Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Back From Vacation: The Salem Speed Shop

The best way to end my hiatus from the electronic world is to reach back to the Golden Age of hot-rodding, with one of the last of the original pioneers, Glen Volz.
 Glen founded his high-performance shop in 1950, and has lived through and participated in the hot rod racing business permutations since. From Bonneville to the drag strip to SCCA, Glen has had a hand in it all. His building is just like he is; outwardly a little worn, a bit old-fashioned, but the insides are filled with rare power and singular knowledge. 

Glen Volz and his 1950's era louver punch.

Built in the 1890's, used today.

 There have been other, in-depth features on Glen, like this one
but he has so many tales from his history, that everyone hears something new. I asked him about Harry Eyerly and his Bugatti rod, and he recounted the times that Harry pulled up to his shop and took him out for spins, or the time he was driving to Bend, when a Jaguar XK-120 passed him going the other way. Glen pulled a u-turn in his Ford hot rod, mashed it to the floor, but couldn't catch the Jag. A few years later, he had the chance to take Harry's Jag out for a test, and when he stepped on the gas... he was underwhelmed. He couldn't believe that this model British roadster had outrun his Ford, until he realized that the Jaguar beneath him hadn't stopped accelerating. The top end of that car was far beyond the capabilities of his low-geared, high compression flathead.

Here's a few more shots of his equipment (much of it vintage Army surplus).