Fellow Great Racers Beware! Some Teams Are Already Preparing for 2019!

July 26, 2018

So, I took Bender (trusty ’54 Studebaker) to the Hemmings World HQ in Bennington, Vermont this evening, for the Cruise-In there. Bender is still wearing all his 2018 GR stickers, so it may have embarrassed the judges out of giving him all the awards he may richly deserve otherwise (conflict of interest and all that, since this IS the Hemmings Motor News Great Race we’re talking about). But we had fun. We always do when we’re there.

Furthermore, I took the opportunity (while Jim Menneto was taking a break from sunning himself) to sneak into the Hemmings Holy of Holies and catch a glimpse of what Jim is working on for his next attempt at the Great Race. I was able to get a glimpse of all the work getting done on his famous blue Ford Speedster (hey, now that he’s actually finished one Great Race, he might be thinking of seriously competing).

I discovered no Russians, but still – a devilishly clever strategy unfolding, as illustrated in the images here, taken with my trusty pocket whoPhone spy camera.

Clearly, Jim has solved both his excess weight (let me be clear – the vehicle’s weight) and his frequent component failure issues in past attempts, by the brilliant and improvisational approach shown: removal of the entire engine! I found no visible clues yet on how he will get his feet through the floorboards to make the car go, Flintstone-style…but at least he can stop worrying about the clutch pedal falling off again.

Menneto’s Secret Plan: Lightweighting the Speedster.

Won’t work, you say? Ah, but don’t be too sure you’re safe, because I also found in another corner of the top-secret workshop, a Back-Up Plan (or Plan B, if you prefer, since it’s really hard to do the Great Race backing up in Reverse, even with a plan). That’s revealed in the second image here. Clearly, there are contingency options – to swap some spare 427 parts onto the ol’ flathead, a plan revealed here undeniably by the presence of a nearby scrap-donor engine, the Hemmings Logo on the hastily built secrecy wall, and the detailed instructions printed on the handy spare-parts receptacle: “Let’s Do This.” NOTE: Do not be fooled by the lookalike “Homer’s All-Purpose Bucket” decoy (Homer might be Russian?), or by the also nearby beverage-chilling receptacle, cleverly disguised as a trash can with liner. There seems no doubt that “Let’s Do This” is now Jim’s mantra and strategy!

AHA! and Of Course! Diabolical! Look out, you mere Experts and Grand Champions, Menneto is coming to win in 2019!

Menneto’s OTHER Secret Plan: Engine Swapping!

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