November 24, 2006

Day 15: Deliverance

Posted by gornzilla

This happened way back in 1990. Way back in the days of non-annoying swing, Frank Sinatra, Packards, and World War II. Another generation, another war.

On the last entry, about the California Melee X, I mentioned a road trip I did with a couple friends. Six weeks around the US in a zebra-striped 1974 VW Thing.

I sort of got weirdly philosophical while writing this intro, so just skip the boring stuff and go straight to Day 15: Deliverance.

Boring stuff:

I kept notes of the trip and wrote this up for a college class, so it reads kind of weird. It's posted somewhere on the interwebs but it's easier to use the inter-tubes and put it here.

I probably should find those notes and update this site occasionally with old road trip stuff. It'll be a few more months before I start Round 2 of my round the world trip.

I'm still good friends with Steve, and I still talk to Rory once in a while (Hi Rory!!). I also had most of my annoyance beaten out of me. Never when I had it coming, but they made up for that in Quality, not Quantity. The last one literally knocked the nouns out of me, so I'm usually quiet now. No more instant smart mouth, and I'm not mad at the world and it's injustices anymore. Well, some of that's still with me, but it's no longer gnawing at me.

Sorry I keep mentioning the beatings. It gets old, like Pete Dexter's Sacramento Bee columns where he always talked about getting beaten with baseball bats: So, today I got a ticket by the Rocklin Police Department because they're idiots. Which reminds me of the time when an entire Philly block tried to kill me with baseball bats. I understand a little better why he beat that incident into the ground. Beat into the ground like a pun so obvious it hurt to type.

I've always lived life always knowing somehow I was robbed and I wasn't going to live forever. I think when I die, the entire world dies with me. At least from my point of view, which, as I look at it, is the only point of view worth having. Think of it this way, when you die, I won't be here anymore.

It took more than one near death experience to change the point of view I have for living. I've done plenty of stuff where I've risked my life, but it's different when I'm making that decision. It was the second beating that really counted. And even that was slipping away until I had the first seizure. Like I've said before, it's having to take medication every 12 hours that is an ongoing reminder to get off my ass and see neat stuff.

I've seen and done a lot of weird stuff in life, but luckily, I have great credit. I think having a cushion of credit to fall back on is one of life's greatest things. A cold beer on a hot day. A curvy road with an old car or motorcycle. Or seeing a punk rock show while holding a 12-pack.

We put up signs that my friend Sid made that promotes solipsism. Which, at the time, I just thought the signs were funny so we put them up nationwide, but somehow I grew into it.

Solipsism in a nutshell, and I'm the nut, is that the universe exists only how I see it. Not the Matrix movie version of solipsism where basically the brain is in a vat where the world may or may not be true. Just the idea that the entire universe exists only how I see it.

There's lots of neat stuff for me to discover, and with as much time, and as little time, as I put towards finding the neat stuff, I will discover all there is to know. Because if I don't discover it, it doesn't exist.

In your point of view, do I exist? I'm just something you ran across while killing time at work and you've got a computer at your desk. I'm a pint of beer in your life. Or maybe we've met, so I'm several beers.

It's probably just my attempt at dealing with Catholic upbringing, and realizing that the Christian/Islamic/Muslim/Jewish God is just this millennium's Thor. Now you no longer care what I wrote, since I'm a godless heathen. Them's the breaks.

Okay, blah, blah. Here's the story I wrote 10 years ago.

Day 15: Deliverance

This is Day 15 of our trip, and we were in Southern Louisiana. Rory and I hated each other, Steve just tried to stay out of it.

It sounded good on paper. Rory Hearse and I would spend a month or so driving across the country in the Thing. I'd pick her up at her mother's in Salt Lake City, we'd hit Vegas -- maybe get hitched for the sake of being married -- then play the rest by ear until we hit Graceland. I asked my friend Steve if he wanted to go along for the ride, and he said sure, what the hell.

