Being relatively new to this web site (signed up at the beginning of working from home...) and now retired, I have been inspired to finally start on building something using all of my old dirt modified and other collected parts that Ihave dragged around the country for the last 45 years. 1st I have to say, you people have some tremendous skills. I have seen some amazing work on projects of all kinds on this site. I only hope the "Whatever" project turns out 1% as good. My first car was a CJ5 Jeep, that I killed the engine within 2 months of getting at age 17. Well really my first car was a 57 Chevy limited sportsman car I bought to race at Lebanon Valley Speedway while in high school. It had a 327 that I rebuilt, and kept after getting dissillusioned with the 57. Keep that engine in mind. So I was working for a small machine company after high school that built finishing room paper machinery, sheeters, winders, and other neat stuff, when I killed the f-head 4 banger in the Jeep. So having a 327 in the corner of the garage, of course I knew I could pull off an engine swap,never having done one before. I bought the adapters from JC Whitney, and got the thing done with help from a good friend who owned a garage in my home town.Sam and my brother went to high school together (4 years older than me) and taught me a lot about cars and turning wrenches. He taught me to weld when I was 14 as well. We repaired all the rust and repainted the body, smoothing out the back and making a new firewall to fit around the big hole I cut to get the 327 to fit. Long story short 3 months later, it ran,for 1 day. Driving to work the first day, I managed to blow up the 327. Never saw that coming... It seems a short track enginegoes from 3000 rpm to 7000 rpm and back each lap, but doesn't stay at 4500 give or take for any length of time. Jeeps have 5.38:1 gearing. 50 mph with short tires... well all the oil stays upstairs and doesn't get backto the pan fast enough. Bang! Buy a 2nd 327 from the local junk yard, It lasted a week. Got a third 327 same place, same results after 3 or so weeks. Man this seemed like a good idea... Running out of cash, I get a 62-283, swap some parts from the 327s to make a decent runner, and get it back together. That engine lasted 13 months. I still have the crank (yeah 1 of the parts moved for nogood reason...). I sold the Jeep, and got into a 67 SS 396 in late 73. Hated the pig block (yes I spelled that right), built a 327 from a factory fitted block, 327-365 horse, used 492 angle plug heads, 754 short track cam (a bit much for the street, but WOW), 750 double pumper, Hooker headers, 1st generation Tarantula manifold, Mallory dual point ignition, and too many other race car parts that shouldn't have been used on the street. Backed up to a M22 rock crusher, 12 bolt rear, 4.10 gears. Why I never lost my license is beyond me. Started hanging around other modified racers garages after selling the 57, learning the ropes, you know, "clean the floor kid", but I paid attention and learned some stuff. 17 and knew better... Met 1 older racer, Jim Langenback. He was like a big brother to me, and he and his girl friend helped me grow up. I won't go into details, lets just say losing your father at 14 is no fun. Jim knew I wanted to build a car, and saw something in me so he encouraged me to give it a go. He designed and built me a tube chassis modified chassis similar to, but not a copy of, a Tobias chassis. I was 19, andknew better... Well I did get it built in about 7 months, using limited tools in my shop. A 3/8 drill, a 9-inch B&D angle grinder, an ac buzz box welder, and a set of torches. I had the usual Craftsman starter tool set (still got most of them too as well as the drill and grinder). When I find the pictures I digitized of building the 1st car I'll share them. Worked in a wood-framed 16x18 barn on my mother's land. Oh and the shop I worked at let us use the equipment after hours so I could make stuff once the machinists taught me how to operate lathes, mills, etc safely. I was 20 by the time I finished #54. And knowing better of course I ran a 350 with Hilborns on methanol, instead of the unlimited big blocks in vogue at the time. I could afford a used set of Hilborns (still on the bench downstairs) and was given the 350 by my 1st sponsor, John Turner, Turner Truck Repair in Pittsfield, MA. Needless to say, we were outclassed but we did good occasionally. Raced the Valley and some of the other dirt tracks in upstate NY and western VT for 10 or so years, mostly with Jim driving, although there was a partnership in another car for 2 years with the driver. It was also a good time. In fact I had a good timeall those years, met lots of great people, and had some interesting experiences. Ask me sometime about Syracuse and Lavern Nance. Ah but life moved on, I met a wondeful young lady, and we were married in February 1980. We're still together these 40 odd years. Maggie influenced me to pursue another dream, getting an engineering degree. Boy don't start at 27, go after high school... This led to my first position, as a research scientist, at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH. The position was in the field of applied mechanics, where as I always say, we broke things for a living. Fun work, organizational changes and other aspects of the company made me look elswhere. Whichled me to Ann Arbor, MI, and the US EPA NVFEL. Look that one up... This is the national lab for automotive emissions research and regulations. Hey a gear head working for EPA? I knew better and thought I could help make a difference. Well, I did, but it took moving to upstate NY and going to work for NYS DEC, also an environmental agency, doing...wait for it...automotive emissions research as a research scientist! 22 years later and here we are. So now to the "Whatever" project. here's a teaser until next time.