Tag Archives: sightings

Shame on You Triple A Roadside Assistance

Shame on you Triple A Roadside Assistance.  Shame on you…

You know, there was a time when corporate pride meant something.  I remember a day when companies would go out of their way to make their vehicles look in tip-top shape.  Examples of buses, 18-wheelers, and everyday delivery trucks.  Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore.  Drive on any Interstate Highway and you will see filthy trucks with “wash me” written on the sides or better yet, totally banged up examples like the one in today’s post.  Take a look…

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I saw this truck on my way to work this morning.  This is an “Emergency Services” Triple A (AAA) Battery Service truck.  Take a closer look.  This poor Chevy truck has been driven hard and put up wet.  Pretty much every panel on this truck was nicely banged up – I suppose maybe AAA is into NASCRAP racing with their emergency trucks these days!  There was definitely some “tradin’ paint” going on here.

Remember the movie “Days of Thunder” (it sucked)?  Remember the part where Cole was told to “go out and hit the pacer car” because there is still one corner of the car that is not dented?  I guess somebody told the driver of this truck to do that very thing.  What a shame Triple AAA.  You have hit a new low.

Adding insult to injury, take a look at that rear bumper:IMG_1617

I am not a card carrying member of the Triple A network, but if I were stranded on the side of the road and had this lousy truck show up I would wonder who needs who?  Know what I’m saying?

Triple A, tell you what:  you need to pay close attention to probably the last of the vehicles that mean something.  Love it or hate it, but the South Carolina Highway Patrol goes out of its way to keep their aging fleet of Crown Vics in excellent shape.  I have never seen one of their cruisers banged up or even scratched up.  Matter of fact they even go to the trouble of using zip-wraps on the hubcaps to keep them from making a premature high speed departure.

So yes, Triple A – shame on you…

Missing Spare Tire

On the way to lunch today, I saw the following vehicle with a missing spare tire…

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This gives new meaning to not having a spare tire.  I mean, take the trouble to hang the rim back on the hanger, with no tire?  Oh well.  You see all kind of things on the road these days.  But just to highlight how irresponsible the driver was…  When we passed this vehicle, the driver/operator was busy texting.

I’m a big supporter of technology.  The more the better.  But when it comes to texting and driving, that is just unacceptable.  This driver gave new meaning to irresponsible.

Bad Muffler…

We’ve had a ton of rain around my neck of the woods these days and this pisses me off.  I haven’t driven any of my toys lately:  bowtie6 as awesome of a ride as it is unfortunately leaks in the desert; and my pristine S2000 is just too refined for rainy days.  Yeah, she is way too pampered…  :mrgreen:

But I digress…

Today, the sun was out (for a change) and the humidity was tolerable so I took the S2K to work.  On the way there, I saw the following driven-hard and put-up-wet automobile, sporting dealer tags in early rush hour traffic.

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Please forgive the picture quality but my iPhone as nice as it is, has limitations.  At any rate I thought this was a pretty pathetic used car on the road.  Check out the bad muffler, within an inch of the road and its life.  Prior to reaching this intersection the highly capable driver went over a bump and sparks flew off the muffler very much the way vintage 80’s F1 cars would when their titanium skidplates would contact the deck.  Except in this case, the sparks came off a much abused muffler.

What did this poor car do to deserve this?  Adding insult to injury, the ubiquitous South Carolina dealer tag.  Makes you wonder what poor minimum-wage earner (the prime target of the unscrupulous used-car dealer) will fall prey to buying this much abused car for basic transportation.

Used car dealer: 1; Used car 0.  🙁

Old House…

Old House...

An old house on the side of the road (click for larger size)…

Got up this morning and after watching the recorded (thank you DVR!) Formula1 Qualifying telecast from the Shanghai International Circuit I headed out on my bike and enjoyed an awesome ride on a glorious day.  Today’s forecast called for severe clear, mild Spring weather in the Upstate of South Carolina; however when I left the house, it was in the low 60’s – just perfect.  It was during today’s awesome ride that I came across this old house…

I am very lucky to have some of the most amazing rural two-lane roads in what is basically my back yard.  These are very low traffic country roads with rolling hills and some pretty awesome sights.  On days like today though, things just take a special “look” about them.  The old house in today’s featured picture is on one of these rural roads and I’ve passed it hundreds of times.  Today though, there was something about it that called for a picture be taken.  I captured today’s picture – mind you – with my iPhone so that might account for the grain in the picture, but oh well – I though it was pretty cool.

What I thought special about this old house is that it sits in a very nice piece of property, with a wooded area in the background and a slight hill.  Makes you wonder how old the old home might be?  Who lived there?  How was day-to-day life when the inhabitants of this structure called it “home”?  How many cold nights were heated by that fireplace?  What did a summer rain shower sound like on that tin roof?

Life was different then…  Then again, was it perhaps better than today?  Simpler times, indeed.

