Oil Safari in Today's Chicago Tribune

This multi media, presentation, (requires free registration) tells the story, The Safari, if you will of a barrel of oil across the world to a Marathon gas station in Elgin, IL.
The technology for this video is pretty cool, even if the topic is scary.


Check out Jay's New Ride

Iowahawk gives the dish on the Blastolene special, another crazy vehicle that The Leno A Tor recently acquired.

It seems that Jay Leno is all over custom cars now. I seem to remember that he used to not be into customized or hot rodded cars.

That flew out the window with the Toronado that they built for him last year.

Urban Assault Vehicle Redux

It is the hottest day all summer. Instead of staying cooped up in the HQ, I was determined to have some fun outdoors after the difficult lawn cutting experience this am, where the Lawn Boy died and I had to borrow another sickly mower to get the job done.

First I got out the Mustang and went to some fruitless house sales. Not one record was even for sale!

Then my delivery from Nashbar came, and I had a new project. Last week, I splurged and got a set of clipless pedals for the Raleigh, since they were $19.95. Nice!

From Nashbar, I ordered a set of Zefal mountain bike mudguards as they were only $16.99.

Putting the pedals on was as simple as getting my pedal wrench out of the toolbox and removing the extant pedals and then putting a bit of grease from my grease gun on the spindles of the new ones and twisting them on the shiny, chromed, cottered cranks.

The mudguards were a bit of a project however. It required that I mock everything up before I starting cutting up the mudguards and their hardware, because in the past, I have had to cut bait on a project and return items as no amount of "modification" will sometimes allow a fit.

The front fender basically fit after I jammed it between the fork legs. The lower legs of the mudguard supports appeared to be too long however. I moved on to the rears to see if I could make the mountain bike fenders fit on the Raleigh Sports.

The rears were a much closer perfect fit. I used all of the enclosed hardware. The only mod I made was where I attached the front of the mudguard to the bottom bracket area with a zip tie instead of a series of bolts, washers, brackets and nuts. I am sure that the hardware would be much more of a situtation where it would rattle loose and cause havoc, (like the stock mudguards on the recent LATE Ride.)

After I ascertained that the mudguards would indeed work on my bike, I started tightening everything down. The fronts still looked weird. I opted to get some powerful hedge trimmers, that I call "The Toecutter," to lop a 1/2 inch or so off of each of the lower support legs. That seemed to do the trick.

As for my grocery getter cart, I recently scored a Burley Delite trailer at a house sale for $35. I found the platform for the trailer in the garbage in front of a mansion. The board was roughly the correct size to fit on the top of the Burley after the sides were folded down. I cut the 1/4 inch plywood board down to size. I then proceeded to drill 16 holes around the edge to fasten the deck to the trailer frame.

I found a can of primer in the garage, so I hand sanded and filed the board to remove any bad splinters, I then applied 2 coats of primer to seal the deck. I then found a can of shiny black spray paint and added 2 coats to the top of the deck.

Then I got some 14 inch zipties from the hardware store for $2 to put throgh the holes and secure to the trailer frame. I just attached the four corners to see if I liked how it worked.

I just took a test ride. The vehicle seems pretty tight. Although the board added a few pounds, while the mudguards took a pound or so off. I have a feeling it is a matter of time until I cut all of the nylon sides and bottom off the Burley to save some weight.


Why do Gassers Rule?

Gassers Rule! As per the continued coverage in mainstream magazines like Hot Rod, as well as more fringe car mags like The Rodder's Journal, it is obvious that people are getting into 60's styled straight axles (and otherwise old timey) drag racing set ups.

For once I feel fortunate to live in the Midwest as it is the home of the Mid West Gasser Association.

Over the past weekend at Great Lakes Dragaway, there was a Mopar event, but more importantly there was a huge appearance by the MGA. There was only one Willys in attendance (for Sale!), but there were plenty of other cool gassers- '33 Chevy Coupe, '46 Ford Coupe, a Vette and a couple of Chevy IIs.


Track of the day Del Vetts "Last Time Around"

If the above pic can tell you anymore than the fact that I need to get a scanner...
Anyway, along with the recent Dynaco preamp addition, I have scored some nice discs to ripple the plaster around CDHQ.

The Del Vetts "Last time Around" Dunwich 125 has it all. Chicago 1966 teen punk angst, complete with plainative vocal, loads of fuzz. It has a guitar break that makes my loudspeakers quake.

I think that I am going to hook up my AR 2 AX speakers to the system, so I can go louder!


Another new edition

The Dyanaco PAS 3 from the early 60s is now a part of my reference system.

This tube preamp was known as the giant killer back then when it was sold as a kit. The guy that I bought it from had some Sylvania nos 7025 tubes, so he installed them. The phonograph stage on this pre amp is known to beat a lot of more expensive units.
So far, I am pretty impressed soundwise. It looks like a 40+ year old unit, though.

Here is how I have it set up: Rega Planar 3 turntable with a stock tone arm and an Audio Technica cartridge, and AMC cd 8b player, running to the Dynaco, then I bridged the pre amp in my AMC 3050b integrated solid state amplifier. This is all put out to a pair of Monitor Audio silver series loudspeakers.

The next obvious upgrade is to get some real interconnects for the cd player and the pre amp sound path.

