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Electra GSX Road Racer

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Faithful Pursuit cool.gif features the insignia of the Tuskegee Airmen, a winged panther, on the quarter panels in the car's 1982 original paint scheme. I thought it would be a nice idea to ask the Tuskegee Airmen what they thought about that confused.gif. Well, today I gave them a presentation at their meeting in NYC. (570 miles round trip tongue.gif) They are mostly about 80 something but still pretty spry laugh.gif. One of them told me about how he drag raced a '40 or so Buick while driving a '37 Olds in his youth. Airmen Alton Burton said "You are not going to drag race that Buick are you?" I said sure we will take it to the strip, but we built it for sustained high speed not drag racing. It was really neat to talk to them and show them the pictures of the car and the artist renditions with the 99th Pursuit Squadron insignia on the car. Here is a copy of a letter I emailed to General Hall who runs the local air museum. He will host my fundraiser at his museum next year and he said that he liked the idea of the car too, especially the tie in to the Tuskegee Airmen, "real American heroes!"

M. Gen. Michael Hall, USAF Ret.

Executive Director

National Warplane Museum

Corning/Elmira Regional Airport

13 December 2003

Dear General Hall,

I am pleased to inform you that the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Claude B. Govan Chapter has accepted my proposal to support the "Faithful Pursuit" effort and will attend our fund raiser in the spring of 2004.

Today, I drove into NYC for their annual Christmas meeting and was given some time during their business session to discuss the Buick Electra GSX Road Racer and some of its history. Al Johnson, member of the office of the CTO for Corning, Inc. drove down with me and we had a great time meeting the Tuskegee Airmen and their families.

Tuskegee Airmen President, Col. Clayton Lawrence told me that the Tuskegee Airmen would be happy to visit Corning and participate in our fundraising effort in the spring of 2004.

This fund raising activity will be used to raise awareness about America's great heroes and help raise money for the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Fund and the racing effort.

Best regards,

Michael A. Joseph, II


Joseph GS Touring

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Worked on connecting the ALLISON six point torque converter. It is about 2,000 rpm stall which is well suited to top end. The JW Performance flexplate "The Wheel" required some 3/16" spacers that a buddy of mine machined for me out of steel. The grade 8 equivalent metric bolts were a bit tough to find but Corning Building Company had them.

4" Spicer "white NASCAR" driveshaft went back in as well. The exhaust will require some re-bending now that the body is on. The earlier photos show the super sexy stainless steel exhaust when the body was off. We needed to get the exhaust in early to help develop the suspension and identify problems with clearance before the body went on. The penalty is that the tubes were not perfectly aligned to the body or the exhaust tip N-225 "exit strategy".

The car will go back to Carl Julian for a refit of the exhaust in a couple of weeks.

The painter, Bobby, at Bumper to Bumper says he is ready when we are. He noted that the interior can be done first if we like. The body will take his men two solid weeks of constant effort. Bobby is THE BEST IN THE AREA and he will make the car look "factory" again, restoring the proper color and fit and finish of the body panels. I told him that it must look like a stock Buick Electra, not a "show car". I want orange peel where it belongs and the body panels to have the same quirky factory look. It should have the feel of a factory Electra GSX when we are done.

Things are shaping up for the fundraiser in the spring. The Airmen and the Warplane museum are on board. I had a nice talk with General Hall on Sunday evening, he sent me a message earlier that day in response to my midnight e-mail after talking to the Tuskegee Airmen in NYC last Saturday.

Michael: Thanks for e-mailing me. I got your VM late and wasn't able to get back to

you before leaving. Could I give you a call to discuss this great news and a couple of

other subjects? Since I don't have your phone number in my Ithaca office, could you

please send it to me? Thanks. Best wishes to you and your family this Holiday

Season. VR, Mike

So, it looks like things are shaping up. Would you believe the original drawings of this concept, including 17" rims low profile tires, 4 wheel disks, and fuel cell were 21 years old this year? I took all the hot Indy/Ferrari stuff from the '70s and integrated it into the Electra GSX design from 1979 to 1982 when the final artist concept was completed. Now everyone has larger than 15" rims, racing inspired seats, and even drilled rotors are common on the street! Anyway I am glad to finally be getting this high speed racer design done!

