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Adventures of a Vintage Racer

In 1989, for his forty-fifth birthday (thus number 45), the green flag was dropped on his dream with tickets for a session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving at Sears Point International Raceway in Sonoma, California. A year later, the Nimmo Machine Racing Division was realized when after two weeks of late nights working with a crew of friends and relatives, Les Nimmo pushed his '67 Ford Mustang fastback out into the parking lot at midnight, started it up, drove it once around his shop, and straight on to the trailer to be hauled-off to the Palm Springs Grand Prix. Before the weekend was over, Carroll Shelby himself had signed the inside of the trunk lid, blessing the formely stock pony car with his approval. Two decades later, he still brakes late into turn one, and there's still a huge smile on his face when he's done!

Phil Remington 1921-2013

It was announced yesterday that one of motor racings best known fabricators ever, Phil Remington, died Saturday morning in his sleep at the age of 92. "Mr. Fix-it" worked on Daytona 500 winning cars for Holman & Moody, the Scarab sportscars and the first American F1 car (both with Chuck Daigh) for Lance Reventlow, the Cobra and GT40 race programs for Carroll Shelby, and the Indy 500 winning Eagles for Dan Gurney's All-American Racing, just to name a few. Rem worked at AAR for 44 years and never missed a day of work. One of the last projects he contributed to was the 2011 DeltaWing prototype. Les got a chance to speak with Phil at a tribute dinner in 2010. He was a master craftsman, designer, engineer, and fabricator. Godspeed, Rem.

VARA Big Bore Bash

No grandpa, it's the regulator plug, not the alternator!

This year we were treated to some pretty good weather for Willow Springs- not too hot, not too cold, and no wind. Hustling to get the car prepped in time for the Saturday morning practice, Les took the track with the BF Goodrich tires he had driven on the previous year. For the afternoon qualifying race, he decided to put on some ten-year old stickered Hoosiers he had in the trailer. A few laps in, they finally warmed-up and he passed six cars to finish nineth overall. After spending some time with his new grandson, who was experiencing his first race weekend, the pit was packed up for the night and the crew headed back into town for the evening. During the Sunday practice session, the Hoosiers seemed to be holding up fine, but by the Ford/Chevy Challenge, Les had to back off the throttle because the grip just went away with every lap. He finished, keeping his event streak intact, but lost some spots along the way. Good thing the challenge race dosen't effect the starting grid for the flag race. The BFGs went back on, and Les went out and won the B-Production class. His first flag win in ten years.

Carroll Shelby 1923-2012

It was announced today that legendary car racer/desiger/builder, Carroll Shelby died Thursday night in Dallas at the age of 89. He was most famous for dropping a Ford V8 in an AC Ace roadster and calling it a Cobra, then setting up the wildly popular Ford Mustang fastback for racing and calling it a GT500, then designing the Ford GT40 racecar that went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans multiple times. His autograph is inked on the underside of the trunk lid of the #45 Mustang. He also went to the COCOA-OC holiday party quite a few times. His ability to make Fords go fast has been a big influence on this family. His legend will live on.

9th Annual Tour d'Orange

The Ladies in White - a '64 and a '77

It was a misty, wet New Year's morning as hundreds of classic cars gathered for the annual day one cruise around Orange County; the 9th in the series. Walking around the staging area, we grabbed a doughnut, talked with friends, and admired some beautiful cars. After procuring our directions, we filed out down the road to get the Tour started. The course took us along some scenic spots that make OC a desired destination for so many; ocean views along Highway 1 at Crystal Cove and Laguna's Main Beach, tree lined streets along the foothills in Trabuco Canyone and Santiago Canyon, and ending at the ultimate California experience: In-N-Out Burger. By the time most of the participants started to re-group at the finish, the fog had burned off and the sun shown graciously inviting the feeling that upcoming year is going to be a great one. A Double-Double for lunch just makes it that much better.