I listened to a mint stereo copy of Donovans Greatest Hits on the old set up and compared it with the new set up. The phono stage in the mighty Dyna certainly made a big difference. the sounds were ultimately more clear and the fuzz break on "Season of The Witch" was without compare.

I think I will go find some of my old Miles LPs.

One Donovan Leitch

During my weekly local garage sale foray, amongst the golf ashtrays, toys in various states of decay, used kitchen items that should be pitched instead of sold, I came across an original gatefold Stereo copy of Donovan's Greatest Hits (in mint condition) for a buck.

I cannot seem to find the budget '80s reissue LP that I got years back, as it must heve either gotten lost in one of my moves, or liberated by a houseguest at some point.

My interest in Mr. Leitch did not come through his song, "Mellow Yellow," but rather via his best track "Season of The Witch." I remember hearing "Season" after my high school prom as I launched my 1981 Mazda over an especially perilous RR Xing. I got at least 2 inches under all four doughnuts as Donovan yelped, "It must be the Season of The Witch." Truly memorable.

The lp contains other songs that I like like "Mellow Yellow" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man." The compilers neglected to include the other great member of his canon, "Atlantis." Gentle Reader may remember the use of this song on the soundtrack to "Goodfellas," when Henry "Rat" Hill is driving in fear of black helicopters. "All Hail Atlantis." Hippy and yes Dippy, but somehow, I have always liked that song.

Wikipedia (linked above) gives the full dope on Donovan. I found the tale of his late '66 drug bust to be interesting as it seemed to be part of the process that the press used in sharing info with the Bobbies that led to the famous bust of Keef Richard later in 1967.

New chariot for pooch

Since this past week has been an unofficial Bike Week here at Cratedigger HQ, I have been spending as much time as possible using human powered vehicles.

Following my penchant for garage saleing, this morning, I came across this Burley trailer that you see pictured at the right.

I had to hoist the pooch into the Chariot, but after we got up to cruising speed-- 5-8MPH, it was all smiles from my four legged friend.

It looks like, I finally have a car replacement, as I can easily put groceries and other goodies in the cart as well. I noticed that petrol is around US$3.25 per gallon today. I will make a point to drive even less now.

One Less Car!!!


Little Boy Blues

I was out beating the throttle on the '66 Mustang this morning, when I decided to pop an old cassette into the player.

I was on a more "open" road that has a posted 50MPH limit and there were few other cars around.

The song that started playing at the stop sign was "You Don't Love Me," by 1966 stalwarts, The Little Boy Blues. What a killer garage track. Tuff is the operative word here, and as I mentioned more than a few years back, Jimmy Page definitely learned something from the guitar break in this track.

As I clunked the top loader into 4th, and jammed the gas pedal, the song kicked into the guitar break. I took the turn fast. The car thanked me on this sweeper for the new black walls that I bought earlier this year. A nice smooth turn a bit above the posted limit.

On the way back to HQ, some Mom-looking person tried to stop light drag me in an Acura. She didn't beat me, and wouldn't any other day while I am blasting the garage behind the controls of an old Ford.

Get out there and feel some horsepower while cranking some tunes from 1966!


The Tale of The '49 Cadillac

This past Saturday, I rode shotgun with Mr. Burge from Iowa Hawk, to help with some vintage motor and transmission harvesting.

The story goes a little like this. A 1949 Cadillac Club Coupe appeared in Sycamore, IL for the astonishing price of $120. Now granted, this car was heavily rusted and had been sitting since 1959, so you have to view this as "you get what you pay for." But still it seems like a smokin' deal.

Most importantly, 1949 was the first year of a mass produced overhead valve V-8. So while Henry Ford would be turning out variants of his Flathead V-8, which was originally offered in 1932, for another 4 years, Cadillac was already entering the future of overhead valve technology with their 331 powerplant.

A Cadillac 331 sure could provide motivation for a little '30s Ford... Perhaps that was the motivation for Iowa Hawk's purchase of the Caddy. This model even has a four speed auto tranny...

So back to our story, I stopped by the Burge Compound for some early morning coffee and of course I carried a stash of some recent garage music finds. (We needed a soundtrack for the hour plus drive to Sycamore.) We headed out and had an unventful journey during the midst of a holiday weekend, punctuated by the tough and/or moody sounds of 1966.

When we arrived at Marty's and Sons, the Caddy was displayed in all its glory in the lot as in the digital image above. The first step was to hoist the car with a hydraulic jack off the ground so that we could get some jack stands under the front axle. Then the hood, fenders, and the remains needed to be liberated with the "blue wrench." In one of the pics above you can see Andy's hand as he skillfully cuts at the Cadillac carcass to remove parts in the way for a clean engine and trans removal.

After that, it was under the car to remove the drive shaft and the exhaust. Since this is Iowa Hawk's car, I gladly let him fight that battle. Soon, Dave, another hot rod enthusiast, showed up and started pitching in. He is a fan of the blue wrench and helped cut away the motor mounts and the exhaust manifold. Notice the flames engulfing the passenger side motor mount in the pic above.

Once that was cut, Iowa Hawk severed the drive shaft with the blue wrench under the car and then it was a three way tug of war and creative use of levers to extracate the power plant from the 57 year old car.

This was the first time that I was around to "help" or witness directly the removal of a car engine, this will certainly not be the last time. This was a blast of a day.