Category Archives: Drag Racing

Shop – 1st Week November 2018

Last week at the shop, time was mostly focused on a “Fall Cleaning”, organization of the shop, and getting my 67 Marlin running and driving right. The 67 Marlin is a very rare car, one I spent almost twenty years looking for the right one. AMC made the Marlin for the years, 65-67. In 65 & 66 it was based on the compact Rambler Rouge/American, making it look pretty weird being that short. However, in 67 it was on the full size Ambassador platform.  I bought this car about ten years ago and put it in the corner. A couple of weeks ago I pulled it out of the corner to start its restoration, which starts with getting it running right before tearing it down.

The brakes were replaced, and parts (carb gasket, starter, alternator  fuel pump, Pertonix electronic ignition, battery…) ordered. Gas was drained and fresh gas put in; car finally was started and running Tuesday.

 

 

I want to restore the car in red with black roof and interior. I did a little walk around the car to document the before and have a reference. My Shop Rat felt it was a great time to discuss where he put the six thermostats from my lake house, that I replace with Nest thermostats.

 


A month earlier, we were working to get my 64 Imperial convertible (also not running in ten years) running again. I took it for a little ride to figure out what still needs attention. I’ll be getting new tires, exhaust soon; and bought the caret dye to redye seats.

I treated the Thug to a new car cover, and I ordered a new Pro Glass rear window – which ought to be at the shop by Monday.

The majority of my time was cleaning and organizing the shop.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Shop – Deep Clean Going On

In the last year, I’ve had mechanic help come in now and then to help out. Between he, I and my shop rat – things start to get out of place with good used parts, new parts, and complete garbage laying around – instead of put away properly. Getting stuff done has taken a priority to organization and putting parts, tools, and supplies away. Currently I’m going through the shop and putting stuff away, and trying to improve organization. Yesterday I spent the first couple of hours putting good parts away, and bad parts in garbage. There was a lot of both. Then I started reorganizing the electrical crash cart, which was a total mess. I got rid of the bad short wires thrown in the cart and wound up good short pieces, sorted and bagged connectors which, somehow got unsorted. I put switches and fuses; shrink tubes and relays; and connectors in cases.

I still have six other crash carts to straighten out, but this was the worst of them. On my stacker, the door cabinet was mounted very low because of some plates I used to mount a puck lock system.

It interfered with the golf cart when loaded. So it got mounted higher today after cutting a relief hole in the back.

Also in the stacker, the aircraft cargo track that got ripped up when I had to lock up the brakes with a car on the lift – had a new one cut, edges ground smooth, bent to fit beaver tail, and screwed down with new screws, lock washers and nuts.

The Magnum has been sitting for a couple of years. Recently the gas was drained, carb rebuilt and car running and tuned before replacing the carpet and seats. It drives great, but brakes were horrible. Originally it was suspected to have been the master cylinder – so that was removed and inspected. It was fine and the brakes bled and adjusted. Brakes still sucked so car was jacked up and both rear wheels still turned while brakes were applied. Since the they bled fine, it is suspected that the pistons are froze up inside from sitting so long – and ones are on the way.

Also in the “spent a lot of time and money fixing the wrong items” department, the hydraulic clutch on my 99 Drifter 1500 motorcycle was slipping. It got replaced last month. Now it has a slight delay engaging. Bleeding didn’t help so I bought a used master cylinder and a rebuild kit as new is made of unobtainium. It was rebuilt and put on, but same issue existed. the slave cylinder was bled, and same thing. The hose between the two was removed. While 150 psi of air was introduced at one end, less than ten psi comes out of the other end – meaning 20 years has degraded the hose and its collapsed. It too is made of unobtainium, so I’ll have to take someplace that can take a hose with banjo fittings.

So a lot of hours were spent wasting time yesterday. Heading to the lake for the weekend, so thrashing resumes next week.

Fall Cleaning in the Shop

I spent last week at my Little Cabin on the Lake, mostly turning it into a smart home. While I was gone, I gave my Shop Rat the task of doing a Deep Fall Cleaning of the shop. He started in one corner of the building and moved clockwise cleaning/washing walls, purlins, garage doors, shelves and the floor. Below are some photos of his work.

He was also tasked with spreading three yards of dark mulch.

When I returned Monday, I took the coach to the Spartan shop (120 mile round trip) to fix oil leaking from lug nuts, opened a ton of packages of parts needing to get thrown on cars, and mowed the five acres – which had gone wild from all of the rain. It was kinda muddy still, but there was a forecast of another week of rain, so it was mow now or wait a couple more weeks.

Finally, I took some photos of the rust detail on a 60 Plymouth I bought ten years ago to part out, but have decided to just sell as is instead.

The rest of this week I intend to further organizing the shop while having the shop rat detail the inside of the stacker. Then back to work on the wagon and my street car collection.

October 12, 2018 – This Week’s Shop Updates

Been working in shop more than posting this week, as I’ll be spending next week at the lake with family. I usually live at the lake Friday through Monday and at the shop Tuesday through Thursday – but after being gone two weeks racing, I had a shop thrash going on this week.

I picked up the rear bumper to my Magnum XE (I point out XE as I also have a black 79 GT) and installed.

The ten year old and squeaking serpentine belt was replaced with a shorter one that was required after changing the heads from iron to Edelbrocks. I took the car for a hard drive (110 mph to) to test the belt. While that’s good, the brakes were mushy and won’t lock up. They’ll have to be dealt with when I get back.

