23 December 2010


Imagine a 42 liter, V12 Packard WWII  Torpedo boat motor stuffed into a 1920's Bently as big as a bus.

Can you say scary?
Over 1500 Horsepower in an antique car you can barely drive over 50 miles an hour safely.

You gotta watch this, I love the open pipes. Go watch the video and read the guys take on his experience driving it.

I really liked the part about him gettingn his eyebrows singed off from the open pipes.

It makes you believe that if you tried to run that motor out the old Bently would come off the ground.

BTW, Merry Christmas from the gang here.

16 December 2010

The Amazingly Boring Antics Adventures of Gordon and Bermflinger!

Here's a little vid of me using my new snowthrower, which works very well indeed. So good that I have named it "Bermflinger!". I was gonna give it sort of an Alpine/Swiss type name - Ausgeflingenderbermensehrfahrren! - but I couldn't spell it.

Could my old blower have cut up and tossed this berm? Sure. Not nearly as easily and quickly though. This blower has cut my my snow clearing time at least in half and with a lot less effort. This old man thanks you, Soichiro.

Watching me blow snow is about as exciting as watching paint dry, I know, but the dogs are fun. Notice the out-of-focus bit when I heave into view. I think the camera was trying to focus on the discharged snow.

I'm getting used to the machine, which operates similarly yet entirely different from my old one. I'm getting used to the big mittens too. Watch me try and horribly fail to throw a ball for my dog!


07 November 2010

An idle mind is a terrible thing to waste...

It's raining, fixin' ta snow snowing, Mrs. G's NASCAR race is on, and I'm bored. Please forgive me...

Steven Jordan from Malvern with his 1947 Ariel, running a 600cc sidevalve 'Jap'(*) engine originally from a Howard-gem rotavator!!

*Not literally. More properly 'J.A.P.'. Putting one of these engines in a hillclimber is roughly the equivalent of putting a Briggs & Stratton in a dragster. J.A.P. made hellacious fast motorcycle engines, but this ain't one of 'em. Strange cats, these Limeys, but hey, ya go with whatcha got, and the thing probly gets him back and forth from the feed store and pub just fine...

First, watch ol' Steve get his ass blown in the weeds by a coupla 'modern' ('60s) bikes. Event is the '08 Red Marley Hill Climb:

Thanks to SethyF, UK.

Here's a sled in action that's slightly newer than the one Steve got his mill from:

This video shows my Howard 'Gem' Rotavator. I have brought the machine back to life. Her year of build is 8th August 1950 with a serial number of G17447 and is an early series 3 machine. This can be noted by the quadrangle gear gate. Howard was the Reg Trademark but she was made by Rotary Hoes Ltd in East Hordon Essex. She has a single cylinder BJ (British Junior) engine. I have tried to get the machine back to it's orginal state right down to the waterslide transfers which finish the machine off.

Thanks to Mayso4910, UK.

As you can see, not much difference in performance. Heh.

That said, a beautiful restoration of the old rotovator. The thing's a moose compared to a modern rototiller. Sure is purty, 'tho.

I actually have experience with the Troy Bilt type since my late mother-in-law had one to till her one acre+ garden with her husband at the helm. Considering that ol' Ralph drank a mite, it is notable that he never ran himself over with it. Being the mechanic in the family, it fell to me to keep it running on our occasional visits, which was pretty simple, although I swear I found parts that fell off it inside her home-canned veggies...

In the years after Ralph passed, Nadine modernized with a Sears lawn tractor. I know more about those things than I care to as well...

24 October 2010

Un- Real

This is one tough little bastard of a truck.

They ran it into a tree, submerged it in the ocean for five hours , hit it with a wrecking ball, dropped it, dropped a trailer on it and even set the damn thing on fire, and it still ran.

16 October 2010

Crater Camp

Nice little write-up (no can c&p) on a place I almost remember from my youth from Elrod Racing. Others too. The way it used to be. Sigh.

Crater Camp from Elrod Racing on Vimeo.

15 October 2010

How I Wished I Could Have Been There

Blogger seems to be fucked up as usual.
One hundred years of Indy cars all lined up at the starting line. From 1911 to the present.

How awesome would that be to see?


Copy and paste the link, commence drooling in 5, 4, 3. 2, 1....

11 October 2010

Kraut Cup Trial

This trial came to my attention when I thought the trials season was over. My third trial and my best one yet!

I rode 11 sections, or slightly over one loop, the farthest I've made it in one of these events so far. I'm happy about that.

I figured out it's best if I don't ride any more after I realize I'm tired to the point where my concentration and judgment lapse, which is when Bad Things Happen. As a result, I didn't fall off this time. A first in my trials career! I'm happy about that.

One of the reasons, I'm sure, that I did better is that I'm starting to relax at the helm a little. I'm getting more comfortable with the bike and am heading for the point I need to be at, somewhere between "Bend The Handlebars Hang On For Dear Life" and "Thumb And Forefinger Barely Touching The Handgrip", although my "HotHotHotDeathGrip" has caused the firmly-glued-on left handgrip to move almost an inch to the right! Heh.

In my three trials, I have improved a little at a time. The learning curve may have eased off the vertical a point or two. I've learned a lot about trials-specific riding techniques that are WAY different from what I'm used to, and all manner of little details that will pay off next season.

At this trial, Mrs. G didn't feel like taking any videos and that's fine. She played with the dogs a lot (they love the PITS property and all the people!) but managed to trudge to five of the sections to watch me. She got two still photos.

