It Was One of Those Days - Pt XXI


Here - watch THIS!
May 24, 2001
When I got home from the DMV, Kelly asked me how things went. Man, I absolutely HATE hiding things from her. But given what Jim had just shared with me along with his explicit order to not say a word to anyone about it, I decided to – at least for now – just play it cool.

“Ah, hon… you know how that place is. Too many customers, not enough help, and then there are always problems for someone…” At least I didn’t outright lie to her and what I said was all true. I just didn’t tell her what I knew.

“So you got your plates for the Charger?”

“Yeah… it took a while and some explaining about how I got the darn thing, but I got them. But, it’s now officially our car…” Again, no lies – just not the entire story….

“Have you given any thought about the race in May?” Good. A subject I could be completely straightforward about.

“Actually, not really… the first run will be against that damn Shelby and I am more than a little concerned about running it given how things turned out Saturday night. I have no doubt that Mira will be gunning to nail the GN again.”

I had no intention of letting that happen. I just wasn’t sure how best to go about making sure of it… but I knew I would think of something.

The GN was pretty much at the top of its abilities given the combo that was in it. And, having nailed the SRT-8 with that 10.52, I realized that maybe I had a better chance against the Shelby than I thought. IF I had launched as hard against it as I did against the SRT-8, things MIGHT have gone differently. The only thing that kept bugging me was that I did not have an ET for the Shelby to compare it to.

But then again, maybe I did…

I had run a 10.83 against the Shelby – but that was with a relatively soft launch as compared to the launch against the Dodge. But - Mira had definitely lifted right at the finish; but - she wasn’t walking away from me either. So… the million dollar question was this: does her GT500 have a 10.4X in it?

It just might. Or it might not. I thought long and hard about what to do… swap motors? OR, just go with my gut and have confidence in the GN? I took my cell out of my pocket and dialed.

“Brandon? This is Steve – got any plans this weekend? You do? Then, my friend – you need to change them… I’ve got a wrench-fest planned and I need your help…”


It was late Sunday before we were ready to fire the motor. Since we got a late start on the motor change-out Saturday, that put us behind for the whole weekend. But the delay was worth it.

I had ordered a new Level 10 2004R tranny with a 3800 stall converter to be mated with the Stage Motor. Fortunately, I had ordered the new transmission after I had pulled the Stage motor out of the GN last fall so it was just sitting there in the garage waiting; still wrapped in plastic in its shipping crate, just waiting to go in.

But, like most projects, it just didn’t ‘bolt right in’ – it took a while, a lot of convincing, and even a few choice words to get it mounted. They always say nothing good comes easy and this project was proof of that. However, thanks to Level 10’s foresight in including ALL the hardware that was needed, B and I didn’t lose too much time. And thankfully, I had the foresight to have ordered a new balanced aluminum driveshaft, just waiting to go into the car as was a new driveshaft loop.

By early Saturday evening, we had the Stage motor and transmission mated together and ready to drop in. A few hours later, the stock (ok, the ‘almost’ stock) LC2 and tranny were out of the car. I pulled them separately so I could put the motor on an engine stand and sat the tranny on the workbench. I already had plans to take the 2004R to Akron next time I went that way to let Vince have his way with it…

Sometime shortly before midnight, Kel came back out to the garage to check on us and make sure we weren’t squashed under the car (her eternal fear she says – as if I put the car up on cinder blocks or 2X4’s or something, which I do not).

“How’s it coming?”

“Pretty good, Kel. We’re about to lower the engine and transmission into the car and once it’s on the mounts, we’re going to quit for the night. I should be in shortly…”

Of course, Kelly knows that that REALLY means, “I think that there is a very slim chance I’ll be done here in a few hours…”

“Be careful, Steve. I’m heading on to bed…” She then gave me a quick good-night kiss and headed back into the house.

“Do ya think she believed you, Steve?” asked B with a laugh.

“Not at all – but she does know that I HOPE to be done soon and that’s all that matters. And, she understands that there is a LOT riding on this so I know without a doubt that she isn’t worried about my bedtime.” We both got a good laugh out of that one…

Actually, the drop-in went well. In a little over an hour, we had the engine/transmission in the car and the mounts bolted up so we called it a night….

Sunday went even better. We only hit a few snags but nothing major – it just takes a LOT of time to make all the connections, account for misalignment of hardware, hook up intakes, exhaust, etc... So, after the fluids were topped off, the engine primed for oil pressure, all the connections were triple checked, and the software double checked for the FAST FXI engine management system, we lowered the car to the ground for the 100th time. We had already dropped the fuel tank, installed a new double pump system, and reinstalled the tank along with a new fuel filter system. After hooking the battery back up and checking to make sure that the fuel pump’s wiring was reconnected at the rear of the car, I opened the door and sat down in the driver’s seat, key in hand.

