Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Something different at the Chili Bowl

There was a good variety of midget racing engines at the 30th annual Chili Bowl Nationals, which included but was engines produced by Gaerte, ECOtech, Fontana Automotive, MoPar, Honda, Toyota and the most prevalent, Esslinger Engineering.  There were even two midgets  powered by the once-dominant Autocraft Volkswagen engine, but the subject of this feature is the Boyles engine.

The Boyles engine as photographed by the author

The Boyles engine is a development of the Ford Taurus SHO (Super High Output) V-6 engine modified for midget racing by 81-year old Ray Boyles of Overland Park Kansas.  For the Ford Taurus SHO, the 182 cubic inch engine supplied by the Yamaha Motor Corporation used an iron block fitted with a four valve per cylinder double overhead camshaft aluminum head.

The Boyles #7RS with driver Merril Lamb 
photo courtesy of the All Star Midget Series

As outfitted for racing with mechanical fuel injection, at the Chili Bowl the low-cost Boyles engine appeared to be a little behind the performance of a typical Esslinger engine in power and  likely weighed a bit more than the four-cylinder Ford Pinto based Esslinger.  On its Tuesday preliminary night for the 2106 Chili Bowl, Boyles #7RS stealth chassis midget driven by Iola Kansas driver Merril Lamb finished 13th in the evening’s B feature and on Saturday, finished 14th in the ‘G’ feature.     

In addition to building his unique engine, Ray Boyles has operated the All Star Midget Series (ASMS) since 2013 which races primarily on track in the Kansas City area.  Merril Lamb finished third in 2015 ASMS season points in the Boyles powered #7RS midget.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hot Rods and Guitars at SEMA 2015

 Hot rods and guitars just naturally seem to go together, and nowhere was that more obvious than at the 2015 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas Nevada.


Dynamat, the leading manufacturer of multiple sound deadening and vibration absorbent materials for use in the hot rod and restoration field, featured “Wham,” a customized 1969 Ford LTD once owned by guitar legend Lonnie Mack.  

Reproduction of Lonnie Mack's guitar in the trunk

The LTD took its styling cues from Mack’s 1958 Gibson Flying V guitar, copying its blood red color and featured a Roland jazz Chorus guitar amplifier mounted in the trunk, shown with a reproduction of Mack’s guitar built by the Gibson Custom Shop. The LTD built by the Speed Kings shop in Cincinnati, also featured custom swivel front seats and 1964 Buick Riviera cast aluminum wheel covers. 

The Ridetech performance suspension specialty company’s booth featured the ‘XL27’ 1927 Ford hot rod built by the Greening Auto Company of Nashville Tennessee and a matching guitar.   The front suspension of the ‘XL27’ uses cantilevered Ridetech coil-over suspension components with custom split wishbones and body-colored twelve-inch Baer front disc brakes. The five-spoke wheels, 16 inch by three-inch wide in front and 18 inch by five-inch wide at the rear with knock-off caps were created by Jesse Greening, and were finished by Advanced Plating in brushed nickel with a translucent black powder coating.

The Goodguys giveaway 1932 Ford

The Goodguys Rod and Custom Association booth featured the group’s beautiful 1932 Ford Giveaway car built by Mike Goldman Customs of Meridian, Mississippi. The Brookville Roadster reproduction 1932 Ford roadster rides ‘hi boy’ style on a TCI Chassis with a 4” dropped front axle and 4-link rear suspension powered by an Edelbrock Performer 310 ‘Triple Deuce’ crate engine. The car with a black chopped canvas top and black steel wheels and the ‘32’  guitar are both covered with PPG white paint with red and black graphics.  'Eye on Cars' is sad to report that Gary Meadors, founder and chairman of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, died on December 27 2015 at age 76. RIP Gary.

The PPG SEMA booth- Mardi Gras

The wildest example of combining cars and music came at the PPG Industries’ wild Mardi Gras – themed booth to promote PPG’s incredible lineup of automotive finishes. As always, the creative minds at PPG ran wild, with a display of custom-painted skull masks, and a custom painted double bass as part of the skeletal band on the balcony overlooking the display area.  

That's just spooky- and creative 

All photographs by the author