She says I went by too fast in this one, something I've rarely been accused of in my racing career! I'm glad my hands are visible or it would've looked like I've figured out how to balance the bike well enough to take a leak behind a tree whilst still mounted! When I get to that point, there WILL be video! Heh.

Click photos to embiggen

This one is pretty typical of the terrain. Mrs. G loves rocks! You can see the red and blue "split" markers that show riders of different skill levels which path to take through the section. That's me in the center, blue jersey, red helmet, walking the section (all the riders do that) and trying to talk some rocks into moving aside a little. It didn't work.

All in all a pretty good end for my first season. I'm looking forward to next year.

25 September 2010

Granite Trial

There's good news and not so good news, but I'm happy with my day!

Part of the good news is the SactoPITS property. It's just under 40 acres and their events fit inside it just fine. Also, it's absolutely undevelopable so they'll have it as long as they want it. It's two miles from the Eagle Lakes exit of I-80 on a section of Old Hwy 40 that turns to one-lane rocky shit a mile out. I-80 passes about 300 yards to the south (you'd never know it was there) and the main electrical transmission lines across this part of the Sierra pass virtually over it. I was impressed. The place is perfect for this kind of small event. Trees and rocks. Lotsa rocks.

Next in the good news department: I asked the sign-up ladies if I could pay my 2011 dues (I skipped 2010) five days early and ride on it rather than pay 15 bucks for a one-day membership like I did at the Granite Patch in July. They took pity on a poor old whiney senior citizen and let me do it. The guy next to me in line said that sounded good to him and they let him do it too. Heh.

PITS requires AMA membership and so I had dug out my membership card to take along to show them. I've been an AMA member for 52 years and hadn't even seen the card in probly 25. Everything's different than on the newer cards and they'd never seen one like it, sweet young things in their 40s that they were. Those gals looked at me like Sasquatch, or maybe Moses, had come a-boilin' down outta the hills to ride their event!

Actually, lotsa old guys ride this sport, but as resident Olde Pharte around here I have an image to maintain.

The best part was Mrs.G caught me on video cleaning a section. We had the dogs with us (they had a blast!) and she was keeping an eye on them. She did her duty and put their little asses in the truck and came looking for me. This was the only section she got to with the camera as it was the closest one to the truck. Thank you, sweetie.

If you saw the vid of me bein' a non-ridin' squid at the July event, this one takes some of the sting out.

Section 6 at SactoPITS Granite Trial near Eagle Lakes CA on 9-25-10. They make the "4 line" sections very easy for us beginners.

I will now put the sting back in.

I gotta leave ya hangin' 'til tomorrow. Certain parts of me are threatening to go on strike if I don't get into a hot tub toot de sweet! I better get outta this chair while I can do it unaided by the Fire Department! See ya.

Monday afternoon. Sorry I haven't finished this post yet. I've been busy. I will.

I have now ridden two events. I didn't finish either one, but I've learned a lot.

A word about the scoring system: Trials is scored like golf - lowest score wins. '0' or 'clean' is the goal in the observed sections. You get points for putting your foot on the ground or stopping, up to a maximum of five points, at which point there's no more glory.

On balance, I'm improving. In my first trial in July I scored two 'cleans' in eight sections, or 25%. In this trial I scored four 'cleans' in six sections, or 67%.

The observed sections for my skill level are pretty easy, as you see in the video. The club does that so beginners won't get discouraged and take up knitting or something. No problem here, knitting needles are too dangerous and I'd probably strangle myself with the yarn.

The actual sections aren't a particular problem for me, but the trail in between them IS! Only maybe a coupla hundred feet or yards, but rocky, narrow, occasionally steep up or down and winding. Mountain goat shit, at least to me. I'm not very good yet at riding this motorcycle. I've only ridden it, other than right around my house to make sure it runs OK, in these two events, almost certainly less than five miles total.

I could ride my regular dirt bike over any of this terrain a lot better for two reasons: 1) I'm used to it, and 2) it has a seat. Think about it - you stand up on any dirt bike to negotiate rough terrain, but if you hit a particularly dicey stretch you can paddle with your feet for balance and still be attached to the bike with your hind end. If you gas it, it's probably not going to jump out from under you. Riding standing up all the time because there's no seat, which totally sucks by the way, if you try to paddle with your feet you're only attached by your hands. If you gas it a little too much, your foot or feet are somewhere between the ground and the footpeg and only the top half of you is likely to go along with the motorcycle. You have no balance whatsoever and eventually something will happen that makes you let go of the handlebars, or maybe worse, NOT let go, and then it's all over. Kind of a comic visual unless you're the Wile E. Coyote - wide eyes, ears straight up, puff of smoke far below. Heh.

It won't be too long before I'll be able to toodle along on the trials sled as easily and well as the hordes of little kids who are presently blowing my doors off, but for now the in-between trails tire me out big time, which means I don't ride as well, which tires me quicker, and so on and so on. Each section I actually arrive at is a small victory.

In section 7, the next one after the one in the video, my concentration lapsed for a second and my bike tipped over. I put out my foot to stop a fall. Woulda worked, too, if there had been any ground there, but the ground was three feet under the foot. Eventually, foot reached ground, but there was no saving it and I went ass over teakettle.

While I was lying there, I realized how exhausted I was and decided to call it a day. The section personnel all ran to my aid and got me up and outta there and I rode back to the truck.

