Everybody Got Laid!

Spoiler alert: The title may or may not be accurate.

Two firsts occurred on Saturday night:

  1. I rode in a Henry J for the first time in my life.  Not the rare restored model, however, but the much more common gasser (thankfully).
  2. I teleported.

It all started with two people who wanted to get drunk.  We succeeded, knocked the night right out of the park in that category.  Took a cab downtown, stuck with whiskey, and had a good time.  First bar had nothing, second bar had Kiss pinball, and the third bar is also the fifth bar, as the fourth bar sucked.  Actually, the whole night was pretty tame, but we were too drunk to realize it at the time.

Bar 3/5 showed us that a short plastic bar glass can be thrown across the smoking patio, land upside-down on a beer bottle that’s sitting on a ledge, and not break anything.  It also introduced us to a girl with three tongue piercings who was looking for a committed relationship.  The girl in the picture?  Nope, not her.  She just kept randomly appearing and liked my hat.

After the bar, we teleported half way across town to 7-Eleven for junk food.  How, you ask?  It’ simple really.  We didn’t have a sober driver, we don’t remember taking a cab, and it was too cold and windy to walk.  Teleporting is so bad ass, and it’s new enough that I don’t believe there’s any drinking/teleporting laws in place yet.  Oh, everyone also got laid.  If we don’t remember teleporting, we also probably got laid, I mean, we tend to forget the good stuff…

I Got Nothin’, Aside From a New Carburetor

Literally nothing.  All I do is work, sleep, and knock down body filler.  After that, I apply more body filler so I have something to knock down at a later date.  Word on the street is there’s some shenanigans coming up soon, but until then, here’s a carburetor review.

I started out like everyone, running stock garbage because good caurburetion is expensive.  After that, I again walked the “everyone” walk by switching to Edelbrock carburetors.  They run great right out of the box.  That’s their thing, and they do it well.  They have arguably the best choke assembly in the industry, making them ideal for a daily driver, but they lack a lot of nice features that Holley utilize, and they also have a tendency to boil fuel.  My next move?  Holley, of course.  The 4160 is a great design, but I went right to the top with the 4150, mainly for the secondary metering block and changeable jets.  This is kind of about a Holley, or at least something they engineered.

Quick Fuel is a company that I believe was started by former Holley employees.  Basically, they take the Holley 4150 and 4160 carburetors, and improve on the design.  The carburetors I’ll be comparing are the Quick Fuel HR-680-VS and the Holley 0-80570.  First thing’s first, yes, they’re different sizes, but that doesn’t change what I’m going to compare.  Here we go!

First, the Quick Fuel is constructed of aluminum, and the Holley is zinc.  The Quick Fuel is really shiny, and way lighter.  Holley make an aluminum Street Avenger now, but I don’t have one for a direct comparison.  The Quick Fuel has way more machine work done to it, and some edges are sharp enough to draw blood.  Most of the Holley is just cast flat, with minimal machine work.  The Quick Fuel also has changeable air bleeds, where the Holley ones are permanently pressed in.  For what it’s worth, the Quick Fuel has more bracket and cable mounting options than the Holley.  If the Holley has what you need, it’s irrelevant, but if not, the Quick Fuel is a lot handier.

The choke assembly is very similar on both, and my Holley never worked great, so we’ll see if the Quick Fuel can pull it off.  The Holley is better than a Rochester, but worse than an Edelbrock, if that makes sense.  One thing I really like about the Quick Fuel, is the vacuum secondary adjustment.  On the Holley, a screw has to be removed, followed by the swapping of a large, cone-shaped spring to a stiffer/softer one (depending on which way one wants to go).  It’s not that bad, I guess, but on the Quick Fuel, all that’s involved is the simple turning of an adjustment screw either clockwise or counter-clockwise.  Slick!  Another bonus?  Glass windows that are o-ring sealed and secured with a snap ring for adjusting the float level.  The Holley used cheesy, plastic, thread-in plugs that were hard to see through and could not be used for everyday driving.  Bottom line?  I haven’t run the Quick Fuel, but it was a good value at a similar retail price to the Holley, not to mention the fact that I got it on sale.  It comes with a lot of additional features, and it looks slick, too.  Only time will tell the performance, though.  I’m certainly optimistic.