God Speed,

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Please fill up your camera! :-) I'd love to put a section on my budding electra site just for this car!!!


And this is not an ad for the site for sure! I just know I was frustarted trying to find information on the 70 electra when I first got it so I decided to put up a site! It's still pretty new and I have some updates to do but I know I love this Electra GSX! I'd love to see it smoke folks at the track! To go by sitting in Buick comfort and style! woohoo!

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It is hard to believe that one whole year has gone by since you visited Machuga Chassis last. I am looking forward to showing you where we are on this project. I will be around all this week so there is no problem, just call me and we will connect.

The Machuga Chassis number is (607) 527 - 6607. These days I spend a lot of nights and weekends there.

Now I know why people in this area call Dave Machuga the best metal man around! laugh.gif I worked with him tonite on some repairs to the hood of the car and watched Dave stitch in a piece of steel to the hood more expertly than I have seen it done before. He really knows metal in my opinion. smirk.gif Ofcourse, here's a a guy who has an <span style="font-style: italic">English Wheel</span> in his shop so why am I surprised! wink.gif

There has been lots of good progress over the past week as we are driving to get the car in shape to move it to my garage for some more detailing before it gets paint. I expect the paint to be done in January/March. There will be interior work and lots more electrical stuff to do too. tongue.gif

I am also excited about Smartin putting photos of the Faithful Pursuit on this site as well as getting my car onto the [color:\\"red\\"] <span style="font-style: italic">Electra Site</span> blush.gif <span style="font-weight: bold">Electra Site</span> blush.giftoo! (I liked the sound of that...Electra Site!)

Have a safe trip,Merry Christmas and God Speed,

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Thanks for posting these photos for me. Thats me up top with the Faithful Pursuit still at Machuga Chassis. You can see the rare "Star Wars" aircleaner from a '67 GS that I found at Hershey one year.

Below that is Professor Alton Burton with the green and red tie. He was trained as bombadier/navigator in the 477th composite group. This was the part of the Tuskegee Airmen that did not get deployed during WWII. Alton is the Airmen who told me about his '37 Olds and the racing that he did years ago. He was a professor at Pratt Institute in the construction management department and was the lead planning engineer for the <span style="font-style: italic">World Trade Center</span> project in the '60s. He completed tower one I believe.

Below Alton is Airman Whittier English, a very successful realtor in New Jersey and has a fabulous black V-12 S-600 Mercedes. The New York Airmen typically have parties at his home in the summer. I went to one there nearly 16 years ago when my son was just a newborn.

The president of the Tuskegee Airmen Chapter, Lt. Col. Clayton Lawrence, USAF Ret., and I are holding up a drawing of the Faithful Pursuit. If you look closely you will see a panther with wings. This is the symbol of the first combat organization, the 99th Pursuit Squadron.

You will also note that there are more modern aircraft in the background. North American XB-70 Valkyrie, of which only two were built. There is absolutely no connection between the Tuskegee Airmen and the XB-70. However, a machinist that did some recent custom work on Faithful Pursuit worked on the XB-70 program back in the '60s.

The Electra GSX is the rolling equivalent of the WWII era P-47 Thunderbolt, the "Jug". An aircraft so big and heavy that many people thought they could not be good fighter planes. They were all proved wrong and the Nazis found out the hard way. Many people think that the Electra is too big to be a racecar. They have been proved wrong for many decades in drag racing and we are about to prove them wrong again!

Merry Christmas!

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About four years ago I built an 1969 Electra GS prototype. It was developed to help finalize design details for the Faithful Pursuit. smirk.gif

This was purely a design exercise. No photos were ever released, until now. Shortly, Smartin will show elements of the Electra GS shocked.gif.

The Faithful Pursuit car is an experimental vehicle, as you well know, hence the appropriate GSX designation cool.gif.

