Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Old Speed Shack has gone to two wheels!

If your a fan of bicycles check out the OSS brother site Drum! This blog will cover the OSS's new life in Chicago, working as a dog herder and commuting by bicycle.

Thanks and well try to update OSS when we have new information!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

cha cha changes...

That's right folks the winds of change are blowing the Old Speed Shack right off its foundation. In the words of Mr. Bowie, Cha...Cha... Changes!

First was our epic move from middle of nowhere Vermont to our uber urban nwe home. Gone are the days of relaxing in the "shack" listening to Tallest Man on Earth or some hippy jam band, now were right smack in the middle of Radio Birdman! Shande trees traded for hot asphalt and back porches.

Secondly the OSS now has a partner in crime that has experance working on the VWs cousin. With our new acomplus we will be venturing into the relms of SMALL displacment motors that are more... fitting for city life. Yes readers there are smaller displacments that our punny 36hp VW motors!

So stay tunned and we will update as soon as things start to develope.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Old Speed Shack on the move.

So our time in Vermont has come to an end, well it ended 14 days ago but were just getting around to telling everyone about it! The shack has been replaced with an alley and the dirt floor with a uncovered paved slab. So i must say it all works out about even in our book. The fun part of this whole story is the 900 mile drive in a 1974 Toyota Hilux pickup from our old VT home to Chicago. Oh yes we are no located in the windy city where the local goverment has already hit us up for taxes and fees! :) Gota love it.

Here is a littel bit about the adventure that steve dog and i undertook some 10 days ago.

The great American road trip.

Day 1. 

Got a really late start so there wasn't much progress, we crashed in Troy NY.  One thing that comes to mind, I only had to down shift into 2nd gear once while crossing the mountain between Brattleboro and Bennington VT. If you've ever taken this drive you realize that it's taxing on a modern car let alone this old rig. 

Day 2 + 3

Well due to a minor mistake, driving with the parking brake partially engaged, we've been in Auburn, Ny for the last 24hrs.  This on its own is not a bad thing, kinda a slow town with seeming little going on.  But while I wait for he new wheel cylinder to arrive we've inherited  the opportunity to wander, read the book our buddy Josh gave us (travels with charley), take some pictures of this old industrial town and bond with the dog.  Not exactly what we had planned, though this trip was never really planned.  Just a road chosen for its lack of being an interstate highway.  

(Steve dog king of the parks in Auburn)

* A little history on US Route 20.  It's old, it goes coast to coast( That's what the 0 tell you), in NY it's hilly as hell and is very beautiful.   "But no worries", as the northerners say, I'm having a blast and hope to be putting in some miles very soon!*

(The "hang-out" for most of the day)

Sitting in a small park in Auburn Ny we recently observed a man on a bike with a baby trailer hitched to said bike.  On the back of said baby trailer was a 6' A frame latter with, when I noticed the biker, was getting stuck on a low tree branch.  Did this deter the mans from  transporting the latter in this manner?  No, he simply peddled harder and yelled "dangerous".  Oh life.

The rig got back on the road about 6;20pm, and we've stopped,for the evening outside of buffalo ny. Thanks to Dan and Chris at BF Goodyear in Auburn NY for sticking around late and installing the wheel cylinder. No props to Advance auto, these kids can't be "car guys".  They just really didn't care that an out of towner's old car was broken down.  That wouldn't have been the case in Brattleboro... Oh well.  

Day 4 + 5

Both days were HOT, in the 100+ degrees range. Imagine me and Steve dog without any Air... unpleasant. 

Day 4 took us in to PA where we took the scenic US 5 (aka the aptly name Lake Shore Rd.) along Lake Erie.  A beautiful drive with lots of beaches and hole in the wall restaurants - oh and a nice breeze off the lake kept the truck a decent temperature. A few hours along our route and we scoot into Erie, park the truck down by one of the docks, and Steve and I spend the hottest part of the afternoon taking pictures of an old air stream trailer.  By the time were back on the road its past midday and temperatures are a-dropping.  Just so everyone is on the same page, the truck is a tin can on wheels.  There is no insulation on the floor so you get all the road heat, no insulation in the top so the sun bakes the car, and windows all around so most times of the day no shade in the rig.  Basically it is HOT.  Guess choosing hot summer days to drive halfway across the USA wasn't the best laid plan.  And I ain't complaining about my choice of ride, just getting some basic information out there so everyone can experience this trip in the same manner as I did. 

