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You want me to what?! Asking the [racing] impossible...


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#1 Twin Window

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 23:33

Have you ever thought that your mate, boss, or maybe wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/partner has asked you to 'achieve the impossible'? I know I have! One such example for me was at Le Mans in 1988.

After 1986, Le Mans wasn't my favourite place, but it has always been special and so - largely because I had a lot of friends involved - I went along as usual. A pal and I walked down the grid and we eventually found Eliseo Salazar, who was sharing a Spice Fiero with Almo Coppelli and Thorkild Thyrring. "Just the man I was looking for!" he announced, and drew me to one side for a chat. It turns out that he'd recently opened a chain of Hugo Boss stores in Chile and Argentina, and (IIRC) as his deal with the Spice team happened at the last minute, it meant he hadn't had the time to organise any Boss logos for the race car.

That's where I came in - would I make some up for the nose of his car, please? Oh, and the four spare noses too...? Unfortunately for me, there was a precident as the same thing had happened at the Birmingham Superprix two years earlier. So he knew I could do it... My question "Ok mate; what references have you got that I can use?" was answered with the production of a business card and a somewhat sheepish smile.

The bloke I walked down the grid with captured the very moment. You can almost sense my disbelief at being asked (again) to accurately create something quite large from such a tiny reference...

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So off I went, with frankly no idea of how I was going to fulfill this particular favour. However, after nipping into a couple of friendly pits and blagging some raw materials - like some black plastic, a steel ruler, a pencil and a scalpel - I set about it. A wallpapering-style table being used for food was taken hostage for a flat surface and after something in the order of two to three hours, I'd done the lettering. Here you can see the aforementioned, as my mate Martin Haven drops in to enquire what I was up to...

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That done, the logos had to be applied to the noses. The old pits were still in use, which made life a lot more difficult, but eventually all the noses for car #103 were suitably adorned. And, if you look closely at your pics from Le Mans that year, you'll be able to 'time' ones taken of that Spice according to whether it has BOSS on the nose or not!

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It didn't look too bad in the end, given the circumstances!

The former mechanics on this forum have, I imagine, some far better stories than this... ;)

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 00:05

Yes, there's one story of a Repco engineer hand-scraping a cylinder head flat over the course of a weekend alone in the factory...

#3 RTH

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 10:26

Cutting out letters in fablon, unless you have a pattern to draw around or a pantograph is exteemly difficult and takes a lot of artistic skill, - thats a fantastically good job .

#4 dbw

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 18:18

quite a few years ago at the monterey historics,a[very wealthy] friend had his freshly restored '20s indy car delivered for him to race...we all marveled at this wonderful rare beauty but after practice the proud owner complained of poor shifting....as the restorer was not on site,the gentleman's regular mechanic was on duty and popped the lid off the offending gearbox...a thorough inspection showed nothing unusual..so a lunch break was promptly called...as we wandered off for food one of the group casually nicked the shift rod and as we walked thru the pits he would borrow bits of emory cloth of varying grit... by the end of our lunch the selector boss had been nicely worried to a soft edged finish...he wiped it clean,lathered it in gearbox oil and set it back where he'd found it...the mechanic reinstalled it and the car then shifted like a dream...the proud owner [who knew nothing of the above] hailed his newfound shifting ability and raced well the next day.
when i gently confronted my mate as to his activities he shrugged and said "well, it seemed to me that as the 'totally original' gearbox was completely new i figured i'd at least add 500 miles of wear to the shifter...but hell,doesn't it sound great out there?"


names and car make omitted for many reasons..

oh...this is the same fellow that ,as a team of "experts" disemboweled a carburator for a fuel problem, casually unscrewed the hand pressure pump and rubbed in a palmfull of engine oil into the dry leather piston ....carb assembled a few quick pumps on the [now functioning] pressure system...the engine runs as new...and the experts congratulate themselves for a job well done.[different car than above..but also an elderly indy car]

#5 antonvrs

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 19:34

Would that have been a green Miller?

"quite a few years ago at the monterey historics,a[very wealthy] friend had his freshly restored '20s indy car delivered for him to race."

#6 dbw

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 00:09

mmmmmmm..... :blush:

#7 LB

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 01:30

Originally posted by Twin Window

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Shouldn't Angela 'n' Toni be on the windscreen?;)