And Greta makes four…

I’ve been in the new house for six months now and am settling in and looking around for how to make use of all the space I have now (read, looking for more AMC’s to buy). One day it dawned on me that there was an AMC club in Santa Rosa and I’m like 15 minutes from Santa Rosa now. I actually went to one of their meetings 10 years ago. I drove the yellow Javelin. But it was a long drive from where I was living and so I never made another meeting. I decided I’m so close now I should see if the club is still going and try to get involved. So I jumped on the internet and did a search and couldn’t find any reference to the club. I thought they must not exist anymore. Then I remembered I’d actually exchanged emails with a club member a few years ago. He was selling an AMC part on craigslist and I responded. He recognized my email address and told me who he was. We exchanged a few emails and that was that. Well I dug up that email and contacted him and asked him if the club was still going and he said it was and that the next meeting was the following week (this was in December).

So I went to the meeting and recognized some people who had been there 10 years before. At the meeting I mentioned that I was in the market for another Gremlin. I was told that another member, Ross, had one and might be thinking of selling it. After the holidays I followed up and turns out Ross lives 10 minutes from me. He said to come over and I could check out the Gremlin. He’s got a v8 Gremlin and this 6 cylinder car had been sitting in his driveway, unused, for 4 years. We agreed on a price and that I’m come by the next weekend to pick it up. So yesterday I drove over with the trailer and winched it on and brought it home.

After getting it unloaded I messed around with it and confirmed that it was getting spark and had fuel in the carb. Then I turned the key and it fired up! Ross had said he’d parked the car because it had been unreliable and had stalled and stranded him a couple of times. I let the car idle for 20 minutes, then shut it down for 2 minutes and then started it again. Fired right up. So, I guess I’m going to have to start driving it longer and longer trips until it dies and hope I can figure out what the issue is. Goal for this car is a reliable daily driver. It’s 3rd in line though behind the race Javelin and the track Gremlin so this is going to be a slow project.

Here’s some specs:
258, 3spd, not the original motor, AC car but compressor is missing, had carpet but Ross put the carpet in his v8 Gremlin and put the rubber floor mats in this one. Turn signals and temp gauge don’t seem to work. looks to have been hit in the passenger quarter panel. pretty thick bondo is visible. At some point I’ll dig it all out and see how bad the damage is. Car was purchased in 2000 from Eddie Stakes in Texas.

The car has a name, Greta. I’ve never been one for naming cars but that’s what Ross calls this car (and everyone in the AMC club knows the car as Greta) so I guess that’s what I’ll call it. Now that I have 4 AMC’s (and am looking for more) I’m starting to appreciate the idea of naming them. It’s getting annoying to say “yellow javelin”, “race Javelin”… I can’t even just use years anymore because both Gremlin’s are 1975… I’ve got ideas for names for the Javelin’s but I’ll save that for another post.

So that’s the scoop. Stay tuned.

Greta the 1975 AMC Gremlin

Greta the 1975 AMC Gremlin

1975 Gremlin

444 days…. NASA AI Javelin update

After exactly 444 days Franken-Javelin returned to Sears Pt. for a shakedown run. Signed up for the afternoon test session 1pm – 4pm. Got to the track around 11am so I had plenty of time to register, get unloaded and get the car gassed up.

While I was unloading who walks up but Gaetano (Track Junky from the Lat-G forum). He just happened to be in the area and popped in so see what was happening at the track. He hung out a bit and helped me unload but had to go before I got on track. Matt, Jeff and Dan also showed up so I had some support.

