A Sweet Sickness

A Sweet Sickness

I was a proud small block Chevrolet guy when I first got into hot rods. I didn’t apologize to anyone for it. I liked flatheads, loved the way the looked and sounded, but preferred horsepower and reliability over historical significance. And then, something happened…

Around 15 years ago, I spent a lot of time on the “flathead ranch” with my brother Keith Tardel. He taught me the basics of the flathead. He had me drive a roadster with a hot cam and lots of compression. He planted a seed.

Sometime later, Vern Tardel gave me a lesson on flathead building. He put a crusty old engine on a stand, threw a bag of mismatched tools at me and told me to get my hands out of my pockets. I did and I learned a ton. Before I even knew it, I was a flathead guy. It took years, but it seems like it was instant.

I now own two flathead powered cars, a number of motors, and a shit load of speed equipment. My small block powered car sits while my flathead powered cars get driven just about every day.

I still consider the small block Chevrolet the most important motor ever created. I still appreciate them for what they are, but while the small block touches that rational side of my brain, the flathead Ford goes beyond. It’s visceral. Flatheads tickle my emotions like only some leggy broad could. The sound is a symphony of the mechanical. The power a wonder of magic. The simplicity a reminder of history.

A while back, Brian Darwas asked me if I would be in his video dedicated to the little motor. Apparently, he didn’t see TLC’s attempt to put me on TV. My personality doesn’t translate well on the boob tube (or anywhere else some might say), but Brian was more interested in the seeing the car in motion. I could handle that… The real talent in this film comes by way of Vern Tardel, Mike Herman, Dave Simard, Verne Hammond, etc… I can’t wait to see this damned thing.

“A Sweet Sickness” starts shipping this week. To get your copy, go here.

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