Almost 20 years ago I put the above Dakota Digital gauges in a custom dash panel for my Magnum XE. To me the Kool Factor has gone away. I ordered a Kustom set of gauges that I’ll install into a stock dash panel, after I scuff, sand, and paint flat black with plastic adhesive paint. I’m still thinking about what to do with the “Idiot Lights” on right side of dash panel, as the gauges handle that monitoring.

If you have a 75-79 B Body and want my old Digital dash panel with gauges, lights, and switches, its yours for $300.

Moving off the XE and on onto the Magnum GT. The leaky valve cover gaskets were replaced as was the sticky brake light switch that keeps draining the battery. I’ll detail and sell that car as part of my new “Reduce my foot print and make more simple” philosophy.

The 81 Imperial I’ve had since 1986 (I restored with a 380hp 360ci, street strip trans, 8.75″ with 3.55 gears…) had the AC, Power Seats and power antenna fixed. Found a gas leak when it was filled with 93 octane, and replaced the line. The gas tank and straps were new when I restored it many years ago. It now runs perfect and has zero issues. It too needs to be detailed so I can put up for sake when I get back.

The leaking gas tank in my 58 Dodge Pick up was repaired, and it too needs to be detailed and sold. Also in the photo is my trailer of three yards of mulch I picked up yesterday. That’s to keep my Shop Rat busy next week.

Speaking of the Shop Rat, he washed the Coach (above), sanded and painted the tongue of my old Aluminum trailer with POR15, and cut 2′ X 4′ shelves from 3/8″ plywood to replace shitty stock particle board shelves that have bowed and broken.

I put together a milk crate with two bottle jacks (one of them air) operated, an impact wrench, and sockets in my Stacker trailer. I have 150 psi air supply from the coach. I mounted a 50′ air reel to the compartment connection to reach the trailers. I’ve used once the air setup to change a Stacker tire, and it is now a no problem 10 minute job by me alone – compared the PITA Dallas and I use to go through.

I fixed the trunk seal on the Thug, and the Rat washed it. Waiting on the rear glass from Proglass. I’ll be tearing the trunk down over the winter for another coat of spatter paint and clear, and to polish the aluminum. The car also needs to go on the lift for the Rat to scrub the underside and for me to inspect and tighten suspension. I really hope to have the Screamin Woody ready as primary car for Bradenton, and for the Thug to go to back up duty. Maybe Dallas will run once or twice next year as his car is kn need of a total rebuild as he’s working too many hours to deal with it.

Speaking of Screamin Woody, the underside was painted and the rebuilt rear end and 4-link reinstalled.

The high HP 383 that will be going into my 60 Plymouth Post Street car is now finished. The engine compartment has been cleaned, scuffed, and is ready for Petty Blue paint. It will ultimately be wrapped to look like a sun bleached Petty NASCAR that has been left outside since 1961.

One of my all time favorite cars is a 1967 AMC Marlin. It is the rarest of the three years Marlins were made, and the only year made on AMC’s full-size Ambassador platform. The 65-66 were built on the shorter Rambler Rouge platform. They looked weird being that short of a fastback.

So I finally bought a nice southern 67 Marlin about 15 years ago. I drove it for a couple of weeks and then parked it to wait for a restoration. This week it got pulled out to be made running, before being tearing down to restore. It had no brakes, so they were replaced. The fuel pump was missing – don’t ask me how or why. Anyway the 67 for a 343 ci was a one year only, and impossible to find. The 68 was also a one year only, equally hard to find. Both have the fuel filter as part of the pump, one on top and the other on the bottom. Everything I found on the internet says only option is to replace with an electric pump. I was able to find a new 68 for a 343, and it works perfectly. Why isn’t that on any AMC forum? So car runs great, except for a whistle from a failing carb to intake gasket. I ordered the gasket, but it had to be removed so I would order the correct one. Engine uses  Motorcraft 2bbl carb. The GM distributor had the points replaced with a Pertronix electronic, but needs the gasket I ordered to test it. Once the car has been taken for a drive, it will be torn down. Engine compartment, interior, trim,… I’ll sent car to be repainted Red (always loved red with Black top Marlins), chrome to chrome shop, detail engine and covert to 4Bbbl. I need to see what interior I can locate in black. Based on that, I’ll decide if I will change to black or keep gold.

So that’s this past week at the shop.

 

Home Again, Naturally

So last night I returned after 15 days of drag racing, dropping my Coach off for service, and visiting the “Outlaws” in Western New York. Click here if interested in more of the details on that. Anyway, after 4,000 miles of driving I was 30 miles from home when someone jumped in front of me as the Toyota that was in front of me (with one tail light and no brake lights) locked up the brakes. I had to lock up the brakes harder than I’ve ever had in a rig this big. So hard that the coffee maker in the coach flew into my wife. This morning when unloading the cars out of the stacker, the Genesis on the lift ripped the aircraft L Track out of the lift from that emergency stop.

So got the stacker unloaded and flipped the rig around and opened it up so my wife could clean out.

My shop rat will have a big job of washing 4000 miles of bugs off of it. Speaking of Shop Rat, while I was gone his main job was to take the under belly of Screamin Woody to bare metal, and to apply two coats of POR15 Silver and Black.

The clutch on my 1999 Kawasaki Drifter 1500 was replaced before I left. While the tank was off I figured it was time to change the color from that ugly Maroon, so the fenders got taken off. While I was having the Thug’s body damage fixed at Randy Standsbury’s in Louisiana, I took the bike’s sheet metal for bright metallic red pearl paint. That was delivered last week, and put on the scooter today.

