Thursday, April 4, 2013

See ya, Ace!

My grandfather died recently... my mom's dad... my Pappy... Nelson Hummel... Ace....

 We didn't spend a ton of time together... he didn't teach me to hunt, fish, or drink beer like he did... His life revolved around an entirely different set of circumstances then mine does. He grew up poor... maybe a little rough around the edges.... He spent his free time outdoors in the wilderness... He raised a family... had a job.... lost his wife... retired.... survived diseases, heart problems, and old age until a few weeks ago when his body couldn't go any more... Now he's gone... That steady knowledge of him being there is no longer a reality.... His seat on his back porch, watching the animals he fed and the plants he grew, is empty... and so is a little part of me.... You can't change that someone has died... You can only grow from it... I've learned more from him in the past 2 weeks that I ever could have imagined. He lived to do the things he loved. To be in the wilderness to enjoy the small things. To read books just to know what they have to say. He took the time to stop and smell the roses, even though he could not smell.... He did what he wanted because he wanted to do it...his reward was that he was doing fame... no internet postings... no cameras other then his own for his own reflection.... he did it... to do it....right up till the end.... I think he died a happy man because of it.... A great Family... a lot of dead animals... a lot of empty beer cans... a lot of dog eared books... but most importantly a lot of great experiences and memories...
 See ya, Ace!

  "Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life." ~Albert Einstein

Monday, March 19, 2012

Late 40's Track action!

WOW! .... not much else to say.... to see these cars in action.... WOW!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


A lot of times the focus of your daily life wanders around. You seem to always be forced to wake up, get dressed, go to work, etc.... but there's that inner voice persuading you towards one thought, idea, interest, etc.

I seem to go in spurts lasting a few weeks. Jumping around from motorcycles, to hot rods, to customs, to remodeling the bathroom. Never forgetting the basis of each, just waning slightly in the enthusiasm department towards whatever subject has been slid to the back burner.

I've been off on a tangent of different things lately... not pulling towards one more then another. Then,out of the blue, a friend posted this video... WHAM!!! 1940 DRY LAKES FOOTAGE!!!.... 5 minutes of everything I have ever dreamed about...

Really made my day... this is the most exciting video footage I have ever seen...
I know this may be hard for some to understand... but for me.. to see this footage is sort of a culmination of the HOURS I have spent pouring over the oh so stagnent black and white images...


Monday, August 22, 2011

Sprint Car Driver?

The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing ( held its 37th annual Convention this past weekend at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds. I have been attending events at Latimore for as long as I can remember. This weekend though, I got a whole different perspective on it.

My friend Roy Caruthers had mentioned earlier in the week that he and Josh Shaw would be coming in from Indiana and Ohio with a few cars to run on the track. A text message from Roy on Friday said to make sure I was at Latimore Saturday, I may be able to drive a sprint car. Really??!!??

I brought a drivers suit that someone had given me, along with an old leather covered helmet that I picked up a while back. Not too sure if I would run or not... but I wanted to be prepared. I met up with Roy and Josh while they were sorting out some problems with one of their cars. Roy said "go get your suit, your driving the #10.

I had thought these cars may have been converted to have a starter, flywheel, clutch, etc.....A quick crash course from Josh proved me wrong. Strap in... pull the in/out out of gear till your on the track... drop it in gear... once the push truck starts going... turn on the fuel.... once the tires start spinning and you have oil pressure, turn on the magneto..... Josh's other advice was to not be concerned with the sounds that may appear as if the car is coming apart. "They're race cars, that what they sound like"

So I strapped in... did what I was supposed to and it fired off without a problem. I bit nervous I gingerly rolled onto the throttle here and there, trying to get a feel for the car. With what little bit I got on the gas, I could definitely feel the power...

I made an attempt to get moving faster and faster... trying to slide and power through the corners slightly beyond a snails pace. Before I knew it... they waved the checkered and I had to return to the pits. Turn off the fuel, pull it out of gear, run out of fuel, shut off magneto....

One more round to go... I had a feel for the car a little so I had hoped to be able to go a little harder this time.

In total these guys brought 3 cars, and for this round they wanted to try to photograph them all together. So I was told to try to keep up!...

I made an attempt at staying with the pack, and I think did pretty well...
Following Josh and Van May, I got quite a face full of dirt from time to time... but it gave me a pace that I could maintain and know it wasn't beyond the capabilities of the car or the track. In other words, eliminating some variables in my mind.

Once we got the green I was trying a bit harder to give it power in the corners... I even passed someone!

Its hard to explain the feeling of power that you get from these cars.
There's no flywheel putting any drag on the drive train. Just a fuel injected small block Chevy hooked directly to the rear end in a sub 1500lb car.

Punching the throttle gave instantaneous almost violent acceleration.

All in all it was something I won't forget and I can't thank Roy, Josh, Ken and everyone else involved with the cars enough.

I was always unsure if it was worth the effort to build and maintain a car to only run at a controlled speed a few times a year... but now... I've really got the itch!

I had to borrow a safer (though a bit too big) helmet for the 2nd round.

Photos are by Tony DeSeta (buildy)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Car Guy?