(PS: The Electra GS prototype is actually a stock 15.3 sec. @ 90mph Electra 225 Custom Convertible with the original 430, points, 2.73 posi, V-Rated Pursuit tires, and rally rims)

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Thanks again for posting these Photos of the Faithful Pursuit's Transmission cooler development.

1. Looking into the stainless steel intake just behind the fuel cell.

2. Intake connects to the rear bumper in this shot.

3. This fuzzy shot is flipping up the rear license plate and looking at the cooler.

4. This last shot is the cooler lines going over the fuel cell at the rear of the car.

In street and drag circles, you rarely see this type of cooling arrangement.confused.gifThe heavy duty lines go from the TH375/Gear Vendors combo to the B/M cooler at the rear of the car. "Cool" air is picked up from the underside of the car. The long lines will serve two key purposes, first to provide an extra measure of cooling as the temperature will drop over the distance of more than 20' tongue.gif. Second, the added capacity of fluid will provide added opportunity to enhance transmission life. smirk.gif

We will take advantage of the negative pressure behind the car to pull the air through the cooler. Even though the so called cool air may be as hot as 120 Degrees F, it is the speed and volume passing through the cooler that will make this an outstanding arrangement! smirk.gif

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Happy New Year Everyone!

Dave Machuga talked to me again about brakes for the "MEGALITH" Buick. He really does not like the single piston floaters in the Lincoln 9" rear. The 4 piston Bendix units are marginal. No word from NAPA yet on the status of the rebuild either. I have been talking to brake people for the past few weeks, as you know, and am only now getting clear on how to do this.

Here are the facts!

BAER, Brembo, & Stainless Steel Brake, are among the many after market manufacturers I have spoken with. I have checked Ferrari, Mercedes, and Corvette as well. There is no manufacturer that makes brakes for what we are doing. I have been quoted $7000:o, not including shipping and custom fitting or installation.

I have contacted more than 20 manufacturers, distributors, and racers. tongue.gif

About two weeks ago I called my friend Maynard Bodine, uncle of the famous racing Bodine brothers of NASCAR fame. He was a carb specialist for the US Air Force and advised me on an old Offy dual quad setup I had for my other Electra racer a couple of years ago. He suggested that I talk to Tom Holleran. Tom's speed shop does lots of business and he knew Tom or his people could direct me to the right people.

The latest outfit I am considering is The Brake Man, referred to me by Tom Holleran's Auto Centers in Elmira, New York.


They say they have the only brakes capable of slowing down a high performance Hummer because they made brakes to stop some 10,000 LB tongue.gifarmoured vehicle. The owner Warren, sounds like he has lots of experience (He has been doing it for 35 years)and sounded to me like he knew what he was talking about.

The Brake Man is the only one who built brakes for something as heavy and as fast as the Faithful Pursuit! cool.gif

I will start saving my pennies because these babies are not cheap but seem to be the best buy for the money and offer superior performance to all the other competitors! They have at least done similar wild stuff before!

When you are racing is not the time to realize you shorted yourself on brakes!

(My wife (The Chief Financial Officer) smirk.gif agrees!)

God Speed!

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"When you are racing is not the time to realize you shorted yourself on brakes!


Why not Corvette never did. smirk.gif

That said, I was going to suggest looking into light truck brakes. Then speaking of Corvette, have you thought about late model Corvette components. The independant Corvette rear end even , too late now I realize but maybe the brakes could be adapted.

How are you going to attach the calipers to the rear? By this I mean, do you have to fabricate the brackets to match whatever caliper you go with ?

I havent read everything you have put down here but I have been following along, so sorry if I missed something you already wrote about the rear brakes.

Q : Does a road circut car have to have a standard tranny ? This makes a huge difference in braking as well as frees up power.

I enjoy your project and look forward to your final results.

