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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Ill leave the accent out for easier reading and as to not offend my Scandinavian
brothers. (yeah, youbetha. Im norveegen and sveedish descent.)
Ole and Lena sold their farm in rural South Dakota and were moving to Sioux Falls.
Oles 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. Youll have to read the morning newspaper to find out
which street to park your car on and if you park on the wrong one, theyll give you a
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 didnt 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
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 hadnt
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, Thats it! Ive had
enough. Im 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!