GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

COOOOL!

If it’s gonna be done, it’s gonna have to be Musk that does it.

180 Days for a SpaceX Starship Moonbase
There is a proposal to use the SpaceX lunar starship as a rapidly deployable moonbase. It could be completed 180 days after the SpaceX lunar Starship lands on the moon.

The payload area of the Starship is about 1000 cubic meters. This proposal would tip over the lunar Starship and cut it open to use three times as much volume and enable it be buried for radiation shielding.

NASA and Thales Alenia just rolled out their first Moon Base concept for the Artemis project. Why do we need a tiny module when we have over a thousand cubic meters in Starship? Does this base have any use at all?

Does it really matter? It’s nothing but pie in the sky, a pipe-dream. NASA can’t even get a man into low-earth orbit anymore.

Via Insty, who quips: NOW THIS IS MORE LIKE THE 21ST CENTURY I WAS HOPING FOR. Heh, indeed. Now about those Jetsons-style flying cars we’ve all been waiting for, Elon…

Which reminds me of a humorous incident from a cpl-three weeks ago. I was trying to access a shopping-center wheelchair ramp blocked by one of those damned Teslas, see. Thankfully, the driver was still in the driver-seat—her BF/husband/whatever had dashed into a restaurant to grab their go-order while she waited, it soon developed. Anyhoo, as she backed out of the way for me the car made that burbling beedle-beedle-beedle noise originally produced by the Jetsonmobiles in the classic old Hanna-Barbera cartoon. I just about fell out laughing at that, and I’m still laughing.

I solemnly swear to you here and now, that Tesla sounded so exactly, precisely like the above I have to conclude that Musk must have licensed a recording of it to use in lieu of the exhaust note typical of an ICE. Good going, Elon!

Just say no

Buck Throckmorton has rapidly become the go-to guy for EV news, debunkings, and unpleasant realities, and there’s a very good reason for that. To wit:

Welcome to 2024! Since New Year’s Day one year ago, the “electric vehicle transition” has gone from being a foregone conclusion to being a rolling failure. Auto manufacturers who bought into the hype are looking at a catastrophic financial miscalculation, and typical car drivers have gone from being curious (at best) to being generally negative about purchasing EVs. I believe that the conservative media’s pushback against EVs has had a considerable impact.

In other words, 2023 was a very good year – a year in which we turned opinion against electric vehicles. The people who want a boutique, status-symbol EV can continue to buy Teslas. (But can we please kill off the taxpayer subsidies for Tesla?) For all the rest, let 2024 be the year when legacy automakers throw in the towel on the eco-communist EV experiment.

For today, let’s do our periodic update on the EV Follies…

“Ford cutting 2024 F-150 Lightning production plans by half, suppliers told; The news comes amid an industrywide pullback in EV investment due to slower-than-expected sales growth.” [Automotive News – 12/11/2023]

Ford Motor Co. is dialing back planned output of the electric F-150 Lightning pickup by half next year because of “changing market demand,” a steep pullback of a high-profile nameplate the automaker spent most of this year working to build in larger numbers.

Although I’ve enjoyed writing about how emphatically consumers have rejected Ford’s flagship EV, in fairness I should point out that the Ford F150 Conflagration Lightning is a spectacularly awful vehicle. Aside from its tendency to burst into flames, it performs poorly at towing, hauling for distance, and operating in the cold – the basic functionalities that are expected of a pickup truck.

The buried lede in this story isn’t that Ford is cutting weekly production of its electric pickup from 3,200 units per week to 1,600 units per week, rather it’s that Ford’s executives still think there is a market that will absorb 1,600 of these abominations per week.

*****

It’s not just Ford that can’t sell its EVs. Half of Buick dealers would rather surrender their franchises than have to sell General Motors’ atrocious EV offerings.

“GM buys out nearly half of its Buick dealers across the country, who opt to not sell EVs” [Detroit Free Press – 12/20/2023]

GM’s awful executives, with little understanding of automobiles or their customers’ preferences, think they can simply dictate what consumers should buy. GM dealers, who actually understand automobiles and what their customers want, know better.

General Motors said nearly half its Buick dealers took buyouts this year rather than invest in selling and servicing electric vehicles as the automaker’s brands transition to all electric by 2030.

That means GM will end 2023 with about 1,000 Buick stores nationwide, down 47% from where it started the year.

*****

General Motors is rolling out an electric version of its popular Chevrolet Blazer sport utility. Well, it’s trying to, but not very successfully.

“2024 Chevy Blazer EV sales are already halted over software issues” [Elektrek – 12/26/2023]

Dozens of potential customers will have to keep waiting.

Ah well, I guess it’s nice to know it will impinge on mere dozens of the poor, pitiful fools; could be worse, could be hundreds. Nice also to see a few major manufacturers finally pushing back against being force-fed this fascistic, auto industry-killing program of FederalGovCo’s devising, instead of just lying back and taking it without demur as they have been up till now. Lots, lots more disincentives to buy into the goobermint’s credulity-straining propaganda push for these abominable, exorbitantly overpriced boat-anchors over at the Ace Place.

