Tales of all things Datsun...

General Discussion about the Datsun PL510
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Tales of all things Datsun...

Post by 5teN » 22 Sep 2004 19:36

Post your most memorable Datsun moments :-)
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Post by supersportsedan » 22 Sep 2004 20:45

I'm sensing some quality newsletter material...

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Post by 5teN » 22 Sep 2004 20:52

supersportsedan wrote:I'm sensing some quality newsletter material...
We can only hope...
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Post by RABIDAPACHE » 22 Sep 2004 21:04

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ever since i started my job as a delivery driver for alfy's pizza, i have been keeping an eye out for 510's, good rally roads, etc, etc while cruising around. and it finally paid off.

i was cruising along and caught a glimpse of those unmistakeable round headlights and quickly whipped around. i pulled off the side of the road and made my way through the tall grass towards one dusty 510. i was taken back by how straight the car was, good paint, only one major body flaw, nice chrome. the doors were unlocked so i climbed inside. the first thing i noticed was the mint dash, no cracks, no blemishes. then my eyes started scanning over everything, i was fumbling through a mental checklist of things to look for. perfect, white perforated headliner, nice brown door panels, mint backseat, decent carpet, all interior trim pieces were there and in great shape. auto tranny with L-16. stock wheels and tires. it had these cool liscence plate holders that read "EVERETT DATSUN," and the plates hadnt been tabbed since 89. i started pulling up the corners of the carpet and everywhere i looked the floor pans were 100% rust free. even the keys were in it! the key chain was a replica of the plates on one side and on the other it read "disabled american veteran." i wanted to start it up but whoever dumped it took out the gas tank and set it in the front seat.

i was in the middle of delivering pizzas so i couldnt sit and gawk too long. so i jumped in my car and took off. i was so pumped about my find i swear i wasnt even touching the ground. i was a few blocks away and i remembered that i didnt check the odometer or look in the glovebox for any registration papers. let me tell you, finishing that 11 hour shift was one of the hardest things i have ever done. i called up a couple of my 510 buddies to tell them about it but was unable to get ahold of anyone. i told a few people at work but they looked at me all puzzled like "datsun? whats a datsun?" it sucked.

when i finally made it back to the car i just about shat myself when the odometer read 64666. then i thought well, it could be 164666 or even 864666 for all i know. then i checked the glovebox. lo and behold, folded all neatly was some paperwork. on one piece was some sort of lisencing receipt with the name and address of the owner, and the other was the warranty information from sears for the tires that were on the car. the warranty card was from 79, and printed on the lines was the odometer reading which was 43464. i assume the card was for the tires that were on the car. so i started checking out the tires and they were in great shape, no balding at all.

the field that the car was in was in an industrial park. all of the buildings had for lease signs on them except for one. i went in and started trying to see if anyone knew the owner of the car because i was interested in buying it. no one had any idea whos car it was. the next day i looked up the name in the phone book and called the owner. an old lady answered the phone, which didnt really surprise me it just confirmed my suspicions. the car was her husbands and he passed away. he left it to his son but he showed no interest in it so it sat in the garage for years. finally, she needed it out so she gave to her neighbor. he in turn, didnt feel like cleaning it up and didnt much care for the grandma car so he rolled it into that field where i found it. she said that she would put my in touch with him to negotiate a price.

an hour later i was talking to him. he told me that it ran great and it just needed the gas tank to be flushed out and some new brake pads. "how much?" i asked "well," he said, "$48 and it is yours. that is how much i paid to transfer the title twice so go pick it up and we will arrange to meet up."

my curiousity was overwhelming, i had to know if the car really only had 64,000 miles. so, i called the old lady back. after a few minutes it was quite clear that the odometer was correct. she told me how it only was driven daily for a couple years before it was banished to the garage for only occasional grocery getter assignments. they had carb trouble and replaced the stcok unit with a weber in 80 or 81, only a short time after they repainted the car a dark gun-metal gray instead of the stock tan color it was. anyways, that is my story and i am sticking to it. 8)
69 wagon w/ L-18 and 4 speed
71 sedan w/ L-16 and 3 spd auto

