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jgrewe Dork
3/8/23 11:24 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

Ooooh, I was trying to go from youtube and copy/paste their embed link.


AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/9/23 10:04 a.m.

3. as a senior in HS, i replaced the timing chain and gears in my buddy Jeff's 73 monte carlo, in his driveway, in the rain. pretty sure he only wanted to fix it because his dad wanted him to get rid of it. his dad was impressed when we drove it out in a day.

2. a couple years later, adjusting the carb on my buddy Homeboy's 71 malibu. he wants to see the secondaries open, so he's leaning over one fender ripping on the throttle, and i'm leaning over the other fender because why should only one of us lose their eyebrows. and that's exactly what happened. we both had Brian Setzer / Flock Of Seagulls hair, and we both had smoldering pompadours on that chilly november evening. i don't think i've ever laughed that hard.

1. a few years later, trying to get first fire in the freshly built turbo engine in Homeboy's '64 Spyder, i get the bright idea to fill a windex bottle with gas and pump it into the carb throat. gas makes the pump leak and the bottle soften, so the bottle is soaked with gas when the engine finally spits and sputters and backfires and WOOF goes the windex bottle.  so i chuck it out the garage door and it bounces across the driveway and stops in a bunch of leaves under the landlord's car. perfect. so i run and slide and kick it out from under the car, and Homeboy smothers it with an old towel.

good times!

3/9/23 11:22 a.m.
jgrewe said:

My most memorable and fulfilling car was owned by a friend that I shared a shop with. There were 4 of us, I was probably the youngest by 20 years.

One of the guys had been gathering parts to build a 914-6 copy to go vintage racing. I had helped him along the way welding reinforcement panels and a new floor in the tub. I put a cage in it and helped him start hanging the upgraded suspension etc. He found the correct 6 cyl and transmission and sent them out to be freshened up.

He's at the shop one day and says something about "this pain in my side" and goes over to the VA to get checked out.

Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He has a few months at the most.

I'm looking at the pile of parts he has and figure everything is there. I talk to another friend and we decide to do our own "Make a Wish" project. Working late nights we paint the car, get the engine in and wire it up.  The owner, Steve, was able to be there for some of it but he was getting weak.

We start the engine for the first time about 2am one night. I tell my friend Paul to go through the gears with it up on jack stands. He puts it in 1st, the wheels go reverse. He tries reverse, the wheels go forward. The transmission guy had assembled the transaxle for a 911 and put the ring gear on the wrong side.

By this time Steve is in Hospice at the VA. I go over to Bay Pines VA and talk to the police about bringing the race car over to see if we can get him in it at least. I explain that Steve was one of the guys on the USS Pueblo that was a POW in N.Korea during the Vietnam war. One of the officers steps up and says, "I'll give you a police escort, where does it have to come from?"

The shop was only about a 3/4 mile from the hospital, we limped it over there in the one forward gear since we didn't have time to fix the ring gear issue.  Steve was too weak to get out to the car but he got to hear it.

After Steve passed his brother took the car and had some guys run it on track up in Hutchinson Island.  There is a video of the car on youtube but I had no luck embedding it. If anybody can do that it can be found be searching "HSR at Hutchinson Island June 2010"

Here is a little more about Steve Robin. Scroll down and there is a pretty good bio on the school site.


The car was also on an episode of My Classic Car. Season 14 Ep. 23 Dennis Gage closes the show sitting in it. If you look closely at the hood you can see a spot on the passenger side where the sliver paint looks different. That was from a quick repair after a bug dropped in the wet paint. The number on the car is #55, Steve wanted that because of his Jewish heritage and in Japanese 55 is pronounce "go-ju go"



Win, especially at negotiating the police escort.


mfennell HalfDork
3/9/23 1:03 p.m.

This is in no way impressive but it stands out in my mind because my friend has mentioned it about 100X.

Buddy had a 1st gen MR2 track car.  It wouldn't start and it was driving him crazy.  The lights would go on but all flick off when he turned the key.  Battery voltage was fine.  He was (is) actually a pretty competent mechanic.  He had put a Turbo II engine in a 1st gen RX7 prior and did all his own work but this particular thing had him stumped.

I stared at it for a minute, then tightened the battery connections.  It started right up.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
3/9/23 1:49 p.m.

A lot of my buddies are into cars, so we have always helped each other wrench on stuff. Ain't no party like a wrenching party! We've had a lot of standout moments over the years.

One of my favorites was a pretty funny one: back in college, a buddy picked up a 1988 Dodge Ramcharger 4x4 with a 360 and a 4-speed manual. He decided that he wanted to go through the engine, mainly to cam it, swap the intake/carb, and do a valve job, so we pulled the heads off. We were both perched on the fenders scraping the head mating surface to clean it up, and as I'm scraping the block of whatever was left of the old head gasket on my side, I notice an imperfection in the surface. As I cleaned it up more, I called my friend over to take a look, and we both started laughing hysterically realizing that someone on the engine assembly line left a "mark" on the engine: a NSFW mark depicting... well... manhood. 

Doing some research, we found out that it was commonplace for assembly line guys to make custom punches that they would "brand" cars with in various places as they went down the line. And it turns out that we weren't the only ones to find this particular mark; there was definitely someone on that assembly line that was punching their junk on a batch of 360 blocks in the mid-late 1980's. And of course came all the jokes after the cam/intake swap that the engine had "balls", that it was a "real man's engine", etc.... 

