Thursday, May 17, 2007

Honey, does my rearend look big to you?

Whatever you do, when asked this question, NEVER answer. Your damned if you do and damned if you don't. By choosing not to reply at least they have nothing to hold over you when you eventually return from the hospital. But if you still feel the need to say something then try saying, "Ya know the that big rear end in my GT350 is from a Lincoln Versailles and there is nothing better built than that beauty." As you can see from the photos we got the rear end, the racing leaf springs, shackles, shims and bushings installed this evening and a fair amount of the Maier Racing adjustable panhard bar installed as well.

Earlier today I took off for GOTELLI'S SPEED SHOP in South San Francisco. Gotelli's has been more like a home away from home for me since the early 70's when the guys all took as much interest in watching me wind up a motor as much as I did a story or two and boy did I have a few. Some things never change. Known as "Terrible Ted," Gotelli was an often-outspoken, no-nonsense racer and one of the sport's best mechanics. He founded the still-standing Gotelli Speed Shop in 1961 in South San Francisco, began his racing career behind the wheel in 1955 with a '29 Ford A/Modified Roadster that he drove to track records at numerous Northern California tracks, but was better known as a team owner and tuner. He gave many drivers the opportunity to showcase their skills in his Gotelli Speed Shop entries, including Jim McClennan, Bud Barnett, Glen Leasler, Jerry Card, Denny Milani, Roy Thode, Kenny Safford, Norm Wilcox and myself.

As well known as Ted was he never mentioned the fact that he was one of the pioneers from old dry lake racing that eventually led to what is known as the NHRA as we know it today and he knew everyone personally that had played any major role in the sport. When I was about 18 years old one day I was telling him about a problem with an engine I had and he told Ted Jr to get "Ed" on the phone. So before I knew it I was speaking to "Ed" and told him what I was trying to do and so he told me how he would fix it. As I hung up I looked at the guys on the counter and said, "That old man is crazy as hell. Who in the hell is Ed? He doesn't know his head from a hole in the ground." About that time the guys all cracked up and as I turned around good old Ted was standing there chewing on his short old cigar with a look of disgust on his face. As he turned to walk away he said, "Go ahead and tell this idiot who that crazy old Ed is." The guys all began laughing hysterically as they all said in unison, "That crazy old man was Ed Iskenderian !" Ted is missed but the guys at the store still take care of me to this day and you can't find a finer bunch of guys in a speed shop anywhere. While I was there I picked up my Edlebrock water pump along with my flywheel and some other trick parts and headed off for the North Bay where my engine builder is.

It was good to see the guys at the engine builder as well and I had time to hang out for a while to check out the progress on the engine and see some parts fitted as well. I also took them some items for the engine like the new "tall" valve covers and other misc goodies.

After I left my engine builder I headed off to meet Tom the owner over at DELTA BAY MUSTANG who had invited me to come take a tour of his shop. Little did I know what I was getting into. No sooner than I got there I remembered exactly how I felt when I was a kid in a candy store. Oh... My.... God! The owner Tom was busy on the phone so in between calls he simply said, "Make yourself at home and have a look around and while you're at it take a walk out thru those doors back there and take a look at some of my toys." In less than five minutes I had to ask for a blank sheet of paper to start keeping a list of things I needed him to get ready. I couldn't help but think this is how a heroin addict gets his first fix for free and then it's going to cost and cost and cost. Tom and his wife Zee are the sort of people you like from the very first second you meet them. Trust me when I tell you these photos in no way do their awesome place justice as they seem to have every single Shelby part a guy could ever want and better yet it's all first cabin quality. And for those parts Tom didn't have he went out of his way to get. There were several obsolete items I needed and he just made them appear. Many thanks to Tom and his lovely wife Zee for making me feel so at home. By the way Zee, what time is dinner?

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