2
1

The feel-good story of the week month year decade century

GOD, how I love this. Who says there’s no good news anymore?

1930s Luxury Vehicle Going Into Production Again?
Packard Motors, an American luxury automobile company that first produced automobiles in 1899, is on the verge of manufacturing vehicles in Ohio.

One of the “Three Ps” – alongside Peerless Motor Company and Pierce-Arrow – the Packard Motor Car Company gained a reputation for building high-quality luxury automobiles pre-WWII.

“Owning a Packard was considered prestigious, and surviving examples are found in museums, car shows, and automobile collections,” Wikipedia writes.

“Packard vehicles featured innovations, including the modern steering wheel, air-conditioning in a passenger car, and one of the first production 12-cylinder engines, adapted from developing the Liberty L-12 engine used during World War I to power warplanes,” it added.

“The handmade vehicles were exported in record numbers to Europe and competed successfully with Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz,” Cleveland.com states.

“After surviving two world wars and the swings of the auto market, the last true Packard rolled off the assembly line on June 25, 1956. The company closed in 1958 after a failed strategic takeover of Studebaker Corporation,” Packard Motors writes.

Now, a 1934-style convertible could bring the company back to life.

If I could just live long enough to see one of these beautiful beasts rolling down the highway, I could die a happy man. Further details here, including several pics. This is pretty danged cool too:

Andrews collaborated with his friend, Steve Constantino, on the prospect of building new versions of 1930s Packards.

“They found a company in Nebraska that makes all the parts for those particular vehicles. Andrews researched and now owns the legal rights to the Packard brands, patents and trademarks, which was a major step in moving forward,” Cleveland.com writes.

Lastly but by no means leastly:


Of course the new Packard will be far, far out of my pitiful price range, but who cares? Such a vision of loveliness is its own reward, even when the beauty is beheld from afar.

Creepy AF update! And within mere minutes of posting the above, what should arrive in my email inbox but an ad from eBay headlined thusly: Under the hood: An ice-making Land Cruiser and Cadillac Woody, offering all kinds of car paraphernalia for sale, from the aforementioned 56 Cadillac View Master resto to chrome mags to race-driving gear to you name it. Why, if I didn’t know better I’d think I was being watched by somebody or something.

5
2

Sticker shock

Just another nail in the EV coffin.

The true cost of an EV? Think tank claims subsidies for electric vehicles cost $50,000 PER CAR over a ten-year period
The true cost of electric cars to the average American taxpayer has been laid bare by a landmark new study into the eco vehicles.

In order to bring EVs to market, governments have created a variety of tax incentives for buyers and manufacturers. They have also sponsored the development of the infrastructure needed to charge them.

But those subsidies can come at a cost to taxpayers, buyers of gas vehicles or simply households that pay electricity bills.

A new paper by conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation estimated that the average electric car incurs hidden costs of $48,698 over a 10-year period.

‘Electric vehicle owners have been the beneficiaries of regulatory credits, subsidies, and socialized infrastructure costs totaling nearly $50,000 per EV,’ said one of its authors, Jason Isaac.

eparately, it found that the infrastructure required to facilitate electric cars in America is not paid for directly by the owner of the car. It described those expenses as ‘socialized infrastructure costs.’

‘Home and public charging stations used by EVs put a significant strain on the electric grid, resulting in an average of $11,833 in socialized costs per EV over 10 years, which are shouldered by utility ratepayers and taxpayers,’ read the paper.

The authors argued that the gasoline infrastructure is used for other products and society at large, whereas electric vehicle charging costs currently only serve EV owners.

They also claimed that the additional strain placed on the power grid when charging electric cars would ordinarily incur ‘demand charges’ – or a premium for higher energy consumption at a certain time.

‘Currently, most utilities are socializing that cost for EV owners by not assessing demand charges on residential EV chargers, even though those chargers can use as much power at certain times as several homes,’ the report claimed.

Right up until the useless Wokester toy blows up and burns the house to cinders and ash.

So let’s see, now:

  • Random explosions;
  • Random deadly fires;
  • Hours wasted searching for and/or sitting in long, slow charging-station queues;
  • Yet more hours wasted “refueling” enough to at least maybe make it back home;
  • Unsatisfactory, grossly-exaggerated range;
  • Ruinously expensive battery replacement;
  • Total reliance on those horrible, horrible coal-fired power plants;
  • Drastically-shortened tire, hub-bearing, suspension, brake, and/or steering-component life due to the vehicle’s excessive weight;
  • Exorbitant towing charges when the PoS boat-anchor leaves you stranded;
  • Inability to enjoy battery-exsanguinating ”luxury” accessories including but not limited to heat, defrost, A/C, stereo, wipers, &c;
  • Ditto for carrying passengers;
  • Ditto for hauling loads or towing even a lightweight trailer with your electric pickup truck;
  • Don’t EVER touch ANYTHING under the hood or attempt to fix anything yourself, OR YOU MAY DIE

OOH-OOH-OOH I WANT ONE I WANT ONE I WANT ONE!

