Tuesday, March 17, 2015



Mike Demerest's old "15 Ounce Fuel Coupe" has blasted enough nitro fumes to buzz the entire state of California. But even sitting static with the engine shut off, it evokes more adrenaline flow than a fleet of Corvettes with it's direct honesty. (Photo courtesy of Bob McMillian)

Top three reasons why I love hot rods and race cars (drumroll)...
Number 3: Cool!
Number 2: No rocket science degree required.
And the number one reason why I love hot rods and race cars: Go direct (heavy on the Go)!

There's no need to explain a hot rod or race car - they speak succinctly for themselves. I believe they communicate so clearly due to the direct approach to their construction. Tab A doesn't fit Slot B? Make it happen. Intakes guzzle fresh air from holes in hoods (when there are hoods), headers blast decibels while hanging in the breeze. Fenders are jettisoned to accommodate enough tire, etcetera. That kind of honesty speaks directly to that part of us that's insulted by SS badges or plastic wings on four-door sedans. The roots of the Go Direct ethic can be tripped over at the base of most of our family trees.

My uncle Dewey at left, with his son (my cousin) Eric. Both great guys, and real characters. Dewey delivered mail on foot for decades, while simultaneously running a cherry orchard. He later suffered from a degenerative muscle disease that slowed him down (and shrunk him down) over the years. His last thirty years or so were spent standing up or laying down, as sitting and walking were very painful for him - almost as painful as losing his mobility. Eric and his brothers got together to solve the problem in grand Gosson fashion, a few years back...

God only knows where the guys got this Honda. To this day, nobody's talking. Dewey needed a ride he could drive standing up, so the Sawzall and funny bones got a good workout...

... as did the steering column U-joints. Some old door hinges tastefully adapted the pedals to vertical driving, and a couple of Stewart Warner gauges were scrounged up (probably from a tractor) to replace a yard-long OEM dash that didn't offer as much information. The basket is the crowning touch - twice the size of the stock glove box, with half of the weight.

The interior is light, airy and spacious - a huge improvement on Honda's claustrophobic design. Entrance and egress are effortless. Dewey loved the car, and christened it "The Slug". He blasted it around the orchard for many years, usually doing chores, but always squirreling around. Dewey passed last year, and the property in the shadow of Mt. Hood, Oregon that had been in our family for over 100 years recently sold. My cousin Nadine has been clearing the last remnants from the place, and was joined by her siblings last week for a final joy ride in The Slug, followed by this fortuitous photo shoot. Thanks for documenting this family icon, Nadine! (Photos courtesy of Nadine Gosson)



Rocketboys Buddy Michaelson and dad Ky took drag race rocket god Captain Jack McClure to Aruba recently to celebrate his birthday. If that weren't big enough, Buddy alerted the SGE offices this week to an equally ambitious endeavor. Like we needed an excuse to run this shot of young Buddy on his rocket-powered scooter...

That's right, Buddy has been making a documentary film of Ky's life ahead of the flame. Stay tuned for release dates, locations, etc. This will be a fun ride. Nobody goes more direct than the Rocketboys.

Ky, tweaking his rocket-powered robot. "I think it's the jets..."

Ky, somewhere on the exhibition circuit in the 1960s. He's been at this for a while. 

The Michaelsons remind us that the DIY approach is borne of a rugged individualism. No sheep need apply. (Photos courtesy of Buddy Michaelson)


You are not hallucinating. Ray Fahrner's Boot Hill Express remains untouched and intact. SGE pal Chris Shelton clicked it at the sprawling Speedway Motors complex in Nebraska. (Photo courtesy of Chris Shelton)

Not satisfied with his collection of 1/24 scale Boothills, Galion, Ohio modeler Bill Clark began scratch-building his 1/8th scale version at the same time that I began writing the Show Rod Model Kits book. We corresponded about both projects and became virtual friends. Bill's goal was to photograph the finished iteration in time to publish in the book. That proved sadly unrealistic, but I vow to show you the finished product here. That will happen when it's meant to. In the meantime, Bill has agreed to keep us updated on his progress. Watch this space. (Photo courtesy of Bill Clark)

This is Bill. His shirt says so. He works in a factory all day, then unwinds with models. A regular guy. One of us. Welcome, Bill. (DIY Photo courtesy of Bill Clark)

This is the book. Get yours today at CarTech.com, or Amazon.com, or better yet, screw the dot coms and get it at your local brick and mortar book store from a genuine human! It's not that scary.


Mike Demerest is no longer with us, but the 15 oz. coupe lives on, thanks to caretaker Peter Vincent. Peter has devious plans to burn more nitro in the car's future, but has generously agreed to put that project on hold to allow for displaying the coupe at The World of Speed Museum's Grand Opening in Wilsonville, Oregon (near Portland) on April 24th. BE THERE!!! (Photo courtesy of Bob McMillian)


We almost sprained our engineering muscles, but Doctor Lockjaw and I finally hit on a satisfactory steering solution for - Oosp! Wrong photo. 

We almost sprained our engineering muscles, but Doctor Lockjaw and I finally hit on a satisfactory steering solution for the SGE Model A. The steering box needs to be precisely placed in the open space between these two hoops to function properly. It also needs to be rigidly braced to endure the incredible forces acting against it. Steering and suspension engineering is literally a matter of life and death. There was no clowning around on this Sunday.

The reversed Corvair box now rests on a 1/4" steel platform TIG'd to a 1 1/2" chrome moly tube which is TIG'd to the inside of the frame rail. It took some serious trail-and-error to find the elusive sweet spot, but now we have a properly aligned steering system and a stable platform to build from. The bracing will be heavy-handed overkill, according to my race car fabrication sensibilities, but should survive the shock and awe of evil potholes and railroad crossings. More next week. (Scotty shots)



Build your own custom squirrel from a feeder. It's the nuttiest!

Choosing the proper head for your squirrel project is key. 

Inevitably, you'll eventually be tempted to turn yourself into a squirrel. This is perfectly normal and is not cause for alarm. The alarm will sound when you realize you were already a squirrel before starting the project. At that point, you are free to embrace your inner squirrel and go nuts. Congrats!


Dexter "Pops" Bradford in his element. There's a toolbox in there somewhere. Pops attended the March Meet with son Randy a few days ago, then passed away on March 12th. Fare thee well. (Photo courtesy of  Randy Bradford)

Pops at Orange County, back when.

Randy at Famoso, in the here and now.