09 September 2012

Burning Man Rat Rod

Folks have been wending their way home from Burning Man through my town for days. I was out running errands (not "outrunning errands". That's impossible!) and saw this obviously homebrewed rig parked on our main drag. I went home and got my camera because it was too good not to share.

Besides being a burn-yourself-down-to-your-socks-or-you-didn't-have-a-good-time bacchanal, Burning Man is a festival of art and counterculture. This rig is a perfect example of gearhead self expression. One wonders how much of what substance went into the idea and execution!

Kudos to the owner and builder of this thing. Looks to me like more thought and sweat than money went into it.

Click fotos to embiggen

This is a Honda CX motorcycle engine, about 30 years old. In my not-so-humble opinion as a motorcycle mechanic for forty years, it's one of the worst engines Honda ever built. I still look at the engine number boss on these to see if it has all the center punch marks indicating the various recalls have been performed. Heh.

That said, a lot of folks love these things and the engine was a good choice for this rig because a) it's shaft drive, and b) they're cheap.

The next view is the view you want to have - the thing going away! Heh. The exhaust pipes are terrific, and the Burning Man Acceptance (?!) sticker is to die for!

Close-up of the steering gear. Better than a clothesline wrapped around the steering column like on your soapbox derby little car when you were a kid, but not much.

A few final thoughts:

The rig got a workout. It is caked in Black Rock dust.

The seats look like someone, somewhere, has to stand to wait for a bus. Seat belts? Nah, this is a better-to-be-thrown-clear job!

The lights might work but this is definitely a rig best driven by the light of yo' blazin' brain! With lotsa "Yahoo!"ing. Ah, memories...

This rod is the-hell-with-safety-stand-on the-gas-and-give-all-the-girls-rides! A little reminiscent of dry lakes rods of the '50s and why not? They worked then and they still do.

If you spot anything you think I missed or shoulda covered, puh-leeze comment!


BadTux said...

My boss (!) was at Burning Man, and he has some pictures of some vehicles even wilder than the one you saw. I'll see if I can get some of them online, he's still sorta recuperatin' from the experience (heh!).

As for me, nope, I wasn't at Burning Man. Too many friggin' people, when I go the desert I just want desert, dammit! And if I wanna see arts, there's plenty of that just up the highway here in Sodom By The Bay and they hold a Makerfaire 'round these parts ever so often if I want to see bizarre gizmos, so ...

Gordon said...

I'm with you on the desert. Solitude or a few (hundred, maybe) people you know.

The people look pretty good on their way TO Burning Man. They stop here for supplies and I've chatted with a few. After several days in the dez they ain't so pretty on the way home. Best to stay upwind too. :-)

Unknown said...

@badtux: Actually to understand the event better, I recommend to check out the history of the event first. And for that I highly recommend to watch Dust & Illusions (http://dustandillusions.com) and "This is Burning Man" the book! Very much worth it, and of course the documentary is a must with all its archival footage! :)

BadTux said...

SuperBueno, I hung out with the soon-to-be "Burners" before the creation of Burning Man, so I think I might have a slight idea about the history and culture of the event :). But I just don't like people enough to hang out with thousands of them in the middle of the desert for multiple days.

Gordon, I don't exactly smell so good after a few days in the desert either :). I think the most people I've ever been out in the desert with was a hundred or so folks at the Saline Valley hot springs the day after Thanksgiving one year (a few of whom are also Burners). I put-putted out there on my KLR-650, they took pity on the poor bedraggled motorcyclist and fed me turkey soup (made with the leftovers of the previous day's feast) and let me sit in on the guitar circle around the campfire that evening on someone's borrowed guitar. Good times.

- Badtux the Misanthrope Penguin

Gordon said...

Ya don't sound so misanthrope to me. I belonged to a motorcycle club and we rode desert races and had desert riding campouts aka "parties". I love me some dez but not with thousands.