VARA Big Bore Bash

Front row in the line-up for the Ford/Chevy Challenge

Some cool weather with potential rain in the future led to some good track conditions. The #45 Mustang was running good and had a successful morning practice session on Saturday. The afternoon qualifying race wasn't as positive though. A few laps in as a large group of cars went into Turn 4, an XKE Jaguar dove inside where there was no room to pass, getting his wheels in the dirts, and hit Les behind the passanger-side door. Following the rules of VARA, Les came in to the hot pits to for inspection and ended up missing a majority of the session. To our luck, the rain passed through during the night, and by the time the Sunday morning practice session was up, the track was dry. With the dent caused from the accident taken care of as much as it could be at the track, Les proceeded to improve his positions during the Ford vs. Chevy Challenge, and group flag race that afternoon. Given it is the only race event he was able to attend all year, it was an exciting and eventful weekend.

Barrett-Jackson Orange County

A '55 Ford repair and parts service pick-up

As a Father's Day gift, Les, his son Chad, nephew Steve, and friend Ryan cruised across town to the Orange County Fair & Event Center to check the out the second annual visit of the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auctions to the area. As we passed through the gate we walked right into Ford booth showing off all the new models including the 440hp 2012 Boss 302 Laguna Seca Mustang. Given we were there on the last day, many of the cars were sold already. The first building we checked out housed most of the hot rods, some early '60s Presidential Lincoln Continentals, pick-ups, and race cars. Outside we found a FWD fire engine, an AMC AMX, and a great little classic Mini, amongst others. Inside there was a Hemi-powered '64 Ford Fairlane, the "Radio Flyer" station wagon, and some slick '56 Ford pick-ups. Sitting in the auction room we saw many cars we thought would go high, end up not selling for much, and a lot of cars that we guessed would go low, end up skyrocketing. Overall it was great event that I'm glad is so close to us. I look forward to going again in the future.

Catalina Grand Prix

Les & Janice with their nephew Steve following his race.

For the first time in 52 years, people travelled across the channel from Long Beach and Orange County to Santa Catalina Island to watch and particpate in an off-road motorcycle race. The permits were approved to hold the Catalina Grand Prix, a race that was run 5 times throughout the 1950s and then became infamous. Les' nephew Steve, whose AMA experience includes racing in a 2009 and 2010 Baja 1000, was lucky enough to be selected into the limited field of riders. The track was about 5 miles long over fire roads and the hillside behind the town's golf course. Most riders averaged about 4 or 5 laps in the hour time period. The late Fall weather brought some light early morning rain that dampened the track enough to keep the dust down for most of the day. An hour later, the Sun came out and warmed up the spectators and the riders. Two of Steve's friends and teammates, Randy and Scott, were also entered and finished in top positions within their respective classes. The event was great, and felt like a success. I hope the city of Avalon felt the same and gives it another go next year. We don't want to have to wait another 50 years to see it again.

VARA Big Bore Bash

Les right on the bumper of Boris Said heading into Turn 1

The weather cooperated nicely with sunshine and no wind for Les' only VARA race of the year. The Big Bore Bash weekend is host to the Ford/Chevy Challenge which was bolstered by the addition of the ACS Express Racing 2010 Mustangs built for the World Challenge GT series. Not quite vintage racers, but exciting to watch nonetheless. Les had five sessions on the track: morning practice and group qualifying race on Saturday; and morning practice, Ford/Chevy Challenge, and group flag race on Sunday. He seemed to move up in position with each session, oventually finishing 16th overall in Group 3 sandwiched between fellow COCOA members Mike Kelley and Bill Kelley. Professional racer Boris Said spoke at the event dinner on Saturday night, then drove his highlighter-yellow Mustang to victory in the Ford/Chevy Challenge on Sunday. As you can see from the photo, Les was right on Boris' bumper despite the 23 second average lap time difference. It's going to take some new tires and more than one race a year to get his times back down to where they used to be though. Overall, it was a pleasant weekend at the track: nothing broke, blew up, or blew away.

The Great Labor Day Cruise XXVIII

This year's Labor Day Cruise felt a little emptier than we're used to. Due to the current economic downturn, the OCCA gave participants the option of registering for individual days instead of the whole weekend. As a result, a lot of cars chose to show up for Saturday only. Thus, we missed out on a lot of cars on Sunday. Don't get me wrong, there were still a lot cars there, just not as many as usual (and no vendors in the buildings). This didn't stop Les from finding someone to talk to every ten feet either. He knew most of the people we chatted with, but those that he didn't ended up knowing a mutual acquaintance. Classic cars in Orange County can be a small world.

