Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday December 6

Frank lost his final bet with little brother. Bama won; but then again Hugh said they would this year. It was his turn.

We got to the track early and the body was there. Paint was still sticky but it was there, fresh from the shop. The painter was saying he was sorry it was still sticky but it needed a little more time to cure. It still looked better than Hugh’s paint jobs. Nice and clean with a bright shine. Black and white just like the old D-13 Frank used to have. Needs a little red trim to finish it but that can be handle later. The air intakes still need to be painted but that also can be handled later. The important thing now to do was get it put together and see if the body panel would fit. Believe it or not, they did close, not perfect but close. So goes the world of Vees. So now it is bodied and looks like a race car, Rusty (#1 son) and I have to get on corner stations so the rest of the guys can play. Tommy is going to drive it this afternoon to lead the formula car field for a couple of honor laps.

True to form the Grinch struck. It didn’t come around for the pace lap. We called in and were told there was a mechanical failure. Now worry sets in. What could be wrong this time? We will have to wait and see.

It wasn’t mechanical at all, turned out Tommy was not really tuned to the shift pattern and first gear to reverse doesn’t work to well. So it sat under the shed and waited to be loaded on the trailer for the trip home and the next set of repairs. I got in and made a quick trip around the paddock area. It worked fine; this car will go and be a real race car in the future. Rusty is going to have to learn how to drive so we can go play.

I would like to take a min and express both Rusty’s and my deepest thanks to all the guys from the local racing community that have made this happen. Without them this might have never been completed. They gave of their time and hearts to get this done and just saying thank you just doesn’t seem enough. I know that if Frank (blindmule one ) was watching , he was smiling . There is a picture frame in the living room. It holds ten one dollar bills, five from each of us that the Grinch would not make it to track by his birthday. It didn’t, but the bucks stop there. They will be a reminder that he loved these cars and wanted nothing more than to come roar past me somewhere on the track. I will always be watching over my shoulder for him. God bless you brother.

Saturday December 5

The Grinch stayed true to its traditions. We worked all day yesterday to get things ready to go. Charge batteries; adjust throttle return cables and a number of other little things that need to be done. Then came the test; no body but we took the running shell around the track. Will it complete a lap or quit somewhere on the back side of the course?

They never quit close to the pit or work area. The shifter needs to be relocated was the first thing I learned. The side safety bar is in the way to shift effectively. That can be adjusted; other than that, not bad. It pulls strong in second and third gear. Lot more torque than in a 1200 cc engine. I got it going fast enough that the borrowed helmet kept trying to lift off my head, probably in the 70 to 80mph range on the straights. It tracked solid and ran thru the corners so easily it made the warrior feel stiff. Very smooth and plenty of pull left. But like I said, just a test lap so lets don’t get carried away; back in the pits to make a few adjustments.

Brother would have been smiling from ear to ear I am sure. It worked just like it was supposed to. Tomorrow the body will be here and we will be able to tell a little more then. Right now it is time to go home and see if the Gators can beat Bama.

You can see all the photos from the Frank Lamb project here

Team Work

When word came out that Frank was seriously ill, his friends gathered round to help him get his latest project car "The Grinch" up and running.

Frank died before he got a chance to get the Grinch finished could drive it around No problem Raceway.

His friends continued "The Frank Lamb" project in his honor....

Thursday, April 02, 2009

One Man's Junk.....

It always amazes me how fast spare parts spawn. Our shop area is looking like a junk yard. Over the last three years we had accumulated a spare chassis, one old rear axle assembly, one reworked rear end, one king pin type front end and one ball joint type front end.

With the exception of the reworked rear end and the king pin front (which was almost ready to put in a car) all were covered with years of grime, built up road crud and corrosion.

Now was the time to do something about that. At least get them all stored in the same place and cleaned up. The problem is that with very limited space where do you put them. I think maybe out behind the tool shed. At least that will get them out of sight and out of the way. The good rear end and the front axle assembly will be kept under cover.

In the mean time the wizard is plugging away and has the exhaust system almost finished. The main assemblies are complete and he is doing the grinding on the welds. I offered to do the grinding but he said he’d rather because he keeps finding pinholes and little voids that need to be re welded as he does it. I don’t argue with an expert.