Old Buildings, New Cars, and Spunk Rock

I dig downtown Saskatoon, but can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?  Nice trees, cobbled paver sidewalks, and neat old buildings.  What’s not to love?  The traffic lights are a bit of a modern eyesore, but I assure you, they’re very necessary.  The modern, plastic cars, however, are not necessary.  Look at the picture again, but this time picture the streets littered in pre-1970 American iron.  Looks better, doesn’t it?  Heck, go pre-1960 and it’s even cooler!

Jeremy Clarkson did this very thing on Top Gear.  He went into a historic neighbourhood somewhere in England, and replaced every car in every driveway with a vintage Jaguar.  His argument was that if homeowners weren’t allowed to buy vinyl siding, artificial stone, or plastic windows, why should they be allowed to defile their driveways with something as grotesque as a modern automobile?  After this picture was taken, I headed to O’Shea’s Irish Pub for one of the best veggie burgers in town, then to Amigo’s Cantina for the sweet sounds of Savage Henry and the Infamous One Pounders.  FYI, I was driving a 2005 Chrysler at the time, being part of the problem.  Fucking winter…

Schrodinger’s Uncle and the Fraternity Without a School

A dumb title, a picture of a hat, and a new entry within a week of the last one?  Yeah, things are happening here!  I’ve got tons of stuff written down on paper, but nothing entered.  Why?  Because my computer has been slow for months!  You see, I have a lot going on…  None of it that important, just lots of little things, enough that I have a few windows and tabs open in Microsoft Edge at all times… Seventy-four to be exact.  It’s amazing, when I utilized the favourites folders and closed seventy different tabs, everything quit locking up.  I’m back!

So I’ve got this uncle…  Actually, he’s not my uncle, he’s my great uncle.  Well…  He’s not technically related to me.  My great uncle passed away before I was born, and this guy moved in with my great aunt.  I guess you could call him my great stepuncle.  They both liked drinking, and it worked.  Anyways, she passed away decades ago, and he’s been a bachelor/solo alcoholic ever since.  Recently, he moved into a care home, and people keep hearing he passed away.  I haven’t heard anything from the family, so I refer to him as Schrodinger’s Uncle:  Until I get the official word, he can be thought of as both alive and dead.  Creepy, hey?

Now, to tie the hat into all of this.  My great aunt had an adult son.  He never lived with my great stepuncle, but he only lived a few blocks away in a big, old, two-storey house.  A few of his friends also lived there, all of them in their twenties, so needless to say, it was a constant party.  The movie Animal House was released around this time, and since the “Delta House” was the place to party, it only seemed fitting to name their house after it.  “Delta East”.  Two blocks West of there was another rental house: “Delta West”.  It was a decent spot, apparently, but wasn’t as renowned as Delta East.

Why was Delta East renowned?  It just so happened to be next door to the home of the editor of the local newspaper.  He hated Delta East with a passion, such a passion that he actually put a huge exposé on the cover of his newspaper.  If I had a copy, I’d have a picture posted, and although I can’t remember the title, there was a picture of an unattended rifle leaning on the white picket fence out front.  The exposé covered everything from loud music, to substance abuse, to firearms, and even mentioned public sex acts on a picnic table out back.  How awesome!  Eventually, the novelty wore off, people grew up or moved away, and the house was abandoned.  It was demolished later on, in the late eighties I believe.  Luckily, it lasted long enough that they got some felt-lettered, foam-n-mesh hats made up.

My great stepuncle came into my work about five years back, wearing one of the legendary “Delta East” hats, possibly the last one in existence.  I told him that I wanted to be put into his will for that hat, and only that hat.  He left, and came back ten minutes later, wearing a different hat.  He set this one on the counter and said “here ya go, don’t have to worry about it later this way.  I’ve got lots of hats.”  I told my cousin about it, to which he replied “I hope you washed it.  Last time I stopped by his house, it smelled like an Arab’s ass in August.”  Believe me when I tell you, Febreze and Raid can make a used hat new again.

New Year, Same Old Situation…

There I was, standing in the middle of a decent, ground-floor apartment, wearing nothing but boxers and a beater, watching a topless girl grind up pills into rails on an old CD case with a spoon so she could stay awake long enough to pick up her kid from the babysitter.  Now, do I have your attention?