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 11:48

Morning all!
This will be the first post of :Tales from the Great Rolling Dyno.
This gives a little bit of history to the whole thing. Then I will try posting the first story, this one fom 1989.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 11:53

Tales From The Great Rolling Dyno

A Quick Bit of History

In 1969, I bought my first Datsun, a station wagon. I will go into the details of this when I finish the third part of : GARAGES.
In 1972, with 105,000 miles on my 1969 car, I bought a 1972 wagon. As I had developed a true love of driving, and did very long trips, I started to want more power and handling. I had bought my car from a sales person who was actually road racing a 510, at WestWood. I was introduced to motor sport! A few dealers and businesses in Vancouver were starting to carry performance parts for the 510. I started to check into cams and carbs, suspension, etc. Then one day, a young fellow, who started working with me, asked if I had heard of TURBO-CHARGING. “No. what’s that?” I asked. As most of you local people know…the rest IS history! After a couple of weeks of research, I was pretty sure turbo charging was the way to go. The problem, in ’72-’73, was turbo charging was in its very early stages of infancy. Where did I go to get more info? As it turned out, Interpart was carrying the Crown Mfg. kit for a 510. Wow, was I stoked. I got the local dealer to bring me in a brochure, which listed the kit at $595.00 USD. That was a LOT of money even then.
I was just about to order that kit, when I heard about a local Vancouver company that was making a turbo kit for the 510. I could not get down there fast enough! The company was called Engine Air. The man who owned the business, Dick Garret, was a bit of a car guy and had a 510. The real business of this company was retro-fitting turbo chargers onto tug boats, thus keeping them competitive. I went down to see them. I can still remember my first drive in his turbo 510. I was asking him all about it, when he said, “Lets just go for a drive!” After having been around and going for some rides in cammed and carbed 510’s, I was really disappointed that the car was so quiet, idled like a stock car…..I thought, this was going to be lame. We cruised out to the Second Narrows bridge, the car never bucking, quiet, felt like MY 510. RATS! Then, as we fed onto the ramp, he leaned on the throttle in second gear. By the time he grabbed third, the grin on my face must have been enormous. We headed over the bridge and up the cut. For those of you non-local people, the “cut” is an up hill, approx.8-10% grade that was a test for lots of cars as to what speed you could maintain. Dick hit the bottom of that hill in 4th gear…and the car just kept accelerating. Accelerating quietly, with just a hint of that turbo whistle! We peaked at about 105 MPH. That was FAST. I was sold! $550.00 CDN.. When we got back to his shop, I could not get the kit loaded into the back of my wagon fast enough. I had that kit installed in three days after I got it.
As a side note, any of the Crown kits that I came across in Vancouver, were horrible. The kit was not a kit. You had to fabricate, scrounge, so much stuff, it should have been criminal. And, no thought was given to controlling the boost! There was not one person that I ran across, who had not blown a head gasket or motor, with the Crown kit. With Dick’s kit, I bought nothing….everything was there. And, as he retained the stock exhaust and intake, boost stayed constant at 15LBS. Plus, being the engineer that he was, gave me that details about boost, octane, etc., that kept everything alive. The Crown kit gave you nothing like that. I wonder how things may have turned out if I had bought one of those kits ?
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 11:54