My grandfather took me aside before Steve and I left and said, "Don't forget to bring along a mess of henskins. You don't want to knock that girl up."

It took me a minute to figure out "henskins" meant rubbers. As my dad recently joked, "We're not hillbillies, we're Appalachian-Americans". Fat chance of using the henskins -- within days, Rory and I were at each others' throats.

Rory Hearse, punk as fuck in 1987

My car ran like hell, when it did run. The Germans almost took over the world twice this century, but they couldn't design a reliable car. I bet they lost the war when they switched from using BMW engines in their Panzers, and started running them with Volkswagens. And there we were, driving cross country in the civilian version of the German jeep. If it wasn't for Volkswagens, we'd all be speaking German.

We were sitting on the side of Interstate 10 about 45 miles from the next big town. The Thing ran only to strand us. It broke down before Nevada. Then as we left Salt Lake City it died again. It took two days, fifty bucks, and a new fuel pump later, to leave Salt Lake City. The top flew up on the freeway and almost killed us before we made the city limits. The next day in Nevada, it's spewing oil. We limp to Phoenix and pay to get it fixed. It breaks down in New Mexico and runs poorly throughout Texas. And there we were. Sitting on the side of the road in Louisiana.

Me. I don't know why I decided not to shave on this trip. I've always hated having a beard.

I pulled some stuff off the engine and peered into the carburetor. I swore at it. Made some personal remarks about its mother, then cursed Der Fatherland and the French for goading them into a war where they designed this car. The extent of my mechanical knowledge at the time. We sat and watched cops pull cars over on both sides of the interstate, but not ask if we need help. After nearly an hour and half, the car started. That was the only good thing. It'd break down, but restart after it decided it sat for a spell.

We got underway, fingers crossed, and hoped to make Lafayette before night. We limped about five miles, the car not willing to go 55 mph. I watched a cop car approach in the distance, and wondered aloud which sap he was going to nail. I should've known it would be us. His lights went on. I swore. We figured once we shut the car off, it wouldn't start again.

Johnny Reb, the southern law officer, got on his loudspeaker and said, "Driver, step out of the car." Rory thought it was weird that the cop had me get out, instead of him walking up to the car. I wasn't worried, when I picked up my speeding/reckless driving/unsafe lane change ticket, while playing Mario Andretti in Chicago, the cop made me go to him.

Officer Reb spoke to me through his mirrored sunglasses -- ever the Southern Lawman -- he'd received reports we were running people off the road. I laughed nervously and told him we were broken down on the side of the road. He nodded and told me to turn over the weapons and narcotics I had in the car. That caught me off guard. I said, "I'm may be dumb enough to drive through the South in a zebra-striped convertible with California plates, but I'm not dumb enough to have any illegal substances in the car."

He told me if I turned over my weapons and narcotics, the judge would go easier on us at sentencing time. I was given the choice of letting him search the car where it sat, or having it impounded where they'd give it a thorough going over with the dogs. I gave him permission and hoped Rory had smoked all her hash in Salt Lake City.

I was given the Miranda warning, and told to sign a paper saying I was freely giving permission for my car to be searched.

He started with my wallet, pulling out my California driver's license, my Illinois driver's license, and two fake California driver's licenses with the names "Bob Azlebub" and "Richard Trenton Chase." A play on Beelzebub, and a Vampire of Sacramento joke. Both had Dorothea Puente's Sacramento address. I knew it was a long shot that he'd catch on, but I was doomed if he did.

A second cop had pulled over and walked up as he asked, "Why the fake IDs, son? It's a federal offense to falsify government documents. I could take you in for this alone, but I'm just going to add it to the list of felonies we take you in for."

"They're so I can buy beer. I'm underage," I said.

He nodded and said, "I've got no problem with beer, just your narcotics and weapons. How old are you, boy?"

I stood there with two cops staring at me, while a third cop approached and talked to Steve and Rory. The were all wearing mirrored sunglasses, and two had mustaches. "I'm, I'm nineteen. No, I'm twenty. I'm twenty. I had a birthday two months ago. I'm twenty."