Back to the Woody. The Ford 9″ was torn down, inspected and case painted before I left, and then reassembled today.

My Shop Rat stripped the Four-Link when I was gone, and I taped off ends and hit it with a couple coats of red.

The tail lights and fin trim is now back on the wagon.

I hope to have the rear suspension back in; and the rear compartment stripped, spatter painted, new fuel cell and weight boxes installed by the end of October. The goal is to have the car finished (still dealing with engine) by New Year, and well tested before Bradenton.

I also opened two weeks of boxes that came in while I was gone and mowed the 2′ high grass.

I wanted to paint the “Leaning Tower of Power” that came out of my 60 Plymouth today (Shop Rat made paint ready while I was gone), but only so much time.

Also ordered wipers for 46 Olds; Front and Rear seals for the Screamin Woody’s motor; rocker adjusters for the 383 Motor going into the 60 Plymouth; and brake master cylinder and fuel pump for my 67 Marlin.

Tomorrow is Doctor appointment day, then a weekend on the Lake. Monday I pick up the Magnum’s bumper from the chrome shop and hope to get quite a bit done Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the shop. So much to do, so little time.

Wheelie Bars, Trees, and Bumpers

At the shop Friday, I accomplished the following at the shop:

Last coat of red on the read end housing for Screamin Woody.

That was two cans of red primer and three cans of Banner Red paint. Also, cleaned, scuffed, taped off, primered and painted the wheelie bars.

Pressure washed the engine compartment of the 60 Plymouth after removing hood. The underside of hood needs to be taken down to bare metal and painted Corporate Blue.

The front suspension needs to be rebuilt, washed again, scuffed with brown 3M pads, painted Corporate Blue, and the front suspension painted POR15 Gloss black. The reason for Corporate Blue is that the car will get wrapped to look like the King’s 60 Plymouth (His first Top Rank NASCAR car) that sat out back of his shop for 50 years.

Headers are on the 383 that will go into the 60. Oil pan just came in. Still waiting on a push rod and a pair of adjusters to finish. Yes I’ll put a new Wix 51515 Oil Filter on it.

Bumper came off of my 78 Magnum – Ginger. It took a three hour drive with me to the chrome shop, to be stripped and re-plated.

They jumped on stripping to bare metal and sent me these photos.

They promised it will be ready in three weeks. We’ll see! The huge full width  bumper mount will get wire brushed and a couple coats of black POR15.

While on the topic of Magnum, the radio (from a 99 Durango that I Installed 15 years ago) was pulled out and tested as it has it’s volume and reception goes up and down. It works bench tested, but in car its a big power draw. Testing still required to figure out.

And staying on the subject of my 78 Magnum, about 15 years ago I made a custom dash panel and filled it with Dakota Digital gauges. The tach has gone dim on me, and they’re not as Kool now as 15 years ago. Below is an old photo, as the column shift has been replaced with a floor shift and console.

So I bought a stock dash panel to fill with after market gauges.

The gauge holes measure two at 4″ and two at 2 5/8″. 4″ gauges are limited, and I’m two holes short for a full set if I couldn’t find a combo. While pricey, I did find what I needed.

I ordered them with a white face with black day face and green on black night face. Ordered a clock and a oil temp with same face and bezel to fill the 2 5/8″ holes. It rocked me about a grand, and will take 4-5 weeks to make. I’m sure there will be a lot of Dremel tool action to the dash panel to get them in.

The sheet metal was removed from my 99 Drifter 1500 and taken to Randy Stansbury for a 3-stage metallic red paint job. The clutch was rebuilt and drivetrain serviced a couple of weeks ago. Got the frame all purdied up while waiting on sheet metal to get delivered to me in Indy.

That’ my now almost 31-year-old son on the bike. Saddle bags, windshield and Baby Ape Hangers bars have been added over the years.

Red and black is my favorite color combo. I hope it looks good on this bike.

Finally the trees. At my little cabin on the lake, I had a 30′ Oak tree that died. I had a professional crew come out to take it down and grind the stump down. It was surrounded on three sides by a pool, patio and wrought Iron fence – so I wanted no part of it.

Also had three 30-gallon Mexican Fan palms planted.

All in all, I’ve had a pretty busy and productive week. The plan is to just rest this weekend by paying bills and reconcile checking accounts, catch up on some computer work –  and watch the Stros, Texans and NHRA. Monday we head to Indy for the Finals.

Polish, D-Rings, New seats, Engine Assembly and Paint

What does all of that have in common? It and more happened at the shop yesterday.

All of the aluminum in the truck of the Thug got polished up.

Before

After

I needed more loose weight as I’d been borrowing from 00Joe and Dennis Breeden, so bought a couple dumbbells and chopped off the ends.

Photo is upside down, they weigh 11.1 pounds each.

I bought an aluminum trailer from Jim Bailey, but since his car was much shorter, I didn’t have enough angle for front straps, and damaged the paint on the Thug. Yesterday I cut 3″ holes through the aluminum floor and took a high speed bit to it to shape for 6,000 pound recessed D-Rings. A few bolt holes, carriage bolts and impact wrench to drive nuts on and I’m now good to go.

Moving onto my 1960 Plymouth, the Leaning Tower of Power was pulled in favor of an approximate 450 hp 383 that was in the Thug when it was a street racer 15 years ago. The 383 was assembled as far as it can go until another parts delivery arrives. Also found a bent push rod a two bad rocker adjusters, so they were ordered.


Also painted and wrapped the low mileage and strong 6-banger that came out of the Plymouth, before putting it into the shed.