What the heck, whoever said virtue-signaling came cheap, right? Them’s the breaks. All of which I’d be okay with; hey, if smug, self-righteous Enviro-nut assholes don’t mind paying through the nose to establish their presumed moral-superiority bona-fides, well then you just have at it, fools. Unfortunately, though, we ALL get to pay for their dubious “privilege” right along with ‘em. To wit:

But the largest cost identified by the report was that on buyers of gas cars.

According to the paper, around 16 states have ‘zero emission vehicle’ (ZEV) mandates whereby the state sets a number or percentage of new vehicles sold that must be zero-emission.

‘Of course, the cost to meet these mandates is not limited to the states that impose them but spread out over the entire fleet of each automaker trying to meet them,’ read the paper.

On top of that, federal regulations impose similar obligations on automakers that incentivize them to make more electric vehicles.

‘The largest source of financial support for EVs comes not from direct subsidies but from hidden costs driven by federal regulations,’ read the paper.

‘The Biden administration’s stringent fuel economy standards and regulatory manipulations are driving American automakers toward bankruptcy and adding thousands of dollars to the cost of every gasoline vehicle,’ said Brent Bennett, another of the paper’s authors.

Just this month, Ford said during its third quarter earnings call that it lost an estimated $36,000 on each electric car it sold in the quarter.

Well, whaddya know about that: look closely enough, dig down far enough, and we learn that, of course and as always, the real problem has its roots deep within the bowels of the meddlesome, authoritarian Leviathan-state. Quelle surprise, that.

3
1

Steve McQueen followup

So since posting “American badass” yesterday, I have fallen DEEEEP down the rabbit hole of all things 70s dirt-bike. After another long, stimulating conversation with my friend Stan this evening on the subject, I’ve been Wiki-searching all the great old names: DeCoster, Jim Pomeroy, Malcom Smith, John Penton, Heikki Mikkola, et al. This serious sidetrackery led me to a couple of real finds.

AttackLifeMcQueen

Preach it, Steve! Next up: truer words were never, EVER spoken.

BikerForever

Heh. Anybody out there who grew up like me, Stan, and his brother Chipps did know exactly what it feels like. In our conversation earlier tonight, Stan brought up Chipps’s old Honda Mini Trail Z50—the bike Chipps taught me to ride on back when I was, oh, 11 or 12, which looked a little something like this:

72MiniTrail

As I recollect, the one Chipps had sported a slightly different paint/decal scheme on the tank, although it was certainly red as all getout. See the black plastic knobs down at the bottom of the bars, just above where the risers meet the top triple-clamp? Turning those counter-clockwise (lefty loosey!) would loosen each handlebar to fold down alongside the fork leg independently, making it easy-peasy to toss the little Z50 into the trunk of Dad’s car when a nice weekend camping trip up to the mountains was in order.

Can’t see very well in the pic, but the bars are supposed to have a bit of space between them. On Chipps’s Z50, however, they were bent so badly from innumerable falls, collisions, and other what-have-you that they actually touched in the middle, about halfway along the rise to the turnout where the grips, front brake lever, throttle, and kill switch (that red button thingie by the left grip) all live. It was funny to look at, kinda like a bunny with its ears all a-flop rather than sticking up straight.

Three-speed (or was it four?) auto-clutch tranny; chrome steel fenders front and rear; honkin’ big chrome heat shield over the upswept exhaust, which of course would be summarily removed and thrown into a remote corner of the garage for the duration, the oversize muffler drilled/hacksawed/gutted to replace the offensively meek, barely-audible “putt-putt-putt” sound with a more manly, throatier growl; cable-actuated drum brakes front and rear; cute little semi-knobby balloon-tires and mag wheels; in short, all the traditional styling, hardware, and running gear standard on the kid-size Hondas from that era.

That tiny little booger provided my first-ever experience with the indestructible nature of pretty much all Honda engines; like my beloved Ford 289s, they simply can’t be kilt, no matter how severely you abuse ‘em. Which of course we did. It’s long been my theory that you could’ve blown a few .50 caliber holes in that 49cc motor with a Ma Deuce and it still woulda cranked on the first kick and purred like a cat eating guts anyhow.

The seat had a latch on the side, allowing access to a small storage compartment underneath, among other things. On Chipps’s bike, the spring holding the latch closed was broken. This meant that whenever you jumped the thing, momentum would leave the seat flapping in the air—not such a big problem when you’re standing on the pegs and airborne, but a real nut-buster when you landed and went to sit back down again with the seat in the “open” position and stuffed into your crotch.

A more dire hazard than that top frame rail on our old Schwinn boys’ banana-bikes was, believe you me. Whoever wasn’t actually riding at the time and was off fooling around in the woods or catching tadpoles in the nearby crick always knew when the other guy had crested a hill and caught some air by the sudden profane shouts of pain at having been caught again by that $*&^$##@@#!!! loose seat.