We have scheduled next weekend to get it installed on the car. With a little luck we will get to fire it up for the first time.

Cross your fingers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Clean Start

I got an email from Gary saying that his “honey do list” had finally exceeded his ability to avoid it and we would not be able to work on the car this weekend while he caught up. Fortunately we were not pushing a race deadline so I could live with that.

It is sort of a surprise blessing that getting the new car has also rekindled my interest in the getting the Grinch’s work completed. I had lost heart in finishing it when I realized I couldn’t race it. I still loved the old beast but it was not as much fun to work on with that knowledge. Now it’s function was changing. Instead of being my personal steed it would either become a rental car so others could try the class, or I would sell it. With Gary sidelined and the Caldwell an hour away I would get back to work on it.

The first action would be to clean up the shop. I don’t know how it happens but in this household, any area not currently in use becomes a dump zone. Accumulations of junk seem to come out of the woodwork and pile in, under and around everything. The work benches, small to begin with, looked like someone had started world war three and then taken a break for lunch. It was bad enough that everything in the carport got dusty and dirty now it was super cluttered too.

Where is Mr. Clean when you need him?

Caveat Emptor

Back in La Place, I stopped by my local usual muffler shop and handed the owner a sketch of what I wanted made up.

They have a neat little machine which slips into the end if an exhaust pipe and expands it just enough that another piece of pipe the same diameter as the original will slip right in. Then they can weld it in place and as a result can make pipes of all sorts of lengths and configurations.

What I was after was a five inch long pipe with one inch expansions on each end and three inches of regular pipe left between. I wanted four of them. I was assured that it would not be a problem, but they where busy right then and I would have to wait.

I had expected something like that to happen so I told them I would stop back on the following Friday, and to fit it in when they had slack time. I did stop by on Friday but they had already closed so I missed them.

I was on the way up to Hammond on Saturday morning and stopped by to pick up my “stretchers“. They had forgotten all about them. Not only that, it turned out that they had neither the expansion dyes to fit my sized pipe nor did they even have any one and one half inch diameter exhaust pipe in in stock.

I hate it when people waste my time. I could have gone somewhere else and gotten the job done, but now it was too late. I was due at the Wizard’s in forty five minutes.

The view didn’t improve from there.

After looking further at the configuration of the headers we began to realized that just stretching out the pipes wasn’t going to solve the whole problem. We still had to find a path around the starter and between the zero roll supports on the left side.
Gary started the process of bending, cutting, welding and patching bits of header pipe together.

I am very envious of people who know how to weld. I don’t and it is a great handicap. I am going to have to learn. One should expand ones education.

With Gary busy doing magic things with a torch, I had time to further study the car.

The first thing that I picked up was that the zero roll had been improperly assembled. All the parts were there, just put together in the wrong arrangement. Not a big mistake but one that would take some time to set right.

On the other end of the car I started looking at the connections to the master cylinders and got a surprise.

David had told me he just rebuilt the master cylinders for the clutch and brake lines. The connection to the clutch peddle was just hanging from the rubber dust cover and was not connected at all. I guess he forgot to reinstall the snap ring the holds the master cylinder assembly together. It was there, loose inside the rubber boot. There had been a small spring holding the clutch peddle in place. He could have used a rubber band and accomplished the same thing. All it did was keep the peddle from falling over. That given, my confidence in the master cylinder rebuild went down.

From that joyous revelation, I went on to the brake and clutch lines themselves. Guess what. That was going to have to be redone also. The lines which carry the hydraulic fluid from the master cylinders to the to the slave cylinder in the brake drum were half the diameter we usually use.

It was becoming very obvious that who ever had been working on this car was not a formula vee driver.

