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What I did on my Summer Vacation
Summer vacation this year came with a few unexpected surprises, twists and turns. My daughter and I drove out to visit a friend of ours in Kansas. Chris and I grew up together , restoring cars as we got older, and lucky he made a career out of teaching others to restore classic automobiles. This program at McPherson college ( www.Mcpherson.edu) boasts a world class restoration program with sponsors such as Jay Leno and Hagerty Insurance, as well as spots on ESPN and a few classic car programs on Cable.
As I went through their shop and Chris gave me a tour I noticed a Fadal, Bridgeports, lathes of various types, and other metal and wood working equipment. I was impressed with their program, and the quality of workmanship that they do on these cars. Currently they are working on a 1915 Pierce Arrow, 1908 Holsman, 1929 Stutz Blackhawk Phaeton, 1928 Franklin, 1966 Mustang Fastback, 1957 Cadillac, 1953 Studebaker, 1950 Mercury Convertible.
From there we visited a friend of his that had a number of older Mack Trucks from the 1920’s. He had a unrestored 7 ton Mack, and outside his shop he promised the next time we came he would fire up his oil well engine that has a 12″ bore and 18″ stroke for us.
From there My daughter and I traveled with our friend to Colorado Springs. The area was well under control with the fires subsiding, and we met other cars of the Pre 1915 vintage for a car tour. After about 400 miles in four days, on Friday 16 cars set to climb pikes peak in our cars. After 2 1/2 hours up, we found the summit in our 1912 Model T Ford and parked. Proud of ourselves to be able to climb the 19 mile highway with a 7000 vertical change in altitude, we had a lunch, and began our decent. 45 minutes later we were at the bottom safe and sound. Below is a video of the decent in various stages.
What does this have to do with Grinding and Royal Master? Not much. Why Did I write about it? It was fun to walk into others lives for a two week period, see the machines that we make in use in an educational setting, drive a car with parts that I have made in our machine shop up a really big hill, and make it down safely. No matter what the year that something was made, machine tools were used to build the car, or engine once, twice them now sometimes more than three times. The common theme here is without our companies making machinery, and the companies that make the parts for these cars, past and present, and colleges teaching this trade and passing along this knowledge, the very basics of this industry that we are in would fall, and all this knowledge that was accumulated over the 116 years since the first Benz Automobile was produced would be lost.