“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” T. E Lawrence
It was Fall of ’97, so sometime this year it’s 20 years that I’ve been doin a blog, a column or a magazine pretty much continuously. Got my first PC that year, reluctantly. See, I had to do something with the retrieved Hop Up Trade name… and… ever so timid…. I snooped around a bit, found an ‘in crowd’ that was not too embracing, a celebrity columnist or two among them and I don’t guess they wanted an amateur to try his hand. Boy, the internet proved the pudding: anybody can do it!!!!. As time has gone on (and on), I write more to me than anyone else, and you-all (all 19) are invited to digest the thoughts, beefs, praise and observations. So, Happy Anniversary.
In April I left the Staff Car car with BobK, then flew back early in July. Bob and Maggie picked me up at Central Wisconsin Airport, took me to dinner at one of those Dinner Clubs they take me to, we dined, then took our cars to the Neon Wall in Antigo.
AFTER DINNER , AT THE NEON WALL IN ANTIGO FOR SOME PHOTOS
IS IT ME, OR DOES EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD HAVE THIS POSTER IN THEIR GARAGE?!
Morning came and we got an adjustment on my car, then Bob and I took off to Milwaukee for the Miller Duesenberg Meet. Bob had an appointment with his striper (note there's only one p in that word) to redo the front of the as-new repaired ’47.
I knew an acquaintance of mine would be at The Mile with 2 cars. On the second day he invited me to drive his very cool Chrysler Indy car (2 man). I blanched, “Why don’t you take me for a couple laps, instead?” He did, and after 4-5 laps invited me again to drive it. I didn’t feel comfortable yet with the other traffic so I declined. We went around another 5 or so and I think I’d drive it now, having 10 laps under my belt and a familiarity with the track, traffic, speeds, ingress, egress, etc. Hope he asks again next time.
THANKS, SAM . YA GOTTA HEAR THIS CAR RUN (FOUR WINFIELDS) (THIS PIC ON HOP UP LIVE WAS BETTER THAN MINE, SO I USED IT)
THERE WERE A FEW HOT RODS THERE BESIDES THE ‘36
My friend Ken had flown in to Milwaukee for the races and the run to Montana, hopped in and “down the road I went” (Thorogood). After the morning races at The Mile, we hooked it up and went directly to Stupies place in Minnesota, got rooms, then in the AM saw Fords and Vettes and more. Quick visit, then to Watertown, where my Pal Randy has arranged himself and Pam a world surrounded by his cars, projects and stuff…and Grandkids. Great property; a hot rod lifestyle set up, mucho impressive. Upon our request, he laid out an all- 2 lane route for us to get to Bismarck and it included a detour – he told us what to expect – that found us on the gravel road in the picture.
WHERE IN THE THE FUGAWE?
Further North, Tom, in Bismarck, is another who has his world set up to suit him perfectly. We caught up on his projects, then hi-balled due west on the Interstate.
It was 103 degrees by the time we broke in to Montana for a hundred or so miles, and Miles City looked like a good place to hole-up. Cruisin’ thru town about 3 PM my co-driver says urgently , “Park right there in the shade”. OK, I did.
He pointed across the street to “The Montana Bar”. It had cold A/C, colder Stella and we hung there for a couple hours. There since 1868 (or 1898?) it had all the character of those bitchin typical old places you know all about. The stop was damned timely.
“OH, WHAT A RELIEF IT IS…..”
Then we slipped cross town to get our rooms at the Miles City Inn. I napped, then we went over to a steakhouse (Grizzly something) and enjoyed bourbon and beef and long conversation.
Next day we made it to Bozeman in half a day and previewed lodging, found where the car would be stored, and made a lunch appointment with Brandon for the next day. Bar IX was the beer stop – but not because of heat - it was a clement 75 - just actin up.
HERE'S THE CAP
Brandon is prospering, considering that both wonderful and dreadful events in his life had, fairly, distracted him from his purposeful enthusiasm for hot rods.
Last time I was in Montana, Vinther was riding with me and Brandon was driving his red 5 W highboy - blew by us on the I-State about 90 one time and we cracked up, knowing that the spirit and future of hot
rodding was in good hands if this was our successor. By now his fans (he's got 'em) will know that the tub project will shuffle off and a Tudor will replace it, mainly for family and logistical reasons.
We'll follow this project and his career as a dyed-in-the-wool hotrodder as time goes by. I told him he inspired me and he returned the compliment; I'm honored, believe it.
GREAT HOTEL, MY ROOM IN THE PERFECT LOCATION
The whole run was maybe only 1500 miles and the car has Idaho, Washington and Oregon to check off for the complete second round of the US ( in ’59 there were 48 states, not much matters since then, huh?). We plan to knock those off in October. We'll see.
One day after the trip in the '36 I'm hangin' with a favorite Podnuh, and he says, "I got the F12 in the garage, wanna drive it?" First of all, I don't know from F12 but I know his Iron and I know I've never driven a Ferarri, so, "Oh, Yeah." No big story, just a modern, bad-ass 12 up front, and us eventually on the Toll Road where you can usually busy things up a bit. He encouraged me to do so. So we did. I know why people want 'em.
I RAN IT PLUMB OUTA GAS
Another one o' those Malibu sporty car rallys found us chasin' a white late model 911 with a Mustang, a couple of 356's and a Viper behind us. We could out corner the Mustang so kept comfortably far ahead, and I hung on to the white car most all the way, then he miraculously disappeared. Back at the BBQ I heard, "Hey, Mark". It was David Steele (AHRF). "What are you driving, I asked?" ""The white 911....were you in the red one??"
AIR911 IS JUST A T, BUT SHE SUITS ME...YOU KNOW THE REST
"Yeah, but you dropped me like a bad habit at the end, " I sez. "Well," sez he, " 27 years of tech and tires as wide as your whole car helped!" Modest man; you gotta drive 'em, too. "Besides, I was wondering what made that red one hang in so tight, you had that a long time, like forever?" Not really but a really nice compliment.
STONE SERIOUS SPORTS CARS EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK
Gardening 101. You know the motion here: we're transplanting. The Big One is going to get away, replaced by a W.O. Bentley. The replacement is here, sorted, usable, nicely restored, but not ready for Prime Time due the the fickle owners' need to personalize. Now ain't that some shit?
Meanwhile the La Gila Roadster is inching toward completion, some problem solving, " litre by litre" as a Cubano I knew used to say, and a secure date for trim install and top fab....those carburetors up in the picture are givin' us fits, gas shooting out of everywhere. We actually don't know what brand they are (do you?), but I'd be happy to use an optional carb, 4 bolt base, you know, something that a guy could say, well, it's a_________Rochester or _________Carter or anything recognizable. Man, we're this far from lightin' the thing. I accidentally heard it run thru the exhaust for 4 seconds once and BOY, do I want to hear the bitch full throat. We have a handle on the carbs now, gonna get two rebuilt ones locally then order some new steroided-up ones from "The Guy". Oh. Other stuff in the garage (garden?) has gotten its' due, too, XKE has kinda been neglected, and the '29 needs a Turnaround in the worst way but hey: that green one up there with the fabric body, well, well, she just be on top at the moment.
Y'all, please forgive my novice-level work on the new template here. Tim has offered to tutor me, and the monthly effort will soon be on time again. An', like I always say,
GRAB A GEAR!