It’s been just over two months since New Year’s Eve, so I guess you could say I’m ready to talk about it.  Who am I kidding?  I was ready to talk about it the next day, which happened to start at the crack of 4:00pm.  How do I get myself into these situations, you ask?  In the words of Kurt Cobain “I think I’m dumb, maybe just happy”.  Fitting, hey?  I’m pretty good at my job, and I’m critical enough that I can build a decent looking car, but past that, I’m a train wreck.  I tend to make terrible decisions, but I always laugh them off as a great story and carry on to the next one.  In a social setting, I like people, period.  In a retail work setting, people can be quite exhausting, but out and about, from a third-party view, they’re fascinating.  Drunk people are even better!

It started at the wrong bar, and it started way too early.  7:00pm at O’Hanlon’s, which is NOT the place to be on New Year’s Eve.  Luckily, a pub crawl came through and took us to our rightful place downtown: Dewdney,  the holy land of bad decisions!  Habano’s was the venue, as usual, and once again things got a little foggy that night.  Two Northsiders, a Sinner, a handful of Burkeville guys, and maybe some others that I can’t remember?  I don’t know. Regardless, at about 2:00am, we got separated, and I ended up in a car headed to a house party with a bunch of total strangers, and one guy who seemed to remember partying with me way back when.

The house was really nice, and really new, which is unusual compared to where I usually end up.  There was not one dead Camaro on the lawn, and not a primered Chevy S10 in sight.  What wasn’t unusual, however, is the fact that the guy who owned the place had lost his keys, and had to bust his own door down.  As anyone who’s hung out with me knows, this isn’t the first time the afterparty started with a B&E.  Once inside, standard protocol took place, and the people I was with appeared in the pictures on the refrigerator door, so everything was legal.  I think we drank vodka and cranberry juice?  Maybe some wine?  Doesn’t matter…

Fast-forward a couple of hours, and five or six of us headed out to another destination on the opposite side of the city.  Keep in mind that at this time of day, the elderly are getting ready to go to church.  Part of our group, however, were  ready to pull an all-nighter.  In a little apartment in a decent area, three of us sat on the couch watching music videos, playing Cards Against Humanity, and drinking a mixture of homemade wine and warm Bud Light.  The girls were doing “bumps”, which consisted of something they crushed on the back half of a CD-R case, cut into rails with a broken debit card, and put up their noses with part of an old BIC pen.  I neither support nor condemn drug use, but if you’re going to do something, do it right.  I outlasted both of them on my usual mixture of caffeine, alcohol, creatine,and pre-workout.  Seriously?  I had ten years on the pair of them, and still…  Kids nowadays…

Hellyeah to the band, and Hell No to Bodywork

I met Vinnie Paul once.  He’s the drummer for the metal band Hellyeah, but most know him as the drummer for Pantera.  He’s a big, hairy redneck, a total Southern party animal.  I asked him who owned the ‘Cuda in the Cowboy Way video, to which he replied “Huh?  The old car?  I don’t know, man.  Now that I can afford ’em, I drive new cars, I don’t mess with old cars”.  Chad Gray, the lead singer, later told me it was owned by a friend of his.  Vinnie Paul had a point though.  If you’ve got the money, and the scene isn’t your thing, why drive an old car?  They make some pretty bad ass new ones nowadays.

I’ve been covered in non-branded gold body filler dust for weeks now.  The shop is gross, my clothes are impregnated with filth, and my snot may never come out the proper color again.  The firewall, roof skin, trunk lid, and one quarter panel are done, but there’s still a lot to go.  The other quarter is just a repeat, the taillights and rear pan are a pain in the ass, and door jambs are just a nightmare.  Both door skins are actually pretty good, and both fenders are decent as well.  The hood is a disaster, but I get it, as so was the windshield.  Pavement was a long ways away in 1955.  I wonder how people convinced themselves to buy a new car back then when they didn’t have a road worthy of putting it on?

What drives a guy to finish a project like this?  It’s simple, really.  I bought shiny parts right at the start, and had an engine built about a year ago.  When there’s so many of the finishing touches laying around, how can a guy not want to see it all come together?  That Chevy small block on the stand with the fenderwell headers hanging off of it?  Who wouldn’t want to hear that cam lump away?  Finally, there’s the paint.  It’s going to be a dark green, and I kind of want to see how good or bad I’ve gotten at bodywork.