Again I hit the highways. I used to jump in the car right after work on Friday, drive to Salmon Arm to watch the drive-in Friday night, sleep in the back of the wagon, drive to the Okanagan Saturday morning, lay on the beach all day, drive home Saturday night, get up Sunday morning, drive to Pemberton and back on the Squamish highway. That was 700 miles under my belt, and I did that every second week…payday you see! Along with this was the development of suspension, but that’s another story.
Along with these drives of course, came the encounters with other vehicles of a sporting nature. I won’t bore you with the details of my conquests, but there were many. The wagon was a true “sleeper”, surprising many a so called high performance car, or European cruiser. One I will tell you about, because I still laugh about it, was my encounter with a 911 Porsche, in 1974. I was just past Spences Bridge, cruising along about 85MPH, when I saw this 911 ahead of me. He was obviously going pretty good because I was not closing on him very fast. We got into the twisty bits and I was pretty much right behind him. You know how you KNOW when somebody is starting to give it, I could see him look in the mirror, and felt the pace pick up a bit. He could not lose me, and I felt I could pass him on one of the steep long hills. Sure enough, I could out motor him on the next big hill and was gone. I could see he could reel me in on top end, but, I could stay ahead on the twisty bits. I put about a mile on him by the time I got to Cache Creek to fuel up. He pulled in on the other side of the pump. He rolled down his window and asked what the hell I had done to the motor. As I looked into his car, his right leg was in a full cast, and draped over into the passenger side, he was driving with his left leg! His lady friend was giving him a hard time about driving fast. He said he too loved to drive and that he was not going to let a broken leg get in the way! He could not believe that the “little Japanese piss pot” ate his Porsche!
As time went on, I came to think my car was invincible, out on the GREAT ROLLING DYNO, and, I was a hero driver! Little did I know. One day I spotted an ad in a local paper, inviting people out to an AUTO SLALOM. I had no idea what this was about, but, It said it was geared for novices. I figured I was a pretty good driver and that I would show them a thing or two about power. This slalom was to be held at what was our local road race track, WestWood. I arrived that sunny morning, all full of piss and vinegar. I had put more air in the tires as they had recommended. When I had phoned the fellow to ask what the slalom was about, he asked what kind of car I had. I told him it was a turbo charged Datsun wagon. He said, “Well, that should be interesting!”
Wow, there were REAL race cars here, and, cars that looked more serious than I had seen before! No problem! People were coming over to see this TURBO car, my ego stroked beyond belief. “This should be interesting!” they said. The slalom course was pretty much the full road course, with some slalom gates thrown in to keep the speeds down. This should be easy I thought to myself.
Away we went, my heart rate must have been at 210! Accelerate, brake, turn, toss, accelerate, toss, brake…oh my God, the hair pin…brake more, accelerate, toss, turn….brake hard and finish. What a star! I showed them! I pulled into the pits, no one came over to congratulate me or hoist me onto their shoulders. I went and looked at my time. Holy crap! This was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Dead last! Even deader than last! I was so slow it was amazing. I thought I had just done the drive of a life time…and I’m dead last. But I was HOOKED! The gauntlet was thrown. The challenge was there. Some veteran solo guys came over, offered suggestions about tires, suspension changes…maybe a wagon was not the best solo car…seemed to be a lot of throttle lag……you know…THE STUFF!!!! Yes, I was hooked. 29 years later….The rest they say, IS HISTORY.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 11:56

What really was the best part, was the community. During that day, no one came over and trashed my poor car, or my driving. What they did offer was suggestion, encouragement, and CONSTUCTIVE criticism. I joined the Columbian Auto Sport Club in 1976 and started slaloming full time that year. It was during this time that I started writing for the clubs newsletter. Back then, the Solo series also involved a lot of out of town travel. It was doing this that the “Tales From The Great Rolling Dyno” was born. Both from the fact that I used the great, rolling expanses of B.C.’s highways as my test track, and that my wagon was retired from solo use and the turbo was put into a 1972 2dr sedan, the car became that ROLLING DYNO.
The “Tales” part came from documenting those out of town trips. In the early 70’s, Car & Driver Magazine started their 1 LAP of America Race, or, as it became to known, The Cannonball. There was a core group of us slalomers, that used to do the out of town races. After a few years, the race became secondary! The EVENT was the drive to and from the event. The Cannonball. Not a race, but, just a high speed drive. It got so bad, at the height of the out of town events, that the line up for the “start” of the drive back, looked like the pre-grid of a road race. People were jockeying for position so as not to be left to far behind.
I was criticized heavily for organizing these Cannonballs! I organized nothing, they just evolved. This was a very die hard group of motor sport people who loved to drive. Out of this came, “Tales From The Great Rolling Dyno” a documentation of the people, the drives, the events. As I look back now, I am glad I wrote a lot of this down. At 54 years old now, it is amazing what has become forgotten. The written record is just that, helps bring back those memories, the characters, and the incredible Fun that we all had. Some of the original “Cannonballers” are still around. Don Nimi, Richard Boyk, Campbell Carlyle, to name a few. All are still heavily involved in motor sport.
I hope I have not bored you with this. For me, it is something that I have been meaning to do, this little bit of history. We all have our tales and exploits, thanks for listening to mine.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 12:11

