lying Shroud-of-Turin-style swindlers and hucksters. May this photograph document the truth: Motormouth Ray is the second-luckiest guy in town. (Photo courtesy of www.motormouthradio.com. Go there!)


After years of sneaking up on this milestone, my old Morris hot rod finally broke the nine second barrier, in a big way. I clicked this scoreboard shot in Champion Raceway's shutdown area after a triumphant 7.23/188, according to this anonymously Photoshopped image, sent by Jay Willoughby. Who's Jay Willoughby? A guy I met while cruising the Morris through Portland, Oregon one night, many years ago. He was building a similar lowbuck car at the time and related to the Morris. Jay saw this image somewhere online, but can't remember where. I can relate to that. (Image by Mr. X)

Jay Willoughby's Opel wagon, lounging in his shop in the foothills of Mt. Hood. It hauls a smallblock Chevy/automatic/9" Ford rear combo, in style. The Opel's garage-mate is a hot rod '46 Stude pickup with smallblock Ford power. Hopefully, the Opel will be ready for an SGE feature sometime this century. (Photo by Jay Willoughby)


You may recall my nephew Jerm's 180MPH ZO6 Corvette from its exploits on this blog. But Jerm had been playing with this '49 Ford coupe for several years before the Vette came along. He recently decided the shoebox was due for a quick freshening and, well, you know the rest. This is what remained of the Ford after Jerm removed the parts he wasn't 100% satisfied with. He wasn't wild about the frame rails either, so they're gone now, too.

Frame and chassis update. Hand crafted tubular suspension will operate 305 series front fattys and decadent 375s, at rear. Tire fitment testing is in progress in these photos.

Drivetrain update: Out with the smallblock 400/auto, in with the twin turbo 427 LS/T-56 Magnum 6-speed.

His proper name is Jeremy. I'm better with nicknames, so Jerm it is. He learned cars in wrecking yards as a pre-teen, starting with a Dodge Omni shell and a 2.2 that he hung a huge turbo on. The shoebox was built as a Pro Streeter while in high school. He's been unstoppable since. SGE micro interview: Do you have any semblance of a plan? Jerm Gosson: "Cutting everything out and throwing it away was the only way. Such common sense, but hard to reach that point. Being the particular fellow I am, my skillset limitations and extremely limited time forced me to farm out most of the heavy fab work. J2 Speed and Custom (in Nebraska) is doing all the chassis and 'cage work, as well as stitching the body back together. It's coming along slowly, as all projects do. This will be a true street car, with a back seat that I can use to run the kids around, when not in terror mode. With a few suspension adjustments, it will go from street duty to track terror." (Photos by Jerm Glozzin)


Jesse Coots and crew are still wailing away on Lance Sorchik's '33 Ford roadster project at Le Roy, New York's Old Soul Hot Rod Shop. The fully torsion bar suspended hair blower is now a roller and even the body work is near complete. Lance wants to use his rumble seat, so Jesse planned around it. Nice.

Rear wishbones are barely split, but still need all the help they can get, so have been fortified with upper bars and these holy gussets that could suspend a bridge. 

Beefy front torsion bars will hide under the fender aprons, leaving a trad exterior appearance.

Even the steering received the Daliesque Sorchikian treatment. Scotty Gosson likes this. Lance's deal with Coots is very similar to my relationship with Dr. Lockjaw. Our mentors pass the goods to us, we pass them on to the next guy, and so on. It makes the wold go around. (Photos courtesy of Old Soul Hot Rod Shop)


We've been keeping an eye on Kristin (The Human Spark Plug) Cline's new '55 Studebaker engine build. It's looking up.

When her rowdy smallblock Chevy recently came down with a case of the wheezies, Kristin freshened it with new rings, bearings, and seals. And a coat of the same gold pigment that she'll be applying to the coming '49 Cadillac 331" replacement engine. Kristin is already collecting cool period speed parts for the Caddy.

Kristin puts a lot of miles on the Studie, and most are under hard acceleration. One adventure (of several) on this year's schedule is a return to Bonneville...

... where Kristin will be crewing on Jerry Hansen's '55 Stude, and perhaps taking a turn at the wheel. Hansen - a Stude dude with a  rude 'tude - is shown here with car and crew at the 2013 Speed Week.

Meanwhile, the Stude is counted on for loyal transportation around southern California. Kristin now has some kind of late model, plus a 6-cylinder 1st Gen Falcon for backup. But the '55 was her daily driver for so long, she still leans on it, so to speak. 

If more Americans were willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty in the name of progress, we could return the U.S. to a hot rod Utopia. Imagine firing the robots and hiring humans to construct distinctively U.S. tin, like Studebakers. If that should happen, you can bet Kristin will be in the thick of it. (Photos courtesy of Kristin Cline)


The SGE Model A project is now down to the bones. These '40 front wishbones sported farmer repairs that required trimming to a shorter length than anticipated...

... but they'll still locate the '40 front axle at about the same place, if in a different manner than planned. We may have to get radical here. The new official wheelbase number is 121 3/4". A long haul from the 86 inches I'm used to. This will be like driving a freight train around.

This week will be spent gathering the myriad small parts required to produce a rolling chassis. We'll need to make a front spring perch and figure out steering, but we're getting there. 

And to think, this where we started, a year ago. I guess that's not too bad, considering the measly three hours a week devoted to the project. (Scotty shots)


Maria Panova's Kiwi summer is drawing to a close. The Russian racer/reporter has been sampling a variety of New Zealand motorsports (behind the wheel and camera) and documenting as she goes. We close this week with an overview of Kiwi imagery as seen through Maria's lens. She'll be heading back to mother Russia and her eight second Toyota soon. 

Thanks for sharing your endless summer with us, Maria! We'll be cheering you on, as always...



A reminder to take time for proper chewing and digestion. Savor the fruits of your harvest when you can. You'll probably be hightailing it again tomorrow. And don't forget to breathe.

A Mr. Bodger owns this one-off wooden chest, handcrafted and used by his grandfather, then used by his father, until Bodger inherited it.
Bodger's grandpa ran Summertime's Service shop, where their motto was, "Engines tuned like a fine violin". 


(Image via Motormouth Ray)