The biggest blow was to my pride of course (nothing new), but Mrs. G noticed a quarter-sized booboo on the part of my elbow that I couldn't see (note to Self: wear the protective gear, idiot). She whipped out the medical gear, cleaned the wound and put a band-aid on it. Had to pull a coupla pine needles out of it first.

A note about trials people: I turned in my scorecord as a DNF so the club wouldn't go looking for me and told the lady what I thought was a humorous "you guys kicked my butt". She actually apologized and I had to backpedal fast, "oh no, please. I had a lotta fun." As I was sitting on the motorcycle rack on the pickup recovering from all this, all kinds of folks came over and asked if I was OK. Word spreads fast in a small club like that and they don't know me from Adam. Very, very nice folks.

I rode my first motorcycle race in 1962. I didn't fall off in that one and rarely did thereafter. In thousands of racing miles I have never, say again never fallen off in two consecutive events like I have in this sport, and never at 2 mph or less.

That shit's gotta stop. This season's pretty much over, but my plan for next year will start with a simple act: as soon as this coming winter's snow melts I'm taking the cap off the Dakota. That will let me load up and go practice, practice, practice at a moment's notice instead of messin' with the rack.

This season was pretty much about riding a couple of events to see if I liked it. I do. My simple goal for next season is to finish an event and to do that I just have to ride, ride, ride the damn motorcycle until I know what it's gonna do and what I'm gonna do in a given situation and thus gain confidence and expend less energy, and since there's a level of athleticism I had not considered but which has been brought home rather sharply, to get my 'sickle-ridin' muscles (roughly from just above the knees to just off the ends of my fingertips) in shape.

Stay tuned. This is gonna get better and better.

04 September 2010

Some things never change

I didn't understand a word of this except for the Indian gent who probably doesn't speak Hebrew. You don't need to understand Hebrew to understand this: Bike riders are the same everywhere!

Get Hamas and Hezbollah on these bikes and presto! Peace! Would you believe bench racing?

השקת אופנועי "royal enfield" בישראל - 08.08.2010

Thanks to Calcalist, Israel.

03 September 2010

Rough seas ...

As folks who followed our trip to the Baltic know, I ran into my buddy "David the Engineer", formerly the 1st Engineer on Queen Elizabeth 2 and now with Carnival Corporation Fleet Division. He was doing surveys on Holland America Line's Prinsendam and then on Queen Mary 2 the same time we were aboard. Much beer was consumed. Heh ...

That said, he gave me some of his personal pics of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Victoria in rough seas as they chased each other across the North Atlantic for Vicky's New York debut, a couple years back.

My buddy Dave was aboard QE2 and his buddy was an engineer aboard Vicky and they took these pics while texting each other in real time. From what he related, the texts went something like this:

Vicky to Lizzie: "You're a dragster."

Lizzie to Vicky: "You're a submarine."

Vicky to Lizzie: "Dragster, submarine."

Lizzie to Vicky: "Submarine, dragster."

Queen Elizabeth 2

Queen Victoria

Click pics to embiggen

It was nice to have a mate to hang with at nights and catch up on sea and car stories. We also have a mutual friend so we got to say bad things about him because he wasn't there to defend himself. Heh ...


This is for Comrade Misfit, who knows a good ship when she sees it. Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 at Pier 92 on NYC's West Side. My buddy Dave took this pic from the Empire State Building.

02 September 2010

Chase Scene

I ran across this video and just had to share. It's from a TV movie, The Ballad Of Andy Crocker from 1969. I remember watching it because it had motorcycles in it. The movie was pretty forgettable, although it turned out to be prescient in its main theme.

The film tells the story of a young man's struggle to reclaim his life after fighting in the Vietnam War. Written by actor Stuart Margolin, the film is notable as being one of the very first films to deal with the subject matter of Vietnam veterans "coming home". It is also noted for its unusual casting, which placed a number of noted musical artists in key acting roles.

Stuart Margolin is best known for being "shifty friend and former cellmate of Jim Rockford" ten years after this flick. We all have friends like that, and he served to remind us to always keep bail money in a safe place for when he gets us in trouble. Heh.

The last sentence in the quote explains why 'Marvin Gaye' is in the title of the clip. Posted by a fan, no doubt.

In this clip, Our Hero is making his bird after his world comes apart, and attracts the attention of a coupla motor cops who dutifully give chase. The clip is accurate in that a 500 Triumph could not outrun a Panhead on the road (a 650 woulda left 'em in the dust) and Andy wisely takes to the dirt.

The scene is hilariously inaccurate in that the motor cops fall off where motor cops, who are notoriously good riders in real life, wouldn't fall off, but the script called for it. Kudos to the stuntmen who fell off on cue right on the 'X'. Also, about 30 seconds in, there's a front wheel shot. This musta been put in by an editor who couldn't tell a Triumph from a Honda(?), or didn't have the right clip the director needed, because it's not the bike it's supposed to be. The theory is a) it's a low budget flick, and b) most people will never know the difference. Or care.

Kudos also to the sound editor, who got the exhaust sounds right. Nothing in movies galls me as much as seeing a Triumph, one of the best sounding bikes ever, going down the road sounding like a Husqvarna.

The movie is set in East Texas, but the scenery is northwest of Los Angeles and the bike has a CA license plate. I saw the movie once, forty years ago, and memory being what it is, he may have stolen the sled in California and ridden it home to Texas. Movies do this kinda shit all the time. Nothing's as funny to a resident of L.A. as seeing, say, Rockford doing a screeching turn off of Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank onto Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu when the two are thirty miles apart.