So where does that leave us?
1. The body needs to be sanded, primed, and painted.
2. I need to decided about whether I am going to shift to rack and pinion steering or not. If I do then that needs to be fabricated and installed. It might alter the bodywork.
3. I need to decide what I plan to do about ducting air to the oil cooler. If I am going to use a roof scoop, it needs to be done at the same time the bodywork is done.
4. I need to complete the installation of the head cooling ducts. The previous owner had them but obviously didn’t know what they were for.
5. Rework the brake master and clutch cylinders and connecting lines.
6. Disassemble and properly reassemble the zero roll set up.
7. Do the usual checks of front wheel bearings and brakes.
8. Check the camber, toe in and front end settings.
9. Check rear cambers settings. Make sure the car is square.
10. Replace the seat belts if needed.
11. Rebuild the dash. Make sure that all gages are correctly connected.
12. Relocated the fire bottle to a better location and re plumb the lines.
13. Install the transponder.
14. Go racing.

It’s looking like Hugh still has pulled off the best deal. His car was ready to race when he got it. Other than a non racing accident he has not had to do a damned thing to it but change the oil and drive it.

Who Dat Ya Gonna Call?

Knowing that we were going to be using longer primary headers than usual in order to clear the zero roll bars, I started wondering what effect that was going to have on performance. Who do you call when the ghost busters can’t help? Jim Shring at SR Racing and Fred Clark at Caracal cars.

To each of them I posed the following question:

Let me pick your brain a bit.
What effect does the length of the primary headers have on the performance of an engine? I am assuming they are of equal length of course.
Thanks for your input.

The same day I got back a response for Jim.


Lengthening the primaries moves the peak HP and Torque points lower on the RPM curve. Inversely, shortening the primaries moves the peak torque and HP up on the RPM curve. This does not necessarily increase or reduce peak HP, it will simply move that point to occur at a higher RPM. That is the simplest way of explaining it. It gets a bit more complex, but that is it in principle.

Typically you want the Peak HP to occur somewhere around the point where you need it most. Most Vee's peak in the 5100 to 5400 range.


The same day I also got a response from Caracal.

“Mr. Lamb,
Fred went to the hospital early this am. He is doing ok now but will be there for some testing. He will write you back as soon as he can.
Mrs. C.”

The next day I heard from Fred.

Hi Frank,

OK, here goes, Using the same collector like the flat four, the shorter the primaries, to the point of 38“, which is the shortest we have ever fit on a current vee, the higher the useable power curve, with 40 to 38 in. pipes the engine works in the 4500 to 6500 to 6800 rpm range, that said the 4000 to 5500 range suffers.

Now along comes the 4 into 2 into 1 collector, when you use this collector you regain the use of the bottom end of the power band with out losing the top end.

There is still the requirement that you have the intake and heads to get this into this power band, but most of today's engine builders are there.
My best combination is 40 in primaries and the flat 4 into 2 into 1 collector, there are non flat ( firing order or square type) collectors that work as well as the flat ones.
When I built my first vintage car a few years ago I had only an old set of pipes from an original Lynx Vee, they were 47 in long primaries, the car was a real stump puller out of the corners but 5600 was it on top end, with a current engine.

Hope this helps.


It’s amazing what you can learn if you ask.

Swap Shop

Never wasting a chance to stir up confusion, Hugh and I made a trip to Homa to arrange some labor swapping for a chance to do drive a different sort of car.

Hugh had talked our friend Donnie and his brother Jeff, into doing engine swaps on two of Rory White’s formula 500 cars.

I was quite familiar with this type of car as I had been around when they were first invented. They had started out as Formula 440. The reason they were called that was that they used a 440 cc liquid cooled, two cycle snow mobile engine with a centrifugal clutch, no transmission. They had no suspension, sort of like a giant go cart. With driver they had to weight a minimum of seven hundred and fifty pounds. But here’s the kicker, those little engines put out about seventy five horse power. That provides a weight to power ratio of about ten to one. Fantastic. Better than a ‘Vette. The ratio on a Vee is about eighteen to one.

Later the manufacturer of that engine moved up to a bigger model and stopped production on the 440. As a result the class just moved up with them and is now called Formula 500.

Rory had two of them. One was set up for Autocross and utilized a chain drive for faster acceleration from slower speeds. The other was set up for road racing and used a belt drive, since it was always at higher speed to start with and didn’t require the low speed torque.

The engine in the road racing car was used up. It needed to be replaced or rebuilt. The object of the exercise was to pull the engines from both cars, put the autocross engine in the road racing car and then, eventually, replace the engine in the a’cross car.

