No racing today and no RPG yesterday, so what to write about on Wreck-Free Sunday?

There is a pause in the racing until next week, and I had another social obligation that prevented my attending the RPG Group meeting. In fact I think I’ll do that social obligation first, because it is kinda special. The youngest and eldest of my kids were born 4 days shy of being exactly 3 years apart. There are two other strong parallels between the births. First and foremost is that both kids were a little early and ended up being born at home, second was that both kids got me a lot of attention at the hospital. The eldest got me a lot of attention because the birth preceded the wedding by a few days and I was not allowed to see my kid or the mother by the hospital initially and they were not nice about it, but eventually I got to see the kid and be with my soon-to-be wife. The youngest kid was kind of a “difficult” delivery, what is known as a “compound breech” delivery. This can be fatal to either the baby or the mother unless handled with care, and the sum total of my Ob/Gyn training was a couple of hours of training in Battlefield First Aid 6 years previous as a senior in HS during the class on guerilla warfare. Yes, back then delivering babies was considered part of “battlefield” first aid because sometimes the battle tends to overrun civilians, and the stress of getting caught in a firefight causes pregnant women to go into labor at the drop of a hat if they are anywhere close to term. The working theory at the time was that everyone should be able to do first aid under fire to civilians caught in a crossfire or inside a battle area. So I had the bare bones of what I needed to do to deliver a baby in the “comfort” of my own home. This also got me a lot of attention in the hospital, but of an entirely different nature… Because obviously I made it through without killing or injuring either my kid or my wife. This was unexpected by the people in the hospital.

So, we were going to go to one of my son’s favorite burger places “Burger Fi”, but there was a “problem” with this. The restaurant wasn’t there anymore. Sometime between my last trip to the “mall” and yesterday they folded shop and disappeared. Quick conference call between Eldest Son and Youngest Daughter to find someplace to eat within walking distance of where we were when we discovered the target restaurant was no longer in existence. We settled on the TGIFriday’s just up the street. For some reason everyone was in a “sandwich on a kaiser roll” vibe (prolly because we had all been talking about how great the burgers at Burger Fi were) except the grandkid, who got chicken fingers.

Speaking of the grandkid, he finally made it to the house to get his Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa. Photographic proof of this event is in existence, because that is what Grandpas do, take pictures of the grandkid for Grandma. And now you get to see a 2YO driving his first car.

The flames are staying in the protective pouch until Grandkid learns what a steering wheel is for. At the moment he acts as if steering is a game where you “win” if you go from stop to stop fast enough. It’s cute when the driver is driving a pedal car, not so much when driving a real car. So the electric motor that propels the car at 20 MPH is a few years into the future. Oh, yeah, I’m definitely building a subframe with an electric motor to go under the seat in place of the original rear axle assembly. And I know where to get motor controllers that can limit the speed to any speed I desire, so that I can keep Grandkid from going faster than he can keep up with things to not run into. I hope so anyway.

Progress on the Sprint T is continuing but not as visible as before, because I’m doing compare and contrast between various choices in engines and transmissions. What I have been working on is using the restriction placed by Mrs. the Poet (no donor vehicle(s)) and trying to get the best balance between power, low-end torque, and powertrain weight balanced against total system cost. So far the “winner” is a 383 Chevy small block connected to a Turbo Hydromatic 350 transmission with a manual valve body so that I can quickly change gears on the autocross course. And for those of you who are not “up” on the various permutations of the small block Chevrolet engine, a 383 is the crank out of a 400 small block with the bearings ground undersized to fit in a 350 block bored .030″ over to clean up the cylinder bores (or more probably one of the many reproduction 400 stroke cranks made from the beginning with 350 engine sized bearings). I subscribe to the sentiment “There is no replacement for displacement” when there is little to no weight penalty for increasing the displacement of an engine. The 383 is an economical way to add 33 cubic inches to the basic Chevy 350 with only a 4 lb. increase in weight over the 350, and since this particular 383 comes with aluminum heads that take over 50 pounds off the engine that 4 pounds gets covered up by the diet at the top of the engine. The other good thing about this engine is it makes almost the same power and torque as the LS3 crate engine, only about 100 pounds heavier but at half the price. If price were no object I would run an Aluminator 5.7 liter 4-cam Ford with the matched 4-speed automatic transmission, just so I could keep my Ford all Ford including the engine and transmission, but I don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars needed to buy that engine/transmission combination. The 383/TH350 combo financially weighs in at about $9K, which is a large chunk of change, but the LS3/4LE70 runs about $13K, and the last time I priced out the Aluminator/whatever they called the 4 speed OD autoshifting box I was looking at about $22K. I can get 90% of what I would have with the Aluminator on the autocross course with the 383/TH350. I will lose some MPG on the highway (unless I score a cheaper 4LE70 somewhere), but since the Sprint T is not meant as a long-distance cruiser except to get to the next race I can accept that limitation.

And I could write more but it is getting late and I might have a paying gig tomorrow, so I need to wrap this baby up and deliver it.

PSA, Opus the Poet

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