The Home Stretch - Firing Up

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In the October 2013 issue, I brought up the fact that I've been driving this editorial train for over seven years now. What I failed to mention is that I've been employed here at Source Interlink for about 11 years, which is pretty damn amazing since prior to landing this gig, I've never worked at the same place for more than six years. It's crazy how time flies, and in the immortal words of Ferris Bueller – "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Wise words, indeed, but I just haven't had the time to stop.

No, this isn't my passing-the-proverbial-torch editorial, but moreso a project-car-comes-to-fruition sort of deal. For those who have been reading this magazine for the past few years know that Orange Krate, our 1971 Camaro project, has gone through a major overtaking. We originally bought the car with the idea of stuffing in a healthy small-block, then bolting on some fancy suspension goodies, and see where it would take us. Well, that's not exactly how things went down. I take that back. The small-block made it in the car but was basically used to get the car on a trailer when we sent it off to Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, for a bit of bodywork, fresh paint, and a full DSE suspension upgrade. The original plan was to introduce the car at the following SEMA show, beat the hell out of it at every track event we could, and fix whatever we broke along the way.

The plan to beat on it is still in place, but the timeframe of finishing the car got pushed back a little (actually a lot) due to a few unforeseen issues with some of the car's original sheetmetal. It was also determined that our once-tribal-flamed ride was involved in an accident in which a framerail received a good amount of damage. Instead of overlooking the bent piece and poorly repaired sheetmetal, Pete Newell, the owner and mad fabricator at Competition Specialties, informed me that the car was going to need a little more work than he'd originally anticipated. Pete's one of those perfectionist-type guys who won't let anything leave his shop unless it's done to the quality in which Competition Specialties is known for.

1971 Chevy 2/2

Being a typical magazine guy, I asked Pete if he could just do a "lower-end" job on the bodywork and paint since the car would be getting a healthy dose of road racing, drag racing, and autocrossing (basically it would have the crap beat out of it soon as it left the shop). Well, in a matter-of-fact, deep-toned Boston accent, I got a firm, "No." A slight pause was followed by, "I don't do half-assed car builds."

It was then I knew this car was going to be extra special. A project in which Pete had already take great pride in, this was not going to be a typical magazine project car shoved out the door just to meet magazine deadlines. Don't get me wrong, Pete understands deadlines, but he also knows what it takes to do a job right. I can't tell you how many times I received texts after 10:00 p.m. Pacific Coast Time (1:00 a.m. East Coast Time) from him giving me a status report on the car.

So, I want to thank Pete and his crew at Competition Specialties for not only taking on this build, but for his dedication and special attention put into this car over the past three years. Thanks, Pete, I owe you big time!

With this car hitting the ground in early 2014, I'm already fretting the initial rock chip that will make its way through the hours of meticulously wet-sanded and buffed clearcoat. I just hope the 200 or so after become less painful to accept than the first.

Hey Ferris, I'll do my best to stop and look around, but it won't be easy from behind the wheel of a wicked second-gen dishing out over 600 hp and rolling on suspension components designed to handle any bender in the country well above the posted speed limit. But those are just "suggested" speeds anyway, aren't they?

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