Over the course of the day, we saw some old friends, some cherry builds, and some rare models. Hopefully next year things will pick up, but we'll make sure to go on Saturday just to be safe.

Les Gets Featured in the Local Paper

Les and his 1967 Mustang were featured in the Daily Pilot yesterday. A reporter came by the shop a couple days ago to interview him about his vintage road racing career and some of the experiences that led him to his line of work and high-speed hobby choice. Now, along with a couple photos, he is mainlining a human interest piece in the local newspaper for the Newport/Mesa area.
Click here to read "Life in the 130 mph Fast Lane"

Phil Remington Tribute

Les chats with Phil Remington and John Morton

Les was given an invitation to attend a special night honoring Phil Remington at the NHRA Motorsports Museum. The event also marked the unveiling of the recreation of Phil's 1941 Lakes Modified. We arrived just in time for the dinner buffet; walked through the gate and right into line. Nothing too fancy: hambugers, hotdogs, salad, chips. We sat down at a table in the back that had most of the seats open. Starting up some conversation with Dan Thompson (Mickey Thompson's son) and his wife, who were the only other people at the table. More soon arrived, one of which was an editor at The Rodder's Journal, named Jay. After some cobbler a la mode, we went inside to check out the recreation of Phil's hot rod by Dan Webb. It was beautifully done, so much so that Phil later said he'd wished the original looked that good. The details made the difference, with the car even sporting a "Low Flyers" car club plate. Dan Gurney hosted a Q&A session with Phil which led into some great stories. Some of the other notables in attendance were "The Camfather" Ed Iskenderian, founder of the So-Cal Speed Shop Alex Xydias, car collector Bruce Meyer, racecar driver John Morton, and car designer Chip Foose.

Hot Rods and Hibiscus

The "Hot Rods & Hibiscus" '40 Ford Deluxe Coupe

The family went for a long, leisurely drive down to Jamul in San Diego County to visit the Simpson's Nursery and their museum of automobiles and americana. The collection is housed in two auto barns. The first barn has mainly Model T and Model A Fords, including a 1931 Victoria. Out behind the barns is a long line-up of old Air Stream-style camper trailers; some in better condition than others, but all very cool. The second barn has a good set of muscle cars including a couple Camaros, a few Mustangs, and a Road Runner. There is also a hefty set of hot rods and kustoms, as well as a pair of parallel universe Nash Metropolitans. One row of cars included nothing but 1940 Fords, all styles, including the flame-painted Deluxe Coupe that resides on the nursery's "Hot Rods & Hibiscus" t-shirt. After getting our free apple, we checked out the petting zoo and found Homer the irritated llama. We left before he spit on us. Piling back in the truck, we wound and wound and wound along the winding back roads to the historic gold mining town of Julian. Famous now for apples and apple pie, just about every building in the main town had a historical landmark plaque in front of it. The stop was pretty much just food and shopping; not much on car stuff, except for the flyer we found for the Julian Classic Motoring Show that's coming up later this month. Following a two verse performance of Happy Birthday by blind street performer Dave, we headed back towards home. Taking a detour through Dana Point and Laguna Beach, we stopped at Aliso Creek for a photo of the orange-filled sunset and again for a pod of dolphins swimming along the coast of Crystal Cove. A little pie and tiramisu for dessert and the day was done.

The Wings of Freedom Tour

The family prior to flying a mission in a B-24 Liberator

To celebrate Mark's birthday we went to the Lyon Air Museum on the westside of John Wayne Airport to check out the Wings of Freedom Tour. The "living history" event is put on by the Collings Foundation and featured a P-51 Mustang, B-17 Flying Fortress, and B-24 Liberator; all of which you could pay for a 30-minute flight experience on. The museum houses numerous World War II-era planes and vehicles, including its own B-17, a B-25 Mitchell, an A-26 Invader, 2 Ford GPWs, a 1945 Indian Chief, a German Kettenkrad tracked motorcycle, a '39 Mercedes-Benz G4 Offener that was actually Hitler's touring car for a short time, a Helms Bakery truck, and much more. After a short-lived discussion, we finally decided to sign-up for the once in a lifetime experience of sitting in the airborne belly of the only restored flying B-24J in the world. Three and half hours later we were buckled into the retired bomber and looking down on Orange County. The only place you couldn't go was the belly turret and the top turret; but nose gunner, tail gunner, waist gunners, bombardier's station, and any place else that wouldn't crash the plane was open season for us to explore. The biggest thrills were sitting in the nose turret and the tail turret (basically hanging out either end of the plane), but you soon came to realize that they were cramped spaces that were probably not that enjoyable of a place to be when flak grenades were exploding all around you and enemy fighters were hurley large caliber bullets in your direction. We flew at approximately 15,000 ft. which kept us out of turbulance and allowed all 10 passengers to walk around fairly easily - there are still some tight spots to get by. For how big the plane is, it was designed to hold and drop bombs, not let peolple run around on it. The engines were loud and the wind was swirling by at 180 mph, but it was a seriously cool life experience that I wouldn't give back for anything.