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Dear 86 2DR.LTD,

Thanks for your questions, I'll try to answer them. First, the theme of this Faithful Pursuit project is "Long-distance...high speed...rugged durability..luxury grand touring" In other words..."Fast with class!" our BUICK motto cool.gif We want to keep some key classy Electra elements, like the auto-trans. We are emulating a <span style="font-weight: bold">WW II P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter </span> also so we are doing some really neat things with our coolers similar to the "Jug"

Our entire driveline can manage 700Ft-Lbs and easily be upgraded to 900Ft-lbs. Sooner or later I'd have to go to a 9" so why wait to scatter expensive Vette parts all over the track? Our <span style="font-weight: bold">Gary Tyler Performance</span> 9" can handle 900Ft-Lbs now!

Yes, many road racers use some prepped Turbo 400 like ours. However, it depends on the type of racing you do. My feeling is that you will suffer at a track with lots of turns if you have an automatic. It is heavy, requires more power to run, and cooling and durability are issues. Faithful Pursuit overcomes those issues by having 535 ft-lbs of torque ooo.gif on the dyno + this ultra trick rear mounted cooler developed by race chassis builder <span style="font-weight: bold">Machuga Chassis</span> and a six speed with a "Truck Medium Stall" <span style="font-weight: bold">ALLISON</span> 6 point torque converter with anti-balooning hub ! wink.gif

As I believe you mentioned, a manual box can aid in braking. You have heard many a racer preach "Heel and Toe!" save your brakes! mad.gif Advances in brake technology have helped with this however. Our Competition built 6 speed Automatic (TH400/GV-OD)offers some ease of operation plus the torque multiplication coming out of turns or launching.

Yes, we will use some reasonable brake combo and weld brackets onto the 9" rear for the time being. <span style="font-weight: bold">Motor State</span> offers a set of brackets. Over time we will determine the best braking solution once we get track time this year.

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I've been "pursuing" the Faithful Pursuit story for some weeks now, and got your posting over on my "430 Gas Mileage" thread. Just wanted to let you know what a kick I get out of your using Allison transmission modifications and a WWII theme. I have long had daydreams (fantasies?) of mating a vintage Packard aircraft V12 (such as used in the P-51 Mustang!) to an Allison truck transmission (Allison also made WWII aircraft engines, including those for the P-38, so the theme is consistent) and putting them all in a torsion-level '55 or '56 Packard suspension/frame--of course, with massive modifications. It would also have to have a classy Packard-themed body.

This would definitely be a straight-line car for the salt flats... I can dream, can't I?

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I suppose the Aircraft theme can be taken pretty far, however we want a "no kiddin" race capable grand touring car. The Machuga Chassis people in Campbell, NY are pretty hard core racers, and I get lots of funny looks when I suggest something go on Faithful Pursuit just cause "it looks cool". We will borrow enough to actually make the car better, not look "showy".

I have seen pictures of Jay Lenno's aircraft engine powered '30's Rolls with 900 HP at about 900 rpm! It would be nice to see an American car with one of our WWII fighter engines in it!

Anyway, I looked over the cage that Dave welded up for the Faithful Pursuit. You see there are actually two different main hoop configurations. The first is a "full metal jacket" race cage and does not allow any rear seat passengers and is wicked rigid. The second cage, nearly completed is a "mild action" cage.

Sure, there are some challenges, like having the officials review our cage and determining how fast we can go with it. We are using 1.50" tube with about a .098 wall. It is a bolt together unit that we may have to end up welding together when we try for speeds much above 160mph. Who knows?

The mild action setup is a really nice piece of work that allows people 6' tall to sit with comfort in the rear. Over the next few days we will update the site with more photos.

Today I showed one of the Machuga Chassis works people, Brucie, this page. He got a kick out of it. I will get some photos of Dave and his team on the site too. They have lots of photos of their past race cars and have more trophies than they know what to do with!

I took apart the front brakes down to the spindles today. NAPA called yesterday and Mike informed me that they could not rebuild those brakes. So here we are back to square one. We tried on an old Wilwood 4 piston caliper which seemed to work well. We will shop around for the best price and get that as an interim solution.

We will try to find a low cost setup until we can actually put more common spindles on the car. Right now we cannot afford the custom $7,000 Alcon package or those other custom high end deals. We will have to get creative, so what else is new?