Plan was just to take it slow and see if the car worked. Did 2 slow laps and was getting a fair amount of smoke in the cabin so I pulled in. Jeff dove under the car and said there was a decent drip coming from somewhere. Only took him a few seconds to pinpoint the dipstick tube at the pan. So I jumped out of the car and got to work removing the dip stick tube so I could replace it with a plug (I knew I had one with me). Here’s where things get ridiculous. Of course when I pulled back into the pits I forgot to refill the Accusump and close the valve before shutting down. I should have known what would happen but I was so focused on trying to fix the problem (dip stick tube). As soon as I loosened the tube fittings and pulled them out… look out boys, we’ve got a gusher! Oil starting pouring out of the top of the pan. I dove into the back of my truck and dumped some stuff out of a catch pan and got the pan under the car. Not before a decent amount of oil had spilled out…

Once I got the dip stick tube out I could see that it had fatigued at the base. This was my fault because I never got around to securing the top of the tube. So it just vibrated like crazy and of course finally split. Put a plug in the top of the pan and topped off the oil and headed back out. Slowly started going a little faster. First lap was like 2:40… then 2:30, then 2:20… etc. After about 15 minutes I pulled back in. I didn’t like the seat position. I was having to look up OVER the hood. I remembered I’d had the same problem the first time I had driven the car on track. the fix was to simply raise the back of the seat one hole up. That took 10 minutes and then I strapped back in and got back out there. Lap times kept coming down till I got a 2:00 flat. The sun was getting low and was becoming a problem going into 2 at the top of the hill. I came back in for another brief break because I wanted to check the lug nuts and make sure they weren’t backing out (new wheels, aluminum lug nuts, so I wanted to double check). They were mostly ok but I was able to snug a couple down. I was also noticing my back hurting. Again, something I had experienced before but had forgotten. The fix was simple, I just folded up a towel to put behind my lower back and hips. The deal is I’m skinny enough that although I’m strapped in tight there are voids around my hips and it tires my back out quick (plus it’s not like I’m in shape or anything…).

I headed back out for one last session. Got out there and the sun was even worse in 2. Basically blind for probably 3+ seconds. So, I did a few more laps but knew I wouldn’t be able to get a faster lap than the previous session. So that was it. The car works but with me being rusty I was about 3 seconds off my best (1:57.x). Disappointing since with the new tires, reconfigured panhard bar and blocked off grill I was hoping the car might be better than before. And who knows, maybe it is and I’m just that rusty… Anyway, I loaded up and headed home.

What now? Well, I need to get the bodywork and paint done. I’m going to strip the interior out and try to paint the cage and interior/trunk myself. Then take it back to Maaco and let them repaint the exterior. Finally, I get new stickers for the back half of the car. As for performance? The guys said the front end still comes up a lot going down the straight. I really need to get this car LOWER. It’s 9″ at the rockers and 7″ from the bottom of the frame rail. Joe says I can’t go any lower with the current setup because I’m out of shock travel. I really need drop spindles. I’m also going to try a front spoiler extension again. And of course the biggest thing is I need to start doing laps again to build up my confidence (in myself and the car). And, of course, getting in better shape would help a lot as after 20 minutes I’m getting tired.

we’ve come a long way and are basically back at square one… That’s life I guess. I’ll just keep plugging away and hopefully get the car and myself more competitive someday.

Here’s a couple of pics and some video from the day.

FrankenJav front qtr

FrankenJav front qtr

FrankenJav rear qtr

FrankenJav rear qtr

1974 Javelin, American Iron, Track Events, Traqmate, video

Shop Talk

Since I have a shop now I’m going to occasionally write a little about how I’m setting up the shop.

I mentioned in the last post how important good shop music is. Radio reception isn’t great around here and even if it was you end up having to listen to tons of commercials. I thought about getting some digital music player and speakers but then realized I should just have a computer in the shop and then I could play music off of it (either streamed or stuff I have on the hard drive). So I’ve retired my laptop to shop duty. I also had a boom box that I got as a birthday present when I was in my 20s. Still works great so I threw up a little shelf to set it on and I have my laptop on the bench underneath. I also need internet in the shop so I bought a little wi-fi extender ($40). it works great.

strong wifi in the shop!

strong wifi in the shop!