I first ran Knox Mountain in 1982, my time was 2:10. I was beaten by a GT Camero that did a 2:05. My goal was to beat that time, then ultimately, beat the 2:00 minute mark. I ran Knox 14 times, each time pretty much going faster than before. I out tricked myself a couple of times, had some problems, but, ultimately, got MY record.
This story, from 1989, tells of one of those Knox weekends. I did a 2:02 this year, and survived, through shear luck, an incidence on the drive back.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 12:13

Tales from the Great Rolling Dyno


The real thrashing started about three weeks before the hillclimb, but the story starts last May. I was really disappointed with my times, not being able to break out of the 2:05:s. I went out to Westwood in October and did some testing, setting the timing and carb jets to their optimum. The car ran super well and I promised myself I would not meddle with anything. Thinking of tires I also realized that I would need something softer than the McCreary tires I had been using.
We pulled the engine apart to check it out after the Westwood test and found most things looking just great. The turbo also came apart and we put in the next size oil control ring on the turbine shaft. This proved all for naught as on my second run at Chilliwack on May 14 the turbine shaft failed (bent) and took out my high flow compressor wheel and housing. RATS! This had to come from the Eastern U.S. and I really thought that I was going to miss Knox Mnt…I guess I can’t complain, this little shaft has been spinning around since 1972 @ 80,000 rpm. Needless to say the new turbo core arrived on Wednesday night and I installed it on Thursday before we left town.
Lots of thrashing went on before that Thursday, but that’s another story, and, as the Great Chicken Man says, “it wouldn’t be Knox if there wasn’t one last minute panic and preparation.” I think I really could do without it though!
I met Campbell at the Port Mann weigh station at 10:00 p.m. As we pulled out onto the highway, I accelerated fairly hard. From the area of the trunk I heard a funny zapping noise, accompanied by all my lights going funny for a second, the Escort went off and the voltage meter was crashing back and forth. “Hell, what’s going on now?” I said to myself, what a great start to a long night. Turns out I never tightened the battery hold down bolts and the wing nut grounded out on the hold down bracket. Talk about lucky (which is another story coming up!)almost a major nuclear fire in the trunk. It welded the wing nut to the washer and then bounced clear, fortunately the electrical system survived! I had something similar happen a few years ago and it took out the alternator, fusible link, and regulator and blew the internal overvoltage fuse in my Escort.
We arrived in Hope at midnight with Campbell getting out of his car, teeth chattering, muttering about no heater. Little did we know what was in store on the Hope/Princeton road.
As we climbed the Hope slide hill, the visibility started to deteriorate. Fog, rain and one of those nights that just sucks the light up like its not there! I followed Campbell with my lights out for a while so he could see without my lights blinding him in the mirror. “This is not real great,” I said to myself as we hurtled through the night. Soon after the SNOW started, getting heavier as we approached the summit in Manning Park, then turning into a full blown blizzard! Here I am, in my pride and joy, driving in SNOW. I promised my Mom years ago that I wouldn’t do that. I have been in some pretty fierce snow storms in my years of hiking and driving the mountains and this blizzard ranks with the best of them.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 12:14