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Here is a link to a childhood hero of mine, Sir Malcom Campbell. He was long gone by the time I read about him and by that time people like Art Arfons were putting surplus USAF jet engines tongue.gif in cars. Sir Malcolm set many speed records and was the first man to drive more than 300 mph! smirk.gif Sir Malcolm was referred to reverently as a "speed king" shocked.gif in the golden age of big fast cars with aeroplane type engines. wink.gif

Campbell's car was named the <span style="font-style: italic">BLUEBIRD</span> and had a small British "Union Jack" flag on the speedster's tall vertical tail.



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Thanks for the link. Remember Art Arfons' car, the Green Monster?? I saw a T.V. show on it when I was a kid. What a monster it was. I still remember the photo of his back yard where he ran the jet engine tied to two trees, with the exhaust pointing into a swamp. Dried up the swamp. What a wild man! As I recall, he broke 600 MPH with the thing, running nothing but military surplus gear, except for the tires.

I do have one thing against the jet cars though. They are not "wheel driven" but basically a rolling platform holding an engine. That means, in essence, they are more like taxiing airplanes than true automobiles. Airplanes that never get off the ground, so to speak. Impressive, but not as impressive to me as cars that go really fast by putting power to the wheels.

That's why I like the idea of a turbine or piston powered drivetrain--like Faithful Pursuit! smile.gif

You could call Art Arfons a childhood hero of mine, though. The Green Monster was just so mean. I remember the Bluebird, too, but Sir Malcom Campbell is a new name for me. Thanks!

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Thanks for putting up these photos for us. They show details on the Full Race Hoop with that NASCAR inspired SPIDER WEB OF STEEL wink.gifbracing and the Street Hoop for our roll cage. The TENZO R "Rally" seats have a great fit and ajustability cool.gif. LOTS AND LOTS of metal fabrication work went into making recessed areas in the rear steel firewall to nest these seats properly. Dave and Brucie did an expert job that probably took a solid 8 hours of fabrication work! tongue.gif

Dave and I reviewed the brakes again last Saturday and finally agreed on a strategy. We will replace all the calipers with high quality new Wilwood units and upgrade to 13.5" rotors in the future. Money is tight but we need the car in performance driveable condition for our fund raising tour in April! ooo.gif

On Monday I ordered Wilwood Superlite Forged Billet smile.gifcalipers for the front and rear. The fronts are 4 piston units with 1.75" diameter pistons. The rears are 4 piston units with 1.38" diameter pistons. Although we will use a Wilwood proportioning valve, received last week, the smaller rear pistons will help to ensure failsafe directional stability. (So we won't swap ends when we hit the brakes!)

Eventually, our pads will be full race, but until we can upgrade to 13.5" rotors we will use a medium duty pad to save the stock rotors. The stock rotors are 12" front and 11.5 rear.

The stock 1969 Electra Custom Coupe disk option is super rare and actually pretty robust laugh.gif but expensive to rebuild frown.gif. The 4 Superlite Forged Billet calipers cost the same as re-sleeving and rebuilding the 2 Bendix units!!!

Also, the Bendix units weigh 29lbs for just two! tongue.gif The 4 Wilwoods weigh about 4.5lbs each or as much as the steel splash guards!!! smile.gif Since the splash guards are coming off for the Ram Air Ducts, Dave says "Weight wise, its like having no brakes at all!"

We are using #4 braided stainless flex lines. A new Bendix master cylinder with a 1" bore and an additional Wilwood Propprtioning valve will be used to control front to back braking. smirk.gif

Any ideas on emergency brakes? Since we are eliminating the Lincoln units on there now, we need to come up with some sort of mini caliper that can handle 1" thick rotors. We dont have the $650 bucks for the full kit with a parking brake yet. Daves motto is "We will adapt and overcome" mad.gifAny ideas out there? confused.gif

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Thanks for posting some photos again. I dug out a 1981 pen drawing of a concept for the GS-V. This was the generation before the "Faithful Pursuit" which began its life as a GS-III series car. V and III denote 5 speed and 3 speed. The Faithful Pursuit is now a 6 speed and its designation is Electra GSX. The GS-V, with a manual box will be built over the next few years to accomplish the ultimate top speed goal of 194.9mph by 2009.

