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Want to know what's up with Project 33? This area is updated monthly to let you know where we're at with the project. The latest Articles are featured in the What's New? area of this site and are in reverse chronological order. To follow the build up  from "day 1", go to the From the Start link and keep clicking on "Next Article". To view Articles on a particular subject, use the Search option of this site with the area you wish to explore as your keyword.

  04/02/06 Update

I'll give you a sneak peek at the trunk this month. This is "real time" so if you walked into the garage today, this is what you'd see. The trunk panels have all been formed and I'm currently attaching all the mounting tabs to hold them in place and making a hinged door for a large storage space that will be just above the fuel tank.

For the most part, you've met my circle of friends through this site. I speak of them from time to time and show you their contributions to the project. I've received comments throughout the years sarcastically implying that it must be rough to have access to all these talented friends. Believe me, there isn't a day that goes by when I don't count my many blessings. I have a great bunch of friends!

I'm a mechanical kind of guy. I live to invent, modify and build things. That's what I do, and I enjoy conversing with people who have similar interests. We get together and discuss tools, techniques, materials and run ideas by each other. Yeah, occasionally we might talk about our family, pets or politics, but for the most part there's a just mutual admiration for the other's mechanical knowledge and abilities and our conversation follows our passion. I've been friends with most of these guys forever and over the years we've bench raced, BS'd to no end and pondered some of the worlds most complex questions, like "what makes women tic?" We learn from each other and call on each other's talents from time to time.

Almost every close friend I have is talented in some aspect and I'm sure if you step back and review your own circle of friends, you'll find the same. I was thinking it might be fun to tell you a little more about some of the guys who have been involved in this project - from my perspective. Here are the guys I saw last week:

Let's start with the M&M's;
Maury (Moe), Mark and Matt at MRI Machine (Big Moe Products). I stop by and visit them whenever I have the opportunity and my car is dirty (they have a gravel drive). Mark and Matt are Maury's sons and each one brings a talent to the table where their business is concerned.

Maury Richard is a strong, dependable guy, similar to his build (they don't call him Big Moe for nothing ;) He has an inordinate ability to come up with simple answers to impossibly complex issues. When it calls for thinking outside the box, he's already miles out there thinking up a unique solution.

Mark Richard is organized and efficient with his head firmly seated in reality. He plays a key role in keeping the shop running on schedule and making sure the items they manufacture are within specs. You can usually find him running the big CNC machines while Moe shows me their latest invention or piece of equipment. I suppose someone has to work ;)

Matt Richard is welder and fabricator extrodinaire. His competitive nature used to revolve around racing but has moved to welding in recent years.

As he inspects his welds, I get the impression he's silently saying "top this!" to all the other welders of the world. He takes great pride in being the best at whatever he does.

Here's a sneak peek at one of the new seatbelt anchors he welded.

I came up with the basic idea and took it to Maury to get his opinion and see if he had an easy way of making the 16 tabs that would need to be welded on the eight mounts. Of course they did.

He asked me if I wanted them to weld them. I said "I can weld them. Will you be comfortable riding with me some day?". With that he grabbed the box of clamps and said mater-of-fact "We'll weld them"   :)

Here's the finished product, ready to be bolted in place. While not NHRA legal, they'll be safe and fully adjustable on the role cage. I didn't want to weld inside the car (near the fuel tank) at this stage. I really didn't know where I wanted to anchor the belts until the interior was in place.Why red? Because I can :) Why a grade 5 bolt instead of grade 8? I'll answer that in a future article covering seat belt mounting.

Kelvin Tellinguisen has completely scrapped his original retractable license plate design in favor of a way-cool modular design that uses twin gilmer belts in place of the original worm gear drive. He plans to manufacture them on a small scale once project33's is finished, debugged and on the road.

I met Kelvin through the bike shop when he was building high-tech three wheeled, hand powered trikes, that he called Venture Cycles. He designs and builds satellite imaging equipment, so he's the guy I go to when I need to know what kind of material I should use to build something. We get together every Friday for lunch and talk about stuff like Burt Rutan's space shuttle, sailing, food and general mechanical and electrical design.

My Brother Reade (pronounced Reed) also has a mechanical mind and is even more resourceful (and cheap) than I am. We grew up dirt poor, so we had to make anything we wanted from other peoples junk. Fortunately we both met great women to marry, saving us from having to build our own wives.

Reade found a great resource for LED lighting and billet stuff the other day. There's a truck equipment place in town packed with every imaginable size LED light and billet accessory

Here's a little 3-LED light I picked up to light the license plate. A license plate light is necessary to pass the NSRA 23-point safety inspection. These come in several colors including purple, blue, green and clear for about $10 each.

We spent a while looking at all the stuff they carry and I think a digital dash would look really cool mounted inside a chrome oval Peterbuilt bezel. Maybe someday on another project...