Campbell and I came upon some very slow traffic that would not move over. We had been driving down the center line because that’s all we had for visual reference. This fellow towing a boat was doing the same but would not move even though our lights combined gave good reference to where things were. I passed on the right as soon as I had a good shot past and motored on. Campbell got hung up, so he was not right behind me. About 10 minutes later I saw lights coming up fast behind me and thought it was Campbell. I then realized that whatever it was was coming very fast and was very big. A loaded semi is very impressive when it passes you at 70mph in a snow storm. I tucked in behind him, lost in a swirling vortex of snow. I guess he was high enough that he was not blinded by his own lights, like we were. Pretty soon we were outside the east park gate, the road was dry and the snow had stopped. Strange. Soon Campbell caught up and we spent most of the trip into Princeton following a guy in a Maverick, of all cars, doing a not bad job through the twisty bits. Campbell and I were practising late apexes all through there, so I suspect the guy in the Maverick thought we were drunk , as we were weaving all over the road, diving into the corner late and catching up to him and his early apexes. We finally passed him and rolled into Princeton to gas up. I had been watching my air intake temperature drop to a chilly 38 F…I got out and started to empty my 5 gallons of Avgas into the car, looking up I could see these two cold faces peering out at me from the gas bar. Campbell and Diane had beat a hasty retreat inside to warm up, all but sitting on the space heater. At that moment I was really glad I hadn’t played silly bugger and ripped my heater out because I thought I had a “RACE CAR.”
We blasted off into the night, the sound of chattering teeth drowning out anything else.
Don had arrived at the motel at 1:00a.m and had the key to our room. I was really glad as the sound of the owner’s dog brought more chills to my spine. “Rather deal with a sleepy Don that that dog,” I said to myself. This is at 3:15 a.m that I’m banging on the door. Don opened it and I could tell that something was amiss. “I left the ignition key for the race car at Specialty,” was Don’s comment as he handed me the room key. “No problem,” I said, but Don didn’t look too convinced. We finally settled into our room and slept till 9:00 the next morning.
Breakfast was slow and easy at Smittys on Friday, lots of bench racing, etc….We all headed off to the hill to drop and prepare the cars, with a quick stop at CDN tire to buy some supplies. Don arrived with his car trapped on the trailer. He had got in touch with his sister who was going to get Brian Jackson to bring his key up. Brian was running late so we borrowed a drill from Mark Bennie and had Don’s car off the trailer in a couple of minutes. Some people raised questions as to how I got the lock off so fast. One does learn to do handy things throughout one’s life, don’t they….?
In the last few years we have been the first to arrive and I always find it fun to watch the quiet park transform into a beehive of activity by days end. People we see once a year stopping and saying hi, asking about any changes to our cars, borrowing tools, all those great things that make the Knox weekend. Brian finally arrived and Don was as happy as could be, no more using a screwdriver to start the car! Our complement of people was just about complete, Roget, Jackie, Doug and Cindy yet to arrive. We got ourselves through registration and tech by 6:00 and set out to have dinner.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 12:15

