Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nascar's unprecendented diciplinary wrist slap

So, after all these years, NASCAR is still finding guys who try to sneak in some performance boost. Micheal Waltrip's car was busted for being on the juice. I heard it was jet fuel, and thats an extremely powerful oxygenator. Adds O2 like a sledgehammer pounds rocks. Hard.

Well, I don't blame the driver, crew chief, or team.... just who said jet fuel wasn't a legal fuel? I'm of the Smokey Yunick school of NASCAR rules, if there ain't a rule against it, it's legal until they catch you... and make a rule against it.

So somewhen after Waltrip ran a great qualifying time for the Daytona 500 (most important race of the season) they do a tear down inspection... "when NASCAR found a suspicious substance in his intake manifold. After three days of examination, it was determined to be a fuel additive designed to enhance horsepower "

Yeah, jet fuel can do that.

Seriously, when is the France family going to clue in, those aren't anything like stock cars anymore, and probably haven't resembled factory stock cars, sine the 70's. Cripe, Elvis was still alive. The NASCAR race teams do not modify factory cars, run factory engines, or rims, tires, fuel tanks, body styles, etc etc. So why if they do not have any car parts in common with a dealership delivered car, do they have to run anything resembling pump gas? You don't believe for a moment that those cars make 700-900 horsepower on 91 octane do you?

Not that Brian France and family give a damn what the fans want, so long as NASCAR sells advertising... but we'd love to see either
1)dealership delivered race cars,
2)NASCAR drivers race anything they can find in a WalMart parking lot, or
3) race car team owners get free rein to put anything together that will be faster and corner better that the competition.

I vote for paint ball gun turrets in the pop up trunk lids that smear other drivers view, bolt on rocket engines ( )for momentary blasts past the other cars, and John Force's crew making a car that will lap the field at 300 MPH and stop with BIG freakin parachutes deploying for pit stops, and new packed 'chutes being bolted on for the nextr 20 laps at 300mph. Go John Go!

Meanwhile, back in reality, this is the first time that NASCAR has ever thrown a teams points count into the negative before the season begins. There's something shocking about that.

"We were going to ratchet up penalties and you can see that's happened," Pemberton said. "We'll continue to raise the penalties as time goes forward until we get everybody's attention."

The Waltrip crew chief and director of competition are both ejected from the Daytona 500, but Waltrip is still in, driving a teammates backup car. Best of luck Mike, give 'em hell and a forehead slap... but for pete's sake own up to it, you risked getting caught, glory in how close you came to getting away with it, don't pull this crap on us...
"While he took responsibility and said he was embarrassed by what has happened, Waltrip reiterated Thursday morning that the problem with his fuel was not something done with his knowledge or sanction by the team.
“What took place was the act of an individual or individuals,” he said. “It’s not a reflection on our team, our organization, our sponsors or our manufacturer.”

Keep the bull to yourself, you lose my respect and your dignity by asking anyone to believe the "Mystery Mechanic" made a performance alteration to your race car, in your garage, with your tools, under your hood, without you knowing, or when your entire crew was looking the other way and not watching the million dollar ride you risk your life in at 200mph. Sheesh... go back to where you left them, and put your pair back in your pants when you get out of the car, 'cause you sure have them in place during the races.

More on the John Deere tractor ball, UPS ball found the John Deere tractor ball, and the UPS ball.

John Deere ball from Flikr (great photo website) the user on Flikr has quite a few photos of the spheres that Lars-Erik made here

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lindley Bothwell had a massive car collection in the late 1950's

Lindley Bothwell had a great collection: a 1913 Peugeot grand-prix car that was the winner of the 1916 Indy 500, the Vanderbilt Mercedes that was William Vanderbilt's family car, the czar of Russia's Rolls-Royce--about 75 cars in all. He loved and kept them throughout his long, happy life.

Because he wanted to race all of his great old race cars as much as he could, he virtually created vintage racing in the Unites States in the 1940s and '50s. He re-created the original Santa Monica road races more than 50 years ago, for instance. Sometimes, the starting grids of his races would have only his cars in them. He didn't care; he was having fun and so were any of the good friends lucky enough to be invited to drive.