The final scene is a break point in the plot where Andy realizes the world he left a year ago is not the world to which he returned. Running outta gas is a metaphor for his hopes and dreams. I woulda just gone and got a can of gas and come back and tried it again.

Enjoy this for what it is.

Thanks to SBP519, Canada.

10 August 2010

My Pal's Kid

Here's some footage of my buddy Steve's son Eric. Last week's National Championship round at Donner Ski Ranch from 2:40.

Eric Storz motorcycle trials video. Including footage from 2010 AMA National Trials Championship.

Don't try this at home...

Thanks to ericstorz.

07 August 2010

Tires ...

I pull a lotta shit out of tires. Once I got a spark plug (porcelain end first), another time a nail clipper, a sharp rock, a crucifix, you name it, I got it out of a tire. I once took the fork end of a tire plug tool (had to dismount it) that musta fell in when the guy who was plugging the tire's tool broke (I heard it rolling around inside the tire when I took the wheel off) and he was too lazy to dismount it. Fuck I know how somebody balanced that wheel.

So last week, I got one I never had before. Half-inch plywood:

Naturally the tire was shot and had to be replaced. Ain't no fixin' that.

Speaking of tires, this is what happens inside a tire when you run it too low on air pressure. Think about it:

Click pics to embiggen.

This one wasn't far from shredding completely apart. Can't be good if it happens at highway speeds.

05 August 2010

Crashproof motorbike - too good to be true?

I got this from CAFKIA's brother Frank.

Thanks to Biertijd2, Netherlands.

The most important part of the motorcycle is still the nut that holds the handlebars.

23 July 2010

Guess what I'm doing ...

In honor of Comrade Misfit's comment on a previous post:

Click to make bigger.

Yep, I'm changing a headlight bulb on a Lexus LS 460. No fucking shit.

The One World Tour

There are some email lists I don't mind being on. This is a teaser for a new DVD from Choppertown. These guys make niche indie 'sickle and hot rod movies and the one I've seen is pretty good. I wish them all the best.

What happens when two indie directors are given the chance to take the trip of a lifetime? Join filmmakers Zack Coffman and Scott DiLalla on a crazy six week trip as they show their films throughout Europe, meeting underground builders and throwing parties along the way. As they blast through each country they are met by local friends and fans who treat them like long lost family. Part travelogue, part video diary, and part biker mayhem, this once in a lifetime adventure is not to be missed.

More commentary here or click on video after it starts.

The answer to the question posed in the beginning of the video is:

Why, ya put yer dickies in gear and GO of course!

Thanks to choppertown.

Institutionalization ...

I need it.

Once again, as I try to pack it in and get out of the damn car business, somebody sticks the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate in my ass.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I was offered a chance to buy a busy shop that's also a New York State Vehicle Inspection facility.

And I'm actually considering it. Meetings this weekend, more when things firm up, or not.

09 July 2010

Tips ...

Don't bet on the horses.

Seriously, since I'm packing it in, I figured - as I think of them - I'll impart some tips to make 'mechanicing' a little easier.

Today's tip is fastener organization.

When I gotta take a lot of shit apart (like this Honda Accord I had to do cam and balance shaft seals on), I try to keep the fasteners for every assembly I have to disassemble, separate.

I keep a drawer full of little Ziploc bags for just the occasion. We get stock (nuts, bolts, hardware, small parts) in 'em and I save 'em. As you can see in the pic above, the power steering pump is removed and laid on the side, and the timing covers are off. Those bolts go in a bag. The timing covers, motor mount, valve cover, and any driven accessory I have to remove, all the fasteners from each go in a separate plastic bag.

And then I put the bags, in the order I removed them, in my magnetic parts tray that keeps them all in one place while I work on the job at hand. If I just tossed the fasteners in the tray, without the bags, I'd have a pile o' bolts all stuck together. If I piled 'em on my bench and somebody sneezes, they'd be all over the place. This keeps 'em all together and I just pick 'em up (in the reverse order I took 'em out) and install 'em as I put shit back together. Easy and cheap (if you don't have a magnetic parts tray, get one - they'll set you back $15 if you don't buy it from Snap-On - and scavenge the bags from parts or your local dope dealer (Does anyone remember "dime bags"?) Heh ...

Click pics to make bigger. Sorry about the quality but they're from my cell. Ain't taking the Nikon into the shop.

06 July 2010

My Trial

Heh. First trial I've ever been to that wasn't in a courtroom and I wasn't the guest of honor.

This past Saturday we went up to the Donner Classic Trial put on by Sacramento PITS at Donner Ski Ranch, aka "the granite patch", so I could try my hand at trials riding. Try my hand it did, along with every other part of my body both internal and external. I'll get to all that.

I raced my first motorcycle scrambles race in 1962. After a hiatus for my military service, I did a lot cowtrailing and raced flattrack, TT scrambles, dirt grand prix, and my favorite of all, Southern California desert racing and enduros, up 'til 1980 when I moved to Northern California. Since then I've mostly done my dirt riding on the Forest Service roads and single tracks up here in the mountains. I won a few trophies and always thought I was at least a competent rider, if not the world's fastest.

Until last Saturday.

