Monday, December 22, 2014

1974 International Travelall Test Drive

And now, once again, for something completely different. Last month, I had the opportunity to take my uncle's latest midlife-crisis toy for a shakedown test drive. Earlier in the fall, he bought a survivor 1974 International Travelall SUV from Michigan and had it shipped to his parents in Pennsylvania. From there, the plan was to drive it back to Long Island. This truck originated in Nevada, and as such is extremely clean for its age.

This truck is basically identical to the truck that my grandfather, his father, drove in the '70's (before it dissolved into a pile of rust, these trucks were notorious for that) I visited a few weeks early and gave the truck a once over, to determine if there were any major issues before taking it on a roadtrip. The pictures and driving video are below:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

New York Motorcycle Show 2014

This year, my KZ400 diesel motorcycle was accepted into the Ultimate Builder Competition at the 2014 New York International Motorcycle Show. It was an incredible experience, and I was honored to share floor space with some beautifully-built custom machinery. And surprise, I didn't bring the only diesel to the show! Below are pictures of the spectacular Kubota-powered bobber that took runner-up in the Freestyle category.


Pre-Show lineup

Kubota bobber. Incredible design and build

Details of the drivetrain


The electric Harley I've heard so much about

Ducati's new Scrambler

Land Speed Racing

On the wish list


Looks pretty good on a clean carpet!

Fantastic Portraits

Some offerings from the VJMC booth

Velocette in the Featherbed


Amazing Beemer custom

Indian lineup

Monday, November 24, 2014

Diesel Land Speed Racer Mk2 Part 1 - Building the Rough Chassis

Because of time and budget issues, I unfortunately had to take this season off from land speed racing. I swear that I spent most that time productively: finishing dozens of small projects, fine-tuning my race bikes, and catching up on the to-do list. However, it is definitely time to kick back into high gear and build some racing hardware. It has been a while, but *drumroll* it's finally time to get back on topic: alternative fuel speed records. 



Don't worry, I haven't (totally) lost my mind. This carcass may be stripped and beat, but there are good strong bones to start the build with. This sad pile is the remains of a 1979 Harley Davidson Sportster Ironhead. I bought the frame, the forks, and....not much else off of craigslist (for far too much). You may be wondering "why a sportster?". It's not particularly light and would seem to be useless as a competitive race bike, however this chassis has one very important feature: a MASSIVE space in the frame for a big engine.

The first step was to put together a rough rolling chassis from whatever I had on hand, as well as further ebay and craigslist searches. I happened to have a pair of decent rear shocks on the shelf, so I machined some bushings so they would bolt to the sporty frame.

I traded the "king" tank for some rear fender brackets, and installed a peanut tank from my collection on the frame. It just happened to be the perfect fit!

Next up, I found cheap dented fenders on ebay, as well as a steering stem bearing kit so I could remount the forks.

My best parts score so far has been a pair of lightweight cast-aluminum 19-inch wheels. I picked them up off of craigslist, as well as a set of clip-on handlebars, and loosely assembled the rolling frame.

Finally, I machined a quick-release bolt for the swingarm pivot, so that it can be easily removed immediately before the race.

Stay tuned here for more progress on this ill-advised hobby of mine!