The 1908 Benz once campaigned by Barney Oldfield raced up the hill at Goodwood only a couple of years ago, family friend and volunteer restorer Rick Rawlins driving with Ann riding a thrilling shotgun as the crowd flew past.

"It's a time capsule is what it is," said Dan Gurney, surveying the collection. 

 The wonderfully nostalgic racing cars on the following pages are the pride of Lindley Bothwell, the California citrus rancher who invented, while an Oregon State cheerleader, the card stunts that since have decorated an implausible number of Coast football games, and who serves today as the Los Angeles regional executive of the Sports Car Club of America.
At 12 Bothwell discovered the allure of speed by whizzing down Los Angeles' Cahuenga Pass at 50 mph on a high-wheeled coaster cart. In 1926 he bought his first old car, a 1901 Olds, and two years later a 1909 Benz driven by Eddie Hearne and a 1907 Stearns which had known the heavy foot of the great Barney Oldfield. Today Bothwell has 18 veteran racing cars, 16 of which are shown here—all fitted with the riding mechanics' seats that typified the racers of a lusty bygone era.
There is no Walter Mitty in Bothwell; he races those clattering antiques himself, and his competitors have included such spirited leadfoots as Duke Nalon, Henry Bans, Jack McGrath and Manuel Ayulo. Bothwell's racers may be seen five or six times a year at events on the Coast and on Catalina Island. His chief regret is that no one else west of the Rockies maintains a similar stable, against which he might have a rousing series.
The particular jewel of this group is the No. 66 boat-tailed Peugeot (see page 122) with which Dario Resta won the 1916 Indianapolis "500" ("I think he would sell me before he would sell that car," says Mrs. Both-well thoughtfully). Bothwell took it to the Brickyard in 1949 and turned an exhibition lap at an amazing 103.25 mph. Resta had won the 1916 event at the relatively leisurely pace of 84 mph.
Besides the racers Bothwell has a tidy collection of 69 other cars, and if you think his acquisitive interest in rapid transit ends there, you are mistaken, because he has five old Los Angeles streetcars in his barn as well.
Racing at pebble beach, three of Lindley Bothwell's rapid antiques recapture the flavor of the automobile's toddling days. From top: a 1913 Stutz once driven by famed Bob Burman, a 1916 Hudson and a 1910 Buick.
Gleaming lineup of vintage racing cars is displayed by California Owner Lindley Bothwell. All are kept in top racing condition. From bottom: 1914 Ford, 1913 Peugeot, 1907 Stearns, 1909 Pope-Hartford, 1913 Stutz, 1908 Benz, 1907 Packard, 1914 Ford, 1909 Benz, 1910 Buick, 1909 Mercedes, 1914 National, 1916 Hudson, 1910 Simplex, 1905 Mercedes and 1912 Cadillac.

For relaxation, Bothwell collected vintage cars.
Bothwell pictured in 1943 with a few collectibles from his antique car, tractor and trolley collection.
By 1954, he had amassed the largest private collection of antique automobiles in the country, outside those held by public museums. At its peak, his fleet numbered 88 different cars, many of which were drenched in history, including the Czar of Russia’s 1911 Rolls Royce; English King George V’s 1910 Daimler; Henry Huntington’s (Southern Pacific railroad magnate) 1912 Lozier; Indy 500 speedster Dario Resta’s famous 1913 Peugeot; and two of racing legend Barney Oldfield’s most famous machines, his 1907 Stearns and a 1907 Benz. The collection’s oldest exhibit was a 1898 Locomobile steamer.
Five years earlier, Resta’s Peugeot had played a special role in Bothwell’s life. He used it at Indianapolis in 1949 to receive his driver’s certificate qualifying him to drive there. In doing so, he broke a 30-year record at the track by driving the highly prized racer to a speed of 103 miles an hour in the Veteran’s Class.
Bothwell held an official driver’s license with the contest board of the American Automobile Association and was a charter member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, for which he served as national president for seven years and on the board of directors for 10 years.
Bothwell also collected horse drawn streetcars and during his lifetime was the only person in the world to have such a collection. To keep them in working shape, he built a streetcar barn on his ranch and had over a mile of track put down to entertain family, friends and visitors.
He is also remembered as having a great love for the water. He was a pioneer surfer, maintained a small fleet of crew shells and could often be seen "training" along the California coast at Long Beach or out near Catalina Island. He would often row as a twosome with his son Lindley Jr.