Ahh, those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end.

2

Jesus CHRIST, but this chick can RIDE!

Ahh, but let’s not forget the number of times she had to have busted her ass whilst learning how to do all this.


Amazing. The union between (wo)man and machine on display here is damned near total, and quite impressive. Take especial note of the scrupulously careful, almost gingerly way she places her feet on the rear pegs as she keeps the front wheel in the air throughout. Hats off to ya, ma’am.

Update! After re-watching it for about the tenth time, I realized there’s another party involved that deserves some kudos: whoever was behind the camera recording it. Always in focus and perfectly framed; steady-handed zoom-ins and -outs; never any shaking, wobbling, or losing track of the subject. This is some incredible stunt-riding and some top-notch lensmanship both, I’d say, a real two-fer.

4

Coast to coast road trip in a 75 Dart

First question that occurs to me is, why on earth would you WANT to? Myself, I wouldn’t trust a Dart to get me to the corner liquor store. But then, some people are just natural-born risk takers, and love taking on a challenge so daunting, so obviously insane, even the Gods Themselves would tremble at the prospect.

Dart Across America: Adventures of Driving a 1975 Dodge Dart 3,300 Miles in Six Days
The 225-cid. slant-six engine is touted for being bulletproof and able to handle all kinds of abuse. That’s one major reason why Erik Jesperson chose a 1975 Dodge Dart as the classic car for his coast-to-coast road trip adventure from Ocean City, Washington to Ocean City, New Jersey. The other solid reason was its mostly clean, rust-free body.

The road trip was arranged after Erik’s friend Josh asked what he wanted to do for his bachelor party before his wedding on December 1, 2023. A road trip across the country had always been on Erik’s bucket list, and he’s not the type to turn down an excuse to buy another project car.

After locating the 1975 Dodge Dart at a dealership, he had the car inspected by a local mechanic before fully committing to the trip. The mechanic came back with good news, simply recommending a tune up and stating the wipers didn’t work and the suspension was worn, nothing that would immediately jeopardize the 3,300-mile six-day drive.

“The Roadkill and Vice Grip Garage type shows have always spiked my interest,” Erik began. “Being a mechanic, I knew if I had the tools and supplies, I could probably make it happen.” Another piece of reassurance came from Josh, who works for U-Haul and had the ability to locate and rent a truck and trailer anywhere in the country at a cheaper rate (worst case scenario, of course). “My fiancé, Kristen, loved the idea of us acquiring an older car that we could use in the wedding as well as take to car shows and cruises together,” he added. That was the icing on the cake. Erik finalized the purchase and worked with the salesperson to pre-order any parts that could be needed for the trip, such as a mini starter, alternator, cap, rotor, fuel filter, and fluids. He packed items like spark plug wires and a few other parts in his luggage before catching his flight to Washington.

Wise move. The old MOPAR PoS did better than anyone intimately familiar with the road-apple abominations might expect, actually; minor annoyances like a broken fuel gauge,  a rotted-out heater core, and getting becalmed in Sturgis H-D rally traffic were dealt with, until…wait for it…WAAAIIIT FOR IT

DodgeDartRoadTrip

Gee, didn’t see THAT coming.

Our intrepid duo did indeed make it to Ocean City, NJ in the end, which speaks volumes about their pluck, ingenuity, and good old can-do spirit. Jesperson and his fiancé plan to keep the “car” for some reason or other, which speaks volumes about their mental health, far as I’m concerned. Then again, though, I’ve never been known for being at all hesitant about embarking on high-risk, no-net road trips myself. Remember, I’m the guy who rode a 1971 Shovelhead FLH, replete with apehangers and suicide shift, from CLT to NYC just to see a pretty girl.

TWICE; I did that TWICE. So, y’know, maybe I ain’t exactly the one to be sitting in judgment on Eric and his affianced, eh?

(Via Ed Driscoll)

2

Hitching a ride

Family learns the hard way that they’d be better off to spit on their asses and slide than relying on a coal-powered EV for their transportation needs.

Family ditches electric truck on drive from Winnipeg to Chicago after charging troubles
Road trip completed with rented gas-powered vehicle, while Ford says charging infrastructure is improving

The owner of a 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat with an extended-range battery regrets buying the electric truck after attempting a road trip, only to abandon it and finish the drive with a gas-powered rental vehicle.

Dalbir Bala of La Salle, Man., left the truck in Minnesota last month after he said he tried unsuccessfully to charge the battery at two different charging stations.

“It was really a nightmare frustration for us,” Bala said.

He bought the truck — which is advertised as having a range of 515 kilometres — for $115,000 in January. He spent an additional $16,000 installing chargers at his home and his trucking business, and upgrading his residential electrical panel.

Bala, his wife and three kids left on a trip to visit Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Chicago for business, on July 27. The truck was fully charged when they left their home just south of Winnipeg, and Bala had plans to stop at level 3 charging stations, which provide faster charges, located along the planned route.