Beauty is Only Skin Deep

Have you ever stopped at a street light, only to have a custom-built street rod pull up next to you with paint so bright it makes your eyes hurt?  With a “blueprinted” engine built with the highest lift cam available from the Summit catalog, the biggest four barrel made by Holley and with a driver/operator bouncing back and forth constantly blipping the throttle in an attempt to keep that hot engine from stalling?  You give the owner/operator (who thinks he looks like John Force staging his top-fuel dragster) the thumb’s up and say “Damn, that is one hell of a car!!!”.  The poor dude can barely wave back; remember, he is busy blipping that throttle and trying to work the B&M shifter back into “D”rive as soon the light turns green but somehow he manages to give you the “I’m a badass and I know it” nod.  In an instant the light turns green, and he is gone.  Except that instead of the sweet smell of burnt rubber you realize he just left a cloud of blue smoke.

In the case of this Pontiac Streetrod (see the image on the left), in addition to the paint and engine as described above we can add “real” wire wheels and a custom tweed interior.  Last but not least, is one of the highly sought after “Safety Inspection Passed” stickers on the windshield that one of the nationally sanctioned associations puts on cars when they consider the car a pinnacle in hot rod engineering.

The car is on a lift for a reason:  the radiator was in pretty tough shape and since it is aluminum it was taken to my cousin Jim’s shop to see if it could be repaired (I’ll have more about that in a minute).  At any rate, Streetrod looks mighty sharp on the lift – from a distance.  Beauty is only skin deep.

Behind front grill (note the trick Streetrod emblem) is that aluminum radiator I talked about before.  As it turns out, the reason the lower coolant line is so damaged is because it was sharing the same space as the front sway bar.  It also looks like someone has tried to do a quick fix on it.  Complicating matters, the Streetrod‘s owner must have used tap water for coolant and hence all the scaling.  Incidentally, the bottom rubber hose that attached to this radiator pipe was pretty clogged up.  The picture for the top inlet looks abused too.  Needless to say, Jim opted not to repair the radiator.  But the surprises have just started…

I  mentioned before the front sway bar competing for space with the radiator outlet.  However, lets take a look at what else is behind the radiator.

  • For starters is the wiring.  Imagine all those wires behind the radiator and exposed to the elements. Not good.  Not one wire has been soldered, instead they are all very poorly crimped.
  • The cover for the flywheel looks like it has come in contact with a manhole or some other object.  It got banged up pretty bad.
  • The front springs had several spacers – looks like there might have been a ride height issue, who knows?
  • Check out the heat wrap on the driver’s side header.  The passenger’s side did not get the same treatment – I guess because they wanted to keep the starter from getting hot and thus failing to “start”.  The other picture of the wrapped header is looking from the bottom up.  You reckon there is a clearance issue there?  Under the slightest of engine movement (more on this later) that header pinches the steering mechanism.
  • Finally take a look at the clearance between the exhaust pipes and the rest of the frame.  Not much room there at all.

Streetrod‘s motor mounts are a real treat (click on the pics above).  Not only is the welding of the highest order and impeccable, but the design is amazing.  The whole cantilevered affair is something that begs to be admired welded directly to the front crossmember.  Believe me, these photos don’t make justice at how amazing this setup is.

Part of the braking system on Streetrod is pictured above.  The master cylinder has been located underneath the car.  OK – that is all good but take a look at those rusted brake lines.  They look very poorly made and the threads on the fittings were covered with teflon tape – I presume they wanted to make sure no leaks would happen.  Then, take a look at the excellent work on the hand brake cable.  Incidentally, the cable was rubbing on the main hot feed coming from the trunk mounted battery.  And of course, next to all this is the main fuel supply line going to the engine.  Very safe indeed.  Finally don’t miss that small wooden body shim.  Spot on.

The last set of photos above show yet more creative details underneath Streetrod.

  • Appears the running boards must have been either MIA or way too rusted to salvage.  No problem – Streetrod‘s running boards of wood.  Nice touch
  • Since this is a high performance automobile, a transmission fluid cooler is a must.  No problem there either, just make a couple of brackets out of sheetmetal and screw them on the frame and hang a cooler.  I just don’t think this oil cooler is very effective since there is little to no airflow tucked in that close to the floorboard.
  • And finally, want to add some nice magaphones to the exhaust but the pipes are not long enough?  No problem.  Just bend up some tubing and clamp it to those once-upon-a-time chrome tips.  Presto!  Killer exhaust.

The last picture above is the scariest part of the build.  In order to get the rear end to line up with the tailshaft of the gearbox, Streetrod’s builder added the above pictured wedges to tilt the rear end down.  They tried to get the engine as low as possible (evident by the non-existent clearance between the exhaust and the body).  The deal here is that if one or both wedges decide to part ways with the car, the driveshaft is not going to be all too happy.  Not only is this an example of beauty being only skin deep, but also of a dangerous automobile on the street.  And like I said before, this car had a sticker where it had passed full “Safety Inspection”.