Filed under: Feature Articles
It all started with a reasonably hot launch last weekend. Ching. Chang. Bing. The tranny let go. It wasn’t harsh. It wasn’t violent. It wasn’t at all what you would expect it to be. All of that didn’t matter though as the results were devastating to the little ’39 gear box.
And so there I sat… It was midnight on the side of a dark residential street in South Austin. The sound of the flatbed diesel pulling up just added to my desperation… to my feeling of helplessness. About that time, my cell rang.
Keith: What’s up man?
Ryan: Duuuuude… I think I broke our hot rod.
Keith: That’s good. You can learn how to fix it now… It’s part of the program, ya know?
He was right. I’m in the program damnit! And it was high time I learned to work on this car. I’m a pretty smart guy and I’m not a total fuckin’ hack in the garage, right?
As my confidence built, I thought about my good pal Kevin Silva. I knew he was the perfect teammate for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, he’s a talented mechanic with enough patience to teach while he works. Perfect. Secondly, he just finished up mating a ’39 box to his flathead so the work was fresh in his mind. Together, we would triumph.
And you know what? I’ll be damned if we didn’t get the job done without screwing up a single thing. We started on Saturday morning and worked for a couple of hours before starting the chop on Kevin’s sedan (more on that sometime soon). A few more hours the next day and we were shifting gears and grinning. H.A.M.B. Drags here we come!!!!
Of course, like most pre-event thrashes this one would not have gotten done without the help of some incredible friends. No man… I mean it. REALLY incredible pals.
Keith Tardel. He had just gotten back from Bonneville. In fact, he came home a tad early after the Tardel/McKenzie roadster had – ironically enough – blown up a tranny. Exhausted from a ton of packing, unpacking, racing, packing, and unpacking yet again, he still found the time to build a new tranny for me and next day air it to Texas. How do you find the words? If you figure it out, let me know… Cuz I desperately need to let Keith know how much I appreciate him.
Kevin Silva. The guy taught me a ton and worked his ass off over two days just to get my car back on the road. Proud to call him one of my best pals and couldn’t be more thankful that he is a neighbor.
Reggie Hill. On Saturday, we ran across a bit of a hurdle. When the tranny let go it managed to crack the case and break an ear off the mainshaft bearing retainer. Although we had a spare, it was the wrong variation. Enter Reggie… He drove all the way from North Austin just to deliver us the part we needed. Hero of the day and another real good friend.
Gregg Eighmy. Another neighbor, another favor… Gregg let us borrow his engine hoist even after we drank all of his beer on Friday night. Pal.
See ya’ll at the drags…