Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wednesday is a Birthday

I'm about done with all the painting for the season. I've still got a bit of trim work to do but we had a hard frost the other night, so the timing's just about right to call it quits. 

I've got the neighbor's job to finish up and paint the job I did for the Missus this week. Hopefully I'll get back on the trials bike soon. I want to get that finished up so I can get the motor sent out to my buddy and have it for next year. Still working on some ideas for the slant six project. I shouldn't be - I've definitely got more pressing concerns but that's just the way my mind works.

Surly's birthday today. Happy birthday! 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Bazooka Time! - Only It Wasn't

Since we didn't go to the races over the weekend, I figured I'd help Bazooka Joe. We went to the weigh-in on Friday which was kind of a typical SNAFU. Weigh-ins were supposed to start at 3:30 but didn't get started until about 5:00. Joe's opponent didn't show at all - not a good sign. We hung around until close to 6:00 but no show. I did get my "seconds" license renewed while I was there.

I was planning on finishing up the painting on the shop Saturday morning but it was a bit chilly so I worked on getting my passport renewed. It's surprisingly easy to fill out the required paperwork online - just follow the prompts and print out the result. Photo at Walgreens, certified check at the bank, throw everything into an envelope, mail it off at the post office. $125.00 later, all done. And while I was out I picked up a roller cover to finish the painting.

The new pad painter I had just bought had an issue with the handle coming loose so I was going to glue it together. When I took it out of the paint tray the thinner had dissolved the glue holding the pad on so it was essentially useless. They didn't have a short roller cover to fit my trim roller at the hardware store, so I bought a standard nine inch size and cut it down. Worked well enough to finish up the job, fortunately.

I went to watch the grandson play ball later in the day and checked in with Joe after getting home. No opponent, so no fight. It didn't look like it was going to be much of a card so I stayed home. I feel bad for Joe. If my plans hadn't have fallen through, he wouldn't have had anyone to go with him to the weigh-in. Jimmy's pro coach was going to work his corner during the fight but Joe's never worked with him before. I've worked all of Joe's Golden Gloves fights, so I was going to be a familiar face, plus I've worked with Jimmy's coach at all but one of Jimmy's fights over the years and we make a good team. Joe's a nice guy, trains hard, sold a bunch of tickets to friends and family for his pro boxing debut and ends up with nothing. Oh well, that's the fight game I suppose. He's looking to fight some time before the end of the year either locally or in Indy depending on what he can get.

New class at the college this week - Stick II. Eight weeks and then I'll be off until March. Which means I'll have time to travel, hence the passport renewal. I'll be going to Ireland during that time for a week. Pretty excited about that. In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Torsion Bar Suspension

Surly sent me a link to a custom coachbuilder and while checking it out I came across the photo above. Set up like you see in the photo it's about $15K. The thing I found most interesting is it's pretty much like what I've been thinking about building some day. It's got torsion bar suspension front and rear, which is what most of the champ cars I like so much use to run - actually still do in the Silver Crowns and sprints.

Here's a shot of A. J. Watson standing behind one of his roadsters with independent front suspension but still using a torsion bar. The stock Chryslers used a similar set-up with the torsion bar running parallel to the frame but it was attached to the lower arm. Lots of ways to skin this cat. 

I'm hoping to formulate a plan and have most of the details worked out so when I start construction I'll be able to jump in with both feet and work on it without too many interruptions. It might take me five years to get to that point, but that's OK. The above photo is from the A. J. Watson Tribute page on Facebook - worth checking out if you're on FB.

Friday, October 12, 2018


The Fed Ex guy showed up yesterday while I was painting the south side of the shop. So I've now got a good start on the slant-six project, at least as far as parts go. I'll get the valve stuff to the machinist so he can get the head done. Need to check the condition of the crank but the block is ready to go already. Making a lot of headway on a project that technically isn't even a project. The motor will be an orphan until I work out the details on the build, but I'll find it a home one of these days.

I ran out of paint so I couldn't finish the shop painting. Today's weather forecast is not looking real promising, so I'll pick up the paint and run a few more errands while I'm out today and try and finish up the painting tomorrow. I still need to make a couple of new trim pieces for over the service door and paint the trim around the window and that'll about finish out the painting for the year. 

Cuzzin Ricky and I were planning on going to Terre Haute for a sprint car two-fer tonight and Saturday night - USAC sprints one night, winged sprints the other. Unfortunately, Rick had to call off sick so I'll be a boxing "second" instead. Bazooka Joe is making his pro debut tomorrow night so I'm going to his weigh-in this afternoon and help work his corner tomorrow night. He's in good shape and ready to go. He's fought enough amateur fights he shouldn't be too nervous. We'll see how he does.