I bought a set of like new black leather seats from a 2-door BMW and installed into my 78 Magnum. They looked great in the car but my “Full-Figured” ass  was too wide to be comfortable. So they were yanked out in favor of new leather aftermarket, which took 3.5 months to get here.

Wrapped these seats, which are for sale. If you have a Muscle Car with black interior, there’s nothing like the comfort of modern power seats.

These are the aftermarket leather seats. No power, and they have a satin look to them, which maybe leather conditioner might shine up, but they’re very comfortable.

Also found a couple of hours to mow my 5 acres and wash Zero turn.

Fixin to head out to the shop for another very full day.

Brought The Texas Thug Home

As previously reported, the Thug acquired a trailer rash, and I’d took it to my buddy (Randy Standsbury) in Louisiana. He was to fix the damage, redo the bumpers, paint the underside of the hood, and apply the door decals I had made.

So Wednesday I left at about 4 am and headed into the Louisiana swamps. I arrived at Randy’s at about 8:30 and looked over the car before loading. Randy did a great job.

I strapped the car in and headed back to SE Texas. I stopped 60 miles up the road for diesel and DEF, and checked the straps- they were loose and I gave them a couple of cranks to tighten. I stopped another 80 up the road, and again gave a couple of cranks. And yet when I got home, the car had moved over and acquired another little rash.

I ‘d just bought this trailer from Jim Bailey, and he’d towed a Drag Pak, which is far shorter.  I’ve ordered a 3″ metal hole saw, 4 6,000# recessed D-Rings, new straps and I’m gonna fix this problem!

In the stacker, I bought new straps eliminating the short strap, and some 3-stud D Rings for the aircraft tracks. Twenty years of trailering cars, and I’ve never had the problems I’m having with this car!

All nuts and bolts under the car have been checked and tightened and the oil changed. Monday the slicks come off the car to get washed on both sides and polished and rotated to other side. I’ll polish the aluminum in the trunk and the Lexan before loading up for Indy.

In other shop news, the 81 Imperial has been taken out of a 12 year hibernation, had its gas drained, the carb rebuilt, the oil changed, and new master cylinder and wheel caliper installed. I’ve owned the car since the mid 80s, I restored it about 15 years ago with a high performance drive train (380hp 360ci/street-strip 904/8.75″ rear end with 355 gears), but its time to  move on with a lot of these  cars I never drive.

When I bought the Texas Thug in 2001, it was a street racer with 17″ street slicks, a solid lifter/aluminum head 383 that had just been rebuilt, and a V-Gate shifted 4-speed. When delivered I took for a quick ride, and it was scary fast for such a small displacement. I took the car to Mark Artis at Texas Thunder Performance. He needed the 4-speed pedals for Big Red Ram. He took the big brake pedal, engine and transmission that was in Big Red Ram and put into that car – and then back-halved with a 4-link. It was my bracket car, later getting a 540ci with tunnel ram and a pair of 1180 Dominators.

So the engine that was originally in the car has been wrapped and stored for nearly two decades. I’ve pulled the Leaning Tower of Power and Three on the Tree out of my 60 Plymouth (another of my keepers) and will put a bad V-8 and 5 or 6 speed in it. I had my engine guy disassemble the 383 (heads and oil pan) and verify that it had been a fresh rebuild. He says the bearings look new and you can see a cross hatch on the cylinder walls. So I cleaned, primered and painted the short block so that it can be reassembled.

Finally, for 40 years I’ve always had a Chrysler convertible. In the 80s a 67 Newport, in the early 90s a 64 300, and late 90’s a 65 300. Almost 20 years ago, I bought a 64 Imperial Crown Convertible (my Dream Car, besides a 65 300L 4-speed convertible) off a 90+ year old lady who had received it new as a gift for her 50th birthday. I drove if for years and then it developed a lifter noise about 15 years ago, so I parked it. These are fairly rare cars now. Only 900 were made and Haggerty estimates that less than 200 exist in any condition. The best ones sell for $80k+ and ones like mine $30k-$40k.

Well the gas was drained, carb rebuilt, lifter noise fixed, new brakes on all four corners, new wheel cylinders, new master cylinder, and new brake lines. The top pump fixed an levels topped off. Also the fuel sender was replaced as it read empty. Yesterday I took for a 50 mile shake down ride. below are the videos.

I order new carpet and an Electronic ignition conversion kit. After that will be new tires and wheels, and exhaust system. The interior is in great shape, but a little over due for leather conditioner. Some of the interior chrome could use a good polishing. The paint is good except for a little bleaching on the trunk lid. I might see if I can get that repaired and the rest of the car power buffed. I’ve also considered getting crazy and wrapping in the same shade of green, but with wood grain side panels. The AC is worthless, and I looking at my options, including maybe installing a serpentine bracket system with modern AC/Power steering/Alternator.

That about brings things up to date with the shop happening.

Thug Ready To Go Back Into Battle

If you’ve read “Dave & Buster’s Excellent Adventure“, you’ll remember that my car didn’t have a full charge on the batteries for my Bye run in the Semis, and I had a stutter that felt like either lack of fuel or loss of ignition. I was able to get about 20 minutes of a charge before the Final, but I was dead right from the start with a 1.39 60′, and a couple Stutters in the run. Then about 150 miles from home, while driving in a bad storm, some idiot going about 30 pulled in front of my rig traveling in the left lane going 70. I locked up the brakes and was able to avoid hitting anything, but the car moved into a jack pouch and damaged the rear fender.

