Spring of 2004

What has the AMCK been up to?

Chip and Peter working on Brant's ERA.

Spring has seen a fair amount of stuff going on, but not so much Cyclekart-wise. Master Bates has been motoring after school pretty much every day. What a way to wash out the scholastic cobwebs! His ERA is making a bit of progress and the grill is in now.

The big Winter Project was the MG A (now MG A/B!) The MG had been fading over the recent years and really wasn't even rated for drives out of Jack's Peak (about a 1/4-mile radius.) David had just got hold of a nice six-cylinder Healey but didn't like the flashy chrome wheels so he gave them to Peter as the MG always has looked like it needed heftier wheels and tires. (Many thanks to David, as always...) They looked great on the MG, the chrome fitting the flashier Italian look nicely. So now the car looked lots better, but didn't go at all. Peter started watching the local MG club (which, wisely we thought in retrospect, wouldn't let us join!) want-ads for an MG B engine.
One turned up right away, and just over the hill in Pebble Beach!...How handy. We trundled over and picked it up, had a nice chat with the fellow and looked over his collection (MG's of all kinds, Jags, and a neat old Rolls), turned down his offer of a TR-2 as a sort of door prize, and went home to get cracking.
Peter and David viewing the MG...a little light in the nose.
All in all, the swap of the A and B engines went amazingly smoothly — I had no idea so many parts were shared betweenthe two cars. The only hang-up fitting the B engine to the A trans might have been the starter (they're in different spots...), but we went right around that with a new geared unit which worked from the opposite side and avoided the whole problem. We had a little trouble with running the starter on Negative Ground, so we kept the car in the older Positve Ground. I guess it's now a type AB-Positive! (sorry...)
Peter wondering if this was a good idea...
David testing the new dash...
Steve getting a feel of the new engine.
The car feels great with the new engine: smoother, about a 100 hp. instead of 76 hp., just about the right amount of power. A huge success! ...except now the interior looked too English to fit the new wheels and feel. So out came the seats (which literally fell apart as they were lifted out; I guess we should have used Marine Plywood...) and the dash and in went Peter. A few days later things had been shifted around and made a bit more Barchetta-like. Now there are rumblings of a paint job!

The shiny new wheels have catalysed a whole re-do but it certainly has been worthwhile.

At some point we got a call from Richard Baron about the Road & Track event in May. Seeing as how the MG was back on the road and all, what about a return to Laguna Seca? This sounded like a pretty good thing to us as well. They were also, graciously we thought, opening up their invitational car show to the Cyclekarts as well. We thought about it a bit and decided that even though they were all having trouble we'd try to take a couple of cars over (almost all the cars caught some sort of Cyclekart flu in the November run; The Magnette was out with the engine pulled and both the Bugatti and the Alfa were missing badly.) Richard put us in touch with the lady who was coordinating things for the show and we got cleaning up the cars. We called David and he thought this might be the time to finally try driving the cars out at Laguna Seca, so he decided to come down and help (as he always does — David's always willing to pitch in and is a great sport!) Jill thought that would be fine, and why don't we have all the cars from the photo shoot? That seemed to make sense, so now we were at four cars going out to the track. I decided to leave the Delage in it's race-fresh trim from November as I'm a lazy sot who leaves his cars dirty (plus, it looked good...)

The MG being stalked by a couple of real Ferarris...
Along rolls May and we get ready to go out and there's a bit of a question about parking passes: For some reason (perhaps the creeping corporatisation of Laguna Seca by Mazda?) passes are needed for every vehicle in the paddock. This has never applied to tow cars and such, but such is progress. At any rate, Jill was great about getting us a couple of extra passes so we could come and go in different cars. We didn't think it was actually going to be very enforced, and it wasn't so much once you were in the gate. As it turned out, our having the extra passes worked out as we were able to give one to Allan so he could park inside instead of up the hill.

When we got the cars out to the track we met Jill and found her very friendly and enthusiatic, despite having caught a cold the night before! Somehow the subject of all the rest of the weird cars we had lurking about came up and she thought we should bring 'em all over! — never probably expecting we'd actually take her up on the offer. Of course this seemed like the proper opportunity to see what the Alfettina looked like in a track setting, so off we went with the trailer...While we didn't win the People's Choice award, it certainly wasn't for lack of entries!

All in all, we had fun, although David wasn't able to do more than a couple of laps of the show before the Alfa acted up. That sandy infield still awaits...perhaps the Pre-Historics? Our thanks again to Richard for inviting us and to Jill for being so helpful and accomodating!

In The Next Installment: First there was the Baillila, then there was The Buffy-Porson, now there's The Hulot! The MG gets a new grill (yes, the 30-year-old masonite is finally replaced...) What's next?

Morning at Laguna Seca...

An R&T close-up for Richard...

That's Jill in the upper left, who arranged things so we could have so many cars out there; Thanks again!

A rare sighting of Carol Shelby and his newest retro-racer.

Our machines taking an inordinate amount of parking...And the Carny side of CycleKarting!