I turned the key to the ‘Run’ position and listened to the sound of the fuel pumps coming up to pressure. Brandon was standing at the driver’s side fender and gave the fuel rail/injectors a good look-see to make sure no surprise leakers were found. Seeing that everything was dry, he gave me the thumbs up.

“Ok Steve – let’s see how she sounds… light ‘er up.”

I rotated the big key forward to the “Start” position… immediately the circuit was closed that sent electrical current to the big starter that in turn began the monumental job of turning over the stage motor. In less than 2-3 revolutions, the monster fired with a roar, settling into a deep rumble that shook the garage walls...

This Stage motor wasn’t even ‘stock’ as Stage II motors go… it was overbuilt from the ground up. When I sent it out for repair of the leak last fall, I had it essentially bullet-proofed. From the 90mm Accufab T/B to the forged Buick Motorsports crank and rotating assemblies; from the Champion GN1R heads to the Stainless ATR headers and 5 inch Downpipe, the engine was built and built strong. Out front, a Cotton custom Front Mount I/C was in charge of keeping the enormous volume of compressed air cool coming from the volleyball-sized PT74 turbo being rammed down the gaping maw of the intake.

I let the engine idle for a few moments as B and I went over the car looking for leaks and listening for odd noises. The data on the FAST computer was solid and right where I wanted everything to be… the exhaust was still open but I would take care of that later in the week as well as the work on the rear end I needed to do.

The noise in the garage was deafening; the smell of the headers being heated and the deposits on them beginning to burn off was reassuring – the car lived. Sounds of metal being heated, injectors firing, and the violent explosions of the firing cycle of the big V6 were music to our ears… In spite of the late hour, Brandon and I grinned like first-time fathers hearing their new baby’s cry for the first time…

We both knew that a lot more work would be needed before this car was ready to tear up the quarter mile. Hopefully, this Stage II would be able to handle whatever they threw at it… I just hoped the GN at least had the Shelby covered because I was going to run it first, no matter what.

If I was wrong, this low mileage – but extremely wicked - WE4 wouldn’t even hit the track that night…



“Steve? This is Jim… got a minute?”

“Sure… what’s up?”

“Can you stop by after work today? I need to run something by you… say, around 4 or so?”

I hadn’t heard from Jim since that day at the DMV. It had been three weeks and it was almost as if what I had experienced that day was a dream. Until this phone call...

“Yeah, I can make it. Anything you can tell me now?”

“I’ll explain it all when you get here. See you at 4 then.”


With that, the conversation was over. I placed the phone back in its cradle on my desk and immediately my mind began to race. After making myself crazy for a few minutes, I decided that the best thing I could do would be to not even think about it and to just see what he had to say…. I tried to bury myself in the mountain of paperwork on my desk…

Easy to say – hard to do…


I walked into the Sheriff’s department a few minutes before 4. Jim and a deputy were behind the duty desk looking through some papers. He looked up when I came through the door, handed the papers to the deputy and motioned for me to follow him on back into his office. He then shut the door behind me.

“Steve, I’m not sure if we should go ahead with this race or not…”

Wow. There’s a conversation starter if there ever was one….

“Why is that? I thought this was all leading up to that night?”

“First, because this investigation is growing by the day and I don’t like where it looks to be going. But also because of what we discovered today… Here… look at these…”

He held out a handful of pictures. At first, I didn’t understand their significance nor could I see how they were related in any way to each other…One was a picture of a big ship sitting at a dock somewhere, possibly Lake Erie but you couldn’t tell for sure. It looked like a container ship and from the way it was riding low in the water, it appeared to be loaded…

The second was of two of the men I had seen in the picture that Jim showed me at the DMV that day. But this time, they were sitting in a Silver 300C with the windows rolled down outside a swanky down-town restaurant somewhere.

The third picture looked like it was taken inside a large warehouse, possibly by a concealed camera due to the quality of the photo – it showed rows of cars parked nose to tail, most of them being high-performance or exotics and both of the men in the second picture were standing between two of the rows. One of them was holding a clip board with several papers on it; the other just stood there with his arms folded, as if he was bored.

The fourth pic was of the man who I knew as Bill Reynolds – talking to Sasha, the girl from the DMV outside the same restaurant (where ever that restaurant was – I didn’t recognize it). In it, Sasha looked angry – or frightened – and Bill appeared to be gesturing towards someone or something. That picture caused a chill to creep up my back…

But the last picture was the most intriguing…

It was a photograph of Ned Reynolds talking to someone who appeared to be a doctor. In it, Ned looked fairly healthy – in fact, he was in street clothes. But the oddest thing of all was who the doctor appeared to be.