Once again a busy weekend lined up but it'll slow down real soon as we approach November and the shorter days and colder temperatures.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


Here's a book out of my personal library by Tex Smith. Tex died just a few years ago but left quite a legacy of both written material and real live hot rod stuff. Probably his most famous car was the XR6.

Wild design from the early sixties. It was pretty popular on the show circuit and AMT had a model kit you could buy and assemble so you could have your own XR6 sitting on a shelf. The photo is from here. If you check out the link you can get a nice write up about the car as well as see this photo of the powerplant.

Slant Six, Baby! How's that for a cool hot rod motor? This one is an aluminum block with three Webers. The slant six wasn't known to be a real power house but I would imagine this one stepped out pretty lively in the lightweight XR6. I dug out one of my old Motor's manuals and the earlier 225 motors were listed at 145 horse. As they went into the seventies the power rating fell off until it bottomed out at 90 or 100 depending on the application. I'm assuming that was due to the emissions concerns back then.

I shopped around on the web and found both Summit and Jegs listed a kit for the 225 - cam, lifters, retainers, keepers, and timing chain. I paid the guy for the motor, ordered a kit with a mild cam and before I bring the thing home I'll have him work the head over, including taking a skin cut off the bottom to make sure everything is nice and flat as well as bumping up the compression a bit. Stock is 8.4. 9.0 to 1 would be better.

Tex's book has a nice photo of the frame of his XR6 to give me an idea of what he did. I don't have a specific design in mind just yet for my project, but I didn't want the engine to get away from me. I'll get it together and then mothball it until I get ready to start on it someday. 

This'll be the last big project I undertake - it'll have to serve as my masterpiece.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Let's Work Together

Seems an appropriate song considering what's going on in politics today. This was from almost fifty years ago - a little hard for me to believe - but hard to beat the music from back then. Throw in some go-go dancers in mini skirts and things seemed pretty good as I look back today, even though they weren't. Here in the northwest corner of Indiana the Chicago television yesterday was all about the verdict handed down in the case against the Chicago cop and how the city was gearing up for protests/riots depending on how the verdict came out.

I remember all the riots and protests back in the late sixties and early seventies. Chicago, Detroit, Watts. I was living in Crown Point when Mayor Hatcher was first running for office in Gary. I was hanging out at the Texaco station on Main Street when the National Guard rolled troops through town just in case he didn't win the election. Crazy times - kind of like now but without the decent soundtrack and the go-go dancers. It does seem more serious to me now. Maybe it is, maybe I'm just older.

Enough with the politics - at least until later today when the Senate votes on the confirmation - then we'll see where we're at. In the meantime, have a look at the battery for the trials bike. It's just a little bit of a thing. I should have taken a photo of the new one with the old one I was planning on using. This one should be just the ticket - no vent, no maintenance, no muss, no fuss. I think I've got it figured out where I'm going to put it as well as the design of the battery box. I'm pretty well booked up today but if I get some time I'll rummage around and see what I've got for material and then get started. 

I fell into a deal on a slant six motor. I've been thinking about a project for several years powered by one of those motors. Obviously I don't need another project currently but the price was right and as long as I store it properly, it won't go bad anytime soon. I'll know more about the engine and what my immediate plans will be after the first of the week. 

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


We had a blow-out on the sliding screen door over the weekend. I checked for a replacement at Menards - they had three or four different ones but nothing that looked like it would work for me, so time to make a custom one. The piece of stock I started with was a scrap piece they were throwing out at the lab. It has a bunch of holes in it but it was about the right size for what I wanted. I had to weld up a thru hole where the latch fits into the slot which is what you see in the top photo. The piece was anodized so I had to sand that off prior to welding, and that also explains why the part has a dull finish. Fits like a glove though, and functions and looks good on the door.

While I was at Menards I was going thru the LED light bulbs looking for a replacement for a bulb that burned out at the house and came across a LED that contained a battery back-up. If the power fails, the bulb will operate off the battery power for up to 3.5 hours. That's pretty slick. It was just under $15.00 which I thought was reasonable. Something to consider if you're in an area that has frequent power outages.

Battery for the trials bike is supposed to be delivered today. Today is another painting day but it's looking wet the next four days. Time to move forward on the bike and the project for my neighbor. I've been kicking around some ideas in my head on that one and I've about got it figured out. Hope to get started on it in a day or two and maybe get it down next week.