Joey Keyman is my engine tuning expert. He's a young, alternative looking guy with an alternative approach to engineering. He has the uncanny ability to look at an empty engine compartment and engineer the most straight forward, awesome plumbing and wiring systems you've ever seen. Computer tuning comes naturally to him and he views it as simplistic but turbos are his forte. He'll be doing some more tweaking on Project33 in the spring to try to get the mileage up and idle smoothed out.

He gave me a ride in a turbo charged Toyota Supra the other day that dyno'd 385HP at the rear wheels and still got 28MPG on the highway! It was such a sleeper. The exhaust was so quiet that you could punch it and smoke the tires right next to a cop and he'd probably never notice. It just made a whooshing sound - awesomely cool.

Scott Sehr and Jack Peterson at Sehr Performance are both highly competitive with a passion for power & longevity. Like most of us, they strive to be the best at what they do and you can feel their passion for performance as they talk about engines.

They recently setup an engine dyno in the shop and were as excited as a couple of kids on a sugar rush to show it to me! Having an in-house dyno in it's own room has been something they've wanted for a long time. Now you'll be able to buy a Sehr engine with dyno documentation. Cool.

That covers the friends I saw last week but there are more I don't get a chance to see as often, like Bob Schmeichel, an expert on old-school techniques, and Ken Jump, who's body shop we used. Ken's looking for a good used Mazda 6 wagon for me to replace our gas-guzzling Durango R/T. Many others helped with the build and deserve recognition. Someday I want to review the build and thank everyone involved. Yup, I'm truly blessed with great friends!

I almost forgot Buster! He's kind of become extended family and is great to bounce ideas off of.

He's our next door neighbor who likes to hang out with me in the garage whenever he gets a chance. That would be whenever he's not chasing birds or following his nose somewhere - or barking at the mail man. I think he's a good judge of character.

That reminds me, I want to tell you a funny (or maybe not so funny) story about our mail man.

It snowed several inches a couple weeks ago. We live in the last house on a culdesac, as you swing around the loop at the end. When the snow plows go by they leave all the snow collected along the way, in front of our house.

The house across the street is for sale. A realtor was showing it and  parked in front of our house at the end of our driveway. When the plows came down our street they deposited all the snow they'd collected behind his vehicle - right in front of our mail box! The densely packed snow was over 4-feet high and 6-feet wide, and extended out from the curb to almost the center of the street.

When the dense, icy snow broke a shear pin in my snow blower, I quit, hoping it would melt some before tackling it again the following day. The mail man came shortly after and looked upset about having to exit his vehicle to place our mail in the box.  Before I had a chance to get back out with the snow blower the next day, the mail man came again. Once again he had to exit his vehicle and walk to the box.

I knew he wouldn't like the extra work and I was hoping to get the snow out of his way before he came but it was too late. From my office window in the front of our house, I saw him shake his fist at the house and yell "NOT TOMORROW!  NOT TOMORROW! at the top of his voice. Oh my God, the mail man had gone POSTAL!

He left me a nasty note and I've been avoiding him ever since. I guess I know how he feels... I felt like going postal on the realtor who caused me so much extra work.

That reminds me of an Ole and Lena joke. I’ll leave the accent out for easier reading and as to not offend my Scandinavian brothers. (yeah, youbetha. I’m norveegen and sveedish descent.)

Ole and Lena sold their farm in rural South Dakota and were moving to Sioux Falls. Ole’s worldlier friend Sven said “You know Ole, Sioux Falls is a big city and they do some crazy things there. When it snows, they plow east-west streets one day and north south streets the other. You’ll have to read the morning newspaper to find out which street to park your car on and if you park on the wrong one, they’ll give you a ticket!”

Ole and Lena made the move into a nice little house on a corner lot in Sioux Falls and on the first of November they had a 3-inch snow fall. Lena got the morning paper and told Ole “It says here all vehicles must be parked on east-west streets today”. So, Ole moved the car to the street along the side of their house before the snow plows went by and he didn’t get a ticket.

A month or so later another storm passed through, this time leaving almost a foot of snow behind. Once again Lena read the morning paper to find out what street to park on. “The paper says to park on the north-south streets today Ole”, so Ole made his way out and managed to move his car to the street in front of their house before the plows went through.

A few weeks went by and they had the blizzard of the century! Two days of snow and blowing winds left over 20-inches of snow on the ground with drifts as high as some homes roofs. The storm had ended and the plows would be making their way out to clear the streets. Lena dug franticly in the snow drift outside their door, trying to find the morning paper, but it was either buried somewhere in the snow or hadn’t been delivered.

She told Ole about their predicament. Without the morning paper they had no idea what street to park on and would surely get a ticket. Ole quietly shook his in disgust, cursing the big city and its stupid rules and said to Lena, “That’s it! I’ve had enough. I’m just going to leave it in the garage this time!”

Well, it's time to head back out to the garage and CLEAN! All this work on the trunk has totally pitted out my workbench and I need a break from typing!


Until next time, Keep the shiny side up!


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