Part 3: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

This is it, I swear.  I also said I’d finish it up last week, so who am I to think anyone is going to believe me?  I’m just a guy building a gasser with control arms, power disc brakes, radial tires, overdrive, and a full interior ranting on the internet about other people’s shit.  It’s cool though, unlike Instagram, my content doesn’t get pulled at random here, so hooray for me.

Ed Roth.  He built cars out of wads of newspaper, plaster, and fibreglass.  Stuff that nobody had ever seen before.  Two engines? Sure!  Bubble top?  You bet!  Mis-matched headlights and other asymmetrical touches?  Of course!  That was just one car.  He didn’t raise the bar, because I don’t think he wanted to.  Rather, he built his own bar somewhere else, and set it wherever he wanted.  The Orbitron had three different colored headlights to create (allegedly) a truly white light.  The Surfite was built around a surf board.  My favourite has always been the Beatnik Bandit…  I think it’s the paint job that does it.

Why bring up Ed Roth today?  Because he was an innovator.  I don’t think he gave a damn what the current trends were.  He painted monsters on t-shirts, built crazy cars out of mostly junk, and wore a hillbilly hat and paint-covered pants.  He didn’t have the popular hot rodder image, what he had was fun.  The model kits alone must have been a blast for him, and I know I’m not alone in saying that they made my childhood better.

What am I getting at with this?  It’s simple:  If you want era correct, that’s cool, but it’s not my thing, and it’s certainly not necessary, despite the current trend.  Maybe you want disc brakes?  Build a car so radical, so different, that people don’t notice the brakes until the third or fourth time they see it.  The same goes for wheels, tires, carburetors, valve covers, and gauges.  If you can incorporate it into a unique car that flows well, no one credible is going to criticize it.  Don’t be scared of critics, they’re everywhere, and they rarely carry solutions.  I’d be much more concerned hating a car that I built from someone else’s ideas than I would be concerned with building something I love that not everyone else does.  Don’t like what others are building?  Build yours better.  Inspire, don’t criticize.  Also, get inspired, a copycat is just a fresh version of someone else’s creativity.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stare at a pile of parts and convince myself I want to put them back together again.

Part 2: Still Lost and Disillusioned

In light of what is going on in the U.S. right now, and what sore losers Democrats are, it’s time for part two of part one from last week.  This year, I’d like to do a lot more blog entries, but we’ll see.  I vent, it’s what I do.  I don’t bottle stuff up.  If you’ve met me, you know, and if not, I’m loud and offensive.  I’m also self-destructive and mildly entertaining.  Husband material, right?  Not so much.

Cars.  This is about cars, and the people that build them.  I’ve gotta focus.  Remember what I said about progress?  I still see it, faintly.  Tons of shops are out there tucking bumpers, chopping tops, and altering things so flawlessly, that you can’t tell how it’s been altered.  There’s also tons of shops out there that are placing orders with Summit, Speedway, and even other shops, then assembling the car like a model kit, with little to no original touches or any fabrication.  There’s nothing wrong with doing this if you’re an enthusiast with limited tools or talent, but a shop?  Shops should use more than a Craftsman socket set.  The part that gets me, is that people now accept this as the norm, and are starting to reject innovation.

Disclaimer:  I use new parts that look like old parts, almost everyone does now, as old parts are ridiculously expensive.  You know what else is getting ridiculously expensive?  New parts that look like old parts.  A three deuce setup can go for almost as much as a complete supercharger kit…  Crazy!  And it doesn’t look “right”.  There’s always something that just doesn’t fit, either a single part, or a few parts that are machined instead of cast, or cast noticeably different.  It never really used to bother me, but now that I’m seeing it more and more, it’s starting to…  A lot of money is changing hands to make new look old, but unfortunately, it just looks like “knock-off old”.

Now, I don’t want to be one of those guys who picks out flaws from across the fairgounds, as that’s what muscle car guys normally do, but it’s in the hot rod world, too.  I’m seeing a sway in the scene, where the hot rod shops are trying to keep ultra-nostalgic, while the muscle car shops are boldly moving forward with modern technology, new ideas, and radical modifications.  No longer is it only the muscle car crowd picking out the wrong grille or emblem location, but now, the hot rod crowd are pointing out pieces from the wrong period, or parts that have been refinished incorrectly.  Is it good for the scene?  Short answer, no.  Not maybe.  Not perhaps.  Not conditionally.  No.