He said, "Why so scared, boy? Is it the drugs and weapons you have in your car?"

"I've seen Deliverance," I said without thinking. Oh shit, I thought. Nice going. Good job, pea brain.

The cop stared at me for a minute. Just stood there and stared. He looked as if he wouldn't piss himself if he was on fire. He was so cool. Finally he said in his Southern drawl, "That's Hollywood, boy. Let's get this started."

He had me stand in front of his car while they talked to Steve and Rory. He took their ID and stuck them into his shirt pocket.

As they searched out bags, a cop pulled out one of Rory's black bras and held it up laughing.

"This must be some kind of a joke," he said. "Ain't no one wears anything like this."

"Are you sure you don't have any weapons and narcotics," he asked Steve and Rory. They said no. He looked at Rory then back to Steve. "Are you sure you don't have any narcotics," he repeated.

"No sir," Steve said.

"What about marijuana," he asked.

"No sir," Steve repeated. "Positively no."

I imagined wrestling a gun away from one and shooting them all. Cop killer on the lam in Louisiana. I'd die resisting arrest while standing on a water tank yelling, "Top of the world, ma! Top of the world!" Plugged in the belly, I'd swan dive to the pavement.

They popped open the trunk, as I waited for them to find the Route 666 sign Steve and I tore down in New Mexico. Another felony of destroying government property, and I'd lose the cool sign we worked so hard to souvenir. They missed it. Too big I guess. It wasn't what they were looking for, so they didn't see it. They finished, and the first cop had me step to the rear of the patrol car as the other two drove off.

Route 666 sign. Underneath is a sign that my friend Sid made that promotes solipsism and sells indulgences.

"I pulled you over because you look funny. You fit our profile of ideal drug carriers," he said.

Oh yeah right, I thought. Ideal drug carriers. Three punk rockers in an obnoxious zebra-striped car with California plates and a Velvet Elvis duct taped to the driver's door. If I was running drugs I'd be wearing a suit, and sure as hell wouldn't have California plates on the car.

"Which license do you want," he continued. "The Illinois or the California? I'm mailing the fake ones to California where I suspect they'll follow through on the charges."

That didn't worry me. I doubted he'd actually bother with the paper work, and even if he did, I couldn't imagine the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department caring enough to find some punk kid who had a fake ID taken off him in another state two thousand miles away.

I took back my California license, and he told us to get out of his parish. Louisiana divides their state into parishes instead of counties. It's some throwback to the way churches divide counties, I think.

"There's a campground in the next parish," he said. "I suggest you stop there for the night and then continue on your way out of my state."

He drove off, and Steve and Rory realized he kept their licenses. The car started and we took the next exit to find a pay phone.

I called up the Lafayette Sheriff. They said it wasn't their jurisdiction, and they connected me to the local police department. They said it wasn't them who pulled us over. We didn't know who pulled us over. They gave me another number to call.

That number was two dollars and ten cents from the pay phone. We didn't have the change.

I called the operator, and asked for the Acadian Sheriff's Department. 9-1-1 answered. It wasn't an emergency, so I apologized and hung up. I called the operator again and explained it wasn't an emergency. She connected me to 9-1-1 again.

The 9-1-1 lady tried to help. She named the different law enforcement agencies that could've pulled us over. That didn't help, so she described the different uniforms to us until she narrowed it down to the Crowley Parish Sheriff's Department. Not her jurisdiction, but she gave us directions and wished us luck.

The department was 23 miles in the way we had just come from. We watched the odometer. About five miles on the freeway, the rest was off. It wasn't a big town and we drove around until we found the Sheriff's department. As we walked up, prisoners yelled out of the second floor windows. They described, in amazing detail, the sexual acts they wanted to perform on Rory.

