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Been there, done that page.

(and for another personal page - click here).

 

 

Various pictures from my past. Too bad digital cameras were not around 20-30 years ago, I would have a lot more to share!

These are things that happen outside my work, yet add to my experience. Life is an exciting journey.

 

Bilstein Krupp

 

 

One year I was lucky enough to be a guest of the President of Bilstein, Mr. Reinhard Schomburg. It was pretty neat, meeting him, and watching a Busch series race from the top of their truck. It also gave me some hands on insight into rebuilding and revalving of race shocks, which they did right on the truck. A gear head's dream by far. The crew were very helpful with my questions, and I learned quite a bit. That shock dyno is one cool piece of equipment !

Below was a Nascar Truck Series event at Homestead Florida, and included pit passage, provided by Monroe Auto Equipment. I was also a guest of Bilstein during the very first inaugural Nascar race at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.

 

 

 

geoff bodine Nascar Truck Series

 

  Some drivers just can't catch a break in racing, this time is was Geoff Bodine. I took this picture while in the pit area.  

 

Sport Satellite

 

 

Every car enthusiast has one. The car "that got away". An unmolested 1969 Plymouth Sport Satellite. My biggest regret was selling it (although it did go to a good friend).

240hp factory 318, factory air, and factory FM radio. New paint, new interior, new wheels, new top....

 

 

 

bill maverick little red wagon

 

  Bill Maverick and his Little Red Wagon. Nice guy, which is probably why he was still racing and promoting after all these years. It was great to meet and talk with him in between exhibition runs.  

 

1956 Mercury

 

 

My 1956 Mercury. I did a ton of work to this car, to the point where it was a daily driver.

I redid the entire drivetrain. It was dependable, you could drive it anywhere, and I did use it as my primary transportation.

While the suspension was rebuilt to new, there's only so much you can do on this kind of car as far as handling. Still, it was a blast to drive and own. Everybody loved the car no matter where my wife and I went.

 

 

 

1978 Ford F150

 

 

My 1978 Ford F150. One of the best years for Ford Trucks. It only had a 302, but over a period of years, I did a lot of work rebuilding the entire truck. I think about the only thing on the truck I never took apart personally was the transmission. Everything else was rebuilt, updated and tinkered with.

 

 

 

ford 289

 

  As I mentioned, I'm not above getting dirty. And don't mess with my 289 (or the '66 Mustang it was for). A time when building cars was more important than getting my hair cut!  

 

Ford Fairlane

 

 

I started out a gear head in the 1970's, and I'm still a gear head ! Luckily, air shocks and shackles have gone the way of the Edsel, and more modern suspension parts are available. But in the '70's, hey, that how cars were built. That's a 1967 Ford Fairlane by the way. Powered by a 289 with 302 heads.

 

 

 

Mazda RX3

 

 

My mother bought an RX3 wagon, fresh off the showroom floor, back in '73. This isn't the actual car, but it was this color and the same model.

Every time we went to a gas station, mechanics always wanted to come out and see the rotary engine. It was a fun car, and we really didn't have any problems with it. I'm still a big rotary fan today.

 

 

 

Dodge Truck Racing

 

 

In the mid 1980's, for a bit, I used to know a group of folks who were all into 4X4s and trucks. (I had a 1971 Ford F250 Camper Special at the time myself).

Anyway, one of the guys in the group had a Dodge W100. While he drove the truck daily, it had been modified to run a monthly mud competition, one Saturday of each month.

This truck had a 340 (Dodge trucks never came with 340's just 360s, but this engine was originally from a 70's Dodge car, and had the usual Dodge forged pistons, rods, and crank, etc.).

While mudding, you can get some water and or sand in the engine, which just plays havoc with bearings and piston rings. So every few months those were changed.

I remember us all working on the truck and engine till 4:00AM getting it ready, with just a couple of hours of sleep, and then driving an hour away to race it the next morning.

The owner of the truck drove through the mud "bog", with a best time of around 14.00 seconds. This truck was a bat out of hell nasty, and that was the time to beat. However, the judges said one tire had gone out of bounds on one side, so the time could not be used.

