Monday, September 15, 2014



This image of the still-in-primer 7-11 coupe pretty much sums up my existence. Constantly striving to continue forward, no matter how jarring the ride may be. (Scotty shot)

Inspiration. That's the key element to my love affair with the creative process. In my experience, inspiration must be heeded obediently, lest repressed passions transform into a cruel poison that terminally suffocates the spirit. Dis the muse and she will leave you cold. Creativity is dangerous work, with distractions at every turn threatening to derail the project de jour. So it is that I celebrate the completion of every book, magazine feature, and blog post. Then comes the painful part. That agonizing realization of the task ahead: Promoting the work.

In the course of my 50+ year career as a laborer, I've taken several of those aptitude tests designed to expose one's core strengths as they apply to the job market. Every such test result showed me to be best suited for sales. This cracks me up to no end, as I've proven repeatedly to be the world's worst salesman. That isn't just my personal assessment. Ask any of the employers I've left in my wake. So my dream is to someday afford a trustworthy agent to promote my stuff for me. In the meantime, I need to promote my stuff to finance that dream. Gack!

And so I stand before you, hat in hand, lamely trying to present myself as somehow being worthy of a few of your dollars. It must be hard to look at. It ain't pretty on my side of the picture either, pal.

Icon of America's independent spirit, Jocko Johnson, once told me he played salsa music non-stop in his shop: "It's energetic and upbeat, which keeps me moving. And I don't understand the language, so the lyrics don't distract me." That's the premise behind this CD of surfabilly guitar music, equally suited for the shop and the road. This album is also the soundtrack to the book of the same name, currently under construction at the Gosson Bros. Racing Library. Get the CD at:

The Combo has only performed live twice, with both gigs occurring back-to-back on the same day. First was a brief surprise set at the Oakdale Laundromat...

... then the gear was packed up again for an invitation-only affair on the roof of the Medford Parking Garage...

... where this crazed fan rushed the stage, triggering a riot resulting in a hasty retreat from police dogs. We won't be doing this again anytime soon. Get more on the band at: 

The global migration of Americana-influenced racers to U.S. tracks has always intrigued me. When I dived into the deep end of the subject, I was deeply touched by the grit and spit of these would-be record breakers and their odysseys. The result of that eye-opening experience is crammed into this book (printed on recycled paper, so it doubles as an excellent oil soaker). Such product innovation is our specialty at Gosson Bros. Racing Library. Get the book at:

* Note: All above artwork courtesy of Lance Sorchik/Jumpstart Graphics.

A quick peek at the spirit between the covers.  (Photos and imagery copyright 2014 by Gosson Bros. Racing Library)

But wait - there's more!

People who liked the above products also liked these items from CarTech Inc:

A fourth CarTech book awaits its turn at the printer, and a fifth is currently underway. Get the whole collection and trade with your friends! It's fun! Behind-the-scenes info on these books and more at: Also available at:

And just in case you're not of this world, you need to be aware of Hot Rod Deluxe magazine. Space aliens, take note: For a credible and in-depth understanding of the human condition (AKA the history of hot rodding), this is the manual. No other magazine is to be trusted. Consequently, newsstand copies sell out quickly. Save a bi-monthly trip across the galaxy by purchasing a subscription at:  You're welcome.



The apple and the tree. Jeff Lutz and son Jeffrey hydrate their stereo Belairs somewhere in America. Shotgun rider Elana Scherr fired the shot that typifies this orgy of horsepower and grille kill. Chances are, you're already well aware of the results. For what it's worth, the following is our take.

A jaunty tip of the SGE crown to David Frieburger and the rest of the Hot Rod Magazine crazies (with the usual assist from Bangshifters Chad Reynolds and Brian Lohnes, plus the beyond-heroic Tanya Turk), for pulling off the greatest spectacle in fast street car history last week. HRM's Drag Week event has been the indisputable coolest thing going in the street/strip world since its inception in 2004. This disturbingly whacked Two Lane Blacktop/Cannonball Run hybrid has stood alone as the indisputable yardstick of street car performance, ever since. For better or worse, the 2014 edition delivered a truckload of epic drama in the form of five-time champion Larry Larson.

Larson's steel second-gen Nova has served as Drag Week's poster child until his fellow Unlimited classmates began campaigning carbon fiber bodies last year, possibly prompting Larsen's clandestine switch to a Proline-built Chevy S-10 pickup, two weeks prior to this year's kickoff in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Englishman Andy Frost has been claiming his street legal 6.40 ET to be beyond the capabilities of Yankee ingenuity. When he figures a way to finance shipping his car to Drag Week, we'll see about that. Until then, the Yanks are plenty entertaining on their own.

Every observing eyebrow elevated a notch when Larson rolled the S-10 into Tulsa Raceway Park.

By Day Three, a complete rebuild was necessary to stop the bleeding, but Larson soldiered on. Such is the operatic tone of Drag Week.

After limping down Thunder Valley Dragway (carding a 20 second ET that deleted him from Unlimited contention), then adding over a thousand miles to his odometer, Larson staged for the bonus Heads Up Challenge event back in Tulsa, and unloaded the shock heard around the world: 6.16 at 219 MPH. Andy Frost probably needs no conversion chart to decipher that number (Andy: If you can scam your way to Drag Week 2015, we hereby vow to follow your example and ship the SGE Morris Minor to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. See you there?)