Bala’s first stop was about 350 kilometres south of Winnipeg in Fargo, N.D. He paid $56 to charge his vehicle’s battery from 10 per cent up to 90 per cent.

The trouble started at his next stop in Albertville, Minn., where Bala said the only fast charger brought up a faulty connection message in his truck when he plugged in. He called the number on the charger for help but never got a response.

He headed to another charging station in nearby Elk River, Minn., but a charger there wouldn’t work either, he said.

With only 15 kilometres remaining on his battery and no fast charger within that range, he decided to ditch his Lightning. Bala got it towed to a Ford dealership and the family rented a gas-powered Toyota 4Runner to finish their trip to Chicago.

A nightmare indeed. The ultimate lesson here was expressed in a great movie from many years ago:

There’s another great old movie clip that is quite apropos to this sad story.

Heh. Indeed.

1

Resuscitating the hallowed V8

As my old H-D shop boss and close friend Goose always liked to say: ain’t no replacement for cubic-inch displacement.

Report: Mercedes-AMG Bringing Back V8 Engines
Word has it that Mercedes-AMG is mulling over how best to bring back V8 power to the C and E-Class. While the performance unit downsized its powertrains in a bid to be more emissions compliant, fans pointed out that AMG had long been synonymous with under-stressed and over-engineered V8s making enough power to burn through a set of tires in a single outing.

The shift ended up being a bit of a scandal and one that left a sour taste in the mouth of the people that would actually buy AMG-branded products — which may explain the claimed change of heart.

According to two unnamed sources speaking with Car and Driver, Mercedes-AMG is in the midst of deciding how to bring back the V8. Though the overarching plan remains ambiguous, the rationale behind it is anything but.

It would be stupid to pretend that a 2.0-liter Mercedes optimized for performance can’t still be a hoot to drive. The iconic Mercedes-Benz 190E (W201) is an absolute legend with the 2.0-liter. But there’s a reason models featuring the I6 tend to be more sought after. It isn’t because they’re more reliable, it’s definitely not because they’re cheaper to run, and it might not even have all that much to do with their being faster. People want the larger engines to have the mental satisfaction of knowing they’re driving something with a larger engine.

Not to mention the mental calm of knowing they have enough horsepower to safely get around any pokey-ass, underpowered little i4 road-obstacle they might ever find themselves impeded by.

While perky little four-bangers have a lot to offer, their implementation can sometimes be a little disappointing. Imagine you’ve been given a free Ford Mustang with the badging removed and are told to open the hood to see which motor is inside. Your level of excitement is going to be determined almost entirely by how many cylinders you find.

Compact cars can thrive on small and peppy turbocharged motors. But there’s something truly sad about seeing one tucked inside an engine bay of a vehicle that could have accommodated something larger — especially when it’s also a premium luxury product that costs as much as some starter homes.

“Sad” might be one word for it, yeah. I can think of several others: disgusting, appalling, infuriating spring immediately to mind. Especially considering that those squirrel-on-a-treadmill “powerplants,” tucked away under wafer-thin sheet-tin hoods mounted on a Kleenex box rolling on four go-kart wheels, were forcibly fobbed off on the world by overpowerful goobermints in the name of coping with a climate “crisis” that never existed. More on the origins of that sorry development can be found at this recent Eyrie post.

Good on Mercedes for having the gumption to at last toss a big, fat FUCK YOU at the slimy government enviro-queefs. Would that Ford might be able to find balls enough to join them, but I won’t be holding my breath waiting for it.

(Via Insty)

5

Hybrid

These intrepid gearheads built a Tesla worth driving.

We Built the World’s First V-8 Tesla
The Rich Rebuilds team had a dead Model S. They fixed it with a Camaro engine.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas is extravagant, it is inspiring, it is perhaps the greatest automotive pissing contest you’ll ever witness. It’s an annual gathering for every somebody in the car world to show off the fanciest thing they can create on four(ish) wheels.

My business partner, Rich Benoit, and I thought we finally had something radical and bold enough for the event. We didn’t just want to exist there. We wanted to steal the show. That also meant we needed a car that could actually move under its own power. Most of the cars at SEMA get pushed onto the expo floor, but nobody’s happy about it. The shame of an unfinished ride is something to avoid at all costs. And yet with 30 hours until our transport truck arrived, we were approaching the city limits of Shamesville.

After two years of patiently converting a Tesla to an internal-combustion-engine muscle car—we’ll get to why on earth anyone would do this—we were down to just hooking up the fuel lines but were caught waiting for fitments to arrive in the mail. And they weren’t going to make it in time.

Rich and I have been revitalizing Teslas for about six years now. It started when Rich, an intrepid tinkerer, wanted a Tesla Model S but didn’t think it was reasonable to pay $100,000 for one. His solution: Take a couple of salvaged Teslas and put them together. Simple, right? Start with a flooded electric vehicle—good for its shell, not its corroded batteries—and wait for a second Tesla with a battered shell and a good set of Duracells. After a year and a half of wrenching, our first fully functional electric car emerged for a total of $6,500. It also launched our YouTube channel (Rich Rebuilds) featuring odd and eclectic EV projects in 2017, and eventually the Electrified Garage, our sister company that performs EV maintenance, repair, and conversions for the public.