Dr. Rory, who stays very busy with his practice and his other activities, just didn’t have the time to do it himself. He’d offered some “seat time” for getting it done.

We went over to Rory’s shop. Both cars were stored in a container he keeps beside the shop.

The cars are small and light. It didn’t take long before we had the first one out, on the trailer and headed back to Donnie’s.

Two days later the car had had the engine pulled, the whole car had been degreased, pressure washed and had most of it’s nuts and bolts tightened up It had never been cleaner.

Now they were ready to go after the second car.

Exhaust(ing) Work

Now that I have the car home, I have started the study process. That means you start stripping the body off and you walk around the car looking at all it’s naked bit and pieces. It is a voyage of discovery, and not always a good one. In this case it seems to be better than average.

A couple of major elements I knew about before I bought the car. It needed a new carburetor and it needed an exhaust system. That adds about another thousand dollars to the cost of the car. As simple as this sounds, these pieces are not as easy to get as going to the store and buying them off the shelf. Especially the exhaust system. .

The carb was actually that easy, thank goodness.

Before I left on the trip to Langley I had been on the phone with Jim Schings at SR Racing in Lexington, Ky. The guys at SR are around the top of the short list of “go to” people when it comes to Formula Vee and Formula First racing.

From them I ordered and new Bocar 34 PICT carb. It is the only one legal in he class. This had the advantage of not only being the legal carb but since I was getting it from them it would also have all of the required modifications done, and it would be flow tested and tuned to be at optimum performance. They would even set it up to run at its best in our very near sea level atmosphere.

It had not arrived before I left but I wasn‘t worried. They had told me that it would take a bit because they do their flow testing on actual engines on the dynometer and no dyno test were scheduled for the next few days.

From looking at the photos of the car supplied by David Rountree I knew that the intake manifold would also have to be replaced, so I added one to the order from SR. The manifold currently on the car was for a dual throat carb and would not work with the single throat Bocar. With these, I added the restrictor plate which is the equalizer for all the carbs in the class. The whole package arrived about a week after I got home.

That left the exhaust system. I had already been down the lane with exhaust systems, trying to get one fitted for the Grinch. It still amazes me that something so simple should be so complicated and expensive, but boy is it ever.

What was on the car now was a selection of short individual header pipes, no collector, and no attempt at tuning. That would not do. It was, among other things, dangerous, and likely to cause a fire if run that way for an extended period of time (like a twenty lap race). On top of that, the sound level would exceed the allowable limits (yes Virginnia, there are limits on how loud a race cars exhaust can be).

Even worse it was taking away potential horse power. Even with the larger engine we use in Formula First, we don’t have any spare power to give away.

I had hoped that the “Tri Mil “ mid engine system I had previously obtained would work, but as I studied the zero roll set up I began to realize that it was not going to fit. Sometimes it is a curse to be able to see things in three dimensions. I didn’t even have to try it on to know it wasn’t going to fly.

I was still hoping I would not have to shell another six to nine hundred bucks for a new header system. I knew that I could get a “Roxanne” system but that would be the price range, and it just didn’t fit my budget.

I remembered that Gary had a Roxanne type system that he had obtained in one of his trades ( he does a lot of swapping around with parts and pieces). I called him and found out that since it had not fit his car he was about to cut it up to use for something else.

I offered to trade him my Tri Mil set up for it. Since we had about the same amount of cash involved in each system it seemed like an equitable trade. There were was a race the following weekend and I took it over to the track with me for him to see. After he examined it he agreed to the swap and I was a happy camper. We set up a date for the next weekend to get together and see what would be required to fit it to the Caldwell.

Rusty and I towed the Caldwell up to the Wizard’s on the appointed day. With the car unloaded we stared removing the old header pipes and trying to fit the Roxanne look a likes. They didn’t fit exactly either, but there was a subtle difference. It looked all we had to do was to extend each primary pipe three inches and everything would clear the zero roll bars. The collector was a flat four into one similar to the one we used on the Grinch..

The schedule glitch was that Gary had to go to Houston for the next two weeks to attend some company required seminars. They were not being held in New Orleans because of the conflict with Mardi Gras. The stretching of the exhaust system would have to wait for his return.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A New Toy

It took a while but David and I were finally able to get our planets aligned and I was off to Langley to pick up the car.