So, since I didn’t have a backup ignition and the batteries were a couple years old, I ordered a new 7AL2 Black box, new charger and two new batteries, just to be safe. While they were being shipped, The oil filter was cut open to see if there was any bearing material, as I felt the car might have been getting slower. The filter showed no gold, and in reality we had a strong tail wind Thursday and Friday; and a moderate tail cross on Friday and Saturday.

Moving onto the valve train, it was inspected and valves run. All was good. It was noticed, when getting the motor warm enough to run the valves, that the fuel pressure was a pound and half low. That too might explain speed falling off a little. My carb’s jetting was 113 square, and it has now been leaned up a little to 113/110.


Despite my batteries (when fully charged) being just as strong a week later, I replaced them anyway since I had bought the new ones. I’ll either use the older ones in the wagon, convert the Vitamin C to 16V, or sell cheap.

Pulled the Gold 7AL2 out of the Thug, and put it into The Vitamin C – just to make sure it runs right the next time I run that car. The Thug’s batteries were put in the Vitamin C, and it’s 7AL2 put in the trailer for a spare. While doing that, it was found the ignition wire had a very poor crimp in it, and it was a very loose connection. I’m pretty sure that was causing the stutter. That’s now fixed.

Also goin ons at the shop this week, was catching up mowing my five acres and the five acres of Miss Lavone (a sweet 93-year old lady) next door. The new air cleaner and valve covers on my 46 Olds street rod got a coat of gold paint, and drilled for breather and PCV. The Olds also got a new fuel pump and all it needs to be finished is an interior shop to do its magic and a new exhaust system.

Also had to reattach the fascia on my youngest daughters Hyundai, which appears to have been damaged by a concrete parking stop jumping in front of it.

Today, Randy Stansbury drove in from Louisiana to fix the damage from coming home from Joliet. While the primer was drying, he polished the car. Look at the below photo compared to the one at the beginning of this post.

Randy then laid a coat of base and clear over primed repair, and I’ll try to Blend Buff next week.

So after the blending, I’ll load the Thug into trailer to make room for a project, and I should be ready for Norwalk.

Dave & Buster’s Excellent Adventure

Last week was NMCA’s fourth race in the point series, held at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL. My wife had just had surgery on both feet, so it was just us boyz – my Chocolate Lab Buster and me. We took “The Thug”, which is a car I’d just finished a couple of months ago and need some data on. Its first race was Bowling Green, where I broke a rocker shaft. The next race was the Hot Rod Reunion, where I only got three passes and was fighting a couple of problems. This would be its third event.

Monday morning I loaded up the stacker, and headed out Monday at about 2pm, as I wanted to avoid Houston’s traffic. I drove 300 miles to Atlanta, TX, where I parked in Walmart’s parking lot over night, and loaded up the coach’s fridge with groceries and adult beverages.

Tuesday, I had a leisure morning, leaving at 10am and driving a little less than 500 miles to Sikeston,  MO – which is the last known Walmart parking lot in that direction that I know will not give me a problem parking on the far side of their lot.

Wednesday, I again had a leisure morning and leaving at 10 am for the 350 mile drive up the middle of Illinois, known for ticketing rigs as long as mine for over length. I arrived at the staging area (the NASCAR Track across the street from Route 66) at about 4 pm. About ten years ago that would have me 3rd in line, but this year there were at least 100 racers ahead of me. Wednesday night there was a new record of over 350 racers in line for this race.

Thursday, morning in the past would have the track start moving vendors in at 10 am, and racers at 11 am. This year, to the surprise of almost all of us, they started moving us in at 8 am. We (Rollie saved spots for Doug Duell, 00Joe Ewing, the Frees Brothers and I) got to the pits at 10am and I was set up, credentials established, and car teched in by noon.

I paid the $40 (now there’s a racket!) for test and tune, and that opened at 1 pm. I wound up being the first car down the track.

I’d checked my left weight box and it was empty, and I assumed the right was also, and so I didn’t check it until after the 1st pass, where I found 58 pounds. That put me in an awkward position between the 9.50 & 9.75 index (with breakouts for NSS). I took the weight out and decided to see if I could get close to the 9.50 index by shifting at 7200 instead of 6800, where the car still felt like it was pulling.

That didn’t buy me near enough, and it appears 6800 is the right shift point.

I pulled a plug to see if I could increase timing or lean  jetting, but it appears I was where the timing and jetting should be. I had pulled one of the two batteries, and was about to pull a seat to drop 100 pounds, but Doug talked me out of that plan. Good plan Doug! So I put them back in, loaded both boxes with weight and headed to the lanes for a third Time Trial Hit.

I waited in the staging lanes for three and a half hours while I saw some cars go through twice. It pissed off a lot of racers. There were a ton of wrecks an oil downs causing chaos.

By the time I’d gone up to race after sitting for 210 minutes with the cut off switch on, and not enough of a charge on one of the batteries,  I barely got the car started –  and had only 11 volts. I backed out and only had 4 volts by the time I got back to the pits.

Friday we had two Qualifying hits. The first at 8:30am. The car did a monster wheel stand (I’ve not put wheelie bars on the car yet) and was too fast at 9.71.

We waited a long time for the second Qualifying, as there were again a lot of oil downs. I was dead nuts with a 5. That moved me to number two, behind Jeff Frees who was dead nuts with a 2.

Saturday morning at about 8:30 am we were called for our third qualifying. I thought I was set on kill to try for dead nuts with a 0 or 1, but I ran a 9.77. We did have to wait, and weather changes fast in the mornings. Also My 60′ was a little off. They were hand spraying just as we were pulling in, and didn’t give any time to dry. As a matter of fact a video shows someone spraying in back of my car as I was staged. It might have been that, but from then on my car seemed to lose a little more each pass.