Fabulous Fords Forever

Custom-made King Cab flatbed tow truck with '56 Pick-up

The Falcon joined about thirty other birds-of-prey for the 25th Annual Fabulous Fords Forever car show at Knott's Berry Farm. This year celebrated 50 years of Falcon, 55 years of Thunderbird, 25 years of Taurus, and 70 years of the Lincoln Continental. We were one of the last Falcons to arrive, and I had spent the previous two weekends cleaning the engine compartment so I could raise the hood like everybody else. I also did a clay bar treatment and quick wax so the paint was as shiny as it could be. There was a good turnout of Falcons; more than has usually been there in previous years. We were parked right by a big red 40s era cab-forward flatbed tow truck that had been modified into a four-door King Cab. I feel the beautiful '56 pick-up that it was hauling was probably overlooked a lot due to the uniqueness of the C-O-E. As we walked around we found some really cool cars. Some standouts were a 1943 Ford GPW, a '36 with flathead, a few Mustang California Specials, a pearl white Cobra, a custom-built Mustang station wagon, a lowered nightmarish Galaxie, a sleek '56 hardtop, and still only one Cortina. The Ford booth was showing off the new Fiesta, the Fusion hybrid, the overly Euro-looking Transit Connect, and a Taurus SHO. After getting home and looking at the event map, I saw we missed a whole section of Mustang SVTs that were tucked away in there own little spot away from the main lot. That was a bummer. Overall it was another great show; and I love the fact that for a quarter-century now we've had a local show that celebrates nothing but Ford, and it's still going strong.

See Team Jerome in Action from TTC 2009

You may remember way back in June that Les' nephew, Brett Jerome, was participating in his first Four Wheeler Magazine Top Truck Challenge. He had a very successful competition, earning a thrid place in the Tow Test, second place in the Mud Pit and Mini Rubicon, and (as mentioned before) first place in the Frame Twister and Tank Trap. Brett's Tank Trap run set a new course record, and his Frame Twister run was exciting enough that his buggy is the cover photo of the TTC 17 dvd. We congratulate Brett on his second place overall finish (he only lost by 1 muddy point!). That's pretty good for a first attempt; and the folks that make the Mickey Thompson TTC-branded tires that he was running thought so too since they put his "Orange Off-Road Buggy of Doom" in their SEMA booth this past November. Thank you cousin Bob for keeping us up-to-date on Brett's whereabouts, and thank you cousin Don for recently letting us borrow your copy of the competition video to watch.

COCOA New Member Cruise

The Falcon participated in the Cobra Owners Club 3rd Annual New Member Cruise today. Les' nephew, Don McCracken, joined us while visiting from Missouri on business. As is standard, the Club met in the morning at the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, and after the route maps were passed out, we jumped on the 5 Fwy to the 57 Fwy to a negligible stint on the 10 Fwy.

RJ's Mustang & Bob's Cobra in front of the NHRA Museum

Our final destination was the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum just down the road from the home of the Winternationals (which celebrated its 50th running earlier this year), the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona drag strip. The museum houses the long history of drag racing in America, including Kenny Bernstein's 300mph-breaking top-fuel dragster, two different incarnations of the Chi-Town Hustler funny car, a collection of "TV Tommy" Ivo memorabilia, a display of "The Snake" vs "The Mongoose" souvenirs, numerous front-engine dragsters, and various other collectibles. Although most closely associated with drag racing, let's not forget what NHRA stands for: National Hot Rod Association. And hot rods they have. There were both ZZ Top cars: the Eliminator and Cadzilla, a glass case full of classic journal size hot rod magazines, several decades of land speed cars, the world's fastest flathead (302mph), a collection of black and white photos, an archive of Barney Navarro product and racing heritage, and a special exhibit on Mickey Thompson - the first American to 400mph. It is hot rod heaven.

