The modifications included triming floor pan so it was tapered toward the front then bolting on angle iron to attach the new fiberglass body. The driver and passenger actually sat behind where the original rear seat was on the bug. The foot controls ans shifter all had to be relocated to the rear. This required fabricating some custom brackets. The fuel tank was repositioned so it ran from to back instead of side to side.
This was my first regular car. I bought it to commute to my summer job between junior and senior years in college. I bought the Toyota because of the solid little Hemi engine. The body was quite rough when I got it so I stripped it down and had it painted at Earl Schieb for $39.95. The job came out quite well. The trick was to do all the prep work and masking yourself. They do a good job spraying since that is what they do all day.
I could not leave well enough alone and I started making small modifications to the car. I got a tachometer from a Toyota Celica in a junk yard and installed it in the dash. To do this I had to cut the existing instrument cluster in 1/2 and mount the other gages in a home made floor console. I got a 5-speed transmission out of another car and replaced the 4-speed. I pulled the cylinder head and had the combustion chamber milled to up the compression from 8:1 to 9:1. I installed a set of headers, then had a 2" diameter exhaust made. I also installed a sound system, mostly to make up for the 2" exhaust. This car was a strong runner and I drove it for about 2 years and 20 thoushand miles.
My grandfather (Joseph M. Dille) was a "real" engineer. That is he drove trains. In the late 70's and early 80's he was the senior engineer on the division and had the premier assignments. One of his favorite rides was being the first person in the US to test drive the new Rohr Turboliner. This was a very fast luxury train. My grandfather loved things that go fast. Here is the control panel.
The train consisted of 5 cars, two power cars (engines) with gas turbine engines, two coach cars and dining car. It was also able to use third rail power for use in tunnels like Grand Central Station. Here are some of the basics.
One of my favorite times was when grandpa took me to work with him and we got the turbo up to 110 mph outside of Albany NY.
Even though I had a Corolla with a 5-speed I wanted one of the factory 5-speed models, the SR5. These came with gages, nice wheels, bigger tires and generally nicer appointments. After searching the classifieds for about a year I found one. The only problem, it had 87 thousand miles on it while my 74 only had 67 thousand. I did the only logical thing, I swapped engines. One weekend I drove up to my parent's house and pulled the engine and transmission out of the 74 and put it in the 76. This swap was complicated by the fact I wanted to leave all of the engine accessories with the associated car. It all went smoothly. On Friday night I pulled into the garage and started draining fluids and removing hoods. On Sunday I had two complete, running cars and I drove back to school. I could not have done it without the help of my dad or my buddy, Pat Cunninham.
I now had the factory Corolla hot rod, but I still wanted more. I installed a set of headers and a more modest 1-1/2" exhaust along with a home made a heat riser to improve the cold weather drivability. I also managed to get a used factory dual carb set up from the Japanese domestic Corolla. This was nice since it was all set up correctly for the car. When I installed the dual carbs I ported the head to match. This made the car run very well. I also installed mag wheels and cut one turn from the front coil springs which made the handling better.
After about 65,000 miles of "spirited" driving the engine started to run rough. I did a compression check and found the number two cylinder had no compression. When I removed the head I found the valves to be in good shape and the pistons looked fine. Humů. What could it be? I found out when I removed the piston from the bad cylinder, the top ring fell out in two pieces. Then the second ring fell out in two pieces. This explained the low compression in #2. I was surprised to learn that all of the top rings were broken. They had simply worn out after 104,000 miles in two cars.
I proceeded to rebuild the engine with a rebore and new pistons. I learned a lot in the process. First, it is good to have strong friends when you take the engine out of the car with out an engine hoist. Second, there are a lot of parts in an engine and they all have to come off to get to a bare block. Third, it takes about a month to remove and disassemble the engine, order the parts, have the block machined and put the whole mess back together. It is also handy to have a sidecar to haul the engine block to and from the machine shop and pick up the engine hoist from the tool rental place. The results were well worth it. The engine ran better than ever and never gave me a lick of trouble.
This was Patti's first new car out of college. It was a sweetheart and was most trouble free. With snow tires on the front it was unstoppable in the snow.
I repaired the damage and painted the bike black with red and gold stripes. I also replaced the damaged stock exhaust, with a Kerker 4 into 1 pipe. The rusty chrome front fender was replaced with a sporty plastic unit from a later model Honda. The ignition was upgraded with later model coils and the front brake rotor was drilled. I also added a Shoei cafe fairing with instruments. The bike looked and ran well. I was always impressed with the way it started. Unfortunatley, someone liked it better than me and in January 1982 it was stollen from my appartment and never recovered.
This was my first rig which I had from 1981 to 1986. I bought it so I could go on trips and take my dog "Bulk". The bike was in rough shape when I bought it and I rebuilt it. The sidecar was purchased new from California Sidecars in 1981. I got a good deal since the sidecar was originally built for the panamaian government, but they canceled the order after the chair was assembled. The sidecar was detachable from the sidecar and I would take it off now and then, but mostly I left it on.
My dad liked my R75/5 so much that he went out a bought one for himself. His still had the classic "toaster tank" chrome trim on the sides. He liked the bike a lot and we attended several rallys together. He sold it to upgrade to a R80RT.
The Ascot was a classic 500 thumper. I call it the Labrador retriver of bikes, always willing to serve. The engine had plenty of torque whenever you wanted it. I liked the fact that it was light and thin, which made it good handling.
I purchased this bike as a wreck from the dealer with the hopes of fixing it up and selling it at a profit. I did fix it up, but the profit part never came. I never liked riding the bike because of the layed back riding position. It did look sharp when I was done with the deep red and black paint. In 1981 the tear drop tank, steped seat and mag wheels were fairly radical styling items.
