Well….we did it. We made it with the Shark to Amelia with a gaggle of glass guys in tow. And it was nothing short of a miraculous effort by friends, family, supporting businesses, and probably mysterious unknown fiberglass fanatics.
To say that our success at being at Amelia was the result of so many people participating and contributing at all levels would just begin to describe – accurately – how and why we made it last Sunday on the show field for display. And what an exhilarating experience that was – but more about that later.
The last time you heard from me was just days before Amelia – 168 hours before the event to be specific. One week to go. There was much to do and the car had just been painted. Here are some stories about our lead up to that period of time:
From that point forward and with just a week to spare, our team leapt into action. These were some of the activities that we had to address:
* The foil/underbelly of the car was finished by Mike Irvin and Craig Johnson of M.I. Productions, and then prepped and brought to Tampa, Florida for fitting and installation
* Tom Jaudon of “Bay to Bay Upholstery” began fitting the interior which included the “chrome-like” vinyl used for the seats and the sides of the cockpit
* Andrea and Geoff Rogers of Rogers Motors Shutesbury, Massachusetts located and shipped NOS and repro Lucas taillights and parking lights for the finishing touch front and rear
And more, more, more…
And then Friday – 24 hours before we were to leave for Amelia – the big guns came in. Good friends John Slusar from Wisconsin and Craig Johnson from Treasure Island, Florida (who was one of the fiberglass experts who did the bodywork on the Shark too) arrived early in the morning at my home in Tampa, Florida, and our tasks for the day began. These included:
* Pick up the Shark and drop off at our metal fabricators – Clanton Welding – to install the new chrome shifting mechanism. Hubert Clanton, the owner of Clanton Welding has been of tremendous help at every step and Joe and Nick have been fantastic to work with. Great thanks goes to Hubert, Joe, and Nick for everything they did to make this happen on time for us and the Shark. Great job guys!
* Pick up our Shark cards – information pieces for handout at Amelia about the Shark
* Installation of the lighting system – front and back
* Installation of the radiator system
* Installation of the intake, exhaust, and carburetor
* Installation of the battery and fuel tank compartment
* Turning the rear suspension for correct “stance”
* Installation of the interior
* Installation of the doors, hinges, and opening/locking mechanism
* Installation of the steering column and steering wheel
* Installation of the console
* Pick up and installation of the instruments (speedo, tach, and others)
* Installation of the belly pan
And more. Remember….I seem to live by the old truism which goes something like, “If it wasn’t for the last minute….nothing would ever get done.”
Our last day before leaving for Amelia was going to be a busy day. What I didn’t know (but should have guessed) was that this was going to be a busy night too – and Florida in the evening this time of year can get into the 40s – or worse. Cold for us way down here in southern Florida in every way!
But we pressed on, and Tom Jaudon let us do most of our work at his upholstery shop. Then, around 5pm we brought the Shark to my house to finish the work that remained – the underbelly/foil, final seat install, emergency brake handle, lighting, etc…
The Night Shift Arrives:
Around 6pm Brian Jorgensen came to the rescue – another person I’m blessed to be able to call a good friend. Brian was the person that did all the prep work on our 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet for the Pebble Beach Concours last year (that’s another story of getting a car ready that will be partly featured in an article coming out this month in “Hot Rod Deluxe” Magazine).
Brian, John, Craig, and I pressed forward with purpose and speed – I don’t think any of us even had dinner – I can’t recall. Around 9 pm I had to switch gears and jump on the computer – I still work full-time teaching and needed to complete the soon-to-be weekend activities for my students and classes online so I jumped back and forth between the our work team, the Shark, and my students.
I hope I didn’t mix any of these activities up at the time – the pressure for myself and team to complete the Shark so we could sleep before Saturday was beyond measurable. But they did it – probably because I stayed out of the way the last few hours *grin*
So…let’s take a look at some of the picture highlights from Friday – mere hours before our team and the Shark were to leave bound for the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance:
Speedometer, Tachometer, and Gauges
Thanks to the team at Signs USA of Tampa, Florida we were able to feature a stunning set of gauges for the crowd at Amelia forthcoming on Sunday. The team at Signs USA – led by Alexis Kemp and fantastic support by Kristi Miller – produced five gauges that were inspired by the 1960s Alfa Romeo Berlina gauge design, color keyed to match the interior of the Shark, and emblazened with the name “Shark” on each gauge (which matched the emblems on the car in terms of font and style too). Let’s have a look at the gauges produced by the team at Signs USA. You can click on the photos below to have them enlarge on your screen.
Art Cards and Business Cards:
Also, great thanks must be given to the efforts of the folks at Sir Speedy in the Town and Country area of Tampa, Florida. Because of their work, we were able to distribute information cards that featured and discussed our 1962 Shark Roadster. I worked directly with Anne Demers and Kathy Evans who helped design, layout, and print each of these cards shown below.
And of course this was possible only through the talented design efforts of Dan Palatnik who’s renderings of the Shark in 3D were so clean and perfect that most of the artwork looks like are car was already restored and done – before our project began. What a fantastic job by Dan, Anne, and Kathy – thanks very much to each of these folks for outstanding work.
The cards are 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches with a photo of either the front or back of the Shark on the front of the card, and information about the car on the back of each card. We’ve been taking this approach for the last few years and have found that it helps with the attendees who are interested in learning more about any of the cars that each of us own that have rarely – if ever – been shown at a public event.
I’m happy to put these together for free for any of you in our group wanting to do a handout at an upcoming show. Click here to see some of the designs for other cars that we’ve done on a full-size piece of paper. Below are samples of the “Art Card” handouts at 5.5 x 8.5 inches and are business cards too. These were handed out at the Amelia Concours.
In part two of our story, I’ll share photos from Amelia and more from the full weekend too.
Hope you enjoyed the update, and until next time…
Glass on gang…