Before I left I did the usual checks on the trailer. I realized that while the ramps work well when clamped down on a tire they were not designed to ride well when there was no car there. In order to get rid of the problem of the ramps flapping around in the breeze and breaking the hinges I came up with a simple solution.

I took two pieces of scrap 1 X 12 I from my lumber pile and cut them to the same length. Then I drilled a small starter hole in the center of each end and screwed in a ¼” lag screw, leaving about an inch sticking out. When the heads of the lag screw were cut off that produced a small metal pin. Then I drilled four holes; two twenty six inches from the hinges in the center of wheel tracks and two twenty six inches from the hinge in the center of the ramps.

When the boards were placed so that the pins went through the holes and the tie down straps pulled tight, the boards formed a brace the kept the ramps from moving. Worked like a champ.

No matter how you cut it the trip from LaPlace to Langley is a bone crusher. I had tried to arrange it out so that Rusty could make the trip with me but work schedules nixed that idea. Instead we swapped cars and he drove the Mercedes wagon and I borrowed his truck. I got off to a late start but forged ahead.

I had used Map quest to select a route to Langley. It worked. The instructions were easy to follow and I had no problems with them. I did not realized however that there were that many two lane roads left in the entire country. I think it took me over all of the ones remaining in Mississippi and Arkansas.

I arrived at David’s late in the afternoon on the second day.

David was just great and helped get the car loaded and strapped down. By the time we had chatted a bit and got everything loaded up it was well after dark and the ice storm warnings were becoming bothersome. The temperature in Oklahoma was in the twenty’s. Way too cold for this hot house flower.

David suggested a different route going back which turned out to be wonderful. It was all multilane highway and much easier on the driver than the trip up. I might have been a few miles longer but the comfort made it well worth while.

So, three audio books and 1500 miles of driving and I was back home with a new project to work on.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

On the No Problem Raceway Chat board this month was the following announcement:

Posted December 26, 2008 12:34 PM
No Problem Raceway (NPR) has entered into a purchase agreement with U.S. Racing Club, Inc. (USRC) wherein which NPR will sell a portion of the road course and supporting acreage that will allow USRC to develop up to 100 acres for exclusive use by their road racing members.Under the terms and conditions as agreed upon, NPR will continue to own and operate the drag strip, but will make the existing road course available to USRC and other groups on selected weekends until the new development is complete.USRC intends to add a two-mile extension to the existing road course that will allow their members unrestricted access, even during drag racing events. USRC also plans to build a members-only clubhouse and construct condo units available to members.The land for the new construction and buildings is located on the northern side of the drag strip, which will not interfere with drag race activities. Exact details and drawings will be made public as they come available. This agreement will allow NPR to focus all of our efforts into drag racing operations. Construction for the expansion of the road course is expected to begin in 2009.

I understand That part of the deal is that the Grand Bayou series of races will continue for a period of at least seven years. If all plans go as expected we can also assume that we will start seeing some SCCA events and probably some NASA events as well. The new course will be designed to accommodate them.

This development of “Country Club” race parks is a fairly new trend that is going on around the country. In a way it is similar to building a subdivision around a golf course except that in this case the central feature is a Road Racing course. The condos are sold or leased to businesses that sponsor cars or sell racing related products, racers who want to stay at the track on race weekends, etc.
There a couple of new parks in Texas that are similar, including Houston Motor Sports Ranch and another near Dallas.
Now we are starting to have some fun.

A quick Update

It took four work sessions up at Gary’s but Hugh’s car is now back on it’s wheels and back at home.

The are still the multiple alignments that have to be done as well as checking all the camber and toe in measurements. Then there is the body work that needs to be repaired.

About the body work; Hugh and I pretty much agreed that it is not terribly productive to try to get it all repaired this close to the end of the season. (Usually during the off season we tear everything down and make any changes we are going to make in the body and paint work on the car)

What we are planning to do is put a bandaide on the cut in the nose and just replace the tzus fasteners that were damaged. During the off season we can make the real repairs and repaint the car.