Back tracking along the freeway brought us back to the "clubhouse" in Costa Mesa where the participants enjoyed some barbecue, cars, and conversation (not necessarily in that particular order). All the cruise cars were there, as well as many of the shop cars that were there last year. One of the notable new ones was a suped-up flat black '65 Falcon Ranchero. Probably not a car you'd wanted to meet on the street at night.

61st Annual Grand National Roadster Show

Scarab MK I sports car formerly driven by Chuck Daigh

We found our way to the Fairplex in Pomona by late morning and spent the rest of the day looking at hundreds of hot rods and kustoms. The Grand National Roadster Show is the longest running indoor car show in the world. Funny thing is, there were way more cars outside; from Deuce coupes, '40 Fords, and '50 Mercs, to land speed cars, road racers, and "The Bug". Tom McIntyre, who's shop we visited last September, had four cars from his collection there. There was also the last car to come out of Boyd Coddington's shop: a 100% hand formed metal body roadster called "The French Connection". It features an Italian-made V-12 BPM boat engine that Boyd bought from Chuck Daigh. Chuck also left his mark on this year's show with the Scarab MK I sports car and Scarab Formula 1 car that were showcased next to a giant transport truck that was looping his staring role in "The Sound of Speed" on a widescreen TV. The Hot Rod Museum at the Fairplex hosts numerous cars from the covers of magazines, including Chip Foose's "P-23" Lincoln roadster and the original "California Kid" (from the movie of the same name). There was a beautiful 1963 Falcon Country Squire wagon, a lifted International Harvester woody wagon, a couple Willys drag cars, a Lincoln V-12 lakes roadster, and many, many, many more. Oh yeah, and Mark's '32 Ford hot rod, the "Kaos Special II". There are really so many cars that you have to see it for yourself. There is a reason they call it "The Grand Daddy of Them All".

7th Annual Tour d'Orange

Bob's new CSX7000 Cobra & a Cobra Daytona Coupe

We started out the new year with what is becoming an old tradition: the Tour d'Orange. The Tour is a free cruise where you show up with your classic or hi-performance car, and drive a pre-determined route around Orange County, finishing at another California original: In-N-Out Burger. Car clubs such as COCOA, the SoCal Mini Maniacs, the Corvette Club, and others make it a group event. Costa Mesa is the starting point each year. Our route took us down Pacific Coast Highway, up Laguna Canyon Road, past the El Toro Air Marine Base, through Lake Forest to Trabuco Canyon, alongside O'Neill Park, past Cook's Corner and up-and-down Santiago Canyon, back though part of Irvine, finally ending at The District shopping center next to the Tustin Air Marine Base. It was a beautiful sunny New Year's Day for a cruise and made for a much more fun starting than the heavy morning fog of 2009. There were some great cars this year (as there always are), and too many to list. I didn't even get to see them all. Another perfect start to a new year complete. Happy New Year!

VARA Big Bore Bash

Les & Bob on the pre-grid for the Sunday morning session

This weekend marked the first VARA event of the year for Les; his annual trip to Willow Springs Raceway for the Big Bore Bash featuring the Ford/Chevy Challenge. This year's entry continues his claim of being the only person to enter all the Ford/Chevy Challenges (now, he did have one weekend where he broke the car before the Challenge, but he did enter, just didn't race, so it still counts). It was a beautiful weekend at the track, where the typical gusting high-desert winds were present but not as strong as usual. We also used the trailer and the back wall of the tire shop to block any minor gales that arose. It was also an unusual weekend in that nothing went wrong with the car. Ol' #45 made it through the whole weekend without anything having to be repaired or replaced. Les would pull in to the pit after a session and just park it. No wrenches, screwdrivers, or pliers were needed. Just fill it up with gas and wait for the next race. About the biggest thing that happened in our pit was that Bob and Hank changed tires on the Shelby; and that didn't even take that long because they were able to test out an EZ Car Lift, so it went pretty quick. Both Les and Bob felt the track was a little slippery, but they couldn't figure out whether it was the track itself or their tires. It didn't stop them from doing well and having fun. Les finished 15th and Bob was right behind him in 18th for the Group 3 flag race; and Les finished 5th and Bob came in at 12th for the Ford/Chevy Challenge. The next trip to Willow Springs should be in May for the national SAAC event.