After a couple of years, we were running out of Tesla projects and started building up cars that we simply wanted to enjoy. We resurrected a BMW i8. We gave a 1932 Ford Model A an electric powertrain from a crashed LAPD motorcycle. And we restored a neglected twin-turbo Audi RS7—too beautiful not to save. Not every project had a battery, which upset the die-hard EV hive, but we love all things automotive.

It’s an amazing project, which yielded a beautiful result. I especially dig the S1 Sequential short-throw shifter they used—all billet and leather, just a loverly piece of old-school craftsmanship. This next bit will sound all too familiar too anyone who’s ever worked in a custom car or motorcycle shop and has turned a wrench on a totally wild, outlaw project like this—which, y’know, I have.

Normally we’re a chipper group of people, but two weeks out, our garage felt like a funeral home. We were eating meals in there, napping on-site in a Mercedes Sprinter van conversion, and showers? Meh, no one was coming near us anyway. The lack of sleep started to make us feel numb inside, but we could see the finish line again. Then we got a call that the fitments were delayed. There was no way our Tesla could drive onto the trailer under its own power for the trip to Vegas.

Yup, shoprat cred: ESTABLISHED, firmly and fully. Ahh, but did the boys make it to the show on time? You better believe they did, amigos; ain’t no stopping a gearhead who’s motivated and dedicated enough to not bother about piffling trivialities like sleeping, eating, or bathing in his quest to put another custom-build notch on the proverbial bed-post.

After 2,733 mind-bending miles (seriously, check out how weird it gets on our YouTube), we pulled into Geddy’s driveway on Monday morning at 8 a.m. We had until 5 p.m. to deliver the car 20 minutes down the road to the SEMA floor. Taking our box of fitments, Geddy tuned the motor so that it didn’t run too lean and sound like a clangorous mess of sputters and backfires, or too rich that it bogged itself down and smelled like a BP tanker spill. Either option would be as embarrassing as pushing the car to its booth. We had precious few hours to find the balance, and then…the cylinders started to align like the planets to an astrologer. The sound was snappy, throaty, and downright mean.

We drove into SEMA with two hours to spare. It was time to scare and confuse people with something they’d never seen or heard before. Our work isn’t conventional, but you have to respect it—we received praise and admiration from a lot of our industry heroes that week.

It’s funny, we’ve been looking at the Tesla T on hoods of ever-so-quiet cars for the better part of a decade. But when our eyes drift to the side exhaust on our Model S, they begin to moisten from the inky smoke of 376 cubic inches ready to lay down now-444 ponies. We’re brought back to the thing that made us love automobiles in the first place: the thunderous sound of power.

Amen, brother. And that right there is the real payoff: finally firing that bad boy up, cracking a beer, leaning back on your Snap-On mechanic’s creeper seat to just catch your breath and listen to a high-output mill you’ve built with your own greasy, aching, scarred-up hands as it purrs like a contented big cat who just caught the daily impala. Such blissful moments usually come along well after regular business hours, and trust me, folks, there’s no feeling in the world quite like it.

And just think: not one stop did they have to make on the road to Vegas so as to charge the gott-damned battery overnight, either.

Update! Think I was kidding about those totally wild, outlaw projects, do ya? Well then, try Goose’s legendary Model-A bodied, overbored big-block Chevy crate motor-powered barbecue smoker on for size.

DSCN0040

DSCN0036

DSCN0053

Slick, no? Can’t see it in these pics, but the radiator overflow-catcher is a standard-issue, Mark 1-Mod 0 Jack Daniel’s Black Label bottle, in the handy dandy fifth size. Somewhere around here I also have pics of the outrageous Pro-Street Bar Stool we built, a no-shit drag-racing barstool powered by a hopped-up Evo Sportster engine out of one of my old bikes. It’s a beaut, too. Have to see if I can’t dig those snaps up and add a cpl of ‘em to this post later on, maybe.

Updated update! Almost forgot to tell ya, the big round thing on the back is a 500-gallon propane tank Goose liberated from a local junkyard, the actual smoker part of the whole dealio: slice two big oven-style doors in the side, mount two levels of huge, gnarly steel racks inside for the pork, stoke up the firebox on the back, and away we go. He told me the idea for this thing came to him in a dream one night, which is how Goose usually gets his best ones. Porky’s Purgatory, he ended up naming the beast, which apt moniker is now splashed in big, bold yellow letters across the top rear of the cab.

The vintage, beat-to-hell Model A body was too narrow to be squeezed onto the early-70s Chevy pickup frame rails, so we had to cut it into two sections, then weld in a widening strip to make it fit. All pinstriping was done by hand by the justly-renowned Eddie Brown up near the CMS, and a fine job of it he did too. Eddie’s fee? The aforementioned JD Black bottle, which he returned to us after it had been duly emptied.