So, Larson steals the spotlight again, even though he didn't win this year. That honor went to perennial bridesmaid Jeff Lutz, and we couldn't be happier for him. Son Jeffrey wheeled dad's old tin shoebox while Jeff Senior cleaned house in a tricked-out identical composite version, lending new credence to the "Evil Twin" moniker foisted upon the pair. Our heartfelt congrats to father and son!

Hot has comprehensive coverage of Drag Week's every minute, complete with excellent photography and footage from multiple videographers. Pack a lunch and dive in. There were more amazing stories than we can chronicle here. Shakespearean stuff. We stole some of their pix to illustrate our favorite Drag Week entries and moments...

And we can drive it home... with one headlight. 2014 Drag Week Champion Jeff Lutz. (Photos courtesy of Hot Rod and Dragzine)

Our favorite Drag Week guilty pleasure: Playing word games online with HRM's Elana Scherr and Brandon Gillogly in the dead of the night, as they motored through Kansas and Oklahoma.



The Camfather turned 93 last weekend. Kleet Norris (seen here schmoozing with some rock star in a fancy car) was at the party and sent this shot. Isky remains on the nose, and is even ramping up new bumpstick profiles in the shop. He credits cigars for his incredible stamina. (Photo courtesy of Kleet Norris)


As noted last week, SGE believer Jim Lindsay reset the XFBG/RMR (gas) record at World of Speed to 139 MPH, then drained the tank and refilled with alky for a shot at Blown Fuel. But his luck stopped there: "We went 146 on a 158 record. We need to make minor adjustments, which we will do soon on the dyno. Thank you all for your enthusiastic support!" 

With that, Lindsay kicked off the long grind back to Shedd, Oregon. 

Lindsay's salt update was sent from his favorite truck stop, the Paradise Truck Wash in Baker City, Oregon. Jim gives it five stars: "They do a bitchin job." Good thing: Note saltballs falling from under trailer. (Photos courtesy of Jim Lindsay)


With the 100th SCTA Speed Week event rained out, the fall World Finals event has been expanded from September 27th to October 3rd to accommodate an unprecedented number of potential 500 MPH streamliners. Call it World Finals Week or whatever you want, but you know it'll be called epic for many years to come. BE THERE!!!

Following extremely gratifying testing in recent weeks, Danny Thompson is hungry for the World Finals: "This should be a great capstone to what has been a fantastic opening season for the restored and updated Challenger II. The car has only run three full-course passes so far, but has already achieved a speed of 419 MPH. We hope to keep building on that strong foundation to set a new AA/FS record before the end of the season." The SGE Nation will most assuredly be cheering on D/T and the rest of the racers at this historical meet. (Photos courtesy of Holly Martin)


When was the last time any class in drag racing was dominated as utterly as Tony Bartone has done in 2014? Yeah, we can't remember it ever happening, either. New York's Bartone Bros. AA/FD has won every one of  NHRA's Heritage Series events this year, while also setting Low ET and Top MPH at those events. Oh yeah, Bartone also qualified #1 at every race. It happened again at last week's New England Hot Rod Reunion, with Bartone (perhaps inadvertently) showing his hand via a 5.70 at 271 MPH final round pass. Five years in the making, that speed (and this entire season) illustrates how well the Bartones have refined their combination: "We kept developing the program until we got it right."

He's already clinched the 2014 Top Fuel Championship, so why would Tony Bartone bother towing from New York to Bakersfield for the season ending California Hot Rod Reunion? "I made a commitment to run all of the events. We want to sweep the series. That would be something in itself." (Photos courtesy of Dave Kommel)


Progress on the SGE Model A has been slow but steady. Our homebrewed driveshaft hoops will tie together with more of the same round tubing to support the front mounting point of the torque arm, resulting in the realization of a three-link rear suspension (the other two points being the wishbones). 

We whipped up this cute little mounting tab to continue the theme established by our wishbone mounts.

The business end of the torque arm. Rod ends may have lent a bit more angle misadjustment coverage, but tie rod ends keep the vintage OEM visuals intact. We're confident of our torque arm's ability to handle the miniscule loads emitted from our fourbanger. But the mounting points were established by guesswork and may need adjustment after road testing. Addition of the torque arm ate over an inch of sparse passenger seating space, so only anorexic supermodels need apply for the shotgun rider position. Huge thanks as always to Custom Metal proprietor Doctor Lockjaw (Jamie Ford) for help with the head scratching on this phase of the build. We'll tie up some loose ends here and move on to the packaging challenges ahead: Drivetrain, steering and brakes. (Scotty shots)



From the beginning, Photobombers have been our favorite breed, and this guy is a purebred. He's everywhere, all the time. Special thanks to Saint Shellski, who bagged this example for the cause.

A humble SK tote by Cougar Dan on the HAMB. These are the Rodney Dangerfields of tool storage. We will never forget. (Photo courtesy of Cougar Dan)


The beautiful reality slap that is Drag Week...