Trials riding is the hardest thing I've ever tried on a motorcycle. There are reasons for this which I will get to in a minute, but suffice it for the moment to say that I cannot remember ever riding as poorly as I did in my first trial.

Part of it is due to the slow speed at which the event is ridden. There's no gyroscopic effect. The rapid turning of the wheels in higher speed riding produces stability, which helps overcome and mask a multitude of sins. Balls and speed will get you to the finish line.

Not in trials. The 'observed' sections, which is where you score or hopefully don't score points (lowest score wins. '0' is the goal.) are ridden in first or second gear at more or less a fast walking speed. The rider has to provide the balance and stability of the missing gyroscopic effect. This is harder than it sounds and takes a lot of practice. Also, the motorcycle has no seat and is ridden with the rider standing on the footpegs. You stand up for bumpy spots in a desert race or on a trail, but you can sit back down. I never thought of myself as a lazy-ass desert rider before, but the standing up all the time business sucks. Mightily, but that's the way it is.

Skill, honed through practice and experience, is what's important in this sport, along with mental prowess. It's a thinking man's motorcycle sport. The riders dismount before riding a section and walk it end to end and plan their line. I did that too, of course, but the best laid plans of mice and men aft gang agley. Heh. I bounced off rocks that I swear weren't there a few minutes before. The truth is I had so little experience that I couldn't tell what was important and what was not.

Speaking of skill and experience, I had absolutely zero. I had only ridden this bike for about forty minutes total prior to the event. I spent hours getting it into shape to ride, but that didn't count. The proof, of course, is in the pudding, which this outing pretty much turned me into.

I promised you the most embarrassing video of me you are ever likely to see in a post the other day at Alternate Brain, but first a word about my good friend Steve Storz.

Steve sorta got me into this (backstory here) and wanted to make sure he gave me all the help he could and rode the event with me. I could not have done this first one without him and for that I thank him no end. As you will see in this video, Steve (orange backpack) followed me like a mother hen. I'm surprised he didn't tell me to go ahead and run over the section check person since I'd already hit everything else I wasn't supposed to. At the other sections he hollered encouragement. More on that later. This is the very first few seconds of my trials career. The good news is I can only get better at it.

The best I can say about that flusterpluck is I didn't fall off or kill anybody.

As the day went on I got a little better at it. I could actually feel myself improving and actually 'cleaned' a coupla sections, naturally out of walking range for Mrs. G and the camera, and therein lies a tale.

The two sections I rode good were more or less straight lines, and since my problem is turning the damn bike, I did OK. One was too easy to feel good about, but one was a coupla hundred feet up a gulch in a watercourse made out of fist-to-head-size rocks. I got to ride up the center of the thing, just a coupla slight jogs. The better riders had to ride up on the sides of the gulch.

At the start I snicked 'er inta low and rared back and let 'er fly. About halfway up I heard Steve yell at me, something like "Keep going!". Like I was gonna stop on my best run of the day! At the top, the checker punched my section card and we had this little conversation:

Checker: "What gear were ya in?"

Me, with brain fade: "I dunno. Low, I think."

Checker: "You wuz carryin' a lotta speed. Don't let these guys make ya nervous!"

Heh. Thanks, buddy, but I don't need no help making me nervous. That was a very desert-like section, probly the only one that I had a chance of riding clean and the only one that didn't make me nervous.

I was riding the "4 line", which is the beginner's line. The trials folks are the nicest people in the world and the gent was just trying to help me, but I thought it was funny.

Steve and I rode the first loop of eight sections and started on the second. As I was leaving the first section after screwing it up worse than in the video, I started up a rocky path to the next section on a very bad line and hit a rock exactly the wrong way. The bike fell over and I fell somewhat more than 90° from my standing position and landed flat on my back. No damage to speak of, and I'm damn lucky there wasn't a pointy rock where I hit, but it jarred the shit outta me and it took me a coupla minutes to get up. I actually couldn't tell if I was hurt or not and so chose to end my day and went back to the pits and that was it.

I had a swell time. Beatin' the crap outta myself was a lotta fun and I'm gonna do it again. I'm going to practice this until I can do it without looking like a non-ridin' fool. So there. Stay tuned.

Also, I met lots of really nice people and that's the other thing motorcycle sport is all about.

To close this out, here's a vid of Steve who is quite competent at his class level. He took a 4th place trophy.

And one of Cody Webb, who is a friend and mentor to Steve's son Eric and well on his way to becoming this year's National Trials Champion, who shows us how the pros do it. He rode the three loops and 24 sections clean, no points, and won the Master class. Eric Storz got 2d.

There are more videos of the event here, including Steve and myself. If your sides aren't still hurting from watching my first one.

And thanks to Mrs. G for the videos of me and Steve. After showing her how to work the camera, the cat's outta the bag, so to speak, so I have to get better at this. I will.

30 June 2010

New BMW ad? Maybe not...

I got this from my pal Gary, who's the dealer liaison for the Triumph motorcycle distributor in Australia.

Clicken zie to embiggenische

13 June 2010

And So It Ends

Ford has decided to shut down the Mercury line after 71 years.

I worked at a Lincoln/ Mercury dealearship for ten years. A fancy Ford was a Mercury, they came with A/C and some different tail lights, chrome, and some other ammenities to make them stand out.
The end of an era and here is as good as any requiem.

Back in the day, Mercury was a powerhouse apart from the mundane, much like Pontiac was to Chevy.


10 June 2010

Putting in my papers ...


