Sunday, February 15, 2009

Do or Die

The entry submission Deadline was rapidly approaching for Thunderhill Freezassapolooza 2008. I had talked to at least half a dozen folks over the last 6 months who expressed interest or enthusiasm in racing with me, and scoured Craigslist for suitable crap cans to go racing in. At last I had found the perfect ride, a mid 80’s Porsche 944 that ran great but had electrical problems and hadn’t been registered in years, all for 300 bucks. Perfect.

I wrote emails and placed calls to my tentative teammates saying “Here we go, Do or die! Time to pony up and let’s go racing!” Most everyone’s enthusiasm died when it became apparent this was actually going to take some time and money. People suddenly got busy, emails and phone calls went unanswered. It soon was pretty obvious the only serious member was me, although I was not totally surprised. The deadline came and the deadline passed… and I was suddenly STILL without a team or car. Sonofa….

Slightly annoyed, I went back on Craigslist to get my fix surfing for even more car parts to keep my existing car parts company, and while I was there I did a search for 24 Hours of Lemons. Lo and behold, someone posted they were searching for team members! I called the number immediately and spoke to an older gentleman who said he had a race car “Ready to go” for a reasonable cost, but he needed drivers and tires.

He identified himself as Lou Brero Jr, son of the famous race car driver by the same name. He also said he had a fully outfitted race trailer he would be bringing to the race, and possibly a second car he was building that was even faster than the one he ran at Altamont. I asked which car was his, and he said he ran a Jaguar XJ6 with a perimeter tube frame outside the car.

“Hey! The Exoskeleton Jaguar! I saw you there. I almost said Hi but you looked pretty busy. What was the problem with the car?”

I got an earful on the beauty of Jaguar engineering, but I never did find out what happened with the car. I did get a mini history lesson on early Jaguar racing though. Then he told me he lived about an hour north of my location which deflated my sails a bit. There was no way I would be able to help out in person on any regular basis, and I hate being someone whose involvement starts and ends with a checkbook and pen. I’m more of a “Hands on” kind of guy. This is also my busy season so time would be tight.

He assured me it would not be a problem, but he did need to fill the seats on the team pretty quickly and was asking for half as a deposit. He could cut some of the total cost in exchange for parts and tires. “Count me in” I said. “Where do I bring my deposit?”

And thus my involvement began with the infamous Lou Brero Jr, son of the Famous race car driver Lou Brero. A quick internet search showed he had been involved with Jaguar and a certain Ferrari. The names Snell, Moss, Shelby all popped up in searches including his name. And I was to be on his team…

Whoah… Far out man.

“Honey,” I called to rollingeyes-spouse in the other room, “I think I might have hit the jackpot with this guy. Or maybe he’s a whack-job and I’m headed for trouble, I dunno. Either way I’m going racing!”

Next: Time

Previous: The Sinker... (Part 3)

From The Begining - The Hook... (Part 1)


  1. Hello Pete, I am an automotive designer that graduated from Art Center College in Pasdena. I have designed for just about every auto manufacturer...I have been fascinated by the Lou Brero Story for decades...for 15 yrs I lived just outside Arcata, CA...where the Brero Ferrari was. I have been digging up all the history about the car I can find. Any chance you have an email for Lou Jr.?
    Thanks, Scott Allen,

  2. Hello Pete and Scott,

    I am currently working with Lou Brero Jr and we could use some help. Tremendous things are underway (besides the 2010 24 Hours of Lemons- yes, with the ExoSkeleton Jaguar).

    Looking forward to hearing from you,