Also, Deborah and I spent a pleasant evening at the home of Guy and Anita Bennett. Bennett's Buick-Chevrolet-Olds, Wayland, NY 14572 (585) 728-2260. Guy has an unmatched passion for Buicks and was fascinated by our Faithful Pursuit car and the fact that it is a 1969 Buick Electra 225 Custom Sport Coupe with a professionally built competition '70 Buick 455 STAGE I enginecool.gif.

When we first walked into the 1920's era dealership we were struck by the fact that it looked pretty much as it must have 70 years ago, yet well maintained like a restored victorian home. There was not a soul in the place. A single vehicle, a new Rendezvous, sat on the antique wood slat floor.

It was a surreal experience shocked.gifand you half expected to see Tiger Woods & the ghost of Harley Earl or at least his Fedora hat.

The place had a museum like feel with the soft lights, lots of wood, and "portraits" of some of the most famous Buick ever. Framed original black and white photos of the Y Job, Wildcat II, & Harley Earl's 1951 "Star Buster" LeSabre, as well as aerial photos of the old Buick City hung in a little office. After about 5 minutes, Guy's son and Guy walked in. We both drove our 90s Rivieras to Guy's home nearby. Little did we suspect what we would find in Guy's barn after supper!

A life long Buick lover, Guy printed out the entire posting and reviewed the details with me. They were not sure what an "INTIMIDATOR MOTOR" was. "Is it a BUICK?" I told him it was basically a Scotty Guadagno, Pee Gee Performance built 455 STAGE I .038 over, forged 11.1 pistons, etc. etc. etc. Scotty built and drove the world's fastest Buick (170+ mph) at one time. (Scotty's widely regarded as the best Buick engine builder and now works for Pat Musi's in 'Jersey.)

In his 70s, Guy is really with it and keeps on top of new developments in the Buick world. When he and his son bought the 1970 Saturn Yellow GSX, Guy's dad who founded Bennett Buick in the 1920's got a load of that Saturn Yellow and stripe job and said "I dont get it." Guy's dad passed recently at age 104 and was one of the few BUICK dealers that hung on over the years. They even continued to sell Buicks through the Great Depression! shocked.gif I heard lots of great stories and saw too many Buicks to recount all their stories here.

It was the surprise of my life to see a GSX at Guy's home and a 401 original mile GNX in front of that! shocked.gif Most of the cars in guys collection are in A-1 shape, really 400 pointers if you like "original original". He has a 1949 Convertible that is original paint, interior, and even the tires! (Yup even the tires! laugh.gif) He has a 1968 Buick Electra 225 Sedan with 1000 original miles. It even has the super rare disk brake option! smirk.gif

God Speed,

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The roof is for the 1969 Electra 225 Custom Sport Coupe. I am the designer and did the stock contours free hand without the benefit of a real curve fit. There is also a mylar drawing of the body and the chassis mods that go back to the 80's.

A series of about 100 such Electra drawings were done between about 1977 and 1983. There were bacisally dozens of sketches made of two versions of drag cars and two road race cars. One car, the GS-V designed with a complete composite body in mind. The GS-V is probably the car that you are thinking of. It is drawn in ink. There was a GS-III car with a 2" chop on the top as well.

Also, the Faithful Pursuit will be out of Machuga Chassis mid month, I hope. It will be prepped in my garage for two weeks, then sent to Bobby at Bumper to Bumper for paint. Bumper to Bumper is widely regarded as the best paint and body shop in this area. Bobby and I have been planning for this for about 5 years! It hard to believe that the paint will be on in the next two months!