Saturday dawned very cool and cloudy, that look of rain in the air. We got up at 5:00 am and left to walk the hill, Carol not believing that we were really going to get up that early. “We’re serious racers,” I said to Carol in my best bravado voice. “Serious, STUPID racers,” I thought to myself as I stepped out into a 48F morning! Mike Campbell, Brian and I trucked up the hill, talking about where we were going to drive, apex, break, etc…What a crock! I have to admit that I only apexed two places as I had walked the hill. I guess in our years of slaloming we have developed the ability to make that first run our “wiring the course,” mode. We drive that first run to see what the traction in like, how a certain line feels, shift points, and breaking areas. Then, on the subsequent runs, give’r hell! Knox is just an uphill slalom, although I have never done 107mph at any slalom. It is just longer and takes a little while to get used to the higher speeds. No news here I’m sure, but I did notice that a good portion of the faster drivers this weekend either are or have had past experience as slalom drivers.
Mike and I were in the second run group, Campbell and Brian in the first. I will preface the next part of our story by jumping back to April 16. Campbell, Brian and I piled into Aerostar and drove up to Knox for the day. Really stupid racers, you may think, but it was fun. We talked about how turn 5 should be a very late apex, the corner really does not tighten up as it appears but actually opens up. We managed to get the Aerostar through that corner at 60mph AND stay in our own lane! Hell, if this pile can do that, my funny red car sure as hell could get through there with at least another 10mph. I honestly know I had not driven my red car through turn 5 that fast (60mph) before. I figured I would look at my speed vs.rpm chart and go through at whatever rpm gave me 70mph. Turns out that is around 5,000 rpm. Anyhow, back to Knox.
Brian and Campbell had made their first run and I walked back to the pits to see how it went. Brian was the first to get out of his car, so I asked him how it went. He had this real funny look on his face; I should have known all was not well in Mr. Jackson’s world. He kind of balled up his fists, like John Cleese does in Faulty Towers, and started towards me mumbling about, “f...ing late apexes, #%@@!?*&%,” you get the picture at any rate. Richard Chong, who happened to be near, laughs and says “You can’t late apex turn 5 in a FRONT WHEEL DRIVE CAR!” oh great, just what I need now. Shit, I never thought of the fact that Brian’s car is the dreaded FWD! Appears Brian went in deep, thought the tire wall was in the wrong spot and proceeded to move it out of the way. It all worked out, his car’s still shiny and my teeth are still intact. Campbell’s comments were about the same, so much for the theory and on with reality. Not enough stick either.
On my turn next, I found myself surprisingly calm, usually I’m so pumped I just about O.D. on adrenaline. The rest of you get like that? Wow! I think this year I was confident that the car was running really well (I didn’t meddle with it, remember?) and that the tires were going to give me the stick I needed to carry some speed through the “s’s’, turn 4 and turn 5. When I got to the top I was fairly ecstatic, it felt like I had lots of stick and the engine pulled clean everywhere. I even left the line with no bog, which is really something after past years. The rest of the day progressed with no one having any problems in our group. Mike was concerned about falling oil pressure in Campbell’s car, trundling off to a store to get some fittings for the Accusump. I fiddled with my tire pressures a bit, but that was all. Strange not to be working on something on the car, I’m not complaining mind you. The day ended with no times for anyone which was a real disappointment for all of us. We obviously had no idea how we were doing. Besides knowing how the competition is doing, I was afraid that I was not going to be any faster than last year. The organizers said they would work on it all night to get them running, and as it proved out, they did. There is a God.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 12:17