The cop at the desk ignored us for a while as he filled out paper work. He finished and impatiently asked what we wanted. Steve and Rory explained what happened, and that they wanted their licenses back.

The cop looked at us like it was our fault, then had the dispatcher return the cop to the station. We sat in the lobby, and looked through the "Wanted" stacks. That got old the second time through. Rory pointed out the box of donuts in the break room, and we laughed.

Occasionally cops would walk through to laugh at us freaks in the lobby. Then back to the break room for another donut, and cheap jokes at our expense. It was a two-way street, officer.

Rory and I had originally planned to dye our hair green or blue for the trip, but ended up chickening out at the thought of driving through the Deep South calling more attention to ourselves. Good thing, I guess. In the '80s and early '90s having funny colored hair meant trouble even in a city, let alone the rural South. In the late '90s even grade school kids had colored hair and took all the fun out of it.

We sat around the lobby being bored, whispering jokes about inbred Southerners.

What do you call a virgin in the South? A girl who could outrun her father and brothers.

A Southern boy called off his wedding and his father asked him why. "Well pa, I found out she was a virgin," he said. His pa said, "Well that's good son. If she hain't good enough fer her fambly, she hain't good enough fer ours."

Finally the cop showed up with their licenses. He apologized, and offered me two dollars gas money. I shook my head, "No that's okay. We don't need it."

He held out the two dollars and told me to take it. I thought he'd shoot me for reaching for his gun, but I took it. He apologized again for causing us any inconvenience. Said it was a misunderstanding and all his fault. We left.

The prisoner's hooted at Rory as I struggled to get the car started. The engine finally kicked over and we drove to the campground the cop told us to go to. The gate was locked. It was after 10:00 p.m. We kept driving.

New Orleans should have been an easy five hour drive from where we crossed into Louisiana at the Texas border. It took us eleven hours to get there. It was hot and humid as we slept in the car.

I hated New Orleans. It was Old Sac only with full nudity girlie bars. Bars advertising "Wild French Lesbian Orgies Every 90 Minutes" with pictures of scab covered women piled on the floor were funny at first, but got old fast. Voodoo shops on every corner were worse, and the local punks we met were snobs. The best thing about New Orleans was a bumper sticker that read "Say NO to drugs. Get high on the Rosary."

We blew the state and found a freeway rest stop that had fire ants in Mississippi. Steve and I had more fun flipping burning Sterno onto the mound, playing Viet Nam War Atrocities, than we had all day in New Orleans. Ten minutes of being stung by fire ants in Mississippi was funner than two days in Louisiana.

Rory took the bus home from my sister's house in Athens, Georgia a week later. She woke up knowing she'd have to leave or kill me before my childish antics gave her an aneurysm.


Posted by gornzilla at 11:03 PM | Comments (4)

November 01, 2006

Battle of the California Melee X: 1974 Fiat 124 Abarth vs 1963 NSU Sport Prinz

Posted by DaveSmith

The California Melee is billed as, "The original low buck classic sports car rally". You gotta figure, that if it's "low buck", I should be involved. When my main point is, "No tow truck involved for us!" you can guess there was some car trouble.

The California Melee X happened September 9, 10, and 11th, 2006.

All the pictures are pop-up, so click on them, and they'll get a bit bigger if you're interested.

The California Melee is roughly around a 1,000 mile road rally. I figured I'd take my NSU Sport Prinz (1963, 2 cylinders, 583 cc) on it, but there was some problems.

NSU used to have World Speed Records for cars and motorcycles. In the 1950s, they sold more motorcycles than everyone else. Yes, more than Harley Davidson, BMW, Norton, Triumph, and even the mighty Nessetti. Now no one now remembers who they are.

The NSU Sport Prinz had a body designed by Bertone, who designed lots of neat coachwork for Alfa, Fiat, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lancia, Lamborghini and Citroen. We won't mention that Bertone also designed the horrible Fiat X1/9 (that sort of Porsche 914 Pontiac Fiero kind of wedge).