I'd had it with the car business years ago. Just burnt out and tired of all the crap so this past week I gave Nunzio notice that I'd be packing it in at the end of October. I was finished 2 years ago, when I left Harry's, and had it not been for Nunzio's guy leaving him suddenly, I wouldn't be doing it this long. It's enough.

Once upon a time, I used to love cars; working on them, talking about them, driving them but I've been doing this for close to 40 years (overhauled my first motor, a Buick Straight-8, when I was 10 years old) and been getting paid for it for the better part of 35. I can't stand 'em anymore. I have to talk myself into going to work every morning and it gets worse every day. It's one of the reasons I've basically ignored this blog for a while. Just can't bring myself to deal with it when I'm home.

Now that I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not an oncoming train, I've got a few things to say about the business.

Car Makers:

I hope all of you fall on financial hard times. You deserve it. Not the good folks who break their ass for you on the lines and in the dealerships, but those of you white collar assholes, from the corporate/management types to the engineers. Are any of you car guys anymore? Have any of you worked on the crap you foist on the American people? Do any of you think about what it takes to service the pieces of shit you design and how much extra it costs your, and my, customers because designing something that's easy to maintain is the last thing on your minds? I bet customers $5 that they can't find the oil filter on their cars. Shit, on some cars, I gotta look at the manual so I know where it's hidden. What the fuck? I gotta put my hands on it every 3 months or 3000 miles, why the fuck you gotta hide the bastard, you bloody simpletons?

You've turned cars into plastic shitboxes (even the most expensive). Try disconnecting a plastic vacuum line (or fuel line) when it's cold, or the little fucking plastic clips that hold door panels or interior parts on, or electrical connectors; old and dry. It's ass-puckering trying to take anything apart, waiting to hear that little "flink" and see a piece of plastic shit go flying away, needed to lock a connector or panel in place and now broken.

Cars have gone from being "driving machines" to people's living rooms. There are more lights, TV screens, automatic this and that, but actually driving the car is more of an afterthought. Half the crap today has more blind spots than a semi truck, yet shit beeps and lights go on when you get close enough to something else. Your car tells you everything, when to get the oil changed, when the tires are low, when your window washer fluid is low (my new car will even email me when it's pissed off about something), and most folks disregard the shit anyway. Either that or it scares them to death. Jesus Christ, owners manuals are now several volumes and look like the manual for the Space Shuttle.

And aside from all that; since 1973 (the first gas crisis), we've known the internal combustion engine was a dinosaur. Its essential parts haven't changed much in a century; Henry Ford would recognize an engine for what it was, and while we've refined them, they're basically hundred year old technology. Oh yeah, there are more bells and whistles; engines are tunable to forty times a second to produce fuel economy, low emissions, and horsepower per cubic inch that we couldn't have dreamed when I got into this business. Thing is, a hundred years later, we're still burning gasoline or diesel. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Parts Places:

You're almost as useless as tits on a bull. Auto parts isn't a profession anymore, it's a minimum wage job and those (generally) who work behind the counter don't know shit about a car, let alone what they're selling. Used to be, a parts man knew about how shit worked together and could make recommendations as to brand and quality. Nowadays, even at NAPA dealers, you get whatever shit they get a deal on from the manufacturer or rebuilder. I've replaced 3 alternators over the course of 6 months in the same car because of crap rebuilds. Yeah, they replace them under warranty but they don't pay me for doing the job twice, or thrice, and the customers sure as hell don't give a shit I can't get a reliable part, they look at me like I'm some kind of fuckup. I'm the guy they see and it's my responsibility, ain't it? They ain't coming to you bitching when they have to pay for a tow because the rebuilt alternator (or brake caliper, or starter) decides to take a shit a month after I install it. Whores.

Car Dealership Service Departments:

You, single-handedly, have done more to destroy the reputation of mechanics than any other cause. It's called "upsell" and you all do it so well. It's a dictum that no one leaves a dealership service department without buying something. Take your car in for warranty or recall work and see what happens. You get a laundry list of things wrong with your car, from the brakes to some kind of service, to a cooling system flush, to a tire rotation, that "you really should have done now before something bad happens". And they get you for a thousand bucks. And people wonder why everybody thinks most mechanics are crooks. Rotten fucking scumbags.

Car Makers, Fastener Makers, and Tool Companies:

All of you are in it together. What the fuck happened to hex-head nuts and bolts? What ever happened to Phillips or Slotted head screws? Fuck no. The fastener guys dream up some new way to tighten a bolt and sell it to the car makers. Once they incorporate it into their line, the tool guys have to make a new wrench, or socket, or special fitting, to remove the fucking thing properly (without breaking or stripping). Mechanics spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year just keeping up at Snap-On, Mac, Matco, S-K, Gearwrench, Craftsman, or any of the others. The boss sure ain't buying me what I need. You should see how many sockets, wrenches, cups, and pliers I have just to take off the million different oil filters that come on cars nowadays.

K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Jiffy Lube, Sears and the others:

You have done more than anyone to take the profession of mechanic and put it in the same league as burger flipper. You pay your 'mechanics' nothing, you work them to death, and most of them don't know any more than to change oil, mount tires, and change batteries. You shouldn't be allowed to have auto repair facilities.

Most of my customers:

Most of you are self-centered pieces of shit.

Let's see:

You make an appointment for tomorrow, don't show up, don't call to cancel, and then leave your car (before we get in, drop the keys through the mail slot) three weeks later unannounced, and expect us to drop what we're doing and get the job done "because you need it by noon".