The wooden booster steps on each side are actually garden-variety indoor house-stair sections from Lowes, stained in the usual fashion. To make them look more rugged and antique, we burned shallow holes into ‘em all over with a soldering iron, then applied clear varnish for the finishing touch. The zoomie-style exhaust stacks were handcrafted from tube stock by Goose, rattlecanned with Krylon Hi Heat exhaust paint. Carburetion is via a matched set of dual-quad Holly 750s, topped by an old turbo-ram intake, all of which we had lying around the shop for years before Goose finally came up with a fitting Forever Home for ‘em.

Some dream Goose had, eh?

Update to the updated update! OH OH OH—found a pic wherein the JD radiator-overflow receptacle is visible, at mid-top left:

DSCN0041

Heh. How can you not love it, I ask you?

Updates, forsooth! Upon reflection, I realized I simply must dedicate this post to my friend Phil, who will surely understand.

2

Daredevil done RIGHT

Evel Knievel shows us the way.


A Sportster, of course, the model he did all those crazy-ass jumps on. Harleys are notoriously difficult to wheelie on, but it’s by no means impossible, as my own Fakebook profile pic demonstrates:

Wheelie

Taken by my then-girlfriend Evelyn, on a visit to her mom; that’s the street one row back from Ocean Blvd where her Myrtle Beach crib was, a mere couple of blocks from the grand old Myrtle Beach Pavilion, long since tragically defunct.

The trouble with wheelies and older, factory H-Ds is multifaceted: excessive weight, lack of power, and a low center of gravity all add up to make the crucial balance-point quite high in comparison with the rice-grinders. The exception to that rule would be the also-long-defunct Buells; as with my extremely-modified 06 Sporty above, with those you actually had to go out of your way to keep the front wheel DOWN. Picking it up and carrying it a ways was almost the default..

Which, with the 06, was definitely the case, to my continual delight. When I romped down hard on the throttle in 1st gear, the front wheel would start to dance lightly as the motor “came on the pipe” and really started making horsepower; hit 2nd, and it would lift off the ground, daring you to keep it up as long as you could. Same in 3rd, incredibly enough.

Even my old boss Goose, who hated all Sportsters with a blazing passion, would jump on mine to give it a good, vigorous flogging now and then, eventually bringing my baby back to the shop not merely “rode hard and put up wet,” but “drenched in sweat, with its tongue hanging out,” as he liked to say.

I swear, it was the most fun bike I ever did build, no foolin’.

So yeah, for a bone-stock Harley, the wheelies can be a real trick. But as this guy shows, it’s always best not to make any assumptions when you’re out on the street.

Yep, that fella definitely knows what he’s about.

Update! Well, how about that: turns out Buell is NOT defunct after all. They’re still available, hand-built bikes orderable directly from the Buell factory.

Days of yore

Peters reminisces about a better time, now forever lost.

When We Didn’t Drive Devices
It has been more than 20 years since the day after which Americans got used to being handled like felonious cattle at airports. Stand here, don’t go there. Off with your shoes. Open your purse. Spread your legs. Those born after that day have no memory of what it was like to just get on a plane – sometimes, at the last minute – and fly to your destination without having to do more than show a boarding pass to the stewardess – as opposed to the “flight attendant” – at the gate.

Well, a day may come when people no longer remember what it was like to drive a car – as opposed to a device.

A car was a machine, first of all. It had a thing called an engine – and these were often radically different, car to car. But all of them were the same in that they burned liquid energy stored in a tank.

One of the really neat things about this liquid energy was its portability and stability. You transferred about 15-20 gallons of this liquid – they called it “gasoline” and “diesel” – into the car’s tank, which only took a few minutes to do and the car was ready to drive for hundreds of miles.

Unlike the way things are now, you didn’t have to wait all the time in order to get going. So you could just go – pretty much anywhere and whenever you felt like it. Almost like flying was, a long time ago – when it was possible to catch a flight, the saying went, on the spur of the moment and without having to show up at the airport an hour or two before the scheduled departure time and wait for the flight.

Because you could just go – by car, in those days – you never had to plan. Life had a spontaneity you may never fully appreciate. If you just felt like driving somewhere, you could – no matter how much gas or diesel you didn’t have in the tank. Even if there was almost none. We were able to do this because there were gas stations – where diesel was also usually available – all over and almost always within range. It was only a small hassle if you ran out of gas on the way to the station because it was possible to carry a small can or plastic jug of liquid fuel from the station to wherever you left the car and pour it into the tank and then drive to the station, where the tank could be filled in about five minutes or even less.

And a lot more cheaply than at today’s exorbitant Biden prices, too. Some truly drool-inspiring photos included with this one as well, folks, so check it out.

The cold, ugly facts about EVs

You had me at hello.

It’s Time To Admit It: EVs Are EVIL

We’ve had enough of the left’s guilt-tripping anyone who drives a gasoline-powered car. If anyone should be ashamed, it is those who are smugly plugging in their cars each night.