Sheet after 3 hits had me stay #2

1st Round Ladder

In the first round on Saturday night  I had Geary (pronounced Gary, as it threw me off for years) Bates. Long story short, he gave me lane choice last time and I gave him lane choice this time. He wanted Left so he could use his door mirror to watch me come up on him. I’d set my car up for a 9.73 and did a 9.76 all out. Geary took a little too much stripe (14.5.’ according to “Run Completion”) and broke out with a 10.48 on 10.50.

Sunday morning Round Two was against a pretty black 67 10.0 Chevelle that I don’t recall seeing before. He came to my trailer and told me he’d been racing for decades, quit for a little while, recently started again, and had been to a couple races I been at. I offered him lane choice, and he also chose the Right Lane. This round was a gift. As my light counted down I lost focus because he’d not left before me, and I had a .109 light. I was even more confused when he’d still not left when I did. He had a .289 light. I gave it less than full throttle and just stayed a fender ahead of him for a 9.99. I couldn’t use the run as data as it was so screwed up. I didn’t even enter it.

At about noon, Round Three was against Kurt Neighbor kn his 9.50 yellow 65 Comet. He’d been both tough on the tree and running the number all weekend. I asked him what lane he wanted, willing to flip if he wanted Left, and he wanted the Right lane, which I feel is correct for the faster car. I bagged three and we had a great race (look at the package at the bottom of the below ticket) with me dragging the brake and a little lift at MPH cone .

Run completion says I cut it pretty close and almost broke out with a 9.71 had I not lifted when I did.

Since I was the number two qualifier, won my first three rounds and there were 23 racers, I won a Bye for the fourth round. It was a good thing I had the Bye. After Round Three, I attached the charger to the charging terminals on the car and started the generator. While I was doing this Jeff Frees and his entourage stopped by to congratulate me for the close race, and then Kurt stopped by. By the time they called us for Round Four, I realized I never plugged the charger in. When I started the car, I barely had 16 volts. The last time I had to start to move into burnout box, it slow cranked and I had 14 volts for my burnout. It stuttered badly after my second gear shift, and I just drove it at 4000 RPM to get off the track. I kinda was surprised it wouldn’t run with 14 volts. Anyway, I was glad it was a Bye. I hurried back to pit to put the charger on at 25 amps, and it was taking it all.

Kevin Gass was the winner of the other Semi. He came to my pit wanting the Left. By then I had made 7 of my last 8 passes in the Left lane, and wasn’t looking to switch, so we flipped. Thanks Bobby Barrick for a heads flip for me. They called us in less than a half hour and my batteries were still taking all 25 amps. I had a hair above 16 when I started the car, and a hair under when I staged. I was dead right from the hit with a 1.39 60′ and then a stutter. I never could catch Kevin.

While I wanted the win more than you can imagine, Kevin is both a great racer and a nice guy, so if I had to lose to someone…

Being an old one eye fat man racing without help, it took me until 9 pm to tear down the pit and load up the trailer. Being it was late, that I’d had a few cold adult beverages, and that I was tired — I decided to stay overnight at the track. I showered and got to bed at about 11 pm.

Monday, I was up at 5 am, had breakfast, walked Buster and pulled out into the fog at 6 am.

I drove hard and non-stop — pulling into my shop (almost 1200 miles from the track) at 11:58 pm on the same Calendar Day.

This morning , I unloaded the trailer for a major disappointment. I stopped every couple hundred miles to take a click or too out of the straps. However, I didn’t for last 300 miles because of heavy rain. Outside Lufkin I had to lock the brakes up and swerved into the next lane because of an idiot. I should have stopped and checked the car’s straps, but I didn’t.

I’ve got my bud Randy Standsbury, who painted the car, coming next week from Louisiana to fix it for me before the Norwalk race. The car will also be gone through to see where a little speed might picked up from.

Here’s a track photo from the NMCA Gallery.

Thursday and Friday was chaotic with all the oil downs setting the schedule hours late. However Saturday and Sunday went very smooth, especially for the number of cars racing. NMCA has their stuff together.

I’d like to thank my sponsors, but on this car I have none except the battery hold downs from Aerospace Components, which are pretty nice pieces and some help from Mancini Racing with an annual credit for misc parts. On this car, I paid for the new brakes, headers, fuel system, converter, and every single other part on the car. Missing a couple of years (family and car issues) hurt me in the help department.  I feel like I’m coming back with this car and the wagon, which I’m just starting to rebuild. I hope to have the rust knocked off me and the cars by the end of this year, and come back next year with a vengeance. While far from probable, with five rounds and  #2 Qualifier Points, if I was to run the table on the last two races – and the right people fell on their face – I have a chance still. Weirder stuff has happened, and it doesn’t hurt to think BIG.

Dave and Buster’s Excellent Adventure

Coach filled with water and secured for travel, air checked on Coach and trailer tires, Thug and Golf cart are loaded and strapped down, race and generator gas jugs are filled, limited amount of spare parts and supplies are attic of stacker.

Now I need to recover from near heat stroke, pack and load my clothes and personal crap, and shower then we’re ready for

Buster and Dave’s excellent adventure

to the Obnoxious Mustang Racer Nationals in Joliet. Will will leave at about 2pm to get under tomorrow’s Houston morning rush hour traffic with a five hour drive to Atlanta, TX for the night, and to load up on groceries and Lone Star beer.