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The bumpers are being prepped for chrome, the Wilwood Forged Billet Superlite 4 piston calipers are finally here, the rotors are prepped, the axles are back in the housing, the street cage is welded, the correct oil cooler hardware arrived, and the new body mounts are being fabricated as we speak tongue.gif. Our deadline is February for the painter! The "Pursuit Stripe" is being designed and a GSX rear spoiler is on order. laugh.gif

There are still lots of problems like the Gear Vendors electronics were set up for an electronic speedo, Wiring needs to be re-wired for the cockpit, rear anti-sway bar needs to be installed, the exhaust pipes need to be rebent for the final install, etc, etc, etc tongue.gif! About 30 things need to happen before April and at least now we have some help. There are a few more people helping out at the shop and on the unvieling in April smirk.gif.

Also, last week I visted the Watkins Glen International Raceway Research Library. The research librarian, Mark Steigerwald, happens to be a Buick fanatic! shocked.gif He was excited about our progress with the Faithful Pursuit. He heard about the project from someone talking about it in a local bar! Among the Lotus, Porsche 917, 300 SL Gullwing, Jaguar SS 100 and D Jag lore, here is a guy who loves the 1967 Wildcat! cool.gif He and his brother have about 5 430 blocks in their basement and have photos of one of the two experimental "X" code 4 bolt main Buick 455 prototypes! wink.gif

Get this! Mark showed me pictures of when Harley Earl visited this area with the multi-million dollar LeSabre wunder car. Back in '51 Buick set the pace with a fully functional show car that was years ahead of its time. Supercharged V-8, rain sensors closed the top, low slung sleek body. It was GM's answer to Mercedes-Benz and featured an upside down three pointed star crest which is, incidentally, very similar to our 100th Anniversary Buick logo.

(In the past I have seen nice photos of 5 Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, WWII, being driven around in the LeSabre by Earl. There were lots of the Ike's staff standing around admiring the car. That was a SERIOUS coming out party!)

Mark showed me lots of photos of Earl with his friends when they visited Watkins Glen back in 1951 or so. They all seemed to be just having a great time just a few hundred yards from where we were standing at Watkins Glen, New York. They took turns taking photos with the car. The photos were original and official GM R&D photos with a special number code, I think denoting the LeSabre.

They called the '51 LeSabre the "Star buster" because it busted the myth of German superiority in automotive engineering. When I outrun a 600 series V-12 Mercedes at Watkins or at the Silver State we may have to call the Electra GSX the "Star Destroyer"! cool.gif

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Michael, with all the Watkins Glen info on the LeSabre, it would be a great article for the Buick Bugle, maybe you can convince Mark to join the BCA, if he isn't already a member and write an article. Which also reminds me that a friend found a postcard of the LeSabre at WG in his father's stash after he passed away last year. Unfortunately he's not sure where it is at the moment. The LeSabre appeared to be a pace car at WG, I think, this is way cool history stuff, that should be shared, Thanks!

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At 1:00pm there was a devastating fire at Machuga Chassis. frown.gif The roof burned in the back half of the shop. A few of Dave's men tried to contain it but had to get out in the end. The Campbell Fire Department responded quickly and the fire was contained just 10 feet from the Faithful Pursuit laugh.gif.

I am thankful that no one was hurt. Dave and everyone else was pretty shaken up.

They are working on the insurance details at I am writing this. They believe that the fire was electrical and Todd heard the breaker popping just before the flames caught.

I just got there at 6:00pm after a basketball game with my son. Through all the smoke and water everywhere, Dave took the time to show me the brackets for the Wilwoods as well as the welding on the floor they did today.

Dave's a real professional! cool.gif

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Smartin and everyone,

Thanks for the notes of concern and well wishes. A few people at Machuga Chassis were still stressed out hours after saving the place and one guy burned his hand tongue.gifbut things were calmer the next day. smirk.gif

Over the past two days Dave's people all showed up, Todd, Dwayne, Tim, Nancy, Robby, Allen, and fellow racers, family, and friends. We had a lot of help on the Faithful Pursuit once the 4" of water the Fire Dept left dried up.

