O.K. YOU BUILT IT, NOW WORK OUT THE BUGS !!

Work out the bugs, that’s being polite for correcting your MISTAKES ! How many of you have built your car, putting every ounce of energy into the “creation” only to find out that it performs a little short of your expectations? Meanwhile , you’re sooo frustrated and burnt out you just can’t bear the thought of tearing back into your finished product to correct your mistakes. I remember years ago, a local machinist built a world class street rod. This thing was all hand made this and billit that. When it was finished , the car had a vibration, he re- balanced the driveshaft, had the wheels and tires re-balanced as well. No luck… finally, he said F**K it! After meticulously building this piece, it got the better of him and he sold it! I ended up purchasing the car later, fully aware of it’s problems. After jacking the car up and putting the jackstands on the rearend and axle so the suspension was “loaded” I discovered the pinion angle of the rearend was waay off! In order to correct it, the bottom of the car would have to be cut out, re-shaped and re-painted. NO PROBLEM ! After lying on my back for a week or so, grinding fiberglass, slinging mud, and upside down wet sanding, job complete! No more vibration! I ended up with a really nice car with over the top craftsmanship all because someone let his car whip his aaaaaaaass! Every car is a learning experience for me. If I’ve never said it before, my ‘55 is the most amazing driving and handling hot rod I’ve ever been in.Sure, it steers hard, big-block,no power steering. It doesn’t have power brakes, but overall, it sounds like a pro stocker (LINGENFELTER RACING !!) doesn’t rattle and stays cool both inside and out ! This car is the standard for me and everything I build. My next project was the black ‘57. I figured I could outdo the ‘55 easily , I’d use leaf springs instead of all that 4-link coilover crap! The front was to be MII with a rack and pinion. And AIR-CONDITIONING !! Guess what, NOT EVEN CLOSE !! Truthfully I attribute my shortcomings on the car to two factors. I think MII suspension is a little spindly for such a big car, and the car is a hardtop, not as structurally rigid as my ‘55 sedan ! Please don’t misunderstand me, it’s a reeeeally nice driving car, it’s just that I have insanely absurd expectations for everything I build ! Next comes the HENRY J, I knew these cars are tin cans to start with but I was DETERMINED to make the BEST driver I’d ever built! No pro street tires to contend with. I could start from scratch and build the chassis really low with complete suspension travel,I used plenty of DYNAMAT to be quiet on the inside and “solid” when you shut the doors! This was to be my GREATEST creation to date! I’m not much of an air ride guy but when building the HENRY, I set the rockers at the mandatory 4” level with the car all mocked up and gave it a shove out of my driveway. It didn’t make it. It seems that the front bumper hangs so far out past the spindle centerline it was just too low! My only solution at the time was to put airbags in front to raise the car in case …well, you know, you needed to stop for gas or sumpthin’. So the car is almost finished, it’s painted, assembled , and at at the upholsterers ,when suddenly, it disappears from my life… WHAT? WELL, HOW’D I DO IS IT A GOOD, NO, GREAT CAR? AAAAAAAH !!!! Finally, a customer of mine purchases the car. I go to his house and for the very first time I get to drive my masterpiece! THIS CAR IS THE BIGGEST PIECE OF SHIT I’VE EVER DRIVEN. The brakes are DANGEROUS, EVERYTHING rattles, the rear of the car hops like a friggin’ bunny rabbit, the front is stiff, you can feel every bump through the steering shaft! GO SCOTTY BOY !!! The new owner is basically the greatest guy on earth and told me to take the car and finish it the way I intended to in the first place. He said I could do ANYTHING I wanted! So, I’ve spent the last two months systematically going through the car, re-doing the front and rear suspension, completely re-designing the brake system, fixing things, finishing things, and you know what? I think I’m getting close to achieving my initial goal, the old HENRY is turning out to be quite the HOTROD !!!

Scott Sullivan

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