Pulled MoHawk Out, Finish Ole Blue, Brakes on Barge and Some Pit Conveniences

For the last 35 years, I’ve always had a large Chrysler vert. There’s nothing like cruising down a country road at 70 with the top down on a land barge. In the 80s I had a 67 Newport and then a 64 300 vert. in the 90s I had a 65 300 vert. About 20 years ago I bought a 64 Imperial vert off the original owner and sold the 65.

So about six or seven years ago I parked the Imperial and haven’t driven it since. Last week I decided that I need to get it running well again and start driving. Yesterday the bad fuel was pumped out and fresh fuel put in, along with new battery. The car started but ran like crap. The plugs, cap, points, condenser, points, and wires were change, and it now purrs like a kitten . Also the value covers were pulled, sanded, primed and painted Mopar engine blue. I’ll do oil change next week.

There were no brakes, so today a new master cylinder was put on, and front brakes got new wheel cylinders. The drums and shoes were good. The back was a little more of an issue. I did have an old school drum puller to get the tapered hubs off, but they weren’t budging with any of the impact guns I have. I had to get my largest breaker bar with a jack handle slid over it – and put all of my 300 pounds behind it to break the press loose.

Again the drums and shoes were good, but the wheel cylinders were garbage. Replaced those, but couldn’t get the fluid to the back, so I ordered a pair of 72″ x 3/16″ brake lines, and a 36″ and 24″ and some couplers to run new lines front to back. That’ll be next week.

Moving onto Ole Blue, my 25 year old Harley. I finished getting the bags back on it, and adjusted the right handle bar controls so I can see out of my new right mirror.

Mounted a 50′ Goodyear air hose (a Doug ‘the Thug’ Duell tip from last month’s race) to my Coach’s 150 psi air supply – so I have air to power a pair of air bottle jacks – should I have a flat on the coach or stacker.

Also mounted a door cabinet on the stacker for cleaning supplies, and to hold a 25′ hose reel. Now I can plug the reel in and air up the race car’s tires without dragging my compressor to each wheel.

This was another theft of a Doug Duell pit tip

The parking light hole in the front bumper of the Texas Thug was filled with amber Plexiglass.

Finally, in the 80s I drove a pair of GT Hawk as my Daily Driver. Over 20 years ago I wanted to Kustomize one of them with a rack and Pinion steering, 340ci Motor, 5-speed transmission, Fins from a 60 Plymouth, and a front clip from a 53 Commander. The car would be “MoHawk”. It has been at various shops in that time – coming back worse than than it was when dropped off after paying tens of thousands of dollars. Anyway, it has been pulled out and cleaned out.

In the near future, I’ll separate the body from the tube chassis to handle making the chassis right at my shop, and I’ll find a decent metal working shop to cut the silly fins from the first shop off, graft on the 60 Plymouth fins, and make the body ready for paint. Then back to my shop for mating to the chassis, drive train, wiring, paint, trim and interior.

So that was my Thursday July 12, 2018.

Screamin Woody in the House!

Monday at 9 AM I left my shop in Beasley, TX and drove 950 miles to Evansville, IN., arriving at my room at 10 PM. Not much of the route is on Interstates, so I made pretty good time.

I showered and decompressed for a couple of hours before falling a sleep. At 7:30 I met my bestest racing bud, Doug Duell, at his Evansville KIA, where he showed me the major remodeling going on there. We hopped into my truck and headed next door to his Evansville Hyundai dealership, where I got to see the major expansion he did there late last year. He’d been storing my trailer there and shuttled my wagon to the Wrapper when she was ready to do the car. So we hooked up the trailer, headed over to the Wrapper, and loaded up the wagon.

Yes I bought Jim Bailey’s aluminum trailer, after he sold his Drag Pak to Jeff Frees. So I dropped Doug back off at his Kia dealership at 9:45 am, hit the trip meter on my truck, and headed back home. Doug went above and beyond helping on this wrap. Took a little longer to get back with the trailer and construction slowdowns, but I was there before midnight. Since I’d gone to Colorado a couple days earlier, I drove about 5000 miles in a week.

This morning, I unloaded the car into its spot for next six months (while I put it back together), put on jack stands, and dropped the trailer.

I didn’t have the flag that Mark Artis painted on the roof 13 years ago wrapped over.

Also going on in the shop today, was my 64 Imperial Convertible getting a new set of plugs, wires, cap, rotor, points and condenser. The car hadn’t been run in years, but fresh fuel and she purred like a kitten. The valve covers came off, got sanded down, a coat of primer, and a coat of Mopar blue – before going back on with new gaskets. Master cylinder came off as it needed to be replaced anyway, and it made it easier to get to #7 plug.

All four of the wheel cylinders are garbage, so lines were broken loose to drain and new wheel cylinders were be here in the morning. Drums haven’t been pulled yet, so don’t know if I’ll be ordering shoes and getting drums turned yet. Obviously needs an oil change. There’s a Sanden AC 134 retro kit with all of the hoses  compressor, bracket, drier, condenser, and other misc parts that are in the Imperial’s very near future.

Last week I disassembled Ole Blue, my Harley I bought new in 1993. I took off the speakers and other stereo equipment I couldn’t hear over my Sampson Dual Fishtail pipes. While apart, I had my daughter (who works three days a week in my shop) detail the sheet metal and chrome; and I ordered a new dash,  tank bib, knurled seat bolts, and leg wind deflectors. Hope conditioned the 25 year old leather seat and bags. I got it all but the bags assembled today, before the 97 degree heat and lack of sleep got to me and I had to call it quits.