This made the guys brother so angry, he wanted to drive the next run which he did.

He must have been really upset because he just put the hammer down, and thrashed that truck. Everyone watching thought he was going to blow that Dodge up or break something for sure.

But he took it to the end with the fastest time of the day to win the event, around 13.50 !

Those were the days!

I'll never forget that weekend. Or working on that truck.

 

 

plymouth roadrunner

 

 

Sometimes circumstances can do unusual things to car guys till sometime later when you get older, you start to wonder: What was I thinking ?

I picked up the 1977 Dodge SE for $ 50.00. The woman told me the car overheated all the time. I told her the thermostat was probably stuck, but she no longer wanted the car, she wanted to get rid of it. Nice lady too.

So I took the car home, took the thermostat out, and it was ok. (later I did replace it).

The car has a 318, and was actually a really good running car. But I knew I could improve that.

I read an article in a car magazine that Dodge retarded the timing on 318s, 4-degress, for emissions. I figured the timing chain was probably whipped anyway, so off came the stock nylon gears and on when a double roller, which allowed me to advance the timing 4-degrees to where it should have been. Wow, it really made a difference. Especially in the torque.

My next step was to have a shift kit installed in the 904 transmission. It had something like 3 settings, I forget exactly, let's say street, towing, and race. I went for race. The mechanic said it would probably trash the tranny, but that was ok with me, I had next to no money in the car anyway's.

This modification made a big difference as well. The shifts were crisp and tight. It would now bark the tires going into second.

I then installed a 4-barrel intake and 4-barrel, and that took the car to a whole new level. I remember a guy from work at the time going with me to lunch. I punched it to pass around a bus, the car took off and BANG! it went into second gear. It was so loud and abrupt the whole car seemed to shake. He thought the rear end came out. It was pretty funny.

Overall, it was a fun car to test and just beat on. I had it for a few years and later sold it to another guy. I doubt the car is around, but that engine is probably running in a Dodge car somewhere....

Note: That flat black paint was done by me, out of spray cans. She was ugly, but she had the get up and go !

 

 

 

 

Truck Frame Machines

 

 

For a short time I worked at a company where they straightened out frames on Heavy Trucks. This was the machine from BeeLine .

I found it interesting how well this machine could easily manipulate a frame. It took some skill to over bend, and have the frame "come back" to where it needed to be. But I learned quite a bit about truck frames and suspensions. I also learned how to re-arch leaf springs. From Dump Trucks to Cement Trucks.

 

 

ford ranger ev

 

 

Around 1998-2000 I was able to inspect and sit in a Ford Electric Ranger through a Ford Engineer I met.

I owned a new gas 1995 Ford Ranger myself. But I think this was the first electric vehicle I had actually come in contact with. It was interesting to see and learn about. I forget the exact weight, but I believe he told me it was around 4000 lbs with all the batteries, which, if I remember correctly, were under the truck between the frame rails.

As with all electric vehicles, it was totally quite when running. There was a gauge on the dash to tell you what charge you had left in the batteries. But from the outside, it looked like any stock Ranger.

 

 

Mazda RX3 13B Rotary

 

 

Being a south Florida native, this is a great area to grow up and live in. It truly is an International community, full of interesting and diverse cultures.

Having many Island / Jamaican friends over the years, I was exposed to Asian market cars early on.

It's funny to see the Fast & Furious movies now, considering I was involved with so called "Tuners" years before the movies came out and it was popular nationwide. Here in Miami, that whole market was ahead of everybody.

One of my friends later in the early 1990's built and raced rotary powered cars, as did many of his friends. Legally at the drag strip, but I also remember many a late nights, us all meeting in the warehouse areas and showing off each others cars.

Many a night I would go over and help them rebuilt 13-Bs at his house. We would all drink some rum and beer, talk cars, do some wrenching, and just have a good time.

(The pictures is of a 13-B raced in an early Datsun 510.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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