The computers main job is handling the tunes but I have found myself using it a lot to take notes and make lists (I use google docs so I can access them from my computer/tablet in the house) and check the internet for parts or tools when I realize I need something. It also makes it easy to do some quick research on something I’m working on (like I used it to look up the Gremlin 232 firing order). But what I really want to try soon is using it to set up a “google hangout” (or something similar). basically I want to see if I can setup a camera and live stream when I’m in the shop sometimes. I’ve wanted to have a regular “hot rod” night with friends for years but everyone is always busy (plus I used to live further away). anyway, I thought with live streaming I could maybe have a kind of virtual hot rod night with friends or other AMC nuts. just an idea. let me know if you would want to participate in some virtual shop time like this…

Laptop is a great shop tool!

Laptop is a great shop tool!

despite (or maybe because of?) growing up on the east coast, I HATE the cold. Now let’s define terms. For me, cold is anything below 60*. if the shop feels cold it doesn’t make me want to be there. So I bought a Kerosene heater (70,000 btu). it’s awesome. it’ll raise the temperate 10* in about 15 minutes. In the morning I can fire it up and get the place from the low 50s to mid 60s in less than 20 minutes. while it’s running I start working and by the time it’s warmed up I’m also warmed up so I can turn it off and work the rest of the day.

70,000 btu heater

70,000 btu heater

I got some plastic shelving off craiglist for $30. the two units I’m using in the garage are only about a 2/3rds of what I got so it was about $20 and I still have another shelf left over. I also found a cool 4 drawer rolling cart off Craigslist for $120. Just fits under the bench. I’ve moved all my grinders/drills to there. it has divider strips that are held in place with little 2 sided magnetic strips. pretty cool. the cabinets are also modular so you could keep stacking if you wanted to go higher or break it up into two 2-drawer sections.

I got the craigslist score of the century! I’ve been watching craigslist for an engine hoist (cherry picker) for a few months. I had pretty much given up and decided I needed to just go to Harbor Freight and buy the 1-ton folding hoist (it’s only like $190 but I’m not sure about the quality). Anyway, then one morning a good looking hoist showed up on CL only 20 minutes from my house for $50. It’s a Delta brand. I looked up the model number and it’s on Grainger listed for $1000!? I still Need to get a drill press and a pressure washer.

$50 hoist, Craigslist Score!

$50 hoist, Craigslist Score!

I FINALLY got to hang my US Grand Prix F1 prints. I bought these years ago (’95) when I went to the Glen to hang out with David Tom and watch the vintage Trans-Am cars run. I got them framed and then I’ve dragged them around for 20 yrs waiting to have a place to hang them. now I do! I also hung up my AMC and Rambler project development tin signs and my Champion Spark plug sign. Shop’s looking pretty homey now :)

that’s it for now. more updates soon.

Shop Talk

New Project – Gremlin Track Rat begins!

With the Javelin mostly back together I’ve started poking at the Gremlin. I was debating whether to try to make it a daily driver or a track car. I’ve had this car for like 7 years but I’ve spent almost no time with it. I bought it for $200 bucks just to have a Gremlin, so I didn’t really spend any time “checking out” the car when I bought it. Then it sat for 7 years. So, I finally started to really look it over. First thing I realized is that this is a super no-option stripper car. It has no carpet, just rubber floor mats. It has no radio. It has a bench front seat. It has 4 wheel drum brakes (manual). Manual steering. Of course it doesn’t have AC. So, that plus the beating it’s taken over the years cooking in the sun (especially the dash), I made the decision that this will be the track Gremlin.

Here’s a little overview for the project. My goal is to keep this build VERY cheap. I intend to run a 6 cylinder motor (232 or 258). Either do a home rebuild of what I have or possibly pick up a running motor off Craigslist for a couple of hundred bucks. Thinking of trying to put a T5 behind it and a Ford 8.8 rear in it (more craigslist “junk”). I’ve got (2) stock AMC front disc setups left over from the two Javelins. So I’m going to try to put that on the gremlin. I’m going to look for a used race seat on craigslist. For Wheels I’m thinking Aero steels, 15×8. Sticking with the leaf springs for now. I’ll post more details as the “vision” comes together.

