My second trip to Lou’s compound was more worrisome. He showed me the same projects and I got to hear the same stories, but the car…. Well the car was in awful shape! This time the sun was still up so I got to really see it in the light, and holy crap! I’m not sure any real progress was made on the car. For every previous idea he finished, he had several more new ones he was starting! And this was supposed to be a “Ready to Go” ride.
Added to that, he was now spending valuable time “Building” a second race car for the team, while the first one sat incomplete. He showed me what used to be the Red XJ12, that now had its trunk cut off. Um, Oh dear. What about finishing the other one first? Wasn’t car number 1 supposed to be ready from the last race? Oh boy. I asked about some of the more obvious safety items like the gas tank being in the rear seat with the radiator, no internal roll bar etc, and I got another lecture on how upside down the safety industry was. I’m sure he believed it too. But I sure wasn’t comfortable with the setup. He said he had more to do and it was a work in progress. I’d have to wait and see what he came up with, and what the tech inspectors said, but I wasn't holding my breath.
On the plus side, the car did finally run, and it almost sounded great. At least until Lou informed me it could blow at any moment. But hey, no problem if it does, he has a spare! (as he pointed to an engine sitting nearby on cardboard to keep it out of the mud). We can just put a new engine in it at the track. Oh, and he doubted the new engine was any good either. SAY WHAT??
Now I don’t mind thrashing and getting dirty to get something running again. Hell, it’s half the fun! But I do mind exercises in futility. I suddenly had a sick lump in my stomach that told me I wasn’t going racing after all. I remembered back to the scene I saw play out at Altamont, and I just knew. Barring a miracle, I was going up to WATCH others race. Shit.
I shook my head and said “I think you’re totally nuts”. He just shrugged it off and showed me his new progressive throttle linkage he had custom made for the car, and then some junkyard Chevy wheels he had the centers cut out of so they would fit. Then he reminded me he was flat broke and was stuck because he needed more sheet metal for the car.
He asked if I had access to a 1-ton truck that would be able to tow the trailer and the car inside of it, plus the extra engine and parts. I mentioned I had an RV I was bringing, but it would be towing the wife’s smart car I planned on using as a pit bike. Plus, the trailer alone probably weighed 6000 lbs or more, too much for my RV even without the car inside. He mentioned he was trying to buy a dedicated truck to tow with. Seems the owner of the large truck on the property was mad at him and would not let him use it.
Call me crazy, but claiming to be flat broke one moment, does not compute with buying a new truck the next.
When I got home my astutewhatswrong spouse asked “What’s wrong?”
I told her the story and she said “Oh baby, I’m sorry”. Then we both had a laugh. Ah well... Let's go get Brownie the RV out of storage.
Next: Christmas 08
Previous: The Backstretch
From The Begining - The Hook... (Part 1)
16 hours ago