They are the ones responsible for raping the planet, poisoning entire communities, enriching genocidal tyrants, and creating a massive hazmat problem while doing nothing to stop “climate change.”

Does that sound harsh?

Here’s one recent bit of evidence. A Bloomberg investigation found that the aluminum Ford is using to build its “eco-friendly” EV pickup comes from Brazil.

“There, in the heart of the Amazon, rust-colored bauxite is being clawed from a mine that has long faced allegations of pollution and land appropriation,” it found. A class action lawsuit against the mining company accuses it of polluting the water, causing cancer, hair loss, neurological dysfunction, birth defects, and increased mortality.

While all cars use aluminum to cut pounds, EVs use far more to offset the enormous weight of the batteries themselves.

“For consumers seeking to lower their carbon footprints, the environmental and social costs of electric vehicles may be greater than they realize,” Bloomberg says.

No kidding.

Here’s the dirty, rotten truth about EVs.

Follows, a deft and copious skewering of the dirty, rotten pieces of junk, winding up thusly:

It’s time to end this hypocrisy.

It’s time to admit that EVs are being wildly oversold.

It’s time for EV owners and manufacturers to answer for the environmental and human rights crimes they are bankrolling in the name of “climate change.”

It’s time for those of us who drive gasoline-powered cars to take pride in the fact that our vehicles are safe, efficient, reliable, and don’t require ritual human sacrifices to build.

Amen to all that, with great big bells on. As I said: you had me at hello.

1

Latest Posts

Latest Comments

CF Archives

Categories

Comments policy

NOTE: In order to comment, you must be registered and approved as a CF user. Since so many user-registrations are attempted by spam-bots for their own nefarious purposes, YOUR REGISTRATION MAY BE ERRONEOUSLY DENIED.

If you are in fact a legit hooman bean desirous of registering yourself a CF user name so as to be able to comment only to find yourself caught up as collateral damage in one of my irregularly (un)scheduled sweeps for hinky registration attempts, please shoot me a kite at the email addy over in the right sidebar and let me know so’s I can get ya fixed up manually.

ALSO NOTE: You MUST use a valid, legit email address in order to successfully register, the new anti-spam software I installed last night requires it. My thanks to Barry for all his help sorting this mess out last night.

Comments appear entirely at the whim of the guy who pays the bills for this site and may be deleted, ridiculed, maliciously edited for purposes of mockery, or otherwise pissed over as he in his capricious fancy sees fit. The CF comments section is pretty free-form and rough and tumble; tolerance level for rowdiness and misbehavior is fairly high here, but is NOT without limit.

Management is under no obligation whatever to allow the comments section to be taken over and ruined by trolls, Leftists, and/or other oxygen thieves, and will take any measures deemed necessary to prevent such. Conduct yourself with the merest modicum of decorum, courtesy, and respect and you'll be fine. Pick pointless squabbles with other commenters, fling provocative personal insults, issue threats, or annoy the host (me) and...you won't.

Should you find yourself sanctioned after running afoul of the CF comments policy as stated and feel you have been wronged, please download and complete the Butthurt Report form below in quadruplicate; retain one copy for your personal records and send the others to the email address posted in the right sidebar.

Please refrain from whining, sniveling, and/or bursting into tears and waving your chubby fists around in frustrated rage, lest you suffer an aneurysm or stroke unnecessarily. Your completed form will be reviewed and your complaint addressed whenever management feels like getting around to it. Thank you.

Ye Aulde CF Blogrolle–now with RSS feeds! (where available)

"Mike Hendrix is, without a doubt, the greatest one-legged blogger in the world." ‐Henry Chinaski

Subscribe to CF!

Support options

Shameless begging

If you enjoy the site, please consider donating:

Become a CF member!

Correspondence

Email addy: mike-at-this-url dot etc
All e-mails assumed to be legitimate fodder for publication, scorn, ridicule, or other public mockery unless specified as private by the sender

Allied territory

Alternatives to shitlib social media: A few people worth following on Gab:

Fuck you

Kill one for mommy today! Click to embiggen

Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

Claire's Cabal—The Freedom Forums

FREEDOM!!!

"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
Daniel Webster

“When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age there was very little left to kill.”
Charles Bukowski

“A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”
Ezra Pound

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Frank Zappa

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.”
John Adams

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
Bertrand de Jouvenel

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged."
GK Chesterton

"I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free."
Donald Surber

"The only way to live free is to live unobserved."
Etienne de la Boiete

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil."
Skeptic

"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork."
David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"If the laws of God and men, are therefore of no effect, when the magistracy is left at liberty to break them; and if the lusts of those who are too strong for the tribunals of justice, cannot be otherwise restrained than by sedition, tumults and war, those seditions, tumults and wars, are justified by the laws of God and man."
John Adams

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine."
Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it."
NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in."
Bill Whittle

Best of the best

Image swiped from The Last Refuge

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

RSS feed

RSS - entries - Entries
RSS - entries - Comments

Boycott the New York Times -- Read the Real News at Larwyn's Linx

Copyright © 2024