I gave up on the NSU Sport Prinz with the smoke and the gearbox problems, and went down to ride with David Fuller in his Fiat Abarth 124 (like this one: Fiat 124 Abarth site).

Americans pick on Fiat, but hey, Fiat's highest paid employee is Michael Schumacher. Doesn't that count for something?

The Abarth was having gearbox problems, causing it to smoke, which is completely different than the NSU smoke and gearbox problems. And this Abarth involved David and I in a lovely conversation with SFPD on a lonely Pacific Coast Highway during a 1am test drive. David put in a straight cut gearbox and straight cut differential right before the Melee and we were testing driving to get the problems out. Two cop cars sped by, and the cop that pulled us over took off, so we got away without a ticket and even slept a few hours before the Melee started.

The start of the Melee X. Lots of neat cars, with lots of great pictures. Check out these links if you're inclined. I'm not good with a camera, so I'll link to people who are.

Craig's pics

Max pics

Steph's pics A lot from the Giulietta

Margaret-Ann's pics

Besides my usual favorites of old Brit convertibles, there was also this Alfa Giulietta which was my favorite car.

1964 Falcon Sprint



An MGB GT was almost my first car, as a hand me down from a sister. It got sold so I ended up with another sister's 1974 VW Thing. It was zebra striped and I drove it across the country with Steve Mar and Rory Hearse (which is a story with lots of crazy shenanigans involving stuff like working at whore house, telling a Southern Sheriff that I was scared of him because I'd seen "Deliverance", and "acting" in a low budget horror movie called "Disgusteen" that Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel made). I promised to never own another air-cooled VW again.

I might change my mind and get one of those weird Type 34 Karmann Ghias sometime. I picked up a new hole for my head (it was cheap!), so that makes it alright to change my mind.

Here's the view from the Abarth as we left. That's Walter's Opel GT in front of us. I drove it about 150 miles from Roseville to San Jose so that Walter could get it running for the trip. The clutch was going out so I did it without shifting as much as I could. It's a neat little car.

Walter was one of my teammates in the 24 Hours of LeMons race that happened the first weekend of October. I'll wait for all the fancy pants magazines to write about that before I get around to it.

The Abarth's straight-cut gearbox crapped out about 35 miles into the Melee, so we limped it back to David's place in SF.

That's one of the things that I love about old cars and motorcycles. They break, but they rarely strand you. We could've done the Melee in the Abarth at about 50 mph but what's the point in that when you're in an honest to god rally car? It's got toggle switches! A start button! A switch to reverse polarity! (That kept Gort and Klingons away from us).

Limping the Abarth

We hopped in my indestructible '86 Toyota truck and drove to Sacramento and picked up my NSU and drove it to Red Bluff for the first hotel night. We weren't the last ones to show, but close. We took a different (much straighter route since the tie-rods are iffy) following Highway 99.

We arrived and the NSU piss marked its territory. German car + Italian body = English habits.

It broke down on the way up. Here's a cruising speed that happened a lot: Zero miles an hour at the side of the road.

On Highway 99, we shot out a plug holder on the freeway. Not the plug itself, but the rubber spark holder wouldn't stay on. We kept it in place with some of the same bailing wire that helped my Ducati make it around Australia, and made it to an auto parts store where we replaced the wires with something Japanese.

"Hey, we smell like we're roasting coffee beans"

"Yeah, that's different than the burning 90 weight gear oil from the Abarth or the usual weird smoke from the NSU".

We burned through a mouse nest in the heater pipe. A mouse shouldn't build a home near the exhaust. Unless the mouse bailed without leaving a note, it lived and died in an NSU Sport Prinz. Not a bad way of dying. Except the "Death By Heat" part.

There's the mouse nest. We blocked the hole with a coffee cup from the Melee coffee sponsor to keep the exhaust fumes out of the car. I can't remember the coffee sponsor name or I'd link to it and shout to high heaven. Okay, it's Farley's Coffee. I just checked in the Hagerty bag of Melee schwag. Hagerty Insurance is also a melee sponsor, but they wouldn't insure my NSU.