The first car I ever built was a Corvette.  They have instruction manuals, literally.  Very few makes and models are documented as well as the Chevrolet Corvette.  There is a way to build them, and the books are available everywhere. It’s simple, like Tee-ball, tracing, or connect-the-dots.  Hot rods are different, or at least they were when I first became interested in them.  They were a form of self-expression.  Sure, some self-expression is tasteless, but they always carried with them all the ideas of the creator.  Nowadays, I’m seeing the same paint colors, the same wheel and tire combos, very few flames, and almost no angel hair or flake.  What the heck?  The Chevy small block is getting shamed as “overdone” or “not traditional”, even though the first one was made available in 1955… If you are brave enough to use one, be sure it has the “right” valve covers,  and the “correct” intake and carburetor on it.  Modern roller cam?  Forget that! Only a Duntov will do, so be ready to adjust your rockers.  Where am I going with this?  On a rant, apparently.  Find out later this week where I think it should go.  For now, where I need to go is bed…


Is it an Illusion, or am I Disillusioned?

I’m writing this on the internet.  You’re reading this on the internet.  That right there is kind of a problem.  I did a ton of writing in school, nothing more than I had to, of course, but I always opted for the written word over a sketch if the choice was presented.  After that, I’d do the odd article on Facebook (back when I had an active account).  The Facebook stuff got my name out there, and I ended up getting a weekly column in the local newspaper.  After a few years of that, I started this blog.  Progress, right?  The problem is, I like hard copies.  There’s just something about the newsstand, pages filled with advertisements,  and the credibility and confidence it takes to actually invest in print.  Any asshole can write a blog for cheap/free, and I’m a perfect example of that.

Why don’t I like the internet that much?  There’s just too much information.  There’s so much, in fact, that most of it doesn’t have to be real.  I don’t want to sound like some sort of “End of Days” lunatic, but it’s starting to ruin society.  The world is full of anonymous critics, long-distance hostility, and people who are now too scared to try anything new for fear of a lack of acceptance.  Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?

First thing’s first: I’ve never built a pre-war car.  I’ve owned four different Ford bodies, but have never done much anything with them (I actually sold 3/4 of them).  It’s not for a lack of knowledge on how to build them, as I’ve got books from the likes of Tex Smith, and friends who’ve been doing this for over fifty years.  It’s also not for a lack of funds, as right now I’m building a tri-five Chevy, and I can assure you that it will break me way before a little Model T Ford ever will.  I think it’s a lack of direction.  Hot rodding was founded on the idea of speed.  Take something small and lightweight, and do whatever it takes to make it fast.  Can you imagine going for your first ride in a Model T, only ever knowing the ways of a horse-drawn wagon?  How about when the first flathead V8 was available to the common man?  Shortly after that, the flathead V8 would’ve been readily available to install in a tired Model T Ford.  That’s progress.  That’s bad ass.  Progress is bad ass.

Nowadays, we’re both spoiled and sheltered.  There’s 1000 horsepower street cars with power steering and air conditioning.  There’s critics who will say no “real” hot rod has parts on it that were invented outside of the 1940’s.  Then there’s those of us who are in the middle with an open mind, trying to make something work.  Will these gauges match those wheels?  Is this paint color too modern?  I know it won’t be reliable, but will it at least be able to get itself on and off the trailer?  I know it’s wrong, but it’s okay if the hood hides it, right?  So many questions, so many answers, and so many opinions.  Remember what I said about progress in the last paragraph?  It’s starting to crumble a little, and I’ll cover that in part two of this in the next couple days.

Short? How About Just The Tip?

If you want short, you’ve got it!  I still own a Corvette, so I know a thing or two about stuff being short…  Anyways, what can a guy say about exhaust tips?  They’re made of legit stainless, so they’re not magnetic and won’t peel before turning all orange and brown.  They’re well-polished, and have the “Pypes” logo laser-etched into the top of them like a modern socket set.  The box and wrapping did a good job of keeping them minty, and I picked the pair up on a Black Friday deal for $36.00 U.S.  Part number EVT-49, if you’re into that.  Oh, they’re going to be fed nothing but hostile, ignorant noise by a pair of Pypes M80 mufflers, and a Comp XR288 cam.  Should be a good time.