After Erie we soon enter Ohio, or Strip mall-io.  Basically from Ashtabula to half way to Toledo Rte 20 in Ohio turns into one big strip mall.  Stop lights as far as the eye can see.... NOT what I had planned so a detour was in order and this detour consisted of taking any and all roads that said “West” and would allow me to drive unencumbered by stoplights.  My end goal was west, so west I went; dodging McFoods and Super Centers all the way.  I cannot fathom why anyone needs multiples of any one restaurant, store, or other place of shopping in a 2 mile strip of road but in Ohio, but that crap is plentiful. 

Eventually we escaped strip mall hell and Day 4 turns into Night 4 and about midnight we pull into a corner truck stop/gas station.  There is no town here but 3 hotels and more trucks than you can shake a stick at. Again, not really what I was looking for but in a pinch it will do.  So we got the "suite" which means a couch and fridge in the room, as that all they had left that was "non-smoking".  Not that the room had never been smoked in or even not recently smoked in but it did have a sign saying "non-smoking" so I guess that counts.  The night counter attendant was a bit of an odd bird, friendly enough but strange in that Norman Bates kinda way.  Wifi didn't work, but the fridge and TV did so I figured Steve and I would watch a little boob tube and fall onto sleep.

Day 5 starts at 9am, packing the truck and hitting the road.  No time to waste - it’s the Fourth of July and I wanna be in Chicago!  Driving is what Day 5 entails, almost as much as in Day 4 - 10hrs on the asphalt.  And day five was a doozey, 105 degrees by 1pm.  Steve was losing his mind, couldn't find a shady spot to lay, and it was getting hotter.  Rte 20 west of Toledo is a mix of two lane middle-of-no -where road and freeway.  Hell, I got the finger from a "dude" in a late 80s Montecarlo for doing 55 in the right hand lane on a not-so-nice strip of Rte 20 express way.  He even honked to get my attention.  I can only guess he was mad that his mullet and car had kept him from finding a woman for over 20 years?  But for the most part people were fine with the "green bean," as Mrs. Nancy Deitz calls my truck, being weighted down and a bit underpowered.  Drive and drive we did, stopping a few places to have a drink and cool off, but there was not much in western Ohio... not even strip malls!  Soon we were in Indiana, which is all two lane roads ‘till you get around South Bend, then its straight to Gary.  Gary is a place everyone should visit at some point in their lives in order to see that where they live ain't so bad.  Here is what you see entering Gary proper:  strip club, fallen down building, vacant lot, fallen down building, strip club, repeat.  Repeat.  Woo, fun. So now were only an hour from our new home and the easiest way there is I90/I94! This part of the trip was hell, the GPS kept telling us to "stay left", YES we use a GPS! Well this little green truck is not meant for the left hand lane on a major highway and at 105 degrees we were thinking the radiator could fail at any time. Well that ain't the case, the whole rig held together and buzzed in to Chicago like a little pissed off green hornet. Buzzz, pop (exhaust leak between the intermediat pipe and the muffer) buzzzz poppppoopopop.

Home safe now we can look back on this advneture with found smiles and much appreciation for the chance to even drive the little green truck that far!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mobil Gas Rally 1958

One of the more interesting old school racing events would have to be the Australia Mobil Gas Rally from the late 1950. We’ve posted an article or two on this rally in the past and from the evidence its easy to tell that most of the roads were… well not up to modern standards. Ruts or ditches move to mind though they were mostly just dirt. Being in the woods of Vermont we here at the Old Speed Shack understand dirt roads and how much fun they become when you add water. Of course this is in a vehicle that has been prepared for such an environment not a late 50’s sedan with torsion bar front end and limited ground clearance!!

What brings the Mobil Gas Rally to the for front of our minds some 50+ years later is an article don’t by Japanese Nostalgic car on the two Datsun’s entered in the 1958 installment. Almost as incredible as a beetle winning this race in 1957 is these two Datsun 210’s were able to basically go around the continent of Australia and have survived intact till this day!!! As mentioned in the article these little devils were stored until late last year when they were put back to running order and put on display.

Perhaps these little guys surviving the last 50 years is not as impressive as the Prototyp Museum resorting some rust bucket that as been rotting in your dad’s basement for the last 50 years BUT it is up there. So go check out the article as there are some fantastic pictures and more video.

And thanks for enjoying another little odd piece of old school racing with us here at the Old Speed Shack!