Art Posts

Car Posts



Tuesday Night Letter

I was thinking of  family tonight and wrote to a son and grand daughter. It went like this:

I just sent a copy of this book to C and C.

They’re travelers, C and C. Not like this, but still. Those who have the bug have the bug no matter how they play it out. Maybe you have it. We shall see. That bug might have skipped a generation with me because I wasn’t keen on leaving the country so I joined the Air Force but quickly volunteered to go to Montana in a duty station apparently not much sought after. It was close to home too! So even though I joined during the Vietnam War, I went to a pretty safe spot, plunging myself into Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch capsules to repair their radios. I like that word, ‘plunge’.

Lucky me, that’s where I got started with the little British sports cars. Things have certainly changed for those machines! Back then they were a thriving industry in England and they ruled the roads here in the USA for the most part. There were others, the Alpha Romeo’s and the Fiat spyders, The X 1/9, and the German cars. NSU and some Japanese makes sold a few vehicles. But if you were to drive a little cheap really fun sports car, it was usually a triumph or MG or Austin Healey.

Something happened. They were a bunch of small operations that started unifying. One after another either went bankrupt or sold off. They became a big congomerate called British Leyland but were unable to keep the innovation and vision and lacked unity and now most of it is owned off shore. The Chinese, the Malasians and Indians, and others bought them up. Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler bought them too. Jaguar used to be under the Ford umbrella. It’s like they’ve all been owned by numerous concerns. Except Saab. No one came to its rescue and it died.


I had cars on my mind because I was thinking about one of those mysteries that only racers bother with. It’s like so many things, there is a richer world there than it looks like on the outside. That’s the way raising children is. Those who don’t have them see it one way and those who do have an entirely different view. The “don’t have’s” see the mess, the noise, the expense, and the worry. The haves might see all that but there are other dimensions that make the experience etheral and deeply beautiful. Those who don’t have the children can’t see that.

It’s the same with wood carvers. You and I see wood, they manage it. Bass wood is carve-able  like you wouldn’t believe. Oak is opposite, as is iron wood. And balsa is just about worthless unless you’re making air craft, where it’s the cats meow. To a carver the specific qualities are of interest and  matter.

So I finally got tired of not knowing what the heck it meant to balance the corner weight of a car. To me, you make sure it’s all bolted together and then use it. But in racing, little details make or break your success. So they get the car on an entirely level surface. which doesn’t normally exist until they build some sort of apparatus to put each wheel level with each other wheel via a series of leveled surfaces. Then they roll onto leveled scales, one per wheel. All this is done after the car is weighted as used. driver in the seat, gas tank between half and full. Front and rear suspension alignment done. Tire pressures all set. Anti roll bar disconnected. Then they adjust things until the scales at the rear match each other and the scales at the front match each other and the scales diagonal to each other match the other diagonal matched scales. They either add weights or adjust the spring height or both until the numbers are close. interesting. One writer compared it to a four legged table where you fix it so all four rest evenly on the ground. I get this. The little table i have my mouse on is a rocker. Two of the legs are longer. I have to turn it just so before it stops rocking with my arm on it.

Before a driver bothers with something like this, they learn to drive competitively. After they understand what they’re doing then this is a next step advantage.

When I studied the ins and outs and details of front suspension geometry last year I was pretty amazed at how involved it is. I didn’t know how the camber and caster and toe and ride height all worked together for sure or how anyone made the adjustments other than pure trial and error. When you know what scrub radius is, you know you’ve gone past a normal comprehension of steering geometry.

So much of what we consider elegantly simple is actually well engineered so that the complexity is never known to us. It’s actually not simple at all to the ordinary mind. Only to the specialists who know.

This is one of the many things you have to look forward to. Somewhere along the way you are going to take an interest in this or that and become so much more schooled about it’s particulars than most people who you know. Beyond what they can relate to.  It may happen on many pursuits that you follow. I think it’s a good thing. It gives you a bit of a taste of what it’s like for our heavenly parents, who are specialists in more than a few complex matters.

Me, I think it’s a fantastic advantage that you exist here! Good for people, good for you, and delightful to me. You will be one of the builders, which is what I call those who maintain and improve the place. It has been said that life is staffed with builders and murmurers. Builders strengthen and shore up things. Murmurers complain and weaken things.

Anyway, I worked at the office much of the day then more when I got home. I’ve got some ideas I’m developing. It would be nice if I could get them working. For a guy who constantly envisions new things, I’m awfully conventional.

Tonight I connected to R’s pc and watched a lesson she taught to  an Asian student. The eventually perfect girl for M, considering they’re only two years apart. What a bright adorable person she was!  Her cat had just gotten home from the “spa” which I think means the groomer. She picked up the tablet and took it to another room where her mom was holding the creature by it’s arm pits, a long fluffy white cat.

So now my little break is up and I’m going back to work.


I gave an 80 something year old friend a drive in the Europa. I knew it would be a chick magnet!

And then when I put all those candles away I discovered one box of them that is completely printed in German. And the price was $.25! Twenty five cents to ship that box of wax encased strings all the way from the center of Europe!

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Fenimore Central



Washington, USA


Phone No.

Upon Inquiry. Otherwise - spammers




24 / 6


Contact me

Form submitted successfully, thank you.Error submitting form, please try again.