I've been a fan of CLASSIC TRUCKS for some time now, and I read every issue from cover to cover and enjoy most of it. I'm next to a purist restorer, but I like a good tastefully built street rod as long as the body hasn't been butchered beyond recognition. Recently, I read a letter in Postage Paid (October '09) from a guy in Charlotte, North Carolina, who asked to feature installing a Toyota or Honda engine in an American pickup, and I felt nauseated. Desecrating a quality piece of American iron like that is a worse insult than putting a Chevy engine in a Ford! And if CLASSIC TRUCKS ever does a feature on that, you have my assurance that I'll never pick up another issue. But rather than get into a debate with the ill-informed masses who have been seduced into thinking that better stuff comes from over there, hear this from someone who has been in the repair business working on everything with wheels for nearly 40 years.
The vehicles from over there are not built better. They are not more reliable. They are not more economical, and they do not last longer. Just as good? Yes, in some instances. There was a time back in the '70s and '80s when their quality control was better than ours but that was it. Parts are harder to get and they are far more expensive. When we work on those cars, we use aftermarket parts (if at all possible) that are manufactured right here by reputable suppliers for the aforementioned reasons.
I have two very good friends who emigrated from Japan over 30 years ago. Their philosophy is based on the "When in Rome" theory. They drive American and they say that American cars are far superior to what they drove in Japan.
So to the guy from Charlotte (or anyone like him for that matter) who thinks that better stuff comes from over there, take some advice from my Japanese friends: You want to drive Japanese vehicles? Go live there.
First off I'm happy you enjoy CLASSIC TRUCKS and hope you continue to do so. I also appreciate your opinion regarding the use of import power in classic domestic trucks. So now that I've let you voice your opinion as well, I'm going to voice mine.
The future of the automotive hobby is most definitely going to be impacted by the rising cost of fossil fuel-however how any individual decides to meet that challenge I believe is totally up to them. Personal preference is the heart and soul of the hobby. If the gentleman in question wants to power his '63 Chevy with wound-up rubber bands more power to him! We've got enough to worry about with "Big Brother" saving us from ourselves without each of us pressing our own opinions on others. You build what you want how you want, and let the rest of the world build what they want the way they want.
I don't write to magazines very often (this may be the first time actually) but the advice you gave a writer in the December '09 issue of CLASSIC TRUCKS is so potentially life threatening that I couldn't let it go unchallenged!
Your advice to use a four-point harness in a street driven truck is dangerously wrong. First, only a DOT-certified passive restraint system should ever be used in a street driven vehicle. There is only one harness on the market DOT certified and that is the Schroth system. Technically, it is not a four-point harness but a hybrid harness in that the shoulder straps do not attach to the buckle, but the lap belts feed through loop on the ends of the shoulder straps before the lap belt is fastened with an OEM-style buckle.
The use of a racing harness on the street is highly restrictive, which leads to a driver's inability to check traffic at intersections, reach controls on the dash, and more. That discomfort will result in the harness not being used or the shoulder straps worn loose, defeating the purpose of the harness.
My wife and I are national level SCCA stock class autocross racers and have equipped most of our occasionally street driven race vehicles with five- or six-point harnesses for competition use, but those harnesses are folded up and tucked away, and the OEM restraint system is used on the street, it's a lot safer that way.
Thanks for setting me straight regarding restraints-though if you read my response again you'll notice that I did suggest that he "investigate" the restraint systems on the market and go from there. But in the interest of reader safety, I will be clearer in my suggestions in the future.
Looks like in our cover story (page 23 of the December 2009 issue) it was stated that the So-Cal Arizona franchise was no longer. Well, we are here to tell you that they never went out of business and have been in Phoenix and at the same location continuously for the past 35 years. Our mistake-and one we wanted to make sure we rectified. So to those who may have been led astray, here's their address and contact info: SO-CAL Speed Shop Arizona, Vintage Ford & Chevy Parts of Arizona, 602-275-7990 www.so-cal-az.com, go see 'em and spend some money so we get ourselves outa hot water.