2016 is here, time to look ahead, but first a little last minute stuff from 2015.
I mentioned in my last newsletter that I always came back from the Performance Racing Industry show invigorated. I am amazed at the creativity and workmanship of the vehicles I see at the show. While I expect to see outstanding work on the high end cars such as the Indy cars, or some of the pro road racing cars, some of the "back yard engineering" of many of the other vehicles is truly amazing. Three examples of stuff that caught my attention follow.
First, I was always a little put out when my kids got Big Wheels. They didn't exist when I was a kid, and I feel like I missed a great chance at lots of fun on wheels. Enter, the adult big wheel, gasoline powered. I'm thinking I might have to build one of these.
Next, I admire craftsmen. The guys who can hammer, and form metal, especially aluminum, into beautiful shapes. In the Aurora bearings booth was a project being built by a guy in his home garage. It is a 2 seat replica of a 1950's Indy roadster. Hand built aluminum body, and just about every other part on the car is hand built. Rivets everywhere, not pop rivets but hand bucked solid rivets. The car isn't finished. There is still quite a few hours of smoothing and filing to do, but what a great project. It is powered by a "nail head" Buick, (you older guys know what that is).
Last, the "Dung Beetle". Anyone who has followed the TV show "Street Outlaws", should be familiar with this car. Basically a VW Beetle, which, under the skin is a full out restored frame, with a body with a deliberately lousy paint job. The engine is the gem here. It is an air cooled flat four VW with a big turbo, crank trigger ignition, electronic fuel injection, and a big shot of nitrous oxide. It is the ultimate sleeper. Looks like junk, but it is a really high tech car.
Tank has the new Torchmate CNC plasma cutter up and running. We are now producing the majority of our chassis parts in house. We are doing this for 3 reasons. First, quicker turnaround time, second, we can reduce inventory levels, and lower operating costs, and third, we are able to prototype new products much quicker. We also are now producing the small brackets and metal parts for the composites shop. We are also doing outside work for customers with small production runs, and prototypes.
IN THE SHOP
We finally have Johns' 1957 convertible in paint. We had to redo a lot of body work to get everything right, but finally got there. This project grew out of a few problems with body parts fitting after a restoration done elsewhere a few years ago. As we moved forward we discovered that the car had been painted the wrong color. This car was sold in Europe, and was painted a different shade than the US models, it was called S yellow. We spent several months trying to track down the correct color code with no success. The owner spoke to someone at Volkswagen and found out a little about the color, but again, no luck in getting a correct paint code. We found a very small area of original color under the convertible top mount, so, we loaded the body up and hauled it to our paint suppliers main store, (BAPS, York Pa.) www.bapspaint.com and one of the owners, Dean Berkheimer , spent several hours matching the color, and after 6 attempts, got it right. Now, after several months repairing lousy body work we have it painted and are beginning to put it back together.
Beginning in February the show season starts. The first three are indoor shows. Although weather can be an issue, the indoor shows are nice because we are inside, dry and warm, regardless of the outside conditions.
February 18TH to 21st will be a busy weekend for us. We are doing 2 shows, on the same weekend. The first is the Lebanon Valley Classic Tractor Expo, in Lebanon, Pa.. The show is being promoted by a customer of Acme Composites, Josh Deaven. Josh restores garden tractors, and we supply several fiberglass body parts. Acme Composites also manufactures the hoods for 2 tractors manufactured by the GVM company (www.gvminc.com)
, the Prowler, and the Mako. More info about this show is available by going to the shows web site
At about the same time we will also be at the Motorama extravaganza at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. This is a multi faceted event that uses 1 million square feet of space, all indoors. Check out www.motoramaevents.com for a complete run down of everything that happens at this event. We will be in the vendor area of the speed show. If you attend the show, please stop by and chat.
Next will be the Michigan Buggy Builders Show in Lansing Michigan. March 13 is the date, check it out at www.buggybuilders.com. We will be exhibiting there and also delivering prepaid orders.
That is it for this month. We are working on several exciting new projects, and, I hope to be able to make preliminary announcements in my next newsletter if we are successful in our efforts.
Until next month have fun and stay safe.