This was Patti's first bike. She bought it used and it was fairly rough even though it was only a few years old. The tank was rusted on the outside and there was general corrosion all over. I went to work to make it as nice as possible on a budget. I painted the tank, sidecovers and her helmet with metalic black with red and orange pin stripes. I pulled the engine and gave it a good cleaning. The pipe came off and was painted with gun-kote. This worked quite well. I also drilled out the idle jet to get rid of the early 80's lean running. In the end she had a cute starter bike which served her well.
The GPz 305 was a small bike with all of the high end features of a larger sports bike. It had single shock rear, cafe fairing, mag wheels, 6 speeds and a disk brake. The engine was no slouch as it would wind up to 11 grand. It was a tricky bike to ride fast since it had low torque and you always had to be in the correct gear to be in the power band.
Patti and I bought the CRX for Patti to replace her Civic when we got married in 1985. It was a great car. Patti liked it because it was cute and easy to drive. I liked it because it was the most fun you could have on 4 wheels. The Si model came with mag wheels, sun roof and the fuel injected engine. The car really moved and still got 30 mpg. In 66,000 miles it never left us down. We sold it in 1991 because we would need more than 2 seats. Patti and I still miss this car.
This was my truck from 1986-1998. It was a 2WD with the 2.8l V6, 5-speed manual transmission, a posi rear end and "Sport" trim package. I lowered 2" it with spindles in the front and blocks in the back. I also installed a set of Z-28 wheels with custom bow tie caps. Other than that the truck was stock. It was a nice truck and gave me very little trouble over the 12 years that I owned it.
This is my current rig. I have had it since new, which is when I installed the sidecar. The bike is one of the few K100s that came to the US without a fairing. The sidecar is Dutch made and came as a kit. The kit required numerous modifications to the bike to make it more sutiable for hauling the sidecar. The sidecar is quite roomy and it will easily fit two children. It has a convertible top and a large trunk. I ride this bike about every other day. I often use it to pick up large items at the hardware store or take my oldest son places.
This is my current bike. I have had it since 1989 and over the years have worked on restoring it. I like it a lot since it is a classic, but still has good ridability and reliability. In 1995 I did a crank up rebuild/restoration. This inclused power coating the frame, rebuilding the engine and doing a port and polish on the engine. I also added light wrist pins, lightened the flywheel and installed aluminum pushrods The exterior is not 100% original since I have replaced many for the fasteners with stainless, but this makes the bike easy to keep nice. I ride it about every other day.
The Piper Super Cub was a super airplane. Empty it weighed about 1100 pounds and with 150 HP it could really haul. The take off roll was only about 300 feet. On a summer day it was great, just open the door and window and enjoy the view below. It was the ultimate plane for taking pictures since it had great downward visibility and could be flown quite slowey. Unfortunatley it only had two seats so it had limited practicality.
The Cessna Skyhawk is a much more practical plane than the Cub since you can take 3 other people. Dad and I enjoyed flying it together. Dad often flew down from New York to take Joey and I for lunch. I miss those lunches.
After having the S-10 for 12 years I decided I liked pickups but I wanted more power. It was time for a bigger truck with a big honkin' American V8. Like the Chevy this truck is a 2 wheel drive, 5-speed and posi-rear. Unlike the Chevy this puppy hauls :-) The truck has just about every option offered including the trip computer in the overhead and wheel and tire package. I have also added a 6 CD changer and a Rack-N-Rail system. The bed rails unfold to make a cargo rack for hauling long lumber or other things. It works quite well and I don't have to look like a contractor. In the future I want to add the factory flares and lower the truck slightly.
Our family required a large vehicle to haul our stuff, but we also wanted something fun and different. Enter the Saab 9-5 wagon, our anti-minivan. The 2.3l low pressure turbo and 5 speed make the Saab fun to drive. The interior is well thought out, finished well and a pleasure to live with. My only problem is getting my wife to let me drive it.
I have added a few accessories to the car to make it even more distinctive.
The Saab was purchased on line at CarOrder.com. The process went smoothly and I highly reccomend buying on line if you want a good price and don't enjoy haggling with sales people. They have good configuration software and you simply order the car to your specification. Point, click and either they find the car on a lot, or have a factory order placed. It is a refreshing alternative to the traditional car buying experience. Unfortunately, CarOrder.com was a victim of the .com bust. It was fun while it lasted.
In September 2000 we picked up a new Schlauch quarter midget race car. Our first few outings with this car have been very succesful. Joey has addapted to driving it well and we are looking foreward to the rest of the 2000 season.
In 2002 my 5 year old son started racing and I needed a way to get two cars to the track. I converted a 1973 Colman pop-up camper to a custom race car hauler. The structure is pressure treated wood and the skin is aluminum with a fiberglass roof. The two cars and all the racing tools fit into the trailer. It looks a little funny, but works great.
In 2004 I decided to get serious about my health and started commuting to work on my bicycle. Biking to work added less than 10 minutes to my commute and has had great health benefits. On August 1st I replaced my 30+ year old Raleigh Super Course TT with a Tirreno Razza 2.0. This a modern road bicycle that is a full 10 pounds lighter than the old bike. It features aluminum frame, 24 spoke wheels and carbon fiber seat post and fork. It also has integrated shifters and brakes that really work. It is a real pleasure to ride and I have increased my riding beyond commuting to an occasional weekend ride. I did achieve my goal of putting 1000 mile on it between 8/1 and 12/31 2004. I only had to ride 25 miles on 12/31 to make it happen.
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