Sunday, September 16, 2012

400 Horsepower Nostalgia - Part II

A final note on this subject, then back to business. Was out in front of the house years ago (actually, had just finished waxin' the '70 Chevelle SS I described earlier). A neighborhood gal and her girlfriend, both of which I graduated from High School with, came strollin' by, returning from the nearby tennis courts. Both back home from college for the summer. Both lookin' good. They stopped and talked, and invited me over for some pizza which they said that they had ordered. Walked on over with them and was hangin' out on her back porch. Within 15 minutes the pizza arrives, carried by some jerk who graduated a few years earlier, who I shall mention only as ER, and a buddy of his. Apparently they all had arranged a date earlier, with ER buyin' the pizza and his buddy a blind date for the second gal. ER immediately spots me and 'cops an attitude'. I wasn't goin' to hang around anyway considering the circumstances. Considering ER's attitude, however, I ate a piece of pizza before I made an excuse to leave. A few days later another friend tells me that ER made a comment to him about tossin' me out physically - was lucky I left. I just thought "good luck".

About a week later I'm cruisin' down RT119 headin' for the Memorial Bridge. I'm just approaching the old WINKYS (earlier copy of MacDonalds - better I thought) when who do I spot pullin' out of their lot onto 119 and goin' my way - ER in his Corvette convertible (was a '72 I think - pretty sharp - 327, light blue with solid white interior and top, chrome sidepipes). He got another gal next to him, wearin' a big yellow SunHat (ER was a ladies man with some family money). It's maybe a quarter mile or less from the approach across the bridge and not a car in sight. I speed up an pull along side - ER is sippin' a giant drink through a straw and preoccupied with the gal. I shift in to neutral (3 speed automatic with shift kit, remember) and rev it up - WAA...WAAA...WAAA....WAAAAA!!! ER's head does a 180 and he's lookin' over at me - bug eyed and mouth agape - same with the gal. I holler over somethin' like "C'mon - lets see if you can drive that thing!!" I drop it into second and gun it - chirped some tire goin' in to 3rd with a little fishtail and I'm flyin'. I look in the rear view mirror. I see the front end of ER's 'Vette rise up like he's on it - but he starts to weave between the two lane centerline. Can't watch any longer - I'm brakin' and gearing down - there's a sharp left hand S-Curve after the bridge. I make the curve and head out right down RT201. Pulled into a bar parking lot down the road and waited, but no ER.

A week or two later, I run into the gal with the yellow SunHat who was with ER - I knew her. Strolled over and asked her what happened. She lit into me, callin' me an idiot this and that and what's my problem. She then starts to laugh. Said that ER spilled his giant milkshake all over himself and the interior of the 'Vette, console and all, trying to control the car. On top of that, her giant SunHat blew off her head, out the back and over the bridgerail into the river. I pulled out some cash, offering to buy her another hat. She said don't worry about it. Wasn't fond of the hat. ER bought it for her, anyway, and she wasn't seeing him anymore. Said he was a jerk. HA! Never saw ER again to this day. I did read in the paper, about 5 years later, of him being sentenced to a few years in jail for insurance fraud. He's probably out and a Senator or Congressman or somethin' now.

Cherokee Redux

While on the subject of vehicles, here's a few photos of a '97 Jeep Cherokee we've been doin' some minor restoration on for off-road purposes:

Not bad. Rocker Panels were shot. Replaced them. Rusted through at right rear quarter panel and at a few spots in the roof. Fixed. Body work courtesy of Barry Nicholson. Added a Rough Country Series II 3 inch suspension lift (replacement rear leaf springs, front coil springs, nitrogen charged shocks, control arms, performance stabilizer) - installation by Pro Trucks over in Murrysville - good guys. Installed some Pro Comp 15x8 Rock Crawler Rims, 4.5 backspace w/ 31x10.5 Mastercraft M/T tires thanks to Schmidts tire. It's ready to roll. Not completely done, but coming along.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

