HAPPY NEW YEAR! -- Random Thoughts

Welcome to 2009, it's going to be a great year. I know you can't turn on the TV these days without seeing some kind of terrible news but trust me, your investment in rusty old Mopars is safe, just ask your neighbor! Gas is cheap! And if you're worried about your "investment" '71 Hemi 'Cuda, I recommend you drive it hard! We've got huge plans up here at Wagons of Steel. A major West Coast NHRA drag racing expedition, a new draggin' wagon in the works, new engines, new connections, new adventures--we've got a nice full plate in front of us.

Best of all for me, I will be busy during the month of February. For those of you who haven't spent a February in the Pacific Northwest I'll tell you that it's tough. The days are very short and it's cold and wet. We do get snow here, but not often enough for us to be any good with it like our Midwestern or Northeastern brothers and sisters. When it snows or freezes here, we are basically paralyzed as a region. I do have a very nice shop with radiant floor heat and killer lighting, which allows me to keep on working (or at least keep my sanity), as long as the power stays on but the world is still a better place if I'm not here in February. That I'll be drag racing in Southern California and Phoenix just tickles me.

I love our new trailer. Let me count the ways. It's the coolest new thing that I've ever bought, a giant Christmas present to us. It smells like a new car inside. It's got every feature that I could ever want. Since I went into it with partners I was able to really go overboard.

The last time we went to a Divisional event we were one of only two open trailers out of two hundred plus racers. Now we don't have "trailer envy" anymore. Seriously, the advantages of having an enclosed trailer are tremendous. We get to store the car outside the shop, we can keep a permanent selection of "race car tools", we don't have to wash the race car as much, and we have nice place to get out of the weather at the race track. Come on by and I'll give you a tour anytime!

Speaking of winter, what is up with the Big Three, especially our beloved Mother Mopar? Can you believe that they are actually taking the month off? What does this mean for the new Challenger? How will this affect the aftermarket? It just seems unfathomable that we could let a huge industry like building American cars die on the tree.

I've heard politicians and special interests out there that hate the UAW and other unions so much that they would be willing to kill the U.S. auto industry over it. I hear them sounding OUTRAGED that someone could get $60 per hour to build cars. I pray that no one could be that cynical but I still must note that $60 per hour works out to $125k per year, before taxes. That's about right for a super frugal American family of four to get by on one income, give or take. What is so wrong with that? Isn't that the American Dream? All the money goes straight back into the local economy, so everybody wins!