And with that, the dis-assembly begins!

Shedding Weight!

Shedding Weight!

First thing I wanted to do was pull the gas tank and try to get it boiled out. Spoke to a local place and they said $100 minimum to boil out and it could go higher if it’s rusty. I thought dropping the tank would be easy but of course it ended up taking a lot longer than I expected. I knew there was old/bad gas in the tank but I didn’t know how much. So I got under the car and started loosening the strap nuts. I didn’t get very far before they stopped wanting to loosen. I thought maybe the weight of the tank was making it hard to loosen the nuts so I decided to empty the tank while it was still in the car. I got a piece of heater hose I had, snaked it into the tank and used my wet/dry vac to pull a vacuum to siphon the gas out. After about 5 gallons it stopped flowing. I thought that was all there was (it wasn’t) and dove back under the car to try the nuts again. No go. I got a jack and a piece of 2×4 and tried to jack the tank up a bit so the weight wouldn’t be on the straps. But I couldn’t really get it any higher (it’s right under the trunk so there’s really no where for it to go). Next step – SAWZALL… 30 seconds later I had both hanger bolts cut and was able to lower the tank down. That’s when I realized it still had quite a bit of gas in it. So, another round of siphoning and another 5 gallons. At this point there was still some gas in the tank but it was light enough that I could just pick it up and pour the last bit into a bucket (another 2 gallons). Man, nothing is nastier that 10 year old gas! With the gas out I started checking out the tank. I immediately spotted what looked like a little pin hole in one of the upper corners. I pushed on it with my finger and it went right through… well, that settled that. Tank is toast so I’m going fuel cell…

In the engine bay I pulled the charcoal canister, washer fluid tank and the wiper motor. I also pulled the carb. It’s a 1bbl Carter YF. I bought a $15 rebuild kit and I’m going to do my first carburetor rebuild on it. Next up I pulled the front and rear bumpers and the rear glass. The bumper assemblies each felt like they were 60 – 80 lbs… I’ve probably taken almost 200lbs off the car and I’ve barely started…

Lot’s more to come on this project!

1975 Gremlin

Back At Joes – NASA Road Race Javelin Update

Brought the Car to Joe’s and got a number of things done. First we set the ride height, adjusted the rear links so the rear-end is square to the chassis, set the toe to 1/8″ out and scaled the car.

LF 936 RF 832
LR 680 RR 649

Left 1616 52.2%
Rear 1329 42.9%
Cross 1512 48.8%
Total 3097

*tires at 25psi, me in the car and 8 gallons of gas in the cell

Then Joe changed the sway bar end-link mounts by putting them on top of the lower control arm. This raised the bar a good 2″. We also shimmed the steering arm on the right side to create more clearance to the rotor (the steering rack heim was touching the bottom inside edge of the rotor and machining it down a bit). We also bled the brakes. And he made me a front grill block off panel. Once I got the car home I spent a couple of hours (spread over a couple of days) nut and bolting the whole car. So, I’m ready to fire this thing up for the first time in over a year. There’s a test day at Sears Pt. on Jan. 15th I’m hoping to make. Stay Tuned.

Getting Ready!

Getting Ready!

1974 Javelin, American Iron, Suspension

Shop Rock!

That was brutal! But after 3 months of working 7 days a week I finally got my life back! Things started to ease up near the end of October. Time to get back in the shop. Now the first order of business if you really want to get your shop on is… TUNES. So I sat down and made my Ultimate Shop Rock playlist. Really sets the mood and gets me cranking out there. It’s a work in progress so if you think there’s a song that needs to make this list, let me know.