COCOA McIntyre Collection Cruise & Tour

This morning we piled into the Falcon and joined the Cobra Owners Club on a cruise to Burbank for a tour of Tom McIntyre's car collection (and if driving up the freeway at 80 mph in the fast lane is cruising, I don't want to see what these guys drive like normally). Tom has some great stories, and some great cars to go with them. Although he's a self-proclaimed "Ford guy", two of the most historic cars in his collection are Chevys: a Penske/Donohue 1968 Sunoco Trans-Am Camaro, and Mickey Thompson's 1963 427 MKII "Mystery Motor" Corvette Stingray Z-06 that was driven by Junior Johnson at Dayton in the 200-mile NASCAR American Challenge Cup race. Whew... that's a lot of GM for one sentence.

A replica of the '57 T-Bird Chuck Daigh drove 205 mph

We'll start the Fords off with a 1957 supercharged Thunderbird race car. It is a replica of the one Chuck Daigh drove on Daytona Beach to record-setting speeds. It was built in the spirit of the originals, by some of the same guys that built the originals. The originals have come to be known as the "Battlebirds", but Chuck used to say that they never called them that and he hated the term, so you won't see it again here.

Next is a 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G. At the time this car was built, Tom's company, ACSCO Products, was making all the badges for these suped-up cats, so he decided to order one. The guys at Ford asked if he wanted anything special, so Tom told them he'd really like a black one. The model didn't regularly come in that color, thus Tom's is the only one to come from the factory painted black.

One of his newest additions is a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster that used to be owned by the Williams Brothers. In 1954, the brothers replaced the Flathead V8 with a new Dodge "Red Ram" Hemi V8 and went on to break the record in the B/Roadster class at Bonneville with a run of 159 mph. The hot rod had accumulated 50 years worth of dust when Tom bought it in 2006. Soon afterward, the car won the prestigious Bruce Meyer Hot Rod Preservation Award at the 2007 Grand National Roadster Show.

Some of his other Fords include Steve Saleen's first Mustang race car (that started life as a Capri) and the first 1985 Saleen Mustang production car (that was also the first 1986 production car), a 1966 AC Cobra 427 that he has owned since the early '70s, a 1956 Lincoln Continental that he bought from the Petersen Automotive Museum in honor of his dad, and a 1964 Galaxie 427.

Other notable vehicles were Mickey Thompson's Salton City 500 race boat christened "Babe" after his sister, the "Goldenrod" streamliner built and raced by the engineer at Coors Brewing that designed the aluminum can, a front-engine dragster raced by "Little" Tommy Larkin and Al Weiss (that one lucky club member got to sit in as they fired it up), a 1959 Porsche 356A Roadster given to him as a gift by the Porsche IMSA team for all his years of service before they went big time, and a stock 1951 Volkswagon Beetle with original mohair upholstery. There were more cars I'm not even mentioning, and a few that weren't even at the garage, plus plenty of vintage posters, models, toys, and records that accented the whole building. The day was topped off with some 24" pizza from Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzaria and some wildly popular molasses cookies. To hear the stories of how many of these vehicles came to be in Tom's possession just makes you shake your head; no one can be that serendipitous, can they?

COCOA Concours de Nice

2009 Concours de Nice winner: Best of Show

Earlier today Les and Chad showed off Dr. Miller's Thunderbird racecar and the Falcon at the Cobra Club's annual Concours de Nice car show at Park Mall in front of the Westin Hotel across the street from South Coast Plaza. The Thunderbird was up against some stiff competition in the Competition class which included a '67 Cougar, and a couple of late model Mustangs. I thought the T-Bird had a good chance, but Stockwell's '65 Shelby Mustang Replica took home the trophy. The Falcon on the other hand has a tradition of receiving second place to a Thunderbird in the Special Interest class. This year one of those Thunderbirds was entered again along with a '65 Galaxie, but none of us gathered enough votes. Instead second place went to Tom's green '66 Fairlane GT, and a beautiful red '40 Ford with ghost flames and shiney flathead in the engine compartment. It was another tough loss for the ol' Bird of Prey which pulled out all the stops this year: clay bar treatment, waxed all the way around, and longboard prop (of which it did receive an Honorable Mention for best use of a surfboard).