400 Horsepower Nostalgia

Spent today at Pittsburgh Raceway Park (Keystone Dragstrip for real old time gearheads, if reading this) with buddy Matt where they were conducting Nostalgia Day - drag racing and car show - nothing later than 1978!! Haven't been to that place since probably 1976. Was totally blown away. Don't even know where to begin, so I'll let  photos do the talkin' (click on photo for enlarged view):

Above is a 60's Corvette ('62?) - off the track and on. Lots of chrome (suspension and all) - this thing could place in any custom show as well as turn 9 seconds on the track. Our favorite ride of the day (if that means anything - almost like tryin' to judge one of the muscle shows Sarah competes in).

'55(?) Chevy (above) - both pics.

'30's(?) Gasser (above)

Some track action:

Burn out pit (above) - always the crowd pleaser

Note on above: Back in the old high school days (when most everyone had a runnin' car) it was tradition for all the gearheads of the graduating class to parade the school the last day, power-breakin' and burnin'-out in the parking lot. A few pours of Clorox Bleach was always applied to increase the 'burning rubber' factor, as most everyone was runnin' street treads. 

Rail vs Gasser (above) -  Oh Man!

70's (I think) 10 second GTO (above) - Oh Man!!

More Gasser action (above) - Oh Man!!!

They threw in some big gun Funny Cars for added excitement (above) - Oh Man!!!!

Gotta' include this '70 Chevy Nova SS 396 (above) - Oh Man!!!!!!

Note on above: Owned two of these back in the day - a black '70 396 like the one above - was a crankin' car - had some problems with it after a year or two with engine overheating - sold it to a guy in town who repaired the problem - don't know what ever happened to it. Bought another, a '73 350. Anything after '72 was pretty much a sled - I think it was around 250HP stock (2 barrel carb). Was OK lookin', though (other than the giant chrome bumpers - front and rear - as well as being a little long in the front end in my opinion) - not a classic Nova. Positive traction rear end was a good one, though. Jacked up the back end with some air shocks and shackles and added some L60 tires on the rear with aluminum ET mags all around - was pretty sharp (green with black stripes on the side). Couldn't take the low horsepower, so eventually had a friend 'soup' it up - installed a racing cam, 4-barrel carb and headers. Put some Lakewood traction bars on as well (mainly for looks). Picked it up the first day he was finished. Was pleasantly surprised - it cranked - maybe 350HP I'm guessin' (stock 3 speed automatic transmission - a 4 speed standard transmission was to be my next addition, as soon as I could find a used one - and afford it). Drove it directly home (after winding it out a few times on a backcountry road as a test) as I was runnin' open headers and expired inspection. Finish the exhaust after next pay. Who's settin' on the front porch waitin' on me but my girlfriend - and she needs a ride home to Mt. Pleasant. Didn't have another option for a ride, so off we go. Crusin' north on 119, just past KFC, here come the State Police in the opposite direction. He looks over at  the car and looks me dead in the eyes - no sticker, all jacked up, tires out past the fender wells and loud as hell with not pipes or mufflers. Right away his lights and siren comes on - but he's gotta' go at least a quarter mile to turn around to come after me. I take off. I don't wanna' get in a police chase with my gal in the car (her dad would've killed me). I'm on it - fly'n north and eyes glued to the rear view mirror. Went about a half mile - still no cop in site, but I know he's commin'. Spot a used car lot on the right (current Brooks Olds) - I zoom in to the lot an pull it to an opening in the front row of sales facing the highway. We're settin' there maybe 5 minutes. She says "maybe he decided not to chase you". I'm thinkin' the same thing, and am ready to pull out - zoom - here comes this State Cop flyin' by about 90mph with lights flashin' and siren blaring - right past us - HA! I fly out of the lot, head the opposite direction and take the back country roads thru Scottdale, and eventually get her home with no incident. Hung out at her place 'till sundown and snuck back home in the dark.
Same car, the following Saturday night. About 2am and a friend and me been out partying most of the night. It's killin' me not to drive that thing - and he's egging me on to take it for a ride. We take it out, and eventually make the left on Brimstone corner - about a quarter mile through town to Rt119 with one traffic light in between. I round the bend and the light, about a block away, changes from red to green. I punch it and am doing around 90mph and climbing after 3 blocks when all I remember is seeing a set of legs diving clear of my headlights and my friend screaming "Look Out!". I swerve to left then back right - almost lost it. I'm braking and eventually round the bend on to 119 about 40mph and fishtail left, sliding into a short (about 4 inch tall) concrete median with my rear end, almost flipping the car. Made it the less than 1 mile back thru town to home - no cops. Woke up the next morning. Went out and looked at the car. Had a huge piece of rim broken from around the bead of the left rear rim, flat tire and practically all the engine oil on the ground under the car - had blown the engine to boot. Replaced it with another stock 350 I got from the junk yard, and that was that.