So here it is (in alphabetical order). Oh,and you’re welcome!

AC/DC – Long Way to the Top (if you wanna rock n’ roll), Walk All Over You, Beating Around The Bush, Shot Down In Flames, If You Want Blood
Bad Company – Bad Company, Ready for Love, Feel Like Makin’ Love
Billy Squire – In the Dark, The Stroke, Lonely is the Night
Black Oak Arkansas – Fancy Nancy, Rebel, Crying Shame
Black Sabbath – Paranoid, war pigs
Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper, Burning for You
Danzig – Mother
Deep Purple – Highway Star
Dio – Holy Diver, Rainbow in the Dark, The Last in Line
Foreigner – Long Long way from Home, Juke Box Hero, Double Vision
Golden Earring – Radar Love, Twilight Zone
Heart – Barracuda
Iron Maiden – The Trooper
Judas Priest – Breaking the Law, You’ve Got Another Thing Commin’
Kansas – Carry On Wayward Son
Kiss – Detroit Rock City, Love Gun
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Gimme Back My Bullets, That Smell
Mettalica – Battery, Master of Puppets, Damage, Inc.
Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod
Montrose – Rock the Nation, Bad Motor Scooter, Space Station #5, I Got the Fire, Paper Money, Jump On It
Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart
Motorhead – Ace of Spades
Nazareth – Hair of the Dog
Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train
Red Rider – Lunatic Fringe
Rush – Working Man, Spirit of Radio, Freewill, Limelight, Tom Sawyer, Subdivisions
Scorpions – Rock You Like a Hurricane, No One Like You
Steppenwolf – Born to be Wild
Styx – Renegade
Thin Lizzy – Jail Break, Cold Sweat
Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down a Dream, Refugee
Van Halen – Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love

Ok, so back to cars… I started working through my list of items to get the Javelin track ready again. My goal is to get the car to where I can take it to a test day at Sears Point (Sonoma Raceway). if it checks out (goes straight when you want it to) I’ll then blow it apart again for final bodywork and paint. Here’s what I’ve gotten done so far:

1) welded new mounts and drilled holes in the trunk for the trunk pins
2) made a new battery mount (this time behind the drivers seat). this let me eliminate about 7 ft. of battery cable.
3) new wheels/tires. I was going to try to get the one bent rim repaired but ended up finding a great deal online for some black wheels (I had always wanted black wheels on the car). these wheels (Drag 31’s) have a 73mm bore (had to have Joe open up the bore on the old set to get them to fit). I got 4 wheels, with valve stems, delivered for under $400 bucks! now I can use the 2 old wheels as spares (that leaves the old wheel that’s bent and has a tire that was gouged by metal when I wrecked it and another wheels that’s fine but the tire has a blister in the sidewall). I took the one shaved, unmounted Toyo I had and bought 3 more from AIM Tire (at sears point) and had them all mounted/balanced on the new wheels.
4) did a bunch (but not all) of the body stuff. pulled the side trim, welded a bunch of holes closed. still more to do but the bulk of it is done.
5) re-installed the seat and belts
6) re-installed the Accusump. I also hooked up a remote cable so I can open/close it even while strapped in. this was on my to do list after racing in 2012.
7) front suspension – the front wheel studs had gotten lose and backed out a little. so I pulled the front apart and removed the studs so I could drill them for safety wire. this took a lot longer than I thought it would because none of the drill bits I had could make a dent in these hardened studs. Called Joe and he said I needed a cobalt bit (of course he has them). So I went to Joe’s and he hooked me up with the bit and a drill press. Now that I live up here it only took me 12 minutes to get to Joe’s shop; awesome! Once I had the studs drilled I screwed them back into the hubs and torqued them. My method for torquing wheel studs is to turn a wheel upside down and wedge against something (wall, other tires, etc). then place the hub (studs first) into the back of the wheel. now the hub will stay put (because the studs are sitting in the holes in the wheel) while you tighten them. works great. With the front end apart I also decided to take the time to change the front springs. I ran 500# springs all of 2012 and everyone said they were too soft. Al, from Control Freak sent me 850# springs and said that’s what I should be running. So I got the 850’s in. I didn’t have a spring compressor so I used some light duty ratchet straps threaded through the coils to compress them enough to get the top cap off and slide the springs out. worked great.
8) the taillight wiring harness had been cut when Evil Genius cut the car in half (I had run the wires inside of the rocker panel). no biggie, I just spliced the cut back together.
9) I replaced the rear gear oil. The rear has had a slow leak since day one. I think (but am not sure) that at least part of the fluid was coming from the drain plug. so I pulled the plug, drained the rear and then put a new plug (I had rounded the corners of the old one a bit) with some thread sealant from loctite. I’ve got it all cleaned off and a drip pan underneath so i’ll see if it still leaks after this.
10) bolted the fuel cell down and hooked up the fuel line and vent hose. Evil Genius are the best but my one gripe is they put metric hardware on my ‘murcan MUSCLE. ewwww…. :)
11) re-installed the front sway-bar. the drivers lower control arm sway bar mount had one of the tabs bent (probably happened when the car hopped the curb when I wrecked it). I got it bent back enough to bolt in the rod end but it needs more massaging. hopefully Joe can help me straighten it out.
12) got the rear bumper bolted in. took a couple of extra minutes because the brackets had 4 bolts each (just like the one that got destroyed in the wreck) but the new back half of the car only had two HOLES for each bracket. weird. I don’t know if they tried to save money at some point by mounting the rear bumper with 4 bolts total instead of 8? anyway, took a cut off wheel to the “extra” bolts and I was back in business. Another issue is that this bumper (which was thrown in by Don who sold me the rear clip) has been hit and has a bit of a bend in it. Hopefully when I get it painted they can also straighten out the bumper. otherwise I’ll have to scrounge up a straight one somewhere…
13) got the taillights “built” and installed. I had to clean them, paint the inside with “chrome” paint, mount extra brake lenses where the backup lenses usually go and paint the “buckets” trim black.
14) changed the oil filter and put in fresh Joe Gibbs XP6. 10 quarts to start. once I get the car running again I’ll get the accusump filled and then top it off with another 2 quarts.

so there’s really not much left for the car to be running again:

– fill with water
– have Joe scale/align the car
– nut and bolt the whole thing
– fix/remount the rear spoiler

that’s it (in theory)… So I’m going to finish up the last few things and then get it to Joe’s for scale/alignment. After that I’ll wait for a Friday test with good weather at Sears Pt. Pics below.


1974 Javelin, American Iron, Shop Talk, Suspension, Wheels and Tires

FLAT ACRE EDITION! – American Iron Javelin update

Well, it’s been 5 long months since my last update. What the hell have I been up to? Here’s what happened. Shortly after getting the car back from Evil Genius I got an opportunity to buy my dream property. Jeff offered to sell me his old place! It’s a FLAT acre north of Petaluma in the “country”. Anyone who’s followed this blog knows I’m incline-challenged so flat is a huge deal for me.

But before I could buy the place I had to sell my house. So, that kicked off a 3 month project of getting my house ready to sell. One of the first things that happened is I put the race Javelin on my trailer and put them in Jeff’s field. That opened up the garage and allowed us to fill it with stuff to declutter the house for staging. We also did a lot of repairs and upgrades to the house. All this took time and had me completely busy every weekend and after work. Then we finally got the house on the market and had to live in a semi-staged house for 2 weeks while trying to sell it. Luckily we got a good offer and were able to sell the house.

At the same time we were proceeding with the purchase of the new place. Lot’s of driving up north to meet the septic inspector, house inspector, etc, etc. But we got it done and finally moved in on August 1st.