Contrary to what many may perceive as such, I am not a "Car Guy".
I do have a strong pull towards many things with wheels. This though, is not an all encompasing love for cars. I like what I like... and not really much else. I didn;t live through any of these era's. Its all a giant research project and theres just not enough time in the day for me to focus effort towards things that are not in my very narrow field of interest.
Many times I am stumbled upon at a gas station or some such place while in my roadster. I get struck into a conversation about cars. This usually ends up with me feeling a bit dumb. I am told about muscle cars, 50's - 60's - 70's cars, etc. I usually have no idea what these cars even look like.
I walk through various car shows or cruise-in's and can't identify half the vehicles there without reading the badges.
I don't know a Plymouth from a Pontiac. I am not drawn in by a Hemi or a Big Block or whatever is in the mouthes of the rows of alligators.

I appreciate the work that people put into their cars. I am polite to the owners. I respect their feelings towards them.

Thats where it stops. I go home... back into my world where they don't exist.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harley Davidson

I had an ever growing itch to have an old motorcycle for years. My family had been heavily into motorcycles even before WWII. Stories of rows of them sitting around had always sparked interest in me.

I'd never even ridden a motorcycle in my life...but I wanted one... and it had to be an old one...(hand shift)

Sold a few things... had a bit of money... searched and searched and searched...
Turned out I had a hankerin for a 45" Harley... something about the lines when stripped for racing, just spoke to me!

Eventually I spent some of my money and bought a '33 Ford Coupe race car... turned out to not be what I had hoped for... so listed it for sale... or trade for a motorcycle. Had some offers but nothing panned out to trade.

The racecar left on a boat and my bank account had a short time with a full belly...

Around Thanksgiving 2009 I came across an add online for a '51WL restored at a price I could easily afford.

Made a call... took a drive... brought it home.

There she sat... in all her 58mile glory... shiny paint, chrome, whitewalls, PERFECT...

Happy as can be... I proudly owned a realy nice old Harley Davidson...

So.. I did what any red blooded American boy would do...

Stripped her down and hopped her up!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Time Flies....

Pretty good weekend....

Started out working friday afternoon in the garage and house... I bought this place full of stuff.. And the people that owned it before were heavily involved in antique race its been a slow process of going through things deciding whats good and whats bad and then organizing all of the racing artifacts. Gave up working around dark...headed out, had some ice cream then started reading through a binder of articles I found in the house... but heavy eyelids seemed to get the best of me...

Saturday morning 7am, off to my parents to load up some Model-T parts that I've wanted to haul over to my garage. Decided to stop at a car show on the way, at the Hershey AACA museum. Walked over the the vendor area first and found a few books I didn't have (hard for me to pass up a new/old book).. Walked through the show, eventually meeting up with a friend and his dad with his '23 T touring that they recently finished...Seeing his car made it more exciting to be dealing with my own T parts again... even if it is just to move them around... We walked through the cars for a while.. nice eclectic mix....then I hit the road to get some work done.

Got to the house a bit before my girlfriend, Heidi who had to work... so I made some mini frozen taco's for us... boy are they ever good!.. Then we got to work.... She was chipping tiles off the bathroom walls while I was emptying out the bedroom... A few hours later I got a call that a friend was stopping by with a model-A industrial engine to see if I was interested in it.. apparently from a welder. This sat outside in New Jersey for years but suprizingly the crank turned over free as could be along with the distributor which means the cam was turning alright and likely all valves moving... So I bought it! Wasn't too pricey or anything, I just don't really need any more "stuff" right now(Can't believe I typed that)... Industrial engines like this apparently had a very heavy flywheel! Imagine a model-A flywheel without the clutch recess... haven't taken it off yet, but it must be 100lbs!

Back to work in the house till about 8pm then hit the road for Heidi's house. Steak and corn on the grill..Never made corn on the grill before... came out great! Relaxed a bit flipping through the new books, then hit the hay....

Sunday morning 5:30am, up with the sun and off to work for a few hours...finished cleaning out the master bedroom and its now ready for scrubbing, paint wood floor finishing, etc. Sorted through some photo albums and folders of photos... trying to organize all of the things around the place... or atleast get a grasp on whats there... Fooled with the new A motor a bit before I left...seems to be a B distributor and with the plugs out does look like the valves move! Back to Heidi's
around noon to get ready to head to Latimore for the Latimore Valley Fair.

My parents picked us up...Little Ceasers $5 "Hot and Ready" pizza on the way... you really can't beat this... its a decent sized pizza for $5... ready when you walk in the door... fed all 4 of us easily.

Arrived at Latimore for the final day of the Fair.. If you've never been to the Latimore fairgrounds... you really should make a point to stop. They restored a racetrack that last ran in '39 or '40 and also the "Eastern Museum of Motor Racing" The fair is a family event... from crafts to tractors to kids games to racecars... hey have something for everyone to enjoy.

We started out watching the cars run on the track for a while. Ran into some friends. Met a few news ones... even got a demonstration from an older guy about the workings of an Offy with a cut apart block he had laying in his truck..

After a flower buying frenzy by the girls... we went to see the museum. They recently put a huge addition on the building and it was now done enough to have some cars in it and they had it pretty filled up!

Strolled around for a while and eventually hit the road... Stopped at Cracker Barrell on the way back... won't go there again! Food was fair... service wasn't...

Stopped at McDonald's for hot fudge sundae's(best $1 you can spend) and back to relax...

All in all this was one of the most full weekends I've had in a long time... extremely productive.. saw some old cars... talked with good people...bought some cool stuff and ate some good food...