So, we’re on to the next phase of the Shanghai Rickshaw as we creep, day by day, toward the Grand National Roadster Show next January. Much as we hate to see the car come completely apart yet again, we needed to do exactly that so we can metal-etch the frame and Conder can tear down the torsion bar frontend and replace the four-sided ends with some nifty splined deals from Norm Rapp Racing here in Sucker Free, among other things.
When you decide to build a hot rod instead of a custom or a muscle car or a restoration, you undergo an additive process: you find a frame, a body, a motor, rearend, wheel and tire combo…you get the picture. And since it’s like that and nothing exists till you build it, fab it, weld it or bolt it, shit gets spendy. ‘Specially when you’re not satisfied with building a car out of a catalog and everything…everything has to be figured out spitball-engineered for the first time.
SPENDY. Lucky for me, I’ve go asthma. Yep. Inhaler-in-the-pocket-next-to-the-Camel-Lights asthmatic. You’ll never see the little kazoo, but it’s always there. I tell you this because as I was elbow-deep into a gallon of metal etch, the cell rang – another asthma research study and was I interested in participating?
Hmmmm…new stainless hardware, a couple buckets of Dow 7 for the mag wheels, a full interior…hell, paint…would an extra thousand bucks help? A broncho-biopsy with a tube down my throat that has a little “Alien”-style metal-toothed mouth that peeks out to snip off pieces of my trachea? For $1000.00? Sure, no problem. All over that shit.
Now, I’ve been officially out of college for more than two decades. In some ways, I feel like the selling-plasma-for-beer-money years should be as far behind me. But when there’s a car to build and a deadline that’s already a little uncomfortable, an extra grand is worth the twilight sleep and huffing salt water till near pass-out twice a week at 6am in a hospital lab with a chick in blue swirly Crocs and a “Keep Tahoe Blue and Weird” lab coat.
When I’m laying there on that slab, hooked up to a bunch of machines with a Hannibal Lecter Special strapped to my face, I’ll be thinking about what color Zodiac naugahyde I’ll be buying with the cash I’m trading for little pieces of my throat. More than fair deal. I wasn’t using those little pieces, anyhow.