Now, you probably don’t give a rat’s ass about “real estate” but the point is… this place has a 25×40 shop, a lot of black top and a big field out back that’s just itching to get filled up with more project AMC’s. It’s the perfect setup to continue my campaign for AMC road race domination! The other huge bonus is instead of being an hour away I’m now only 15 minutes from Jeff, Joe, Dan and Matt. And only 30 mins from Sonoma Raceway! Plus I’m not the weird guy with weird cars up here. Everyone has trucks, trailers, race cars, old military halftracks, tractors, horses, etc, etc…

So after moving in on the 1st I was able to bring the Javelin back to it’s new (old) home and also bring the Gremlin back out of Jeff’s field. This is the first time in 10 years that everything I own is in one place!

Unfortunately, this is the busy season at work which means I’m on lockdown for another 6 weeks. So no real progress will be made on the Javelin until late in October. But at least I’ve got room to operate once I do have time to get back at it.

So here are pictures of the shop (with the awesome epoxy floors I had done before moving in). I’m very far from having the shop setup and am not sure if I’m going to keep the current tool box/workbench arrangement. I need to get some shelving a drill press and an engine hoist. And am thinking of putting in a utility sink.

And the Gremlin? Not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it. I want to build a AMC daily driver (small car, 6 cylinder for mileage) but I also want to build a low cost track rat so I have an option to run something cheaper (in terms of tires, gas and blowing up motors) than the Javelin. So stay tuned to see which way I go…

love that floor!

love that floor!

1974 Javelin, 1975 Gremlin, Misc

FRANKEN-JAV… NASA American Iron AMC Javelin update

It’s been a little over 2 months since I brought the Javelin to Evil Genius and now it’s back home. John took a total disaster and turned it into hope. I have a foundation again and can finish the job of getting this thing back to being a working race car. it’s so weird to have this totally intact race car from the doors forward and then have this mostly stock back half (except for the fuel cell mount). ALL the little things that were done at the back half have to be re-done. It’s like going back in a time machine to the way the shell was when I was first building the car. As much as this all sucks it is interesting to have a chance to re-think things and do some things differently. The list of things I need to do is long. I need to start picking away at this list and see how quickly I can get back on track. Here’s what needs to be done (not in order):

1. make a new battery mount. I had been using a small battery located in the trunk but am considering going with a bigger battery and moving it forward of the axle, in the back of the passenger area.
2. need do a bunch of misc. body mods like – pull the side trim, fill the side marker lights, fill the trunk keyhole, grind down a bunch of trim clips
3. repair the damaged rear spoiler and mount to trunk lid
4. repaint the interior, new cage bars, trunk interior and bottom of trunk lid light gray. I’m going to get a quart of paint mixed and borrow Jeff’s spray gun and try to do this in my garage.
5. redo the wiring to the tail lights
6. remount the accusump
7. weld brackets in the trunk opening to hold the trunk pins and drill holes in the trunk lid for them
8. one of the rims has a bent lip. I’m going to call one of those mobile wheel repair places and see if they can fix it.
9. one rear tire has a blister and the other was damaged in the wreck (had a piece of metal jammed into the sidewall, although it still holds air). So, I need to buy 3 new tires (I have one new, shaved tire already) and get them all mounted so I have fresh rubber on all 4 corners. I’ll keep the two front tires as spares.
10. get the exterior painted blue and have the yellow stripes redone on the trunk lid
11. get all the graphics on the back half of the car redone
12. need to get the car scaled and aligned

then there’s the stuff I need/want to do that’s not related to wrecking it.

13. I want to redo the way the front swaybar is mounted. it’s too low right now. need to figure out how to get the arm mounting point on TOP of the control arm (instead of on the bottom like it is now).
14. need to redo the front grill block off. basically I need to make one with no holes. I need to do this to try to keep air from getting under the hood and creating lift.
15. Al at Control Freak sent me 850# springs for the front (thanks Al!). I’m running 550# springs now and the consensus is those are way too soft. So I need to swap front springs. Also hoping Al comes through with a drop spindle setup so I can get the car lower.

there’s probably 50 more things but that’s the big stuff. Of course I need to nut/bolt the car again before I take it back on track. Need to see if there’s a track day I can shoot for to shakedown the rebuilt car and then see if I can make a race this year. Here’s some pics of how it looks back from Evil Genius.