Thank you, Doug & Cindy, Roger & Jackie. Thanks for the great Nuclear Chicken Wings, and thanks for the great motor home to put our feet up in. Eat your heart out Rob Walker! The barbecue Saturday night was just super, Doug and Sandu putting on a tremendous floor show, with a flaming emptying of the barbecue finale. What style, what grace, what schlock. I always thought parents were supposed to set the example. Oh well, sorry Alex, maybe you can trade them in. Really, a fun time was had by all. Campbell and Mike even got the Accusump plumbed and I got to work on my car….I washed it! I can tell a man with nerves of steel, that person being Mr. Jackson. When the flaming barbecue got dumped at the feet of said Mr. Jackson, his only comment was “I’m eating!” Truly a man of great strength and nerve, after all, who else moves tire walls while travelling at warp speed! We all left the hill and headed back to the motel for a good nights sleep, even though it looked as if Doug and Sandu were just warming up.
A glorious sunrise greeted us Sunday morning, not a cloud in the sky, but still very coll. It was actually very nice this year not to have to deal with a real hot day. Sitting in the car with the fire suit on was no problem. Word was the timers were working and we could get at least 3 runs in. I was still in the second group so could take it a little easy, but I could feel the butterflies starting to build. I walked over to one of the fellows from Portland, Ian Cossar, to see if he got his car fixed. I was watching some of the others in my group on Saturday, race up the hill. I had walked down to turn 7, when I could hear Ian coming up the straight in his Fiat x/19. All of a sudden the engine shut off and he coasted into turn 8. He came to a steaming stop. Apparently the fan belt came off as started. The engine was hotter than you can imagine, great whistling coming out of the tail pipe. All of a sudden it gave a huge fart and pop, whistled again, and with a great sigh, blorped about 3 litres of antifreeze out of the tailpipe. “It’s dead,” I said, “Cooked it pretty good up the straight and lost the head gasket.”
“No, I don’t think so,” said Ian. As if on cue, that car gave another death scream and gushed out the last of the antifreeze….out of the tailpipe I might add. “Well, you might be right,” he said. He took the head off the car that night, I went and looked at it, the pistons in 2 and 3 had got so hot that they had expanded and galled the bores very badly. “No problem,” said Ian, “Got any sandpaper?” We, he sanded his dedicated heart out, put it back together and tried to start it. No way Josie!!! The bottom end was not very happy, and he had to call it a weekend, too bad. That’s a long drive from Portland.
My turn next. From Saturdays practice I had my starting procedure down. Warm the brakes, drive to the line, engine at 4,000 rpm, leave on the green. On the green, I left accelerated through first, second, and as I was going for third I looked to see what my boost was. Stupid time to look at the gauge! I missed the shift and lost time while I stirred around looking for some gear. That run gave me a 2:05:7. ARG!!! Here we go again, nothing but 2:05’s all weekend, I thought. Sitting in my car at pre-grid I hard the announcer say the driver of car #782 is o.k….Crap, that usually means the car has crashed in a fairly big way. As people walked by, no one seemed to know what had happened, then I hear Campbell went off in turn 5, the dreaded, the feared, the car killing turn 5! Hope the lad’s all right, hope the car will be driveable back to Van, hope he didn’t try a late apex! I was three cars away from making my run, when I got word that the car was not bad, and Campbell was only rattled. I think he did that on purpose just to slow me down. Mike had bolted the video camera in my car so I turned it on, cinched up my belts nice and tight and tried not to think about Campbell. I left the start line quite hard and seemed to be just rocketing up to turn 1. I thought I heard detonation! I had turned the boost up after my last run, but with no idea of how much. As I exited turn one I could hear detonation, light, but detonation none the less. Cripes, this is going to ruin this run I thought. Fortunately, I had left the locking ring on the boost control knob up, and, in that fraction of a second I approached the S’s I looked at the boost. 18lbs. boost!! ARG!! I got through the S’s and as I headed up to turn 3, I reached down and turned the boost down to 14lbs. I actually managed to do that under very hard breaking going into turn 3. This was to be my fastest run of all things. I could not believe my time; I thought I really lost time with my concentration going into turn 3. As I approached the pits I could see a flurry of activity around the front of Campbell’s car. It didn’t look too bad until Campbell started to point out the wrinkles above the door and other subtle things, like all the front air dams gone. The car was still driveable so Mike was going to pilot it for his last runs. I was elated with my time; I had beaten a goal I had set for myself back in 1982. I decided to take it easy on my third run. It felt slow, but was still a good time and beat Mark Bennie for the class win. Waiting at the top of the hill I saw John Haftner come through turn 9, very fast and in control the whole way. This was his record run; I wish I could have seen him on the lower part of the hill. I walked back to the race cars to get ready to drive down the hill. There were only a few more cars to come up, Mike Elliot being one. I was standing at the finish line when Mike came hurtling around that final corner, the car twitching quite badly. He seemed to have collected it when it snapped again, spun, went through the fence, rolled and ended up about 20 feet down the embankment, upside down. Very scary to watch. I grabbed the fire extinguisher out of my car and headed down the embankment, some of the other drivers lifted the car up enough to get poor old Mike out. I would say Mike was pretty lucky, you never know what sharp things are lurking in those trees. I quite like that steel roof over my head. After seeing that and knowing Campbell had crashed, I declined to take a fourth run. The EDGE was gone and I thought why tempt fate, discretion being the better part of valour, or something like that. Mike and Campbell both set times faster than they had gone before, and I think that’s the best race there is. Don was very traction limited this year and he had promised Specialty Engineering not to blow anything up, which he didn’t, so we all finished the Hillclimb in more or less one piece.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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bertvorgon
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Post by bertvorgon » 11 Oct 2004 12:18

