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Carey Parker makes nice with the Big Boy (the plastic type) in Baker, CA. The World's Tallest Thermometer read 69 degrees at 6pm on October 31, 2006.
What used to be the ONLY reason to stop in Baker, CA on the I-15, apart from engine problems and compelling bathroom breaks, isn't what it used to be. The world-famous BUN BOY is no longer; now a member of the BOB'S BIG BOY chain, it still boasts the World's Tallest Thermometer (not rectal). Here I peruse some of the reading material available on the restaurant's newsrack ... Read the BLOG for more on Barstow, Baker and other third-world outposts ... And how a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas would destroy those towns and others (like lovely Yermo) as surely as well-placed atom bombs ... Speaking of which, there is now an ATOM BOMB TESTING MUSEUM in Las Vegas! We didn't have time to stop, but we will next time ... If any of you have visited, please share with us if it's any fun! Isn't atom bomb testing fun when it's done just outside Las Vegas?
We had a nice meal at the steakhouse in THE GOLDEN NUGGET (yes, go DOWNTOWN for meals and gambling ... Enjoy the hotels on the Strip for their shows). Here I display what was left when this major feeding event all over ... And we DID take it back to our Las Vegas Hilton hotel room ... Equipped as it was with a refrigerator and all ...
Even we got into the Halloween act! Actually, I had to make a stop at Las Vegas General Hospital and Carey snapped this photo ... Seriously, we're in front of a Fremont Street strip club and the photo cost us ten bucks ... Carey said I could do the photo but NOT go in ...
The SEMA SHOW oened on Halloween, 2006! But this picture was taken on June 24, 2003. NO! We're kidding! The shot was taken at the "Fremont Street Experience" (they put a roof over Fremont Street and show a fairly interesting film up there every hour on the hour; the show lasts about 5 minutes). And it was taken on Halloween! About that 'roof' ... Many people know the tall, neon cowboy on the side of the one of the big and older downtown gambling houses, who waves his arm up and down and says "Howdy, Pardner!" ... Well, he's been replaced by a new cowboy and the loudspeakers are gone and so is, if I remember right, the waving. Or, sure, it's perfgect and the neon is bright and new and all that --- But we have 8mm home movies which my father shot of that very cowboy in 1961, waving his arm and lookg grand. The original is still better -- Hey! Maybe we'll use that clip of the old cowboy on the 'CAR NUT TV' segments about the SEMA SHOW!
Nice-looking front-end work done on a new 2007 Nissan Sentra. We drove a prototype Sentra to and from Las Vegas for the SEMA SHOW, a total of about 700 miles. We found the car surprisingly quiet and smooth with good handling, even above triple digits. However, the six-speed stick shift version we had was sometimes a hassle to drive. The sixth gear is fine for open-highway running on a flat or downhill road; any uphills or passing slower cars or trucks on the highway call for a downshift all the way to fourth. The little DOHC engine in Sentra has a pleasant amount of horsepower for a compact car; but like most of those DOHC engines, torque is almost non-existent anyway.
Highly-modified Toyota Supra.
Gull-wing suicide doors are just one of the features which set this Toyota Supra (yep, that's what it is, or, to say it more clearly, was) apart from others of the same name. This might be one of the ugliest tuner cars we/ve ever seen ... But hey! You have to give the owner credit for originality, and we always respect anyone in the car biz taking a chance ... Which is why we will always love the Subaru SVX! And yes, that IS Carey with one of the video cameras catching details for "CAR NUT TV", seen on Time Warner systems throughout southern California.
The Lotus Elite sports car is somewhat easily modified (for those who know what they are doing) for SCCA club racing and many other lower-level racing series; though the price on the basic street version of the car is relatively low, so few of them are made that getting one for yourself is a real coup. Lotus was founded and run by the late Brit, Colin Chapman, and the compoany began as a way to raise money for CHapman's successful Formula 1 racing team in the '70s (Mario Andretti won his F1 World Driving Championship title in a Lotusin 1978). The company, like Porsche and other race shops will also sell cars to the public (including TVR, formerly of the UK, now to be located somewhere in eastern Europe by its Russian owner) made much of its money through R&D work for other car-makers.
Gorgeous, bright example of the UK's Lotus Elite; this street car has been modified with performance, safety and appearance equipment to make it a definitely racy little thing.
Supercharged 5.4 liter engine of the Shelby Mustang.
Rear deck of the Shelby Mustang.
Cockpit of the Ford Shelby Mustang with its near-330hp for 2007.
Rear deck of the Holden Monaro.
A rare left-hand drive version of the Holden Monaro, the basis for the car we recently called the Pontiac GTO in this country. Made in Australia, equipped with the Corvette small block/six-speed and rear drive, find out more about this fun car (which didn't sell well at all in the USA and was killed after only three years; there were a lot of reasons why, most of the GM's Bob Lutz's fault) at www.jhp.com.au.
Badge of the new Shelby Mustang.
Typical lunch-time scene at SEMA; even for the young, all the walking on hard floors is tiring and results in PAINED feet! My wife and I sort-of impressed ourselves with the amount of coverage we were able to give the show this year, and I am in my 50s (she isn't!).
This Hemi-equipped Dodge Magunum R/T is used to help raise funds for the IACOCCA FOUNDATION, which supports the efforts to eradicate and eventually cure diabetes. Lee Iacocca's (first) wife, Mary, died of the disease after many years of suffering and her husband made it his job to do-away with diabetes in his lifetime. His efforts have actually already come very close to destroying diabetes, especially through genetic engineering processes. We didn't see Lido his-own-self at SEMA, but he's usually there for a day or two. His legend lives as alrge as anyone else's in the world of cars and trucks. (Maybe no one will pay Iacocca $10,000 a day to sign autographs, like FoMoCo does with Carroll Shelby).
Anyone need a tire? Neat shop equipment like this make up a large part of the SEMA SHOW, especially the half of the show held at the SANDS HOTEL CONVENTION CENTER. The entire show fills both the SANDS and LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTERS. More than 75,000 geniuses who think this stuff up, people who design it, make it, get it to the shops around the world, sell it, install it, maintain it and modify it all attend the show, closed to the public. SEMA is the biggest trade show in the world. The show results during the year in the $34 billion worldwide automotive aftermarket.
Rear hatch of WARRIOR ONE, re-designed and modified by Chip Foose, current Pretty Boy of the Moment of SEMA's world, who replaced Boyd Coddington and Jesse James.
CNN's WARRIOR ONE H1 Hummer.
Rear interior of CNN's WARRIOR ONE. The vehicle has been re-done by Chip Foose on the TV show "Overhaulin'".
Front interior of CNN's WARRIOR ONE.
CNN's ill-named and in-poor-taste "Warrior One". This Hummer H1 was bought by CNN at a Kuwaiti delaership in 2002; used by CNN reporters during the Gulf War in 2003 (the one we won, kicking Saddam out of Kuwait). CNN redeemed themselves at the SEMA SHOW by announcing they are selling WARRIOR ONE at the Barret-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, AZ, January, 2007, and giving all the monies (they say now) to a charitable organization which arranges for family members of injured soliders to live near the military hospital where their family member is being treated, sort of like a 'military' Ronald McDonald House.
AerialAtom racer, about $45 - $90,000 (Jay Leno bought the first one .... Like he does with seemingly every car), built in the northwest. Expensive models feature all carbon-fiber body panels, supercharged GM Ecotec 2.4 liter engine at about 360 hp. Base engine is Ecotoc at 166 horses.
AerialAtom race-car front suspension using Koni shocks.
AerialAtom race car cockpit.