My reliable car -- the 86 Toyota truck -- is considered too old to be a daily driver. That's the truck I've driven cross country a couple times, and used it to tow my NSU back from Oregon. Blah. Well, that, plus the confusion that my wife lives in SF, and I'm in Sacramento, and that she has another old car -- a 64 Barracuda. Then my license being suspended from a seizure from a year and a half ago. It was too much for Hagerty. I didn't even tell them that my marriage was so I get medical insurance, and that my wife's boyfriend was at the wedding.

The ol' Ball and Chain.

Although since the Melee, my wife sold her house in San Francisco, sold her Barracuda, and moved to LA to be with her boyfriend. She bought a new VW, so maybe now Hagerty would insure me.

The valve cover gasket gave up the ghost close to Red Bluff and we used a quart of Synth 20-50 in about 20 or 30 miles. In a 2 cylinder car that holds 2 quarts of oil, that's a lot. We didn't know it was the valve cover gasket at the time, just A LOT more smoke after the normal smoke had ended. We were close so we just drove instead of pulling over.

We had quite a crowd when we pulled into the lot attracted by the freaky tiny car and the smoke screen. We were both surprised that no one doused us with a fire extinguisher.

I thought I took a picture of the Mini Bar but I didn't. It's a bar put on top of a Morris Mini. Or Austin Mini. Not a Wolseley Hornet or a Riley Elf or even a BMW Mini.

The next morning we tried to fix the NSU with a thin layer of Permatex to continue on the rally. We let it sit about an hour and drove about 6 blocks, and pulled over to check. It was still leaking badly so we bought bulk cork and made a new gasket cleaning out the Permatex. I know the dangers of Permatex. It doesn't mix well with oil galleys sometimes. It was a nice thin layer of Permatex, so no problem with that fix. Except for that it didn't work.

With the new gasket we went about 2 miles and pulled over to check. It was still smoking and the amount that had leaked out from the first valve gasket "fix" should've burned off.

The cork gasket needed to be compressed more and that's when we added the 2 quarts at once. After that most of the valve cover leak was over with.

We tried to leave Red Bluff at 9:15am. We actually left Red Bluff, plus our new gasket we cut ourselves in a parking lot, plus several more quarts of oil around 1:30pm.

We started heading for Ft Brag for the 2nd hotel night but there was some more problems. The main was with the exhaust so we limped it home to Sacramento and stopped by my brother in laws house. Robert's the guy who lathed 6 new bushing for the gear box the night before the Melee started and got all the gears to work. (For the NSU 2 cylinder folks, he said the square bushing at the end of the pushrod looked good so he didn't replace it. Might be why 3rd and 4th are working great, but 1st and 2nd are sometimes hard to find).

The carb gaskets were rough as we found out when we pulled the carb off to see why it was leaking fuel when starting. The accelerator pump is also leaking. The carb needs to be rebuilt but with no time, we made, and put on, new gaskets.

The exhaust manifold was missing the bolts on the bottom (or they rattled off) and the engine rattle finished off one of the gaskets.

Exhaust gasket material is hard to find. When did that happen? We had to wait until Tognotti's, the Sacramento Speed Shop opened up. We showed up early because auto shops always open early. Except this one. They open at 10am. We sat in their parking lot forever waiting for them to open. Letting fresh coffee stew in our insides. It was a fairly uncomfortable wait, but it made for a rush job grabbing exhaust gasket material. A nearby Target bathroom had to pay the price.

We mostly took backroads through Davis and Woodland to catch up with the Melee on the last day. Monday is the "limp home" day and we hoped to hit Highway 1 for the final drive. We hoped on Highway 121 outisde of Davis, and pulled over at the dam at Lake Berryessa to check the oil. That was it for the NSU. Spark, fuel and air but no go. We replaced the plugs and no go. Tried to push start it. No go. It caught fire after one back-fire. It's always funny when your car catches on fire.

