Tuesday, December 16, 2014



Before federal emissions standards, dinosaurs roamed southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. Drive north over a few mountain passes, and you'd find more of the same in central Oregon's Willamette Valley. More than a million years later, their thunderous roars still terrify the populace. Not much has changed. Thank God. 

These cars and their owner/builder/drivers should probably be chained up somewhere. The day may very well come. Until then, beware of these loose cannons. They are an extremely dangerous influence on America's youth and the future of drag racing. PS: This is not a burnout. (Photo courtesy of Kleet Norris)

Adam Brenneman (left) drives the GTO. His brother Justin Brenneman (right) drives the Dodge (shown here in an earlier iteration). Neither the cars nor drivers seem to comprehend the true power they wield - a scenario that actually plays well to their strengths. 

Who to blame for the DNA. Father Mike Brenneman has been building muscle for several decades. His is the quiet voice of reason in this power management experiment gone astray. His sage advice, however, is often drowned out by screaming open headers. (Scotty shot)

Influence illustrated. When I dropped in on the Brenneman's B&B Speed Shop in Albany, Oregon on a bone-chilling January Sunday evening, a dozen of their friends and customers were happily shivering along in harmony with their heroes. All were previously rational human beings. (Scotty shot)

Speaking of customers, you can get your bone stock '36 Chevy six rebuilt at B&B...

...even though Hemis are the house specialty. For the record, Adam runs a bigblock Chevy in the Goat, and Justin's '64 Dodge packs Mopar max wedge power. (Scotty shot)

They'll scratch-build a front clip for your big block Nova...

... or backhalf your Dodge Demon.

This '41 Chrysler came in for a tune-up and left on a completely new chassis...

...but most of B&B's complete builds are done on purpose. The altered wheelbase Mopar here is headed back home to Ohio, after being B&B'd.

The story behind B&B's success is one of  family tradition: Justin's daughter Daisy's preferred mode of transportation is this home-brewed mini chopper.

Daisy may also have been inspired by brother Lincoln. He started young, too...

... which is good, because there's a lot of work to be done on Lincoln's 1st gen 'Cuda before it can hit the street and strip. He's on it, every chance he gets.

When he isn't sweating schoolwork or prepping his Cuda, Lincoln is pitching in around the shop. Assembling valvetrains is studly work (no matter your age), but Lincoln isn't above sweeping the shop floor either. The goal is to become the Brenneman's 3rd generation engine builder and make more power than his grandpa, dad, or uncle. (Photos courtesy of B&B Speed Shop)



A short drive north of Albany, the Strode brothers' hot rod bicycle competition rages on. Tom's "Shetland" at left, and Marty's "Stallion" on the right.

After spotting Marty's new fuel tank on last week's blog, Tom insisted on one for the Shetland. He got it. (Photos courtesy of Marty Strode)


Monumental news from my brother Rocky, out in Nebraska: After several years of bodywork performed on the lift at tinsmith Jimmy Vaag's Iowa shop, the former dirt track racer '33 5-window body has finally touched down to Earth, in pristine condition. Those Chevy hoodside vents are only the tip of the bodywork iceberg, with similar details jammed into every crook and nanny of the car. Rocky will be addressing chassis and drivetrain assembly chores...

...as soon as he makes a little more room in his miniscule home workspace (shown here in its entirety), which has served as a storage facility since the car went to Jimmy's place. He's made good progress so far, but Rocky still has some serious elbow grease expending ahead of him. The SGE nation is cheering you on, brother! (Photos courtesy of Rocky Gosson)


The front '40 Chevy truck shock absorber assemblies are now finalized and tacked into place on the SGE Model A. My role model Doc Lockjaw and I designed and fabbed the mounting tabs (on the inside edge of the wishbones) to mock the theme of our other suspension mounting brackets. Time will tell if they actually function, but we're happy with the look. Reminder: This work is only roughed-in. Only after all components are properly located, will finish welding and other clean-up commence.

By far, the toughest challenge of the project to date has been photographing our progress in an active working environment. The action rarely slows in the flourescently lit Custom Metal shop. I'll be using the royalties from my first million-selling book to construct a combination fabrication shop and photography studio, expressly for such endeavors. Until then, good luck making sense of images like this. (Scotty shots)



We project our own skewered sensibilities onto animals all the time. In reality, there's a reason the rest of the animal kingdom refers to squirrels as the "Chicken of the Trees". Hey, this segment can't be warm and fuzzy every damn week. Full disclosure: Squirrel was a staple of our dinner menu when I was growing up. We do what we gotta do. (Photo courtesy of USDA)

Fulltime hot rod legend Dave Shuten was in Japan this week for the Mooneyes car show thingie....

...so we considered it appropriate to bring back Dave's tool storage cabinet at Galpin Ford for an encore. We're not much on reruns, but this was worth it, just for the opportunity to post the above photo. (Photos courtesy of Dave Shuten)


Fuel Altered test monkey Ronnie Mankins lives just up the street from me. As is the case with many of my friends, we rarely cross paths around town, but always seem to connect while out on the road. Go figure. Ronnie snapped this candid shot of me on the clock at Bakersfield, California. What you need to know about Bakersfield: The track is a few miles north of town, just off of Hwy 99. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are the most famous non-racing residents. Milt's Cafe is the only place to eat. 

Ronnie tracked progress of a recent local photo shoot as I toiled, oblivious. He did warn me as traffic approached on this County road.

Thankfully, Ronnie also caught my good side.

Post-shoot debriefing with principals Monty Wray (left) and Brian Watson: "It took me all morning to string wire downtrack for the timing cells, from the bed of a pickup. On Monty's first pass, he hit that little rise over there, jumped the ditch, and shot out into the field..." God, I love my job. (Photos courtesy of Ronnie Mankins)

This morning I received an advance copy of my next CarTech book. On the inside back cover is an About the Author blurb, wherein it is stated that I am "Currently on staff at Hot Rod Deluxe magazine". This is an unfortunate mistake on the part of whomever wrote the blurb. I am not now - nor have I ever been - on staff at any of the TEN ("The Enthusiast Network") publications that I freelance content to. I only wish I were, and that ambition is well known in the industry, making this gaffe a particularly disturbing development. The book is printed and is currently shipping to distributors for a January release. I can only ride out this confusion until the second printing of the book (should there be one) and make corrections at that time. My sincere apologies for any confusion and ensuing false perspective of my employment status and/or character. Scotty

The book in question. Everything in it is shockingly true! Except the blurb on the inside back sleeve. Caveat #2: I'm not responsible for the cover art. Important point #3: Makes a perfect Christmas gift. (Image courtesy of CarTech Inc.)