I appreciated Machuga Chassis taking time to work on my dumb project while 2x4s are holding half their shop up. tongue.gif You would figure they had better things to do. Like I said before...these guys are hard core professional racers and fabricators. mad.gif Machuga Chassis' attitude is: Cars and customers come first, then we'll fix the roof! cool.gif

I really have to hand it to Dave and his guys for rigging up power to the welder and getting back at it last night. They had drop lights and flashlights while welding on the brake brackets they fabricated for the new Wilwood Superlite calipers. I saw those Wilwoods on my Electra and it was like a dream come true! smirk.gif We did not knock off until nearly midnight last night and Dave probably has not slept in a 4 hour stretch since the fire on Sunday! tongue.gif These guys have HEART!!! cool.gif

People have asked me if I was worried about the car when I heard about the fire. confused.gif I said no not really. smirk.gif You see, over the past few years we have gone through so much. It hurt more to lose local racing legend and Faithful Pursuit suspension designer Gary Shaw frown.gifand electronics genious John Dove. frown.gif Sure its great to re-build your first car and fullful long term dreams but burying two team members in the process puts the value of things into perspective. Even after having it for 25 years, I'd rather see the Faithful Pursuit a twisted ruin before having to speak at another team member's funeral. I dont know if that makes sense but there you have it.

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Thanks for putting on these photos. The fire damage was pretty extensive in the forward shop. However, things are returning to normal with lots more late nights, grinding, welding, cussin' and fussin.

The rear firewall was worked on EXTENSIVELY tongue.gifto achieve optimal performance and safety. Proper fit for the TENZO R rear seats WAS SECONDARY! Machuga Chassis made some modifications to the 4 link to bring the seat floor down as far as possible. The 4130 Chromoly tube suspension and spherical ends require lots of room. Pinion angle is retained at 4.5 degrees through suspension travel.

High speed regs require a rear firewall making the cockpit much safer, hence the EXTENSIVE work here. cool.gif The welding and caulking is finally finished. tongue.gif EVERY MILLIMETER of the Faithful Pursuit is fabricated with FINE FINE FINE attention to detail. This is the high art of race car fabrication. This is not always "pretty" as we opted for racing functionality before aesthetics.

My only belief is that American Luxury Grand Touring Cars, Buick Electras and others, were truely great cars, not the junky gas guzzlers people have made them out to be! cool.gif

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Last Saturday everything was pulled out of the shop for the roof rebuild. We braced the fire weakened timbers and raised the cieling in the rear shop where the Faithful Pursuit was. It was great to see her on her tires again after several months up on jacks! cool.gif Dave and I stood outside marveling at how low and mean that stance was. wink.gif

We are within 40 man hours of going to prep for paint paint. So close yet so far. The bumpers are due Saturday, the GSX spoiler came from Poston last week!

Is this where the fun really starts, trying to finish the fine details that integrate all this funky stuff together? Well, the car actually wont be too much different from the stock bodied Electra 225. No chop, no shaving, or other radical custom stuff. The body is channeled slightly as we are dropping it on the chassis due to the Energy Suspension Body Bushings. I may go for some nosing. The prototype, Brown Convertible, was nosed and it does make it look cleaner but I want a "factory GSX" look.

After the initial roll out in April, it will probably be another year of fine detailing where instruments, trim, rally electronics, computer, interior and exterior refinements are mated to the car. tongue.giftongue.giftongue.gif

Roy Hopkins, will be doing the competition driving for us. cool.gif He races hill climbs and does the One Lap of America with Brock Yates. Brock's son, Brock Jr. has been encouraging me to do the One Lap of America with this car. We may be able to get into One Lap after we have met our initial Silver State Classic Rally goals. laugh.gif

As we form up our competition team we will have more drivers and support people. Everyone will probably turn a wrench and do whatever as this is still a poor man's effort (We have asked no sponsors to join other than spiritual ones at this point! Thanks Racers For Christ, "RFC"!) laugh.gif We will begin asking for sponsors after our GST Committee approves our strategy and advertising copy.

Still lots of work to do before the unvieling at the National Warplane Museum on April 24th, 2004. tongue.gif Even then, there will still be the shakedown and lots of refining, road testing, and road racing before the Faithful Pursuit is actually "Show Quality". cool.gif

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