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/9/23 4:45 p.m.

Had a buddy put a 3rd gen JDM 3SGTE into a Celica All-trac.  I had put the same engine into an MR2 and helped him with wiring details.  When it was all buttoned up, he called me because he was stumped, it just wouldn't crank.

I went to look, sure enough - no crank, just a click.  Went over the wiring and everything and I couldn't find anything wrong.  I told him to try it one more time, only this time I tapped the starter and it fired right up.  Guess the trans-pacific crossing and months out of service gummed up the bendix.  Ran perfect from that day on.

That's the only time that trick has ever worked for me.

spandak Dork
3/9/23 6:37 p.m.

No match found. 

I don't mind screwing up my own stuff but I hate screwing up someone else's. Anxiety is high. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
3/9/23 7:28 p.m.

We have machinist friend in town (Bill) who is very into old race cars, especially 1960s and 70s Indy cars, and had about 20 unfinished projects. He is a guy who helps a lot of racers, restorers, and hot rodders out with special projects and needs. Every year he has an invite-only party at his shop that attracts some of the most hardcore racers and fabricators. About 75-100 cars show up each year that range from simple cars to Bonneville cars to Ferrari Lussos to the Golden Submarine replica that is now owned by the Brumos Collection. It's quite a party running from about noon until very late on a Saturday, and many of the cars make a bit of an entrance as they arrive.

About 20 years ago, before the party had gotten as big as it is now, a few of us thought, wouldn't it be great to drive a running car into the party, make that entrance, and then hand the keys to Bill since he's done so many favors for so many of us for so many years. This was just before rat rods and similar trends were big. One of us had a Model A that was prime to build into a traditional low-buck hot rod and suggested that we work together to turn it into the car to give to Bill. We had a theme of a simple, low-buck car that a high school kid would have built. We met on Tuesday nights for about 2 months. Everyone contributed parts and skill and we ended up with this car:

Not exactly a finished car, but it was cool, ran, drove, and stopped, and we knew Bill would love it. Nine of us built it, so we put the 9 on the front.

Probably the coolest part is that we built the headers and a dual-carb intake for the 'banger motor. The guy who built the intake and linkage did much of it at Bill's shop, getting Bill to help him with it.

So we drove it in and he stared at it for a little while, then we handed him the key. He was pretty speechless, and then he realized that he had helped build the intake setup without knowing it was for his own car. Big fun.

mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/10/23 9:04 p.m.

I put a new engine in a friend's 1973 Impala.  I had it all buttoned up and just needed to bolt the starter in.  I was a lot thinner then, so I just slid under the car to do it.  Said friend came home from work, saw me under the car with the hood up, and leaned over the engine compartment, pushing down on the car in the process, pushing the frame right into my sternum. 

No harm done, but we still laugh about it.

frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/11/23 1:48 a.m.

I was in the Navy, on my way back to San Diego, noticed a car on the side of the road with the hood up.  
 I pulled over to see if I could help.   Turned out it was an honest to God,  Damsel  in distress situation. 
   She had run away from an abusive boyfriend ( black eye as proof)  the car had stalled and she was at her wits end.  
     The car was a complete mess Plymouth Valiant slant 6. Down 3 quarts radiator nearly dry.  Points closed up, plugs with .060 (or so gap)  battery low on water and tires low on air.  ( maybe 2 quarts of gas in the tank. 
  Her kids were Hungary and crying.   I reset the points. Closed up the plugs wiped the carbon  in the distributor cap put in the gallon. I gas I carried    The anti freeze I had, quart of oil , got it running to the nearest gas station.   where I filled up her tank for her. Took care of the tires  added the rest of the oil she needed.  Gave her what cash I had  and left. Feeling good. 
        She had insisted I give her my address to pay me back.  Sure enough a few hours after I got home she showed up.   I put her in my trailer. Fed her and the kids,  got her kids blankets  and pillows out in the cabana, and headed to the base for my flight.  
     On returning I went to the Chaplin and asked for advise on a source of help for her.   
  Turns out he had contacts and a job etc. 

       Headed to Vietnam shortly after.  Never saw her again.  

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/11/23 7:47 p.m.

Tie between v8 swapping Gimp's camaro when we were 20/21, or making bumper lift brackets for my buddy Adam's Jimny, because he sent drawings and I built and mailed them, zero hands on the vehicle for me

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/11/23 8:10 p.m.

So many of them, but Matt Wolfe likes to tell the story of the time I blew the drain plug off of EvanB's turbo Miata at a rallycross, after the event was over we piled into his Forzda Escort/Protege thingus to the local-est auto parts store for a new drain plug and a gallon of oil.  We get the Miata drain plug back in, oil in it, skidplate back on, pack up all of our gear, and as we're getting ready to leave, last two people on the site, the Forzda won't start.  Crank but no fire from its BP engine.

I'm looking around while he is cranking and I see lightning from the ignition coil wire to a nearby bracket.  I requisition some electrical tape and bandage up the wire as best as I can in the evening sun after a 2 day rallycross after everyone else has left.  It fired and ran, I jumped up and shouted "I CAN FIX ANYTHING"


...should be noted that said Miata had a broken diff mount, that I'd discovered about two days earlier, and I had chained the PPF up to the subframe as a Friday night fix so I could make it to the event...


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