Some Car Show action:

'55 Chevy (above)

'70-'71(?) Plymouth Roadrunner (above) - nice paint

'69 or '70 Chevell SS 396 (above)

Note on above: Had a '71 Chevelle SS 454 (big block) similar to above ( 2 single headlights instead of two double) - red with black stripes. Bought it ready to race for $1,700. Cowl induction. Dual 4 barrel Holly Carbs. Racing cam. Headers. Full instrumentation w/ tachometer. Electric fuel pump. Traction bars. 3 speed automatic transmission with shift kit - would chirp tires when winding out and shifting into 3rd gear - a 10 second car. Solid black interior with bucket seats. Raced it a few times - but really wanted to preserve it. Kept it mostly in my grandfathers garage - just took it out to cruise on sunny summer days. For some reason it eventually developed a problem maintaining compression. Sold it to a friend ($800), who repaired it - said that it had worn crank bearings. He totaled it about a week after the fix - rolled it several times. Didn't get hurt. Later heard that he put the engine in a Corvette he bought. Ok with me - I was done with the race cars.

'66 or '68 Impala SS (above)

Notes on above: Not a '67 - I had one. Had SS badge on the grill and rear. 327, 4 barrel carb and dual exhaust. Blue. Automatic with bucket seats. Sold it for $300. Guy still owes me $100 on the deal - too bad he's dead.

1972 was pretty much the end of muscle cars (thanks to the EPA). Chevy, at least - that's all I've owned or wanted to - had to be an SS (Super Sport). Nova or Chevelle as a preference. Just wish that at the time we all knew what those cars would eventually be worth. Lots of fun seeing it all again, though. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012


....finally....(both a badass - neither one backs down)...HA!

Ig's a tough little cat - may have to take down the 'for sale' sign


Here's two photos of buddy Sarah swiped from the Muscular Development website ( Pics are from the 2012 NPC Pittsburgh Championships held back in the Spring of this year. Check out the link for a few more photos, info etc..

Good work! Just don't forget 'Wolff's Law'


Around the middle of May of this year a stray female cat gave birth to four kittens at the property next door. She seemed to be havin' some problem caring for them, so I've been providing some food and water.  I figured until at least they were able to fend for themselves. Up until now I've been able to find other residence for all but one. His name is Ignatz. He's a male cat and has been recently fixed and has had his rabie shots. He's an outdoor cat, but lately has been growing accustomed to being indoors (had to stay inside for a week after his 'surgery'). He pretty much does his own thing and is easy going. He gets along well with dogs (a feat in itself considering the dog in question).

Ignatz - four months (upper photos), today (lower)

Free to a good home. Contact if interested.

Monday, September 3, 2012


.... to our new Blogsite. Our regular website is devoted to film and photography, and we intend to keep it that way. Herein, we intend to document the people and places, flora and fauna, and nuts and bolts that make every image possible. We hope you find it interesting, informative and fun.