Tuesday, January 13, 2015



America's own Charlie Hebdo goes by the name of Bugs. His job is giving hot air the finger. The Marx Brothers taught him everything he knows, and he's been passing it on ever since. Given the track record of human history, Bugs will enjoy excellent job security for eons to come. 

If the reality slaps echoing from North Korea and Paris have served any valuable purpose, they've been an effective reminder not to take ourselves too seriously. You know, lest we become pious, judgmental, isolated, paranoid, and decide to assert our values on other cultures. Okay, bad example. We've already become pious, judgmental, isolated, paranoid, and have asserted our values on other cultures. But we did that stuff while laughing at ourselves. Such self parody and satire is crucial to the survival and evolution of any culture. So we'll miss the wacky North Koreans and the hardline Islamists. We could have had some laughs with those guys. But they're bound to implode eventually. Party poopers don't usually hang around for long, once the turd is discovered in the punch bowl. The same goes for hot rodding. It's about having fun on wheels, period. We must laugh at ourselves, or choke on our own pomposity.

As the Paris attacks played out on my TV screen, I couldn't help but wonder about SGE fave Robert Crumb. The ex-patriot American cartoonist and wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb exited to France in 1991 to escape mainstream American vanilla culture and savor some '20s blues. I searched for a Crumb comment and found nary a crumb, until Celia Farber's piece appeared in the January 10th New York Observer. It's worth searching for. The crux is Crumb's execution of a memorial cartoon requested by Paris' Liberation magazine:

R. Crumb ponders recent events in Paris. (Photo courtesy of New York Observer)

"Liberation called me and said, 'Crumb, can you do a cartoon for us? About what you think about this? You know, you are a major cartoonist, and you live in France.' So I thought about it. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I thought, 'Okay, I'm the Cowardly Cartoonist. As a Cowardly Cartoonist, I can't make some glib comment, you know? I have to, like, make fun of myself.' So instead of drawing the face of Mohammed, I drew the ass of Mohammed (laughs). But then I had myself saying - in small lettering - 'Actually, this is the ass of my friend Mohamid Bakshi, who's a film director in Los Angeles, California.' So if they come at me, I'm gonna say, 'No, look, it's not Muhammed the prophet, it's this guy, Mohamid Bakshi."'

The hairy ass of Mohamid! A few hours after finding the story, I returned for details and found this image had been mysteriously deleted from Farber's piece. Draw your own conclusions to that development.


Uber artist Jimmy Smith is down to the fine hairs on his '37 Ford truck project. A scratch-fabbed bed is next on the list, then it's just a matter of sorting out a zillion small details.

Last week's big step was the completion of this one-off bench seat, now being upholstered...

... Jimmy says it's like sitting on a king-sized pile of Charmin. 

The bed will be made at All Ways Hot Rods. Expect tucked corners and appropriate skirting. All Ways is also slated to handle wiring chores, so that bed may end up a remote controlled tilt & recline model with His and Hers temperature settings. (Photos courtesy of Jimmy Smith)


We previously offered a sneak peek of the top secret Funny Car project under construction at Ron Austin Fabrication in Medford, Oregon. Twisty Ron supplied SGE with this update on the fabricated rearend housing, now installed. 

The front suspension shares the same meticulous build quality, complete with machined spindles. That hardware in the background was earned the hard way, one round at a time.

A rare bit of sideline activity for Mr. Twisty, this trolling boat steering podium will help keep the shop lights on for another month. Ron is booked solid through spring, so schedule your build today at 541- 326-5878. Yes, this is blatant cronyism. (Photos courtesy of Ron Austin Fabrication)


The motorized bicycle competition between brothers Marty and Tom Strode rages on. This week, Marty lets us in on construction of the timing cover for his Stallion bike, performed in seven easy steps.

The belt guard was shaped in a slip roller. Marty formed a centerline down the length of it on the bead roller, adding strength and a cosmetic highlight in one combined step.

Edges were hammer formed and viola! Marty's shoelaces are safe from entanglement. 

A cardboard template was traced from the opening so Marty could make a pulley guard.

The template pattern was traced to aluminum sheet and cut out, then the bead roller was employed to create a radiused edge.

Ta da! But it needed a little something...

This downhome dimpler enabled Marty to add yet more strength and visual interest to the piece.

Now we're talkin'. A lap around the guard with the TIG welder tied everything together. Knocking down the weld bead with a grinder, file and sander produced the final result...

... which, of course, was to make brother Tom insanely jealous. Mission accomplished. Now Marty will likely be forced into making one for Tom's Shetland bike. (Photos courtesy of Strode Racing Equipment)


We mocked up the SGE Model A drivetrain last week and got no further. This Sunday, we fine tuned the placement and dug out our rusty and greasy OEM 2.3L Ford motor mounts. The guys I got the engine from had torched them out of a Ranger pickup. I intended to use these nasty things as rough guides to base tasteful new custom mounts on, but once again, Dr. Locljaw provided the voice of reason: Time was getting away from us, as was money for steel. It was decided to make do with what we had. Fancy mounts can wait for better days. Good call, Doc. 

The cleaned up passenger side mount, with additional material providing adequate area for interacting with an OEM early Ford rubber biscuit.

Biscuits! Mmmm... These things have held up millions of flathead V-8s over the years. They should be plenty adequate for our little overhead 'banger. Doc had two in stock that appeared serviceable, so we decided we loved them. They do fit the visual vibe we're after.

The driver's side mount is an appreciably cleaner design. It got the same treatment as Mount A and was slapped into place. It's a long reach from the framerail to the biscuit, and the engine still needs to be raised another quarter inch higher, for (cast aluminum) oil pan clearance. The lower mount design will definitely challenge our abilities to combine form and function. Hmmm...

Bolting the header and starter in place was a revelation that inspired a whole new exhaust concept. Wait'll you get a load of this brainstorm. Coming soon ("soon" being a relative term, of course).
(Scotty shots)



Hey Kids! You like to have fun, don't you? Well then, go get your scissors and run back here to the computer. Your funtime pal Motormouth Ray has a great new game to play! Don't tell Mom... (Photo courtesy of Motormouth Ray)

The shop box at Celebrity Chase Collision. Hard to tell for sure, but we're guessing it's a Snap-On. (Photo courtesy of Motormouth Ray)


Maybe not Mohammed, but close enough for the average pop culture consumer. If the pig could talk, he'd probably say, "Je Suis Charlie". This week, anyway. By R. Crumb