Nothing…

Not a god damned thing!  Nobody got laid, not a single photo was taken, and nothing eventful happened.  Our usual spot mixed the drinks too strong for us to keep our eyes on the prize, a cougar’s friends ruined the night of two people, and we couldn’t get 3:00am pizza.  Stay tuned, it’s time for a change of venue and wardrobe for everyone involved.  I promise you this, it will be awesome.  Or it won’t.  I’ve been wrong before.

Oh, there was a car show and roller derby that day as well.  Everything was happening, yet nothing happened.  Go figure.

Heavyweight Champion of the Dragstrip

Photo Credit: Dodge.com

A lot of people have been asking me about the new Dodge Demon, and I’ve gotta say, I’ve got a few different opinions on the car…  I’m not sure if I should refer to it as the Challenger Demon, as it’s the same car, but for the sake of space, I’ll just call it the Demon.  Before I get started, a disclaimer:  I will never own one.  I could never afford it, and even if I could, I just dig old stuff more.  Now that I’ve cleared that up, I can give you my honest, third-party opinion from the sidelines.  I’m nothing but an honest enthusiast who’s done a little research at this point.

What’s it all about, you ask?  Well, the only engine available in the Demon is a supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 making 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque.  That’s intense for a production passenger car.  The Hellcat was absolutely ridiculous, so ridiculous that the faint-of-heart might tell you that it’s overpowered at 707 horsepower.  That’s 133 horsepower less than the Demon, and it scared people.  Not only does the Demon have more horsepower, but it also weighs 215 pounds less than the Hellcat.  How is the same car with a different hood and wheels that much lighter, you ask?  First off, they tweaked the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) hardware, so it’s likely louder both inside and out.  Although the car will be louder, the music won’t be, as the Demon only has two speakers, one in each door.  Don’t worry, the passengers won’t mind the quieter music, as there are no seats for the passengers to sit in.  No seats, you ask?  That’s right!  Seats are heavy, and they enable heavy people to sit in them, so they’re all gone except for the driver.  That being said, I’ve heard for two dollars, the seats, hardware, and seatbelts can be included.  That’s only a dollar a seat, but it adds over 100 pounds to the car.  The carpet is left out, as well, and the trunk is down to the bare steel.  The sway bar is tubular instead of solid, and the brakes and wheels are lighter.  Sure, handling and braking may suffer, but this is Dodge we’re talking about.  Remember the Hemi Darts and Challengers with tiny drum brakes and archaic front ends?  Same guys.  Some things never change.

As you can tell, it’s got a lot of good going on.  It goes 0-60 in 2.3 seconds, covers the quarter-mile in 9.6 seconds, and carries the front wheels almost three feet.  That’s right, it’s a brand new car that can pull wheelies on warranty.  It also pulls a respectable 1.8G on the skidpad, which is pretty good for a car that’s had handling parts compromised for weight savings.  Did it do that on the tires it comes with?  I highly doubt it, as this unit ships from the factory with massive street-legal drag radials out back.  Honestly, this thing is ridiculously well-prepared for a production car.  A big stall converter?  Check!  Two-step ignition?  Check!  Factory-equipped trans brake?  Check!  It’s all drag car, yet it’s already been banned by the NHRA.  Why?  It’s so fast out of the box, that it requires a roll cage.  Honestly, I don’t know why Dodge didn’t build the car around one.  Maybe it’s against government regulations?  It certainly wasn’t due to excess weight, as even on a diet, the Demon weighs in right around 4300 pounds.  Personally, I consider 3000 pounds a heavy drag car, but I guess when you throw enough horsepower at something, anything is possible.

Time Flies… Not Unlike Bits of Dry Tire

These pictures are dated 2005, twelve years ago.  They’re so old that a pedophile wouldn’t even look twice at them.  It’s really no wonder that I forgot they ever existed.  It’s also no wonder it took me an hour to find them on an old hard drive, but here they are.  I guess it doesn’t help that everyone involved back when they were taken was drunk…