Although we didn't win any trophys or raffle prizes, it was a good day: it didn't mist on the morning drive over like it usually does, it wasn't too hot or too chilly, there were lots of beautiful and unique Fords, as well as great people to hang out with. Then, to put an exclamation point on the day, the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2009 NBA Championship! The Purple Reign is back!

Team Jerome Sets Record Time at TTC

Travelling halfway across the country from his home in Blue Springs, Missouri, Les' nephew Brett Jerome is currently in Hollister - a town known more for motorcycles than rock-crawlers. Brett was selected as a finalist in the Four Wheeler Magazine 2009 Top Truck Challenge taking place June 8-12. His 2008 Jeep TJ buggy was the #2 vote-getter. On Monday, Brett and his team won the Frame Twister event, and today they set a new course record of 6:08 minutes in the Tank Trap event. Congratulations Team Jerome. Keep up the good work.
Click here for more details and updates on the Top Truck Challenge.

A Racecar-Themed Birthday

Party guests pose with a real racecar

Les spent part of the afternoon today at Heller Park in Costa Mesa adding some "vroom" to a racecar-themed birthday party. Jett, the young birthday boy, celebrated his fourth year with a racecar bounce house, a Lego car building station with mini ramp to race them down, face painting, and cupcakes each with their own plastic racecar topper. Rounding out the theme was a real racecar! That's right, the Nimmo Machine Mustang was the hit of party... well, after the bounce house at least. All the party guests got to take the checkered flag while sitting in the racecar to have their picture taken, and some even wore Les' helmet. Jett's mom celebrated her "labor" day by jumping in the car for a picture too. We hope all the kids had a fun time (especially our neighbor Blake), and wish Jett a happy birthday.

Fabulous Fords Forever

This particular Mustang really stood out amongst the others

Today we walked around an overflow parking lot for Knott's Berry Farm and looked at nothing but Fords, Lincolns, Mercurys, and other Ford-powered cars at the 24th Annual Fabulous Fords Forever. Although it seems to always be extremely warm at this car show, it was un-seasonly hot this year, reaching 100° in neighboring Anaheim. As always, the Mustang and Bronco sections grew the most. With so many Mustangs, it's easy to get sick of looking at them, but there are always some that standout more than others, and those are the ones that keep you looking. There were some great individual cars in the class, but what really caught my eye this year was the eight or so real '80s CHP Mustang Interceptors parked together. Let me tell you... that is a bad ass vehicle there. Not too many get away from them. The Ford Racing booth was showing off their modular crate motors, and had a hotrod sporting an aluminum Cammer engine. I was also able to grab a poster of their 2002 concept car FR100. We found a Saleen Focus ZX5. I didn't even know they made a Saleen Focus. At the end of our walk, the Ford booth was showing a new Focus coupe wearing a 3dCarbon Euro-styling kit. They may be on to something here.

Overall, the show seemed smaller than previous years. Some groups of cars were set up in the main lot instead of the side areas they usually are. And even though there were more Mustangs than ever (it was an anniversary year), some cars were way under represented. I saw only one Cortina, and do not recall seeing any Merkurs, Edsels, or even '50s-era Rancheros. It was odd, but maybe I just missed them. There were a lot of cars.

Cal Poly to Compete in Eco-marathon Americas

A team of students from Cal Poly SLO, Chad's college alma mater, will be competing in the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on April 16-18. This year the Cal Poly entry, known as Black Widow, will attempt to top its 2008 second place finish of 2,752.3 miles per gallon. Wait… that was second place?! The "Supermileage" team is up against 51 other high school and college teams from North and South America. Go Mustangs!
Click here for more details on the team and the event.

That Guy Can Go; That Cat Called Domino

This past October, the Falcon was used as a prop for a film student's class project. His project was making a music video for the Roy Orbison song "Cat Called Domino". The Falcon worked two days of principle shooting; one in the parking lot of the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, and one driving around Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. I recently found the finished video on YouTube.
Watch the '64 Bird of Prey in action here.