We will be doing about the same thing to mine except there will not be so many damage repairs to make.

A New Toy

Ok. It’s official. I’ve given up on trying to wedge my fat ass into a car that is designed to fit a smaller guy. It just isn’t going to work.

It should be a fast car, it’s good looking, and it should handle like a dream…….but it just ain’t big enough for a full sized driver.

Sure, I could actually drive the car, but I would never be comfortable enough in it to really go fast. In this class that’s not enough. You have got to be able to put the car on the edge and hold it there.

I will eventually drive the Grinch but probably not in competition. After all this time I developed a real affection for it and really want to drive it and see if my changes worked. I’ll drive it on test days just to see what other changes need to be made.

So am I going to give up? No. Blind Mules still can’t see it can’t be done.

I found a Caldwell D13 on Ebay and bought it. I know I can fit in one of those because I used to race one. I LOVED THE CAR. It’s a good looking design and was the first commercially built car to include the zero roll stiffness rear suspension assembly. They handle well and are fun to drive. More importantly they fit fat guys. This shot is one taken at Texas World Speedway about twenty years ago That’s me in the car talking to Milton Kruger, a photographer, who occasionally crewed for me.

My car number then was forty five because I was forty five when I got back to racing again. The number on the Grinch is sixty nine because I was sixty nine when I first started trying to get it back on a track. (Besides I like the number) The number on the Caldwell will be seventy two because you have to follow tradition on something, even when it is something silly like your age.

So what are we going to be racing? It’s a standard D13 except that the previous owner had started converting it to run Autocross. It has a 1600 cc engine which I understand has virtually no time on it. I don’t know much about the stage of engine prep yet but I’ll learn more about that shortly. It has no carburetor but the intake manifold is set up for a Webber twin throat. I’ll have to change that, cause it ain’t legal. I have already ordered a legal carb that has been tested on a flow bench and set up for this altitude. I spoke to Gary this evening and he has the proper intake manifold to go with it. I’ll also have to come up with and exhaust system.

At the moment I am planning to drive up to Langley Oklahoma to pick up the car sometime next week. Unfortunately I couldn’t go this weekend because David, who has the car, is in South Carolina visiting family. The nerve of some people.

So what dose it look like? Check it out. It won’t look like this long. I’ll have to make it mine.

The Tale of the Phoenix - Part two

There was a little break in the work while life happened.

Gary’s wife Susie was taken to the hospital with symptoms that look frightenly like a heart attack. Turned out that that was not the problem but all the same….

They did all the test and found something they could start to work on to get the problem fixed. It was work time lost, but we all felt better knowing that she was going to be OK.

Hugh and Gary got in one good day just before Christmas and two good days after.
With Gary providing guidance and Hugh providing most of the welding labor they got the trailing arm mounts back in place.
During the process of looking at stuff they discovered that one of the axle tubes was bent. Gary had a spare of course. It was soon cleaned up, painted and installed. Putting on the axle boot almost brought Hugh to his knees. He ain’t much on detail work.

When they were checking out the final arrangements they discovered that the throttle cable was crushed the cable was binding in the housing.
New cable coming up.

One more weekend and it should be ready to run.

- Except for the body work.
- And the chassis alignment.
- And the toe in settings.
- And checking the front and rear camber settings.
- And the brake adjustments.
- And, and, and………

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Tale of the Phoenix

After getting the professional estimates for what it would cost to get the car racing again Hugh was pretty down and beginning to think his season was over. He had even borrowed my fresher tires to run the first race. We run on very limited budgets and it was looking pretty much out of sight for this year.

Knowing what needed to be done was not encouraging. We were beyond our personal skill level at fabrication and the cost of hiring it out was beyond his racing budget. The car could not be run as it was, so we were stumped.
When Hugh was feeling like maybe his season was over, we got a call from the Gary up in Hammond. Arrangements were quickly made to take the car to his shop the following weekend.

One of the things that I have always loved about racing Vees is what happens when you have a problem. It is your competitors who pitch in to help you get back on the track and back into action. Of course you do the same thing to help them when they are in your areas of expertise.