I’ll finish the bags tomorrow so I can get it Inspected and renew the registration. I put Baby Ape bars on Ole Blue, my Geezerglide, and my Drifter 1500 last year; but as I work on freshening this bike I might go to old school Full Apes like I use to run on my bikes in the 70s.

Hope also detailed my 78 little Red Express, and I photographed and listed it for sale this evening.

Pretty busy day today, and I have a busy day planned for tomorrow – then Friday off to my little cabin on the lake as I haven’t been there in three weeks and have work I need to do there.

One of the Nicest Original 78 Dodge Little Red Expresses

Is For Sale

Photos were taken 7/11/18
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Mostly Original and Mint care taken of it

51,000 Miles

Cold Factory AC

Dodge made sure that the Lil Red Express would perform like no other. Right from the factory it came with the E58 police package 360 engine. 

Here is a list of factory-installed goodies and statistics on the 1978 and 1979 Lil red express truck

  • Lil Red Express rolled out in March 1978
  • Lil Red Express Had a production number of 2,188 for 1978 & 5,188 for 1979
  • Lil Red Express had a short wheel base (115 inch)
  • Lil Red Express had a gross vehicle weight of 6,100 pounds
  • Lil Red Express had a 360 V8 with a 850 cfm carter thermo-quad four barrel carburetor
  • Lil Red Express truck came Equipped with:
  •  E58 Police Engine
  • Super flow Heads
  • a police cam
  • Heavy duty Valve Springs
  • Cold Air Induction
  • Dual-Snorkel Air Intake
  • Dual Exhaust
  • Came with A-727 Torqueflite Transmission 2500 stall converter
  • The 1979 Lil Red Express included a Catalytic Converter
  • The 1979 had the Flat Hood
  • The 1979 Lil Red Express truck this year came with dual square headlights
  • Also, you could Find These Goodies on the Lil Red Express Truck:
  • Gold pin striping decals on the Doors & Tailgate
  • Oak body trim panels
  • Chrome Exhaust Tips
  • Chrome Valve Cover
  • Chrome Air Cleaner Cover
  • Chrome Side Bed Steps
  • Stainless Steel Heat Shield
  • The Lil Red Express Truck also got about 13 miles to the gallon
  • Dodge said it was the Fastest American Production vehicle for 1978
  • The Lil red truck had 225 Horsepower-3 Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 9¼ inch Rear End with Sure-Grip Differential & 3.55:1 Rear Gears
  • Rear Stabilizer Bar
  • Power Front Disc Brakes/Drums on Back

The 1978s are faster, more rare and far more desirable than the 1979s.

This is what I know about this particular mint truck:

About 12 years ago, I met a preacher in North Texas who was Little Red Express fanatic. He had two, and wanted to sell one of them. One was a non AC model with red seats, carpet and door panels for $22,000, and this far far nicer one for $40,000. I couldn’t justify paying $40K, and bought the not near as nice one.

Two years later, a lady who worked for the preacher and handle many of his personal affairs called to say that the preacher was terminally ill with cancer, and came down on the price to me because he wanted me to have, before putting on eBay. I bought the truck (about ten years ago) and sold the non AC truck to my son.

The preacher was too ill to meet with me, but the time before when I bought the other truck, he told me the truck was original and that held bought about 15 years prior from the original owner – and had rarely driven it. I asked if the wood was original, and he said he was told it was, but I questioned it being too nice. He said the original owner never drove it in the rain, and it spent every night of it life in a garage. This preacher had a huge beautiful home (preaching was very good to him I guess) and the garage that only this truck was kept in was the Taq Mahal of garages. I too have driven this truck very little, and it is stored a nice garage in a flannel lined custom cover that comes with the truck.

Because the Preacher hadn’t driven the last couple of years of his life, I had to do a little work to get it to run as great as it does.

While I really couldn’t verify all that I was told, I’d given the truck a though going over prior to buying it, and believe the flawless paint is original, as is the interior. The underside also made me feel the truck is an original low mileage truck, and not restored or ever wrecked.

I replaced the dealer installed non-Mopar (very common in 1978) radio Zenith radio/8-track with a rebuilt (and bluetooth added) Mopar Infinity stereo from late 90s and early 00s. It runs and drives great, and the only thing I know wrong with it is the speedometer runs about 20mph fast. it says you’re doing 80 when you’re doing 60.

About four years ago, my son sold me his truck back after it had been neglected so he could buy an engagement ring. I got it running right, polished it up and sold it to a guy in New Zealand two years ago for $28,000. He begged me to sell him this one for $35,000, but I wasn’t ready to sell. Now in retirement, I’m selling half of my 31 cars, trucks and motorcycles to make life simpler. I checked Hemmings.com and there are 8 LREs currently for sale, and the 79s not as nice as this rarer 78 are asking high $30s.

A fair, no haggle, quick sale price is $35,000 – the price I’d already turned down. So I’m not going to start at $40K and haggle down to $35k, but instead say the price is $35K firm – because soon (when I get some share time), I’ll blitz advertise this truck on Old Cars Trader, Racing Junk, EBay, Hemmings…

If you’re interested, email me at Davetheoldhippie @ gmail.com.

There are a few things only that I’d be interested in considering as a partial trade. Click here for the list. Do not call me with your brilliant idea on how to sell for me. I will hang up and block you.

Mopars in NSS Drag Racing

Mopars of NSS-Racing

Mopars of NSS-Racing

The products are made from hi-res photos of some of the best Mopars running in the Nostalgia Super Stock Indexes of drag racing
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