I had a '64 Ranchero that did that once to me in high school. A fuel hose popped off and started a fire under the truck while I sat at a light. People drove by pointing and laughing. This was the mid-1980s and people often pointed to laugh at punk rockers. Or pull over to start a fight.

But this time they weren't pointing at me specifically. It took a while for me to open the door and look under the truck to see what they were pointing at. Oh, just these flames on the road under the engine. I pushed the truck backwards with my foot and everything was fine.

At Lake Berryessa

Finally, after 90 minutes, we decided we'd roll down the hill from the dam to the nearby gas station and hope they'd have Starter Fluid. I popped the clutch at about 20 miles per hour, the NSU started, so we drove back to Sacramento without stopping.


This was an amazing 4 days.

Our guess is ring/valve leak + stock low compression (7.6:1) + air leak at accelerator pump lowered the compression to the point where we couldn't get it started. I'm not sure yet. I'm letting it sit for a bit.

The Melee wouldn't be as much fun in an old reliable car. I wouldn't learn anything that way. I think we did great by never having to have it towed. Plus, and this I love, it finally, broke in a way that wasn't something I could figure out and fix. This part is goofy and all, but when I get it started again, I'll have learned something new.

No inconvenience for me at all. I'm not sure about David. He would have won a prize at the end of Melee dinner, but he didn't show and you have to be present to win. He went home to visit his wife. She gets car sick, so she stays out of stuff like this. It's got to suck being married to a gearhead when you get carsick.

David sent me this in an email:

"As Professor Farnsworth would say, "good news, everyone!" I've figured out the cause of the vibration, at least I think I have. I've convinced myself I must be right... The gearbox should be okay; turns out I forgot a small metal spacer that slips on the end of the output shaft. It's sort of like a small thick donut about the diameter of a quarter. It acts as a bushing and goes inside the end of the drive shaft, right where the drive shaft and output shaft are joined at the big black rubber flex joint. The metal part is sometimes called a "centering ring," because that's exactly what it does: it acts as a bushing and centers the drive shaft yoke so that it's exactly inline with the output shaft. Without it, the flex joint, well, flexes too much and throws the whole thing out of line at higher speeds. That's why I could rev it up to redline in 1st and 2nd, pretty high in 3rd, and not very high in 4th. The driveshaft would only be spinning fast enough to distort the flex joint above a certain road speed.

"I was looking through my parts manual at the whole driveshaft and realized, hmm, that part is still sitting on my oily towel with the old transmission parts. Gee, do you suppose Fiat put it on for a reason? As soon as my new plastic shifter bearing arrives, I'll test it out. Hopefully it will all be sorted out in time for the Alameda car show next month. Maybe I can also fit the triangular windows by then, too."

I won my first trophy for even attempting it in an NSU 2 cylinder.

The "2006 California Melee Willy Makit Memorial Trophy".

We spent about $30 on fuel and about $30 on oil. 5 or 6 quarts, and Synthetic is almost $6/quart.

--Dave Smith and David Fuller (and Robert Ives -- NSU mechanic when
forced at gunpoint).

Hey, what is that?

- It's an NSU.

Who makes it?

- NSU.

Okay, who makes it?

- NSU.

becomes after a while:

Hey, what is that?

- An NSU

Who makes it?

- NSU. It's the name Ferrari used for their luxury models.


- This 2-stroke (it's a 4-stroke, but it was smoking a lot, but not out of the pipes) 1963 car gets 132 miles per gallon. Oil companies bought up the company and shut it down. They're very rare, as I'm sure you know.

sometimes even the truth:

--NSU, or Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinenfabrik (I'm sure it was badly pronounced by the way) which is how you probably remember it, went under developing the Wankel rotary and were bought up by Audi VW in the late 1960s.

Posted by DaveSmith at 02:51 AM | Comments (6)