You call for an NY State inspection and we ask if the "check engine light" is on and you say no. You drop it off and it's burning brightly. The inspection expires tomorrow, but you need the sticker because you are leaving on vacation tonight, driving to Florida.

Your biggest concern is the red paint on your beautiful white car (came a little close to something, didja?) yet heaven forbid you'd come in and get your oil changed a little more regularly than 15K intervals. Yeah, the car looks nice but the motor will be junk long before the paint fades.

You bring your car in for a service, brake job, and exhaust work and you "can let me have it for an hour".

You let me know you're looking for a used car. I tell you to let me look at it first before you buy it. You go buy it, disregarding my admonition, and then cry when you bring it in when I tell you it needs a lot of work for it to pass inspection. Told ya to bring it to me first, idiot.

You're a rich fuck and you cry about every dime you gotta spend on your "baby" that cost as much as somebody else's house.

You think you know about cars so you sit there and tell me what I should do, how I should do it, and what parts to use. Do it yourself, dickhead.

I could go on but you get the point. Just can't do it anymore, both mentally and physically. I got a bum shoulder, hip, and knees, in addition to arthritis in most of my fingers. Can't do another winter. It isn't fun anymore, no challenge and too much headache. I'm tired of coming home cold and tired, or hot and tired, or wet and tired, or all of the above. I'm tired of cuts, bruises, busted knuckles and fingers. I'm tired of being spooged with chemicals, boiling oil, and coolant.

I'm done and I'm looking forward to doing something, anything, else.

15 May 2010

Space Age Stone Axe

Great vid from our pal peckhammer. He has lots more motorcycle vids there and at blip.tv as well.

The 2010 Royal Enfield Classic C5 Bullet is a retro bike more accurately described as "vintage evolution." If you had purchased a Bullet ten years ago, you would have found it to be a nearly exact copy of a 1956 bullet; same soft aluminum cases and timing covers, same points-style ignition, same motor, and same manufacturing methods from five decades ago. That's changed over the last few years, after tough emissions standards prompted Royal Enfield to design a completely new unit construction engine, complete with electronic fuel injection and a catalytic converter.

It also has hydraulic lifters and a front disc brake and still manages to look even older than my '01!

24 April 2010

Get Out Your Wallet Gord

Here is a wet dream come true dude.

11 New 1975 Norton Commandos Found in Belgium!

Jesus, I am getting a woody just typing about these things.. What a score!

You know damn well these little jewels are long gone for serious cash money.

20 April 2010

Bermuda Cub

Fixer, slip a few of these back from Bermuda in your luggage. If they're all in as good shape out there as this 45 year old example, I'll take one, shiny aftermarket rims, incorrect front fender and all!

Thanks to Bermuda1105, Bermuda.

24 February 2010

AMA Hall of Fame Videos

The AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame is loaded with motorcycle history and a good place to look up stuff or while away some time and learn something.

Well, I just discovered the AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame Museum's YouTube channel. These are short (about 1:30) biographies of riders from way back when up 'til recently, narrated by Dave Despain. I saw vids on people I actually knew!

This gent was the Greeves and Hodaka dealer in North Hollywood. I had a Greeves in the '60s and got my parts from him and Mrs. G bought a Hodaka Wombat from him.

Go over there and scroll through their lineup. You'll probably find something to watch.

10 February 2010

Winternationals turns 50

Good article in the LATimes:

Gasoline cost about 30 cents a gallon, John F. Kennedy was the new president and "Wagon Train" was the most popular show on television.

And in Southern California, a man named Wally Parks settled on a parcel of land next to the fairgrounds in Pomona in 1961 to establish the second major drag-racing event for his relatively new National Hot Rod Assn.

The event was called the Winternationals, and five decades later it remains among professional drag racing's signature contests, even as the sport has expanded nationwide and speeds of its top-flight cars have soared to more than 300 mph.

Here's something I didn't know:

But last year, the NHRA shortened its top-fuel and funny car races to 1,000 feet to slow down the cars, whose speeds had climbed to 330 mph.

Shit, real drag racing only needs the width of an intersection. I had a '68 Chevy pickup (Custom Cab, Chevy Truck 50th Anniversary Gold, $2750 brand new), 307 small block with 3-onna-tree that was geared so low it would only go about 90 flat-out, but it would beat anything away from a stoplight.

Back in those days, I got my flathead 6 '48 Plymouth M Stock tuned-up from "Too Slow To Time" (It actually said that on the timing slip they handed me) to 58MPH/21:47 by taking off the air cleaner and emptying the trunk. I mighta been slow, but I participated, if minimally, in the SoCal drag scene.

I actually blew off three M Stockers in a row at San Fernando Drag Strip - a '52 Merc, a Corvair, and a '53 Pontiac. The high point of my drag racing career came when I rolled up to the line again and the announcer said over the loudspeaker, "Here comes that nasty blue Plymouth again!". Of course, this time I ran against the M Stock World Champion Hudson that would do about 80 in the quarter. I think that guy was putting greasy palm prints on the trophy girl about the time I shifted into second. Heh. It was fun.

Oh God, the memories are flooding back...