1974 Javelin, American Iron, Body and Paint

the long road back… Nasa American Iron AMC Javelin update

So I had a destroyed race car and the back half of a rusty Javelin. But no idea what I was going to do with the whole mess. I talked to several body shops and emailed them pictures and got a bunch of SCARY guesstimates… I was kind of at a loss for what to do. I finally called John Pagel at Evil Genius Racing in West Sacramento. EGR are the guys who did the original cage, fuel cell mount, seat mount and pedal setup. I called to feel John out on how much it would cost to redo all that work on a new shell. John said send him pictures of the damage and he’d give me an estimate for replacing the rear clip of the damaged shell. After looking at the pictures a long time he gave me a ballpark figure but said I’d need to bring the car to him to get a more accurate quote. So I loaded up the car a couple of weeks ago and brought him the wreck. One of the many things I like about John is that he is a real optimist. He’s always positive. He said “we’ll get it fixed for you” and gave me a firmer quote which was pretty close to his initial ball park (and MUCH more reasonable than what the body shops were telling me). So I pulled the trigger and had them start. The next weekend I brought them the back half of the donor Javelin.

The guys at EGR have been BUSY. Here are pics of what they’ve gotten done. I’m still a long way from driving my car on track again but after seeing the pics John took of their progress I’m believing it will happen! Thanks EGR, you rule! Here’s a link to their facebook page that has more photos of the Javelin and other cool posts about the goings on at the shop: Evil Genius Racing facebook page

1974 Javelin, American Iron, Body and Paint

Field of Dreams…

After wrecking the Javelin and banging on it to get it to be a roller again I had an idea of how bad the damage was and what I would need to repair it. Both rear frame rails were damaged/bent and of course the entire trunk structure (trunk lid, bumper, taillight panel, taillights, rear lower valence) and the drivers rear quarter were toast. I knew I needed either a complete new shell or at least the back half of one. I started scouring craigslist and a couple of cars came up but they either weren’t close or weren’t cheap. I finally realized I should call Rich at A&L in Sacramento. I didn’t think he had any Javelins but it turns out he did have a ’73 but he had just sold it to someone. He contacted the buyer for me and the guy (Don) had bought the car for parts but didn’t really need the shell. Problem is I wanted the parts I needed quick and he wasn’t going to be able to take the things he wanted off that quickly. After talking to Don we worked out a deal where we’d cut the car in half and I’d get the back half and he’d keep the front.

The first day we scheduled to meet to cut the car it was pouring so we called it off. Then I had the Chumpcar race. Turns out Don cut the car without me and then I finally went to pick it up on Thursday Dec. 13th. The car was in a storage facility and had already been cut in half. But it wouldn’t separate. After a couple of minutes Don realized he had forgot to cut the exhaust. Out came the sawzall and we took care of the exhaust. It was pretty easy to get onto my trailer with the electric winch. Then I dragged the whole mess to Jeff’s place and dropped it off… where I proceeded to get my truck stuck in the mud!!! Jeff had warned me but I got the truck/trailer into his field and got backed into position and dumped the Javelin off. Then when I went to leave I couldn’t get out. I guess the weight of the Javelin on the trailer was helping with traction but once that was gone I was just spinning. Had to wait until Jeff got home and fired up the tractor and pulled me out :)

Now I need to take the race car to the body shop, hear what the have to say and then bring them the back half to use as parts (if they say it’s fixable). Hopefully I’ll get it to a body shop soon but the holidays are coming so it likely won’t be before the end of the year…

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams