Car Crazy in Southern California


Not a weekend goes by in Southern California without a "car" event. If you grew up in Los Angeles this is not surprising. Indeed todays obsession was yesteryears passion as well. "Hot-rodding" Model A's and building street "rods" was common in the late 40's, 50's and 60's. Drag strips where everywhere, some not necessarily purpose built -but the local back road. Racing for "pink-slips" (ownership title) was not uncommon. People would "Choose you Off" and demand you race them in your street car to proove to all who was "king of the road". Racing at El Mirage dry lake or Bonneville is still done and is stronger than ever. These are the only places on earth large and flat enough to race for Land Speed Records.

Ethnic groups have their identity in their "ride" (car). Some of the most intricately detailed and exceptional restoration projects are done by the Southern California Hispanic population. The cars they have typically restored are 40's,50's and early 60's Chevrolets and Fords. The paint work and upholstory is magnificent and often times tells a story. You can see these incredible cars driving in groups on Sundays typically a few inches off the ground with the seats low to the floor "Low Ridders". Low ridding is cool.

Car clubs abound everywhere from the very old turn of the century "horsless carriage" clubs to the turbo-boosted/oxygen enriched Honda or Toyota engine fanatics who can make their engines scream with streetable horsepower.

What makes this so unqiue is that most all these people are not mechanics by trade but by avocation. Car building is their love. Some are content to show the cars in local exhibitions but more and more of these people are finding that it is more rewarding and personally satisfying to make the car go fast and faster. Vintage racing is becomming a very lucrative event and promoters are seizing the oppurtunity to capitalize on this sport. Indeed within in the past two months Southern California was host to TWO of the Largest attended Vintage Car racing events ever held. Tens of Thousands of spectators watched beatifully prepared Corvettes, Shelby's, Cobra's, F5000's, Can-Am cars, Sprites, Mini Coopers, MGB's, Triumphs, Alfa's, BMW's, Volvo's, Elva's...race at speed during the Los Anges Grand Prix held the last week of August. This event was located in downtown Los Angeles! Yes the City Fathers gave permission to close several of the buisiest streets in Los Angeles for a WEEK! Just so that the 1.1 mile race course could be set-up.

These older cars require proper maintenance and restoration in order to be competitive. Engine builders look for special items to enhance power since modification of engine displacement is not allowed. Cam profiling, cylinder head work and carburation is just about the most someone can do to in vintage racing. Recently, I have begun manufacturing headgaskets for vintage cars. Primarily out of necessity, since I was unable to find a gasket satisfying enough. These headgaskets have the ability to transfer heat more efficiently through the cylinder head and hence help cool the head better. This additional cooling can make the difference in a race. Thickness of the gasket can also be tailored to maximize performance. Somtimes thick gaskets are needed for for thin "over-milled" overhead cam cylinder heads in order to maintain stock timming chain/cam configurations. These gaskets are made in solid copper and are naturally asbestos free -a real benefit for those people inspecting and rebuilding these older engines. Custom gaskets can be made for virtually any car.

For more information on custom gaskets:
The Gasket Works
Tel: 626-358-1616 (usa)
Fax: 626-358-1616
Email: copper@headgasket.com
Web site: www.headgasket.com

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