Model A Club Pancake Breakfast

Today instead of our traditional Sunday morning waffles, we headed over to Hart Park in the City of Orange for the 48th Annual OC Model A Ford Club Pancake Breakfast. It was pretty crowded with approximately 240 Model A's, about 20 Model T's, and around 60 or so other classic Fords. There were coupes, sedans, panels, trucks, hot rods, stocks, flatheads, OHV 4s, and everything in between (check out the "car shows" photo album to see a few of 'em). And you couldn't beat the price; the car show was free and breakfast was only $5. It wasn't the best breakfast ever, but hey, you're paying five bucks to a car club, what do you expect... Eggs Benedict and Momosas? Some of the other classics that were there included a few Thunderbirds, some '50 Fords, '40 Fords, '34 Fords, and '30s-era Lincolns. It could have been a touch warmer, but regardless it was a pretty good start to the day.

COCOA Driver Training at Willow Springs

This past Tuesday, Les participated as an instructor at the COCOA Open Track and Driver Training Day. It was a beautiful day at the "Fastest Track in the West" with clear skies and no wind (which is rare at Willow Springs). After a morning classroom session where the drivers were giving safety information and shown the apex of each turn, it was time to put the new-found knowledge to work out on the track. Les did ride-arounds with Don in his Mustang, and Jeff and Delvin in their respective Cobras. Overall, it was a fun day with lots of track time, a few spins, some engines problems, and everybody eventually clipping the dirt in the turns. No late braking in Turn 1 though; the teacher doesn't reveal all his secrets.

COCOA New Member Cruise

The Thunderbird and the Falcon participated in the Cobra Owners Club 2nd Annual New Member Cruise this past Saturday. The cruise was established to celebrate and introduce any recently joined members to the guys that have been around for awhile. The Club met in the morning at the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, and after the route maps were handed out to everyone, we headed up the 55 Fwy to catch the 91 Fwy over to the 15 Fwy.

Filling up the Parking Lot at Tom's Farms

Off the 15 South we made our first pit stop at Tom's Farms on Temescal Canyon Road in Corona. After a quick walk through the candy shoppe, produce market, and wine & cheese store, the club filed out of the parking lot and back onto the freeway making our way to the Ortega Highway. Winding up the Eastside of the Santa Ana Mountains, past the famous Lookout Roadhouse and through the Cleveland National Forest, we eventually arrived back at the ocean and our second pit stop at Mariner's Village near Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. We were running a little behind schedule, so once everyone regrouped we were off again for a short stint up Pacific Coast Highway, eventually turning East and making our way to the 5 Fwy.

The San Diego Freeway North to the 405 Fwy completed the cruise with the final stop at club member Paul Westberg's "clubhouse" in Costa Mesa. All the cruise cars were on show along with some others that were already there including a racing Cougar, pristine Candy Apple Red T-bird, a custom-built Cobra Daytona Coupe, and an overhauled original Mini Cooper. The hosts were serving up hamburgers and hotdogs, salad and soda. There were awards for the "Black Glove" car show, and competitions around Willow Springs in the two state-of-the-art racing simulators (I wish they'd had a post-mortem Riverside Int'l program; that would have been cool). And of course there was plenty of car discussion. As the afternoon wore on, the shop was set back to normal and the cars in the parking lot slowly dissipated back to their garages. Some louder than others.

Website Gets a New Paint Job

Original layout of

The official website for Nimmo Machine Vintage Racing (or as I like to call it: dad's race car), has been overhauled! A new design, new layout, and new features (with more to come). As you can see by the picture to the right, the previous design was a little old and stale. I've used my recent "time-off" work to learn new techniques for improving the site. This is a soft launch as I work on adding archive and videos pages, as well as RSS and comments features. Right now you can check out the updated 2009 schedule, an all-new photo gallery with pictures hosted on Flickr, and a tribute to Chuck Daigh (an underappreciated fabricator and racer of his era, and a friend of Les' for over 20 years). Oh, and as you may have noticed, the site is in a blog format now, so check back to read about what's been going on with the race car and the family's other classic Fords. Thanks for your support.