I don’t have a picture of the truck, and it’s been wrecked for years, so I’ll describe it in all of it’s glory.  It was a 1973 GMC Sierra of some sort.  Obviously, it had mags.  The rear ones were 15×8 chromed-steel Champ 500-ish wheels with holes and rivets, but they were peeling, so we painted them black.  Good description, hey?  The rear tires were big, fat, white-lettered Firestone boots.  Up front, it had stock 1970’s Buick wheels that kind of looked like Magnum 500’s, and low-profile tires.  It was two-tone tan and white, and as rusty as one might expect.  It was deluxe enough that it had trim to separate the colors, and it had 1970’s prismatic stickers on the bedsides that said “350”.  Under the hood was the most glorious thing ever, a “High Torque” 350.  I’m not positive, but I think what “High Torque” meant was that it came with an iron dual-plane intake, shitty heads with big chambers, small runners, small valves, and a tiny camshaft that wouldn’t make power past about 4500rpm.  General Motors were so proud of their substandard performance parts that they even had the audacity to put a “High Torque” sticker on the air cleaner.  I guess “Low Horsepower” or “High Fuel Consumption” aren’t exactly selling features.

Inside, a minty, tan vinyl bench seat was equipped with only lap belts (as was the style of the time) and I think it had either an eight-track player or a CB radio mounted under the dash.  Regardless of what it was, it didn’t work, nor did the in-dash radio.  Rather than listen to the wind whistle through the rotten old weatherstrip, we decided it would be more fun to listen to all that torque.  Armed with one blue glasspack, one red one, and an old swingset for tubing, we built the best dual exhaust system that no money could buy.  I think the big chrome tips were made from an old semi exhaust stack that we cut up, but don’t quote me on that.  How did it sound? Rappy.  Very, very rappy.

With the air cleaner lid flipped, and free-flowing swingset duals, we decided to run it down the quarter-mile via GTECH.  How fast was it?  I’d like to say it ran an eighteen-second quarter…  We were hardly speeding.  The second run started with a big, dirty neutral drop.  Think of it as a poor man’s stall converter.  The result?  About one second slower.  I wonder if the Street Outlaws guys got their start this way?

So what’s with the burnout?  Well, at about 3:00am, people in small towns like to tear the tires off of trucks.  It’s a thing.  This was a solid three-minute burnout.  It started as a greasy one-wheeler, when all of a sudden BANG, it caught posi and jumped sideways.  It was the worst sound ever, and a few days later the twelve-bolt failed on the highway.  It didn’t fail bad, though.  Nothing a stick welder couldn’t fix.  It always caught posi after that.

Hit Rock Bottom, Then Grab a Shovel

As I sit here feeling like absolute shit due to sick customers who won’t stay home when snot is running out of them, I figured I may as well write something.  I should be working on the Money Shot, but instead I’m all fucked up on pain killers and a cheap bottle of wine that I had lying around the house.  Is this the proper cure for the common cold?  No.  Why not buy something real to cure myself?  Well, long story short, I’m broke.  Why am I broke?  The Money Shot, of course!

See that picture?  It’s the floor drain in the shop, but it’s supposed to be a bottomless pit.  Get it?  Symbolism.  Anyways, problem number one: It’s a car.  I don’t drive cars.  My winter beater is a car because I can’t afford a truck, and my summer daily driver is a car because I’m trying to sell it, and I’m hoping someone wants to test drive it and take it home.  Problem number two:  It’s a tri-five GM.  One might think that they’re cheap to build, as they’re ridiculously common and popular, but one might also be wrong.  Demand necessitates supply, and necessity leads to price increases, even gouging.  If everyone wants it, why give it away, right?  Problem number three:  It’s Uninsurable.  People can feed me all the “tri-five GM” and “appraised value” crap they want, but the fact of the matter is no one is going to touch it.  It looks like a race car, so it’s automatically a high risk. Also, it’s a Pontiac, sharing technically no value with the much more desirable Chevrolets of the same era.  Sure, they’ll collect the premiums, but good luck when it comes time to pay the deductible.

So rather than go to the shop tonight, I’m going to sit here mad at SGI, the Canadian Dollar, and all the rich people driving the price of these cars through the roof.  As I do all that, however, I’m also creating a detailed budget list of all the parts I still need to complete the car.  I offered it for sale as a project a couple weeks back, and couldn’t get shit for it.  It might just be the cheap wine and pills talking, but I’m going to finish this green fucker to my own liking.  It’s going to be loud, shiny, and offensive.  Will I fall in love with it, even though it’s a car?  Will I sell it and recover my investment?  Will I ever race the Gonzo Henry J?  Stay tuned, something cool might happen!

 

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.