Stylish speedometers, great dashboards

Some cool old dashboards, I like the style of the radios and speedo's

The GM Futurama Bus

Here's a good posting, and good pics.

This other website has a couple other cool car related things, enjoy! I've only just started browsing, but the tank stuff, old WWII pics, Car stuff etc are pretty cool!

The story behind the VW logo

It's pretty obvious what the Volkwagen logo is (a V over a W in a blue background, sorounded by a circle). It's origin is rather mundane though. The logo was the result of an office competition to see come up with a logo. The winner of the competition (who won 50 Marks for his troubles) was an engineer named Franz Reimspiess (the same man who perfected the engine for the Beetle in the 1930's).

From a nice design, concept, and logo orientated website

Monday, February 12, 2007

VW Bus Ball, Lars-Erik Fisk sculptor

These are the coolest car art sculptures / mods I've ever seen. Made by a young Vermont artist (who has the unfortunate luck to live in Burlington Vermont) this was made a couple of years ago, and earned the artist a $20,000 prize from a local art museum.

Update :
I just learned of this artist today, and after an hour on the internet could only get the basic idea that no one has the guts to show the great stuff this guy has done.
Some websites did mention the UPS truck ball, and the John Deere Tractor ball the Lars-Erik has made, but so far all mentions of this VW Bus Ball are just copying the photos from but without giving credit to the photographer, nice guy named Thouis, who told me I can use his photos, and only requested that I "Mark them as creative commons licensed, and please attribute Lars-Erik Fisk as the sculptor"

How cool is that?!

I first found this ball at a cool website I look at almost daily 'cause they find neat stuff like this all the time! They linked to which is also a cool website if you love cars and car rally's (nice wall paper and story about the '58 Austin that the High School girls restored Corky! )
His facts were a bit off, but well intentioned I've no doubt. As long as someone gets the word and the pics out I thank them all the same. Terriffic blogs, car guys, rockers, websites, and photographers, all made it possible for this cool artist's sculpture / mod to get some well deserved acclaim and attention.
Read the link at Corky's blog, it links to several other pages that highlight the fantastic rodding life of Billy Gibbons, one of the guitarists of ZZ Top, a favorite band of mine since the "Eliminator" album got my attention in the early 80's. Billy has a big hardcover book that you can buy at Walden Books, that really diplays the hot rods and cars Billy has had made. I'm just sad that the awesome pair of motorbikes don't seem to be in any of the links. Damn, they were part of a Hot Rod, or Car Craft, maybe even Popular Hot Rodding article that I clipped for the Cadzilla, Eliminator, and Kopperhead picturs. Loved every album since, and saw them in concert in San Diego on the XXX tour around 2001.
Kopperhead was made at the So-Cal Speed shop it seems, that's where the photos link to, the Cadzilla pic is linked to the Petersen Automotive Museum online slideshow of a great exhibition they had of guitars and hot rods. But, by far the best gallery of the cool rods that Billy has is at . Just go right there and get your fill of no expense spared, built by the best, hand crafted american iron.
If anyone knows where we can see anyother of Lars-Erik's sculptures, email me please so I can link others to them right here. The John Deere ball is reported to unfold and show working gears and stuff! So cool, and I love the dichotomy of the UPS ball being such a contrast to the boxy UPS trucks and boxes.
And thanks to cool websites like for the compliments and for sending readers my way, and update July 2011, Tolleson Blog for the following link
from the 2007 archives at Bowers

Image from

above 2 are an unknown in the ad for Goodyear, and the "Metal Train Ball" from

and says he's already started on "Winnebago Ball"

Why can't anyone take good photos of this guys work and post it online?