The banquet this year was very good, the food was excellent, hot and tasty. After last years fiasco I was not too sure about going, but all turned out well. We were pretty tired and starting to come down after being so pumped for 4 days so we rented a video machine and headed back to the room. That was really funny, everyone fell asleep before the end of the video. Candy ass bikers, they just don’t build kids like they used to. Just because I nodded off during my run means nothing, I’d already seen it, right? We pulled the plug on that day and called it a good one, all things considered.
The drive back on Monday I was not looking forward to. The sound of a rock crusher next to me (my transmission), was hard to get inspired about. Even with my earplugs in that’s a long 5 hour drive to Vancouver. We all arrived at the Hill just to finish loading, gave the cars a quick wash and set out. Just pass WestBank, I could smell something very hot, almost like…brakes, or hot rubber or…? I was at the point that I thought it must be, and should stop, when Mike drove to the right of Campbell and motioned him over. Turns out Campbell’s left rear brake is way too tight. We stopped in Peachland, dragged all the tools etc. out of the trailer, popped the wheel off and adjusted the brake. Ever see a runner smoke? Mike put his runner on the brake drum as if to turn it, poof, went the runner. One very hot brake drum. Campbell started the car and used his engine’s million foot pounds of torque to turn the drum to the adjuster hole. Moving again we settled into the slow, stead pace of long weekend traffic.
Remember back near the beginning of this tale I mentioned luck? Just as we were pulling into Penticton a couple of motorcycles passed me. They all of a sudden decided they were in the wrong lane for Vancouver and tossed it in front of me, with no check to see where I was. Meanwhile all traffic had stopped at the light ahead! Everyone got on the brakes, me included, they just filled the normal hole I left in front of me. I had to pitch the car into the left lane to avoid driving one of those bikes to motorcycle heaven. He didn’t even notice he just about had a Datsun enema! Heading up out of Penticton the traffic finally opened up and off we went. I love that climb out of Penticton over to Keremeos, it’s a great place to see how well a car or bike handles. Let’s just say that when I got to the top of the hill, no motorcycles were in sight behind me. I lifted off and blended back into the right lane. There were no other cars close, one about a quarter mile ahead, one about the same distance back. Coming around the next corner I see a couple hundred RCMP!! OH,OH!! I was starting to get my cyanide pill out of the glove box when they wave me through. “This can’t be RIGHT.” I actually yelled to myself as I rolled past these guys, shrinking down into my seat, trying to make myself invisible. I giggled and laughed all the way to Keremeos, promising I would never SPEED again, no sir, not ever, nope…well just a little!?
We talked with the two bikers in Princeton, when they caught up to us at the gas station, they each got the big 100.00 fine. I don’t know what the RCMP were using, must have been a plane, but did I ever have the proverbial horseshoe up the you know what!!
Speaking of BIKERS, we saw one of the funniest things on the way back. I had been passed by three Hells Angels just outside of Hedley. Every time they would try and pass the next group of traffic their bikes, one in particular, would fart and crap out. They couldn’t get those suckers over about 75 mph. the one fellow kept trying to do a tune up while he was driving. Fat chance, you can’t tune those things when they’re standing still! Steve at Specialty, says they are the only guys who can take a not bad bike, and make it run like shit. They take off the factory carb, and put on this thing with only one jet, period. Then they take off the electronic ignition and put points on. Wow, way to go guys! Anyhow, they were in the gas station in Princeton and left just ahead of us. As we came around the corner, the one guy who had been having all the problems was just launching himself off the bike. He threw his helmet at the bike, gave it one almighty kick, which caused him to fall in the ditch. He came back up swinging and kicking again, landing a few good ones on the dead Harley. He was absolutely foaming at the mouth when he came up out of that ditch. I’m glad my delicate ears couldn’t hear the language. Hate to be his dog! I kind of get a kick out of those poor Harley guys. Later on, in Manning Park, there were 5 guys trying to load another dead Harley into the back of a pick-up truck.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, traffic building to a bumper to bumper jam by Chilliwack. That was one of the slowest trips back and I toasted off 25mpg. Ha ha!
Well, that about sums it up. Thanks to all those who helped in the pits. Patti for her great sandwiches, Carol and Dianne for the great shopping for the barbeque, Alex and family for driving us around and all those others who helped in their own way. Special thanks to Richard for restocking some parts for me and bringing his own bizarre sense of humour to the hill.
The countdown has started again, we’ll all be thinking of how to go a little bit faster next year. And me, I’ll be dreaming again of that hard 5th gear pull to the red line, just outside of Hedley, where the roads wide and the traffics thin.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Joined: 17 Feb 2004 17:27
Location: Nanaimo, BC

Post by scotth510 » 11 Oct 2004 21:40

Keith, that was an awesome read. I remember back in the early 90s when I first got my 510 I joined the club and always got a kick out of your stories. I hope you post more and anyone else with a 510 related story. Keep em comin!
DO IT, IN A DATSUN.
1968 4DR Sedan
VIN PL-001796

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