In spite of having on surgical garb, the stethoscope, and usual surgeon’s attire, there was no mistaking that the ‘doctor’ was none other than Bill Reynolds. And to add icing to the cake, Bill was talking to Ned in the parking lot of a hospital or medical center - and Ned was seated in the driver’s seat of an ambulance…

“Now – THIS is an interesting picture. Where did you get them, Jim?”

“We have our sources… all I can say is that they are legit and were all taken within the past few days other than that one of the people we know as Ned and Bill Reynolds – that pic just came to us in the mail in an unmarked envelope but we have narrowed down that it was mailed from an area near where that DMV office is located. There is a date on the back of the picture that, if correct, was taken the day AFTER Ned’s supposed funeral. We’re trying to analyze the handwriting as we speak but we don’t think it will give us any clues…”

I felt confusion wash over me. None of this was making any sense at all, nor could I see why I was sitting here in Jim’s office looking at these pictures.

“So, what do you need from me? Why did you want me to come down here? None of these pictures cause me any great alarm – at least not sufficiently to agree that the race should not proceed.”

For just a fleeting moment, I had the feeling that Jim really just wanted to see if I was willing to go through with it. But I also knew Jim would never say that up front…

“Well, first I wanted you to see these pics – especially that last one. It appears that Ned may not be dead after all IF that date checks out and I thought you should know that as well as see it first hand. I imagine that it will check out though…”

“And?” I asked… Jim just stared at me, as if he was sizing me up or trying to read my mind…

“And? For what other reason did you ask me to come down here, Jim?” I asked again…

“Follow me out to the garage…I want to show you something… it’s really not related to this case though…”

“Ok… let’s go…”

He got up, opened the door and headed down the side hallway with me shadowing him. We eventually walked through a series of security doors before walking out into the cooler air of the big County garage.

“Look over there.” He pointed over towards a car parked in the direction we were walking that was draped with a light brown car cover.

“Help me pull this cover off if. I think you’ll find this car very, very interesting…”

The silhouette of the fabric covered vehicle looked familiar… we both lifted the cover off its flanks, and dropped it to the ground beside the car. I gasped when I saw what had been hidden…

It was a white Trans-Am. One with gold wire-mesh looking wheels, a big spoiler, and tannish interior. The hood had a series of ducts/slats in the front part of it and I recognized it instantly. It was one of 1555, turbo-charged and intercooled pieces of automotive/Buick history, made only one year and was in fact the Indy Pace car for that year.

It was a 1989 TTA and it looked like it just came off the showroom floor. It was breath-taking.

“So, what’s the story behind THIS car, Jim? Is it yours?”

Jim shook his head slowly...

“Well, it technically belongs to the Sheriff’s department due to forfeiture by a drug dealer. It looks like it’s brand new but I really don’t know. It just looks great though…”

I had to agree there. The car looked flawless.

“What are you going to do with it?” I knew that while Jim wasn’t a huge car nut, he did appreciate nice cars. I thought that perhaps he was going to buy it or something…

“Well, Steve… it isn’t what I am going to do with it – it’s what I need YOU to do with it… if you’re willing. Here’s the plan…”

To be continued…
oh my goodness, hehe under cover t/a ?
Im shocked at how quick you've kept the stories comming raven
Very impressive, gets better and better every moment
cant wait for the next part!
Ok, I really think this needs to be made into a movie.
Here's an idea.

Picture this. You hear that movie trailer guy with the deep and raspy voice...

"In a world...

Where legends are born by the race you win... :eek:

One man, :cool:

With a dream of having the fastest car on the streets... ;)

The last true American Muscle Car to roll off a Detroit assembly line,

Versus the world....

Old versus new,

David versus Goliath.

When crime doesn't pay, but racing sure does.

Coming this summer,

Racing, Romance, Action, and big can of whoop a$$.
;) :redface: :eek: :mad::mad::mad:

Steve Morton stars in...

Good guys wear black!!!!.

Rated PG-13

Starts Friday July 4th 2008

This is Great. The bad thing as I see it from before is they know where you live and Ned was booted from National Trail for messing with someones ride. I can't wait for 22
UNBELIEVABLE!! You found a way to drag the only other turbov6 in to the story! Raven since you have given us so many chapters in so few a days....we need you to finish by Friday!!!:biggrin: :eek: :wink:
Nice!!! TTA brought into the mix. Serisouly though, you have so many things hanging in the air I dont know how you remember them all. Must be at least 20 more chapters left!!! Keep em coming. I love reading everyone.


Great stories read all of them would make an awesome movie, cant wait to see how it ends.:biggrin:
I won't get a chance to write any more until Tuesday night at the latest.

But - it is indeed worth the wait.
Yeah, good job of keeping us waiting again.

This sounds like it is going to be some undercover work. Hmmmmm, story is getting real good. Mannn, you got alot of other forums reading on. The real Fast and Furious, or Good Men Wear Black, needs to be done into a movie. Wish I knew a producer.