I trophied that old Plymouth once at the 1/8th mile strip in Holly Ridge, North Carolina. They couldn't run anything faster than B Gas there because it would get stuck in the mud on the return road. They timed the runs with a stopwatch, I think. Real grass roots, down home place it was. The guy asked me what class I wanted to run, and I asked him what class had no one else in it. Took a downgrade to N Stock, but I made it to the other end of the strip and got the trophy. Big-time cherry-picker from California. Heh.

I actually had a header plug (exhaust cut-out) on that thing. Cost $2 at a muffler shop. Installed! I used to put washers in between the plug and the cap. It was more or less an exhaust leak, but it sounded great! Ah, the ignorance of youth. I pine for its loss sometimes, but at 64 I think I'm still a pretty good teenage bozo.

Enjoy that article. I sure did.

29 January 2010

What The Hell Was Fixer Doing In Florida?

Just kidding, Fixer would have brought it back in one piece.

Mechanic traveling 163 mph in Porsche crashes in south Fort Myers

Routine maintenance on a 2008 Porsche Boxster took an unusual turn Thursday, when a Sanibel mechanic took the car on a wild test drive, reaching an estimated 163 mph, and crashed it.

Kenneth Kasten, 50, owner of the Sanibel Shell service station, was driving the Porsche on McGregor Boulevard near Punta Rassa Road at 6 a.m. when he lost control and flipped the car into some mangroves, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Porsche - owned by Nanelle Wehmann of Sanibel - was the only vehicle involved in the crash, which occurred in a 55-mph limit zone.

The FHP estimated the damage to the Porsche at $50,000.

Kasten wasn't seriously injured and left the scene before emergency crews arrived, Cpl. George Kantor of the FHP said. Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the crash.

Authorities arrived on scene to find the car smashed, abandoned and upside down.

Initial reports were that the car was stolen, but Kantor said it quickly became clear that Kasten had permission to drive the car.

Wehmann said she has been bringing her vehicles to the Sanibel Shell for years and was surprised to learn about the crash.

"I'm just thankful he wasn't hurt," she said.

Kantor said because Wehmann knew Kasten would drive the car, Kasten wasn't charged with theft.

Kasten was found a few hours after the crash hiding in a nearby parking lot and was given a notice to appear in court on charges of willful and wanton reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crash.

I once took a Lincoln Mark 8 on an extended test drive and hit 135 before I backed out of it, that was way fast enough for me.It was raining a little and the front end was starting to float.
The guy kept bringing it in bitching about a howling noise around the top of the windshield at high speed and no one could duplicate it because when he said high speed, they figured seventy miles an hour.
I finally talked to him and he said no, it started in around ninety.

I glued the shit out of the seal at the top of the windshield and never saw him again.

13 January 2010

Cruise night returns to Van Nuys Boulevard

I remember Cruise Nights on Van Nuys Boulevard. They were fun to go watch. I never got in any trouble or saw much of the stuff that made the cops shut it down. I'm glad it's back, even as a shadow of its former self. That's probably a good thing.

By the way, the photo in the article shows a '62 Chrysler Newport, which none of us would've had up our ass in those days if we'da had room for a boxcar, but I guess anything old is cool now. Hmmmm. Some of us 'old stuff' have been so cool for so long that it's just a given and nobody even notices anymore...


As the souped-up muscle cars, restored classics and lowriders cruise through the old Rydell Chevrolet lot on Van Nuys Boulevard, Reid Stolz takes stock of a scene that was familiar to anyone growing up in the San Fernando Valley a generation ago.

Here's the crux of the biscuit right off the bat:

"Remember when we were young and the cops were old?" said Stolz, 51, watching an LAPD patrol car glide by. "Now the cops are young and we're old."

After a 28-year break, Stolz and other car lovers have brought cruising back to "The Boulevard," though the drivers are now more likely to be middle-aged guys with graying hair and grandkids, driven by nostalgia rather than teenage vanity.

Yeah, how much trouble are a buncha old farts gonna cause anyway? Wait'll me an' Fixer an' Nucks show up...

It was more than just a scene, it was an iconic ritual that was imitated, written about in hot rod magazines and captured on film. Cruise night came to represent a Southern California lifestyle that young people in the Midwest and the world over could only read about. Cruising the boulevard on a Wednesday night was about adolescent freedom, a sense that anything was possible and, above all, fun.

Back then, young people just showed up every Wednesday night. Girls and boys by the hundreds milled on sidewalks as candy-colored cars blowing rubber smoke streaked by blasting Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd from eight-track stereos.

Led Zeppelin? Pink Floyd? 8-track? Holy crap! I went to those Cruise Nights waaaaay before that! Beach Boys and Bobby Rydell days! On AM radio.

I must be older than I thought. Sigh.

The tradition dates to the late 1950s when high schools in the San Fernando Valley held club meetings each Wednesday, said Jon Billesbach, 67, of North Hollywood.

Youths in car clubs would head to the boulevard after the meetings ended for street racing, he said. Later, everyone gathered at the Bob's Big Boy restaurants in Toluca Lake or Van Nuys.

Cruising reached its zenith in the 1970s, and the boulevard was its own teenager universe.

There were a lot of people older than teenagers, trust me.

Streets lamps bathed the bikers at Arby's in an arc of white light. The van guys parked outside the Heads 'N Highs head shop and the street racers converged at Bank of America. Latino youths parked their lowrider at the June Ellen Doughnut shop, just south of the 101 Freeway, Stolz said.

Here we go again - there weren't even any head shops when I went. There aren't any now either, although there may be again. Full circle and then some, I guess.

Pretty good article. Go read.