When we got there the first task was to separate the car from the trailer. This took a floor jack, a two by twelve, some fabricated supports, a step ladder, a roller skate, one small dog, two water barrels and three beers, but we got ‘er done.

With the body stripped off, we were able to find the parts of the right trailing arm supports that were damaged as well as the cracks in the frame welds.

Gary didn’t even blink. Within a few minuets he decided it was no big problem and was thinking that Hugh could maybe get back on the track and only miss two races. Gary would guide the metal fabrication and welding and we would do the fiberglass and body work.

Remember this is the same guy who had just won the first race of the season because Hugh had not been there to challenge him. If he did nothing he was a shoe in to take the class championship. Now he was about to fix the car that could beat him.

That’s one reason we call him the wizard.

Once the trailing arm connection was re-established we would still have some work to do. All of the standard set ups for the car would have to be redone to make sure it was going to run straight and true.
What the hell, that’s all part of racing. At least he would be racing.

Snow in Louisiana????

Here's Proof....

Friday, November 07, 2008

Insurance wars……..

The guy driving the Blazer had a Michigan plates on the vehicle and a permanent address in Florida. He was a construction worker in route to a project in Texas ( he had told Hugh Houston and me Galveston ) Since Galveston had just been hit hard by Hurricane Ike that sort of made sense to me.

On Monday Hugh started the usual round of calls to the various insurance agencies. Yes, we did get the information. Yes there is a police report on file. Yes, yes, yes…..

What was discovered by making a call to the other guys insurance carrier was that his policy had been dropped three months ago for lack of payment.

A call to his home address turned up his mother who had not heard from him since he left for Texas, and no she would not know how to get in touch with him until she heard from him. She promised to have him call as soon as she heard from him. Yeah, sure.

Over the next few days we would learn that the truck was covered by the uninsured motorist clause in Hugh’s policy but the trailer and it contents would not be.

Hugh’s insurance carrier, however, has a policy of going after uninsured motorist with a vengeance. They chase them down and file suit. When they do they file on behalf of the insured and they go after everything. Damage to the main vehicle, damage to the trailer, damage to the trailer contents, pain and suffering on behalf of both the insured driver and passenger, loss of wages for missed work, the whole shooting match. At the end of the litigation Hugh would expect to receive payment of the extra stuff. If the guy had the ability to pay.

That would be WHEN and IF.

Hugh’s back was bothering him by this time so he went to the Doctor who set up an appointment for an MRI session. That would reveal two bulging disc.

He also took the racer over to a local race car shop and got estimates as to what it would cost to make the required repairs on the racer. It turned out to be about the purchase value of the car. The majority of that cost being skilled labor to fabricate and replace the damaged parts and the re-welding of the cracks in the chassis connections caused by the impact.

The truck could not go into the shop for a couple of weeks because of the their current workload, but at least it would be covered. Except for the deductible…

Hugh was not a happy camper.….it got very quiet around the house.

The Wounded Warrior…..

We had everyone home and in one piece and it was still not even noon. Mel was lying down feeling the results of the pain killers the Doctors had given her. Hugh was dancing around like a drop of water on a hot skillet.

We went out side to take a good look at the damage to the racer. It was not a pretty sight.

The front end had been rammed under the front rails on the trailer. The only thing that saved it was that it hit the winch. The winch had cut into the nose piece and I think got as far as the frame rail that protects the master cylinders before it stopped. Scratch one nose piece. Well, maybe it could be repaired.

It was difficult to tell if the front axle beam was bent or not. We would have to wait until we got the mess untangled to get a better look. Same with the steering arms.

The car was cocked sideways on the trailer. We were not sure whether the trailing arm was bent or not because the impact had sheared off the trailing arm support mounts. We would not know until we stripped the body work off and made a closer examination.

There was some body damage but that was all fiberglass and fairly easy to repair. It just takes time and patience. And money of course.

All in all, the most frightening thing was the trailing arm supports. That was going to take some fabrication and welding. That always cost money. A lot more than just replacing broken parts. We would have to strip the body off to see in there was any damage to the frame, but that must wait until the insurance guys had a look at it. It was going to take some doing to get that car and the trailer untangled.

In the mean time it looked like the Warrior had taken a beating but was determined to struggle on.