(Words and Photos by Randal Burns) - Some of you may have been following my Thunderbird drama in prep for the Car Craft Anti-Tour on the forums earlier this month. I was getting the car cleaned up and ready to leave town when I decided to give it the Skylark’s left over Megasquirt parts and upgrade it to a Megasquirt II. In the process I had all sorts of tach signal problems that were a result of simply forgetting to install a jumper on the Megasquirt board. But at the last minute I found the problem and the plans to take the car were back on. When I was all set and packed, at the gas station filling up the gas tank for the trip when it started leaking fuel back at the tank, d’oh! With time winding down I drove home, quickly threw everything into Skylark for its 4th Anti-Tour.
The tour started in Camarillo, CA at Wilwood Engineering (brakes) manufacturing shop. The weather was perfectly clear and there was a good size gathering with breakfast bagels and drinks. Met up with BangShifter’s Scott Liggett, Stage1Scott and GoatRacer and took the shop tour. I had my camera all ready, but was politely asked to pocket it as we entered. They have quite the R&D setup as well as manufacturing and inventory areas. Interesting factoid is they make approximately one ton of scrap aluminum a day. That’s small cutting fragments from all the CNC machines piled up! They had an automated brake dyno that was pretty slick. It would run cycles and record results automatically through a pre-programmed set up and run as long as needed to gather all the data they needed for heat, longevity and of course braking ability. Another interesting area was where they would break in new pads for customers using a Chevy 350 attached to a TH350 with a rotor at the end of a drive shaft. The operator would run the engine up and use the brakes on the rotor to bring the speed back down in a controlled manner to properly break in the pads. An excellent service for racers, particularly auto cross racers, that like to bolt on a new set of brakes and go and not worry about glazing them over or having to go easy on them to break them in.
Some cool cars showed up for the tour. My personal favorites are almost always works in progress and have some kind of twist to it. This year there was a Hornet with a 258 inline six with a fuel injected 4.0L head bolted to it, with the distributor cut down and an EDIS coil pack system attached. These guys got it right from the wrecking yard, drove it home, bolted the head and ignition system to it, wired up the megasquirt and were surprised when it fired right up and was happy.
Another favorite that I’ve seen on multiple Anti-Tour’s is the red Ford Galaxie you can see in the galleries I shot. It’s just a nice stock-ish car and glad to see it being driven. It definitely stood out to me.
When it was time to get the show on the road John McGann handed out maps of this year’s route (same as last year) and we gather up and caravanned out. Not much is sweeter than rolling in a caravan of cool cars. Appropriately, the first stop was a gas stop, but then after that was a nice scenic stop in the mountains. There are some nice curvy mountain roads and great scenery. As mentioned the weather was perfect, neither to hot nor too cold and all sunshine. After some more mountain scenery the road brought us to cow country where we ate lunch at a small diner, there it was mentioned that the cows out back guaranteed fresh burgers. Ultimately the trip brought us to the ocean in time for the Morro Bay car show. From here the pictures speak for themselves. The sun was shining; the breeze was gentle and perfect weather for a t-shirt, shorts, flip flops, and car show!